Spiritual Weapon spell in DnD 5E explained

The long claws of the troll tore through the party, opening ghastly wounds in their flesh and rending their armor. Amongst the panicked shouts and frantic swinging of weapons, the Cleric remained perfectly calm as the battle raged around them. Hands clasped together, prayer beads swinging gently from his wrist, it was a jarring though welcome sight when the Cleric finished his prayer and the symbol of his god, a flaming sword, burst through the troll’s chest. Praise be to Tempus, god of war. 

What Is Spiritual Weapon?

Spiritual Weapon is a 2nd level spell on the Cleric spell list. It takes a bonus action to cast and lasts for one minute. When you cast the spell, you create a spectral weapon within 60 feet of you and can make a melee spell attack against a creature within 5ft of that weapon. On a hit, the weapon does 1d8 + your spellcasting modifier of force damage. On subsequent turns, you can use a bonus action to move the weapon up to 20 feet and repeat the attack; you do not need to move the weapon to attack if your target is still within reach.

When cast with a slot of higher level, the damage of the attack increases by 1d8 for every two levels above 2nd.

Note: while you are creating a spectral weapon, it is not a creature or an object. It does not occupy its space, so creatures can freely move through that space) and moving out of its reach does not provoke an attack of opportunity.

Is Spiritual Weapon a good spell?

Overwhelmingly so! Spiritual Weapon has two key strengths: it isn’t concentration-based, and it costs a bonus action to both cast and use. This allows you to use other longer-duration spells simultaneously and leaves you with your action free. For Clerics, this often means combining Spiritual Weapon with Spirit Guardians, casting something like Sacred Flame on the turn you cast Spiritual Weapon. 

On later rounds, if you need to cast a healing spell or take an action which isn’t directly controlling or offensive, such as Dodge and Dash, you are still able to contribute damage to the combat that round.

The final two feathers in this spell’s rather fancy cap are its level and damage type. As levels increase, a 2nd level spell slot becomes a relatively cheap resource for a full caster like a Cleric, allowing the spell to be used frequently throughout the adventuring day. Force is also arguably the most appropriate damage type as it is the least resisted damage type in the game, with only a few monsters being resistant to it.

How else can you get Spiritual Weapon?

Spiritual Weapon is an iconic spell unique to the Cleric’s spell list, but there are some other ways to grab it:

College of Lore (Bard subclass) – While all Bards could eventually pick up Spiritual Weapon with Magical Secrets, the Lore Bard’s additional secret choices at 6th level make it a much more viable option rather than waiting until later levels.

Divine Soul (Sorcerer Subclass) – This subclass allows you to choose from both the Sorcerer and Cleric spell lists, facilitating the acquisition of Spiritual Weapon as early as a Cleric can: level 3.

Oath of Conquest (Paladin subclass) – You’ll have to wait two levels later than a Cleric, but this Paladin subclass will get you Spiritual weapon at 5th level.

Tip: I feel it’s also worth noting that Spiritual Weapon is a domain spell for the Life and War Cleric Domains. This means that it is always prepared for those Clerics without counting against their limited prepared spells.

Hopefully, this article helped show you don’t always need to put down the prayer beads to smack evil right in the kisser. If you liked this spell, check out the best Cleric spells. In the meantime, keep those holy symbols close to hand!