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Minor Illusion 5e Spell

Last Updated on January 10, 2023

You can’t lose with this cantrip.

“As we chased the Warlock around the corner, he vanished. There was only that strange-looking barrel…”

What is Minor Illusion Spell 5e?

DnD 5e’s Minor Illusion is a cantrip that creates a static hologram or a sound to fool creatures. You can create a sound or an image, not both, and the image must be of an object. Creatures can discover your Minor Illusion by passing your Spell Save DC (8 + your proficiency modifier + your spellcasting ability modifier) with an Investigation check. 

Here is how Minor Illusion is described in the Player’s Handbook:

  • You create a sound or an image of an object within range that lasts for the duration. The illusion also ends if you dismiss it as an action or cast this spell again.
  • If you create a sound, its volume can range from a whisper to a scream. It can be your voice, someone else’s voice, a lion’s roar, a beating of drums, or any other sound you choose. The sound continues unabated throughout the duration, or you can make discrete sounds at different times before the spell ends.
  • If you create an image of an object–such as a chair, muddy footprints, or a small chest–it must be no larger than a 5-foot cube. The image can’t create sound, light, smell, or any other sensory effect. Physical interaction with the image reveals it to be an illusion, because things can pass through it.
  • If a creature uses its action to examine the sound or image, the creature can determine that it is an illusion with a successful Intelligence (Investigation) check against your spell save DC. If a creature discerns the illusion for what it is, the illusion becomes faint to the creature.

Improved Minor Illusion 5e

Starting at 2nd level, School of Illusion Wizards can take Improved Minor Illusion to create a sound and an image at the same time. This can create more convincing illusions such as a music box playing songs, a talking bush, or a cackling doll.

Minor Illusion 5e Stats

LevelCantrip
Casting Time1 Action
Range/Area30 feet
ClassesBard, Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard
ComponentsSomatic, Material*
Duration 1 minute
SchoolIllusion
Attack/SaveNone
Damage/EffectControl
*(a bit of fleece)

Is Minor Illusion a Good Spell?

Minor Illusion is often referred to as the best cantrip in DnD 5e. With creativity, you can have a swiss army knife of visual and audible illusions. You can distract, intimidate, communicate, obscure, lure, and more.

Minor Illusion can also be cast at will and doesn’t need Concentration, so you can cast it over and over again without worry.

How far can Minor Illusion be heard?

Minor Illusion can be heard from 100-600 feet when using the 5e audible distance table that classifies “very loud” noises as within a range of 2d6 x 50 feet. If the DM rolls two sixes (12), for example, multiplying that by 50 feet gives you 600 feet. 

Minor Illusion’s description says it can range from “a whisper to a scream.” Some DM’s might rule a “scream” as “normal noise level” instead of “very loud.” In this case, Minor Illusion in a range of 2d6 x 10 feet to reach anywhere from 20-120 feet.

When you decide to use your Minor Illusion, the DM interprets what kind of noise it is and then rolls according to the table to see the range in which it can be heard.

Here’s 5e’s “audible distance” table:

Trying to be quiet2d6 x 5 feet
Normal noise level2d6 x 10 feet
Very loud2d6 x 50 feet

How long does Minor Illusion last?

Minor Illusion lasts one minute, equivalent to 10 rounds in DnD 5e. Minor Illusion “ends if you dismiss it as an action or cast this spell again.” Minor Illusion also takes “1 action” to cast, which is about 6 seconds DnD time. That means there’s about a 6-second gap when casting Minor Illusions back to back.

Some players like the idea of casting Minor Illusion indefinitely, to keep up such illusions as walls or traps. It’s up to your DM to interpret what happens to the Minor Illusion between castings, but it makes sense that some type of “glitching” effect takes place, along with Intelligence checks for any creatures who witness the glitching.

Which Classes Can Use Minor Illusion?

Bards, Sorcerers, Warlocks, and Wizards have the Minor Illusion cantrip in their spell list, but anyone who takes the Magic Initiate feat can choose two cantrips from these spell lists too. That means that virtually every class can use Minor Illusion.

These other subclasses can also cast Minor Illusion:

Which Subclasses Can Use Minor Illusion?

Subclasses that can use Minor Illusion Originating Class Subclass Source Class Source Spell Save DC
Arcana Domain Cleric Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide, page 125 Player’s Handbook, page 56 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Wisdom modifier
Arcane Trickster Rogue Player’s Handbook, page 97 Player’s Handbook, page 94 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier
Eldritch Knight Fighter Player’s Handbook, page 74 Player’s Handbook, page 70 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier
School of Illusion Wizard Player’s Handbook, page 118 Player’s Handbook, page 112 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier
Way of Shadow Monk Player’s Handbook, page 80 Player’s Handbook, page 76 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Wisdom modifier

Which Races Can Use Minor Illusion?

Races that can use Minor Illusion Racial feature allowing the ability Source Spell Save DC
Elf (High) Cantrip (can choose Minor Illusion as the cantrip of choice) Player’s Handbook, page 23 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier
Elf (Mark of Shadow) Spells of the Mark (needs to have the Spellcasting or the Pact Magic class feature) Eberron: Rising from the Last War, page 49 Depends on the class
Gnome (Forest) Natural Illusionist Player’s Handbook, page 37 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier
Tiefling (Glasya) Legacy of Malbolge Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes, page 22 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier

What can Minor Illusion do in 5e?

Minor Illusion’s wording leaves a lot to interpretation as to what sounds and images it can create. The description specifies an “image of an object.” According to the Dungeon Master’s Guide, an object is: a discrete, inanimate item like a window, door, sword, book, table, chair, or stone, not a building or a vehicle that is composed of many other objects.”

This means you can’t create creatures, so you won’t be able to put up that fake guard dog outside of your tent.

Here are some things you CAN do with Minor Illusion 5e:

  • Steal and replace an object with an illusion
  • Hide a body with a wall
  • Change a sign to misdirect 
  • Lure a guard with a sound, or fake treasure
  • Cover a pit with a non-existent carpet
  • Drive people mad with whispers
  • Howling wolves
  • Footsteps
  • Floating Diagrams
  • Wanted posters

And much more! It’s up to your imagination, and your DM’s flexibility!

Minor Illusion 5e FAQs

Can I use Minor Illusion to hide?

Hiding is one of Minor Ilusion’s main uses, but you have to make sure the enemy doesn’t see you create the illusion you are hiding behind. If an enemy sees you, they can just shoot or attack through the illusion.

Can a Minor Illusion make music?

Yes, a Minor Illusion’s sound “continues unabated throughout the duration,” and you can “make discrete sounds at different times before the spell ends.” Most players interpret this to mean you can create simple music with Minor Illusion.


GameCows Tip: For a nifty one-Bard performance, create a Minor Illusion melody, use a Mage Hand to keep a beat with a drum or other 5e Instrument, and jam out on a Bard Instrument of your own!


Can Minor Illusion create a door?

As long as it’s within a 5-foot cube, Minor Illusion can create a door. If someone tries the door, the illusion will be revealed, however.

Can Minor Illusion create a wall?

Minor Illusions are great for creating small walls that shield you from view. You can hop inside a ditch and throw up a wall for cover, extend a corner out to peek from behind, or do many other actions. 

Can you use Minor Illusion to change your voice?

Minor Illusion can create  “your voice, or someone else’s voice,” but can’t modify existing voices. So you can’t change your normal speaking voice with Minor Illusion, but can always make up a voice and lip-sync to match it. If the target can’t see you, you can project any voice you want to try and trick them.

Can you use Minor Illusion with Silent Image?

You can use Minor Illusion and Silent Image together to combine sound and image, but not make your creation move. Making your Silent Image move takes an action, and so does Minor Illusion, so you can’t do both at once.

Can Minor Illusion create fog?

No, Minor Illusion can’t create fog since liquids and gasses are not considered objects in DnD 5e. The best you can do is create a fog-like image that is stationary.

Can you use Minor Illusion for clothes?

You can use Minor Illusion for clothes, but won’t be able to walk inside the clothes since Minor Illusions can’t move. The only way a Minor Illusion disguise would be effective is in situations involving complete stillness, such as guard standing duty, or a corpse.

Can Minor Illusion be a mirror?

You can make a Minor Illusion mirror, but Minor Illusions can’t change or move. To create a convincing illusion you have to create the image inside the mirror as well, and it must “reflect” a stationary object.

Can Minor Illusion create shadows?

No, since shadows are not “discrete inanimate objects” as defined in the DMG.

Can Minor Illusion change a face?

No. Minor Illusion cannot modify existing reality, it can only create a completely new illusion. Minor Illusion can also only create “image of an object,” and creatures aren’t objects in DnD.

Bottom line: Minor Illusion is a major must for your robe’s back pocket! Research other handy spells like True Resurrection 5e, Wall of Ice 5e, and Ensnaring Strike 5e while you’re at it.

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02/06/2023 10:30 am GMT
Minor Illusion Spell 5e DnD

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D&D Player’s Handbook
$49.95 $26.10

Buy on Amazon Buy at Noble Knight
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
02/06/2023 10:30 am GMT