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The item description reads as follows:

While you wear this cloak, it projects an illusion that makes you appear to be standing in a place near your actual location, causing any creature to have disadvantage on attack rolls against you. If you take damage, the property ceases to function until the start of your next turn. This property is suppressed while you are incapacitated, restrained, or otherwise unable to move.

I am wondering how far is "near your actual location" here? Is it up to the DM to decide? If so what is their leeway?

I tried to pin it down:

  • The Displacer Beast has the same description, so no help here.
  • The Forgotten Realms wiki describes it as "up to 6 in (0.15 m)", but I assume it is not part of core D&D?
  • As it is a rare item I assume we can expect a power level of a second-level spell like mirror image.
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    \$\begingroup\$ Is there a reason this matters? Just wondering if there is context we might be able to talk about beyond a simple yes or no \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Sep 3, 2022 at 14:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ I interpreted more than 5 feet, similar to mirror image, which had some consequences like what happens if the mirror is attacked. \$\endgroup\$
    – Xanlantos
    Sep 5, 2022 at 10:45

1 Answer 1

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It is up to the DM

As you observe, the item does not specify this distance. This is likely because it does not matter for the purpose of the cloak's mechanical effect of imposing disadvantage on attackers, and is unlikely to matter in some other context either. In the rare situation where it does matter, the guidance from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything (page 4) applies:

The rules of D&D cover many of the twists and turns that come up in play, but the possibilities are so vast that the rules can't cover everything. When you encounter something that the rules don't cover or if you're unsure how to interpret a rule, the DM decides how to proceed, aiming for a course that brings the most enjoyment to your whole group.

It is likely less than 5ft

What we can infer is that the displacement should be fewer than five feet, because that is the typical space a creature occupies in combat, and if you attack the wrong space, you do not merely have disadvantage - you automatically miss.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I'd want to add to your (correct, IMO) conclusion support from canonical description of the displacer beast in combat: you miss it, but can be immediately be counter-attacked by the beast that's just a couple of feet to the side. Happy to dig up references if you'd like. \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60
    Jun 7, 2023 at 13:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ Also note that this item has no effect on whether area effects reach the wearer, another hint that the displacement is relatively small: it's big enough for a sword cut that would've reached you pass harmlessly in front of you but not big enough for you not to be hit by that lightning bolt that was aimed at where you appear to be. \$\endgroup\$
    – biziclop
    Jun 7, 2023 at 13:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ For what it's worth, the way I like to imagine this is that you're basically all in the same place but your bits are slightly displaced in random ways. So your arm might be a few inches up, your stance is slightly wider than it appears, your head tilts to the left, not to the right, so if you're just in normal combat, with your opponent striking out and quickly recovering to a guard position, there is a good chance they'll only hit thin air. \$\endgroup\$
    – biziclop
    Jun 7, 2023 at 16:45

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