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"Diminutive or smaller objects are unaffected by the spell."

Diminuitive or smaller objects being unaffected makes sense seeing how there are no stat blocks for animated objects of those sizes.

But there is no other restriction on the size of the weapon you can cast this spell on! And there's no limit to the concentration duration! Might be too good to be true so I'm asking here to confirm!

Does this spell let me animate a colossal weapon all day at 5th level? Therefore giving me an all day Colossal Animated Object as a minion at 5th level?

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2 Answers 2

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Technically yes, but realistically NO

If the caster were to either stand still or provide a new target for the weapon to attack while moving, then concentration could be maintained indefinitely. However, there are some limitations on this spell that prevent it from being practical to maintain for extended periods. The primary "gotcha" is this section:

An animated weapon attacks the nearest enemy to the best of its ability. You can use a move action to direct it to a different target, but if at the end of your turn you are more than 30 feet from the weapon, the spell ends.

Nowhere in the spell does it state that the animated weapon attempts to follow the caster around. In fact, the only command the caster can make is to designate a new target, otherwise the object's behavior is to just attack the nearest enemy. If there is no target to designate, then the object will not move. Therefore, the onus is on the caster to stay within 30 ft of the object to prevent the spell from ending.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Sit on the shoulder, have a long stick with a carrot on a string, wave it in front of it. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zibelas
    Feb 2, 2023 at 7:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Mołot I don't see the restriction to only attack enemies in the description? It seems to me the caster can designate any target they wish and the weapon will attack it. \$\endgroup\$
    – blues
    Feb 2, 2023 at 13:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Mołot "You can use a move action to direct it to a different target" \$\endgroup\$
    – blues
    Feb 2, 2023 at 13:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Mołot Objects are generally valid targets. For example characters (attempt to) break down doors (using their weapon!) all the time. \$\endgroup\$
    – blues
    Feb 2, 2023 at 13:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ If all else fails designate a fellow character as the target, and recommend that said character move quickly. \$\endgroup\$
    – Anketam
    Feb 2, 2023 at 14:37
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This requires a DM call on the meaning of 'wielder' in the sentence

Treat a light weapon as an object two size categories smaller than its wielder, a one-handed weapon as one size category smaller than its wielder, and a two-handed weapon as an object of the same size as its wielder.

If 'wielder' means 'hypothetical intended wielder', then yes, as written the spell can give you a Collosal minion.

That's stretching the interpretation somewhat, though: if the spell meant 'intended wielder' one would expect the author to write 'intended wielder'. The normal English meaning of that word in that context would be 'current wielder'.

Unfortunately, the spell doesn't require that the weapon is being wielded, so this interpretation also runs into difficulties.

First off, there's no room for shenanigans with an active wielder who isn't the caster:

A weapon held or carried by another creature can't be affected by this spell.

So no getting your giant friend to hold the weapon while you cast.

One reasonable interpretation would be that animating a weapon counts as magically wielding the weapon, and another would be to rule that the somatic component of the spell is 'hold the weapon and wave it around' - both of these lead to 'wielder' effectively meaning 'caster'. In that case, a two-handed weapon is always

treat[ed] as an object of the same size as its wielder.

Medium caster (=wielder): Medium animated object (at best - one-handed or light weapons are Small/Tiny). Even if that 'Medium' object is a greatsword the size of a tree, that doesn't matter to its stats.

The final option I can see is that 'wielder' really does just mean 'wielder', but the spell can somehow still be cast on an unwielded weapon - I leave the definition of 'the same size as [thing-that-does-not-exist]' to any DM bold enough to rule this way.


One other thing to bear in mind is that even if this does work per interpretation 1, it requires the availability of a Collosal weapon to animate.

Most 5th level parties probably aren't fighting anything that will drop one of those (or if they are, it's unlikely they're getting the loot...), and there's no obvious reason for weapons that size to be available for sale in places inhabited by Medium folks.

You could try a custom build, of course, but the logical response from a town blacksmith would be "I could try, maybe, but that's larger than my smithy and there's not enough iron in the whole town". You're more likely to get a sword-shaped-object than a real weapon, and it's perfectly reasonable for the spell to fizzle on those.

You could certainly find someone who could make one, but you're looking at either a really good Medium smith, or a Collosal one, and both of those are 'quest reward' territory, not 'I buy it in my next downtime'.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The quip about wielder is just a copy and paste of the general weapon rules. d20srd.org/srd/equipment/weapons.htm "A weapon’s size category isn’t the same as its size as an object. Instead, a weapon’s size category is keyed to the size of the intended wielder. In general, a light weapon is an object two size categories smaller than the wielder, a one-handed weapon is an object one size category smaller than the wielder, and a two-handed weapon is an object of the same size category as the wielder. " You're not suggesting this quip is some kind of targeting restriction are you? \$\endgroup\$ Feb 2, 2023 at 5:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ @alexstrasa82 Targeting restriction: no, it's clearly not that. The spell can be cast on any weapon. But that sentence has been included in the text, so it's part of the rules for how the spell works. The animated weapon is treated like an animated object of a size 0-2 size categories smaller than it's wielder. That's clearly laid out - it's just not clear what 'wielder' means in the context of a weapon that fights on its own. \$\endgroup\$
    – Toby Y.
    Feb 3, 2023 at 2:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ If it makes it easier to understand the other interpretation, there's precedent for magic equipment resizing automatically - possibly casting animate weapon auto-resizes any weapon to the correct size for the caster regardless of how big it was originally. That's also stretching the reading a bit, but that's the whole problem: every reading has to stretch something, somewhere, because the spell refers to an entity (the wielder) that isn't properly defined for this context. \$\endgroup\$
    – Toby Y.
    Feb 3, 2023 at 2:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ It is "intended wielder", any creature for whom it is theoretically possible to wield the weapon and who wouldn't receive attack penalties for doing so. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 4, 2023 at 21:18

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