Illutionist spell : Silent image

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Onirim
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Illutionist spell : Silent image

Post by Onirim »

Hi all :)

I want to know how you handle the Silent image illusionnist spell.
In the spell description, it is noted that :
This spell creates a visual illusion of an object, creature or force, as visualized
by the caster in a 40 foot cube, + 10 cubic feet per level. It cannot create
sound, smell or tactile illusions. Creatures who view the illusion believe it, and
can suffer damage from illusions. Hit point damage is suffered from damage to
the mind/psyche. While concentrating, the caster can move the image within
the range. The illusion disappears if an opponent makes the saving throw.
My question is : for you, how much the creature can suffer damage ? It's just an image (no tactile, no smell, no heat). If damage exist, it may be like 1d4 damage, no much, because it's a lvl 1 spell, don't you think ? How you limit this ?

(sorry for my english :D)

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Re: Illutionist spell : Silent image

Post by Omote »

The illusionist spells are not very precisely worded. Where damage is a possibility, I limit the total damage possible to 1d4 per illusionist level (1d4 is less than the typical 1d6 of wizard spell, which feels right for this character class). The exception would be where the illusionist spells detail precisely the amount of damage that can apply.

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Re: Illutionist spell : Silent image

Post by Buttmonkey »

I would make the damage the same amount that would be suffered if the illusion were real. So, if the illusion is of an orc swinging a long sword, the damage would be 1d8. I don't see a reason to nerf the damage potential. The limitation on damage is the saving throw to disbelieve the illusion. The other limitation is the potential size restrictions on the illusion.
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Re: Illutionist spell : Silent image

Post by Treebore »

Buttmonkey wrote:I would make the damage the same amount that would be suffered if the illusion were real. So, if the illusion is of an orc swinging a long sword, the damage would be 1d8. I don't see a reason to nerf the damage potential. The limitation on damage is the saving throw to disbelieve the illusion. The other limitation is the potential size restrictions on the illusion.
Agreed. In general I also limit Illusionists to not only things they have seen, but to things they have "studied". So not only does the Illusionist have to keep a list of things they have seen/encountered, but have studied, alive, in the creature/things natural state. The differentiation I make between the two is if it is just something "seen/encountered" then I give an automatic save versus illusion, because something is going to be off, or wrong, enough about it to be fake, even to the subconscious mind of the target(s). If they have "studied" it, acting and moving naturally, then the Illusionist will convey it in a very realistic manner and a save will not be automatically given. I require 15 minutes of "study" per HD/level of the studied creatures. Kind of similar to studying spells.

I also limit creatures mimicked to being of the same HD/level of the caster, or lower. In general, this is to reflect that higher/more powerful creatures are more complex in their look, actions, and powers that the illusionist will have to mimic. So this kind of reflects how good an aspiring artist is at making their paintings and sculptures look realistic. Also note that no mater how good the Illusionist is, they cannot replicate everything, such as the Fear aura of the older dragons. So in cases like that, I still give an automatic save. I also use the HD limit to determine how many of the creatures can be replicated by the same illusion. So say if they wanted to copy a bunch of Kobolds with the above spell, they could, up to the level of the Illusionist. To do an Ogre they would have to be a 4th level Illusionist, to do two Ogres they would have to be 8th level, and so on.

Such limitations have to be imposed upon the Illusionist, even though they are very weak against mindless beings, such as mindless undead, plants, golems, or anything not "humanoid" enough for the Illusionist to know how to trick it. So generally, I allow allow Illusionists to effect "intelligent" life forms, who are also at least somewhat similar to the Illusionists race. Even if it is simply in having a high functioning brain.

Another factor to keep in mind when an Illusionist is doing spells, consider the perceptive abilities of their target. For example, if the target(s) have a very good sense of smell, such as a Werewolf, then give either a bonus to save, or an automatic save versus the Illusion to those targets. This is because, unless the Illusionist themselves have an exceptional sense of smell, such as from being a Werewolf themselves, they cannot possibly replicate odors well enough to trick a creature who depends on smell so much more than the Illusionist does.


A lot of this may seem unfair to the class, but an Illusionist is truly limited, eventually, by their imagination in what they can recreate with their Illusions. So if you do not enforce some realistic limitations on them, they will rule the world around them.
Since its 20,000 I suggest "Captain Nemo" as his title. Beyond the obvious connection, he is one who sails on his own terms and ignores those he doesn't agree with...confident in his journey and goals.
Sounds obvious to me! -Gm Michael

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Re: Illutionist spell : Silent image

Post by serleran »

Depends on the illusion. Make a silent image of a 500000' foot hole and it will kill you if you fall in; make one of a fire and it will burn you; make it of a screaming goblin... well, it's fake or you're deaf.

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Re: Illutionist spell : Silent image

Post by Fizz »

Maybe i'm a bit weird, but i've never agreed with the premise that illusions can cause damage. They're illusions- they're not real. They have no real substance and thus can have no real impact on the world. If they can have a real impact in the world, what makes them different from other "real" spells?

For many years, i've always adjudicated illusionary "damage" as an effect on the victim's mind. So, if an illusionary orc hits you with a sword, the illusionist would have to continue the illusion of blood splattering, guts spilling, etc. If you failed an Int check, you'd think it was real, and would pass out (or maybe even die). It's only in the mind where he suffered damage. It wouldn't affect hit points at all.

But such a situation above would be difficult to maintain. Rather, i think illusions are best left to misdirection. Just the illusion itself can be enough to manipulate behavior to your benefit. IE, maybe orcs on the enemy flank so they can't charge you with all their fighters. Or maybe the illusion of a wall to prevent them from chasing you through a cavern etc.

But that's just my take. I suspect i'm one of the few who thinks this way. Heh.

-Fizz

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Re: Illutionist spell : Silent image

Post by Dracyian »

Fizz wrote:Maybe i'm a bit weird, but i've never agreed with the premise that illusions can cause damage. They're illusions- they're not real. They have no real substance and thus can have no real impact on the world. If they can have a real impact in the world, what makes them different from other "real" spells?

For many years, i've always adjudicated illusionary "damage" as an effect on the victim's mind. So, if an illusionary orc hits you with a sword, the illusionist would have to continue the illusion of blood splattering, guts spilling, etc. If you failed an Int check, you'd think it was real, and would pass out (or maybe even die). It's only in the mind where he suffered damage. It wouldn't affect hit points at all.

But such a situation above would be difficult to maintain. Rather, i think illusions are best left to misdirection. Just the illusion itself can be enough to manipulate behavior to your benefit. IE, maybe orcs on the enemy flank so they can't charge you with all their fighters. Or maybe the illusion of a wall to prevent them from chasing you through a cavern etc.

But that's just my take. I suspect i'm one of the few who thinks this way. Heh.

-Fizz
Yeah but you can still cause damage with those types of illusions, just creat an illusion of a bridge over a chasm, or another room full of the orcs enemies where there is a wall. But those are special cases of excellent misdirection.

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Re: Illutionist spell : Silent image

Post by Fizz »

Dracyian wrote:Yeah but you can still cause damage with those types of illusions, just creat an illusion of a bridge over a chasm, or another room full of the orcs enemies where there is a wall. But those are special cases of excellent misdirection.
Exactly! In those case, the person is actually falling, or being attacked by real orcs. So yes it should be real damage, as its not the illusion that is directly causing damage.

I'm proud to say i successfully pulled that off the bridge trick in a campaign once. :)

-Fizz

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Re: Illutionist spell : Silent image

Post by Dracyian »

Fizz wrote:
Dracyian wrote:Yeah but you can still cause damage with those types of illusions, just creat an illusion of a bridge over a chasm, or another room full of the orcs enemies where there is a wall. But those are special cases of excellent misdirection.
Exactly! In those case, the person is actually falling, or being attacked by real orcs. So yes it should be real damage, as its not the illusion that is directly causing damage.

I'm proud to say i successfully pulled that off the bridge trick in a campaign once. :)

-Fizz
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Re: Illutionist spell : Silent image

Post by Treebore »

Yeah, for those to work at actually causing damage you have to believe the mind is a powerful thing. Since we are believing magic works, I go with the mind being powerful idea as well. The most modern TV/movie idea of this that I can think of is the Matrix series. Their bodies weren't truly being hit, shot, etc... but since they believed it so strongly, the damage translated. Until Neo.
Since its 20,000 I suggest "Captain Nemo" as his title. Beyond the obvious connection, he is one who sails on his own terms and ignores those he doesn't agree with...confident in his journey and goals.
Sounds obvious to me! -Gm Michael

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Re: Illutionist spell : Silent image

Post by Arduin »

The CKG has an excellent section all about this.
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Re: Illutionist spell : Silent image

Post by Sir Ironside »

Everything Treebore said.

I'll just add that soldiers in real world wars suffer from post-traumatic shock syndrome that can have very real mental concerns, that effect them in profound ways. In a game about the fantastic it isn't a long stretch for Illusionist having the same effect only on a grander scale, which to me, is more than enough to justify enough mental shock to kill someone.

If Cthulhu can do it, Illusionists should be able to.

I'm still having problems with illusionist being able to heal though.

The only justification I can think of is, the Illusionist can use this spell to have an opposite effect, that does good.

Example: Jakka has a gaping hole on his chest, his mind would go, "OH! MY! GOD! I'm gonna die!" The Illusionist steps in and calms his mind and instead of seeing that gaping hole he might see just a cut on his chest. It calms the mind and he gets some pluses to not go into shock. He still needs to be cured but the higher the Illusionist in levels the longer the Illusionist can prevent the character from shock/death.

I'd add a house rule that for each level of the Illusionist adds time. It is like a ticking time-bomb, can they cure Jakka in time, before the Illusion wears off?

Sorry for the thread drift.
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Re: Illutionist spell : Silent image

Post by Treebore »

Pretty sure it is "stress", not "shock", but anyway, yeah, those guys/girls can tell you how powerful the mind is, even when you know its not real. There are a lot of civilians that suffer it too, from car accidents, physical/sexual assaults, to surviving tornadoes, and a great many other high stress situations. The biggest difference for soldiers is how prolonged and/or numerous their "triggers" were. Only things like prolonged domestic abuse compare in the civilian world.
Since its 20,000 I suggest "Captain Nemo" as his title. Beyond the obvious connection, he is one who sails on his own terms and ignores those he doesn't agree with...confident in his journey and goals.
Sounds obvious to me! -Gm Michael

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Re: Illutionist spell : Silent image

Post by Fizz »

For me, i'm ok with illusions causing certain mental effects. IE, an illusionary sword hits you in the head- your senses tell you you've been hit in the head, so your brain goes unconscious if you fail your save. However, i don't translate ever that to real hit points. When you wake up, you have as many hit points as you had when you were "hit".

I think part of my concern is this: If an illusion can have real-world effects, why can't you just cast an illusion of any other spell? Why can't I cast an illusion of magic missile, and wipe out a whole bunch of goblins who all believe they've been struck? If that is possible, it's effectively the same as a magic missile. And my illusion could have just as easily been chain lightning, or a fireball. And if it's an illusion, i can make it a fireball as cast by a 20th level wizard. Ouch.

I think putting in restrictions on illusionary damage is kind of an artificial bandaid. I think it's easier to rule that they just don't cause HP damage. And i think it also fixes the notion of illusionary healing. If an illusion can cause damage, it is logical to that an illusion could also mend damage. But i know a lot of people have issues with that.

Given that an illusion can be of anything you can dream up, i think they are plenty powerful and flexible enough without doing direct damage. So for my own liking, i prefer to keep illusions the stuff of nothingness... things that mess with the senses / mind, but not the body.

Also, i tend to play in the Birthright setting, and magic is much more rare and more subtle. So my take works well for that setting.


-Fizz

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Re: Illutionist spell : Silent image

Post by Arduin »

Fizz wrote: Why can't I cast an illusion of magic missile, and wipe out a whole bunch of goblins who all believe they've been struck? If that is possible, it's effectively the same as a magic missile. And my illusion could have just as easily been chain lightning, or a fireball. And if it's an illusion, i can make it a fireball as cast by a 20th level wizard. Ouch.
That's a little different. Most people understand the effects of a fast moving blade hitting their neck. Little flashes of light (magic missile) hitting you. What effect does your mind conjure for that? It is VERY subjective.
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Re: Illutionist spell : Silent image

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Treebore wrote:Pretty sure it is "stress", not "shock", but anyway, yeah, those guys/girls can tell you how powerful the mind is, even when you know its not real. There are a lot of civilians that suffer it too, from car accidents, physical/sexual assaults, to surviving tornadoes, and a great many other high stress situations. The biggest difference for soldiers is how prolonged and/or numerous their "triggers" were. Only things like prolonged domestic abuse compare in the civilian world.
I think he was talking shock as the medical condition http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shock_(circulatory)

But expounding on your removing ptsd from just military I know people who have, as said and unfortunate as it is, had terrible child hood traumatic experiences that have caused severe changing of their mental landscape, I dated a woman with 27 different personalities, well I had encounter 27 I think

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Re: Illutionist spell : Silent image

Post by Treebore »

Dracyian wrote:...with 27 different personalities, well I had encounter 27 I think
That was some extremely severe stuff she survived.
Since its 20,000 I suggest "Captain Nemo" as his title. Beyond the obvious connection, he is one who sails on his own terms and ignores those he doesn't agree with...confident in his journey and goals.
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Re: Illutionist spell : Silent image

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Treebore wrote:
Dracyian wrote:...with 27 different personalities, well I had encounter 27 I think
That was some extremely severe stuff she survived.
Wasn't the happiest but she managed to come out of it with minimal scaring, and the offender as I understand it, got his just desserts while serving his prison term. She is still a very good friend, and it was never boring dating her, got a different personality (not always female) every night of the week.

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Re: Illutionist spell : Silent image

Post by Onirim »

I see it's a hot topic now :D

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Re: Illutionist spell : Silent image

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Onirim wrote:I see it's a hot topic now :D
You sir certianly stirred up some debate between GMs

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Re: Illutionist spell : Silent image

Post by Fizz »

Arduin wrote:That's a little different. Most people understand the effects of a fast moving blade hitting their neck. Little flashes of light (magic missile) hitting you. What effect does your mind conjure for that? It is VERY subjective.
Conversely though, that could mean that's easier to fool someone with an illusionary spell. There's a lot to get right in the illusion of the sword hit- the impact, sound, blood, pain, etc. If any one of those are off, it could clue in the victim that it's not real.

But if most people don't know what to expect from magic, then it's easier to fake the illusion of it. They're hit by a beam of light, or a fireball or lightning bolt- much less common occurances, so you'd expect the victim doesn't know what to expect. Thus the illusion could be less perfect but still believable.

Please note- i'm not telling anyone how to play, just relaying my own take and reasoning. Adjudicating illusions has always been one of the more involved subjects in fantasy rpgs- interesting stuff.


-Fizz

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Re: Illutionist spell : Silent image

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Fizz wrote: But if most people don't know what to expect from magic, then it's easier to fake the illusion of it. They're hit by a beam of light, or a fireball or lightning bolt- much less common occurances, so you'd expect the victim doesn't know what to expect. Thus the illusion could be less perfect but still believable.
So, I get hit with a beam of light. I don't know what it is, so I won't be injured by it as I have no expectation based on experience...

On lightning, if I've known of someone being killed by a strike I could be in serious trouble. Otherwise, probably not. Same with fireball.

How 'bout this: "In the mythology of the Ogre's, a warrior who is hit by lightning (a weapon sometimes given to mortals by the gods) and lives, may become strong & fast beyond all other Ogres, a warrior that destroys all enemies."

The Illusionist's party may be in for real trouble now.

This is what I meant by effects being subjective
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Re: Illutionist spell : Silent image

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I see that one both ways, it could be a super backwards clan of orcs who know nothing of magic except that it is deadly or they no nothing about it at all so it does nothing. Lets say you come across a band of orcs and you illusion a fireball spell, one of them freaks out and gives himself an annurism since he watched his momma orc get burned alive from a rogue wizard's fireball spell collapses with blood draining out of his nose while the orc standing next to him stops for a sexond looks down at his compatroit and then gets angry and attacks the illusion not having a clue at all what just happened.

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Re: Illutionist spell : Silent image

Post by Fizz »

Arduin wrote:So, I get hit with a beam of light. I don't know what it is, so I won't be injured by it as I have no expectation based on experience... I think you got it backwards.
I see what you're saying- why would a person react to something if they have no notion of it? But the flip side of that is that if the target does know what to expect, and then doesn't experience it exactly correctly, he'll know something is amiss.

So if your illusionary sword doesn't give the target a full sensory experience, then he'll know it's an illusion. Whereas my beam of light (or magic missile) may not hurt the target, but he wouldn't know it was an illusionary spell- he'd have no idea what has happened.

I agree it's very subjective. And that's exactly why i just steer clear of illusionary damage in the first place. :)


-Fizz

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Re: Illutionist spell : Silent image

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Dracyian wrote:I see that one both ways, it could be a super backwards clan of orcs who know nothing of magic except that it is deadly or they no nothing about it at all so it does nothing. Lets say you come across a band of orcs and you illusion a fireball spell, one of them freaks out and gives himself an annurism since he watched his momma orc get burned alive from a rogue wizard's fireball spell collapses with blood draining out of his nose while the orc standing next to him stops for a sexond looks down at his compatroit and then gets angry and attacks the illusion not having a clue at all what just happened.

Right. It is unpredictable in many ways. That's why an Illusionist must carefully think about what he creates.
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Re: Illutionist spell : Silent image

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Arduin wrote:
Dracyian wrote:I see that one both ways, it could be a super backwards clan of orcs who know nothing of magic except that it is deadly or they no nothing about it at all so it does nothing. Lets say you come across a band of orcs and you illusion a fireball spell, one of them freaks out and gives himself an annurism since he watched his momma orc get burned alive from a rogue wizard's fireball spell collapses with blood draining out of his nose while the orc standing next to him stops for a sexond looks down at his compatroit and then gets angry and attacks the illusion not having a clue at all what just happened.

Right. It is unpredictable in many ways. That's why an Illusionist must carefully think about what he creates.

Just stick with the bridge over the five hundred chasm

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Re: Illutionist spell : Silent image

Post by Treebore »

Dracyian wrote:
Arduin wrote:
Dracyian wrote:I see that one both ways, it could be a super backwards clan of orcs who know nothing of magic except that it is deadly or they no nothing about it at all so it does nothing. Lets say you come across a band of orcs and you illusion a fireball spell, one of them freaks out and gives himself an annurism since he watched his momma orc get burned alive from a rogue wizard's fireball spell collapses with blood draining out of his nose while the orc standing next to him stops for a sexond looks down at his compatroit and then gets angry and attacks the illusion not having a clue at all what just happened.

Right. It is unpredictable in many ways. That's why an Illusionist must carefully think about what he creates.

Just stick with the bridge over the five hundred chasm

As simple and straight forward as possible is a good idea for any "illusion".
Since its 20,000 I suggest "Captain Nemo" as his title. Beyond the obvious connection, he is one who sails on his own terms and ignores those he doesn't agree with...confident in his journey and goals.
Sounds obvious to me! -Gm Michael

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Re: Illutionist spell : Silent image

Post by Omote »

I see many of you poopoo'd the idea of less damage (damage die, damage potential, etc.) by the illusionist. One reason I would limit overall damage potential by the illusionist is because of the XP they need to advance levels of experience beyond 12th level. The illusionist drops off from the amount of XP the wizard requires quite a bit. There is plenty of room to argue that the illusionist is even more powerful than the wizard. Perhaps not as much at the lower levels, but with the higher in levels the Illusionist (and a bright player) can really dominate the game with some spectacular, quasi-real, illusions.

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Re: Illutionist spell : Silent image

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Omote wrote:I see many of you poopoo'd the idea of less damage (damage die, damage potential, etc.) by the illusionist. One reason I would limit overall damage potential by the illusionist is because of the XP they need to advance levels of experience beyond 12th level. The illusionist drops off from the amount of XP the wizard requires quite a bit. There is plenty of room to argue that the illusionist is even more powerful than the wizard. Perhaps not as much at the lower levels, but with the higher in levels the Illusionist (and a bright player) can really dominate the game with some spectacular, quasi-real, illusions.

~O
I wont argue this at all the Illusionist is a brutal class if played properly and well supported. I ran a game with my father playing an illusionist and I don't know how many times he colored sprayed in the beginning stages of the game just completely turning the tides of the battle

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Re: Illutionist spell : Silent image

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Dracyian wrote: I wont argue this at all the Illusionist is a brutal class if played properly and well supported. I ran a game with my father playing an illusionist and I don't know how many times he colored sprayed in the beginning stages of the game just completely turning the tides of the battle
I did that as a 1st level Illusionist in AD&D 1st Ed. Awesome spell.
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