The Rod of the Pact Keeper is one of the coolest D&D items a Warlock can acquire.
What is the Rod of the Pact Keeper (RPK)?
The Rod of the Pact Keeper is a magical item for warlocks in D&D. Warlocks gain bonuses when rolling for spell attacks and saving throws based on difficulty class. The rod’s rarity determines the bonus. Warlocks also regain one spell slot per day. A Warlock must attune themselves to the rod.
In this article, I’ll answer everything you need to know about the RPK in D&D.
What Is the Rod of the Pact Keeper? (Description & History)
The Rod of the Pact Keeper (RPK) is a sleek, shadow-black rod about an inch wide and two feet long. Dwarven and infernal binding runes are etched on it.
It’s one of the last products of the Phandelver Pact.
The Phandevler Pact was a group of mages that allied with a dwarf clan and utilized the abilities of the Spellforge to create a number of magical objects, including the RPK.
When an Orcish horde raided their base in Wave Echo Cave, they were utterly destroyed.
Rod of the Pact Keeper Attributes
Here is a simple chart showcasing the most important attributes of the RPK. Those attributes include item type, rarity, and cost.
|Item Type||Magical Item|
|Rarity||Uncommon, rare, or very rare|
|Cost (Uncommon)||500 gold pieces|
|Cost (Rare)||5,000 gold pieces|
|Cost (Very Rare)||50,000 gold pieces|
What Is the Rod of the Pact Keeper? (The Bonuses)
The RPK gives Warlocks bonuses based on the item’s rarity.
There are three levels of rarity:
- Very Rare
What Is the RPK +1?
The uncommon RPK gives Warlocks a +1 to spell attack and saving throw rolls.
This is a balanced but very helpful tool in combat.
What Is the RPK +2?
The rare RPK gives Warlocks a +2 to spell attack and saving throw rolls.
Even better than the uncommon variant, this rare item is still balanced.
What Is RPK + 3?
The very rare RPK gives Warlocks a +3 to spell attack and saving throw rolls.
This is a very powerful item that should be balanced with the warlock’s other special abilities.
It’s probably also a good idea to balance the item with similar items possessed by other player characters.
What Is RPK Attunement?
The magical RPK requires attunement by a Warlock.
Attuning to this item requires a 1-hour ritual performed by a spellcaster. Once attuned, the Warlock gains the bonus benefits, plus the ability to regain one Warlock spell slot per day.
A Warlock can regain another spell slot after a long rest (8 hours).
What Does Rod of the Pact Keeper Do? (Example)
Let’s look at a concrete example of using the RPK in a D&D game.
A Warlock attuned to an uncommon version of the RPK might cast Eldritch Blast.
In this case, the player rolls a d20 +1 bonus as a spell attack. The Warlock player (or the DM) compares the outcome of the roll (plus the bonus modifier) to the AC or “armor class” of the spell target.
Let’s say it’s a goblin with an AC of 15.
If the Warlock player rolls a 14 on the d20, then adds the +1 attack bonus, he or she hits the goblin.
What Does the RPK Not Do?
The RPK does not increase the damage of a Warlock spell.
Instead, the rod increases the likelihood that a spell hits the target (spell attack) and decreases the likelihood that the target evades or resists the spell (saving throw).
Is Rod of the Pact Keeper Good?
The Rod of the Pact Keeper is a good item in D&D.
It stacks with abilities and feats but doesn’t break them. It also stacks with other magical wands or rods.
On top of that, it changes the Warlock’s spellcasting from a fixed spell slot option to a dynamic floating pool of resources that grows as the Warlock gains levels.
This is especially helpful during combat, as most spellcasters can’t wear armor without proficiency.
If you find a very rare RPK, the item is even better.
Is Rod of the Pact Keeper Overpowered?
This is a matter of opinion, but I do not think that the Rod of the Pact Keeper is overpowered.
For one, only Warlocks can use the item.
That’s a major limitation already. If any magical character could scoop up the item, then that would be a different story.
Secondly, the rod does not confer an automatic spell attack or saving throw to the user.
In other words, it’s one thing to have an extra +1 modifier on your d20 roll, but it’s another thing to actually guarantee the hit and bonus to your Warlock caster level.
The +1, +2, or even +3 bonus is good but not undefeatable.
Thirdly, the rod doesn’t break anything and lets a Warlock use its own abilities rather than giving him or her a free ride.
Lastly, the rod is balanced with its rarity and Warlock class requirements.
The rare version of the item means a player must either have a lot of gold or have achieved a high enough level to get the weapon. This is ultimately up to the Dungeon Master.
Is Rod of the Pact Keeper a Weapon?
The RPK is a magical item, not a weapon.
However, a player can wield the rod as an improvised weapon, if needed. Perhaps an enemy gets too close to the Warlock or the Warlock runs out of spell slots for the day.
In this situation, the Warlock can attack with the RPK as if it were a club, dealing 1d4 bludgeoning damage.
Is Rod of the Pact Keeper an Arcane Focus?
The Rod of the Pact Keeper is an arcane focus.
An arcane focus is a unique item that can be used to convey the power of arcane spells. Some spells require a material component.
An arcane focus item, such as the RPK, fulfills this requirement.
One exception, however, is when a spell absorbs the material component.
Do You Need To Hold an RPK to Use It?
Yes, a Warlock must physically hold an RPK in hand to gain its benefits.
The Dungeon Master’s Guide clearly states that holding the item is required. A Warlock can not simply possess the RPK or have it on his or her person.
However, if your Dungeon Master permits, you could homebrew different rules.
A powerful homebrew RPK is one that you can use without the need to hold it. This frees up both of your hands for other spells, weapons, etc.
Where Can You Find a Rod of the Pack Keeper?
You find the RPK in K41, which is the treasury of Castle Ravenloft, embedded in the Curse of Strahd module.
Of course, your Dungeon Master can have a deity drop the magical item anywhere in the D&D world. Depending on the rarity of the item, it’s probably a good idea not to dish out RPKs as if they grew on trees.
Even magical Warlock trees.
Do Rods of the Pact Keeper Stack?
Players can not technically stack two RPKs.
If a player wanted to, their Warlock can rotate rods.
The only requirement for use is:
- To be a Warlock
- Hold the item in your hand
- Attune to only one item of the same name at a time
Rotating two rods effectively allows you to regain two spell slots per day.
However, your Warlock character still needs a short rest to un-attune to one rod and then another short rest to attune to the second rod.
Does Wand of the Warmage Stack With Rod of the Pact Keeper?
Players can stack the Wand of the Warmage with the RPK.
By doing so, the Warlock holds two items, one in each hand.
The upside is that the Warlock gets the bonuses and benefits of both items. The downside is that the Warlock’s hands are occupied.
Holding both items prevents the Warlock from casting any spells or taking other actions that require at least one free hand.
RPKs vs Other Rods
The RPK is one of the best magical items for a Warlock but how does it compare with other magical rods?
Personally, I see the RPK as better than other rods because of unlimited bonuses.
Other rods, such as the Rod of Absorption, are very cool but can only be used so many times.
The RPK can be used for every encounter—forever.
There is no limit.
For those reasons, I consider the RPK superior to other similar rods for Warlocks.
If you’re looking for how the RPK stacks up against other Warlock items, here is a good video going over the top 10:
An RPK is a fun and powerful magical item to give a Warlock.
Smart Dungeon Master’s will make Warlock player characters work hard to get one, limit their powers based on the “rules as written” (RAW), and make sure they get a short rest before and after each use.
You can find plenty of D&D guidebooks and homebrew adventures for Warlocks online, including at D&D Beyond.