You Ruse, You Lose

October 5th, 2015

Alex Riggs

Obscure Arcana Archive

The ruse descriptor, introduced in Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Ultimate Intrigue, allows you to cast spells that masquerade as other spells. While there were a handful of fantastic examples in Ultimate Intrigue of what can be done with this descriptor, I felt there was definitely room for some more of these deceptive spells, so today, I’m treating you to three very tricky spells. Enjoy!


School illusion (figment, glamer) [ruse]; Level bard 6, mesmerist 6, sorcerer/wizard 7
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S
Range close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Target/Effect you/one illusory double; see text
Duration 1 round/level (D)
Saving Throw none or Will disbelief (if interacted with); see text; Spell Resistance no

This functions as the spell mislead, except as noted here. The illusory double of you is surrounded by mirror images, which appear identical to those created by the spell mirror image. If you become visible at any point during the spell’s duration, these mirror images immediately move from the illusory double to you, granting you the benefits of a mirror image spell for the remainder of the spell’s duration.

Attempts to identify deceptive duplicates with a skill check incorrectly identify it as mirror image (see the ruse descriptor).


School abjuration [ruse]; Level bard 5, cleric 6, inquisitor 6, occultist 5, psychic 6, sorcerer/wizard 6, spiritualist 6, witch 6
Casting Time 1 minute
Components V, S
Range close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Targets up to one creature per level, all within 30 ft. of each other
Duration instantaneous and 1 day/level; see text
Saving Throw Will negates (harmless); Spell Resistance yes (harmless)

This functions as break enchantment, except that rather than removing any harmful effects, it merely suppresses them, and gives you the ability to reinstate them at will. As long as you are within close range of the target, as a standard action, you can cause the suppressed harmful effects to resume, once again affecting the target. If the effect has a duration or a frequency, time spent suppressed in this fashion does not count against them. You can suppress the effects again with another standard action. Additionally, any time you resume the harmful effects, you can impose a –4 penalty to one of the target’s ability scores of your choice, which lasts until the harmful effects are removed.

You retain the ability to suppress and resume the harmful effects at will for 1 day per caster level. When the spell ends (including if it is dispelled), if the effects are suppressed, they are removed permanently, but if the effects are not suppressed, they remain in place, as though this spell had never been cast.

Attempts to identify replace curse with a skill check incorrectly identify it as break enchantment (see the ruse descriptor).


School transmutation [ruse]; Level bard 5, cleric 5, inquisitor 5, mesmerist 5
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S, M (a piece of soap-covered twine), DF
Range touch
Target creature touched
Duration 10 min./level
Saving Throw Will negates (harmless), Reflex partial; see text; Spell Resistance yes (harmless)

This spell functions as freedom of movement, except that you can reverse the spell by issuing a special command as a standard action if you are within medium range (100 feet + 10 feet per caster level) of the target. The target loses the benefits of the spell and instead they find that their body is frictionless against nearly all surfaces, making movement incredibly difficult. Each round, the creature must succeed on a DC 15 Acrobatics check. Success allows the creature to move normally at half speed. Failure means it can’t move that round (and must then make a Reflex save or fall), while failure by 5 or more means the creature automatically falls (see the Acrobatics skill for details). Additionally, the affected creature is considered flat-footed for the spell’s duration.

Attempts to identify slippery movement with a skill check incorrectly identify it as freedom of movement (see the ruse descriptor).