Illusion Spells: What does "Interact" mean?


Rules Questions


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I'm not entirely sure if this is the right place for this thread. Sorry if it is not.

I have several questions about what "interaction" means when using illusion spells.

Quote:
Saving Throws and Illusions (Disbelief): 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.

Let's say a Fetchling is using the Disguise Self spell to make himself look human. He doesn't change his outfit, height, weight or anything about himself except his racial appearance.

The quote above implies that every person walking down the street next to him is not going to get a save to disbelieve his illusion. What would happen if someone bumped into him or tried to pick-pocket him though? Would that count as "interacting with the illusion" for the sake of getting a save? What if the Fetchling was having a long conversation with someone? Does that somehow count as "interaction?"

I also had a question about the Silent Image spell.

The Fetchling is trying to conceal his party's presence in a dungeon. He is being pursued by an enemy group of adventurers who do not know the layout of the dungeon. He uses Silent Image to "block off" the passage he's in and wait for the enemies to pass by. If one of the enemies happened to touch the "wall", would he instantly pass his will save (I don't see any rules saying he would) since the wall doesn't have any texture or would he only get a will save that he might still fail?

If he only gets a save and fails it, would he completely ignore the fact that the wall felt like air or would he be alerted and want to study it further?

NOTE: These are not events that actually occurred in-game. I know many of the questions I have here may seem obvious and stupid, but please bear with me. I'm merely trying to get a better grasp of what "interaction" means and how it works.


Interaction is a vague term that is very heavily subject to discretion. I've been in some games where illusion spells are largely useless, and I've been in other games where silent image is strong enough to prepare eight times a day.

There is a lot of arguing on this topic. I don't have the links on hand, but there is a very good article where some very smart people write an incredibly detailed description of how all illusions work. Hopefully somebody else had the link for you.


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For reference, this is my personal opinion on the circumstances you propose.

Bumping into and pick pocketing won't give saves if you haven't altered your size or shape significantly. Conversations would not unless you said something suspicious.

With the wall of silent image case, the fighter makes a save as normal. Now if something drastic happens like he gets bull rushed strait through the wall, then he knows it's fake (probably, I can imagine some crazy circumstances where he wouldn't, like if he was blinded).

And please, don't feel stupid. You came to the correct place and you are asking difficult questions that have caused many arguments and ended friendships. I hope you get some clarity!


I would expand it to "interacts in a manner that generates a discrepancy between the illusion and reality'


Now, if you alter your clothes with Disguise Self, and visually shuffle around your pockets or alter the apparent material of your clothes, then a person who bumps into you to pickpocket you will get a save to notice.


I tend to run it as "contact or any time a non-free action is directed at the illusion". So disguise self generally wouldn't offer a save to people just looking at you (free), but would offer one to the guard inspecting people at the gate (move).


My Self hits the nail on the head. I decide interaction not based on the spell, but based on the effects. If somebody tries to punch your face and you have an illusion such as the one you described, no save. If somebody tries to punch your face and you're significantly taller or shorter than the illusion, they get a save.

IMHO. Illusions are always heavily subject to discretion.


Thanks for all the help folks!

Quote:
I tend to run it as "contact or any time a non-free action is directed at the illusion". So disguise self generally wouldn't offer a save to people just looking at you (free), but would offer one to the guard inspecting people at the gate (move).

The contact part was definitely one of the stumbling points for me. I wasn't sure if "interaction through contact regardless of the effect" meant "any physical touch at all gives the person a will save."

Quote:
Now, if you alter your clothes with Disguise Self, and visually shuffle around your pockets or alter the apparent material of your clothes, then a person who bumps into you to pickpocket you will get a save to notice.
Quote:

I decide interaction not based on the spell, but based on the effects. If somebody tries to punch your face and you have an illusion such as the one you described, no save. If somebody tries to punch your face and you're significantly taller or shorter than the illusion, they get a save.

IMHO. Illusions are always heavily subject to discretion.

Thanks, that makes sense.


I generally run interaction as effecting any sense other than sight. If an illusion has tactile, audible, taste, or smell-based components it needs a save. Thus you would need to touch, hear, taste, or smell an illusion in order to get a save to determine that it is fake. Note that you can throw things at illusions to interact with them as well.

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