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I'm wondering whether a character could spread holy water over his sword or axe and then hit an undead and on the first hit, inflict an extra 2d6 as if the holy water had been thrown at the undead. After all, we can do that with poison and holy water is like poison to undead creatures.

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up vote 12 down vote accepted

By the book? No.

As a house rule?

Consistency may be a problem. Poison for applying on blades is usually described as a paste or oil - something that can stick for a while, as opposed to an ingested poison which would be watery.

The holy water itself wouldn't stay on the blade long enough to hit something with. It may be able to (temporarily) make the weapon holy, but this would be entirely up to the DM, and not covered by the rulebooks.

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What if I filled my scabbard with holy water? Then the first attack or two would presumably be more powerful. More importantly, why are we using swords instead of water pistols? – Jon Story Jan 12 at 10:54

RAW, you need to make a ranged attack with the holy water, as an improvised weapon.

It's right there on PHB151

Should you houserule it, I would suggest that allowing the full effect of the holy water in addition to the effect of the underlying weapon breaks the action economy. Also, possibly the holy water economy.

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Yes. I know you can throw it. I was wondering about the application on a weapon as that does not seem to be mentioned and thus probably no allowed. – Alexis Wilke Jan 12 at 1:42
About the economy, some spells allow you to add some damage similar to that to your weapons and such last for the duration of the spell, so I do not think it would be that bad. – Alexis Wilke Jan 12 at 1:43
Oh, here's an idea - make a melee attack with the holy water as an improvised weapon! Basically, smash the flask over them. Not entirely RAW, but close. – Adeptus Jan 12 at 1:55
@Adeptus which is probably a much-better way to implement the close-in holy water attack than applying the disadvantaged 5' ranged attack that RAW provide for.... – nitsua60 Jan 12 at 2:10
A non-improvised weapon for delivering holy water is the aspergillum: – Sebkha Jan 14 at 12:50

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