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Friday, October 12, 2018

Curious Objects: The Rod of Cancellation

It's very plain-looking, but that sort of makes sense.

I can't say that I recall this ever showing up in play for me. I've thought about placing one to see what players might do with it, but I don't think it's ever happened. The RoC is odd for three main reasons.

1) It's the only rod that appears in the Basic/Expert books. Which is strange that they created a whole category for just the one item. Of course the idea is that the RoC can be used by anyone, not just spellcasters, so I guess that was how they chose to indicate that.

2) It's one and done. The RoC carries one charge only. Granted, it has a powerful effect, but again, it seems radically different in this regard from its other cylindrical cousins (Wands and Staves).

3) It is incredibly likely to succeed in its function. i.e. destroying the enchantment of another magic item. It has merely to make contact (to -hit vs. AC 9 if opposed) and there is no save. The effect is permanent, too. It's a maxed-out Dispel Magic that anyone can use (once). 

As I looked at its description, I thought about ways it might be used in a game, and to be honest, I'm surprised I haven't used it yet. It could be a nasty gotcha for the PCs in the hands of a foe, but I would make it the object of a quest. Imagine hunting one of these down to destroy a lich's phylactery? Or negating the power of the BBEG's sword? Of course, the one charge means you have to resist using its power prematurely. Also, unlike Dispel Magic, you need to physically touch the magical object you wish negate. Still, this anti-magic dowel does present some fun possibilities.


  1. It's interesting in that it's the sort of item you could randomly put in a treasure without fear of it being disruptively overpowered, and yet would make a good Maguffin for an ongoing plot revolving around some magic-using menace.

  2. Years of playing NetHack have left me with an abject fear of the things. :-)