Optimize an illusionist, and a question


Advice


I've always though illusionists to be only really useful as enemies or creating disorienting dungeons or the like. Why would I play an illusionist in a party?

And how would I optimize for one? I'm thinking sorc since I can specialize harder but what bloodlines/feats/etc should I look into?


So you're an epic illusionist. Cool. What are you doing in combat?

If you yourself are asking that question then I'm sorry as I don't actually know what you'd do.


Chess Pwn wrote:

So you're an epic illusionist. Cool. What are you doing in combat?

If you yourself are asking that question then I'm sorry as I don't actually know what you'd do.

That's literally what I'm asking in the first paragraph. Why would this be useful as a player character and how would I optimize it? Early illusion spells could be used as battlefield control or misdirection, but seemingly only as secondary spells. I'm asking for a better understanding of illusionists


I was running a group through the 3rd level 3.0 module , I think it was called the Forge of Fury, or something like that. There was an encounter with a group of daegar and one of them was an illusionist. He rocked their world and he was a lower level one, IIRC.


Marcellino Wintrish wrote:
I was running a group through the 3rd level 3.0 module , I think it was called the Forge of Fury, or something like that. There was an encounter with a group of daegar and one of them was an illusionist. He rocked their world and he was a lower level one, IIRC.

Do you remember what he did though? How he affected the encounter?


I know one major issue is How does your GM rule what interacting means? If you cast a spell to create a dragon, does everyone who sees it get a chance to disbelieve or do you have to hit it or target it to get a chance?

Dark Archive

in Ultimate Intrigue, it states, the minimum action required to interact with an illusion is a move action, unless there is reason to make them get an auto save(Such as you putting a mask on someone)


I took a lot of ideas from the write ups in Complete Arcane and Complete Mage,

It has been several years but IIRC he was invisible while making images of the cauldrons in the room falling over, he also made illusions of pits opening around the room and IIRC also summoned real monsters with illusionary ones.


I ran a party with an illusionist in it for a while, and he used it as a general tool. Fake walls to dodge encounters, major image to distract and even flank opponents (you can flank with a summoned creature, so if an enemy fails their save to disbelieve, you can flank them, right?), along with other shenanigans. He threw in a little conjuration and necromancy and a decent Bluff skill and got to be a pretty formidable force, although he had a hard time taking out foes on his own.

Basically, in a game without a healer, buffer, or blaster, that illusionist saved the party many times. It's what I consider the third line of magical support. If you can't blast the opponent, and you can't outlast them, you might as well just not fight them. Enter the master of misdirection: the illusionist.


Just combat?
Level 1:Color Spray, Dazzling Blade.
Level 2: Blur, Invisibility.
Level 3: Mass Dazzling Blade, Displacement, Invisibility Sphere, Loathsome Veil, Phantasmal Affliction, Shadowmind, Vision of Hell, Wall of Nausea (man, level 3 has some gems).
Level 4: Illusion of Treachery, Greater Invisibility, Phantasmal Killer,Shadowform, Shadow Conjuration, Wandering Star Motes.
Level 5: Phantasmal Web, Shadow Evocation.
Level 6: Baleful Shadow Transmutation, Greater Illusion of Treachery, Shadow Transmutation.
You get the point. The name of the game is DCs though, so you should work on that. Some of the best options are gnome sorcerers (arcane is probably best), Illusionist wizard, Arcanist or exploiter wizard.
The obvious feats are spell focus + greater. If you go Arcanist or Exploiter wizard take Potent Magic. My favorite is Exploiter Wizard with spell specialization and verisian tattoo and the Resilient Illusions Discovery. If you want to specialize in Shadow spells there's some wayang fun to be had, and there are quit a bit of gnome specific feats to choose from if you go sorc.

Liberty's Edge

Chess Pwn wrote:
I know one major issue is How does your GM rule what interacting means? If you cast a spell to create a dragon, does everyone who sees it get a chance to disbelieve or do you have to hit it or target it to get a chance?

This is an area where Ultimate Intrigue really pays off. It has an extensive section about what counts as "interaction" and how illusions work.

Have to make sure the GM's on-board with UI's interpretation, of course, but it's nice to actually have Paizo-published rules for it at last.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

Why waste a 5th-level spell slot on a Wall of Stone, when you can cast Silent Image and make them think it's a wall of stone? And extremely effective tactic for controlling how the enemy approaches, or buying a full turn for everybody else to prepare as the enemy tries to run around it.


I haven't played an illusionist on my own since that time but I am playing a grey elf in a PbP game right now that focuses on enchantment and illusions.


DrSwordopolis wrote:
Chess Pwn wrote:
I know one major issue is How does your GM rule what interacting means? If you cast a spell to create a dragon, does everyone who sees it get a chance to disbelieve or do you have to hit it or target it to get a chance?

This is an area where Ultimate Intrigue really pays off. It has an extensive section about what counts as "interaction" and how illusions work.

Have to make sure the GM's on-board with UI's interpretation, of course, but it's nice to actually have Paizo-published rules for it at last.

Welp, I guess I'll have to get UI after all. Wasn't planning on it, but the PDF is cheap enough.


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There are three basic things to make illusionists effective:

1) You and your GM need to be on the same wavelength regarding how illusions work, what they can do, how you can let your friends know it's an illusion without clueing enemies in -- if the two of you can't agree on this, it doesn't really matter what you do because it will never work well. Talk with your GM about how he thinks illusions work. Remember, you are going for the weak spot between your enemies' ears, NOT for their AC or hit points or saving throws -- and that's a GM responsibility to decide.

2) High situational awareness is keen. You don't win by making enemies fail their saves -- you win by making something so plausible that they never even think to test it and just react how you want. This means a lot of attention to what is plausible, what is expected, what they might be thinking (it might not be a bad idea to invest ranks in Sense Motive and Knowledge skills; things that are common in this area, things your enemies fear, etc. -- though watch out: some foes may flee an illusion, and some may charge it; fear reactions are unpredictable.) You specialize in misdirection and setting up your foes, not in killing them directly.

3) Have some non-illusion spells in your book. Some creatures have very keen senses. Some enemies (especially at high levels) have true seeing. Some are just immune to lots of stuff, or have a high enough Perception/Spellcraft that they will notice "He just cast an illusion" and ignore whatever pops up. Is that creature real or an illusion? did you just slap a wall of stone over the created pit, or an illusion of one? If the first summoned creature bleeds all over the floor, maybe people won't test the illusion of the more fearsome one...

Also, note that a combination of illusions can sometimes be very effective. Look carefully at the descriptions of your bread-and-butter spells (silent image, minor image, major image), and understand them throughly -- a lot of your higher-level spells will work the same way. Know what they do, and what they DON'T do. Know the difference between figment, glamer, and phantasm. Et cetera.

You have a lot of very useful buff spells for your party as well -- mostly you create miss chances, but consider (for instance) the use of disguise other on the rest of your party to help sneak in, or of disguise self on yourself to appear as someone the enemy won't worry about (remember, misdirection/subtle/sneaky).

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