A creature casts a spell that creates a magical effect that's a weapon.1 Can such a weapon be the target of a spell that targets a weapon?2

That is, is the magically created weapon effect sufficiently a weapon to be the target of spells that target weapons, or is the spell's effect merely a spell effect and can't be targeted by spells that target a weapons?

1 For example, maybe the sword-like beam created by the spell flame blade [evoc] (PH 231), the one sword effect created by the spell Darternae’s sword [evoc] (Celebrity Game Table column "The Praemal Campaign"), or the sword-like beam created by the spell vileblade [conj] (Dragon #300 56), but definitely the magic rapier created by the spell ever armed [conj] (Dragon #335 75-6), the +1 longbow and magic arrows created by the spell rainbow [conj] (Dragon #321 68), and any temporary weapon manufactured by the spell minor creation [conj] (PH 253-4) et al. I apologize for the obscurity of some sources, but it's the spells vileblade and rainbow that created the need for this question. An excellent answer addresses these specifically.
2 For example, the spells dolorous blow [trans] (SpC 70), keen edge [trans] (PH 246), and greater magic weapon [trans] (PH 251-2). Assume, of course, that the magically created weapon is appropriate for the spell targeting it. (For example, the spell keen edge will fails no matter what if it's cast on a flame blade spell effect!)

  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't know if this helps, but Disintegrate can target items made completely of Force such as Forceful Hand. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 7, 2014 at 19:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'd certainly allow it, but I have no idea if there's any particular reason I "should." \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Nov 7, 2014 at 19:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ A flame blade definitely isn't a sword - as it's wielded, it seems like it should count as a weapon, but then again, it's "immaterial". The existence of an immaterial weapon that isn't a spell effect would probably be sufficient evidence that a flame blade is targetable by "keen edge". \$\endgroup\$
    – Brilliand
    Nov 7, 2014 at 19:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DavidWilkins Some of the created weapons are called out as composed of force, but I'm not sure, for example, when Darternae’s sword says that "[t]he plane of force acts as" a sword, if the spell's merely being descriptive as the spell lacks the descriptor force. And then I'm not sure if it can be targeted by, for example, the spell keen edge. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 7, 2014 at 19:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Brilliand The examples are examples. Assume a spell that's targeting the weapon is targeting a spell-created, otherwise-appropriate weapon. (Unless, for clarity, you'd really like me to remove either or both of the spells flame blade and keen edge from the examples. I picked those because they were available via the SRD and thought they'd encourage answers from those without access to the obscure sources.) \$\endgroup\$ Nov 7, 2014 at 19:31

3 Answers 3


Flame Blade creates a beam of fire that you can treat as a scimitar for certain purposes, such as wielding and attacking. However, the spell description doesn't say that it actually is a sword or is treated as a sword for other spells' effects, so as far as other spells are concerned, it isn't a sword - just a beam of fire that is being wielded. Since there's nothing to say the flame blade actually is a piercing or slashing weapon, it can't be targeted by Keen Edge.

That said, improvised weapons do exist, which sets a precedent for anything that is being wielded to count as a weapon. While a Flame Blade isn't actually a sword, it is a weapon while being wielded, and so can be targeted by spells that can target any weapon, such as Magical Weapon. (However, I'm not sure an enhancement bonus would actually do any thing to the flame blade.)

There are other spells, such as Boneblade, that specify that the resulting weapon actually is a sword; in those cases, the resulting weapon would be targetable by any spell that can target a sword (including Keen Edge).

  • \$\begingroup\$ As an aside, would you allow the spell greater magic weapon to be cast on a table wielded as an improvised weapon? \$\endgroup\$ Nov 7, 2014 at 19:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan I would think so - do you have reason to believe that improvised weapons don't count as weapons for most purposes? \$\endgroup\$
    – Brilliand
    Nov 7, 2014 at 19:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ No, not mechanically, but narratively it weirdly expands the utility of, for example, the spell greater magic weapon--mundane objects have extremely poor saving throws while magic objects have far better saving throws. Claiming to wield a couch as an improvised weapon and having someone cast greater magic weapon on it means the couch has a far better possibility of surviving fires and acid baths, for example. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 7, 2014 at 19:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan That sounds awesome. I would love to see some players use that tactic. Given the way the spells "Weapon Shift" and "Hurl" mention improvised weapons, I think it fits RAW too. (As an aside, I think I'd require them to lift the couch first.) \$\endgroup\$
    – Brilliand
    Nov 7, 2014 at 19:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ I feel I should mention that maybe a caster of a touch spell on a flame blade might should take a point or a single die of fire damage :) other than keen edge not working because it's neither piercing nor slashing, spells should totally apply. As far as not being sure about enhancement bonuses, they do help on another common "immaterial" weapon: anything with brilliant energy on it. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 8, 2014 at 14:27

Spells that create a complete, usable weapon made of magical steel, iron, force, etc. should be targetable by transmute spells that don't explicitly exclude them.

Spell effects, like Flame Blade, that do not create a complete magical weapon, are not normally targetable by transmute spells because there is nothing physical to target.

Improvised weapons would be up to your GM, but I would think a table is a table and can't be sharpened with Keen Blade.

To simplify, most weapons created using a conjuration spell are full temporary weapons and are thus transmutable. Evocation spells do not create (or conjure) a weapon, rather they create an effect that may resemble a weapon in some aspects.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Depending on the table, mind. Some old, rough hewn furniture may have shape corners or cracked wood that can act as spikes. A lesson learned from personal experience!! \$\endgroup\$
    – Smithers
    Nov 8, 2014 at 17:27

First the real weapons...

Any spell that says that it creates an item, creates an item. That the item is impermanent makes no difference in most cases. So you can cast a spell on an item made via minor creation, such as keen edge on a wooden spear.

The rainbow spell (Dr 321, p68) says:

A rainbow-hued longbow appears in your hand, along with a full quiver of arrows fletched in a variety of colors. The longbow is treated in all ways as a +1 longbow...

So any spell that can affect a +1 longbow will also affect the effect of the rainbow spell.

The arrows are not explicitly called out as being treated as arrows in all ways, but they are listed as being made of a variety of materials, so they should be what they say that they are: +1 magical arrows of [something] bane, made of [some material]. Any spell or effect that can affect a magic weapon made of whatever the arrow is made of (adamantium, cold iron, etc.) can affect the arrows created by the spell.

Regarding ever armed (Dr 335, p75), it says:

...a well-balanced +1 rapier and a brightly colored dueling cloak [...] appear in your hands.

No other information given, so these are what they say they are: a +1 rapier and a dueling cloak. They are eligible for any spell that any other item of the type is eligible for.

Other spells may be less explicit, but if it says that it creates a weapon, it does so, and that item can be targeted by spells as normal.

And now for something completely different...

Other spells don't actually create a weapon, but a beam or force or whatever that's wielded as a weapon. Flame blade is a good example of this type of spell. The spell says:

A 3-foot-long, blazing beam of red-hot fire springs forth from your hand. You wield this bladelike beam as if it were a scimitar...Since the blade is immaterial, your Strength modifier does not apply to the damage...

This is not a sword or even an item, but a beam, and an immaterial one at that. It's not an object, but an immaterial force. This may not disqualify it from being affected by certain spells, but in the case of keen edge for example, the fact that the "blade-like beam" deals fire damage rather than piercing or slashing damage, as keen edge requires, prevents it from being affected by the spell.

Other than keen edge, both magic weapon and greater magic weapon require that the caster touch the weapon, and a flame blade is immaterial (not incorporeal), which is not defined, so the dictionary definition is used, thus it's untouchable.

For other spells, such as Darternae’s Sword (near the end of the Wizards Archived page that the question refers to), the question is harder to answer. That spell creates:

a shimmering, swordlike plane of energy, [which] plane of force acts as a +3 brilliant energy keen longsword. You or another creature wield the sword as if you were proficient with it.

This seems very much like it makes an object that anyone can touch or use as normal. Even though it creates a sword-like plane of 'force' (but no force descriptor...) not a sword, it is a weapon. So any spell that can target a weapon that fits the description in the spell can target the sword-like force. (Heat metal, for example wouldn't work, as the sword-like force is not made of metal)

Final answer:

If the spell effect created is listed as an item, treat it as such. If instead, it's simply wielded as a weapon, it's usually a weapon (corner cases can likely be found), and it's thus as eligible as any weapon it's treated as. If it lacks required specific qualities (slashing damage, touchability, specific composition, etc), then it's ineligible for that spell, but may yet be for others.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I like this answer, but I'm not keen on It's not an object, but an immaterial force. As far as I can tell, object is never actually defined in the rules. In tables, everything from light sources to rope, walls and doors are listed as objects, but I've always assumed it meant, not a creature since a corpse becomes an object, for example. \$\endgroup\$
    – Wyrmwood
    Jun 8, 2018 at 16:02

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