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  • Illusion as Invisibility

    If a caster has the SWADE Power of Illusion (pg 153) could the caster cast an illusion of the room he and his friends are standing in, but have the players covered by the illusion. Imagine the group lined up along the wall of a conference room while guards are searching for them. The guards open the door to the room, look in and do not see the party standing there because the room looks empty. If you were the GM would you consider that an acceptable use of the power?

    And can an illusion block the sightline of a group of people leaving an area? Assume an illusion of a truck blocking an alley. Someone looking down the alley would see the truck, but not see the people at the other end of the alley. Unless the viewer touched the truck and realized the truck was not real they would not be able to see behind the truck, correct?


  • #2
    Yes to both in my opinion but if the gm wants she can let the guards make a smarts roll to see if they can see that its an illusion

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Psitraveller View Post
      If a caster has the SWADE Power of Illusion (pg 153) could the caster cast an illusion of the room he and his friends are standing in, but have the players covered by the illusion. Imagine the group lined up along the wall of a conference room while guards are searching for them. The guards open the door to the room, look in and do not see the party standing there because the room looks empty. If you were the GM would you consider that an acceptable use of the power?
      No, I wouldn't.
      As a general rule, one power cannot mimic the effects of another. You're basically asking if a caster can use a 3 PP Novice power to do what a 5+ PP Seasoned power is designed to do.

      Think of it this way: the illusion power cannot create negative space, or "solid air". It cannot cover something with nothing, it can only mask it with an illusion of an object of equal or greater size. In your example, if the character are standing against a wall, the power can hide them within an image of filing cabinets or bookcases, but it can't make the space the characters occupy look empty.

      And can an illusion block the sightline of a group of people leaving an area? Assume an illusion of a truck blocking an alley. Someone looking down the alley would see the truck, but not see the people at the other end of the alley. Unless the viewer touched the truck and realized the truck was not real they would not be able to see behind the truck, correct?
      The fake truck would block sightlines as much as a real truck would. Meaning if an observer crouched and looked under the truck, he would be able to see behind it just fine. Same if he looked through the windows. Any attempt to falsify the background would be instantly foiled with a change of perspective. It's like those street art illusions that look amazing from one angle but a hideous mess from another.

      Click image for larger version

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      • Deskepticon
        Deskepticon commented
        Editing a comment
        Just to clarify what I mean by "falsify the background", I mean creating an illusion within the MBT that is intended to mask anything outside of that template (i.e., the background). Such an illusion would only work when viewed from a very specific angle and direction since the parallax of the illusion and whatever it is masking would quickly become skewed.

        It's not exactly like the picture above since illusion creates 3D images, not 2D optical illusions, but it gets the general point across. I suppose a better example would be those photo-stations you see at zoos, where you stick your face in a hole and it looks like you're a monkey or a lion. The picture only works when taken straight-on. View it from a 45° and the trick gets janky; view it from the side or back and it's completely ruined.

      • ockhamsbeard
        ockhamsbeard commented
        Editing a comment
        I think you're referring to parallax, which would be an issue creating certain kinds of flat illusions that are viewed from different angles.

      • Deskepticon
        Deskepticon commented
        Editing a comment
        ockhamsbeard What I was referring to was the perspective of the illusion in relation to anything else.

        Try this experiment at home:
        Place an object, like a mug, at one end of a table. Now get a large mixing bowl and place it upside down at the other end of the table. The bowl represents the MBT of the illusion and the mug represents whatever is being masked. Squat down so your eyes are parallel to the table top. The mug should be hidden behind the bowl. Now scoot over a few feet to your left or right; the mug will come into view. This is because the mug and bowl have a different parallax in relation to the observer.

        I am not talking about flat images or the same illusion being viewed from different angles. I am (and have always been) talking about the illusion's relationship to outside object's.

    • #4
      Similar but with SPC power energy control light. If you can control light, you would be able to bend the light around you creating invisibility. This shouldn't by simple mechanics even require power stunting into invisibility since you are just manipulating the light as a basic use of the power. It would of course have penalties since if you were standing in grass it would still be noticeable where your feet are, but that could technically be covered by bending light to make it appear as other areas of grass are there and standing normally. So by raw its possible for complete invisibility with zero visible modifiers, only sound, though a second Super with sound control could nullify that.

      With the arcane power illusion, it depends on the type of illusion, direct mental targeting alters what the mind perceives, so it would allow for the 'removal' of things. Projection is trickier but not impossible. Creating an illusionary wall that looks like it's further away is possible. But again, changing position of focus would skew it. Unless it is a controlled illusion and the caster constantly changes it. This would be Skill based. A visual example of this would be the hallway scene from one of the later mission impossible movies, I don't remember which one, but a projection system with eye tracking tech constantly modifies the projection. This only worked because there was one 'target' for it. So a second guard breaks it. Unless they fail Notice rolls.

      Comment


      • #5
        The way to do it that works best by the rules and not being cheesy by mimicking other powers is to have Invisibility have a trapping that you mask with an Illusion. The same goes with Disguise. Powers are effects. If you want a character to do all three, learn spells for all three.

        Comment


        • #6
          Hallway scene is Ghost Protocol: The difference between the hallway scene and the limitation of the technology is that in the Power is an area

          "The volume of the illusion must fit within a
          sphere the size of a Medium Blast Template
          (4″ or eight yards in diameter)."

          And the power allows
          "Illusion can be used to create a visual
          scene or replica of most anything the caster
          can imagine, but it is silent, intangible, and
          incapable of affecting the real world. For
          example, illusionary weapons pass through
          foes, one cannot sit in an illusionary chair,
          and an illusionary dog has no audible bark."

          and for an extra power point the dog could bark

          So a large scene could be created. 8 yards in diameter answers a lot of perspective and parallax issues. The illusion is not static, but is created from nothing (One of the greatest powers is the ability to create
          something from nothing—even if it’s not real!)

          So in the hallway scene the illusion could cover the entire hallway, from the statue to the desk, and multiple people could see the illusion from different locations and it would not look odd from different locations. If one of the guards did notice something they could point out a flaw and try to convince people that something was wrong.

          Comment


          • #7
            Originally posted by Psitraveller View Post
            So a large scene could be created. 8 yards in diameter answers a lot of perspective and parallax issues. The illusion is not static, but is created from nothing (One of the greatest powers is the ability to create
            something from nothing—even if it’s not real!)
            Quite a bit to unpack here. Since you've used words that I brought up earlier, I'm assuming you're responding to me in some way.

            The "parallax issue" is going to be wholly dependent on perspective. If you keep the target audience to within a few degrees (such as within a hallway or alley), you should be able to satisfactorily mask the background (e.g., things outside or beyond the power's Template). This can also fool multiple people at once, since they're all sharing roughly the same perspective.

            But if the illusion is in an open space, you're going to run into problems pretty quick. As soon as an observer starts walking around the eight-yard diameter "obstruction", things that were once hidden start to come into view, beginning with those furthest away. The context if my earlier post was about "falsifying" the background: creating an illusion meant to look like the background was different. Kinda like hanging up a sheet with a different horizon painted on it. The sheet and the background are at very different spacial coordinates. That's the "parallax issue" I was talking about. An observer moving lateral to the illusion is going to mark out this inconsistancy pretty quickly.
            _____

            Not sure what point you were making by quoting the "something from nothing" part of the text, but I'm assuming it was in response to me saying that the power "cannot cover something with nothing."

            These are two completely different concepts. One is just fluff text that specifies the power doesn't need a material component to work, while the other is a rationale for why the power cannot mimic another power.

            Comment


            • #8
              Originally posted by SWAY View Post
              Similar but with SPC power energy control light. If you can control light, you would be able to bend the light around you creating invisibility. This shouldn't by simple mechanics even require power stunting into invisibility since you are just manipulating the light as a basic use of the power. It would of course have penalties since if you were standing in grass it would still be noticeable where your feet are, but that could technically be covered by bending light to make it appear as other areas of grass are there and standing normally. So by raw its possible for complete invisibility with zero visible modifiers, only sound, though a second Super with sound control could nullify that.
              For the same reason as illusion, no. Invisibility is the Power to be used to disappear, allowing other Powers to do the same weakens it and makes the others more powerful. This game is not an exercise in theoretical physics, it is a game. Components exist to do things in balance with other components that can't do those things. That's how the game is designed. If you want invisibility to be effectively excised from the game, that's another discussion.

              Comment


              • Ndreare
                Ndreare commented
                Editing a comment
                It's also worth noting that illusion is way easier to see through than invisibility.

              • paladin2019
                paladin2019 commented
                Editing a comment
                You can always see through invisibility, there is no roll to detect the target of the Power. They are harder to hit and face off against with opposed Stealth/Notice rolls, but that's different. It's Predator cloaking rather than Athena's helmet from Clash of the Titans. Illusion you have to actively disbelieve.

              • Deskepticon
                Deskepticon commented
                Editing a comment
                paladin2019 Partially true. Invisibility imposes a penalty to Notice as well. If a foe fails the Notice roll, they don't know the invisible character is there. If the Notice roll succeeds, they can more-or-less follow the invisible character's movements, but suffer the penalty to attack. (Probably worth noting that most Tests, like Taunt or Intimidation, won't suffer this penalty.)

            • #9
              The invisibility power is mobile and gives a -4 or -6 to an attack against the invisible person, and the same negatives even to notice. Illusion is a medium burst template area of effect, and has a Smarts roll as a free action is the viewer doubts the illusion, so there are important differences between the two powers.

              That being said. The use of illusion to hide a person is a reasonable expectation of an illusion power. (which is why I made the post)

              Using the hallway scene from ghost protocol as an example the illusion of an empty hallway projected onto a screen makes the agents unseen (not actually invisible, but same effect.
              From Deskepticons first answer his view is that the illusion power could not create the hallway scene because that would be a negative space effect. I disagree, but I think that the Illusion power is a medium burst template of an infinite number of screens, in all directions. The differing viewpoints or parallax issues would not occur because the illusion would be in effect for each person seeing it. The "screen" would be in a perfect spot from their view. The image of the lobster would not happen because in an illusion power the lobster would be 3 dimensional in appearance (if insubstantial), so from the opposite side you would see a normal looking giant lobster, not a stretched out 2d drawing trying to look like a 3d image. That's the difference. Insubstantial and not real the illusions are still 3 dimensional. A chair looks like a chair from all angles, you just cannot sit on it.

              That is also the difference between the power and the hallway scene. The screen is a 2 d image giving the illusion of depth. The Illusion power would actually have a medium burst template of depth. This offers a huge amount of creative scope for the caster to play with, hence my idea of an empty room. It is a simple and yet very powerful illusion. Crafting a simple, believable illusion that does not instill doubt is a way to reduce the chance of an illusion being spotted.

              Comment


              • #10
                Illusion is a Novice power that costs 3 power points and affects a Medium Blast Template. Invisibility is a Seasoned power that costs 5 power points to affect one person, with the option to affect other people at a cost of 3 per person. So in asking if Illusion could make a room with people in it appear empty, OP is essentially asking if a Novice power costing 3 power points can do the work of a Seasoned power costing 5+3X power points, with X being the number of people affected other than the caster. Comparing to a Medium template, X could easily be 20 if people crowd in......so we're comparing a 3 power point Novice power to a Seasoned power that would cost between 5 and 65 power points. Even if you argue that the power point cost should be halved (rounding up) because it only works while you're in that room, that's still 3-33 power points.

                Why is this even a discussion?

                Comment


                • #11
                  it's a discussion because as the hallway scene in Ghost Protocol points out in a cool cinematic way that an illusion of emptiness offers a lot of options for activity. It's a subtle effect to use, and shows how powerful a simple, subtle illusion can be.

                  As the description of the power describes it allows a replica of anything the caster can imagine. I can imagine a replica of an empty room. Deskepticon imagined a row of filing cabinets covering a party. Assuming 4 people in a row and an illusion of bookcases or filing cabinets over them the illusion would cost 11 points using the Invisibility math. Illusion is cheaper, but is non mobile and does not offer a -4 to -6 bonus, and if anyone comes into contact with the illusion they get a save to foil the illusion.

                  It's a discussion because using a cheaper power for a simpler task is a fun and creative way of playing.

                  Using the Ghost Protocol scene as an example, the single screen was used to create an illusion of about 30 feet of hallway, wide enough to have 2 people across (Tom Cruise and Simon Peg were side by side carrying the screen. So there is your example of almost 20 people hiding behind an illusion.

                  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DkV8WE7DFA
                  A link to a 2:36 long scene of the hallway. They pass 2 doorways to get into position. So 20 people could have hidden in that hallway. Rather than setting up the screen the Caster would have activated the power when the guard was distracted, set the limits of the illusion and then walked to the front edge of the illusion and have the 20 guys follow him.

                  Comment


                  • gigacanuck
                    gigacanuck commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Creating the appearance of an empty room is not equivalent to creating an illusion to hide behind or inside. Even if an onlooker does not immediately realize that it is an illusion, an illusion can also arouse suspicion by appearing out of place; this is a problem for the latter, but not the former. Off the top of my head, the latter must deal with these additional issues:
                    • there must be objects that could plausibly be in the area (if all else fails a wall will do, but this only applies inside buildings)
                    • the size and plausible number of this/these object(s) limits how many people and/or objects can be hidden
                    • the caster must be smart enough to pick the plausible object(s), and get important details right
                    • even if there is/are plausible illusionary object(s) to put in the room, a passing guard may still think the illusion is out of place and inspect it because "hey there wasn't a row of filing cabinets in this room 5 minutes ago" or "that wall seems unusually close today"
                    • someone might attempt to interact with an illusionary object because they think it is real (such as leaning on a wall or looking for a file in a filing cabinet)


                    The reason Illusion is such a cheap, low-rank spell is because there's so many things that can go wrong. It's entirely dependent on circumstance and the caster using it wisely, and even then if the GM wants it to fail arbitrarily, then they have a host of reasons for it to do so. A player doesn't get to "creative" their way out of that and it use it as Invisibility on a whole room of people.

                • #12
                  Originally posted by Psitraveller View Post
                  The use of illusion to hide a person is a reasonable expectation of an illusion power. (which is why I made the post)
                  Sure. And I acknowledged that characters can hide inside an illusion. What you seemed to be saying in the OP is if the illusion could effectively make the character's invisible, to which I raised concerns. I suppose if you wanted to create a whole-room illusion and drop it "on top" of the existing room to completely hide the characters, then those characters would also effectively be blind. In other words, if the goal is to make the characters unseen, then they wouldn't be able to see themselves either.

                  Using the hallway scene from ghost protocol as an example the illusion of an empty hallway projected onto a screen makes the agents unseen (not actually invisible, but same effect.
                  From Deskepticons first answer his view is that the illusion power could not create the hallway scene because that would be a negative space effect.
                  Then you haven't read all my posts.
                  Or, having read them, didn't understand them.

                  My first post was in response to your question about laying an illusion over the entire room. Projecting an image on a screen is the concept I was trying to communicate when I said "falsify the background." I later compared this to hanging a sheet, which is almost exactly what you are saying about "screens," and I admitted that it would work within confined spaces.

                  I disagree, but I think that the Illusion power is a medium burst template of an infinite number of screens, in all directions. The differing viewpoints or parallax issues would not occur because the illusion would be in effect for each person seeing it. The "screen" would be in a perfect spot from their view.
                  This is the second time you misunderstood what I was talking about when I brought up parallaxes. Did you not read where I mentioned objects outside the Template having a different parallax from the illusions within the Template? It wouldn't even matter if you used the entire MBT to create a 3D illusiary landscape if what you are masking is outside the template. Merely walking partway around the area is going to create noticeable inconsistancies.


                  The image of the lobster would not happen because in an illusion power the lobster would be 3 dimensional in appearance (if insubstantial), so from the opposite side you would see a normal looking giant lobster, not a stretched out 2d drawing trying to look like a 3d image. That's the difference. Insubstantial and not real the illusions are still 3 dimensional. A chair looks like a chair from all angles, you just cannot sit on it.
                  Yeah, I addressed this too in the comment to my first post. This isn't actually a rebuttal of my point. It borders on a strawman.

                  Crafting a simple, believable illusion that does not instill doubt is a way to reduce the chance of an illusion being spotted.
                  That's what the Strong modifier is for. Which is probably the shortest answer to your question. Use the Strong modifier.
                  Last edited by Deskepticon; 02-12-2022, 06:40 PM. Reason: Formatting

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                  • #13
                    I've gone over all the comments and re-read the illusion power description, and I am more confused than ever actually. So any errors are based on my overthinking things, no strawman intended. Comments from everyone point out (to me anyway) that there may be a need to have more explanation of how the power works. I'll list my many questions below, and sorry for the block of text to follow.

                    My thoughts about the hallway scene from Ghost Protocol may be a huge error on my part, because in reading the power again I realized that the screen example from the hallway may not be how the power works, Can a caster create a visual scene as a 2 dimensional image like a screen?

                    "Illusion can be used to create a visual
                    scene or replica of most anything the caster
                    can imagine, but it is silent, intangible, and
                    incapable of affecting the real world. For
                    example, illusionary weapons pass through
                    foes, one cannot sit in an illusionary chair,
                    and an illusionary dog has no audible bark."

                    So if you take 'visual scene' to be like the projection scene from the movie the idea of creating an image and hiding behind it might work. If the created illusion has to be 3 dimensional, like a weapon or a chair then that might be a problem. Unless you create a box of an illusion that has the scene you want on the front of it, and scale the box to fit the hallway. or the room mentioned in my original post.

                    This also raises a couple of points. If a caster in a room cast an Illusion, could they make the view from the window part of the illusion, and have someone looking out the window see whatever the caster wanted them to see? This is a variation on the screen idea, but projecting the illusion outside a window may reduce the chance of the viewer coming into contact with the illusion and thus gaining an immediate Smarts roll to disbelieve.

                    Looking out of an Illusion. Is the MBT of the Illusion usable in its entirety? The mixing bowl example you gave regarding parallax made me think of what the person inside the bowl would see if they were looking for the mug. (And I keep focusing on what the person inside the illusion sees and not the person outside, which is where my misunderstanding of the parallax issues arose, my bad, sorry Deskepticon).
                    Can the inner surface of the mixing bowl be used like the interior walls of the holodeck, or the hallway screen and give a skewed image of the world outside the MBT?

                    What about the outside of the MBT dome/ mixing bowl? Can the caster have one image showing on the inside of the Illusion and another image showing on the outside of the bowl? If the illusion is small, just a couple of people then there would be no bowl, or the bowl would be clear, and no issues of seeing around it. But if the caster wanted a big visual distraction, or wanted to make a huge, easily seen from a distance sign that says "Aim here", a MBT bowl that is Dayglo orange would do the trick. Is such a thing possible?

                    Can the caster have an exterior Illusion on the surface of the bowl showing a calm, non-calamitous scene on the outside, while inside it is Thunderdome? This is a larger version of the scene of a room, applied to the entire MBT template. Your parallax example got me thinking about what the template means for those inside and outside of the Illusion. Someone at a distance could see a dozen illusionary men in squad formation, from well outside the MBT area. (12 illusionary people is the radius of the MBT divided by 36 square feet)

                    Coming into contact with an illusion allows for a Smarts roll, In the room example I gave above this meant that someone entering the room could get an immediate saving throw because they are in contact with the illusion. If the caster just makes a pair of fighters at the end of the hallway, peeking around the corner, gun barrels menacing the hallway. Would the guards get an immediate Smarts roll for being in the MBT area? Or only if they come into contact with the actual illusions?

                    The comment about party members being blind in an illusion is countered by 2 options. If this is something they have experience with they should get an immediate Smarts roll to no longer be subject to the casting. Which raises the question of what does someone see when they spot an illusion. It turns wispy and intangible? vanishes completely? The other option is to have the caster spend an extra point during casting and make it Selective so his buddies do not go blind.

                    The issue of contact in an illusion is an odd area. If a room illusion can be instantly thwarted when entering the MBT, would entering the MBT of an Illusion that was not covering the area with a different scene be considered contacted? A caster creating a pair of fighter types to move towards an opponent, trying to create a gang up situation, or appear to be a larger group than there really are does no good is just being within the MBT area of operations for the illusions of the fighters problematic for the caster.

                    Making the Illusion strong is an option of course. Always sound advice.




                    Comment


                    • #14
                      An interesting discussion, I've always seen a clever player with an Illusion power as a great challenge for any GM. It always makes me think of Roadrunner and Coyote. Coyote paints a road leading to tunnel on a rock wall hoping Roadrunner will be deceived and run smack into the rock. So Coyote has made an illusion which can kill. If Coyote had an illusion power could it cover up the presence of a tunnel by creating an illusion of a continuous rock wall ... I'd say yes, and if so could Coyote hide behind this illusion ... again I'd say yes ... and is Coyote now invisible? Of course Roadrunner always fails its Smarts roll but can still run into the illusionary tunnel.

                      Comment


                      • paladin2019
                        paladin2019 commented
                        Editing a comment
                        and is Coyote now invisible
                        No. Coyote is concealed by the illusion, the same as if Coyote were on the other side of a dressing screen or a brick wall. The difference? With illusion, Coyote may be completely unseen (though also blind when attempting to view Roadrunner) while Roadrunner would have an infinitely easier time dealing with and invisible Coyote; only a -4 to do visual stuff as you are still a blurred outline under the Power's effects (think Predator cloaking rather than Clash of the Titans Athena's helmet.)

                      • Psitraveller
                        Psitraveller commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Despite me posting the TItle as Illusion as Invisibility I probably should have made the title Illusion hiding people. In your example the Coyote would be covered unseen but not actually Invisible as Paladin2019 points out. 

                        Not sure why blindness is mentioned. The caster and anyone aware if the Illusion would not be subject to the Illusion.

                        My thoughts on making a room appear empty while people are standing in it trys to establish the limits of what the Illusion power can do. Illusion can be the most powerful effect a caster can cast.

                        The Hallway scene in Ghost Protocol is an example of a screen illusion. The Illusion Tech holograms in Spiderman Far From Home is an example of big illusions.
                        Last edited by Psitraveller; 02-19-2022, 06:40 PM.

                      • AndrewKennett
                        AndrewKennett commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Maybe it is more that Coyote is unseeable (is that a word?) than invisible.
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