The Minor Illusion spell description states:

You create a sound or an image of an object within range that lasts for the duration. (...) If you create an image of an object--such as a chair, muddy footprints, or a small chest--it must be no larger than a 5-foot cube. The image can't create sound, light, smell, or any other sensory effect.

It is clear that you cannot create the image of a creature, both for power reasons and by the wording of the spell.

But could you create something that can easily be mistaken for a creature, such as a stuffed taxidermy of a monster, a lifelike statue, or a fresh corpse?

The upvoted answer to the Q&A Can Minor Illusion create sounds/images that the caster has never seen or heard? seems to suggest this would be possible.


3 Answers 3


Yes, minor illusion can be used this way

Like you said, corpses, statues, and taxidermies are objects. Minor illusion can create illusions of objects. So, minor illusion can create illusions of those things.

You have all the dots, and it looks like you already connected them for me!


Technically, this is possible

A lifelike statue, a stuffed monster, an armor looking like a heavily armored fighter, or a corpse under 5e rules all count as an object, not as a creature.

The spell lists objects that are not resembling any creature, does not list creatures, but makes no explicit statement about the object not being able to resemble a creature. Neither does the list of exclusions.

These creature-lookalikes would not exhibit any movement, and it may be easier to discern that something is not right with them, either granting Advantage to the saving throw to reveal them as an illusion, or allowing observers to recognize that since it is not moving, it is not actually a creature. But on superficial inspection, under time pressure, or with difficult lighting conditions like dim light, it may be difficult for a casual observer to tell the difference.

The objects created by minor illusion have to be static, they cannot move. This means the illusion of a taxidermied creature will for all practical purposes appear identical to the illusion of a creature. Possible differences would be extremely slight, such as the life-likeness of the eyes of the creature. In essence, this interpretation is way to circumvent that the spell does not mention illusions of creatures can be created.

I think if it was the intent of the spell to allow creating illusions of creatures, it would have mentioned them. The use of taxidermies to me smells of hair-splitting to extend the power of the spell. I would not be surprised if a DM ruled that this is against the spirit of the spell, and would limit the allowed use to statues or armors.


Yes, but it couldn't be more convincing as a creature

As the question states, a stuffed taxidermy of a monster, and a lifelike statue, are both objects1, and the spell says quite clearly that it creates "an image of an object". That part is clear - spells do what they say they do.

But the querent goes further and asks whether the spell can create an object that "can easily be mistaken for a creature". The spell in question is a cantrip, and presumably it was intentional to limit its power to portraying only objects, not creatures. I think the answer here has to be that the illusion can create an object that could be mistaken for a creature, but only in the specific circumstances that a real object would be equally likely to be mistaken. In particular, the illusion cannot be a more convincing deception than a real object would be.

For example, a statue of a guard standing rigidly at attention might be mistaken for an actual guard - especially seen at a distance, in dim light, or lightly obscured by a screen. But suppose a player said, "I want to make an illusion of a life-like statue, but use the power of the illusion so that rather than stone, the statue's flesh appears soft and life-like, and it is even more likely to be mistaken for a creature than an actual statue would be." As a DM, my response would be that at the point you are making the illusion appear more like a creature than an actual statue would, you are no longer creating an illusion of an object (a life-like statue), but rather are creating an illusion of a creature (a statue-like creature), which is not permitted by the RAW description of the spell.

Similarly, an actual taxidermy bear, posed so as to appear to be sleeping on the floor, could easily be mistaken for a real bear - until the observer was close enough to discern that it did not have a scent, did not make any sounds as it breathed, its chest did not rise and fall, etc. A minor illusion of such a bear would be equally convincing. But if the illusion caster said, "My taxidermy bear has its eyes open watching the door, but instead of the hard reflective sheen of glass eyes, I will use the illusion to make moist and life-like eyes", I would say that is beyond the power of the spell, simply because the caster is attempting to make it look more like a creature than any actual object could.

1I am deliberately not including a corpse here, as I am not convinced that a corpse, especially a fresh corpse, is categorically an object. However, I don't want this personal objection to distract from the answer, as it has nothing to do with the question of minor illusion itself.


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