What counts as “one object” for the Illusion wizard’s Illusory Reality and Malleable Illusions features?

I DM for a player who is considering creating a School of Illusion Wizard. They have correctly noted that many things about illusions in the game are open to interpretation, and have asked me to let me know how I would rule on several interactions, in the interest of managing their own expectations. The following question asks about one of these interactions, with the intent of finding out if there is a definitive answer, and gathering information about what would be a reasonable/practical ruling that others have made at their tables if there isn’t.

The 14th-level School of Illusion wizard feature, Illusory Reality, can make one object in an illusion spell real for one minute (PHB, p. 118):

When you cast an illusion spell of 1st level or higher, you can choose one inanimate, nonmagical object that is part of the illusion and make that object real. You can do this on your turn as a bonus action while the spell is ongoing. The object remains real for 1 minute. For example, you can create an illusion of a bridge over a chasm and then make it real long enough for your allies to cross.

The object can’t deal damage or otherwise directly harm anyone.

Although the intent is that you can only use this feature on one object per illusion spell, this answer suggests you can use it multiple times on the same object while the spell persists.

But what exactly does “one object” mean, in the context of the 6th-level School of Illusion wizard feature, Malleable Illusions (PHB, p.118)?

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.

With Malleable Illusions, you can change an object in an illusion into another object, into a creature, or into something else (like graffiti on a wall).

This answer suggests that if you did so to an object made real with Illusory Reality, the changed object would remain real.

So: it seems like you might be able to make your “one object” real multiple times, while using Malleable Illusions to change it to a different object each time (if you can’t alter objects made real with Illusory Reality using Malleable Illusions, just wait until they are illusions again before using MI).

Is this actually possible?

(Obviously you would still only ever be able to have one real object per illusion spell at any particular time.)

As an example, consider this sequence of events:

  1. Create an illusory sword (with a spell such as Major Image)
  2. Make the sword real with Illusory Reality
  3. Wait a minute for the sword to become illusory again (whether you can apply Malleable Illusions to an object made real by Illusory Reality, and thus skip this step, is the subject of this question)
  4. Alter the nature of the illusory sword to be an illusory lump of coal instead
  5. Try to apply Illusory Reality to make the coal real. Can this be done?

Abuse of Illusory Reality

I’d like to know some methods of curtailing the abuse of the Illusionist power “Illusory Reality” in a game. Right now I have a player here running roughshod over the other GMs in the group by using it to pull off some highly destructive and, imho, questionable tactics. Things like, making part of a castle floor seem to disappear, then making it real, dropping half a dozen soldiers to the next floor down; cue falling damage. He’s even gone so far as to have objects crush high level victims upon the object’s return from the illusory state.

He generally has some impressive logic to back him up, but I get the feeling, watching him work that he’s generally violating both RAW and RUI on a regular basis. He, admittedly, hasn’t done this to me yet, but I run 3.5E and Pathfinder normally, which has it’s own potential for rule abuse.

Is there a balancing issue giving a Wizard a wand capable of casting Illusory Script once per day?

Wizard expressed a desire for a magical wand that could cast the ritual spell Illusory Script without burning a spell slot/ritual slot. I though about giving a wand that can cast the spell once per day. Seems relatively fair for a magical item but not sure if there are any balance implications.

If I Animate a Corpse made real by the Illusory Reality Ability, does it become an illusion after 1 minute?

To better explain my question, the process follows as such step by step (Assuming the caster is of a level to cast and use all proposed abilities):

• Spellcaster casts Major Image to create a corpse on the ground. • Spellcaster uses Illusory action & a Bonus action to make corpse real. • Spellcaster casts Animate Dead on the corpse.

Now, here’s the proposed question. Illusory Reality only lasts for a minute. Does the creature stay undead or does it become an illusion after one minute is up as I no longer left it as it was?

Please site sources and keep your answer/interpretation RAW.

Can the Illusion wizard’s Illusory Reality feature be used to pass through a Wall of Force or Forcecage?

This is a follow-up to another question of mine: Can Nolzur's Marvelous Pigments be used to open a hole or door through a Wall of Force or Forcecage?

Illusionist Wizards get the Illusory Reality feature at 14th level (PHB, p. 118):

By 14th level, you have learned the secret of weaving shadow magic into your illusions to give them a semi-reality. When you cast an illusion spell of 1st levei or higher, you can choose one inanimate, nonmagical object that is part of the illusion and make that object real. You can do this on your turn as a bonus action while the spell is ongoing. The object remains real for 1 minute. For example, you can create an illusion of a bridge over a chasm and then make it real long enough for your allies to cross.

The object can’t deal damage or otherwise directly harm anyone.

The Forcecage spell states:

A creature inside the cage can’t leave it by nonmagical means.

And its box mode states:

A prison in the shape of a box can be up to 10 feet on a side, creating a solid barrier that prevents any matter from passing through it

The Wall of Force spell states:

Nothing can physically pass through the wall.

Can Illusory Reality be used (e.g. by making the illusion of a door real) to pass through a Wall of Force or Forcecage?

What happens to the secret message at the end of the duration of the Illusory Script spell?

The illusory script spell allows one to hide a secret written message that either appears unintelligible or appears to be an unrelated message to anyone other than the intended recipient(s). The spell explains clearly what happens if the spell is dispelled:

Should the spell be dispelled, the original script and the illusion both disappear.

This is certainly a handy security feature: dispelling the illusion won’t reveal your secret message to snooping spellcaster. However, the spell is less clear about what happens at the end of the 10-day duration. A spell that ends due to reaching its duration is not “dispelled”, so the above clause would not apply directly. The only reference to the spell’s duration is in the first sentence:

You write on parchment, paper, or some other suitable writing material and imbue it with a potent illusion that lasts for the duration.

So, what happens when the duration of illusory script elapses? Do the illusory script and the real message both disappear, as when the spell is dispelled, thus ensuring that no one other than the intended recipient(s) can ever read the message (without truesight)? Or does the illusion disappear, leaving the real message plainly readable by anyone?

Undead tripping an illusory pit trap–how will they react?

My PCs have cast a Silent Image over an open pit trap. There will be undead following them who will trip the trap–only, will the trap really be tripped if the illusion of the floor remains despite a zombie having fallen into the pit?

Question 1: Will the saving throw for the trap be the Silent Image saving throw and/or the pit trap saving throw?

Question 2: If one undead creature fails the save(s) and fall into the pit, then how will the others interact with the illusion/pit trap. Can a zombie or skeleton believably know that there is an illusion there once an ally zombie or skeleton falls in?

Can a creature be so sure of the illusory nature of an illusion that he need not spend his action to investigate or interact with it?

I am specifically asking about the many spells that contain the following text or similar:

If a creature uses its action to examine the [illusion], the creature can determine that it is an illusion with a successful Intelligence (Investigation) check against your spell save DC.

The RAW answer seems to be no, even when considering outlandish illusory effects.

A creature can be certain of himself that what he is perceiving is an illusion. However, the illusion would not appear faint until interacted with or investigated. It does not seem to me that simply by observing an illusion and deducing it for what it is, no matter how sure of himself a creature may be, would constitute interacting with it, or (especially important when in combat) does it constitute investigating it with an action. That creature would still, on some level, need to check his certainty by doing one of the previous things.

There lies an inherent uncertainty factor in illusions, no matter how positive a creature is about a particular illusions’ true nature. Being “sure” of an illusion and suspicious of one, while differing levels of certainty, seem to both not be sufficient enough to determine that illusion is fake and see through it.

Am I correct? (For those in the know, should I post this as answer to my own question or is this appropriately asked?)


Possibly related. This answerer suggests that a caster need not interact with or examine his own illusion in order to see through it. There are some ridiculous conclusions to draw here about an illusionist being susceptible in some fashion to his own spells. Perhaps casting an illusion is enough of an interaction so as to reveal it to the caster as fake.

Note that the accepted answer implies a caster may actually be susceptible to his own illusions. I digress.

Does Minor Illusion break only when someone spends an action to investigate it?

Related, though this question and its accepted answer do not fully address what I’m asking, only how much intent is necessary between an interaction and an illusion.