Spell of the Day – Animate Objects

Who knew that those broomsticks from The Sorcerer’s Apprentice could be so incredibly deadly? Going by the rules of Animate Objects one of them should have been able to beat Mickey to death within a couple of turns.

Considering how goofy it appears to be at first glance, Animate Objects is actually a surprisingly effective combat spell. It allows you to bring a number of inanimate objects to life and give them orders that range from ‘fill this cauldron with water’ to ‘crush this guy to death’.

Both the stats of the object and the amount of them you can animate depend on how big it is. The smaller items – think knives, chairs, loose bricks – do less damage but you can use a lot of them at once. Bigger ones – beds, wardrobes, statues – hurt more but it’s hard to animate more than one or two of them.

When cast at fifth level you can use the spell to send ten Small or Tiny objects hurtling through the air with a mind of their own. Much like the zombies brought back by Animate Dead you can control them with bonus actions and retain your effectiveness in combat, though the spell itself does require Concentration and only lasts one minute.

Once you look at the maths, however, it soon becomes clear that you can do a heck of a lot of damage in that minute if you put your mind to it. Tiny objects have a very reasonable +8 to hit and deal an average of 6.5 (1d4+4) damage.

Even if we assume that only half of their attacks land that averages out at around 32 damage per round, a pretty impressive number considering that it can move with your target and barely requires any control after the first round. If you carry a dozen or so daggers on you, Animate Objects is an incredibly effective, fairly cheap way to reduce even tough enemies into a rather fine puree.

If you’re more interested in controlling the battlefield than killing people for some reason, you could use animated tables and chairs to block passages while they beat on your foes. None of the objects will be particularly hard to kill, but every attack that’s aimed at an aggressive sideboard is one that isn’t going to hit you or your allies.

Okay, it has a few downsides, but these seem comparative minor. It lasts a much shorter amount of time than most other minion-summoning spells (Conjure Elemental, Animate Dead, etc.) and requires you to maintain concentration, so a lucky hit can shut it down before the spell really gets going.

You also need to have the objects around for you to animate them. This is fine in a castle packed with furniture and has weaponry hanging from every other wall, but can be a problem if you’re on the open plain or a desert. However, if you’re feeling cheeky you can more-or-less get around this by carrying a bandolier of daggers. This not only makes it easy for you to cast the spell, it also makes you look like an incredible badass.

Rating: A+

Incredibly effective and huge amounts of fun. One of those spells that’s so good the only reason I can see for not spamming it is that you might upset the DM.

Take it, and use it to kill your enemies with a cloud of highly aggressive tableware.

Gets extra points for allowing you to recreate this GIF from Beauty and the Beast.

Wardrobe Crush GIF

Animate Objects

School: Transmutation
Level: 5
Casting time: 1 Action
Range: 120 feet
Components: V, S
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute

Objects come to life at your command.

Choose up to ten nonmagical objects within range that are not being worn or carried. Medium targets count as two objects, Large targets count as four objects, Huge targets count as eight objects. You can’t animate any object larger than Huge. Each target animates and becomes a creature under your control until the spell ends or until reduced to 0 hit points.

As a bonus action, you can mentally command any creature you made with this spell if the creature is within 500 feet of you (if you control multiple creatures, you can command any or all of them at the same time, issuing the same command to each one). You decide what action the creature will take and where it will move during its next turn, or you can issue a general command, such as to guard a particular chamber or corridor. If you issue no commands, the creature only defends itself against hostile creatures. Once given an order, the creature continues to follow it until its task is complete.

Animated Object Statistics
Tiny – HP: 20, AC: 18, Attack: +8 to hit, 1d4 + 4 damage, Str: 4, Dex: 18
Small – HP: 25, AC: 16, Attack: +6 to hit, 1d8 + 2 damage, Str: 6, Dex: 14
Medium – HP: 40, AC: 13, Attack: +5 to hit, 2d6 + 1 damage, Str: 10, Dex: 12
Large – HP: 50, AC: 10, Attack: +6 to hit, 2d10 + 2 damage, Str: 14, Dex: 10
Huge – HP: 80, AC: 10, Attack: +8 to hit, 2d12 + 4 damage, Str: 18, Dex: 6

An animated object is a construct with AC, hit points, attacks, Strength, and Dexterity determine by its size. Its Constitution is 10 and its Intelligence and Wisdom are 3, and its Charisma is 1. Its speed is 30 feet; if the objects lack legs or other appendages it can use for locomotion, it instead has a flying speed of 30 feet and can hover.

If the object is securely attached to a surface or larger object, such as a chain bolted to a wall, its speed is 0. It has blindsight with a radius of 30 feet and is blind beyond that distance. When the animated object drops to 0 hit points, it reverts to its original object form, and any remaining damage carries over to its original object form.

If you command an object to attack, it can make a single melee attack against a creature within 5 feet of it. It makes a slam attack with an attack bonus and bludgeoning damage determine by its size. The DM might rule that a specific object inflicts slashing or piercing damage based on its form.

At higher level

If you cast this spell using a spell slot of 6th level or higher, you can animate two additional objects for each slot level above 5th.

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