Maxima: That's the only thing about a succubus that's designed to be impenetrable.
Things are not as they seem. What you see is not what's truly there. It may be a building rendered Invisibile, or a person who has taken the guise of another. It may be Invisible to Normals, hidden by thermostatic camouflage, holographic, a Perception Filter, a Glamour, or even some kind of implausibly specific hallucinogen.
Whatever the case, to see to the heart of the matter, you need the True Sight. This trait cuts through illusions to show objective, absolute truth, rendering all of that stuff above useless. Of course, it may well come at a price, either on a per-use basis or something more permanent, such as the loss of your earthly vision. On the other hand, it may just be hereditary, or a natural ability of your particular race, in which case: lucky you. Or, it could be an ability bequeathed by some special object.
If possible, try not to overuse it, because it might be hard on your sanity.
Although True Sight always involves true perception, it doesn't always give the user the ability to properly interpret what they see. Thus, they may see the truth and still come to an incorrect conclusion, and there may be reliable ways of fooling them. Frequently, non-magical or low-tech methods work just fine: True Sight could see through a wizard's use of an illusion spell to make themself look like someone else, but can be defeated by someone disguising themself using makeup, a fake beard, and different clothing.
Additionally, there can be "degrees" to True-Sight. If the illusion looks faded out to the user, for example, then the True-Sight user will know that there is an illusion there. However, if the True-Sight pierces right through the illusion (making them see things exactly as they really are), then a True-Sight user might fail to point this out to others around them (like not pointing out an illusion hiding a hole in the floor to the party because they think everyone else should be seeing such an obvious hole in the floor).
Often a function of the Magical Eye. Not to be confused with precognition, the domain of Seers, or clairvoyance, usually the viewing of distant places. Often bundled with Supernatural Sensitivity and/or Aura Vision. Supertrope of See-Thru Specs, glasses, or other lenses that have this ability, and See the Invisible, which affects only Invisibility. Compare By the Eyes of the Blind, in which something can only be seen by certain people; like a True Sight but in reverse. Contrast Glamour Failure, when the illusion has some flaw that can be perceived by normal sight. See also the antithesis, Anti-True Sight.
- Quent Yaden from Wolf's Rain can see through the wolves' humanoid illusions when drunk.
- El-Hazard: The Magnificent World has Nanami Jinai, who has the ability to see through illusion. She alerts the group to a Shadow Tribe assassin (who was in human guise) at Arlaman and, later, proves pivotal during Makoto's showdown with Galus atop the Eye of God. The problem is that she simply can't see the illusions themselves, so most of the time she assumes everyone sees the same things as her.
- The "Rabbit of Truth" from The Voynich Hotel grants this to the wearer.
- Superman, Supergirl and other Kryptonians' have the ability to see through illusions since their super-senses allow them to check the full spectrum to make sure that something is real. In Justice League of America/Justice Society of America crossover The Lightning Saga, Power Girl and Superman use their x-ray vision to see through Princess Projecta's mirages.
- Loki's new friend in Loki: Agent of Asgard, Verity Willis, accidentally swallowed and absorbed a ring enchanted with a truth curse as a baby. This made her a Living Lie Detector able to see through all falsehoods, including illusions.
- Legion of X: Weaponless Zsen has a variant of this ability, as her mutant power lets her 'paint with truth'. Her subsequent appearance in X-Men Red (2022) suggests that she has a touch of this in her sight as well, but far less than in her art. Even so, she can briefly look at a dormant alien (implied to be an Eldritch Abomination) and confirm that her painting of its true nature would leave no viewer sane.
- In Sight Ichigo can see Zanpakutou spirits, which the manifestations of the wielder's soul, making Ichigo become an empath and a Living Lie Detector through seeing them. The price of his ability that gets stronger the zanpakutou can interact with him and the world around him, meaning the spirit can touch or hurt him if they desired to. It has gotten strong enough that he can have other people physically interact with their Zanpakutou spirits.
- In Harmony Theory, Detective Hard Boiled's special talent includes true sight and Living Lie Detector. He can see invisible things and see through illusions and Changeling disguises.
- Code Geass: Paladins of Voltron: Kallen Geass, in a nutshell - in addition to giving her X-Ray Vision, it also allows her to see the Prorok Robeast while in the Blade of Marmora base's pocket dimension.
- Citadel of the Heart has the entire Human Subspecies of H. s. ultimorius of being able to see through Paper Thin Disguises and anything even remotely similar in concept for better or worse. However, they can't turn the ability off; it's always on for them, meaning they can't force themselves to be fooled by whatever disguise or A Form You Are Comfortable With is going on instead of seeing nothing but the truth. Typical side effects of laying eyes on Eldritch entities utilizing the latter tend to include overall Sanity Slippage by the second for as long as visual contact lasts, eventually causing them to Go Mad from the Revelation should they stare at such entities for too long. Grandis and Chronicler are the first individuals of this species made known in the fic, and Chronicler's Half-Human Hybrid nature actually allows him to turn off the effects of his True Sight; something Grandis is actually impressed by considering Chronicler otherwise displays an amplified version of True Sight overall, including being able to utilize X-Ray Vision and a sonar-like ability to see and interact with things.
- Vow of Nudity: Void Genasi (the ruling class of the Genasi Empire) can automatically see through illusions and magical darkness, one of the many reasons they consider themselves the rightful rulers of the continent.
- The sunglasses in They Live! reveal that certain people are really aliens, as well as the presence of subliminal messages.
- Hellboy II: The Golden Army: Krauss provides the BPRD with special goggles capable of seeing through magical glamour; the BPRD uses them to find trolls disguised as humans. As a Continuity Nod to the first film, when Hellboy himself is seen through these goggles, he's shown with longer horns and a fiery crown — accouterments of the Prince of Hell role that Hellboy has been rebelling against.
- Buckaroo Banzai from The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension receives the ability to see through the Lectroids' human disguises from the Black Lectroids. This proves to be bad news for the Red Lectroids.
Buckaroo: There they are.
Perfect Tommy: There who are?
Buckaroo: Don't you see them?
Sydney: See who?
Buckaroo: There! Evil pure and simple by way of the Eighth Dimension!
- In Avengers: Endgame, one character who's Asgard's premier Master of Illusion (and in fact, Loki's mentor) is implied to possess this, considering how she easily recognizes her own son from the future.
Frigga: The future hasn't been kind to you, has it?
Thor: I didn't say I was from the future...
Frigga: I was raised by witches, boy. I see with more than eyes, as you well know.
Thor: ...I'm totally from the future.
- In The Bartimaeus Trilogy, spirits brought into the human world are either invisible or disguised, but can be properly seen on the "higher planes." Bartimaeus himself can see in seven planes,note so that he might be looking at what seems like an ordinary person but knows that they're actually another djinni. Magicians have special contact lenses that let them see a few other planes, but not all seven.
- In the Changeling trilogy by Sean Williams, Adi gains this after she dies and is revived, being able to see through illusions and see spirits.
- Witches and Wizards on the Discworld have not Second Sight, but First Sight, and can see what's really there rather than what they expect to be there. This is partly because of magic and partly because they have no Weirdness Censor. In The Wee Free Men, Tiffany is told that the way to find the "witches' school" is to stand on a hill, open your eyes, and then open your eyes again. She realizes (eventually) that witches' school isn't a place, and just means seeing the world properly.
- The Dresden Files:
- Wizards can use their Sight at will, with the caveat that anything they see, however wonderful or horrible, can never be forgotten, ever. It remains in their mind's eye, as fresh as if just seen, for the rest of their lives. When Harry catches a glimpse of ancient horror, he has to rearrange the way he thinks just to make the seizures stop, and even then it's a good while before he stops shuddering. He only survives by learning to cope with what he Saw and uses all the other wonderful and horrific and terrifying things he has Seen to help his mind realize this thing isn't that special.
- Storm Front features a drug called ThreeEye which could temporarily give Sight to Muggles, although the users don't realize this and think their trips to be hallucinations. Repeated use will make the Sight impossible to turn off, and seeing the true supernatural nature of the world around you (including the things you normally can't see at all and don't want to) will inevitably reduce the user to permanent insanity.
- Also, in some novels, Harry creates an ointment to see through Sidhe's glamour, which acts like a lesser version of True Sight, with the advantage that non-magic users can benefit from it as well.
- Mercenary Goodman Grey, a talented shapeshifter who inherited his powers by being the scion of an evil Skinwalker, the above-mentioned horror Harry Saw and sent his mind into seizures, and a mortal woman has some level of this. When Harry speaks with him outside of the home of Knight of the Cross Michael Carpenter, Grey refuses even invited entry to the yard, and his eyes look to two innocuous spots on the yard. Harry takes note and knows that two Guardian Angels take spots in those areas in their duty to protect the Carpenter House from supernatural threats and what is hidden is invisible to even magical senses short of using one's Sight.
- Gone: While being tortured by Penny Cigar claws out his own eyes. After this incident he is healed by Lana and grows 'BB eyes' that allow him to see auras as well as forces that other character's can't see such as the Gaiaphage's tendril's controlling (or attempting to control) those that have been unfortunate enough to get up close and personal with it and Little Pete.
- In Harry Potter, "Mad-Eye" Moody's magical false eye can see through solid objects, clothes, and incidentally, invisibility cloaks.
- In The Lost Years of Merlin, the title character is blinded early in the first book, but then develops "second sight." It basically lets him see normally (albeit not with his eyes), but also sometimes allows him to see secret messages or similar things that others can't.
- Stephen King's The 10 o'clock People: Having quit smoking, and then taking it up again allows you to see the hideous alien forms of the powerful beings that have taken over the human race. They're called Batmen.
- Dean Koontz's novel Twilight Eyes. Only people with special purple eyes can see the creatures known as Goblins as they really are. It's later revealed that this manifests in a different way including True Smell.
- In Percy Jackson and the Olympians, certain human characters can see through the mist. Rachel Elizabeth Dare uses this ability to guide Percy and Co through the Labyrinth.
- Luis from Valiant and Ironside in the Modern Faerie Tales trilogy can see through glamour and is impervious to enchantments. It's described as "True Sight".
- "The Sight" is a form of magic in the Tortall Universe, which allows the gifted person to detect things such as magic, lies, illness, pregnancy, and godhood. There's also Kel's griffin feather headband, which allows her to see through illusions when worn above her eyes.
- Inverted in The Sword of Truth: Jennsen (and any of the 'pristinely ungifted') can see the real thing underneath the illusion because she's unable to see or be affected by magic at all, rather than having some magical ability that allows her to break an illusion like many of the other examples.
- "Witch Sight" in the Chrestomanci series can detect spells and see through illusions.
- Way back in Journey to the West, this was one of Sun Wukong's many, many powers.
- In Andre Norton's Witch World novel The Year of the Unicorn, Gillian uses moly to give herself this and correctly name a Were-Rider.
- In Ruth Frances Long's The Treachery of Beautiful Things, Jack's illusions only temporarily work on Jenny. Jack warns her that the Fairy Queen will therefore be interested in her.
- Zoey's Seer Stone from The House of Night. It heats up in the presence of old magick, and looking at it allows Zoey to see Heath's soul inside Aurox.
- In Sergey Lukyanenko's The Boy and the Darkness, after Danny lets a Flying go, the other Wingers punish him by cutting out his eyes. The Sunny Kitten restores his eyesight with the True Light. As a side effect, Danny's new eyesight is this trope. He can see through low-density objects (e.g. wood but not stone or metal) and becomes a Living Lie Detector. The Kitten warns Danny, though, that his new True Sight can cause him to see only the dark in people and develop a Holier Than Thou attitude towards the others.
- In the novel Sentou Yousei Yukikaze, Yukikaze has a specialized sensor suite dubbed "Frozen Eye" that is far more sophisticated than any other plane in the Faery Air Force. This also turns out to be the only thing that can detect miniature JAM teleportation portals. In the first novel, it's unclear what is being detected because it only shows up as a solid straight line on the cockpit computer screen, but in the second novel, it is revealed that what Frozen Eye is actually detecting is a series of tiny vibrations in the air that outline the opening of a portal, which is invisible to both the naked eye and regular radar.
- In The Falconer, the protagonist uses a special kind of thistle to be able to see fairies. Some people can see fairies without such means, but they are very rare, and in great danger to be killed by the fairies, most of whom are malevolent.
- In Reaper (Ivan Navi), Sofi can see the usually invisible effects of magic, the true forms of shape changers, and even see Death's true form. Though she was almost overwhelmed seeing Death's true form.
- The Stormlight Archive: The ability of certain Knights Radiant to see into Shadesmar acts like this. Certain spren can make themselves invisible in the Physical, but they'll still be visible in Shadesmar. Similarly, because of their corruption by Odium Fused souls look different than human or singer souls, allowing a Radiant to unmask mavset-im (Fused who can create illusions).
- Keys to the Kingdom: In Drowned Wednesday, Arthur discovers he can see through illusions if he looks at them out of the corner of his eye, likely as a result of exposure to the Keys' power.
- Pale: Each of the protagonists has a distinct variant of the Sight, expressing itself through metaphor:
- Lucy sees a watercolor world with blades stabbed into people and objects to indicate past and current conflicts and blood, and can seize them and make them real using Glamour in a pinch.
- Avery sees a world of mist, with white ribbons tied between people and objects to indicate connections, which she can tug to manipulate objects and even relationships.
- Verona sees a world filled with layers of cobweb and plastic, behind which lurk strange flayed creatures which she can ask for direction.
- On Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy insists that her mother's illness must be caused by some kind of dark magic, so she casts a spell that would let her see it. According to Giles, if Joyce was under some sort of curse, Buffy would see something like an invisible hand around her throat. In actual fact, Joyce's illness is normal—but this is how Buffy discovers that something is weird about Dawn, her sister who was Cosmic Retconned into the series a few episodes before.
- On Grimm the titular Grimms have the ability to see Wesen (creatures revealed to be the basis of all fairytales) when the Wesen lose control over their ability to hide their true forms. Any human can see a Wesen's true form, but that requires the Wesen to actively go "full woge", which requires even more effort than maintaining their human disguise. As one episode reveals, repeatedly going "full woge" can result in the Wesen being unable to maintain his or her human appearance for long.
- Eaglebones Falconhawk from The Aquabats! Super Show! is given Eagle Vision to see his Attack Animal The Dude. "And yes, Ricky, I can see fairies."
- In Supernatural, angels are naturally able to see the demons' true faces (which are apparently rather monstrous) instead of the face of the person that the demon is possessing. People about to be Dragged Off to Hell by Hellhounds can also see demons' true faces. As Bobby puts it "You're hell's bitch, so you can see its other bitches." Dean uses this as an 11th-Hour Superpower and prevents one demon from getting the drop on them, and stops Sam from killing the child they think Lilith is possessing as he can see she's not possessed anymore. Lilith gets around this by possessing Ruby's body since Dean can't tell their faces apart.
- The Magicians: The Key of Truth lets you see through to the truth of things; letting you see through illusions is the most obvious, but you can also see astral forms. It also makes you feel the truth as well, so people who lie constantly (such as Kady) feel physically ill while holding it.
- In the crossover of The Thundermans and The Haunted Hathaways: It is revealed that all superheroes can see and hear ghosts.
- Fairy tales frequently include a means for mortals to see the fair folk and/or look past their Glamour. Common mechanisms are a special ointment to be applied to the eyes, looking in a mirror, and looking through a stone with a natural hole in it. Having fairy ancestors also usually helps.
- One such ointment appears in a Slavic tale where a bandit hero was invited to the local lord's palace to make peace. His best friend accompanies him and, suspicious of the lord's men and their strange behavior, sneak some of their ointment and apply it to one eye. Upon closing the other eye, he sees that the palace is really a ruin, the other guests are withered trees, the lord's men are hounds, and the lord is Satan himself.
- After being cooked in the burning furnace for 49 days, Sun Wukong developed this power. He could see through any disguise or illusion.
- Dungeons & Dragons has the powerful true seeing spell, which pierces all supernatural means of disguise and concealment (except for a few arguable exceptions, like the sequester spell). However, it doesn't help out with anything non-supernatural besides simple darkness. A few rare creatures, such as powerful demons, have innate true seeing.
- Hunter: The Vigil: The Tallyman's Eyes is a potion intended to pierce past the illusion of normalcy and reveal the nature of supernatural beings. By mixing together dimethyl tryptamine, alchemical reagents, and the vitreous humor of a human eye, the Hunter creates a filter that, when applied to their eyes with an eyedropper (or, for longer-lasting effects, injected directly into the pupil) will make visible the traces of the supernatural the mark the souls of witches, Slashers and spirit-claimed.
- Mage: The Awakening has ten different kinds of True Sight. Mage Sight allows a mage to perceive the world through one of the ten Arcana. All Arcana will allow you to see magic, but Space Sight will allow you to instantly judge distances and perceive spatial anomalies, Life Sight lets you tell how healthy a person is, Spirit Sight lets you see dematerialized spirits, and so forth.
- Mutants & Masterminds includes True Sight as one of its stock Super Senses powers, allowing the user to see through all illusions, all concealment, and see that which is hidden.
- Shadowrun: Magicians can use Astral Perceiving to see a person's true aura.
- Arknights: Certain operators come with the capability of True Sight that allow them to reveal invisible enemy units in range, and an enemy is also capable of doing the same.
- StarCraft: A major strategy element is the use of optical camouflage, concealment, and cover to be unseen by the enemy. As such, there are several units and building types that have "Detector" status, meaning they can thwart such tricks. The same aspect is used in Warcraft III (even using the name True Sight for the passive version).
- Dawn of War has a similar feature for "infiltrating" units.
- League of Legends has invisible wards, traps, and champions which can only be revealed by True Sight. This can be provided by certain wards, trinkets, defensive towers, and (until the Season 4 updates) Oracle's Elixir would give the champion using it a true sight radius.
- In Final Fantasy XI enemies could detect players in a variety of ways, sight being one of them. If an aggressive monster saw a player that wasn't absurdly higher in level than the monster, it would attack the player. Players could use magic spells or Invisible Powder items to become invisible for a time, or until they took most actions beyond simple movement, thus allowing them to safely prance in front of mobs that would otherwise attack sight. In some cases, either Square Enix didn't want players able to traipse through an area without a fight, or was just being dicks, and made mobs with True Sight. Meaning they could see players through their invisibility. There were also mobs with True Sound, allowing them to detect players near them through the Sneak status that functioned like invisibility, but for sound. The key difference being that you could safely run behind True Sight mobs, but True Sound mobs would hear you, though sound detection distance was usually considerably less than sight detection.
- The Eye of Truth in La-Mulana allows you to see Invisible Monsters.
- The Lens of Truth in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time let you see invisible objects and creatures, look through walls that were normally opaque but weren't really there, and also see the contents of chests without opening them (thus avoiding booby traps, and wasting money, ammo, etc. when you can't carry anymore.) It returns in Majora's Mask, and Link's Awakening had something similar in the form of the magnifying glass.
- Several characters (mostly those with great spiritual power) can see Amaterasu's true form in Ōkami.
- The Reveal Psynergy in Golden Sun, which allows one to see through illusions and invisibility.
- Dark Forces Saga: Jedi Knight has Force Sight that reveals invisible enemies.
- In Guild Wars during the Ascension in the Crystal Desert the player wants to achieve this. However this is for storytelling only, since the player doesn't gain any special ability and is meant to cut through the invisibility of the Unseen Gods (The Mursaat, powerful mages). So a player who skips the middle part will still be able to see and fight the Unseen Gods properly.
- In RuneScape, the ring of visibility allows players to see certain ghosts. The player can later gain the ability to see such things without the ring.
- The Aeroprism in Phantasy Star I, Phantasy Star II and Phantasy Star IV allows the party to "see that which cannot be seen". In all three games, it must be obtained late in the game to access certain hidden dungeons.
- Baldur's Gate 2 has the AD&D version, which tends to be the go-to spell to eliminate invisibility and illusory defenses once the party is high enough in level to cast it. It was intended to be in part 1 as well (it is mentioned in the file spell.ids) but got dummied out, probably because, in a vanilla game, clerics and especially wizards are unlikely to get high enough in level to actually use it.
- The Eye of the Beholder series also has the AD&D version of the true seeing spell, allowing the party to see through the many secret illusory walls dispersed through the mazes in the games.
- In Eternal Darkness, the reveal invisible spell is needed at several points to progress the plot. The description does warn though that it should not be used recklessly, lest the caster Go Mad from the Revelation from seeing Things Man Was Not Meant to Know.
- The Souls of Detection and Reality in SoulBlazer allow Blazer's orbiting soul orb to expose a specific radius of invisible enemies and passageways.
- Motherfucker Mike has this ability in The Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures, letting him see and interact with invisible platforms and breakable walls that the other three playable characters cannot. The Nerd himself can gain said power in the sequel by finding the Fukonami Swear N' Scout; described in-game as being able to make its wearer's vision "Over 9000 times more powerful!".
- In Super Metroid, the X-Ray Visor shows you hidden passages and invisible objects.
- Grrl Power: Sydney is surprised to find that her yellow orb, which gives her telepresence, also gives her an incredibly powerful true sight that can pierce even a succubus glamor with ease. Unfortunately, it has no ability to see through more mundane disguises, and illusionists are very rare on Earth.
Deus: I'm sure in her line of work she'll eventually meet most of them.
- One of the main characters of Metempsychosis is given the ability of true sight upon making eye contact with an extradimensional dragon.
- In Roommates supernatural beings may or may not see through each other's illusions depending on specialties, experience, and power level, but the only mortal known to possess true sight is Inspector Javert... he is also low key Anti-Magic. It might be a supernatural ability, or he might be just too stubborn and cynical for this crap. Likely has something to do with his Romani ancestry (to phrase it less politically correct, he's at least half-Gypsy) and/or his comic-only relation to Morgan le Fay.
- The Seer: The titular Seer, Korbyn, can see things that humans can't, including the true form of the creepypasta monsters. The ability is hereditary and she's seen odd creatures her whole life, but opening her grandmother's book opens her to the destiny of the Seer, to be the bridge between both the visible Over Realm and the unseen Under Realm.
- Classic Sniper in Team Fortress 2 had his eyes removes and replaced with mechanical ones that can see through anything, including any Spy's disguise.
- In Gunnerkrigg Court Kat sees straight through glamours caused by the ether. Where others see an infinite labyrinth full of bizarre creatures, she sees a few divider walls hung with cheap Halloween decorations. Why isn't totally clear, but is presumably related to the way she sometimes appears within the ether as a terrifying metal angel. This lets her effortlessly manipulate etheric devices in ways that astound those around her, though it does come with a drawback.
Kat: Man, why don't I ever get to see the cool stuff?
- Chatoyant College: In Book 1 we find out that Dawn has the gift of true sight. Later, we find out this is because Dawn's Aunt Pru was given a special ointment by a faerie man.
- In a meta example, mods on this very wiki can see other users' private messages. They are also the only users with the ability to view the mod jabbering threads.
- Adventure Time: In "Mortal Recoil", the Ice King is revealed to be able to see spirits with his "wizard eyes", and was thus the first to notice the Lich had possessed Princess Bubblegum. In "Beyond this Earthly Realm", Finn is trapped in the "spirit world", and must rely on the Ice King's help since the Ice King is the only person he knows who can see him.
- Roswell Conspiracies: Aliens, Myths and Legends: The main character, Nick Logan, is capable of perceiving the true appearance of camouflaged aliens, whether they are shapeshifters (Lycanthropes), using holograms (Vampires) or installed inside a human host (like the Vodun).
- In Thunder Cats and ThunderCats (2011) this is one of the powers granted to the holder of the Sword of Omens as part of "Sight Beyond Sight" (also includes precognition and the ability to see great distances).