The common rule is all objects are immune to poison and psychic damage:

Objects are immune to poison and psychic damage, but otherwise they can be affected by physical and magical attacks much like creatures.
(Player's Handbook, page 185)

Are there any specific rules (or maybe confirmations from developers), saying that radiant damage affects living beings only? All the respective spells deals radiant damage to creatures explicitly, even when the caster needs to make an attack roll:

Guiding bolt
A flash of light streaks toward a creature of your choice within range. Make a ranged spell attack against the target. On a hit, the target takes 4d6 radiant damage

or even a weapon attack:

Blinding Smite
The next time you hit a creature with a melee weapon attack during this spell's duration, your weapon flares with bright light, and the attack deals an extra 3d8 radiant damage to the target.

I've found only two spells that affects "weapon attacks" in common (no creatures mentioned as valid targets):

Divine Favor
Your prayer empowers you with divine radiance. Until the spell ends, your weapon attacks deal an extra 1d4 radiant damage on a hit.

Crusader's Mantle
While in the aura, each nonhostile creature in the aura (including you) deals an extra 1d4 radiant damage when it hits with a weapon attack.

Is it an inaccuracy in the spells description?

Or can radiant damage actually destroy objects as well?


2 Answers 2


Radiant damage affects objects, because objects don't have specific resistance to them

The "Damage Types" header on PHB 196 states,

Damage types have no rules of their own, but other rules, such as damage resistance, rely on the types.

I couldn't find any rules that specifically say that objects are immune to radiant damage. It would seem that if that were a general rule, it would have been lumped in with objects' immunity to poison and psychic damage. In the absence of such a rule, radiant damage can destroy objects.

This conclusion is consistent with necrotic damage

One could consider Radiant damage's opposite, necrotic damage, which states (PHB 196)

Necrotic damage, dealt by certain undead and a spell such as chill touch, withers matter and even the soul.

All the references to necrotic damage that I could find in the PHB are solely in reference to creatures, but the description clearly states that it affects matter in general as well.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I think it's worth mentioning that, while objects aren't resistant or immune to radiant damage, the first 2 spells mentioned in the OP don't target objects. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jason_c_o
    Commented Oct 10, 2018 at 22:56
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ If analogies are desired: lasers and light-saber like Sun-blades would seem to fit the bill. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 10, 2018 at 23:20

Radiant damage affects any valid target of that damage. It is a function of whether a target is valid or not for the spell, not a function of the damage type, that prevents so many sources of Radiant damage from harming objects.

So in the case of Blinding Smite, no radiant damage is dealt when attacking an object, because it doesn't trigger when hitting an object. (Shields count as part of their bearer, so it would trigger on the sheild, unless that shield was on the ground. (So, oddly, this effect would identify a creature under an illusion to look like a statue, even if they 'took' the damage and successfully remained stoic)

Guiding Bolt cannot target objects, only creatures, so it can't be used against an object in the first place.

However, Divine Favor will do the extra 1d4 Radiant damage to an object, as will the weapon attacks of the creatures affected by Crusader's Mantle.

For flavor, I'd say it melts it a bit rather than shattering or breaking.


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