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Dungeons & Dragons is about fantasy. Things that happen in the game aren't real, we only pretend that they are. For example, shadow conjurations "are actually one-fifth (20%) as strong as the real things". However, there are ways of "enrealening" them, such as the Enhanced Shadow Reality feat (Dragon Magazine #325), the Shadowcrafter prestige class (Underdark, p.43), and turning to the dark side.

Next thing you know, the shadow magic is over 100%! Things just got real... too real. How do they work then?

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There is something philosophical, no doubt, in the fact that this hinges on your definition of "reality."

There is no rule that limits this percentage to unity (100%), and all of the mathematical operations in which it is used work fine with percentages above it. So from that end, realer than real could be a thing.

The question, then, is whether "reality" is a game-term, defined exclusively by the rules of the (Shadow) spells, or not and defined as in real life. If the former, then realer-than-real spells are possible, and succeeding on a saving throw causes you to be more affected than failing. If the latter, it's a matter of what you think reality is; whether or not it has some essentially fake quality that something can be more real than it.

Strict RAW, it seems to be a game term, so your damaging spells deal more damage. Your non-damaging spells always work.

And it doesn't matter because every DM should ban reality-improving effects, particularly the shadowcraft mage, on sight. (Why? Because the spells are too versatile like that. It's basically spontaneously casting the entire Sor/Wiz list. Plus a shadowcraft mage can be optimized to cast any spell, from a cantrip (silent image used as shadow evocation for miracle).)

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Maybe I'm overlooking something, but the shadowcraft mage's supernatural ability shadow illusion says that he "can use the altered spell to mimic any sorcerer or wizard conjuration (summoning), conjuration (creation), or evocation spell at least one level lower than the illusion spell" (RS 122) (emphasis mine). How does that equate to turning silent images into miracles? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 2, 2017 at 15:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan Look up the killer gnome build for how to get from there to here. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Aug 2, 2017 at 15:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ Fair enough, although that was tougher to find than I would've liked. (With Brilliant Gameologists gone, the build stub is here and the explanation is here.) Although this does seem more a problem with metamagic reducers—which are almost universally broken—than realer-than-real illusions. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 2, 2017 at 15:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan It’s still one of the most formidable applications of metamagic reducers in existence, and that’s saying something. Spontaneous access to very nearly every spell ever is not something that happens automatically with metamagic reduction. And less than reality would be a serious flaw in this approach without shadowcraft mage. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Aug 2, 2017 at 15:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ Huh. Because a spell affected by the supernatural ability shadow spells "functions identically to the shadow conjuration or shadow evocation spell," wouldn't such an altered silent image inherit those spells' limitations? That is, wouldn't evocation school spells still be limited to Sor/Wiz spells of 4th-level and lower and conjuration and creation subschool spells still be limited to Sor/Wiz spells of 3rd-level and lower? Or have I missed something else? (Seriously, if you could point me at a thread at that addresses my concerns that'd be awesome, and I'll totally drop this.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 2, 2017 at 16:00

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