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No matter how realistic they are, illusions cannot directly cause physical harm. They can cause distractions, loss of balance or orientation, and even symptoms like nausea or pain. All such effects vanish, though, as soon as the magician drops the illusion. Illusions can certainly cause harm by manipulating the senses so a victim walks into traffic or off a high building, for example, but they cannot directly cause damage.
Illusions fall into the following categories:
- Obvious illusions are used solely for entertainment and cannot fool subjects into believing they are real.
- Realistic illusions seem completely real.
- Single-sense illusions affect only one sense.
- Multi-sense illusions affect all senses.
- Mana Illusions
- Mana-based Illusion spells affect the mind and are ineffective against technological viewing systems like cameras. Mana illusions are resisted by Logic + Willpower. Some mana illusions affect the target’s senses directly; others affect the senses of anyone perceiving the subject of the spell (though you’re never affected by your own illusion spell). Though mana-based illusions can be created on the astral plane, their magical auras give them away as illusions to anyone who makes a successful Assensing Test—illusions can’t fool Assensing and cannot be used to disguise or create auras.
- Physical Illusions
- Physical illusion spells create actual images or alter physical properties, such as light or sound. Physical illusions can be used on both living and technological systems. They are resisted by Intuition + Logic; non-living devices resist with their Object Resistance. The magician must generate more hits than the observer for the illusion to be considered real. If the spell is not completely resisted, the target is fully affected by the illusion.
- 1 Agony, Mass Agony
- 2 Bugs, Swarm
- 3 Confusion, Mass Confusion, Chaos, Chaotic World
- 4 Entertainment, Trid Entertainment
- 5 Invisibility, Improved Invisibility
- 6 Mask, Physical Mask
- 7 Phantasm, Trid Phantasm
- 8 Hush, Silence
- 9 Stealth
- 10 Camouflage Check, Physical Camouflage
- 11 Decoy, Chaff
- 12 Double Image
- 13 Dream
- 14 Euphoria, Opium Den
- 15 Foreboding
- 16 Hot Potato
- 17 Sense Removal, Mass Sense Removal
- 18 Stink, Stench
- 19 Sound Barrier
- 20 Switch Vehicle Signature
- 21 Vehicle Mask
Agony, Mass Agony
A favorite of mages going through bad break-ups, Agony inflicts an illusion of terrible pain on the target. Each net hit scored by the magician temporarily inflicts 1 box of Physical and 1 box of Stun damage on the target. It is not actual damage, only a measure of the effect of the spell. The target is affected the same as if the damage were real, with the usual injury penalties. If the target’s damage boxes are completely filled, he is racked with pain, unable to move or act. Once the spell is ended, the pain and damage boxes immediately go away.
Agony affects a single target, while Mass Agony is an area spell.
These spells make the target believe that small bugs of various persuasions are crawling over their entire body, biting them, scurrying about, and crawling into assorted orifices. The bugs look, feel, smell, and even taste real. The illusion is usually enough to make any target who fails to resist freak out. For each net hit you get, the target loses 2 from their Initiative Score. If you sustain the spell, they lose the same amount from their Initiative Score at the beginning of each Combat Turn. Bugs affects a single target, Swarm is an area spell.
Confusion, Mass Confusion, Chaos, Chaotic World
These spells produce a storm of conflicting sensations and images to confuse the senses. For each net hit on the Spellcasting Test, the target suffers a –1 dice pool modifier to all tests due to the distraction.Confusion affects a single target. Mass Confusion is an area spell. The Chaos spell is a physical version of Confusion (above), so it also affects technological systems and sensing devices. Chaotic World is an area version of Chaos.
Entertainment, Trid Entertainment
These area spells create obvious, but entertaining, illusions. Hits on the Spellcasting Test measure how detailed, interesting, and captivating the audience finds the illusion. The magician can reproduce just about anything from her imagination, or re-create something she has experienced.
Entertainment affects the minds of the subjects and cannot be detected by non-living sensors. Trid Entertainment is a physical spell and can be perceived by both living subjects and non-living sensors.
These spells are used for amusement as well as art. The entertainment industry uses illusionists as literal special effects wizards. Magical designers and artists work to create new and interesting sensations, including sensations that can’t otherwise be experienced in the real world. Only the wealthy can afford the unique experiences offered by such magicians firsthand.
Invisibility, Improved Invisibility
This spell makes the subject more difficult to detect by normal visual senses (including low-light, thermographic, and other senses that rely on the visual spectrum). The subject is completely tangible and detectable by the other senses (hearing, smell, touch, and even taste, if it somehow comes to that). Her aura is still visible to astral perception.
Anyone who might be in a position to perceive the subject must first successfully resist the spell. Simply make one Spellcasting Test and use the hits scored as the threshold for anyone that resists at a later point. Even if the spell is resisted, the subject might remain undetected if she’s good enough with her Sneaking Test. An invisible character may still be detected by non-visual means, such as hearing or smell. Attacks against invisible targets suffer the Blind Fire modifier if the attacker is unable to see or otherwise sense the subject of the spell.
Invisibility affects the minds of viewers. Improved Invisibility mimics the subject’s surroundings from all angles and affects technological sensors as well.
Mask, Physical Mask
The Mask spell requires the magician to touch the subject. The subject assumes a different physical appearance (of the same basic size and shape as her natural form) chosen by the magician. This spell can alter the subject’s voice, scent, and other physical characteristics as well.
Anyone who might see through the disguise must first successfully resist the spell. Simply make one Spellcasting Test and use the hits scored as the threshold for anyone that resists at a later point. Mask affects the minds of viewers. Physical Mask creates an illusion that affects technological sensors as well.
Phantasm, Trid Phantasm
These area spells create convincing illusions of any object, creature, or scene the magician desires. They can create an illusion of anything the magician has seen before, from a flower or a credstick to a dragon breathing fire, as long as the illusion is no larger than the spell’s area of effect.
Anyone who might pierce the illusion must successfully resist the spell. Simply make one Spellcasting Test and use the hits scored as the threshold for anyone attempting to resist at a later point.
Phantasm only affects living beings, while Trid Phantasm affects technological sensors as well.
These spells create an area that dampens sound. Sonic attacks into or out of the field, as well as critter powers using a sonic medium (such as Paralyzing Howl), are reduced by –1 per hit on the Spellcasting Test. Anyone attempting to hear a sound from within or across the silenced area must successfully resist the spell.Hush is a mana spell and so only affects living beings and magic sonic attacks. Silence affects technological devices and is useful for jamming alarms, detection devices, sonar, and tactical communications, as well as technological sonic weapons.
Stealth makes the subject less audible to normal and augmented hearing. The subject moves in silence, making less or no noise. Things not directly touched by the subject can still make noise, so a character under a Stealth spell would make no noise knocking on a door, but the door would make noise hitting the floor or wall if it was kicked in.
Anyone who might hear the subject must first successfully resist the spell. Make a single Spellcasting Test and use the hits scored as the threshold for anyone who resists at a later point. Even if the spell is resisted, the subject might remain unnoticed if her Sneaking Tests are up to par.
Camouflage Check, Physical Camouflage
Template:SR5:Spell Template Template:SR5:Spell Template This set of spells colors the subject in a camouflage pattern that matches her surroundings and provides 1 die per hit to resist attempts to spot their physical body. Camouflage works only against living viewers, while Physical Camouflage works against living viewers and technological sensors.
Template:SR5:Spell Template Template:SR5:Spell Template Decoy is a variant of the spell Chaos (p. 290, SR5) that only affects non-living sensor devices. The sensor is bombarded with a storm of input that confuses its targeting program. For each hit scored over the Object Resistance threshold, the sensor’s rating is reduced by 1. Decoy affects a single target; Chaff is an area spell.
Template:SR5:Spell Template Double Image allows the spellcaster to create an illusionary doppelganger of the subject that is an identical image of the subject and mimics everything he does. He has limited control of the duplicate and can adjust its movement (to keep it from walking through walls and so forth), though in tight quarters this may be difficult. Making the duplicate take a distinct action requires a Simple Action by the caster. The spellcaster must touch the subject to activate the spell, and the duplicate exists as long as the spell is sustained. Casters may only have one duplicate of a single individual at a time, though they may cast the spell multiple times to duplicate multiple people.Targets who fail to resist the spell cannot tell the original and double image apart as the double sounds, smells, and looks like the original. The double is insubstantial; bullets and melee attacks go right through it. It can neither make attacks nor cast spells. Double Image affects both physical beings and technological sensors.
Template:SR5:Spell Template Dream allows a spellcaster to craft a dream sequence (including visuals, sounds, emotions, etc.) and transmit it to a sleeping target. Manufactured dreams cannot cause actual harm to the target. However, if the spellcaster is wily, the manufactured dreams may soothe or frighten the target and alter his actions in the waking world.
The spellcaster’s net hits determine the dream’s vividness and complexity. Targets who have severe nightmares (requires at least 5 net hits) do not recover Stun damage while they persist, and any rest during that time is lost. The target will vividly remember the dream when they wake up but will not necessarily know that the dream was mystically altered. The Dream spell is often cast using ritual spellcasting (p. 295, SR5) as a means of sending warnings, threats, or torment to an enemy. It is also used in modern psychological and therapeutic counseling involving directed dreaming.
Euphoria, Opium Den
Template:SR5:Spell Template Template:SR5:Spell Template This set of spells provides the spellcaster with an unusual set of non-lethal tools to distract his enemies by forcing great pleasure upon them. Euphoria envelops the target in the stimulating throes of a great high comparable to an empathogenic drug high or sexual climax. Many magicians utilize this spell in their private lives, granting willing targets a thrilling ecstasy. However, using this spell on unwilling subjects is considered a criminal act by law enforcement officers in many jurisdiction. Spellcasters known to excessively cast this set of spells may gain an unsavory reputation.
Each net hit scored by the spellcaster applies a –1 dice pool modifier to all of the targets’ actions as they are distracted by the sensation. At the gamemaster’s discretion, a character who suffers a dice pool modifier higher than his Willpower is completely incapacitated and preoccupied. Euphoria affects a single target; Opium Den is an area spell.
Template:SR5:Spell Template Foreboding is an area spell that mystically broadcasts feelings of imminent danger, fear, and unease to any living being who enters the spell’s range. Targets simultaneously feel chilled and nervous. Their hackles rise, and they feel slightly panicked. Characters that fail to resist the spell suffer a –1 dice pool modifier to all actions for each net hit scored by the spellcaster, representing their shaking, fear, and nervousness for as long as they remain in the area of effect. At the gamemaster’s discretion, characters who suffer a dice pool modifier greater than their Willpower may be compelled to flee the area, or they may simply curl up into a gibbering ball. The drawback to this spell is that the spellcaster can not limit or control who is targeted by this spell, and it effects enemies and allies alike.
Template:SR5:Spell Template Hot Potato is an area-effect spell that allows the spellcaster to create the illusion that all metal within the range is extremely hot to the touch. Characters who fail to resist feel as though any metal they are in contact with (weapons, armor, implants, piercings, etc.) is burning them. If the character does not drop, remove, or otherwise disengage contact from the metal, they will a dice pool modifier equal to the caster’s net hits to all actions as they are distracted by the burning sensation. Once they lose contact with any metal, the distraction is over. The drawback to this spell is that the spellcaster cannot limit or control who is targeted by this spell, as it effects enemies and allies alike.
Sense Removal, Mass Sense Removal
Template:SR5:Spell Template Template:SR5:Spell Template This set of spells allow the spellcaster to mystically strip the target of a specified sense (sight, hearing, taste, etc.) Each sense requires a separate spell. The target suffers a –1 dice pool modifier to all Perception Tests involving that sense for every net hit scored by the caster. Implants and other technological sensors that use that sense are also affected. The drawback to this spell is that the spellcaster cannot limit or control who is targeted by this spell—it affects enemies and allies alike.
[Sense] Removal affects a single target, while Mass [Sense] Removal is an area spell.
Template:SR5:Spell Template Template:SR5:Spell Template This set of spells provides the spellcaster an obnoxious tool to distract her enemies by creating an illusion of a sickening, gut-wrenching stench. Every net hit scored by the caster applies a –1 dice pool modifier to all of the target’s actions as they gag and retch. At the gamemaster’s discretion, a character who suffers a dice pool modifier higher than his Willpower is completely incapacitated and pre-occupied with throwing up. Thankfully, the spellcaster is immune to the effects of this spell. Stink affects a single target, Stench is an area spell.
Template:SR5:Spell Template Sound Barrier is a variant of the Silence spell (p. 291, SR5) that allows the spellcaster to create a perimeter of silence around the area of effect (rather than creating a mass area of silence). Those inside the sound barrier cannot hear outside noises but can hear sounds within the globe and vice versa. Only sounds crossing the border are affected, in the same manners as the Silence spell. Sound Barrier also affects technological devices, infrasound, and ultrasound.
Switch Vehicle Signature
Template:SR5:Spell Template Switch Vehicle Signature is a variant of Physical Mask (p. 291, SR5) designed to switch the electronic signal unique to a vehicle (or a drone) with another vehicle of roughly the same size for a limited time. Electronic sensors (such as those from other vehicles or drones) will read the vehicle signature of one of the affected vehicles as though it were the other targeted vehicle. This spell does not grant additional verification codes that paranoid security systems might require to grant access to secure areas, but it will help a vehicle sneak past casual security monitoring. This deception is only effective as long as the two targeted vehicles are within a five kilometers of each other. Once the targeted vehicles exceed the range, the vehicle signatures snap back to normal. This sudden switch will trigger an alert by most security systems looking for abnormalities. In addition, should one of the vehicles be destroyed, the effects of this spell are automatically canceled.
The spell’s duration is ten minutes plus an additional ten minutes for each net hit scored by the caster.
Template:SR5:Spell Template Vehicle Mask is a variant of Physical Mask (p. 291, SR5) designed to mask the identities of vehicles and drones. By touching the targeted vehicle, the spellcaster creates an illusion that masks it to appear to be a completely different vehicle of roughly the same size. In addition to the visual mask, this spell affects the vehicle’s sound, smell, and other identifiable characteristics. Vehicle Mask can also modify a vehicle’s Signature (p. 184, SR5); each net hit scored by the caster can be used to raise or lower the vehicle’s Signature modifier by 1. The caster must be actively touching the vehicle being masked to sustain the spell.