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  1. - Top - End - #31
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    Default Re: So sell me on Phantasmal Force a.k.a. how can it possibly be useful?

    Quote Originally Posted by Contrast View Post
    The ability to create a creature who attacks (one of the explicit functions of the spell) would make no sense if the illusion couldn't move.
    Missed that. Good point.

    Quote Originally Posted by Contrast View Post
    RAW its unclear if the spellcaster can choose not to inflict the damage each turn it they created a damaging illusion (which would undermine the idea that you caster doesn't have turn by turn control) but I'm inclined to agree that I would rule that the spell should just be given a remit when cast and work based on that.
    Some spells like major image let you alter the illusion turn by turn. The illusionist wizard class feature is there for all the other spells. Since there's nothing in PF that says you can, I would argue that you can't.
    Quote Originally Posted by Contrast View Post
    I think you're on much shakier ground here. The spell doesn't target a 10 foot cube, it targets the mind of a person and can cause them to see an illusion of no more than a 10 foot cube. I would argue whether the illusion will move depends entirely on the nature of the illusion created (which is I believe support by Sage Advice).

    I don't get why you would allow this but not the one above.
    Well, the thing is an illusion, so it can't actually be interacted with. That's just a question of how good you're allowed to 'program' the behavior of the object. The illusion is in the mind of the target, sure, but it should behave like whatever it's an illusory copy of. An iron maiden doesn't typically teleport to follow the person imprisoned inside of it.

    "I create magical chains that are on fire and teleport to follow the creature their binding, and reattach to him whenever he breaks free," does work, I guess.
    Quote Originally Posted by Contrast View Post
    Again confused - how do you render the party unseen without conjuring an illusory bag over their head (inflicting blindness).
    Ah! But a 'guy with a bag over his head' is not blind He can see perfectly fine within the bag. Just like being inside a cloud of darkness doesn't make you 'blind.' If he took the bag off his head, he could see you all fine.

    The point is, you can't do anything to the person you're casting this on.
    Quote Originally Posted by Contrast View Post
    Why wouldn't it work on dumb creatures. The phantasm includes sound, temperature and other stimuli (including physical pain). If they aren't intelligent enough to realise its illusory it feels real to them. This spell is at its best with dumb creatures/animals as they'll likely keep wasting their turns trying to interact with the illusion and failing (allowing the party to focus on other combatants in the combat) where a more intelligent foe might just accept whatever thing is only doing d6 damage a turn and start doing something else.
    If none of the things I listed as 'questionable' are allowable, you can't make the iron maiden move with the person. So if he's dumb, he tries to break free, damn the spikes, and... succeeds. Because the thing wasn't actually there, and therefore he can escape trivially.
    Quote Originally Posted by Contrast View Post
    I mean...you can certainly create an illusory person. Convincing him that's the king is an entirely separate matter.
    He looks like the king, has the signet ring, speaks with the king's voice, reveals some private detail that only a few people know... Hmph. Would require a bluff check.
    Quote Originally Posted by Contrast View Post
    The only reason I don't see this working is if your DM doesn't let you have any control over the appearance of the illusion which would be an...interesting choice? In practice if you're in combat at the time the enemy is likely to quickly realise one of you is doing a lot more damage than the other.
    Against an INT 4 Ogre, it'd be fine, especially if you're low level.

  2. - Top - End - #32
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    Default Re: So sell me on Phantasmal Force a.k.a. how can it possibly be useful?

    Quote Originally Posted by samcifer View Post
    Okay, I think I've got a way to accomplish what I want...

    Say I create an illusion of wither rings of flame or a cylinder of fire surrounding the target and about five inches from their body. Since fire can be passed through, if they touch it the effect of PF would inflict 1d6 damage they would consider fire damage (per the spell effect even though it's really psychic damage). Since they can't move far without touching the illusion, couldn't that cause them to believe they are restrained by the flames, resulting in the restrained condition? If I kept the flames lower than the victim's head, they could still see, so no blinded condition. Would this achieve what I would want to have happen? (meaning they are restrained and provide advantage to anyone who attacks them?)
    That wouldn't impose the restrained condition. They may believe they're boxed in, but being boxed in does not impose the restrained condition.

    If the fire blocked line of sight though (ie, the wall of flame was tall enough), everyone is unseen for that target, and everyone will have advantage in attacking him.

    Quote Originally Posted by polymphus View Post
    Tomb of Annihilation. We'd just arrived in Omu, we were lv4, and we ran into a CR10 Froghemoth. It could've easily wiped the party.

    It failed its Int Save against Phantasmal Force, and suddenly, Ubtao, god of those ancient lands, rose from the water and started shouting at it like Hulk Hogan. "OOOOOH YEAH, UBTAO'S GONNA SMASH YA! UBTAO'S GONNA TAKE YOU OUT TO DINNER AND NEVER CALL BACK, BROTHER!"

    Every time its attention would turn back to the party, I would make a great show of having the illusory hogan take the trash talk to the next level while punching it in the head.

    Towards the end of the fight, I was literally walking around the game table with my arms out, showboating for an invisible audience, shouting about how Ubtao was GONNA BRING THE PAIN AGAIN AND AGAIN.

    This managed to lock the froghemoth down for a full minute, while the party chipped it to death.

    That's how we won a CR10 fight at lvl4, without taking a single point of damage. Phantasmal Force rocks, you've just gotta get creative with it.
    Hilarious!
    Last edited by LeonBH; 2018-01-02 at 09:03 PM.

  3. - Top - End - #33
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    Default Re: So sell me on Phantasmal Force a.k.a. how can it possibly be useful?

    1) Walls. There's an archer firing down at you from a balcony? Close him in. The big boss is running down a hallway towards your group? Seal the doorway while you dispatch his minions. Phantasmal Force can be great for keeping a foe out of the fight.
    2) Swarms. Creating the illusion of lots and lots of little creatures makes it very easy for the target to rationalize why they're constantly taking damage and can't get away from or destroy the source. I like to use locusts, wasps, or bats, leaving the target blind, deaf, and taking damage every turn.
    3) Environmental effects. Fog, smoke, darkness, or blinding light affect visibility. Thorn bushes or hot coals deal damage. Uneven or icy ground can slow the target down (smart creatures tend to walk more slowly and carefully when they think they could slip and fall, although this is extremely DM dependent).

  4. - Top - End - #34
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: So sell me on Phantasmal Force a.k.a. how can it possibly be useful?

    The trick to Phantasmal Force being a decent spell is remember that your goal isn't to physically stop a target from doing something; your goal is to control what the creature does or doesn't want to do.

    So if it's a wild animal that's afraid of fire, you don't convince it that it's wrapped in chains of fire; you convince it that it's surrounded by a wall of fire so it doesn't want to leave its square.

    You don't convince a flying creature that it's trapped in a spider web, but rather that a rather robust looking spiderweb is blocking that narrow passage your party escaped through.

    If there's an angry orc trying to catch up to the party, and there's a 10 ft chasm separating you from him, you create a stable looking bridge so he doesn't just take a running jump over it and instead falls.

    That, and as Leon is noting, it's a quick and dirty Blindness spell, if all else fails.

    Like any Illusion spell, DM fiat can make it useless if they're hellbent on shutting you down. But if you have a reasonable DM, you can usually do some pretty cool stuff with it.

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    Default Re: So sell me on Phantasmal Force a.k.a. how can it possibly be useful?

    Quote Originally Posted by LeonBH View Post
    That wouldn't impose the restrained condition. They may believe they're boxed in, but being boxed in does not impose the restrained condition.

    If the fire blocked line of sight though (ie, the wall of flame was tall enough), everyone is unseen for that target, and everyone will have advantage in attacking him.
    So if I surrounded them with a cylinder of fire or create a cloud of thick noxious smoke or darkness that is freezing cold around them, they would effectively be blinded, granting advantage to anyone attacking him and him disadvantage on all attacks and take damage (from choking on the smoke or suffering from 'exposure' to the cold the illusion would create? And the effect would be the same if I make an illusion of a continuous fireball blast effect as the fire obscures sight and causes 'fire' damage?

    Just wanting to see if I understand correctly.
    "I'll have my revenge, and Deathstalker (part) II! "

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    Default Re: So sell me on Phantasmal Force a.k.a. how can it possibly be useful?

    Quote Originally Posted by strangebloke View Post
    Ah! But a 'guy with a bag over his head' is not blind He can see perfectly fine within the bag. Just like being inside a cloud of darkness doesn't make you 'blind.' If he took the bag off his head, he could see you all fine.
    They're as blinded as someone within the darkness spell (in that their sight is blocked by heavy obscurement). Are you saying you wouldn't impose the mechanical effects of being blinded?

    If none of the things I listed as 'questionable' are allowable, you can't make the iron maiden move with the person. So if he's dumb, he tries to break free, damn the spikes, and... succeeds. Because the thing wasn't actually there, and therefore he can escape trivially.
    He tried to break free, bursts out, takes damage and then miraculously finds himself trapped again. An intelligent foe might realise something is up (by passing their intelligence check) but the less intelligent your foe the more likely they are just to sit there after a few attempts. Frankly for a low intelligence opponent even them spending their turns trying to pass the test is a win as they'll likely fail and waste multiple turns doing nothing as a result.

    I played in a game where a big dumb monster spent an entire combat trying to kill the 'rogue' stabbing it in the back while the rest of the party steered clear of it and concentrated on killing the cultists who had sicced it on us.

    He looks like the king, has the signet ring, speaks with the king's voice, reveals some private detail that only a few people know... Hmph. Would require a bluff check.
    Sorry slightly misunderstood - you said convince him it was the king in disguise (i.e. not looking like the king). Certainly if they look like the king, are acting like the king and know stuff the king should know. That said, you're living in a world in which disguise self is a level 1 spell so there will be some consequences if/when people figure out what you're up to and they will. I feel trying to leverage this particular trick too much is always going to backfire on you at some point

  7. - Top - End - #37
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    Default Re: So sell me on Phantasmal Force a.k.a. how can it possibly be useful?

    Quote Originally Posted by samcifer View Post
    So if I surrounded them with a cylinder of fire or create a cloud of thick noxious smoke or darkness that is freezing cold around them, they would effectively be blinded, granting advantage to anyone attacking him and him disadvantage on all attacks and take damage (from choking on the smoke or suffering from 'exposure' to the cold the illusion would create? And the effect would be the same if I make an illusion of a continuous fireball blast effect as the fire obscures sight and causes 'fire' damage?

    Just wanting to see if I understand correctly.
    Yes. They're not really blind. Everyone is just unseen for them, so they're effectively blind.

    Quote Originally Posted by Contrast View Post
    Sorry slightly misunderstood - you said convince him it was the king in disguise (i.e. not looking like the king). Certainly if they look like the king, are acting like the king and know stuff the king should know. That said, you're living in a world in which disguise self is a level 1 spell so there will be some consequences if/when people figure out what you're up to and they will. I feel trying to leverage this particular trick too much is always going to backfire on you at some point
    It could be one of those "the King is coming here in disguise, but we all totally know it's the King because, well, it's obvious. But he's the King, so let's pretend his disguise works brilliantly."
    Last edited by LeonBH; 2018-01-02 at 09:25 PM.

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    Default Re: So sell me on Phantasmal Force a.k.a. how can it possibly be useful?

    Quote Originally Posted by samcifer View Post
    So if I surrounded them with a cylinder of fire or create a cloud of thick noxious smoke or darkness that is freezing cold around them, they would effectively be blinded, granting advantage to anyone attacking him and him disadvantage on all attacks and take damage (from choking on the smoke or suffering from 'exposure' to the cold the illusion would create? And the effect would be the same if I make an illusion of a continuous fireball blast effect as the fire obscures sight and causes 'fire' damage?

    Just wanting to see if I understand correctly.
    Maybe, its up to your DM.

    Realistically, the target might be blinded for one round. A dumb creature would probably panic and run tgrew the fire. Realizing it didn't hurt it, he would wonder if it was real (if he moved more than 5 feet away from it, he would no longer take damage from an image anymore) He also wouldn't be blinded anymore.

    If your so obsessed with blindness, why not just choose the blindness spell???
    Last edited by hellgrammite; 2018-01-02 at 09:28 PM.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: So sell me on Phantasmal Force a.k.a. how can it possibly be useful?

    Quote Originally Posted by LeonBH View Post
    Yes. They're not really blind. Everyone is just unseen for them, so they're effectively blind.
    Okay, good. I can work with that to make the spell useful for me. Even if it's only 1 or 2 targets, a Faerie Fire type of advantage against kind of effect (minus the no-invisibility and illuminated parts and limited to those targets only) will prove useful for me and my group.
    "I'll have my revenge, and Deathstalker (part) II! "

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    Default Re: So sell me on Phantasmal Force a.k.a. how can it possibly be useful?

    Quote Originally Posted by samcifer View Post
    Okay, good. I can work with that to make the spell useful for me. Even if it's only 1 or 2 targets, a Faerie Fire type of advantage against kind of effect (minus the no-invisibility and illuminated parts and limited to those targets only) will prove useful for me and my group.
    Just don't forget that they can still move through the fire (though they shouldn't want to). But moving their arms around through flame won't necessarily destroy those flames at least.

    Quote Originally Posted by hellgrammite View Post
    If your so obsessed with blindness, why not just choose the blindness spell???
    Because Blindness imposes blindness or deafness but not both, and it's a Con save.
    Last edited by LeonBH; 2018-01-02 at 09:31 PM.

  11. - Top - End - #41
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    Default Re: So sell me on Phantasmal Force a.k.a. how can it possibly be useful?

    Quote Originally Posted by hellgrammite View Post
    Maybe, its up to your DM.

    Realistically, the target might be blinded for one round. A dumb creature would probably panic and run through the fire. Realizing it didn't hurt it, he would wonder if it was real (if he moved more than 5 feet away, he would realize it no longer harmed him.) He also wouldn't be blinded anymore.

    If your so obsessed with blindness, just choose the blindness spell???
    This targets intelligence, so it would work, and if I make the illusion so that it surrounds them and 'seems endless' as it takes root in their mind and can potentially follow them as they move based on this, they theoretically couldn't just run out of it to escape, and since the effect is based on non-solid matter in the form of darkness, fog or flame that can't hinder the movement of a hand, that would make it unable to be disproved via touch, if I understand correctly.
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    Default Re: So sell me on Phantasmal Force a.k.a. how can it possibly be useful?

    seriouspost: working on INT saves is pretty huge as well -- monsters tend to have garbage INT. I'm running a debuff/control Bard and I run into low Int a lot more than I run into low Wis, or even low Cha.

    As a control spell, it's also notable in that it doesn't allow saves every turn: the monster needs to burn its action to check out the illusion, which requires it knowing it might be dealing with an illusion. Since it likely has low Int, its odds of figuring it out (and passing the save) are pretty low. If Phantasmal Force works, it's likely to work for the whole minute.

    It's only a 2nd-level slot, it targets a stat that's generally pretty low, it tends to last a pretty long time (relative to combat speed) and it has a wide variety of uses depending on how creative you get with it.

    Generally, that amounts to "prevent monster x from doing y for 60 seconds". Medusa? There's a swirling mist of shattered mirror glass around her head, that coalesces into a mirror every time she tries to use her stare. Demon? A sigil of whichever god it hates the most appears, hanging in the air between it and you. Nature-loving druid? A sad puppy whines out in pain from somewhere nearby and in dog-language it cries out for his help, then runs away from him when he tries to approach.

    You're trying to annoy, to distract, to stall. It's not a spell for killing monsters, but it's an excellent spell for keeping them busy and keeping them off your party.

    Phantasmal Force, like all illusion spells, is worthless unless you get creative with it. If you get creative, it gets crazy pretty fast.

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    Default Re: So sell me on Phantasmal Force a.k.a. how can it possibly be useful?

    Quote Originally Posted by polymphus View Post
    seriouspost: working on INT saves is pretty huge as well -- monsters tend to have garbage INT. I'm running a debuff/control Bard and I run into low Int a lot more than I run into low Wis, or even low Cha.

    As a control spell, it's also notable in that it doesn't allow saves every turn: the monster needs to burn its action to check out the illusion, which requires it knowing it might be dealing with an illusion. Since it likely has low Int, its odds of figuring it out (and passing the save) are pretty low. If Phantasmal Force works, it's likely to work for the whole minute.

    It's only a 2nd-level slot, it targets a stat that's generally pretty low, it tends to last a pretty long time (relative to combat speed) and it has a wide variety of uses depending on how creative you get with it.

    Generally, that amounts to "prevent monster x from doing y for 60 seconds". Medusa? There's a swirling mist of shattered mirror glass around her head, that coalesces into a mirror every time she tries to use her stare. Demon? A sigil of whichever god it hates the most appears, hanging in the air between it and you. Nature-loving druid? A sad puppy whines out in pain from somewhere nearby and in dog-language it cries out for his help, then runs away from him when he tries to approach.

    You're trying to annoy, to distract, to stall. It's not a spell for killing monsters, but it's an excellent spell for keeping them busy and keeping them off your party.

    Phantasmal Force, like all illusion spells, is worthless unless you get creative with it. If you get creative, it gets crazy pretty fast.
    Yeah, my goal with PF is to make the targets of the spell easier to hit and make it harder for them to attack since restraining/paralyzing them isn't possible. Just trying to figure out what kinds of illusions I would need to make to cause that to happen.
    "I'll have my revenge, and Deathstalker (part) II! "

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    Default Re: So sell me on Phantasmal Force a.k.a. how can it possibly be useful?

    Quote Originally Posted by samcifer View Post
    Yeah, my goal with PF is to make the targets of the spell easier to hit and make it harder for them to attack since restraining/paralyzing them isn't possible. Just trying to figure out what kinds of illusions I would need to make to cause that to happen.
    Okay so, generally the way I do it is think about the monster, and try to pick a particular weakness to exploit, then generally frame it in a way that would stall anybody.

    Stupid example, but one that worked: I was fighting against Yuan-ti. They're snake people. The ground beneath our yuan-ti crumbles, and he's suddenly being swarmed by angry mongooses, whose nest he accidentally slithered over.

    My thought process in casting this:

    1) What are snakes afraid of? Mongooses.
    2) What if Yuan-ti aren't afraid of mongooses? Well okay, frame it in a way that would cause problems for anybody.
    3) Stepping into a hole filled with angry long-rats would cause problems for most people.

    It works if I got it wrong, it works better if I got it right. As it turns out, the Yuan-ti spent two turns pulling herpestidae out of his flesh while the party dealt to his friends. He was a backline guy flinging arrows, and the mongoose nest was a more pressing problem than the adventurers fighting his buddies.

    So that's my Phantasmal Force advice:

    1) Pick a weakness of the monster to target
    2) Frame it in such a way that it'll work even if you messed step 1 up

    Supplementary: if possible, target enemies who are further away from the party, so the illusion is more likely to hold their attention.
    Last edited by polymphus; 2018-01-02 at 09:59 PM.

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    Default Re: So sell me on Phantasmal Force a.k.a. how can it possibly be useful?

    Quote Originally Posted by samcifer View Post
    Yeah, my goal with PF is to make the targets of the spell easier to hit and make it harder for them to attack since restraining/paralyzing them isn't possible. Just trying to figure out what kinds of illusions I would need to make to cause that to happen.
    As long as you know that those illusions would work only sometimes. As a DM, I would want your illusion to be worded in a few words (a cylinder of fire surrounds the creature.) I would allow for more indepth illusions, as long as they were unique.

    The creature at the end of the day is imagining this in its mind.

    Imposing blindness on a creature is a big deal. It allows attacks against it to have advantage. That is powerful. As a DM, I would only allow that in situations that are highly creative and unique. If I see a player saying the creature is in a cylinder of this and a cylinder of that...as a DM I would react to it if its getting to abused.

    But it sounds like your running more of a hack and slash campaign, so your DM might be more fine with it.

    Note, situations that make creatures have advantage on attack rolls against it are more likely to have the creature panick or react unexpectedly. Being blind or prone are conditions most creatures will do anything to get out of.

    An Orc is not going to necessarily become afraid of fire. He might jump through it just to have something to brag about with the other dim-wits in the cave. Minor pain for dumb creature (1d6) quickly because irrelevant once you get to higher levels.

    Fear though...now that is different. You appear to summon a god, and creatures will quickly become frightened. Even high level creatures would get scared of a Balor plopping in. That also puts disadvantage on their ability checks and attack rolls. per the rules, a frightened creature won't approach the target of its fear as well, which makes investigation even more difficult.

    I have been DMing for nearly 10 years, just giving you my honest opinion of how I would treat this spell. Conditions like blindness are very difficult to sustain for a period of time, unless your constantly being creative with spells like this.

    Quote Originally Posted by polymphus View Post
    So that's my Phantasmal Force advice:

    1) Pick a weakness of the monster to target
    2) Frame it in such a way that it'll work even if you messed step 1 up

    Supplementary: if possible, target enemies who are further away from the party, so the illusion is more likely to hold their attention.
    Exactly. I would reward a PC who uses indepth knowledge of those foes against them.
    Last edited by hellgrammite; 2018-01-02 at 10:05 PM.

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    Default Re: So sell me on Phantasmal Force a.k.a. how can it possibly be useful?

    Quote Originally Posted by hellgrammite View Post
    As long as you know that those illusions would work only sometimes. As a DM, I would want your illusion to be worded in a few words (a cylinder of fire surrounds the creature.) I would allow for more indepth illusions, as long as they were unique.

    The creature at the end of the day is imagining this in its mind.

    Imposing blindness on a creature is a big deal. It allows attacks against it to have advantage. That is powerful. As a DM, I would only allow that in situations that are highly creative and unique. If I see a player saying the creature is in a cylinder of this and a cylinder of that...as a DM I would react to it if its getting to abused.

    But it sounds like your running more of a hack and slash campaign, so your DM might be more fine with it.

    Note, situations that make creatures have advantage on attack rolls against it are more likely to have the creature panick or react unexpectedly. Being blind or prone are conditions most creatures will do anything to get out of.

    An Orc is not going to necessarily become afraid of fire. He might jump through it just to have something to brag about with the other dim-wits in the cave. Minor pain for dumb creature (1d6) quickly because irrelevant once you get to higher levels.

    Fear though...now that is different. You appear to summon a god, and creatures will quickly become frightened. That also puts disadvantage on their ability checks and attack rolls. per the rules, a frightened creature won't approach the target of its fear as well, which makes investigation even more difficult.

    I have been DMing for nearly 10 years, just giving you my honest opinion of how I would treat this spell. Conditions like blindness are very difficult to sustain for a period of time, unless your constantly being creative with spells like this.



    Exactly. I would reward a PC who uses indepth knowledge of those foes against them.
    Well, if I say: "darkness surrounds him/her/it as far as the eye can see. The darkness is freeing cold and within it (the target) can hear the fluttering of leathery wings and hissing, sinister whispers of various unseen horrors wandering in the darkness as if in search of easy prey..."
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    Default Re: So sell me on Phantasmal Force a.k.a. how can it possibly be useful?

    My ruling has regarding the spell is this: if the spell were meant to be able to restrain, blind, or impose any other status condition on the target creature, the spell would explicitly state as such. It would also then likely grant an automatic saving throw to escape, instead of forcing a creature to make an Investigate check as an action.

    As written, the spell is poorly thought out and easily abused. It also exists alongside other 2nd level spells such as Blindness/ Deafness, Hold Person, and Web: all of which offer reliable means to blind, paralyze, and restrain one or more targets with very clear parameters. I've experienced players trying to argue for interpretations of Phantasmal Force that elevate the power of the spell in abusive ways on-par with 6th level spells such as Otto's Irresistible Dance and Mental Prison.

    The caster cannot actually see the illusion, it exists solely in the mind of the target, and the caster has no control over the illusion after it is created. The spell does not allow the caster to dynamically reprogram the illusion on-the-fly, either.

    A phantasm of a solid wall, chains, a box, or other restraints around a creature still allows their hands and extremities to pass through them. The spell does not suggest that the illusion is in any way reactive. It is a totally reasonable reaction to the sudden appearance of magical restraints to test them. The creature finds that the restrains or walls do not hold them. They reason that they must somehow be able to slip out, even though it's completely illogical that they could do so -- but this is a similar reasoning to what's described in the PHB itself "I must have somehow slipped off". This doesn't make any logical sense in actuality, but the spell forces the creature to kind of shrug it off and move along.

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    Default Re: So sell me on Phantasmal Force a.k.a. how can it possibly be useful?

    Quote Originally Posted by samcifer View Post
    Well, if I say: "darkness surrounds him/her/it as far as the eye can see. The darkness is freeing cold and within it (the target) can hear the fluttering of leathery wings and hissing, sinister whispers of various unseen horrors wandering in the darkness as if in search of easy prey..."
    And the Orc runs saying "me no like bats, where did sun go", and after two steps, is outside the darkness, and then throws an axe at a PC. Thats how I would run it most of the time. But you did get the Orc blinded for a little bit, which is what you wanted.

    Now if you really wanted to be clever, you would make the creature think somebody cast the darkness spell on its head. As a DM, I would want to be convinced by you that the target would understand what the darkness spell is. If I was convinced it would recognize the spell, and therfore imagine it effectivy is being cast on its head, creativity would be rewarded.

    An explanation would be these Orcs have been fighting warlocks from across the mountain, or drow in their raids used it, so this Orc has no doubt seen darkness thrown around a bit.
    Last edited by hellgrammite; 2018-01-02 at 10:17 PM.

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    Default Re: So sell me on Phantasmal Force a.k.a. how can it possibly be useful?

    *sigh* getting really discouraged here. This spell sounds far too hard to use effectively. Maybe I should just see if I can talk my dm into letting me have access to Flaming Sphere instead or just go with Web as this spell is far too situational and isn't worth it just for having something very likely to hit but basically be defeated far too easily. That or go with Bane instead.
    Last edited by samcifer; 2018-01-02 at 10:21 PM.
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    Default Re: So sell me on Phantasmal Force a.k.a. how can it possibly be useful?

    Before taking it. I would ask your DM about the spell and what you could be allowed to do with it before hand. If they are a buzz kill DM to the spell. Pick something else. If they are cool with it's creativity & would allow potential status effects to be made through with it. Take it. This is just one of those spells that must be talked with the DM before hand.

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    Default Re: So sell me on Phantasmal Force a.k.a. how can it possibly be useful?

    Quote Originally Posted by hellgrammite View Post
    Now if you really wanted to be clever, you would make the creature think somebody cast the darkness spell on its head. As a DM, I would want to be convinced by you that the target would understand what the darkness spell is. If I was convinced it would recognize the spell, and therfore imagine it effectivy is being cast on its head, creativity would be rewarded.
    Yeah generally you want to fix the illusion to the target somehow eg a cloud of bats orbiting his head that swarm and bite if he tries to move closer to the party. That of course, relies on him being scared of bats, which doesn't strike me as particularly orcy.

    You want to try pick something that would distract an orc. It doesn't even need to be a combat thing. Maybe he's attacking you because he's starving, and you put a big ole pile of fresh steaks in front of him. Maybe he's charging down a hallway, and you have a "secret trap wall" slide out and block his path.

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    Default Re: So sell me on Phantasmal Force a.k.a. how can it possibly be useful?

    it's a 10 foot cube. you're not going to fit a balor into it. nor are you going to fit a terribly impressive avatar of most gods. nor are you going to fit an endless field of anything.

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    Default Re: So sell me on Phantasmal Force a.k.a. how can it possibly be useful?

    Quote Originally Posted by SharkForce View Post
    it's a 10 foot cube. you're not going to fit a balor into it. nor are you going to fit a terribly impressive avatar of most gods. nor are you going to fit an endless field of anything.
    10 feet is still pretty big. It's not a towering skyscraper here, but a 10-foot tall avatar of the gods is still more threatening than a 5-foot-nothing dwarf in chainmail.

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    Default Re: So sell me on Phantasmal Force a.k.a. how can it possibly be useful?

    Quote Originally Posted by intermedial View Post
    My ruling has regarding the spell is this: if the spell were meant to be able to restrain, blind, or impose any other status condition on the target creature, the spell would explicitly state as such. It would also then likely grant an automatic saving throw to escape, instead of forcing a creature to make an Investigate check as an action.
    That is the nature of all illusion spells. Technically, the only RAW thing Phantasmal Force lets you create is a bridge. But you can take it and run with it since it gives you free reign on any visual phenomenon.

    Quote Originally Posted by intermedial View Post
    As written, the spell is poorly thought out and easily abused. It also exists alongside other 2nd level spells such as Blindness/ Deafness, Hold Person, and Web: all of which offer reliable means to blind, paralyze, and restrain one or more targets with very clear parameters. I've experienced players trying to argue for interpretations of Phantasmal Force that elevate the power of the spell in abusive ways on-par with 6th level spells such as Otto's Irresistible Dance and Mental Prison.
    Then you can disallow such uses on the basis that the spell doesn't do that, which you are within your rights to do, because the only thing Phantasmal Force explicitly allows is making a bridge.

    All illusion spells are vaguely written. That's a feature, not a bug.

    Quote Originally Posted by intermedial View Post
    The caster cannot actually see the illusion, it exists solely in the mind of the target, and the caster has no control over the illusion after it is created. The spell does not allow the caster to dynamically reprogram the illusion on-the-fly, either.

    A phantasm of a solid wall, chains, a box, or other restraints around a creature still allows their hands and extremities to pass through them. The spell does not suggest that the illusion is in any way reactive. It is a totally reasonable reaction to the sudden appearance of magical restraints to test them. The creature finds that the restrains or walls do not hold them. They reason that they must somehow be able to slip out, even though it's completely illogical that they could do so -- but this is a similar reasoning to what's described in the PHB itself "I must have somehow slipped off". This doesn't make any logical sense in actuality, but the spell forces the creature to kind of shrug it off and move along.
    You are free to have targets rationalize any illogical outcome as you like. As you said, there is nothing actually there to prevent movement. The one controlling the minds of the NPC is you, not the players.
    Last edited by LeonBH; 2018-01-02 at 10:40 PM.

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    Default Re: So sell me on Phantasmal Force a.k.a. how can it possibly be useful?

    Quote Originally Posted by polymphus View Post
    Yeah generally you want to fix the illusion to the target somehow eg a cloud of bats orbiting his head that swarm and bite if he tries to move closer to the party. That of course, relies on him being scared of bats, which doesn't strike me as particularly orcy.

    You want to try pick something that would distract an orc. It doesn't even need to be a combat thing. Maybe he's attacking you because he's starving, and you put a big ole pile of fresh steaks in front of him. Maybe he's charging down a hallway, and you have a "secret trap wall" slide out and block his path.
    The problem is that it would require hours of study of many volumes of D&D lore just to use a single spell and that seems so counter productive. I have the mindset of a blaster so maybe headgame spells require more creativity and in-game lore knowledge than I possess or am ever likely to possess. Bane sounds more up my ally. No restraining, but penalties to attacking and saving, which might suit my limited way of thinking and lack of creativity better. I'd play a martial character, but want a caster based on religious preference as well as more variety on ways to attack. I know a blaster will never be as good as a decent type of caster, but that seems to be all I know how to play and it's mostly WotC's fault for stiffing blasters like they tend to do. :(
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    Default Re: So sell me on Phantasmal Force a.k.a. how can it possibly be useful?

    To be fair, bane is a fantastic spell.

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    Default Re: So sell me on Phantasmal Force a.k.a. how can it possibly be useful?

    Quote Originally Posted by samcifer View Post
    The problem is that it would require hours of study of many volumes of D&D lore just to use a single spell and that seems so counter productive. I have the mindset of a blaster so maybe headgame spells require more creativity and in-game lore knowledge than I possess or am ever likely to possess. Bane sounds more up my ally. No restraining, but penalties to attacking and saving, which might suit my limited way of thinking and lack of creativity better. I'd play a martial character, but want a caster based on religious preference as well as more variety on ways to attack. I know a blaster will never be as good as a decent type of caster, but that seems to be all I know how to play and it's mostly WotC's fault for stiffing blasters like they tend to do. :(
    Honestly it sounds like your group would have a better time with 4e.

    5e simplifies a lot of things from 2nd (and especially 3.5), but allows for plenty of opportunity for creativity and ways to make things more powerful if creativity is applied.

    If you want a blaster, as you mention, take spells fitting for a blaster. Lots of fireballs, magic missles and have fun with it. The more complex you want to make things...the more complex it gets. A good DM will feed off of you and give it right back to you.

    ASK YOUR DM AT THIS POINT.
    Last edited by hellgrammite; 2018-01-02 at 10:51 PM.

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    Default Re: So sell me on Phantasmal Force a.k.a. how can it possibly be useful?

    The short of it is that with any illusions in general talk to your DM about how he wants to deal with them. All illusion spells can be brokenly powerful or exceedingly weak depending on the DM and your creativity, some will challenge or ignore illusions excessively and vice verca... a big question I always have with this spell is as to whether or not it can speak. A creature can be attacking at least

    For this spell in particular the main things to remember are the base facts:

    - Contact does not see through the illusion
    - They must believe it is a "real thing" (e.g. they will think it must be a physical object and not an illusion until they have overcome the check/save)
    - As it is still an illusion the spell depends on controlling the targets actions, e.g. you can deter not actually restrain.


    The main use of the spell is getting a target to waste their time and or attention on the illusion in situations where they will most likely challenge (come into contact with) the illusion, which makes this one of the best in-combat illusion spells. Anything from an attacking creature to an obviously lethal object to anything else you can think of.

    As always the best fun comes from being creative: make an illusion of an enemies friend. Make people believe someone is going crazy as they react to an invisible figure in weird ways. Greedy thief? Make an illusion of a chest filled with treasure he'll want to try and take "but is too heavy and keeps slipping out of his grasp". Have knowledge on the target? Make them see something story relevant, if theirs family portraits make them see a phantasm of a dead relative.

    The main thing as I bolded above is that you want to use this spell when the illusion or the situation wouldn't allow for other illusion spells to work, or when the "invisible" quality of the spell would allow for fun effects.

    A fun alternative use: If a big bad knows you're an illusionist! Because they have to believe it's real they cannot assume it might be an illusion even if they would otherwise think so

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    Default Re: So sell me on Phantasmal Force a.k.a. how can it possibly be useful?

    I guess I'm not selling it, but I've found the strength of the spell depends on how the DM treats illusions made by PCs.

    You have the extreme where no illusion of any kind by a player will ever work. At most you'll get a one round respite long enough for the bad guy to spend its action to realize it's an illusion, if not its move or bonus action, but BBEG's will automatically know it's an illusion for free. The illusion school is useless for a player with such a DM. Such DMs do, unfortunately, exist.

    Less extreme are the DMs who let illusions work but can't stand the thought of a player getting away with something. The DM will treat the illusion almost like Wish. The DM will assume you want to use the illusion to Win D&D thus will look for an excuse for the bad guy to realize it's an illusion. Not necessarily an autosuccess or in the same round, but quickly. Anything far fetched in his mind will fail to work automatically. If the player gimps himself and limits his imagination the DM is more likely to let the illusion work as the player intended.

    Regular DMs do not assume malice upon PCs. The illusion functions as is, and the DM follows normal rules. He does not metagame for the bad guys. They'll assume the illusion is real unless a logical reason is given otherwise, just as a player would when confronted by a bad guy's illusion. Particular BBEGs might be less susceptible. At worst they'll automatically get an Investigation check without justifiable cause to represent their ingenuity to be a BBEG, but it's a fair die roll using the BBEG's Investigation modifier. The BBEG can fail the roll and act accordingly.

    Lenient DMs let anything go. PC illusions always work as the player intended. Bad guys make saving throws and Investigation checks as normal, but once failed the bad guys are full into believing the illusion unless something absolutely obvious justifies another check.
    Quote Originally Posted by Erit View Post
    "The DM is the world, the gods, the trees and the bees. But no matter what covenant is struck or words exchanged, the DM is not the PCs."

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    Default Re: So sell me on Phantasmal Force a.k.a. how can it possibly be useful?

    Quote Originally Posted by hellgrammite View Post
    Honestly it sounds like your group would have a better time with 4e.

    5e simplifies a lot of things from 2nd (and especially 3.5), but allows for plenty of opportunity for creativity and ways to make things more powerful if creativity is applied.

    If you want a blaster, as you mention, take spells fitting for a blaster. Lots of fireballs, magic missles and have fun with it. The more complex you want to make things...the more complex it gets. A good DM will feed off of you and give it right back to you.
    Yeah, I originally went that route and made the mistake of posting it on here only to have everyone complain that I had too many attack spells and nothing else, but my creativity just doesn't seem geared towards spells that mess with the mind. It's really depressing to find out that my ind is so limited, is all. Not whining, but feeling kind of depressed that I'm not able to play a 'good' spellcaster like so many people put stock into. I also lack damage boosts from subclasses by being a Hexblade (for added defenses from med. armor and shield) and Divine Soul (for the wider range of spells), so my damage output will never be as good as more focused blaster-casters.
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