Mirror Image and Shocking Image on Same Character


Rules Questions


My bloodrager passed up Mirror Image at low levels. By the time she wanted that useful defensive spell, she qualified for the 4th-level Shocking Image spell and learned that instead. However, she is considering learning Mirror Image at 15th level, because she cannot cast Shocking Image via Greater Bloodrage. She could cast Mirror Image that way.

This leads to the possibility of casting both spells on herself in the same round: casting Shocking Image as a standard action and autocasting Mirror Image by going into Greater Bloodrage as a free action. That raises the question of how the two spells would stack.

I read postings in this forum about Mirror Image stacking, such as Multiple Mirror Image? from 2011. The best supported view is that the Mirror Image spell with the most images takes effect and the other one fails.

Shocking Image is a different spell, but says, "This spell works like mirror image, except the illusory doubles it creates discharge an electric shock when destroyed." Do its images count as the same effect, and therefore don't stack, or do they cound as a different effect and stack?

If they don't stack, would the non-stacking be that Shocking Image creates all the shocking images rolled for it and if Mirror Image would create more images then it creates the difference in non-shocking images? For example, if my bloodrager rolls 6 images for Shocking Image and 8 images for Mirror Image, that would create 6 shocking images and 2 non-shocking images.

Mirror Image
School illusion (figment); Level bard 2, sorcerer/wizard 2
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S
Range personal
Target you
Duration 1 min./level

This spell creates a number of illusory doubles of you that inhabit your square. These doubles make it difficult for enemies to precisely locate and attack you.

When mirror image is cast, 1d4 images plus one image per three caster levels (maximum eight images total) are created. These images remain in your space and move with you, mimicking your movements, sounds, and actions exactly. Whenever you are attacked or are the target of a spell that requires an attack roll, there is a possibility that the attack targets one of your images instead. If the attack is a hit, roll randomly to see whether the selected target is real or a figment. If it is a figment, the figment is destroyed. If the attack misses by 5 or less, one of your figments is destroyed by the near miss. Area spells affect you normally and do not destroy any of your figments. Spells and effects that do not require an attack roll affect you normally and do not destroy any of your figments. Spells that require a touch attack are harmlessly discharged if used to destroy a figment.

An attacker must be able to see the figments to be fooled. If you are invisible or the attacker is blind, the spell has no effect (although the normal miss chances still apply).

Shocking Image
School illusion (figment) [electricity]; Level bard 4, sorcerer/wizard 4
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S
Range personal
Target you
Duration 1 minute/level
Saving Throw none; Spell Resistance see text

This spell works like mirror image, except the illusory doubles it creates discharge an electric shock when destroyed. An opponent that uses a melee attack to destroy one of your images takes 2d6 points of electricity damage. You must overcome a target's spell resistance the first time you deal this electricity damage to it. Failure renders the target immune to damage from this spell.


I would allow the 14 images, because it's hilarious, and because I don't want to disallow the Image Horde, nor track how much of Mirror/Shocking/Frightful has been used up.

As far as balance goes, I think that while it appears making it so only one spell of images is allowed would be conservative of balance, it sets up the question of Shocking/Frightful stacking together, which feels more powerful than 14 or 22 images (each with only one descriptor/power) or whatever.


I find a mixture of shocking and non-shocking images hilarious myself. Will my opponent be bewildered by sometimes being shocked and sometimes not?


Ok, that's awesome. They should stack just fine to amusing results.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Honestly, I'd say whichever one you cast last wins. If you had 5 shocking images up and recast mirror image, you'd have however many mirror images (no shocking) the new spell provided. Both are effectively the same spell based on wording.

As funny as this is, don't do this to your GM. Mirror image is already a ludicrously strong defense. Layering this many images at the same time doesn't even give opponents a moderate chance to cut through them.


it seems like you could have both up at the same time but as they both have the same trigger for losing images you would lose 2 images(1from each spell) from every near miss.


They should both be able to be cast. In order to determine if someone hit a shocking image or a regular image just have the normal images come up first.

As an example if you have 6 normal images, and 4 shocking images then 1 to 6 are the normal ones, and 7 to 10 are the shocking ones.


cavernshark wrote:
As funny as this is, don't do this to your GM. Mirror image is already a ludicrously strong defense. Layering this many images at the same time doesn't even give opponents a moderate chance to cut through them.

I am the GM. The bloodrager is an NPC that the party invited to join them back at 1st level. The bloodrager is already a weakened combatant because she is optimized to aid the party rather than win at combat.

Because I am the GM, I don't want to deal with accumulated images from multiple Mirror-Image-based spells, such as Horrific Doubles and Shocking Image. But I would like a decision that fits RAW.

The relevant rules are Combining Magic Effects in the Magic chapter of the Core Rulebook. The most important paragraph is:

Combining Magic Effects wrote:
Stacking Effects: Spells that provide bonuses or penalties on attack rolls, damage rolls, saving throws, and other attributes usually do not stack with themselves. More generally, two bonuses of the same type don't stack even if they come from different spells (or from effects other than spells; see Bonus Types, above).

Images are not bonuses or penalties on attack rolls, damage rolls, saving throws, and other attributes. Some rulings cover other magic effects. For example, a creature with resist fire 5 and resist fire 10 has a combined fire resistance of 10, not 15. They don't stack. But if the resistances are sufficiently different, such as resist fire 5 and resist acid 10, then both apply. Even the same effect from the same spell can accumulate if it makes sense. If a sorcerer casts Phantom Steed four times to summon enough steeds for the entire four-person party, no-one is going to say that the previous steed disappears whenever Phantom Steed is cast again.

Casting two Fireballs does twice as much damage, but also takes twice as many spells and twice as much time. Fireball damage accumulating is not abusive. On the other hand, if casting Bull's Strength twice gave a +8 enhancement bonus to Strength, then the result is more than twice as damaging as a +4 from a single Bull's Strength. The +8 gives twice the extra damage on each hit and further increases chance of hitting. More than twice as good is too good. Therefore, Bull's Strength is designed to not stack.

With Mirror Image, twice the number of images would mean that the chance of hitting past the images is roughly cut in half. And when the extra images are destroyed, what remains is a non-doubled Mirror Image effect. That is more than twice as powerful as the non-doubled Mirror Image. Like Bull's Strength, the number of images should not be allowed to accumulate.

But if we view normal images and shocking images as two different effects, then they would both apply just like the miss chances from Blink and Invisibility both apply. I need an excuse for claiming that the images do not accumulate. I saw two, and vhok suggested a third. Either declare that decoy images are the same effect, regardless of whether they are normal, horrific, or shocking; or declare that the cap of no more than 8 decoy images applies to the accumulated images from all Mirror-Image-based spells cast; or follow vhok's suggestion.

If decoy images are all the same effect, how do we deal with some being normal, some being horrific, and some being shocking? If decoy images are capped, is that enough to prevent abuse, and is a caster allowed to drop some normal images to make room for shocking images?

vhok wrote:
it seems like you could have both up at the same time but as they both have the same trigger for losing images you would lose 2 images(1from each spell) from every near miss.

That solution has a lot of common sense behind it. The opponent swung his sword and hit two images, one from Mirror Image and one from Shocking Image, popping both. Thank you, I had not thought of that option myself.

But will he always hit two images, or should he roll separately for each spell? Imagine the target has 8 normal images and 6 shocking images. Rolling separately could look like: I rolled a 4 on the 1d9 for the normal images, therefore the attacker hit a normal image, and I rolled a 1 on the 1d7 for the shocking images so the attacker did not hit a shocking image and does not get shocked, but the attacker does not hit the target because he hit a normal image. I think that is a little too complicated. If instead the attacker always hits two images, would I roll 1d7 or 1d9?

How about I roll a single 1d9? A roll of 1 hits the target. A roll of 2 to 7 hits one of the 8 normal images and one of the 6 shocking images. A roll of 8 or 9 hits one of the 8 normal images.

Scarab Sages

As funny as it would be, since Shocking Images is called out as working like mirror images, I would probably look at how haste effects are handled. Haste does not stack with similar effects. So, blessing of fervor, for example, can’t give you a second extra attack. But it can give you a different bonus than haste. Your movement can’t be increased twice. You don’t get two dodge bonuses to AC. From what you’ve laid out here, I would think that shocking and mirror are similar effects in the same way. So they wouldn’t stack. You’d either replace with the most recently cast or the one with the most images would apply.


Mathmuse you cant use the stacking effect rules because it is not a stacking effect. Each image is doing a completely different thing so that makes it a different effect, and they are from different sources. Just be honest and say you dont want to deal with it.


As I interpret it, attackers can always bypass images by simply closing their eyes. A 50% miss chance due to blindness* is better than e.g. a 90% one (9 images). You won't destroy any image, meaning you are stuck with 50% miss chance, but you (usually) kill the target much faster than with facing the images. So stacking many images from different spells would be only useful if the foe doesn't use this trick (or area effects, or mind-affecting effects etc.).

* 25% with Blind-Fight


Ferious Thune wrote:
As funny as it would be, since Shocking Images is called out as working like mirror images, I would probably look at how haste effects are handled. Haste does not stack with similar effects. So, blessing of fervor, for example, can’t give you a second extra attack. But it can give you a different bonus than haste. Your movement can’t be increased twice. You don’t get two dodge bonuses to AC. From what you’ve laid out here, I would think that shocking and mirror are similar effects in the same way. So they wouldn’t stack. You’d either replace with the most recently cast or the one with the most images would apply.

Haste, Blessing of Fervor, and the Speed weapon enchantment all specifically call out, "This benefit is not cumulative with similar effects, such as a haste spell." Boots of Speed and Mithral Full Plate of Speed say they act like the Haste spell.

Mirror Image has a call out, but it is different, "An attacker must be able to see the figments to be fooled. If you are invisible or the attacker is blind, the spell has no effect (although the normal miss chances still apply)."

The call out in Blessing of Fervor did lead to an FAQ entry:

Advanced Player's Guide FAQ wrote:

"Does not stack with" and spells with effects other than bonuses: What does it mean if a spell tells me it doesn’t stack with another spell or "similar effects" if some of the effects aren't bonuses?

If you have two spells with effects other than bonuses and those spells or effects are called out not to stack, that means that the effects that apply to the same rules component or situation do not stack, so if they apply different non-bonus effects to the same rules component, the most recent spell takes precedent. For example, aspect of the falcon specifically doesn't stack with any other effect that expands the threat range of a weapon, such as Improved Critical or keen. This means that the part of aspect of the falcon that applies to criticals doesn't stack with those effects, but it doesn't prevent someone with Improved Critical from receiving the competence bonuses on attack rolls and Perception checks. If a character with Improved Critical (light crossbow) cast aspect of the falcon, his criticals would change from 17–20/x2 to 19–20/x3. Similarly, blessing of fervor does not stack with haste, which means that the increased speed, extra attack, and attack roll/AC/Reflex save bonuses wouldn't stack between the two spells, but if you had both spells active, you could still get those three benefits from haste while choosing to stand up as a swift action or apply metamagic to a low-level spell.

Do Mirror Image, Horrific Doubles, and Shocking Image apply to the same rules component? In the FAQ's example, Aspect of the Falcon applies to a weapon's critical hit threat range, and Blessing of Fervor can intersect with Haste on speed, extra attacks in a full attack, and bonuses to attack rolls, AC, and Reflex saves. The rules component that Mirror Image, Horrific Doubles, and Shocking Image have in common are illusionary images and miss chances. Illusionary images are known to stack; for example, Minor Image can be cast multiple times for multiple illusions. Miss chances are trickier: some miss chances, such as Blink and Invisibility, stack, and others, such as Mirror Image and Invisibility, don't.

Therefore, we can declare that the images stack and the miss chances don't. That either brings us back to vhok's solution, or we declare that the first set of decoy images no longer decoy when the second set appears.


wraithstrike wrote:

Mathmuse you cant use the stacking effect rules because it is not a stacking effect. Each image is doing a completely different thing so that makes it a different effect, and they are from different sources. Just be honest and say you dont want to deal with it.

I could easily make the problem go away by never roleplaying my bloodrager as combining the two spells.

But I am a mathematician, bwahaha. I like puzzles.

The puzzle is more complicated than I stated. My bloodrager has a bloodline familiar with the valet archetype that copies her teamwork feats. She can use Improved Spell Sharing to split her spells with her familiar by splitting the duration. What happens if she splits a Mirror Image spell with her familiar?

Suboptimized NPCs are an opportunity to experiment with strange spells, feats, and archetypes.


The duration is split. What else could happen?


wraithstrike wrote:
The duration is split. What else could happen?

Do I roll one number of images and split them between the two individuals, or do they each roll their own number? The other spells they share, such as Shield, Resist Energy, and Heroism, get their full bonuses.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I don't think these were intended to be stacked the way you want them to.

The two child spells are based off of the Parent spell, and their descriptions state they otherwise function as Mirror Image does. Read the Mirror Image description again with some relevant highlights that I'd like to point out:

Mirror Images wrote:

This spell creates a number of illusory doubles of you that inhabit your square. These doubles make it difficult for enemies to precisely locate and attack you.

When mirror image is cast, 1d4 images plus one image per three caster levels (maximum eight images total) are created. These images remain in your space and move with you, mimicking your movements, sounds, and actions exactly. Whenever you are attacked or are the target of a spell that requires an attack roll, there is a possibility that the attack targets one of your images instead. If the attack is a hit, roll randomly to see whether the selected target is real or a figment. If it is a figment, the figment is destroyed. If the attack misses by 5 or less, one of your figments is destroyed by the near miss. Area spells affect you normally and do not destroy any of your figments. Spells and effects that do not require an attack roll affect you normally and do not destroy any of your figments. Spells that require a touch attack are harmlessly discharged if used to destroy a figment.

An attacker must be able to see the figments to be fooled. If you are invisible or the attacker is blind, the spell has no effect (although the normal miss chances still apply).

For starters, you can only ever have 8 images up at one time. If the two child spells function as the parent spell, this limitation likewise applies to them, and counts against the number of Mirror Images you can have up. So, unless you have bad Caster Levels, it's unlikely to get a mixture of all 3 spell effects at once.

Furthermore, consider that, because the spells operate like Mirror Image, which is a buff spell put on yourself, that you must consider the Stacking rules. Most specifically, these:

Combining Magical Effects wrote:

Same Effect More than Once in Different Strengths: In cases when two or more identical spells are operating in the same area or on the same target, but at different strengths, only the one with the highest strength applies.

Same Effect with Differing Results: The same spell can sometimes produce varying effects if applied to the same recipient more than once. Usually the last spell in the series trumps the others. None of the previous spells are actually removed or dispelled, but their effects become irrelevant while the final spell in the series lasts.

So, if you cast all 3, and you have enough Horrific Doubles/Shocking Images to fill up your 8 images, you won't have any standard Mirror Images left, and if you start with standard Mirror Images, and then overflow with one of the other child spell castings, you'll end up creating excess "superior" images that overwrite your existing "inferior" images.

Thus, the conclusion would be thus:

You can cast all 3 spells if you want, but they still adhere to the Mirror Images limitation or 8 images, and any superior Mirror Images overwrite the the inferior Mirror Images, which means you're wasting spellpower just to waste spellpower.

That isn't to say that you shouldn't have at least 2 of those 3 spell options (varying your spell repertoire in the event of added/reduced spell expenditures), but that I wouldn't use them in concert of each other for them not really stacking too well.


Mathmuse wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
The duration is split. What else could happen?
Do I roll one number of images and split them between the two individuals, or do they each roll their own number? The other spells they share, such as Shield, Resist Energy, and Heroism, get their full bonuses.

There is no reason the images should be split. Each person gets the full benefit of the spell just like any other spell. If you cast resist energy then both of them get whatever level of resistence the spell give. If you cast bulls strength them both parties get a +4 to strength. If you cast false life then both creatures get the extra hit points.

Since it is one casting of the spell that treats each creatureas if they got the benefit you could roll once or twice. That is really up to the GM. I would roll once and give each creature the same amount of images, just to save time.


I dont see mirror image as a parent spell. I think the issue here is whether or not someone sees the images as different enough to count as different effects.

For the purpose of keeping things in line due to power I can see them ruling that the higher level spell takes over if having 20(random number) images might be too much. Of course what is "too powerful" is very subjective.

If you rule the other way what happens if you have 6 mirror images, and 4 shocking images? Do you have to lose 2 images and increase your chances of getting hit, while using a higher level spell?

For book-keeping purposes I think my post about tracking each spell's images can work.

And there is the idea that the old images take on the properties of the newer images, but currently there is nothing to support that. This one may be worth an FAQ.

Scarab Sages

Mathmuse - Don’t want to quote a long message for a short reply. (Edit: longer reply than I planned)

Are you contending that two castings of mirror images will stack with each other?

If not, and shocking images “works like mirror images,” then why would it stack with mirror images? It is, essentially, the same effect (plus some additional things). To go back to the haste, blessing of fervor example, similar effects from them don’t stack, but additional effects do. So maybe, if you had 3 shocking images and 5 regular images, you might roll a d6. On a 1, you hit the target. 2-4 you hit a shocking image. 5-6 you hit a mirror image. That’s allowing the parts that aren’t the same to both be in effect. But it’s not going to be 8 images from one casting of 3 and one of 5. And missing by 5 or less would destroy an image off both spells.

If you do believe that two castings of mirror images stack with each other, why? And how?

I’m fairly certain you don’t add the number of images together with multiple castings of mirror images. Both castings might be active at the same time, but the target isn’t going to have to roll twice to see whether or not they hit an image. Both would be active only in the sense that if one is dispelled, the other would still be there.


wraithstrike wrote:

I dont see mirror image as a parent spell. I think the issue here is whether or not someone sees the images as different enough to count as different effects.

For the purpose of keeping things in line due to power I can see them ruling that the higher level spell takes over if having 20(random number) images might be too much. Of course what is "too powerful" is very subjective.

If you rule the other way what happens if you have 6 mirror images, and 4 shocking images? Do you have to lose 2 images and increase your chances of getting hit, while using a higher level spell?

For book-keeping purposes I think my post about tracking each spell's images can work.

And there is the idea that the old images take on the properties of the newer images, but currently there is nothing to support that. This one may be worth an FAQ.

How is it not a parent spell?

Spell effects that say "functions as X (except Y)" means that X is the parent spell, because we have to refer to X for everything else that Y doesn't cover or override, and in most cases, Y only tells us a simple change or two to X, meaning if we took the child spell at its face value, it doesn't succeed in telling us what the spell actually does.

Shocking Images and Horrific Doubles both possess that language, stating that it functions as the Mirror Images spell except as described. Therefore, Mirror Images is indeed the parent spell to these two spell effects, because we have to rely on Mirror Images' description for further details that Horrific Doubles/Shocking Images doesn't outright state in their descriptions.

As for the whole image stacking thing, the Mirror Image spell states you can't have more than 8, and we have stacking rules for spells of similar effects (but different strengths) stating that only the strongest effects apply. At best, you can have 4 regular images, and 4 shocking images with your above example (because the 2 excess Regular Images are replaced by the 4 Shocking Images, and you can't ever have more than 8 Images at a time).

For it being worthy of a FAQ, I don't think so. This is actually a fairly corner case issue, and we have plenty of easily understandable RAW to make a realistic conclusion that doesn't break other parts of the rules, or leave other mundane questions.


Mirror image is not the same as the other spells. The others are similar, but not the same.

Mirror image images=A

Shocking image spells =A+B(shocking)

A+B /=A

There is no way for A+B will ever equal A.

Now maybe Paizo feels like they are similar enough that they don't work together, but there would need to be a direct statement or some precedence to state that as a fact.

It is a fact that mirror image does not do the exact same thing as the other spells so asking "does mirror image stack with mirror image" is not a valid question since that is not the claim.

It only becomes a valid claim when there is proof or precedence that all spells images are equal despite the spell they come from.

However at that point we would likely all agree that they don't stack.

So my question is what proof or precedence an be presented to show that the images are equal, and what happens when both spells are cast with different number of images?


Lots of people are really stretching the rules to avoid a potentially annoying situation.

Should they stack? Probably not. But this isn't a parent spell or the same source. This should probably be errataed, but I think there's no basis in the rules for them not to stack.


RAI looks like images don't stack: http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2kqkj?Blink-and-displacement#4

According to James Jacobs, only the best one should apply since it's a "miss" chance after getting hit. It's similar to how blink, displacement, and even entropic shield don't stack since they are all concealment like even though the final effects of each spell is different.

That said, interestingly mirror image spells do stack with these as the image doesn't kick in until it gets past the concealment (or concealment like) of these spells.


wraithstrike wrote:

Mirror image is not the same as the other spells. The others are similar, but not the same.

Mirror image images=A

Shocking image spells =A+B(shocking)

A+B /=A

There is no way for A+B will ever equal A.

Now maybe Paizo feels like they are similar enough that they don't work together, but there would need to be a direct statement or some precedence to state that as a fact.

It is a fact that mirror image does not do the exact same thing as the other spells so asking "does mirror image stack with mirror image" is not a valid question since that is not the claim.

It only becomes a valid claim when there is proof or precedence that all spells images are equal despite the spell they come from.

However at that point we would likely all agree that they don't stack.

So my question is what proof or precedence an be presented to show that the images are equal, and what happens when both spells are cast with different number of images?

If B = 0, then it sure does equal A, since A + 0 = A.

But even with that being the case, that's an irrelevant equation that serves no purpose to be answered, because this isn't a question that can be fixed by that kind of problem solving. (A more appropriate equation would be to get B congruent to A, but it's still irrelevant and pointlessly convoluted.)

Let's try this: If we take the description of Delayed Blast Fireball by itself, would you know how that spell functions? No? Then it has to function similar to another spell, which is Fireball, because that's all we're given in terms of how the spell functions. And when we go to that description, it tells us what that spell does. Which means for anything that Delayed Blast Fireball doesn't override, we refer to Fireball to cover any issues.

That's what's happening here with Horrific Doubles and Shocking Images; they possess language which tells us to refer to Mirror Images for rules not specified by those spells. Which makes them similar effects. Which means only the strongest and most recently cast effect applies based on the Stacking Magical Effects rules.

As for the spell effect stacking, that's really the only part that has multiple interpretations based on how you want to look at it. At best, you'll only ever have 8 images at any given time, and Horrific Doubles/Shocking Images you possess will always trump/override Regular Images. At worst, each casting overwrites the other casting (meaning you might have more or even less images than before), with the exception of regular Mirror Images always being trumped by Horrific Doubles/Shocking Images, and Horrific Doubles/Shocking Images being trumped by whichever was the last one that was cast.

Either way, the point is that none of these effects should infinitely stack like everyone is suggesting, even if it's "cool" or "funny" to do, because Paizo would look at this and say "Wow, a spellcaster can have 25 images up at once by cheesing these spells when we only ever intended a maximum of 8? Not anymore."

[NerFAQing into Oblivion Intensifies]


Latrans wrote:

RAI looks like images don't stack: http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2kqkj?Blink-and-displacement#4

According to James Jacobs, only the best one should apply since it's a "miss" chance after getting hit. It's similar to how blink, displacement, and even entropic shield don't stack since they are all concealment like even though the final effects of each spell is different.

That said, interestingly mirror image spells do stack with these as the image doesn't kick in until it gets past the concealment (or concealment like) of these spells.

That FAQ only deals with Mirror Images and Miss Chances, and the FAQ states that typical Miss Chances (sans Blink) don't apply when determining if you lose an image, they only apply when the attack actually hits the caster.

Concealment has its own rules for stacking/not stacking, which means that claim has no relevance when the rules are clear that they won't stack, regardless of how it's acquired.

**EDIT**

@ Create Mr. Pitt: I have a rules citation that says otherwise.


I don't see how those rules apply to this situation unless you assume they do.


Create Mr. Pitt wrote:
I don't see how those rules apply to this situation unless you assume they do.

It's not an assumption.

Shocking Images wrote:
This spell works like mirror image, except the illusory doubles it creates discharge an electric shock when destroyed. An opponent that uses a melee attack to destroy one of your images takes 2d6 points of electricity damage. You must overcome a target's spell resistance the first time you deal this electricity damage to it. Failure renders the target immune to damage from this spell.
Horrific Doubles wrote:

You create several illusory doubles of yourself, where you and each image all seem slightly off or wrong in appearance. Treat this spell as mirror image, except as noted.

Each creature that can see the doubles must succeed at a Will save or become shaken for as long as it can see any of the doubles. A successful saving throw negates the shaken condition and renders the creature immune to the further effects of this spell (beyond the usual effects of mirror image). In addition, the first time a creature that failed its initial saving throw destroys one of the images, it must succeed at a Will save or its perception of the double shifts at the last second. The double takes on the face of the attacker, the face of a loved one, or some other equally disturbing image, causing the attacker to become frightened for 1 round and take 1d3 points of Wisdom damage from the traumatic shock. Both additional effects are mind-affecting fear effects, and spell resistance applies against them.

If your campaign uses the sanity system, a creature takes 1d8 points of sanity damage instead of Wisdom damage.

Both descriptions state that they function as or are treated as the Mirror Image spell (with their exceptions listed).

This means that mechanics and limitations that follow Mirror Images also apply to these spells as well unless their description overwrites them. Which makes those effects similar to Mirror Images, which means the Stacking Magical Effect rules apply.


Create Mr. Pitt wrote:

Lots of people are really stretching the rules to avoid a potentially annoying situation.

Should they stack? Probably not. But this isn't a parent spell or the same source. This should probably be errataed, but I think there's no basis in the rules for them not to stack.

I feel the same way. I think it's a bad idea for them to stack, and if this is FAQ's then the PDT would likely make some rule that they do not stack, but I don't think this was ever thought of when the spells were created. The assumption was probably that people would just use one spell or the other.

I think that a GM is well within his rights to just say "not gonna happen at my table", but I don't think the "same effect" rule applies. The unwritten "it's too annoying to allow" houserule is definitely reasonable though.


I think that "works like mirror image" is just done to avoid repeating the same language. It is not the same as "this is the same effect as mirror image with regards to how they work together".

Despite my rules argument I do think this should not be allowed, but at the same time I don't think there are any clear cut rules on disallowing it.

I don't think constantly repeating the same rule is going to convince anyone. I do think it might be a good idea to FAQ this if enough people are in groups that play at tables that try to go by the rules, and avoid houserule.

Here is my houserule: The additional benefits for the higher level spell will transfer to any existing images even if there are more images from the lower level spell.

Example: You have 6 mirror images, and 4 shocking images after casting shocking images.

Result: You now have 6 shocking images. Trying to get through 10 mirror images is a PitA.


They don't have to make up a rule though; we already have RAW that lets us attribute the spell effects to being similar enough to disallow stacking, which is grounds for a GM, by the rules, to disallow the cheddar and swiss cheese combo. If the GM doesn't want to use those rules, fine, but then they better let Blessing of Fervor and Haste stack because the same rule that denies those two from stacking is the same one that can deny this stuff from stacking as well.

If a FAQ is made, they can, and will, respond by stating that they are similar effects with different strengths due to the text stating that they function as or are treated as Mirror Images, and that the similar effect stacking rules would apply.

If we want to make a FAQ for the thread, then I'll FAQ it just so the PDT can come down and NerFAQ the combo into oblivion as they should (and would). I'd even offer to make the FAQ thread myself, but I've made enough FAQ threads for a while, so it's somebody else's turn now.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

They don't have to make up a rule though; we already have RAW that lets us attribute the spell effects to being similar enough to disallow stacking, which is grounds for a GM, by the rules, to disallow the cheddar and swiss cheese combo. If the GM doesn't want to use those rules, fine, but then they better let Blessing of Fervor and Haste stack because the same rule that denies those two from stacking is the same one that can deny this stuff from stacking as well.

If a FAQ is made, they can, and will, respond by stating that they are similar effects with different strengths due to the text stating that they function as or are treated as Mirror Images, and that the similar effect stacking rules would apply.

If we want to make a FAQ for the thread, then I'll FAQ it just so the PDT can come down and NerFAQ the combo into oblivion as they should (and would). I'd even offer to make the FAQ thread myself, but I've made enough FAQ threads for a while, so it's somebody else's turn now.

Reading your post again I do agree that they should not stack. How to handle them though is not something I want to FAQ, now that I have though about it, because they might come up with something far beyond what is needed to fix it.


Pathfinder Maps Subscriber
wraithstrike wrote:
Each image is doing a completely different thing so that makes it a different effect, and they are from different sources.

I dispute this statement. Each image is doing the exact same thing with some having the ADDITIONAL effect given by the Shocking Image spell. I wouldn't call that "a completely different thing".

EDITS: AND ninjas. ninjas everywhere. Why did this post not appear until well after I wrote it ? Gremlins. Ninja gremlins. ELECTRONIC ninja gremlins.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:

I dont see mirror image as a parent spell. I think the issue here is whether or not someone sees the images as different enough to count as different effects.

For the purpose of keeping things in line due to power I can see them ruling that the higher level spell takes over if having 20(random number) images might be too much. Of course what is "too powerful" is very subjective.

If you rule the other way what happens if you have 6 mirror images, and 4 shocking images? Do you have to lose 2 images and increase your chances of getting hit, while using a higher level spell?

For book-keeping purposes I think my post about tracking each spell's images can work.

And there is the idea that the old images take on the properties of the newer images, but currently there is nothing to support that. This one may be worth an FAQ.

How is it not a parent spell?

Spell effects that say "functions as X (except Y)" means that X is the parent spell, because we have to refer to X for everything else that Y doesn't cover or override, and in most cases, Y only tells us a simple change or two to X, meaning if we took the child spell at its face value, it doesn't succeed in telling us what the spell actually does.

In the Rules as Written, Pathfinder has no such thing as a parent spell. "Parent spell" is a game-design term to mean "functions as X (except Y)" but the rules themselves give no authority to parentage.

For example, many polymorph spells, such as Baleful Polymorph, say "As beast shape III, except that ...," and Beast Shape III says, "This spell functions as beast shape II, except that ...," all the way back to Beast Shape I. But if I want to figure out a conflict between polymorph spells, I don't read Beast Shape I, because it says nothing about conflicts. Instead, I read the Polymorph section of the Magic chapter of the Core Rulebook.

Mirror Image, Horrific Doubles, and Shocking Image are figment spells, but the Figment section of the Magic chapter does not say anything about conflicts between figment spells. On the other hand, a conflict could serve as evidence that an illusion is not real, so an observer would receive a saving throw to disbeileve. Mirror Image skips all savings throws; instead, a disproven decoy figment is destroyed.

That suggests new yet another method to claim the spells don't stack. Perhaps Mirror Image is limited to 8 images maximum because more images would overlap. If Mirror Image and Shocking Image together create more than 8 images, some figments would overlap, be disbelieved, and disappear. Pairs of decoys, one of each kind, would disappear until the number of decoys is 7 or 8.


I think the combination of "works like Mirror Image" and "Maximum images of 8" is pretty clear and straight forward. You cannot have more than 8 images from any Mirror Image like spells.


2bz2p wrote:
I think the combination of "works like Mirror Image" and "Maximum images of 8" is pretty clear and straight forward. You cannot have more than 8 images from any Mirror Image like spells.

2bz2p, your observation is so obvious to you that you did not state it in a way that makes it clear to people who did not see the obvious.

What would you say to someone who says, "My Mirror Image creates its maximum of 8 images and my Shocking Image creates its maximumum of 8 images. That is 16 images total."?

And what if someone had cast Shocking Image for 6 images, waited until opponents had whittled the images down to 2 left, and then cast Mirror Image to restock the images with non-shocking ones? Would 2 new images appear, or could a full 6 new images appear?


Mathmuse wrote:

In the Rules as Written, Pathfinder has no such thing as a parent spell. "Parent spell" is a game-design term to mean "functions as X (except Y)" but the rules themselves give no authority to parentage.

For example, many polymorph spells, such as Baleful Polymorph, say "As beast shape III, except that ...," and Beast Shape III says, "This spell functions as beast shape II, except that ...," all the way back to Beast Shape I. But if I want to figure out a conflict between polymorph spells, I don't read Beast Shape I, because it says nothing about conflicts. Instead, I read the Polymorph section of the Magic chapter of the Core Rulebook.

Mirror Image, Horrific Doubles, and Shocking Image are figment spells, but the Figment section of the Magic chapter does not say anything about conflicts between figment spells. On the other hand, a conflict could serve as evidence that an illusion is not real, so an observer would receive a saving throw to disbeileve. Mirror Image skips all savings throws; instead, a disproven decoy figment is destroyed.

That suggests new yet another method to claim the spells don't stack. Perhaps Mirror Image is limited to 8 images maximum because more images would overlap. If Mirror Image and Shocking Image together create more than 8 images, some figments would overlap, be disbelieved, and disappear. Pairs of decoys, one of each kind, would disappear until the number of decoys is 7 or 8.

Yes, RAW doesn't come out and say that, but it's quite clear that it being designed as a parent spell (and not coming out and saying or defining what a parent/child spell is) means it's an identical effect of different levels of strength, as mentioned in the Stacking Magical Effects, which means only the higher of the two effects apply.

Just because Polymorph rules have listed exceptions (and others have none) doesn't mean that exceptions from other sections of the book no longer apply to them, especially when those "exceptions" are actually general rules regarding spells as a whole.

The limit on Mirror Images isn't given a reason as to why there is a limit, and supposing one doesn't really make any sense when the other spells follow that same exact restriction. The point is that the limitation of 8 applies to all effects of Mirror Image, whether it's the base spell or the "greater" versions of that spell which say they otherwise function or are treated as the base spell with listed exceptions.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
The limit on Mirror Images isn't given a reason as to why there is a limit, and supposing one doesn't really make any sense when the other spells follow that same exact restriction. The point is that the limitation of 8 applies to all effects of Mirror Image, whether it's the base spell or the "greater" versions of that spell which say they otherwise function or are treated as the base spell with listed exceptions.

Yes, trying to explain why Mirror Image has a limit of 8 is baseless speculation. It won't prove anything about how Mirror-Image-based spells interact. A good theory might make a nice explanation to my players about my final decision, but that is the only possible benefit.

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Just because Polymorph rules have listed exceptions (and others have none) doesn't mean that exceptions from other sections of the book no longer apply to them, especially when those "exceptions" are actually general rules regarding spells as a whole.

Hence, I keep returning to the fundamental general rules under "Combining Magic Effects."

Combining Magic Effect wrote:

Combining Magic Effects

Spells or magical effects usually work as described, no matter how many other spells or magical effects happen to be operating in the same area or on the same recipient. [u]Except in special cases, a spell does not affect the way another spell operates.[/u] Whenever a spell has a specific effect on other spells, the spell description explains that effect. Several other general rules apply when spells or magical effects operate in the same place:

Stacking Effects: Spells that provide bonuses or penalties on attack rolls, damage rolls, saving throws, and other attributes usually do not stack with themselves. More generally, two bonuses of the same type don't stack even if they come from different spells (or from effects other than spells; see Bonus Types, above).

Different Bonus Types: The bonuses or penalties from two different spells stack if the modifiers are of different types. A bonus that doesn't have a type stacks with any bonus.

Same Effect More than Once in Different Strengths: In cases when two or more identical spells are operating in the same area or on the same target, but at different strengths, only the one with the highest strength applies.

Same Effect with Differing Results: The same spell can sometimes produce varying effects if applied to the same recipient more than once. Usually the last spell in the series trumps the others. None of the previous spells are actually removed or dispelled, but their effects become irrelevant while the final spell in the series lasts.

One Effect Makes Another Irrelevant: Sometimes, one spell can render a later spell irrelevant. Both spells are still active, but one has rendered the other useless in some fashion.
...

As stated in the sentence I underlined, ordinarily, one spell does not care about another spell, no matter how similiar the spells are. If my character casts Phantom Steed a second time, it does not affect the previous casting of Phantom Steed, despite them being the same spell. Likewise, Phantom Steed and Ghost Wolf do not interact, even through Phantom Steed is the parent spell of Ghost Wolf.

But Mirror-Image-type spells on the same character have to interact with each other. If I tried to treat them as independent, then I would roll the miss chance for one and then roll the miss chance for the other. But which spell's decoy figment is destroyed depends greatly on which spell I roll first. They interact. Most people in this discussion have been treating 8 decoy figments from Mirror Image and 6 decoy figments from Shocking Image as 14 decoy figments to be handled as one set of decoys. That combines the two spells into one spell.

Even with Mirror Image alone, a spellcaster down to his last decoy figment might decide to immediately recast Mirror Image to restock the figments back to safer levels. Suppose the second casting rolls 4 new images. If the spells stacked, then the 1 old figment and 4 new figments would add to give 5 figments. If the spells did not stack, then the stronger 4 figments would fall under the "Same Effect More than Once in Different Strengths" rule and the spellcaster would end up with 4 figments. Most people agree that 4 figments is the right choice. Mirror Image does not stack with itself.

However, imagine the spellcaster with 3 decoy figments active recasting Mirror Image and rolling 2 new images. Does he end up with 3 decoy figments or 2 decoy figments? "Same Effect More than Once in Different Strengths" says 3, and "Same Effect with Differing Results" says 2. Even if we agree with not-stacking, we can still disagree about the number. I favor "Same Effect More than Once in Different Strengths", because I see the number of decoys as the strength of the spell, not as a different result.

If you think the above case will never happen, then consider that my bloodrager will use Improved Spell Sharing to cast Mirror Image on herself and her familiar simultaneously. One character in that pair could exhaust her or its decoy figments before the other, so a second casting could affect a character with a large set of decoys.

Next, we throw in the complication of casting both Mirror Image and Shocking Image. Some people claim the two spells would stack with themselves. As a GM ruling for my table, I declare that they would not stack. Then we have the problem of determining whether a normal image and a shocking image are the same result, or force us into "Same Effect with Differing Results". I still favor "Same Effect More than Once in Different Strengths", but that makes my final result weird.

In Conclusion

I wish to thank everyone, even the people I disagree with, for this discussion. It let me see the issue from many different sides. And many of you suggested solutions that I did not think up by myself.

For my table, the number of decoy images created by Mirror Image, Horrific Doubles, and Shocking Image will not stack. However, the secondary effect on those images--normal, horrific, or shocking--will stack. Thus, if my bloodrager cast Mirror Image for 7 decoys, Horrific Doubles for 6 decoys, and Shocking Image for 5 decoys, she would end up with 7 decoy figments, of which 1 was norma1, 1 was horrific, and 5 were shocking and horrific.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder RPG / Rules Questions / Mirror Image and Shocking Image on Same Character All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.