Simulacrum is a 7th-level utility spell that can be used offensively, defensively, or supportively and belongs to the Wizard spell list.
Simulacrum is a high-level spell but extremely simple to grasp. It shares similarities to spells like Mirror Image, Major Image, and Illusory Dragon.
The Player’s Handbook description below states:
Casting Time: 12 hours
Components: V, S, M (ice or snow in quantities sufficient to make a life-size copy of a duplicated creature; fingernail clippings, some hair, or piece of the creature’s body placed inside the snow or ice; and powdered ruby worth 1,500 GP, sprinkled over the duplicate which is then consumed by the spell)
Duration: Until dispelled
You shape an illusory duplicate of one humanoid or beast within the range for the entire casting time of the spell.
The duplicate will be a creature, partially real and formed from snow and ice, and it can take actions while otherwise being affected as a normal creature.
It will appear similar to the original but will have half of the creature’s maximum hit points and is formed without equipment. Otherwise, the illusion uses all of the creature’s statistics it’s duplicating, except that it is now a construct.
Commanding the Simulacrum
The simulacrum will be friendly to you and the creatures you designate. It will obey your spoken commands, moving and acting only according to your wishes and acting on your turn in combat.
The simulacrum lacks the ability to learn and become more powerful; therefore, it never increases its levels or other abilities, nor can it regain any expended spell slots.
Fixing a Simulacrum
If the simulacrum becomes damaged, you can easily repair it in an alchemy laboratory which uses rare herbs and minerals worth 100 GP per hit point it must regain.
The simulacrum lasts until it drops to 0 hit points, which reverts it to snow and melts it instantly.
Note: If you cast Simulacrum again, any currently active duplicates you have created with the spell are destroyed instantly.
Which Classes Can Pick Simulacrum?
The Wizard is a traditional class that can unlock and cast this spell at level 13. However, Bards can also unlock it with their Magical Secrets at level 14.
Is Simulacrum Good in 5e?
There isn’t a blatant yes or no, just know that it can either be extremely useful or a complete waste of resources. It all depends what it has to do and the type of creature chosen.
Advantages – Simulacrum
Extremely Long Duration
There aren’t many spells in D&D which have an endless duration. Simulacrum is one of them, and it only ends when the creature is dispelled (either by using the Dispel Magic spell or by dropping to 0 HP).
More Useful in Shorter Fights
The Simulacrum spawns a construct that is extremely expensive to create and maintain. Therefore, if it were in a prolonged battle, it would take a lot of damage, ramping up the costs for repair.
Shorter battles decrease the amount of time in which the construct can take damage, which in turn lowers the average maintenance cost.
Note: Think about it like this. The construct has a lower chance of not getting hit in a shorter fight than in a longer one.
You Must Obtain Snow/Ice
Some players might not know where to find snow or ice, but luckily it isn’t too tricky.
You can use spells to solve your problem if you aren’t in a snowy area. Frost Fingers and Shape Water are two low-level spells that can help players obtain ice.
Note: Shape Water only freezes water for 1 hour. You could ask your DM if they would allow you to refreeze the water every hour (you’ll most likely need a helper to recast the spell for you if the DM doesn’t allow this).
Disadvantages – Simulacrum
High Material Component GP Cost
Simulacrum requires players to obtain three materials to use as components. The most frustrating material to obtain is the 1,500 GP powdered ruby.
Even though this might not be difficult for a level 13 Wizard to pay, this is still a large sum of GP.
What’s even worse is that the spell consumes it, meaning if the construct dies, you’ll have to spend another 1,500 GP!
Long Casting Time
Hopefully, you don’t get bored quickly because creating a construct with Simulacrum takes 12 hours to complete.
Expensive “Alchemical Repairs”
Now that you know what it costs to create the construct, you’ll need to maintain it.
If it becomes damaged and loses HP, the only way to regain that HP is by using rare herbs and minerals at an alchemical laboratory. For every 1 HP restored, you’ll need to pay 100 GP.
Note: It doesn’t state that you can repair the construct any other way, so be prepared to pay.
How Should I Use Simulacrum?
Out of Combat
Before casting Simulacrum, ensure you can safely wait the total 12 hours it takes to create the construct.
You wouldn’t be happy if your spell were interrupted by a few enemies trying to attack you. The most straightforward way to prevent this is to cast Simulacrum outside combat.
Serving the Party
If you don’t want to use your construct in battle, consider using it as a servant. Your part will always need someone to help them carry bags, get materials, set up camp, etc.
So rather than waste your and their time, have the construct do everything for you. They won’t even complain. They’ll probably see it as a gesture of kindness since you’re keeping them out of harm’s way.
Are There Similar Spells Available?
An abundance of spells can reanimate the dead or spawn illusionary beings to assist you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Simulacrum Yourself?
You can cast Simulacrum on yourself, and your construct will be able to cast the same spells you can. If you know this, you can create an army of clones!
Simulacrum has a lot of hidden potential that players need to understand and use accordingly.
Pairing it with another army-building spell might spark your creativity and show you just how powerful minions can be in 5e.