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Can you use an illusion to trigger the Warlock Invocation "One With Shadow"?

One with Shadow makes you invisible in dim light or darkness – so if you cast a Silent Image or Minor Image of dim light or darkness around you and stay still, will you activate the invisibility ability of the invocation?

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3 Answers 3

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Silent Image yes, Minor Illusion no

Minor Illusion reads:

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.

This inability to create light or any sensory effect implies that it cannot create dim light or darkness.

Silent image states:

You create the image of an object, a creature, or some other visible phenomenon that is no larger than a 15-foot cube.

Dim light and darkness are visible (sort of) phenomenon, and this spell should be able to make these effects.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ How about creating a box around the character with minor illusion? It would be dark inside the box. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 7, 2023 at 16:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JoakimM.H. Even if you are right, which I do not know if you are, at that point people looking would just be able to see the box, so you being invisible would be irrelevant. (Though I think the fact that it cannot create those sensory effects means it would actually not have any shadow, \$\endgroup\$
    – Zibbobz
    Aug 7, 2023 at 16:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ @JoakimM.H. According to RAW, no. the character would be heavily obscured, effectively meaning the character would be under the 'invisible' condition to the seeker, but as they are not in dim light or darkness because minor illusion can't create light, the One With Shadow ability would not trigger. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 7, 2023 at 16:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ Although RAW stays completely silent on how One With Shadows works, from context I'd rule that it's some kind of mystical connection with darkness, for which you need an actual shadow. So I'd say even Silent Image is pushing it lore-wise, Minor Illusion is definitely out. \$\endgroup\$
    – biziclop
    Aug 7, 2023 at 20:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ How are you concluding that minor illusion can't cast a shadow? \$\endgroup\$
    – Yakk
    Aug 8, 2023 at 5:05
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No

The illusion of darkness is not darkness. Just as an illusion of a spell focus can't be used to cast spells. And a character with water breathing can't create an illusion of water to breathe in. Additionally, your character knows that it's an illusion and sees through it.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ What happens when you pass an investigation check is illuminating here. The object becomes translucent to the investigator's view, if I recall correctly, which would (to my mind) include reducing the dimming of light from any shadows it cast to no longer making an area dimly lit (just enough "shadow" so the investigator knows that a shadow is pretending to be thrown) - can you elaborate along these lines? \$\endgroup\$
    – Yakk
    Aug 8, 2023 at 13:37
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You can create the illusion of Shadow

Minor illusion can create an image of a solid object that requires an action and investigation check to determine it isn't real visually. If such an object could not cast a shadow, it would be obvious much faster.

Silent Image could create darkness without having to create a shadow, as it can create a "visible phenomena" in a 15' radius region.

Is an illusion good enough?

However, once someone succeeds at the investigation check, the illusion becomes see-through. The ability One With Shadow requires you to be in an area that has dim light, not a region that some people think has dim light or that you believe has dim light.

If an ability required you to be in water, and you created the illusion of a water tank, you couldn't use the ability just because it looked like you are wet.

Illusions in D&D are shadow and mind magic

Illusions look different depending on the creature looking at them. If they know it is an illusion, they are see-through. They aren't a matter of bending light, so the shadows or darkness they create is generally fake.

This isn't universally true, as higher level illusions start becoming pseudo-real. Creation, Simulacrum, Arcane Mirage all create "illusions" that are capable of doing things that no mere trick of the mind could do. This is sometimes described as pulling from the Shadowfel.

Is seeing through something the same as not casting a shadow?

As illusion magic is attached to the plane of shadow, maybe the shadows an illusion casts are more real than the thing itself. In which case, you could use illusions of shadow to fuel your further shadow magic.

But that is a discussion you should have with your DM, not with random people on the internet.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Maybe noticing that 'it doesn't cast a shadow' is reflected in the INT check. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 9, 2023 at 14:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast Plausible, but it requires a full action and a relatively high DC to do that check. Which makes me think the effect must be more subtle. \$\endgroup\$
    – Yakk
    Aug 9, 2023 at 14:48

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