Figments, illusions and interaction


Rules Questions


I'm in a bit of a bind here.

Is there an official source anywhere about how the GM should rule illusions?

I made an illusionist, and the GM rules, which I have not yet objected to because it'd be disruptive to the game at that point (i will take it up next game session instead) is that figments allow saves when you see them.

This is awful. The rules are really not clear on this issue, nor is the spell description.


Nope. To do that you need lenses of figment piercing (or something close, I am on the phone now). To roll on sight is something like 17k and an eye slot.

Edit: 12k


Do you have a specific example?

I am pretty sure that the rules state you get a saving throw when you "interact" with the illusion.

Most people determine an interaction to require an action (either move or standard). By default the illusion looks correct, until someone has a reason to disbelieve and thusly interacts with the illusion.

The core rule book states:

Saving Throws and Illusions (Disbelief ): 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.

Pretty clear that simply seeing an illusion does not give you a saving throw, it is the "stud[ied]...interact[ion]" that gives the saving throw.


That's great to know! I will refer the gm to it. He generally tries to rule in a fair and just manner.

What happened: We're fighting about 6 trolls in a city like landscape. I'm floating above the ground at a safe distance and I cast Major Image to create a huge flamin' bonfire to block a side street off.

Every troll that sees it succeeds the will save and sees through it.


Gotcha. Yeah, that kinda sucks, I prefer to validate my players choices.

A troll - unless he really focuses on it - would probably be fooled by a 3rd level figment. It would at least take a move action to concentrate and see through it (I would think).

Additionally, if they can communicate with each other then the others could get a +4 circumstance bonus to their save once one of them sees through it.


Yeah I think he judged it this way just because he's really not used to illusions. I don't think he's ever played an illusion based caster, and no player in our group has ever played one before.

But with the new information I have from this thread, I'll make him change opinion :D

(casts dominate person on gm)


lol.

Illusions can be really confusing. There was a great article WoTC made back in the 3.5 days that really broke down the different kinds of illusions nicely and how you can use the different types to do different things. It helped me a lot to figure out how to use them better and how to run games where people used illusions more fairly.

Its one of those things that if the GM just isn't sure what the rules are can either be 1) way to good and break the game or 2) totally underwhelming and not worth the spell. If you look at how the spell operate and look at the rules for the different subschools of illusion it makes a lot of sense and is not really that game breaking. It just allows for a fun amount of creativity to change up the game. After all, its a collaborative storytelling exercise.


We've had another discussion which derailed part of a session.

His belief is that an enemy gets to disbelieve an illusion when the illusion would cause the enemy to act in a way it would not have done were it not for the illusion.

In my opinion that is all encompassing.

With this ruling, all image spells are useless with the possible exception of silent image (only because it's so low level).

Is an illusionist even playable without image spells?

Is there a definite official Paizo ruling on this question?

The definition of the word "interacts".


Ganryu wrote:

That's great to know! I will refer the gm to it. He generally tries to rule in a fair and just manner.

What happened: We're fighting about 6 trolls in a city like landscape. I'm floating above the ground at a safe distance and I cast Major Image to create a huge flamin' bonfire to block a side street off.

Every troll that sees it succeeds the will save and sees through it.

Yeah, simply seeing the fire is not sufficient. The troll would have to either physically interact with the fire or carefully study the fire. Major image produces the look, sound, and smell of the bonfire and even produces heat (though ostensibly not to a damaging level), so there really isn't much to tip off a troll short of getting close enough to burn.

If the trolls saw you cast a spell and were bright enough or worldly enough to suspect that your spell was an illusion rather than an actual fire, then they could take a move action to study the fire carefully; that would grant them a save. That would be a bit of a waste, though, and not in character for the average troll.

Something to keep in mind, however, is that the standard Bestiary troll will not necessarily be cowed by fire, illusory or otherwise:

Troll->Morale wrote:
Morale Because of their regenerative abilities, trolls are fearless. Even flames or the presence of acid don’t slow them down—they always fight to the death.
Troll->Ecology wrote:
A troll's appetite and its regenerative powers make it a fearless combatant, ever prepared to charge headlong at the nearest living creature and attack with all of its fury. Only fire seems to cause a troll to hesitate, but even this mortal threat is not enough to stop a troll's advance.

So if the GM was running standard Bestiary trolls, they would inevitably have auto-disbelieved after running headlong through the flames to attack the party. At best, they might have tried to go around it if possible, or simply hesitated for a moment (maybe a move action?).

But just seeing the flames without studying them? No dice--it's a real bonfire to them.


Google "rules of the game all about illusions".

There should be 4 threads. You read them, have your GM read them. Discuss it and read them again. If he disagrees with those articles, well you are boned and should ask to reroll a new character. If he agrees from here on out illusion is one of the strongest schools of magic.

Outside of those the shadow conjuration and evocation spells are really very powerful, but I'd get a reroll if he reads that and still says illusions don't work.


Those articles no longer exist. Wizards of the Coast has removed them.


Ouch.


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Well, that's unfortunate, as that was the best written way on how to proceed with illusions. You are mostly right and the GM is wrong but I have not the patience to go into it, so I wish you good luck!


Quote:

Saving Throws and Illusions (Disbelief)

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. --Rule

The first line pretty much says it all. They don't receive a save until they study it carefully or interact with it. 'Study it carefully' should at least be a move action (2-3 seconds still doesn't seem like enough time to 'study carefully').

Start off asking how long it takes your character to study something carefully... He'll probably says 3 rounds.


That's actually a good observation.

I will resume this discussion with the GM next session.


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Ganryu wrote:
Those articles no longer exist. Wizards of the Coast has removed them.

I found this post doing a google search and I just wanted to point out that those articles are definitely still available:

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

More to the point the the section relevant to the OP's question is from Part 3:

Part 3 wrote:

For game purposes, we can define "studying" an illusion as taking an action (which DMs can choose to make a move action since this is an extrapolation of the rules and not an actual rule) to observe an illusion effect and note its details. Some DMs I know require a Spot or Search check to disbelieve an illusion. That's going too far. Merely pausing and using an action to make the check is enough to allow a saving throw.

Also for game purposes, we can define "interacting" with an illusion as doing something that could affect the illusion or allowing the illusion to have an affect on you. You have a valid claim to an interaction with an illusion when you attack it, touch it, talk to it, poke it with a stick, target it with a spell, or do something else that one might do with a real creature or object.

It's also worth noting the particular situation is of importance. Did the trolls make a spellcraft check and know the spell that was being cast? Did they see the fire appear out of nowhere? Was it there when they arrived? Is it blocking an important objective or is it merely obstructing a route you don't want them to take (one that you know, but they do not know, might lead them towards innocent civilians for example)?

All of those things can greatly modify how they might react to a bonfire's presence. When I GM I run illusions by considering what the deceived knows and what their goals and objectives are (as they understand them anyways). Usually, this leads to a handful of reasonable options, of which one or two stand out strongly as the most likely. From there I tend to apply the "best for the game" test and failing that I decide randomly.

Good luck in your trickery!

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