Creative uses of illusion spells

Waldo

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Got a problem, could use some help.

I have a PC gnome illusionist who stocks up on illusion spells. He's
6th level, so he's usually packing various figments -- Silent Image,
Major Image, all that good stuff.

But he can't figure out what to /do/ with them. So far, it's fallen
into two categories:

1) PC tries to make an illusion that would give the effect of a more
powerful spell. (Like, "I cast an illusion over the party that we're
an empty stretch of road, identical to the road around us" is a bit too
close to Mass Invisibility for my tastes.)

2) PC casts an illusion of a REALLY BIG gold dragon. This swoops
around for a while. I rule that bad guys are briefly distracted and
then, after a few rounds, aren't. If they shoot an arrow or something
at the goldie, they get a Will save, but even if they don't, a dragon
that just flies around and never attacks gets old after a bit.

Clearly both player and DM are suffering from a painful lack of
imagination. I acknowledge this. I never liked illusionists much.
The player loves the idea, but is having trouble making it work.

N.B., this is a pretty standard town-wilderness-dungeon campaign in a
pretty vanilla setting.

Better ideas very welcome.


Waldo
 

David

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"Waldo" <peggoliathy@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:1111065630.584967.297170@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
> Got a problem, could use some help.
>
> I have a PC gnome illusionist who stocks up on illusion spells. He's
> 6th level, so he's usually packing various figments -- Silent Image,
> Major Image, all that good stuff.
>
> But he can't figure out what to /do/ with them. So far, it's fallen
> into two categories:

1) Watch some cartoons. Road Runner comes to mind.

2) Think about uses in support of others, as a way to give circumstance
bonuses to other skill checks. Hiding, moving silently, etc. all come to
mind.

David
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Waldo wrote:

> 2) PC casts an illusion of a REALLY BIG gold dragon. This swoops
> around for a while. I rule that bad guys are briefly distracted and
> then, after a few rounds, aren't. If they shoot an arrow or
something
> at the goldie, they get a Will save, but even if they don't, a dragon
> that just flies around and never attacks gets old after a bit.

No it doesn't. A really big dragon never gets old. Dude, go to the
zoo. Normal animals don't even get old that fast. And they are
neither going to eat you nor unexpected. A cleverly placed illusion of
some sort of huge dangerous monster should outright terrify people.
IMC if the party advanced on baddies in combat and then a huge gold
dragon got up to help them the bad guys would run like girls. And they
should.
 
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On Thu, 17 Mar 2005 13:20:30 GMT, Waldo scrawled:

> Clearly both player and DM are suffering from a painful lack of
> imagination. I acknowledge this. I never liked illusionists much.
> The player loves the idea, but is having trouble making it work.

Large hole in ground/ravine between party and opposition - covered up with
an illusion of continuous ground/bridge?

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Rexx Magnus wrote:
| On Thu, 17 Mar 2005 13:20:30 GMT, Waldo scrawled:
|
|
|>Clearly both player and DM are suffering from a painful lack of
|>imagination. I acknowledge this. I never liked illusionists much.
|>The player loves the idea, but is having trouble making it work.
|
|
| Large hole in ground/ravine between party and opposition - covered up
with
| an illusion of continuous ground/bridge?
|
A classic. One of my most useful illusions was not cast by an
illusionist at all, but by a gnome Cleric of Gond using her racial ghost
sound ability. (Yes, even low-level spells can turn the tables in a
mid-high level campaign.)

You see, we made it through the Big Evil Temple to a room where we
needed to get through a Really Secure Door (all attempts to open said
door failed miserably). Enter one Big Bad Guy (the leader of said BET).
~ Time is ticking away, and the party is winning vs. the BBG, but slowly.
~ Too slowly.

In an act of desperation, my gnome used ghost sound to produce a muffled
crashing and clanging from behind the RSD. The BBG (thinking that we
were a distraction, and that someone else was destroying his Big Evil
Experiment) opened the RSD himself (yay!) and ran in to stop whomever
was in there.

Simple, but effective. The party runs in close behind him.

:) Susan
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On Thu, 17 Mar 2005 13:45:47 GMT, Rexx Magnus scrawled:

> On Thu, 17 Mar 2005 13:20:30 GMT, Waldo scrawled:
>
>> Clearly both player and DM are suffering from a painful lack of
>> imagination. I acknowledge this. I never liked illusionists much.
>> The player loves the idea, but is having trouble making it work.
>
> Large hole in ground/ravine between party and opposition - covered up
> with an illusion of continuous ground/bridge?
>

Just had another idea - not sure if it is possible; causing the opponents
to all look like members of the pc's party. Would probably be a bit
confusing for the pc's as well though!

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In article <1111065630.584967.297170@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com>,
Waldo <peggoliathy@yahoo.com> wrote:
>Got a problem, could use some help.
>
>I have a PC gnome illusionist who stocks up on illusion spells. He's
>6th level, so he's usually packing various figments -- Silent Image,
>Major Image, all that good stuff.

Cast a shoddy Illusion of yourself over yourself.

Everyone makes their spot check, stops wasting ammo on the Illusion
and starts looking for the hidden Illusionist...

--
Michael
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
NPC rights activist | Nameless Abominations are people too.
 
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In article <1111065630.584967.297170@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com>,
Waldo <peggoliathy@yahoo.com> wrote:
>Got a problem, could use some help.
>
>I have a PC gnome illusionist who stocks up on illusion spells. He's
>6th level, so he's usually packing various figments -- Silent Image,
>Major Image, all that good stuff.
>
>But he can't figure out what to /do/ with them. So far, it's fallen
>into two categories:
>
>1) PC tries to make an illusion that would give the effect of a more
>powerful spell. (Like, "I cast an illusion over the party that we're
>an empty stretch of road, identical to the road around us" is a bit too
>close to Mass Invisibility for my tastes.)

Only if they don't move anywhere or do anything -- you want to look
at the range and area of effect closely.

My general rule of thumb is that an illusion will generally create
the effect of a spell or monster of about level or HD equal to the
illusionist's own level -- though he might be able to do something
better if he practices one thing for a while (which allows for the
occasional dragon). This tends to keep things under control, and
has the in-game justification that low-level illusionists haven't
seen enough or gotten good enough at their art to do a really complicated
illusion (like a zillion-scaled dragon with just enough subsonics to
partially mimic the fear effect).

>2) PC casts an illusion of a REALLY BIG gold dragon. This swoops
>around for a while. I rule that bad guys are briefly distracted and
>then, after a few rounds, aren't. If they shoot an arrow or something
>at the goldie, they get a Will save, but even if they don't, a dragon
>that just flies around and never attacks gets old after a bit.

See above.

>Clearly both player and DM are suffering from a painful lack of
>imagination. I acknowledge this. I never liked illusionists much.
>The player loves the idea, but is having trouble making it work.
>
>N.B., this is a pretty standard town-wilderness-dungeon campaign in a
>pretty vanilla setting.
>
>Better ideas very welcome.

A lot of illusions depend on a little bit of scene-setting. There's
the classic "I dig a pit, then an illusion makes it look like the
rest of the floor". Concealing the party while they wait in ambush
works pretty well ("I make an illusion of bushes"), but then you
have to have set up an ambush.

A lot of illusion work depends on misdirection. "I spy around for a
bit to determine what their boss sounds like, then use a spell to
make like his voice is ordering the foe back" (or "...to attack
across my illusion-concealed pit").

Summon one nasty monster, then create the illusion of another one
popping out of thin air. (Or create an illusion, let the enemy
discover it's an illusion, then summon the real one -- misdirection
is key here.) Is the wall of fire real or an illusion? Do the
enemy feel lucky today?

"I add an extra member to the party" is another good one -- create
an illusion of a bowman coming around the corner to reinforce
the party, then shooting arrows or something. With luck, the enemy
will waste some of their ranged attacks on the illusion, instead
of the illusionist. Or create an image of a Big Wizard slowly
summoning up a very large demon -- smart foes may get quite frantic
in their effort to get through and stop him before it happens.
Or create an illusionary enemy guide leading them through the
fortress -- sentries may not report something that's "obviously"
under control. Remember to add the occasional clanking of chains
and the like to maintain the illusion's credibility.

Don't forget that illusions aren't limited to vision -- try creating
the smell of rotting flesh to distract enemy dogs, or the smell of
lilac perfume to get all the orcs sneezing in unision. A roaring
lion behind the next clump of trees might drive the enemy away (and
enhance their belief in the reality of the illusion that walks
out between the trees a round later.)

Try and figure out what the enemy fears, and then set up an illusion
of it. Try and figure out what they want, and create an illusion of
_it_ that they then go after ignoring you. Try and figure out what
they don't care about, and hide inside that illusion.

Misdirection. Confusion. Getting inside the enemy's head and
twisting it inside-out. Illusions aren't very powerful by themselves;
the illusionist is not a combat monster, any more than a charisma-
heavy rogue is likely to be. Both of them go for the weak space
between the enemy's ears. (A certain amount of Bluff and Sense
Motive might also be appropriate. Still Spell and Silent Spell
are very useful feats for an illusionist, too.)

One last thing -- the GM and player need to be on the same wavelength.
If they have different ideas about what illusions can and can't do,
or how likely the illusionist is to pull something off against the
current set of foes (and their brains) there is likely to be a problem.
Sit down and have a discussion with the guy.


Tony Z
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Tony Zbaraschuk wrote:

[snip lots of good ideas]

Don't forget simple paranoia. Assail an enemy with a barrage of
illusions and sit back and watch him gradually begin to wonder whether
anything is real at all. :)

"Oh, no! A *chasm*! I'd better not just *walk right over*
iiiIIIIIIITTTttttt...!!" (thud)

-Will
 
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peggoliathy@yahoo.com wrote:

> I have a PC gnome illusionist who stocks up on illusion spells. He's
> 6th level, so he's usually packing various figments -- Silent Image,
> Major Image, all that good stuff.
>
> But he can't figure out what to /do/ with them.

Illusions of conjurations.

Conjurations appear out of nowhere, so it won't seem out of place when
your illusionary ones do to.

Wall of stone, cloudkill, black tentacles, summoned monsters... all
create areas the enemy might prefer to avoid and can be mimicked by
low-level illusions.


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jzujovic@inet.hr
 
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Jasin Zujovic <jzujovic@inet.hr> wrote:
>peggoliathy@yahoo.com wrote:

>> But he can't figure out what to /do/ with them.

I've never liked illusions for that very reason. It takes
an imaginative player and a DM who's willing to go along
with him to really get the most out of illusions. And even
if a particular DM is of a mind to help the illusionist out
some, there'll still be disagreements and mixed results. If
I cast a fireball, everyone at the table knows what's going
to happen and you don't get any arguments about the effect.
If I cast an illusion of an ogre, the DM has to consider a
lot of factors that just don't come up with more direct
spells.

>Illusions of conjurations.

>Conjurations appear out of nowhere, so it won't seem out of place when
>your illusionary ones do to.

>Wall of stone, cloudkill, black tentacles, summoned monsters... all
>create areas the enemy might prefer to avoid and can be mimicked by
>low-level illusions.

Someone upthread suggested digging a pit and concealing it
with an illusion spell. If you don't have a pit handy and
don't have the time to dig one, you could use the illusion
to make everyone think there's a pit there, maybe with
special effects similar to a dig spell or something similar.
It won't hurt anyone, obviously, but it will affect and
even direct their movement, and that can give your side
a big edge.

Pete
 
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"Waldo" <peggoliathy@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:1111065630.584967.297170@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
> Got a problem, could use some help.
>
> I have a PC gnome illusionist who stocks up on illusion spells. He's
> 6th level, so he's usually packing various figments -- Silent Image,
> Major Image, all that good stuff.
>
> But he can't figure out what to /do/ with them. So far, it's fallen
> into two categories:
>
> 1) PC tries to make an illusion that would give the effect of a more
> powerful spell. (Like, "I cast an illusion over the party that we're
> an empty stretch of road, identical to the road around us" is a bit too
> close to Mass Invisibility for my tastes.)
>
> 2) PC casts an illusion of a REALLY BIG gold dragon. This swoops
> around for a while. I rule that bad guys are briefly distracted and
> then, after a few rounds, aren't. If they shoot an arrow or something
> at the goldie, they get a Will save, but even if they don't, a dragon
> that just flies around and never attacks gets old after a bit.
>
> Clearly both player and DM are suffering from a painful lack of
> imagination. I acknowledge this. I never liked illusionists much.
> The player loves the idea, but is having trouble making it work.
>
> N.B., this is a pretty standard town-wilderness-dungeon campaign in a
> pretty vanilla setting.
>
> Better ideas very welcome.
>
He needs to gather more information about the enemy, beforehand.

Illusions of 'da Boss', or messengers, could make a big difference, but
you have know what 'da Boss' looks like.

Geoff.