Recently as a player my party fought against a creature that could paralyze you if you looked at it. Since my rogue has now seen it, would it be possible to replicate this using Minor Illusion by creating a image of the creature, and would it work the same way or be less effective? Could this also be used to replicate the attack the creature used that could kill if you failed the saving throw?

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    – Someone_Evil
    Commented Jul 4, 2020 at 20:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ It might be easier for answerers to understand the exact proposal if you specified the creature (or an equivalent, official one in its place), but I'm not sure it's critical. \$\endgroup\$
    – Someone_Evil
    Commented Jul 4, 2020 at 21:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ Replicate as in having the same effect or as in just an illusion of the creature and cloud without any actual effect? \$\endgroup\$
    – Chepelink
    Commented Jul 4, 2020 at 21:01

2 Answers 2


Illusions do not have a creature's features.

Illusions are not the creatures represented in them, so they do not have the features or attacks allotted to creatures of that form.

Minor Illusion is a cantrip.

Being able to replicate an area of effect Paralyze attack with a cantrip is well beyond the power intended by designers.

Minor Illusion doesn't create images of creatures.

Minor Illusion creates an image of either a sound or object. Creatures are neither.

This doesn't mean you can't use it as a bluff.

Minor Illusion does not require Verbal components. To opponents unfamiliar with the spell, you can say whatever you want, even the Verbal Components to a Summoning spell or simply say "Come forth, Medusa!" If your opponent believes you and understands what a Medusa is, it may still be tactically advantageous for them to avert their gaze from the direction of your "summon", granting effective invisibility to things in that direction. What appears before those that look would instead be something like a 5-ft statue or something otherwise appropriate of the spell.

  • \$\begingroup\$ A statue of a creature is an object, and so is a corpse, and you could create an illusion of that. The "object" restriction that excludes creatures is mostly there to tell you it can't move, I think, because most creatures move. (Can Minor Illusion look like a creature, or look like me? makes this argument. The accepted answer on that question makes a much stronger claim that you couldn't even make a still image that looks like a frozen creature. I think it's wrong. Obviously any "spark of life" or twinkle in its eye wouldn't be there, though.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 5, 2020 at 12:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ Of course I agree with your overall conclusion; I'm merely questioning that one point. The other 3 points are fully sufficient, and the first point also covers 1st lvl Silent Image (Which can fool people into thinking it's a moving "alive" creature). \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 5, 2020 at 12:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PeterCordes The object restriction is there to tell you it must be an object. Object has a very specific meaning in 5e. Spells only do what they say they do. A corpse is an object and there are no constraints on posing the corpse or having it stay in-place in that pose, sure. Do be aware that you're gonna have a hard time selling that to many DMs because it seems like jank. \$\endgroup\$
    – Axoren
    Commented Jul 5, 2020 at 15:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ That was clumsy phrasing on my part. A corpse standing up in a "life-like" pose is an object (or other ways of having an object that looks like a creature), so the restriction on being an illusion of an object doesn't stop it from looking like a creature. Except of course that it can't move, because objects can't move. (Or can they? Can you do a minor illusion of cloth rippling in the wind? Certainly you can't animate the illusion as a creature that moves naturally; that would clearly be an illusion of a creature. An illusion of a lifelike robot would be a tough argument...) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 5, 2020 at 15:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ IDK why it would be a tough sell to the DM; I'm not proposing that it's going to give you much benefit. As you say, it's like a 5-foot full-color statue / light-sculpture of a creature. Unless a PC with good deception manages to consistently trick enemies into averting their gaze. That's a clever idea that should work in-world if Minor Illusion can do that, for cautious-enough enemies, if they can't spot the total lack of movement of even the feet while avoiding eye-contact. Perhaps the DM would rule that it's a well-known trick and doesn't fool people who know about minor illusion. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 5, 2020 at 15:45

Minor Illusion can't do this

There are two points where this fails:

  • Firstly, minor illusion can't create images of creatures. Its effect is

    You create a sound or an image of an object within range that lasts for the duration.

    and objects aren't creatures.

  • Secondly, (and this also applies to silent image which can create images of creatures) illusions of creatures aren't creatures. If the illusion were treated as a full creature the spell's description would say so.

    Also note that this working would make the silent image spell way more powerful than it's normal 1st level (It would be a repeating, AoE hold monster (a 5th level spell)).


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