There was a lot more information about sentient weapons in earlier editions, but please restrict answers to 5th edition rules (but use earlier editions to back up statement if needed).

Would a sentient weapon gain a saving throw against spells cast against it? Per the DMG, they do have Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma.

For instance, normally the Identify spell would be able to tell the caster all sorts of information about an object. But the sentient weapon does not want to reveal all of its secrets and would try to resist the spell. I'm not limiting this question to Identify1, but that was a spell that leapt out at me.

1 Since spells only do what they say they do and Identify doesn't list a saving throw. But why would it?


2 Answers 2


Yes, if the spell can target the object and offers a save

A Sentient Weapon is simply an object. It doesn't have a creature stat block or type, but is only an object inhabited by a sentience.

Because it is an object, it is only vulnerable to spells that can target objects. If it is targeted by a spell for an object that requires a saving throw, then it would make one. If it doesn't then it won't.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ The only spells I can find that damage objects and involve a save are meteor swarm and shatter both of which only cause creatures to make saving throws. There's probably some spell somewhere though \$\endgroup\$ Oct 28, 2020 at 3:51

Is A Sentient Weapon A Creature?

In most cases, that is what the question boils down to as most spells will clearly specify that a spell affects a creature or an object (or both, perhaps with different rules.) In some cases (e.g., Charm Person) it affects a specific subset of creatures, namely, humanoids.

So, is a Sentient Weapon a Creature?

Prrrobably not, but I don't think the answer is clear any more.

Evidence against is this Jeremy Crawford tweet, which is quite emphatic in statement, specificity, and reasoning. However, Jeremy Crawford tweets are no longer considered canon unless included in the Sage Advice Compendium. And (although it is possible I missed it on a ctrl-F fueled skim) I do not see a definition of creature or any reference to sentient items in the 2020 Compendium.

Evidence for is primarily the description of sentient items themselves (emphasis mine, below):

Some Magic Items possess sentience and personality. Such an item might be possessed, haunted by the spirit of a previous owner, or self--aware thanks to the magic used to create it. In any case, the item behaves like a character, complete with personality Quirks, Ideals, bonds, and sometimes flaws. A sentient item might be a cherished ally to its wielder or a continual thorn in the side....Sentient Magic Items function as NPCs under the GM’s control. ... A sentient magic item has Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma scores.

None of those words comes right out and says "This is a creature," but all of the emphasized text strongly imply some attributes of creature-ness to me. If an item is possessed, it seems reasonable to me that the possessing spirit would be a creature (specifically, an undead.) The partial stat block of Int, Wis, and Cha puts in place the machinery for creature saving throws of some types. And telling me to treat it like an NPC certainly implies to me that it ought to be treated like a creature to the extent logically possible.

Two additional questions that bear directly on this line of inquiry are: What is The Definition of Creature, and Is there anything that is simultaneously a creature and an object?

A Judgment Call

In the absence of a hard ruling from the Compendium (either that I missed, or in a subsequent update) or something similar, I think it's reasonable to rule either way. But in either case, careful readings of spell descriptions are required, and may give some odd results either way.

For example:

Identify -- This probably doesn't give a saving throw regardless the rule, because the spell admits no saving throw.

Phantasmal Force -- This targets a creature and requires an Intelligence save. Are sentient weapons (which generally have vision and hearing) meant to be immune to this? It probably wouldn't be game breaking, but it probably isn't the intent.

Disintegrate -- On the other hand, Disintegrate affects both Creatures (which get a Dex save, which a sentient weapon doesn't even have) or Objects... but not Magic Items


On balance, to the extent that we can infer the design intentions of the game, I don't think sentient weapons were intended to be creatures. But nor do I really think that was fully thought out in advance, despite later answers. I would be tempted to rule on a case by case basis where spells affecting those stats-- in reasonable situations-- might allow saving throws. In the absence of a Compendium or similar ruling, I don't think anyone could tell me I'm just plain wrong. But the same obtains for someone making the opposite ruling-- no one can say they're just plain wrong.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Another question that may provide some insight on creature vs object is this: "Does a warship make a Constitution saving throw against the Shatter spell, or does it automatically take the damage?" \$\endgroup\$ Oct 28, 2020 at 11:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch No, I cannot. I've written over 600 words already; referenced a very lengthy thread addressing exactly the issue of whether 'creature' and 'object' are always and forever mutually exclusively; and noted that the only definitive statement on the topic is no longer canon, as far as I can tell. This is sufficient for my answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Novak
    Oct 28, 2020 at 15:56

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