Top 10 5E D&D Homebrew Illusion Spells by a Factor of Three

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Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted dive into the School of Illusion magic for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. More than any other school of magic, illusions in 5E D&D rely heavily on the Dungeon Master. There are 33 illusion spells across the official sources of 5E D&D and of course countless homebrew and third party creations. Browsing through the homebrew illusion spells at D&D Beyond I see there’s currently 1,433 of them! If we limit these lists to illusion spells for wizards we only lose 1 official spell (silence) but a whole bunch of homebrew ones, bringing the number down to 904. Since the nature of illusions in 5E D&D depends largely on how the DM reacts to them, it’s up to you and your group to determine how much versatility and power (or lack thereof) illusion magic holds. So let’s instead look at the homebrew illusion spells for wizards at D&D Beyond the way we looked at homebrew magic items for rogues and see what mystifying magic we discover.

Illusion spells for wizards at D&D Beyond

It’s worth noting you can create homebrew content for private use and share your homebrew content publicly at DDB at no cost — there’s no subscription required to access these services. However if you want to add any of the homebrew illusion spells mentioned below or any other homebrew content you come across to your collection you must subscribe at the Hero Tier or above. There’s a lot you can do at DDB for free. Check out what you can do here.

The DDB homebrew collection uses several statistics to track entries. Views shows how many people looked at any particular homebrew creation, Adds shows how many times a creation was added to someone’s collection and Rating is an upvote/downvote system. Since there are over 900 wizard illusion spells in the collection I’m going to share the top 10 highest rated, most viewed and most added selections.

Top 10 highest rating wizard illusion spells

  1. Hey! Over Here! (2nd level). “Creates 2d6 copies of caster withing a 60ft radius. The copies are indistinguishable from the caster apart from weapons and attacks pass right through them. They are controlled by the caster mentally (via free action) and can do 3 things, imitate the caster, distract enemies, or scatter.”
  2. Aarion’s Arcane Image (4th level). “Drawing strands of twilight from the Shadowfell, you create an image of yourself. It appears normal when observed casually, but upon close inspection, a DC 15 Wisdom (Perception) check reveals a gray tint to the skin and eyes twinkling unnaturally.”
  3. Shadow Clone (3rd level). “As you mutter the verbal components of the spell, the blood on your hands sizzles away to smoke, which manifests into a copy of yourself created from smoke and shadow in an unoccupied space with 30 ft that you can see.”
  4. Blind Spot (cantrip). “As an action, you erase your image from the mind of one creature you can see within 30 feet of you.”
  5. Shadow Show (cantrip). “By waving your arms in front of a relatively flat surface while holding the mirror in one hand and the light source shining on you and the surface, you can create images on the surface made of varying shades of darkness.”
  6. Akrah’s Famous Facial (1st level). “Choose 1 target within range. You may select one of the following effects to affect the target (the effect reaches it’s full force 1 hour into the duration):”
  7. Arcane Mark (1st level). “You magically inscribe your personal rune, signature, heraldic crest, or a message on an unattended object, surface, or creature touched.”
  8. Astora’s Alter Appearance (cantrip). “You make yourself- not including any clothes or other belongings on your person- look slightly different until the spell ends or until you use your action to dismiss it.”
  9. Conjure Bark (cantrip). “This spell has been used to quickly communicate with mans best friend.”
  10. Pre-/Post-Image (1st level). “School: Chronomancy (Illusion) (Intended for use with the Chronomancer subclass)”

Top 10 most viewed wizard illusion spells

  1. Shadow Clone (3rd level).
  2. Aarion’s Arcane Image (4th level).
  3. Glamour (4th level). “You surround yourself with an illusion of otherworldly beauty.”
  4. Hey! Over Here! (2nd level).
  5. Akrah’s Famous Facial (1st level).
  6. Pre-/Post-Image (1st level).
  7. Dream Walker (2nd level). “You enter the dreams of another.”
  8. Enslave (1st level). “This spell takes control of a creature, and makes that creature do an action that the creature can do.”
  9. Aura of Shade (1st level). “You call forth a dark presence from the Shadowfell, which creates a lightly obscured area with a 10-foot radius centred on a point within range. “
  10. Alluring Illusion (1st level). “Select any creature that you can see. The creature makes a Wisdom saving throw. If the saving throw fails, for the duration of the spell, you appear exceptionally beautiful to that creature.”

Top 10 most added wizard illusion spells

  1. Pre-/Post-Image (1st level).
  2. Aarion’s Arcane Image (4th level).
  3. Conceal Temporal Anomaly (6th level). “School: Chronomancy (Illusion) (Intended for use with the Chronomancer subclass)”
  4. Hey! Over Here! (2nd level).
  5. Shadow Clone (3rd level).
  6. Blind Spot (cantrip).
  7. Shadow Scythe (4th level). “You weave together threads of shadow to create a scythe of solidified gloom in your hands.”
  8. Alluring Illusion (1st level).
  9. Arcane Sign Language (cantrip). “(You can give this to any character that is mute or deaf as a way that they could communicate.)”
  10. Abrahamm’s Fireflies (cantrip). “The caster conjures a mass of fireflies in the target’s vision, with the aim to distract the enemy’s focus.”
5E D&D wizard illusion spells
Art from the board game Arena of the Planeswalkers shows Jace Beleren, a planeswalker with powerful mental magic like clairvoyance and illusion. [Image courtesy Wizards of the Coast]

Wizard illusion spells rising to the top

Using the same highly scientific method as previous analyses, taking into account ratings, views and adds here’s all of these DDB homebrew wizard illusion spells in order from highest scoring to lowest.

  1. Aarion’s Arcane Image (4th level)
  2. Hey! Over Here! (2nd level) and Shadow Clone (3rd level)
  3. Pre-/Post-Image (1st level)
  4. Blind Spot (cantrip)
  5. Akrah’s Famous Facial (1st level)
  6. Glamour (4th level) and Conceal Temporal Anomaly (6th level)
  7. Shadow Show (cantrip)
  8. Arcane Mark (1st level) and Dream Walker (2nd level) and Alluring Illusion (1st level) and Shadow Scythe (4th level)
  9. Astora’s Alter Appearance (cantrip) and Enslave (1st level)
  10. Conjure Bark (cantrip) and Aura of Shade (1st level) and Arcane Sign Language (cantrip)

A few noteworthy details emerge. Aarion’s arcane image tops the list and I found a total of 17 spells named for Aarion, whoever this wizard may be. If I’m honest I’m curious about the stories behind this wizard and their spells. Aarion’s arcane image is a terrific spell with a ton of versatility allowing the caster to send an illusory double out into the world. The caster can perceive through the double’s senses and they can cast a spell through the illusion, which destroys the image.

No small number of homebrew wizard illusion spells involve creating illusory duplicates of the caster too. These illusions have well defined parameters in most cases, which helps mitigate some of the issues Dave and Ted mention in the video. When I came across blind spot I was almost certain it was going to be a spell created by Critical Role’s Brian W. Foster with a snarky effect related to the hit show starring Ashley Johnson. But it’s a nifty spell for an illusionist to cloud the minds of onlookers.

One of the spells, conceal temporal anomalynotes it is designed for the Chronomancer subclass, a homebrew Arcane Tradition for wizards you can find here. In the comments of the subclass you can find a  full list of 50+ Chronomancy spells, plus related monsters, items, backgrounds and more. With Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount releasing in a few weeks I’m interested to see how this interacts with some of the new magic in the book. Fans of time manipulation magic ought to have a real field day!

Personally I’m most intrigued by dream walker because I love magic and stories about dreams and dream realms. In our Nerdarchy team game the Adventurers of Adventure are about to experience their first interaction with entities from the Dreaming World, what I call the Feywild in my own setting. The entity they’ll meet leans heavily into themes of dream and nightmare and maybe a dream walker and some of the other dream-related illusion spells will find their way onto character spell lists.

5E D&D wizard illusion spells, dreams and nightmares resources

Here’s a few places for more wizard illusion spells to add to your 5E D&D games. I’m also including dreams and nightmares into this list because frankly I dig that sort of thing and we’ve got a solid collection of our own stuff related to these themes.

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Nerditor-in-Chief Doug Vehovec is a proud native of Cleveland, Ohio, with D&D in his blood since the early 80s. Fast forward to today and he’s still rolling those polyhedral dice. When he’s not DMing, worldbuilding or working on endeavors for Nerdarchy he enjoys cryptozoology trips and eating awesome food.

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