Subtlety and illusion

Welcome to a slightly changed up Friday. Tonight instead of fightnight I wanted to talk about something that I see used very infrequently and used successfully even less so. Subtlety and Illusion.

Subtlety and illusion


Now the second adventure I ever had when playing D&D I will never forget. We had heard rumours of a group of bandits, well assumed bandits who were terrorising a nearby town and robbing them. Always near the village dump. When we got to town we met a helpful wizard who bought us a meal and offered to help us catch the culprits.

The next day we head out to the dump, weapons waiting and expecting an ambush. What we didn’t expect was a giant rat to run at us, shape shifting and growing in size as it ran. Soon the rat that was as large as a dog was now bigger than a house and our weapons seemed to do nothing to it. The wizard was calling out saying that the spell he was trying to cast on the rat wasn’t working. But he kept trying, always chanting and gesturing at the rat.

We passed out and next thing we knew we were robbed blind. Naked with no equipment, armour or weapons we started from scratch. Rigging a bull tug-o-war to win 5gp of prize money to start to rebuild our equipment and gear.

Now being a bit more experienced in DnD now I still fondly remembered when Hunter, my wizard-fighter was robbed without a weapon being drawn. It still inspires ideas of illusion winning the day and either the great Illusionist saving a city, or, enslaving them.

To get the illusion to work the player needs to believe it, or doubt that it could be anything other than real. Its got to be believable, realistic, plausible and without fault. Many of these qualities can be achieved by simply describing the scene and making the illusion sound real. The other part is mechanics of the illusion.

The mechanics are simple in dnd5e. If they think its an illusion they need to succeed on an investigation check vs the spell cast dc. Of they pass they know straight away. Of they don’t they don’t know – well… They shouldn’t know.

It tales a great deal of commitment from the player to have their character knowingly, from their end, believe an illusion. Even if the player knows the on character may not and. This is where the truly experienced and veteran players can flex their roleplaying muscles.

Thanks for dropping by tonight for a glimpse at what I want to cover next month. Sort of. Don’t forget to come back this weekend for the ene of month write-up and as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe