The DnD Shillelagh cantrip (pronounced shi-lay-luh) is a must-have for Druids just starting out on their adventures. In exchange for a few components and a speedy bonus action, your character gets some tasty battle bonuses. You won’t even have to worry about that pesky Strength stat before you start swinging your quarterstaff.
Like all our guides to D&D 5e spells, the Shillelagh 5e guide below can tell you everything you need to know about the classic cantrip. But before we start saying the magic words, take a moment to check out our other handy TTRPG guides. Whether you want to look up your favourite DnD races or need a handy DnD character creator, Wargamer can help you out.
Here’s all you need to know about the DnD Shillelagh cantrip:
How to cast DnD Shillelagh
Here’s the key features for Shillelagh:
|Casting time||One bonus action|
|Range / Area||Touch|
|Attack / Save||Melee|
Shillelagh needs a verbal (spoken) and somatic (gestured) component to cast, and you’ll need several material components. These are mistletoe, a shamrock leaf, and a club or quarterstaff. If clubs or staffs are your DnD weapons of choice, that’s already one component in the bag.
Once cast, Shillelagh imbues your club or quarterstaff with the power of nature. Rules-wise this means you no longer need to use Strength for attack and damage rolls with this weapon; you can use your spellcasting ability instead. The weapon is now magical, and its damage becomes 1d8. This isn’t a cantrip that requires concentration, but the spell does end if you cast it again. Dropping your weapon is another way to cancel all Shillelagh activity.
Usually there’s a wide range of DnD classes that can cast a certain spell. However, Shillelagh is a cantrip that belongs firmly to one particular class – the Druid 5e. Technically the Bard 5e can learn the spell through the Magical Secrets trait, but they’ll need six to ten DnD level ups beforehand. Otherwise, other classes will need to dabble in some DnD multiclassing and take a level in Druid to cast Shillelagh.
Shillelagh 5e tips and tricks
The Shillelagh 5e cantrip is a solid choice for low-level Druids. The damage dealt by a club or quarterstaff (1d4 and 1d6 respectively) is given a handy boost, and you’re finally a threat to DnD monsters that are immune to non-magical attacks. All this in exchange for a speedy bonus action at the start of combat. Strength is likely to be one of your dump DnD stats as a Druid, so Shillelagh means you can spend more time and points focusing on your true talents (Wisdom).
Perhaps the one downside of Shillelagh is it doesn’t scale as your character levels. Sure, your spellcasting ability will improve if you focus on ability scores over 5e feats, but you’ll always be hitting with 1d8 damage. Other popular Druid cantrips like Thorn Whip and Primal Savagery are perhaps better choices if you want to deal damage that gets bigger over time.