Scent and Mirror Image


Rules Questions

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Can a creature with scent pinpoint a spellcaster with mirror image in effect? It can pinpoint invisible targets, but then again it can only learn which 5 foot square the opponent is in.


I would rule no, because of this text in the spell description:
"This spell creates a number of illusory doubles of you that inhabit your square."

With scent you can pinpoint which square an illused (yes, I invented that word) creature is in. Since mirror image just fills the square of the caster, scent doesn't give you any additional information.


Mirror Image is a Figment and the description specifically states that sight is the only sense it affects (since if you're blind the spell has no effect). Scent would sniff out the real caster quickly.


Like the flying monkey said. Scent only determines a square. It would not interact with mirror image.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 4

It's like hearing for your nose.

There use to be a feat for listen checks to pin-point to a square too.


^ What he said.

...Ideally, there should be a DC to perceive by scent which part of the square has the creature (or part of the multi-square area inhabited by the mirror images of a Large+ creature).

...For simplicities sake, I would probably just make it a 20% miss-chance if you can use Scent instead of the normal miss-chance from mirror images (or closing your eyes).


Mirror Image, I'd personally say that scent doesn't help you against it at all, Mirror image says right at the start: "This spell creates a number of illusory doubles of you that inhabit your square"\
Scent won't even let you locate a creature unless it's within 5' of you, I doubt that it's good enough to specifically note a certain part of a 5' square at that point, moreso with everyone moving around within their own squares as they attack and dodge.


This "Inhabits your square" stuff... do you all honestly play that every duplicate image appears within the same 5' square? The same one the caster inhabits? If you can target a 5' square there's just a 50% miss chance, and that's not how Mirror Image is described.

Since 2nd ed, whenever a Wizard cast Mirror Image, we had the images appear in random squares around the caster, not in the same square. If we were using miniatures, we got another miniature for each image.

Having them in the same 5' square just seems... a bit crowded, especially when you have over 6 images plus the real caster.

I'd love to get an official answer from a dev on this.


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Dork Lord wrote:
This "Inhabits your square" stuff... do you all honestly play that every duplicate image appears within the same 5' square?

Since that's exactly what the spell says it does, yes. And the 3.5 FAQ recommended that the spell be treated this way as well.

Dork Lord wrote:
The same one the caster inhabits? If you can target a 5' square there's just a 50% miss chance, and that's not how Mirror Image is described.

If the attacker decides to close her/her eyes, then it would work that way. Otherwise you have to pick an image and swing at that instead.

Dork Lord wrote:
Since 2nd ed, whenever a Wizard cast Mirror Image, we had the images appear in random squares around the caster, not in the same square. If we were using miniatures, we got another miniature for each image.

Which lead to endless debates about what happens when their isn't enough room, what if the squares can't be occupied without damage, etc., ad nauseum.

Dork Lord wrote:
Having them in the same 5' square just seems... a bit crowded, especially when you have over 6 images plus the real caster.

I think that you're over thinking it. What is important is the mechanical effect, not the visualization. The spell is balanced and functions the way it always did.

Dork Lord wrote:
I'd love to get an official answer from a dev on this.

Well, if you mean about the scent interaction, then sure, but given the wording for scent, i.e. identify the square occupied, then it seems pretty clear. If you mean clarification about the spell, well, they did specifically change the wording, so that, in and of itself, is clarification. Mechanically the spell works the same way it all ways did. It makes duplicates that might get struck instead of the caster. The only thing that has really changed is the fluff.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 4

I always like the idea of all the images running our from one spot so you don't know which one is real, but I can see how it could be abused.

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A square is five feet by five feet. You can easily fit five real people in that space, more if they don't mind squeezing together. And when you're talking about illusions that can overlap, eight isn't a problem (the record for people in a phone booth is more than 20, and even if you cut out the vertical element that's still 10 people squeezed into a tiny space).

If you're targeting a 5' square, you're not trying to target a specific image, you're trying to hit anything that's there. If you close your eyes and attack blindly, yes, you can ignore the images and just use the 50% miss chance rule... but then you're also blind, which has a lot of penalties for you.

Scent only allows you to target what square the creature is in, not a specific location within that square.

Putting images into adjacent squares opens up weird questions like, "if all my adjacent squares are lava, can you use that to figure out who the real caster is because if all the images aren't hotfooting, he must be on the one safe square?" and "if I'm surrounded by images and I walk near a wall, does that mean some images walk through the wall, or do they crowd into multiple squares, or crowd into my square, or move into spaces farther away from me?" Which is one reason they've been all in your square since 2000.


Yeah! What he said.


Mynameisjake wrote:
Dork Lord wrote:
The same one the caster inhabits? If you can target a 5' square there's just a 50% miss chance, and that's not how Mirror Image is described.
If the attacker decides to close her/her eyes, then it would work that way. Otherwise you have to pick an image and swing at that instead.

Ok, so what you're saying is you'd be better off closing your eyes against the MI spell? That seems like a recipe for disaster.

Is closing and opening your eyes a free action? If so, couldn't a character close his eyes to attack the caster then immediately open them again with no penalty?

Quote:
Dork Lord wrote:
Since 2nd ed, whenever a Wizard cast Mirror Image, we had the images appear in random squares around the caster, not in the same square. If we were using miniatures, we got another miniature for each image.
Which lead to endless debates about what happens when their isn't enough room, what if the squares can't be occupied without damage, etc., ad nauseum.

It worked better visually then the mess it's apparently become now...

Quote:
Dork Lord wrote:
Having them in the same 5' square just seems... a bit crowded, especially when you have over 6 images plus the real caster.
I think that you're over thinking it. What is important is the mechanical effect, not the visualization. The spell is balanced and functions the way it always did.

Because mechanics/rules are more important than the visualization? Wow, I can't disagree more strongly.

Quote:
Dork Lord wrote:
I'd love to get an official answer from a dev on this.
Well, if you mean about the scent interaction, then sure, but given the wording for scent, i.e. identify the square occupied, then it seems pretty clear. If you mean clarification about the spell, well, they did specifically change the wording, so that, in and of itself, is clarification. Mechanically the spell works the same way it all ways did. It makes duplicates that might get struck instead of the caster. The only thing that has really changed is the fluff.

Fluff? Is that what you call it when the DM describes what's happening? I call that storytelling, and yes... players are bound to question something that makes no sense. This imo makes no sense.

GM: "Ok, the evil Wizard casts a spell and you now see a total of 11 images of him squeezed into a 5 foot square".

Player: "Um... ok. That looks stupid".

GM: "It's how the spell works so I can't do anything about it".

Player: "Fine. I Great Cleave them all, since they're all so close together".


Sean K Reynolds wrote:

A square is five feet by five feet. You can easily fit five real people in that space, more if they don't mind squeezing together. And when you're talking about illusions that can overlap, eight isn't a problem (the record for people in a phone booth is more than 20, and even if you cut out the vertical element that's still 10 people squeezed into a tiny space).

If you're targeting a 5' square, you're not trying to target a specific image, you're trying to hit anything that's there. If you close your eyes and attack blindly, yes, you can ignore the images and just use the 50% miss chance rule... but then you're also blind, which has a lot of penalties for you.

Scent only allows you to target what square the creature is in, not a specific location within that square.

Putting images into adjacent squares opens up weird questions like, "if all my adjacent squares are lava, can you use that to figure out who the real caster is because if all the images aren't hotfooting, he must be on the one safe square?" and "if I'm surrounded by images and I walk near a wall, does that mean some images walk through the wall, or do they crowd into multiple squares, or crowd into my square, or move into spaces farther away from me?" Which is one reason they've been all in your square since 2000.

Thank you for clarifying. I still don't agree with that rule, but thanks for taking the time to reply.


I assume you got ninja'd by the developer so I'll just address the cleave question.

Sure, Great Cleave works fine against Mirror Image (as per the 3.5 FAQ). You can keep hitting different images and destroying them until you miss one. You wouldn't get the "cleave them all at the same time," however. You still have to roll your attacks.


Mynameisjake wrote:

I assume you got ninja'd by the developer so I'll just address the cleave question.

Sure, Great Cleave works fine against Mirror Image (as per the 3.5 FAQ). You can keep hitting different images and destroying them until you miss one. You wouldn't get the "cleave them all at the same time," however. You still have to roll your attacks.

Well yeah... but you can still pretty easily hit them. Casters don't tend to have a very high AC, even at high level.

Besides, would the image actually have the same AC as the caster? It's not wearing any armor or magic items. It's an illusion.


Well, another change from 3.5 is that the images don't need an a.c. because the order of attack is different. You used to pick an image and then attack. Now you just attack, and if it's a hit, you roll to see if you hit the caster or an image. If the attack roll is a "near miss" i.e. you miss by 5 or less, you automatically hit and destroy an image.

Want of the biggest challenges I've faced with PF is that so many of the elements of the game are similar to 3.5, yet substantially different. In some ways, learning PF when coming from a 3.5 background is harder than learning it from scratch. There are so many things that I thought I knew, that once I look a little closer, are really different, despite using the same terms and overall language.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Dork Lord wrote:


Because mechanics/rules are more important than the visualization? Wow, I can't disagree more strongly.

With respect to how to operationalize the effect of the spell, then, yes, the mechanics are generally more important than how you visualize them on a battlemat (which is really the only place we worry about crowding into a 5' space). They're both abstractions from an imaginary reality.

I'd say that the crowding effect is a particularly important aspect of the spell. The images are supposed to confuse the viewer into targeting some spot other than the one actually occupied by the caster even when multiple attacks are made. If everyone's 5' apart, that's very hard to actually accomplish.

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By the way, it would look like this:

link

Crowded, confusing, and a perfectly explanation for why you have a random chance to hit an image.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The "each image occupies a different square" caused a lot of headache.

1. Tracking which one is the "real deal" for purposes of AOOs/area effects.
2. 10 by 10 room and I roll 6 images, what now ?
3. What SKR said.

I really like the PF mirror image. One of those tiny little tweaks which you don't notice right off the bat but once they come up, you go "ooooh nice".


Sean K Reynolds wrote:

By the way, it would look like this:

link

Crowded, confusing, and a perfectly explanation for why you have a random chance to hit an image.

I like that, now I won't have anyone asking for 8 minis to put on the board.


Mynameisjake wrote:


Want of the biggest challenges I've faced with PF is that so many of the elements of the game are similar to 3.5, yet substantially different. In some ways, learning PF when coming from a 3.5 background is harder than learning it from scratch. There are so many things that I thought I knew, that once I look a little closer, are really different, despite using the same terms and overall language.

I second that. Keep finding differences that ultimately do make a big, er ... difference.


I just don't like how the "all-in-same-square" approach makes it so pretty much anybody but un-intelligent animals would realise it's an illusion type of effect and that their best chances are to close their eyes and swing, which drastically changes the effect of the spell.

...Ironically, un-intelligent animals very often have scent, so would be the ones who WOULD be able to discern the correct square using the old version... /shrug


Quandary wrote:
I just don't like how the "all-in-same-square" approach makes it so pretty much anybody but un-intelligent animals would realise it's an illusion type of effect and that their best chances are to close their eyes and swing, which drastically changes the effect of the spell.

Bingo. It pretty much makes the spell irrelevant at that point.

Hmmm... 10% chance to hit or I can close my eyes and have a 50% chance to hit. I wonder which I'm going to choose.


Well, it's not IRRELEVANT, it's still a great spell for the spell level.
It's just that the 'special functionality' in the spell itself just gets bypassed
(i.e. it might as well just say 50% miss chance for duration), which is a shame.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 4

I've had a lot of NPC's use Mirror Image and so far, no one has thought to just close their eyes and swing. Just saying, lol.

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I welcome anyone deciding to close their eyes in the middle of combat. That means

* all your opponents have total concealment

Which means

* you're flat-footed against them
* rogues can sneak attack you at will

Also, I'm not entirely sure, but I suspect that closing your eyes doesn't guarantee that if you roll your 50%, you hit the caster. I think it means that you roll your attack, have a 50% miss chance to hit ANYTHING, and if you "hit" then you roll your random chance to see whether the thing you hit is the caster or just an image. So you're worse off with your eyes closed--as it should be.


Quandary wrote:

Well, it's not IRRELEVANT, it's still a great spell for the spell level.

It's just that the 'special functionality' in the spell itself just gets bypassed
(i.e. it might as well just say 50% miss chance for duration), which is a shame.

Well, the advantage of not closing your eyes is that you can remove some of the images. Of course, if there are 8 images, it might take a while to get rid of all of them...

I also think it's odd to complain that Mirror Image with a 50% miss chance is only as good as Displacement (a higher-level spell with a shorter duration).

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

There actually is a good demonstration of mirror image might work in combat in World of Warcraft. One of the casters in a dungeon known as Scholomance can put up a veritable crowd of duplicates of herself all of which are phantasms that target like the original. They're a good deal ore durable than the original mirror image though, but visually they give a good idea on how it should work. If I can find a video of the fight I'll post a link.


Sean K Reynolds wrote:

I welcome anyone deciding to close their eyes in the middle of combat. That means

* all your opponents have total concealment

Which means

* you're flat-footed against them
* rogues can sneak attack you at will

Also, I'm not entirely sure, but I suspect that closing your eyes doesn't guarantee that if you roll your 50%, you hit the caster. I think it means that you roll your attack, have a 50% miss chance to hit ANYTHING, and if you "hit" then you roll your random chance to see whether the thing you hit is the caster or just an image. So you're worse off with your eyes closed--as it should be.

Well I do wonder if closing and opening your eyes is a free action. If so, you could just close your eyes, swing, and then open them again before your turn is over. Technically, at least... having your eyes closed is only a disadvantage (in this situation) if they're closed when it's your opponents' turn.

As for the second part, I would think the images as a factor would be totally negated. The spell description specifically states that if you're blinded there is no effect from the images.

I see what you mean thematically, but by the rules (which seem to be what 90% of the forumites on these boards are interested in) it seems that closing your eyes would increase the odds of hitting the real caster. I could be wrong... I'm just saying.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

The issue is you'd have to give yourself the blind status to gain the benefit of ignoring the images. That means you'd gain the blind status until your next action, gaining all the 'benefits' that Sean mentioned earlier. Just like you gain the AC mods on a charge until your next action.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 4

Closing your eyes in order to benefit from the 50% miss chance would probably require keeping them closed the entire 6 seconds of the round (while you and enemies act). As you attempt to rely on your other senses to determine exactly where the real target is in the square. Or something to that extent.


Closing your eyes in 3.5 worked as well, which was dumb because the spell specifically said it afected their sense of sound. Not sure if it still does. If an opponent closes their eyes on you, they can still target the square they think your in. If you move, they would need to spend a round with sight to retarget you or succeed in a listen check, else they would be targeting a random square. Scent would allow them to close their eyes and for multiple rounds.

I hate the rule, but thats how I interpret it.


Quandary wrote:

I just don't like how the "all-in-same-square" approach makes it so pretty much anybody but un-intelligent animals would realise it's an illusion type of effect and that their best chances are to close their eyes and swing, which drastically changes the effect of the spell.

...Ironically, un-intelligent animals very often have scent, so would be the ones who WOULD be able to discern the correct square using the old version... /shrug

Well, once you've taken out some of the illusions (which isn't really that hard) then you're much better off with your eyes open.

Not to mention if I was playing the caster I'd make sure to keep 5' stepping around so someone with their eyes closed would need to guess the square I'm in.
Not to mention all the horrible penalties for having your eyes closed in combat.

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{The spell description specifically states that if you're blinded there is no effect from the images.}

Ah, that's true.

{Well I do wonder if closing and opening your eyes is a free action. If so, you could just close your eyes, swing, and then open them again before your turn is over.}

If I were GM, I'd rule that a character has to spend at LEAST a move action closing his eyes for this purpose to get the benefit of being "blind" (and I'm sure some GMs would say he'd need to stay blind for the whole round). Otherwise his brain's reflexes are still remembering that there are multiple images there and mentally he's dealing with that rather than the realization that there's just one target somewhere in that square to swing at. Otherwise, on the other end of the cheese spectrum, a player could say "I'm blinking, that should count as being blind!"

Here's the breakdown of the blindness thing:
One one hand, you can swing with your eyes open, and have a reasonable chance to destroy an image (whether by missing by 5 or less, or "hitting" an actual image), which means eventually you entirely negate the spell. Note that at higher levels, a character's multiple attacks can obliterate multiple images per round. And note that destroying images helps you and your friends; even if one character has a crappy attack roll, they can pop an image with a near miss, so even the wizard who's out of spells can stay in the back and shoot at mirrorman with a crossbow to help the fighter defeat him.
On the other hand, you can swing with your eyes closed, and the miss chance stays at 50% forever, and you have to worry about enemies taking readied actions to attack you when you close your eyes (or the caster could take a readied action to MOVE AWAY when you close your eyes).

Short term vs. long term strategy, really.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Blinded: The creature cannot see. It takes a –2 penalty to Armor Class, loses its Dexterity bonus to AC (if any), and takes a –4 penalty on most Strength- and Dexterity-based skill checks and on opposed Perception skill checks. All checks and activities that rely on vision (such as reading and Perception checks based on sight) automatically fail.
All opponents are considered to have total concealment (50% miss chance) against the blinded character. Blind creatures must make a DC 10 Acrobatics skill check to move faster than half speed. Creatures that fail this check fall prone. Characters who remain blinded for a long time grow accustomed to these drawbacks and can overcome some of them.

It might be worth it if you are sure there are no rogues coming to get you.

If you are doing this there should be no chance of destroying an image though. The images are destroyed by interacting with them. If you are swinging blind then you have bypassed them completely and not interacting with the figments.


Hmmm.... question. Would Blindsense or Blindsight negate the effects of the Mirror Image spell?


Blindsense merely lets you target the square (as scent), so no. Blindsight, on the other hand, would likely negate the effects of mirror image. It specifically bypasses displacement and blur effects, but they are illusion(glammer) effects, not illusion(figment) effects.

I would rule that, unless mirror images affected all five senses, that Blindsight would bypass it.


Dork Lord wrote:
Hmmm.... question. Would Blindsense or Blindsight negate the effects of the Mirror Image spell?

Blindsense does not overcome concealment so I'd say no.

Blindsight I'd say yes.


I have just read it, seems like it is now more of a quick and dirty spell to be used and judged more quickly. though not necesarily makes more sense.

either way it works fine, some feats really pay off when fighting this, cleave, great cleave, whirlwind attack, blindfight, two weapon fighting, rapid shot..

anyway scent no it doesnt, making a blind grapple might be your best option.. should take care of the problem.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I would allow a character to close his eyes as a free action, but he could only "toggle" them open or closed on his turn once per round.

The reason being is that, though we use round by round combat, the fight is continually in motion. While the fighter has his eyes shut trying to gank the wizard, the rogue is moving in to gank the blind fighter.

It may not seem that way due to turn-based combat, but that's what's actually happening.

If a player complains and says "that's not fair" then just use SKR's reasoning (the whole you still have mental images bit).


Mirror Image has been streamlined, but I don't think this has been in it's detriment at all.

Scent was useful against the 3.5 version, now it is not. On the other hand, now MI its a bit more vulnerable to multiple attacks because all the figments are in the same square. It's a tradeoff.

Anyway the main theme of the spell has not changed; a defensive figment that makes enemies miss you, and gets depleted as you benefit from it.


So what's the ruling? Would Great Cleave own this spell?


Dork Lord wrote:
So what's the ruling? Would Great Cleave own this spell?

No; you can't target an individual image.


Dork Lord wrote:
So what's the ruling? Would Great Cleave own this spell?

It depends. Define adjacent.

I like the move action angle mentioned above for acquiring the blind condition temporarily to help overcome the massive miss chance. I don't think it should be of until-next-round duration, though. The problem with Mirror Image is that it's insanely good for a 2nd level spell, it should have some weakness. As mentioned above, it completely outperforms Displacement (a 3rd level spell), in effect AND duration. And if a mage wants use it as defensively as possible, the readying of an action to move if someone takes the move action for the blind condition seems about right to me. And make no mistake, I do love this spell, I just think it's a little too good without the eye closing tactic. And not every foe is smart enough to pull off this tactic.

Oh, and I do believe that Great Cleave should own it.


hogarth wrote:
Dork Lord wrote:
So what's the ruling? Would Great Cleave own this spell?
No; you can't target an individual image.

Why not? You're rolling attack dice aren't you?


Dork Lord wrote:
So what's the ruling? Would Great Cleave own this spell?

I don't think it would work either, illusory clones are not really there "adjacent" to be cleaved. Try to see MI as a caleydoscopic effect, it's still only one foe.


I'm pretty sure the 50% miss chance is being misinterpreted by some. If you close your eyes then you have a 50% chance of automatically missing, and 50% chance of getting to roll normally, not of automatically hitting.

As for Cleave and Great Cleave, they did work in 3.5, and I don't see any significant differences in PF. If you hit, you get another swing, illusion or not.


Mynameisjake wrote:

I'm pretty sure the 50% miss chance is being misinterpreted by some. If you close your eyes then you have a 50% chance of automatically missing, and 50% chance of getting to roll normally, not of automatically hitting.

As for Cleave and Great Cleave, they did work in 3.5, and I don't see any significant differences in PF. If you hit, you get another swing, illusion or not.

Roll your attack dice first and, if successful, roll your miss chance. Reference Concealment and the Mirror Image description itself.

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