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Masters of Illusion
From the gnomes’ perspective, the strict codes of arcane formulae trap the essence of illusionism in a constrictive cage. Illusionism is the magic of dreams, of wild trickery and creative improvisation that is poorly served by even the open-ended spells that comprise the Illusionism school of magic. With their innate talent for illusions, gnome spellcasters definitely have an edge over illusionists from other races; their familiarity with such magic gives them a head start when learning to manipulate the forces of light and shadow.
Most illusion spells provide quite a bit of freedom for determining the exact images or effects they call into being but they do not take into account innate skill when weaving effects beyond spell level. Gnome illusionists do. Beyond metamagic feats, a gnome illusionist can use his innate talent with illusory magic to fine-tune his effects, weaving light, sounds, smells, sensations and even mental impulses in order to achieve a greater effect. They call this ‘spellsculpting’.
Arts and crafts are a central part of gnomish life and magic is no exception, but where potters and carpenters work with things they can touch, spellsculptors mould materials that do not exist. Spellsculpting is not a new skill, but rather an application of existing ones, combining a gnomish wizard’s mundane and arcane training. Only a specialist in the illusion school may become a spellsculptor, something, which does not bother the gnomes in the least. Spellcraft is the base skill that a spellsculptor uses to mould his illusions, using his check in combination with his spells and the power of his will to create illusory works of art.
Each of the illusionism subschools works differently when its effects are spellsculpted, but they follow the same process: The caster spontaneously spends spell slots to select the manifestation type and effect, makes a spellsculpting check to determine their quality and uses the result to refine them.
In order to power an illusion, the spellcaster sacrifices a prepared spell of a certain level depending on how complete he wants the illusion to be. Illusions manifest in a variety of ways, creating false input that the victims believe to be true either because their senses tell them that it is there, or because the illusionist bypasses their senses and convinces their minds that it is there.
The manifestation types are what the illusion is mimicking and focuses on specific senses with corresponding advantages and limitations, like blind creatures being immune to sight illusions. The type establishes the base spell level required to manifest the illusion which, added to the level modifier from the manifestation effect, gives the spellsculpted illusion’s total spell level.
Sight and sound illusions affect their corresponding senses normally. The caster may create smell and taste input with the same illusion. Touch illusions involve thermal sensation as well as texture. All manifestation types can be combined with each other by adding their levels together, with 0-level counting as a half level when calculating, rounding up. For example, an illusion manifesting as both sound and sight (each a +0 level manifestation) is a 1st level manifestation, as they both count as half a level for this purpose. Shadow manifestations are one of a kind, since they do not target any sense in particular, but rather bring forth energies from the Plane of Shadows. Shadows cannot be combined with sight or sound manifestations.
The next step is deciding what the illusion is supposed to do and this is where the different illusion types play a large role, since they define how the final illusion will work. Each subschool affects the illusion’s level in a different way depending on the intended effect and some may not even be possible. Adding a perception is the same for all subschools except for glamour, which cannot create illusions out of nothing, but alter the sensory input. Also, overloading a victim’s perceptions is easier for patterns than for figments or phantasms, since they manifest both as sensory as well as mental illusions and not just as one of them; the problem is that they lack detail. Each subschool has its strengths and weaknesses for spellsculpting illusions; consult the SRD for more details on how each of them works separately.
Add the level modifier to the base spell level from the manifestation types to find the illusion’s total spell level. The illusionist may sacrifice any number of spells in order to meet the spell level cost of the illusion; for example, he can sacrifice a 3rd level and a 2nd level spell in order to spellsculpt a 5th level illusion. At least one of the spells must be an illusion spell of the same subschool as the effect the spellcaster is aiming for and, if he is combining subschool effects, there must be at least one spell from each of them. For example, a wizard spellsculpting a glamour/pattern spell, must sacrifice one glamour spell and one pattern spell, adding their levels to meet the illusion’s level. For each level that the sum of sacrificed spells exceeds the illusion’s level, the illusionist gains a +1 competence bonus to his spellsculpting check.
Add Perception: The illusionist creates the manifestation so that all the victims perceive it. Figments, patterns and shadows affect everyone within range, while a phantasm only manifests in the mind of its intended target (the Emperor’s New Clothes effect). Example: minor image.
Alter Perception: The illusionist alters the sensory qualities of something that is already there. Glamour makes alterations everybody can see, while a phantasm only tries to fool the perceptions of a single target within his mind. Example: change self.
Remove Perception: The illusionist deletes the sensory input of an object, area or person. Glamour removes the chosen manifestation (sight, sound, smell, etc.) from perception by anybody, while a phantasm only removes it from the mind of a single target. Example: invisibility, silence.
Overload: The illusionist creates a manifestation so strong that it overwhelms the senses of its targets, creating different effects according to its manifestation type:
|Smell/Taste||Sickened (treat as dazzled, but affecting scent)|
|Shadow||+20% solidity of simulated effects|
Communication: The illusion allows the caster to convey a message to the targets of the illusion. Only patterns and phantasms are able to communicate, since they are the only illusions that target the mind. The communication is intelligible, but depends on the languages spoken by the caster.
Subliminal: The illusionist may create subtle mental effects that give bonuses to Charisma-based checks to any target that the caster specifies. A subliminal pattern makes all victims react favourably to the benefit’s recipient, while a phantasm only affects a single victim.
Compulsion: The illusion warps the victim’s mind in order to get him to do something. The action is one that can be conveyed by the suggestion spell.
The illusion’s level is akin to the crafter’s raw materials and so the spellsculptor now proceeds to chisel his effect. A Spellsculpting check is a modified Spellcraft check but depending on the nature of the illusion, it may not use Intelligence as its key score and may gain a +2 synergy bonus from having five or more ranks in a certain skill. Roll 1d20 and add the character’s Spellcraft ranks plus his respective ability modifier and applicable synergy bonus:
|Subschool||Key Ability||Synergy from|
|Shadow||Int||Knowledge (the planes)|
Remember that the character gains a +1 bonus to the Spellsculpting check for every spell level he spends that exceeds the illusion’s spell level.
The check’s result represents the skill with which the illusionist weaves the strands of light and shadow to create his effect. Each complexity level has a Difficulty Class, but the caster can decide on how elaborate he wishes the illusion to be after he rolls his Spellsculpt check. Each level raises the DC of the illusion’s saving throw by a fixed amount.
Simple Effects: This causes basic impulses to manifest. This allows for crude images, vague noises, nondescript smells, undefined sensations, simple messages, etc. The alterations possible are rough at best and the caster may not reproduce or copy specific images, sounds or disguises. As a general rule, a simple effect would grant a +2 bonus to a related activity and is easily disrupted by interaction.
Elaborate Effects: This causes more specific information to be conveyed. The caster may create more intricate images, louder noises, clear sensations, recognisable scents, unambiguous instructions, etc. He can make more exact changes and reproduce images, sounds or other sensations he has experience of, but only in a general sense. As a general rule, an elaborate effect would grant a +5 bonus to a related activity and resists interruption.
Detailed Effects: These effects are practically indistinguishable from the real thing. Illusions consist of very complete images, involving sound, hair-raising sensations, complex information and so on. An illusionist can make weave and re-weave modifications so that they are something completely different from the original and he can even make images or specific persons and their voices. As a general rule, a detailed effect would grant a +10 bonus to a related activity and is practically impervious to disruption (although not to disbelief).
Once the illusionist decides on the complexity he wants, he deducts its DC from his result; the number he ends up with is the number of points he has to refine the effect.
|Effect||Check DC||Save DC modifier|
A spellsculpted illusion is a spell, regardless of its improvised nature. It shares all the characteristics of a spell and is defined by the spells that shaped it.
The effect is an illusion spell from the subschools that the caster used. Glamours and phantasms are mind-affecting spells, but the effect may have other descriptors as defined by the Games Master.
† Level: The effect’s level is the same as the total level that the caster came up with by defining the manifestation type and effect. The effect uses this level to determine its saving throw’s DC.
† Components: The illusion has somatic and verbal components that the caster can improvise, but very generic material requirements. Use the components of the illusion spell that the caster had to sacrifice.
† Casting Time: 1 action.
† Range: All spellsculpted effects have a basic range equal to close range (25 ft. + 5 ft./level), although the illusionist may enhance this at this point.
† Target: Figments, patterns and shadows have a base area of effect equal to a 30 square feet. Glamours and phantasms have a base target of one creature or object.
† Duration: Figments, patterns and glamours have a base duration of 1 round per caster level. Phantasms and shadows must be maintained by concentration. All illusions are able to be dispelled.
With the leftover points from the spellsculpting check after subtracting the complexity’s DC, the illusionist can enhance the illusion’s parameters by ‘buying’ them. The caster can buy each enhancement as many times as he can afford and combine it with others.
|Persistent||Convert duration from rounds to minutes, minutes to 10 minutes, or 10 minutes to hours.||5|
|Reaching||Convert range from close to medium, or medium to long.||5|
|Concentration||The caster must maintain concentration on the effect.||-2*|
|Size||Increase area of effect by 10 feet.||2|
|Target||Affect one additional creature.||3|
|Range||Increase range by 10 feet.||1|
|Duration||Duration lasts 1 additional time unit (round, minute or hour).||1|
* gives 2 extra points to buy other enhancements
Spellsculpting and Metamagic
An illusionist can further alter his spellsculpted effects by applying metamagic feats. The caster must prepare the illusion spell with a metamagic feat he possesses. The spell level altered by the metamagic feat does not count when adding the levels of sacrificed spells to power the spellsculpted illusion. He does prepare the spell at a higher level, but only adds its original level to pay for the illusions.The
Gnomes are incredibly diverse in their interests and, when multiplied by the sub-races and the lands they have spread to, such diversity engenders a wide range of cultural differences from one gnomish community to the next. This diversity has caused the names of the gods to be changed from region to region, but their essence remains the same. A deity archetype is the essence behind the mask the gods wear when presenting themselves to their followers. A mask is a name, a visage and a collection of attributes, but the archetype remains constant throughout all its incarnations. The following is a list of deity archetypes, with the most common themes that appear in a gnomish pantheon. Games Masters can take any or all of these deities and give them the name most suited to their campaign world.
The Gnomish Protector (Greater Deity, NG)
He did not create the gnomes, although practically nobody cares who actually did. From time immemorial this god has taken it upon himself to watch over an entire race that suits his carefree and troublesome personality, guessing that they would need divine protection if they were to follow in his footsteps. The Protector is as mischievous as his followers, pulling celestial pranks on other gods and granting a touch of uncertainty to the movement of the planes. He asks of those who worship him that they do not do so very seriously and that they always seek the humour in all things, for in humour lies an untapped vein of wisdom.
Domains: Good, Laughter, Protection and Trickery.
Stoneworker (Greater Deity, LG)
Stoneworker is all about hard work, never resting and never yielding. As his name implies, his is the realm of rocks and gems, a miner and architect. He has a healthy greed that pushes him to greater heights of craftsmanship, something he expects his worshippers to do as well. While not as happy-go-lucky as other gnomish deities, Stoneworker nevertheless is not as serious as one would expect a mining deity to be. He is the force of optimism that keeps the svirfneblin sane in their underground existence and he watches them more any other gnomish sub-race.
Domains: Craft, Earth and Protection.
Woodsrunner (Lesser Deity, NG)
Fleet of foot and keen of senses, Woodsrunner is the gnomish goddess of Nature. One of the daughters of the Earth Mother, Woodsrunner is a shy maiden that prefers the company of animals to that of other gods or mortals. In fact, if she had any say in the matter, she would not have any followers at all. However, the forest gnomes won her heart and, through them, she extended her favour to the rest of the gnomes, granting them the gift to relate to animals. She is not a goddess of the hunt, or of the untamed strength of the wilderness, but rather of the joy and gentleness to be found in the unspoiled areas of the world.
Domains: Animal, Good and Travel.
Smith (Intermediate Deity, LN)
Smith competes a lot with his elder brother Stoneworker, as they are both mining gods but while Stoneworker concentrates on rock and gemstones, Smith goes after metal and does not stop there, watching over all the processes that make metal into useful forms. Smith is not only the patron of metallurgists, but also any artisan who devotes his best efforts to his craft. Relentless to the point of stubbornness, Smith is physically the strongest of gnomish deities, capable of sharing a round of drinks with his dwarven counterparts.
Domains: Craft, Fire and Strength.
Progress (Lesser Deity, CN)
This workaholic deity is the patron of inventors, engineers, explorers and other people who are not content to do things as they have always been done. A rather frantic individual, Progress is always working on several projects at once employing scores of gnomes’ souls that, instead of choosing eternal rest, chose eternal work. Together they have the privilege of inspiring mortal inventors, whatever the race, with new designs and methods that improve on the ones in existence.
Domains: Craft, Knowledge, Luck and Magic.
Howler (Intermediate Deity, CG)
The Protector’s best friend and drinking companion, Howler is another aspect of nature: the wild and raucous rather than the timid and peaceful that his little sister Woodsrunner represents. He is always full of energy and zest and competes with the Protector in prank-pulling contests both between themselves and targeting other gods. Howler does not care for anything specific within his protectorate, but rather embodies the forces of fertility, youth and life itself found in nature.
Domains: Animal, Healing, Plant and Trickery.
The Blackness (Intermediate Deity, CE)
Nobody knows that the gnomish pantheon actually includes an evil deity and, indeed, the Blackness does not have much of a following amongst the goodly gnomes. The place that gnomes give to the Blackness is the little dark spot in every being’s soul. It is a sliver of greed, hubris, selfishness and other negative emotions that can subvert even the best of intentions. Gnomes ward against the Blackness through their constant pranks and general good cheer. Those gnomes that succumb to the Blackness do not necessarily worship the formless god, but further his interests by egotistically serving their own.
Domains: Evil and Destruction.
Deities: Stoneworker, Smith.
Granted Power: You get a +2 morale bonus to Craft checks and a +1 competence bonus to make masterwork items.
1. Animate Rope
2. Make Whole
3. Shrink Item
4. Minor Creation
6. Major Creation
7. Stone Tell
8. Transmute Metal to Wood
Deities: The Protector, Howler.
Granted Power: Laughter and good humour surround you like a cloak. Once per day you can activate an aura of courage similar to the paladin ability, gaining a +4 morale bonus to all saves against fear effects and granting allies within 10 feet a +6 morale bonus to the same saving throws. This aura lasts for three rounds plus one per positive Charisma modifier.
1. Remove Fear
2. Random Action
3. Hideous Laughter
4. Break Enchantment
9. Irresistible Dance