I've been playing D&D 5e for about a year, and as I've understood, every living being falls under the "creature" category: humanoids, beasts, monstrosities, monsters, constructs, undead, celestials, fiends, etc.

However, the Paladin spell Wrathful Smite reads as follows:

Additionally, if the target is a creature, it must make a Wisdom saving throw or be frightened of you until the spell ends

This made me question the meaning of "creature".

Does it imply that there are other living beings, aside from "creatures"?

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @StackLloyd I'm not sure this is a duplicate, since this question seems to be about confusion around the wrathful smite description specifically, rather than the "creature" thing that the other question explores. \$\endgroup\$
    – NathanS
    Sep 9, 2019 at 13:28
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to the stack! Please take the tour to learn more about how we operate and glad to have you around! FYI, you don't need to signal edits (the edit history takes care of that.) It's better to just fully edit your question to include newly relevant information but keep the question as a narrative whole. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Sep 9, 2019 at 13:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure we can answer the first part of your last question (that's designer intent, which we hold as off-topic), but we could potentially answer the second. I've deleted the first part, but you can always roll back that edit. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Sep 9, 2019 at 15:34
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/152240/… \$\endgroup\$
    – nick012000
    Sep 10, 2019 at 11:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't believe it's ever explicitly said in the rules, nor where it would come up, but I would rule most plants to be living beings but not creatures. If you ever wanted to hit a tree, or cut a vine, or anything like that... \$\endgroup\$ Sep 10, 2019 at 15:10

2 Answers 2


The effects of the wrathful smite spell can apply to anything, including objects; the phrase in question makes it so that only creatures make the Wisdom saving throw

Most of the smite spells (all but thunderous smite and wrathful smite) begin with the following:

The next time you hit a creature with a melee weapon attack...

The wrathful smite spell, however, states:

The next time you hit with a melee weapon attack during this spell's duration, your attack deals an extra 1d6 psychic damage. Additionally, if the target is a creature, it must make a Wisdom saving throw or be frightened of you until the spell ends...

Most smite spells only have effects against creatures, however, the effects of wrathful smite are not restricted in this way so they can apply to anything you hit, including objects.
The additional 1d6 psychic damage applies no matter what you hit; however, the wording in question is there so that the Wisdom saving throw is only made if the target is a creature.

Of note, there are things which are neither creatures nor objects and they are explicitly called out as such. The only one I know of is the Shepherd Druid's Spirit Totem which states:

The spirit creates an aura in a 30-foot radius around that point. It counts as neither a creature nor an object, though it has the spectral appearance of the creature it represents.

Whether this being counts as "living" would be up to a GM (though I don't know any game-effect where it would matter). However, you can't actually hit the spirit totem, it has no stats. If you could then it would take the additional 1d6 psychic damage but it would not make the Wisdom saving throw as it is not a creature.

The fact that there are extremely few things which are neither creature nor object is supported by the rules constant use of the phrase "creatures and objects" such as in the see invisibility spell which states:

For the duration, you see invisible creatures and objects as if they were visible

This (and many other instances of this phrase throughout the rules) help show that unless stated otherwise something must be either a creature or an object (or both, potentially, see this question for that discussion: "Is there anything that is simultaneously a creature and an object?")

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I think you fell into the same trap as AceCalhoon. WIth the most recent edit, OP seems to understand Objects are separate. They're asking if there are other non-objects that would be removed from this effect as "not creatures". I think. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Sep 9, 2019 at 15:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch I'm not sure what you mean, the phrase is there to explain that only a creature makes the saving throw. I honestly don't understand how this implies the existence of non-creature living beings \$\endgroup\$ Sep 9, 2019 at 15:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ And with OP's final question, they're asking if it is simply object v. creature dichotomy, or if there is something else that qualifies as not-object, but not-creature. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Sep 9, 2019 at 15:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch Added that in now \$\endgroup\$ Sep 9, 2019 at 15:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you NautArch and Medix2. Sorry for not realizing the option to "accept" answer. And thank you for the effort put into this question! \$\endgroup\$
    – Fork Frog
    Jan 21, 2020 at 21:42

The term "creature" does not include objects.

In other words, if you use Wrathful Smite to break down a door, the door does not need to make a wisdom saving throw.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch OP's edit suggests otherwise, that it was in fact confusion around the wrathful smite description. The question should perhaps be cleaned up to better reflect the OP's "true" query... \$\endgroup\$
    – NathanS
    Sep 9, 2019 at 13:29
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @NathanS After the clarification, this answer doesn't really address the OP's concerns. \$\endgroup\$
    – StackLloyd
    Sep 9, 2019 at 13:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ You may want to mention this question: "Is there anything that is simultaneously a creature and an object?" \$\endgroup\$ Sep 10, 2019 at 5:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ can a door take psychic damage? \$\endgroup\$ Sep 5 at 15:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MattBartlett There are no special rules for the psychic damage type. So, strictly speaking, the answer is "yes, a door can take psychic damage." However, most spells that deal psychic damage have a target that excludes objects. \$\endgroup\$
    – AceCalhoon
    Sep 5 at 19:31

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