The 14th-level Illusion Wizard feature, Illusory Reality, allows you to make an object in an illusion real (PHB p. 118):

Illusory Reality. By 14th level, you have learned the secret of weaving shadow magic into your illusions to give them a semireality. 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. You can do this on your turn as a bonus action while the spell is ongoing. The object remains real for 1 minute. For example, you can create an illusion of a bridge over a chasm and then make it real long enough for your allies to cross.

The object can't deal damage or otherwise directly harm anyone.

A 14th level Illusionist is being grappled by an orc. She makes an illusory wall with major image between them, with the orc's arm passing through the illusion. Then she uses Illusory Reality to make that wall real. What happens, given that obviously from the ability text the orc cannot be harmed by this real wall appearing in the same space as its arm?

Some non-exhaustive options that I've considered:

  1. The Illusionist fails to use the feature. The orc cannot be harmed by it, and would be if their arm was "tele-fragged" by this now-real wall. So the ability fails entirely.
  2. The orc is pushed to the other side of the wall (following mechanics like those used in Wall of Force). The ability cannot deal damage or directly harm the orc, but pushing the orc out of the wall's space is not directly harming it.
  3. The ability resolves, but there is a convenient orc-arm-sized hole in the wall where the orc's arm is, since the ability cannot harm the orc.
  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ A more interesting example is if the illusionist created the illusion of a "bridge over a chasm," convinced the orc to cross it, and prevented him from exiting the bridge for the 1 minute duration that it would continue hold him up (and as it disappears, yelling "none shall pass!") Surely the orc would fall to his death... or would the rules of the magic grant him levitation? \$\endgroup\$
    – John Wu
    Jul 14, 2018 at 0:49
  • 13
    \$\begingroup\$ @JohnWu In that case, the Illusion isn't harming them, which would be totally fine. In fact, to me, that would be good gameplay and probably get rewarded with Inspiration \$\endgroup\$ Jul 14, 2018 at 3:06

2 Answers 2


Officially, it's entirely up to the DM.

The rule only says that it cannot harm anyone. It doesn't specify how to rule it, and there are no general rules covering this case. In cases where there is no rule in D&D 5th edition, or the rule is ambiguous, the DM adjudicates it.

If you're the DM, it's entirely up to you how this works. The only thing it can't do is harm someone, which means it can't telefrag someone. The wall appears, but only does so in a way that does not harm the orc.


Officially, it's entirely up to the DM.

  1. I would personally rule this happens. This is the option that doesn't cause problems.
  2. Shunting the Orc to an unoccupied space seems like an acceptable answer as well but, this could cause all sorts of tricky rulings later as they could attempt to shunt people off cliffs and into directly harmful stuff. Not against RAW (unless that could be considered direct harm) but against my DM style, I guess.
  3. I personally would rule this one as slippery-slope. If it just molds around the target you could just encase someone in the stuff and make them unable to move and suffocate. It technically isn't directly harming them, but I feel like that would go against the intent of the no direct harm.

This is all just from personal DM experience and may not perfectly reflect RAW.

  • 8
    \$\begingroup\$ On option 3 as "slippery-slope": None of the options preclude you throwing a flaming torch (to burn oxygen) at your enemy, illusioning an airtight steel box around enemy & torch both, then using Illusory Reality - but, either way, most people can hold their breath for longer than a minute, so the box would vanish before they suffocated. The real problem is using it as shackles/blindfold and letting the party whale on them... \$\endgroup\$ Jul 13, 2018 at 16:03
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to the site! Please take our tour to get an idea as to how things work here. If you have personal experience with this type of situation you should more explicitly outline how this experience advises your answer. Otherwise, your answer reads like a forum post which is not the goal of the site. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 13, 2018 at 16:18

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .