Minor Illusion 5E — DnD spell explained 2024

Explore the art of deception with the Minor Illusion 5E spell in DnD. Craft visual and auditory illusions to confound your foes.

Minor Illusion 5E: Tiefling from DnD sitting at the table
© Dice Cove

What is Minor Illusion 5E?

Minor Illusion 5E (PHB, p. 260) is an illusion cantrip available to Bards, Sorcerers, Warlocks, and Wizards, however, there are plenty of alternative ways to pick this spell up. It takes an action to cast with somatic and material components, with the latter being a piece of fleece. When you cast it you can create an image of an object or a sound within 30 ft. both of which last for 1 minute. The image must fit within a 5 ft. cube and it can’t create light or any sensory effect such as smell and the sound can either be constant or you can make discrete sounds happen at certain times during the minute. Any physical interaction with the image reveals that it is an illusion, but both the sound and image can be determined as an illusion if a creature uses its action to investigate. This requires that they make an Investigation check against your spell save DC, if successful they know that it is an illusion and an image appears faint to them.

Is Minor Illusion 5E a good spell?

Minor Illusion is potentially a great spell, however, it is severely limited by both your own imagination and how your DM will handle illusions and how NPCs interact with them, especially as this is the most limited form of illusion magic. You can potentially use it to create cover to hide behind, this is especially useful for a ranged Arcane Trickster Rogue, or otherwise try and trick NPCs, perhaps to draw them away from a guard point.

The easiest way to improve this spell is to take the Illusion Wizard subclass, which has a feature called Improved Minor Illusion. It also allows you to create a sound and an image with a single casting, greatly improving the believability and use cases of the spell. 

How can you get Minor Illusion 5E spell?

Being a cantrip on the Wizard’s spell list there are plenty of different methods to grab this fun illusory magic:

  • Bard, Sorcerer, Warlock, and Wizard – All of these classes get access to Minor Illusion on their spell lists.
  • Arcane Trickster (Rogue Subclass) – This subclass gets access to the Wizard spell list and with Minor Illusion being one of the cantrips they can learn. 
  • Eldritch Knight (Fighter Subclass) – Similar to above, this Fighter can choose from the Wizard list for their cantrips.
  • Arcana Domain (Cleric Subclass) – This Cleric can choose two Wizard cantrips and make them Cleric spells, this allows them to pick up Minor Illusion. 
  • Way of Shadow (Monk Subclass) – Shadow Arts is the feature that gives these shadowy Monks Minor Illusion, as well as the ability to cast Darkness, Darkvision, Pass without Trace, and Silence with Ki.
  • School of Illusion (Wizard Subclass) – Not only does Improved Minor Illusion give access to the cantrip in question, it also allows you to create both sound and image with a single casting.
  • High Elf (Subrace) – To represent this subrace’s mastery of the basics of magic, they can choose any Wizard cantrip of their choice.
  • Forest Gnome (Subrace) – The Natural Illusionist feature gives these nature-loving gnomes Minor Illusions and sets Int as the casting stat for it.
  • Sun or Moon Half-Elf (Race Variant) – This half-elf variant can trade their Skill Versatility feature for the High Elf’s Cantrip feature.
  • Mark of Shadow (Race Variant) – This Eberron elf variant gives Minor Illusion, along with Invisibility through the Shape Shadows feature.
  • Kobold (Race) – The MotM version of the kobold’s Kobold Legacy feature allows you to choose a Sorcerer cantrip if you choose the Draconic Sorcery option.
  • Glasya Tiefling (Race Variant) – Thanks to their Legacy of Malbolge feature, these tieflings get Minor Illusion along with limited use castings of Disguise Self and Invisibility.
  • Aberrant Dragonmark (Feat) – This feat allows you to choose a cantrip from the Sorcerer’s list.
  • Initiate of High Sorcery (Feat) – This feat allows you to choose one Wizard cantrip of your choice, as well as two 1st level spells based on which moon you choose.
  • Magic Initiate (Feat) – By choosing Bard, Sorcerer, Warlock, or Wizard as the class you choose Minor Illusion as one of your two cantrips, in addition to a 1st level spell.

How to roleplay the Minor Illusion 5E spell

Need some help roleplaying the Minor Illusion? Here are some examples to help you out:

  • In the heart of the enemy fortress, the Rogue needs to create a distraction. With a flick of her wrist, she casts Minor Illusion, crafting the loud sound of a patrol clashing with intruders at the far end of the courtyard. As guards rush to investigate, she and her allies slip through undetected.
  • Facing off against a pack of hungry wolves, the Wizard uses magic to craft the image of a larger, fiercer predator. The wolves pause, growling at the illusory threat, giving her and her companions a precious few moments to prepare for the upcoming fight.
  • In the bustling city market, the Bard competes for attention with other performers. He strums his lute, crafting a spectacle of colorful fireworks bursting above him. The vibrant display draws the crowd’s attention, earning him more coin for his performance.

We hope you’ve found all you need to create your own box for your Metal Gear Solid impression. If you found this guide planning your next Sorcerer, check out our Sorcerer 5E guide, or if you just like learning about 5E spells, check out our DnD 5E spells section. Good luck out there adventurers, and until next time, good luck with your pranks!

Expert Editor-in-Chief