What does it mean to interact with an illusion?


Rules Questions


Continuation of a previous thread's discussion.

Relevant text:

Magic (Illusion) 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.

Essentially, what counts as interacting with an illusion? Is just seeing or hearing it enough or do you have to focus on it in some way (spending a standard or move action)?

For Ventriloquism in particular, does the line "anyone who hears the sound and rolls a successful save recognizes it as illusory" equate to "anyone who hears the sound receives a save to recognize it as illusory"? Does the fact that it is only auditory remove the requirement to interact with it in order to get a save?


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Gallant Armor wrote:
what counts as interacting with an illusion?

For Ventriloquism, hearing it enough. There is NO other way to interact with it. It would be meaningless to spend a standard or move action on a sound that already happened: how can you interact with an event that's already passed?


graystone wrote:
Gallant Armor wrote:
what counts as interacting with an illusion?
For Ventriloquism, hearing it enough. There is NO other way to interact with it. It would be meaningless to spend a standard or move action on a sound that already happened: how can you interact with an event that's already passed?

Initiative order happens sequentially, but the events that transpire happen simultaneously so anyone that hears the sound would get the opportunity to interact with it.

If you hear a sound you can focus on it to determine if it is real or illusory. Think of it like you hear music and you can just listen to the music or you can focus on it and try to determine if it's coming from a live band or a recording.


Or, more intuitively, if someone telephones and you think "that doesn't sound like a human voice"

You can detect that something isn't right, just by hearing the sound. You're interacting because the illusory sound waves are hitting your eardrums and causing them to vibrate. You don't need anything else but the sound reaching your ears to notice that it's "off"


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If "hearing" an auditory illusion counts as interacting with it for purposes of a save, why doesn't "seeing it" count as interacting with a visual illusion for the purposes of a save?

I feel like if any condition other than "being unaware of it" lets you save against an illusion, then illusions are really very weak.


CrystalSeas wrote:

Or, more intuitively, if someone telephones and you think "that doesn't sound like a human voice"

You can detect that something isn't right, just by hearing the sound. You're interacting because the illusory sound waves are hitting your eardrums and causing them to vibrate. You don't need anything else but the sound reaching your ears to notice that it's "off"

That makes sense, but there is nothing in the rules to indicate it works like that. The example I gave was to illustrate how the rules work, not trying to bring real world logic into the game.

The rules on illusions state that you don't get a save by default, you need to study or interact with the illusion in some way beyond simply seeing or hearing it.


Gallant Armor wrote:
Initiative order happens sequentially, but the events that transpire happen simultaneously so anyone that hears the sound would get the opportunity to interact with it.

That really isn't the issue. It a matter of the event already passing as opposed to a continuing effect.

Gallant Armor wrote:
If you hear a sound you can focus on it to determine if it is real or illusory. Think of it like you hear music and you can just listen to the music or you can focus on it and try to determine if it's coming from a live band or a recording.

My point is that there is nothing left to focus on as the sound passed. If there is a new sound, while it's your turn, then how is taking an action interacting with it? There is no meaningful way to do that: focusing/concentrating on a sound isn't interacting with it but examining/studying it.

PossibleCabbage wrote:

If "hearing" an auditory illusion counts as interacting with it for purposes of a save, why doesn't "seeing it" count as interacting with a visual illusion for the purposes of a save?

I feel like if any condition other than "being unaware of it" lets you save against an illusion, then illusions are really very weak.

You can attack, touch, ect a visual illusion. What active physical action can you take with a sound?

interact
intransitive verb
: to act upon one another
: to act upon or together with something else

What can the character possibly do to 'act upon' the sound? None that I can see, which is why Ventriloquism has a rule "anyone who hears the sound receives a save".


Suppose the way we interacted with an illusory sound (what does that mean, honestly, since the sound is real) is by investigating wherever the sound seemingly came from the same way we'd investigate, say, an illusory wall by walking up to it and touching it?

So if you made an illusory sound of a door closing from around the corner and someone walks around the corner and goes "wait a minute, there's no door here" then they get a chance to realize its an illusion. Or like if there's an illusory bird call and someone says "I want to use my Knowledge (Nature) to figure out what kind of bird it is" you let them roll to disbelieve.


Ok, I make a sound like a kitten mewling that seems to come from behind some boxes.

Do you notice that the sound is "off" when you hear it, or do you have to investigate and decide that there is no kitten among the boxes before you get your check?

I'm arguing that you can notice the "off" sound without physically investigating the source of the sound.


I would argue that someone who hears a illusory cat noise, but who doesn't really notice or care or have it pass through their thoughts probably should not get a save.

Like if it was a situation where someone would not have responded to a real version of that same noise, they probably should not get a save. I don't think that illusory versions of uninteresting noises instantly become interesting because they are illusions.


PossibleCabbage wrote:

If "hearing" an auditory illusion counts as interacting with it for purposes of a save, why doesn't "seeing it" count as interacting with a visual illusion for the purposes of a save?

I feel like if any condition other than "being unaware of it" lets you save against an illusion, then illusions are really very weak.

I am in general agreement with this sentiment and for 99 percent of illusions I think it must take a investigation to get a save versus illusions, even other auditory ones, but ventriloquism is rarely an ongoing sound, and it can be stopped and started again instantly by the original caster over and over again for the entirety of the duration. Only getting a save by spending at least a move action would actually make this spell significantly more powerful than many other illusions because their illusory effect is continuous. You make your save once and the spell no longer can be used against you. Whereas every sound made by ventriloquism generates essentially a new illusion and thus requires its own save.

At the same time, ventriloquism is pretty much the only way to make the vast majority of illusions capable of speech, and it would basically be giving every observer of the illusion a round by round excuse to doubt the illusion if the voice suddenly sounded illusory, so maybe the inclusion of the will save (disbelief) generally applied to other illusions is meant to hold.
In which case every guide needs to bump the importance of ventriloquism up significantly.


graystone wrote:
Gallant Armor wrote:
Initiative order happens sequentially, but the events that transpire happen simultaneously so anyone that hears the sound would get the opportunity to interact with it.
That really isn't the issue. It a matter of the event already passing as opposed to a continuing effect.

If I use ventriloquism to say "Run or die!" and the guard looks to where the sound is coming from (studying as a move action) they would get a save. If the guard runs away or ignores the sound they don't get a save. The sound lasts some amount of time and during that time, anyone in the area has the chance to study/interact with the sound and receive a save.

graystone wrote:
Gallant Armor wrote:
If you hear a sound you can focus on it to determine if it is real or illusory. Think of it like you hear music and you can just listen to the music or you can focus on it and try to determine if it's coming from a live band or a recording.
My point is that there is nothing left to focus on as the sound passed. If there is a new sound, while it's your turn, then how is taking an action interacting with it? There is no meaningful way to do that: focusing/concentrating on a sound isn't interacting with it but examining/studying it.

If you study the area where an illusory sound is coming from you would get a save as you are mentally interacting with the illusion.

graystone wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

If "hearing" an auditory illusion counts as interacting with it for purposes of a save, why doesn't "seeing it" count as interacting with a visual illusion for the purposes of a save?

I feel like if any condition other than "being unaware of it" lets you save against an illusion, then illusions are really very weak.

You can attack, touch, ect a visual illusion. What active physical action can you take with a sound?

interact
intransitive verb
: to act upon one another
: to act upon or together with something else

What can the character possibly do to 'act upon' the sound? None that I can see, which is why Ventriloquism has a rule "anyone who hears the sound receives a save".

Again, the interaction is mental as it is a will save against an illusion with nothing that can be physically interacted with. If you focus on it, your mind senses something is wrong and you get a save to resist the effects of a spell.


Barring any spell or effect that specifically gives a save on sight or hearing, you wouldn't get one. If the illusion is just a quick shout or roar or bang you probably don't have time to concentrate or analyze it, you just have to decide how you would react. That doesn't mean you can't study audio illusions, many have constant or repeating sounds that you can pause and focus on, like the illusory roar of a waterfall, buzz of a nearby swarm, or sound of approaching footsteps.

It's no different than a visual illusion that you lose sight of. An illusion of a figure darting across a hallway and out of sight, for instance. You wouldn't be able to interact with it or see it to focus and concentrate. You would just have to decide whether to approach the intersection and peer after it or not (which might have been it's purpose). That doesn't make it unfair (not that anyone's claiming that).


PossibleCabbage wrote:
Suppose the way we interacted with an illusory sound (what does that mean, honestly, since the sound is real) is by investigating wherever the sound seemingly came from the same way we'd investigate, say, an illusory wall by walking up to it and touching it?

There is no real equivalent though

PossibleCabbage wrote:
So if you made an illusory sound of a door closing from around the corner and someone walks around the corner and goes "wait a minute, there's no door here" then they get a chance to realize its an illusion.

LOL or it was a secret door, or an echo, or a magic mouth, or... it just isn't the same as going up to a static illusion and doing a physical exam.

PossibleCabbage wrote:
Or like if there's an illusory bird call and someone says "I want to use my Knowledge (Nature) to figure out what kind of bird it is" you let them roll to disbelieve.

There is an action for a know check... And how is failure a disbelieve: it a 'I don't know the bird call' not 'that's not a real bird call'.

And once again, "anyone who hears the sound receives a save" is how Ventriloquism works: not anyone that interacts with it or spends an action but "hears the sound".


Also remember it is limited to sounds you can make with your voice. You have to dedicate serious resources to do more than talk with ventriloquism


So why shouldn't I give a save to anyone who looks at a Silent Image spell?

I feel like it's weird to say illusionists can create 100% accurate photorealistic images but have trouble mimicking bird calls, cat noises, or voices.

Like if you went to an actual ventriloquist's show, and closed your eyes how would you know it's not two people talking? Since people can actually do this passably well without magic, I don't think auditory magic should be inherently weaker- in fact it should probably be harder to disbelieve a noise than an image. I'm inclined to say that nobody should get a save against ventriloquism unless they have a reason to suspect what they are hearing is not real. When you watch the Ventriloquist's act, you know that it's not two people talking because you are well aware that wooden dolls are incapable of speech and that you bought a ticket to watch an illusion being performed.


graystone wrote:
And once again, "anyone who hears the sound receives a save" is how Ventriloquism works: not anyone that interacts with it or spends an action but "hears the sound".

Don't put something in quotes if it is not accurate, the line is "anyone who hears the sound and rolls a successful save" these are the conditions to disbelieve, there is nothing saying that anyone who hears the sound gets a save.


CrystalSeas wrote:

Ok, I make a sound like a kitten mewling that seems to come from behind some boxes.

Do you notice that the sound is "off" when you hear it, or do you have to investigate and decide that there is no kitten among the boxes before you get your check?

I'm arguing that you can notice the "off" sound without physically investigating the source of the sound.

With ventriloquism, that would take a perform check of some kind to pull off. For the listener, it would be a perception check to determine that the sounds are really coming from a person not a kitten (passive, free action) and as soon as the listener focused on the sound (move action) they would get a save to realize it's an illusion.


Gallant Armor wrote:
If I use ventriloquism to say "Run or die!" and the guard looks to where the sound is coming from (studying as a move action) they would get a save.

No, the guard gets a save when the spell TELLS you he does. "anyone who hears the sound receives a save". Not for studying, not for examining but simply for hearing, full stop.

PossibleCabbage wrote:
So why shouldn't I give a save to anyone who looks at a Silent Image spell?

It's really the difference between static and impertinent spells. the silent image last long enough that you can actually take actions to figure out if it's real. Ventriloquism isn't static and changes at the whim of the caster: they can make a cat noise then a few words in common then some words of orc... Are you meant to make 3 actions to get 3 saves? No, as the spell states that you just have to hear the sounds.

IMO it's not a matter of making sense of the differences between audio and visual illusions but a matter of balance between the spells.

Gallant Armor wrote:


Don't put something in quotes if it is not accurate, the line is "anyone who hears the sound and rolls a successful save" these are the conditions to disbelieve, there is nothing saying that anyone who hears the sound gets a save.

LOL if you want to blame someone for the quotes, you can blame yourself along with me as I snagged the wrong quote from your initial post where YOU put it in quotes. :P


I think part of the complexity here is that silent image really does compare more closely with ghost sound. 1 fairly static illusion that becomes illusory after study, ie the cat meowing behind some boxes or a door closing. Ventriloquism is minutes per level of making many, limited, but individual auditory illusions.


Gallant Armor wrote:
With ventriloquism, that would take a perform check of some kind to pull off.

Let's get the actual spell in play here. There's nothing that says you have to make a perform check. At all. You're adding a condition that isn't actually included in the spell itself.

PRD wrote:

Ventriloquism

School illusion (figment); Level bard 1, sorcerer/wizard 1
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, F (parchment rolled into cone)
Range close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Effect intelligible sound, usually speech
Duration 1 min./level (D)
Saving Throw Will disbelief (if interacted with); Spell Resistance no

You can make your voice (or any sound that you can normally make vocally) seem to issue from someplace else. You can speak in any language you know. With respect to such voices and sounds, anyone who hears the sound and rolls a successful save recognizes it as illusory (but still hears it).


Unicore wrote:
I think part of the complexity here is that silent image really does compare more closely with ghost sound. 1 fairly static illusion that becomes illusory after study, ie the cat meowing behind some boxes or a door closing. Ventriloquism is minutes per level of making many, limited, but individual auditory illusions.

Yep, Ventriloquism is basically dozens of individual effects when you change up the sounds per round.


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Suppose I use the Ventriloquism spell to make my voice come out of my own mouth. What does a successful save mean? Could you use this to get people to be suspicious of false positives?


graystone wrote:
Gallant Armor wrote:
If I use ventriloquism to say "Run or die!" and the guard looks to where the sound is coming from (studying as a move action) they would get a save.
No, the guard gets a save when the spell TELLS you he does. "anyone who hears the sound receives a save". Not for studying, not for examining but simply for hearing, full stop.

Why are you still quoting that? That is not what the text of the spell says as I mentioned previously.

graystone wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
So why shouldn't I give a save to anyone who looks at a Silent Image spell?

It's really the difference between static and impertinent spells. the silent image last long enough that you can actually take actions to figure out if it's real. Ventriloquism isn't static and changes at the whim of the caster: they can make a cat noise then a few words in common then some words of orc... Are you meant to make 3 actions to get 3 saves? No, as the spell states that you just have to hear the sounds.

IMO it's not a matter of making sense of the differences between audio and visual illusions but a matter of balance between the spells.

I think it would be reasonable to rule that once someone has saved they don't have to make subsequent saves, they know that the effect is an illusion. You are saving against the spell as a whole, not individual pieces of it.

graystone wrote:
Gallant Armor wrote:


Don't put something in quotes if it is not accurate, the line is "anyone who hears the sound and rolls a successful save" these are the conditions to disbelieve, there is nothing saying that anyone who hears the sound gets a save.
LOL if you want to blame someone for the quotes, you can blame yourself along with me as I snagged the wrong quote from your initial post where YOU put it in quotes. :P

Read the post again, I included the actual quote and added your interpretation of the line from the previous thread.


CrystalSeas wrote:
Gallant Armor wrote:
With ventriloquism, that would take a perform check of some kind to pull off.

Let's get the actual spell in play here. There's nothing that says you have to make a perform check. At all. You're adding a condition that isn't actually included in the spell itself.

PRD wrote:

Ventriloquism

School illusion (figment); Level bard 1, sorcerer/wizard 1
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, F (parchment rolled into cone)
Range close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Effect intelligible sound, usually speech
Duration 1 min./level (D)
Saving Throw Will disbelief (if interacted with); Spell Resistance no

You can make your voice (or any sound that you can normally make vocally) seem to issue from someplace else. You can speak in any language you know. With respect to such voices and sounds, anyone who hears the sound and rolls a successful save recognizes it as illusory (but still hears it).

"You can make your voice (or any sound that you can normally make vocally)"

If you are trying to fool someone by making kitten sounds, you would need to make a check of some kind or use some ability that would allow you to make those sounds convincingly.


Gallant Armor wrote:
Read the post again, I included the actual quote and added your interpretation of the line from the previous thread.

You CLEARLY aren't getting it. I knew YOU had quoted the relevant rule and when i looked to your first post, I went to a part YOU had quotes around: THAT was the quote you object to and it's the one from your post. I made a mistake using the wrong quote and it seems you broke your 'rule' by quoting something that wasn't from the book.

Gallant Armor wrote:
I think it would be reasonable to rule that once someone has saved they don't have to make subsequent saves, they know that the effect is an illusion.

Are you though? That's not what the spell says: "With respect to such voices and sound" and "hears the sound". It keeps talking about the sounds and saving vs that sounds and not vs the spell itself. Why would knowing the cat sound from behind the rock to the left mean the sound of talking from the left is fake?


graystone wrote:
Gallant Armor wrote:
Read the post again, I included the actual quote and added your interpretation of the line from the previous thread.
You CLEARLY aren't getting it. I knew YOU had quoted the relevant rule and when i looked to your first post, I went to a part YOU had quotes around: THAT was the quote you object to and it's the one from your post. I made a mistake using the wrong quote and it seems you broke your 'rule' by quoting something that wasn't from the book.

If you read the post, the first part is a quote from the spell, the second part is in quotes as a framing device, no reasonable reading of the second line would interpret it as a quote from the source.

graystone wrote:
Gallant Armor wrote:
I think it would be reasonable to rule that once someone has saved they don't have to make subsequent saves, they know that the effect is an illusion.
Are you though? That's not what the spell says: "With respect to such voices and sound" and "hears the sound". It keeps talking about the sounds and saving vs that sounds and not vs the spell itself. Why would knowing the cat sound from behind the rock to the left mean the sound of talking from the left is fake?

Not necessarily, it is an illusory projection of your voice that lasts minutes per level. This is a continuous effect that you can use when and how you wish but it should still count as a singular effect for the purposes of saves.


Gallant Armor wrote:


If you read the post, the first part is a quote from the spell, the second part is in quotes as a framing device, no reasonable reading of the second line would interpret it as a quote from the source.

I READ the post and I ALREADY said I made a mistake when I went back to it to grab a section you quoted. As to your justification for yourself using quotes, generally a non-official quote uses single 'non-quote' instead of "quote" which is what threw me off when I went for the actual quote.

graystone wrote:


Not necessarily, it is an illusory projection of your voice that lasts minutes per level. This is a continuous effect that you can use when and how you wish but it should still count as a singular effect for the purposes of saves.

So what you're saying is that if I cast a chill touch or Snapdragon Fireworks and I attack you once and you save that you no longer have to save for future attacks with the same spell? Why does a new action/attack/illusion not require a new save?


graystone wrote:
Gallant Armor wrote:


If you read the post, the first part is a quote from the spell, the second part is in quotes as a framing device, no reasonable reading of the second line would interpret it as a quote from the source.
I READ the post and I ALREADY said I made a mistake when I went back to it to grab a section you quoted. As to your justification for yourself using quotes, generally a non-official quote uses single 'non-quote' instead of "quote" which is what threw me off when I went for the actual quote.

The single quotes would have made that clearer, I will use that in the future. Let's call that a mutual mistake and move on.

graystone wrote:
Gallant Armor wrote:


Not necessarily, it is an illusory projection of your voice that lasts minutes per level. This is a continuous effect that you can use when and how you wish but it should still count as a singular effect for the purposes of saves.
So what you're saying is that if I cast a chill touch or Snapdragon Fireworks and I attack you once and you save that you no longer have to save for future attacks with the same spell? Why does a new action/attack/illusion not require a new save?
Each attack from chill touch or snapdragon fireworks would be a separate effect. For ventriloquism the effect is "intelligible sound, usually speech" which could be interpreted as all sound that comes from a casting is one effect. I can see it both ways, but in general once you disbelieve an illusion you don't have to make any additional saves to disbelieve it in the future.

One way to think of it is comparing it to visual illusion spells. If there is an illusory wall, you don't save against every brick, you save against the illusion as a whole, even if there are parts of the illusion that you can't see at the moment.


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Interacting with an auditory illusion could be as simple as hearing the sound. "Most Perception checks are reactive, made in response to observable stimulus." Or maybe requiring a move action for Perception "study it carefully" = "Intentionally searching for stimulus is a move action." At minimum, attempting to talk to it = "interact with it in some fashion." If no legitimate response comes from the illusion as you attempt diplomacy or whatever, bam, saving throw. It's up to the GM whether you even need to take an action or if you just get the save (is merely hearing the illusion enough via passive perception).

Based on this, I would lean towards spend an action:
"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."

Then, you need make exactly 1 successful save.

Ventriloquism:
"You can make your voice (or any sound that you can normally make vocally) seem to issue from someplace else. You can speak in any language you know. With respect to such voices and sounds, anyone who hears the sound and rolls a successful save recognizes it as illusory (but still hears it)."

There is nothing in here that you need to successfully make multiple saves. Even when you do make multiple saves for other spells, it's usually in the target's benefit, like with Hold Person. You keep saving to get out of it, or the duration runs out. You don't get forced to make saves until you fail.

The duration on the spell is 1 minute per level, and not concentration. The caster doesn't keep the spell going, so the prospective victims don't need to save after their first success. It's a level 1 spell; none require multiple successes on saves with no further action from the caster. Chill Touch requires successive attack rolls to keep the effect going; Snapdragon Fireworks requires a move action to keep the effect going.


What differentiates a sound from an illusion?

A sound will have a point of origin. It will have modulation depending on how it was produced.

For example, if you are on the back of a diving dragon, you will speak differently than if you are perfectly still. If you are speaking under a sheet, the sound would be modulated differently.

So, we do not have the capacity to interact with a one time sound - just as we would not have the ability to interact with an illusion that vanished after just a split second.

However, you might have the opportunity to notice imperfections in how the sound or illusion were created.

But for a continuing auditory illusion, we investigate by triangulating; by listening intently for flaws; by coparing our experience with what we would expect to experience.


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Ventriloquism contains it's own specific rule that supercedes the general rules on illusions - if you hear it you get a save. It is that simple. It doesn't require an action.

Ghost sound has a similar line in it.


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dragonhunterq wrote:

Ventriloquism contains it's own specific rule that supersedes the general rules on illusions - if you hear it you get a save. It is that simple. It doesn't require an action.

Ghost sound has a similar line in it.

No offense to the designers of the game or paizo as a company, but this is why it would make a lot of sense to have an magic and spells editor just to synchronize the language and format of spells and magic items so they are the same when they should be the same, instead of having many different authors contribute language that can create these kinds of arguments.

Ghost sound: "Anyone who hears a ghost sound receives a Will save to disbelieve."

There is no ambiguity here. Anyone who hears the sound gets to make a will save.
The sound is static and stuck in place, so only one save will ever be necessary. (it can recede or get louder, but it can't actually move or change in type.

Ventriloquism: "With respect to such voices and sounds, anyone who hears the sound and rolls a successful save recognizes it as illusory (but still hears it)."

Why is there a difference in language between these two spells if the intent was the same? Shouldn't ventriloquism read "Anyone who hears a sound or voice made by this spell receives a will save to disbelieve the spell's effects." if the intention was to make it the same as ghost sound?

Which is why it seems like the spell is supposed to be different than ghost sound, but is up to some table-side interpretation to determine exactly how.


I just went and looked at the spell displacement and realized that Ventriloquism is probably actually a glamer and not a figment. It is not making a brand new sound appear anywhere, it is moving where a sound that you can make yourself, with your mouth originates from. Thus the general rules about disbelief are confounding because the sound always will be real and not an actual figment, but the question of saves is whether or not the hearer can tell that the sound came from somewhere else and how much investigation is necessary for that save to be made. This spell is probably a decent candidate for an Errata more than a FAQ, and I think it is very ambiguous about whether the spell grants saves with every noise or just once, and probably a decision that will require table side debate unless it is clearly FAQ'd.


Glamers have to have a target to cast the glamer on. Take Magic Mouth as an example, it makes an illusory sound come from an object of some kind, not from thin air.

Grand Lodge

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Ultimate Intrigue, Page 158 wrote:

Disbelief and Interaction: All three of the subschools

above tend to have saving throw lines that say “Will
disbelief,” but they differ in how those saving throws apply.
Phantasms directly assail a creature’s mind, so the
creature automatically and immediately receives a saving
throw to disbelieve a phantasm. Figments and glamers,
however, have the more difficult-to-adjudicate rule that
creatures receive a saving throw to disbelieve only if they
“interact” with the illusion.
But what does it mean to interact with an illusion? It
can’t just mean looking at the illusion, as otherwise there
would be no need to make the distinction, but drawing
the line can be a bit tricky. Fortunately, the rules can
help to define that difference. A creature that spends a
move action to carefully study an illusion receives a Will
saving throw to disbelieve that illusion, so that is a good
benchmark from which to work.
Using that as a basis, interacting generally means
spending a move action, standard action, or greater on a
character’s part. For example, if there were a major image
of an ogre, a character who tried to attack the ogre would
receive a saving throw to disbelieve, as would a character
who spent 1 minute attempting a Diplomacy check on
the ogre. A character who just traded witty banter with
the ogre as a free action would not, nor would a character
who simply cast spells on herself or her allies and never
directly confronted the illusory ogre. For a glamer,
interacting generally works the same as for a figment,
except that the interaction must be limited to something
the glamer affects. For instance, grabbing a creature’s ear
would be an interaction for a human using disguise self
to appear as an elf, but not for someone using a glamer
to change his hair color. Similarly, visually studying
someone would not grant a save against a glamer that
purely changed her voice.

Perhaps this might help...you have to use a minimum of a move action to get a save RAW.


So... basically, Ventriloquism (for editing or whatever reason) is missing the "and (then) makes a save (in the usual way)" rather than the "and" it has in the description?

This is the point I was trying to make on the other thread: If an unknown assailant casts their voice behind me, I have to turn round and figure out if there is actually anything (or an invisible thing) behind me before either proceeding or guessing (which is the "interaction")...

This becomes slightly more important when using Threatening Illusion (see other thread) as this gives flanking as False Flanker if not saved for on top of the other effects...


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

As a point of clarification, is there anyone who thinks ghost sound must be interacted with to get a save? Because it is a figment? Or is the ambiguity with ventriloquism simply a question of the difference in language between ghost sound and ventriloquism? If it is just the “and then,” then I think this is a very strong candidate for an FAQ, and I don’t see any possible resolution short of that and leaving it for table side consensus until then.

Is the difference in language between the descriptive text for when a save is made, in ghost sound and ventriloquism, there to suggest that ventriloquism must be interacted with while ghost sound does not? Or are they supposed to be telling us the same thing, only in different words?


Also, it seems like the “interaction” element of making a saving throw vs figments has been a particular point of confusion (referenced in the title of this post) for players for a very long time. It always seemed to me like a perception check made more sense than a saving throw for non-mind affecting illusions. Like no figment spell should grant a saving throw, they should just allow perception checks to spot that something isn’t right. Especially with perception being a folding in of all the senses, it just seems like the smoother game mechanic for dealing with something attempting to fool the senses.


Unicore wrote:

As a point of clarification, is there anyone who thinks ghost sound must be interacted with to get a save? Because it is a figment? Or is the ambiguity with ventriloquism simply a question of the difference in language between ghost sound and ventriloquism? If it is just the “and then,” then I think this is a very strong candidate for an FAQ, and I don’t see any possible resolution short of that and leaving it for table side consensus until then.

Is the difference in language between the descriptive text for when a save is made, in ghost sound and ventriloquism, there to suggest that ventriloquism must be interacted with while ghost sound does not? Or are they supposed to be telling us the same thing, only in different words?

Ghost sounds implicitly allows a save if the sound is heard:

"Saving Throw Will disbelief"
"Anyone who hears a ghost sound receives a Will save to disbelieve"

Ventriloquism does not:
"Saving Throw Will disbelief (if interacted with)"
"anyone who hears the sound and rolls a successful save recognizes it as illusory"

I would be open to an FAQ on this. The main contention is that some are interpreting "anyone who hears the sound and rolls a successful save recognizes it as illusory" as 'anyone who hears the sound receives a save to recognize it as illusory'.

Given the general rules on illusions, the specific note of "if interacted with" and the a plain text interpretation of the spell; you need to interact with the illusion in some way to get a save.


Unicore wrote:
Also, it seems like the “interaction” element of making a saving throw vs figments has been a particular point of confusion (referenced in the title of this post) for players for a very long time. It always seemed to me like a perception check made more sense than a saving throw for non-mind affecting illusions. Like no figment spell should grant a saving throw, they should just allow perception checks to spot that something isn’t right. Especially with perception being a folding in of all the senses, it just seems like the smoother game mechanic for dealing with something attempting to fool the senses.

A will save to disbelieve is about resisting the spell's attempt to make you think the illusion is real under scrutiny, it's not about seeing flaws in the illusion.


Gallant Armor wrote:
Unicore wrote:
Also, it seems like the “interaction” element of making a saving throw vs figments has been a particular point of confusion (referenced in the title of this post) for players for a very long time. It always seemed to me like a perception check made more sense than a saving throw for non-mind affecting illusions. Like no figment spell should grant a saving throw, they should just allow perception checks to spot that something isn’t right. Especially with perception being a folding in of all the senses, it just seems like the smoother game mechanic for dealing with something attempting to fool the senses.
A will save to disbelieve is about resisting the spell's attempt to make you think the illusion is real under scrutiny, it's not about seeing flaws in the illusion.

UI seems to disagree. "A creature that spends a move action to carefully study an illusion receives a Will saving throw to disbelieve that illusion, so that is a good benchmark from which to work." That strongly implies that the action is exactly what you said it wasn't: an action to "flaws in the illusion". It it was purely about the mental save, then an action attached makes little sense.


graystone wrote:
Gallant Armor wrote:
Unicore wrote:
Also, it seems like the “interaction” element of making a saving throw vs figments has been a particular point of confusion (referenced in the title of this post) for players for a very long time. It always seemed to me like a perception check made more sense than a saving throw for non-mind affecting illusions. Like no figment spell should grant a saving throw, they should just allow perception checks to spot that something isn’t right. Especially with perception being a folding in of all the senses, it just seems like the smoother game mechanic for dealing with something attempting to fool the senses.
A will save to disbelieve is about resisting the spell's attempt to make you think the illusion is real under scrutiny, it's not about seeing flaws in the illusion.
UI seems to disagree. "A creature that spends a move action to carefully study an illusion receives a Will saving throw to disbelieve that illusion, so that is a good benchmark from which to work." That strongly implies that the action is exactly what you said it wasn't: an action to "flaws in the illusion". It it was purely about the mental save, then an action attached makes little sense.

The text makes no mention of seeing flaws, only disbelieving. The check is to see whether or not you believe the illusion to be real.

Will wrote:
These saves reflect your resistance to mental influence as well as many magical effects.

The spell is attempting to influence you to see it as real, if you make the save you recognize it as illusory, if you fail the save you think it is real. If you don't scrutinize the illusion there is no need for the spell to exert this influence. Saves in general are about a creatures ability to resist an effect; they are reactive, not active.

Grand Lodge

The in-character description of how your character disbelieves the illusion is purely cosmetic, and really does not matter...you can describe it as seeing a flaw in the illusion or you can describe it as your mind is simply able to tell reality from illusion.

The in-game mechanics dictate you have to spend a minimum of a move action to get a will save to disbelieve an illusion, regardless of how you describe it.


Gallant Armor wrote:
The text makes no mention of seeing flaws, only disbelieving. The check is to see whether or not you believe the illusion to be real.

Not in those EXACT words but how else can you take "spends a move action to carefully study an illusion"... study it for what exactly if not for flaws?

Please explain the wording from UI and not just repeat the wording from rules before it. PLEASE explain how to use "study" to "reflect your resistance to mental influence"... [you know, what UI says you CAN do to get a save]


graystone wrote:
Gallant Armor wrote:
The text makes no mention of seeing flaws, only disbelieving. The check is to see whether or not you believe the illusion to be real.

Not in those EXACT words but how else can you take "spends a move action to carefully study an illusion"... study it for what exactly if not for flaws?

Please explain the wording from UI and not just repeat the wording from rules before it. PLEASE explain how to use "study" to "reflect your resistance to mental influence"... [you know, what UI says you CAN do to get a save]

The text from UI makes no mention either way, only that an interaction leads to a save. If you choose to ignore all other rules that exist in all other sources for some arbitrary reason then you can rule however you wish I suppose.

Studying itself does not lead to a save, the fact that it is an interaction does. If you interact with an illusion your mind gets a chance to see through the illusion. As UI states there are various ways to trigger a save to disbelieve an illusion that don't involve studying it.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

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Also, in defense of a perception check instead of a will save, neither figments, nor glamers are mind-affecting like phantasms. Creatures without minds can still be fooled by illusions. I am just saying that if invisibility doesn't grant a saving throw to see through it, I don't really understand mechanically why other illusions do, except that it has largely been the convention of roleplaying games since their inception, before things like perception checks existed.


So rereading the exact wording of the spells Ventriloquism, this whole debate is starting to look a lot clearer:

VENTRILOQUISM
School illusion (figment); Level bard 1, sorcerer/wizard 1
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, F (parchment rolled into cone)
Range close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Effect intelligible sound, usually speech
Duration 1 min./level (D)
Saving Throw Will disbelief (if interacted with); Spell Resistance no

You can make your voice (or any sound that you can normally make vocally) seem to issue from someplace else. You can speak in any language you know. With respect to such voices and sounds, anyone who hears the sound and rolls a successful save recognizes it as illusory (but still hears it).

The wording for the saving throw here exactly mimics the wording for silent image and not ghost sound (which reads Saving Throw Will disbelief). Notice ghost sound does not specify interaction, but ventriloquism does.

Even though I think the wording: "With respect to such voices and sounds, anyone who hears the sound and rolls a successful save recognizes it as illusory (but still hears it)." IS incredibly misleading in how close it is to ghost sound, it is different, AND the header text declares that an interaction is required for a save.

Unless a developer of the game has posted somewhere on the boards explicitly that ventriloquism does not require interaction (which I have not seen despite quite a bit of looking), I don't think there is an argument to be made for getting a save just by hearing the sound.

I am also in agreement (especially since getting a save against it requires an action be taken by the listener) that it generally flies in the face of how spells work for a new sound to grant a new save. My personal interpretation would be that the listener, after interacting with the spell (possibly spending a move action to look for its source, for example) AND successfully making the save, is that the sound lacks a full enough register to be authentic and once that register is detected the listener is observant for that false sound for the duration of the spell.

I have a comment about the Utility of this spell that I will make on the original General discussion thread, but for me, I think the issue is laid to rest, unless the developers rule otherwise:

The wording of the spell description is misleadingly similar to ghost sound, but ultimately different and the Saving throw very clearly specifies interaction.

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