Illusion
Illusion%20sphere.png

You can craft images and impressions of things that aren’t there.

Using Illusions

Illusions can be particularly difficult for players and Game Masters, because most of their power comes from how they affect the narrative; illusions by their very nature mislead, and while using illusions against players can be done easily (a Game Master can simply tell their players ‘you see a wall’ without telling them it is an illusion, then see how they behave), a Game Master is expected to both know when the players are using illusions, as well as control NPCs who very well might not know. The Illusions sphere is written with the following expectations and guidelines for how figments work in practice, and these guidelines should help players and Game Masters agree on their expectations.

Belief vs Disbelief

In a world of magic, unless a creature knows they are dealing with an illusionist, they will not automatically doubt anything they see; a guard familiar with a city streets might know that an illusionary wall wasn’t dividing the street yesterday, but they won’t automatically know it is an illusion; it very well might be a real wall summoned by a Creation caster instead. Likewise, a caster who appears to summon monsters to aid in a fight might be creating illusions, or summoning actual monsters.

Thus, even if an NPC has a reason to be suspicious of an illusion, they will need to at least use an action to attempt to disbelieve an illusionary wall before charging through it, or spend an action attacking an illusionary creature to see their attack go through it (or, if the illusion is being actively guided by the illusionist or possesses the Intelligent Illusions talent, spend a few rounds attacking it before they become suspicious that the illusion ‘somehow’ keeps dodging every attack). It is only if they know they are facing an illusionist (such as by having seen through their earlier illusions) that they might charge through the wall without waiting to examine it or ignore the creatures summoned to attack it, but even then they risk a clever magic user who places illusions the first time, then summons real walls and creatures the second time when the guards are primed to ignore them.

Covering Objects with Figments

While the Illusionary Disguise talent can allow you to change the appearance of a creature or object, it is also possible to place a figment on top of something to hide it. For example, you could place a figment on top of a creature to give the impression it is transforming into a monster, or hide a door behind a figment of a rock. These figments, however, do not move with the creature or object they are placed over (they must be moved as an action by the caster), and also have the chance to be disbelieved and therefore turn transparent once uncovered.

Illusionary Cover

While summoning a figment of a wall might discourage someone from trying to attack you through it, the cover is not real, and so therefore does not actually provide cover if the target attempts to attack. If the attack succeeds, the attacker will have seen their attack pass through the illusion and will know the cover is fake.

Automatic Disbelief

Remember that once a target has seen proof that a figment is illusionary (for example, a guard shoots an arrow through an illusionary wall, or a guard sees the PCs enter the illusion of a rock, or sees ranged attacks coming from inside a rock), they automatically disbelieve the figment, and therefore automatically can see through it. A creature does not need to be next to an illusion to examine it, interact with it (throwing or firing ranged weapons can do so), or see something pass through it.

Alternative Uses

Illusions can be used in ways not tied to fooling someone. You could use an audible illusion to throw your voice and whisper messages at a distance. You could use visible illusions to show someone the image of a person or map you have seen.

An Illusionary Disguise with Greater Illusion could be used to give advantage on a check made with cooking utensils (in essence, covering up any mistakes in the cooking with pleasant smells and tastes), or a figment could be used to make a Performance check to entertain.



Basic Illusion Abilities

When you first gain the Illusion sphere, you gain the following abilities:

Figment

Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 60 feet
Duration: Concentration up to 10 minutes
Cost: 0 sp

You can create the image of something that is not actually there, known as a ‘figment’. Your figment has a maximum size of a 10-foot cube, which improves by 5 feet at 5th level (15-foot cube), 11th level (20-foot cube), and 17th level (25-foot cube).

Alternatively, you can create an illusionary sound such as a lion’s roar, a speaking voice, etc.. Whether creating figments or simply sounds, you cannot create illusions that can directly affect the world around you; your images cannot affect objects and you cannot create sounds loud enough to deafen or deal thunder damage, etc.

As long as you are within range of a visual figment, you can use your action to cause the image to move to any other spot within range. As the image changes location, you can alter its appearance so that its movements appear natural for the image. For example, if you create an image of a creature and move it, you can alter the image so that it appears to be walking. If you are not using your action to control it, however, the image simply sits still and does not move.

Physical interaction with a visual figment reveals it to be an illusion, because things can pass through it. Likewise, creatures that rely primarily on a sense that your illusion does not affect may often ignore your illusions completely. For example, a target with a keen sense of smell (such as a wolf or dog) will automatically disbelieve a figment of a person if you do not have the Greater Illusions talent.

A creature that uses its action to examine the image or sound can determine that it is an illusion with a successful Intelligence (Investigation) check against your spell save DC. If a creature discerns the illusion for what it is, the creature can see through the image, and its other sensory qualities become faint to the creature.

Augment 1 sp: Your illusion includes both sight and sound. If you possess (sensory) talents, any or all of those talents are also applied to the figment as you so choose.

Augment 1 sp: Your figment increases in size to a 20-foot cube. This increases by 10 feet at 5th level (30-foot cube), 11th level (40-foot cube), and 17th level (50-foot cube).

Augment 2 sp: The effect persists for the remaining duration without concentration. This augment may be applied after the effect is cast on your turn without an action.

Glamer

Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 60 feet
Duration: Concentration up to 10 minutes
Target: one creature or object

If you possess a (glamer) talent, you may create an illusion that alters the appearance or perceived characteristics of a creature or object in some way. Unlike with a figment, you do not need to use your action to move the glamer; instead, the glamer moves with whatever target it is attached to as they do. Whenever you use this ability, grant a target the effects of one (glamer) talent you possess. Unlike figments, glamers (with some exceptions noted in the talent) cannot be disbelieved; for example, an invisible creature is simply invisible, whether or not a target ‘believes’ it to be true.

Augment 2 sp: The effect persists for the remaining duration without concentration. This augment may be applied after the effect is cast on your turn without an action.



Illusion Basic Talents

Glamer Talents

Decoy (glamer)

Cost: 0 sp

You surround a target with decoy copies, making it difficult to determine which is the real one. An illusory duplicate of the target appears in its space. Until the effect ends, the duplicate moves with the target and mimics its actions.

Each time an enemy targets a creature under this effect with an attack, roll a d20 to determine whether the attack instead targets one of the duplicates. You must roll an 11 or higher to strike a duplicate instead of the target. A duplicate’s AC equals 10 + your Dexterity modifier. If an attack hits a duplicate, the duplicate is destroyed. A duplicate can be destroyed only by an attack that hits it. It ignores all other damage and effects. The effect ends when all duplicates are destroyed.

Augment 1 sp: You can grant a number of additional duplicates equal to half your proficiency bonus. If there are four duplicates, you must roll a 4 or higher to change the attack’s target to a duplicate. If there are three duplicates, you must roll a 6 or higher to change the attack’s target to a duplicate. With two duplicates, you must roll an 8 or higher.

Illusionary Disguise (glamer)

Cost: 1 sp

You can create a glamer that changes a target’s appearance. This can change the appearance of an object, or alter a creature to seem 1 foot shorter or taller, make it appear thin, fat, or in between, or change its apparent species, gender, outfit, etc.. You can’t change the target’s body type, so you must adopt a form that has the same basic arrangement of limbs.

Otherwise, the extent of the illusion is up to you. This glamer only disguises the target’s appearance and voice, but can extend to their smell and taste if you have Greater Illusions, their magic auras if you possess Veiled Illusions, or even their minds if you have Intelligent Illusions.

Just as with a figment, the changes are not real; if a target attempts to interact with the illusion (for example, pick up an illusionary hat on top of your head), they pass right through it and feel your hair. Also, just as with a disguise kit, a creature can use its action to inspect your Appearance and attempt an Intelligence (Investigation) check to see through the disguise (against your spell save DC). While these actions can cause a target to disbelieve the disguise, unlike with figments, disbelieving does not automatically let them see through the disguise.

Augment 1 sp: If you possess Greater Illusions, you can give your illusionary disguise a tactile component; interacting with the illusion does not reveal the deception, although your illusion still does not have substance (thus, feeling the hat on top of your head wouldn’t make the target disbelieve, but they still could not pick it up off your head).

Obscure (glamer)

You gain the following glamers:

Cost: 0 sp

The target becomes blurred, granting disadvantage to any attacks made against them and making them lightly obscured. This effect ends for a target that attacks or casts a spell or sphere ability.

Augment 1 sp: The target becomes invisible instead of just blurred for the duration. Anything that the target is wearing or carrying is invisible as long as it remains on the target. The invisibility ends for a target that attacks or casts a spell or sphere ability.

Augment 1 sp: The obscure effect does not end if the target attacks or casts a spell or sphere ability.

Augment 1 sp: You can muffle the target, removing disadvantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks from the target produced from heavy armor, and give disadvantage on any Wisdom (Perception) checks made to hear the target.

Augment 0 sp: If you possess Greater Illusions, you can give disadvantage on any Wisdom (Perception) checks made to smell the target.

Augment 1 sp: If you possess Veiled Illusions, you can suppress all auras from the target, such as magical auras from its equipment or its alignment or creature type aura.

Augment 1 sp: If you possess Greater Illusions, the benefits of obscure apply even to targets with blindsight and tremorsense. If you possess Intelligent Illusions, the benefits of obscure apply even to targets with thoughtsense, and hide the target from talents and from divination school spells that read the mind such as detect thoughts or magical lie-detection.



Sensory Talents

Greater Illusions (sensory)

You may create a smell instead of a sound or an image when creating a figment. When augmenting your figments to include both sight and sound, they now can affect the senses of smell, taste, and touch as well. Illusionary swords feel sharp, illusionary food smells delicious (or terrible, as you choose) and illusionary fire feels hot, although the effect is all in the target’s mind and they cannot be made to actually suffer damage. Simply interacting with your figments or a target under your Illusionary Disguise does not reveal the deception anymore, although your illusions still do not have substance or weight (thus, a target feeling your illusionary wall will not immediately notice the deception, but a target attempting to run through or climb on the wall will still fall through, and ranged attacks would still penetrate the wall).

Your kinetic figments become harmless, bland, and incorporeal to creatures that successfully disbelieve your figments.

Veiled Illusions (sensory)

You can grant your figments or creatures under your Illusionary Disguise an aura, or eliminate any aura they already have, such as altering how they detect through magic that detects magic, alignment, creature types, etc. Your Illusion sphere powers do not detect as being magical effects unless you choose to let them.

A figment’s illusionary aura becomes obvious to a creature detecting its magic that disbelieves the illusion.



Other Talents

Illusionary Obstruction

You can create a figment called an obstruction that, instead of creating the impression of an object, instead obstructs everything within its area. Unlike normal figments, an obstruction cannot be disbelieved, and cannot be moved from the location where it was created.

Augment 1 sp: Your obstruction makes everything within the figment’s area blurry, becoming lightly obscured. Attacks made against any target within this area suffers disadvantage, whether or not the attacker is also within the area themselves.

Augment 1 sp: Your obstruction silences the area. Any creature or object entirely inside the figment is immune to thunder damage, and creatures are deafened while entirely inside it. Casting a spell that includes a verbal component is impossible there.

Augment 1 sp: If you possess Greater Illusions, your obstruction removes touch and friction from the area. Each creature standing in its area when you first create the obstruction must succeed on a Dexterity saving throw or fall prone. A creature that enters the area or ends its turn there must also succeed on a Dexterity saving throw or fall prone. If a creature is struck by a hidden target while within the area, they might need to pass a Wisdom (Perception) check against your Sphere DC to even know they’ve been damaged.

Augment 1 sp: If you possess Greater Illusions, your obstruction removes taste and smell within the area. No creature within the area can smell, nor gives off any scent. Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on scent cannot be made while within the obstruction. This suppresses effects dependent on smell or taste, such as a troglodyte’s stench.

Augment 1 sp: If you possess Veiled Illusions, your obstruction hides the auras of all creatures within the obstruction, making them undetectable to magic of any kind unless the caster succeeds on a spellcasting ability check against your sphere DC.

Augment 1 sp: If you possess Intelligent Illusions, your obstruction suppresses the thoughts of all creatures within the obstruction. Creatures entirely inside the obstruction are immune to psychic damage, and effects that read or communicate with the mind such as telepathy, detect thoughts, magical lie-detection, etc. cannot be used by or on creatures entirely inside this obstruction.

Complex Illusions

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Augment 1 sp: You can split your figments into multiple independent illusions. Whenever you use your action to control a figment, you can control all of your figments with the same action. For example, instead of creating a dinner party with a single figment (in which case all of the guests and the table would need to be contained within your figment’s size), you could create one figment for the table and another figment for each guest, each of which could move independently within your illusion range.

You can create up to three figments, but each one can only be half the size of your usual figments. The number of figments you can create increases at 5th level (four figments), 11th level (five figments), and 17th level (six figments).

Control Figment

Casting Time: 1 action
Range: as illusion
Duration: as the targeted effect
Target: one figment
Cost: 0 sp

You can make a spellcasting ability check against the spell save DC or sphere DC of the controller of an existing figment. If successful, you gain control of the figment and may command it as if it was your effect. Treat the figment in all ways as if it was cast by you, except this does not change any of the original variables related to level, Illusion sphere talents, class abilities, or spell points. You however must remain within your illusion range of the figment to maintain this effect as normal. If the figment was being maintained by concentration, you must assume concentration over the effect as if you had cast it.

Illusionary Terrain

Augment 0 sp: You can create figments that alter the appearance of the terrain itself or other features of the area around you. For example, while you could previously cover a wall with a bigger wall or use an illusionary carpet to hide a pit, now you can use a figment that makes a wall of fire appear as a harmless wall of mist, or change the appearance of terrain from grassland to forest. Extreme changes (such as changing a warm grassland into a wintery tundra) may require additional (sensory) talents to be convincing.

Insistent Illusions

Augment 1 sp: Choose one creature you can perceive. You give that target disadvantage on their next Intelligence (Investigation) check made to examine or disbelieve this figment, made within the next minute.

Potent Illusions

Your figments can be so powerful that they can affect creatures in many ways, even if they disbelieve them. Depending on what (sensory) talents you possess, this could include blinding lights, thunderous noise, smells so strong they induce nausea, or even fire that can kill.

Augment 3 sp: Creatures who begin their turn within the area of your figment must make an Intelligence saving throw or be blinded for the round.

Augment 1 sp: Creatures who begin their turn within the area of your figment must make an Intelligence saving throw or be deafened for one minute.

Augment 1 sp: If you possess Greater Illusions, creatures who begin their turn within the area of your figment must make an Intelligence saving throw or take 1d4 psychic damage. The amount of psychic damage that a creature takes when it fails its saving throw increases by 1d4 at 5th level (2d4), 11th level (3d4), and 17th level (4d4).

Augment 2 sp: If you possess Greater Illusions, creatures who begin their turn within the area of your figment must make an Intelligence saving throw or be poisoned for the round.

Augment 2 sp: If you possess Veiled Illusions, creatures who begin their turn within the area of your figment must make an Intelligence saving throw or be frightened for the round.

Augment 2 sp: If you possess Intelligent Illusions, creatures who begin their turn within the area of your figment must make an Intelligence saving throw or be charmed for as long as they remain inside the figment. A creature who disbelieves the figment becomes immune to its charm effect, and the charm ends if it was being affected.

Programmed Illusion

Augment 1 sp: When creating a figment, you can cause it not to appear immediately, but instead to wait to activate when a specific condition occurs. The illusion is imperceptible until then. The trigger can be as general or detailed as you like, though it must be based on visual or audible conditions that occur within 30 feet of the figment’s location. For example, you could create an illusionary monster that appears when someone opens a door, or a message that appears written in the air when someone says the correct word or phrase.

Your figment has a permanent duration until triggered or dispelled (though you must still concentrate, unless using the augment to allow it to endure without concentration), though once triggered it performs a predetermined set of actions (set by you when it is created) with a maximum duration of 5 minutes, after which the figment disappears and the effect ends. If this figment is also altered with Permanent Illusion, then it will reset after 5 minutes, activating again the next time it’s trigger happens.

Selective Illusions

You can designate creatures to automatically disbelieve your figments, or to be immune to (figment) or (glamer) talents you use.

Augment 0 sp: You can choose to have a total number of creatures equal to your proficiency bonus automatically disbelieve or be immune to this illusion.



Illusion Advanced Talents

Intelligent Illusions (sensory)

Prerequisites: Illusion sphere

When augmenting a figment to include both an image and sound, you can also grant it intelligence. This means your figment can fool spells and abilities such as detect thoughts or telepathy and allow them to do quick calculations as if using your Intelligence score. Your figments can appropriately act on their own as well, responding to stimuli even if you are not there to direct the illusion yourself. This means you no longer need to use your action to direct your figments, although you must still spend an action to give them orders (for example, once you spend your action to order the illusion of a bartender to talk to the patrons, it will continue to do so until you spend another action to give it new orders).

Additionally, if you give a target the Illusionary Disguise (glamer), they can now fool thought-detecting and memory-probing magic, displaying only the mind, memories, and thoughts you desire unless the creature attempting the probe succeeds on a an Intelligence (Investigation) check against your sphere DC to notice the thoughts and memories are not truly genuine.

Mirage

Prerequisites: Illusion sphere, Illusionary Terrain, 11th level or higher

Augment 2 sp: When using Illusionary Terrain, you can increase the figment size to a 1-mile cube.

Permanent Illusion

Prerequisites: Illusion sphere, Universal sphere (Extended (metasphere)), 11th level or higher

Your illusions are long lasting.

Augment 4 sp: Your figments and glamers last until dispelled, without requiring your concentration.

Shadow Infusion

Prerequisites: Illusion sphere, Greater Illusions, Potent Illusions, 5th level or higher.

Whenever you use a figment to deal psychic damage, you can change the damage type to any other damage type.

Augment 1 sp: Any or all creatures within your figment are grappled as you choose until they successfully disbelieve the figment. A creature grappled by your illusion can make a free Intelligence (Investigation) check each round to disbelieve your illusion.

Augment 3 sp: Any or all creatures within your figment are restrained as you choose until they successfully disbelieve the figment. A creature restrained by your illusion can make a free Intelligence (Investigation) check each round to disbelieve your illusion.



Variants

Alternative Illusions

You cannot create figments that include a visual element; you might be able to create the sound of a bear or the smell of a bear, but not the image of a bear. As your illusions do not have an appearance, passing through them does not automatically reveal them to be illusions (as they have no substance to pass through), but you also cannot affect blind targets or deal damage with Potent Illusions, as your illusions have no image or substance for anyone to interact with. You gain Greater Illusions as a bonus talent.

Imageless

You cannot create figments (except for obstructions through Illusionary Obstruction). You gain one (glamer) talent or Illusionary Obstruction as a bonus talent.

(Optional) Figment Talents

By design, illusions are open-ended magical abilities; often, the difference between an effective illusionist and an ineffective illusionist is how the player and GM interact when deciding how NPCs react to those illusions. This anguish sometimes results in house rules where players and GMs agree to place heavy restrictions on the use of illusion magic.

The following talents replace the default figment power with a series of ‘figment talents’. With these talents, the nature of an illusion doesn’t matter; a player doesn’t need to decide if they are going to summon the image of a rock or a soldier or determine how ‘convincing’ something is, instead they simply need to decide what effect they want to accomplish and see if they have the appropriate (figment) talent. Mechanics of disbelief generally do not apply to a (figment) talent, and what senses a creature possesses does not determine if they are affected.

If using this variant, the figment power is replaced by the following, and creatures gaining the Illusion sphere can choose either a (glamer) or (figment) talent as a bonus talent when they gain the sphere. If the GM chooses, both the base figment power and (figment) talents might even be included in the same game, although players must choose which they begin with, and spend a talent to gain either a (figment) talent or the base figment ability later if they desire both.

Figment

Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 60 feet
Duration: Concentration up to 10 minutes
Target: 10-foot cube. This increases by 5 feet at 5th (15 foot cube), 11th (20 foot cube), and 17th level (25 foot cube)
Cost: 0 sp

Choose a (figment) talent you possess. You create this effect inside the target area. You can move the target area as an action to any other location within range.

Augment 1 sp: Your figment increases in size to a 20-foot cube. This increases by 10 feet at 5th level (30-foot cube), 11th level (40-foot cube), and 17th level (50-foot cube).

Augment 2 sp: The effect persists for the remaining duration without concentration. This augment may be applied after the effect is cast on your turn without an action.

Figment Talents

Illusionary Combatants (figment)

Cost: 1 sp

You summon illusionary creatures to help you in combat. Each round you may either choose an ally within the figment and grant them advantage on their first attack for the round, or choose an enemy within the figment to grant disadvantage on their first attack for the round. Both the attacking and attacked creatures must be within range.

Augment 1 sp: You may affect up to 2 allies or enemies each round. This improves by one creature at 5th (3 creatures), 11th (4 creatures), and 17th levels (5 creatures).

Illusionary Cover (figment)

Cost: 1 sp

You create illusionary fog, walls, or other cover to obscure the area. All creatures inside the area are heavily obscured to all creatures outside the area, and vice-versa. You can shrink the target area as small as you desire.

Illusionary Terrain (figment)

Cost: 1 sp

You change the qualities of the terrain inside the figment, changing how the ground looks and feels. Any of the ground within the area that you choose becomes difficult terrain.

Illusionary Distraction (figment)

Cost: 1 sp

You summon distracting sensations, phantoms, and patterns to inhibit targets. Any creature of your choice inside your figment suffers disadvantage on all Perception checks.



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