Shadow Conjuration - Guide and Reference Manual


Advice


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I've just finished a guide for one of the most underused and powerful spells in a Sorcerer/Wizard arsenal: Shadow Conjuration.

It's also a reference manual for the spell, giving a quick one-stop place to see what spells you can translate Shadow Conjuration into.

The Guide: https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B5kvBvq2DEHjR1dOeEVkRUU4WlU

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I love it! I started a discussion on this just last night. Was that the inspiration?

Edit: Do you intend to expand this to include Shadow Evocation?


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CalebTGordan wrote:
I love it! I started a discussion on this just last night. Was that the inspiration?

Heh, no. Actually, the sad thing is, I've had this typed up in a less pretty format for about 5 months for my own personal use. Realized that, hey, maybe I should make it available for other people to get use out of as well.

Edit: Whoa, checked out the thread you're talking about, and I can definitely see why you asked. It even includes the same sort of discussion on "Can you purposely fail the will save."

Grand Lodge

This is actually something I have always wanted to know. The question of why the hell cast a shadow conjuration. But now it seems like a good idea. Does this work the same as shadow evocation?


That is an interesting idea for a guide, but let's be honest here:

You really haven't put much out there for adjudicating what %20 real and so forth actually means.

It's not your fault, I'm not sure that at any point in the close to 40 year history of these spells that TSR, WOTC, or Paizo has ever bothered to explain exactly what these spells can and can't do.

You might say that engenders creativity. Or a lack of willingness to ever tackle the problem. After all the people who ran d&d in past years never explained it, and they did ok. An acceptable level of confusion.

And obviously this guide could be expanded to the Shadow Evocation spells as well.


sunbeam wrote:

That is an interesting idea for a guide, but let's be honest here:

You really haven't put much out there for adjudicating what %20 real and so forth actually means.

It's not your fault, I'm not sure that at any point in the close to 40 year history of these spells that TSR, WOTC, or Paizo has ever bothered to explain exactly what these spells can and can't do.

You might say that engenders creativity. Or a lack of willingness to ever tackle the problem. After all the people who ran d&d in past years never explained it, and they did ok. An acceptable level of confusion.

And obviously this guide could be expanded to the Shadow Evocation spells as well.

+1


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Nice. But you missed one very interesting point about the Shades spell: per RAW, it's not actually limited to [summoning] or [creation] Conjuration spells nor to the Wizards' spell list. All Conjuration spells of 8th level or lower are fair game - provided your GM agrees of course.


Ah, I remember all those shenanigans. The planar binding spells with Shades that Frank Trollman had on the WOTC boards.

Been years since I read about that stuff.


Any links to the shadowbinding stuff? I'd love to read about it...
I definitely want to see some discussion on shades and the other spells


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Here is one I googled from 2003 (before 3.5?):

http://bb.bbboy.net/niftymessageboard-print?forum=6&thread=199

"Re: Abuse of Shades
Shades copies lower level Conjuration spell effects, but not the lower level spell costs. The cost of Shades is always one sixth level spell slot, with one action, with verbal and somatic components only.

Furthermore, it creates a shadow effect regardless of whether the original spell creates or calls something.

Furthermore, depending upon how you interpret the contradictory Shadow Magic wording in the PHB, it is possible that any save DC generated by things generated by Shades are replaced by your Shades DC (which is going to be pretty damn high).

So the obvious one is to cast Lesser Planar Binding. Every time you cast it, you instantaneously create an 8 HD outsider that has to do your bidding. This can be as simple as making powerful monsters to do specific tasks in the middle of combat, or as complex as creating an army of Archons or Movanic Devas in your spare time.

But you can get more devious than that. There are Conjuration spells that have a reduced spell level cost because of high prices. Flipping through the BoVD you can have things like Dretch Hordes working for you on a yearly basis - and instead of having to commit human sacrifice - you just don't. That's like a 6th level spell, tht has been reduced to 5th level because of the High Cost, and then you don't have to pay that cost by using a 6th level spell to replicate it. And it still only takes up one slot in your spell book.

With a little help from your friends you can do all of the in-between adventures stuff on the Plane of Shadow - where your Shades are 90% real (and stay that way when you take them back to the material world).

Your DM can interpret the lines about save DCs to mean that either the sve DCs generated by things you conjure with shades are equal to your Spell Save DC, or that they are whatever would be normal for the conjured thing:

1> If your DM allows things you conjure to in turn also have the save DC of your spell, you can create a number of creatures which are ordinarily no big deal - such as Vrock - who have really neat at-will powers (like Mass Charm) which normally have low save DCs - which now have awesome save DCs.

2> If your DM allows things you conjure to in turn keep their original save DCs, you can mimic major creation to make Epic Poison. And since you are doing this in a standard action instead of ten minutes, you can totally create the Epic Poisons in the middle of combat, all over your enemies.

Of course, even if your DM takes some kind of middle road approach to save DCs (where he always uses the worse available option in some kind of "always try to screw you" approach), you can still mimic major creation to make good old Alchemist Fire in combat. The Craft DC is even really low. 11 Cubic Feat of Alchemist Fire does 24d6 of Fire Damage per round - with no save to reduce the initial damage beyond the disbelief save (which would reduce it to merely 50 points of average damage, per round).

And finally, Shades doesn't even have to duplicate a real spell! It just has to duplicate a spell that someone could make. So you can look at spells like Dretch Horde, and since you could research a Manes Horde spell that works the same way - you could have a Horde of those as well. And the number you can control stacks between the different Horde spells.

So you could have a Lantern Archon Horde, and a Formain Worker Horde, etc. etc.

So Shades allows you to:

1> Have an unlimited number of powerful cohorts.
2> Do as much damage as a Meteor Swarm.
3> Perform Spell Research in the school of Conjuration as a free action.

Is that abusive enough for you?

-Frank "

And here is some more of his reasoning from the same thread:

"Re: Abuse of Shades
As written, the creature is quasi-real, created by the spell.

The "summoning", "calling", or "creation" tags really don't make any difference at all to Shades. In all cases it is a quasi-real illusion formed out of material from the plane of shadow (PHB page 249).

It is not a real creature, and it has no seperate existence outside the context of the spell. As such, if it "escapes" the spell it no longer even exists.

-Frank"

I agree with this guy however:

"Listen.

Everyone here is smart, perhaps even brilliant in your own way.....

So why are you arguing how two very poorly written spells interact with each other?

All the Planar Binding spells assume DM intevention, or else you would have 3,000 Divas in your castle, at a bargain rate of X amount of gold which you could mine from several extra-dimensional spots. The idea that you can summon up X number of monsters per day, and force them into service with a simple "I won't let you go, you silly bugger," or "here's a dollar, play nice" is kind of stupid.

Then take Shades. Here is a spell worthy of a senior thesis is philosophy. What is 60% of a monster, or 60% of a real thing, like a Wall of Stone(the most aptly named spell, ever). Do you pass through a 60% real Wall 60% of the time, or does it merely have 60% of the hardness or hit points, or does the very idea drive me crazy 60% of the time? I dunno for sure, but I do know that I need 3-4 more beers in me to really figure it out, and they are not going to effect me 60% of the time.

Add these two very poorly written things together, and you get chaos. We all agree that Frank would never get away with it. DMs would nerf him, and he'd be glad to be nerfed. He likes a well run game as much as the rest of us.

Same with the Major Creation as Alchemist's Fire Armageddon(sp?). We'd come up with some bogus "One type of material, not a combo thing like A. Fire(since its most likely a combo of plant, animal, and mineral. Mmm,.... maybe..... You buy it right?). It'd be bogus, but we'd all stick it in our "DM's allotted amount of bogus-ness cuz its his campaign" box, and then forget about it.

Stop the madness. Now, if not sooner. Let us agree that both things are so poorly written that to debate either is to descend into madness.

And please excuse me if I'm rude, but I've had a night full of Guinness and crazy "strippers as customers and co-drinkers" at my local pub tonight.:freakedout:

*
*
*
***********Rant Out*************** "


All right - I added a lot of material to it (including info about Shades and some GM Adjudication material.) And I definitely learned something (didn't know Shades was all Conjuration spells, not just Summoning/Creation.)

I'm hesitant about adding material that exploits a lack of Material Components, a Spell Focus, or a long casting time. As a GM, I would think long and hard about letting the Shadow Conjuration version remove those restrictions, even if it's RAW.

I had originally avoided doing anything with Shadow Evocation, because I thought it was too one-dimensional... but I'm seeing now that it has a few options available (Blasts, Walls, Utility.) It's not nearly as flexible as Conjuration, but it might be worth including.


persistent shadow conjuration (aqueous orb) - how many saves would you have to roll?

Sovereign Court

Shadow Evocation: If only because it could be a way to handle uncertainty which element monsters will be immune to today.

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Shadow evocation is great for the witch with the Shadow patron. They have a limited list of evocation spells and the extra versatility is welcomed.


And it was recently discussed on another thread here that you can use Shades to emulate Create Lesser Demiplane.

That actually let's you do Mordenkainen's Mansion without all the servants and food. Plus no focus item. You can literally say "We are out of here, everyone hold hands." And it's a standard action unless Paizo added something to Shades I didn't notice.

Of course you have to come back eventually, but still.


sunbeam wrote:

And it was recently discussed on another thread here that you can use Shades to emulate Create Lesser Demiplane.

That actually let's you do Mordenkainen's Mansion without all the servants and food. Plus no focus item. You can literally say "We are out of here, everyone hold hands." And it's a standard action unless Paizo added something to Shades I didn't notice.

Of course you have to come back eventually, but still.

Yeah, see, that's an example of something I wouldn't want to put in the guide, or at least without putting some *heavy* disclaimers on. I can't imagine this with any reasonable GM:

Me: I want to cast Create Demiplane.
GM: That'll take four hours.
Me: What?
GM: Yeah. You're creating your own pocket universe, after all.
Me: Okay. I'll use Shades and do it as a Standard Action.

... dunno. Maybe it's only a personal hangup of my part.

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It is a personal hang-up. Under the rules it can be done. Let the GM decide if it is allowed or not. Keep in mind that we are talking about a 9th level spell. Wishes are granted at this level, and are reality bending in their nature. If someone wants to use a 9th level slot to cast a 7th level as a standard action I think that should be allowed.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Nice guide! With this as springboard, I may yet play that Nidalese Shadowcaster in my brother's campaign.


Hmmm. I have some differences with your GM rulings. Just my interpretation of RAW:

PRD wrote:
A successful saving throw against an illusion reveals it to be false, but a figment or phantasm remains as a translucent outline.

The above text mentions nothing about a shadow spell. So if you successfully disbelieve a shadow spell, you can never see through it (unless you can see through objects, true seeing, blindsight, etc).

An obscuring mist spell has no non-damaging effect on anyone in the spell. The miss chances discussed are not because of the fog cloud actually doing anything -- it's simply an issue of obscuring vision. There's no save associated with this vision loss and there's no SR check. So even if you disbelieve the mist, you still are subject to the miss chances because of the fact that it's still visible.

I'd agree that the mist could become translucent if the above PRD text mentioned shadow spells -- but it doesn't.

So:

Obscuring mist and fog cloud function entirely as written. SR and saves have no effect on them. The nauseating effect of stinking cloud can be disbelieved/SRed against, but the fog cloud still blocks vision. I'd also assume that the means to negate these spells (wind spells, can't do them underwater) also apply.

Also with mage armor, the spell itself has no effect on the target. So there's no disbelief/SR. It creates bands of force around you, but that has no effect *on you*.

However, any creature attacking you interacts with the spell by trying to beat your armor class. So the attacking creature gets a disbelief save. If attacker succeeds, there's a 20% chance that the AC works *against that attacker*. SR also applies on the attack as well.

Glitterdust:

If the disbelief save is a success, there's a single 20% check that the spell has normal effects. If they make the check, there's a save for blindness, and invisibility is outlined. If you fail, you're completely not subject to the spell.

Wall of Stone:

The wall will never become translucent (disbelief only does that with figments and phantasms). But a successful disbelief save means that there's an 80% chance you can just completely ignore the wall's physical presence. In this case, it would function much like an illusory wall (except even the caster can't see through it). SR can produce the same effect as well. In all cases, you'd have to interact/carefully study the wall in some way to get a save/SR. Seeing someone casually walk through a wall of stone should count as automatic disbelief, but there's still a 20% chance it could affect an observer. There's also fun tricks you can do depending on if you choose to believe the spell or not -- lots of fun to be had here (:

Spiked Pit:

The demiplane spells and pit spells are by far the most confusing by the rules. But to be consistent with my rulings above, the extradimensional space ALWAYS functions -- even with a failed disbelief save or spell resistance. The reason is that the space itself has no effect on creatures -- much like vision-obscuring properties of fog cloud -- so there is no 20% chance of it not being real or SR against falling into a pit.

Now, the effects present in the extradimensional spaces *CAN* be negated with a disbelief check or SR.

Edits: made some edits from the original post. . . apologies if you caught them |:


I’d add a note saying that Shades being usable to mimic spells other than summoning or creation is controversial. I read it as merely raising the level of conjuration spells that can be mimicked, not expanding the subschools that can be mimicked.

Otherwise, Shades could be used to imitate Resurrections and Greater Restorations for free. Let’s not go there.


Emmit Svenson wrote:

I’d add a note saying that Shades being usable to mimic spells other than summoning or creation is controversial. I read it as merely raising the level of conjuration spells that can be mimicked, not expanding the subschools that can be mimicked.

Otherwise, Shades could be used to imitate Resurrections and Greater Restorations for free. Let’s not go there.

LOL in 3.5 it specifically mentioned sorcerer or wizard spells. In PF that restriction is not present. . . .


Hey, guys

Have you thought about witches with shadow patrons?

They can be the most powerful shadow conjurators out there...

1) Debuff your enemies will with all the excellent witches hexes

2) Enjoy your patron's shadow conjurations ;-)


Take a look to this guide, if you want

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1YkARuboGbaCVdOpcgoA0epQFqBlCygzzUsgaBdb a9BE/mobilebasic


I think the link is not working...

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1YkARuboGbaCVdOpcgoA0epQFqBlCygzzUsgaBdb a9BE/edit

This is "A witch's guide to shutting down enemies"

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Huh... I will have to fix that.

Also, if you go with a witch with the Shadow Patron you should take the feats Spell Focus (Illusion), Greater Spell Focus (Illusion), and Witch Knife. The +3 to the DC of Shadow Conjuration and Shadow Evocation spells will really help you out.

*Edit* The link in the Guide to Class Guides works. If you need, here is another link for you.


Using Shades for Planar Binding spells raises many questions.

You still need to negotiate with the being you've created. You need to offer it something.

...so does an illusion that interact with reality get a will save to realize it isn't real?


Dot


Drachasor wrote:

Using Shades for Planar Binding spells raises many questions.

You still need to negotiate with the being you've created. You need to offer it something.

...so does an illusion that interact with reality get a will save to realize it isn't real?

Can you pay it with an illusion of money?

What does something that really doesn't exist value in terms of exchange?


Elpatalan wrote:

I think the link is not working...

Linkified

This is "A witch's guide to shutting down enemies"


KBrewer wrote:

I've just finished a guide for one of the most underused and powerful spells in a Sorcerer/Wizard arsenal: Shadow Conjuration.

It's also a reference manual for the spell, giving a quick one-stop place to see what spells you can translate Shadow Conjuration into.

The Guide: https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B5kvBvq2DEHjR1dOeEVkRUU4WlU

This is an excellent guide and very well put together. Thank you!

EDIT: Now I REALLY want to plan an illusionist!


MC Templar wrote:
Drachasor wrote:

Using Shades for Planar Binding spells raises many questions.

You still need to negotiate with the being you've created. You need to offer it something.

...so does an illusion that interact with reality get a will save to realize it isn't real?

Can you pay it with an illusion of money?

What does something that really doesn't exist value in terms of exchange?

Who says it knows it isn't real?

As for something that isn't real, I'd imagine it would want to be -- and until that time would probably push for an indefinite contract of some sort so that it would continue to exist. Unless perhaps it thought its existence was an abomination.


Currently have an almost 3rd level wayang shadow witch.

Trait Magical Lineage Shadow Evocation/Conjuration.(you decide - I went evo)

Going to boost caster levels and DCs with the following.

+1 DC Race
+2 DC Greater Focus
+1 DC Witch Knife
+1 DC Rod of Shadow
+1 DC Tenebrous Spell

Total +6 DC

+2 CL Spell Specialization
+1 CL Tenebrous Spell
+1 CL Ioun Stone (If I can afford)

Total +4 CL

If I play her above 11th level I would get Varisian Illusion Feat for +1 CL. Please note there is 1 feat spare at this point which I will be taking Intensified Spell because Magical Lineage will allow me 15 Dice fireballs at 11th level without increasing the spell slot.

DC for spells at 11th is going to be about 29-30 If I can afford all the items. DC 30 without factoring debuffs is sick.

Witch of Shadow focusing on Shadow Evo/Conj is legit and powerful.


CalebTGordan wrote:

Huh... I will have to fix that.

Also, if you go with a witch with the Shadow Patron you should take the feats Spell Focus (Illusion), Greater Spell Focus (Illusion), and Witch Knife. The +3 to the DC of Shadow Conjuration and Shadow Evocation spells will really help you out.

*Edit* The link in the Guide to Class Guides works. If you need, here is another link for you.

Thanks for your advice. Once I played a witch and arrived only at level 3. I relied up strongly on intimidation, Ill Omen, Evil Eye and Missfortune to land save-or-suck spells (or the Slumber Hex). Although witches are SLOW normally this strategy is good enough (and if you combat a strong will salvation monster you have another strategies, for example to cast Web).

If I play a witch again and if I see my strategy is not working,no doubt I will take the spell focus way to improve my shadowing. If anyone has proven this I want his advice as well :D


I'm not sure if they changed the wording since, but it seems to be only (summoning) and (creation) spells since it references shadow conjuration.


Paulicus wrote:
I'm not sure if they changed the wording since, but it seems to be only (summoning) and (creation) spells since it references shadow conjuration.

Not quite. The exact wording is "This spell functions like shadow conjuration, except that it mimics conjuration spells of 8th level or lower."

The limitations to summoning and creation are explicitly not present when it describes how it works differently from shadow conjuration.


While I did find this guide very useful and enjoyable. I DO have to say one thing.

Unless I'm wrong, which is possible, I believe that objects always FAIL their saves against spells (with the exception of figments and glamer effects that specifically state they don't damage objects, support weight, ect.)

So things like Tiny Hut actually DO block rain, and strategies that involve shadow arrows passing through terrain don't actually work.

Damaging Objects > Saving Throws > Unattended Non-Magical Items: Non-magical, unattended items never make saving throws. They are considered to have failed their saving throws, so they are always fully affected by spells and other attacks that allow saving throws to resist or negate.


InsaneFox wrote:

While I did find this guide very useful and enjoyable. I DO have to say one thing.

Unless I'm wrong, which is possible, I believe that objects always FAIL their saves against spells (with the exception of figments and glamer effects that specifically state they don't damage objects, support weight, ect.)

So things like Tiny Hut actually DO block rain, and strategies that involve shadow arrows passing through terrain don't actually work.

Damaging Objects > Saving Throws > Unattended Non-Magical Items: Non-magical, unattended items never make saving throws. They are considered to have failed their saving throws, so they are always fully affected by spells and other attacks that allow saving throws to resist or negate.

Normally true, but you'll find in Shadow Evocation, Greater Shadow Evocation, Shadow Conjuration, Greater Shadow Conjuration, and Shades the line:

"Objects automatically succeed on their Will saves against this spell."

Since Tiny Hut is an evocation spell, and Shadow Evocation has no confusing 20% effective thing going on, that means every rain drop would succeed at its will save and enact its cunning plan to make your character wet and possbily also cold depending on the climate.
I'll be buggered as to what a 20% effective mage armor does though.


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Love the guides, we'll done.

Have you thought of making guides for Shadow Enchantment or Shadow Transmutation? I'd love to see those.

http://www.d20pfsrd.com/magic/all-spells/s/shadow-enchantment/
http://www.d20pfsrd.com/magic/all-spells/s/shadow-transmutation/


how about em shadow necromancy, zooks?


That appears to be 3rd party material.


The entire bit about using the shadow variants of spells to bypass casting time has an intuitive solution to keep things from being stupidly broken.

When you cast a contingency spell, the casting time is at least ten minutes. If the spell tied to the contingency's casting time is longer, it takes that long instead.

So any spell you choose to simulate with Shades/Shadow evocation should take one standard action /or/ the casting time of the emulated spell, whichever is longer.

It's the easiest and most reasonable solution.


Shouldn't a shadow wall be real but only have X% of the the HP of a regular wall of its type? and then the hardness would be either be 100% (on a failed save) or X% based on the type of spell?

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