Frost Brand weapons have the following property, amongst others:

In freezing temperatures, the blade sheds bright light in a 10-foot radius and dim light for an additional 10 feet.

The other properties of Frost Brands directly benefit their attuned wearer (ability to extinguish flames by drawing the blade, fire resistance while holding it, extra cold damage while attacking with it), but the light-shedding property seems more of a passive thing (it would make sense, to me at least, that an unattuned, abandoned Frost Brand stuck in an iceberg would glow).

The rules on attunement state the following:

Without becoming attuned to an item that requires attunement, a creature gains only its nonmagical benefits, unless its description states otherwise. For example, a magic Shield that requires attunement provides the benefits of a normal Shield to a creature not attuned to it, but none of its magical properties.

But this light shedding property does not seem to be intended to benefit its wearer in particular — seems more to be the blade’s natural reaction to extreme cold.

Considering that there are already attunement-based items with non-attunement properties (such as a Talisman of Pure Good’s contact damage to non-good creatures), does an unattuned Frostbrand still glow in freezing temperatures ?


1 Answer 1


No, it does not glow

That is a magical feature of the blade and whether or not you consider it to be a benefit, it can be a beneficial feature and qualifies.

Unattuned features that are on will say so in the description

You've quoted the relevant requirement in that it will say if a benefit will work without attunement:

...a creature gains only its nonmagical benefits, unless its description states otherwise

What is beneficial isn't something that is dependent on the table or DM. It's an inherent property of the weapon - and unless it specifically states that it's an always-on feature, it isn't...and this weapon doesn't.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Ah! Sadness. See, my intent was to acquire one on my Tundra Herald Barbarian so that, when he’ll be constantly cold (raging, wearing a Shard of the Ise Rune, a Belt of Frost Giant Strength and a Shield that extinguishes flames), he’d have the Frostbrand on his back to glow in order to “show and tell” that he’s a very frosty man (all of this for some RP flavor, basically). \$\endgroup\$
    – Gael L
    Mar 5, 2019 at 16:30
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ @GaelL Heh - no worries. But you also just said yourself it's beneficial to have it glow (as a flavor benefit.) \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Mar 5, 2019 at 16:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ If you want a Crawford tweet to back you up: twitter.com/JeremyECrawford/status/948339653639258112 \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael W.
    Mar 5, 2019 at 18:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MichaelW. Thanks, but I think I'll leave it just as the rules quoted. Trying my best to support and provide answers without Crawford's ephemeral interpretations :). That, and he's just repeating those same words quoted by OP. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Mar 5, 2019 at 18:23
  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ @GaelL Of course, you can always just get DM permission that it works differently. I'd never let a weird little edge-case rule get in the way of somebody's cool (ha) character idea if it's at my table. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 5, 2019 at 18:59

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