Sage Advice : Magic Items

Can potions be administered to unconscious characters as an action?

Yes, you can administer a potion to someone else as an action (DMG, 139).

If a potion doesn’t duplicate a spell, does it require concentration?

A potion’s effect requires concentration only if its description says so or if it duplicates a spell that requires concentration.

For the hat of disguise, how do I set the spell save DC for disguise self? Does the wearer have to be a caster?

Use your spellcasting ability modifier to set the DC. If you don’t have a spellcasting ability, use your proficiency bonus to set it (see the rule on page 141 of the DMG, under "Spells").

Which is correct in the Dungeon Master’s Guide, the rule for scrolls or the rule for a spell scroll?

They’re both correct. The rule for scrolls (p. 139) is for scrolls in general, including a scroll of protection, and it allows you to try to activate a spell if you’re literate. The rule for a spell scroll is specific to that type of scroll and introduces an additional requirement: the spell on the scroll must be on your class’s spell list for you to read the scroll. A spell scroll can be named in a variety of ways: spell scroll, scroll of X (where X is the name of a spell), or spell scroll of X (where X, again, is the name of a spell). No matter how its name appears, a spell scroll follows the same rule. For you to meet a spell scroll’s requirement, the spell on the scroll needs to be on whatever spell list is used by your class. Here are two examples. If you’re a cleric, the spell must be on the cleric spell list, and if you’re a fighter with the Eldritch Knight archetype, the spell must be on the wizard spell list, because that is the spell list used by your class.

Do the AC bonuses from a ring of protection and bracers of defense stack?

Yes. In general, bonuses stack, unless they’re from the same spell (see "Combining Magical Effects" in the Player’s Handbook, p. 205). You also can’t benefit from more than one ring of protection, for instance, since you can’t attune to more than one copy of an item at a time.

Do magic weapons give you a bonus to attack and damage rolls?

A magic weapon gives you a bonus to attack rolls and damage rolls only if its description says it does. 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. For example, a +1 longsword and a giant slayer both give you a +1 bonus to attack rolls and damage rolls, whereas neither a flame tongue nor a frost brand provides such a bonus. All four weapons, however, can bypass an earth elemental’s resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage from nonmagical attacks. In short, a bonus to attack rolls and damage rolls is considered a special property of a magic weapon, not something that all magic weapons provide automatically.

My fighter attacks a creature with a magical longbow and nonmagical arrows. Is the attack magical?

The attacks made by a magical ranged weapon are magical, even if the ammunition isn’t magical. (This point was clarified in the errata for the Dungeon Master’s Guide.)

Are magic weapons with the thrown property (javelins and the like) assumed to return to their owner after being thrown?

If a magic weapon returns to you after you throw it, its description says so, as in the dwarven thrower (DMG, 167).

If a rogue with the Assassinate feature uses a vorpal sword, isn’t the surprise attack an instant kill?

No. A vorpal sword requires you to roll a 20 on the attack roll to decapitate someone. A rogue with the Assassin archetype that attacks a surprised target using a vorpal sword scores an automatic critical hit if the attack roll is successful, but unless the attack roll was a 20, the target gets to keep its head.

Would an elf get a saving throw versus a philter of love as it’s a charm? The description implies there is no save.

There is no save against the philter of love. The love is just that strong.

[NEW] Does the ring of the ram use spell attacks or weapon attacks?

The text doesn’t specify. The attack of the ring of the ram is a ranged spell attack. Future printings of the Dungeon Master’s Guide will reflect that intent.

[NEW] When using a rope of entanglement, do I keep holding one end in my hand, or does the entire rope wrap around the target?

You are still holding the rope while the other end entangles the target.

[NEW] Can a sphere of annihilation enter a Leomund’s tiny hut?

Yes. The sphere destroys the dome.

[NEW] Can you gain the magical bonus of a +2 shield if you are holding the shield without taking an action to don it?

Yes, but only the magical +2, which says you gain it when holding the shield. You gain the shield’s base AC bonus only if you use your action to don the shield as normal (see “Getting Into and Out of Armor” in chapter 5 of the Player’s Handbook).

[NEW] If a character hits a monk with a dwarven thrower and the monk uses Deflect Missiles, does the hammer return to the attacker first, or can the monk catch it?

The monk can catch it.

SA-objets magiques

Written by Jeremy Crawford (Sage Advice Compendium v2.5)