A rod is a magical cudgel, similar to a wand or magical staff but with some key differences. While each wand can only cast one spell and has a set number of charges, a rod contains one or more spells that are fueled by the rod's own self-replenishing MP pool. Like a staff, rods can be used as melee weapons, but their performance is only as good as a club without the stabbing bonus (though it does benefit from the Maces & Flails skill).
Any rod you've identified will be displayed as a "+X rod of descriptive_name (Y/Z)", where X is the recharge rate of the rod, Y is the current MP available for spellcasting, and Z is the maximum MP the rod can hold. Using a scroll of recharging on a rod will improve both X and Z by 1d2, up to a max of +9 and 17, respectively. Deep dwarves can use their racial ability for the same effect, although at a prohibitive cost. A rod's recharge rate also acts as its weapon enchantment, so a +9 rod acts like a +9, +9 club; even with this, they are still poor weapons after the early game.
Rods recharge themselves over time at a rate determined by the +X given in the above example, as well as by your Evocations skill. Base recharge rate is about 0.04 MP/turn, meaning that a +0 rod used by a player with 0 Evocations takes about 25 turns to regain 1 MP. Every +1 to a rod's recharge rate adds 0.01 more MP/turn, and every Evocations level adds 0.057. These increases seem small, but add up quickly. A +3 rod and 13 Evocations adds 2 MP/10 turns, while a +9 rod used by a player with 27 Evocations gains 6 MP/10 turns.
Casting a spell from a rod differs from regular spellcasting in several important ways:
- Rods must be wielded before you can evoke them. Press v or select the wielded rod in your inventory to cast a spell from the currently wielded rod.
- Spell power is based solely upon your Evocations skill; none of the factors involved in standard magic have any impact: Spell Power = 5 + 3 × Evocations.
- You spend no MP yourself. Instead, the rod spends MP equal to the spell level of the spell cast. This will regenerate over time independent of your MP regeneration.
Hunger reduction works differently from spellcasting spells. Rod spells have the same base hunger cost as regular spells, but this is reduced by 10 × Evocations, instead of Intelligence × Spellcasting. Additionally, spell hunger from rods cannot be fully eliminated; there will always be a hunger cost of at least 5.
The reported hunger cost can be decoded to the following:
|Reported cost||Per-casting cost|
For reference, a flesh chunk gives 1,000 nutrition, and meat ration gives 5,000.
Tips & Tricks
- Maxing out rods may require more scrolls of recharging than you have on hand, and you may wish to save some of those for useful wands. Nonetheless, it helps to at least tune useful rods up so that their max MP is an even multiple of the cost of the most frequently used spell.
- Most rods found laying around in the dungeon have mediocre or even negative recharge rates, but a rod generated by a scroll of acquirement will usually have a high recharge rate. So long as Evocations higher than all your other magic skills, you have 80% chance to get a rod you don't already own if you request a staff. Trog worshipers who select a staff from an acquirement will always receive a rod.
Comparison to Spellcasting
Rods do have advantages over regular spellcasting, but they also have several shortcomings.
- Rod use is independent of your stats. This allows a character which has focused entirely on dexterity or strength to successfully cast some higher-level spells without having to resort to means such as wizardry or Ashenzari.
- Rod use only requires training in Evocations, which most races have a decent aptitude in (average of +1).
- Rod use is not negatively impacted by your EV penalty. Heavy armour users can use rods to gain access to some very useful spells.
- Rod spell power is not subject to stepdowns: it simply scales with your Evocations skill.
- Rods do not drain your MP, leaving it free for other things.
- Spells from rods need not be memorized, leaving your spell levels free for other things.
- Rods can be used while silenced.
- Rod use is independent of your stats. Thus, high-stat races such as elves and demigods enjoy no advantage in spell power or hunger costs when using them.
- Rods have a somewhat limited selection of spells.
- Rods are ultimately capped at 86 power. This has a significant impact on higher-level spells like Iron Shot.
- Rods must be wielded to evoke spells from them. This significantly decreases tactical flexibility in using rods, and can prove a real danger if the rod should end up cursed somehow.
- The hunger cost of rod use can be significant for some races. Spriggans in particular may want to use rods sparingly.
- Rod hunger can never be entirely eliminated. While the 5 nutrition minimum is generally ignorable, the minimum costs for level 5 and 6 spells (80 and 280, respectively) from rods are not.
- Rods have a fairly small pool of mana, capped at 17, which can limit the usefulness of spells that you will want to cast repeatedly, such as Abjuration.
- Rods take up space in your inventory, whereas spells do not.
|Axes||Battleaxe • Broad axe • Executioner's axe • Hand axe • War axe|
|Bows||Shortbow (Arrow) • Longbow (Arrow)|
|Crossbows||Arbalest (Bolt) • Hand crossbow (Bolt) • Triple crossbow (Bolt)|
|Maces & Flails||Club • Demon whip • Dire flail • Eveningstar • Flail • Giant club • Giant spiked club • Great mace • Mace • Morningstar • Rod • Sacred scourge • Whip|
|Long Blades||Demon blade • Double sword • Eudemon blade • Falchion • Great sword • Long sword • Scimitar • Triple sword|
|Polearms||Bardiche • Demon trident • Glaive • Halberd • Scythe • Spear • Trident • Trishula|
|Short Blades||Dagger • Quick blade • Rapier • Short sword|
|Slings||Fustibalus (Sling bullet, Stone) • Hunting sling (Sling bullet, Stone)|
|Staves||Lajatang • Magical staff • Quarterstaff|
|Throwing||Blowgun (Needle) • Javelin • Large rock • Stone • Throwing net • Tomahawk|