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When you cast Mislead, you become invisible while an image appears where you were standing. Invisibility causes you to be impossible to see without magical means, but it does not cause you to be hidden. The spell description for Mislead does not state that you are hidden. However, it would not make sense to have an illusory copy of yourself appear where you are standing if everyone knows where you actually are and that you are invisible. This could only work in instances where you break line of sight before casting of the spell, which lowers its effectiveness. Even in that instance, it does not make sense that the image has to appear where you were standing. It would not matter if it appears five feet away, which implies that this was meant to take your place while unnoticed by anyone watching.

I have ruled in the past that Mislead automatically hides the caster since it seemed like the logical purpose of the spell to me. However, as I read it now, RAW would require breaking line of sight, using an action to cast Mislead, then using another action to hide. Is this RAI as well?

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    \$\begingroup\$ You ask whether "Mislead automatically hide[s] the spellcaster", yet the spell description clearly doesn't include a "you are invisible and hidden" phrase. In combination with your question body, it seems to me that you're asking a) if this is RAI or b) if it's not, if you're justified in houseruling it or if others recommend the same thing. Either way, you should rephrase your question to reflect what you actually want to know, or the answer is likely to be a simple "no, it doesn't" that probably won't be particularly satisfying for you. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 7, 2021 at 19:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ Mislead* is a more powerful Invisibility*, not a more powerful Mirror Image. I assume you don't have a question about if the Invisibility spell makes you hidden (it doesn't). \$\endgroup\$
    – Tiger Guy
    Commented Dec 8, 2021 at 5:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ Does my answer solve your problem well enough for a green check? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 30, 2021 at 12:13

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You are not hidden until you successfully Hide.

Being hidden requires two things:

If you are hidden — both unseen and unheard — when you make an attack, you give away your location when the attack hits or misses.

Notably, mislead makes you invisible:

You become invisible at the same time that an illusory double of you appears where you are standing.

But it does nothing to make you silent, which is what the Hide action is for:

The DM decides when circumstances are appropriate for hiding. When you try to hide, make a Dexterity (Stealth) check. Until you are discovered or you stop hiding, that check's total is contested by the Wisdom (Perception) check of any creature that actively searches for signs of your presence.

You can't hide from a creature that can see you clearly, and you give away your position if you make noise, such as shouting a warning or knocking over a vase. An invisible creature can always try to hide. Signs of its passage might still be noticed, and it does have to stay quiet.

So mislead takes care of being seen, but it doesn't make you silent, so you still have to successfully Hide to completely escape detection.

Mislead just isn't a great in-combat panic button.

Check the duration:

Duration: Concentration, up to 1 hour

The first section of this answer outlines the problem with using mislead as a panic button: it doesn't automatically hide you. Even when invisible, unless you successfully hide, your location is still known. However, mislead has a duration of 1 hour, which makes this well suited for being prepared before a fight, such as when setting up an ambush.

Alteranitvely, mislead works great if you cast it while already hidden; see the components:

Components: S

If you are already hidden, casting mislead will not give away your position by making noise, as its only component is somatic.

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    \$\begingroup\$ RAW, if you don't hide, the enemy would (afaik) automatically know your position, even if you move away from the illusion's spot. Detecting you wouldn't require searching as far as I know, that would only be necessary AFTER you've hidden yourself. Which, yes, the enemy likely wouldn't do if he doesn't suspect you're gone. I think we can agree that the enemy should NOT automatically know that you're invisible and somewhere other than where your illusion is, but that's not what the spell says and it's precisely what OP is asking about. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 7, 2021 at 19:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PixelMaster Ugh, youre right. I'll delete for now and revisit this later. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 7, 2021 at 19:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PixelMaster Actually, I'll this here for now without the second section, but I'll probably come back later and address the real issue. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 7, 2021 at 19:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ You might want to note that invisible doesn't even always mean unseen anyway. Creatures with true sight or blind sight will see you anyway if you are within range. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 7, 2021 at 20:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ Do you have any interest in the 'coming back later' at this point? I'm currently working through mislead questions and would do this one unless you want to edit yours. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Commented Aug 11, 2023 at 5:10
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The illusion is not automatically revealed

If you cast Mislead, you have not hidden yet. If you and your illusory double move away from each other, then another creature (assuming they have no special senses) will perceive "you" in two locations at once: one location via sight and sound and one via sound only (or perhaps some other sense). Neither of these locations is hidden, so the creature perceives that something is in both of these locations, but they don't necessarily know what that means.

Let's assume the creature is smart enough to recognize that you have cast an illusion spell and conclude that one of the two locations at which they have perceived you must be false and the other true. Even if they know this for certain, they still need to decide which one is fake and which is real. A priori, there is nothing to tell them which location is the illusion and which one is you. You could have turned invisible and created an illusion of yourself (i.e. what Mislead does), or you could have created an auditory illusion that makes it sound like your footsteps are coming from somewhere else, or any number of other possibilities. If they don't recognize the spell as an illusion or don't recognize that you cast a spell (which is possible given that it requires only somatic components to cast), then there are even more possibilities involving conjuration, teleportation, etc. Simply perceiving you at your true location doesn't tell them the whole story.

Obviously, in practice most intelligent enemies will probably assume by default that the visible image of you is an illusion and the invisible source of sound is the real you, but this is an assumption they make, not knowledge they have. If your illusory double makes a break for the MacGuffin of Vague Yet Awesome Power, they probably can't afford to risk ignoring it unless they know for sure it's fake.

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Ryan C. Thompson's answer is a good summary of the spell intent and issues involved, but doesn't include any rules citations. Thomas Markov's answer cites why the spell does not Hide you, but doesn't suggest how the spell is meant to be used after it is cast. I hope to combine elements from both these complementary answers into a single comprehensive answer to the original question as well as add some of my own insights.


Let's assume, as the question does, that you cast mislead "within enemy eyesight". At the time you cast, then, you are not Hidden - and prior to casting, you cannot have been Hidden. As the PHB Hiding Sidebar explains:

You can't hide from a creature that can see you clearly, and you give away your position if you make noise, such as shouting a warning or knocking over a vase. An invisible creature can always try to hide. Signs of its passage might still be noticed, and it does have to stay quiet.

When you complete the spell,

You become invisible at the same time that an illusory double of you appears where you are standing.

Spells do (only) what they say they do, and the mislead spell does not say that it Hides you. Thus, even after the spell you are still not Hidden. Although you are invisible, your illusory double is not, and it is standing where you are, perfectly revealing your location. If you do nothing else on your turn, you are still a quite obvious target.1

The intent of the spell is that after casting, you will then separate from the illusion to disguise your actual presence - after all, you are trying to mislead your foes as to your true location. However, the action economy is imposing some limits. You can't move the image until your next turn, since that would require the action you just spent casting the spell. Likewise, unless you have multiclassed to Rogue for a Bonus Hide action (or have a similar feature), you will not be able to Hide yourself before moving, meaning potentially the sound of your motion would be detected. What you should do next depends on whether you have Movement remaining.

If you don't have movement

Ideally, when you cast mislead, you had reserved some or all of your movement, so that you could protect yourself by moving away from your double. However, if you have not, at the very least you can quietly fall prone. Falling prone can be done on your turn without spending movement. A generous DM may say that this is worth disadvantage on attacks targeting you, since you are no longer at exactly the same location as the double, but even a restrictive DM should at least give ranged attacks disadvantage to hit you as per RAW for the prone condition.

If you do have movement and it is still your turn

If you have just cast mislead and it is still your turn, you will want to try to slip away from your double as silently as possible. A single space is sufficient if you anticipate only direct attacks, but farther is better if your foes have Area of Effect spells, and reaching total cover is good, too.

When one is successfully Hidden, they are moving unseen and unheard, but you don't yet have an action to spend on Hiding. However, you are invisible - already unseen without having to Hide. You don't have to Hide to attempt to move silently. This is a point that is often unappreciated, so it would be good idea to discuss this with your DM beforehand. But while spending an action on Hide allows you to attempt to move unseen and unheard, you are not required to Hide in order to attempt to move silently.2

After you cast mislead, you tell your DM that you would like to use your remaining movement, but doing so as quietly as possible. The might say that is not possible without taking the Hide action. But they might permit you a Dexterity (Stealth) check, even if you are not Hidden. Or, if enemies are at a distance and you are in the middle of a noisy battle, they could just say, 'no roll is necessary, no one is going to notice the sound of sandals on stone or rustling robes at more than ten feet'.

On your next turn

Once it is your next turn, you will have both movement and an action available, and a bonus action to switch to its senses if you want. You can now use your action to Hide and move away farther, faster, and with less chance of being detected, while it remains in place. Since you are invisible it does not matter that you are in line of sight of foes, 'you can always hide'. Or, you can use your action to move it, while you remain in place silently, or even move both of you (yourself as silently as you can without the Hiding action). As Ryan C. Thompson says, unless your foes have a reason to know that you specifically cast mislead, it should not be obvious what is happening. In a noisy environment, you might be undetectable and not even bother Hiding. If it is quiet enough to hear your footfalls or clothes rustling, you might stay close to your double - can your foes tell that your footsteps are coming from five feet away, not from the double, when they are at a distance?


1 Your double would be clearly revealing your location for Area of Effect spells. Direct attacks on you, in a strict sense, would be at disadvantage since:

When you attack a target that you can't see, you have disadvantage on the attack roll. This is true whether you're guessing the target's location or you're targeting a creature you can hear but not see.

Your attackers aren't guessing your location, but they can't see you, so RAW their attacks would have disadvantage. However, if your double is exactly superimposed over your current location, a less permissive DM might still allow the attacks to happen as normal.

2 Hiding is explained in Chapter 9, Actions in Combat:

When you take the Hide action, you make a Dexterity (Stealth) check in an attempt to hide, following the rules for hiding. If you succeed, you gain certain benefits, as described in the "Unseen Attackers and Targets" section later in this section.

As above, Hiding uses your action to make a Dexterity (Stealth) check. But not all Dexterity (Stealth) checks require using your action, and not all of them necessarily Hide you. In Chapter 7, Using Ability Scores, we find that you:

Make a Dexterity (Stealth) check when you attempt to conceal yourself from enemies, slink past guards, slip away without being noticed, or sneak up on someone without being seen or heard.

In the case of 'slipping away unnoticed', suppose you are in a crowd. You attempt to leave, perhaps slipping into an alley without attracting the attention of someone watching for you or following you. You are not attempting to be unseen or unheard or Hidden, just escaping their notice. In this case, you would not spend your action to Hide. Instead, this would be resolved by the standard procedure - you tell the DM what you are trying to do, and they tell you the result of your actions (in this case, asking you for a Dexterity (Stealth) check and letting the result determine your success or failure).

As another example, suppose you are attempting to 'slink past guards'. The DM informs you that they are talking loudly to one another, and making enough noise that you don't need to be silent. On the other hand, you will need to pass by them in an open area - there is no cover, there is no way you can Hide or remain unseen. But if you time your movement just right, they will be looking the other way and you can slink past. In this case you might be permitted a Dexterity (Stealth) check without even attempting to Hide.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Interesting. So you're arguing that you can make a stealth check during combat separately from the Hide action, in order to gain a specific benefit other than what the Hide action gives you (becoming hidden)? I guess "slip away without being noticed" definitely fits the situation, but wouldn't success on this check mean that you are now unseen and unheard by enemies, i.e. hidden, the same benefit as success on the Hide action? I'm not sure I understand how this doesn't amount to taking the Hide action as a free action with movement. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 20, 2023 at 3:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ @RyanC.Thompson I'm not arguing that you can unilaterally make a stealth check. Rather, you tell the DM what you are trying to do (move quietly) and they might choose to resolve it with a Stealth check. Yes, 'slip away unnoticed' could be in a crowd - you are seen, and heard, but not noticed. With mislead, you tell the DM what you want to do - 'move quietly' - if they permit the Stealth check and you are successful, you are not Hidden, just silent enough for that round of movement. Success on the check would give the same result for that round, but it would be different in two ways. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Commented Aug 20, 2023 at 6:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ First you are unseen, but NOT because you are hidden - rather, because you are invisible. Second, when you successfully Hide, you are Hidden until you reveal yourself - which could be minutes later or more. In this case, you might need a check every round you wanted to attempt to move silently, and the DM might adjust the DC each round. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Commented Aug 20, 2023 at 6:32

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