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Can I conjure a small rain cloud above a creature's head using minor illusion?

  1. The text does not indicate whether the illusion is static or animated, so can I create a rain cloud like a GIF?

  2. Can the illusion follow a creature?

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You can’t move it

If the spell doesn’t say it, the spell doesn’t do it.

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No, minor illusion is a static image that cannot be moved

The description for the minor illusion cantrip (PHB, p. 260) says this about creating an image:

If you create an image of an object–such as a chair, muddy footprints, or a small chest–it must be no larger than a 5-foot cube. The image can't create sound, light, smell, or any other sensory effect. Physical interaction with the image reveals it to be an illusion, because things can pass through it.

Nothing mentions being able to move the image in any way. Contrast this with silent image (PHB, p. 276), a 1st-level spell, which includes the following:

You can use your action to cause the image to move to any 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.

Since silent image, a 1st-level spell, describes how it can be both moved and "animated", it makes sense that a mere cantrip, whose description does not mention being able to be moved or "animated", would not be able to do these things (otherwise, why would anyone take silent image? Except for the size increase...)


Note that it doesn't explicitly say that silent image is "animated" whilst not being moved, and minor illusion doesn't mention this either way, so the fact that minor illusion is "static" is an inference on my part based on the fact that one illusion can be "updated" and the other can't.

The top answer to the question Is Silent Image animated if an action is not used to move it? asserts that the illusion created by silent image cannot be "animated" unless you are moving the illusion's location, since that's what the description says, but either way, there is nothing to suggest that minor illusion can be updated at all, so I assume it is completely static.

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