[RPG] Does magic missile hit silent image’s illusory creature


Magic missile says:

You create three glowing darts of magical force. Each dart hits a creature of your choice that you can see within range.

Silent image says:

You create the image of an object, a creature, or some other visible phenomenon….

If one caster creates an illusory creature with silent image what happens when another caster targets that illusory creature with magic missile? Assuming of course that the mm caster is shooting first and asking questions later, ie, rather than using his or her action to investigate the illusion is simply choosing to attack it. Or I suppose the magic missile caster might have failed the investigation check. Either way, the magic missile caster believes the illusion to be real.

My own inclination would be to rule that magic missile would in fact appear to hit the illusory creature, but I can't find much to either support that conclusion, or to support another.

Best Answer

No, Magic Missile does not hit the target. It sails right through it. Magic Missile targets a creature, and in your mind the illusion is a creature.

Each dart hits a creature of your choice that you can see within range.

The end result is that the Magic Missile is cast, the slot is expended, but it does not hit anything unless you specified more than one creature and any of those other creatures are valid targets (non-illusionary creatures). This may give the caster reason to believe his target is not quite what he expected, and may give cause to inspect the Silent Image more closely.

As for what actually happens in the narrative when this occurs?

Let's say the caster casts magic missile and decides to hit one (unknown to him) illusionary target and two other real targets, one missile each. The missiles streak towards their targets, and hit the two real ones. The third target is an illusion and can't be hit, so the missile passes right through him. This may tip the caster off that this may be an illusion. This is the most likely scenario.

The other option is for the DM to say, "that one isn't a valid target. Try again." This, of course, tips the player off, and lets the player choose a new target for his missile. This way involves metagame information, pulls the players out of the scene, and is probably a lot less fun.