What To Know About the Sword of Life-Stealing in DnD 5e

Last Updated on November 5, 2023

Sword of Life Stealing

Weapon (any sword), rare (requires attunement)

When you attack a creature with this magic weapon and roll a 20 on the attack roll, that target takes an extra 10 necrotic damage if it isn’t a construct or an undead. You also gain 10 temporary hit points.

Sword of Life Stealing by Type
Sword TypeDamagePropertiesWeightCost
Greatsword2d6 SlashingHeavy, Two-Handed6 lb1,500gp
Longsword1d8 SlashingVersatile (1d10)3 lb750gp
Rapier1d8 PiercingFinesse2 lb1000gp
Scimitar1d6 SlashingFinesse, Light3 lb1000gp
Shortsword1d6 SlashingFinesse, Light2 lb500gp

COST:  Depends on Type (see chart above).  We estimate the Sword of Life Stealing averaging 1,000 gp.

What Is a Sword of Life Stealing in DnD 5e?

A Sword of Life Stealing is a magical sword that lets you gain temporary hit points when you land a critical hit on a creature. This rare weapon is incredibly useful, although it isn’t quite as straightforward as it might initially seem.

The basic premise here is simple. When you roll a 20, you deal 10 extra damage to get a boost of 10 temporary hit points. 

The interesting part here is that you’d probably assume this “life-stealing” sword lets you regain the damage you deal. 

The name itself is misleading, but it sounds a lot better than “Magical Sword That Lets You Occasionally Deal Extra Damage While Also Giving You a Buff.”

So, let’s really break down how this works.

Sword of Life Stealing Mechanics Explained

For starters, we have to roll a 20. Only when you see 20 on a d20 attack roll does this effect happen.

Then, we deal 10 necrotic damage. This isn’t all too special, but it’s probably not going to be resisted unless we’re facing incredibly powerful creatures. 

Lastly, we gain 10 temporary hit points. This is the piece that people often get mixed up. 

Your temporary hit points are not dependent on the damage you deal

Even if you attack a construct, an undead, or a creature that is immune to necrotic damage, you still receive 10 temporary hit points. 

The other big thing to be aware of here is that temporary hit points do not stack. So, if you’re lucky enough to roll a 20 on two attacks in a row, you still only walk away with 10 temporary hit points. 

Fortunately, if you have less than 10 temporary HP, this will replace that lower number since you always take the higher option.

Is a Sword of Life-Stealing a Good Weapon?

This is an okay weapon. Had I been on the design team, I would’ve hesitated to make this rare. It really feels like an uncommon magic item since it has no passive benefit and only works on a natural 20 roll. 

Essentially, it’s just an improved critical hit, and those are already deadly enough to not really need a boost.

I think a true life-stealing sword would let you regain HP based on the damage you deal with it.

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