Continuum II: Illusion Cantrips

   Here we have the next portion of the Continuum II Cantrip list – in this case, Illusion Cantrips. Illusion cantrips can be quite impressive and flashy compared to other cantrips, given that all they’re usually doing is manipulating light and sound a bit – a trick that requires virtually no power at all. All you need to do is get the image you want clearly in your mind and channel a bit of personal mana into it to imprint the image on reality. Cantrip-level illusions are still pretty limited, but the details – like those of any illusion – are always up to the caster. They’re pretty easy to learn and use too.

   For those who haven’t been reading this series, here’s a repeat of the basic information on Cantrip Magic. For those who have been, it’s been offset for easy skipping.

   Cantrip Magic, drawing upon the modest reserve of magical energy which accumulates in any living creature, is the simplest and easiest of all forms of magic. That power is immediately to hand, focused, and attuned. It is inherently readily handled by the user – and the mere desire to use it is enough to get it partially shaped. Minor talents, basic magical training, or comparatively trivial talismans – such as the infamous “Cantrip Rings” – will suffice to channel it. Even more usefully, the simple instinct for self-preservation allows anyone with defensive cantrips available to use on of them per round as a reflex action, albeit at the cost of a “+2” on the user’s next initiative check.

   Unfortunately, Cantrip Magic is also the weakest form of spellcasting. The complexity of any given effect is moderate at most, and the personal mana which powers it is a very limited resource. Gods, fey, and spellcasters may build up substantial reserves – the residue of the energies they channel in other ways – but everyone else will only have a little based on their Endurance and the level of natural magic in the world they live in.

   On the other hand, Cantrip Magic is by far the most common form of magic in Continuum II. Minor mages, dabblers, and laymen use it, minor talismans and amulets produce and sustain cantrip effects for a time, embedded cantrips affect whatever inanimate object they’re embedded in permanently, and focusing talismans – such as those aforementioned “Cantrip Rings” – can focus their wearer’s personal mana into a list of up to seven cantrips whose patterns are embedded in item.

   The stuff is everywhere – and so a list of cantrips can be quite important. Their classification is somewhat arbitrary, but here’s the section on Illusion Cantrips – spells which change the perception, if not the substance.

  1. Ageshift: Alters the users apparent age to anything between youth and extreme old age for up to ten minutes per level, but will not alter his size.
  2. Aurora: Surrounds the caster with an aura of light, the color and such is up to the caster. While not particularly bright, the aura is sufficient to cause light-sensitive attackers to strike at -1. It lasts 1D6+6 minutes unless voluntarily terminated earlier. A minor variant projects the light outwards, creating a lovely rainbow or true auroral effect. Unfortunately, projecting the aura shortens the duration of the aurora to 1D6+6 initiative counts (about six seconds each)
  3. Blackout: “Blacks out” a 15 Ft radius of its casting point for 1D4 counts (about six seconds each). Unlike most other darkness spells, this does not affect enhanced forms of vision unless the caster wills it to do so. A variant form lasts for 1D4 minutes, but merely dims the area by fifty to seventy-five percent, rather then blacking it out completely.
  4. Cloaking: Renders the recipient invisible for up to three minutes, subject to the usual limitations of illusory invisibility. More specific variants only affect particular types of beings, such as humanoids, undead, or demons – who will be the only ones affected. A rare variant turns the caster invisible for up to half an hour, unfortunately that’s “the caster” literally. For real invisibility, you have to be clean and naked. It can still be impressive in some situations (“I tell you, no one was in the armor !”). Another variant produces a “screen” of invisibility making the user and any others he chooses to conceal within a six foot radius invisible, however it is only effective from one direction.
  5. Costume: Provides an illusory “change of clothing” for ten minutes plus one minute per level. The companion or “Mask” cantrip can similarly alter the users features and hands, offering a more complete disguise.
  6. Dialect: This handy charm adapts users speech to a desired accent or dialect of a known tongue for up to ten minutes. Unlike the “comprehend dialect” divination cantrip, this does not improve comprehension – but it does camouflage the users voice, allowing him to pass as a native speaker.
  7. Displacement: Shifts the user’s image five or six feet to the side of his real location, an effect which makes the user considerably harder to target effectively – at least at first. The effect lasts for three minutes.
  8. Distortion: Allows the user to appear 10% nearer or further away for ten minutes. Due to this effect, any attacks directed at the user take a -1 on their AR (Attack Rating). This can lead to some rather odd – and headache-inducing – effects if the user is standing against something and opts to be seen as further away than it is.
  9. Distract: Momentarily distracts any single target within sixty feet, causing them to pay attention to someone or something else for a few seconds unless a save is made. If this works in a fight (not too likely) it’s worth a -3 penalty on the victims defenses if an attack is launched at him or her while the distraction is in force. A less specific variant works on anyone who happens to be attentively watching the caster. In any case, the stupid or inexperienced are far easier to distract, such targets resist at -3.
  10. Enhance Appearance: A terribly superficial spell, this can increase the users appearance by 3, to a maximum of 21. If the users appearance is already 21 or more, the use of this cantrip will enhance it by one point. It lasts up to two hours per level of the caster.
  11. Eyeshift: Allows the user to freely alter the appearance of his eyes for up to three hours. They can even be made to glow dimly if desired. A more unusual use is to shift the apparent angle and focus of the users eyes, allowing him or her to focus on something while appearing to look at something else – although he or she cannot turn his or her head without spoiling the effect.
  12. Haunt: Gives a its victim – any single being within an initial range of thirty feet – the distinct impression of being followed or watched by someone or something he can never catch more then a glimpse of for the next 2-12 hours.
  13. Holdout: Allows the caster to conceal any single, relatively small object on his person through searches or simple checks. The cantrip remains effective for a full ten minutes, but if such concealment is suspected a resistance check will negate the effect. The “Discard” variant remains effective for only one minute, but produces an illusory duplicate of the object which may be convincingly left behind, dropped, or tossed away. It is sometimes used to cover a theft, despite the short duration.
  14. Image Animation / “Herkin’s Model Mayhem“: While this charm produces an excellent illusion, it has to have an image of some sort to take it’s pattern from – and is locked in at that scale. Just as annoyingly, it has a maximum range of about thirty feet, and a maximum of a six foot radius area of effect. Still, one can use it to “animate” an army of toy soldiers or the painting of a dragon. Of course, they’re still to scale and silent. The charm lasts for about three minutes – or as long as the user keeps concentrating on it.
  15. Imagery: Projects ghostly, transparent images in a 10 foot radius up to 15 feet away. While the images are obviously illusions, they can be quite detailed – and are occasionally used to impersonate “spirits” or other insubstantial effects. The “Windcolor” variant creates “solid”, believable, images. Sadly, it is confined to a two dimensional “screen” – and is thus only convincing from the front sixty to ninety degree angles. The “Mirage” variant creates a realistic, believable, illusion covering a ten foot radius, up to thirty feet away. The image is static and can only “cover up” what is already there by overlaying it – the cantrip cannot conceal that something is present. Worse, it is difficult to maintain a static image, there is a 5% cumulative chance per round of some wavering of the users concentration giving the game away.
  16. Intimidate: Subtly distorts the users appearance, subliminally enhancing his ability to frighten people, animals, and things. Any such attempts made during the charms ten-minute duration are with a +4 bonus.
  17. Invulnerability: A most impressive illusion, this charm gives the user the appearance of invulnerability for ten minutes. During this period no attack will seem to harm the user – although they hurt the user just as much as usual.
  18. Lightweaving: Allows the caster to treat sunlight or moonlight like softly glowing string, braiding, tying, or weaving things with it. Such “objects” will remain stable for up to eight hours, this may be extended by recasting the cantrip. They aren’t actually solid – except to the caster.
  19. Painkiller: Nullifies the pain of headaches, wounds, and such for eight hours. The recipient may ignore the effects of 1d6 points of damage until it wears off.
  20. Palliative: Counters up to three symptoms of some minor affliction for 1D4+2 hours. This relief is only symptomatic, the charm simply masks the underlying problem. It is still useful against colds, hay fever, poison ivy, and other such minor annoyances.
  21. Password: The casters unintelligible mutter will be heard as the correct password or countersign by any single guard within thirty feet.
  22. Phantom Hornet(s): A specialized and annoying illusion, which hurls a modest swarm of illusory bees or wasps at an opponent. While annoying, distracting, and painful, these cause no real harm – and the pain fades in a few minutes, as the charm’s duration runs out. Still, those who fail to resist are will often suffer minor distraction penalties.
  23. Phantom Scent: Alters the users scent as desired for up to an hour.
  24. Phantom Snake: Conjures a small illusory serpent, which can be sent up to sixty feet from the caster. While the charm is incapable of doing any harm it looks quite realistic and will even produce a slight sensation of “pressure” on anything living which it coils around.
  25. Shadowmeld: “Fades” the user, giving him a 14- stealth skill for the next ten minutes – or a +5 bonus if the user actually has the skill. On the other hand, the user can actually be slightly sunburned by exposure to bright light while using this spell, since it prevents the energy from being re-radiated normally.
  26. Shadowshaping: Allows the user to mentally craft vague forms from shadow within a ten foot radius. This cantrip will only be effective in shadowy conditions, and will be dispelled by any bright light. It will remain in effect for 1D6+4 minutes otherwise.
  27. Silent Steps: Allows the user to move without making a sound for ten minutes, an effect which provides a +3 bonus on the user’s stealth skills.
  28. Spectral Self: Makes any one creature within ten feet appear ghostly, fuzzy, or illusory for up to one turn.
  29. Spell Loop: Not technically an illusion – unless it’s directed at fooling the user’s unconscious mind – but designed to be used with another illusion spell and so listed here, this charm essentially “takes over” the concentration many such spells require for up to two minutes – after which the user may either begin maintaining the effect again or let it lapse normally. Unfortunately, the “loop” isn’t really an active effect; it only keeps things going the way they were. It’s unable to respond to changes in circumstances and tends to be remarkably uncreative when it comes to illusions.
  30. Tao C’hi Wheel: This whirling, blurring, guard adds +3 to the users Defense Rating for its three round duration.
  31. Ten Thousand Blows: An illusion of multiple blows, negating an opponents dexterity-based Defense Rating bonus for the three rounds it lasts.
  32. Tots Fascinating: This handy charm “creates” a lovely, glittering, bauble. While this is normally used to keep infants and small children busy, happy, and out of trouble, you can use it on adults as well. In this case, the effect is roughly similar to handing them a physical “Rubix Cube” (or other interesting puzzle). This in no way compels them to fool with it, but it is a way to avoid boredom. The basic duration is about an hour – but the time in which someone is actively paying attention to the thing extends that time.
  33. Unflaw: “Covers up” a small flaw in a crystal, gem, artwork, or such. While this lasts until the spell is broken, it will rarely fool a competent evaluator.
  34. Unseen: Makes any one smallish object within ten feet invisible, and virtually unnoticeable, for up to ten minutes.
  35. Vacation: A popular, if somewhat pointless, charm, this cantrip gives it’s target a mild feeling of being relaxed and refreshed along with a scattering of vague memories of having spent a week at the beach – or in some other pleasant and suitable spot. It’s a great stress reliever. More powerful mages often manage to “throw in” a slight suntan, a funny t-shirt, more detailed memories, or some such elaboration.
  36. Veiling: Covers up any single being or object which will fit within a five foot radius. The effect is similar to that of a veil – it only obscures details. It is transparent from the inside and lasts up to half an hour. The entire object need not be covered if the caster doesn’t desire it. A variant form produces smoky or dusty haze, slightly (-1 to visual perception, missile fire, and GMO rolls) obscuring everything within any 5′ radius within twenty feet.
  37. Voicechange: Alters the users voice (gender, tone, register, etc) as desired for up to thirty minutes.
  38. Voicethrowing: Allows the user to “cast” his voice for 6 “foot-hours”, from 30 feet for 12 minutes to 360 feet for one minute. The distance used for this calculation is the maximum range employed, attempting to exceed this limit will end the effect immediately.
  39. Weapon: Creates an illusory melee weapon, which the caster may wield for one turn. If the caster is of level 5+ it may be made to glow, flame, be inscribed with runes, etc, looking very impressive. Variant forms of this cantrip produce phantom shields and the like, although a full set of armor seems to be beyond the imitations of the charm. One variant requires an actual weapon, but produces the glow/flame/runes/etc without awaiting level 5. Necessarily, the user need not concentrate on maintaining the effects for any of the variants. Such weapons can cause stun damage, but the victim is entitled to a resistance check if actually struck.
  40. Warped Visage: This small illusion creates some “minor” abnormality in the target’s appearance. Being covered in bloody, gaping, wounds (appearing dead is optional). The drawn features and feverish glint of a plague victim. Crude stitches holding your body together. Dripping blue and green blood. Scars, swellings, baldness, and so on. The user remains recognizable – if anyone looks closely enough. The effect lasts for about 20 minutes.

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