[RPG] Can Minor Illusion look like a creature, or look like me

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Consider the use of Minor Illusion to distract an enemy and perhaps gain advantage during combat. Suppose a small character hides somewhere, then casts an illusion elsewhere. So far so good. (Minor Illusion has no verbal component, so the character can do it silently and stay hidden.)

Suppose this illusion is of that same character, perhaps cowering or frozen stiff as if frightened. This makes it more plausible that the enemy would move to engage or examine the illusion, turning its back on the hidden character.

Is this allowed? Can Minor Illusion look like a creature? An illusion of a frog seems reasonable. But a fox? A wolf? A gnome? My gnome?

The 5e PHB text says

You create a sound or an image of an object within range…

Does the PHB define an "object"? One might think it is ambiguous and thus up to the DM; but a discussion of prior editions quotes the 2e illusion rules:

the illusion of any object, creature, or force…

So perhaps 5e has reduced the scope of the spell. Yet I think most would agree, a change or omission from one edition to the next does not constitute rules-as-written.

In other words, are there written rules defining the limits of Minor Illusion, or is it implicitly up to the DM?

Best Answer

Given that Silent Image is a first-level spell, I wouldn't think you could do anything with the Minor Illusion cantrip that would duplicate the effect of the higher-level spell.

Silent Image specifically lists "creature" as an option of what to produce:

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

Whereas, Minor Illusion does not:

You create a sound or an image of an object within range that lasts for the duration.

In addition Silent Image also allows you to move the illusion, and change it such that the movement seems natural (by appearing to walk, for example).

If you are allowed to create an image of a creature with Minor Illusion, it's not going to be very convincing - it can't move at all.

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