The Art of Illusions: An Underrated School

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When you think of magic, your mind probably goes to combat spells or some method of transportation.  Hurling elemental attacks and launching into the air is fun and useful, but not everything.  Maybe you think of transformations or healing, which are complicated and very helpful even in battle.  But I’m betting most people didn’t think about illusions unless the title of this post put your mind there already.  Guess I undid my own opening paragraph there.

A brief explanation of what illusion magic is just in case somebody reading this is thinking of making a coin disappear.  These spells play with the senses to create a new reality or hide something from view.  Perhaps the most common illusion spell is invisibility since it makes a person disappear from sight.  They haven’t really vanished, but those in the area can’t see them, which makes it an alteration to reality.  Other popular ones are hidden doorways, fictitious landscapes, glamours that change your appearance, and the always popular ninja clone ability.  Not only wizards have illusions.

I think one of the reasons illusion magic doesn’t get used as often by main characters is because it doesn’t really have much bang.  You can create a lot of flash, but it’s over once an enemy figures out the trick or wills the spell away.  One of the most common reactions to a problem in Windemere is to see through illusions, which anyone can do.  It all depends on willpower and focus, which makes this a very fragile school of magic.  Still, you can get a lot done with these spells if you’re creative enough.  In fact, I would say imagination and creativity is more essential for illusions than any other type of magic.  Anybody can think up a fire spell and use it.  Only a real genius could trick all five senses to believe that a tree is standing in the middle of a house that is built entirely out of cheese and crackers.  Not to mention a target feels full if they eat too much of the illusion, which is always a fun trick.

A good example of an illusionist character is Sari.  She has her water powers and thief skills, but illusions are another focus for her.  Her cunning and creativity is why she is better at these spells than even someone as powerful as Nyx.  At times, Sari is a better illusionist than Yola Biggs because she has more focus.  An example of her tactics can help here. One of her best tricks is to have one to three fake Saris split off from her body while she turns invisible.  This creates a diversion as well as hiding whatever nasty ice or water traps she’s implanted in the decoys.  Not to mention leaving her free to get a sneak attack.  While the illusions aren’t able to do the real damage, they prove to be an invaluable tactic when is unable to simply overpower an enemy.

I do want to try a story where the main character has illusion powers.  In fact, Clyde might be a powerful killing machine, but he has this ability.  Guess I’ll be making this attempt sooner than I realized.  Though with a lot more violence and viciousness.

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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20 Responses to The Art of Illusions: An Underrated School

  1. I got this image of a brutal battle, and the wizard steps forward and starts making baloon animals. Don’t know why, but there it is. I think you could have some real fun with that skill in your characters; passing off rocks as gold coins and such.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. adeleulnais says:

    The art of the illusionist is very underrated indeed. They are very useful under the right circumstances. At the moment I’m writing Wisp 2 “Spells of Seadragons” and the character has to maintain an illusion of being an elf. For a very long time…….lol it’s fun being a writer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That sounds like a lot of fun and a big challenge. I’ve had my illusionist character do a little more of those spells in the final book. The hard part is when they fight something that can see through them very easily. A lot of decoy illusions that draw attention away from the ones hiding real threats.


  3. Bookwraiths says:

    I’d love to read a story where an illusionist was the center piece. I really believe the power has loads of potential uses.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think illusions would be great fun.


  5. Doesn’t it seem like illusion is used in some horror movies as a way to torment or terrorize victims? Characters look around a corner and see a friend lying there bleeding, duck back with a gasp, but when they look again, nothing is there. I guess a really cruel villain could make threats, via illusion, of “this is what I’m going to do to your spouse/child/friend/innocent bystander.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • True. I think those tend to be more tricks of the eye or physical things. Like Jason leaving a body out then moving it when people look away. Have to admit that my horror movie experience is limited. Ghosts certainly lend themselves to the illusion style of manipulation. The ‘this is what will happen’ thing is a fairly effective villain tactic.

      Liked by 2 people

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