Shillelagh 5e Cantrip Guide

Shapeshifting into a massive 1300 pound brown bear to maul your foes sounds pretty exciting right? How about casting beneficial healing spells to keep your party members alive when staring down deaths door or perhaps some well-thought out AoE spells to pick your enemies apart?

Ahh, and then there’s your “mighty” club or quarterstaff. What are you going to do with that thing?

Cast the underrated Shillelagh 5e cantrip of course.. wait..wait what?

How Does Shillelagh 5E Work?

  • School: Transmutation
  • Casting Time: One bonus Action
  • Range: Touch
  • Components: Verbal, Somatic, Material (mistletoe, a shamrock leaf, and a club or quarterstaff)
  • Duration: One Minute
  • Class: Druid

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

For the duration, you can use your spellcasting ability modifier instead of Strength for the attack and damage rolls of melee attacks using that weapon, and the weapon’s damage die becomes a d8.

The weapon also becomes magical, if it isn’t already. The spell ends if you cast it again or if you let go of the magical weapon.

The important factor here is to remember that a druid uses a wisdom modifier and typically has a higher wisdom stat than strength.

So it would look something like this.

[snippet]

To succeed in an attack roll:
1d20 + Strength Modifier + Your Weapon Proficiency Bonus

To deal damage after a successful hit:
1d8 + Strength Modifier

[/snippet]

Why Cast Shillelagh in DnD 5E

You’ll undoubtedly find yourself in situations where you don’t want to burn a spell slot, waste shapeshift, or have to be stuck using your strength normal ability modifier for a normal attack.

As strength isn’t typically a priority stat for 5e druids, you’ll be able to capitalize on your wisdom modifier.

This is when Shillelagh shines, especially in lower levels.

Below we will cover the benefits of why you should be casting Shillelagh.

Benefits to Using Shillelagh

As mentioned, being able to use your wisdom modifier is huge, especially at lower levels.

The biggest benefit of using Shillelagh, is its ability to bypass monsters who are resistant or immune to nonmagical damage. Imagine taking on a ghost or one of the many lycanthrope foes while lacking on magical damage.

It’s a bonus action! Yes, you get this spell for 10 rounds of combat, which should be sufficient enough to either finish combat or the opposite…die (although, for your sake, I hope not).

Cons to Using Shillelagh

The glaringly obvious downside to Shillelagh is it’s inability to scale. Which means you’ll be sticking to roughly 1D8 + WIS modifier for damage. This won’t cut it at mid to high levels. 

Unlike a lot of other damage cantrips that add an extra die to your damage roll, this one just doesn’t scale, making other cantrips a better choice at higher levels.

When to Use Shillelagh in DnD

Now that we’re past some of the basics, let’s dive into when you should use the Shillelagh cantrip. Ideally, you want to cast Shillelagh right before your first melee attack action.

Keep in mind the spell lasts for ten rounds of combat, so go ahead and use your bonus action to cast Shillelagh on your club or quarterstaff and give that enemy a good bonk on the head!

It’s advised to take the situation into consideration first. Carefully analyze if it’s worth casting shapeshift, a spell, or figuring out another way to handle the situation at hand and weighing method is most effective.

You don’t want to get up in a BBEG’s face trying to cast the Shillelagh cantrip, but conversely, you wouldn’t want to waste shapeshift on something as small as perhaps a single gnoll or goblin either.

5E Shillelagh DnD – Is it Worth It?

Casting the Shillelagh cantrip can prove to be extremely useful in multiple situations, particularly at lower levels. This is especially true when you’re faced with a foe who’s resistant to physical damage!

Good luck druid!

Be sure to check out our full druid 5e guide for more useful information on playing and DMing for a druid.

D&D Shillelagh FAQ’S –

What does Shillelagh do in DND?

As per the player’s handbook, “The wood of a club or quarterstaff you are holding is imbued with nature’s power. For the duration, you can use your spellcasting ability modifier instead of Strength for the attack and damage rolls of melee attacks using that weapon, and the weapon’s damage die becomes a d8. The weapon also becomes magical, if it isn’t already. The spell ends if you cast it again or if you let go of the weapon.”

What damage does Shillelagh do?

Shillelagh’s damage is still considered bludgeoning damage but is able to still hit foes who are resistant to non-magical damage. This is because the club or quarterstaff you cast Shillelagh on is considered to be magical per the spell’s description.

Is Shillelagh a good druid spell?

at lower levels and exemplifies the utility a druid can bring to the adventure. However, at mid to high levels you will probably find more impactful spells to be cast.

How do you use Shillelagh in D&D 5e?

As per the spell’s description, “as a bonus action, you imbue the wood of a club or quarterstaff you are holding with nature’s power. For the duration, you can use your spellcasting ability instead of Strength for the attack and damage rolls of melee attacks using that weapon, and the weapon’s damage die becomes a d8.
This effect lasts for 10 rounds of combat, until you cast the spell again, or you let go of the weapon.”

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Written By Jake Morley

D&D Enthusiest and RPG Nerd

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