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

The wood of a club or quarterstaff you are holding is imbued with nature's power... The spell ends if you cast it again or if you let go of the weapon.

And then looking at animate objects whose description states:

Each target animates and becomes a creature...

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.

In order to cast shillelagh then, you would need both of the following to be true:
You are holding the animated object.
You are not in the same space as the animated object.

One way I thought this might be possible is if you grappled the animated object, so that you are not in its space but arguably holding (not wielding) it.

One reason you may want to do this is because shillelagh changes the weapon's damage die and it is unclear to me whether this also changes the animated object's damage output.

Does grappling an animated object let you cast shillelagh on it?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Assuming that animate object was cast on a wooden club or quarterstaff, what's the end goal of then casting shillelagh? \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Jul 26, 2019 at 20:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch A possible goal of casting shillelagh is to change the weapon's damage die. It is unclear to me what counts as a "damage die" and if it would change the animated object's damage when it makes attacks \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 26, 2019 at 21:27

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If you are holding an animated object that is also a quarterstaff or club, there's nothing that stops you from casting shillelagh on it. It also doesn't do a whole lot. The Animated Object stats have nothing to do with the weapon stats, and shillelagh only affects the latter. Further, if it squirms from your grasp, shillelagh ends.

Basically... spells do what they say they do. Shillelagh changes the weapons die of the object, and modifies what happens when you personally make attacks with it as a weapon. Animate Objects changes the object into a creature with a statblock, and that statblock specifically does not pay any attention to the idea that it might or might not have been a weapon, or what its weapons die was if it was. An animated rapier deals no more and no less damage than an animated broom of the same size.

For that matter, grappling is not strictly speaking necessary, especially in the case of a nonhostile animated object outside of combat. The square size described is the space that a single creature needs in order to fight effectively. If you're not trying to fight (like, say, you're giving someone a hug, or holding their hand, and they don't mind) it's entirely possible to hold a creature (animated quarterstaff or otherwise) without requiring a grapple attack.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Can you support that an animated club is still a club(object) and not a creature that is no longer a club but just happens to look like one? \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Jul 26, 2019 at 20:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch Shillelagh does not require that the target be an object - merely that it be a quarterstaff or club. Animating it makes it a creature, not an object, but doesn't do anything to make it not a quarterstaff or not a club. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ben Barden
    Commented Jul 26, 2019 at 20:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Medix2 I will admit, if you can find a way in which melee attacks made by other people with it as a weapon (while the club/staff was in your hand) would be made based on your strength, you could instead decide that they be made based on your Wisdom. The "Wisdom instead of Strength" thing, though, is pretty clear. It doesn't let you use your own Wisdom in place of anyone else's Strength. Worth noting that attacks by the animated object are not made with it as a weapon. They are natural attacks made by the creature that was animated into the weapon. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ben Barden
    Commented Jul 26, 2019 at 20:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ My concern is that an animated club is no longer a weapon, it's a creature. Shillelagh affects a weapon . \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Jul 26, 2019 at 20:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ My main point was that you need to assert that it is one or the other and support that decision.Currently, you're just assuming that it remains the object club that is a weapon. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Jul 26, 2019 at 21:17

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