Somewhat a follow up to this question, when one creates a simulacrum, it obviously has to know some things (language, basic motor skills, complex motor skills needed to act in combat). It also has the statistics of the original. But would it have the information that the original has?

A practical example:

The party is tracking down a cult; they manage to capture (and prevent the suicide of) a cultist. They ask the cultist where the HQ is, but the cultist refuses to answer. Could the party make a simulacrum of the cultist and then ask the simulacrum the location of the cult's secret HQ and expect it to be able to answer it? Then could the simulacrum also be used to sneak into the HQ as a convincing double agent?

The question restated is: "Would a simulacrum know enough to imitate the original target effectively, or answer questions only the original target would know but the caster would not?"

  • \$\begingroup\$ The Simulacrum knows Known knowns, and known unknowns, but there are also unknown unknowns, things that the simulacrum doesn't know it doesn't know. \$\endgroup\$
    – Sandwich
    Commented Oct 10, 2017 at 20:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ Historical Note: Some earlier editions of the game did explicitly state that the simulacrum had only a limited fragment of the original's memories and personality, and included rules for granting it a portion of the original's memories by casting limited wish. \$\endgroup\$
    – GMJoe
    Commented Mar 15, 2021 at 8:55

5 Answers 5



Trivially, the spell text does not say that a simulacrum knows what its "original" knows. Spells only do what they say they do, so the simulacrum doesn't know what the original knows.

For instance, the Clone spell explicitly states that the soul-infused clone keeps its memories (emphasis added):

The clone is physically identical to the original and has the same personality, memories, and abilities, but none of the original’s equipment.

Simulacrum does not have this language, so it doesn't retain its memories. It's also worth noting that this text delineates between three key aspects of a character: personality, memories, and abilities. While a simulacrum might know just enough to use its abilities, as detailed by its game statistics, it would not have memories like the location of the cult's secret HQ.

Other support:

It's not specifically stated in the spell, but the wording of the spell suggests that the simulacrum is a different creature that has the same game statistics and appearance as the original.

Below, I've bolded the places in the spell that show how the duplicate is different from the original:

You shape an illusory duplicate of one beast or humanoid that is within range for the entire Casting Time of the spell. The duplicate is a creature, partially real and formed from ice or snow, and it can take actions and otherwise be affected as a normal creature. It appears to be the same as the original, but it has half the creature's hit point maximum and is formed without any Equipment.

Thus, the simulacrum has the appearance of the original creature, but nothing else.

Moreover, just because two creatures have the same game statistics doesn't mean they have the same knowledge--you can have two wizards that have the same stats but different knowledge, for example.

As for spells, as you point out, the text refers to expended spell slots, which seems to assume that the simulacrum does keep the spellcasting class feature of its original.

  • \$\begingroup\$ What about the targets spells? It does mention spell slots, and spells known is something that is part of casting classes, and the simulacrum is incapable of learning new spells once created. So would it know the spells of the target, or is that line dealing with creatures that have innate spells? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 13, 2017 at 15:46
  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ "duplicate" indicates it is the same except the mentioned pieces after that text. \$\endgroup\$
    – Slagmoth
    Commented Sep 13, 2017 at 15:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Slagmoth, a lot of illusion spells, like Mirror Image, use the word "duplicate," but I don't think anyone is disputing whether your mirror images have the same knowledge as you. Duplicates can be purely visual, as well. \$\endgroup\$
    – Icyfire
    Commented Sep 13, 2017 at 16:12
  • 7
    \$\begingroup\$ Yes, but most illusion spells only create an image, where as simulacrum creates an actual creature that is a duplicate. that along with the fact that it will need to know some things, makes the question a bit about where is the line of what is known? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 13, 2017 at 16:33
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Conversely, and not to be pedantic but..., the verbiage also doesn't explicitly say it doesn't have the memories of the original. \$\endgroup\$
    – Slagmoth
    Commented Sep 13, 2017 at 19:27

Tentative yes:

The 5e PhB provides limited clues about this question. It is stated that a simulacrum:

never increases its level or other abilities, nor can it regain expended spell slots

This implies that the simulacrum has spellcasting abilities or levels similar to (or at the same rank as) the original creature. Given that spellcasting abilities and class features require a lot of training, it would be reasonable to assume that the simulacrum also has basic memories of the target creature as well.

If we look at earlier editions for guidance, here is what we can learn from the 2e PhB, which has essentially the same spell with some differences. The 2e version is also of 7th level, it also creates the duplicate from snow and ice, it also states that the simulacrum has about half the original's hit points and 100 gp is required to fix each lost hit point. But according to the 2e version, the simulacrum is zombie-like and requires a reincarnation spell to obtain an actual vital force, and a limited wish spell to duplicate 40-65% of the original's knowledge and personality. Given that no such details are listed in the 5e edition version, but levels and spells are mentioned without the need for the casting of any extra spells, it might be reasonable to assume that the 5e simulacrum does automatically have about half (or more) of the knowledge of the original creature and could act as a double agent in a limited fashion.

Please note that the following tweets by Jeremy Crawford and Chris Perkins can also be read for guidance, and seem to support the arguments outlined above.

Finally, please note that the twitter thread that follows the last item listed has a sentence:

It's up to your DM how much the simulacrum can do while abiding by the limitations set by the spell.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Another consideration is if there are other spells that do similar things. Would it be broken to have a seventh level illusion spell be used in place of spells that would other wise fall into the domain of Divination (obtaining information) or Enchantment (bending a creature to your will). And since this would ultimately be RP heavy effects, its balance would depend heavily on how the game is being played, (a set-em-up knock-em-down game might not have a problem, where a espionage/intrigue game might) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 13, 2017 at 16:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MichaelGorman: I generally concur with your comment. But the DM should also be taking into account that the simulacrum has a very high cost: 1500gp and you need to keep the creature bound for 12 hours. Dominate Person (enchantment) or Detect Thoughts (divination) are much less costly and are of lower levels. \$\endgroup\$
    – ZwiQ
    Commented Sep 13, 2017 at 16:22
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Thats what I was thinking (though I didn't know off hand what the levels/costs of the spells were), and while the Dominate person only lasts 1 minute vs the simulacrum's permanent, simulacrum's cost can account for that. Also both dominate person and detect thoughts get a saving throw, the casting time (while in contact with target) and higher level of simulacrum can account for that \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 13, 2017 at 16:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ Couldn't this argue just as easily that it would take another spell to duplicate some of the knowledge and personality (as it required limited wish in 2e)? \$\endgroup\$
    – Barker
    Commented Sep 13, 2017 at 17:03
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @Barker: I considered that as well, but the wording of the 2e spell is quite clear: a base simulacrum is essentially a zombie and cannot do anything complex, let alone cast spells. That is why I concluded that the upgraded simulacrum is more akin to the 5e version. \$\endgroup\$
    – ZwiQ
    Commented Sep 13, 2017 at 17:45


When it says duplicate, it means duplicate. The spell wouldn't be very useful at its intended use cases (creating a flawless infiltrator to replace a victim / having someone just as competent as yourself to see to the dull work you're too busy and important to do) if the simulacrum lacked the original's full memories, knowledge, and personality quirks.

A simulacrum can make the same Wisdom (Nature) checks and Intelligence (Arcana) checks that the original could, it has the same proficiencies and, implicitly, the same knowledge base and memories of where and how its original learned those facts. It can recognize creatures it has never met but that its original has memories of, and, aside from its absolute loyalty to its creator, it can behave in a manner completely consistent with how the original behaved. The fact that the illusory duplicate possesses these properties is made use of in multiple official adventures!

From the 2018 adventure Waterdeep: Dragon Heist, in chapter 8, "Winter Wizardry":

Secret Simulacrum
If the characters make an enemy of Manshoon, he tries to capture one of them and replace that character with a magical duplicate created using the simulacrum spell. If one of the players is absent for a game session and circumstances allow it, Manshoon targets that character for replacement while the rest of the party is distracted by other matters. You don't need to roleplay the character's capture; just assume it happens.

In the 2020 adventure Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden, a simulacrum of a dead wizard shares gossip about wizard-peers that its creator knew and disliked:

The quest in Easthaven begins at the same time as the burning of the Red Wizard, Dzaan, who is described in the "Arcane Brotherhood" section of appendix C. Whether the characters are starting the adventure in Easthaven or have just arrived, they are present during Dzaan's fiery execution. They're too late to save Dzaan, but they might encounter a magical copy of him again in chapter 2 (see "Lost Spire of Netheril").
"Vellynne Harpell is a human necromancer, as cold and uncaring as the corpses she animates. She's a withered old fool whose greatest asset—her family name—does her no good in Icewind Dale."
The simulacrum, which looks and acts like Dzaan, has half of Dzaan's hit points and can't regain expended spell slots.
The sunken Netherese tower contains a special room that can transform the simulacrum into a real person—or any magical illusion into the real thing, for that matter. If this change occurs, the simulacrum effectively becomes a clone of Dzaan, authentic in every way.

In the level 10 adventure from the 2023 book Keys from the Golden Vault, "Party at Paliset Hall," the one flaw in a simulacrum's impersonation is the result of its loyalty to its evil creator:

A few days ago, unaware of the danger, Zorhanna donned the shard solitaire necklace to see how it looked with a new gown she planned to wear at the gala. Zorhanna's close contact with the necklace allowed the Far Realm entity to trap her inside the diamond. The entity then replaced Zorhanna with a simulacrum using one of the shard solitaire's magical properties. Zorhanna's simulacrum now wanders Paliset Hall, preparing for the arrival of the gala's guests, while the real Zorhanna remains trapped inside the shard solitaire.
Eliphas knows the following pieces of information:
Zorhanna's Simulacrum. "I'm now convinced that my wife has been replaced by a simulacrum—a lookalike invested with her knowledge and spellcasting ability. I dimly recall Zorhanna mentioning that the shard solitaire has the power to create such a thing."


Based on clarification by Jeremy Crawford himself, I'd say that this would be a definitive Yes.

A simulacrum is a duplicate of another creature at the time of the spell's casting. You essentially take a snapshot of that creature's game statistics at the completion of the 12-hour casting, and those become the statistics of the simulacrum. #DnD https://t.co/vupGQPmPEX — Jeremy Crawford (@JeremyECrawford) June 25, 2018

Since Jeremy Crawford said that a simulacrum is essentially a duplicate of the target at the time of casting, I'd say that a simulacrum would know everything the original knew at the time of casting.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ This conclusion does not follow from that quote. The quote says that you take a snapshot of the creature's statistics and those become the simulacrum's statistics. The game statistics are the things found in the stat block, nothing else. What a creature knows isn't part of their game statistics. So it's silent about whether those statistics are copied. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 15, 2021 at 5:25
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Jeremy Crawford's tweets are no longer official information. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 15, 2021 at 5:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ Mr. Crawford hasn't been an authoritative source for far more than a year by now. \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Commented Jul 19, 2021 at 22:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Trish IMO, it would have been helpful if this kind of insight (what is cited in the tweet) had been included in the latest SAC, but I guess that simulacrum didn't make the cut for "important enough to be included in SAC's latest revision." \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 20, 2021 at 15:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast Yes, though Crawford also didn't note anything about memory in either post about Simulacrum. Maybe they might make a better Simulacrum thing than "Yes, what we wrote was intended" and "imagine it as a snapshot". \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Commented Jul 20, 2021 at 15:52

No, and you probably would need a wish to make it happen...

The interpretation of the rules by Icyfire are dead on spot. The simulacrum does not have any memories or knowledge (apart from the general stuff that the proficiencies would give) of the original.

And it was as such during almost all editions of D&D.

In AD&D 2e, it was specifically stated in the spell description:

(...) a limited wish spell must be used to empower the duplicate with
40% to 65% (35% + 1d6 * 5%)
of the knowledge and personality of the original (...)

5e does not have limited wish, so as a last resort a wish to endow the simulacrum with the memories of the original could work depending on the DM approval.

If it were in my game, I'd allow such a wish on one condition (apart from the whole stress and 33%'s):

  • (unless willing) The original creature fails a saving throw (maybe Intelligence) against the 9th level spell (wish). The magic would scan its brain for precious information, so allowing a saving throw is very fair.

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