Revising the illusionist

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gideon_thorne
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Post by gideon_thorne »

Perhaps a piece of logic that could explain the immunity of all sorts of undead has to do with what is generally considered to be their nature? These beings are often considered to be a form of anti life, and perhaps their ties to a negative energy plane confers a form of altered perception upon them.

At least its a good piece of bullshit for a rationale for those who need it.
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Post by dunbruha »

gideon_thorne wrote:
Perhaps a piece of logic that could explain the immunity of all sorts of undead has to do with what is generally considered to be their nature? These beings are often considered to be a form of anti life, and perhaps their ties to a negative energy plane confers a form of altered perception upon them.

At least its a good piece of bullshit for a rationale for those who need it.

I think something like this is needed in the PHB--some sort of explicit explanation of the nature of illusions, and the types of creatures that are unaffected should also be explicitly listed. (For example, in M&T, it states that Undead are immune to all mind-affecting effects (charms, compulsions, etc.), but it doesn't explicitly list illusions as one of those effects (I guess people are assuming they are included in the "etc.").

And of course, once a game mechanism is listed in the rules, people could be free to house-rule it differently if they chose.

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Post by Treebore »

Since C&C is already being used by RPG "beginners" I think it would be a very good idea to clarify such rules issues, especially considering seasoned gamers like us are talking about it. Guidance is always good.
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Post by gideon_thorne »

Ya well. I think the main concern with the above is that invariable aspect of human nature, give someone a clear explanation, and they stop seeking others.

I've noticed this in many a situation. Not just gaming. Give someone a fixed way to do something, and they stop thinking of others. Discussion stops, creativity stops.

This is why, I think there is a certain hesitation in clarifying too much. The troll dudes want people to come up with their own answers.
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Post by anonymous »

Back in ye olden dayf, undead were immune to "Sleep, Charm and Hold" spells. Obviously undead don't sleep (except vamps, possibly) so the first one is reasonable, but with no real explanation, undead were subsequently given immunity to all "mind affecting" magic whatsoever. It depends how you fit them into your campaign whether this makes sense or not; vampires of the Anne Rice or White Wolf flavour would definitely not be immune to things "mind affecting" for instance.

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Post by Lord Dynel »

I never played undead as "immune" to illusion. They were immune to sleep, charm, and hold spells indeed, but never to illusion. I've always thought illusions were just enough to "confuse" the undead - as soon as they realize that the illusion isn't real, then they will ignore or otherwise no longer register the illusion as real. It kind of goes along with my original (borrowed from an old Dragon) idea that illusions can be seen by all - even those the illusionist does not intend to fool.
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Post by Julian Grimm »

Lord Dynel wrote:
I never played undead as "immune" to illusion. They were immune to sleep, charm, and hold spells indeed, but never to illusion. I've always thought illusions were just enough to "confuse" the undead - as soon as they realize that the illusion isn't real, then they will ignore or otherwise no longer register the illusion as real. It kind of goes along with my original (borrowed from an old Dragon) idea that illusions can be seen by all - even those the illusionist does not intend to fool.

That's pretty much how I play it. And i play undead differently as well but that is a different thread.
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Post by Go0gleplex »

Skeletons, zombies, and constructs (and similar) have no nervous system, functioning organs, or other "senses" that are equivalent to human or that of living creatures. They cannot feel pain or any such stimulus. Ergo...by your own arguements illusions simply cannot affect them since they have no senses to act upon. The exception to this would be the spells where a percentage of the damage is real...or inflicted by the very force of the magic as opposed to by belief. The illusion still does not affect them because they simply do not perceive it, but the magical force inflicting the damage does. In creating constructs and undead it states that they can be used to allow friends of the creator or such to pass but attack all others. Well heck, how is it going to know if I'm a friend of the creator? Do I dress funny or is it something I ate? Gee...maybe it's because the magic used to create them...or some fabric of the universe thing...making it impossible to fool the bloody thing, ya think!?! Or why doesn't every idiot in a funny dress walk right by them unchallenged? (though I do admit some adventures allow for just that...again, a pre-programmed trait.)

Belief is key, and to believe in something you have to have free will. Without free will you act only as programmed and believe only as programmed. Sort of like a large number of organized religions throughout history and existing even in contemporary times. There's no room to question what is real and what isn't. Your programming simply tells you that something you see cannot be real because everything you've been told and programmed with says it simply cannot exist...therefore...since it cannot exist, there is no belief in the illusion, making it ineffective. This is why without a mind illusion falters or fails in affecting creatures lacking such.

Plants and Oozes are a little different. A plant or ooze cannot believe in anything that doesn't actually produce an effect upon them...not only becaues they cannot perceive visual information, but because the are incapable of the necessary belief. The spell absolutely has to produce a 'real' effect upon them for them to perceive anything is even occurring beyond their limited perceptions.

Oozes 'see' by means of tremorsense, vibrations in the air, thermal changes, and scent and will react if all of these stimuli are present. Any spell that can produce all of these effects could engender a reaction from the creature...but you could get the same reaction using a pair of wheels with a haunch of venison and a lantern tied to it rolling down a slope. The creature is not reacting to the illusion, but to the 'real' forces produced...if any. Plants are much the same in their thermal and photosensitivity...and in some species, tremorsense through their roots.

Given that, then only the greater illusion spells would be able to have a chance or limited effect upon them...leaving low to mid-level illusionists at a disadvantage against them.

This is the last I'll say on any of this.
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Post by Moorcrys »

gideon_thorne wrote:
Welp, research results have indicated that, since this particular spell is not in the SRD, it can't be put into C&C.

Shame that.

Might have to come up with something else.

Hmm -- well, that's a bummer. Does that preclude using that idea as a springboard to create another spell that is thematically different yet fulfills the same function?
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Post by Julian Grimm »

I can't say for sure. If there's one thing I have learned over the past 3 or so years, it's that IP is a tricky business.
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Post by gideon_thorne »

Moorcrys wrote:
Hmm -- well, that's a bummer. Does that preclude using that idea as a springboard to create another spell that is thematically different yet fulfills the same function?

Creating new spells is not a problem.
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Post by Go0gleplex »

Just posted on the C&C Society grimoire an illusion spell along the lines of the orb...but different.
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Post by Lord Dynel »

Go0gleplex wrote:
Skeletons, zombies, and constructs (and similar) have no nervous system, functioning organs, or other "senses" that are equivalent to human or that of living creatures. They cannot feel pain or any such stimulus. Ergo...by your own arguements illusions simply cannot affect them since they have no senses to act upon.

We play it a little differently, that's all.
I'd say that the same thing that allows skeletons, zombies, and constructs to sense us - the living, breathing PCs - would also sense illusions. At least as momentary diversions. I guess if one really wanted, it could be ruled that the mindless (of various sorts) would be immune to illusions. I just think that even as undead can "sense" PCs one way or another, so should those senses be able to be fooled as well.

If all else fails, play it by the book, which doesn't allow for undead to be immune to illiusion magic.
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Post by Hawkwinter »

gideon_thorne wrote:
Creating new spells is not a problem.

Yeah that's what I was hoping from a "shadow" orb as opposed to the chromatic line.

I think the chromatic line is great against what people are referring here to the "living" creatures Iluusionists may face, but would face the same scrutiny and debate against "mindless" foes.

Spells like Scare, Color Spray, Hypnotism are great crowd control spells and allow flexibility for the illusionist at lower level but they have 2 problems:

1) They are copies of Wizard spells and are sometimes higher level as though the spell is "tougher" for the Iluusionist than the Wizard.

2) They allow effects up to 5 HD, and the Illusionist must then wait for 4th level spells before getting the Demi-Shadow line that allows for "real" damage. This gives a gap of about 2-3 HD of creatures and levels that the Iluusionist is static in their effects and not comparable to the wizard.

Don't get me wrong, the class is still very playable and fun...especially with the ideas floated out here in the thread, but mechanics wise, it is a gap.

I think the shadow line of spells from Shadow Orb to Shadow Steed give s great balance to the class without over=powering it or leaving the effects vague and undefined.

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Post by Lord Dynel »

Just want to add a little to my other line of thought, on undead and illusions. Sean K. Reynolds did a little piece a while back concerning that very topic. It can be read here. That kind of sums up my thoughts on undead and illusions. Overall, a good read.
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Post by moriarty777 »

This illusionist thread is starting to hurt my brain.
I don't see the illusionist as problematic much -- a couple of additional spells might be interesting but hardly necessary. Giving the illusionist 'Charm Person' could actually work in my mind. The one change I've thought about doing in my own campaigns (and I present to you for consideration), is giving the class a 'Sleight of Hand' skill. Essentially the ability to palm or otherwise conceal something on their person, even under observation, through dexterity and misdirection. Inspiration being the stage illusionists of course but... if they have a Disguise skill... why not another one to fit the class?

By the way... Under the spells 'Change Self' and 'Veil', the word glamor is spelled two different ways (one of which is incorrect ('glamer' under Change Self) and the other using the British way of spelling the word ('Glamour' vs 'Glamor')

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Post by anonymous »

Glamour or glamor is incorrect and glamer correct - it's an archaic Scottish word for a kind of deceptive magic spell which Gary Gygax liked and adopted into gaming.

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Post by anonymous »

Lord Dynel wrote:
Just want to add a little to my other line of thought, on undead and illusions. Sean K. Reynolds did a little piece a while back concerning that very topic. It can be read here. That kind of sums up my thoughts on undead and illusions. Overall, a good read.

I agree with this approach; I've never though undead should have this unmentioned special ability, but when it was argued over on usenet years ago, there seemed to be more people more determined that they should, so I assumed it was still the consensus. It seems that here it may well not be.

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Post by Lord Dynel »

moriarty777 wrote:
This illusionist thread is starting to hurt my brain.

Well, don't let that happen, sir! If need be, take a break from it for a while. Safety first!
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I don't see the illusionist as problematic much -- a couple of additional spells might be interesting but hardly necessary. Giving the illusionist 'Charm Person' could actually work in my mind. The one change I've thought about doing in my own campaigns (and I present to you for consideration), is giving the class a 'Sleight of Hand' skill. Essentially the ability to palm or otherwise conceal something on their person, even under observation, through dexterity and misdirection. Inspiration being the stage illusionists of course but... if they have a Disguise skill... why not another one to fit the class?

I agree, a sleight of hand-type ability would be nice. I think back to the Dragonlance Chronicles (Dragons of Winter Night, iirc) and though Raistlin is a wizard, he was able to earn some coing performing minor magics and sleight of hand tricks.

I don't agree with the charm spells, however. I think this mires down the class a little bit and further puts illusionists in the "mind-affecting wizards" category. If anything, some spells that would do varying effects, not neccessarily damage, plus a few more illusion spells I think would work wonders for the class. I might be in the minority, but I think charms don't do anything but blur the line between an enchanter-type and an illusionist.
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Post by gideon_thorne »

moriarty777 wrote:
This illusionist thread is starting to hurt my brain.

Yes, but its certainly not boring. Quite enjoyable in fact.
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Post by anonymous »

No point in sleight of hand because there's a cantrip to do it, because it impinges on the rogue and because it's only any use in a sneaky espionage kind of campaign whereas the complaints are about the weakness of the illusionist outside such an environment.

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Post by serleran »

All an illusionist needs is a superbabe with an 18 Charisma. Problem solved.
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Post by Go0gleplex »

and a passing grade in physiology.

To make sure the superbabe stays fully functional.
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Post by dunbruha »

Lord Dynel wrote:
Just want to add a little to my other line of thought, on undead and illusions. Sean K. Reynolds did a little piece a while back concerning that very topic. It can be read here. That kind of sums up my thoughts on undead and illusions. Overall, a good read.

Nice. This sums things up well, I think. I prefer the "illusions are like holograms" model rather than the "illusions are like psionics" model.

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Post by moriarty777 »

Tenser's Floating Disk wrote:
Glamour or glamor is incorrect and glamer correct - it's an archaic Scottish word for a kind of deceptive magic spell which Gary Gygax liked and adopted into gaming.

I will concede that 'Glamer' is the archaic word. However, it doesn't change the fact that one entry is inconsistent with the other nor does it change the fact that the REST of the book is written using modern usage and spelling of the English language. Besides, it could very well have been a typo too!

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Post by moriarty777 »

Tenser's Floating Disk wrote:
No point in sleight of hand because there's a cantrip to do it, because it impinges on the rogue and because it's only any use in a sneaky espionage kind of campaign whereas the complaints are about the weakness of the illusionist outside such an environment.

By that argument, why keep the Disguise skill when you have a first level spell (Change Self) that does the job better?

Besides, it impinges no less than other classes that have skills that the Rogue also happens to have. The Ranger for example can 'Move Silently' and essentially 'Hide in Shadows' and 'Climb' though these last two are called 'Conceal' and 'Scale' under the Ranger. Their function is much the same and the environment is the only real variable. A Ranger does these things in the wilderness and a Rogue does these in an urban setting.

I'm not suggesting they should get the ability to Pick Pockets with the Sleight of Hand skill and there could be different conditions imposed upon it. However, people will invariably see various classes run differently from one person's game to another. Personally, I'd rather not have an increased arsenal of spells for the illusionist since I can actually see this 'taking away' from the Wizard. I know others will disagree with me on that one but that seems to be the point of this thread now isn't it?

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Post by gideon_thorne »

moriarty777 wrote:
By that argument, why keep the Disguise skill when you have a first level spell (Change Self) that does the job better?

Because the spell can only be used one time a day. ^_~`
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Post by moriarty777 »

gideon_thorne wrote:
Because the spell can only be used one time a day. ^_~`

Then again, all spells can only be cast so many times a day too.

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Post by gideon_thorne »

moriarty777 wrote:
Then again, all spells can only be cast so many times a day too.

M

The disguise ability doesn't have that limitation.

Course, what would be a nice progression for the disguise ability is if one got Change Self and Alter self as innate powers of the class at progressively higher levels, usable at will. That would rock.
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Post by moriarty777 »

gideon_thorne wrote:
The disguise ability doesn't have that limitation.

Hehe... I know that... the point I was trying to make was that a sleight of hand ability wouldn't either. I really don't think the class needs much of anything. I think it's pretty much awesome as it is but some players don't seem to play the class to its full potential.

I'll have to think on it some more but I don't think more spells is the answer in this case.

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