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I'm playing an illusionist wizard that is going to be level 11 soon. As the ability of a level 6 illusionist wizard states:

Malleable Illusions: Starting at 6th level, when you cast an illusion spell that has a duration of 1 minute or longer, you can use your action to change the nature of that illusion (using the spell’s normal parameters for the illusion), provided that you can see the illusion.

And:

Major image: When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 6th level or higher, the spell lasts until dispelled, without requiring your concentration

This mean that if I have a way of carrying a Major Image I can use Malleable Illusion to save spell slots. Therefore I thought of options to bring with me the illusions. One way is to make the illusion follow me as an action, but that is tiresome and impractical. I thought that maybe a bag of holding might work, since it seems that you don't actually move the objects inside, just the entrance to the dimensional space and, since the illusions don't have weight, I can hold a good amount of them.

So, is there other ways to carry illusions with me that don't involve home brewing?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Reminder: comments are for clarifying content, not posting small or incomplete answers. Please use answer posts to submit answers instead. Prior comments containing answers have been removed. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jul 20 '16 at 17:52
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You can move the Major Image only by using your action. There are no other ways to manipulate the location of an illusion, so that's your only option.

However, normally this is fine. You can travel with your illusion by constantly giving your attention to it and making it travel with you. Any time you need to do anything complicated enough to require your action the illusion will stop though, so you're going to be slightly burdened. Although it no longer requires concentration, you effectively still need to “concentrate” most of your attention on it.

Multiple Major Images

And of course, you can only have an Image travel smoothly with you with one Major Image at a time, because you only have one action at a time to use to move one. To have each of two Images move continuously isn't possible, but you can move slowly and spend alternating actions on moving them: one would move, then stop, then the next would move, then stop. Unless, of course, you're OK ignoring the Images for a bit and having them suddenly jump from one place in the 120-foot range to another — that would let you move at full speed, and keep them with you.

You'd look like you had an entourage of flickering entities following you across the countryside and through towns, which would be uncanny but might be an impression you'd enjoy. On the other hand, that unnaturalness would likely give viewers saves to notice that they're all just illusions, so that's a downside and would mean that anyone observing you might be “vaccinated” against your come-along illusions. (They might even get easier saves against all illusions when you're around, since they'll know that other weird or unexpected stuff happening near you could be just an illusion.)

Basically, one Major Image is doable with full animation, so long as you're giving it all your attention that isn't needed for movement, speech, and simple object interactions. Two is slower, and won't result in full animation. More is possible depending on how quickly you walk (because their continued existence is limited by the 120-foot range of the Images from you), but they will be flickering around and look static between jumps.

And you still need all your non-trivial attention to bring them along with you.

Sleep, unconsciousness, and incapacity

Another wrinkle is that you'd have to make sure you never slept or were otherwise unconscious while travelling, such as in the back of a wagon or napping in the saddle, otherwise the images would quickly fall more than 120 feet behind and you'd stop being able to change their location again until you can backtrack into range again to “pick them back up”.

Also, don't get abducted in your sleep, or fall down a cliff, or fall unconscious and need to be carried to safety, or suffer any circumstance that would prevent you from using your action to keep your Image(s) with you and moving. (Those are worth avoiding on their own, though.)

Extradimensional items don't help

You can't circumvent this with a Bag of Holding or a Portable Hole either: the spell specifies that you can move the Major Image to a location in range, and the inside of a Bag or Hole are on different planes of existence (they're pocket dimensions), which is out of the 120-foot range. You can't get around that by moving the illusion to the “entrance” of the item either: it's not an object and won't be passed through the entrance by the item's magic.

In conclusion, it's probably not worth it

Having to spend all your active attention on keeping one or more Major Images with you, is probably more work than it's worth. You might save a few spell slots, but being that inattentive while travelling will probably make life slightly more difficult, possibly even causing disadvantage on Perception checks and other circumstances where having your attention be complete free is expected.

And your come-along illusion(s) would be slightly less useful than a normal, freshly-cast one, because if you want to “recycle” it suddenly there are now two chances for a victim to notice something odd and get a save: not just the appearance of the effect you want them to see, but also the sudden disappearance of whatever your come-along illusion looked like a moment before. It adds a vulnerability that makes the come-along Major Image slightly more situational than a fresh one normally would be. And that's assuming the intended victim hasn't already seen your Major Images doing weird things (stuttering and jumping around) and already made their save to know it's just an illusion.

Basically, you'd be distracted all the time, for the benefit of saving a few spell slots and having less-useful-than-normal recyclable Major Images following you around everywhere.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ "You can travel with your illusion by constantly giving your attention to it and making it travel with you." There is a range limitation, is there a movement speed limitation? Otherwise you could move the image the full range, saving you a number of actions (which could be used to move other illusions). \$\endgroup\$ – Trisped Jul 20 '16 at 19:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Trisped Yes, the answer talks about that: sacrificing the convincing movement for stuttering and flickering across the landscape would save your attention/actions, but give a worse result. It's a tradeoff. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jul 20 '16 at 19:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie It sounds very convincing, but it is a little unclear the why an extradimensional item would not help. Is there any indication where raw magic (I guess illusions are some sort of raw magic) cannot pass through dimension doors? The only reference that I could find is this. \$\endgroup\$ – Chepelink Jul 20 '16 at 19:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Chepelink Because other planes of existence are never within a distance-measured range. They're completely other planes of existence. Spells only cross over to or affect other planes of existence when they explicitly say so. You're not sending some kind of material called “raw magic” anyway, you're relocating an illusion within a range under the spell's own rules for relocation, and the general magic rules for ranges. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jul 20 '16 at 19:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ How is a crossing point between dimensions different than, say, a door or portal? I think the "other planes of existence are never within a distance-measurable range" part of your comment should be included in the answer and backed up by a rules reference or quotation. \$\endgroup\$ – Olorin Jul 21 '16 at 6:22
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No. The authors specifically address how you can move an illusion.

It requires using an action. Moving two illusions would require two actions.

There are solid game-design reasons the authors made this explicit. The alternative - allowing wizards to stockpile illusions - circumvents the resource-limitation mechanics that the Wizard class is built on. Spell slots, concentration, bonus actions, attunement - these are all examples of resources that are explicitly limited to provide play balance and challenge. In general, if you are posting a question here with the explicit aim of circumventing these mechanics, the answer - RAW and RAI - is probably going to be "No".

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    \$\begingroup\$ @Chepelink Please don't accuse fellow site members of prejudice just because you disagree with their reasoning. That's making it personal, and crosses the line into behaviour we generally prohibit. More generally, comments are not for arguing. If you have your own answer, the place to make a case for it is in an answer, not in comments trying to get someone else to change their answer to be the one you want to see. It's totally OK to write an answer to your own question here, so go for it! \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jul 21 '16 at 0:11
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but that is tiresome and impractical

Why?

"Hey DM, is it OK if I get the illusion to follow me until the next encounter?" "Sure"

What's tiresome or impractical about that?

The point is, things like "actions" are only relevant within the context of a combat encounter. Moving the illusion takes your action in those situations but in between, there is no need to track what you are doing with your action because, basically, you can walk and chew gum (or move illusions) at the same time.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ If you have to flee from a place under the current rules you have to decide if you have to take the dash action or to move the illusion. If your DM says no, if you forget to call your illusion you lose it, well is impractical and tiresome. And I can go on a longer list. \$\endgroup\$ – Chepelink Jul 20 '16 at 1:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Chepelink while I agree with what you're saying, technically you're not losing it as you can come back later to "pick it up". But yes, it's impractical and tiresome. \$\endgroup\$ – Olorin Jul 20 '16 at 11:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie range is only relevant when the spell is cast - providing you maintain concentration (or not depending) you can move it a million miles away. See question about heat metal on this site. \$\endgroup\$ – Dale M Jul 20 '16 at 23:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DaleM Unless the spell itself specifically uses its range later, such as if it says that you can only move it within its range from yourself when it's within range, as Major Image does. But you're right, it doesn't stop existing—I've removed that comment. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jul 21 '16 at 0:01
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I would think it would be in the way the illusion was cast - a free-standing illusion would be tied to the location it was cast in. An illusion of an item inside a box would be tied to the box it was cast in - moving the box doesn't leave the illusion floating in the air where the box was. If the illusion was cast, for example, on a pedestal or a cart, then moving the pedestal or cart could move the illusion.

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