I am planning on having an encounter with a monster that has immunity to basically any attack from a non-magical weapon. Now, my players mostly have weapons with magical qualities, but they are not all combat related (like a shortsword that gives +1 to charisma checks, or a staff that grants the ability to cast druidcraft once a day). So my question is:

Does any weapon with magical qualities (regardless if they're combat related or not) negate damage resistances or immunity a monster may have from non-magical weapons?


Short answer: Yes.

Long answer: There is some leeway that is up to the DM to decide. Basically, it comes down to whether the magical effect of the weapon is diffused within it or is simply a layer on top. A Paladin's Smite, for example, does not make the weapon magical despite magic surrounding it.

Normally, this is an unnecessary distinction. All of the magic weapons in the DMG are like this by default, but a DM could change it. For example, a Weapon of Warning that was gifted to a PC by a deity could be one that is just an enchanted weapon (and so counts as a magic weapon), or it could simply be an enchantment over the weapon.

As a DM, I would recommend leaking this information out to the players through an encounter with a lesser danger (a lycanthrope that can be easily wrestled or dispatched with spells, or something with only resistance). Since the default of the game is that the magically-imbued weapons they have received are treated as magic weapons, placing the PCs against a foe immune to them with no warning to this change could be seen as antagonistic.


Yes, but not all provide bonuses to attack and damage

Per the Sage Advice published in February of 2016, WoTC states:

Every magic weapon can bypass resistances and immunities to damage from nonmagical attacks, but only certain magic weapons are more accurate and damaging than their nonmagical counterparts.

If an item is in the Magic Item list from the DMG, then they are considered to be a magic item. Section Titles are important and Jeremy Crawford has supported this via Twitter as well:

In any piece of writing, context matters. If a rule has multiple sentences, they're meant to be read together. For example, the first sentence of Divine Sense is meant to be read with the rest of the feature's sentences, which explain that first sentence.


The basic rules regarding enchanted weapons say, that all damage coming from these is inheretly magic.

However, some abilities do change a weapons damage to magic damage of a certain type, like a pladin's smite or a blessing. It is kind of an enchantment that is carried by the weapon but not part of the weapon itself. In case of the smite, a distinction is not really needed, however, there might be cases in which an enchantment that is carried by the weapon for a quite long time. As the makeup of the weapon is not changed, it might not be magical in those cases - but that should be told to the players as soon as they identify it.

Besides this, it might also be the makeup of the 'magical weapon' that might be taken into account when checking if a weapon is magical or not, but you thread on the path to houserules if you do. Ask yourself:

Is it the weapon that carries the enchantment and breaking down the weapon destroys the enchantment xor* is it some other sort of item mounted on or stored inside the weapon that carries the enchantment and would retain the magic no matter of the weapons state or shape?

This could be true for some non-combat related stuff (an example: it might not be the sword but the huge gem in the hilt that is enchanted - break the sword and you retain the gem with its magic) but if this is the case, it is GM fiat, and it should be easily detectable some way or another: in these cases the weapon wouldn't benefit from being protected as magical for example, and again, such an item is clearly not a 'default' magical item as the game gives them out usually.

*eXclusive OR for convenience.


Any magical weapon can override any immunities to non-magic weapons.

The difference is when the immunities has a plus involved. So a creature who can only be hit by +1 or greater weapons, cannot be harmed the two weapons you mentioned.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center. "The difference is when the immunities has a plus involved. So a creature who can only be hit by +1 or greater weapons, cannot be harmed the two weapons you mentioned." - No such official monster exists, as far as I know. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Feb 22 '19 at 2:04

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