One of the earliest magic weapons you will have access to in Dungeons and Dragons 5e is the Moon-Touched Sword. Often overlooked, the Moon-Touched Sword has much to offer low-level PCs, and if used correctly, it could be a good starting point for DMs if they want to continue a specific type of theme throughout their campaign.
This post is about just that. What is a Moon-Touched Sword? How can I use it effectively as a player? How can I build on it in my story as a DM?
What Is a Moon-Touched Sword in Dungeons and Dragons 5e?
The Moon-Touched sword is a “common” magic item, meaning it is one of the first magic items you’ll have the chance to use in your game if you stick with published material.
Any sword can be Moon-Touched — Greatswords, longswords, rapiers, whatever. Being Moon-Touched means the sword sheds bright light out to 15 feet and dim light for an additional 15 feet. This is about as good as a torch, except you can stab things with it! Granted, you can hit things with a torch, but it doesn’t go well, usually. This is a much better option.
Weapon (any sword), common
In darkness, the unsheathed blade of this sword sheds moonlight, creating bright light in a 15-foot radius and dim light for an additional 15 feet.
Notes: Utility, Heavy, Two-Handed
Item Tags: Utility
Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, pg. 138
The Best Use for Moon-Touched Sword as a Player
First of all, ask yourself: “Do I have darkvision?” If the answer is no, you will need a torch or some magical light if you go down into the dark places where the creepies crawl. That takes an entire hand that should be holding a shield or an arcane focus or a fresh pair of undies if you’re in a horror game.
Even if you do have darkvision, it isn’t perfect. Darkvision is “shades of gray;” so, think of trail-cam footage that hunters and wildlife observers use to watch animals at night. All you see is a gray silhouette of a creature.
Could be a bear, could be a bigfoot, could be my uncle. Who knows? They all pee in the woods. Darkvision is just good enough that you can rely on other people carrying torches and expect to still see twice as well as they do.
With a Moon-Touched Sword, you get the precious light you need to see while still being able to hold a weapon. It’s a good deal. Take one if you have the chance.
Other Uses for a Moon-Touched Sword as a Player
You know, you don’t always have to resort to violence. There are lots of low-level NPCs out there who never get into a single fight. No one will judge you if you want to be one of those. If you were to ask such a person how to use a Moon-Touched Sword in a non-stabby way, they would give you some ideas.
- Hang it on a wall or in a tree to be a night light while you camp.
- Shed light in a flammable area without starting a fire.
- Use it as a light signal to send messages to your companions over a distance.
- Use its glow to bluff your enemies (or your audience in a performance) into thinking it’s actually a much more powerful magic sword.
How To Use a Moon-Touched Sword as a DM
The Moon-Touched Sword is a great way to start your players on a path I like to call the “Magic Item Investment” path. The idea here is that once your PCs gain a simple magic item, they can improve its abilities to better fit with their own as they level.
This can represent the character’s ability to awaken the item to greater magic, to unlock existing magic within the item, or to form some type of symbiotic relationship with the magic in the item that responds to their need and imagination as the character and the magic develop their relationship.
For the Moon-Touched Sword, you’ll want to look at other “moon”- related spells, items, and abilities that are in the game. Moonbeam, the druid spell, deals radiant damage and is particularly effective against shapechangers. Lycanthropes also respond to the moon’s light, and the Circle of Stars druid deals radiant damage in the form of starlight.
This is a great place to begin. After that, think about the player wielding the sword. Do they have a special relationship to shapechangers or to nature-based magic?
Could the moon-touched sword become a weapon that specializes in controlling fey, censuring shapechangers, or even in hunting aberrations/undead as enemies of the natural world?
As such a character grows in their abilities, give the sword the ability to deal extra radiant damage to specific types of creatures, shed more light, cast the moonbeam spell, or explode in radiant damage. Alternatively, if the player or their allies are afflicted with lycanthropy, instead of making the various “Moon” abilities antagonistic to them, use them as a source of healing and power!
Allow the Moon-Touched Sword to give temporary hit points to shapeshifted or lycanthropic allies or to grant extra Rages, Wild Shapes, or Channel Divinities to Light Domain clerics. The list is endless.
If you wanted to take the Moon-Touched Sword in the direction of the celestials since, after all, the moon is a celestial body, you could grant the improved Moon-Touched Swords extra radiant damage against fiends and undead. Like I said, think about what the item does and what the player does. How can you bring them together?
Homebrew Improvements to the Moon-Touched Sword
(Requires attunement by a druid or ranger)
This silvered sword sheds bright light in a 15-foot radius and dim light for an additional 15 feet. It deals an additional 1d4 radiant damage, and once per long rest, you may cast Moonbeam using either your Spell Save DC or 12, whichever is higher. If you have multiple attacks in your action, you may use one attack to direct the moonbeam with the sword. Rare.
(Requires attunement by a druid or ranger)
These sling bullets deal 1d6 bludgeoning damage, and upon a hit, each creature within 10 feet of wherever the Moon Rock strikes must make a Constitution saving throw or take 1d10 radiant damage. If you miss your target with your attack, consider the Moon Rock to have struck the ground at the furthest range possible for a sling or to have struck a wall or obstacle in a direct line behind your target before exploding in radiant damage.