Minor Image (Bard Spell)

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Level: Bard 2
School: Illusion


Casting Time: Standard Action, or the first attack of a Full Attack Action
Components: V, S, M (A bit of fleece, fancifully woven, worth 1 gp.)


Range: Long (200 ft. + 20 ft./lvl)
Target or Area: One ten foot cube (a 2x2 area) per five caster levels
Duration: Until the end of the current encounter, the end of the next encounter, or until the start of a full night's rest, whichever is sooner
Saving Throw: Will negates
Save DC: 10 + caster stat modifier + 1/2 caster level
Spell Resistance: No


When this spell is cast, it creates an illusion of an object, creature, or force, as imagined by the wielder, up to a 10-foot cube in size (a 2x2x2 square space) within range of the spell. The maximum size of the illusion increases by an additional 10-cubic-foot area per five caster levels of the caster (dropping fractions; i.e. two adjacent 10-cubic foot areas at level 5, three adjacent 10-cubic foot areas at level 10, etc.). The affected area of the spell must be contiguous, with a full flat side of each cube touching the full flat side of another cube, but can otherwise be any arrangement the caster wishes. The illusion is both visual and audible, but it cannot include smells, textures, and temperature-changing effects. The sounds created by the illusion can be quite loud, as loud as one person yelling at caster level 1, a dragon's roar at caster level 15, and an avalanche at caster level 30. However, the illusory sounds cannot be made to produce intelligible speech (though you can produce a speech-like gibberish that has no meaning but sounds like speech).
The caster may expend a move action to move the image within the confines of its maximum space, in order to make the image appear to move naturally, or even react to any nearby creatures, if they wish. This may also include adjusting the sounds created by the illusion, though the caster still cannot cause the illusion to speak intelligibly (or even haltingly). Charades and pantomiming are also impossible, as the illusion simply cannot react realistically enough to convey meaning usefully (beyond the truly obvious social clues like "this thing might bite me"). Of course, you can always create an illusion of a sign with writing on it, you just can't have the sign speak out its message to viewers.
The illusion cannot be used for cover or concealment of any sort. The illusion cannot be terrain, such as a hill or wall. It cannot make a filled room appear empty, nor can it be used to create the image of massed piles of smaller objects. It can only create the illusion of a single object, such as a monster, a treasure chest, a fountain, or even a window. If used to create the image of a window (or some similar image), it only looks out onto an illusion — it does not create a transparent effect that allows a viewer to see what is actually beyond the illusion.
Interacting with the illusion directly allows a saving throw as detailed above to notice that the illusion isn't real, but only if using a non-visual, or non-standard auditory sense. Note that Darkvision and Low-Light Vision are also not able to penetrate the illusion, since they are just improved versions of normal vision, seeing in the normal spectrums of light and darkness. Anyone noticing the lack of smell, taste, texture, or changes to temperature (if a real version of the illusion would normally produce such things), or anyone using a non-standard auditory sense (such as Echolocation) can make a saving throw to disbelieve the illusion. Those who succeed on the saving throw can perceive the reality of their surroundings as well as the illusion, but they know the illusion for the fake that it is. Those who fail are duped into believing the illusion is real.
In addition, the caster can construct the illusion such that the magic used to weave its fabric can 'ground out' through anyone who interacts with it without realizing it is an illusion. The conditions for this grounding must be described in some detail, and when these conditions are met, then all creatures, friend or foe, who are within 10 feet of the illusion's maximum affected area suffer (Circle 1 damage): 1d4 points of damage per character level (max 5d4 at character level 5) points of fictive (energy, uncommon) damage, as the magic inflicts Unreality upon them. Once discharged, the illusion is dispelled.
Examples of triggers for this effect include attempting to pick the lock on an illusory chest, or attacking an illusory monster, or even when the illusion is successfully disbelieved by a nearby creature (in such a case, any disbelieving creatures would be immune to the discharging effect, but any other creatures within range would be affected). The GM adjudicates all uses of this spell, and should have an eye toward rewarding clever play while remaining fair.
This spell lays an arcane charge on its target(s), depending on the caster who is casting the spell. If the targets are something other than you or another creature (such as an object or area), the spell lays an arcane charge on you, the caster. Targets which already have an arcane charge present must choose which to keep if the new spell has the same charge type. Only one arcane charge can ever be present on a target at a time.