Minor Illusion 5e D&D Guide

Magic tricks in the real world are illusions that trick the eyes using fast movements and misdirection. 

Magists can draw a rabbit out of a hat and perform tricks with cards, among other things. 

Magic is more powerful in the D&D world. You can revive the dead and transform them into other animals or creatures to change reality.

You can still use magic to cause misdirection by using Minor Illusion. It doesn’t even require you to expend any of your character’s spell slots, as it’s a cantrip

This spell doesn’t cause damage or give buffs to your party. This spell is simply a handy tool you can use to misdirect or mislead others.

Although it is only used in certain situations, it can also be used frequently. It is part of the adventure to trick your enemies to make them do things that will benefit you and your group. 

You are interested in cantrips and are thinking about adding Minor Illusion to your spell list. Continue reading our Minor Illusion 5e Guide.

What is Minor Illusion?

Minor illusion is an illusion trip that can be found on page 260 in the Player’s Handbook. Cantrips allow your character to cast spells at will. 

You can use it as many as you like. Illusion spells are spells that deceive others. Below are details about this cantrip.

  • Minor Illusion
  • Illusion cantrip
  • Casting Time: 1 Action
  • Distance: 30 feet
  • Components: M, S (a little bit of fleece).
  • Duration: 1 Minute

These sections will explain how to cast this spell and how it works.

How to use Minor Illusions?

Here are some things to remember before casting Minor Illusion.

  • This spell must be used by you (e.g. This spell must be in your spellbook, or as a racial attribute. ).
  • You must have free movement of your hands (e.g. They are not tied by ropes or shackles. ).
  • The materials required (i.e. A little bit of fleece is all you need unless your focus is arcane.

This spell has a somatic element, which means you will need to use gestures to move your hands to cast it. 

This spell cannot be used if your hands aren’t free to move. This spell requires you to bring a little fleece with you.

However, if you have an archane focus (which spellcasters have), you don’t need this material.

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Once all the requirements have been met, you can then choose a point within 30 feet of you to create a sound or image of an object.

How do make a sound?

You can choose how loud you want to make the sound. You also have the option to choose which voice it comes from and who it came from. 

You can make a sound like your voice calling for help or a roaring lion or a cacophony from a trumpet.

You can also select the time intervals at which the sounds will play. As long as the spell’s duration is not exceeded (i.e. One minute.) 

For example, you could create the croaking sound of frogs every ten seconds within one minute. 

It is possible to create different sounds at different times, such as the sound of a little boy laughing after the sound of clown laughter. You can control when the sound ends and when it begins.

How far can Minor Illusion be heard?

Minor Illusion 5e D&D Guide

Minor Illusion can be heard from 100 to 600 feet away, according to the 5e table for audible distance, which says that a “very loud” sound can be heard from 2d6 x 50 feet away. For example, if the DM rolls two sixes (12), you multiply that number by 50 feet to get 600 feet.

The description of Minor Illusion says that it can sound like “a whisper to a scream.” Some DMs might say that a “scream” is “normal noise level” instead of “very loud.” Minor Illusion has a range of 2d6 x 10 feet, which means it can reach anywhere from 20 to 120 feet away.

When you use your Minor Illusion, the DM tries to figure out what kind of noise it is and then rolls on the table to see how far it can be heard.

Here’s 5e’s “audible distance” table:

Trying to be quiet2d6 x 5 feet
Normal noise level2d6 x 10 feet
Very loud2d6 x 50 feet

How to create an image?

You can only make images of objects that are no more than 5 feet in size. This includes footprints in the mud or a nightstand. 

The image must also be static and not moving. You cannot create an image of water flowing from a fountain or of a person waving.

You would need to cast another spell to create the illusion that something is moving. This spell is called Major Image. 

Minor Illusion works well for static images. Keep in mind that the illusion is only an illusion and cannot interact with the real world. 

We will now discuss what happens if anyone attempts to interact with that image.

What is Minor Illusion?

The Minor Illusion spell can create false images and sounds. The Minor Illusion spell creates an illusion that does not cause sound, light, smell, or other sensory effects. 

If you want to make the illusion of a lamp, or a swarm, of fireflies it will not shine in the darkness. It would not smell bad if someone came near it, even if it was an illusion of a pile of onions.

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If someone or something tries to physically interact with the illusion, they will simply pass through it. 

It is a 3D hologram that can be viewed as realistic but powered only by magic and not high-tech technology. 

If a creature takes an action to inspect the image, they can tell if it is fake by completing an Intelligence (Investigation), checking against their spell save DC.

Sound can be heard by all who have a sense of hearing, provided they are within the appropriate distance to hear it. 

A whisper, for instance, would be only heard by those who are within the chosen range of the caster. 

The volume of the sound will determine the number of creatures that can hear it. Loud sounds can make it difficult to hear in a distance.

Minor Illusion is for everyone


The cantrip of Minor Illusion can be easily accessed by four classes

Below are the listed classes as well as their spell save DC and sources.

Classes that allow Minor IllusionSourceSave DC
BardPage 51 of the Player’s Handbook8 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier
SorcererPage 99 of the Player’s Handbook8 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier
WarlockPage 105 of the Player’s Handbook8 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier
WizardPlayer’s Handbook, page 1128 + your Intelligence modifier + your proficiency bonus


This useful spell can be learned by at least five subclasses.

They are listed below with their sources and spell save DC.

Subclasses that can use Minor IllusionOriginating classSubclass SourceClass SourceSave DC
Arcana DomainClericSword Coast Adventurer’s Guide, page125Page 56 of the Player’s Handbook8 + your proficiency bonus + your Wisdom modifier
Arcane TricksterRoguePage 97 of the Player’s HandbookPage 94 of the Player’s Handbook8 + your proficiency bonus + Intelligence modifier
Eldritch KnightFighterPage 74 of the Player’s HandbookPage 70 of the Player’s Handbook8 + your proficiency bonus + Intelligence modifier
School of IllusionWizardPlayer’s Handbook, page 12Player’s Handbook, page 1128 + your proficiency bonus + Intelligence modifier
ShadowMonkPage 80 of the Player’s HandbookPage 76 of the Player’s Handbook8 + your proficiency bonus + your Wisdom modifier

Although the Wizard class is already featured, the “School of Illusion”, a subclass of it is still included in this list due to the Improved Minor Illusion feature. 

This subclass automatically teaches you the Minor Illusion cantrip when you acquire it. You can also choose to pick another cantrip if you already have it. 

Even better, this subclass can simultaneously create sound and image with a single cast of the Minor Illusion spell.


Only a few races can automatically perform the Minor Illusion Cantrip as a race feature. This ability is part of their DNA. Below is a list of them along with their source and spell save DC.

Minor Illusion is available to racesThe racial feature that allows the abilitySourceSave DC
Elf (High).Cantrip (can choose Minor Illusion for the cantrip of your choice).Page 23 of the Player’s Handbook8 + your proficiency bonus + Intelligence modifier
Elf (Mark of Shadow).Spells of the Mark require the Spellcasting and Pact Magic class features to be usedEberron: Rising From the Last War, page 49It all depends on the class
Gnome (Forest)Natural IllusionistPage 37 of the Player’s Handbook8 + your proficiency bonus + Intelligence modifier
Tiefling (Glasya)Legacy of MalbolgeMordenkainen’s Tome of Foes page 228 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier

Is Minor Illusion good?

Minor Illusion is a versatile cantrip that many consider being the best. This spell can be used in many ways. You will need to be creative to make the most of it. 

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This spell is great for simple misdirection. It does not require a spell slot and can be used by any level.

Your DM will be very pleased if you come up with creative ways to use Minor Illusion. You can make an image of something to hide behind or inside it. 

This technique can be used to escape the gazes and clutched creatures that are following you. You can also use ranged spells or attacks against unsuspecting foes.

How long does Minor Illusion last?

Minor Illusion lasts one minute, which in DnD 5e is the same as 10 rounds. Minor Illusion “stops if you dismiss it as an action or cast this spell again.” “1 action,” or about 6 seconds in DnD time, is also needed to cast Minor Illusion.

So, when you cast two Minor Illusions right after each other, there is about a 6-second gap.

Some players like the idea of using Minor Illusion to keep illusions like walls or traps up indefinitely.

Your DM decides what happens to the Minor Illusion between castings, but it makes sense that there is some kind of “glitching” effect and that creatures who see the glitching have to make Intelligence checks.

Minor Illusion examples

Are you being chased? To make audible footsteps in the opposite direction, you can turn the table and cast Minor Illusion. 

You might be able to escape this way. You can also use Minor Illusion to make a terrifying sound that scares your pursuer and cause them to run. 

Perhaps you can distract your pursuer by creating an image, such as a strange-looking statue.

Minor Illusion can also be used in combat. It is a powerful spell in both offense and defense. 

You can gain an advantage in your attack roll against an enemy if you hide behind, or within, an image created by this spell. 

They cannot see anything but the image. This spell can be cast in the middle or even during battle to distract enemies and trick them into undesirable positions.

This spell can be used in many creative and fun ways. 

Minor Illusion can be a very useful cantrip if you are able to think outside of the box.


Is Minor Illusion a cantrip?

It is an illusion trip. Cantrips are spells that can be cast at any time, with no limit on how many times.

Is Minor Illusion static?

It can only create static/nonmoving images. This spell cannot create images that are moving or with flowing water. You will need the Major Images 3 -level illusion spell Major Images to create illusions of moving pictures.

Is Minor Illusion a bonus action?

Minor Illusion is not a bonus action. Its spell description states that it only has one casting action. Some events and effects, however, allow you to cast spells that normally require one action as bonus actions. For example, one of the Magic Surge options by the Wild Magic sorcerer.

Is Minor Illusion possible to make something invisible?

Usually, no. Minor Illusion can be used as camouflage for ranged attacks. It is up to the DM’s rules as to how they wish to conduct this.

Can Minor Illusion block light?

No. Because things interact with it, the light will normally pass through Minor Illusion images.

Can Minor Illusion create light?

No. Images created from Minor Illusion can’t cause sound, light, or smell.

What is the difference between Minor Illusion and Thaumaturgy?

Major Illusion is an illusion trip, while Thaumaturgy can be used to transmute. This means Thaumaturgy has the ability to create and alter real effects, such as changing the colors of flames. Because Minor Illusion can only be used with Thaumaturgy, it is more flexible in its use.

What is the difference between Minor Illusion and Prestidigitation?

Prestidigitation, like Thaumaturgy, is a transmutation spell. It has limited effects, just like Thaumaturgy. Prestidigitation mainly involves changing the appearance of objects or their temperatures, such as the color or warmth.