Detect Magic: how do you prevent a cantrip from trumping an entire school?


Advice

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So yeah. I am having a hard time setting up illusions when the wizard says "I stop every 30 feet and cast detect magic" throughout the entire dungeon.

How do you stop it from going something like this every time:

Him: I cast detect magic. Is magic present?

Me: *sigh*, yes.

Him: *concentrates for 3 rounds* I make my K: Arcana roll. What school is it?

Me: *apply palm to face* Illusion.

Him: Aha! I carefully study the area. And if I can't get it, I tell everyone else it's an illusion for their +4 to disbelieve.
____________________________________________________________

Does anyone else have a problem with this? What do you do to prevent this cantrip from negating an entire school of magic?

One suggestion another player had would be to houserule it so that, upon casting Detect Magic, you roll the will save to disbelieve for said player. If he fails, he does not detect the illusion.

Any suggestions would be appreciated. I have a sinking feeling that this could really limit my options as a GM.

Grand Lodge

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I don't have a good answer on that to be honest... apart from OCCASSIONALLY using illusions to mask immediete threats.

GM: You detect Magic.
Him: I concentrate. The party should know to halt.
GM: While standing there 4 crossbow bolts come out of the wall that you were detecting the magic from. You are all flat footed.

This doesn't STOP the behaviour but it stops them from getting in a rut.

Then you can try putting them on a shot clock. If they take extra time all the time looking for magic? The villian succeeds, the mcguffin gets stolen etc.


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It seems as if this tactic would be substantially less useful with judicious use of Magic Aura and Phantom Trap spells.


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Oh, and don't forget to occasionally add an illusion masking a real, but invisible danger. They can disbelieve the illusion of the pit, but that won't help much if the illusion covers a true pit trap that hasn't yet revealed itself (optional: mocking laughter from a magic mouth spell when the pit trap is activated).


Zog of Deadwood wrote:
It seems as if this tactic would be substantially less useful with judicious use of Magic Aura and Phantom Trap spells.

Yeah, except for the fact that a section of wall or floor doesn't really qualify as an "item."


Well the witch gets a spell that hides magical auras. That'll help a ton.

One of the best and simplest ways of combating this problem, though, is making time valuable. Either have a ticking clock, or some rival adventurers racing them for the target, or maybe even have enemies tracking them down and thus stopping for 20 seconds every 30 feet is worse than running into an illusion.


I'd run it as any illusion of 1st level or higher defeats Detect Magic until you are aware you are scanning an illusion; let's say you form a mental block against what your magic radar is telling you until you can convince yourself it's not real.


Kryptik wrote:
Zog of Deadwood wrote:
It seems as if this tactic would be substantially less useful with judicious use of Magic Aura and Phantom Trap spells.
Yeah, except for the fact that a section of wall or floor doesn't really qualify as an "item."

Depends. A door or flagstone could easily fit within the 5lbs/caster level of the Magic Aura spell. Same goes for a carpet. And even on a seemingly seamless cavern or tunnel floor who is to say that some sections are not actually thin plates of separate material? Especially if those plates are magicked to blend in?


Yes. Illusions aren't detected just because you use detect magic. Honestly, I don't see a problem with this.

Scarab Sages

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I'd rule it like a "Where's Waldo" book. Congrats, there is magic somewhere in that hallway. Is it the roof? the floor? the walls? did the wizard like to illusion cp into pp? Is the cave enchanted with Prestidigitation to smell nice 24/7 ? who knows?! While they're spending minutes on every foot of dungeon have the thing they came in for mysteriously disappear into a... different dungeon. (NPC/monster left through a back-tunnel, item got stolen/the-wizard-did-it).

Or as suggested, they have to interact with a illusion to disbelieve, so putting a actual trap there becomes especially effective (pit trap, dart trap, or my personal favorite: Explosive Runes "upon close inspection you see there was a door where it appeared to be only a wall, also exploding runes are on the door which you instantly see, enjoy 6d6 force damage")

Or you could just use illusions as time delay tactics rather than traps, one of the wizards I had to deal with last campaign had a habit of illusioning all his doors so that the doorknob appeared to be in the wrong place, making opening a door take that extra round of disbelieving that you don't want when things are chasing you.

Extra credit: Is the wizard wearing and magic glasses/gloves or have any active spells? because if so you could argue he always is detecting those, hence the question "Do I detect magic?" being always true, and him having to spend even more time concentrating to get useful information. Then have the heavy-crossbow wielding mooks come and shoot him/her and instantly run away.


How about so much magic has been done in the area that everything gives off a tad bit of magic.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Well Detect Magic, like all the detect spells can be diverted or foiled in many ways, even mundane. Enough wood, stone, or even very thin sheets of metal. Say a magic pit trap, well line the floor with a thin lead sheet and it won't detect as magic.

And the first round is always presence of magic. Well if anyone in the party has a magic item, they will always get a positive ping the first round.

Also, the spell has a verbal component. The DC to hear spell casting is 0. Even with modifers for say through a door or distance, the party probably just lost their chance at surprise and the monsters can set up their ambush, withdraw, etc...

I would not rub their noses in it, don't penalize players for using tools they have on hand. But like anything, there is usually some sort of tradeoff if they use it non-stop.


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Kryptik wrote:

So yeah. I am having a hard time setting up illusions when the wizard says "I stop every 30 feet and cast detect magic" throughout the entire dungeon.

How do you stop it from going something like this every time:

Him: I cast detect magic. Is magic present?

Me: *sigh*, yes.

Him: *concentrates for 3 rounds* I make my K: Arcana roll. What school is it?

Me: *apply palm to face* Illusion.

Him: Aha! I carefully study the area. And if I can't get it, I tell everyone else it's an illusion for their +4 to disbelieve.

GM: Ok. Roll your will save.

Him: <numbers>!
GM: You successfully disbelieve the Shadow "Wall of Stone" effect that you are currently standing on.
Him: Wait... what?
GM: As it is no longer 'real' enough to support your weight, you immediately start falling. Roll reflex not to fall into the lava please.
Him: Wait.... WHAT????
GM: Rest of the party, you see the wizard concentrate really hard, go to say something, then get terrified and appear to blink out of existence. Actions around the room are...?
Rest of the party: To admire how strong and obviously real the floor looks.

Alternately, illusion magics by their very nature as supposed to be deceptive, there is a certain amount of 'supress this being noticable' built into it. We tend to run that Illusions can't be detected until you know that they are there. Traps we use the same for as well, although things like explosive runes, we would probably treat as triggering if you attempted to decipher the magic underneath it.

Sovereign Court

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As shown by the examples above, you really don't need to change any rules.

  • Accept that some illusions will be foiled by Detect Magic. If you try to block it everytime you'll look ridiculous and spiteful.

  • Some illusions are placed with the intention that they're detected, playing mind-games with the detecting character; "I think that you think that I think..."; sometimes the Magic Aura spell has been used just to leave an illusion aura while there's nothing actually there. Just to make the wizard nervous. Or the illusion on the left wall might distract everyone from the mundane trap on the right wall.

  • Some illusions are better not seen through. Whether you use illusory curtains to hide Lovecraftian horrors or just a Symbol/Glyph, you can use illusions to protect your henchmen. If those silly adventurers insist on seeing beyond the veils you have so kindly placed...

  • Time pressure is the big one. Detecting every 30ft will halve the party's movement speed, meaning the entire dungeon crawl takes much much longer. If there are monsters in the dungeon, those won't stay in their rooms forever; eventually they're going to the bathroom or fridge. The slower the party moves, the bigger the chance to run into a monster that will raise the alarm. At that point all the separate encounter monsters in the dungeon start converging on the party...


  • In the Detect Magic description, we have:

    crb wrote:
    Magical areas, multiple types of magic, or strong local magical emanations may distort or conceal weaker auras.

    So you have some scope with that one; if there's an illusion and a stronger enchantment, the illusion will probably be concealed completely. If there's another enchantment of similar level, it may be possible to, say, detect there is magic from more than one school but not which schools there are.

    If there are skeletons or zombies hidden behind or disguised by an illusion, a detect on that area would probably show necromancy rather than illusion.

    Explosive runes hidden behind a lower level illusion could be a good combination. They'd detect the higher level school (Abjuration). Then they might realise there was an illusion when they'd checked it out, disbelieve the illusion and assume that magic aura was used to conceal the presence of an illusion hiding important writing ... and read the runes.


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    I play (don't know if houserule) it that illusions are not detected until you disbelief the effect. I consider this as a part of the effect of an Illusion spell.


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    sgriobhadair wrote:
    In the Detect Magic description, we have:
    crb wrote:
    Magical areas, multiple types of magic, or strong local magical emanations may distort or conceal weaker auras.

    So you have some scope with that one; if there's an illusion and a stronger enchantment, the illusion will probably be concealed completely. If there's another enchantment of similar level, it may be possible to, say, detect there is magic from more than one school but not which schools there are.

    If there are skeletons or zombies hidden behind or disguised by an illusion, a detect on that area would probably show necromancy rather than illusion.

    Explosive runes hidden behind a lower level illusion could be a good combination. They'd detect the higher level school (Abjuration). Then they might realise there was an illusion when they'd checked it out, disbelieve the illusion and assume that magic aura was used to conceal the presence of an illusion hiding important writing ... and read the runes.

    "Hold up! There's magic here."

    "What is it?"
    "It looks like some kind of defensive spell, but... ah, very clever Mr evil wizard, but not clever enough to fool Kylar the Seer! Let's see what you're hiding behind that illusion."
    "What language is that?"
    "It's Draconic. A very common language for Wizards like myself to study. Our foe seems to be a learned man."
    "So what does it say?"
    *Brings torch closer*
    "I... Prepared... Explosive... Runes... Tod-"
    *Boom.*


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    using mundane traps is also an option.

    player: i cast detect magic, is there anything magic.
    gm: no, just a corridor.
    player(s) advance down the corridor.
    gm: roll reflex, bolts shoot from hidden spots along the walls.


    Kryptik wrote:

    So yeah. I am having a hard time setting up illusions when the wizard says "I stop every 30 feet and cast detect magic" throughout the entire dungeon.

    How do you stop it from going something like this every time:

    Him: I cast detect magic. Is magic present?

    Me: *sigh*, yes.

    Him: *concentrates for 3 rounds* I make my K: Arcana roll. What school is it?

    Me: *apply palm to face* Illusion.

    Him: Aha! I carefully study the area. And if I can't get it, I tell everyone else it's an illusion for their +4 to disbelieve.
    ____________________________________________________________

    Does anyone else have a problem with this? What do you do to prevent this cantrip from negating an entire school of magic?

    One suggestion another player had would be to houserule it so that, upon casting Detect Magic, you roll the will save to disbelieve for said player. If he fails, he does not detect the illusion.

    Any suggestions would be appreciated. I have a sinking feeling that this could really limit my options as a GM.

    They still dont know what the spell is. It could be an invisible person, an invisible item, or the aura of an invisible item that was there.

    It could also be an illusion of something that is there, or maybe an illusion used to be there.

    If the invisible creature, assuming it is one, moves around before the 3rd round it must be located again.


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    Wouldn't using a detect magic to spot an illusion just give you a +4 to the Will save to disbelieve?

    Scarab Sages

    Try using this.

    Sovereign Court

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    sgriobhadair wrote:


    If there are skeletons or zombies hidden behind or disguised by an illusion, a detect on that area would probably show necromancy rather than illusion.

    No, these creatures are not actually magical. Magic was used to create them, but they're not themselves magical.

    Just like Detect Magic doesn't automatically detect Magical Beasts.


    This will help you against detect magic at least.


    Basically,
    Detect Magic doesn't show you exactly where the aura is, nor does it give you a distinct outline. All you get from is is a general idea that something is active within a certain range dictated by you, the DM.
    The knowledge check can identify the spell school, but cannot identify the spell itself.
    Essentially if you cover a pit trap with a still image then the spell registers BUT does not auto-disbelieve the spell, identify exactly where it is, or give the +4 bonus to disbelieve. However, the trap, since you are replacing its normal activation with a magical one goes up in CR most likely--though on the bright side it doesn't require resetting.

    It is like when a PC decided that with detect magic he can auto detect invisible creatures. Then he realized he gets a rough idea of what 30 ft radius they seem to be in and the faint trail they left behind.

    So come up with a size of the aura's radius that magical effects create. Does the aura end at the illusion's edges? Does it effect a wide area?
    Silent Image technically covers 5x 10 ft cubes. If the aura is at the edges then they see 5 "cubes" of energy. If you go with the aura is 10 ft then they see 5x 30 ft spheres which may or may not overlap.


    I´d re-check the Spell and compare it to other spells with similiar function, like Arcane Sight.
    Keep in mind that an illusion can be the result auf a spell that has been cast und therefore it is about detecting the spellcasting, not the illusion and here the aura does fade and is harder to identify.
    Permanent Illusion, otoh, should always have their auras masked, else it would be pointless, right?

    Sovereign Court

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    @Taku: that's not entirely accurate. The third round of Detect Magic gives you the location of each magical aura; that's more precise than "anywhere in the area of effect".

    It doesn't let you see invisible creatures, but it does let you pinpoint the square they're in. Which is useful but the 3-round waiting period makes this a poor choice in combat.

    ---

    If you want to use DM to detect magical traps you'd need to concentrate for two rounds every time, to detect the # of auras. If the number goes up then a new aura has been encountered (after a while you know how many auras in your party).

    But this does reduce your speed to half (walk + concentrate, concentrate), and once per 10*level rounds you need to pause to re-cast the spell.

    On the bright side, moving so slowly gives other party members plenty of time to watch out for mundane traps while you watch out for magical traps.

    ---

    Basically, if a party is scared of traps AND has lots of time, they're going to go over the dungeon with a fine-toothed comb. If you want things to move faster, either reduce the time they've got available (and so increase the risk of stumbling into a trap), get a braver party, or make it clear that the party doesn't NEED to be this nervous. Because maybe this is a well-travelled area of the dungeon so the normal residents removed the traps for convenience.

    If you've scared the party with (magical) traps before, you can't really blame them for learning the lesson you taught them.


    Defeat Detect Magic with Mask Dweomer if you have a spammer that is annoying you.

    You could also rule that they leave a lingering aura behind them if they are maintaining the spell.

    My favorite, however, is making the trap the direction they have to go, such as the "pit trap hidden by a silent image" actually be the way deeper into the dungeon.

    Basically, if there is a BBEG who is actively thwarting the PCs, I would imagine he would be scrying on them quite a bit. If he notices they are DM Spamming, then maybe he puts his traps in a permanent anti-magic field.

    Or he could have an infiltrator familiar at at least 9th level (permanent telepathic link that is unlimited) and when the DM spammer is behind everyone the ambush kicks in.

    Remember: People react to what you do. Encourage the behavior you want them to use by rewarding it. Discourage the behavior you want them to not use by punishing them.

    My best use of this is having a group of enemies stalk the PCs while they're inside dungeons. Ratfolk with Burrowing Teeth work fantastically.

    Though, TBH it is better to put them on a time frame. They trigger the device that starts the prison they just entered filling with water. They must escape before they drown. They are permanently "in" initiative, and the water rises each round. If someone is spamming detect magic or the ilk then they are going to drown. If someone in the party, or everyone, can breath underwater then change it to oil, or an extremely weak acid that deals 1 non-lethal a round but cannot be breathed, you get the idea.

    Some players will make Powerhouse Mcgee, others will make Master Make Everyone Else Badass, and some will make Dr. Auto-adjust who continually adapts to how you build things thereby making future dungeons made with the same schemes as the previous ones completely defeated by race/class combinations.

    Also, carbon dioxide clouds rolling into low-lying areas can wipe out entire towns, so it is not entirely unrealistic for the air in certain dungeons or rooms to be unbreathable.

    There is also the option of if you use an illusion to conceal something make the ENTIRE AREA that illusion. Have 3 pit traps covered by Silent Image, cover the entire floor for that room with silent image.

    Another this is this: as DM you don't actually play by the same rules as the PCs. For all extents and purposes you do, but you are allowed to change them. You are allowed to use things that the PCs don't have access to. If you REALLY want your illusion trap to work then the spell has been cast with Psionics even if they are not allowed for PC play in your game. Maybe it is a strange alien technology. Maybe it is a form of magic so old or "different" that it doesn't even register on detect magic.

    Just err on the side of caution with this. You want these "strange occurrences" to remain strange. If every single illusion spell cast by the BBEG is psionic then your Detect Magic spammers are going to first demand "Detect Psionics" and then spend 2 rounds detecting both magic and psionics before moving forward.

    Of course your best option is to make it so there is a simple Silent Image hiding something in plain sight in the middle of the room, and either an ambush waiting for them, or some sort of nasty thing that happens.
    In other words: "You identify the spell as Silent Image" should be just as scary as the spell being "Summon monster 9000."

    Honestly though, summon monster spamming Persistent Haunts that the PCs cannot reach make better traps.


    I don't see the problem. If they are casting every minute they aren't ambushing anyone. If they are relying on Detect Magic instead of perception, cheap non-magic traps just became a problem again. The big strength of illusion is that it makes you question reality and eats up all your actions while you try to figure out what is real. Tricking people not in real time is and should be hard. If your players could easily just throw up an illusion as their only defense while camping, for their stronghold, over the horses etc... you would have less fun as a GM. Don't get obsessed with playing gotcha with illusions. Try and hit them with every hassle in the book and you will eventually find the one they forgot to prepare for.

    Sovereign Court

    If the first nine illusions were detected with DM, the one masked with Magic Aura will really catch the players by surprise.

    And as BBEG, most of the time you catch people with the nine ordinary illusions, but the tenth is for "worthy adversaries, mwuahahaha".

    Also fun: have an illusion of a direction plaque on the wall hide a real direction plaque. But the real plaque has false directions on it. Because it was hidden players will be more likely to believe it though. (In fact, both plaques contain bad intel; those who didn't identify the illusion just end up in the part of the dungeon meant for people without DM.)


    Lead?

    Scarab Sages

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    Ascalaphus wrote:

    If the first nine illusions were detected with DM, the one masked with Magic Aura will really catch the players by surprise.

    And as BBEG, most of the time you catch people with the nine ordinary illusions, but the tenth is for "worthy adversaries, mwuahahaha".

    Also fun: have an illusion of a direction plaque on the wall hide a real direction plaque. But the real plaque has false directions on it. Because it was hidden players will be more likely to believe it though. (In fact, both plaques contain bad intel; those who didn't identify the illusion just end up in the part of the dungeon meant for people without DM.)

    Magic Aura on an otherwise non-magical trap, to make it radiate illusion.

    An illusionist knows the value of misinformation lies not in just creating illusions, but in rendering all information suspect.


    Artanthos wrote:

    Magic Aura on an otherwise non-magical trap, to make it radiate illusion.

    An illusionist knows the value of misinformation lies not in just creating illusions, but in rendering all information suspect.

    Nice.


    Ok there are several things going on here. First of all thank you everyone for your replies.

    1) yes, detect magic will tell you the location of illusions.
    2) once the party knows there is an illusion there, they basically aren't going to stop studying it until it has been defeated. It's a huge meta problem.
    3) magic aura isn't particularly helpful in most instances. A length of wall is not an item, nor is the absence of a wall or door.
    4) no one is going to cover an entire dungeon in lead sheeting.
    5) I am not interested in making illusions succeed 100% of the time. I am not interested in being "ridiculous and spiteful." I AM interested in giving illusions a chance and not having an entire school of magic disregarded by a wizard spamming cantrips.


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    6) most missions aren't time sensitive. And if I did start making everything time sensitive then they will start to resent me baca use they say I am punishing them for using detect magic.


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    It's a zero level spell. House rule it to be touch only, and you're most of the way there.

    If they want to put the resources into arcane sight, or something like that, then fine. Illusions are supposed to be difficult, not unbeatable.


    I'm still under the impression that people are running this as auto-disbelieve. All the spell would do is give you the school and at best give you +4 on the WILL save to disbelieve. Which isn't over-powered, IMO.

    And don't use illusions to cover traps. Mundane means work well too.

    The Exchange

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    Honestly if you as GM have made it so that a player feels he needs to detect magic every 30' in a dungeon, or check for traps every 30', or cast detect secret doors every 30'....then you as a GM made the PCs react that way by horribly overusing a certain "thing" that is supposed to be used somewhat sparingly and in ways that make sense.
    having a dungeon that is steeped in illusions is cool sometimes as a change from the norm...if it became the norm and the pcs were getting screwed over a bunch because of it then the GM has trained the PCs to try to figure out how to overcome those challenges.

    The way that you as GM keep the illusion school usable and not allow a cantrip to overcome it all the time is by using it sparingly and logically. If you were tossing in nothing but swarms and the party started finding the cheapest, easiest way to overcome swarms would you come to the boards looking for how to nerf Alchemist's Fire and Burning Hands? This is the same thing.


    Just out of curiosity: How should a puny level 0 spell like detect magic ever beat a spell, especially one with the Glammer, Pattern or Phantasm Descriptor, that tells your direct senses that to experience? Especially the mind-influencing input from those spells should overwrite every information that detect magic gives you. When it says to your eyes _and_ brain that there is no hole in the floor, than your mind shuts out the info that there is an magic aura coming from a hole in the floor.

    That is the power of the besser class of illusions and also why there are better spells for detecting those than detect magic.


    Cardinal Chunder wrote:

    I'm still under the impression that people are running this as auto-disbelieve. All the spell would do is give you the school and at best give you +4 on the WILL save to disbelieve. Which isn't over-powered, IMO.

    And don't use illusions to cover traps. Mundane means work well too.

    If u know where the illusion is and know its an illusion spell....it makes it hard to explain why the person who rolled low disbelieves it because they theres an illusion there.

    OP, best thing i could tell ya is to find out what his will save is and add in the +4 and on the 3rd round roll secretly if he notices the illsuions there or not. Most illusions are mind alternating spells and if u roll that he disbelieves (dont have them roll because they will find a way to investigate while not investigating) then say they cant pinpoint the location.


    Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

    First off, I let my players know I will react harshely to 'detect magic every 30ft'. In other words, each time they do that without a real cause I am adding to the CR of their next encounter as the enemy regroups and gains reinforcements while they putz around in a hallway for 2 hours checking each square inch for magic.

    In my group at least we dont detect magic unless we have a reason to search something. IE if the rogue/skill monkey is searching for traps, the caster will also detect magic. If we are wondering if any gear the bad guy was using was magical, detect magic. If we are trying to figure out a specific effect or situation, sure. But not all the time. Something has to actually justify the use of detect magic.

    Also, if one of my players really started doing this, besides the afformentioned increase in CR (and I would actively tell them this each time they stopped without cause to detect magic) I would also light every single room in my dungeons with a custom magic item that creates illusionary light.

    You detect magic, its illusion, roll to disbelieve...you cant see now, the rest of hte party seems unaffected.


    Kryptik wrote:

    So yeah. I am having a hard time setting up illusions when the wizard says "I stop every 30 feet and cast detect magic" throughout the entire dungeon...

    Does anyone else have a problem with this? What do you do to prevent this cantrip from negating an entire school of magic?

    Why is this a problem? Prepared, alert players should be allowed to avoid stumbling into static hazards.

    No one is going to be concentrating on Detect Magic in combat, which is when creative figments shape the battlefield, defensive glamors like invisibility and mirror image are more effective than abjurations, and offensive phantasms can strike players dead. And detect magic is useless against patterns. So much for negating the school.

    Don’t put an illusion in your dungeon and expect that to be anything but a speedbump for your players. Put an illusionist in the dungeon, and have fun.


    I like the following:

    Detect Magic does not detect illusions 1st level or higher unless will save is made first. This is a pretty basic rule lower level spells usually do not counter higher level spells.

    Use shadow magic creatively so if illusions are disbelieved you have actually triggered the trap. ie shadow magic floor or chain holding up heavy object. I like the idea of disks suspended by shadow magic chains over a chasm or lava flow. If you disbelieve them you just ruined the only way across.

    Cover whole areas with illusions ie whole floor not just pit trap

    Traps in my opinion are items so magic aura will work.

    Put illusions on actual objects ie illusion of pit on a pit.

    Put illusions to cover actual dangers be they mechanical or magic like glyph or explosive runes.

    This thread has had lots of great ideas.


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    Fake Healer wrote:
    Honestly if you as GM have made it so that a player feels he needs to detect magic every 30' in a dungeon, or check for traps every 30', or cast detect secret doors every 30'....then you as a GM made the PCs react that way by horribly overusing a certain "thing" that is supposed to be used somewhat sparingly and in ways that make sense.

    Watch you don't fall down a hole jumping to those conclusions.

    Scarab Sages

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    Kryptik wrote:
    A length of wall is not an item, nor is the absence of a wall or door.

    You are only consider using magic to conceal an aura.

    Magic aura can be used to generate false auras or even change an existing aura (say from evocation to illusion).

    An illusionist will know of the vulnerability to Detect Magic and has a number of low level illusion spells that specifically address the problem. Use them. Make the party think about what they are doing instead of just walking through the dungeon relying on a single cantrip to find everything.

    The trick is not to outright negate Detect Magic, which even a first level illusionist can do. The trick is to make information provided by the spell unreliable, which takes less resources and is just as effective.

    Sovereign Court

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    Doug OBrien wrote:
    Fake Healer wrote:
    Honestly if you as GM have made it so that a player feels he needs to detect magic every 30' in a dungeon, or check for traps every 30', or cast detect secret doors every 30'....then you as a GM made the PCs react that way by horribly overusing a certain "thing" that is supposed to be used somewhat sparingly and in ways that make sense.
    Watch you don't fall down a hole jumping to those conclusions.

    So you think it is more likely that a player just casts DM every 30' in every adventure?

    To me there must be more going on than what we have been told. It is a reasonable guess that the DM overuses illusions and that his players are adapting.


    Does anyone have a cite for the statement that Detect Magic detects illusions? Because the OP has a point -- if that's how things work, then a cantrip can shut down a whole category of spells. That just seems weird and wrong. Nobody's going to the trouble to cast a Major Image and burn a Permanence on it if some first level mook can see through it with a 0 level spell. Hallucinatory Terrain, 4th level spell? Don't bother. And so forth.

    If that's how it works, that's how it works, but I'd like to see a cite to that effect.

    Doug M.

    Shadow Lodge

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    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
    Kryptik wrote:

    Ok there are several things going on here. First of all thank you everyone for your replies.

    1) yes, detect magic will tell you the location of illusions.
    2) once the party knows there is an illusion there, they basically aren't going to stop studying it until it has been defeated. It's a huge meta problem.
    3) magic aura isn't particularly helpful in most instances. A length of wall is not an item, nor is the absence of a wall or door.
    4) no one is going to cover an entire dungeon in lead sheeting.
    5) I am not interested in making illusions succeed 100% of the time. I am not interested in being "ridiculous and spiteful." I AM interested in giving illusions a chance and not having an entire school of magic disregarded by a wizard spamming cantrips.

    You seem incredibly determined to not fix the problem you are complaining about. Fifty different solutions have been proposed, most of which are great responses which solve your issue, and you've decided none of them work.

    Also, yes, a length of wall is an item. What the hell else would it be?


    The Morphling wrote:
    Also, yes, a length of wall is an item. What the hell else would it be?

    OH MAN, I get to quote Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality.

    Quote:
    A glance showed the walls to be solid stone. So was the floor. So was the ceiling. You couldn't separately Transfigure a part of something that was a solid whole; Harry would have needed to try Transfiguring the whole wall, which would have taken hours or maybe days of continuous effort, if he could have done it at all, and if the wall wasn't contiguous with the rest of the whole castle...

    (He actually overcomes that problem later)

    Basically, the illusion would have to be cast on the whole dungeon. ;D


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    Illusion isn't just about covering things up. It's misdirection as well. Use it in that fashion. Mix it with the mundane.

    Make an illusory pit over an actual closed pit trap.
    Detect magic="Oh look that giant pit in the ground could be illusory!"
    Interaction=Tap on the floor where the illusion lies, illusion vanishes. "Yep. It's not a pit"
    Trap=When enough weight is on the area, actual pit trap opens. Witness the confusion on their faces as they plummet.

    Scarab Sages

    Draco18s wrote:
    The Morphling wrote:
    Also, yes, a length of wall is an item. What the hell else would it be?

    OH MAN, I get to quote Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality.

    Quote:
    A glance showed the walls to be solid stone. So was the floor. So was the ceiling. You couldn't separately Transfigure a part of something that was a solid whole; Harry would have needed to try Transfiguring the whole wall, which would have taken hours or maybe days of continuous effort, if he could have done it at all, and if the wall wasn't contiguous with the rest of the whole castle...

    (He actually overcomes that problem later)

    Basically, the illusion would have to be cast on the whole dungeon. ;D

    There are, literally, a thousand ways around this. Everything from my previously posted suggestion of giving false auras to mundane traps to using illusion magic to change the appearance of an item that is latter placed in the appropriate spot. (a small, low value item, given appropriate enchantments and affixed to an appropriate location.)

    I would also point you towards magical traps. Obviously they do not require enchanting the entire dungeon.

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