Is there a good spell or combination of spells that will allow me to cause opponents to see their allies as the enemies they are fighting? Either one on one or in groups? The intention is to make them fight their allies thinking that the allies are the enemy.

The best I can think of is using Major Image and placing it over another creature, so that his companions see him as the bad guy. Then through concentration I can manipulate the illusion to make it look like its fighting... Unfortunately that would only work for one attack because once the illusion is touched the opponent can see through it...
Any other options?

  • \$\begingroup\$ I was thinking one caster. And the theme is illusion trickery. I was not aware of that spell... \$\endgroup\$ – Sam Lacrumb Jun 18 at 2:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SamLacrumb I'm debating in making this an answer or not. But, since it is outside of battle and likely not the scope of your question I decided to not make it an answer. Phantasmal Force, if done correctly over a bit of time, can make anyone go insane, (even the DM). If you just want to cause chaos from inside, there is no better lowlevel spell. Subtle metamagic is insane here. Whispers from the other side of the room, seeing your wife kissing your best friend and fleeing form the scene, your dead parents/son, make everyone paranoid and see the domino effect in action later. \$\endgroup\$ – Chepelink Jun 18 at 3:39

Try casting seeming on everyone in the room

Seeming seems to be the spell you're looking for:

This spell allows you to change the appearance of any number of creatures that you can see within range. You give each target you choose a new, illusory appearance. An unwilling target can make a Charisma saving throw, and if it succeeds, it is unaffected by this spell.

Simply make each target look like an enemy of their allies (the specifics of how to do this will depend on what kinds of factions are present and what kinds of allies and enemies they have). Of course, some of them will probably succeed on the saving throw, but even affecting just 50% of a large group is sure to throw them into chaos, especially if you and your allies sprinkle some real attacks in to get things started. As a bonus, you can also use the spell to simultaneously make you and your allies look unobtrusive, friendly, or otherwise not appropriate targets to attack. If you're proficient in deception, you might also consider shouting about how you just helpfully dispelled the illusion that was hiding everyone's enemies.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Nice one, there seems to be a reason that this spell is 2 levels higher. Provoking friendly fire for a 3rd level spell seemed kinda heavy. Nevertheless, you still need to pick an enemy whose sight would directly provoke an attack. Because most "enemy" humans would not engage each other in an otherwise peaceful street in a city or some place like that \$\endgroup\$ – Hobbamok Jun 18 at 11:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Hobbamok Provking friendly fire is exactly what enemies abound does. Considering that hypnotic pattern can stop multiple people cold, making them do nothing, a 3rd level spell that forces one person to attack friends (and gives them a new save every time they take damage) is not terribly heavy. The biggest advantage of enemies abound is that it does target what tends to be a weak save for many - Intelligence. \$\endgroup\$ – T.J.L. Jun 18 at 13:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @T.J.L. ok, I see your point, but I think the 2 spell levels extra (3rd vs 5th) are balanced out by the amount of control you have over the friendly fire. I meant targetet friendly fire on a specific enemy. Enemies abound throws one guy into a fit of rage (more or less), but the outcome is completely random. While still useful it'd not be what the original question asked for (imho), and does not compete with Seeming. It does sound like an amazing skill with a ton of applications however \$\endgroup\$ – Hobbamok Jun 18 at 13:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Hobbamok Without a damned good Deception check - and from more than just the caster - this proposal isn't going to work at all. Somebody's friends suddenly changing appearance isn't going to automatically make one think they're enemies. The explicit function of enemies abound is to make somebody "lose[s] the ability to distinguish friend from foe" - its a hard head screw. I think this answer's proposal is a long stretch. \$\endgroup\$ – T.J.L. Jun 18 at 13:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ @RyanC.Thompson Sure, but my point is that it would result in a bunch of people standing around going "What the heck? Why don't I look like me anymore?" It wouldn't make them fight each other. If anything, it is more likely to make them gang up on the stranger claiming that somebody else was messing with them. In a group situation, something like enemies abound could be the match that sets off the explosion. \$\endgroup\$ – T.J.L. Jun 18 at 18:53

A lower level solution: enemies abound

This is close to the effect of the 3rd level enchantment spell enemies abound from Xanathar’s Guide to Everything (p. 155). It only targets one creature (though it’s on the sorcerer list and could be twinned), but if that target fails an Intelligence save:

the target loses the ability to distinguish friend from foe, regarding all creatures it can see as enemies until the spell ends.

It doesn’t technically force the targeted creature to attack, though any time it does target another creature:

it must choose the target at random from among the creatures it can see within range

It does force the target of the spell to make opportunity attacks:

If an enemy provokes an opportunity attack from the affected creature, the creature must make that attack if it is able to.

It isn’t precisely specified what the experience of the affected creature is, so there’s room to describe it as you please - e.g. they could think their minion Wormford has turned against them, or they could perceive him as the Paladin in your party. What would happen after it wears off would be up to the DM, though it would be in keeping with other enchantment spells for the target to realise it has been affected by magic.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, same here as with the other answer (and OPs question): it needs to be a type of enemy that they would directly as soon as spotted. Maybe two people are from formally at-war cities, but when they meet in the neutral trading place in the middle they would not engage hostilities \$\endgroup\$ – Hobbamok Jun 18 at 11:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Hobbamok If A is subject to enemies abound, they see everybody as an enemy. If B walks away from A, A must make an attack of opportunity against B (the spell says so). If A and B's countries are are war, are you telling me you really think B won't respond in kind to A's unprovoked (as far as B is aware) attack? enemies abound is a great way to start the kind of brawl the wrecks the perception of neutral territory. Even better if it can be twinned, because they you can get C in on the mess; whether from A or B's country, it's going to get very messy very fast. \$\endgroup\$ – T.J.L. Jun 18 at 13:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ Since your link is to a paywalled site, quoting the text of the spell would greatly improve this answer \$\endgroup\$ – Kevin Jun 18 at 14:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ @GuybrushMcKenzie Don't quote the entire spell, just the parts that are relevant. \$\endgroup\$ – T.J.L. Jun 18 at 14:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ @T.J.L. thanks for the advice; hopefully the edit fits the bill! \$\endgroup\$ – Guybrush McKenzie Jun 18 at 15:15

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