Magic Daggers in DnD 5e: Something Sharp for Every Tier

From the Rogue’s weapon of choice to the Wizard’s last resort, daggers are an iconic, enduring, and ubiquitous element of D&D. When it comes to fantasy literature, movies, and TV, it’s hard to turn a page or get through an episode without running into some sort of magic dagger or other.

From the Morgul blades wielded by the Nazgûl in The Fellowship of the Ring to the Subtle Knife that cuts holes in reality itself from His Dark Materials, fantasy creators love a good old-fashioned magical dagger.

Don’t even get me started on the obsession with knives (mundane or cursed) that exists throughout the horror genre. 

However, when we turn our attention to magical knives in D&D 5e, the cupboards are disappointingly bare where the official rules are concerned.

Setting aside magical item effects that can be applied to any weapon, there are just three (and a half – I’ll explain later) magic knives in the official rules for D&D and, honestly, they’re a little underwhelming. 

So, whether you’re a player looking for your character’s next quest or a dungeon master looking to put a little something for the party’s rogue into the next quest reward (or even for something to take center stage in your next campaign arc), welcome to our guide to magical knives at every tier of play. 

SUMMARY:

  • Magic Daggers for Low Tier play – the RAW have got you covered
  • Magic Daggers for Mid-Tier play – some official options available, but otherwise step into the homebrewery
  • Magic Daggers for High-Tier play – building a knife that can kill God

The Dagger 

Proficiency with a dagger allows you to add your proficiency bonus to the attack roll for any attack you make with it.

Type: Simple Melee Weapon

Cost: 2 gp 

Weight: 1 lb

Damage: 1d4 piercing 

Properties: Finesse, Light, Thrown (range 20/60)

Magic Daggers for Low Tier play

At lower levels – say, 1st through 7th – the limited selection of daggers available in the official rules actually work quite well as potential loot for just about any budding rogue or other knife-wielding party member if you think about what an item at low levels is supposed to achieve.  

In my humble opinion, a good low-level item should either give an incremental buff that makes your player feel a little bit better at what they do best every time they do it, a much bigger buff that only works once or maybe twice per day, or is a little weird and ineffectual but – if creatively applied – can make your player feel like one smart cookie.

Managing spell slots, hit points, and other limited resources is a huge part of low-level play. Give a player something too powerful and they could throw your encounters out of whack, not to mention make their fellow adventurers feel underpowered by comparison.

Give a player something too weak or uninteresting (if you give someone a +1 sword, it better have a freaking sick backstory is all I’m saying) and it’ll be dropped, forgotten, or sold to the next traveling merchant without a second thought, and that’s no fun for anyone.

This isn’t so much of a problem at higher levels when players have a lot more resources and abilities to work with, but at lower levels it’s very easy to push the needle one way or the other. 

That being said, the three (and a half – I promise I’ll explain in a minute) magical daggers available in the official rules for D&D 5e all fall neatly into these categories and have power levels that are well suited to being a character’s first or second magical item.

Dagger of Venom

Source: Dungeon Master’s Guide 

Weapon (dagger), rare 

Requires Attunement: No 

This ornate, curved, magical dagger grants you +1 to attack and damage rolls. You can use an action to coat the blade of this dagger in thick, black poison, which lasts for one minute or until you hit a creature with the dagger.

The creature must make a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or take 2d10 poison damage and become poisoned (disadvantage on attack rolls and ability checks) for one minute. Once used, the dagger can’t be coated in poison again until the next dawn. 

© Wizards of the Coast

Dagger of Blindsight 

Source: Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage 

Weapon (dagger), rare 

Requires Attunement: Yes 

This magical dagger has a saw-toothed blade and a black pearl embedded in the pommel. Any creature that attunes to it gains blindsight up to 30ft. 

Dragontooth Dagger

Source: Tyranny of Dragons 

Weapon (dagger), rare 

Requires Attunement: No 

This dagger is clearly made from a dragon’s tooth, and its hilt is simply the root of the tooth wrapped in leather scraps with no crossguard. The dagger grants a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls. On a hit, the dagger also inflicts an additional 1d6 poison damage. 

Special. Draconic Potency: Against enemies of the Cult of the Dragon, the dagger becomes a +2 magic weapon and the additional acid damage is increased to 2d6. 

I’m a huge, huge fan of the (very old school) practice of making a +1 magic weapon better against a particular enemy type or a single powerful villain – kind of like the Master Sword in Breath of the Wild.

You could reflavor this weapon to be a holy relic that inflicts extra radiant damage (which is doubled against the undead), or even a dwarven “Grudge Knife” that deals extra psychic damage (tripled against the members of a specific dwarven bloodline, or just the family of whomever the knife was forged to wreak vengeance upon).

Actually, I love that. Here we go. 

Grudge Knife 

Source: Black Citadel RPG

Weapon (dagger), rare 

Requires Attunement: Yes 

Forged as a tangible symbol of a wrong left unrighted by a dwarven master smith, this short, stocky blade is etched with dwarven runes detailing the nature of the grudge.

The wielder attunes to the Grudge Knife by swearing vengeance upon the wronged and their kin. Once attuned, you gain a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this weapon.

On a hit, the target takes an additional 1d6 psychic damage from the force of the knife’s rage. 

Special. Blood Feud: against the person whom the grudge was sworn against, or anyone who shares their blood, the knife becomes a +2 magic weapon and the extra psychic damage increases to 3d6. If the target of the grudge and their whole family line dies, the knife reverts to being a non-magical blade. 

Bracer of Flying Daggers

Source: Waterdeep: Dragon Heist  

Wondrous Item, rare 

Requires Attunement: Yes

This armband appears to have several thin daggers strapped to it. As an action, you may draw two magical daggers from the band and immediately hurl them, making a ranged attack with each dagger.

Any dagger not thrown right away disappears, and any dagger thrown disappears on a hit or miss. The bracer contains a never-ending supply of magical daggers. 

See! I told you it was, like, half a magical dagger.

In all seriousness, though, this item is one of the most evocative and fun magical items for low level rogues. 

Magic Daggers for Mid-Tier play

Now that your players are past 7th level (ish) we’ve completely run out of official magical daggers to give them. That’s ok though because we’ve got you covered with some of our home brewed daggers that we made earlier. 

Mid-Tier play means we can start to have some fun. Characters are starting to be able do a lot of crazy stuff, from attacking multiple times per round to teleporting between dimensions, so we’re freer to get creative without “breaking” anything. 

Pocket Knife 

Source: Black Citadel RPG 

Weapon (dagger), very rare 

Requires Attunement: Yes

This elegant knife has a blade edged on one side with gold and the other with platinum. As an action, the gold edge Pocket Knife can be drawn along a line no longer than 6 feet in the fabric of reality, creating a tear that can be widened up to 4 ft using a bonus action.

Inside the tear is a pocket dimension or void measuring up to 10ftx10ftx10ft. The void and tear in reality remain until the platinum edge of the blade is traced along the rift, which seals the void. 

Any creature inside the void has breathable air for up to eight hours and may attempt a DC 20 Strength check on its turn to reopen the entrance. If another void is opened using the gold edge of the knife while another void is already active, the original void disappears.

Any mundane items or equipment are destroyed. Any living creatures or magical items must make a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw or take 3d10 psychic damage and be instantly transported to a random plane of existence determined by the DM on a failed save.

On a successful save, the creature reappears at the point at which they entered the void. 

Blink Dagger 

Source: Black Citadel RPG 

Weapon (dagger), very rare

Requires Attunement: Yes

This short, black-bladed throwing knife crackles with blue electricity as it flies through the air. Once attuned, you gain a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this weapon.

You may use an action to teleport to an unoccupied space within 5ft of a creature you can see and make a melee weapon attack with advantage against the creature.

If the attack hits, the target takes an additional 3d6 lighting damage. Once used, this feature recharges at the next dawn. 

Magic Daggers for High-Tier play

Once your players start getting above 15th level, they’re going to be facing apocalypse level threats, doing battle with archdevils and ancient dragons, and journeying far and wide throughout the multiverse.

As such, a magic item at higher levels is probably going to be something of legendary renown with potentially world-ending powers, made by a being of near-incomprehensible strength for some great or terrible purpose.

They deserve to be weaved into the history and legend of your world and make excellent macguffins or central hooks for an arc or even a full campaign. 

We’ve only got one example for you here, but hopefully, it’s an effective demonstration of how a powerful weapon can also be woven into a campaign hook. 

The Tooth of Azhar Vhul

Source: Black Citadel RPG

Weapon (dagger), legendary item 

Requires Attunement: Yes

The Tooth of Azhar Vhul is forged from one of the protruding lower tusks of a Balor, ground down and mixed with the iron harvested from the blood of a hundred innocents. The blade radiates malice and glows white hot in the presence of celestial creatures.

The weapon was forged by the demon lord who created the balor as the ultimate weapon against the armies of the celestial plane. It is the only weapon that can kill the [insert the name of a powerful celestial from your world]. 

Once attuned to the dagger, you gain a +2 bonus to attack and damage rolls with this magical weapon. On a hit, the blade inflicts an extra 3d6 fire damage. In the presence of celestials, the dagger becomes a +3 magical weapon and all damage inflicted with it is doubled.

If the extra d6 damage dice ever read 666, the balor reaches out of the weapon and drags the target down to the depths of the nine hells, imprisoning it forever. If the dagger’s damage dice ever read 111, the wielder’s soul is consumed. 

Special. Bonded in Eternity: If the blade’s wielder dies, the dagger instead returns them to life with 3d6 hit points. Their max hp is also permanently reduced by the result and they become vulnerable to radiant damage until they finish a long rest.

Also, the wielder gains one use of the following spells: Fireball (9th level), Summon Greater Demon (9th level), and Hold Person (9th level). These spells expire the next time the wielder takes a short rest.

The ability is restored by using the blade to end the life of an intelligent, good-aligned humanoid before the next dawn. If the wielder fails to do this, their soul is forever claimed by the balor.