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Illusory usefullness of illusions


Advice

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Osirion

{ ... sigh ... }

[rant=on]

I really want to like illusions and I've always wanted to run a seriously concentrated gnome illusionmaester. The thought of just totally screwwing with an opponents perception of reality (or at least our pretend version of it) really appeals to me.

But it is so dependant upon what is believable, makes sense, possible, etc... That I just can't get into it.

Every GM seems to interpret every level of every type of illusion differently. Even when you stick with a single GM I can't seem to get a handle on what will or won't be allowed from one instance to the next. It seems like the only time I can count on what will happen is if I use very bland boring illusions like: an image of the wall without a hole in it, I make it look like it's raining outside, etc... Boring and bland is exactly the opposite of what I wanted to do with illusions.

I seem to always get: you can't hide something within it, fliers would know where the ceiling was last time they were here, you don't know enough about how X sound to make it believable, no one would believe that he would do that, etc... No creative use seems to be consistantly possible by me (though NPC's can do almost anything) regardless of spell level, knowledge ranks, intelligence, or planning. I might be able to do it once, but then if a similar situation comes up again it probably won't work a second time (possibly because it was too effective last time).

[/rant]

Anyone else find that they have been underwhelmed by the 'illusion' experience?


Underwhelmed by illusions? Rarely.
Underwhelmed by GM unpredictability? Alas, equally rarely. :p

Your best bet is to alternate illusions and conjurations to confuse the enemy and "train" your GM. If a monster doesn't ignore what's real, it shouldn't ignore what's illusionary.


I would say, the best idea is to sit down with your DM. Pick a few illusion spells you want to use and list some ideas. Talk to you DM about what their thoughts are. See if you could use some skill rolls to add to or help the illusions. Want to make an illusion of a herd of buffalo, knowledge(nature) check. Want to make an illusion of an avatar of Asmodeus, knowledge (religion) check would help. Make the ceiling lower or higher, maybe use knowledge (engineering).

But my biggest advice is, discuss it with the DM. Sometimes DMs have the hardest time when something is sprung on them and they have to make a quick reaction. DMs also frequently have some pride issues, and if your answer completely invalidates an encounter they worked hard on, some DMs struggle with that.

In regards to changing expectations with the same GM, I'd say, jot down notes of what you did that worked or didn't. If the GM seems to be changing things, then after a session talk to them. Ask why things changed. You GM is really the only one who can answer some of your questions.

Osirion

I don't think I'm up to the task of training 3 GM's (they alternate) just to get a chance to use my class abilities.

I've tried to discuss it with them. I don't seem to be able to get any coherent reason why something will work once and something virtually identical will not work the next time. I've tried the skill check reasoning and I often get either it just won't work no matter your ranks or the DC is impossibly high.

I was just ranting to let off some steam. I think for my group illusions are mostly going to be a NPC ability. At least until there are some more offical published examples with reasoning of what is and isn't possible.

Cheliax

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I can sympathize. When I played a Wizard (Illusionist) in one game, the GM basically ignored my illusions -- even though I replicated monsters encountered earlier in the game. I had to call him on his bias when Orc warriors acted as if the illusionary Hill Giant wasn't even there. How a GM adjudicates illusions tells you a lot about his/her bias, understanding of rules, and maturity.


VRMH wrote:
Your best bet is to alternate illusions and conjurations to confuse the enemy and "train" your GM. If a monster doesn't ignore what's real, it shouldn't ignore what's illusionary.

Good advice. This will make clear when the GM is meta gaming. Maybe the GM doesn't realize he's doing it and will learn from this.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I have been there. I was playing a spontaneous caster as well. I ended up asking him to change my spell list, as he made my character a time waster for everyone. I told him to expect the exact response from me.


Jorin wrote:

I don't think I'm up to the task of training 3 GM's (they alternate) just to get a chance to use my class abilities.

Sounds like your problem is not illusions but rather DMs.

Consider this a wonderful litmus.. you've found DMs that metagame and are looking to play against the PCs, looking to tell stories instead of present a game world.

This is not limited to illusions, or any other single facet of the game.. but rather is all pervasive.

Talk to them about your disappointment with them, then find another group.

-James

Osirion

Nah, they are really pretty good most of them time.

They just really can't seem to get a handle on illusions (and to a certain extent charms). How to consistantly allow them to be useful without being overpowered? So they end up being non-useful and underpowered.

Or I suppose if they do have a handle on it, I can't find the same handle.


I think the problem with illusions is usually the save to disbelieve. Not long ago I saw a similar thread where someone quoted an official statement saying that getting a save to disbelieve usually requires a standard action.
This rule allows illusion spells to either change reality or waste opponents' time. Either may be worth a spell.

I don't know if this has anything to do with your specific problems, but I think this is a nice rule to have in mind.


There's a nice set of articles (3.5) on illusions. Might be worthwhile to give to your judge.

Osirion

rkraus2 wrote:
There's a nice set of articles (3.5) on illusions. Might be worthwhile to give to your judge.

Do you have a link? I'd definitely like to check it out.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Rules of the Game: All About Illusions (Part One)
Rules of the Game: All About Illusions (Part Two)
Rules of the Game: All About Illusions (Part Three)
Rules of the Game: All About Illusions (Part Four)


The only times I've ever played an Illusionist was when I could make a Shadowcraft Mage, a 3E prestige class. Basically turns your figments into shadow spells with a fairly high % reality, so you now can make use of your illusions regardless of what the DM is like. (And develop Solipsism Syndrome from spending so much time around realistic yet fake things! :D )

Without that, illusions are mostly used for defenses (mirror image, blur, displacement) or the occasional quirky attempt of using silent image for something cool. Never worth specializing in it.

Osirion

Thanks VRMH
They are blocked at work, but I will check them out this evening.


The problem with illusions is that they require the most skill from player and GM to be most effective. They require a good setup, and a high Bluff score helps, too. Favourite uses of illusions:

Clearing a fort of way too many ogres. A few fire blasts against a bunch of ogres on one side of a wall, more ogres on the other side and no thirds left. Fly to top of wall and announce ownership of fort to outside ogres. If you have a problem with it, take it up with my friend. Enter minor image red dragon rising up from behind wall. One amazing Bluff roll later, and ogres are running. The best was the ogre that killed himself jumping off the wall.

Goblins are completely setup on a rickety rope bridge, ready to shove the PCs off when they get too close. A "look out, the ropes are giving out", great Bluff check, and ghost sound later, the goblins are abandoning their superior positions and the party takes the bridge.

Illusions are some of the most fun spells out there.


Illusions can rock a game. I remember DMing a group through the Forge of Fury and the dark dwarf illusionist had a ball with the group. In a world filled with magic some pretty fantastic things can occur.


I think the problem with illusions ist the game rules. But intentional or not meta gaming on the dms part.

The thing to hamer home is unless someone interacts with an illusion it is real. This makes the visual illusions great for walls or things because until the monsters touch them tgey may as well be real. In most cases at low level this should be effective.

On the players end i find they often try to make them do this they wouldn't do like duplicate higher level spells that do the effect they want.

Ie you can use silent image fir a wall of stone, but you cant make a wall with an exact picture of tge room behibd it effectivelt aming everyone invisible because a spell does that already.

Osirion

Nazard wrote:
... A few fire blasts against a bunch of ogres on one side of a wall, more ogres on the other side and no thirds left. Fly to top of wall and announce ownership of fort to outside ogres. If you have a problem with it, take it up with my friend. Enter minor image red dragon rising up from behind wall. One amazing Bluff roll later, and ogres are running ...

There is a very good chance my GM's would have said, "You don't know enough of what a red dragon looks like or how it moves to make a convincing image because you have never studied them" or "The ogres have no reason to believe there are any red dragons in the area and they didn't hear or see one approaching." So they would all get like a +4 on the save, and as soon as one makes he tells the rest it isn't real so the rest now get a +8 on the save. All but 2 make it. There is also a good chance one or the other of the GM's would let it work exactly as you described.

Nazard wrote:

... Goblins are completely setup on a rickety rope bridge, ready to shove the PCs off when they get too close. A "look out, the ropes are giving out", great Bluff check, and ghost sound later, the goblins are abandoning their superior positions and the party takes the bridge.

Illusions are some of the most fun spells out there.

I am likely to hear "you don't know enough about what a failing rope looks/sounds like to make a convincing illusion" or "the goblins have been using this bridge for years, they know it is safe." Or again, it might just work.

I want them to be fun, but the nebulous uncertainty keeps them from being fun for me.


Jorin wrote:
Good stuff... or "The ogres have no reason to believe there are any red dragons in the area and they didn't hear or see one approaching..More good stuff.

Because never in the history of fantasy have Ogres been suprised by something they didn't see coming.


I would reply to not knowing how a red dragon moves perfectly, and the int 5 ogres do?

Andoran

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Vuvu wrote:
I would reply to not knowing how a red dragon moves perfectly, and the int 5 ogres do?

I'd be inclined to actually say "Knowing about dragons and how they work is Knowledge (Arcana). I'd be pleased to engage in an opposed roll with the Ogres..."

As for not hearing them approach...Red Dragons are spellcasters. Indeed, Teleport is one of the Ancient Red Dragon's listed spells, and even a younger one could have Silence.

Or in other words, all that stuff you describe is b*$+#%$*, and I'd call the GM in question on it. Hell, I'd play an illusionist specifically to do so regularly. Gotta get him trained somehow...


Yeah I've really had GMs crap up illusions. I had to steer a character away from a concept because they inserted all this invented crap into the rules for illusions. I practically have to have an info session with any potential GM if I'm playing with illusions. I have the text from the magic section for illusions preprinted |:

Jorin wrote:
But it is so dependant upon what is believable, makes sense, possible, etc... That I just can't get into it.

Believable is only needed in the following context:

PRD wrote:
A character faced with proof that an illusion isn't real needs no saving throw.

A figment can be profoundly unbelievable. It's only if you show that something is definitely not real when it becomes automatically disbelieved. If you make a figment steel wall and stick your hand through it with no resistance, that's proof that it isn't a real steel wall. Otherwise, it's careful study/interaction for a save.

Quote:
I seem to always get: you can't hide something within it, fliers would know where the ceiling was last time they were here, you don't know enough about how X sound to make it believable, no one would believe that he would do that, etc... No creative use seems to be consistantly possible by me (though NPC's can do almost anything) regardless of spell level, knowledge ranks, intelligence, or planning. I might be able to do it once, but then if a similar situation comes up again it probably won't work a second time (possibly because it was too effective last time).

You can't hide something in figments ("Figments cannot make something seem to be something else"). You can hide in something modified by a glamer. . . hence, one primary reason for mirage arcana.

The other issues are obviously ridiculous. If you know of something, you should know how it sounds. If fliers know about a ceiling disappearing, they still see a wall covering it up. They can attempt to carefully study/interact with the wall -- otherwise it's a wall. Automatically assuming it's an illusion with no evidence is essentially poor GMing. And sadly, that's pretty common.


Interesting thread. Reminds me of the illusion-based warlock-like base class I was working on some time ago. I wonder where that file is?


Just to play a little devil's advocate, I think there is a valid reason many GMs meta game with illusions (and with charms). I agree that GMs shouldn't meta game if at all possible. However, when the use of the illusion is "breaking" the game, spoiling everyone's fun, a good GM shouldn't allow it. I think there is quite a bit of responsibility on the player to not abuse the illusion.

The example of using a 2nd level illusion to completely bypass the fort full of ogres is a great example. If that is allowed to happen successfully, many players (I'd argue most) will do it every encounter, marginalizing the rest of the group, and making the game not very fun.

In a perfect world, the player should exercise personal restraint by using that tactic very sparingly (or even better, using it frequently but only to get an appropriate advantage rather than defeat the entire encounter) and the GM should allow it to be successful, trusting the player to not abuse it.

If both the player and the GM are adult enough to understand the dynamic, or even better, talk about it, illusions work great and make for great gaming. But, we're talking about gamers...

Osirion

I sorta agree/understand what you are saying.

But there should be some kind of ruling (even if it is house rules) that is applied consistently. But it ruins things when I have no idea what is going to be the result of my classes primary ability. It may work great, it may make things much worse than before, or anywhere in between.

I guess i wish they had just said PC can't use illusions, rather than sometimes nerfing is and sometimes not.


Pathfinder Modules Subscriber
Mike J wrote:

Just to play a little devil's advocate, I think there is a valid reason many GMs meta game with illusions (and with charms). I agree that GMs shouldn't meta game if at all possible. However, when the use of the illusion is "breaking" the game, spoiling everyone's fun, a good GM shouldn't allow it. I think there is quite a bit of responsibility on the player to not abuse the illusion.

The example of using a 2nd level illusion to completely bypass the fort full of ogres is a great example. If that is allowed to happen successfully, many players (I'd argue most) will do it every encounter, marginalizing the rest of the group, and making the game not very fun.

In a perfect world, the player should exercise personal restraint by using that tactic very sparingly (or even better, using it frequently but only to get an appropriate advantage rather than defeat the entire encounter) and the GM should allow it to be successful, trusting the player to not abuse it.

If both the player and the GM are adult enough to understand the dynamic, or even better, talk about it, illusions work great and make for great gaming. But, we're talking about gamers...

I do not see the problem with the example. The spell is doing exactly what it was designed to do.

Qadira

You could take the castle but all of the ogres are still near (minus the jumper). It changes the encounter in a ballsy bluff, but the encounter is still there, you have just gained a better position, or worse if you can't take a siege well.

Sczarni

I think part of your problem comes from the fact that you have three GMs who alternate in a single campaign. Even if each of them is a good GM on their own, too many cooks spoil any broth and you're never going to avoid having wildly inconsistent rulings. Illusions are more susceptible to it than most things, given how dependent they are on the player's own imagination, but I feel like it was only a matter of time before the issue started to show.

Though I can understand why any GM would find Illusions a bit more difficult to deal with than other things. The fact that you can make an illusion of almost anything just screams cheese potential. Also, the game world is effectively an illusion that your GM made up-- he imagined it, and by his descriptions and diagrams it comes to life for you. When you start casting illusions to change the game world around you, it feels kind of like you came up behind him while he was at the easel and started painting over his shoulder. Maybe the GM doesn't even realize it, but he's probably not happy to see his work of art changed out from under him.


DCironlich wrote:
I can sympathize. When I played a Wizard (Illusionist) in one game, the GM basically ignored my illusions -- even though I replicated monsters encountered earlier in the game. I had to call him on his bias when Orc warriors acted as if the illusionary Hill Giant wasn't even there. How a GM adjudicates illusions tells you a lot about his/her bias, understanding of rules, and maturity.

Boy, did I have fun chewing out my DM for pulling this off on some other party's Illusionist once. He actually took the critique quite well, when usually he's far too arrogant to admit that he made a mistake when it came to how he ran the game.


My highest level character in 2e was an Illusionist, back when Illusionists were actually based almost totally on illusion magic.

I sympathize with the problems the OP is experiencing. I went through the same thing. I learned to justify my illusions very thoroughly. Even then there were times my concept of what an illusion would or should do didn't always match the GM.

Unfortunately some of that is simply inherent to the class.

Try to bolster your illusion ability by appealing to existing skills or backstory. Knowledge skills, spellcraft skills, perform skills, those are where you can make a good argument that your illusions are superior to an "average" illusion.

It can help to specialize too. Repeat the same subject matter and show the GM(s) that you are learning from your "mistakes."

And most importantly, don't push things too far! Develop a feel for how powerful your illusions should be compared to other spells from other casters of the same level, and try to produce effects of about the same level of game impact. Show the GM that you aren't trying to game the campaign, you are just trying to execute your class abilities.

Good luck.

Andoran

One of the problems I've always had with illusions is "What constitutes believable?"

In a D&D/PF universe, everything is possible in some fashion or another. Someone teleported into an area that was warded against it? Yeah, still possible with the right (rare) abilities.

On that grounds, who is *anyone* to *ever* grant a free pass on the will save to disbelieve? Even if you (as a player) fought a fire elemental and it didn't seem warm, would you assume illusion or that the creature is different somehow? What if a Red Dragon didn't take any damage from a cold spell? Is this illusion, or just good protective magic, or even just someone immune/resistant to cold that polymorphed into a red dragon? If that dragon breaths ice on you, is that illusion or a class ability that the dragon got from taking class levels?

Based on the above, I've always ruled that no-one, and I mean *no-one* gets a free pass on illusion unless they have an ability that explicitly says otherwise. All NPCs and PCs alike must act as though that thing is real until they make a save by coincidence (and indeed, I will not tell the players that something is an illusion until the secretly rolled saves are made). This may still mean they investigate it ("Woah! Is that a real pet grizzly bear?" *tries to pet it*), but they get no free pass.

About the only time a character should assume it's an illusion is if they know ahead of time they're dealing with an illusion/illusionist. If, for example, you've already made a save against another one of their illusions, it might be reasonable to disregard it, but that doesn't mean you've "disbelieved" so much as made a guess that you hope is correct. And it may even be correct, but made no so soon afterward (summon the thing you had an illusion of, and now that thing gets a free attack against flat-footed as the character isn't defending against the "illusion", and might even have time to buff before making that attack).

In effect, I end up ignoring the auto-disbelieve rule as it implies there are things too outlandish to actually have happen, which is simply not true.

HOWEVER! I take very good care to note exactly how much the caster is allowed to make with a spell. This is often the deal-breaker for most of the outlandish crap that an illusionist might pull. Combine that with smarter enemies who would flee and fight you on better terms later, and an illusionist (while powerful) isn't going to run amok for too long before someone takes them down a peg or two.

TL;DR - Illusion is all about interpretation, but nothing should be automatically too outlandish to be true. Force them to make their save and (at best) give them extra "interactions" for things like not feeling heat off of a fire elemental, and maybe have them investigate for things *that particular NPC* would find too outlandish.


Pathfinder Modules Subscriber
Matthias wrote:
major image is actually very powerful in that it mimics heat. Your red dragon illusion for example, has a woeful lack of fire breath in it. If those 5 int ogres fail their save, at that point its like you just got to tag the enemies with a size appropriate dragon breath, literally scaring them to death if the damage is high enough

Major image, as a figment, cannot actually damage something even if it fails its save. The "scare them to death" mechanic went out after 2nd edition (or maybe 3.0; I never played it). If you want that sort of effect, you need either shadow or phantasm spells.


Pathfinder Modules Subscriber
StabbittyDoom wrote:

One of the problems I've always had with illusions is "What constitutes believable?"

In a D&D/PF universe, everything is possible in some fashion or another. Someone teleported into an area that was warded against it? Yeah, still possible with the right (rare) abilities.

On that grounds, who is *anyone* to *ever* grant a free pass on the will save to disbelieve? Even if you (as a player) fought a fire elemental and it didn't seem warm, would you assume illusion or that the creature is different somehow? What if a Red Dragon didn't take any damage from a cold spell? Is this illusion, or just good protective magic, or even just someone immune/resistant to cold that polymorphed into a red dragon? If that dragon breaths ice on you, is that illusion or a class ability that the dragon got from taking class levels?

Based on the above, I've always ruled that no-one, and I mean *no-one* gets a free pass on illusion unless they have an ability that explicitly says otherwise. All NPCs and PCs alike must act as though that thing is real until they make a save by coincidence (and indeed, I will not tell the players that something is an illusion until the secretly rolled saves are made). This may still mean they investigate it ("Woah! Is that a real pet grizzly bear?" *tries to pet it*), but they get no free pass.

About the only time a character should assume it's an illusion is if they know ahead of time they're dealing with an illusion/illusionist. If, for example, you've already made a save against another one of their illusions, it might be reasonable to disregard it, but that doesn't mean you've "disbelieved" so much as made a guess that you hope is correct. And it may even be correct, but made no so soon afterward (summon the thing you had an illusion of, and now that thing gets a free attack against flat-footed as the character isn't defending against the "illusion", and might even have time to buff before making that attack).

In effect, I end up ignoring the auto-disbelieve rule as it implies there are...

I understand where you're coming from. However, tempting as it is, one must remember not to confuse our own perspectives from outside the game world with those of characters inside the game world. To us, yes, anything is possible because we know every spell, monster, and mechanic behind the entire universe. A character within the universe, however, has her own expectations about what things are possible or impossible, regardless of how accurate those expectations are. To completely disallow at least an automatic attempt at a saving throw when something wrong becomes apparent to the observer (from her perspective), I am essentially doom every character in the game to mind-boggling credulity.

There should, at some point, be a reason to use minor image over silent image. Without the above, the only reason to do so is if (a) you want a higher DC or (b) you're trying to fool someone who can't see your illusion. (a) is achievable simply through Heighten Spell. (b), to me, doesn't warrant the increased spell level (just use ghost sound). It boggles the mind that a grizzly bear that roars soundlessly or a fire elemental that gives off no heat is just as believable as a grizzly bear that roars loudly or a fire elemental that gives off waves of heat.

Edit: Hopefully I didn't come off too confrontational. Everything I'm discussing right now is a house rule; RAW already settles pretty explicitly the conditions under which a saving throw is allowed.

Edit the Second:

Quote:
(at best) give them extra "interactions" for things like not feeling heat off of a fire elemental, and maybe have them investigate for things *that particular NPC* would find too outlandish.

This is exactly what I've been advocating. Not a free save, but a different definition of 'interaction' that may or may not require explicit action on the part of the observer.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

I removed a post and the replies to it. Do not use that word that way.

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
blahpers wrote:
Major image, as a figment, cannot actually damage something even if it fails its save. The "scare them to death" mechanic went out after 2nd edition (or maybe 3.0; I never played it). If you want that sort of effect, you need either shadow or phantasm spells.

The first encounter of Crypt of the Everflame relies precisely on this mechanic, where if one of the of the orc illusions (minor/major images) hits you, you get a disbelief save. If you fail it, you believe you've taken damage, to the point where you fall unconscious if you take enough "damage". You wouldn't actually die, and upon inspection with a heal check, they'd see that there's nothing actually wrong with you. They should probably even be able to shake you awake, swatting you on the head for believing such a stupid illusion (giving you another reason to try and disbelieve the illusions).

I would think the lack of heat/sound in the lower level spells gives the player/monster a hint that they might want to check to see if the illusion is in fact real or not. They still have to spend that move action to check it out.


The thing I don't like about illusions is that characters automatically know when you cast (its why they get a free attack of opportunity against you even if you cast a still, silent spell with no material components).

Because characters automatically know when you cast, they can figure out if event X is a due to an illusion spell you just cast. This is especially true if they've taken Knowledge Arcana.

This nerfs the hell out of illusions.

Shadow Lodge

Darkwing Duck wrote:
Because characters automatically know when you cast, they can figure out if event X is a due to an illusion spell you just cast.

They might know you've cast a spell. That doesn't mean it was an illusion spell.


The system in general does not work particularly well for non-vision perception checks, including interactions with illusions. This is a "problem" for stealth checks versus scent, for instance.

If you have a monster that primarilly relies on their sense of smell then it seems like they would disbelieve a silent image more readily than a human might. As blaphers points out, the subject of the illusion should also have an impact on how believable the illusion is. That goes for things that are really out of place (ie a duck in a dungeon) as well as illusions that are missing important sensory feedback (ie fire with no heat). I would probably allow a roll to save without a move action if the illusion was missing a detail that would be obvious to the target.

@Darkwing Duck
I would have Knowledge Arcana tell you what the spell effect resembles, but not that it is an illusion unless you spend a move action to look closer.


Serum wrote:
Darkwing Duck wrote:
Because characters automatically know when you cast, they can figure out if event X is a due to an illusion spell you just cast.
They might know you've cast a spell. That doesn't mean it was an illusion spell.

If they see nothing else as the consequence of your spell, thinking its an illusion is definitely justifiable. And, like I said, this is especially true if they've got Knowledge Arcana.

Shadow Lodge

slacks wrote:
I would probably allow a roll to save without a move action if the illusion was missing a detail that would be obvious to the target.

So you'd allow an automatic disbelief roll to see if that (real) continual flame is actually an illusion of a fire (silent image)?

What about a ghost under the effect of a silence spell? Do characters get an automatic disbelief save on that as well?

Darkwing Duck wrote:
If they see nothing else as the consequence of your spell, thinking its an illusion is definitely justifiable. And, like I said, this is especially true if they've got Knowledge Arcana.

How do you know that the guy who casted a spell wasn't doing a targeted spell on one of his allies, or on one of your allies and failed? Just because someone waved his hands around and talked words with nothing visibly happening doesn't mean that the ogre who enters the fight a round later is actually an illusion. How does someone know to use Knowledge: Arcana? What makes you think that the using Knowledge: Arcana to identify the spell effect wouldn't identify the effect that the illusion is copying, not the fact that it's an illusion?

If you make a successful Spellcraft check to understand what got cast, sure. You now have reason to believe something happening soon is likely an illusion.

A bigger tipoff that someone cast an image spell is that the wizard who made a wall of stone to cut you off from your buddies is now not taking any standard actions, but again, you'd need to know the mechanics of image spells.


Quote:
There is a very good chance my GM's would have said, "You don't know enough of what a red dragon looks like or how it moves to make a convincing image because you have never studied them" or "The ogres have no reason to believe there are any red dragons in the area and they didn't hear or see one approaching."

So if you don't know enough of what a red dragon looks like, what is the knowledge of an average orc on that subject? It doesn't really matter if your knowledge is accurate, as long as it's as accurate as your enemy's (a comparative Knowledge check may be appropriate). Actually, even if your enemy knows more than you do, they may not recognize what you intended it to do be, but it still will likely look like some gangantouan really scary powerful monster... and they can't possibly ID it, because it doesn't really exist. Unless you need to be spoofing a specific creature ONLY, 'big scary monster' is really all you need.

Really, I think the proper solution here is people knowing how to play a defensive retreat. The Illusion will eventually end, and the enemies will still be around, just the scene of battle (may) change. In the mean time PCs' buff spells are wearing off.


Serum wrote:
slacks wrote:
I would probably allow a roll to save without a move action if the illusion was missing a detail that would be obvious to the target.

So you'd allow an automatic disbelief roll to see if that (real) continual flame is actually an illusion of a fire (silent image)?

What about a ghost under the effect of a silence spell? Do characters get an automatic disbelief save on that as well?

That doesn't make sense because you don't roll to disbelieve real things.


Pathfinder Modules Subscriber
Serum wrote:
The first encounter of Crypt of the Everflame relies precisely on this mechanic, where if one of the of the orc illusions (minor/major images) hits you, you get a disbelief save. If you fail it, you believe you've taken damage, to the point where you fall unconscious if you take enough "damage". You wouldn't actually die, and upon inspection with a heal check, they'd see that there's nothing actually wrong with you. They should probably even be able to shake you awake, swatting you on the head for believing such a stupid illusion (giving you another reason to try and disbelieve the illusions).

Crypt of the Everflame says nothing about your characters falling unconscious as a result of being "wounded" by the illusion--only that the character thinks that the wounds are real. (I'd quote it, but it isn't open content.)

Quote:
I would think the lack of heat/sound in the lower level spells gives the player/monster a hint that they might want to check to see if the illusion is in fact real or not. They still have to spend that move action to check it out.

That's fine, and developer posts support that interpretation as the intended one. I simply don't play it that way. If a blazing inferno springs into being in front me but I don't feel at all warm, it shouldn't take 6 seconds of standing impotent to figure out that something might be up. At the least, I should not be required to do anything different if I don't waste a turn poking the flames with a stick to see if it catches fire. Even by RAW/RAI, there's no reason I can't simply think, "That's probably an illusion" and ignore it; I just won't know for certain until I interact with it, so it'd be a gamble same as any player would take in that circumstance. Plus, it's fun to role-play, trying to think rationally while willfully ignoring my own screaming senses.

Shadow Lodge

slacks wrote:
Serum wrote:
slacks wrote:
I would probably allow a roll to save without a move action if the illusion was missing a detail that would be obvious to the target.

So you'd allow an automatic disbelief roll to see if that (real) continual flame is actually an illusion of a fire (silent image)?

What about a ghost under the effect of a silence spell? Do characters get an automatic disbelief save on that as well?

That doesn't make sense because you don't roll to disbelieve real things.

If, at first glance, there isn't any difference between an image and something real, why should they get an automatic disbelief save to something that's "not quite right"?

blahpers wrote:
Crypt of the Everflame says nothing about your characters falling unconscious as a result of being "wounded" by the illusion--only that the character thinks that the wounds are real. (I'd quote it, but it isn't open content.)

What do you say to someone who thinks they've gone below 0 hit points in that situation? Proof that the illusions aren't real?

blahpers wrote:
Quote:


I would think the lack of heat/sound in the lower level spells gives the player/monster a hint that they might want to check to see if the illusion is in fact real or not. They still have to spend that move action to check it out.
That's fine, and developer posts support that interpretation as the intended one. I simply don't play it that way. If a blazing inferno springs into being in front me but I don't feel at all warm, it shouldn't take 6 seconds of standing impotent to figure out that something might be up. At the least, I should not be required to do anything different if I don't waste a turn poking the flames with a stick to see if it catches fire. Even by RAW/RAI, there's no reason I can't simply think, "That's probably an illusion" and ignore it; I just won't know for certain until I interact with it, so it'd be a gamble same as any player would take in that circumstance. Plus, it's fun to role-play, trying to think rationally while willfully ignoring my own screaming senses.

Makes sense (although, it's only ~3 seconds dealing with it). It's easier when the DM uses illusions (especially when he's mixing them in with real threats) on the players because he can describe exactly what everyone sees, and the players can work off of that. Most of the problems occur when the DM hears explicitly that the player is using an image spell.

As a side note, if someone puts his hand through an illusionary wall, does he automatically disbelieve, or does he make a save, and failure means that he thinks his hand gets stopped?


Serum wrote:
If, at first glance, there isn't any difference between an image and something real, why should they get an automatic disbelief save to something that's "not quite right"?

I agree but if there is a big difference between an illusion and something real then there should be an automatic disbelief save because something is obviously wrong. Of course this is not RAW, and different people will have different definitions of "obviously wrong."

Shadow Lodge

Could you give an example of "obviously wrong"?

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