The Sirens: Battle of Cassalanter [Season 3, Episode 14]

With their plan complete, the Sirens set the ball in motion for assaulting the Cassalanter complex. Like most plans, nothing in the world makes sense, and everything goes haywire soon after first contact. That being said, deception and clever tricks stack the odds in their favor.

In this article we look at clever uses for the illusion spells in games (for both villains and players) and then recap the treasonous battle plan the Sirens pull off! Video first. Spoilers after.

The Out-Of-Game Recap:

Illusion spells are pretty amazing, but unfortunately they suffer from two major non-mechanical flaws. The first is on the players side, chiefly those who know it’s an illusion and will meta their hearts out to avoid it. The second is that the GM can become frustrated that their entire plan is foiled by an illusion, or the GM may deem that the player’s description of an illusion is insufficient; and decides that the effect fails. During Episode 14, the entire group pulls of the Trojan Horse plan with the clever use of illusion spells and cantrips, it works really well as a result. The trick is using layered illusions to make everything pop, after all, a magician has to put on a good performance.

So if you’re a storyteller that has players with illusions, or players looking to work on them, let’s cover some devious things one can do with minor illusion when combined with Silent Image, Thaumaturgy, Prestidigitation and more.

  • Making your normal run-of-the-mill weapons look vastly more impressive, magical, and flashy. If you have a group of villains in your game use this trick, the party will clearly think those are magical items worth looting and chase these bastards all over town while the real villain does whatever he was really up to.

  • Grant yourself invisibility by using a fake backdrop! Cast an illusion of whatever is behind you (like a brick wall) a few feet in front of you.

  • Take a real door that everyone uses all the time and close it in real life. Then use minor illusion to make the door appear open, sit back, and chuckle as people bump into the real door.

  • Use Silent Image to create whatever moving image you wish and then layer it with sound effects so its more real. You can cast an illusion of a group of orcs devouring a corpse nearby and give them all the fleshy meaty eating sounds after a persons dying scream to create one heck of a distraction. Distractions aside… you can also use this to pick some serious fights. Having an illusion of the parties Rogue walking out of the villain headquarters with a bag of gold is particularly diabolical as a GM if you can pull off the timing right.

  • A tactical heads up display of the terrain and situation you are attacking. This turns the fantasy game into a nice cyberpunk or Starwars game with holographic technology…but it’s also really handy. As a storyteller, this is one of the coolest things you can do with your NPCs while giving out your mission descriptors and sending your party on a quest, because you can probably pull up an image on your computer and then include it in game.

  • Use it to create magical circles easily and scare enemies into thinking you’re an arch-mage, or that you really are the villain. This follows along the line of flashy weapons or making you look cooler than you really are. When the players do it…it has a good effect. When the villain is clever enough to have henchmen do this for him; the results are uncanny.

  • Lastly going Solid Snake is a good option and make a 5’ cube or barrel to hide inside while you sit there calmly eating your rations and spying on everyone around you.

The internet is filled with great examples of illusions, and Fey Wild using Thaumaturgy to fake battle scars from a monster is a clever use in Episode 14. If you’ve got clever ideas that you’ve used as a storyteller, or as a player, let us know!

See, this guy is trying to be cool with a ghostly wolf. He should try just a plate of tasty food…

See, this guy is trying to be cool with a ghostly wolf. He should try just a plate of tasty food…

The Story Thus Far:

The Sirens’ plan to ship out inside their Trojan Horse is delayed when Girasol has to head to Padma’s in order to get Ghost out of the necklace. Again. While Padma is cleaning out the mess that the party caused, Girasol persuades Padma to help free Ghost’s trapped soul from the necklace. This time, Ghost’s new spiritual home is filled with a full ecosystem of bugs, moss, and a living room. Of course, Ghost can see outside the gem but she doesn’t want to leave because it’s cozy in her new home.

The Emerald Cabal should offer to make Ghost a really comfy dimensional plane, and get her out of their hair entirely.

Girasol shakes the gem up and ruins her friends cozy home… but it at least inspires Ghost to be up and running, and back into the game. Which means the heist and assault is back on! The big carriage they’re using is taken behind the Cassalanter estate. Fey (disguised as Miko) sits in the front while the rest pile in the back (including Brig and the Hell-claw mercenaries he hired). A man in a short green cloak approaches and asks for papers and an inventory list, Fey is quick to respond.

Jumping out, she casts minor illusion to place a huge scar on her back and convinces the man that one of the creatures broke out. Her particularly clever lie here is fooling them into believing it’s a creature who can attack the mind… so the lords estate should send their smartest person to go put the beast down (even though the author of this article is rooting for the villains, I’ve gotta say this was bloody friggin’ clever). Convinced of the story, they back the carriage up the driveway and everyone inside gets ready. Fey takes advantage of everyone’s distraction by enhancing her illusion with ominous whispers… this allows her to slip inside the building and begin popping open the locks on creatures’ cages.

Orisha turns invisible and races inside to look for the machine that will eventually grind the creatures right as the fight begins. Opening the back door of the carriage, the Hell-claws and party begins slaying Cabal members. The fight becomes… rather chaotic pretty quickly and any semblance of a real plan is chucked out the window. The only thing that’s certain is that Brig and the mercs continue to take down patrols, one after another, until only one is left. With a feeling of certain victory, they regroup, re-calibrate, turn into a T-Rex and a giant ape before Orisha attacks the last surviving member of the guards patrol.

She misses.

Have the Sirens been betrayed? Will the Emerald Cabal finally get the upper hand they deserve?