Wands/Command words

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maximus
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Wands/Command words

Post by maximus »

Do you need a command word to operate a Wand? I know in AD&D you do, but the description in the M&T doesn't mention it. This came up in my game yesterday. The wielder was under the effect of a Silence spell but wanted to use a wand. Thoughts?

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DMSamuel
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Re: Wands/Command words

Post by DMSamuel »

Since it is not explicit in the PHB, it is the CK's decision. Here are some things I would use when making my decision:

1) The PHB details several spells and mentions using a wand to cast them (for example, see the lightning bolt spell on page 161) and it doesn't mention that the spell is cast any differently if a wand is used, so that means that if there is a verbal component, then that verbal component is still needed to cast the spell.

2) In the M&T, on page 355, when it discusses wands it says: "Most wands are simply storage devices for spells and thus have no special
descriptions. Refer to the spell descriptions for all pertinent details on the wand’s spell function."
- to me this indicates that a verbal component is still required if one was required to cast the spell without the wand.

3) In the CKG, page 302, it says "Rods, staves, and wands are class specific items. They can only be used by the spell caster whose spells mimic the ability." - this implies to me that some special knowledge and ability is needed in order to make a wand work correctly, which to me says that the verbal component or "activation word" (if you will) must be uttered to cause the wand to manifest that magical spell.

4) Also from the CKG - this time page 29 - the book describes an alternate rule wherein material components are not carried around by wizards and illusionists, and instead they imbue wands to act as the material components. In that section it states: "In lieu of using spell components as traditionally envisioned and employed, imagine if the wizard, illusionist, cleric, or druid simply had to use a wand or holy symbol to focus the energies of those components. Not only does this dispense with the vast amount of problems in keeping up with spell components, it brings into play the traditional wizard’s wand and makes the cleric’s holy symbol very useful. Note: The wand and holy symbol are not replacements for spellcasting in general, and have no effect on casting time, duration, range, power, and other aspects of spell details. Instead, they are only used to channel the components’ power for spells."

This last one is a weaker argument because it is describing an alternative component system, but it does reinforce the idea that the wand is just a conduit for casting a spell, and therefore if a verbal component was used, that verbal component is STILL required, even if you have a wand.

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Those 4 points above cause me, as the CK, to decide that wands do indeed have verbal activation requirements. They are simply conduits and to cast the spell you still have to use the verbal and somatic components. So, if a caster is in a cone of silence, they cannot use the wand.
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Re: Wands/Command words

Post by Go0gleplex »

Sam has the C&C references covered. ;) I myself tend to refer back to 1e where it does say wands, staves, and rods with spell or spell-like powers do have command words to activate the powers; particularly when you have an item with multiple spells or spell-like effects, each effect having a different trigger phrase. This can apply to some miscellaneous magical items as well that fall into the same sort of conditions.
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maximus
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Re: Wands/Command words

Post by maximus »

Thanks guys. I had played it out where the wand worked even with the silence in effect. In retrospect I probably would rule the other way, but it played out well and a lot of suspense and fun were had.

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Re: Wands/Command words

Post by DMSamuel »

As long as it worked and everyone had fun, that is the goal!!
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Re: Wands/Command words

Post by Ancalagon »

maximus wrote:
Mon Jan 01, 2024 5:46 pm
Do you need a command word to operate a Wand? I know in AD&D you do, but the description in the M&T doesn't mention it. This came up in my game yesterday. The wielder was under the effect of a Silence spell but wanted to use a wand. Thoughts?
I like using "Abracadaver" as the command word for spells and devices related to Animate Dead.
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maximus
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Re: Wands/Command words

Post by maximus »

Ancalagon wrote:
Fri Jan 05, 2024 8:24 pm
maximus wrote:
Mon Jan 01, 2024 5:46 pm
Do you need a command word to operate a Wand? I know in AD&D you do, but the description in the M&T doesn't mention it. This came up in my game yesterday. The wielder was under the effect of a Silence spell but wanted to use a wand. Thoughts?
I like using "Abracadaver" as the command word for spells and devices related to Animate Dead.
Nice!

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Re: Wands/Command words

Post by Lurker »

DMSamuel wrote:
Wed Jan 03, 2024 5:50 pm
As long as it worked and everyone had fun, that is the goal!!
Great point, and it is what I told my daughter when she ran her first ever planned Traveller one off game a few weeks ago. Rule 1 - don't let the rules stop the fun. I think some times we can forget that.
Ancalagon wrote:
Fri Jan 05, 2024 8:24 pm
I like using "Abracadaver" as the command word for spells and devices related to Animate Dead.
Nice !

That got me thinking what are other command words for common magic items

Ring of Feather Fall .... Ohhhhhhhhh pooooop not again

Ring of Water Breathing ..... gurgle gurgle gurgle
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Marcus Aurelius
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Re: Wands/Command words

Post by Marcus Aurelius »

maximus wrote:
Mon Jan 01, 2024 5:46 pm
Do you need a command word to operate a Wand? I know in AD&D you do, but the description in the M&T doesn't mention it. This came up in my game yesterday. The wielder was under the effect of a Silence spell but wanted to use a wand. Thoughts?
On page 313 in Monsters & Treasure under Magic Items it states, "USING MAGIC ITEMS: When using a magic item, it is usually necessary to “activate” it with a word spoken aloud or by some gesture,"
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maximus
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Re: Wands/Command words

Post by maximus »

Thanks

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