Many things come to mind when we talk about magic items. Attunement items, how rare they are, and who can use them become the main things we worry about when it comes to the abilities and affects of specific items.
From the Staff of the Magi to the Tome of Knowledge, D&D things can be used and abused in many ways that have big effects.
As more magic items are added in each new book, some of the older items from the original works have lost some of their power and are now less useful than the newer items.
That doesn’t mean that everything new is great and everything old is bad. Instead, it means that younger things tend to be more overpowered than those in the PHB.
Every DM has to compare and contrast things at least once in their hundreds of days of experience, and now it’s my turn. I’ve been around for a long time, so I can talk about this famous item.
- What Is the Rod of the Pact Keeper?
- Rod of the Pact Keeper Attributes
- What Does Rod of the Pact Keeper Do?
- Is it a Good Item?
- Is it Craftable?
- Where to Get it?
- Is Rod of the Pact Keeper Overpowered?
- Is Rod of the Pact Keeper a Weapon?
- Is Rod of the Pact Keeper an Arcane Focus?
What Is the Rod of the Pact Keeper?
The stick of the Pact Keeper (RPK) is a thin, shadow-black stick that is about two feet long and an inch wide. On it are runes that bind dwarves and demons.
One of the last things that came out of the Phandelver Pact.
The RPK was made by the Phandevler Pact, which was a group of witches who joined forces with a dwarf clan and used the Spellforge to make a number of magical items.
When a large group of Orcs attacked their home base in Wave Echo Cave, they were completely wiped out.
Rod of the Pact Keeper Attributes
Here is a simple picture that shows the RPK’s most important parts. This includes the type of thing, how rare it is, and how much it costs.
|Uncommon, rare, or very rare
|500 gold pieces
|5,000 gold pieces
|Cost (Very Rare)
|50,000 gold pieces
First of all, it can only be used by that class. This isn’t really a drawback, but you can only use its benefits on that class.
Even if you have more than one class, its powers can only affect your Warlock side. This means that as time goes on and you get more levels, the less you put into Warlock, the less it will help you.
Even if you switch to a class like Sorcerer, whose main casting stat is also Charisma, you can only get the bonuses from this item if you use your Warlock spell spaces to cast.
Second, it is an item for attuning. Even though it’s not wrong in and of itself, I would say it’s still a drawback because it’s generally used to balance out powerful effects.
In this case, it’s harder on a Warlock because many of their things are attunement-based. If you attune to this, you’d be taking up one of your three slots, which is a valuable resource.
Lastly, its second function is an item that only works once every long rest. Unlike some later items that can only be used once a day or at a certain time or day (Dawn, Noon, Dusk), this one can only be used once. This makes it hard to get back once it has been used.
Obviously, this point isn’t important if you can get a long rest, but in a longer mission, you might have to fight for your life through the night.
Overall, its cons aren’t that bad compared to its pros, especially since most of them were added to balance out the item’s power and make sure that only the person who really knows how to use it can benefit from it.
Bonus to Spell Attack Rolls and Spell save DC
Depending on how rare the thing is, it can give a +1, +2, or +3 bonus. So that you can later switch out the Rod of the Pact Keeper for a better form. This item is useful and strong enough that the special uses of other items in the same tier can’t be better than this one, but only the same.
This bonus is worth +1 at Uncommon, +2 at Rare, and +3 at Very Rare. Even though the bonus may not seem like much, remember that the only ways to improve your spell save DC or spell attack bonus are with magic items and by improving your main casting stat. Even so, most things only make one or the other better, not both.
So, putting rarity aside, even a +1 in both of these areas is the same as a +2 to your main stat. This raises the normal maximum spell-casting level from +9 to +13.
From a technical point of view, that means you will never miss a villager or goblin-level foe and almost always hit a bigger one.
The Wand of the War Mage is the only weapon that gives a bonus to spell attack rolls, but it does not give a bonus to spell save DC.
This effect is strong, and since there are rarer and rarer versions of it, you could say that it grows with the person.
You can use this “pseudo-scaling” technique for DMs to make your Warlock players’ effects scale. They may have pleased their patron or earned enough favor in return for power. In a Homebrew campaign, anything goes.
Restore Spell Slot
With some things, you can cast spells. Items that are alive and can help you cast magic. Even things let you learn and use spells that aren’t in your normal spell pool. They can be rare or common, and they can be papers or real things that you can use.
So, when it comes to casters, an item that can work like a class feature or just let them rest is high on the list of priorities, since getting an extra spell spot is important for long fights. Warlocks need these because every short rest, they can only use two magic slots.
Warlocks gain more than other classes because restoring a spell slot brings back the highest level spell they can cast right away.
This is because Warlocks can only cast spells at their top level, so getting a spell slot for a lower level means getting the highest level.
What Does Rod of the Pact Keeper Do?
Let’s look at a specific way the RPK can be used in a D&D game.
Eldritch Blast is a spell that can be cast by a Warlock who is connected to a rare version of the RPK.
As a spell attack, the person rolls a d20 with a +1 bonus in this case. The Warlock player (or the DM) compares the result of the roll (plus the extra modifier) to the AC or “armor class” of the spell target.
Say it’s a goblin with an AC of 15.
The Warlock player hits the goblin if he or she rolls a 14 on the d20 and adds the +1 attack bonus.
Is it a Good Item?
Yes, it’s strong. Even if it wasn’t only for warlocks, you could put its effects on a different item, split its two skills into two more items, and spellcasters would still want it.
It’s good because its skills work well together and with those of any spellcaster who wants to use spells to attack.
Also, it takes up one attunement spot but only one hand, so you can still use another rod or staff in the other hand.
You can’t stack items or abilities with the same name. You can, however, use items with similar benefits that don’t have the same ability name. You can raise your spell attack or spell save DC much more than other classes can.
Giving you an extra spell slot is the same as giving you an extra chance to cast a spell, whether it’s a control spell or a damage spell.
When you add in the Warlock’s ability to refill spell slots during a short rest, he becomes one of the spellcasters who can cast the most spells in a day if the conditions are right.
Compared to the Wand of the Warmage and the Pearl of Power, it’s like a mix of the two. Wand of the Warmage has a scaling feature that gives a bonus to hit, but instead of giving a boost to spell save DC, it ignores half cover.
The effect is still strong, but it’s not quite what we want. When you combine that with the Pearl of Power’s power to restore spell slots, you get a Rod of Pact Keeping.
Even though these effects are strong, they can still be tuned to and used with the Rod of Pact Keeping.
This means that a Warlock could, in theory, get a +6 bonus to their spell attack by using both of these items. With a Rod and Pearl of Power, they could also restore two spell slots.
A Warlock can use many other powerful mixtures of items, but the Rod of the Pact Keeper is one of the most powerful items that a Warlock can use.
Is it Craftable?
Surprisingly, not much is known about this item. I think WoTC added this item in the 5th edition, unless it was changed and improved from an older item.
Since there is nothing to fall back on, the making methods would have to be made from scratch.
This is a recipe I made up on my own, so feel free to use it or change it.
I’d say that at least one Pearl of Power and part of the Wand of the Warmage could be made from these things.
- A pearl that comes from a shell and is guarded by water spirits or a faerie heart.
- Wood from an older Treant or pieces of a Staff of the Magi
- Will-o-wisp or Spined Devil horns are made of the same thing.
- Beard or Shards from a Bearded Devil or a Flameskull.
If you don’t want to craft in your game, please skip this and move on to the next part.
Where to Get it?
There are a lot of places to get this item, even though it’s not very rare. But according to their rank, the rarest things are much less common.
You can get this item in season 0 from the Soulbound Tomb, a DDAL Open, or a tier 1 event where anyone can play.
This is for both rounds of the Soulbound tomb, and in the tier 3 form of this adventure, you can even get a Rod of the Pact Keeper +2.
You can get it in Elemental Evils from the DDEX2-8 or the Foulness beneath Mulmaster quest. It’s for levels 1–4, so it’s a short, sweet, and easy adventure that most people should be able to do.
Rage of Demons uses it as a +2 Rod of the Pact keeper in the tier 2 quest DDEX 3-13: Writhing in the Dark. Even though it’s best for level 8 people, it’s an even shorter adventure that can be done in two hours.
One copy of The Curse of Strahd Hardcover is hidden deep inside Castle Ravenloft. It’s a +1 rod, so make sure to pick it up along the way. By the time you’re level 9, you should be around that level.
In the middle of the Thunder of the Storm King, DDAL 05-18: The Mysterious Isle. As part of your prize, you can find a Rod of the Pact Keeper +3. Just make sure to fight for your life, because this is a Tier 4 adventure for level 17 people.
You can get this item in DDAL 09-20: Where Devils Fear to Tread for Baldur’s Gate: Descend into Avernus. A level 18 adventure where one of the awesome prizes is a Rod of the Pact Keeper +2.
If it’s a Homebrew game, you can give this to your players at any time.
Is Rod of the Pact Keeper Overpowered?
Some people think that the Rod of the Pact Keeper is too strong, but I don’t agree.
For one thing, the item can only be used by Warlocks.
That’s already a big problem. If any magical figure could pick up the item, that would be a different story.
Second, the rod doesn’t give the person who uses it an immediate spell attack or saving throw.
In other words, it’s one thing to have an extra +1 modifier on your d20 roll, but it’s quite another to actually promise the hit and bonus to your Warlock caster level.
The bonus of +1, +2, or even +3 is good, but it’s not unbeatable.
Third, the rod doesn’t hurt anything and lets a Warlock use his or her own skills instead of doing everything for them.
Lastly, the rod has a good mix between how rare it is and what the Warlock class needs.
The rare form of the item means that to get it, a player must either have a lot of gold or be a high enough level. This is up to the Dungeon Master in the end.
Is Rod of the Pact Keeper a Weapon?
The RPK is not a weapon; it is a magic item. A player can, however, use the stick as a weapon if they need to.
Maybe an enemy gets too close to the Warlock, or maybe the Warlock has used up all of his or her magic slots for the day.
In this case, the Warlock can use the RPK to hit as if it were a club, dealing 1d4 damage by slamming.
Is Rod of the Pact Keeper an Arcane Focus?
The Rod of the Pact Keeper is a magical center of attention.
An arcane focus is a one-of-a-kind thing that can be used to make arcane spells work. Some spells need something physical.
This can be done with a magical focus item, like the RPK.
The only time this isn’t true is when a spell takes the material part.
Does rod of the pact keeper affect cantrips?
As long as the cantrips are on the Warlock spell list, the same perks that apply to leveled spells also apply to cantrips. If a cantrip or other spell is not on the Warlock’s spell list (for example, if the Warlock is also a Wizard), the bonus does not apply.
Warlock invocations are also not affected by the rod of the pact guard, which is an important fact. Whether it was an accident or on purpose, a Warlock spell that is cast through an invocation is not truly a Warlock spell.
Does Rod of the Pact Keeper Increase Damage?
It doesn’t, no. It can make your powers more accurate and make it less likely that your opponents will get away from them, but it doesn’t directly increase the damage they do. Also, it can only be used with Warlock magic. So items, scrolls, and magic that work for more than one class wouldn’t get these benefits.
Can Rod of the Pact Keeper Be Used as a Weapon?
It can be made into a makeshift weapon. Unless a feat or skill says otherwise, these weapons do 1d2+ Strength damage. It is neither a military tool nor a simple weapon, though.
Can Rod of the Pact Keeper Be Used as an Arcane Focus?
It can, yes. In the PHB, rods are called “Arcane Foci,” so this thing could also be thought of as one. When you think about certain items that say they can be used as Arcane Foci, but aren’t the standard Wand, Rod, or Orb, this can cause confusion.