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Old 01-08-2018, 06:00 PM   #1
tbeard1999
 
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Default Fantasy Trip Illusions

This is a sort of opposite of the Fantasy Trip Glitches, Contradictions, Ambiguities thread. Here, I'd like to mention TFT illusions. I'm fairly sure that TFT's treatment of illusions is unique (or extremely unusual). You'll recall that illusions act exactly like the real thing, including being able to cause damage to living creatures. You either have to do enough damage to kill it, or make an IQ roll to disbelieve it (and forego a combat action).

Because of this unique treatment, I strongly feel that illusions are one of the critical TFT "must keeps".

So I'd like for this thread to be a list of issues and questions that arise when dealing with illusions. I doubt that it's really possible to write a comprehensive rule to cover every contingency. But a list like this would give some idea of what the problems are. And at least provide a "this is a list of common issues and the relevant guidelines" resource.

I'll start.

The rules state that an illusion of a particular person has the abilities that that person had (or that you think he had). What happens when people with very different opinions of that person's abilities are involved in the same encounter. I would suggest that the GM define the person as the character who knows him best thinks he is. Unless, of course, the Rule of Funny is applicable.
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Old 01-09-2018, 02:18 AM   #2
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Default Re: Fantasy Trip Illusions

I agree. I'll note that it's not unique, but it's uncommon.

I also like that "Disbelieve" is actually a 0-slot spell, known to most everyone (Wizard)... Which is relatively unique.

The other thing I particularly like is that there are no colleges for the magic system, no spell prerequisites except stats.
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Old 01-09-2018, 06:21 AM   #3
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Default Re: Fantasy Trip Illusions

I agree. I love how TFT handled illusions, and images. Of course, players really have to be on their toes when facing illusions since they can be quite deadly.
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Old 01-09-2018, 08:18 AM   #4
tbeard1999
 
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Default Re: Fantasy Trip Illusions

Quote:
Originally Posted by ak_aramis View Post
I agree. I'll note that it's not unique, but it's uncommon.

I also like that "Disbelieve" is actually a 0-slot spell, known to most everyone (Wizard)... Which is relatively unique.

The other thing I particularly like is that there are no colleges for the magic system, no spell prerequisites except stats.
Agree on magic colleges. I always thought that magic colleges should be campaign features, not part of the rules.
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Old 01-09-2018, 09:32 AM   #5
Dave Crowell
 
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Default Re: Fantasy Trip Illusions

A question on Illusions that I have seen raised elsewhere by others, how do they interact with projectile weapons?

An image struck by a projectile will vanish and the projectile continue on, but the rules don't say for an illusion. Would an Illusionary wall stop an arrow?
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Old 01-09-2018, 10:02 AM   #6
tbeard1999
 
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Default Re: Fantasy Trip Illusions

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Originally Posted by Dave Crowell View Post
A question on Illusions that I have seen raised elsewhere by others, how do they interact with projectile weapons?

An image struck by a projectile will vanish and the projectile continue on, but the rules don't say for an illusion. Would an Illusionary wall stop an arrow?
I always ruled that it did. The rationale (such as it is) is that an Illusion spell acts as a sorta magical lens. It focuses the inate natural magic energy of those who perceive the illusion to warp reality as necessary to conform with the illusion. It's power is limited though. An illusory wall can stop an arrow, but probably not an arbalest bolt. A rock might bounce off an illusory floor, but something as heavy as a human body would likely fall through. Unless the Wile E. Coyote Rule intersects with the Rule of Funny...

Yeah, it's the fantasy equivalent of Star Trek TNG technobabble, but what are you gonna do?

I also told my players - at the beginning of the campaigns - that the effects of illusions were often inconsistent in unusual cases. Wizards pretty much know how an illusory swordsman will fight. They may not be able to predict how large or fast an object an illusory wall will block. There's sufficient variation that the scientific method won't help either. In other words, just go with the ruling and understand that attempts to abuse illusion rules have a good chance of blowing back on you.

Last edited by tbeard1999; 01-09-2018 at 07:32 PM.
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Old 01-16-2018, 03:13 PM   #7
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Default Re: Fantasy Trip Illusions

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Originally Posted by tbeard1999 View Post
I always ruled that it did. The rationale (such as it is) is that an Illusion spell acts as a sorta magical lens. It focuses the inate natural magic energy of those who perceive the illusion to warp reality as necessary to conform with the illusion. It's power is limited though. An illusory wall can stop an arrow, but probably not an arbalest bolt. A rock might bounce off an illusory floor, but something as heavy as a human body would likely fall through. Unless the Wile E. Coyote Rule intersects with the Rule of Funny...

Yeah, it's the fantasy equivalent of Star Trek TNG technobabble, but what are you gonna do?

I also told my players - at the beginning of the campaigns - that the effects of illusions were often inconsistent in unusual cases. Wizards pretty much know how an illusory swordsman will fight. They may not be able to predict how large or fast an object an illusory wall will block. There's sufficient variation that the scientific method won't help either. In other words, just go with the ruling and understand that attempts to abuse illusion rules have a good chance of blowing back on you.
I'm sort of with Ty on this -- I believe the only way to render an illusory wall useless was to disbelieve it. (It's also simpler to just have a hard and fast rule.) The argument becomes "but the bullet, like a slime, can't even perceive the illusion and should go right through it," but my contention is that as stupid as it is, a slime has agency, and a bullet doesn't; inanimate objects will act as we perceive that they should -- otherwise you could just toss a rock and immediately "disprove" an illusion. That works against an Image, but Illusions have a whole lot more mystical energy tied into making them work than an image does, and thus has more "reality" than the Image does.

Images and illusions were very different for a reason, and it worked extremely well. It's also one of the most elegant treatments I've ever seen on the topic in any game. All in all, I don't personally find that there is much to quibble with in illusions per se.
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Old 01-16-2018, 03:46 PM   #8
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Default Re: Fantasy Trip Illusions

Actually, this post from a different thread raises what might be a large loop-hole in the rules. I'll quote it in its entirety here so everyone understands my point:

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Originally Posted by tbeard1999 View Post
My favorite TFT story...

We had an arrogant, overconfident and over the top player (James) who ran an arrogant, overconfident and over the top swashbuckler. Think George Hamilton in Zorro the Gay Blade. At the time of the tale, he probably had ST 10, DX 18, IQ 11, Fencing, Two Weapons, etc.

Anyhow, the party was clearing out a wizard's tower. The party was split up, and James (alone) cornered the wizard alone. The wizard was wounded and down to ST 4 or so. As he closed in on the wizard, James engaged in much banter. James boasted of his abilities, invincibility, etc.

The wizard smiled thinly and cast an illusion of James.

James smugly noted that he wasn't afraid of a 32 point fighter, no matter how unbearably good looking he might be.

Sympathetically, I said "but James, an illusion of someone you know has all the abilities that you think that person has. So he's as good as you think you are..."

James actually gulped and said "oh sh*t."

The illusion leapt into the air, did 3 backflips and went to work on James. James desperate tried to defend himself and screamed for help. The illusion just tore James up. James couldn't score a hit because, well, he thought he was invincible. I recall James had a run of awful dice, too. Sometimes the Cosmos cooperates.

As the sneering illusion prepared to administer the coup de grace, John, a huge barbarian entered the room, heavy crossbow readied.

Unfortunately, the DX modifier was enough to make a hit unlikely. John argued that if the illusion was as good as *John* thought James was, then the crossbow should automatically hit for triple damage.

"That's right!" James exclaimed. "He thinks I suck!".

I told John to take the shot. The shot miraculously hit and killed the illusory James.

But you know, I'd have given him that kill no matter what he rolled.

Oh, and James ultimately put the killing blow on the wizard. He relished it as much as I’ve ever seen a player relish a kill. He was downright vindictive about it.
My question is this: shouldn't a character be able to automatically disbelieve an illusion of himself? He probably should still be required to declare he's disbelieving (and lose his opportunity to make an attack), but shouldn't be required to roll for success since he patently KNOWS the other version of him can't be real -- it wasn't summoned, because he's still there and in control of himself -- and couldn't fight with himself that way anyway -- so it has to be an Image or Illusion, and thus he should be able disbelieve with absolutely no problem. Obviously his friends might not be able to figure out which is which, especially if they weren't in the room when the illusion appeared, but the person himself? Absolutely.

I think this loophole should be closed in the next edition of TFT...

(Great story, though! And obviously, closing this loophole makes things like "doppelgangers" more useful than they might otherwise be...)

Last edited by JLV; 01-16-2018 at 03:50 PM.
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Old 01-16-2018, 03:49 PM   #9
Chris Goodwin
 
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Default Re: Fantasy Trip Illusions

If you shoot an illusory wall, you will see an illusory version of your projectile bounce off of it and it will hit the ground. I would rule that the illusory wall would act as soft but complete cover, as regards whether the real projectile hits a target hiding behind it. Assuming it's not disbelieved, the illusory wall could be brought down by attacks, spells, etc., that would bring down the real thing, and in the same way.

If you tossed a rock at it, to you and everyone else affected by the illusion, the rock would appear to bounce off of it and hit the ground. The real rock would continue through, entirely unimpeded. It is very likely that the illusory wall would hide the sound of the rock hitting the ground on the other side, and any additional affects that may come from that.

If the arbalest bolt could damage the real wall, the real arbalest bolt would damage the illusory wall in the same manner, and potentially leave behind an illusory bolt. The real arbalest bolt would continue through unimpeded, as above.

Yes, that means that there's an illusory arrow, rock, etc., that the attacker could potentially pick back up and reuse. It remains illusory, though, and ends when the original illusion ends -- but as long as the illusion continues, it acts as a real projectile against anyone else affected by the illusion. If the attacker somehow finds their original, real projectile, that might be when they get a chance to disbelieve the illusion.
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Old 01-16-2018, 03:51 PM   #10
Chris Goodwin
 
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Default Re: Fantasy Trip Illusions

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Originally Posted by JLV View Post
My question is this: shouldn't a character be able to automatically disbelieve an illusion of himself? He probably should still be required to declare he's disbelieving (and lose his opportunity to make an attack), but shouldn't be required to roll for success since he patently KNOWS the other version of him can't be real -- it wasn't summoned, because he's still there and in control of himself -- and couldn't fight with himself that way anyway -- so it has to be an Image or Illusion, and thus he should be able disbelieve with absolutely no problem. Obviously his friends might not be able to figure out which is which, especially if they weren't in the room when the illusion appeared, but the person himself? Absolutely.
I would have assumed that the character would get a free chance to disbelieve an illusory version of himself. On the other hand, how does the character know the wizard doesn't have a spell that summons a clone version of the character?
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