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View Full Version : Disguise Self (3.5): Question of the Year!



drevil
2008-11-02, 11:13 AM
I have a question about the Disguise Self spell.

How radical changes are allowed?
Can a human disguise into a drow without opposed spot check?
Will the enemies only get saves if they touch or hear my voice?
Or does Disguise Self only give me +10 on disguise skill check?


Disguise Self:
You make yourself—including clothing, armour, weapons, and equipment - look different.
You can seem 1 foot shorter or taller, thin, fat, or in between.
You cannot change your body type.
Otherwise, the extent of the apparent change is up to you.
You could add or obscure a minor feature or look like an entirely different person.
The spell does not provide the abilities or mannerisms of the chosen form, nor does it alter the perceived tactile (touch) or audible (sound) properties of you or your equipment.
If you use this spell to create a disguise, you get a +10 bonus on the Disguise check.
A creature that interacts with the glamer gets a Will save to recognize it as an illusion.

How does this practically work?
It seems that this can be interpreted two different ways.

1. My friend claims that the spell practically only give me +10 bonus on the disguise check.
This means that my DM will be rolling Disguise check every time I meet new people.
Disguise Score: -2 (race) +10 (Disguise Self) = +8
A spot check will easily defeat this.

2. I think this is a magical disguise that copies a human so precise, that a mere spot check cannot detect anything. Only when you "interacts with the glamer", you get a Will save to recognize an illusion.


I think that the opinion claiming that you only get +10 on the disguise skill check, is wrong because:

1. It says “_IF_ you use this spell to create a disguise, you get a +10 bonus on the Disguise check."
Logically, a +10 disguise skill bonus is not the _ONLY_ effect of Disguise Self.
2. The same +10-disguise-bonus-statement is written on other spells like alter self, polymorph and shapechange.
(we know that these spells do more than only +10 disguise check)
3. Disguise Self requires a Will-save, while the disguise skill requires a spot-check
4. The disguise skill have a penalty on size and weight, and is not restricted to the same body type.
5. Disguise Self (the spell) can vary in size (1foot) and weight without penalty, but is restricted to the same body type.
6. "Otherwise, the extent of the apparent change is up to you."
7. "The spell does not provide the abilities or mannerisms of the chosen form"
Chosen form = drow, orc etc
Shapechange on the other hand, grant abilities of the chosen form.
http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/shapechange.htm


All these differences tells us that Disguise Self (the spell) is different from the disguise skill.
But Disguise Self (the spell) have the ability to enhance the disguise skill.
Great if you're trying to imitate a specific individual.

Check out the feat Deceitful. Notice the wording.
http://www.d20srd.org/srd/feats.htm#deceitful


What do you think?

Doberler
2008-11-02, 12:03 PM
I have a question about the Disguise Self spell.

Can a human disguise into a drow without opposed spot check?
Will the enemies only get saves if they touch or hear my voice?
Or does Disguise Self only give me +10 on disguise skill check?


All of the above. The Disguise skill says that if you don’t draw any attention to yourself, others do not get to make Spot checks. So if you're just going to make a disguise to walk around a drow encampment you don't have to worry about your check.

Also, the DM will only roll your disguise check one time, and thats when you use the spell at the time you don your disguise with the +10 bonus. Should someone (be it a guard or overly suspicious person) be actively looking for things out of the ordinary, then the DM would roll their spot checks versus the disguise check.

As for the will save portion of the spell, that's a little trickier. The wording of the disguise skill leads me to believe that if you're attempt to speak or they touch you, that a successful will save would negate the +10 bonus granted by the spell.

I myself, would give the guard another spot check to see if they could still see past your disguise, depending on the extent of the alterations you made with the spell.

/opinion

drevil
2008-11-02, 12:43 PM
Which interpretation do you think is the right one?

1. My friend claims that the spell practically ONLY give me +10 bonus on the disguise check.
Disguise Score: -2 (race) +10 (Disguise Self) = +8
A spot check will easily defeat this.

2. I think this is a magical disguise that copies a human so precise, that a mere spot check cannot detect anything. Only when you "interacts with the glamer", you get a Will save to recognize an illusion.

Greg
2008-11-02, 12:48 PM
Your opponents would get a spot check only if you spoke or otherwise interacted with them. They'd also possibly get a sense motive/bluff opposed check as well.

They would not get a spot check if you were just wandering about though.

Doberler
2008-11-02, 01:12 PM
Which interpretation do you think is the right one?

1. My friend claims that the spell practically ONLY give me +10 bonus on the disguise check.
Disguise Score: -2 (race) +10 (Disguise Self) = +8
A spot check will easily defeat this.

2. I think this is a magical disguise that copies a human so precise, that a mere spot check cannot detect anything. Only when you "interacts with the glamer", you get a Will save to recognize an illusion.

Disguise skill says if you don’t draw any attention to yourself, others do not get to make Spot checks. If you come to the attention of people who are suspicious (such as a guard who is watching commoners walking through a city gate), it can be assumed that such observers are taking 10 on their Spot checks.

So in my opinion as to the spell itself, you're both right; it grants a +10 to your disguise check, until someone interacts with it and passes their save. which will negate the +10 from your original check

An added note: were you a human caster, which it seems you are, you should be able to mimic any humanoid within a foot of your height and a similar build. As far as that +8 and how well your actual disguise check is going to be and how far it'll take you, I'd need to know what your Charisma modifier is, how many ranks you have in bluff, whether or not you took the deceptive feat and if you had anything else that could add to your check.

If your character is dark skinned and you wear a hood or something, darkening your complexion, in my opinion, might count as only a minor change, which would grant another +5 bonus to your check.

Example: (Assuming Disguise self only grants a +10 bonus with no other effects.) Say you're a 2nd level human sorcerer with the elite array and you want to emulate a drow, Cha 15, 5 ranks bluff, 5 ranks disguise, disguise self, decietful feat and a disguise kit.

That's a +21 Disguise check at second level. The Disguise skill says that most suspicious people or people on alert take a 10 on their spot checks to notice disguises. You won't know the result of your disguise check, but it would be at least a 22... which is pretty formidible at that level. If anything above a 5 pops up, you should be golden until someone starts to scrutize you and actively makes spot checks.

Then again, even if your performance is flawless and you get a nat 20 on your check. Someone could still determine something fishy's going on with a DC 20 Sense Motive Check... so nothing is foolproof.

Roderick_BR
2008-11-02, 01:18 PM
Or if they are paranoid enough to check on everyone that walks by.
If you are just walking around places were their civilians walk around, no one will pay you no mind. If you try to approach a guarded area, restricted only to militars, they'll start paying attention on you. If you get too close, they're likely to either start doing spot checks, or try to talk to you. I'd say a casual spot check would either be choosing 10, or making a check with a -4. Once they're on to you, though, they'll be aware that something is wrong, and check closer.

Defiant
2008-11-02, 01:53 PM
I'll add another voice to the replies:

Against people who aren't actively looking at you, you automatically succeed* in your disguise, since they don't get a spot check, and your spell makes sure you look like X.
Against people who are actively looking at you, you get a +10 on your disguise. This +10 is negated for a person if that person's will save succeeds.

* - Unless your disguise is to look like a specific person, which would require people to actively look at you to realize. This applies to overall broad disguises (or disguise parts).

Doberler
2008-11-02, 02:04 PM
I'll add another voice to the replies:

Against people who aren't actively looking at you, you automatically succeed* in your disguise, since they don't get a spot check, and your spell makes sure you look like X.
Against people who are actively looking at you, you get a +10 on your disguise. This +10 is negated for a person if that person's will save succeeds.

* - Unless your disguise is to look like a specific person, which would require people to actively look at you to realize. This applies to overall broad disguises (or disguise parts).

That's what I was trying to say... I guess I just over-explain too much. I have a problem with that sometimes...

drevil
2008-11-02, 04:29 PM
I am a lvl 10 human wizard. CHA 10 and no ranks in disguise/bluff.

- So if I am trying to imitate a specific individual, then those who know that individual should automatically get a Will save, and a spot check as well. And I get the +10 disguise bonus.
- But if I am just trying to look like a generic version of some race, its an automatic success?

A scenario:
There is a drow city I want to infiltrate. Their security level is average :)
Can I disguise myself as a generic version of a drow to infiltrate the city?
Or is the human-to-drow disguise a very demanding disguise? Even for a spell?
I thought that a magical disguise (an illusion) is impossible to detect by a simple mundane spot check.
I thought that the drows only get a will-save when they “interacts with the glamer” (touch, voice-race mismatch).

Other illusion spells don’t get a spot check. Why should this spell get one? They don’t mention a spot check.
It only says that: “A creature that interacts with the glamer gets a Will save to recognize it as an illusion.”
Illusion spells give will-saves.
My question is: Do the drows get a spot check?

PS! The drow-guards don’t know anything about a spell called True Seeing :)


Thanks for the answers.

Doberler
2008-11-02, 05:29 PM
I am a lvl 10 human wizard. CHA 10 and no ranks in disguise/bluff.

Why are you using Disguise Self anyway? Use Alter Self and you cease trying to make yourself look like a drow and you physically become a drow. The +10 Disguise bonus would now only come into play if you weren't acting "Drow-like" and someone called you on it.

If you're doing your job right though, no one should bother questioning you.

nc-edsl
2008-11-02, 11:16 PM
It says "If you use this spell to create a disguise, you get a +10 bonus on the Disguise check." This seems to imply that if you attempt to impersonate someone specific, you make a Disguise check with a +10 bonus, but otherwise you just look like a generic <drow, half-orc, etc.> with no checks made by anyone (except possibly will saves).

With regards to Will saves, why would someone get a save if they spoke with you (assuming you're not impersonating someone)? Perhaps if an elf were impersonating an orc their voice might sound too effeminate, but if an elf chooses to look like another random elf (or even human/drow/dwarf) their voice wouldn't (necessarily) be out of place. Note that one gets a save if they interact with the glamer, not the caster.

AslanCross
2008-11-02, 11:40 PM
My interpretation:
The successful Spot check is a visual way of ascertaining that the disguise is fake. As such, a successful Spot check does not dispel the illusion, but one can tell that it's definitely fake.

"Interacting with the glamer" has to do with actually touching the person---say, touching an orc's hairy arm and feeling that it's smooth. Doing this calls for a will save (which would dissolve the glamer for you) if successful.

The spell does change your appearance as well as give you a +10 to a Disguise check.

drevil
2008-11-03, 10:44 AM
I am wondering whether to buy Ring of Chameleon Power or not.
I am investigating the use of Disguise Self as a infiltrating spell.

Everybody agrees that if I am trying to imitate a specific individual, I get the +10 disguise bonus and those who know the specific individual get a Spot save and/or Will save.

But the real question is:
If I am just trying to look like a generic version of a drow without drawing attention, do unknown drow-villagers get a spot check?

My DnD group is torn apart because of this discussion.
It is a havoc, and I am looking for the fire extinguisher.

Telonius
2008-11-03, 11:20 AM
Which interpretation do you think is the right one?

1. My friend claims that the spell practically ONLY give me +10 bonus on the disguise check.
Disguise Score: -2 (race) +10 (Disguise Self) = +8
A spot check will easily defeat this.

2. I think this is a magical disguise that copies a human so precise, that a mere spot check cannot detect anything. Only when you "interacts with the glamer", you get a Will save to recognize an illusion.

Both, depending on the circumstances. Here's how I would rule it.

In general, the disguise will fool anybody that doesn't have a reason to suspect you. If you're passing somebody on the street who looks at you, they will not recognize you as a person under the subject of a spell.

If you're an elf using Disguise Self to appear as "a random drow" and you ask a drow for directions, they get a will save to disbelieve the glamer. But since you aren't attempting to impersonate anybody in particular, they don't get a spot check vs. disguise.

If you're using Disguise Self to appear as King Drizz'qx-rlr~ctp'h, or a particular drow that the NPC would know, it would be a disguise check opposed by spot checks, plus the will save to disbelieve.

One thing that might come up would be how your "random drow" interacts with, say, the city guard. I would say that a guard, just by virtue of their profession, would get a will save if they see you. But no spot check unless you're trying to impersonate somebody in particular. Beyond that, it really depends on how you try to play it off. If the town is small enough, and you try to pretend you're from there, the guard is going to be suspicious regardless.

Also note that I used elf->drow in my examples. It would really be a DM call as to whether a human making his ears pointy would count as "changing body type."

snoopy13a
2008-11-03, 11:58 AM
There is a drow city I want to infiltrate. Their security level is average :)
Can I disguise myself as a generic version of a drow to infiltrate the city?
Or is the human-to-drow disguise a very demanding disguise? Even for a spell?


Average security would probably mean you'd be challenged at the gate and asked a few questions. Your speech is not disguised so your accent could give you away. Also, the simple questions they ask may be out of your sphere of knowledge. Additionally, If the drow decide to shake your hand (possible)) or give you a quick pat down (not probable under average security, that would be more of a heavy security tactic) then the gig would be up. Or perhaps if someone simply bumped into you.

There's a chance of infiltrating the city but it would be risky. Especially when you consider that disguise self is a level 1 spell and alter self is a level 2 spell (meaning many, many people know the spells). It would be quite possible that the gate guards are instructed to ask questions that a native drow could answer easily but an outsider would be ignorant of.

Mark Hall
2008-11-03, 12:17 PM
My ruling:

1) If you are just impersonating "generic drow #324", people will not get a spot check to notice you just walking past.

2) If people interact with you more than casually (a guard attempts to search you, or ask you questions), a disguise check might be necessary... if you're actually a lot bigger than a drow, they're going to notice that your shoulders are about a foot above where they should be. If your real clothes don't match with the ones your drow-self is wearing, they're going to notice that the pocket goes nowhere, or that you're wearing a robe when you seem to be wearing pants. If they ask you questions, and you have an atrocious accent, or don't seem to understand the language (even just a couple vocabulary words), that's going to get them looking at you closely.

3) If you're trying to look like Bob, Specific Drow soldier, then anyone who knows Bob is going to get a check.