Say I create a smith with Major Image, and use Illusory Reality to make his hammer real. Obviously, the hammer is physical, and can do physical things, provided it doesn't do damage. However, could the illusory smith still wield his hammer, or would it fall through his grasp?

If there are no real rules for this in 5e, I would appreciate some lore or rules from past editions, that possibly set a precedent for this kind of thing.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Out of curiosity, is there something you wanted the illusion to be able to do by doing this? Or, is it simply a matter of your curiosity? Maybe if I understood that I would be able to better answer your question. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 27, 2018 at 18:58

1 Answer 1


No, illusions can not handle real objects

Illusory Reality says:

When you cast an illusion spell of 1st level or higher, you can choose one inanimate, nonmagical object that is part of the illusion and make that object real.

The spell effect takes an illusion and makes it real

The spell text states that the object you choose starts as an illusory object but then becomes a real object. The way it is phrased and the way they are explicitly contrasted in the sentence make it clear that the object is not now illusory and real, just real.

More evidence that Illusory Reality creates real things and not some partially real thing that can be interacted with by illusions is this conversation by Jeremy Crawford:

@BrailSays: lvl 14 illusory reality+illusion of adamantine wall, incoming siege boulder/ballista. What happens?

@JeremyECrawford: It could hit the wall.

@BrailSays: wall hp? no damage ?

@JeremyECrawford: The wall is real, so the DM would treat it like any other wall.

No illusory object can stop or take damage from a projectile without explicitly saying so in its spell effect. This new, non-illusory wall has HP and AC and all the other properties of a real wall because it is real. It has none of the properties of an illusion because it is no longer one.

Plain English: "real" is mutually exclusive with "illusion"/"illusory"

D&D often depends on using the plain english meaning of words. Neither illusion or "real" have any concrete game definition.

Illusion is defined as "something that deceives by producing a false or misleading impression of reality.". And illusory is defined as "based on illusion; not real."

Real is defined as "being an actual thing; having objective existence; not imaginary".

Thus, it is apparent that something cannot be illusory and real simultaneously.

This interpretation meshes well with how illusions normally behave

Illusions are not real and cannot move or affect real objects (unless a specific effect says they can). Major Image does not have any effect that allows its illusion to handle real objects.

In fact, it says the opposite:

Physical interaction with the image reveals it to be an illusion, because things can pass through it.

Illusions cannot do anything to affect real walls or any other real object. They pass right through them.


So, when you create a hammer from the illusion of a smithy, the hammer should fall right through the illusion and to the ground. Any creature that sees this will also immediately recognize the smithy as an illusion and be able to see through it.

Thus, illusions can not carry an object made real by Illusory Reality.

  • \$\begingroup\$ "Make that object real". Is it allowed to keep the illusion of target object? \$\endgroup\$
    – Vylix
    Feb 27, 2018 at 9:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Vylix something is either real or an illusion. It doesn't make sense for something to be both at once. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 27, 2018 at 10:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ Here's the thing though. The spell says, "By 14th level, you have learned the secret of weaving shadow magic into your illusions to give them a semireality." That semireality part leads me to believe that it's still part of the illusion, like the shadow magic is just another layer to it, giving it a physical form that is part of the illusion. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jay Kay
    Feb 27, 2018 at 18:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JayKay: I've updated my answer. See if that is more convincing to you. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 27, 2018 at 18:53

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