The Project Image spell allows the caster to control an illusion of themselves from a significant distance away. They can see and hear through the eyes and ears of the illusion. The illusion can gesture and speak.

Can the caster cast spells (without material components) originating from the illusion? (through gesturing and speaking with the illusion)

Mislead has a similar effect, so the answer will likely apply to that as well.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't understand. Could you elaborate on why you think this should work? \$\endgroup\$ – Sdjz Jul 12 '18 at 15:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Sdjz The illusion can gesture (somatic), speak (verbal) and see. Many spells target things that you can see (which you can, with the illusion). And I wasn't sure if there was anything in the spellcasting rules that specifically said spells originate from your physical body. \$\endgroup\$ – Vigil Jul 12 '18 at 16:16


In order for us to have a common language with which to determine how things work, we must stick to the idea that spells only do what they say and neither Mislead or Project Image offer an ability to cast through the illusion.

In fact, if you try to cast with Mislead:

the invisibility ends if you attack or cast a spell.

The spells dictate what you can and can't do and how they work, and neither have language regarding the ability to cast a spell through them.

Confusion around the description

I think you may be reading more into the following line:

make it gesture, speak, and behave in whatever way you choose

This does not mean you can cast a spell, it only means what it says in that you can have it do any of those communicative actions.

Just being able to gesture and speak does not give something a Spellcasting ability. Only having a spellcasting ability will do that, and without language stating such, the illusion does not have that ability.

An example of what you are looking for

As David Coffron points out, the Trickery Domain Cleric does have language in their Channel Divinity Invoke Duplicity(PHB, 63):

For the duration, you can cast spells as though you were in the illusion’s space, but you must use your own senses.

  • \$\begingroup\$ What may have confused the asker is that in a previous edition (AD&D 1e in particular, 6th level spell), one could cast some spells through an illusionist spell called projected image or MU spell called project image ... but IIRC that takes a higher level spell in this edition, I'll find the name. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jul 12 '18 at 15:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast In 5e the only thing that does that is the Trickery Domain cleric. \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Jul 12 '18 at 16:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ Downvoted for repeating the meme "Spells do only what they say". This is not actually in the rules. \$\endgroup\$ – Mark Wells Jul 12 '18 at 16:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MarkWells see the link for an explanation as to the source of this axiom. In short, the lead designer has issued statements, including in Sage Advice (an official rules clarification document), that reflect this sentiment. \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Jul 12 '18 at 16:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ It might be helpful to add the comparison to a non caster. Anyone can emulate the sounds and actions of a spellcaster (including this illusion), but only spellcasters can turn those into magical effects. An illusion is not a creature and certainly not a spellcaster. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Jul 12 '18 at 17:17

No, if it was allowed it would say so.

Spells only do what they say, so you cannot cast spells from the illusion's space.

Compare it to the Trickery Domain's Channel Divinity class feature:

as an action, you create a perfect illusion of yourself that lasts for 1 minute...

For the duration, you can cast spells as though you were in the illusion's space, but you must use your own senses.

This is the language that would be used if you had the ability to cast spells via the illusion of project image or mislead.


I mean, if the only requirement of the spell is that you need to be able to see your target and the range is permitting I don't see why you couldn't cast spells that way, using your project images vision. However, it wouldn't exactly be coming through the illusion, though you may be able to make it appear that way.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Can you point to a ruling stating that illusions can cast spells? \$\endgroup\$ – Davo Mar 11 '20 at 19:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Davo Trickery Domain clerics can \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Mar 11 '20 at 20:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, noted. My goal was to help this person improve his answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Davo Mar 11 '20 at 20:47

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