View Full Version : Your creative uses of illusion?

2009-11-05, 02:53 PM
So you're running, along with all the members of your party, down a long tunnel in the barrens under this gods-forsaken mountain, fleeing the zombie hordes closing behind you. The fighter has 3 hitpoints left, and is nauseated due to some effects, the cleric is tapped out of spells, and almost dead himself. The wizard blew her spells a while ago, and damned near turned the tides, but is now exhausted and near useless (well, she does have that crossbow... oh wait, zombies have DR 5/slashing). The rogue, well, she counts on sneak attack damage, and darn them, they're immune to that too.

You round a corner and the tunnel opens in to wide cavern. The bard (yes, the bard) tells everyone to stand over there, and shut the heck up. With a quick whistle and some gestures, he waves his hands and the sound of running feet seems to come from the opposite tunnel. Another complicated gesture and murmur of power and your party is now cleverly hidden behind a piece of the wall which wasn't there moments ago.

The zombies rush in and don't even pause mometarily - with a chorus of sickening moans, the zombies shuffle off to follow the noise, completely unaware of you. You're saved. By a bard. Using a cantrip and a level one spell.

So, how often have you made your DM scream because you used illusions really well? How often have your nefarious NPCs driven your players to distraction with their clever uses of such simple spells.

2009-11-05, 02:59 PM
I once had an illusionist that used shadow spells, insidious spell and invisible spell to great effect. To wit, I built a massive maze of walls, fake walls, illusory walls, invisible illusory walls, invisible fake walls and invisible walls in odd twising patterns. I had my freind forbidance it all.

It's one of the reasons I'm one of the few players in my group that always has an archnemesis in character.

2009-11-05, 03:08 PM
Illusions are never used to their full potential in the campaigns I play in.

A BBEG that uses illusions to their full effect would be a formidable foe, and make for an amazing boss hunt in a dungeon filled with illusions. Much more interesting than an all-out fight in a nondescript square room.

2009-11-05, 03:35 PM
We don't really do illusions much... there's only one time that I can think of when they were used to cool effect.

So we've been traveling under these mountains for a few days, and our guide tells us we're nearly out. We make our way through some narrow stone hallways until we reach a stone door. On the other side of the door appears to be a group of cultists and some devils. Our shadow dancer uses his shadow walk ability and his hide in plain sight ability to hop into the room unseen with the intent of creating a distraction. He has some ability to cast a minor illusion spell, and creates a solar right in front of him. He speaks Celestial, and shouts out something menacing.

The cultists flip out, which is good, because then they're off guard when our wizard-- who's laying on her stomach in the space in front of the closed door in the hallway so she can see under the door to where the cultists are standing-- drops a gargantuan snake in on them.

The devils don't buy the illusion and start attacking. The rest of the group kicks in the door and kicks ass. We accidentally killed off a semi-major villain in that encounter. He was supposed to survive and trail us for a while. He didn't.

2009-11-05, 03:59 PM
Mirage Arcana is an amazing spell. If I was a general tasked with defending a pass or city, I would demand access to this spell.

Most dragons I make have access to illusions to defend / hide their lairs. Mirage Arcana can make a dormant volcano look active, create places for an enormous dragon to hide, etc. etc.

Project Image is also a great spell, really underused in my opinion.

I enjoy using Silent Image to have cards fall out of the sleeves of people playing high-stakes games at taverns. Silent Image: the Brawl Starter (tm).

Really, what can't you do with illusions? A pox upon True Seeing and its ilk, though.

2009-11-05, 05:35 PM
The trickiest ones fool enemies that know you're using illusions:

Create multiple images of yourself so that an enemy thinks you're using Mirror Image and wastes time attacking them to find the "real" one. In actuality, you're none of them.

2009-11-05, 05:54 PM
Standing up to a massive army of kobolds? In a tight spot?

Knowledge (Religion) + Tongues + Major Image

"Behold and lo, mere kobolds! I am your Lord, Kurtulmak! Lay down your weapons or be damned!"

2009-11-05, 06:11 PM
There's always the classic "Hiding in an illusion of a boulder / tree / snowdrift / haystack etc."

Have... deceptive spell I believe, and non-verbal spells, and what's an enemy to do?

2009-11-05, 07:21 PM
This only worked because we were low level and I got lucky with a spot check to notice the group sneaking up on our encampment in the field at night. So I used ghost sound for a bunch of very loud growls like they're coming from a bunch of cats off in the tall grass a good 40 feet from them. After that came my bluff check telling them not to run because my pets liked to chase. The really fun part came after we found out the group wasn't actually hostile, just wary. At that point I "dismissed my shadow creatures back to their otherworldly lair" which scared the guys into thinking I was much more powerful than I really was.

2009-11-05, 07:51 PM
We destroyed a large village of koua toa (or however they are spelled) at first level by using a cantrip at several crucial points. Our DM gave lots of XP after that, as we had found a great plan.
The slightly mad and senile ruler was visited by a whispering noise. He heard a voice telling him he was visited by a messenger for the gods. after lots of diplomacy and bluff checks, and even more conversations, we convinced him that by killing all of his warriors and whips that he would attain godhood. However, when he got to the high up clerics of his village, he went faster then he was used to and died of a heart attack. We then had to deal with the cleric and his guards. The cleric death knelled our (extremely) puny elven 1hp wizard and caused decent damage to the rest of us, but we won and leveled up. We had essentially destroyed the entire level of the dungeon, and ruined a (arguably) benevolent civilization with a cantrip.

Hunter Noventa
2009-11-05, 09:32 PM
Our party once used a scroll or Mirage Arcana to cloak an enemy airship as we were taking out the crew so we could steal it. That was pretty awesome.

And ocne we had a pixie in the party during a series of duels at an arena. Our enemy were on cavalry so her flew overto them, invisible, and cast a permanent image of a field of spikes around them so the horses wouldn't charge. it was pretty awesome and useful.

2009-11-05, 11:21 PM
Once I was playing in a "collect all the artifacts to stop the evil guys from attaining supreme power" type of game. The problem? There were 4 players -- two of us were good guys and two of us were the aforementioned evil guys.

The two good guys, myself and a friend, were both playing Bards. Horribly underpowered Bards. The evil guys were both melee characters with something around 400+ hit points, attacks that could drop us in one round, and defenses (with spell resistance) so high that we couldn't hurt them. We were horribly outmatched.

In our most dangerous fight against the evil guys, my Bard ally went unconscious in one round of combat, the enemy Fighter standing over his corpse shouting. I quickly scribble something onto a sheet of paper and hand it to the DM. The DM announces, "the Bard stands up and starts running away." The Fighter does the predictable thing: he screams out in anger and frustration and starts chasing him. At this point I pick up the body of my unconscious ally and Dimension Door us out of there so I can heal him back up.

The Fighter friend of ours was pissed off for the rest of the day because he was out-smarted by a low-level illusion. And my Bard friend and I celebrated our minor victory.

2009-11-05, 11:30 PM
Bard is my favorite class. When asked why, I tell people that it's because they get the coolest stuff at low levels. I love using minor image and ghost sound to evade fights. I'm soloing the shackled city with an elven bard. I die a lot, but I "get better" and try again. It's a lot of fun.

Hida Reju
2009-11-06, 12:59 AM
Sufficiently advanced illusion spell to create a girl to hit on the Warrior of an evil party and lure him for some illusionary sex. That combined with the lowered will save from all the drinks he was having. Then slit his throat while passed out afterwards.

Bypassed more than one BBEG bodyguard with one spell and a sick minded female player.

2009-11-06, 01:19 AM
My main use of illusion was in a 1st level adventure as a wizard. We somehow ended up lighting the mayor's manor on fire (don't ask, apparently alcohol is flammable). While trying to leave (after robbing the place, I was CG and gave a fourth to the poor... the other PC was LG and suggested it) the DM informed us there were archers shooting at the entrance apparently to kill the servants and guests who were fleeing the burning building. So I smiled and said I have ghost sound prepared. A quick Knowledge (Arcana) check and reference to having Draconic as a language to make a believable dragon roar. The archers ran from the dragon that had burnt down the building. Not too original (dragon roar is the classic way to use it) but fun.

Yuki Akuma
2009-11-06, 07:56 AM
I once used a Greater Image to fake 'Gating' in a Gold Dragon. It was fun.

Actually I'm playing an illusionist right now in a PbP game - she's the one who did that. I expect her to do many more creative things with her illusions. She's that sort of character.

2009-11-06, 08:22 AM
I've told this story before, but it's funny so I don't mind repeating it. I had a Gnome Illusionist (back when that was a reasonable combination), who liked to fish. So the party was going along to a midnight rendezvous in an alley with an informant (obvious ambush), and my character was telling about his latest fishing expedition. He animated this with an illusion, of course. As we walked along, the flying perch on the "fishing line" got bigger and (naturally) bigger, until as we turned into the alley it was at least 6' long and flying overhead with prodigiously strong leaps and changes of direction.

Crossbowmen opened up on us from the roofs on both sides. So my Gnome sent his giant flying fish on a run at the snipers on one roof. One didn't do so well on his save, and dodged badly: down and splat! The other guy avoided falling, but did drop his crossbow, which slid on the roof slates and dropped into the alley. So, in the surprise round, my Illusionist took out half the ambush force. There was no reason for the ambushers to suspect an illusion, because we hadn't had time to react; instead they thought it was some sort of flying animal companion.

Yuki Akuma
2009-11-06, 08:38 AM
I've told this story before, but it's funny so I don't mind repeating it. I had a Gnome Illusionist (back when that was a reasonable combination)

What are you talking about? It still is.

The Gilded Duke
2009-11-06, 08:50 AM
I'm planning all sorts of things with my Illusionist for a game tomorrow.
Among other things, Silent Image gets around any limits of spoken words per turn, however it still has to be read.

Illusions of 10 foot iron cubes filled with an unnatural darkness that darkvision cannot penetrate, only pierced by the unnatural glow of Star Metal etched script. The Starmetal Script says in perfectly crafted elven runes the following:

"I prepared explosive runes today"

The enemy is free to keep reading or to examine the wall to see if its an illusion.

Of course I can't actually build explosive runes into my illusions. At some point however I'll want to set up some explosive runes before hand, and then cover them with an illusion, just to build up the reputation.

Temet Nosce
2009-11-06, 09:12 AM
Lets see....

Relabeling poisons and potions.

Altering the dimensions of rooms in ways that won't provoke a save.

Covering pit traps with illusions of the floor

Making an image of a door, after you break it down

Switching party appearances so the enemy prioritizes wrong

Providing illusory enemies to stop people from getting curious about being attacked by an invisible party.

2009-11-06, 11:02 AM
All the stoplights in the busy intersection were green at once.

2009-11-06, 04:08 PM
I once delayed a ship-to-ship combat because I made a Silent Image of a GIANT WHIRLPOOL ahead of the enemy ship, juuuust far enough ahead that they could dodge it if they took drastic maneuvers immediately. The combat still happened, but we at least got a buff round.

2009-11-07, 12:05 AM
I recall my wizard using Major Image once or twice to great effect. He managed to absolutely ruin someone's (LG) feast day by "summoning" a Purple Worm our of nowhere on the main stage. The party druid then followed up by Giant Vermin-ing two pet spiders (of the mundane variety) into Large Spiders for the paladins to play with. He then Soften Earth and Stone-ed the ground beneath the crowd to prevent anyone from getting around (and them promptly turning it back to earth with his 5th level spell slot). He pulled some awesome, so the wizard tried to get in on the fun. He let the Purple Worm "die and vanish," then promptly created a divine apparition of Heironious in the sky, condemning the government and cursing the Chief Cleric (who we believe to be up to some pretty strange stuff) Before fading away in glory.

The wizard then had to Teleport out of the rock he was waist-deep in (because our party seems to care little about friendly fire).

Later on, the wizard had to discharge all of his spell slots. He was somewhat more powerful at this point, and the person making the charge was sitting on a rather large (elephant-sized, according to the DM) Rust Monster. So we were paying attention. However, reluctant to become a 15th-level commoner, since he was also surrendering his spellbook, while everyone else just gave up all the weapons our "friends" could find (the rouge was fine), my wizard did the only reasonable thing he could do. He asks for a moment and some space, goes off a little ways, and Major Images up an Orgy of Magical Effects - dark clouds, random purple lightning, multicolored rays, strange shapes fading in and out of existence, etc, etc. This goes on for a couple minutes (he was doing this mostly for the party's benefit, and to get a good laugh). He then pulls the image all the way back into a little illusory ball of magical energy, matches the image up to where he actually is, and "crushes" the ball out of existence. He returns to the group.

Our Rust-Monster-riding friend then asks if he'd prepared more than one spell for the day. (Apparently, even fighters can nat 20 their will saves.) A few Disintegrated sand dunes, randomly flung fireballs, and a cone of cold later, a very irate mage is ready to go. (though he still kept the majority of his useful, if non-flashy spells like, say, Greater Dispel Magic and a spare disintegrate. These came in handy when fighting a Dominated Black Dragon later on).

So not necessarily useful or creative, but definitely hilarious.

2009-11-07, 02:05 AM
I was the DM, but I sure fooled my players by using the lowly blur spell. See my Red Hand of Doom campaign journal for the whole story.

The enemy caster was a beguiler whose minions the PCs had just defeated. The location was a ruined town hall in the middle of a decrepit flooded city associated with the taint of alien lords of madness (the Daelkyr from Eberron). The enemy was using the ruin as a breeding facility for monsters they wanted to use as part of their war effort.

The PCs had put together a rather rigorous plan for interrogating this caster, and I was sick of them interrogating every single intelligent-looking enemy they came along and subsequently executing him, so I found a way for him to at least buy time until he could send out a telepathic message to his superiors regarding his defeat.

The PCs had hogtied and gagged him and stripped him of his component pouch, so he was stuck with a single spell he could cast---blur with Silent Spell.

He had a single level in Mindbender, so he had telepathy. Just as the PCs were about to begin the interrogation, he used his telepathy to pretend that a Daelkyr voice was speaking to the PCs in unintelligible Cthulhu-speak. He also acted as if he could hear the voice and began to "panic."

The PCs took off his gag to demand an explanation, and he fed them the lie: something had caused the Daelkyr-linked aberrations underneath the city to stir, and they were coming. He then promptly cast his blur spell, and feigned a seizure.

You have a guy you just captured. You heard a voice in your head in a language you don't understand. The guy begins to froth at the mouth while his body shifts and wavers. Don't tell me you're going to remain calm in such a situation.

The cleric tries to make several knowledge checks to figure out what's going on, but none come up with anything helpful. The party panics and decides to hightail it out of there, only to be ambushed by lizardfolk who are allied with the caster's superiors. The lizardfolk tried to get the caster back, but they were driven off by the PCs.

The PCs eventually discover that they were had and go ahead with the interrogation, but at this point the enemy brass had already heard of what the PCs did to their secret monster breeding facility.

The PCs executed the beguiler, but by the time they left the area a very deadly ambush had been set up. That was the first encounter that really gave my players a great fright. :D

2009-11-07, 05:40 AM
My two best uses of illusions:

We were badly outnumbered by orcs. I cast the illusion spell out of sight of the orcs then I leapt up on a large stone and dramatically shouted out 'Allies of the forest, come to my aide. Smite down my Foes.. I COMMAND YOU!'... and the trees of the forest uprooted and rampaged forward after the orcs. Everyone else in the party held actions to snipe any orc that looked like it disbelieved.

The other was in a White Wolf game. I used 'Faerie fire' a level one gift that has no offensive value. it makes little glowing dots. We had identified a vampire in the bar. In the same bar there was a monster hunter (hunts both vampires and werewolves). neither had any idea. They got into a minor confrontation, arguing with each other. At a critical point in the argument, i used faerie fire to make the vampires eyes flare with a red glow. The hunter sees the red-glowing-eyes and... well.. the vampireis no more.. my character didn't even have to set his beer down.

2009-11-07, 06:55 AM
What are you talking about? It still is.

Favored Class: Illusionist, which is a wizard who specializes in casting illusion spells.
Favored Class: Bard. A multiclass gnome’s bard class does not count when determining whether he takes an experience point penalty. Pretty much sucks if you want a multiclass Gnome Illusionist. The character I was referring to was an Illusionist/Rogue. That's not a reasonable combination with the change in 3.5 favored classes.

2009-11-07, 07:00 AM
So, how often have you made your DM scream because you used illusions really well? How often have your nefarious NPCs driven your players to distraction with their clever uses of such simple spells.

your DM wasn't happy with such an awesome outcome?
was he trying to TPK or something?

The Gilded Duke
2009-11-07, 09:10 AM
Pretty much sucks if you want a multiclass Gnome Illusionist. The character I was referring to was an Illusionist/Rogue. That's not a reasonable combination with the change in 3.5 favored classes.

If you want skills go with Beguiler.
If you are wanting Sneak attack go with Spell Thief.

Or if you have to use the multiclassing rules, just keep the levels close.

Gnomes themselves get:
+1 DC to illusions
A Forgotten Realms Feat that adds an additional +1 to DC
Gnome Illusionist ACFs in Races of Stone that are amazing
Shadowcraft Mage prestige class

2009-11-07, 09:44 AM
I was DMing and I made a Beguiler. The party was fighting a raiding party between two gnome airships (regular sea ships but with hot air balloon and fans :D) and the fighter decided he would take the fight to them. Unfortunately for him the beguiler had cast major illusion and made it look like the boarding planks where 15ft wide when they were actually 2 5ft wide planks with 5ft in between. The fighter choose the wrong path :)

2009-11-07, 04:02 PM
your DM wasn't happy with such an awesome outcome?
was he trying to TPK or something?

Never said the DM didn't like that situation... just wondered how many times a player has foiled the plans of a DM, or just short circuited an encounter, with illusions. :smallbiggrin:

2009-11-07, 07:45 PM
Ok, Here's the story...

My DnD group was out on a campaign and we get attacked by a teenage red dragon. It takes a few rounds but it dies. the sorcerer in our group heard a rumor that if you bury the teeth and pour the blood on them, you will get an army of undead warriors. so he burys the teeth and pours the blood on them. right after he does that I cast a still silent major image that an Undead Dgaron is coming out of the ground trying to eat him. he gets a will save and with his modifier and my DC, odds were he would save. he rolled a 1 and got freaked out. his character still doesn't know it was me.