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The rules for heightening spells include

In addition, many spells have additional specific benefits when they are heightened, such as increased damage. These extra benefits are described at the end of the spell’s stat block. Some heightened entries specify one or more levels at which the spell must be prepared or cast to gain these extra advantages. Each of these heightened entries states specifically which aspects of the spell change at the given level. Read the heightened entry only for the spell level you’re using or preparing; if its benefits are meant to include any of the effects of a lower-level heightened entry, those benefits will be included in the entry.

The spell illusory disguise contains the following effects when cast as level 2 or 3:

Heightened (2nd) The spell also disguises your voice and scent, and it gains the auditory and olfactory traits. Heightened (3rd) You can appear as any creature of the same size, even a specific individual. You must have seen an individual to take on their appearance. The spell also disguises your voice and scent, and it gains the auditory trait.

The level 2 is pretty clear as to the intent, since it disguises your voice and scent, it should have auditory and olfactory traits.

The level 3 contains the exact same phrasing as the level 2 in the second sentence, with the exception of for some reason not including the olfactory trait.

Is this just an obvious error in printing or is there some logic for the level 3 to not have the olfactory trait?

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1 Answer 1

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This is probably a typo

The olfactory trait states only the following:

An olfactory effect can affect only creatures that can smell it. This applies only to olfactory parts of the effect, as determined by the GM.

What this ambiguous formulation means is that if a creature lacks the ability to smell then they wouldn't be affected by parts of the effect that rely on smell: your disguise may mimic the scent of a dwarf, something with no ability to smell won't recognize that you smell like a dwarf. Which part of the effect counts as "olfactory" is not defined and the GM has to rule it on a case-by-case basis.

An effect like that lacking the trait would suggest that even the creatures with no sense of smell at all would get fooled by your new smell. It doesn't make any sense narratively speaking and is very confusing to think about rules-wise.

Conclusion:

We can't be sure about that until it gets errata-ed, but it seems fair to assume this is a typo as the effect wouldn't make sense otherwise.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 for the basic logic that if it doesn't make sense, it's probably an error. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mołot
    Commented Feb 5, 2023 at 8:56

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