Magic Spears in 5e: Pointy Sticks for Every Tier of Play

© Wizards of the Coast

While Dungeons & Dragons 5e may be replete with magic swords and staffs, the selection of enchanted spears on offer is disappointingly small.

This is a shame because spears (and javelins) are not only underrated and versatile mundane weapons in their own right, but the pages of mythology are bursting with evocative examples of spears wielded by a whole pantheon of mighty heroes and gods – especially if you look beyond the borders of Europe.  

In our guide to magic spears at every tier of play in D&D 5e, we’ll be making an effort to give you options that are exciting and evocative, no matter your character level, as well as presenting the three magical spears found in D&D 5e’s official sourcebooks.

Also, one of the true joys of dungeon mastering is making up your own magic items. We hope this guide will help you do that as well. 

SUMMARY:

  • Magic Spears for Low Tier Play – How to make something more exciting than a +1 Magic Weapon 
  • Magic Spears for Mid-Tier Play – Taking inspiration from myth and legend 
  • Magic Spears for High Tier Play – Finally, some official material 

The Spear 

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

Type: Simple Melee Weapon

Cost: 1 gp

Weight: 3 lbs

Damage: 1d6 piercing

Properties: Thrown (range 20/60), Versatile (1d8)

Magic Spears for Low Tier play

Two of the three magic spears available in the official 5e rules are artifacts of staggering power which would feel out of place in the hands of a low-level adventurer.

Therefore, if we want to do more than just give a 2nd or 3rd level hero a basic +1 spear (if you do, you’d better have a kickass backstory ready, because +1 weapons are probably the most overused and flavorless magic item type in the game) we’re going to have to get creative. 

When creating a magical item for low tier play, you have to be careful. Characters at lower levels have more limited resource pools: hit points, abilities, spell slots – you name it, low level adventurers are probably going to find them in short supply. 

Giving a player an “overpowered” magic item, therefore, runs the risk of throwing your whole game out of whack. Fights feel too easy, the player sees their own character abilities (not to mention other magic items) as useless by comparison, and the rest of the party starts to feel decidedly underpowered.

It’s no fun for anyone, let alone the poor DM who feels like they have to rebalance all their encounters. 

On the other hand, an underpowered (or worse, boring) magic item is quickly forgotten, lost, or sold, which once again is no fun for anyone. At lower levels, it’s very easy to push the needle either way, so we need to be careful. 

When you homebrew a magic item, one way to keep things “fair” is to imbue it with an ability borrowed from somewhere else in the game. Feats, spells, and racial or class abilities are all great source material, not to mention that they come “pre balanced” in a sense. 

Another approach is to make the item provide a very incremental buff (hence the +1 weapon) that makes it (and the player) feel a little special.

This is a solid approach, but runs the risk of being a little dull, so make sure you compensate by making the item an interesting part of your world: imbue it with political power or symbolic authority attached to a religious organization; make its original owners very interested in getting it back; make it the key to unlocking ancient secrets and riches beyond your players’ wildest dreams. 

And then the final approach I like is to make it, like, real weird. This ethos is strongly represented in the Old School Renaissance (OSR) community, where player ingenuity and strangeness take precedence over skill checks and the much-maligned concept of “balance” every time.

The idea, in essence, is that magic is strange, dangerous and otherworldly, so the items touched by it should be too. 

With those three ideas in mind, let’s make some magic spears. 

Spear of Vercitrax the Emerald Terror 

Source: Black Citadel RPG

Weapon (spear), rare

Requires Attunement: yes

This magical spear is tipped with a razor-sharp emerald spearhead, upon which light dances like water. The spear was crafted by an archdruid in preparation to hunt a young green dragon.

When it was plunged into the beast’s side, it is said that a measure of the beast’s power and malice became trapped within the weapon. 

The wielder of this spear gains a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls. Any enemy hit takes an additional 1d6 poison damage. On a critical hit, the target must make a DC13 Constitution saving throw or become paralyzed for one minute.

Once per day, the wielder of the spear may cast the spell Dragon’s Breath as a 2nd level spell. The damage type is always poison. 

The Light of Saint Umwarg 

Source: Black Citadel RPG

Weapon (spear), rare

Requires Attunement: yes (Clerics and Paladins only)

Carried before the zealot hordes of Saint Umwarg the Chosen, this simple spear with a red gemstone embedded in the tip is the focal point for her growing cult.

When Umwarg fell in battle, her blood soaked the haft of the spear, causing celestial runes to burn into the wood. Her followers are searching tirelessly for this holy relic, for they believe that, should a worthy champion wield it once again, their faith shall spread across the known world in a torrent of blood and holy fire. 

If the wielder of the spear spends 10 minutes in prayer to Saint Umwarg at dawn, this magical weapon grants them temporary hit points equal to 2d8 + their Wisdom modifier. Once used, this feature cannot be used again until the next dawn.

The wielder of the spear can utter a prayer of command as a bonus action to cause the weapon to emit bright light within a 30ft radius, and dim light for 30ft beyond that. 

The Spear That Slew the Grindlebeast of Blackmoor Dell

Source: Black Citadel RPG

Weapon (spear), rare

Requires Attunement: no 

A heavy oaken hunting spear rumored to have slain the “grindlebeast” – a horrifying abomination whose description changes every time no matter who you ask. 

Once per day, you can attempt to convince a creature that is not hostile to you that another person or creature you have both seen before is a grindlebeast.

The target must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw (the DC equals 8 + your Charisma modifier) or become convinced that the target you indicate is a grindlebeast. They also suddenly remember that all grindlebeasts must be slaughtered on sight.

A creature that passes its saving throw becomes immune to all future talk of grindlebeasts.

There is actually one official spear, found in the Curse of Strahd sourcebook, that makes for a good low-tier magic weapon. 

Blood Spear

Source: Curse of Strahd 

Weapon (spear), uncommon

Requires Attunement: yes

Wielded by a bloodthirsty warlord who sounds like a real vampire fanboy. When you hit with a melee attack using this magic spear and reduce the target to 0 hit points, you gain 2d6 temporary hit points.

Magic Spears for Mid-Tier play

When characters reach mid-tier play (around 7th to 12th level) they start to become noticeably more powerful. This means that we can start making up some more powerful and interesting magical spears without having to worry so much about “breaking” the game. 

There are hundreds of evocative spears dotted throughout our own myths and legends, wielded by gods and kings, heroes and villains. Let’s take a look at how we could turn a few of those into some mid-tier magical spears. 

Vel, the Fiendslayer

The divine javelin of the Hindu war god Kartikeya, who was known (somewhat reductively) for slaying demons, acquiring knowledge, and having six heads. I think we can work with that. 

Source: Black Citadel RPG

Weapon (spear), very rare

Requires Attunement: yes 

This magical spear grants you a +2 bonus to attack and damage rolls. Any target struck by the spear takes an additional 1d8 radiant damage (Fiends take an additional 1d8).

Against Fiends (devils and demons), Vel inflicts a critical hit on a roll of 18-20. When the wielder of Vel makes an Arcana, History, or Religion check in order to recall or understand information about Fiends, they count as proficient in their relevant skill and double their proficiency bonus.

Once per day, the wielder of Vel may cast the spell Mirror Image

Gungnir 

The divine spear of Odin, allfather of the Norse gods, Gungnir is described in the In the Poetic Edda poem Völuspá, when the Æsir-Vanir War is described as officially starting when Odin throws the spear over the heads of an assembly of Vanir gods. 

Source: Black Citadel RPG

Weapon (spear), very rare

Requires Attunement: yes 

This magical spear grants a +2 bonus to attack and damage rolls. You also make initiative rolls with advantage.

If you make a thrown weapon attack with Gungnir on the first turn of combat, you may use your bonus action to give up to 10 creatures, including yourself, 3d10 temporary hit points, and advantage on attack rolls until the start of your next turn. Once used, this feature recharges at the next dawn. 

Magic Spears for High Tier play

Now that we reach high-tier play, the official rules actually present us with some good options for magic spears. 

Spear of Backbiting

Source: Tales from the Yawning Portal

Weapon (spear or javelin), very rare 

Requires Attunement: yes

You gain a +2 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this magic weapon. When thrown, the weapon’s range increases by 30ft and, whether an attack hits or misses, the spear returns to your hand immediately. 

Special: Curse. Attuning to this spear curses you. You have disadvantage on all attack rolls made with other weapons and, if you roll a 1 on an attack, the spear flies back to hit you instead. Make a new attack against your AC at advantage. 

Khrusor, Spear of Heliod

Source: Mythic Odysseys of Theros

Weapon (spear), artifact 

Requires Attunement: yes

The blessed weapon of Heliod, Khrusor is imbued with the power of the sun. The spear grants a +3 bonus to attack and damage rolls. When you hit a target with the spear, it takes an additional 2d8 radiant damage. The spear also sheds bright sunlight within 30ft. 

Special: 

  • Sun’s Retaliation. When you take damage from a creature within 5 feet of you, you can use your reaction to make a melee attack with the spear against that creature. On a hit, the spear deals damage as normal, and the creature is blinded until the start of its next turn. This property of the spear can’t be used again until the next dawn.
  • Spells. The spear has 10 charges. While holding it, you can use an action to expend 1 or more of its charges to cast one of the following spells (save DC 18) from it: Guiding Bolt (1 charge), Daylight (3 charges, targeting the tip of the spear only), Sunbeam (6 charges). The spear regains 1d6 + 4 expended charges daily at dawn.
  • Blessing of the Sun. If you are a worshiper of Heliod, you gain all the following benefits depending on your level of piety (a new system added in MOoT)
    • Piety 3+. You gain 15 temporary hit points each dawn.
    • Piety 10+. The spear has 1 randomly determined minor beneficial property.
    • Piety 25+. The spear has 1 additional randomly determined minor beneficial property.
    • Piety 50+. The spear has 1 randomly determined major beneficial property.