Shadow Evocation: When is it partial


Rules Questions


2 people marked this as FAQ candidate.
Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Hello

When using shadow evocation to cast a evocation spell that does not deal damage, such as distracting cacophony, does each creature need to save against it individually to see if the spell is treated as disbelieved in their case. Or if one person successfully disbelieves is that sufficient to trigger only having a 20% chance to do anything for everyone?


Illusions are individual. Each person in the Area of Effect must save individually, as they would for a reflex save vs Fireball for example. If it is an ongoing effect, like an illusory wall or some such, then if anyone passes their save and communicates that they see through the illusions, everyone who failed the first time gets a new save at +4


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I'm not sure it is that simple.

There is a sentence for damaging effects: "Each disbelieving creature takes only one-fifth damage from the attack."

Specifically calls out individual saves

Then the sentence for non damaging: "If the disbelieved attack has a special effect other than damage, that effect is one-fifth as strong (if applicable) or only 20% likely to occur."

If one person disbelieves the spell then it is a disbelieved attack. Because this sentence does not call out each creature individually it is not unreasonable to conclude that one person saves and the spell only has a 20% chance to have an effect.


Mahtobedis wrote:

I'm not sure it is that simple.

There is a sentence for damaging effects: "Each disbelieving creature takes only one-fifth damage from the attack."

Specifically calls out individual saves

Then the sentence for non damaging: "If the disbelieved attack has a special effect other than damage, that effect is one-fifth as strong (if applicable) or only 20% likely to occur."

If one person disbelieves the spell then it is a disbelieved attack. Because this sentence does not call out each creature individually it is not unreasonable to conclude that one person saves and the spell only has a 20% chance to have an effect.

Exactly so. Clearly for a spell that doesn't target an individual but just generates an effect like Floating Disk, it's not like it can hold items from some people's perspective and not others. It either holds them or it doesn't. Once one person disbelieves a Shadow Evocation Floating Disk, there's only a 20% chance it stays, by my reading. Essentially I think the spell was meant mostly for blasty effects and so it acts a bit weirdly for evocations that aren't blasty.


Floating Disk may be a bit of a corner case but for the specific example of Distracting Cacophony I would point out the second to last sentence of the description of Shadow Evocation:

Core Rulebook pg. 340 wrote:
Nondamaging effects have normal effects except against those who disbelieve them. Against disbelievers, they have no effect.

The 20% thing doesn't come into effect for evocations that don't have attacks. Each character in the area of a Shadow Evocation Distracting Cacophony would make their individual save to disbelieve, those who fail are affected normally, like many other area illusion spells, and those who pass are unaffected.


Sazbirtraz wrote:

Floating Disk may be a bit of a corner case but for the specific example of Distracting Cacophony I would point out the second to last sentence of the description of Shadow Evocation:

Core Rulebook pg. 340 wrote:
Nondamaging effects have normal effects except against those who disbelieve them. Against disbelievers, they have no effect.
The 20% thing doesn't come into effect for evocations that don't have attacks. Each character in the area of a Shadow Evocation Distracting Cacophony would make their individual save to disbelieve, those who fail are affected normally, like many other area illusion spells, and those who pass are unaffected.

The OP is particularly hoping to find out about a Shadow Evocation version of daylight and its interaction with deeper darkness (I know because I know him). I'm of the mind that if even one person disbelieves the daylight, it only has a 20% chance to counter deeper darkness since it is a disbelieved effect and it either counters the other spell or it doesn't.

There are plenty of other fun weird cases other than floating disk, by the way. Try a contingency cast with a greater shadow evocation, for instance.


Rogue Eidolon wrote:

Sazbirtraz wrote:

Floating Disk may be a bit of a corner case but for the specific example of Distracting Cacophony I would point out the second to last sentence of the description of Shadow Evocation:

Core Rulebook pg. 340 wrote:
Nondamaging effects have normal effects except against those who disbelieve them. Against disbelievers, they have no effect.
The 20% thing doesn't come into effect for evocations that don't have attacks. Each character in the area of a Shadow Evocation Distracting Cacophony would make their individual save to disbelieve, those who fail are affected normally, like many other area illusion spells, and those who pass are unaffected.
The OP is particularly hoping to find out about a Shadow Evocation version of daylight and its interaction with deeper darkness (I know because I know him). I'm of the mind that if even one person disbelieves the daylight, it only has a 20% chance to counter deeper darkness since it is a disbelieved effect and it either counters the other spell or it doesn't.

I think my example would still stand, as Daylight is no more an attack than Distracting Cacophony, so the 20% doesn't come into play.

As to whether anyone disbelieving a SE Daylight would negate the SE Daylight's ability to supress/counter Deeper Darkness is...perhaps something that is not specifically covered, I'll admit. It would seem weird that the non-illusion Deeper Darkness would be suppressed for some people in a group and not for others because it is being affected by an illusion.


Man, screwed the formatting on that post, oh well.

You may just be in the realm of GM fiat when considering these kinds of spell interactions, I'll admit I have never seen (or done myself) anyone try to use Shadow Evocation for anything other than blast spells.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Hmm I think I get what you are saying Saz but I fear your line of reasoning could just as easily be used to say that you cannot use evocation spells that do not have an attack written into them.

And since the cat is out of the bag that I want to shadow evocate daylight there are some other special circumstances surrounding it.

How would one get a saving throw to disbelieve shadow evocation daylight? You can't exactly interact with it the way you would any other illusion.


I certainly wouldn't say you can't use evocation spells that aren't attacks, just that Shadow Evocation wasn't written to address every possible spell effect/combination/possibility that it can possibly produce.

Unfortunately, the caveat covering non-attack SE spells is only a single sentence long, so (in my opinion) if you are GM you are just going to have to make a call in game and if you are a player you'll have the hash it out with the GM. As for organized play...*shrug*, I just don't think that kind of thing is specifically covered beyond the basic illusion rule of "if you fail the save, it's real, if you pass, it's fake."

As for SE Daylight, I suppose interacting would be up for interpretation, and I could be persuaded at a table that you aren't interacting with it just by standing in it, but it is possible to try to grab a save through careful observation:

Core Rulebook pg. 211 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.

Perhaps the interaction between Daylight and Deeper Darkness itself would count as 'interacting' for the purpose of (dis)believing an illusion?

I feel compelled to observe that this seems like an awfully long way to go to cast Daylight...would a scroll or three not be more efficient? Shadow Evocation always seemed to me to be a way for Illusion casters to get some pew pew out of their strongest school.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

scroll of daylight does not work, by the time you need daylight you can't read the scroll to cast it, and daylight is not on the witch spell list. And honestly it is quite funny.

I'm leaning towards thinking you are correct about non attack and non damaging effects having no chance not to happen.

Not only is the sentence covering non damaging effects only a sentence long, but it also does not address effects that are not attacks. In fact there are no sentences either way regarding effects that are not attacks. But there is a sentence that clearly says you can cast them this way because they are evocation spells.

Now is that the designers intent, I don't know.

At least I can still throw up ice wall around their pesky spell ranger. It can deal damage so it is an attack.


Checking back into the wording for shadow evocation, i'm not sure why this is an issue:

shadow evocation wrote:

You tap energy from the Plane of Shadow to cast a quasi-real, illusory version of a sorcerer or wizard evocation spell of 4th level or lower. Spells that deal damage have normal effects unless an affected creature succeeds on a Will save. Each disbelieving creature takes only one-fifth damage from the attack. If the disbelieved attack has a special effect other than damage, that effect is one-fifth as strong (if applicable) or only 20% likely to occur. If recognized as a shadow evocation, a damaging spell deals only one-fifth (20%) damage. Regardless of the result of the save to disbelieve, an affected creature is also allowed any save (or spell resistance) that the spell being simulated allows, but the save DC is set according to shadow evocation's level (5th) rather than the spell's normal level.

Non-damaging effects have normal effects except against those who disbelieve them. Against disbelievers, they have no effect.

Objects automatically succeed on their Will saves against this spell.

The section in italics is for damaging spells, which daylight is not, the bolded section covers non damaging spells, including things like floating disks and daylight. Everyone gets a save, the people who fail really think there's light, the people who pass see your attempt to conjure light as a cheap trick, and keep being in the dark.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Well now don't I feel dumb. I don't know how I kept missing that.

The line right after that also stops the floating disk break, since a object that does not believe the spell is not going to be able to sit on the disk.


Mahtobedis wrote:

Well now don't I feel dumb. I don't know how I kept missing that.

The line right after that also stops the floating disk break, since a object that does not believe the spell is not going to be able to sit on the disk.

Actually, I realized this while walking home as well, but it has different implications for daylight--since daylight targets an object and objects auto-succeed on the save, it's going to have the 20% chance no matter what (same for floating disk).


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Hmm now how would that affect a raktavarna who has turned into an object. I don't think it auto disbelieves.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

Rogue Eidolon wrote:
Actually, I realized this while walking home as well, but it has different implications for daylight--since daylight targets an object and objects auto-succeed on the save, it's going to have the 20% chance no matter what (same for floating disk).

Where does it say that objects auto-succeed on their saving throws vs. Illusions? I couldn't find this anywhere.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

It is in the last line of the spells description. Objects automatically succeed on their Will saves against this spell.

For me that means shadow evocation has no effect on objects so no light. Unless you have an object that is a creature?


Ssalarn wrote:
Rogue Eidolon wrote:
Actually, I realized this while walking home as well, but it has different implications for daylight--since daylight targets an object and objects auto-succeed on the save, it's going to have the 20% chance no matter what (same for floating disk).
Where does it say that objects auto-succeed on their saving throws vs. Illusions? I couldn't find this anywhere.

It's right there in SkyHaussman's post. Directly after the bolded part:

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

Mahtobedis wrote:
Hmm now how would that affect a raktavarna who has turned into an object. I don't think it auto disbelieves.

By my best reading of the raktavarna's Change Shape, while it takes the form of an object, it is not actually an object but a creature, and does not auto-save nor can it be targeted by daylight, since both require it to legally count as an object. If a ruling is made on the ability such that the raktavarna fully counts as an object, then this would reverse in both casing, allowing it to auto-save on shadow evocation as well as be targeted by daylight.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

Mahtobedis wrote:

It is in the last line of the spells description. Objects automatically succeed on their Will saves against this spell.

For me that means shadow evocation has no effect on objects so no light. Unless you have an object that is a creature?

Thanks for that, I'd overlooked it. Yeah, it seems like any spell with a target of "object touched" or anything like that would automatically fail.

I'm surprised that PF changed the shadow spells, you used to not be able to combo shadow spells with anything with the [light] descriptor anyways.


Mahtobedis wrote:

It is in the last line of the spells description. Objects automatically succeed on their Will saves against this spell.

For me that means shadow evocation has no effect on objects so no light.

Well, 20% chance of light anyway. Surely not worth the action for those odds though.


Ssalarn wrote:
Mahtobedis wrote:

It is in the last line of the spells description. Objects automatically succeed on their Will saves against this spell.

For me that means shadow evocation has no effect on objects so no light. Unless you have an object that is a creature?

Thanks for that, I'd overlooked it. Yeah, it seems like any spell with a target of "object touched" or anything like that would automatically fail.

I'm surprised that PF changed this spell, you used to not be able to combo shadow spells with anything with the [light] descriptor anyways.

I know, right? When Mahtobedis first brought this up, I thought that clause was still in there because it's a bit odd that they removed it.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

Rogue Eidolon wrote:
Mahtobedis wrote:

It is in the last line of the spells description. Objects automatically succeed on their Will saves against this spell.

For me that means shadow evocation has no effect on objects so no light.

Well, 20% chance of light anyway. Surely not worth the action for those odds though.

They wouldn't even get the 20%. That only applies to attacks. Or I guess you could say the " that effect is one-fifth as strong " line applies, in which case it would automatically fail vs. the Darkness spell.

I personally think the "Nondamaging effects have normal effects except against those who disbelieve them. Against disbelievers, they have no effect" applies though, sooo...

The rock disbelieves, the spell fails, no light.


Ssalarn wrote:
Rogue Eidolon wrote:
Mahtobedis wrote:

It is in the last line of the spells description. Objects automatically succeed on their Will saves against this spell.

For me that means shadow evocation has no effect on objects so no light.

Well, 20% chance of light anyway. Surely not worth the action for those odds though.

They wouldn't even get the 20%. That only applies to attacks. Or I guess you could say the " that effect is one-fifth as strong " line applies, in which case it would automatically fail vs. the Darkness spell.

I personally think the "Nondamaging effects have normal effects except against those who disbelieve them. Against disbelievers, they have no effect" applies though, sooo...

The rock disbelieves, the spell fails, no light.

Huh, that seems to contradict "If the disbelieved attack has a special effect other than damage, that effect is one-fifth as strong (if applicable) or only 20% likely to occur." But it does look like these are both present in the spell description. Very very weird. So which is it? 20% chance to occur or none at all. I think we came to the correct conclusion on this topic except for that last question, which we may need to FAQ.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

It is the difference between an attack and something that is not an attack. Because you don't immediately interact with things are not attacks they need slightly different rules.

Sadly my daylight plan is foiled. But now there is greater understand of this spell.


Mahtobedis wrote:

It is the difference between an attack and something that is not an attack. Because you don't immediately interact with things are not attacks they need slightly different rules.

Sadly my daylight plan is foiled. But now there is greater understand of this spell.

Huh, good point--it does look like it auto-fails since it isn't an attack. What a confusing spell!

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