At what point does an illusion become "solid"?


Rules Questions

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Illusionary bridge over 200' chasm : "Ahhhhhhhh! Whyyyyyyyy?"

Illusionary floor over a 10' pit with a black pudding in it : "GM, you're a di- ..." *om nom nom*

Real pit fiend that the party disbelieves because of these but has been casting the illusions : LOLOL


Quantum Steve wrote:
cuatroespada wrote:
Quantum Steve wrote:
cuatroespada wrote:

anything that allows a will save affects your mind.

and per RAW, an illusory rock doesn't hurt you, but if you fail your save you think it was a real rock and your brain is likely convinced it did hurt.

Where are you getting any of this? What RAW are you interpreting, and how are you interpreting it? Could you please cite?

it's not disingenuous to parse my posts like that at all...

anyway, your will comes from what part of you then if not your mind? and is the RAW not clear on the illusory rock not hurting you? or are you just not understanding how compound sentences work?

Those were the parts I was requesting citations for, that's all.

Where do you get, from the RAW, that anything that allows a will save affects your mind, and that if you get hit by an illusory rock and you fail your save you would think it was a real rock and your brain would likely be convinced it did hurt?

The RAW is not clear to me on that at all. Citations from the RAW would really help, as well as insights as to how you interpreted those citations to arrive at you conclusion.

so, you just don't read well? the only part I claimed was RAW was that an illusory rock doesn't damage you (which was more an admission really since that was your claim). the rest is not specifically denied by RAW and the ruleset isn't perfect and strictly permissive.


cuatroespada wrote:


so, you just don't read well? the only part I claimed was RAW was that an illusory rock doesn't damage you (which was more an admission really since that was your claim). the rest is not specifically denied by RAW and the ruleset isn't perfect and strictly permissive.

So, as I understand you, the only part that was derived from the rules is the bit about damage, correct?

All the rest, the bit about will saves, and the bit about thinking you were hit, were not derived from the rules and those are just your house-rules to cover imperfections in the rule-set.

If that's the case, I've no quarrel with your house-rules, I think they're perfectly fine.


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Nobody's Home wrote:

Another GM and I were having a quick discussion on a BBEG running away and putting up an illusion of a wall behind him. The short version was:

Him: You can always walk through an illusion of a wall, no save required.
Me: No; if you fail your Will save you believe the wall to be solid, and you can't just walk through it. (Yeah, I've been playing a LOOOOOOONG time, and this may be 1st edition creeping in on me.)

He is correct. Assuming the illusory wall is not over a real wall. There is nothing stopping a creature from passing through. Now, the part you're talking about is whether it's 'believable' for a creature to just try and walk through a wall and that's where a GM comes into play.

If you're chasing the bad guy, and a wall appears, your character might believe it's a trick or it's real and either way (assuming it's in character) just try and charge into it (maybe it's a thin wall of stone.) He'll pass through it and no save needed, he realizes it's an illusion.

Say you got there too late and the corridor seems to dead-end or the bad guy's illusion made it look like a closing wall. Most people might just assume 'Secret door' and start feeling the wall, at that point, since you're touching it, you would get a save and your GM would probably say, "You don't feel anything there.". You could try and disbelieve it at that point (maybe pass, maybe fail), or double down and stick your arm through, which will likely be considered proof that it's illusory, no save needed. The 2nd method would seem very easy, but remember you can't tell what you're sticking your arm into, the bad guy could be standing on the other side with an axe ready to amputate. Both of those choices would be perfectly valid and fair in that situation.

If you're walking down an alley or a corridor and that's what you're doing, you probably have no reason to be pressing against the walls or if you see that the end of the alley is blocked by a brick wall, there's very few people that will see that and go, "Oh, this alley's a dead end, but I'm going to walk all the way down it and try and pass through that wall (or I'm going to try and disbelieve that wall from here.)" However, in a dungeon, that would be reasonable, because every adventurer probably sees a dead and still has to go check it for secret doors.

Now, say if you've been to this alley very recently, like yesterday and now there's a wall which presumably looks like it belongs there, meaning it looks aged or weathered like the other walls, then you might have a 'believable' reason for your character to go and examine it further. Although until you actually interact with you don't get a save (unless you specifically are trying to disbelieve it.)

As for whether the wall looks, sounds, smells, feels-like a brick wall, most people are visual and tactile. We don't commonly test things with scent or taste things we encounter, but if a character tried to lick the illusory brick wall, he would be considered touching it anyway, as which point he would realize it's not there. If he tried to smell, it either would smell like the illusion is supposed to, or it wouldn't but a person probably can't differentiate the wall from the scents of the alley, so it does depend on surroundings.

Quote:

I did some delving in the PRD and found: ...

Level 3: Major Image: Adds sound, smell, and "thermal illusions". It can be "struck by an opponent". Suddenly it's sounding like a tangible object. How can you be hit and "react appropriately" if the sword can't actually hit you?

Many illusions are concentration, which allow you to control the illusion. Obviously if it's an illusion of an orc, and the PC hits it with a sword, there's no wound, there's no blood, there's no impact. That's almost always going to be a glaring something-is-not-right-here. The person gets a Will save right then and there. If they see through, then they can tell it's an illusion, if they fail, they are not convinced it isn't an illusion. They could try fair testing, such as... walking through it (they could be right, they could be wrong.) If they do walk through it, they automatically realize it's an illusion (assuming the illusion of a solid object.) As long as what the character has observed and believably can surmise is what determines whether that kind of 'force-the-illusion' action is fair. In this case it is.

However, the 'react appropriately' part could come into play if you're controlling the illusion. Obviously it doesn't work easily if your illusion is supposed to be solid; a person's mace isn't going to bounce off the illusion, so even if you were controlling it and made it rock backwards and blood come out of its nose it would be a tough sell. But possibly your illusion was of a ghostly figure, as such a sword passing through it could believably be simulated by having the illusion flicker or swirl or any other event that seems reasonable. Or an illusion of a puddle, you can make the splash sound if someone steps in it and have the water ripple (assuming the person was wearing boots it might not allow them a check if your GM rules they couldn't technically feel the water and assuming it wasn't deep enough to cause resistance.

Quote:
Level 5: Mirage Arcana specifically uses the word "tactile". If I create a Mirage Arcana of a wall, how can it have "tactile" components if you can just walk through it?

It cannot, the tactile sensation would only apply if you were actually overlaying another object. For instance, you could make wooden wall feel like metal or like ice, or even hot like fire (it wouldn't do damage) and by interacting they would get a will save. This would also require Thermal elements for the hot and cold, but the wall could feel wet or clammy or sticky or rough or soft.

You could make a silk cushion feel rough like burlap or a towel could feel like sandpaper (it won't hurt anyone rubbing themselves with and they get a saving throw... and it would still dry them off) but it would not be a pleasant sensation. Similarly, you could make a wet towel feel dry (but it wouldn't work very for toweling off and would feel really heavy and weird if you can just imagine holding a damp towel but having it feel perfectly dry) and then you twist it and water seems to come out.

Quote:

So my off-the-cuff ruling is that you cannot walk through a Mirage Arcana of a wall, but you can walk through the others. Which makes in-combat illusions even more useless than they were before ("He summoned an xxx? I fly straight through it to prove it's an illusion!"), but I can roll with it.

I'm interested in just how wrong I am.

You can walk through an illusory wall as long as it isn't at least 1% real. Otherwise it isn't there (unless it's covering a real wall.)

In a world of magic, if you see someone cast a spell and a wall of stone appears, that's not quite a good enough reason to just say it's an illusion. There are spells that create walls of stone, even fire, or force. Now, if you know the guy's a supposed illusionist, that is a good reason. If you succeeded at Spellcraft and realized he was casting mirage arcana and a wall appeared, that's also a very fair reason. If you just walked into the area and you've never seen it or have a reason to expect illusions, just starting to disbelieve everything would be poor gaming unless you've established your character as a person who disbelieves practically everything.


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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Charon's Little Helper wrote:

While not technically authoritative in Pathfinder - here is some 3.5 tidbits going in-depth on how illusions work.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Parts 3 & 4 are the most relevant to the topic at hand.

my favorite bit (from part 3) wrote:
Dealing with the Unbelievable: The rules governing illusions assume that the spellcaster is at least trying to create something believable. When an illusion spell allows a saving throw for disbelief and the caster creates something unbelievably weird, it's best to allow an immediate saving throw. You're the best judge of what's unbelievable in your campaign. In a world where dogs breathe fire (hell hounds), immense dragons fly through the air, and wizards can shoot bolts of lightning from their fingertips, what's unbelievable covers a tiny slice indeed.

Another great source for understanding illusions better, and that is totally official, is Ultimate Intrigue:

Ultimate Intrigue wrote:

Illusions

Illusions are a staple of fantasy, and there are two main things to consider when adjudicating them at all levels of play: first, the different subschools of illusion, and second, disbelief and interaction. Once you are familiar with those, you will be set for handling illusions at all levels of play.

Subschools: The three most easily confused subschools of illusion are figment, glamer, and phantasm. Figment spells, such as silent image, create wholly new sensory effects anyone can sense, even a mindless creature. The similar glamer subschool includes spells that change the way creatures sense something that already exists, such as disguise self and silence. Phantasms, in contrast to the first two, are all in a creature’s mind, and thus don’t work on mindless creatures.

There are other subschools of illusion, such as patterns and shadow, but they tend to be easier to distinguish from each other, since patterns are typically light-based spells that impose conditions on enemies and shadow spells usually create shadows or quasi-real effects.

Disbelief and Interaction: All three of the subschools above tend to have saving throw lines that say “Will disbelief,” but they differ in how those saving throws apply. Phantasms directly assail a creature’s mind, so the creature automatically and immediately receives a saving throw to disbelieve a phantasm. Figments and glamers, however, have the more difficult-to-adjudicate rule that
creatures receive a saving throw to disbelieve only if they “interact” with the illusion.

But what does it mean to interact with an illusion? It can’t just mean looking at the illusion, as otherwise there would be no need to make the distinction, but drawing the line can be a bit tricky. Fortunately, the rules can help to define that difference. A creature that spends a move action to carefully study an illusion receives a Will saving throw to disbelieve that illusion, so that is a good benchmark from which to work.

Using that as a basis, interacting generally means spending a move action, standard action, or greater on a character’s part. For example, if there were a major image of an ogre, a character who tried to attack the ogre would receive a saving throw to disbelieve, as would a character who spent 1 minute attempting a Diplomacy check on the ogre. A character who just traded witty banter with the ogre as a free action would not, nor would a character who simply cast spells on herself or her allies and never directly confronted the illusory ogre. For a glamer, interacting generally works the same as for a figment, except that the interaction must be limited to something the glamer affects. For instance, grabbing a creature’s ear would be an interaction for a human using disguise self to appear as an elf, but not for someone using a glamer to change his hair color. Similarly, visually studying someone would not grant a save against a glamer that purely changed her voice.


Quantum Steve wrote:
cuatroespada wrote:


so, you just don't read well? the only part I claimed was RAW was that an illusory rock doesn't damage you (which was more an admission really since that was your claim). the rest is not specifically denied by RAW and the ruleset isn't perfect and strictly permissive.

So, as I understand you, the only part that was derived from the rules is the bit about damage, correct?

All the rest, the bit about will saves, and the bit about thinking you were hit, were not derived from the rules and those are just your house-rules to cover imperfections in the rule-set.

If that's the case, I've no quarrel with your house-rules, I think they're perfectly fine.

sort of... there is plenty in the rules as written that allows me to interpret it the way I do, but admittedly, RAW obligates neither that it works your way or mine. it's ambiguous enough (thankfully) that this ultimately falls to rule 0.

and the will save part was just logic. willing is something your mind does, thus anything allowing a will save affects your mind. this is different from [mind-affecting] similarly to how evil is different from [Evil].

Liberty's Edge

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Another thing that I find greatly helps with problems with illusion is grabbing the PC's important check modifiers (perception, will saves, etc) and rolling them in secret when appropriate - if they look up and down a specific wall as a move action (see Ravingdork's post) then they'll get their save to disbelieve it, presuming that the wall is a figment itself. If they fail their save, the PC doesn't know anything's wrong, but the player knows that they had to make a will save. Players that RP well will of course pretend they know nothing about the wall, but to make it easier on those who don't RP naturally, if you roll in secret, they either know nothing about the wall being weird, or they make their save and you can inform them that after looking at the wall, you notice it's an illusion.

Sovereign Court

Arcaian wrote:
if they look up and down a specific wall as a move action (see Ravingdork's post) then they'll get their save to disbelieve it,

Since when is looking a move action?


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Charon's Little Helper wrote:
Arcaian wrote:
if they look up and down a specific wall as a move action (see Ravingdork's post) then they'll get their save to disbelieve it,
Since when is looking a move action?
Da Rules wrote:
Most Perception checks are reactive, made in response to observable stimulus. Intentionally searching for stimulus is a move action.


cuatroespada wrote:
Quantum Steve wrote:
cuatroespada wrote:


so, you just don't read well? the only part I claimed was RAW was that an illusory rock doesn't damage you (which was more an admission really since that was your claim). the rest is not specifically denied by RAW and the ruleset isn't perfect and strictly permissive.

So, as I understand you, the only part that was derived from the rules is the bit about damage, correct?

All the rest, the bit about will saves, and the bit about thinking you were hit, were not derived from the rules and those are just your house-rules to cover imperfections in the rule-set.

If that's the case, I've no quarrel with your house-rules, I think they're perfectly fine.

sort of... there is plenty in the rules as written that allows me to interpret it the way I do, but admittedly, RAW obligates neither that it works your way or mine. it's ambiguous enough (thankfully) that this ultimately falls to rule 0.

and the will save part was just logic. willing is something your mind does, thus anything allowing a will save affects your mind. this is different from [mind-affecting] similarly to how evil is different from [Evil].

All creatures have Will saves, even mindless ones.

Liberty's Edge

QuidEst wrote:
Charon's Little Helper wrote:
Arcaian wrote:
if they look up and down a specific wall as a move action (see Ravingdork's post) then they'll get their save to disbelieve it,
Since when is looking a move action?
Da Rules wrote:
Most Perception checks are reactive, made in response to observable stimulus. Intentionally searching for stimulus is a move action.

Thanks :)

Sovereign Court

QuidEst wrote:
Charon's Little Helper wrote:
Arcaian wrote:
if they look up and down a specific wall as a move action (see Ravingdork's post) then they'll get their save to disbelieve it,
Since when is looking a move action?
Da Rules wrote:
Most Perception checks are reactive, made in response to observable stimulus. Intentionally searching for stimulus is a move action.

That's searching, not looking.

Rather different from a rules perspective.

You can't search an entire wall as a move action. Searching is a square at a time.


Charon's Little Helper wrote:
QuidEst wrote:
Charon's Little Helper wrote:
Arcaian wrote:
if they look up and down a specific wall as a move action (see Ravingdork's post) then they'll get their save to disbelieve it,
Since when is looking a move action?
Da Rules wrote:
Most Perception checks are reactive, made in response to observable stimulus. Intentionally searching for stimulus is a move action.

That's searching, not looking.

Rather different from a rules perspective.

You can't search an entire wall as a move action. Searching is a square at a time.

"Looking" was probably the wrong word. "Examining" might have been better. I was just pointing out the intentional perception check rule (which the FAQ seemed to be referencing), which isn't described as searching and doesn't seem to have any specified area attached, unless I missed something. It's from the perception rules.


Charon's Little Helper wrote:
QuidEst wrote:
Charon's Little Helper wrote:
Arcaian wrote:
if they look up and down a specific wall as a move action (see Ravingdork's post) then they'll get their save to disbelieve it,
Since when is looking a move action?
Da Rules wrote:
Most Perception checks are reactive, made in response to observable stimulus. Intentionally searching for stimulus is a move action.

That's searching, not looking.

Rather different from a rules perspective.

You can't search an entire wall as a move action. Searching is a square at a time.

Searching was one square at a time in 3.5

The language restricting perception checks/searching to a single square was omitted in Pathfinder.

Liberty's Edge

QuidEst wrote:
Charon's Little Helper wrote:
QuidEst wrote:
Charon's Little Helper wrote:
Arcaian wrote:
if they look up and down a specific wall as a move action (see Ravingdork's post) then they'll get their save to disbelieve it,
Since when is looking a move action?
Da Rules wrote:
Most Perception checks are reactive, made in response to observable stimulus. Intentionally searching for stimulus is a move action.

That's searching, not looking.

Rather different from a rules perspective.

You can't search an entire wall as a move action. Searching is a square at a time.

"Looking" was probably the wrong word. "Examining" might have been better. I was just pointing out the intentional perception check rule (which the FAQ seemed to be referencing), which isn't described as searching and doesn't seem to have any specified area attached, unless I missed something. It's from the perception rules.

Yeah, looking may have been the wrong word. It's a move action to intentionally search for a stimulus, and it's a move action to interact with an illusion. Putting those two together, I'd allow a Will save if you intentionally spend a move action scrutinizing an illusory wall to see if anything is out of place.


Arcaian wrote:
QuidEst wrote:
Charon's Little Helper wrote:
QuidEst wrote:
Charon's Little Helper wrote:
Arcaian wrote:
if they look up and down a specific wall as a move action (see Ravingdork's post) then they'll get their save to disbelieve it,
Since when is looking a move action?
Da Rules wrote:
Most Perception checks are reactive, made in response to observable stimulus. Intentionally searching for stimulus is a move action.

That's searching, not looking.

Rather different from a rules perspective.

You can't search an entire wall as a move action. Searching is a square at a time.

"Looking" was probably the wrong word. "Examining" might have been better. I was just pointing out the intentional perception check rule (which the FAQ seemed to be referencing), which isn't described as searching and doesn't seem to have any specified area attached, unless I missed something. It's from the perception rules.
Yeah, looking may have been the wrong word. It's a move action to intentionally search for a stimulus, and it's a move action to interact with an illusion. Putting those two together, I'd allow a Will save if you intentionally spend a move action scrutinizing an illusory wall to see if anything is out of place.

The problem is when players know they are facing an illusionist and run through the wall without bothering to make a perception check.

RAW, the only penalty is partial loss of the move action if the wall is real, a move action they should have spent searching. If the wall is illusionary, the will save is meaningless.

Sovereign Court

Arcaian wrote:


Yeah, looking may have been the wrong word. It's a move action to intentionally search for a stimulus, and it's a move action to interact with an illusion. Putting those two together, I'd allow a Will save if you intentionally spend a move action scrutinizing an illusory wall to see if anything is out of place.

If they're next to the illusion, I agree entirely.

Grand Lodge

Snowlilly wrote:
Charon's Little Helper wrote:
QuidEst wrote:
Charon's Little Helper wrote:
Arcaian wrote:
if they look up and down a specific wall as a move action (see Ravingdork's post) then they'll get their save to disbelieve it,
Since when is looking a move action?
Da Rules wrote:
Most Perception checks are reactive, made in response to observable stimulus. Intentionally searching for stimulus is a move action.

That's searching, not looking.

Rather different from a rules perspective.

You can't search an entire wall as a move action. Searching is a square at a time.

Searching was one square at a time in 3.5

The language restricting perception checks/searching to a single square was omitted in Pathfinder.

It was sorta added back in Ultimate Intrigue.

Ultimate Intrigue, page 187 wrote:
The Core Rulebook doesn’t specify what area a PC can actively search, but for a given Perception check it should be no larger than a 10-foot-by-10-foot area, and often a smaller space if that area is cluttered.

Liberty's Edge

Snowlilly wrote:
Arcaian wrote:
QuidEst wrote:
Charon's Little Helper wrote:
QuidEst wrote:
Charon's Little Helper wrote:
Arcaian wrote:
if they look up and down a specific wall as a move action (see Ravingdork's post) then they'll get their save to disbelieve it,
Since when is looking a move action?
Da Rules wrote:
Most Perception checks are reactive, made in response to observable stimulus. Intentionally searching for stimulus is a move action.

That's searching, not looking.

Rather different from a rules perspective.

You can't search an entire wall as a move action. Searching is a square at a time.

"Looking" was probably the wrong word. "Examining" might have been better. I was just pointing out the intentional perception check rule (which the FAQ seemed to be referencing), which isn't described as searching and doesn't seem to have any specified area attached, unless I missed something. It's from the perception rules.
Yeah, looking may have been the wrong word. It's a move action to intentionally search for a stimulus, and it's a move action to interact with an illusion. Putting those two together, I'd allow a Will save if you intentionally spend a move action scrutinizing an illusory wall to see if anything is out of place.

The problem is when players know they are facing an illusionist and run through the wall without bothering to make a perception check.

RAW, the only penalty is partial loss of the move action if the wall is real, a move action they should have spent searching. If the wall is illusionary, the will save is meaningless.

I think it is a little ridiculous you can run head-on into a wall with no penalty, but RAW I think it is true, yeah. Just means that as a known illusionist, you should prep some wall of stones and the like, that'll show those pesky adventurers.


Snowlilly wrote:


The problem is when players know they are facing an illusionist and run through the wall without bothering to make a perception check.

RAW, the only penalty is partial loss of the move action if the wall is real, a move action they should have spent searching. If the wall is illusionary, the will save is meaningless.

How would the players know the wall is an illusion if their characters do not? Where are the players getting this metagame information?

If I really rattle my brain, I could probably come up with a few scenarios, but most of the time, any info the player could have received would have most likely been in character.

For example, if one character made their save a communicated this info tho the character in question, even if that character still couldn't make their save, it's still reasonable for them to trust their ally and give it a go anyway,

Or, if a character knows they'll be dealing with a lot of illusions because they did research beforehand and the GM communicated the results of the research to the player. This is not metagame knowlege.

Or, if a character has encountered several known illusions in an area, they might be suspicious and have doubts of the reality of things in the same area. Testing reality by trying to walk through suspect walls would be reasonable.

The only metagame thing I can think of, is if the player believed they failed a Will save and acted on that knowledge alone, but that's a general metagame concern that's easily solved by making certain rolls in secret if Player's can't compartmentalize.


I vastly appreciate the (mostly) polite discussion that has ensued, and for the most part I'm in agreement with the "illusions are insubstantial" crowd.

But then, as Gilfalas points out, associating any kind of Will save with illusions is for the most part pointless.

"My 1st-level fighter drags a stick along the wall everywhere he goes. It's just force of habit."

The stick will pass through any illusion, promptly dispelling it, no save required. So all illusory walls are gone. The lead party member can use a white cane. All illusory floors are gone. Takes no extra time (I can walk just as fast dragging a stick along the wall as I can without). And the moment the party detects their first illusion, whether it be a wall, floor, object, or what-have-you, they can start treating everything they encounter as illusory, automatically dispelling everything they encounter.

Yes, you can build clever illusionists' lairs that mix real traps with illusory ones, or mask medusa heads or exploding runes behind illusions, but if you're running APs, their lairs aren't built that way, so the illusionists end up being jokes.

I can accept it, but it doesn't mean I like it.


NobodysHome wrote:

I vastly appreciate the (mostly) polite discussion that has ensued, and for the most part I'm in agreement with the "illusions are insubstantial" crowd.

But then, as Gilfalas points out, associating any kind of Will save with illusions is for the most part pointless.

"My 1st-level fighter drags a stick along the wall everywhere he goes. It's just force of habit."

The stick will pass through any illusion, promptly dispelling it, no save required. So all illusory walls are gone. The lead party member can use a white cane. All illusory floors are gone. Takes no extra time (I can walk just as fast dragging a stick along the wall as I can without). And the moment the party detects their first illusion, whether it be a wall, floor, object, or what-have-you, they can start treating everything they encounter as illusory, automatically dispelling everything they encounter.

Yes, you can build clever illusionists' lairs that mix real traps with illusory ones, or mask medusa heads or exploding runes behind illusions, but if you're running APs, their lairs aren't built that way, so the illusionists end up being jokes.

I can accept it, but it doesn't mean I like it.

Dragging a stick along the wall will only "dispel" (not tehnically the right word, but we understand eachother) illusions if that can provide "proof" of the illusion.

A stick dragged along a real wall under the some effect to give it an incorporeal property would pass through the wall. As such the stick simply passing through the wall should not be considered proof of an illusion


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

This discussion (as many discussions before it) shows how difficult it is to deal with illusions at the table. Indeed, the only universal truth about illusion spells is this:

Expect table variation.

This said, the Skip Williams articles from way back, and the couple new paragraphs from Ultimate Intrigue do help a lot in trying to bring a wee bit of reason to the vast realms of table variation we see in threads like this.

It all comes down to how your DM decides to play them. Which is probably strongly conditioned by how other DMs played illusions when your DM was playing *their* games.

Players who go round dragging sticks across all the walls or using a blind-man's cane to probe the floor in front of them at all times deserve our pity, because they have obviously been traumatized somewhere along their gaming life and that's just sad. <g>


The Sideromancer wrote:
All creatures have Will saves, even mindless ones.

correct. and in reality, all creatures have minds, even ones the game labels "mindless". i'm really not sure what you're getting at.


Interesting that this comes up I have seen the illusory wall debate many times but we had a similar type of situation come up at our last session in Shattered Star. A creature used the spell deeper darkness and in response our swashbuckler who had an artifact that allowed him to make a major image at CL 25 created a small sun to counter the deeper darkness. I wasn't sure about this as an optio. But we ruled on the fly to allow it to keep things moving. How would something like this be ruled? I'm not sure that an image would be enough to counter the very real deeper darkness.


Gilfalas wrote:
Philo Pharynx wrote:
If you know that there's an illusionist, I'd expect this, but I'd expect a lot of actions wasted testing things all over the place.
Seriously why should a character ever know they are up against an illsionist? Wouldn't it be possibly the single most important thing an actual illusionist would do is never let anyone know they actually are one?

Yes, it is bad for illusionists to be discovered. But if you go up against a foe, face many illusions, and escape. Then you'll know it for next time.

Quantum Steve wrote:
I understand where you're coming from, but I've played characters that were obsessed with paranoia over illusions, and would cross the tavern to make sure that barrel over there is real. That's good roleplaying.

This is good roleplaying. and it's balanced. They'll get a lot more will saves that most people. But they'll be taking lots of actions to poke things. I don't have a problem with that. I only have a problem with the character that only does this when the player thinks that there's an illusion.

Sovereign Court

Colorsprayftw wrote:
Interesting that this comes up I have seen the illusory was debate many times but we had a similar type of situation come up at our last session in Shattered Star. A creature used the spell deeper darkness and in response our swashbuckler who had an artifact that allowed him to make a major image at CL 25 created a small sun to counter the deeper darkness. I wasn't sure about this as an optio. But we ruled on the fly to allow it to keep things moving. How would something like this be ruled? I'm not sure that an image would be enough to counter the very real deeper darkness.

Being a figment spell, the light from Major Image is also real.

However, it also wouldn't counter Deeper Darkness because it's not a [light] spell.

So - the Major Image would make base brightness of the area be 'bright light' and the deeper darkness would remain and drop it 2 steps to 'dim light'.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Via feats and abilities, it is possible to have shadow illusions that are 100% real. :P


I did not read through most of the posts, I'm lazy. But remember that consciously knowing something is different from subconsciously realizing it. Logically, if you have a prankster friend who would never hurt you, them flicking you next to your eyes is nothing to worry about, but you still flinch...

Only Spock can pull that off. You know that episode where he says, "the bullets aren't real" and, you get the gist...


Nobody'sHome wrote:

My 1st-level fighter drags a stick along the wall everywhere he goes. It's just force of habit."

The stick will pass through any illusion, promptly dispelling it, no save required. So all illusory walls are gone. The lead party member can use a white cane. All illusory floors are gone. Takes no extra time (I can walk just as fast dragging a stick along the wall as I can without). And the moment the party detects their first illusion, whether it be a wall, floor, object, or what-have-you, they can start treating everything they encounter as illusory, automatically dispelling everything they encounter.

Sure, and then perfectly fair, but then your fighter has a stick in his hand when a bunch of monsters ambush the party through the illusory wall. Tapping a stick on the floor ahead of you is just plain good sense is is actually a very tried-and-true method of detecting not just an illusory floor, but trapped floors of all kind. Back before the game system just basically made it so you almost don't even have to look for traps anymore.

Dragging a stick or even your hand along the wall will tell you that it passes through the illusory wall, but will not dispel it. You would have to do more than touch it (for automatic disbelieve). You'd have to actually put your hand/head/body through it.

Additionally, even in that case, only the caster can see through an illusory wall even if it's disbelieved or passed through, so it won't make any difference.


Our best GM who supported Illusions took this tack on them: If you dont disbelieve them, they are real. The character fills in the reality in their own minds to accommodate the illusion into their reality. Example: two braziers with fires lit, side by side, one illusory, one not. Both are generating light, heat, smoke, and smell. If the PC puts his hand into either, he gets burned. Why? He knows the nature of fire in his mind, and even though putting his hand in the illusory fire did not actually burn his hand, his mind accepts that as true, and he acts accordingly. He would imagine the burns, treat the hand as if burned (hitpoint damage) and until he accepts the fact that was an illusion (medic checks him out and says, "Dude, I cant see any burns") He might still accept the fire damage as real, again, imagining it as a close call. Remember, hit points are an abstract, and you could rule the damage was lethal, nonlethal, or maybe even a third type, mental. So, an image of a dragon breathing fire might seem real, and if it killed someone, our GM would have them make a save vs Death Magic (1st ed D&D) or they believed it to the point it gave them a heart attack and they died.

Illusions are an area of effect mind spell, and unless there is some wise or smart person to point out the inconsistencies in the illusion, all would be affected similarly. The illusion class sadly needs someone creating the rules system to love the class, its been the forgotten puppy of the game since first edition D&D.


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well first edition was significantly more narrative. as the rules got more complex, illusions became weaker because people wanted concrete mechanics for dealing with them, but they don't really work well like that. the devs intentionally left illusions kind of vague so we could be more narrative with them but many people want to constrain everything to a strictly permissive and comprehensive ruleset. at least, that's how it seems to me.

Sovereign Court

Heimdall666 wrote:

Our best GM who supported Illusions took this tack on them: If you dont disbelieve them, they are real. The character fills in the reality in their own minds to accommodate the illusion into their reality. Example: two braziers with fires lit, side by side, one illusory, one not. Both are generating light, heat, smoke, and smell. If the PC puts his hand into either, he gets burned. Why? He knows the nature of fire in his mind, and even though putting his hand in the illusory fire did not actually burn his hand, his mind accepts that as true, and he acts accordingly. He would imagine the burns, treat the hand as if burned (hitpoint damage) and until he accepts the fact that was an illusion (medic checks him out and says, "Dude, I cant see any burns") He might still accept the fire damage as real, again, imagining it as a close call. Remember, hit points are an abstract, and you could rule the damage was lethal, nonlethal, or maybe even a third type, mental. So, an image of a dragon breathing fire might seem real, and if it killed someone, our GM would have them make a save vs Death Magic (1st ed D&D) or they believed it to the point it gave them a heart attack and they died.

Illusions are an area of effect mind spell, and unless there is some wise or smart person to point out the inconsistencies in the illusion, all would be affected similarly. The illusion class sadly needs someone creating the rules system to love the class, its been the forgotten puppy of the game since first edition D&D.

In Pathfinder, this depends on the type of illusion. Illusion [phantasm] is exactly like that, it's in your mind. Illusion [figment] is not in your mind, it's like a hologram. They're real sensory impressions, but there's no real object causing them. Your mind is not affected, there's really the appearance of fire there.

Something giving a Will save doesn't mean it's in your mind. Glitterdust also has a Will save to avoid getting blinded by glitter for example. And creatures immune to mind-affecting abilities aren't immune to that either.


Ascalaphus wrote:
Something giving a Will save doesn't mean it's in your mind. Glitterdust also has a Will save to avoid getting blinded by glitter for example. And creatures...

of course the will save doesn't mean it's all in your head, but the will save definitely means it affects your mind or your mind wouldn't be able to resist it with a will save. i have no problem divorcing this concept from the mechanical concept of spells that are classified as [mind-affecting] in the same way i have no problem divorcing the concept of creatures with evil alignments from creatures tagged [Evil]. so my argument (and i'm aware you weren't responding directly to me) would be that it's reasonable to say that because illusions grant will saves (and thus affect your mind in some way) that failing them means you would treat them as real when possible. e.g. if you try to push on a wall you think is real, it's not unreasonable for a GM to say that your brain stops your hands on what you think is a real wall or that your arms go through the wall and everybody watching sees that, but you think you're still pushing on a solid wall. so everyone else automatically disbelieves (the fact that you still think you're pushing on a wall is a pretty big hint that it's an illusion and not just intangible for some other reason) and can inform you of your mistake. but in the previous example of trying to sit on a bush that looks like a rock, you would just fall through because the bush can't support your weight and your brain thought it was a real rock so you dropped your weight onto it (same goes for trying to climb a wall that isn't really there).

i'm not claiming anyone should treat illusions as [mind-affecting], and i'm not claiming that the above is how you're supposed to do it, but i haven't seen RAW to tell me that it's wrong either. i've seen RAW that seems to indicate that illusion mechanics are intentionally a bit vague.


I'm not misunderstanding the rules in Pathfinder, they have constructed illusions as a weak alternative to previous incarnations of Other Systems, primarily because the Extremely Creative used them too well to either make a one save die or live situation, where the party of adventurers disbelieves everything as a matter of course from that point on if the GM uses them, or breaks an encounter if used by the PCs. This aggravates the GM as it slows the game down to a crawl when every situation is disbelieved first. The other option is to have the entire party make individual will saves, with the odds on half making, half missing, and the high level illusion serving at most two rounds duty as a distraction. Why waste a spell slot on a Mirage Arcana when you can use a Baleful Polymorph at the same level? And almost every GM I have ever had ruled (mostly negatively) on illusions.
When Pathfinder introduced Perception as a skill, I thought this would be a great way to detect things like this, but again, its a min-max thing, someone who specializes in it sees EVERYTHING. A mid level 8-10 character has a 20 perception without a die roll, and really only misses what a professional in stealth hides. Using it to detect a deviation in an illusion isnt offset by the skill or creativity of the caster, other than a will save DC.


While reading the 4 WotC articles linked above, I suddenly realized for the first time that Silence is an Illusion [Glamer] spell and not an Abjuration or maybe Transmutation spell (but Abjuration seems to fit a good bit better), and as such, the effects described in the text are overpowered. Anything in the area (not just a directly targeted creature) should get a Will Save to be able to hear things and cast spells, and spellcasters who fail their Will Save should suffer only the penalties for being deaf instead of being completely unable to cast spells with Verbal components; the Silence spell should provide no protection against sonic or language-based attacks, spells, and effects, although failing a Save against should attacks, spells, or effects should enable the affected creatures to realize that the Silence was an Illusion.

If you want a spell that does all the stuff in the text of Silence, it should be an Abjuration (or maybe Transmutation) spell, and be of much higher level.

Related to this, it should be possible to have Hardened Figments and Hardened Glamers, that fall short of Shadow Magic's creation of partially real substance or energy, but which still cannot be seen through (or listened through) even if disbelieved. Invisibility and derivatives thereof should be obvious examples (even if you realize that somebody is using Invisibility, you still have to take measures to find invisible creatures and objects to find them), and a Hardened Glamer version of Silence could be made that impairs spellcasters in the area that attempt to cast spells with Verbal components as if deaf even if they make the Will Save; verbal/sonic communication through it should still be impossible unless the recipients have some auditory equivalent of True Sight or a speaker has a special ability like an Apostasy Devil (Diemvigga); but sonic effects that do not depend on communication should go right through, enabling disbelief of the Hardened Silence as noted above; this should be of intermediate elevated level, between the current Silence and Abjuration Silence.

A Hardened Figment Illusion would still block line of sight as thoroughly as a solid object (if visual) or drown out conversation as thoroughly as a Shrieker (if auditory), no matter how many times you pass through it or how many flying colors you pass your Will Save with, unless you had True Sight or the auditory equivalent thereof, but it would not do any damage no matter how hard you collided with it (although even if you made your Will Save, it could provide complete concealment of something that would really hurt, and cautious creatures attempting to find such things hidden within without the benefit of something like True Sight would need to take the same measures as if searching for an invisible creature or object, as noted above).

Sovereign Court

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UnArcaneElection wrote:
While reading the 4 WotC articles linked above, I suddenly realized for the first time that Silence is an Illusion [Glamer] spell and not an Abjuration or maybe Transmutation spell (but Abjuration seems to fit a good bit better), and as such, the effects described in the text are overpowered. Anything in the area (not just a directly targeted creature) should get a Will Save to be able to hear things and cast spells, and spellcasters who fail their Will Save should suffer only the penalties for being deaf instead of being completely unable to cast spells with Verbal components; the Silence spell should provide no protection against sonic or language-based attacks, spells, and effects, although failing a Save against should attacks, spells, or effects should enable the affected creatures to realize that the Silence was an Illusion.

Except glamers aren't just in your head. They actually exist.

And you don't get a save because the spell says that you don't get a save.

It sounds like because it is an illusion - you suddenly want it to be harshly nerfed?


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NobodysHome wrote:

Combining this with an unlimited supply of Detect Magics is why I don't care for this interpretation. The party knows they're after an illusionist so they hit all the walls with Detect Magic, and when the illusionist flees they can just run through the illusions he puts up to protect himself. He's helpless before their cynicism.

Kind of kills the whole school of magic to me, which is why I have a personal preference for RavingDork's opinions. Doesn't make me right. Just what I prefer.

Detect Magic requires three rounds to locate where the magic is. Since the party likely has magic items, round one and two won't help at all. If you move at 1/6th normal movement (the double move) each round, it will take you a very long time to explore. And you cannot do it while chasing something.

Knowing you face a BBEG Illusionist does not mean the BBEG must always use illusions. Maybe he cast the illusionary wall an inch from a real one. Then when you run thru the illusion, bam, you hit a real wall. He may also have many other illusions about just to cause detects to go awry.

/cevah


Charon's Little Helper wrote:
UnArcaneElection wrote:
While reading the 4 WotC articles linked above, I suddenly realized for the first time that Silence is an Illusion [Glamer] spell and not an Abjuration or maybe Transmutation spell (but Abjuration seems to fit a good bit better), and as such, the effects described in the text are overpowered. Anything in the area (not just a directly targeted creature) should get a Will Save to be able to hear things and cast spells, and spellcasters who fail their Will Save should suffer only the penalties for being deaf instead of being completely unable to cast spells with Verbal components; the Silence spell should provide no protection against sonic or language-based attacks, spells, and effects, although failing a Save against should attacks, spells, or effects should enable the affected creatures to realize that the Silence was an Illusion.

Except glamers aren't just in your head. They actually exist.

And you don't get a save because the spell says that you don't get a save.

It sounds like because it is an illusion - you suddenly want it to be harshly nerfed?

Actually, I want it to be nerfed because it does a LOT more than a 2nd level spell should be able to do, Illusion or otherwise. Realizing that it was an Illusion instead of Abjuration or Transmutation, and that it breaks the rules on the WotC pages linked above (I know, D&D 3.5 instead of Pathfinder, but close enough for this purpose) just pointed out how it needed to be nerfed.


As an example of a GM ruling negatively on Illusions I just had a situation where I used a Major Image to create an Iron Golem floating in the air 10 feet above three Rust Monsters in order to distract them so the, suddenly cowardly, iron-bound fighters in the party could flee to safety.

Disappointingly the GM ruled that they should have will saves every round as they were interacting by scenting it. Two passed the save in round one so ignored this lovely tasty treat entirely and the third in the following round, so it was hardly worth the time casting the spell!

I'd be interested to know how others would have handled it.

Sovereign Court

Merlin's familiar wrote:

As an example of a GM ruling negatively on Illusions I just had a situation where I used a Major Image to create an Iron Golem floating in the air 10 feet above three Rust Monsters in order to distract them so the, suddenly cowardly, iron-bound fighters in the party could flee to safety.

Disappointingly the GM ruled that they should have will saves every round as they were interacting by scenting it. Two passed the save in round one so ignored this lovely tasty treat entirely and the third in the following round, so it was hardly worth the time casting the spell!

If they spent an action each turn scenting it, I'd be okay with that since they specifically have a scent ability which goes out to 90ft.

Liberty's Edge

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Merlin's familiar wrote:

As an example of a GM ruling negatively on Illusions I just had a situation where I used a Major Image to create an Iron Golem floating in the air 10 feet above three Rust Monsters in order to distract them so the, suddenly cowardly, iron-bound fighters in the party could flee to safety.

Disappointingly the GM ruled that they should have will saves every round as they were interacting by scenting it. Two passed the save in round one so ignored this lovely tasty treat entirely and the third in the following round, so it was hardly worth the time casting the spell!

I'd be interested to know how others would have handled it.

If a creature with scent counts as 'interacting' with an olfactory illusion then a creature with sight would count as 'interacting' with a visual illusion.

I do not believe either is consistent with the intent of the rules. Maybe if they spent time 'studying it carefully' with scent they'd get a save to notice something off, but not just automatically every round.

That said... why would the rust monsters waste their time on something they can't reach? If GM'ing in that situation I'd have them get out from under the inexplicably floating iron golem, maybe try 'stretching out' to try to reach it for one round, and then resume pursuing explicable / potentially attainable food sources.

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