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I'm a new GM running my first Shadowrun 5e campaign. Among others, the team of runners includes:

  • A Decker with augmented eyes that offer some excellent perception rolls

  • A Face who's got some middling skill at casting illusions like physical mask, trid phantasm, and improved invisibility

On several occasions now, the Face has cast an illusion spell that was very convincing to the intended target, but which the Decker easily saw through. My (possibly poor!) understanding of the rules tells me that one person resisting the illusion breaks it for everyone. This is decidedly un-fun for the Face, so I've been running on a house rule that teammates aren't required to resist his illusions unless they're an intended target.

Even if I opt to keep that rule in place, I'd like to understand the official rules' stance on the subject so I can identify any balance issues I might be introducing.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Do you have a reference for one person seeing through an illusion breaking the effect for everyone? \$\endgroup\$ – Upper_Case Aug 11 '19 at 22:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't! My first exposure to 5e was playing as a caster and our GM played this way. I thought it was an official rule, but thinking back I haven't seen it anywhere official. \$\endgroup\$ – morelikeshadowfun Aug 12 '19 at 12:13
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Everyone needs to roll to see through an illusion, regardless of others' success in doing so.

Your Face's party members would need to roll to see if they are able to resist the illusion spell, but if they do so it just means they see through the illusion themselves-- others would have to succeed in their own rolls.

I don't recall any rule indicating that an illusion works well until at least one person sees through one, at which point the illusion is obvious to everyone. The text for resisting an illusion spell in general states:

The magician must generate more hits than the observer for the illusion to be considered real. If the spell is not completely resisted, the target is fully affected by the illusion.

Emphasis mine. The observer is singular and limited, rather than any observer.

The text of the relevant spells also seem to suggest that everyone needs to see through an illusion individually:

TRID PHANTASM (REALISTIC, MULTI-SENSE, AREA) Type: P Range: LOS (A) Duration: S Drain: F

Anyone who might pierce the illusion must successfully resist the spell. Simply make one Spellcasting Test and use the hits scored as the threshold for anyone attempting to resist at a later point.

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IMPROVED INVISIBILITY (REALISTIC, SINGLE-SENSE) Type: P Range: LOS Duration: S Drain: F - 1

Anyone who might be in a position to perceive the subject must first successfully resist the spell. Simply make one Spellcasting Test and use the hits scored as the threshold for anyone that resists at a later point. Even if the spell is resisted, the subject might remain undetected if she’s good enough with her Sneaking Test.

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PHYSICAL MASK (REALISTIC, MULTI-SENSE) Type: P Range: T Duration: S Drain: F – 1

Anyone who might see through the disguise must first successfully resist the spell. Simply make one Spellcasting Test and use the hits scored as the threshold for anyone that resists at a later point.

Emphases also mine. Using the word anyone suggests that any given individual needs to beat the threshold to see the illusion for what it is. That's not to say that there are no other ways one person can wreck the illusion (like telling everyone that it's an illusion), but a teammate knowing it isn't real isn't a problem.

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