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The description of the illusionist's bracers states (GGR, p. 178; emphasis mine):

A powerful illusionist of House Dimir originally developed these bracers, which enabled her to create multiple minor illusions at once. The bracers' power, though, extends far beyond illusions.

While wearing the bracers, whenever you cast a cantrip, you can use a bonus action on the same turn to cast that cantrip a second time.

However, it seems to me that the effect detailed in the second paragraph would not actually allow one to cast multiple minor illusions at once as the flavor text in the first paragraph says, because the description of the spell minor illusion states:

The illusion also ends if you dismiss it as an action or cast this spell again.

Am I missing something about the illusionist's bracers that allows you to cast two minor illusions? Or does this magic item not actually allow one to do what its flavour text suggests?

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The illusion also ends if you dismiss it as an action or cast this spell again.

The spell description of minor illusion does not allow you to have two minor illusions going at once, as the first one ends if you cast it again.

Your observations are correct: Illusionist's bracers aren't helpful with minor illusion, except in niche circumstances.

Suppose some trigger happy dark wizard counterspells your first minor illusion. This answer argues that it still counts as having cast the spell, so you could still use your bonus action to cast minor illusion again.

There is still room for a DM ruling otherwise.

Because there is no flavor text in spell descriptions, an argument can be made that the Illusionist's bracers allow one to maintain two minor illusions at once.

The description of Illusionist's bracers says:

these bracers [...] enabled her to create multiple minor illusions at once.

Therefore, this may be a case of "specific-beats-general":

This compendium contains rules that govern how the game plays. That said, many racial traits, class features, spells, magic items, monster abilities, and other game elements break the general rules in some way, creating an exception to how the rest of the game works. Remember this: If a specific rule contradicts a general rule, the specific rule wins.

Exceptions to the rules are often minor. For instance, many adventurers don’t have proficiency with longbows, but every wood elf does because of a racial trait. That trait creates a minor exception in the game. Other examples of rule-breaking are more conspicuous. For instance, an adventurer can’t normally pass through walls, but some spells make that possible. Magic accounts for most of the major exceptions to the rules.

The Illusionist bracers may specifically allow you to maintain two minor illusions at once, over the general rule that you can only have one.

It is up to the DM to determine if this particular text applies only to the legendary creator of the bracers, or to anyone that wears them.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Regarding the second half of your answer - In addition to your note that the description saying the bracers enabled the creator to create multiple minor illusions at once does not say anything about allowing anyone else to do the same... Notably, the words "minor illusions" in the quote are not italicized, so it may not even be a reference to the minor illusion cantrip specifically. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Aug 14 at 2:16
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They only don't work if you use Xanathar's Guide to Everything

Under the default rules, nothing prevents you from taking your bonus action simultaneously with your action-- indeed you can take your bonus action 'at any time'. Unless you use the simultaneous action optional rule from Xanathar's Guide to Everything, you can thus cast the spell twice at the same time and thus not need to cast it again. This works just as well for other cantrips with similar limitations.

If you do use that optional rule, you can no longer use this item for its intended purpose, which would be a good reason to adjust it to work with your optional rule stuff, e.g. by having the bonus action double all effects of the spell you cast with it as if you cast the cantrip twice except that you do not actually do so. That will still be weird for things that trigger off cantrip spellcasting, but those are somewhat rare. The biggest problem then would be stuff like firebolt for pyromancers/Phoenix sorcerers.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The item description says it works, so it works. That's the most specific rule about that item, so it takes precedence over other rules. How exactly it works, that may require interpretation, but it can't "not work" in normal circumstances. \$\endgroup\$ – WakiNadiVellir Aug 13 at 15:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ @WakiNadiVellir: Note that the description saying the bracers enabled the creator to create multiple minor illusions at once does not say anything about allowing anyone else to do the same. Also, notably, the words "minor illusions" in the quote are not italicized, so it may not even be a reference to the minor illusion cantrip specifically. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Aug 14 at 2:16
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It's often thought, that there is no "flavor text" in DnD 5th edition. If description specifically says the bracers allow you to cast multiple Minor Illusions, then they do.

But the text doesn't actually say that exactly:

A powerful illusionist of House Dimir originally developed these bracers, which enabled her to create multiple minor illusions at once.

It could be argued, that only the particular powerful illusionist of House Dimir can do this, because it doesn't actually say anybody else can do that too. However, if this were so, then the item would have to specify the actual trigger mechanism to enable this power. No such thing is specified, so the item must allow this for any user (which then includes the creator).

Thus, the final verdict of the very literal reading of the rule is: It allows also you to create multiple Minor illusions at once.


Then the question is, how many? Well, "create" is not a well defined word in the rules. It can mean they need to be cast at once, or it can mean they can be in existemce at once.

With "cast at once", it would mean two minor illusions, cast with action and bonus action, which the bracers allow to be cast "at once" so the first one does not end when second is cast.

With "maintain at once", it's up to 20 before the first ones start popping out of existence after a minute, if the user just keeps casting the spell twice per round 6 second round.

After further thought (answer edited), as a DM I would pick the latter. It is not overpowered due to action economy, and still falls far short of what Major Image or Programmed Illusion or even Silent Image can do, so it shouldn't really break anything.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Technically everything is up to the DM, but OP is asking for a particular rules interaction that just saying “it’s up to the DM” doesn’t adequately address. \$\endgroup\$ – Thomas Markov Aug 13 at 14:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ThomasMarkov Better now? \$\endgroup\$ – WakiNadiVellir Aug 13 at 15:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think this a good point. For example heartstones of nighthags enable them to cast etherealness. But its contentious as to if that allows other creatures to use that effect. Specifically it allows that particular illusionist to cast two minor illusions. D \$\endgroup\$ – Daveman Aug 13 at 19:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ "It could be argued, that only the particular powerful illusionist of House Dimir can do this, because it doesn't actually say anybody else can do that too. However, if this were so, then the item would have to specify the actual trigger mechanism to enable this power." This second sentence is incorrect. Just because the item says a particular NPC used the item to do a thing doesn't in any way imply that every other character has to be able to use the item in that way as well, whether or not it explains how that NPC used the item to do it. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Aug 14 at 2:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast If item says they enabled creating several Minor Illusions and nothing more specific, and if that is not pure flavor text, then the item still works that way. To not work that way, there would need to be some "secret rule" spanning the gap "she could ... you can't". \$\endgroup\$ – WakiNadiVellir Aug 14 at 7:15

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