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World of d20d20 Modern Horror

Illusion spells deceive the senses or minds of others. Illusions have no real effect, but they can mislead creatures and cause them to take dangerous courses of action.

Senses and Complexity of Illusions

Simple illusions are straightforward and easy to see through if anyone checks. Standard illusions are more detailed, enough to fool a casual observer. Complex illusions are as good as real, though they still only follow directions you set in advance, being unintelligent themselves. A reactive illusion is a complex illusion that will react as if you were constantly directing it, obeying your directions and responding believably to any situation.

Table: Glamer Levels
Sense Simple Standard Complex Reactive
Visual or auditory +1 +4 +7 +10
Visual and auditory +3 +5 +8 +11
Tactile or olfactory +1 +4 +7 +10
Tactile and olfactory +2 +5 +8 +11
Visual, auditory, tactile, and olfactory +5 +8 +11 +14
Magical auras +2 +5 +8 +11
All senses and auras +6 +9 +13 +17


A simple visual illusion would let you make a fairly drab set of clothes, a wall with a repeating pattern of tiles, or a very rough approximation of a living creature. Simple visual illusions can move only slightly, and then in a very obvious pattern. A simple illusion can conceal an object with a bland image, so you could hide a scar, or make a elaborate rug turn a single color.

A standard visual illusion can create a bookshelf with a lot of books that look generally the same, make a ghostly glowing word appear in the air, create a convincing orc warrior (though if you made several orc warriors, they’d all look alike), or make you look like another humanoid creature. If you use a standard illusion to conceal something, you can at best make it blend and blur, granting a 20% miss chance from concealment.

A complex visual illusion can be anything you want, though any actions the illusion takes must follow a pattern or program set when you cast the spell. If used to conceal something, you can make an object invisible (50% miss chance, +20 to Hide checks). A creature that is struck by an invisible creature’s attack is immediately allowed a Will save to disbelieve, with a +10 bonus. If the invisibility spell also has the Intensify enhancement, however, the invisibility cannot be seen through.


Simple auditory illusions consist of a single repetitive sound no louder than a heated conversation of four people. A standard auditory illusion can be as loud as a lion’s roar or a yelling crowd, and can be slightly articulate — a simple song, a conversation with two speakers, or the sounds of a swordfight, including footfalls, cries of pain, and the occasional yell. A complex auditory illusion can be anything you want, as loud as a dragon’s roar or a volcanic eruption.

Tactile and Olfactory

These will seldom come up on their own, but subtle use of these illusions can easily confuse and mislead people. A simple tactile illusion could make clothes itch, while a standard tactile illusion could make blood trickling from a wound feel like worms crawling out of your flesh. A simple olfactory illusion might be strong, but it could not hide scents from creatures with the Scent feat. Standard illusions of this sort grant a –10 penalty to checks of creatures searching for secret doors (tactile) or tracking or locating creatures with Scent (olfactory). Complex illusions grant a –20 penalty.

Magical Aura

You can create or conceal any number of magical auras, increasing or decreasing by one level with a simple illusion, two levels with a standard, or five levels with a complex illusion. The levels are none, dim, faint, moderate, strong, and overwhelming. You can affect auras for the purposes of divination spells that detect alignment, magic, and similar auras invisible to human eyes. You can even make your illusion detect as non-magical.

Illusion Enhancements

  • Intensify (+5). If a creature succeeds in disbelieving the illusion, it recognizes it as an illusion, but still perceives the illusion. Thus, invisible creatures that attack remain invisible, and a phantasm of a building burning around a creature will remain to confuse the character, forcing him to rely on his memory to navigate the area.

Glamers and Figments

Glamers and figments are sensations that anyone can see, hear, taste or touch. An illusion that creates something where nothing was before is a figment. An illusion that conceals one thing with something else, or that subtly alters an object or creature, is a glamer.

Characters are allowed a Will save to disbelieve a figment the first time they physically interact with it, and can also spend a standard action to attempt to disbelieve. When a character encounters a creature or object affected by a glamer, he does not receive a Will save unless he actively disbelieves it (the exception is invisibility glamers, which allow a Will save to disbelieve with a +10 bonus whenever a creature is struck).

A glamer or figment can be no larger than the area of effect of the spell, and all glamers must be anchored to objects or creatures, so if you want to affect multiple creatures with a glamer, you need the discerning enhancement. The power of glamers and figments is measured by sense (how many senses are affected) and complexity (how detailed the glamer is). See Table 4-6.


Phantasms are like glamers, except that they are only perceived by those you target with the spell. A character is allowed a Will save to disbelieve when he is first affected by a phantasm spell, and can take a standard action to try to disbelieve again.

A phantasm is just as complex as a glamer of the same level, but phantasms are not limited by the area of effect of the spell. A glamer with a 20-ft. radius could be of a huge creature which everyone could see. A phantasm with a 20-ft. radius would affect everyone in the area, and could make them see anything, even a giant monster devouring the moon. However, no one outside the area of effect would experience the phantasm.

See Also

Modern Horror

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