Illusions, the Rules


Damage comes in three forms, basically. Either you make an illusion of something that causes damage and you don’t carry through with the illusion of being damaged, in which case it’s 1/2 level in d6 (up to 5d6). If you make the illusion of damage it’s most likely half max hp in damage or full hp in damage. Both effect disbelief rolls. The latter two options are, hereafter, referred to as fixed damage.

In the case of fixed damage, fixed damage goes away (heals immediately) as soon as the illusion ends unless the target dies.

If the target is taken to or beyond 0 hp from illusionary damage (including to or beyond -10), they are allowed a second disbelief roll, before going over the edge (they cannot believe that they are dead if they are dead). If they make it, they fall unconscious for one round, and then wake up with all damage healed. This DOES NOT happen if illusionary damage reduces someone’s hit points and then a final real blow kills them. It is also not the case for illusions that cause actual damage (I believe that this is the difference between phantasmal and spectral force).

Death by Illusion

Death by illusion isn’t actually death but a permanent and catatonic state. Of course, at that point it’s only a matter of time. Note, however, that this condition is not the same as a number of other ‘mindless’ states in that the target cannot be revived by a Heal spell or any other spell that restores consciousness. The consciousness is there; it just thinks that it’s dead. Resurrection spells will restore the ‘dead’ consciousness to life, though why it works in that way is anyone’s guess.


In general, illusions always allow for 1 disbelief roll. The roll is unmodified by its unlikelihood so long as the circumstances of the illusion are feasible within the realm of normal coincidence. The roll is modified, otherwise, in this way:

-2 Illusion fits perfectly within the rest of the scenery (1 more chair at a table, more soldiers in the battle)
-1 Illusion relies on incorrect assumptions (you thought the fighter was a magic user)
0 Everyday coincidence (the ground is uneven, reinforcements arrive)
+1 Particularly odd coincidences (ceiling collapses, pit opens up)
+2 Real oddities (one of the gods steps on you, suddenly you have the plague)

The roll is further modified by its complexity. In general, complexity is rated by the amount of attention the illusionist will have to give to the illusion, the number of senses that are employed, and the number of people viewing the illusion.

+1 Close inspection will be required.
+4 Illusion doesn’t bear up to close inspection when it should.
+1 Illusion moves.
+3 Illusion doesn’t move when it should.
+2 Illusion changes.
+3 Illusion doesn’t change when it should.
+1 Illusion responds to more than 2 senses.
+3 Illusion doesn’t respond to senses when it should.
+1 Illusion has intricate detail worked into it
+5 Illusion should have intricate detail but doesn’t
+3 Illusion has multiple moving parts that are unlike each other
+5 Illusion has multiple moving parts that should be unlike each other but aren’t
+1 More than 4 people will view the illusion who are in contact with each other
+2 More than 10 people will view the illusion who are in contact with each other
+3 More than 100 people will view the illusion who are in contact with each other
1 additional save An ally makes his or her save and disbelieves the illusion
1 additional save at +2 More than half your allies make their saves and disbelieve the illusion

The illusionist’s skill

Illusionists automatically offset a quarter of their level (rounded down) in penalties. Illusionists may make either an intelligence or a wisdom roll to counteract the penalties stacked against them. The DC is 30 and the penalty is offset by 1 for every point over that DC rolled. The illusionist can offset half the penalties in this way (and offset the other half through level).

Non-damaging illusions

Basically, illusionists have a spell pool as soon as they have access to phantasmal force. They are able to mimic a huge number of spells in and outside their spell lists through illusion. Part of the reason that illusions have been nerfed is because of the versatility of the spell. For illusions that have actual physical effects, the versatility is markedly increased. This is limited only by the player’s imagination and the disbelief rules as outlined above.

Illusions, the Rules

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