Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Reworking 1st Level Illusionism

Let me start first of all by thanking those who have purchased the book and who have donated - no matter what your reason.  I appreciate those who have said they don't care about the book, but were willing to give to the blog.  Thank you to everyone.

As for the rest of you ... heh heh.  I love you anyway.  You keep on reading.

I have seriously got to spend time sorting out the wiki and making it something meaningful.  However, while it is free and readily accessible, the programming is anything but direct and friendly.  Typing in the wiki is a dragging process, as it is unable to manage more than 25 words a minute, while all the little tagging features are full of autocorrects that seriously make me want to rip out my hair.  That is the main reason I haven't continued to update it ... that and the frustrating system it has for managing large pictures, like my maps.  Still, I want to make it a go.  I think it is worthwhile.

So, this post would be the sort of thing I'd want to put on the wiki, but for the present I'm going to post it here.  I've done a lot of work this past weekend on cantrips and spells - work of which I am proud.  I want to walk it out and have it looked at.

I know there are many who post spells to the net; occasionally rewrites or such.  I'm going to go ahead and post the sixteen first level illusionist spells I've reworked and established as canon, based on AD&D and the Unearthed Arcana.  Some of the spells are partially rewritten; some include extra notes for circumstances which the original books did not cover.  One case of total alteration is the phantasmal force ... which has always been imprecise, difficult for players whose imagination does not work in the way intended, and in fact has long been an endless sort for argument regarding the application of the spell.  It has been broken down into two spells, phantasmal feature and phantasmal figure ... the latter based on the ideal that many players would use as an application, but which the spell did not really allow (as sound was strictly restricted from the original).

If you have the patience to read these through, gawd love you.  I don't argue that I've nailed down every circumstantial problem - but I've done a damn sight better than the original books.  Tell me what you think.  At the very least, acknowledge the work.

(And I will, eventually, start to fix up the wiki and make it useful ... particularly for the online players)

Quick reference table for 1st level illusionist spells

Audible Glamer

Range: 60’ +10’ per level. Duration: 10 rounds per level. Area of Effect: equals spell range. Casting Time: 1 round. Saving Throw: negates.

Beguiles an audience, causing them to believe that they hear sounds made as if by multiple creatures, whether intelligent or otherwise. These sounds are indistinct—so that the sounds ‘heard’ would be that of an incoherent collection of individuals, the roar of a crowd, marching, clanking, the chittering of beasts, the clicking of insects and so on. The sound will never seem to come from any less than a half dozen creatures.

The spell is limited in the decibel level it is capable of producing—50 is the maximum limit, about the sound of a busy street full of carts and hawkers, or the roars of immense hippopotomi. Because of this, any crowd or vast number must seem as though it were far away. At the same time, close sounds must be bare whispers, to conceal the truth that the noise being made is nonsensical. Only the fact that the sound is detectable but obscure protects its true nature.

As suggested already, the sound need not be that created by the mouths of creatures, but can be any sound that animals are able to make, either of themselves or through instruments they can manage. Music, however, or any sounds of singing, will be necessarily inconsistent in nature, as a recognizable melody cannot be produced by the spell.

The sound can be made to emerge from anywhere within the spell range, and can even be made to move, as though from one side of the audience to another.

The audience will have no reason to disbelieve, unless the evidence of their eyes indicates the sound is impossible. In this case, they will be able to press the sound from their minds if they make a +4 save vs. magic. Creatures of 0 or 1 intelligence cannot save against the spell.

Otherwise, the glamer will serve as a distraction and will even conceal true sound. Thieves may approach two hexes closer than normal, and all creatures will gain +1 to their ability to surprise on a d6 roll. Thus, if surprise were normally 2 in 6, the audible glamer will raise this chance to 3 in 6.

Change Self

Range: self. Duration: 10-60 rounds +5 rounds per level. Area of Effect: self. Casting Time: 1 round. Saving Throw: none.

Alters the appearance of the caster, enabling a change to physical features, sex, height, weight … even the appearance of the caster’s clothing or equipment carried. The caster must appear as a humanoid, but can seem to be a different class, status or even a different humanoid race. The spell transforms the character’s voice as well, so as to make blending more easy—but the spell does not confer any of the powers of that other race upon the caster.

Height or weight may be anywhere from 50% to 200% of the caster’s original size. A gnome caster would make a short but believable orc—and would make a more believable pixie than a human caster.

Charismatic appearance may be up to 4 points above, or 6 points below, the caster’s actual charisma. However, once the caster began discourse, the true charisma would quickly become evident.

The caster is not quite able to duplicate the exact appearance of another individual, but would be recognizable as a family member due to the close resemblance.

The spell’s strongest strength is in causing an enemy to misconstrue or otherwise misjudge the caster’s true nature or strength—enabling the caster greater opportunity to catch others off guard. Naturally, passing undetected through an enemy camp is useful also … but a strange individual, even when the expected race or type, will still be suspicious.

Chromatic Orb

Range: self; see below. Duration: until thrown or dropped. Area of Effect: 5’ circle; see below. Casting Time: 1 round. Saving Throw: none; see below.

Creates a small globe of varying hue, depending upon the caster’s level.

Once cast, the orb will appear in the caster’s hand, and may be hurled by the illusionist at a chosen opponent or location. To be successful in the throw, the illusionist must hit AC 10.

On a miss, the caster should roll a d6 to see which adjacent hex to the target the chromatic orb struck. If this indicates a friendly fire hit, the illusionist may shift the erred throw by one hex.

If the orb falls in an empty hex, it strikes as a grenade-like bomb, potentially causing damage to a circle 10’ in diameter and having varied other effects.

Listed is the lowest level the illusionist must be to be able to employ that chromatic orb; only one orb may be thrown per casting of the spell.

On the above table, ‘damage’ is that done to the primary target. The ‘grenade effect’ is that damage or effect that is done to secondary targets in adjacent combat hexes.

Orb descriptions:

Light. Upon striking the spot where it is thrown, the pearly orb bursts into a light spell, centered on the struck location. The light will persist for 5 rounds per level. Creatures within 10’ of the bursting light must make a save against magic or be stunned for 1 round.

Heat. Will melt up to one yard deep in ice or snow in the 5’ circle where the ruby orb strikes (possibly creating a ‘foxhole’), and will dry leaves or rotted wood in the same given area. The spell will also cause +2 damage against cold-based magical creatures. All those who take damage from the ruby orb will be –1 to hit and damage for the round following the burst.

Fire. The hyacinth orb will set aflame all combustibles within the spell range (5’ circle) which does not save against normal fire. Primary targets (not grenade affected targets) must make save vs. magic or take two additional damage from the hyacinth orb.

Stinking cloud. Centered on the hex where the emerald orb hits will form a stinking cloud, 15’ in diameter. All within the cloud must make a save vs. poison or be made helpless for 1-6 rounds before they can attempt to flee the cloud. Those creatures which make their save will flee the cloud at once.

Magnetism. Whomever the turquoise orb strikes will suffer electrical damage. Primary targets within the area of effect will find their iron-based equipment powerfully magnetized, so that it will adhere to other such objects and cannot be pulled free—swords will cling to armor, as well as to iron doors, grates, gates and so on, whatever may be within the 5’ circle area of effect.

Blindness. The amber orb will cause blindness to primary targets that will persist for 3-18 rounds if they do not make save against poison. Those within the grenade-affected area must make save or be stunned for 1 round.

Paralysis. The sapphire orb will cause a powerful paralysis to any primary target, so that they must make save or be seized with paralysis for 2-12 rounds. Others within the grenade affected area must make save or be stunned for 1-2 rounds.

Spike stones. The white orb does more damage than any other chromatic orb, and creates an area of spiked stones that is up to 15’ across, in addition to doing damage. These stones will persist for 1 round per level of the caster, and will cause 1-4 damage to any creature that treads upon them. Oozing creatures and animated plants are not affected, nor are creatures which hover or are able to fly over the stones.

Quasi-elemental. Regardless of the place where the ochre orb falls, it will shatter to create a dust, ice, heat or vapour elemental. The exact nature of the elemental depends on what surface is struck: stone or ground will create a dust elemental; snow or ice will produce an ice elemental; water will produce a vapour elemental; and hurling the ochre orb into a fire will produce a heat elemental. Each elemental will be approximately 8 feet high, will be hit only by magic weapons, and will be able to withstand up to 16 damage before dissipating. Otherwise, they will persist for 1 round per level of the illusionist.

Quasi-elementals will not harm the illusionist or allies, but will act as they will—they are highly malevolent, and of low intelligence, so rarely can they be made to parley.

Dust elementals will appear as a tightly twisting dust cloud, causing 1d6 damage per round (no need to hit) and moving up to 10’ per round; those who are attacked by a dust elemental will be blinded during the attack, and must attack at –4 to hit.

Ice elementals will strike to hit for 2d6 damage (THACO 17), and will additionally radiate cold damage to all within 1 hex of their location. They can also hurl ice blocks, which they create from their own bodies, up to 30’, causing 1d8 per hit.

Vapour elementals will envelop opponents, causing 2d4 suffocation damage automatically (no die needed to hit), causing the opponent to become dripping wet and potentially subject to hypothermia damage in the right climates. Vapour elementals are able to transfer 1 hit point of damage they have suffered to victims which they have enveloped.

Heat elementals attack a much larger area, a 15’ radius space, causing 1-4 damage to any creature within that area. They are immune to all weapon attacks, but will suffer 1d6 damage from any spell or cantrip which causes cold (such as chill), and will suffer normal damage from area of effect cold spells such as cone of cold or ice storm.

Petrification. Primary targets hit with the amethyst orb will be turned to stone unless a save against petrification is made. Even if the primary target makes save vs. petrification, the target will yet be slowed for 2-8 rounds. Secondary targets must make save vs. petrification or be slowed for 1-3 rounds.

Death. Primary targets hit by the ashen orb must make save vs. death magic or be instantly killed (reduced to –11 hit points). Successful primary targets, and all secondary targets in the grenade-affected area, will be stunned for 1d3 rounds.

Color Spray

Range: self. Duration: instantaneous. Area of Effect: 30° arc, 20’ +5’ range per level; see below. Casting Time: 1 round. Saving Throw: negates.

Causes a vivid fan-shaped spray of clashing colors to spring forth from the caster’s hands as wide as the arc of the spell effect, causing all those within range to be struck unconscious for 2-8 rounds, if failing to make save vs. magic.

The illusionist is able to affect up to 2-8 hit dice by the spell, +1 hit die per level.

Infrared and ultraviolet light is both affected by the spell, so any creature that is able to ‘see’ by means of light is subject to the spell’s effect. Creatures which ‘see’ by other means than light are immune.

Dancing Lights

Range: 60’ +10’ per level. Duration: 5 rounds per level. Area of Effect: see below. Casting Time: 1 round. Saving Throw: none.

Creates from one to four lights resembling torches, lanterns or will o’wisps, which will light an area up to 15’ in diameter. The lights may appear within the caster’s range, but may not move more than 20’ in a given round.

The dancing lights will move as the caster desires, forward or back, straight or turning corners, without the need to concentrate.

As the lights will illuminate wherever indicated within the spell’s range, targets within the illumination at night will be +1 to hit with missile weapons.

The spell is also capable of creating a human-like shape which does not cause illumination, but does appear as a vaguely elemental-like entity. Creatures with an intelligence of low must make a morale check, or else give ground (to a distance of at least 20’) whenever this light creature approaches.

Creatures attempting to strike this light creature will discover it is insubstantial upon hitting AC 10.


Range: 10’ per level. Duration: 2-8 rounds +1 round per level. Area of Effect: 15’ radius globe. Casting Time: 1 round. Saving Throw: none.

Causes total, impenetrable darkness in the area of effect. As well as normal, visible light, infravision and ultravision are useless.

All creatures with in the darkness are ruled to be “in an undetermined, unknown hex.” Creatures wishing to emerge from the darkness must make an intelligence check; characters roll wisdom.

All attacks that take place within the darkness are done at –4 to hit; and any creature that is also in the darkness may be randomly hit, ally or not. Missiles fired into the darkness may hit anyone; missiles fired out of the darkness fire outwards in any direction, and are –8 to hit the nearest target that aligns with the missile’s path.

Darkness may be cast at a particular location or point in space, or it may be cast against a living creature—therefore moving as that creature moves. In this case, the creature is entitled to a save vs. magic; if successful, the darkness will be fixed wherever the creature was.

The use of a light spell will counteract darkness, as will a dispel magic … but in the case of the former, the light spell must originate from a caster of equal or greater level than the caster of darkness. Light produced from a rod, staff, wand or other magical device will always dispel darkness—but take note than in the dispelling, neither light nor darkness will be active.

The darkness spell always counteracts any light spell cast by any individual.

Detect Illusion

Range: 10’ per level. Duration: 20 rounds per level. Area of Effect: 10’ path extending to spell range. Casting Time: 1 round. Saving Throw: none.

Reveals any illusion and discloses its true nature to the caster. Upon the determination of such, the spell protects the caster from any effects the illusion might have the potential to cause otherwise.

The caster is then able to counsel others as to the true nature of the illusion, provided they are within 12 hexes of the caster. Once informed, others may save vs. magic with a modifier of +4 to the die—failure to save indicates the illusion remains wholly real to that individual.

Others who make save have the same immunities from the illusion as the caster.

If the illusion persists past the spell’s duration, the caster’s knowledge will in no way be changed on account of it—but as yet undetected illusions cannot be seen.

Detect Invisibility

Range: 10’ per level. Duration: 5 rounds per level. Area of Effect: 10’ path extending to spell range. Casting Time: 1 round. Saving Throw: none.

Reveals any creature or object that may be invisible, disclosing its accurate location and nature. This invisibility may extend to astral, ethereal, concealed, magically invisible or out of phase creatures—even those who are in mid-blink, as the 3rd level mage spell.

This knowledge cannot be easily disclosed to other persons, for though the caster can see, he or she cannot impart this ability to others. However, if the caster is directing the attack against an invisible creature (assuming the attacker has the power to do damage), attacks may be made at –4 even if the attacker is completely invisible. Area effect spells cast against the creature’s location will cause damage normally.

The spellcaster can only direct allies to attack one invisible creature per round—and to do so, the caster can take no other action.

The caster can of course see the invisible creature perfectly, and may therefore attack by any means as though against a visible creature.

Gaze Reflection

Range: self. Duration: 10 rounds per level. Area of Effect: 1 creature per round. Casting Time: 1 move. Saving Throw: none.

Affects any creature that attempts to gaze as an attack against the caster so that the creature attacks itself—with saving throws, damage or other effects as applicable.

The gaze reflection spell has such a short casting period that the illusionist may easily put the spell into effect so long as the illusionist gains initiative.

The spell is equally effective against detection spells such as detect malevolence, know intent, detect lie and so on, provided the caster expects these spells to be used. Any queries will produce the same results as if the individual were to detect malevolence or lie in themselves—it will reveal the caster has the same fundamental intent, nature or purpose as the one querying.


Range: 30’. Duration: 1 +1 round per level. Area of Effect: up to 6 creatures. Casting Time: 1 round. Saving Throw: negates.

Enables the caster to compel creatures who fail save vs. magic to perform one action, and one action only, so long as that action does not result in harm to the affected creature, or cause the affected creatures to harm previously known allies.

Moreover, the action is something that must be done immediately—cluck like a chicken, flee, ferry these things across the room, hold my sword, stand still, bind my friend’s wound, give me your weapons, throw your weapons into yon chasm, etc.

Once the action is taken, the affected individuals will then stand around without any particular purpose until the duration of the spell runs out, is dispelled by the caster, or the individual is personally affected, such as being touched or attacked, or is hears its name called by any other individual. If the action has not been completed yet, the affected individual will ignore all entreaties or gentle physical contact until afterwards, but a hit that causes damage will break the hypnosis spell.

The spell will not affect creatures without intelligence.


Range: 30’ per level. Duration: 100 rounds per level. Area of Effect: 20’ radius globe. Casting Time: 1 round. Saving Throw: none.

Causes light to replace darkness, so that the area of effect will be as bright as day. The boundary of this effect is as sharp as light and dark—there is no bleed. The light will not even reflect in a mirror outside the spell effect.

The spell is cast upon a specific point or location. If cast upon a creature, that creature is entitled to a saving throw, or else be blinded for 1-4 rounds; a successful save will break the spell. Afterwards, the spell will emanate from the point in space where the creature last was when the spell was cast.

Outside the light, creatures within will be clearly visible—but those inside the light will be blind to those outside.

Infravision for those outside the light will be unaffected; but those inside the light will not be able to see with infravision.

The spell cannot be reversed; darkness is a different spell.

Phantasmal Feature

Range: 60’ +20’ per level. Duration: 50 rounds per level. Area of Effect: 10’ diameter cube per level. Casting Time: 1 round. Saving Throw: none; see below.

Creates the illusion of any fixed, stationary feature up to the area of effect, typically of stone, sand or soil, in the shape desired. The caster may also create features that were once living, such as a dead tree or uprooted log, now half buried (providing its fixed nature), or features such as ponds or even watercourses (limited, of course, by the dimensions of the spell).

The feature will be entirely believable, even if it is conjured in full sight of the viewer. In such a case, creatures of semi or less intelligence will immediately adapt to the feature as though it has always been present; low level creatures may make save or disbelieve, comprehending that it is an illusion. Creatures of average to high intelligence will gain a +4 modifier to their saving throw, while extraordinarily intelligent creatures (or greater) will know it for what it is.

Otherwise, however, unless the viewer is from the area and knows the feature was not previously present, there will be no reason to make a saving throw.

Features must appear to be natural, and may not be man-made, carved, shaped by the hand of intelligent creatures, etc. They can, however, be carved into, or modified after they have been created, giving no sign that the feature is not real.

Should a part of the feature be taken away, that part will continue to exist for the duration of the spell—but wood burned from an illusionary dead tree will not give off heat; water drunk from a pond will not slake thirst. However, stones broken from an illusionary feature will still cause damage, as will a club taken from a dead tree. Obviously, a caster can shape a given feature so that there would be clubs to be made easily from it.

Phantasmal features will serve as barriers to enemies, including the creation of cracks in the ground, stone pillars, ten foot deep ponds (which can be swum in), etc. Remember that ‘negative’ features can also be presented, so that a smooth, easy slope can be transformed to look like a cliff (and cause damage to those who fall from it), the ground can be made to open up as though with a sink-hole, etc.

Damage done, regardless of what a real feature would cause, can never be more than 1d6 total per level of the caster. Thus, an individual falling from a 20’ cliff created by a 2nd level illusionist would not take 3d6 damage, but 2d6.

Persons who fall into deep crevices might be surprised to find they are still alive, and that the crevice was quite easy to climb out of; persons in sink-holes will be able to extricate themselves, ponds can be swum by people who don’t know how to swim, etc.

Primarily, the spell affects the perception of the viewer and not the viewer’s actual physical body … and that discrepancy must be considered when applying the spell. In general, crossing any feature created by the spell would cause half movement to the fooled creature.

A 30’ crevice, therefore would be climbed out of at the rate of the creature’s movement, halved. If the creature normally moved 20’ per round, it would climb out of the crevice in but 3 rounds—whereas 10 rounds would be the usual case, if the feature were real.

Creatures, however, will tend to circle, rather than cross, any feature—and features may not be created in the same hex at the same time as an enemy (a sink hole may be created prior to the enemy moving into that specific place, with the expectation the enemy will move there—and the enemy would be entitled to a dexterity check). Sinkholes, bound to be very popular, could be as large as 1 combat hex per level of the caster, since the outer ring would serve as the sinkhole’s edge.

Phantasmal Figure

Range: 30’ per level. Duration: until killed or dispelled; see below. Area of Effect: 1 figure. Casting Time: 1 round. Saving Throw: none.

Creates the illusion of a willing and able humanoid with desired weapons and armor, who will appear to engage in combat like any other creature. The figure will appear to emerge from some hidden location, even from behind the caster, and will be presumed to be wholly and completely real.

This figure will be completely under the control of the illusionist—and while direction is necessary, concentration is not.

However, though the figure will appear to attempt to strike or otherwise cause the enemy trouble, it has no ability to hit or cause damage. Enemies, however, will defend against it, and the figure will hazard them and force them to expend movement points just as any other combatant. During combat the figure will grunt, shout, insult or otherwise behave as a real person—who is tremendously unlucky in their ability to hit.

The figure will sustain half as many hit points as the caster, before appearing to die. Whereupon the body will disappear and the killer must make a save vs. magic or be stunned in surprise for 1 round.

If cast in the daytime, the figure will remain in existence until the first sunrise that occurs after it has been cast; if cast at night, the figure will persist until the following sunset. It cannot be granted more hit points, but must be dispelled in order to create one that is of full strength.

The features of the figure will be unrecognizable, even if figure after figure has been cast into existence—effectively, each one will seem unique but without substance.

Phantom Armor

Range: touch. Duration: 6 hours or until depleted. Area of Effect: 1 creature. Casting Time: 1 round. Saving Throw: none.

Bestows a suit of quasi-real plate mail (AC 3) upon the caster or upon any the caster touches, so that the beneficiary is protected. The armor will appear quite real in every way, and may even be cast over top of armor that is already worn (though it will not add to or detract from the creature’s real armor class). Phantom armor is not improved by dexterity.

Additionally, the armor will absorb damage taken by the creature, to a total amount of 4 +1 hit point per level of the caster (a 7th level illusionist would bestow phantom armor with 11 hit points). If damage is done, the armor absorbs all such damage to its limit—and the damage done to the armor is not calculated in determining if the wearer is stunned or not. When the armor has taken all the damage it can take, it disappears and any additional damage accrues to the wearer.

Phantom armor does not reduce movement in any way, nor affect the spellcasting abilities of the wearer.

The armor also allows a +1 save per 3 levels of the caster against all area of effect attacks (including spells), as well as against mind-control spells.


Range: self. Duration: 5 rounds per level; see below. Area of Effect: 1 creature per level; see below. Casting Time: 1 round. Saving Throw: negates.

Compels others to view the caster as someone profoundly threatening, so much so that they will become unaccountably desperate to flee for their lives.

Each round, the caster may advance on any creature; if the caster comes within 10’, the creature must make save vs. magic or run away, at their fastest possible speed, for 1 round per level of the caster. The spell has no other effect, and the illusionist can only force one creature to flee in any given round, up to the maximum number.

However, the spell continues to operate, and if the caster so wishes, can be reserved for specific moments in a combat.

Any creature that has made save already cannot be spooked at a later time.

The spell will not affect creatures without intelligence.

Wall of Fog

Range: 30’ +10’ per level. Duration: 2-8 rounds +1 round per level. Area of Effect: 20’ high wall, 20’ deep, 40’ long, per level. Casting Time: 1 round. Saving Throw: none.

Creates a harmless wall of misty vapour which nevertheless obscures line of sight completely, including all infravision and ultravision. Animals will cower and go to ground in it; non-intelligent creatures will avoid it.

For all other creatures inside the fog, visibility is reduced to two combat hexes and all combatants suffer a –2 penalty to hit.

The wall cannot be made higher, but it can be enlarged as the caster will with higher levels. The density of the fog cannot be increased, but visibility greater than two hexes can be determined by the caster, if so desired.

The fog may be created over land or water.

Following the end of the spell’s duration, the wall of fog will persist for three more rounds. A gust of wind or similar spell will dispel it within the area of effect.


Behold said...

First cleric and now illusion spells. It's so interesting to see how, after a few decades of playing, the spells evolve.

Lukas said...

They look pretty good. I remember you were working on spells for one of your RL characters, is this part of the process? Do you have plans for a few more levels that you haven't completely fleshed out yet? Or are these tested via them.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Last winter I was tearing through Cleric spells, and following those I started on cantrips. Cantrips just about killed me, and all my interest in working on spells went bye bye. However, I do plan eventually to do every spellcaster, and every level of spell, given time. Starting on 2nd level illusionist now.

Maximillian said...

These all make sense to me.
Niggling bits:
Why does the fog persist after the wall of fog spell ends?

Why does the phantom armor grant saves for area of effect spells?

Would a phantasmal feature that would seem to grant cover protect you from passive area effect damage (say, a fireball or a rockslide)?

captcha: olookyo, as in Olookyo, it's a rockslide yo.

Maximillian said...

Actually, I just re-read the light and darkness spells, and realized there were some edge-cases there as well.

What does it mean that the light will not reflect in a mirror? If I'm standing outside the spell area, I could see the inside, but if I looked in a mirror, I would not see it? I guess that would mean that if I didn't have a direct line of sight, I wouldn't be able to tell that it had been cast just around the corner or something.
Could you put a bucket over the source of the light to hide it as with Continual Light? Or would the nature of lightness still pervade the area?

For darkness, does the spell area cast a shadow? What about things inside the spell area?

Alexis Smolensk said...

Magic is wild stuff, and not always strictly logical.

Why does the fog not just wink out? The spell is not built that way ... it is an illusionary afterthought. Why does phantom armor take area of effect damage?

The area of effect damage 'gets past the armor' - the 4+1/level damage also is soaked up when a sword 'gets past' the armor class (there's no depletion on that damage if the armor class of 3 is not hit).

It would protect from any force that 'poured in' from one direction, like the rock slide or a breathweapon. It would not protect from a fireball, because the instantatous effect of a fireball is to translate the space to fire instantaneously, not to pour forth fire from one given direction.

Alexis Smolensk said...

It means that YES, light will not reflect in a mirror, and if you looked at the mirror, you would not see any light. This is because the source of the light is not natural.

My rule for continual light, under cleric, reads thusly: "Creates the same effect as the light spell, in that light replaces darkness so that the area of effect is as bright as day. Like light, the spell is cast upon a specific point or location."

So both light and continual light operate the same.

I have ALWAYS hated the "continual light in a hooded lantern" idea. The light spell doesn't EMANATE from the center point ... it simply surrounds the center point. Therefore, the light is the area of effect. I have no trouble with the caster creating a smaller area of effect, but the light inside that area of effect cannot be shielded, hindered, blocked, etc. There are no shadows inside the light orb, no directional light whatsoever.

Alexis Smolensk said...

I just know you're going to talk about the blinding thing. You see, initially, the light expands from the center point, as if from a singularity ... so it is bright enough to cause blindness for a split second ... but it does not continue to then emanate from that center point. Clear?

Quincy Jones said...

Very nice stuff, as usual. Only a few questions and quibbles.

Flattering question first. Is the the concept of Gaze Reflection working against detection spells something you whipped up on your own? If so, bravo! Tiny tweak, massive implications.

As for Phantasmal Figure, mind explaining why it doesn't do damage? The armor blocks, the orb hurts, so why can't the figure go to town? Over-powered? Could I give a phantasmal figure a phantasmal club?

And finally, the quibble. That name, Color Spray. That's gotta change. All I can see is an illusionist unloading a can of spray paint into people's eyes. How about Confounding Colors?

Alexis Smolensk said...

I had to go back and actually look at the Player's Handbook to remember the answer to your first question, Quincy. Yes, apparently, I did invent the reflection against detection spells on my own - but the Gaze Reflection was always very weak, and it needed something. I've done similar things with other spells.

Phantasmal figure is so limited because later, higher level spells would enable greater options, like add-ons. The original phantasmal force doesn't even allow physical interaction; I had to respect that limit in some degree.

Sorry, color spray stays. It has always been called that. Time to adjust your own insistence that the world adapts to your perception.

Strix Nebulosa said...

It seem odd that there would be no save against a 1st level spell. I'm thinking of Change Self specifically. It seems a rather potent spell for a first level with no save.

When you say 10-60+5rnd/level do you roll die*level or just one d6? I guess my question is about the order of operations on that? I think you mean, (10d6) + (5*level) rounds? is that correct?

Does Phantom Armor negatively affect skill checks in the same way that plate normally would (I guess you don't play those rules?). How about endurance and the temperature/environment exposure rules you posted earlier?

How does normal wind affect Wall of Fog? Magical wind?

Alexis Smolensk said...


Many 1st level spells do not have a saving throw. Nothing odd about that.

In this case, the spell affects the caster, not the viewer, so there is even less reason for a saving throw. Moreover, illusions work on the principle that unless you have REASON to disbelieve, you won't ... and in this case, there's no reason whatsoever to suspect that the person who presents themselves is anything but their appearance. People don't disbelieve your face when they meet you, do they?

"10-60" in D&D always means 10d6 or 1d6x10 ... DM's prerogative. This is a standardized convention for writing D&D times and durations.

"phantom" means that it has no physical influence. Therefore, no, it does not affect skill checks or environmental rules.

It is a common misconception that an illusionist only casts illusions. Tis not true. Wall of fog is not designated as an illusion, and therefore there's no reason whatsoever to jump to the conclusion that it is one. The effect is to create real fog, so the effects of wind and so on would be commensurate to their effects on real fog.

Neklan Krasna said...

Hey, I just had an idea about phantasmal feature, that I thought belonged here. It's really several ideas that combined could make the spell more powerful than intended. First of all, can the illusionist dispel the feature at will? and secondly, does the feature actually exist, or is it truly an illusion in the minds of those effected?
Supposing that instead of making the ground more difficult to cross, as in a chasm or a sinkhole, supposing the illusionist removed obstacles. Could he create a convenient log across a chasm? Or sturdy ground across swift water? In the case of the former, could he dispel it just as the enemy was crossing, and in the case of the latter, would it allow faster movement than would otherwise be allowed?

Could the illusionist divert a stream with a feature? Or drown someone who couldn't swim in an area where that would be otherwise impossible?

Finally, could the illusionist create a natural feature through a man-made structure, for example a chasm through a stone wall, allowing passage that would not ordinarily be possible?

To be clear, with the exception of the increased movement speed, these are all possibilities that would allow more than seems to be intended by the spell. Maybe I just had too much coffee today...

Neklan Krasna said...

Heh, I just read your comment above to strix about the meaning of phantom (and therefor phantasmal.) Ignore the question about damning a stream then, and I got completely carried away about the drowning question, since it is addressed right in the spell description.

Neklan Krasna said...

(ugh, I can feel an excoriating response to the other area where I glossed over something written right in the spell description, where the spell clearly says it does not affect the effected person's actual position. Note that I asked because I thought I'd made up that part, the other questions (about penetrating a wall, crossing a torrent) were based on the premise that was actually true.