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Random question about Death Knights:

I'm considering True Polymorphing into one for an upcoming fight. Their longswords have an extra 4d8 necrotic damage tied to them. However, their statblocks do not state that their swords are magical nor that their necrotic damage is innate (like a Planetar's statblock), and the creature we're facing has an immunity to nonmagical weapons. If you replace that longsword with another weapon, do they still deal the extra necrotic damage or no?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Keep in mind that Polymorph's RAI won't give you gear \$\endgroup\$ – BlueMoon93 Sep 24 at 13:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Even though Crawford's the keeper of the lore (and ultimately master of rules), I still find trouble believing that. If you assume the statistics of a creature, you assume its statblock, which includes default equipment, saving throws, innate spellcasting, spell components, resistances, among other things. \$\endgroup\$ – Codex Sep 24 at 15:44
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Yes, it is innate to the Death Knight

This question has been covered previously here. The extra damage is innate to the Death Knight rather than the sword. Other monsters like the Erinyes have similar effects.

If you cast the true polymorph spell prior to the battle, and allow one hour to pass to make it "permanent", you can then draw upon the concentration spells that Death Knight has available which includes Magic Weapon and Elemental Weapon.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ There's a troubling lack of specificity when it comes to these types of things. Drow have poison built into their weapons, Death Knights have their necrotic, but to my knowledge, it's only a select few that have it listed in their statblock, like the Erinyes or a Planetar: "The planetar's weapon attacks are magical. When the planetar hits with any weapon, the weapon deals an extra 5d8 radiant damage (included in the attack)." Would that also mean the DK's sword is magical, is that also an implication? \$\endgroup\$ – Codex Sep 15 at 23:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ The monster manual is a bit hit and miss for things like this yes. But the simple question you need to ask yourself, as a DM, is would you allow a player to pick up the longsword of a defeated Death Knight and have them do an extra 4d8 necrotic damage per hit with it? \$\endgroup\$ – Allan Mills Sep 15 at 23:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ Fair, fair. I'm the one who this is going to be affecting. I'm planning on TPing into a Death Knight, but the creature we're fighting has immunity to nonmagical weapons. The statblock for DK doesn't state that their weapons are magical nor that the necrotic damage is innate, so I was thinking of using my Frost Brand in place of its longsword. \$\endgroup\$ – Codex Sep 15 at 23:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ If you TP into a creature, you use the entire stat block of the creature so you get the necrotic damage since it is listed. Your frost brand might be a dubious since "The target’s gear melds into the new form. The creature can’t activate, use, wield, or otherwise benefit from any of its equipment." \$\endgroup\$ – Allan Mills Sep 15 at 23:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Codex That could be bad, possibly hilariously bad. Frost brand weapons require attunement. That takes an hour at least. True polymorph becomes permanent if you concentrate on the spell for the entire time, which is one hour. \$\endgroup\$ – Allan Mills Sep 16 at 0:07

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