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A little while back, I was running an encounter in my Pathfinder 1e campaign where an aboleth had magically disguised a hydra as itself and I was wondering, in a situation like this, when would saves to disbelieve be made, and how often could those saves be made?

The first part isn't that difficult, as I figured whenever a player would directly interact with the glamered creature, that they could make a save. The problem is that, especially in the case of a hydra that gets so many attacks, would the players being attacked get a save each time they're hit? Or should they only get 1 save each round or turn, or something to that effect? Even for characters with poor will saves, if they're making nearly 10 saves in a turn (since this was a 10-headed hydra), there's a pretty good chance they'd make a save to disbelieve, which seems to kind of make the illusion useless.

Specifically, it was using its Veil spell-like ability to disguise the hydra.

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According to the SRD:

Those who interact with the subjects can attempt Will disbelief saves to see through the glamer, but Spell Resistance doesn’t help.

Now, there is already asked and answered At what point do you count as interacting with an illusion? if you are using the supplement Ultimate Intrigue, you count as interacting if you spend a move action to carefully examine the target. This would exclude being attacked by "hydra" or attacking it.

If you do not use this book, it is much more open to DM interpretation. The way we were playing it, every time a monster hit successfully with appendage or weapon that did not exist (and thus dealt no damage), and every time it was hit when anatomy was significantly different, characters got another save.

In my experience Ultimate Intrigue tends to take away things everyone took for granted from PC, and then give it back as character "options", so if you are the DM please be careful about deciding if you want to use it.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm pretty sure I've read those rules before, but it didn't really click with me before how and whether they would apply to a situation like this. After referring me to that previous post, though, I do think it's been clarified for me. I still don't think I would allow saves for every different attack made by a monster, though I suppose I could use the same logic of the Ultimate Intrigue rules and allow a player's character a save for each move-equivalent or greater action that a glamered creature takes against him, along with any actions the player's character takes against the creature. \$\endgroup\$
    – Gelleck
    Apr 21 at 21:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Gelleck whatever works best for you and your table, if you're not using Ultimate Intrigue verbatim. What you described looks like a good common sense interpretation that saves a lot of rolling. Just be clear and consistent about it with your players. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mołot
    Apr 21 at 21:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ FWIW all of my groups have always ruled that performing a Move Action or greater (or having such "used" on you) that directly relates to the illusion (attacking it, looking around as a Move, attempting to tumble through would but not just moving close to it, attacking an adjacent target, real or illusory, or other indirect things) qualifies for a Save. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ifusaso
    Apr 21 at 23:47

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