• doug.radmore

What Could Your D&D Character Accomplish With a Wand of Fear?


Seraphina knew what that was. The long, thin and bone white stick held in the necromancer’s hand radiated blind terror. The necromancer raised his hand and bellowed some foul word in his cults perverse language.


Suddenly Seraphina and her barbarian companion Saltor were wracked by it. Visions of the barn fire that had killed her parents, the smell of the blood from her first kill, and finally, the face of the Necromancer.


It warped in and out of focus, contorting to awful shapes beyond the ken of her elven mind.


She ran.


She never stopped running.


For many people, hearing the name Wand of Fear conjures up images of evil wizards using it to inflict fearful states on their enemies. However, analyzing the Frightened condition in Dungeons and Dragons reveals that this item is far more useful than most players probably give it credit for.


Terrifying Offense

The Frightened Condition is an incredibly useful one to inflict on your enemies during combat. Its only real downside is that you cannot perform Attacks of Opportunity from the Fleeing effect it causes. However, this is usually made up for by its many other qualities.


For example, the condition the wand imposes gives you great options for disrupting the flow of combat. If the barbarian is trapped in a grapple with an ogre, the Wand of Fear gives that ogre disadvantage to keep that grapple going and on any other Attacks or Ability Checks while it can still see you. This is a very targeted way of using the wands charges, but remember that it causes this effect in a 60 ft. cone, meaning that it might just cause the whole combat to become afraid of you!


Additionally, the affected monsters cannot move closer to you. This can be great if you’re playing a melee based character like a Dueling Fighter and find yourself low on hit points. Just give this wand a quick cast, and you can march through the fight with enemies breaking before you, unable to attack you even if you do end up within reach.


Bulwark of Horror

My favorite way to use the Wand of Fear is similar to shepherding sheep. Cast its Cone of Fear ability on a large group of enemies, use their forced movement to push the group into a corner, then let your Wizard or Sorcerer throw a Fireball at the quivering mob to reduce them to ashes.


If you want to do something similar but are facing off against a single enemy, you can still use the single-charge option: Command. Use it to tell a single enemy character to Flee or to Grovel before you giving your allies a chance to score some high damage attacks. It might not be as glorious as wiping out half a goblin tribe in one devious move, but focusing down a tough enemy is well worth a single charge of the item.


Fearful Insurance

For some spell-casting characters, such as Wizards and Warlocks, Fear can be used as a precursor to more powerful spells. Inflicting the condition on enemies who would generally try to attack you and possibly break your concentration for higher level spells often proves invaluable, but it typically comes at the expense of spell slots.


The Wand of Fear gets rid of this problem. Now you can use up the wand’s charges rather than your own spell slots to make sure you don’t waste a 3rd or 4th level spell slot. Not only that, but you can also use the “shepherding” strategy mentioned above to make your high-level spells even more useful!


Non-Combat Uses

Overall, the Wand of Fear is an item of great utility with a lot of exceptional applications in combat. However, if you wanted to use it outside of battle, it is entirely possible to utilize it as a means of clearing out alleyways for a private conversation, taverns that you merely want to have the run of, or banks full of pesky witnesses before a big heist.


In the end, the uses for a Wand of Fear are limited only by your imagination. What kind of out-of-the-box tactics have you employed with a Wand of Fear? Tell us in the comments below!

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