Minor Illusion Spell in DnD 5e: Impactful and Creative Use of the Cantrip

Casting Time

1 action ®

School

Illusion

Damage/Effect

Control

Range

30 feet (5-foot cube)

Class

Bard, Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard

Attack/Save

Intelligence

Duration

1 minute

Level

0

Components

Somatic, Material

Spell Description:

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.

Cantrip, Illusion, Control

Level: Bard (1), Sorcerer (1), Warlock (1), Wizard (1), Arcane Trickster (3), Eldritch Knight (8)

Materials Required: A small piece of fleece

Number of Targets: A 5-foot cube within 30 feet of the caster

Die Type: None

Number of Dice: None

Damage Type: None

Save: Intelligence

Damage On Successful Save: None

Statuses Inflicted: Visual or auditory illusion

Status Duration: 1 minute or until a creature succeeds the Intelligence saving throw

Affected By Cover: No

Advantage: None

Disadvantage: None

What is Minor Illusion?

Minor Illusion is a cantrip-level Illusion spell. It allows the caster to create a harmless auditory or visual illusion that can last up to 1 minute. 

Who can cast Minor Illusion?

Minor Illusion has a presence in pretty much all of the arcane casters’ spell lists. The Bards, Sorcerers, Warlocks, and Wizards of the world will be able to cast the spell starting at the 1st level.

Arcane Tricksters will be able to cast the spell at the 3rd level right when they take this Roguish Archetype. Eldritch Knights will need to wait until the 8th level when they can take Illusion spells.

When and Where should I cast Minor Illusion?

Minor Illusion has many uses in and out of combat. Out of combat, it can be used for misdirection or even creating a hiding spot so long as the player can crouch down into a 5×5 cube.

Inside combat, it can disrupt enemies by creating loud sounds or visual hallucinations to make it hard for them to get an accurate read of the situation.

Why should I take Minor Illusion?

Minor Illusion is a good pick-up for anyone who enjoys the finer points of misdirection. For those looking to do party tricks or have a sneaky trick up their sleeves for combat, Minor Illusion is a fantastic low-resource option to add to your spell lists.

How to Use Minor Illusion

For Players:

Minor Illusion requires a bit of creativity to get real mileage out of it like other control and utility cantrips. It falls into similar pitfalls as Prestidigitation and Thaumaturgy when it comes to trying to find ways to use it, but that doesn’t mean that the spell is useless.

Players looking to get use out of the spell will find that out-of-combat uses are abundant. Players can use the spell to lure enemies to a location with an image of a treasure chest, for instance.

They could startle guards by making the illusion of a loud sound or draw guards away from their posts by making the sound of screaming coming from a different direction from where the party intends to enter.

The lack of a verbal component means that if the caster is hidden, they can quickly complete this spell without being noticed.

They could make footprints appear on the ground nearby to give the appearance of an invisible enemy running past or even make the sound of footsteps originating from a nearby path to create the illusion that there is an intruder nearby.

When fleeing from an enemy, the player could combine the spell with Invisibility. First, casting Minor Illusion to create a set of footprints going in one direction, then casting Invisibility and running in the opposite direction.

For Dungeon Masters:

Dungeon Masters will do well to go out of their comfort zones by giving opportunities to utilize Minor Illusion creatively. Players will appreciate more than just simple party tricks that they can perform using the spell.

Stealth sections are an obvious implementation that can see creative uses of Minor Illusion.

From giving your players a small inlet in the wall to hide in by placing an imaginary wall in front of it to using Minor Illusion to make the guards think that the intruders have already sneaked into the castle, there’s plenty of use for Minor Illusion in stealth-focused areas.

Minor Illusion could be an optional solution to a puzzle that requires realistic imitation of sounds outside of stealth sections.

While Prestidigitation can do something similar, Minor Illusion can change the volume of the sounds, making them less or more prominent. Prestidigitation only allows the player to create faint sounds, whilst Minor Illusion can create loud ones.

Minor Illusion’s sounds also have more space to work with, since it stipulates that it can mimic your voice, someone else’s voice, or any sound you choose, whilst Prestidigitation stipulates that it must be similar to a puff of smoke or faint musical notes.

Other implementations of Minor Illusion might be for social situations. Having an NPC who wants proof of a player’s magical abilities that could be proven through use of the Minor Illusion spell is one way to introduce social uses of Minor Illusion.

Players could perform street magic for spare change or even impress diplomats or other leaders with their magical prowess to gain favor.

Common Questions About Minor Illusion