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I am DMing a D&D 5E game. I have a player who wants to use Invoke Duplicity and Wild Shape, then cast spells through the illusion. My thoughts are Wild Shape says the druid can't cast spells, and Invoke Duplicity says the cleric casts spells as though the caster were in the duplicate's space. So RAW it seems you can't.

Their argument was a Wild Shaped druid can't cast spells because the beast form doesn't have hands or a way to do the verbal components, but since the character can control the duplicate at will, then the character should be able to have the duplicate perform the verbal and somatic components.

I'm pretty sure RAW its not allowed. Would create an imbalance to allow it?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for joining our stack! Please take our tour to learn more about how we operate and you can visit the help center for more information. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Jun 4 at 17:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ Last question: What level is the player and what is their druid/cleric level split? \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Jun 4 at 17:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ Is your question can they do it, or does it cause imbalance? Because your title and the text would suggest you just want to know if it's possible, but your end sentence makes it a question of balance. \$\endgroup\$ – MivaScott Jun 4 at 22:49
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Your interpretation is correct.

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

The only thing Invoke Duplicity changes is the point of origin of the spell. There is no other text allowing for any other adjustments to how the spell is cast.

You can’t cast spells, and your ability to speak or take any action that requires hands is limited to the capabilities of your beast form.

The text on Wild Shape is equally clear: "You can’t cast spells." The next clause is joined by "and" but it parses out exactly to the same effect if you split it into two sentences:

"You can’t cast spells. Your ability to speak or take any action that requires hands is limited to the capabilities of your beast form."

Consider that Moon Druids get Elemental Wild Shape at level 10. The art for fire and earth elementals clearly depict hands with fingers, and all four forms have languages which means they're clearly capable of speaking. There's no text in the ability that supersedes "You can't cast spells" from the basic ability, so they still can't even though they have mostly the same bits a humanoid has.

As for balance...

Allowing the character to cast spells while Wild Shaped is the province of a much higher level ability, Beast Spells, that Druids do not get until Level 18. Allowing a character the ability earlier than that (significantly earlier, as a Druid 2/Cleric 2 has Wild Shape and Invoke Duplicity) is definitely unbalancing.

While the character in question may not be a Moon Druid, some folks consider the toughness of some the Moon Druid's Wild Shaped forms combined with Beast Spells (and a few levels later, Archdruid) to be overpowered by itself. Granting a similar capability to a multi-classed character at an even lower level is even more overpowered.

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No, your illusion doesn't cast spells

Let's look at more of the description for Invoke Duplicity:

As an action, you create a perfect illusion of yourself that lasts for 1 minute, or until you lose your concentration (as if you were concentrating on a spell). The illusion appears in an unoccupied space that you can see within 30 feet of you. As a bonus action on your turn, you can move the illusion up to 30 feet to a space you can see, but it must remain within 120 feet of you.

For the duration, you can cast spells as though you were in the illusion's space, but you must use your own senses. Additionally, when both you and your illusion are within 5 feet of a creature that can see the illusion, you have advantage on attack rolls against that creature, given how distracting the illusion is to the target.

So there are two issues; one may or may not be a factor.

First, the Cleric's Duplicate is equivalent to a concentration spell. So no matter what, you cannot cast anything that requires concentration. Depending on the spell, you're out of luck before it even begins.

Second, look at the wording, "you can cast spells as though you were in the illusion's space."

It's not the duplicate casting spells. It's still the Cleric. But things like range and line-of-sight are skewed as if they were standing where the illusion is. So the Cleric could do a touch spell at a distance. But the Cleric must still be capable of casting.

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That argument makes no sense.

Here's what Invoke Duplicity gives you:

As an action, you create a perfect illusion of yourself that lasts for 1 minute, or until you lose your concentration (as if you were concentrating on a spell). ... For the duration, you can cast spells as though you were in the illusion's space, but you must use your own senses.

First, the Invoke Duplicity duplicate is an illusion. It can't perform somatic or other spell components because it's not real. The cleric can cast spells, as if they were located at the illusion's position, but the illusion can't cast spells.

Second, the duplicate is a "perfect illusion of yourself", so if you're a bear, then it's an illusion of a bear. It should have all the same limitations of form as whoever it's duplicating.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I suspect the player would argue that the illusion is whatever form you were in when you activate the ability. \$\endgroup\$ – T.J.L. Jun 4 at 18:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @T.J.L. I would totally believe that this player would make that argument. \$\endgroup\$ – Mark Wells Jun 4 at 18:21

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