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There are some clearly defined limitations already on the Wizard School of Conjuration's Minor Conjuration feature, however...

Does normal "wear and tear" count as damage? (e.g. I'm in a fight without a weapon, and create, say, a dagger or club. Will it hold up through the fight?). How about a bottle of ink? Does dipping my pen into it and writing a quick note "damage" the ink?

Is it one piece? ( e.g., can I use it to make a temporary replacement for a set of Thieves' Tools (which is 'an item' on the equipment list) or is it limited to one contiguous item, such as a skillet, or a coil of rope?)

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"Damage" isn't damage

If you have to put "damage" in scare quotes, it's not damage. Dipping a quill in ink doesn't damage ink, it just moves it about.

Conjuring a weapon

Using a minor conjuration dagger in combat is less certain, because "normal wear and tear" for a blade is nicks and chips, which is non-catastrophic damage, but is indeed damage instead of "damage" and will destroy a blade over time. Except that D&D doesn't normally care about wear and tear at all, even for weapons, and only cares about actual hit points of damage that structurally undermine objects.

D&D Designer Jeremy Crawford, rules guru for 5e, clarified in an unofficial tweet that using a minor conjuration weapon won't damage and dispel it:

Dario Berto ‏@Uzedh · May 5
@JeremyECrawford If I conjure a weapon with Minor Conjuration and I hit a creature, does the weapon take a sort of damage to disappear?

Jeremy Crawford
‏@JeremyECrawford
@Uzedh No.
2:59 PM - 9 May 2016

But personally, I still think this falls into the realm of DM's judgement. Fifth Edition is designed around the principle that words mean what they mean ("natural language"), and that DMs are the local arbiters of the game's words so that they make sense for the game they're running. DMs are given, by the game's RAW, the responsibility and empowerment to figure out how to apply the meaning of words the game uses within the imaginary world.

This principle means it's possible that in one DM's world, deliberately or accidentally scratching a minor conjuration does dispel it. That DM's world is one in which conjurations are mystically fragile objects. In such a DM's world, Minor Conjuration wouldn't be useful for weapons, except perhaps if you were bluffing with them to appear armed when you're not. Another DM's world (Crawford's definitely!) might equally allow for cosmetic damage to be merely "damage" that doesn't count as actual damage. I expect most DMs are going to fall on the same side as Crawford and allow minor conjuration weapons to be useful.

The meaning of "object"

As for whether "an object" means a single object: yes, that's what the words normally mean. Since the ability's description doesn't include words that mean otherwise, Minor Conjuration is limited to creation "an object". Being listed for purchasing purposes in the equipment section doesn't have any significance beyond that you buy them as a bundle, so has no relevance for deciding the difference between an object and multiple objects.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Minor Conjuration seems to be updated to be dispelled when it deals damage. if it takes any damage, or if it deals any damage. I think this might change your answer? \$\endgroup\$ – Vylix Mar 14 '18 at 5:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Vylix It might. Where's that quote from? \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Mar 14 '18 at 5:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ Errata on 6th print. The link can be seen from an answer in my similar question. \$\endgroup\$ – Vylix Mar 14 '18 at 6:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ Crawford's tweets are no longer "official rulings" as of the 2019 Sage Advice Compendium, and as Vylix points out in a comment above, the PHB errata has changed the description of Minor Conjuration so that the conjured item disappears if it takes or deals any damage. You may want to update your answer accordingly. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast May 16 at 23:09
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The description of the School of Conjuration wizard's Minor Conjuration feature in the PHB says:

The object disappears after 1 hour, when you use this feature again, or if it takes or deals any damage.

If you have an earlier printing of the PHB, the errata issued in 2017 for the 6th printing includes the provision about dealing damage:

Minor Conjuration (p. 116). The conjured object also disappears if it deals any damage (6th printing).

My takeaway from this is that the weapon doesn't get destroyed on a miss or block, but if it lands a hit, the weapon is destroyed since it dealt damage. A conjured weapon can get in one hit before you need to spend an action to conjure another one.

Of course, it's up to your DM whether or not to follow this specific wording.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The outcome of the scenario in the last paragraph is clear by RAW, in my opinion; the conjured object disappears if it takes or deals damage - but if the target's immune, the conjured object doesn't actually deal any damage to the target. That said, if you have a new question, you should ask it separately; I've edited that last paragraph out of the answer. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Oct 4 at 10:08
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I would have assumed damage referred to hit point damage and that it is basically saying, "This has 1 HP and vanishes when that hit point is gone." At least, that would be how I read "damage" by the simplicity of the system.

In other words, if you conjured a short sword, it would function as a short sword and only by intentionally targeting it for an attack or possibly it being caught in an area attack, would it normally vanish. At the very least, it would take a conscious effort to intentionally damage the item and not through normal use of it.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ As of 2017, the PHB errata has changed the description of Minor Conjuration so that the conjured item disappears if it takes or deals any damage. You may want to update your answer accordingly. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Oct 4 at 10:09
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I think that a reasonable reason for the conjured weapon to disappear is if you miss but you are close to not missing.

Let me elaborate:

Even though there is no detailed info about what happens when you miss an attack, I'll tell you what I think happens.

First, if you are without armor, you have 10 AC. If you roll below 10 with an attack you miss, because you just couldn't aim properly. Then with no armor or light armor, you add your Dex modifier. I think this is the part when your character dodges. If I roll 12, and someone has 13 AC (10 + 3 dex) it should be described as a dodge. Then you add bonus from the armor, for example leather armor is 11 which is basically 1 AC on top of the natural 10, but also proficiency which means you know how to position yourself so you can be protected by the armor instead of being hit somewhere open.

All in all, let's say your Dex modifier is 3 and you have proficiency in light armor. You have 10 natural, 3 from Dex, 1 from armor, 2 from proficiency, for a total of 16. Below 10 it's a miss, between 10 and 13 is a dodge, between 14 and 16 you hit the armor. And back to the conjured weapon: I think it's fair to say that if you hit the armor and the guy does not dodge, your conjured weapon disappears, because you damaged it on hit. I imagine that the conjured item is fragile.

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