New Sorcery Spells - "Phantasm" and "Projection"


Cosmic Mongoose
At some point in the evolution of sorcery, some enterprising young warlock must have collected the major Phantom (Sense) and Project (Sense) spells, reworked them, united them, optimised them and released the spells as Phantasm and Projection.

Some of the wording might sound familiar to some of you:-

Concentration, Resist (Special)

Phantasm produces an illusion which affects all the basic senses: sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. Some variants exist which also cover unusual sensory mechanisms (such as the darksense of trolls) - these variations must be sought out, and are considered "upgrades" to the base Phantasm spell, requiring 2 Improvement Rolls to learn.

Phantasm affects targets with a maximum INT of three times the spell Intensity. Illusions generated can be of any size, from biting insects the size of mustard seeds to deep, bottomless chasms, to roaring dragons the size of palaces. Only the imagination of the caster limits the scope.

Illusions produced by Phantasm are stimulations of the target’s own perceptions and nervous system – not temporary manifestations of reality. Targets must succeed in an opposed test of their Persistence against the caster’s Sorcery (Grimoire), otherwise they truly believe what they are experiencing.

Normally, Phantasm affects every sense, however, the spell can be narrowed down in scope to affect some of the senses, or even a single sense - sound, smell, touch, even taste.

Phantasm cannot cause direct harm, although the illusions may be injurious in an indirect manner,
such as creating an illusion of a cow over a griffon, or by masking the taste of a virulent poison.
However, most effects are psychosomatic in nature and permit further Resistance rolls when used offensively.

Phantasms can react to their surroundings as long as the sorcerer maintains concentration over them. If concentration lapses, then the illusion remains static within the victim’s mind, continuing to produce the last effect imagined by the caster – the smell of roses; a moaning wind; bone biting cold; a solid floor covering a massive, real, hole in the ground; a bridge over a chasm, or just a chasm; and so on. The sorcerer can resume concentration at a later time to change the
illusion as long as the spell has not expired.

Spells providing magical protection block a Phantasm spell of equal or lesser Magnitude.

Illusions generated can be subtle, or they can be overwhelmingly strong. A Phantasm scent can resemble the faint but delectable odour of lotus perfume, or the cloying reek of a decomposing body on a composting midden; a visual Phantasm illusion can look like flickering will-o'-wisps, or a blazing light close up.

Phantasms cannot inflict permanent harm - they cannot directly even inflict damage. However, they can create psychosomatic reactions, hindering attempts at spellcasting and concentration.

Phantasms which can induce physical reactions, such as nauseating scents, require an opposed Resilience roll versus the caster's Sorcery skill to avoid becoming nauseated (use the Nausea Condition, Legend Core Rulebook, p. 79); spells aimed at creating a distraction, such as very loud sounds to block attempts at verbal communication or to distract a spellcaster and prevent her from casting a spell, require an opposed Persistence roll versus the caster's Sorcery skill to allow the target to shut out the distraction and concentrate long enough to complete her task.

Phantasm can also do something that the Phantom (Sense) suite of spells cannot do: instead of creating an image of something that is not there, Phantasm can mask the appearance of something which is.

Used in this way, Phantasm blocks all attempts to perceive the object. It cannot be seen, heard, felt, smelled or tasted. It is as if the object is not there. If placed on a closed doorway, the door still blocks passage through it - but someone looking at the door would see what he expects to see through the door: one way of deducing that there is an illusion would be that two different people would see two different things through the same apparently empty arch.

The spell affects everyone with a maximum INT of 3 per point of Intensity (1 point of Intensity equals one tenth of their Sorcery (Grimoire) spell, sounded up). The Targets manipulation parameter affects the number of objects or people covered by the spell; not the number of people who are looking at the object. A selection of 3 targets by this spell means that the spell makes three objects invisible to anyone looking at it; not that it affects three people looking at the object.

No Persistence rolls are possible to counteract this effect; but if someone suspects that something cloaked is present nearby, whether it is an invisible character cloaked by the sorcerer or an object under concealment, they can make a Perception roll to work out where the cloaked object or person is; this Perception roll is penalised -10% per point of Intensity of the spell.

Used to cloak objects or people in this way, the spell is considered Autonomous on inanimate objects, and Concentration on people - in effect, they can only move at Speed while the spell is on them, and not perform any other kind of actions, such as casting spells, attacking or defending.


Cosmic Mongoose
The spell allows the sorcerer to project the recipient’s senses beyond his body via an invisible and intangible receptor, which transmits the sensory input back. This permits the recipient to use his Perception skill anywhere the receptor is. Normally, Projection sends all of the caster's senses out - but the caster can choose, at any time during the casting, to limit the senses projected only to some of his senses, or even just to the one sense.

The sorcerer decides at the time the spell is cast where the receptor initially manifests – either beside the spell’s recipient or a location well known to the sorcerer within the spell’s range. The receptor has a Movement of one metre per Intensity. Concentration is only required to move the receptor, look around or change which senses are used – when stationary, the spell is treated as Autonomous instead.

A sorcerer can use Projection to be able to aim a second spell at a target who is out of direct observation – whether because of distance or blocking obstacles. The piggy-backed spell must also have sufficient Range to reach the target.

Projection can be detected by those using magical perception and, if desired, dispelled. Attacking the receptor with a magically augmented weapon or a spell will transfer the magical damage/effect back to the recipient.


Cosmic Mongoose
This is my design philosophy behind these two spells.

I think I'd prefer a single spell that creates a realistic, multi-sense yet intangible illusion, and a single spell enabling projection of the person's senses rather than one sense.

Apprentice sorcerers can learn the individual Phantom (Sense) and Project (Sense) spells, as described in Legend Core Rulebook - but once their Apprenticeship is finished, they can remove those spells from their memories and learn these more advanced ones instead. Time for the long pants.


One question re Phantasm: where did you get the idea Phantom (sense) cannot mask a current sensory image? The spell description blatantly says it can be done, with an example in the subsection on Phantom (sight). Putting multiple senses into one base spell seems to be unnessicery and something of a disruption of the design philosophy if Sorcery: complex is achieved through manipulation of simple effects.

I also cannot clearly see what Projection adds, when all a caster may want to do is combine project (sight) and project (sound). Quite straightforward for a competent sorcerer?

As an aside, if you can mask sensory impressions with phantom, you can also create effective invisibility with the same spell, mut multiple subjects and multiple targets will mean high skill, which is as it should be, for such a powerful effect.


Cosmic Mongoose
Harshlax said:
One question re Phantasm: where did you get the idea Phantom (sense) cannot mask a current sensory image? The spell description blatantly says it can be done, with an example in the subsection on Phantom (Sight).
The only example of Phantom (Sense) masking anything is Phantom (Taste) - where it is used to mask the taste of a poison. You can't assume that the other Phantom (Sense) spells can be used to mask anything.

The reason for the design choice above is as I explained in the workings. The individual Phantom (sense) spells and Project (sense) are as but apprentice spells; cantrips, compared to the more profound spells which are only available to the most advanced masters of the Grimoire from which they learned the Phantom (sense) and Project (sense) spells.

They are already optimised such that the sorcerer does not need Combine with them. This means that Manipulation factors can be spread elsewhere in the spell, such as Magnitude or Range; the spells cost fewer Magic Points to cast, can be cast more quickly and - most of all - they can be cast at full Intensity; because with no Combine factors, there is no reduction to the caster's Sorcery (Grimoire) skill for each extra spell.

In fact, the reason for the existence of the more limited Phantom (Sense) and Project (Sense) spells could well be as a teaching aid to teach Apprentices how to apply Manipulation factors to Combine.


Cosmic Mongoose
alex_greene said:
Harshlax said:
One question re Phantasm: where did you get the idea Phantom (sense) cannot mask a current sensory image? The spell description blatantly says it can be done, with an example in the subsection on Phantom (Sight).
The only example of Phantom (Sense) masking anything is Phantom (Taste) - where it is used to mask the taste of a poison. You can't assume that the other Phantom (Sense) spells can be used to mask anything.


I can think of lots of reasons to use Phantom (Sense) to mask sensory images.

A Phantom Touch spell cast over a straw-covered pit to make the ground feel solid.
A Phantom Sight spell cast over the pit to make it look like normal ground.
A Phantom Sound spell to cover the sounds of someone running away.
A Phantom Smell spell to mask the odour of a rotting corpse.
A Phantom Taste spell to mask the bitter taste of a poison.


We are clearly reading Phantom (sense) very differently, and from your reading I can certainly see why you have designed Phantasm.

But when I read the spell description I see sections like this: "creating an illusion of a cow over a griffon", "This illusion creates or hides any single taste, " If used subtly, it can augment or modify the appearance of an already existing target; granting outlandish clothing or changing colour for example." I have to conclude that you can mask/overlay/replace any sensory impression with another sensory impression of your devising.

Re invisibility, its up to you and your gm but you could argue that you are replacing the image of the subject with the image of nothing being present in that space and the environment beyond being visible. Thus with concentration, and maybe some insight into how the target perceives things (in the case of a Troll's Darkvision), Invisibility could be maintained. heck you could even overlay the sound of your voice with a local accent and pass yourself off as a native of a foreign country, after some careful study, and maybe using Acting skill as an augment to the attempt to deceive.

In short, I see Phantom (sense) as an extraordinary flexible set of spells, so in need of staying separate to ensure they are not overpowered.


Cosmic Mongoose
That argument "They are extraordinarily powerful, therefore we should nerf them" does not wash.

Phantasm and Projection don't make the sorcerer omnipotent. They grant an edge over a sorcerer equipped with the lesser spells - but an edge does not guarantee a decisive victory.

And "masking" one thing with another image is not the same as erasing the appearance of something and cloaking it such that it cannot be seen, heard or perceived.

"There is something in this room (where, in fact, no such object exists)" and "This object looks like something else" are not the same effect as "There is nothing here to see." Masking the taste of a poison is basically altering its flavour. Phantom (Taste) alters that perception. For instance, if a cup contained tea mixed with a poison that tasted of bitter almonds, Phantom (Taste) could not cloak the taste; but it could alter the perceived taste such that the unfortunate drinking this lethal brew would only be tasting tea and more tea.

Whereas Phantasm could actually subtract that taste altogether, instead of making the bitter almonds flavour taste like something else.


Like I said, the Invisibility thing is up to you and your GM. I personally view Phantom (sense) as creating a perceptual image.

When nothing is between the observer and a wall, the perceptual image is of the wall being x feet away with empty space in between. When an illusion of a cat is created, for example, the perceptual image is altered to have the wall x feet away, but a cat also being present blocking some of that view. If you want to hide a sign, say, you change the perceptual image from one that includes the sign to one that does not include the sign, its all just sensory input.

I think my view comes from back in RQ3 where Sorcery manipulated the perception of the viewer versus Divine Magic whose illusions actually created temporary reality. It's quite a philosophical difference and links into the questions of what is reality, and is there any reality beyond what we perceive. But I'm no Philosopher to give a well-presented summary of the perspectives, but I hope I have given some insight into why I approach Phantom (sense) the way I do.

Anyway, that's why I personally don't see a need for a spell that covers all senses, particularly as, as I said in my first post, Sorcery as i understand it, is all about building up more complex effects from combinations of simple effects. The skill required for the more complex stuff is greater, and it only requires one more magic point to cast to include Combine.