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Thread: Guidance on Illusion spells
Wednesday, 11th January, 2017, 08:20 PM #1
Guidance on Illusion spells
So I'm playing a lower lv wizard and normally we don't have many illusion spells cast in our adventures.
There are a total of 10 monsters in 30 ft area and the 3 nearest monsters near the party about 10ft.
On our last game session, I cast Silent Image near the 3 closest (DM didnt roll for the other 7) each of the 3x all failed their spell save DC. One of the monsters attacked the Silent Image (unicorn) with a arrow, and the monster shot well enough that he knew it was an illusion, so then all the monsters could ignore it.
The Dm said it was because when he read the spell in PHB and he quoted the bottom paragraph "physical interactions with the image reveals it to be an illusion, because things can pass through it."
My argument was
1) the monster didn't use it action to examine the image(they failed the spell save DC and took action to attack at it)
2) even if you believe the one monster believes it to be an illusion, how come all the others monsters believe it to be an illusion as well? he said because they all saw the arrow go through it.
Any suggestions how to deal with this ... I understand Illusion spells have there limitations however IMO the DM took the one line in the spell and dismissed the Illusion.
Wednesday, 11th January, 2017, 08:53 PM #2
Guidance on Illusion spells
That's how my group treats it. If one monster walks through it everyone sees him walking through it. Using the action is to interact with it via observing it in my read. Since it's so low level you gotta keep that in mind. One difference is I don't roll any checks, they all see it and believe it unless there is physical interaction (all see if they witness the interaction) or investigation (solo success)performed. So depending on the situation and image they may have no reason to interact physically.
So net result is an action is burned at a minimum for one creature. Which is about on par with other level 1 spells. With the potential of used in a non combat situation of working on a multitude of creatures...chasing situation and out of site you put up a fake dead end.
Wednesday, 11th January, 2017, 09:09 PM #3
Defender (Lvl 8)
Assuming that the monsters have some basic intelligence (and in your example they are wielding bows so a pretty safe assumption) then your DM's interpretation is a reasonable one imo. An arrow going cleanly through an object as if it weren't there counts as a physical interaction and serves as a pretty big clue to figure out what's going on. One could argue that that the intent of the spell is that creatures must physically interact with the object themselves, but that's a bit of a stretch. Intelligent monsters would also naturally communicate to their allies their findings on the state of a battle.
In my opinion the usage of illusion spells in combat is on the narrow side. Combat is generally very physical so the chances of the enemy coming into physical contact with your illusions tends to be high. I think the trick here is to create illusions that the enemy doesn't want to interact with. So creatures aren't the best choice unless you are confident that the enemy will want to retreat at the sight of your illusion (which is probably the exception, not the rule). Try creating obstacles that the enemy will want to avoid and therefore have a harder time figuring out your tricks.
Wednesday, 11th January, 2017, 09:10 PM #4
Enchanter (Lvl 12)
It's tricky to use those spells in combat because there is a LOT of physical interaction in combat.
However, if you're going to use them, consider their utility overall and have something in mind. Your unicorn might be ignored after a single attack as illusory, but it may also block line of sight or be tangentially distracting.
Even if you know something is an illusion (intellectually), your brain still reacts to things. Ever see people fall over during VR demos? A charging unicorn, even an illusion, could and arguably should have some consequences.
You also want to think about using illusions to mislead. Making a rickety bridge look stable, or altering the length of a cliff side. Plenty of people will have better ideas than mine. But if you make your intent clear to your DM, they're more likely to be receptive to your use of the spell. If there's ambiguity in what you're trying to do, some DMs will be inclined to just negate it for the sake of simplicity.
Wednesday, 11th January, 2017, 09:12 PM #5
Scout (Lvl 6)
If I all the monsters going at the same time, I may give the player a break and have most of them shooting at the image and some at the PCs. If there was multiple initiatives, I would allow the follow-on monsters to act normally.
Wednesday, 11th January, 2017, 09:18 PM #6
Minor Trickster (Lvl 4)
Well, my most immediate suggestion would be to steer away from illusions that monsters want to attack, since the Illusion merely needs to be some visible phenomenon no larger than a 15-foot cube... However, as a DM I wouldn't have allowed the attack to "hit" the illusion since Illusions do not have an AC. If I were DMing I would have narrated the monsters Intelligence checks against the Spell DC as "attacks" against the illusion. My understanding of the tactical intent of the spell is to occupy creatures until they succeed in an intelligence check against your Spell DC.
Wednesday, 11th January, 2017, 09:25 PM #7
The Grand Druid (Lvl 20)
Illusion spells have always been tricky to adjudicate because their usefulness is entirely determined by the creativity of the player describing the illusion and the DM's ability to interpret that description in manner that doesn't make the scenario of casting an illusion feel like it is a player versus the DM negotiation.
To that end, I often adjudicate in a way that favors the player's desired out-come.
In this specific scenario, I would not have allowed an attack roll to count as physical interaction because the illusion has no AC against which to compare an attack roll and fairly decide between the outcomes of A) the arrow passes through the illusion, revealing it to be an illusion, and B) the illusion appears to have evaded the arrow. So the monster shooting the arrow would have to roll an Intelligence (investigation) check instead to figure out which of those outcomes it believes has occured.
In the more general sense, I consider the physical interaction mention to be explanatory to the character casting the illusion that they cannot convincingly use illusions of the nature of chains entrapping a creature because the creature will immediately realize they cannot feel the weight, coldness, or solidity of the chains. Thus leaving all other situations of trying to figure out that the illusion is in fact an illusion down to declaration of an action that might notice, and an Intelligence (investigation) roll against spell save DC to figure out how things went.
Wednesday, 11th January, 2017, 09:29 PM #8
A 1e title so awesome it's not in the book (Lvl 21)
- Join Date
- Aug 2015
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ø Block lowkey13
Seven kobolds must line up in order to attack the party.* There are seven consecutive spots for the kobolds to line up. Assume the kobolds are named "B, C, D, F, H, J, and K" – and each kobold will attack in order of its spot. Only one kobold can occupy each spot. The assignment of the kobolds to the attacking spots is subject to the following restrictions:
B and D must occupy consecutive spots.
B must attack earlier than K.
D must attack later than H.
If H does not attack in fourth attacking spot, then F must attack in the fourth spot.
K and J cannot occupy consecutive attack spots.
How do the kobolds attack?**
*How did we agree to attack them?
All at once.
And how did we attack them?
One at a time.
**Answer- they don't. Kobolds run!
Wednesday, 11th January, 2017, 09:51 PM #9
Given the short time duration of a single round of combat, all the 3 creatures should have attacked the illusion (imho).
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Wednesday, 11th January, 2017, 11:06 PM #10
I like your thinking ... I will definitely try to find examples of things like that to try out. The purpose of this spell was to try to get at least the 3x Gnolls to attack the unicorn instead of the party.
Agree ... they can be a great utility and I fully expected that they would have been ignored after 1 or 2 rounds of combat but not one Gnoll shooting an arrow after it had fail it DC Saving
Last edited by retrace; Wednesday, 11th January, 2017 at 11:23 PM.
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