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Let's assume that a wizard is being trapped in a very small cage, so that there is no space for anyone else in it.

When the Mirror image spell is cast, is it possible that any of the 3 images appear outside the cage? If I am not wrong, in 5e, the images initially appear in the exact position where the caster is (inside the cage), but then it is not explicitly stated that they cannot exit it (since they are illusion after all). Moreover, even if this is not the case, what if, after the spell is cast, the wizard falls into a very small pit and is trapped? Can the other images remain out of it?

If so, if the wizard is attacked and hit inside the cage/pit, is there any chance that his position is being swapped with one of the images outside, thus actually freeing him?

Disclaimer: here I was trying to think outside of the box (pun intended) to verify if a DM may accept that a 2nd level spell like Mirror image is effective to exit a pit/cage (or maybe even a Forcecage spell ;-) )

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2 Answers 2

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No

is there any chance that his position is being swapped with one of the images outside, thus actually freeing him?

Mirror Image does not teleport the caster when (s)he is being attacked. Nothing in the spell description implies such a swapping. Instead, there is a chance the attack targets one of the images:

Each time a creature targets you with an attack during the spell's duration, roll a d20 to determine whether the attack instead targets one of your duplicates.

The spell effect is nothing but an illusion:

A creature is unaffected by this spell if it can't see, if it relies on senses other than sight, such as blindsight, or if it can perceive illusions as false, as with truesight.

So even if one of the images appears outside somehow, the caster still stays in the cage.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ @Jack the cage could be smaller than 5x5, right? \$\endgroup\$ May 8 at 11:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ThomasMarkov Yes. See "But what if the cage were very very small" in my answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jack
    May 8 at 12:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ Mirror Image also specifies that a creature that can't see, uses senses other than sight e.g. blindsight, or has truesight, is not affected by the spell. That helps to clarify that no part of the spell involves the caster being moved physically away from their true location, otherwise such a creature would be affected by the spell. The mirror images are illusions only. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kayndarr
    May 8 at 23:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Kayndarr good point! \$\endgroup\$
    – enkryptor
    May 9 at 8:38
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"When the Mirror image spell is cast, is it possible that any of the 3 images appear outside the cage?"

No.

Mirror Image says (emphasis added):

Three illusory duplicates of yourself appear in your space.

The duplicates are right in your space with the wizard, not outside the cage.

But what if the cage were very very small, only enough room for the wizard's body, so some of the wizard's space is outside the cage

Maybe, but it doesn't make any difference

The spell says how which image is targeted, so it makes no difference whether the image is in the cage, or not in the cage, or any other weirdness:

Each time a creature targets you with an attack during the spell's duration, roll a d20 to determine whether the attack instead targets one of your duplicates.

"Space" is determined by creature size (Basic Rules):

Each creature takes up a different amount of space. The Size Categories table shows how much space a creature of a particular size controls in combat.

. . . and a Medium creature takes up 5 x 5.

The rules don't account for the situation of a cage like that, so a DM may choose to rule that the wizard's space is less than 5 x 5 while they're in the cage, since maybe they're not "controlling their space". Or the DM may just rule that some images potentially appear outside the cage. Nothing in the spell says where in the space the images appear, so they might or might not. Up to the DM to narrate, if there's any reason to.

The DM might even give the attacker a chance to disbelieve the illusion, since they might determine something nonsensical is going on, but nothing in the spell supports that, so it would be entirely DM adjudication.

. . . what if . . . the wizard falls into a very small pit and is trapped? Can the other images remain out of it?

No.

The images are in the wizard's space, and:

the duplicates move with you and mimic your actions

If the wizard falls in the pit, the images fall in the pit. If the pit is "very small", then the DM will have to provide the narrative.

It's pretty reasonable that the wizard's space is now confined to the very small pit, since, if the wizard is confined to the very small pit, so is the space the wizard controls.

What doesn't happen, is the wizard is standing on the floor, casts mirror image, falls into a pit just wide enough for the wizard, and the images remain on the floor. However it happens, the images share the wizard's space and move with the wizard.

If so, if the wizard is attacked and hit inside the cage/pit, is there any chance that his position is being swapped with one of the images outside, thus actually freeing him?

No.

There's zero support in the rules for this. Nothing in the spell says the wizard exchanges places with the images. Wherever the wizard is, that's where the wizard is.

Disclaimer: here I was trying to think outside of the box (pun intended) to verify if a DM may accept that a 2nd level spell like Mirror image is effective to exit a pit/cage (or maybe even a Forcecage spell ;-) )

Good for you! I personally admire creative thinking, as a player, and as a DM, and just IRL. If no one thought outside the box, we'd all . . . be in boxes, I guess?

The rules offer zero support for any of the shenanigans creative tricks you're considering here.

Is it possible that some DM would admire your creative thinking and allow it to happen? Sure, and monkeys might fly out of although it seems pretty unlikely.

For getting out of your cage with a 2nd level spell, Knock or Misty Step might be better bets. If it's shenanigans you want, maybe look to Alter Self, Enlarge/Reduce, Invisibility, Levitate, or Rope Trick; after all, sometimes shenanigans is all you got left.

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