5th Edition Spells – Shillelagh


Druid - Cantrip Level Spell

School: Transmutation
Casting Time: 1 Bonus Action
Range: Touch
Components: Verbal, Somatic, and Material
Duration: 1 Minute
Attack/Save: Melee
Reference: PHB 275

The wood of a club or quarterstaff you are holding is imbued with nature’s power. For the duration, you can use your spellcasting ability instead of Strength for the attack and damage rolls of melee attacks using that weapon, and the weapon’s damage die becomes a d8. The weapon also becomes magical, if it isn’t already. The spell ends if you cast it again or if you let go of the weapon.

My Comments: Somehow I skipped over shillelagh and trust me, it wasn’t intentional.

I’m fond of this spell. It’s one of those classics that stood out for me early on when I was but a confused and awkward adventurer of days gone by and not just because it was hard to know how to pronounce. I don’t really want to talk about past versions of D&D for these ‘spellcasts’, so I’ll just get to the current version.

There are two a few things that make this stand out for me.

One: it’s a bonus action instead of a full action. Sweet!

Two: One minute, no concentration. A minute may not seem like long but so many cantrips last just 1 round and, really, in DND combat time, a minute is forever.

Three: You now have a magic weapon. It constantly comes up when fighting opponents that have resistance to non-magical attacks. Sure, Druid spells attacks can be great, but they can also be a precious limited resource.

Four: You can get a bonus in melee without being super strong.

leperechan with shillelagh 5e

There are people out there who like to min/max the crap out of this spell, but I’m more fond of it just the way it is. I think it has a great roleplaying feel to it.

The downside, this is one of those cantrips that doesn’t scale. It’s the same effect at 20th level that it is at 1st.  Also, at 6th level, Moon Druids get Primal Strikes which means their beast form attacks count as magical for purposes of overcoming non-magical resistance and immunities. For a first to fourth level druid though, it’s pretty handy.

Also, once you figure out how to pronounce it, it’s really fun to say!

[P.S. Check out the Wacky Dungeon game just above the footer!]

Dave Goff

Writing and creating in my spare time to avoid going crazy in this mad, mad, world. Check out some of my materials on DMsGuild and let me know what you think! subscribe to keep up with new posts and leave comments to keep the conversation going.

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