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View Full Version : 3.5 Shadow Evocation, wtf?



sambo.
2009-10-20, 07:40 AM
sorry if this has been asked and answered a thousand times already, but how do the Shadow Evocation spells actually work?

let's say i'm a sorcerer and i take Shadow Evocation...

i then use Shadow Evocation to cast, for example, a Fireball at, again for example, Caster Level 8.....

how do the mechanics of the spell work at this point? what saves does the opposition get and how much actual damage gets done to said opponents?

Burley
2009-10-20, 07:45 AM
It's pretty easy. They get their will save (as an 8th level spell?). If they fail, it's just like fireball in every way.
If they succeed: Your fireball is only 20% effective. Roll all your damage, take 20% of that. That's the amount of damage you deal if they fail their reflex save. If they make their reflex save, it's half of the 20% that you rolled.

DC are not effected by the 20% (to my knowledge).

Redpieper
2009-10-20, 07:47 AM
Against the fireball they'd get a reflex save and a will save.
If they succeed on the reflex save, the damage is halved.
If they succeed on the will save, the damage is reduced to 20%.
So for example someone succeeds on both saves and you roll for 20 damage.
First it would get halved to 10 damage, then it would be reduced to 20%, so 2 damage.

At least that's how I understand it. Correct me if I'm wrong. :smallsmile:

Edit: Or use the above as it is much more clear :smallwink:

DragoonWraith
2009-10-20, 07:56 AM
That's correct. The Shadow spells are usually best used 'faking' save-less or utility spells for exactly those reasons.

Don't let that stop you from taking it, though! A Sorcerer really appreciates the versatility of it. Though Shadow Evocation is the worst of the batch, by quite a bit, and you probably don't need Shadow Conjuration, Greater Shadow Conjuration, and Shades...

ericgrau
2009-10-20, 07:56 AM
The shadow fireball averages 60% of the damage of a real one and is a 5th level spell instead of 3rd. It also averages 40% of the damage of an empowered fireball, which is also a 5th level spell. Non-damage evocation spells tend to be force effect, whose main virtue is being difficult to stop. Not any more. Or ongoing spells so a successful will save in round 1 will suck for you all combat. Shadow evocation really is incredibly weak replacement for the real thing. It's main advantage is versatility for the unexpected spell. But if you know what evocation spell you want then just take that spell, not shadow evocation.

Sorcerers have more different spells prepared than a wizard, so let me stop that sorcerer versatility nonsense right here. As the day proceeds the gulf only gets larger. If you're a sorcerer and you want a fireball, then you take a fireball. Don't take an incredibly weak choice to "fix" some supposed weakness. Instead, simply take the same spells that a wizard would use for his general purpose list, except you get more choices.

Johel
2009-10-20, 07:58 AM
Of course, the real goodness is about Shadow Conjuration, Greater Shadow Conjuration and Shades, which basically grant to your sorcerer the knowledge of dozens of different utility spells.
Of course, it's limited to [Creation] and [Summon] but that's like 75% of the conjuration spells.

EDIT : Ninja by DragoonWraith :smallfrown:

sambo.
2009-10-20, 08:05 AM
the character i'm contemplating this for is actually a Sorcerer/Shadowcaster/Noctumancer, so i can get Shadow Evocations as a Mystery rather than use up those rare and precious Sorcerer spell slots.

hmm.

i'm seriously thinking about taking Defenestrating Sphere as a straight up Sorcerer spell, then letting the Shadow Evocations (as Mysteries, not spells) be a stop-gap substitution for any other evocation spells i might think i need to throw into the mix.

Defenestrating Sphere looks just too juicy to pass up (so does Great Thunderclap actually.....)

bleagh. trying to balance out the Mysteries and the Spells so i'm not overlapping and making one or the other redundant requires careful thought.


[email protected]

JeenLeen
2009-10-20, 08:09 AM
I know this is more Shadow Conjuration, but I imagine some evocation spells (Forcecage?) would work along the same lines.


Of course, the real goodness is about Shadow Conjuration, Greater Shadow Conjuration and Shades, which basically grant to your sorcerer the knowledge of dozens of different utility spells.
Of course, it's limited to [Creation] and [Summon] but that's like 75% of the conjuration spells.

EDIT : Ninja by DragoonWraith :smallfrown:

If you do a Shadow version of a Summon Monster spell, what sort and how often do enemies get Will saves when fighting said monsters?

Also, if you used something like Phantom Steed or another utility spell, if the rider made their Will save, how would that interact? (I know you can purposely fail a Will save, so it's not an issue for the caster, but it could be an odd situation if you cast it specified for another rider and didn't tell them it was a 'shadow' so they 'knew to believe'. Also odd mechanically.)

ericgrau
2009-10-20, 08:11 AM
Simple solution. Take shadow evocation from your PrC and take fireball, along with any other major evocation spells you want. Learn all the super obscure evocation spells you can, have a list in front of you at all times, and use shadow evocation for the truly strange ones that you'd never want to learn otherwise. Like I said, you have more freedom preparing your general purpose list than the wizard, not less.

The place where you have less freedom is when you decide, say, that you don't want a dozen lousy divination spells on your main list. But then here comes a plot point that needs divining. So the wizard - who is even less likely to have these spells ready to go right now - rests for a day and then preps a bunch of divinations. That's when it matters; for obscure high level utility spells that you use once in a blue moon and cost too much to get scrolls of. Or when entering the Dungeon of Light Sensitive Creatures with Poor Fortitude Saves. Ya, there's a sign out front, visible from a day's journey away. 95% of the time the sorcerer is actually more versatile.

cheezewizz2000
2009-10-20, 08:19 AM
I'm supprised no-one has mentioned the real gem of the shadow subset of illusion spells: Greater shadow evocation. Gives you access to that most wonderful of evocation spells: Contingency.

Gives wizards who have dumped evocation the chance to still set up continency spells. All you have to do is believe in your own illusion for it to work, which requires such monumental feats of mental gymnastics that I think it should require a concentration check, or at least a feat, to pull off.

Greater shadow evocation also gives access to a 1 standard action sending, which I like the idea of. Especially because the recipient would have to fail a will save to hear your message...

Johel
2009-10-20, 08:20 AM
Also, if you used something like Phantom Steed or another utility spell, if the rider made their Will save, how would that interact? (I know you can purposely fail a Will save, so it's not an issue for the caster, but it could be an odd situation if you cast it specified for another rider and didn't tell them it was a 'shadow' so they 'knew to believe'. Also odd mechanically.)

Well, since they are quasi-real illusions and usually have no "random" or dangerous effect, I guess the utility spells work fine. After all, the mount won't go slower because it's an illusion.

For summoned monsters :

A shadow creature has one-fifth the hit points of a normal creature of its kind (regardless of whether it’s recognized as shadowy). It deals normal damage and has all normal abilities and weaknesses.
Against a creature that recognizes it as a shadow creature, however, the shadow creature’s damage is one-fifth (20%) normal, and all special abilities that do not deal lethal damage are only 20% likely to work. (Roll for each use and each affected character separately.) Furthermore, the shadow creature’s AC bonuses are one-fifth as large.

Johel
2009-10-20, 08:26 AM
I'm supprised no-one has mentioned the real gem of the shadow subset of illusion spells: Greater shadow evocation. Gives you access to that most wonderful of evocation spells: Contingency.

Gives wizards who have dumped evocation the chance to still set up continency spells. All you have to do is believe in your own illusion for it to work, which requires such monumental feats of mental gymnastics that I think it should require a concentration check, or at least a feat, to pull off.

Greater shadow evocation also gives access to a 1 standard action sending, which I like the idea of. Especially because the recipient would have to fail a will save to hear your message...

Not a bad call

However, would you trade a 8th level spell slot for a 6th level spell slot when you are a sorcerer ? Personally, I find the 8th level spells among the most useful. Mind Blank, Moment of Prescience should be on any "cast every morning" list.
Sorcerers can probably afford the "Shadow Contingency" trick but wizards ? They hardly get enough slots for it.

What do you mean "1 standard action sending" ? The casting time isn't reduced because it's a shadow version of it. Or did I miss the point ?

Random832
2009-10-20, 08:27 AM
I just had an idea for a spell which would be the shadow equivalent of mirror image. It creates duplicates of yourself with one fifth of your hit points, etc 20% of everything as with your quote about shadow conjuration summoned monsters.

The spell would be called...shadow clone no jutsu :smallbiggrin:

cheezewizz2000
2009-10-20, 08:29 AM
What do you mean "1 standard action sending" ? The casting time isn't reduced because it's a shadow version of it. Or did I miss the point ?

I assumed that because you are only duplicating the effect of a sending spell, the casting time would be the same as shadow evocation. If it also duplicated the casting time of the spell you are duplicating the effect of, then I am wrong.

Johel
2009-10-20, 08:31 AM
I just had an idea for a spell which would be the shadow equivalent of mirror image. It creates duplicates of yourself with one fifth of your hit points, etc 20% of everything as with your quote about shadow conjuration summoned monsters.

The spell would be called...shadow clone no jutsu :smallbiggrin:

:smallsmile:
I like the idea.
Seriously.

There should be a strict duration limit, like 1 minute / level or even 1 round / level. Otherwise, there's too much possible abuse.
See Simulacrum for a good starting base for that spell.


I assumed that because you are only duplicating the effect of a sending spell, the casting time would be the same as shadow evocation. If it also duplicated the casting time of the spell you are duplicating the effect of, then I am wrong.

Well, the description seems to prove you right. It's written "Casting Time: 1 standard action"... :smalleek:

But common sense dictate that the "Casting Time: 1 standard action" is the minimum time needed to cast a shadow version of a spell.

Foryn Gilnith
2009-10-20, 08:32 AM
What do you mean "1 standard action sending" ? The casting time isn't reduced because it's a shadow version of it. Or did I miss the point ?

Casting time is listed as "one standard" action. All other variables (range, duration, etc.) are specified as "see texT". As the text neither states casting-time change nor is obligated to provide such information, casting time remains one standard action. Same thing with Miracle.

ericgrau
2009-10-20, 08:38 AM
Shadow phantom steed sounds nice. His HP are low enough that he'd probably get 1 shotted even from the normal version. Best to just prepare feather fall. So far it seems that shadow conjuration is a lot more useful than shadow evocation.

sambo.
2009-10-20, 09:09 AM
Best to just prepare feather fall.

i already took Featherfall as one of my first level Sorcerer spells.

waaaaaaay back in the dim dark days of 1ed, i learnt the value of Featherfall.
since then, i have never had any kind of magic-user that doesn't have it, either prepared or available for spontaneous casting.

it's one of those spells that when you really, really need it, you don't mind that it's been burning up a spell slot for so long.

i've saved the lives of numerous party members over the years by having that spell available.

Gnaeus
2009-10-20, 09:31 AM
That's when it matters; for obscure high level utility spells that you use once in a blue moon and cost too much to get scrolls of. Or when entering the Dungeon of Light Sensitive Creatures with Poor Fortitude Saves. Ya, there's a sign out front, visible from a day's journey away. 5% of the time the sorcerer is actually more versatile.

Fixed that for you. Yes, the sorcerer is more versatile if the wizard doesn't know from day to day if he is going to be resting in his tower, wandering through the wilderness, or in deepest underdark. Thing is, most of the time players know where they are and have some plan as to where they are going to be. Unless your DM is really bad, you don't encounter monsters chosen randomly by flipping the Monster Manual to a random page. Whether you are infiltrating a giant lair, seeking a marauding dragon, looting a crypt, or hunting down a lair of orcs or drow, you will want different spells, and most of the time you are going to have some fracking idea what you are doing. The sorcerer has to prepare a list that can cover all those things, + days spent in urban areas or mystery solving or wilderness exploring.

And, with his wider selection of spells in book, his option of sharing spellbooks with other wizards and his free feats, the wizard is also more likely to have the exact scroll, wand, or staff he needs.

sambo.
2009-10-20, 10:09 AM
can we please not get into any Sorcerer Vs Wizard debates.

some people truly believe that a Wizard outguns a Sorcerer and others believe that a Sorcerer can outgun a Wizard.

there truly is no right or wrong, one way or t'other.

it's one of those areas where we have to Agree To Disagree.

if you want to debate sorcerer vs wizard, please go and make a thread as such.

Lycanthromancer
2009-10-20, 10:41 AM
I'm supprised no-one has mentioned the real gem of the shadow subset of illusion spells: Greater shadow evocation. Gives you access to that most wonderful of evocation spells: Contingency.

Gives wizards who have dumped evocation the chance to still set up continency spells. All you have to do is believe in your own illusion for it to work, which requires such monumental feats of mental gymnastics that I think it should require a concentration check, or at least a feat, to pull off.Morelike, "I know that only people who actively resist this spell can make it fail, so if I cast it on myself and let it succeed, it will."

cheezewizz2000
2009-10-20, 11:08 AM
Morelike, "I know that only people who actively resist this spell can make it fail, so if I cast it on myself and let it succeed, it will."

But most people don't actively resist illusion spells. Say you cast an illusory (shadow) force-cage around a fighter. As far as he is concerned, he is in a force-cage. Its only once he touches the sides that he gets a will save, representing his awareness of his situation. A particularly astute fighter (read: one with a high will/rolled high on his will save) will notice that perhaps his hands pass a little way into the bars before they are stopped and so may realise that it is not all there and may only then disbelieve it. At no point did he try to will his way through the bars, he just noticed that it wasn't actually there, so it couldn't affect him.

The same goes for contingency. You haven't ACTUALLY cast a contingent spell on your self at all, you've just fooled yourself into thinking that you have. Despite being fully aware of the fact that the spell you've cast is a fake, if you believe it is real then it works.

Lycanthromancer
2009-10-20, 11:11 AM
Um... "I'm fully aware that it's physically impossible for humans to walk on liquids mechanically unassisted, or turn water into fermented grape juice with a wave of the hand, or create foodstuffs from nothing, or to spontaneously resurrect from the dead, but someone told me it happened once, and I'm going to believe them despite personal experience saying it's somewhat unlikely."

People can make themselves believe all sorts of things. Especially when there really IS magic involved.

The Random NPC
2009-10-20, 11:13 AM
I always thought that a caster automatically disbelieved his own illusions. After all, he knows it's a fake, and therefor is provided proof that the illusion isn't real and needs no saving throw.

cheezewizz2000
2009-10-20, 11:27 AM
Um... "I'm fully aware that it's physically impossible for humans to walk on liquids mechanically unassisted, or turn water into fermented grape juice with a wave of the hand, or create foodstuffs from nothing, or to spontaneously resurrect from the dead, but someone told me it happened once, and I'm going to believe them despite personal experience saying it's somewhat unlikely."

People can make themselves believe all sorts of things. Especially when there really IS magic involved.

There's a difference between believing in something based on faith and believing in something when you have direct empirical evidence (IE: you did it and were in full possession of your mental capacities, enough to intone the words of a spell and move your body in such a way to bring about its effects) that it didn't happen. I'm not saying it shouldn't be done as it's a good use of the spell, and by the rules it is completely possible, I'm just saying it requires some very quick doublethink on the part of the caster.


I always thought that a caster automatically disbelieved his own illusions. After all, he knows it's a fake, and therefor is provided proof that the illusion isn't real and needs no saving throw.

Yeas, but when you are casting a beneficial spell on yourself via shadow evocation/conjuration you need to believe that it is real in order for it to work, despite you knowing full well that it is not real in the slightest as you just cast it.

Random832
2009-10-20, 11:49 AM
It's kind of like flying, where you have to be distracted at the moment when normally you would hit the ground.

sambo.
2009-10-20, 11:54 AM
It's kind of like flying, where you have to be distracted at the moment when normally you would hit the ground.

"Flying is simply the Art of throwing yourself at the ground and missing."

i forget exactly where i read that.

ericgrau
2009-10-20, 11:58 AM
I brought up the sorcerer's many different prepared spells (more than a wizard) to point out that your options are not limited compared to a wizard and thus you should not "fix" this by taking sucky spells like shadow evocation. In this thread I really couldn't care less which class is better. And no, most groups usually do not know the weaknesses of the enemies they'll be fighting a full day before they even see them. Even high plot groups like OotS (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0345.html). If your group is different then, fine, play differently. I've played 3 different sorcerers with the same spells that get recommended for wizards and they were incredibly versatile. That's what I and the group liked most about them. Again, I couldn't care less about sorcerer v wizard. I'm just casting dispel myth on "sorcerers have limited options so pick sucky shadow spells that do everything."

OTOH shadow conjuration seems somewhat better b/c it has more options where saves won't matter. And I never noticed sending was evocation. Spells like that may be a more useful application of shadow evocation. But not damage or a lot of the best non-damage combat evocations.

Yukitsu
2009-10-20, 12:24 PM
Still not convinced that damage is at all a convincing or useful feature of shadow evocations, or evocations at all for that matter. I'd rather use my limited spells known for more conjuration effects.

Mongoose87
2009-10-20, 12:30 PM
"Flying is simply the Art of throwing yourself at the ground and missing."

i forget exactly where i read that.

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Eventually, Arthur Dent manages the feat.

Sinfire Titan
2009-10-20, 12:30 PM
"Flying is simply the Art of throwing yourself at the ground and missing."

i forget exactly where i read that.

I believe that's in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, or at least one of the books in the series.

arguskos
2009-10-20, 12:32 PM
I believe that's in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, or at least one of the books in the series.
The ending of Life, the Universe, and Everything (book 3), I believe. I know it features in Thanks For All The Fish (book 4) as well.

chiasaur11
2009-10-20, 12:41 PM
"Flying is simply the Art of throwing yourself at the ground and missing."

i forget exactly where i read that.

The Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy.

Probably you saw an extract from it Douglas Adams put in "Life, the Universe, and Everything."

Cursed Ooonge mountain range ninjas.

Paulus
2009-10-20, 01:00 PM
^Ninjas ninjaing ninja ninjas.

Anyway, I would say You believe your shadow spells work because you know if you do they are real. So, if I believe in my shadow magic as being real, it actually is real and is not just a show illusion. Therefore, all I have to do is remember it is real and it will be, so, since i Know it will be real if I believe it is real, then if I believe it is real it is real.

thus, I believe it is real and it is real.

Enemies are another matter. It'd be beautiful if they thought this way too, and apparently they do... only when they make a will save o force themselves to disbelieve dose it become 'unreal'. If you like to think of it like that anyway. Different interpretations of course.

Roderick_BR
2009-10-20, 01:39 PM
I'm supprised no-one has mentioned the real gem of the shadow subset of illusion spells: Greater shadow evocation. Gives you access to that most wonderful of evocation spells: Contingency.

Gives wizards who have dumped evocation the chance to still set up continency spells. All you have to do is believe in your own illusion for it to work, which requires such monumental feats of mental gymnastics that I think it should require a concentration check, or at least a feat, to pull off.

Greater shadow evocation also gives access to a 1 standard action sending, which I like the idea of. Especially because the recipient would have to fail a will save to hear your message...
That would be funny to contingency a teleport. You become invisible, run to some place, and becomes visible again :smalltongue:

The only thing that bothers me is how a couple spells allows one to emulate a whole scholl's spell list, especially one already considered weak.
How about Shadow Divination, Shadow Abjuration, Shadow Necromancy, Shadow Transmutation, Shadow Enchantment, and... Shadow Illusion!

Douglas
2009-10-20, 01:50 PM
Shadow Illusion!
But what if you used it to make a partially real Shadow Evocation? OMG, you just invented a no-XP Wish*!

* Only spell duplication allowed. Results may be only a shadow of what you really wanted.

:smallbiggrin:

cheezewizz2000
2009-10-20, 01:54 PM
and... Shadow Illusion!

Shadow Illusion
Level: Sorc/Wis 5, Bard 4
Componants: V,S
Casting Time: 1 Standard action
Range: See text
Effect: See text
Duration: See text
Saving throw: Will disbelief
Spell resistance: Yes

You tap the plane of shadow to create a quasi-illusionary illusion of an illusion of a sorcerer or wizard illusion of 4th level or lower.

Spells that require a will save have normal effects unless the affected creature succeeds on a will save. Each disbelieving creature is affected by only 20% of the illusion, so an invisible person will only appear to be 20% invisible and a fooled scrying will appear in an innapropriate aspect ratio.

Sinfire Titan
2009-10-20, 01:59 PM
Shadow phantom steed sounds nice. His HP are low enough that he'd probably get 1 shotted even from the normal version. Best to just prepare feather fall. So far it seems that shadow conjuration is a lot more useful than shadow evocation.

Well, duh. Conjuration is the most versatile school in the game for a reason. Anything that rips off of it is getting some serious firepower.

Random832
2009-10-20, 02:04 PM
Shadow Conjuration (Healing).

:smallcool: