Illusions, touch, and saves to disbelieve


Rules Questions

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Scarab Sages

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That's not how I'd run it.

"All targets hear the same hallucination.”

Seems pretty clear cut to me. Person A and Person B hear the same thing. You can't have person A hear Person C calling them an "Ignoramus of incredible proportions" and Person C hear person A calling them an "Ignoramus of incredible proportions.". You could yes have them both hear a person call them that but unless they're complete strangers one of them at least is going to be hearing their own voice or they'll both hear one they don't recognize.

Same with your orc chieftans if one is hearing things in common and another in orcish then they're not hearing the same thing. Opening it up to "you set paramaters and their mind fills in" e.g. you hear your child crying for help feels like its out of bounds for the spell level and function.

For example "I cast audiotory hallucination and make them hear the most amazing, incisive and personally tailored attempt to convince them to be on our side . . . So does that count as a max ranks, natural 20, max bonus diplomacy check to improve their relationship since they "hear" the most amazing arguments they could possibly imagine to support us?"

Liberty's Edge

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It is a bit strange, but Chell Raighn argument follows the description of the spell.

You can't set the parameters as "Orc A insults orc B mother and orc B insult orc A mother" as everyone hear the same thing, but you can set the parameters as "Each orc hear the nearest orc insulting his mother."

You don't control what orc apparently insults what orc's mother, but each orc hears a hallucination of the nearest orc insulting his mother, so we can have multiple orcs hearing different orcs insulting their mothers and we aren't limited to all orcs hearing the same orc insulting his mother.


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Auditory Hallucination is a phantasm, so it is all in the mind of the target. The spell also gives you the option of having the target hear a sound they know. So, you don’t even need to define the insult you could simply have each orc hear the nearest orc insulting them. Each orc could hear a different insult based on who was the nearest orc. Orc A may hear orc B calling him a wimp, where orc C may hear orc D making derogatory remarks about being an elf lover. If you do this you would not have any control over what was heard, the insult would be coming from the mind of the affected orc.


Commentary
this topic comes up every few years. It is good to talk about it so fresh GMs can see the game system rationale behind running the spells.

ofcouse there will be wandering into corner cases and 'what ifs'.


I'm sorry, I simply don't agree.

Everyone hears the same thing is far more literal and the example provided in the spell of the orc cheiftain doesn't refute it.

The spell description says you can make speech, including of languages you don't know but your target does. And you don't need to know the precise sound, but can imagine the sound something will make and their mind replicates it.

None of that points toward the interpretation Chell has IMO.

You can't say (to two different tribes of orcs) you hear your chieftain calling for help because the two groups wouldn't hear the same thing. You would have to say "You hear chieftain of tribe A calling for help". Everyone hears the same thing.

If not everyone is hearing the same thing, you've violated the rule.

And everyone hearing customized insult from their nearest neighbor is a violation of the rule.

Of course, you could achieve a somewhat similar result by (during the course of concentration) changing what everyone hears from the first chieftain calling for help to the second chieftain calling for help. But everyone affected will hear both calls for in the same sequence.

You could even say that both chieftains call out at the same time, but both groups would hear both chieftains. (Although this would require you to have extra knowledge about the people you're trying to use the spell on, like that both groups have a chieftain. And that for some reason one group of orcs doesn't have a democratically elected leader that serves 1 5 year term and is then ineligible to serve again.)

But I cannot support an interpretation that says "You hear your chieftain call out for help" and each group hears something different., because that is clearly not everyone hearing the same thing.

The spell is also incredibly poorly written (IMO) because what if you have some random human that you include in the spell? They don't have a chieftain. What happens to them? Completely unclear.

Also: Want to preemptively say I'm not interested in arguing further on this topic for a game system that has sailed into the sunset.

In my mind any interpretation that results in everyone affected by the spell not hearing the same exact thing violates the rule of the spell.


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Just because you see (or hear) the same thing does not mean you experience it the same way. Ask four different witnesses to a crime what happened and you will often get four very different viewpoints. This is known as the Rashomon effect after the Japanese movie of the same name.

Auditory Hallucination is a phantasm which means it directly affects the targets mind. You are not actually creating a sound; you are causing the target to think they are hearing a sound. That is why you don’t need to have heard the sound or to understand the sound. What the target experiences is based on their own perceptions. If cast a hallucination spell on someone that has a sense that is different they will perceive the sensation according to their perception. Let’s say that instead of a sound we are talking about sight. I cast Audiovisual Hallucination of a person dressed in red on two targets. One target is color blind, the other has normal sight. How they perceive the illusion is going to be different, even though they are “seeing” the same thing.

Another example would be casting the spell on creatures who speak a different language. I am casting auditory hallucination on three targets. One is an orc who only speaks orcish, the over is an elf who speaks common and elven, the last is a human who speaks only common. I cast the spell and make it seem like a wolf is talking about eating them. What language does each of my targets hear? The spell is not language dependent and it specifically states you do not need to know what the sound, sounds like, or to speak the language.


I know I said I didn't want to argue, but I can't help because you provided an example that proves to me why it can't be as Chell suggests.

You're talking about objective events vs individual perception.

I'm ignoring individual perception. No one can really understand how another person perceives and experiences reality, I'm sure the game system isn't trying to delve that deeply. Instead we treat the spell auditory hallucination as every subject of the spell having the same objective experience (which is colored by their subjective personal experience).

You cannot have the wolf speak in common to one and orcish to the other unless both subjects hear both, because it would not be the same objective experience. You could have the wolf sound as though they were speaking both at the same time, although that might be confusing. And you could certainly have it sound like it said it in one language followed by the other (and your subjects would hear both and understand 1).

But having them hear different languages would violate the objective experience being the same for all subjects.


You claim my reading of it ignores the objective experience and relies on subjective experience… your wrong. It focuses on the objective experience and lets the subjective experience be it’s own thing. Let’s use the example of the wolf speaking to a group again.

The objective experience is that all targets hear the wolf tell them it is going to eat them.
The subjective experience is that they each hear it in a language they can understand.

They work in tandem and within the letter of the spells rules. The spell even states that you don’t need to know a language the subject speaks that they will hear it in a language they know.

Also, keep in mind it is an illusion spell, they are all about the subjective experience in the first place. Auditory Hallucination in essence plants the idea of a specific auditory experience in the minds of its targets and their minds fill in the gaps to create the actual sounds. Objectively they all have the same experience and hear the same hallucination, but subjectively their differences from one target to the next.

The reason why orcs of two separate clans would each hear their own chieftain call for help is because of their personal subjective experiences. The objective experience remains the same for both targets. Furthermore, the spell doesn’t require you to have interment knowledge of your targets for it to work, it creates the experience from their individual minds not yours and not as a group whole.

The nearest person insults you, a very objective experience. Bill hears Bob insult them but Bob hears Jeff insult him, subjective because in Bill’s experience Bob is the closest person but in Bob’s experience Jeff is closer than Bill is.

Running it this way also eliminates extra bookwork and needless complications with the spells mechanics. Each target has had the same objective experience. And their subjective experiences line up in a way that keeps everyone’s reactions to the experience the same. They all experience the same effect from the spell.

On the otherhand if you did something like say all targets heard Bob insult them, then you have the awkward situation of Bob hears himself insult himself and immediately knows something is up. That is not how the spell works. Furthermore, if the effect was “hear the nearest person insult you” then the objective experience now differs from the prescribed experience as someone might be on the other side of Bull or Jeff from Bob and for them Bob is most certainly not the nearest person.

The more you try to make the subjective experiences the same the more the objective experience differs from the prescribed experience. The spell functions best and gives consistent results when the subjective experience is left to tailor itself to each target and the objective experience remains identical to the prescribed experience. To run it any other way creates problems with the spell’s functionality and requires the player to have meta game knowledge of every target.


Objective experience does not work the way you describe.

You cannot say "the orcs hear their chieftain calling for aid" and have that be the same objective experience for two groups of orcs because each group hears something different.

Objective experience means is essence "what actually happened". In the context of an illusion spell the objective experience of the spell would be how you program it, but you're making it vague by tricky wording to create a situation in which all subjects of a single casting of the spell do not have the same objective experience. However, it very obviously (IMO) violates the "everyone hears the same thing" rule.

Obviously we're never going to agree, which is why I should have just stopped like I said before.


Phantasm: A phantasm spell creates a mental image that usually only the caster and the subject (or subjects) of the spell can perceive. This impression is totally in the minds of the subjects. It is a personalized mental impression, all in their heads and not a fake picture or something that they actually see. Third parties viewing or studying the scene don't notice the phantasm. All phantasms are mind-affecting spells.

Auditory Hallucination is a phantasm not a figment. The book specifically states it creates a personalized mental impression. The spell is not creating a sound it is making the targets think they heard a sound. How that sounds manifests is dependent on the mind of the target. You don’t even need to know what the sound is or what it sounds like. That is something the spell even specifically states.

Each person hearing the message in their native language is something seen in fiction all the time. I used the example of a dog because I was trying to keep a fantasy feel, but what inspired it was an episode of star trek. I forget the episode, but the crew was on the bridge and an alien gave a speech over the screen. Every member of the crew heard it in their native language.

The spell is not creating an object even it is manipulation their subjective perceptions. A good example of this is the spells Phantasmal Killer and Weird. Weird is basically a Phantasmal Killer that affects multiple targets. Each target perceives the beast differently depending on their own fears.

Scarab Sages

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Mysterious Stranger wrote:

Phantasm: A phantasm spell creates a mental image that usually only the caster and the subject (or subjects) of the spell can perceive. This impression is totally in the minds of the subjects. It is a personalized mental impression, all in their heads and not a fake picture or something that they actually see. Third parties viewing or studying the scene don't notice the phantasm. All phantasms are mind-affecting spells.

Auditory Hallucination is a phantasm not a figment. The book specifically states it creates a personalized mental impression. The spell is not creating a sound it is making the targets think they heard a sound. How that sounds manifests is dependent on the mind of the target. You don’t even need to know what the sound is or what it sounds like. That is something the spell even specifically states.

Each person hearing the message in their native language is something seen in fiction all the time. I used the example of a dog because I was trying to keep a fantasy feel, but what inspired it was an episode of star trek. I forget the episode, but the crew was on the bridge and an alien gave a speech over the screen. Every member of the crew heard it in their native language.

The spell is not creating an object even it is manipulation their subjective perceptions. A good example of this is the spells Phantasmal Killer and Weird. Weird is basically a Phantasmal Killer that affects multiple targets. Each target perceives the beast differently depending on their own fears.

The arguments not over that its over how much the experience can diverge. To use your star trek example every crew member hearing the speach in their own language is something I think both sides would agree is ok. Where they diverge is one said is saying per the rules its ok for half the crew to hear the alien on the screen giving the speach and the other half to hear Kirk giving it whereas the other side say's that is a different event. Crew Member A is hearing "Alien X give speach" and crew member B is hearing "Kirk give speach".

Essentially . . .

All subjects hearing a rock fall = OK
All subjects hearing someone call for help = OK
Half the subjects hearing Bob call for help and half hearing Jim = OK/NOT OK

Its that last example where people are differing based on how vague you can make "everyone hears the same thing" be. Some think its fine because "they all hear someone calling for help" and you can specify that someone is their best friend so its different for each while still being the same the others don't because they are "hearing different people call for help" so all the targets aren't hearing the same thing. Personally I'm against it but this is obviously something neither sides going to convince the other on as it boils down to how strictly you interpret the phrase "hear the same thing" so I bowed out awhile back.

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