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Illusion spells vs. the Spellcraft skill.


Rules Questions

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Cards, Maps Subscriber

Well i was just thinking, one stumbling block to effective illusions, might be the spell craft skill. Once your opponent identifies what spell you are casting, doesn't that make illlusions well say a little less effective?

Wouldn't the gig be up then?

Is there a way to fool another caster into thinking you are casting another spell?

For example if you are casting shadow evocation of a "fire ball" could you make the spell you are casting look like, as part of the illusion, the spell it appears to be? So it would look like he is casting a fireball spell?

What do you all think?


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I've always had this problem, likewise. And unfortunately the 3E rules of the game articles all about illusions skipped over this issue completely.

I suggest ruling that you don't *get* to spellcraft until you've made your will save. Or if it's a PC facing the illusion, that if he fails his will save the DM gives him false information, similar to how badly failing certain skill checks like Survival to find your way can lead you to going the wrong way.

To handle it otherwise is to make the Illusion school extremely gimped, to the point of not working by mid or high levels. Look at how many classes get spellcraft as a class skill! Not that anyone even needs that +3 to make a DC 15 +(1-9) check if they invest some ranks anyway. And yes, much later on True Seeing can present a similar problem; but only really on monsters that get it as a constant ability *cough*overpowereddemons*cough*. And I would have liked to see that spell get nerfed like crazy in PF, sadly it did not.

Star Voter 2013

Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'm afraid that the LACK of the spellcraft check is now a give-away, but only in a meta-game sense. I have a bard with pumped spellcraft who often hangs at the back of the party with the wizard and a readied action to attack any enemy spell-casters based on what they're casting.

For example, I know that our wizard has shield up, so if the bad guy wizard is casting magic missile I may just let it go in order to still have my held action to attack the bad guy cleric when he goes to cast flame-strike. I usually caveat it with "If I can't tell, I assume the worst and attack the caster to disrupt."

If I see the enemy wizard casting, ask to make my spellcraft and am told "No, you don't get to." then I know it's an illusion coming. However, that does not mean I can automatically disbelieve whatever I see next.

It's like when you're observing a large aircraft landing. Under certain conditions it appears to "hang" in the air, although your brain intellectually knows the landing speed is about 150 mph.


Using spellcraft to identify a spell being cast has the same penalties for distance, darkness, cover, etc, that the perception skill has. So one could think of a variety of ways to up the DC, such as going invisible.


Actually, the description says "you must be able to clearly see the spell as it is being cast," so casting while invisible would mean no spellcraft check is even allowed.


Lack of a spellcraft check is no more metagame revealing that a fireball having a will save in the first place.

But yeah, from a DM --> player side, it should probably just be a roll that has no value till the save is made, and if failed, false info given. Just to help w/ the metagame knowledge part a bit. Used the opposite way, no need for that, DM already knows all. :)

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Cards, Maps Subscriber

Thanks for your posts. Ill keep the invisibility idea in mind thanks.

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