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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    Default Wizard Illusionist's Improved Minor Illusion

    After having played one, and having thought in it for a while, I feel that the Illusionist subclass of the Wizard in 5e feels like it doesn't really have any class features until level 6. Don't get me wrong, Malleable Illusions is amazing! But one should not have to choose between being an illusionist at low level (by playing a Warlock) or at high level (by playing an actual Illusionist). One should be able to really feel like a competent illusionist - like being one means something more than it does for a wizard of literally any other subclass - at level 2.

    The problem is that Improved Minor Illusion sounds cool at first, but in practice is lackluster. Minor illusion is a cantrip that either creates a phantom sound (which is rather versatile) or a visible image (which is endlessly debated as to just how flexible and realistically life-like it's allowed to be). The Illusionist level 2 ability gives them this cantrip if they don't already know it, and allows them to have both effects with one casting. It does not change the duration nor the limit of one and only one casting active at a time.

    Under the more permissive readings of minor illusion's visible image, the ability to add sound has some minor utility: leaves moving on the illusory shrub rustle appropriately, water splashing in the illusory fountain has the right burble, etc. Under more restrictive readings (I've seen ones I believe are meant to be taken seriously as severe as "static, unmoving image which doesn't change with shifting lighting."), the ability to add sound is pointless, as the motionless image couldn't believably generate sound, anyway. This relegates the class feature to the unintuitive separate use of it as a static image and an unrelated noise coming from the same space, with the possible hope of making somebody think it's coming from the silent image on which the illusionist is concentrating while hiding inside the minor illusion of a rock or a barrel or something.

    Add in that the fact that it gives the illusionist minor illusion as a freebie "if they don't already have it," it encourages those who plan to go illusionist to NOT pick up that cantrip at first level. That's right: if you want to be an illusionist, you're better off not picking up the illusion cantrip at the start of your career!

    To fix these, I propose the following:


    Improved Minor Illusion
    At second level, when a wizard chooses to specialize in Illusion, he learns the minor illusion cantrip if he does not already know it. If he already knows it, he may choose any other wizard cantrip to learn. In addition, his minor illusions take on a much more life-like quality. He may produce both visual images and illusory sounds with a single casting of the spell, and his images may move and even react to the environment as if they were solid. Illusory coins may be picked up by those who pantomime the motion. Illusory mirrors can accurately reflect the environment. Illusory water can be poured out of a glass into which it was conjured (and the glass, if also illusory, can be knocked over by a sweep of a hand). Sounds appropriate to the illusory motions and impacts are naturally produced. In short, the illusory objects (or collections thereof) manifested by the Illusionist's minor illusion may react as if they were as complex and real as that which they resemble, unless he chooses to have them do otherwise. They remain intangible, and those who touch them will know they feel nothing there, and if the illusion cannot or is stopped from reacting appropriately, real solid objects still pass through.



    The goal of this change is to both beef up the illusionist, and at the least give the illusionist a truly flexible illusion cantrip, even at tables with the most restrictive understanding of what minor illusion can do with its images.

    Prior to discussion below, I also included this line in it:
    In addition, casting the spell while another instance is still active does not cause the first to go away. An illusionist may have up to his Wizard level in minor illusions going at once; new ones cast beyond that limit cause the oldest previous ones to vanish.
    I do like the idea of more minor illusions, but it's not critical to making this feel like "an illusionist," so if it's just the one thing that's over the top, it can go.
    Last edited by Segev; 2019-05-28 at 09:07 AM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
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    Default Re: Wizard Illusionist's Improved Minor Illusion

    I think that the idea is sound.

    The implementation is not. It does too much all at once.
    I have a LOT of Homebrew!

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    Default Re: Wizard Illusionist's Improved Minor Illusion

    Quote Originally Posted by JNAProductions View Post
    I think that the idea is sound.

    The implementation is not. It does too much all at once.
    Itís a tricky thing to hit the right notes on. Especially with the debate over what minor illusion can do natively with an image.

    What do you think the possible combinations are of elements here that would not be too much?

    The most obvious thing (to me) to drop would be the last paragraph and leave the maximum number of minor illusions at 1.

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    Default Re: Wizard Illusionist's Improved Minor Illusion

    Yeah. Thatíd probably make it okay.
    I have a LOT of Homebrew!

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    Default Re: Wizard Illusionist's Improved Minor Illusion

    Removed that bit. Any other comments or critiques?

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    Default Re: Wizard Illusionist's Improved Minor Illusion

    Nah, I think that's good.

    It was when you could have half a dozen at once that it was crazy.
    I have a LOT of Homebrew!

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  7. - Top - End - #7
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    GnomeWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Wizard Illusionist's Improved Minor Illusion

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post


    Improved Minor Illusion
    At second level, when a wizard chooses to specialize in Illusion, he learns the minor illusion cantrip if he does not already know it. If he already knows it, he may choose any other wizard cantrip to learn. In addition, his minor illusions take on a much more life-like quality. He may produce both visual images and illusory sounds with a single casting of the spell, and his images may move and even react to the environment as if they were solid. Illusory coins may be picked up by those who pantomime the motion. Illusory mirrors can accurately reflect the environment. Illusory water can be poured out of a glass into which it was conjured (and the glass, if also illusory, can be knocked over by a sweep of a hand). Sounds appropriate to the illusory motions and impacts are naturally produced. In short, the illusory objects (or collections thereof) manifested by the Illusionist's minor illusion may react as if they were as complex and real as that which they resemble, unless he chooses to have them do otherwise. They remain intangible, and those who touch them will know they feel nothing there, and if the illusion cannot or is stopped from reacting appropriately, real solid objects still pass through.



    The goal of this change is to both beef up the illusionist, and at the least give the illusionist a truly flexible illusion cantrip, even at tables with the most restrictive understanding of what minor illusion can do with its images.

    Prior to discussion below, I also included this line in it:

    I do like the idea of more minor illusions, but it's not critical to making this feel like "an illusionist," so if it's just the one thing that's over the top, it can go.
    You are making an at will minor illusion cantrip more powerful than major image (in several ways).

    The biggest problem with minor image is that it frequently has a relatively small impact that is not worth the use of an action.
    If you feel improved minor illusion is underpowered then allow them to cast the improved version as a regular action and the regular version of minor image as a bonus action (so they can only cast a cantrip with their regular action). Then feel free to use stricter rules because now it's a bonus action and they will figure out how to take advantage of this extra action economy. Watch your players become more creative almost overnight.

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    GreenSorcererElf

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    Default Re: Wizard Illusionist's Improved Minor Illusion

    Quote Originally Posted by Damuri View Post
    You are making an at will minor illusion cantrip more powerful than major image (in several ways).
    Perhaps there's a compromise. What if the image generated from minor illusion casted by an illusion wizard has one or both of the following restrictions.
    • It uses an action to manipulate movement. I.e. it can move when cast but then freezes if the wizard doesn't use subsequent actions to manipulate it.
    • It can only move within the confines of where it was cast. I.e. its point is fixed, while it can make movement in that space.

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    GnomeWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Wizard Illusionist's Improved Minor Illusion

    Quote Originally Posted by TyGuy View Post
    Perhaps there's a compromise. What if the image generated from minor illusion casted by an illusion wizard has one or both of the following restrictions.
    • It uses an action to manipulate movement. I.e. it can move when cast but then freezes if the wizard doesn't use subsequent actions to manipulate it.
    • It can only move within the confines of where it was cast. I.e. its point is fixed, while it can make movement in that space.
    Aside from being confined to a 5 foot cube, you are effectively turning minor illusion into an at-will Silent Image but with sound.

    That is extremely powerful for an at-will spell both in and out of combat.

    You are trying to make minor illusion good enough that you would actually use it.
    I've been down that road and it doesn't end well.
    Instead of trying to make minor illusion better, make it easier to cast by changing casting time to a bonus action like I describe above (you can limit it to once per short rest or something if you think its too much).
    Wizards don't have a ton of things to do with their bonus actions so you will see this increase the use of the cantrip almost overnight and with more use, your players will think of ever more creative ways to use the spell. It provide immediate benefits in that someone will be obscured in every combat.

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    GreenSorcererElf

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    Default Re: Wizard Illusionist's Improved Minor Illusion

    Quote Originally Posted by Damuri View Post
    Aside from being confined to a 5 foot cube, you are effectively turning minor illusion into an at-will Silent Image but with sound.

    That is extremely powerful for an at-will spell both in and out of combat.

    You are trying to make minor illusion good enough that you would actually use it.
    I've been down that road and it doesn't end well.
    Instead of trying to make minor illusion better, make it easier to cast by changing casting time to a bonus action like I describe above (you can limit it to once per short rest or something if you think its too much).
    Wizards don't have a ton of things to do with their bonus actions so you will see this increase the use of the cantrip almost overnight and with more use, your players will think of ever more creative ways to use the spell. It provide immediate benefits in that someone will be obscured in every combat.
    To clarify, your proposal has the image frozen for 6 seconds until the wizard can recast and change it on their next turn, correct?

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    GnomeWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Wizard Illusionist's Improved Minor Illusion

    Quote Originally Posted by TyGuy View Post
    To clarify, your proposal has the image frozen for 6 seconds until the wizard can recast and change it on their next turn, correct?
    Yes. The primary problem with minor illusion is not that it's a weak cantrip, it is that it competes with too many other things for action economy. But if you make it a bonus action then all of a sudden, your players get much more creative. Sure, they can use it to create a small 5x5 obscurity zone at the beginning of combat for almost no action economy but every turn they will be tempted to try something new and creative with their bonus action that is almost never used. Sure it's just a static image or an audible component but that's where creativity comes in.

    I also allow the full improved image with the use of an action but to be fair it is used as a full action mostly out of combat.
    Last edited by Damuri; 2020-11-11 at 12:05 PM.

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