The major image spell description says:

Similarly, you can cause the illusion to make different sounds at different times, even making it carry on a conversation, for example.

To what lengths can I make the image talk? How many sentences can I make it say or respond with my action?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Good responses, thanks.I was also trying to figure out to what lengths can I make the image talk/respond with one action? My mistake,should i ask another question? \$\endgroup\$
    – Dnd junkie
    Commented Nov 17, 2018 at 15:56

3 Answers 3


Ask your DM

Unfortunately, there is very little guidance in the books on how much you can do or can't do with illusions outside of the general guidelines in each spell.

We do know that within Initiative Order, your action and turn take up about 6 seconds. What your action can do with regard to directing the image needs to fit into this timeframe.

With regard to spell description section you quoted above, this is not a live action and response effect. You are using your action to program how the illusion will look and sound. It may not be able to respond in real time depending on your table treats conversations during Initiative Order, but you could have it appear to be in a conversation (most likely with something else in the illusion, but if you're very clever you may be able to make it appear to be responding with generalities. The key difficulty is in that you are using your Action to make it respond. If the other party in communication goes after your turn, you may not be able to respond - but again, that's a table dependent issue.

  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ I feel that your statement that "It can't respond in real time" is incorrect. If we want to model a conversation in battle-time, you would speak on your own turn, no? Now instead of that you can use your action to make the image speak. If timing is really important, you may Ready an Action to respond with the image. \$\endgroup\$
    – Szega
    Commented Nov 16, 2018 at 18:08
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @Szega That's a good point and may be table dependent. I'll adjust. I know some tables allow conversations on each turn and others require responses on turn within the round. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Nov 16, 2018 at 18:11

The image can talk to any lengths necessary.

Major image places no restrictions regarding how many sentences the image can speak, because that is not how conversations work.

You don't use your action to have the image say a sentence or reply to a question, rather you use your action to have the image converse and as part of that action the image can speak multiple sentences, reply to questions, interrupt, be interrupted, etc. in a way that appears natural.

As long as you are within range of the illusion, you can use your action to cause the image to move to any other spot within range. As the image changes location, you can alter its appearance so that its movements appear natural for the image. For example, if you create an image of a creature and move it, you can alter the image so that it appears to be walking. Similarly, you can cause the illusion to make different sounds at different times, even making it carry on a conversation, for example.

The image doesn't slide across floors, nor does it have a pre-counted number of steps it can take, rather it can move in a way that appears natural. Similarly the image doesn't talk like a recording, nor does it speak a limited number of words, rather it can hold a conversation that appears natural.

Being in combat does not change any of this. Typically, the image will only ever speak during your turn because that is when you typically use your action, but every creature is limited to communicating during their turn, as explained in "Other Activity on Your Turn":

You can communicate however you are able, through brief utterances and gestures, as you take your turn.

Therefore, the image's ability to hold a conversation isn't hampered by the turn order any more or any less than any other creature, as long as you use your action to control the image.



Seriously, you're OK with magic allowing Fly, Plane Shift, Resurrection, Tsunami, Simulacrum and Wish but having it make someone hear words is not possible? 😂

In 5e things do what they say the do; it says it can carry on a conversation so it can. It can make appropriate interjections, ask relevant questions, recite witty anecdotes - you know, make conversation.

  • \$\begingroup\$ This... doesn't really answer the question. The OP isn't asking "how is this even possible?", but rather "how does this work, mechanically?" - as the body of the post makes clear. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Commented Nov 17, 2018 at 3:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast there doesn't need to be a mechanical explanation, which seems to be the point of this answer. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 17, 2018 at 3:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast: Again: that's not what the OP is asking. They're literally asking "can I do X with the spell?" (as many RPG.SE questions do), not "what is the lore explanation for the spell" or "why does this spell work the way it does"... This answer doesn't address OP's actual question. OP's asking, "How much can I say with major image?" \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Commented Nov 17, 2018 at 5:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ (Technically I guess the last sentence starts to answer the actual question, but it doesn't elaborate on the reasoning or the specific things OP's asking.) \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Commented Nov 17, 2018 at 6:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast The bold answers the question's title, and the text looks a bit like a challenge to the frame of the question. (There isn't a limit). We'll see if Dale chooses to edit the answer to clarify. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 17, 2018 at 14:14

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