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I was looking at the shillelagh cantrip, whose description states (emphasis mine):

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.

And then looking at the animate objects spell, whose description states:

Each target animates and becomes a creature...

And later lists different object stat blocks, including their attacks.

A number of questions came to mind:

  • Can you use your spellcasting ability for the animated object's
    attacks?
  • Does shillelagh changing the damage die affect the animated object's statblock?
  • And also, is this even possible? Shillelagh ends when you let go of the weapon (which is now a creature), and the rule on "Moving Around Other Creatures" states:

    Whether a creature is a friend or an enemy, you can't willingly end your move in its space.

What happens when you cast animate objects on a weapon affected by shillelagh?

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You cannot cast animate objects on a weapon affected by shillelagh.

The description for animate objects specifies:

Choose up to ten nonmagical objects...

The description of shillelagh states:

The weapon also becomes magical, if it isn't already.

Therefore a weapon affected by shillelagh is not a valid target for the animate objects spell.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ You could conceivably cast Shillelagh on an animated object you were holding. I don't think it would break the Animate Objects spell. It wouldn't have any effect at all on the Animated Object stats, though - those are entirely independent of any weapon stats. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ben Barden
    Jul 26 '19 at 20:22
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @BenBarden I would say you wouldn't be able to do it in that order either because it is no longer a weapon, but instead a creature. That would be like saying you can wield your gnome companion and cast barkskin and shillelagh on him. \$\endgroup\$
    – BCPowers
    Jul 27 '19 at 21:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BCPowers Casting Barkskin on a gnome does not make them a club or staff. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ben Barden
    Jul 30 '19 at 13:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BenBarden And objects under the effect of animate objects are no longer weapons. \$\endgroup\$
    – BCPowers
    Aug 28 '19 at 0:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BCPowers I assert that that's "DM ruling" territory, rather than being clearly determined one way or the other. "gnome with barkskin" is a much clearer case. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ben Barden
    Aug 28 '19 at 14:58
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You wouldn't be able to cast it.

Shillelagh ends if you let go of the weapon

The spell ends if you cast it again or if you let go of the weapon

Animate Objects

Objects come to life at your command. Choose up to ten nonmagical objects within range that are not being worn or carried.

To cast shillelagh, you need to be holding the weapon.
To cast animate objects, you can't be holding the weapon.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I read the first line, and I was goign to ask what this answer added to the issue, but no - this is actually really stylish. +1. It even feeds into the other answer, because if you do it in the reverse order, the item is already magical, and shillelagh won't stick. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ben Barden
    Aug 6 at 18:36

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