Silent Image and Spellcraft in PFS


Pathfinder Society

Scarab Sages

Local PFS GM's personal ruling, trying to figure out if this was GM call on a vague rule, or an actual rule, or was actually not following the rules.

So my character casts silent image. Created a Wall to block LOS. The NPC attempts spellcraft and IDs the spell. The GM then, as a free action and without physically interacting, allows the NPC a save to disbelieve the illusion with a bonus because he passed his spellcraft check.

Is this how illusion magic is supposed to function in PFS? I was under the impression that he'd need at least a standard action to interact with the illusion, in order to disbelieve it. He could still ignore it, of course, as the illusion was non-threatening.

And I asked him, he says that even with Silent AND Still Spell metamagic feats, the NPC would still get this spellcraft check.

So if the opponent has spellcraft, what is the point of illusion magic? If the NPC get free action saves against illusion, with a bonus, what is the first level spell even able to do?

4/5

GM's call based on this rule quote "A character faced with proof that an illusion isn't real needs no saving throw." the GM can determine if identifying the spell counts as proof it's not real.

And spellcraft is trained only so you have to a rank in order to have a chance to identify.

Scarab Sages

Hmmm...okay. Still kinda defeats the point of the spell, if it can be so easily defeated by basic skill checks.

Sovereign Court 4/5 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

The point of illusion is preparation, casting things before enemies even know you're there, or in a pinch just from around the corner (need to "see" the spell being cast for Spellcraft).

Blunt force "put a wall in someone's face" is for conjurers and evokers.

Silver Crusade

I disagree that the observer would get a spellcraft check if the casting was still and silenced, if you don't need material components.

Dark Archive 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Twin Cities Metro South

Illusion is very challenging as it is very vague. In general, I do not agree that making a spellcraft check at time of casting counts as "interacting".

Now - i would grant a circumstance bonus on the will save if they don't already have the +4 bonus from another person already disbelieving. But I would still require a move action to "carefully study" the wall.

The Exchange 3/5

I’d agree that if the enemy saw you cast it, they’d get a spellcraft but it would seem that Silent and Still would nullify that.

Venture-Agent, Utah—Provo aka Chess Pwn

Fromper wrote:
I disagree that the observer would get a spellcraft check if the casting was still and silenced, if you don't need material components.

So we have a FAQ that Silent and stilled spells, psychic spells, SLA, and anything that is spells generates a noticeable manifestation and it's this manifestation that you use Spellcraft on.

So any spell is spellcraftable and that includes illusion spells.
My understanding of illusion spells is that there are NO rules or guidance on how they work or to run them, so when illusions are concerned basically anything the GM is rules and basically can't be wrong since there aren't really rules.

Liberty's Edge 3/5

Thomas Hutchins wrote:
My understanding of illusion spells is that there are NO rules or guidance on how they work or to run them, so when illusions are concerned basically anything the GM is rules and basically can't be wrong since there aren't really rules.

The best part of Ultimate Intrigue (for me) was the detailed rules on how divinations, enchantments, and illusions work. I highly recommend checking it out.

5/5

Ultimate Intrigue suggests that interaction should generally require at least a move action (p158) but that also depends on what people are actually doing to interact with it.

Given there are feats and class abilities that allow people to change what spells they appear to be casting I would tend to give a successful spellcraft check a bonus on the save but not count as definitely knowing it is an illusion and therefore immediately disbelieving.

I will sometimes allow creatures an automatic check if they have particular senses. If you create an illusion of a wall and the opponent has blindsight for example I will give it an immediate save if it is within its blindsight range.

5/5 5/5

Per the FAQ:

Quote:

What exactly do I identify when I’m using Spellcraft to identify a spell? Is it the components, since spell-like abilities, for instance, don’t have any? If I can only identify components, would that mean that I can’t take an attack of opportunity against someone using a spell-like ability (or spell with no verbal, somatic, or material components) or ready an action to shoot an arrow to disrupt a spell-like ability? If there’s something else, how do I know what it is?

Although this isn’t directly stated in the Core Rulebook, many elements of the game system work assuming that all spells have their own manifestations, regardless of whether or not they also produce an obvious visual effect, like fireball. You can see some examples to give you ideas of how to describe a spell’s manifestation in various pieces of art from Pathfinder products, but ultimately, the choice is up to your group, or perhaps even to the aesthetics of an individual spellcaster, to decide the exact details. Whatever the case, these manifestations are obviously magic of some kind, even to the uninitiated; this prevents spellcasters that use spell-like abilities, psychic magic, and the like from running completely amok against non-spellcasters in a non-combat situation. Special abilities exist (and more are likely to appear in Ultimate Intrigue) that specifically facilitate a spellcaster using chicanery to misdirect people from those manifestations and allow them to go unnoticed, but they will always provide an onlooker some sort of chance to detect the ruse.

So this means that as long as you are observed casting a spell, even if it lacks any material, somatic, or verbal components, someone has a chance to determine which spell you are casting. I would rule that if, through a successful Spellcraft check, someone knows you are casting a particular illusion spell and suddenly sees something appear immediately after that would be compatible with the results produced from that spell, it's the same as if someone had told them that what they were seeing is an illusion (i.e., +4 on the check to disbelieve).

Silver Crusade

I thought the FAQ meant that you couldn't hide spellcasting. I didn't remember that it mentioned spellcraft that way, which is why I thought spellcraft was driven by observing what verbal, somatic, or material components were used.

Shadow Lodge 5/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
Murdock Mudeater wrote:
Is this how illusion magic is supposed to function in PFS? I was under the impression that he'd need at least a standard action to interact with the illusion, in order to disbelieve it. He could still ignore it, of course, as the illusion was non-threatening

Without addressing the rest of the comments (though I will admit that I agree that illusions are challenging and can be beat by a well timed spellcraft, thus why feats that allow you to cast hidden exist), I will address this comment.

Interacting does not mean standard action. If your illusion of an ogre strikes at a target, that's interacting, and it takes a non-action by the target. If somebody uses a move action to attempt to walk through a wall, that's interacting, and does not take up a standard action. At a bare minimum, accept that there are plenty of opportunities outside of standard actions for interaction to exist.

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