The spell mirage arcane is problematic in that much is left undefined, or unclear. It is a 7th-level spell, so its powers are unexpectedly great. Nonetheless, there must be some limitations to the spell. I’m specifically interested in the type of terrain that the local one can be changed to.

Jeremy Crawford once unofficially tweeted that targets could drown in an imaginary lake, or fall off an imaginary cliff, so we can assume that spawning a lake in the middle of nowhere isn’t too far-fetched:

The mirage arcane spell gives you tremendous latitude in how you make the affected terrain look and feel. The altered terrain can even hurt someone. You could drown in the spell’s illusory lake, for example, or fall off an illusory cliff.

What kind of illusory terrain can the mirage arcane spell change the targeted area to? What are the limitations on this spell?

  1. Can extraplanar terrain be used?
    Places like the Elemental Plane of Fire are inherently dangerous to humans. Could you use mirage arcane to summon typical terrain from that plane, like a sea of fire (for example)?

  2. Do acid lakes, toxic bogs, and active volcano calderas count as terrain?
    I’m inclined to say that if one can drown in an illusory lake, then surely one can melt in an illusory acid lake. For the toxic bog, though, it’s more debatable if its terrain components are the deadly ones. And I’m not sure if a big lake of lava is terrain.

  3. Does the allowed terrain depend on location?
    Perhaps summoning a lake of lava in the middle of a calm meadow is a bit extreme (then again, perhaps not for a 7th-level spell). However, surely if one were to use this spell in a volcanic landscape, then it would be appropriate?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Also, rather than including an 'answer' in your question, it's really best to just ask the question and leave it up to others to answer and find support. You can always self-answer, though! \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    May 18, 2020 at 14:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, sorry about the links, I’m still relatively new here, I’ll learn for my next question. As for the answers, I’m just looking to contribute, and to ask for specifics that I had in mind (to see if anyone agrees). \$\endgroup\$ May 18, 2020 at 14:40
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I totally get that, but the Q&A style really works better if you just ask the question and let answerers come up with their logic. By inserting your own potential answer (or partial) into the question, it can make things confusing. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    May 18, 2020 at 14:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ See also a number of other questions on RPG.SE about how mirage arcane works. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    May 19, 2020 at 6:39

1 Answer 1


It is up to the DM

Whether or not a specific idea of an illusion will work for this will be up to the DM. As you've noted, the rules are pretty slim on what illusions can be used and how they'll be used.

The only one that can answer this is the DM, and they may make a determination based on their own feelings of how the spell works, what's reasonable in-game, or any other multitude of factors.

A DM should, however, work with the players prior to picking the spell so that it's limitations are understood and agreed upon.


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