Sunday, November 8, 2015

Holmes Rules: The Illusionist (Part 2)

[the write-up for the illusionist subclass can be found here...go and read that first, if you haven't already done so. This is "spell section" for the character]

Illusion Magic

Illusion magic is different from the work of normal wizards, who use magic to bend the laws of nature to their will. Illusionists care little for bending reality; bending one's perception of reality is quite enough, and decidedly more effective once you've discovered the secrets of doing so. After all, for most folks, their perception of reality IS "reality."

Illusion magic effects no real change in the mundane realm; all that occurs takes place in the minds of those that behold the illusions. Illusionist spells may be targeted by dispel magic, but the illusionist is treated as a caster two levels higher than her actual level of experience.

Illusions may be disbelieved, but doing so is no easy matter, certainly not as easy as announcing "I disbelieve everything!" To disbelieve, one must have reason to doubt what they perceive is real, and simply being in the presence of a known illusionist is not enough. When an adventurer sees a monster approaching, hears its heavy step, smells its stench, the character does not have the presence of mind to doubt what her senses are telling her. No, her heart races, her adrenaline fires, she slides into full "fight or flight" mode (however the character's individual training has conditioned her to handle such a situation). The same holds true when confronted by a chest of gleaming coins, or a bubbling fountain, or any other vision manufactured by the illusionist. Characters have spent their entire lives trusting their senses to lead them through life...they do not simply "disbelieve" what those senses tell them.

To disbelieve an illusion (and thus gain a saving throw to see through the spell), a character must have good reason to doubt...a monster that makes no noise or has no smell could warrant a check, but not a standing stone. Even an unusual item...a tree blooming in the middle of winter...could be ascribed to "magic" in a magical world. Having said that, an illusion is a magical effect and, if identified as such (by means of a detect magic or similar), would give a character a reason to disbelieve. Seeing one illusion dispelled might be enough reason as well, if the second illusion is encountered soon thereafter.

All illusions fade if the illusionist that created them dies.

The following spells are available to illusionists:

1. Change Self - Duration: 1 turn per level. Changes the caster's appearance (including clothing and equipment) to one of the same general size and shape (up to 1' shorter or taller); at 5th level change may apply to illusionist's mount as well.
2. Darkness - This spell is the same as the 2nd level magic-user spell.
3. Detect Illusion - Duration: 1 turn. Allows the illusionist to see through illusions, and know them for what they truly are. The illusionist may enable others to see through the illusion as well simply by touching them during the duration of the spell. This spell allows the illusionist to automatically disbelieve any illusion revealed; others for whom the truth is revealed must still make a saving throw to disbelieve (when released from the caster's touch, they again perceive the illusion, but have reason now to doubt).
4. Hypnotism - Range: 30 feet. Acts as a charm person, but the illusionist must look into the subject's eyes and the saving throw is at a -2 penalty.
5. Phantasmal Forces - This spell is the same as the 2nd level magic-user spell.
6. Wall of Fog - Range 30 feet; Duration 3 turns. Creates a billowing cloud of misty vapors 40' by 20' by 20' completely obscuring vision both within and through its mass.

1. Hypnotic Pattern - Projects a weaving, mesmerizing pattern into the air that will captivate up to 24 hit dice of creatures within a 30' x 30' area (saving throw allows subjects to avert their gaze). The pattern lasts for as long as the caster maintains concentration. Affected targets will continue to stand rapt and motionless for D6 rounds after the pattern fades.
2. Improved Phantasmal Forces - As phantasmal forces, but the illusion now includes sound and the illusionist can move while maintaining the spell. The illusion persists for three turns after the caster ceases to concentrate.
3. Invisibility - This spell is the same as the 2nd level magic-user spell.
4. Mirror Image - This spell is the same as the 2nd level magic-user spell.
5. Misdirection - Range 30 feet; Duration 1 turn. The subject of this spell causes detection spells to malfunction when targeted (detect evil, magic, etc.), instead detecting as the opposite of reality.
6. Sense Deprivation - Range 120 feet. Illusionist may remove one of the subject's senses, rendering them blind, deaf, unable to smell, etc. The target is allowed a saving throw to resist; otherwise, the deprivation lasts until dispelled or removed by the caster.

1. Dispel Illusion - Range 120 feet. Immediately dispels the effect of any illusionist spell of an equal or lesser caster. Against a greater illusionist the percentage chance to dispel is 50% -5% per level difference.
2. Fear - Exactly as a wand of fear, though the save is versus spells.
3. Hallucinatory Terrain - Range 240. This illusion hides terrain features in the area, making it appear to be something it is not. The spell lasts until dispelled or touched by an intelligent creature.
4. Nondetection - Duration 2 turns x level. This spell renders the illusionist undetectable by any spell or magic (including crystal balls, medallions of ESP, etc.).
5. Paralysis - Exactly as a wand of paralyzation, though the save is versus spells.
6. Spectral Forces - As improved phantasmal forces, but the illusion now includes smell and thermal (temperature) elements, and it is not destroyed if touched. The illusion lasts for six turns after the illusionist ceases concentration.

1. Confusion - Range 120 feet; Duration 1 turn. Causes flicking images in the minds of all opponents within the 30' radius of effect, making enemies appear to be friends and vice versa. Each round, roll 2D6 to see what action an affected individual takes: 2-5 attack normally, 6-8 stand around doing nothing, 9-12 attack a friendly target. Targeted creatures with more than 2 hit dice are allowed a saving throw to resist this magic (it may not be "disbelieved").
2. Emotion - Range 180 feet; Duration D6 turns. Causes all individuals within a 40' radius to be overcome by a single intense emotion chosen by the illusionist; possibilities include fear, hatred, despair, love, anger, sadness, etc. Depending on the emotion chosen, the spell might incite targets to berserker-like violence, withdrawal and despondence, or even suicide. Targets are allowed a saving throw to resist, and an additional save if the spell incites them to any action that would cause themselves harm.
3. Improved Invisibility - As invisibility, but the illusionist may attack and still maintain the spell.
4. Massmorph - Range 240 feet. Conceals up to 100 creatures of roughly human-size to appear as trees, rocks, or similar parts of the terrain. The area of illusion may be moved through, and the concealed figures touched, without dispelling the illusion. Leaving the area of the illusion causes concealed creatures to reveal their true form; the spell otherwise persists until dispelled or the caster commands it to end.
5. Minor Creation - Duration 1 hour per level. As a djinni, may create soft objects (no harder than wood) weighing a maximum of 10 pounds per level of the illusionist.
6. Phantasmal Killer - Range 30 feet. Creates an illusion of the most fearsome thing imaginable in the target's mind, an amalgamation of the subject's subconscious fears. Only the illusionist and the target can see the creature, but if it succeeds in hitting the target (it attacks as a 4 hit dice creature), the subject immediately dies of fright. The killer is invulnerable to all attacks and can pass any barrier as it exists only in the victim's mind. The target is allowed a single saving throw to disbelieve the creature when the spell is first cast, receiving a +2 bonus if she is an illusionist herself; otherwise, only the death of the caster (or the victim) will end the spell. A target that wears a helm of telepathy and successfully saves may turn the phantasmal killer back on the illusionist.

1. Chaos - As confusion, but more powerful. Only fighters and illusionists of equal or greater level than the caster are allowed a saving throw, and +1 is added to the 2D6 roll to determine the victims' behavior.
2. Major Creation - As minor creation, but the illusionist can now create harder substances (steel, precious metals, gemstones) weighing a maximum of 30 pounds per level of experience.
3. Mind Warp - Range 60 feet. Induces the target to believe she is under some sort of horrific magical effect or curse. Similar to phantasmal killer, the target is allowed a saving throw upon casting, and if failed suffers under the delusion that something terrible has happened: she has been aged to the point of infirmity, become horribly scarred or transformed, lost the ability to speak, etc. No one but the victim and the caster can see the illusion, but nothing will convince the subject to disbelieve once she has failed her initial save; she remains a prisoner of her own mind.
4. Projected Image - Range 240 feet; Duration 6 turns. Creates an illusionary duplicate of the caster in every way, save that it is intangible; attacks pass through the image and touching the illusion does not dispel it. The image takes any actions desired by the caster (walking, speaking, spell-casting, etc.) and the caster perceives the illusion's environment as if the illusionist were the image. The illusionist may take no other action while controlling the image.
5. Shadow Monsters - Range 30 feet. Creates semi-real monsters whose total hit dice do not exceed the illusionist's level of experience. These function in all respects as "the real thing," though they have only two hit points per hit die. If viewers successfully disbelieve, the creatures lose any and all special abilities, revert to armor class 9, and do only 1D4 damage on a successful attack. Regardless, the shadow creations take double damage from silver weapons.
6. Vision - Range 90 feet; Duration 12 turns. Instantly creates an illusionary environment of the caster's desire within a cube of space measuring 180' x 180' x 180'. The vision provides elements that confound all the senses: sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. Individuals can wander through the environment, picking up objects, eating food, interacting with phantom people, etc. When the duration expires (or the illusion is dispelled) all effects of the vision (full stomachs, damage sustained, etc.) vanish with the spell.

[all right...that's about all the awesome I can muster for one night. I'd really like to play an illusionist! Too bad these house rules only apply to games I run (rather than play). Maybe an NPC...]

[lots of thanks, BTW, to Peter Aronson and Gary Gygax whose original work and subsequent edits (respectively) were the basis for nearly all of these spells. Remember, folks...these are for the Holmes Basic edition. Many of these higher level spells (like confusionhallucinatory terrain, and massmorph) aren't present in Holmes, so I'm writing my own descriptions rather than referring to, say, "4th level magic-user" spells. There aren't any 4th level spells in Holmes!]

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