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So how do you use Silent Image?


Advice

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I am trying to give advice to a PC and we are all new to the game. I have seen Silent Image is a great spell to have, we just don't know why. I feel stupid asking but how is it used? What makes it so great?

I already anticipate slapping my palm against my forehead and saying, "duh, I should have thought of that" as I read your responses.


Things don't get saves unless they "interact" with the illusion, so there are many uses for an illusion that are amazing, and that can influence creatures to do things before they ever get a chance to "interact" with the illusion and even get a save.

For example, if you make an illusion of a giant lock and chains on a door, enemies may not even try to use it, thus never even getting a save. You've just taken away their ability to retreat with no save.

I find it more useful when I have time to prepare, as most DMs will give creatures saves to disbelieve if something just appears or happens (especially without sound when it probably should have sound). If goblins run into a room and see a dude just leaning against a wall smiling and waving at them, they won't get a save until after they've rushed up and "interacted with him in some way.

The big warning here is that DMs all tend to adjudicate illusions slightly differently. What counts as interaction will sometimes be a fluid definition as opposed to something you can always rely on when you cast an illusion.


You can use it to build an early wall, this cuts foes off until they interact with the wall (which will likely waste an action. Also blocks line of sight, meaning casters cant target you with certain spells.

You can use it to hide things. Place the wall over a pit trap, they don't see that the silent image is there until they interact with it. (defeated by a 10ft pole, but not a perception check!!)

You can use it to hide doors or entire parties by creating a wall that mimics the surrounding environment.


Edit: Curses. Ninja'd!

It's great to use because it's one of the few spells that literally has as many uses as you can imagine. Imagine if you had a spell that let you instantly create any person, object, or thing you could picture in your mind. Now, let's dial it back a couple notches- you can still create anything, but it's not physically there, so anyone who touches it will probably be able to tell it's not real, and it can't make any sound. Definitely less useful, but still!

Running from some orcs? Go around a corner and make an image of a rock slightly larger than you. Unless one of the orcs specifically knows there's no rock right there, they'll run past.

Did you see the big bad evil guy's face and you want to show everyone else who to look out for? Don't bother drawing a picture- make a Silent Image and they can see exactly what he looked like!

Bored? Make a Silent Image of your favorite play to entertain your friends. Have someone else add in some dialogue or just speak it yourself.

Trying to impress some goblins? Use a Silent Image to "summon a dragon" and have it fly off. As long as nobody's right next to it, it probably won't matter that it doesn't make any noise and you can't actually feel the wind from its wings.

If you have another caster in the party, Silent Image + Ghost Sound can overcome most of the shortcomings of Silent Image. The "summoned dragon" above can actually roar like a real dragon. You can make it look and sound like a squad of guards are running to aid in the fight. You can make it look and sound like something just exploded (though it will produce no heat). And the best part is, unless someone interacts with your illusion (or has a very good reason to suspect it as such), NOBODY GETS A SAVE. Unless they interact with it, it's as real as it needs to be.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The usual answer is "incorrectly". WotC has a Rules of the Game series on illusions. Check it out for an indepth explanation.


You don't see what's so great about being able to create huge visual illusions at very long distance? It's an extremely versatile spell.

Preparing an ambush? You can use Silent Image to cover up all sorts of nasty traps.

Trying to get past a guard? Silent Image is great for all kinds of distractions.

What about attempting to hide in an open area? Walls, trees, boulders, or whatever can be instantly made with Silent Image to give you cover from prying eyes.

Are you going to face a large group of enemies? You can have an instant silent army at your back with Silent Image. Great for intimidation, or at least a distraction.

Seriously, it is a fantastic little spell and it only gets better the more creative you get with it.


Back in second edition, a friend of mine tried to make everything a uniform shade of blue using Phantasmal Force (the equivalent spell in that edition). Though I am sure that his gimmick would not fly these days, you could probably produce an illusion of a magical "blindfold" over an opponent's eyes, creating a blinding effect with a level one spell. This, of course, would give a save, but could be devastating.

Also, in many situations, you can effectively use it as obscuring mist, which is a great spell in it's own right (just create an illusion of mist, darkness, or whatever). Since opponent's probably assume that you are a spellcaster (given that you just cast a spell) they have no reason to assume that you couldn't create these effects for real, right?


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Holographic striptease.
Giggity.


It's one of the great combat equalizers if you know who you Target is. fighting knights on horseback, only the lucky will be riding will be riding after the horse makes a will save. minions , constructs , most the beastrarys can be vex by a well played silent image


Cyrus Lanthier wrote:

Back in second edition, a friend of mine tried to make everything a uniform shade of blue using Phantasmal Force (the equivalent spell in that edition). Though I am sure that his gimmick would not fly these days, you could probably produce an illusion of a magical "blindfold" over an opponent's eyes, creating a blinding effect with a level one spell. This, of course, would give a save, but could be devastating.

Also, in many situations, you can effectively use it as obscuring mist, which is a great spell in it's own right (just create an illusion of mist, darkness, or whatever). Since opponent's probably assume that you are a spellcaster (given that you just cast a spell) they have no reason to assume that you couldn't create these effects for real, right?

In the mist example, at least, there'd be interaction if they were in the mist. That'd give a will save.

While you can certainly mess people up and use the spell as a save or suck, I find its best uses are things that just don't even give a save and still mess the opponent up or provide a huge tactical benefit (like having your team all press themselves up against a wall, and creating an illusion f=of that wall just a couple feet further out to hide your whole group...kinda like Clive Owen in The Inside Man).

Contributor

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Use your illusion to extend a cliff edge another ten feet, cover up an uncovered well, make a balcony or bridge where none exists, or put up a chandelier in easy jumping range of one those pesky bouncy rogues. For extra verisimilitude and bait, combine this with levitation so you're standing on the bridge. For extra nastiness, when someone falls through the bridge, gesture dramatically like you're casting Hold Person and freeze their image so their friends don't know they've fallen to their doom. Or if you don't have levitation, just hide with invisibility and direct your illusion from safety in case anyone tries a ranged attack. Make your illusory double bounce around like he has evasion or just show him damaged by ranged attacks but then shrugging them off by drinking a potion. You're not attacking anyone, just tricking them into falling to their doom.

Also, note that undead are often silent and conjure up as many specters and zombies as you feel like. Let enemy clerics try to turn or command them--it's funny either way. Or if dealing with mindless undead or similar hungry but stupid creatures, conjure a troupe of annoying mimes, always just a few steps ahead of the monsters that would like to eat them. If there are natural hazards you can disguise, combine that as part of the illusion and enjoy the fun as the zombies shamble off a cliff.


Well shoot...that's as powerful as we thought it could be. Our problem was thinking it wasn't/couldn't be as powerful as it sounds it is. Seems like an incredibly powerful spell, we just didn't think it could be at 1st level.

Now I know why it is a must have.

Sczarni

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

For even greater fun, play a gnome & take effortless trickery. Concentration on ismage spells becomes a swift action.

Andoran

A few other questions related to this subject ->

If a player interacts with an illusion what happens?

I placed an illusion of a plank for walking over. A player used his staff to test if the plank was save to walk across.

He gets a save obviously.

If he fails...

...what happens to him?
...what happens to the rest of his party?

If he saves, what happens to the rest of the party?

Do they automatically save?
Do they get a save with a bonus and if they fail, they know it doesn't exist but still see it?


Saving Throws and Illusions (Disbelief) wrote:

Creatures encountering an illusion usually do not receive saving throws to recognize it as illusory until they study it carefully or interact with it in some fashion.

A successful saving throw against an illusion reveals it to be false, but a figment or phantasm remains as a translucent outline.

A failed saving throw indicates that a character fails to notice something is amiss. A character faced with proof that an illusion isn't real needs no saving throw. If any viewer successfully disbelieves an illusion and communicates this fact to others, each such viewer gains a saving throw with a +4 bonus.

So poking a stick through the illusion and feeling no resistance would be considered proof that it is not real- thus no save required.

Things that would require a save would be talking to a non responsive figment of a guard or taking time to study that illusionary bridge before crossing it, for example.


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Simulate a hoard of attacking mimes.


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Create 10 foot high letters in the sky with a big arrow pointing down that says "Enemy is HERE" or "Free Beer !" or whatever.


Some things I have done with the various illusion spells are... Created a brick wall between me and a foe mid battle. They get a will save but if they fail I have total concealment. In a maze I hid the fork we tookfrom view by making the wall seem solid. I made the room I was staying in look much nicer than it really was, and got a circumstances bonus to a few rolls for it. I made a false bridge over a cams, and made a cliff look longer than it really was. I made it look like there was a hole in the floor. We once were in a room with an invisable blade across it so I created an illusion where the blade was so everyone knew where it was.

As a DM I discribe illusions as if they are real and give my players will saves if they aak about it or the characters interact with it.

Contributor

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I once had to contend with an enemy army of crusaders about to invade a forest our party was guarding. The army was being led by a crazed zealot cleric who was busy giving his version of the St. Crispin's day speech.

I used my silent image to have the clouds part, showing his goddess looking down and shaking her head in disapproval, then taking her holy symbol and casting it towards the far mountains where it glowed like a beacon, shining with holy radiance, while she pointed to it, smiling at the crusaders and visibly shunning the cleric as her image dissolved into divine radiance.

Since no one could fly, no one could interact with the illusion, and what crusader is going to shoot an arrow at an image of his goddess? And while the charismatic cleric was pretty good at spinning divine messages, it was pretty hard to try to reinterpret that one, nor could he know that there was an illusionist hiding in the forest with 100% cover since all I had to be able to see was the cloud, not the army.


Last game I'm playing a rog/wiz (AT in training). We've holed up in this broken down tower. There is a "doorway," but no door. We pissed off a manticore earlier by not letting him eat our horse. So on my watch I see him about to fly into the open doorway and attempt to slaughter everyone in their sleep.

So with only one standard action before he'll be tearing into my friends I throw up a silent image of a closed door in the doorway.

Manticore tried to alter his trajectory to not hit the "door." He failed his fly check and ended up going through the illusionary door. However, he wasn't prone to strike. Instead he slammed into the back wall of the little tower. The latter took away his attack actions and was loud enough to rouse my companions.

Good times.


My favorite was casting an illusion of the ceiling being about 7 feet lower so all the flying things were within melee range.


Some of the descriptions sound questionable on legality.

Specifically:
1. Silent image is a figment, not a glamor, you can make things appear but you cannot make things look like different things. For example, moving into the image of a large rock seems questionable to me.

2. The entire image has a volume requirement. Making images paper thin to get around this requirement is questionable and makes some of the tricks difficult. An 8' tall brick wall should be about 1/3 foot thick, such a wall can only be 7' long at 1st level or 78' long at 20th level. The image of just a head could only be 5X larger than a normal human head at level 1, or 10X at level 20 (volume expands cubicly). At level 1 you could have about 6 people, at level 20 that would be something like 70 people.

3. Silent image has a long range, but it is not infinite. Even at level 20 the range is less than 1/4 mile.

4. Interaction with a figment basically means any interaction that takes at least a move action to perform. If you make a figment of a guard and someone tries to make out details about the guard (such as insignias) then they get a save to disbelieve as well.


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slacks wrote:
... moving into the image of a large rock seems questionable to me... Making images paper thin to get around this requirement is questionable and makes some of the tricks difficult...

that get into the GM opinion areas mentioned above. Some GM's have no problem at all any of those. Some will laugh at youfor even bringing it up.

slacks wrote:
... If you make a figment of a guard and someone tries to make out details about the guard (such as insignias) then they get a save to disbelieve as well.

Again, depends on the GM. Some will say you have to get 'close enough' to notice details about them are off, try to talk with them, or something like that. Some will say u have to specifically say I atempt to disbelieve in them or actually touch them.

Contributor

slacks wrote:

Some of the descriptions sound questionable on legality.

Specifically:
1. Silent image is a figment, not a glamor, you can make things appear but you cannot make things look like different things. For example, moving into the image of a large rock seems questionable to me.

You can easily create a facade over an existing structure. The body on the floor is now covered by a padlocked chest. The door you want to conceal is concealed by making the illusion of a blank wall 6" closer than the actual wall but otherwise having the same appearance as the existing wall. Etc.

slacks wrote:
2. The entire image has a volume requirement. Making images paper thin to get around this requirement is questionable and makes some of the tricks difficult. An 8' tall brick wall should be about 1/3 foot thick, such a wall can only be 7' long at 1st level or 78' long at 20th level. The image of just a head could only be 5X larger than a normal human head at level 1, or 10X at level 20 (volume expands cubicly). At level 1 you could have about 6 people, at level 20 that would be something like 70 people.

How many individuals do you expect to be looking at your illusion and what perspectives are they going to be able to look from? I can make an illusion of a doorway to Hell in the fireplace and no one is going to be able to tell it's paper thin because everyone is having to look at it straight on. Stuff like this was being done all the way back in 1st ed when people had the 2-D illusion cantrip.

slacks wrote:
3. Silent image has a long range, but it is not infinite. Even at level 20 the range is less than 1/4 mile.

A quarter mile is plenty to work with. Who cares if the goatherd on the mountaintop can see that your illusion of the goddess is a flimsy fake? The army in the field is going to see their goddess appearing out of the clouds because they can only look from one angle.

slacks wrote:
4. Interaction with a figment basically means any interaction that takes at least a move action to perform. If you make a figment of a guard and someone tries to make out details about the guard (such as insignias) then they get a save to disbelieve as well.

Depends on the GM. One assumes the illusion of the guard will have a proper military uniform the same as one assumes the guard will have eyes and eye color. Most times you can get by with handwaving, but I'd require someone who wants to "interact" by inspecting something to make an appropriate Knowledge check. Knowledge of military uniforms and livery would be covered under Knowledge Nobility. Does the person inspecting things have that? Then they can look at the illusory guard's uniform and spot problems with it. Then they make their disbelieve save. If they succeed, yeah, it's an illusion. If they fail, then it's some guy in a fake uniform impersonating an actual guard.

Similarly I'd rule that illusionists who have five ranks in a relevant Knowledge make better illusions of things covered by that knowledge than those who don't. For example, if you have 5 ranks of knowledge nature you'll make an illusion of bears, for example, that would pass muster with a druid, whereas if you don't have that knowledge, your illusions probably look more like something from a gnome's picture book.


Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:

I once had to contend with an enemy army of crusaders about to invade a forest our party was guarding. The army was being led by a crazed zealot cleric who was busy giving his version of the St. Crispin's day speech.

I used my silent image to have the clouds part, showing his goddess looking down and shaking her head in disapproval, then taking her holy symbol and casting it towards the far mountains where it glowed like a beacon, shining with holy radiance, while she pointed to it, smiling at the crusaders and visibly shunning the cleric as her image dissolved into divine radiance.

Since no one could fly, no one could interact with the illusion, and what crusader is going to shoot an arrow at an image of his goddess? And while the charismatic cleric was pretty good at spinning divine messages, it was pretty hard to try to reinterpret that one, nor could he know that there was an illusionist hiding in the forest with 100% cover since all I had to be able to see was the cloud, not the army.

Alright, now THIS is an example of the spell being used incorrectly. First off, Silent Image has a finite range- its range is long (400 feet +40 feet per caster level), but there's no way you could make it look like the clouds were parting, nor could you make it look like something was shining in the far mountains. Also, there's a volume limit of four 10-foot cubes plus one 10-foot cube per caster level. If you could somehow make a goddess appear parting the clouds, there's no way you'd be able to make it big enough to see at that distance.

While it's a great spell, it's definitely got limits.


slacks wrote:
2. The entire image has a volume requirement. Making images paper thin to get around this requirement is questionable and makes some of the tricks difficult. An 8' tall brick wall should be about 1/3 foot thick, such a wall can only be 7' long at 1st level or 78' long at 20th level. The image of just a head could only be 5X larger than a normal human head at level 1, or 10X at level 20 (volume expands cubicly). At level 1 you could have about 6 people, at level 20 that would be something like 70 people.

Silent Image says it has an effect in an area of four 10-ft. cubes + one 10-ft. cube/level. You seem to be interpreting a 10-ft. cube at meaning 10 cubic feet. But that's not what that means. It means a cube with a length, width, and height of 10 feet. So at first level (5 of these 10-ft. cubes), you can make a 10 foot high wall, 50 feet wide, and with a width of up to 10 feet.


Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:
You can easily create a facade over an existing structure. The body on the floor is now covered by a padlocked chest. The door you want to conceal is concealed by making the illusion of a blank wall 6" closer than the actual wall but otherwise having the same appearance as the existing wall. Etc.

Again this is questionable because you are basically using a figment to make a glamer. What keeps me from using Silent Image as a slightly restricted form of Seeming?

Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:
A quarter mile is plenty to work with. Who cares if the goatherd on the mountaintop can see that your illusion of the goddess is a flimsy fake? The army in the field is going to see their goddess appearing out of the clouds because they can only look from one angle.

The range applies to the location of the image, not to who can see it.


Merkatz wrote:
slacks wrote:
2. The entire image has a volume requirement. Making images paper thin to get around this requirement is questionable and makes some of the tricks difficult. An 8' tall brick wall should be about 1/3 foot thick, such a wall can only be 7' long at 1st level or 78' long at 20th level. The image of just a head could only be 5X larger than a normal human head at level 1, or 10X at level 20 (volume expands cubicly). At level 1 you could have about 6 people, at level 20 that would be something like 70 people.
Silent Image says it has an effect in an area of four 10-ft. cubes + one 10-ft. cube/level. You seem to be interpreting a 10-ft. cube at meaning 10 cubic feet. But that's not what that means. It means a cube with a length, width, and height of 10 feet. So at first level (5 of these 10-ft. cubes), you can make a 10 foot high wall, 50 feet wide, and with a width of up to 10 feet.

You are right, I was misreading the spell description.

Contributor

UltimaGabe wrote:
Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:

I once had to contend with an enemy army of crusaders about to invade a forest our party was guarding. The army was being led by a crazed zealot cleric who was busy giving his version of the St. Crispin's day speech.

I used my silent image to have the clouds part, showing his goddess looking down and shaking her head in disapproval, then taking her holy symbol and casting it towards the far mountains where it glowed like a beacon, shining with holy radiance, while she pointed to it, smiling at the crusaders and visibly shunning the cleric as her image dissolved into divine radiance.

Since no one could fly, no one could interact with the illusion, and what crusader is going to shoot an arrow at an image of his goddess? And while the charismatic cleric was pretty good at spinning divine messages, it was pretty hard to try to reinterpret that one, nor could he know that there was an illusionist hiding in the forest with 100% cover since all I had to be able to see was the cloud, not the army.

Alright, now THIS is an example of the spell being used incorrectly. First off, Silent Image has a finite range- its range is long (400 feet +40 feet per caster level), but there's no way you could make it look like the clouds were parting, nor could you make it look like something was shining in the far mountains. Also, there's a volume limit of four 10-foot cubes plus one 10-foot cube per caster level. If you could somehow make a goddess appear parting the clouds, there's no way you'd be able to make it big enough to see at that distance.

While it's a great spell, it's definitely got limits.

It's a matter of perspective. So you can't reach the actual clouds to put the goddess there, but you can make a much closer image of a matt painting of the goddess parting the clouds and from the perspective of the viewers on the ground, the illusion looking much bigger and further away. Ditto the glittering whatsit shining as it vanishes into the far mountains. You're just making the illusion of the object moving away and shrinking it as it does and the viewer will believe it to be traveling much further and faster than it actually has.

Osirion RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4; Contributor; Publisher, Legendary Games

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slacks wrote:
Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:
You can easily create a facade over an existing structure. The body on the floor is now covered by a padlocked chest. The door you want to conceal is concealed by making the illusion of a blank wall 6" closer than the actual wall but otherwise having the same appearance as the existing wall. Etc.
Again this is questionable because you are basically using a figment to make a glamer. What keeps me from using Silent Image as a slightly restricted form of Seeming?

Slacks is correct here IMO.

You could make a figment of a rock and hide behind it. You cannot make a figment of yourself being a large rock. From the PRD (and the CRB Magic chapter): "Figments cannot make something seem to be something else."

Your (Kevin's) suggestion seems to be that you are essentially making a hollow figment and hiding inside of it. Thus, you are not making yourself appear to be a rock, you are making a rock big enough to contain your body size and moving into the illusory rock, where people can't see you because they see the rock outside of you.

There is a certain logic to it, if you squint hard enough, but it seems like a subversion of the limitation on figments. As Slacks says, if that tactic works, why not use silent image to replace all your other glamers, like disguise self or seeming or veil (as long as the resulting illusion-shell is bigger than you are)? I don't think the duration being longer than concentration is enough warrant for those spells to exist if they can be duplicated by silent image, which implies to me that they can't be.

As always, YMMV.

slacks wrote:
Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:
A quarter mile is plenty to work with. Who cares if the goatherd on the mountaintop can see that your illusion of the goddess is a flimsy fake? The army in the field is going to see their goddess appearing out of the clouds because they can only look from one angle.
The range applies to the location of the image, not to who can see it.

I think the trick concept you've described works, though creating the illusion of the clouds parting is vastly outside the AoE of the area you can affect, as is a convincing illusion of the holy symbol actually flying towards distant mountains. It would look more like the symbol flying off on a movie screen suspended in the heavens and then disappearing at the edge of it (or shrinking into the center distance; your illusion CAN be 3D, sure, but its volume is limited, and the optical illusion of just dwindling the object's size to suggest distance traveled is hard to make convincing).

Regardless of how neat your illusion is, of course, to suggest it creates any kind of compulsion or automatic reaction in the hearts and minds of the viewers is WAYYYY outside the power of the spell. It MIGHT suggest to them that something strange is going on, but for them to automatically believe that it indicated abandonment of divine favor and that they should turn on their leader they have been following all these (days/months/years/whatever) is a stretch.

That's the thing about illusions. They show an unreal sensation. They don't create change. A major image can create thermal illusion and make people hot, but it can't burn them. It can create olfactory illusions and make people smell something that stinks, but it can't make them sickened or nauseated. The above silent image can show a goddess-like apparition appear in the sky, but it can't compel people to throw down their arms or abandon their quest.

The first rule of rules is this: It says what it does and it does what it says. There may be ambiguities about what you could try to get away with, but if it doesn't say that it does a thing, then it doesn't do a thing.


IMO the TV screen trick is cheesy but legal. I would not allow it in my games, but I could see how some GM's might. The main problem I have with it is that it obviously is being used to subvert restrictions on the spell. I could also see this tactic extending into phantasm territory very easily.


Jason Nelson wrote:


Slacks is correct here IMO.

You could make a figment of a rock and hide behind it. You cannot make a figment of yourself being a large rock. From the PRD (and the CRB Magic chapter): "Figments cannot make something seem to be something else."

Your (Kevin's) suggestion seems to be that you are essentially making a hollow figment and hiding inside of it. Thus, you are not making yourself appear to be a rock, you are making a rock big enough to contain your body size and moving into the illusory rock, where people can't see you because they see the rock outside of you.

There is a certain logic to it, if you squint hard enough, but it seems like a subversion of the limitation on figments. As Slacks says, if that tactic works, why not use silent image to replace all your other glamers, like disguise self or seeming or veil (as long as the resulting illusion-shell is bigger than you are)? I don't think the duration being longer than concentration is enough warrant for those spells to exist if they can be duplicated by silent image, which implies to me that they can't be.

The problem with this is that, carried to a logical extension, figments do nothing. After all, any opaque figment must conceal that which is within its volume. Just a rock in a field changes the appearance of the grass in that field: any observer cannot see the grass beneath it and will assume that there is either no grass beneath it or that the grass is flattened. By the same token an observer will assume that there is no wizard beneath a rock, or that the wizard has been flattened.

Similarly, making a pit look like a floor, making a cliff look like it extends 10' farther than it does, making a normal floor appear to be a pit, and making an invisible object appear to be a glowing neon warning sign all arguably violate what you consider the spirit of the figment/glamer distinction.

This may be a sign that the mechanical distinction between figments and glamers is artificial and poorly defined. It wouldn't be the first time.

What glamers can do. The only thing they can do really, is invisibility. A Glamer can solve the clipping problem by hiding portions of a person that would otherwise be inappropriately visible. A figment cannot shorten someone's hair or nose or shrink their ears or make their loose garments appear to be tighter. It cannot make them appear six inches taller because their arms, neck, and crotch will be at the wrong height and will clip through the surface of the figment. That is why the glamers need to exist and what they do that figments do not duplicate.


I can summon a creature in a dusty room or on top of grass even though I cannot summon it inside of, or around, another person. I think the same principle could apply for creating a figment.

Contributor

Atarlost is right: Glamers solve the clipping problem. They are used for disguise because they do the invisibility thing, but even then there are judgement calls. If you can make a section of ballroom floor appear to have an empty pit in it and can cover up an empty pit with an illusion of ballroom floor, can you also make an illusion of an empty pit overlay a full one? I'd say you can the same way that you can use a glamer to effectively blind someone by surrounding them with an illusion of fog, or fluttering butterflies, or a tent. One of the main uses of a figment is as a screen to hide some portion of reality, and whatever you paint on that screen can make someone believe it to be something else. You're in effect creating a duck blind and that duck blind can look like whatever you want it to. The only thing it can't hide is anything that sticks out of the duck blind.

Osirion RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4; Contributor; Publisher, Legendary Games

Everyone will run it a little differently.

I'd say a figment can make something appear that isn't there, but can't make something disappear that is there. So, IMC, you couldn't make an illusion of an empty pit if there is a pit that is there that has stuff/creatures in it. However, you COULD make an illusion of a floor of the pit that is higher than the actual floor (so the pit is 10 feet deep, and you make an illusory "floor" 5 feet down). How is that different from making a rock and then hiding inside it? Not by much, admittedly.

I suppose the distinction I could make would be that a figment targets an AREA, while a glamer targets a CREATURE. A figment moves around WITHIN that area. A glamer moves WITH that creature. If a creature were not moving, it could hide within a figment-object that is larger than it, but I don't think I'd allow a figment to reliably move in synchrony with a creature, even if you were trying to do it on yourself.

EDIT: At the very least, trying to cover a moving creature with a moving figment would grant automatic disbelief saves because of the imperfect clipping issue. If you make a figment of a wall/door/hedge/cloud of smoke or other opaque barrier, I'd let you move around behind it no problem (if you saw the recent Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol movie, they have a good example of this), but trying to sync up a moving illusion with a moving creature is squarely in glamer territory IMO. Trying to emulate it with a figment would give automatic saves, which means you might still pull it off, especially if you are good at illusions and the observers aren't too bright, but it wouldn't be an auto-success.

(Yes, I know that mirror image *IS* a figment, one that is specifically different in a ton of ways from other figments; besides, those figments are DUPLICATES of you that mimic you, not something covering the actual you with a figment.)

The rules don't make that distinction; that's my notion.


I think we will just have to agree to disagree.

Your arguement that you can make a 2D image of whatever you like seems to go against the intention of the rules by bypassing all of the explicit limits placed on Silent Image including spell range, area of effect, and the types of illusions called out (objects, creatures, forces). Your interpretation also makes it possible for small creatures to use first level spells to get fifth level spell effects, which seems wrong.

IMO figments should be treated just like conjurations except that they are illusions.

Sczarni

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

For a good example of what an excellent "Silent Image" may look like, and how it could trick people into believing what is not properly "there," see Chalk Drawings

Note, the optical illusions relied upon by these REAL WORLD artists work just as well when magic is involved. Better, in fact, since an illusionist can change the appearance of their image, and make it happen in 6 seconds.

Contributor

Consider this: You are out of doors. There is a long vista. We're talking miles across a valley to the mountains in the far distance. Someone creates the illusion of a large free-standing mirror reflecting the valley behind. Now, would images change in the mirror? Would it work like a regular mirror, reflecting everything in front of it all the way to the far mountains?

Then, since it's your mirror illusion, could you change what was reflected in it? Could you delete the image of Sir Bob so you could tell people "Look, Sir Bob is the vampire! The mirror reveals it!"? Could you make your mirror show a different vista, under the sea or the the emperor's palace or whatever you wanted? And if the image is good enough, might birds try to fly through what they would see as an open window? Could moths be attracted by the light? Could you step through your "magic mirror" and show the image of you dancing around the emperor's throne room while in reality you're standing behind your illusion of the mirror, trying not to laugh?

I'd say all of these are possible within the limit's of the spell's area. Yes, that can fool people into believing that the illusion is far larger than it is--they're seeing you dancing around the emperor's throne room with the open balcony to one side and the view of the ships and the harbor beyond--but if they tried to walk through the "magic mirror" they'd find that the illusion only extended about ten feet, or maybe a little further depending on how you stacked your cubes.

You could even, if you had the right patter--like, for example, telling everyone that the walls are horribly trapped, and you must touch nothing!--pull a whole "Cave of Wonders" scam and get people to believe they're walking into a tunnel when in fact they're effectively in a sound stage and you're showing them the illusion of cave walls around them, or even stuff like a cliff's edge with the panoramic view beyond. If they just step off the cliff and out of your illusion, they'll realize that there's no cliff, no panoramic vista, and in fact the magic carpet ride you've been on has never left the roof and you've been simulating the wind by having your henchlings wave palm frond fans. But realistically, how many people are going to jump off of the "magic carpet," step off the edge of the "cliff," or touch the supposedly deadly walls of the "cave of wonders"?

An illusionist works by being a con man first and foremost. If you can convince someone you've teleported them to the Court of the Death Mimes, or the Monastery of the Silent Brothers of Extreme Butt-Kicking, or anywhere else that doesn't need sound for the illusion, then you're good. If for some reason they decide to step outside the bounds of your illusion, or interact with it, then you're not, but that's why you work as a con man.


We've used it for all the usual things - false walls where there weren't any, to obscure doors and pits, etc. We also have used it as flares and fireworks to serve as signals or entertainment... but the best way we've ever used it by far was in a war-type campaign.

We were escourting a huge group of refugees, shepparding them through a mountain pass ahead of a maurading army of goblins and assorted baddies. The party was injured and much depleted of resources, having fought both in a major battle and in several delaying actions along the way.

At a narrow spot we created a massive illusionary wall, filling in the space CGI-style with what looked to be a dwarven stronghold with a massive set of heavily reinforced doors. They were challenged by our dwarven fighter and the army paused to regroup and plan what would be their siege plan. One member of the party continued to lead the refugees while another stood guard over our wizard who was forced to make a concentration check every 4 hours and then every hour after 24... meanwhile the rest of the party staged a final raid on the goblin army to put them into disarray and disrupt their 'siege' preparations before withdrawing themselves...

When the goblins finally launched their attack, all they saw was the walls melt away and a Wizard teleporting to safety... the delaying tactic was tremendously successful as the GM had been chasing both groups with a winter storm and it caught the band of mauraders full on, giving our beleaguered group more than enough time to get away.


Out of curiosity, how would you rule this: You make a figment of a giant boulder. Then, after the fact, you walk into where the figment is located. Then, after that, a person comes along and observes the location where you and the figment of a rock are located.

What happens?

Osirion RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4; Contributor; Publisher, Legendary Games

As I already stated above, I think you can create a figment in an area, then move into it. What you can't do is create a figment ON a creature. To wit: You can create an illusion of a giant rock, and you can walk inside of it. You cannot create an illusion that you ARE the giant rock, or that you turn into the giant rock, because either of those violates the "cannot make something appear to be something else" clause of the figment rules.

Once a figment is created in an area, anyone (including you) can interact with it, move through it, etc. You are moving into the area the figment occupies, which is totally legit. You are not BECOMING the figment, which is disallowed.

This is the downside of using silent image to emulate obscuring mist; anyone IN the mist is automatically interacting with it and gets a save. It works best to create something that people don't want to enter or touch, like cascading "Cave of Wonders" walls of lava that feel hot (with major image or better).

As for the question of the illusory mirror, I would suggest that you can't actually make a real mirror. You have to decide precisely what the illusion shows, which means you need to fill in the details that the mirror shows, just as a digital artist needs to render what shows up in a CGI mirror or other reflective surface in a movie. The illusion won't do that on its own because it's not real; it can only display what you tell it to display.

You could say it's splitting hairs to say you can create an opaque object or a transparent one but not a reflective one, but I think it's a relevant hair to split. You could make what amounts to a "hole" in your illusion that shows what's actually beyond, with a sort of faux reflectivity to make it look like there's glass in the window, with illusory wood or stone around it, but I'd argue that the "glass" is not inherently reflective because it isn't glass. It's a picture of glass that you've created and projected.

I'd argue, following the same pathway, that you couldn't use silent image to create refractive optics to make an instant spyglass either. You COULD make an illusory spyglass (as in, an illusion that looks like a spyglass), of course, but you couldn't make one that showed a true image of long-range objects like a real spyglass. You might think differently.

I think the spell is PLENTY versatile and powerful without adding inferential effects into what you do with it.

Contributor

The trouble is you have to add inferential effects into it if you don't want to add inferential defects at the same time.

For example, look at Invisibility alongside Silent Image. Your wizard goes into the great salt desert at around 4 P.M. when the shadows are long. He makes an illusion of a dog and then turns himself invisible. Does the illusory dog cast a shadow? Does the invisible wizard cast a shadow? The text of Invisibility specifically states that if the invisible person is holding a light source, the light source is invisible, but the light is still visible. The wizard tests this bit of RAW to see that it's true, then decides to take out a hand mirror. Does the invisible hand mirror reflect light or not? Will an invisible magnifying glass concentrate it? Will an invisible prism split it into rainbows? And most important, since the moment the wizard sets down the mirror it will become visible, will the visible mirror reflect the invisible wizard? Will it reflect the illusory dog?

The easiest way around this is to declare that all illusions, even figments and glamours, have a little bit of shadow magic laced into them and can thereby affect light and shadow. Illusory dogs thus have shadows and reflections while invisible wizards don't, and that way you don't have people running around the dungeon with bullseye lanterns and mirrors as a quick and easy way to foil the illusions.

Similarly an illusory mirror has a normal reflection, an illusory will-o'-wisp glows in the dark, and an illusory parasol provides shade--because if they don't, then there's no logical way for bullseye lanterns and mirrors to not be a simple way to foil all illusions.


The easiest way is to say it is magic. Which it is.

Osirion RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4; Contributor; Publisher, Legendary Games

Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:

The trouble is you have to add inferential effects into it if you don't want to add inferential defects at the same time.

For example, look at Invisibility alongside Silent Image. Your wizard goes into the great salt desert at around 4 P.M. when the shadows are long. He makes an illusion of a dog and then turns himself invisible. Does the illusory dog cast a shadow?

Only if the caster creates the shadow as part of the illusion. Otherwise, no.

Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:
Does the invisible wizard cast a shadow? The text of Invisibility specifically states that if the invisible person is holding a light source, the light source is invisible, but the light is still visible. The wizard tests this bit of RAW to see that it's true, then decides to take out a hand mirror. Does the invisible hand mirror reflect light or not?

Since it's not the *SOURCE* of the light, then no. Reflecting light from somewhere else is not the same as creating light. The sun creates light. A mirror reflects light from the sun.

Visible things are visible because they reflect light. The wizard's red shirt doesn't reflect red visible light waves because it's invisible. All light passes through it. No shadows, no reflections.

Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:
Will an invisible magnifying glass concentrate it?

Nope. The light passes through it.

Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:
Will an invisible prism split it into rainbows?

Nope. The light passes through it.

None of these apply to your own ocular senses, since if you were trying for consistent light physics then being invisible would also make you blind, since the light would pass through your invisible eyes without impacting them; however, invisibility doesn't say it makes you blind, so it doesn't.

Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:
And most important, since the moment the wizard sets down the mirror it will become visible, will the visible mirror reflect the invisible wizard?

Why would it? The mirror is visible, the wizard is invisible.

Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:
Will it reflect the illusory dog?

Sure. Mirrors can reflect visible illusions. Illusionary mirrors can't reflect reality. This doesn't seem that hard a concept to me.

Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:
The easiest way around this is to declare that all illusions, even figments and glamours, have a little bit of shadow magic laced into them and can thereby affect light and shadow. Illusory dogs thus have shadows and reflections while invisible wizards don't, and that way you don't have people running around the dungeon with bullseye lanterns and mirrors as a quick and easy way to foil the illusions.

For lanterns, you can control the illusion to cause it to respond to light. Or you can not. That said, the brain often sees what it thinks it sees, and it may not realize automatically the lack of proper reflection of light.

"Using a bullseye lantern to foil illusions" is essentially just flavor text for "uses a move action to attempt to disbelieve an illusion." If you make it automatically successful, then you are not following the rules of the illusion. You are trying to apply a real-world logic of "if it doesn't reflect THIS way, then OBVIOUSLY it's an illusion - ILLUSION FAIL." Perhaps it's a gamist viewpoint, but this is a game, and that's not the way the game treats it.

That's why people can make saving throws to notice the illusion, because there are subtle ways (lack of proper shadows or reaction to light). If the illusion reacted perfectly to all sensory changes, there would be no reason to ever give a save. It doesn't, so saves to notice it's unreality are possible.

See above for mirrors. They "see" illusions for what they appear to be. They don't foil them in any way.

Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:
Similarly an illusory mirror has a normal reflection, an illusory will-o'-wisp glows in the dark, and an illusory parasol provides shade--because if they don't, then there's no logical way for bullseye lanterns and mirrors to not be a simple way to foil all illusions.

TL;DR = "Using mirrors and bullseye lanterns to foil illusions" is flavor text for "actively trying to disbelieve an illusion." As long as you are passively walking by the illusion, your mind doesn't pick up on the things that are wrong with it. When you carefully examine it, you are using an action and trying to disbelieve it. If you fail the Will save, that means you either don't notice the fact that the light is not reflecting or are tricked by the illusion.

See above, but in any event it's all YMMV and if you're having fun then by all means play on!


I think the key to the use of figments vs glamors is this - If you are making an image in an empty space (ignoring the smart alecks that mention air) it is a figment. If you are making something real look like something else, then it's a glamor.

Thus: The rock analogy
You could use silent image to make a huge bolder (correct use of a figment). Then everyone walks into the center of the bolder (automatic disbelief). The bolder turns transparent for you but is still outlined so that you know where it is and where it isn't. Anyone from the outside still sees a bolder and only gets a save to see through it if they stop and study it or interact with it.

So, with a little outside the box thinking you can use a figment spell instead of a glamor, but somethings still require a glamor (making an object disappear as an example).

Silver Crusade

Ok, I've only skimmed the figment vs glamer debate (tl;dr), so forgive me if this has been said before.

But it seems to me that the big difference is that a glamer has to "stick" to the person it's cast on. If a human casts Disguise Self to pretend to be an elf, then the fake pointy ears have to move with the person's head. Their height and build may change slightly. When they walk, the illusion has to move with them. When they draw a longsword, the illusion may make it look like an Elven curve blade and has to move with the real sword. That's a glamer.

When you cast a Silent Image of a boulder, with your party hiding inside it so the band of marauding orcs don't know where to find you, the boulder doesn't follow anyone. It's just there. While it can be moved, it doesn't have to cling to any of the people hiding inside as if it were a second skin. That's a figment.

So I do believe a figment can be used to hide someone, as with someone hiding inside an illusionary boulder. The difference is whether there's a specific target of the spell who wears the spell as a second skin.

Just my 2 coppers worth.

Contributor

Jason--

I think the trouble is that you're viewing Invisibility as a light-bending effect rather than a mental illusion effect, then handwaving around the metaphysics.

If you look at Invisibility Sphere, you'll see the subjects can see themselves and others within the sphere. One should infer from that that the subject of a regular Invisibility can see himself, his shirt is still red, and an invisible wizard can still read an invisible book by the light of an outside source because the light still falls on them, it just appears not to to those outside the invisibility field. Shadows and reflections are also not seen due to the mind processing them out the same way it processes out the invisible creature. That way you can still maintain invisibility while walking through a hall of mirrors.

Of course, mirrors cause more problems. If you make it so that an invisible mirror can't reflect light, then you make it so that an illusory mirror can, and then if I'm in the desert and I make an illusion of a curved wall of mirrors, I can make an Archimedean death ray.

Also, if Invisibility actually bends light rather than making people not notice the subject, all you need to do to turn off an actual real Archimedean death ray is to slap the source with an Invisibility or just slap yourself with Invisibility to walk through the ray unharmed.


@ Fromper
There are a couple issues:
1. The rules state that "Figments cannot make something seem to be something else." Hiding inside of a figment sounds to me like you are using a figment to seem like something else.

2. If you can control the figment perfectly, and you can be inside of it, then you can use a figment as certain glamers with the minor restriction that you have to fit within the figment. Depending on the level of control, you could use Silent Image (level 1) to recreate Seeming (level 5) or Major Image (level 3) to recreate Veil (level 6).


This is magic, a spell can let you see yourself while appearing invisible to others and still not be mind affecting. I know this because Invisibility is not mind affecting.

I do not follow your argument that invisible mirrors must act like light sources or illusionary mirrors must reflect. I don't see how these are tied together at all.

Contributor

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slacks wrote:

This is magic, a spell can let you see yourself while appearing invisible to others and still not be mind affecting. I know this because Invisibility is not mind affecting.

I do not follow your argument that invisible mirrors must act like light sources or illusionary mirrors must reflect. I don't see how these are tied together at all.

My argument is that metaphysics has rules the same way that physics has rules, and if metaphysics is going to suspend the laws of physics, it should do so consistently and logically and not just be brushed off with "It's Magic!" handwavium.

After all, there are wizards in the imaginary world who spend an awful lot of time learning the laws of magic, including what is and is not possible.

A simple experiment, as would be done at the Hall of Lies, the school for illusion at Korvosa's Acadamae, would be for the wizards to go into a dark room. One of the wizards has a candle. That wizard then turns invisible. By the RAW, this turns the candle invisible, but not its light. The rest of the wizards can still see by the light of the invisible candle, and if there are mirrors on the walls of the room, the mirrors will reflect and magnify this light.

To continue this experiment, the invisible wizard picks up a bullseye lantern. It becomes invisible. He then uses his candle to light it, then snuffs the candle. The candle's visible light is snuffed, but the lantern's light is still apparent. However, a bullseye lantern works not just from a light source but by means of a series of reflectors which channel the light from a radius to a more intense cone. This is also in the RAW, and would show that mirrors indeed do work while invisible.

The wizard then attaches the lens of the bullseye lantern to a periscope terminating in a faceted crystal which should cast rainbows around the room. Is the crystal still a light source or not?

Now, let us assume that the mirrored hall also a natural source of light, a bright sunny window that in daytime gives the full illumination of the sun unless covered by the heavy velvet draperies. Currently the blackout currents are closed. The instructor finishes with the business of the invisible wizard and the bullseye lantern, opens the blackout curtains, and asks a simple question: Can one of the students please use Silent Image to give the illusion of the curtains being closed?

One of the students does. Does this plunge the room into darkness or not?

The instructor has him dismiss the illusion of the open drapes and then, in the dark room, asks if a student can use Silent Image to create the illusion of a lit candelabra atop his lectern. A student does, since the candelabra is definitely an object as described by Silent Image and the flames are definitely a force, as also described by Silent Image. Does the illusory candelabra provide any illumination, and if so, is it reflected in the mirrors? What about the ones in the back of the lecture hall outside of the range of of the Silent Image spell?

For the next experiment, the instructor shuts the drapes, then asks the student to perform Silent Image to give the illusion that they're open. Does this illuminate the room and can the class then look out the window?

The instructor then opens the drapes, stands in the sun, and holds up a hand mirror, reflecting a beam of light onto the far wall. He then casts Mirror Image, gaining six duplicates. Does the class observe one beam of light or seven on the far wall?

The instructor then takes the form of a knight in mirror-bright armor by means of Disguise Self. He then stands in the full sunlight. Does the illusory armor cast light around the room like a real suit of armor would? Do the diamonds and rubies in his faux Helm of Brilliance sparkle and scintillate the way that real ones would as well?

The instructor then uses Disguise Self to take the form of the same knight, but now as a transparent glowing ghost. With the curtains drawn, does the glowing ghost shed enough illumination for the students to read the eye chart he's standing in front of?

For a final question, the instructor asks the class to all put eyepatches on one eye and with the other, look about through the small pocket periscopes they were issued at the start of the semester. With the periscopes, they are not looking directly at anything but at a reflection of a reflection. Is the illusory candelabra still observable? What of all the other illusions? Now please turn Invisible. Do the periscopes still work?

Basically it's a question of whether an illusion can change transparency, translucency, opacity, and reflectivity, and whether illusions can shutter illumination or provide it.

If you go with a flip "Nope, no it can't" with small questions, it's easy to construct a scenario where this decision will cause problems with a bigger question.

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