Having played D&D for over 20 years now, I have developed quite a liking for spells that can be used creatively. One of those is Silent Image. In my experience, using Silent Image in 5e to its full potential is a great way to shift the odds in your favor when fighting strong foes or trying to pull off a difficult quest.
Silent Image is a level 1 concentration illusion spell that creates a visual illusion of an object, creature, or phenomenon that can last up to 10 minutes. The size can be up to a 15-foot cube, and the illusion can be moved or altered.
So, let’s discuss what some of the best Silent Image uses in 5e D&D are.
Great Silent Image 5e Uses
I’ve looked in my DM notes, asked some other experienced DMs and players, and the community for some great uses for the Silent Image spell. Here are my favorite ones:
1. Successful escape
Too many players forget that running from a fight is almost always an option. I see a lot of beginners just storm into every fight and hope for the best. Having an escape plan is always a great idea. Using Minor Illusion to make a distraction can give you that split second you need to teleport or put some distance between you and your foes.
2. Create a fake treasure
If you want a great attractor to lure enemies into your traps, some fake treasure might be just what you need. I do not recommend making full-blown treasure chests. A nice sword with gems on the ground is more than enough to lure enemies closer to your traps.
3. Create fake gates and doors
A good way to make life for your foes harder is to create fake gates and doors to your fort or house. Trying to ram a gate that is actually a wall is a pain to do and time-consuming. You can use this opportunity to escape, regroup, make traps, make trenches, or attack from range.
4. Intimidate your enemies:
A 15-foot cube is massive. The illusions you make can thus be extremely intimidating to your foes. There are a ton of well-known demons that are under 15 feet tall and will strike fear into just about any opponent you have.
When your enemies are intimidated, they will either completely forget about you or flee. In both scenarios, you get an edge when attacking those you just made afraid or distracted. You can also use this opportunity to get away or to sneak past someone.
5. Create a fake bridge
I love making fake bridges in D&D when the opportunity arises. While the number of battles that take place close to a gap or a ravine is not plentiful, if there is one, faking a bridge is just so much fun. Fall damage in 5e is not to be underestimated; it can kill plenty of strong foes that do not take the time to find out if your bridge over the canyon is real or not.
6. Make a fake dead end
A good way to escape or to do an escort mission successfully is by creating dead ends. This Silent Image use works exceptionally well if you are in a large urban environment. Even if they see through the illusion, most pursuers will slow down when they see a big wall in front of them.
You can also make a fake dead end and combine this with making a fake path on a wall. That way, they will crash right into the wall if they aren’t careful.
If you want to sell your wares on a busy market or want to have a proper bidding war going on, then consider making a massive 15-foot banner with Silent Image. In that way, you can attract a lot more eyes and get the best price for your items.
You can also sell this service to merchants if you need a bit of extra gold. Another way to use this is to quickly hire a ton of allies for a big battle or quest.
8. Obscure vision
An obvious way to use Silent Image that I don’t see very often is just to block the vision of others. Simply make a 15-foot cube of black in front of your party if you want to hide something or want to make it harder to hit you. This can also be used to make your party less visible to fliers.
9. Lower others’ guard
If you do not have a lot of ranged power, and your party mainly uses melee to dish out damage, then Silent Image can be used to make enemies lower their guard and let you get a lot closer. For example, you can use Silent Image to create the illusion of friendly allies of the foe or distinguish yourself as one. These allies can then approach your enemy to get their guard down.
10. Create a large message
Are you having trouble communicating effectively with allies and party members who are far away? You can use Silent Image to make a massive message in the sky that your allies are sure to see easily.
You can also use Morse code by flickering lights if you and your party know how to write and read it. Do keep in mind that if you are not using a code, your enemies will be able to read your images too.
11. Create fake terrain
Another fun thing to do if you want to force enemies to take a certain path is to use this spell to make a difficult-to-traverse terrain like a swamp or a ton of mud. I do advise you not to use things like fire, since your spell does not emit heat. It will be quite obvious that the fire is not real.
12. Create fake covers or hide real cover
If you want to make sure your enemy is easy to hit with your long-range attacks, then giving them a false sense of security is one of the best ways to do this. You can use Silent Image in D&D to either hide the cover from your enemy or make a fake one.
You will have to act quickly if you want to make the most of it, as most foes will notice the cover is not real quite fast!
Honorable Silent image usage mentions
There are many more cool uses for this spell that might be more of your style. Here are a couple more interesting uses for Silent Image:
- Create fake arrows flying towards the enemy to distract them.
- Make a huge holographic map to better navigate in certain areas.
- Create the image of a god to make believers hold their attacks.
- Create the illusion of a trap to make enemies move slower towards you or avoid a certain passage.
- Create a nice scene to relax or inspire awe in others.
- Create the image of broken equipment to divert attention from treasure.
- Make your party blend into the terrain so you cannot be spotted easily.
- Create a fake quest on the notice board to send other adventurers away so you can take the best ones.
- Create a fake cover so enemies avoid using long-range attacks on you and your allies.
Some final words
There are a ton of great uses for Silent Image in 5e D&D. When you add this spell to your arsenal, I am sure you will be able to find a fitting use in almost every playing session for it. Creative players will surely also find great ways to use it outside of combat too.
No matter what level your character is, Silent Image can add a ton of utility and tip the odds in your favor. If you haven’t picked a non-damage dealing spell yet or are making an illusion wizard, it is a fantastic pick to consider!
If we’re missing a use or if you have a funny story to share about the spell, make sure to let us know!