I was looking at Shillelagh, which includes the following effects.

The wood of a club or quarterstaff you are holding is imbued with nature's power.

the weapon's damage die becomes a d8. The weapon also becomes magical, if it isn't already. (PHB, pg. 275)

Now, the club is fine, it just goes from a 1d4 to a 1d8. However, a quarterstaff does 1d6 and has versatility, letting you wield it two-handed for 1d8.

Since Shillelagh increases the quarterstaff's base damage to a 1d8, would it be feasible to say that the versatile damage increases to a 1d10?

I'm basing this off the fact that all weapons that do 1d8 damage and have the versatile property (battleaxe, longsword, warhammer) all have their versatile damage as a 1d10 (PHB, pg. 149).


4 Answers 4


As written, it does not affect the versatile damage.

The description of versatile says (PHB p.147):

Versatile. This weapon can be used with one or two hands. A damage value in parentheses appears with the property—the damage when the weapon is used with two hands to make a melee attack.

The spell does exactly and only what it says "the weapon's damage die becomes a d8". So a quarterstaff does 1d8 damage 1 handed and remains a versatile weapon doing ... 1d8 damage when wielded 2 handed.

Is it "feasible" to say it increases the damage? No. Is it "reasonable" to do so? Why not, its not going to break anything and it makes enough sense that I'm not going to come around to your house and tell you "You're playing it wrong!"

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    \$\begingroup\$ Now I want to know what does make you come around to my house to tell me that I'm playing it wrong :D \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 18, 2018 at 21:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PixelMaster Allowing the paladin to smite when hitting with an unarmed strike. 😁 \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 12, 2020 at 16:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast well, that obviously doesn't work. He'd need to be wearing smittens for that :D \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 12, 2020 at 20:07

No, Shillelagh won't change the damage a quarterstaff does when wielded with two hands. Here's what Shillelagh does, as you've quoted:

the weapon's damage die becomes a d8

And here's what Versatile does:

Versatile. This weapon can be used with one or two hands. A damage value in parentheses appears with the property — the damage when the weapon is used with two hands to make a melee attack.

If it said something like "when wielded with two hands, the weapon's damage die is upgraded to the next highest die", then sure, Shillelagh makes it a d8, so two-handing makes it a d10. But it doesn't say anything like that - two-handing a versatile weapon makes it use the alternative die given in the table, which in the case of a quarterstaff is a d8.

Note that, because Versatile overrides the weapon's normal damage die, if, hypothetically, Shillelagh made a quarterstaff deal d10 damage all the time, then by a strict reading of the rules, two-handing it would actually deal lower damage.


No, it doesn't increase the damage when wielded with two hands.

The benefit of using Shillelagh on a staff is that you don't have to wield it with both hands anymore, since the damage would be the same. This frees you up to use a shield. Druids don't get a lot of armor options, so the +2 to AC is super helpful.

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    – V2Blast
    Commented Jan 26, 2019 at 20:20

RAW, Shillelagh does not affect the versatile property as the spell wording does not mention that.

RAF, sure go ahead if you like that interpretation as it would then fit with other versatile weapons like the longsword, warhammer, and battleaxe.

Note, that the Monk has a Martial Arts damage die and can affect quarterstaffs and spears as well since they are monk weapons, so that may come up with Monk players once they get to 11th+ level and get a d8 Martial Arts die. Again RAW, the Martial Arts die would not change the versatile property for the quarterstaff or spear to a d10 at 11th+ level. Your game may decide that RAF trumps RAW in this case for Monks. I would be sure to be consistent in both cases of deciding if the RAF options applies to Shillelagh or the Martial Arts die or both for versatile weapons. Note, if you have a Kensai monk, those other versatile weapons like longsword, warhammer, trident, and battleaxe may end up as monk weapons if the Kensai monk takes them as Kensai weapons. So you could conceivably have a 17th+ level Monk using a versatile weapon (quarterstaff, longsword, battleaxe, warhammer, spear, & trident) one-handed at d10 damage and two-handed at d12 damage.

Mike Mearls tweeted that he would allow a quarterstaff's versatile property to be affected by Shillelagh as RAF as a DM, even though it does not as RAW.

technically no, since spell makes no change to that property, but i'd allow it

Jeremy Crawford also tweeted about Martial Arts die not affecting the versatile property RAW.

Martial Arts provides a die that can replace your unarmed strike/monk weapon damage die. It's a replacement, not an increase.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Please note that despite the name of that website, it is just a 3rd party collection of devolper tweets and calling them Sage Advice is misleading as that is the name of official rulings published on WotC's website. \$\endgroup\$
    – Someone_Evil
    Commented Nov 12, 2020 at 14:01
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    Commented Nov 12, 2020 at 14:03

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