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There are some clearly defined limitations already on this ability, however...

Does normal "wear and tear" count as damage? (I.e. 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? ( I.e., 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, official rules guru for 5e, clarified that using a minor conjuration weapon won't damage and dispell 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

So that's the official word.

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 dispell 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.

Radiating dim light

Again, this does what it says on the tin. Dim light is dim. A smartphone screen radiates dim light, enough that you can use it as a (poor) flashlight at night. But does the light a smartphone shed light up a surface that's already lit up by sunshine? No, but it might be visible within a slight shadow, or under the chin of someone using the phone. Dim light is just that: dim, and only dimly visible, unless you're looking carefully and the conditions are suitable to noticing the dim illumination.

For an example of how it might be notable, but only barely, a conjured dagger in-hand might look "off": real-world light interacts in complicated way with objects, and adding even a dim light source changes the appearance of nearby objects in ways that, today, divide "good" computer graphics from "fake looking" ones. A dagger in hand, glowing even slightly, will change the appearance of the shadows in the folds of the fist curled around its hilt, providing a clue that astute observers can pick up on. Again, this sort of thing is up to the DM to read and apply to the game world according to their judgement; so it does what it says on the tin, and the application of the words on the tin to specific or unusual situations are the DM's responsibility and privilege.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Example for dim light: the difference between black-on-white text on a screen vs. paper (or maybe high res e-ink). There's definitely a difference, but you might not be able to articulate what the difference is absent other information. \$\endgroup\$ – starwed Sep 15 '14 at 18:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ Conjured weapons don't disappear when they they used: twitter.com/jeremyecrawford/status/729792881938948096 \$\endgroup\$ – J. A. Streich Oct 5 '16 at 22:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @J.A.Streich Thanks! I've updated to put Crawford's answer up-front, and adjusted my own reasoning to account for it. (Spoiler: I still think DMs can rule this either way, but I think now Crawford's official word will tip most DMs toward “no”.) \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Oct 5 '16 at 23:34
  • \$\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
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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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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\$ Your last sentence might be the subject of a good question, but a different one, which you can ask yourself. \$\endgroup\$ – user17995 Dec 25 '16 at 0:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to the site! If you look at the tags on the question, you can see that this question is about D&D 5e. It looks like you had D&D 3.5e in mind when you wrote your answer, so you might want to revise it. \$\endgroup\$ – Miniman Dec 25 '16 at 0:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm confused as to what you mean by 3.5e vs 5e based on my statement. I'm only just getting into 5e recently and have picked up the conjuration school option myself. Did 5e remove item hit points? The PHB is very loose with a lot of detail (such as item durability/hardness, and hit points) that I assume is in another book (most likely the DM guide). It was just an educated guess based on how the wording of the ability seems to intend based on the way the book is written in general. \$\endgroup\$ – George Dec 25 '16 at 1:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ 5e has item hp, but it's tucked off in a corner of the DMG (pp.246-7). But there isn't hardness (just AC, HP, and resistance/threshold), nor is there a "sunder" in 5e. I think these are some keywords Miniman might be picking up on. (I also thought you were answering for some other edition based on the terminology.) \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Dec 25 '16 at 4:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ah, good to know. Appreciate the input. :) \$\endgroup\$ – George Dec 25 '16 at 8:44
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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 the first printing, the errata issued in 2017 for the 6th printing includes that provision.

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. This is, of course, up to your DM whether or not to follow this specific wording.

This wording opens up an area of confusion (to me at least), on whether or not the conjured weapon is destroyed after attacking something that is immune to the damage type. (Creature is immune to piercing from non magical attacks, dagger is conjured, it can't do damage, so what happens to he dagger on a "hit" that does not damage?)

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The object disappears after 1 hour, when you use this feature again, or if it takes any damage That's what it says now, I'll check the errata again. The 2017 errata updates this to Minor Conjuration (p. 116). The conjured object also disappears if it deals any damage (6th printing). \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Nov 10 '18 at 13:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ Please review the edit, I added in some supporting info that supports our answer, and while I was in there, tried to improve the prose. Please review it to make sure it retains your meaning. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Nov 10 '18 at 13:23
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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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  • \$\begingroup\$ Hi SkyLordPanglot, you're new, welcome to the site! If you haven't yet, take the tour to see how this site is different from other Q&A and traditional forums. \$\endgroup\$ – daze413 Jul 7 '17 at 9:01

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