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Can Spiritual Weapon be used as cover, offering an AC bonus, if so what are the limitations? Would it provide Half-cover? Three-Quarters Cover? Or maybe even Total Cover, depending on what shape I choose to make it?

You create a floating, spectral weapon within range that lasts for the duration or until you cast this spell again......The weapon can take whatever form you choose.

Cover

Walls, trees, creatures, and other obstacles can provide cover during combat, making a target more difficult to harm.

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The only clues we really get are:

  • You create a floating, spectral weapon
  • The weapon can take whatever form you choose.

We also know that it deals force damage when it hits a creature with a melee spell attack.

It says nothing about the weapon blocking line of sight, blocking movement, or not doing either.

Spiritual Weapon is usually played as not taking up space nor blocking anything, just a token that attacks things. It doesn't even specify how large the weapon is! By a naive reading, nothing stops you from making a 100' radius spectral weapon, and it would be able to attack things 5' away from it (which is now 105' away from its center).

Your DM is free to make it touchable and take up space if they want to, but this might be a bad idea; there is no way to attack it in the rules, and something that can't be attacked blocking a region is insanely useful. Of course, your DM is also free to allow it to be attacked with HP/AC the DM invents, as nothing in the rules of the spectral weapon says it cannot be attacked.

(If you use Creation to make a stone, the AC and HP of the resulting stone are something the DM would make up and aren't mentioned in the spell. You could use the same logic here.)

But, by far the simplest way to play with this spell is that it neither takes up space nor can be attacked.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Well, it says you create a floating, spectral weapon within range, and range is 60'. So that might stop you from making it 200 feet across, even if your DM did not say: "That's not...a weapon." \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Commented Mar 2, 2023 at 2:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Kirt "My spectral weapon is a Katamari Damacy ball!" (I am joking). \$\endgroup\$
    – Yakk
    Commented Mar 2, 2023 at 15:42
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No - it is not an obstacle

PHB on Cover:

Walls, trees, creatures, and other obstacles can provide cover during combat

The weapon created by spiritual weapon is described as "spectral". There is no 5e definition of this word, but it is typically used for 'quasi-real' spell effects that can accomplish specific tasks but which in other ways don't exist or are not physical objects.

Of all the PHB 'spectral' effects, most do not mention any effect of cover or of being an obstacle: Armor of Agathys, Mage Hand, Oath of the Ancients (Nature's Wrath), Spirit Guardians, Spiritual Weapon.

Two spectral effects do not explicitly claim to be obstacles, but produce similar effects: Guardian of Faith produces a spectral guardian that occupies its space. If it occupies its space, it might be considered to provide cover (DM permitting), although not obscurement - if it is an obstacle, it is a transparent one.

Wild Magic Surge 51/52 produces a "spectral shield" that gives you a +2 to AC and blocks magic missile. While it does not provide cover per se, the bonus to AC is certainly a cover-like effect.

Given that some 'spectral' effects do explicitly block things and others don't, it is best to abide by the principle of 'spells do (only) what they say they do'. Since Spiritual Weapon does not have language about cover or being an obstacle, it cannot provide cover.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Wall of force is made of, well force. And does offer cover. I suspect the practical effect, in this case "force" offers more credibility to the argument than immeasurable descriptive txt. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 1, 2023 at 17:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SamLacrumb A wall of force is made of force, and has all the properties associated with that - including blocking movement on the ethereal plane. A spiritual weapon is not made of force, it is spectral. And no spectral effects say that they give cover - the closest is the spectral shield that grants +2 to AC. While that is the same bonus granted by half cover, it does not provide the other benefit of half cover, +2 to Dex saves. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Commented Mar 1, 2023 at 18:37
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There are no secret rules

Spiritual Weapon doesn’t say it gives cover. So it doesn’t.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Nowhere does it say a statue gives you cover.. but it can. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 1, 2023 at 17:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SamLacrumb A statue is an object - and an object that is large enough is an obstacle, and an obstacle gives cover. Statues themselves are not described as giving cover, but statues clearly belong to a class of things that can give cover. Spiritual weapon is not an object, it is a spell effect. As a spell effect, it belongs to a class of things that do only what their descriptions say they do. And its description neither says specifically that it gives cover, nor that it impedes movement or is an obstacle. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Commented Mar 1, 2023 at 18:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ Things really aren't always that clear in reality. Minor illusion doesn't say it provides obscurement yet it is generally ruled that it can (rpg.stackexchange.com/a/127456/45342). According to you the illusions created by minor illusions are spell effects that only do what their descriptions say they do. You might argue that it is implied that you cannot see through the illusion (unless it became faint to you) and therefore it affects line of sight and obscurement. But that same argument can be made for a large spiritual weapon. Neither are explicitly spelled out. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kvothe
    Commented Mar 2, 2023 at 15:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ Not that I actually disagree with this specific ruling. I just think that "there are no secret rules" quite often doesn't fully explain things. There are definitely secret rules. There are many things that are left to the DM to judge otherwise minor illusion wouldn't really do much. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kvothe
    Commented Mar 2, 2023 at 16:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Kvothe it's not mentioned because "an image that does not affect what people see" is self contradictory using the normal English definition of terms. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dave
    Commented Mar 3, 2023 at 17:17
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You're looking for the 5th level spell Bigby's hand.

You mentioned in a comment on this other question of yours:

The inspiration is Scanlan's hand from Vox Machina

Scanlan's hand is none other than the 5th level spell Bigby's hand. Bigby's hand can do what you're asking about here because the spell description explicitly says the hand counts as cover when you use the Interposing Hand feature:

The hand interposes itself between you and a creature you choose until you give the hand a different command. The hand moves to stay between you and the target, providing you with half cover against the target.

Spiritual weapon contains no such provision for providing cover, so it does not provide cover.

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No

Note that the spell's description says that it creates a spectral weapon.

Spectral == ghost-like, incorporeal.

Which is why it deals force, not slashing/piercing/bludgeoning damage, like a physical weapon.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ But note that armor of agathys (spectral armor) does cold damage, and spirit guardians (spectral forms) does either necrotic or radiant, so certainly not physical, but not only force. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Commented Mar 2, 2023 at 21:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ I didn't imply that it has to be force damage, just pointing out that it's not one of the 3 physical types, that would be expected from a corporeal object. \$\endgroup\$
    – Eugene
    Commented Mar 3, 2023 at 1:32

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