Friday, March 16, 2018

Phantasmal Feature (spell)

Range: 60 ft. +20 ft. per level
Duration: 50 rounds per level
Area of Effect: 10 ft. diameter cube per level
Casting Time: 1 round
Saving Throw: none; see below
Level: illusionist (1st)

Creates the illusion of any fixed, stationary feature up to the area of effect, typically of stone, sand or soil, in the shape desired. The caster may also create features that were once living, such as a dead tree or uprooted log, now half buried (providing its fixed nature), or features such as ponds or even watercourses (limited, of course, by the dimensions of the spell).

The feature will be entirely believable, even if it is conjured in full sight of the viewer. In such a case, creatures of semi or less intelligence will immediately adapt to the feature as though it has always been present; low level creatures may make save or disbelieve, comprehending that it is an illusion. Creatures of average to high intelligence will gain a +4 modifier to their saving throw, while extraordinarily intelligent creatures (or greater) will know it for what it is.

Otherwise, however, unless the viewer is from the area and knows the feature was not previously present, there will be no reason to make a saving throw.

Features must appear to be natural, and may not be man-made, carved, shaped by the hand of intelligent creatures, etc. They can, however, be carved into, or modified after they have been created, giving no sign that the feature is not real.

Should a part of the feature be taken away, that part will continue to exist for the duration of the spell—but wood burned from an illusionary dead tree will not give off heat; water drunk from a pond will not slake thirst. However, stones broken from an illusionary feature will still cause damage, as will a club taken from a dead tree. Obviously, a caster can shape a given feature so that there would be clubs to be made easily from it.

Phantasmal features will serve as barriers to enemies, including the creation of cracks in the ground, stone pillars, ten foot deep ponds (which can be swum in), etc. Remember that ‘negative’ features can also be presented, so that a smooth, easy slope can be transformed to look like a cliff (and cause damage to those who fall from it), the ground can be made to open up as though with a sink-hole, etc.

Damage done, regardless of what a real feature would cause, can never be more than 1d6 total per level of the caster. Thus, an individual falling from a 20’ cliff created by a 2nd level illusionist would not take 3d6 damage, but 2d6.

Persons who fall into deep crevices might be surprised to find they are still alive, and that the crevice was quite easy to climb out of; persons in sink-holes will be able to extricate themselves, ponds can be swum by people who don’t know how to swim, etc.

Primarily, the spell affects the perception of the viewer and not the viewer’s actual physical body … and that discrepancy must be considered when applying the spell. In general, crossing any feature created by the spell would cause half movement to the fooled creature.

A 30’ crevice, therefore would be climbed out of at the rate of the creature’s movement, halved. If the creature normally moved 20’ per round, it would climb out of the crevice in but 3 rounds—whereas 10 rounds would be the usual case, if the feature were real.

Creatures, however, will tend to circle, rather than cross, any feature—and features may not be created in the same hex at the same time as an enemy (a sink hole may be created prior to the enemy moving into that specific place, with the expectation the enemy will move there—and the enemy would be entitled to a dexterity check). Sinkholes, bound to be very popular, could be as large as 1 combat hex per level of the caster, since the outer ring would serve as the sinkhole’s edge.

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