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The 3rd-level Way of Shadow Monk ability, Shadow Arts, gives the monk access to certain spells. It reads as follows:

Starting when you choose this tradition at 3rd level, you can use your ki to duplicate the effects of certain spells. As an action, you can spend 2 ki points to cast darkness, darkvision, pass without trace, or silence, without providing material components. Additionally, you gain the minor illusion cantrip if you don't already know it.

RAW, it seems to say that material components are only waived for the spells that require you to expend ki points. However, RAI seems to suggest that you are duplicating the effects of the spells - not actually casting spells - and despite minor illusion being in a separate sentence it feels like it should fall under this umbrella.

Does anyone have any more idea about the true intention behind the wording?

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A similar question about monk abilities and spells is answered here.

Basically, monks are spellcasters, and they should probably be providing some kind of material component.

However, a piece of fleece literally costs nothing

For the other spells, a monk (and all other classes) can use a component pouch, which provides all material components for 25gp.

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    \$\begingroup\$ "For the other spells, a monk (and all other classes) can use a component pouch, which provides all material components for 25gp." - As OP already quoted, the other Way of Shadow monk spells can be cast without material components. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Feb 23 at 0:03
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Yes, a monk requires material components for minor illusion.

The wording of text is clear: You can cast darkness, darkvision, pass without trace or silence without material components; Additionally, you gain the minor illusion cantrip.

It doesn't say that you can cast minor illusion without material components. Nor does it say that all of the monk's Shadow Arts abilities gain this benefit, or all of the monk's spells. And nowhere in the rules does it say that monks can ignore the default need for spell components in general as described in Chapter 10.

When a character casts any spell, the same basic rules are followed, regardless of the character's class or the spell's effects.

The monk has gained a cantrip, a normal spell for all intents and purposes, and that follows the normal rules for spells. The other four spells ignore material components, but not this one.

This means you follow the default rules for spellcasting, which require spell components (or a spell component pouch). The simplest solution is to simply carry around or wear a piece of fluff.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Note that a wand can't be used as a spellcasting focus by a Way of Shadow monk unless its description explicitly says otherwise, as the Way of Shadow monk has no feature allowing it to use a spellcasting focus. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Feb 23 at 19:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast Thanks, I've updated the answer to reflect this. \$\endgroup\$ – Quadratic Wizard Feb 23 at 20:43

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