Action: Standard • Range: Perception • Duration: Sustained • Cost: 1–5 points per rank
Under the Hood: Illusion
Illusion is a broad-ranging effect, usable for a number of different things. A few common considerations for Illusion include the following.
For illusions so realistic they are capable of inflicting damage, add a Linked Perception Range Damage effect. At the GM’s discretion, this effect can even be made into a Linked Array with a variety of alternate attack effects, allowing your illusionist to inflict conditions other than damage on targets. Keep in mind the attack effects all need to be perception range to match the range of Illusion.
Illusion can alter a subject’s appearance, providing an essentially impenetrable disguise—at least until someone makes a successful check to see through the illusion. However, for just the ability to alter appearance, use the Morph effect, which is generally more effective than Illusion Limited to Appearance.
The default Illusion effect is perceptible to anyone or anything (including machines) as if it were real. Some illusions exist solely in the mind, like projected psychic hallucinations. This type of Illusion has the Resistible by Will flaw and the Selective extra, since the illusionist can choose whether or not to project the illusion into a particular subject’s mind, and therefore decides who can or cannot perceive the illusion. This is a net +0 modifier, for the same base cost.
A common Illusion trick is to switch the appearances of an enemy and an ally, causing a foe’s teammate to attack that enemy by mistake. You can generally handle this with an opposed check of Illusion and Insight; if you win, the target is unaware of the switch and attacks the wrong target.
Keep in mind characters don’t get to make a resistance check to overcome an illusion unless they have reason to believe the illusion is not real. Given the rather fantastic things that can happen in different settings, an illusion generally has to provide some evidence of its true nature. Smart illusionists keep the true nature of their powers secret, and smart Gamemasters require players to come up with something a bit more comprehensive than “I disbelieve!” to figure out when there are illusions at hand.
You can control others’ senses to create false impressions, illusions. This can range from visual images to phantom sounds, smells, or even radar or mental images. For 1 point per rank, you can create an illusion affecting a single sense type. For 2 points per rank, you can affect two sense types. For 3 points per rank, you can affect three sense types. For 4 points per rank, you can affect four sense types, and for 5 points per rank, you can affect all sense types. Visual senses count as two sense types. Your rank determines how convincing your illusion is, including the DC for the Insight resistance check (10 + rank).
Your illusion occupies an area with a maximum volume rank equal to your effect rank. To increase the size of the illusion you can create, apply the Area extra; each application increases the area your illusion covers by 1 rank.
Illusions have no substance and cannot have any real-world effect. So they cannot provide illumination, nutrition, warmth, or the like (although they can provide the sensations of these things). Likewise, an illusory wall only prevents people from moving through an area so long as they believe it’s real, and an illusory bridge or floor is revealed as false as soon as someone tries to walk across it, and falls through it!
Characters encountering an illusion do not receive checks to recognize it as illusory until they interact with it in some fashion. A successful Insight check against an illusion (DC 10 + Illusion rank) reveals it as false. A failed check means the character does not notice anything amiss. A character faced with clear proof an illusion isn’t real needs no
Insight check. Senses with the Counters Illusion effect (see Senses) automatically detect illusions. If any viewer successfully uncovers an illusion and communicates this fact to others, they gain another Insight check with a +5 circumstance bonus. Circumstances may grant additional modifiers to the Insight check to uncover an illusion, depending on how convincing it is.
Maintaining an active illusion (such as a fighting creature) requires a standard action each round, but maintaining a static illusion (one that doesn’t move or interact) is only a free action.
Independent: Your active illusions only require a free action to maintain, rather than a standard action. +1 cost per rank.
Selective: You choose who perceives your Illusion and who doesn’t. +1 cost per rank.
Feedback: Although Illusion does not have a physical “manifestation” per se, it can apply this flaw, in which case a successful damaging attack on one of your illusions causes you to suffer damage, using the guidelines given in the description of the Feedback flaw. –1 cost per rank.
Limited to One Subject: Only a single subject at a time can perceive your Illusion. –1 cost per rank.
Ranged: It is left to the GM’s discretion whether or not Illusion’s range can be reduced at all, since being able to perceive the affected area is important in creating and directing the illusion. In order to solely alter your own appearance, see the Morph effect, possibly with the Resistible modifier. –1 cost per rank.
Resistible: Illusions Resistible by Will are typically hallucinatory effects projected into the target’s mind. This flaw is commonly combined with Selective, so only the targets you choose perceive your illusions. Illusions Resistible by Fortitude may represent a hallucinatory drug or similar biochemical effect. As usual, targets immune to effects targeting the resistance are unaffected by the illusion as well. So Illusions Resistible by Fortitude or Will have no effect on non-living targets, for example. This resistance check is in addition to the usual Insight check; the first determines if the target can resist the effect creating the illusion, the Insight check determine if the target notices something wrong about the illusion, revealing it as false. –1 cost per rank.