Ritualistically Speaking: Banish Illusion

Enemies who are invisible or who use illusions to mask their identities can be painful adversaries when you are a player. Using illusions and trickery can be fun when you are a DM. Banish Illusion can make a wizard feel less the fool and more the master of the arcane when they are able to see past illusions and go one step past them to banish, or negate them.

Flavor text by Randall Walker Aka Deadorcs from the Iinit or What Blog.

“That will be ten gold pieces, Sir.”

Arbus reached into his pouch.  Lifting out a handful of coins, he carefully began to count ten of them into the merchant’s waiting hand.  As he counted, one coin slipped and hit the desk he was seated at. As it struck the desk, a barely imperceptible flash caught Arbus’ eye, but the merchant quickly scooped up the coin, and Arbus finished counting out his payment.

“I’ll be back in a few minutes, Sir, with the item you requested.  It’s in the back.”

Nodding, Arbus looked over at his companion, who was leaning against the wall of the small dark office.  Bored, Nicky plucked idly at his fingernail.  Pausing to bite the hangnail he had discovered, he looked up to find Arbus staring at him.

“What?”  Nicky brushed his hands together and straightened his tunic.

“Did you see that?”  Arbus spoke evenly.

“See what?”

“That flash.  Did you see that flash?”  Arbus stood up and stepped away from the desk.  Walking to the middle of the office, he gestured towards the door.

“Flash?  What flash, Arbus?  I didn’t see nothin.”

“Just watch the door, Nicky”.

Now alert, Nicky moved towards the door of the office.  Arbus had that funny sound to his voice again, and he knew better than to argue.  As he stood by, he watched as Arbus reached into his pouch and pulled out a tube of powder.

“Wat’cha gonna do with that, Arbus?”  Nicky shifted from one foot to the next and took a step closer to the door.

Ignoring his companion, Arbus moved about the center of the office, pouring out the contents of the tube.  The flakes of moon quartz were nearly invisible and left only a barely detectable pattern on the floor.  When he was finished, he stepped carefully into the middle of the pattern he had created.

“The merchant’s gonna be pissed you poured that stuff all over his floor, Arbus.”

Glaring at his companion, Arbus shot back, “Shut up, Nicky!  Let me concentrate for a second”.

Closing his eyes, Arbus took a deep breath and clapped his hands together sharply.  Instantly, the walls and floor of the office began to dissolve away and he saw the room in a completely different light.  The room was now an amorphous collection of slime, bulbous protrusions and sickly tendrils that shivered as if alive.  Pulsing with a bluish-red light, the entire room seemed to breath.  Blanching, Arbus reached behind him gesturing frantically to his companion.

“Nicky, get out.  Get out of here right now!”

“Arbus, what is it?  What’s wrong?”  Nicky didn’t want to abandon the old man, but he had never seen Arbus so fearful.

“Nicky, we don’t have much time.  Step quickly into the circle and you’ll see what I mean.”  Arbus widened his hands and the more of the illusion faltered.  Stepping into the circle, Nicky froze.

“What the gods crap is this!”

“The office is an illusion, Nicky.  I’ve banished it for a short time.  As you can see, we don’t belong here.”

As the two began to ease backward towards the entrance, the back door of the office opened and in stepped the merchant.  While his clothes were the same, his visage had horribly changed.  Instead of the non-descript human face they had been dealing with, they now stared upon the face of a creature so alien it barely registered.  It’s sickly pink and mauve skin pulsed and several tentacles writhed where a mouth should be.  Staring in shock, the two watched as the strange creature used its unsightly clawed hands to place a box on the table.  It’s tentacles squirming disgustingly, it seemed to speak,

“Your item, Sir.”

Banish Illusions

Component Cost: 720 gp Market Price: 1,800 gp
Key Skill: Arcana (no check) Level: 11 Category: Warding
Time: 1 hour Duration: 24 hours

You weave a ward against illusions in a close burst 4. Any invisible creature within the area or that enters the area becomes visible. In addition, illusion powers take a -2 penalty to attack rolls, and creatures in the warded area gain a +5 bonus to Insight checks against illusions.

First published in Eberron Player’s Guide.

For a wizard or any other arcane character pitting magic against magic is a classic example of mystical powers. Often a wizard faces non magical foes by conjuring large amounts of power to attack their defenses. But when one wizard finds him self face to face with another practitioner of the arcane arts it is magic against magic. One attacks the other wards, and vice-versa. To defend against illusory attacks a wizard must study warding such as Banish Illusion, thus allowing them to defend them selves and others against attack on their perceptions of reality.

Making it Accessible:  Allowing players to gain an upper hand is always a good way to make them feel more heroic and effective, and rewarding them for trying something other than their regular skill checks is a good way to encourage them to try new thing. It is in this philosophy of DMing that I give the following advice.

The upper hand: Tailoring a few fights against a party who has this ritual in their arsenal can be a good way to allow them to feel like their investment has given them a combat reward. It might be acceptable to create enemies for the party who are knows to use illusion based giving the party the ability to use the combat property of Banish Illusion. Gaining the +2 to defense against illusory attacks can make any spell feel worth while. DMs should avoid feeling like it breaks their encounter and allow players to enjoy the benefit of advantage from time to time.

The odd reward: From time to time a DM might reward the careful player by adding, on the fly, something to make rituals like Banish Illusion feel helpful. If a player decides to use the warding in a place you the DM had no intentions of ambushing them feel free to ambush them. Make it a very simple and quick encounter of one or two invisible enemies trying to sneak into their camp. The battle should be quick and light but rewarding, making the players feel as if they were right to use the ritual. Make sure the enemies they defeat are carrying enough loot to pay for their ritual and perhaps a bit more.

It can be hard to figure out ways to add a focus to warding rituals, some times you might have to stretch it out just a bit to make one work for you. My suggestion would be chalk; plain old simple chalk. Wardings are commonly circles drawn on surfaces with components added to them to help infuse them with power. With Banish Illusion the warding could be created then infused into the chalk. When the chalk is used to draw a small circle on the ground and the person drawing the circle puts the energy of a healing surge into it the circle would expand to the original warding circle size.  This would allow for instant casting and more combat oriented uses.

DMs: It’s never been hard for a DM to convince a player to use a ward, or any kind of protective ritual. I my self have used them while playing due to constant attacks while the party attempts to rest. I think there can be more creative ways to entice your players to throw down the occasional ritual ward.

Skill challenge: A DM could make finding something hidden part of a skill challenge, or could even just use illusions as part of the challenge. For example a group of adventurers are trying to free some NPCs who have been captured by an evil wizard. The party is having a hard time getting into the tower in which the prisoners have been locked. Since the tower has no door the players might try to climb the tower or break through the wall. An arcana check might reveal to the players that there are illusions present. Using Banish Illusions could reveal a ladder or even a door requiring further skill checks to open.

Hidden Trickster: Constantly plaguing your party with a villain who uses illusions to confound and befuddle them might cause them to bring this ritual into the mix. If you make it very obvious that the new bane of the parties existence is relying heavily on illusions to constantly get the upper hand players should realize this ritual will put them on even ground or even give them an advantage.

Players: There are quite a few monsters and villains in the worlds of Dungeons and Dragons who use illusion to attack your characters. Few rituals in the game give out right combat bonuses for their use Banish Illusion does. This alone should be enough to give most players reason to use it. If that’s not enough using it to avoid being ambushed at night or while working on something important in unsafe areas could also be a great way to prove the value of this ritual. Wardings which cause invisible enemies to become visible with out any checks or saves can be invaluable if your DM is fond of using invisible enemies to hound your party. Banish Illusion can also be a great backup tool if you find your self failing skill roles to see past an illusion or determine what is real and what is a trick.

Combat: To the chagrin of most of my DMs I have always been a defensive player. I enjoy drawing enemies to me rather than constantly engaging them in new terrain. Home court advantage is always advisable and being able to set up rituals before combat is a great way to gain this advantage. DMs shouldn’t deny players the ability to gain the upper hand from time to time before battle. Allowing players to tactfully and strategically set up for combat can add new dimensions of fun and the feeling of some control over the story. Placing a Banish Illusion ward in a room before baiting enemies into it can add extra defense against foes known to use illusions and play mind games. Successfully  employing wards and rituals in this manner can feel extremely rewarding.

I can never say it enough; I know there are a ton of creative uses for Banish Illusion. If you have one post it here in the comments. I would love to hear your ideas and thoughts.

T.

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Part idiot. Part old man. All geek. Thadeous can't think of anything interesting about him self right now. Know this though if he could it would be creative and funny as well as thought provoking.


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About Thadeousc

Thadeous can't think of anything interesting about him self right now. Know this though if he could it would be creative and funny as well as thought provoking.

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