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Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Curious Objects: Wand of Enemy Detection

Like all Moldvay Basic wands, it's MU/Elf-only with 1d10 charges. At first glance it's pretty mild stuff but this little magic glow-stick is an odd one. It's not reading alignment, it's reading intentions (like Detect Evil). It will cause "all enemies within 60' (even those hidden or invisible) to glow, as if on fire."

I can think of four situations where this "wimpy" wand would be highly useful beyond "Who here wants to kill me?":

  1. You need to quickly identify which combatants are hostile to you in a confusing or crowded situation. Maybe there are traitor soldiers and loyalists all wearing the same uniforms?
  2. Invisible foe or foes are about.
  3. The lights go out.
  4. Prove a negative. "See? He's not glowing! He isn't the assassin!"

The spell doesn't exist in BX, but DMs might even consider a "Faerie Fire" style bonus to hit vs. such well-lit opponents.


  1. Another great use is detecting enemies around corners or behind doors. In a dark dungeon "glowing like they are on fire" would be visible for a long way down a corridor and sudden light around the edges or underneath a door should give advance warning to a party, preventing or reducing the chance of surprise.

    1. Always a classic, and very much how it is intended to be used, I'm sure!