Purge the non-believers! Convict the heretics! Purify the realm! It’s time to take a closer look at a powerful enchantment: Holy Weapon Spell. Whether used as a self-buff or to bolster a teammate’s damage, Holy Weapon is a simple tool to keep in your holy toolbox that will have those corrupt heathens quaking in their boots!
In this guide, we will see how Holy Weapon works (it’s easy), some theoretical use cases for the spell (it’s versatile) and answer some common questions people seem to have (preemptively, yes, whatever you’re thinking of is a weapon, though probably not in the damage-dealing way you’re thinking!)
Table of Contents
Holy Weapon 5e Spell Description
According to Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, the Holy Weapon spell works as follows:
You imbue a weapon you touch with holy power. Until the spell ends, the weapon emits bright light in a 30-foot radius and dim light for an additional 30 feet.
In addition, weapon attacks made with it deal an extra 2d8 radiant damage on a hit. If the weapon isn’t already a magic weapon, it becomes one for the duration. As a bonus action on your turn, you can dismiss this spell and cause the weapon to emit a burst of radiance.
Each creature of your choice that you can see within 30 feet of the weapon must make a Constitution saving throw.
- On a failed save, a creature takes 4d8 radiant damage, and it is blinded for 1 minute.
- On a successful save, a creature takes half as much damage and isn’t blinded.
At the end of each of its turns, a blinded creature can make a Constitution saving throw, ending the effect on itself on a success.
Holy Weapon 5e Spell Stats
- Level: 5th Level Evocation
- Casting Time: 1 bonus action
- Range: Touch
- Components: Verbal, Somatic
- Duration: Concentration, up to 1 hour
- Spell Lists: Cleric, Paladin
What is Holy Weapon 5e Spell?
What does this actually mean for Holy Weapon? Well, it is a 5th-level evocation, which means you’re not going to be getting access to it very early in your campaign, so keep that in mind. It is somatic or verbal, meaning that your caster can choose either a spoken component or a magical movement. And it can (typically) only be accessed by adventurers with the appropriate levels in the Paladin or Cleric classes.
Enough with the minutiae, let’s take a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages.
Holy Weapon 5e Spell Advantages and Disadvantages
First and foremost, the biggest advantage this spell has is its speed.
As a bonus action, Holy Weapon enables a Cleric or Paladin to both enchant a weapon and attack on the same turn (or enchant an ally’s weapon and attack). This is incredibly useful in that it enables a sustained increase in party damage for up to an hour.
One downside is that this spell requires concentration for the duration. While many DMs don’t manage concentration as closely as others, depending on your campaign, maintaining concentration for a full hour may be easier or harder to pull off. Make sure to check with your DM about any house rules regarding concentration before each session!
Another advantage to Holy Weapon is its simplicity. By simply speaking a magic incantation (or waving your hands, it’s up to you), you can imbue any weapon with an additional 2d8 damage per strike.
This could come in handy even outside of combat as improvised weapons that bear no resemblance to an established weapon are typically all classed with the same damage output (1d4).
- That rock you threw with incredible accuracy? 1d4.
- That shard of crystal you dropped from way up to ambush that enemy? 1d4.
It can be frustrating at times. Now imagine, instead of a simple rock you’ve picked up to peg that enemy in the branches above, you’ve got a holy rock of God that will deal with the evil-doer quite easily!
One aspect that could variably be seen as a benefit or a detriment, depending on circumstances, is that the enchanted weapon radiates light. Now, caught in a dark cave where you will be doing battle with unknown assailants, this could be a very useful light source.
However, in the same cave, if you are trying to be stealthy in the cover of darkness, your hulking Paladin friend might be a beacon in the night, so to speak. So be careful with your application of Holy Weapon and keep in mind all the effects, not just the added damage.
Is Holy Weapon 5e Spell good?
Holy Weapon is a seriously interesting spell that has many use cases which makes it not only powerful but also incredibly versatile.
As someone partial to the Paladin class, not only from the mechanical aspects but from the roleplaying aspects, especially as Paladins have become much more than simple religious fanatics, I’ve gotta say that I really enjoy this spell. It truly brings the power fantasy of the gods-blessed warrior to life.
While it’s a bonus action that gives it incredible speed, it does take a spell slot, which can be in short supply. However, I think that the benefits of this spell far outweigh the negatives to it. It’s a fast, simple way to increase damage in a way that makes it a must-have for any character who has access to it.
Whether you’re living the dream of being that holy warrior beacon of godly radiance, helping out your team with buffs, or being a bulky, glorified flashlight, Holy Weapon is one spell you simply can’t afford not to have.
How can you use Holy Weapon 5e Spell?
Be the MVP in your party
An extra 2d8 radiant damage per strike is a huge buff, there’s no way to avoid that fact. Calculated into the overall damage output of your party, there’s no way for those extra numbers to get lost. This damage output can even be multiplied by classes that allow extra attacks each turn (certain specs of Rogues, Fighters, Bards, etc).
For example, an 11th-level Fighter who action surges with a Holy Weapon enchanted weapon is dealing 6 weapon strikes! That’s 12d8 bonus radiant damage in a single burst! That’s a range of +12 to +96 radiant damage on a single target. Only from Holy Weapon!
That’s not even including the base damage. Truly incredible.
Save some spell slots for your casters
Casters have an incredible amount of numbers to juggle: ranges, effects, damage, and spell slots, among other things! Why not be a mensch and help them out when dealing with large numbers of enemies?
When surrounded by a miniature horde, it might be difficult for certain casters to contribute in a meaningful way. However, if you cast Holy Weapon on their weapons, you can help relieve them of some of the stress of managing spell slots (at least for the encounter!).
Get the drop on an enemy (literally!)
Imagine you’re sneaking along the eaves of a building, trying to catch a target unaware below. Dropping down yourself might put you in a damage predicament.
Likewise, according to the Rules as Written, gravity doesn’t actually affect the damage an improvised weapon would deal (max 1d4 for an improvised weapon used this way.)
If you’re quick about it (getting around that pesky glowing aura that Holy Weapon causes), a savvy caster could enchant a hunk of the roof, a rock, or even an overhanging branch and drop it on an enemy below for an extra kick of 1d4 + 2d8 damage!
See the torch, be the torch
Have you ever wanted to be a walking torch? Dreamed about the literal radiance of your personality guiding those poor, sad individuals in your adventuring party who somehow don’t have dark vision (like the chumps they are?).
Well, dream no more! Be the torch you’ve always dreamed of! Enchant your weapon to be a beacon in the night! Enchant your ally’s weapon to be the source of radiance! Who cares whose weapon it is? …as long as everyone knows whose holiness enabled it.
Ghosts don’t like shiny weapons
One problem that every party seems to run into is those pesky supernatural creatures, such as ghosts or specters, that can’t be struck by mortal, non-magical weapons.
Many a party has met a grisly demise upon realizing that not a single member has an effective weapon. Worry no more, as the Holy Weapon enchantment allows any weapon to be counted as a magical weapon for the purpose of hitting such enemies! Rejoice!
Holy Weapon 5e Spell FAQs
Does the buff stack with itself?
No, unfortunately (fortunately?) you can’t stack multiple instances of Holy Weapon on one weapon. Your Cleric and Paladin can’t double up to make a single weapon a god-given god-slayer!
Can I enchant my fists and become a holy-fisted Monk?
No, unfortunately, Monk’s fists are in the unarmed combat class and therefore aren’t weapons. Monks and unarmed specialists won’t benefit from Holy Weapon
Can you enchant ranged weapons?
You enchant the weapon, not the ammo, so yes – with an asterisk. Thrown weapons are at a disadvantage here, because you must retrieve the weapon you threw, unlike that enchanted crossbow that can shoot radiant arrow after radiant arrow.
Corrie is a passionate writer who draws inspiration from his love of medieval-fantasy and epic science fiction. His obsession with D&D and epic battles shines through in his work, as does his appreciation for authors like Laura Resnick and Marion Zimmer Bradley, whose works ignited his imagination and love of books. You can find Corrie at any given time engrossed in a rewatch binge of Voyager or rolling new characters for the creative joy of it!