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When casting heat metal on a metal weapon, will it deal an additional 2d8 damage on a hit? From the following sentence from the spell description, I assume this to be the case:

A creature in contact with a metal object you can see takes 2d8 fire damage.

(I'm assuming the wielder doesn't lose his grip).

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No, it doesn't generally increase the weapon's damage

When you cast Heat Metal on an object you get the following effect, emphasis mine:

Any creature in physical contact with the object takes 2d8 fire damage when you cast the spell. Until the spell ends, you can use a bonus action on each of your subsequent turns to cause this damage again.

Anyone touching the object only actually takes damage from it once immediately when you cast the spell and thereafter when you use a bonus action to cause the damage again. Otherwise, touching the object (despite the heat) does not cause damage, so simply hitting someone with such a metal object wouldn't do any more damage than normal - you don't have to worry about accidentally giving your foes a boost by using the spell against them.

Action shenanigans!

The above said, there are a couple of ways I would allow you to get this kind of effect if you were deliberately trying to.

Firstly, if you readied the spell to be cast at the moment the target object was used to hit someone, I'd rule that both the wielder and their target were both in contact with the object at the time of casting, so both would take the damage.

Secondly, if you were to cast it on a weapon you were holding yourself, then on subsequent turns you could in principle use your bonus action to cause the extra damage exactly when you hit someone with it (since a bonus action without timing specified can be used whenever you like on your turn). That would get you one hit per round with some extra damage.

Obviously not a recommended strategy for use on yourself/friends unless you've got fire resistance or immunity.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Note that the second paragraph of the spell says: "If a creature is holding or wearing the object and takes the damage from it, the creature must succeed on a Constitution saving throw or drop the object if it can. If it doesn't drop the object, it has disadvantage on attack rolls and ability checks until the start of your next turn." This directly contradicts OP's assumption about the wielder not losing his grip. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Sep 29 '18 at 18:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast the assumption the OP is making that the creature has succeeded on the save, so therefore doesn't have to drop the object. \$\endgroup\$ – Carcer Sep 29 '18 at 18:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ah. I read it as them assuming they didn't have to make the save, rather than as having already passed it. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Sep 29 '18 at 19:05
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The spell causes 2d8 damage to the wielder of the weapon. This damage would not have happened otherwise, so, yes, in that sense, it causes "additional" damage.

It does not increase the damage done by the weapon to creatures struck by it, because the damage is inflicted at the moment the spell is cast or (on subsequent rounds within the spell's duration) when the caster expends a bonus action. The damage is not inflicted continuously and the rules do not allow for two actions to occur simultaneously (such as the caster spending a bonus action to inflict spell damage at exactly the instant that a weapon contacts a foe).

Any creature in physical contact with the object takes 2d8 fire damage when you cast the spell. Until the spell ends, you can use a bonus action on each of your subsequent turns to cause this damage again. (emphasis mine)

If the weapon were used to impale a foe and left embedded in their body, then it would presumably inflict the fire damage on that target, but such impalement would have to be at the DM's discretion, as I do not believe the D&D5 rules cover it.

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