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The Helm of Brilliance is described in the Dungeon Master's Guide on page 173, and lists the following as a benefit:

As long as the helm has at least one fire opal, you can use an action and speak a command word to cause one weapon you are holding to burst into flames. The flames emit bright light in a 10-foot radius and dim light for an additional 10 feet. The flames are harmless to you and the weapon. When you hit with an attack using the blazing weapon, the target takes an extra 1d6 fire damage. The flames last until you use a bonus action to speak the command word again or until you drop or stow the weapon.

My question is as follows:

Does this benefit also apply to spells cast via a magical staff, such as when casting Fireball via a Staff of Power, or would it only apply to melee attacks with the staff?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Hi Maadiah. When you block-quoted the Helm of Brilliance description you made a few errors, capitalizing words that aren't capitalized in the original. Not a big deal for "Bonus Action" or "Command Word," but it's pretty widely accepted around here that "action" and "Action" are different in important ways that seem to have affected the answers coming in. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Aug 24 '17 at 15:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60, I noticed that the Roll20 compendiums often highlight and hyperlink terms of art like "Attack" and "Bonus Action". I wonder if that's going to be a cause of serious confusion if we're using the capitalization distinction... \$\endgroup\$ – Icyfire Aug 24 '17 at 15:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Icyfire I'd say that's more of an issue Roll20 needs to resolve. The fact that "we're" using the capitalization distinction is because the printed WoTC publications use that distinction (as well as DNDbeyond). The fact that a third party doesn't suggests we shouldn't link to that particular third party \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Aug 24 '17 at 15:56
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The bonus damage is limited to attacks

When you hit with an attack using the blazing weapon, the target takes an extra 1d6 fire damage.

It is relevant to know, that everything that requires an attack roll to hit is considered an attack. In general, this includes melee and ranged attacks with weapons and spells.

A Fireball would not benefit from the extra 1d6 fire damage, because it is not an attack.


The bonus damage is limited to attacks using the weapon!

Even though spell attacks are considered attacks, they are not using a weapon. The Helm of Brilliance limits the extra damage to "attacks using the blazing weapon", in other words weapon attacks.


What if you cast Ray of Enfeeblement through the Staff of Power

A black beam of enervating energy springs from your finger toward a creature within range. Make a ranged spell attack against the target.

As per the spell, you are not using a weapon for the attack, thus no extra fire damage. But what happens if you cast the spell using the weapon? Is it now a spell attack using the weapon?

I think not. You are casting the spell using the weapon, but the weapon is not part of the spell attack.


All in all

Your Staff of Power would only deal the extra damage when you make a weapon attack with it.

There are spells, that empower weapon attacks, like Green-Flame Blade, Ensnaring Strike and a bunch of Smite spells limited to the Paladin class. Those would stack with the extra damage.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ this isn't actually accurate to the way that DnD-5e differentiates between "Attack" (as a standard action to attempt to hurt an opponent), and "attack" (a roll to see if you hit). This question lists in full detail the differences \$\endgroup\$ – Michael Gorman Aug 24 '17 at 15:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ Please note that OP originally mis-quoted, writing "Attack" where it should have been "attack." \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Aug 24 '17 at 15:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60 that does actually change the answer, as per the Attack/attack difference and makes this answer correct. (also making my previous comment invalid) \$\endgroup\$ – Michael Gorman Aug 24 '17 at 15:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think it may also be relevant to include that the fire surrounds the weapon, doing no harm to the wielder or weapon (but implying the flames on it will do damage to others.) Casting a spell from the staff doesn't connect those flames to anyone - only hitting someone with it would. That seems like Intent for it to be for melee attacks. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Aug 24 '17 at 15:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ In your first explanation, you can say "this includes weapon and spell attacks" because melee and ranged both generally refer to the range at which the attack is being made. In the case of weapons, the type of weapon matters, and spells say which to use. \$\endgroup\$ – Javelin Aug 24 '17 at 16:00

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