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Can the Rod of the Pact Keeper +1 (DMG p. 197) be chosen as a pact weapon by a Pact of the Blade warlock?

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RAW, no

The Rod is an arcane focus, not a weapon. It could be used as an improvised weapon, but it is still not a weapon.

Rules as fun

It sure seems similar to a club or quarterstaff to me. A DM certainly could choose to accept it as a +1 version of either of those weapons.

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No.

Per the 3rd paragraph for Pact of the Blade:

You can transform one magic weapon into your pact weapon...

Previously in the Pact of the Blade description, it states that your pact weapon is a melee weapon, so presumably you can only do this with a melee weapon, though, RAW this is actually a bit vague so you might have some basis to make an Oathbow your pact weapon.

Regardless, the Rod of the Pact Keeper is strictly an arcane focus, per the description for magic rods (DMG, p. 139) and the list of arcane foci (PHB, p. 150).

This is not be confused with magic staves, which can all be assumed to be quarterstaffs and thus would be a viable candidate for being a Pact Weapon.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ There's this nebulous thing for me, though, in that the rules state the item has to be a 'melee weapon'. Now there is a sort of definition of melee weapons within the PHB's weapon table and I will concur that rod's aren't on there. But I would also say that you could hit a person with it in a melee fashion. Further complicating the issue is that the Staff of Power is described as a functional melee weapon, so I have to wonder why Rods aren't as well. It may not have any plusses to hit and damage, but you could still hit someone with it. \$\endgroup\$ – Pyrotechnical Jul 23 '18 at 1:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ What you're describing is an improvised weapon. They are described on p147 of the Player Handbook. "such as broken glass, a table leg," and it goes on to say "In many cases, an improvised weapon is similar to an actual weapon and can be treated as such. For example, a table leg is akin to a club. At the DM’s option, a character proficient with a weapon can use a similar object as if it w ere that weapon and use his or her proficiency bonus." But they still are not a melee (or other) Weapon as far as the rules are concerned. \$\endgroup\$ – Luke Jul 23 '18 at 1:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ Revised to flip, but I've added some additional info that will be helpful for the querent. Just find yourself a Staff of the Magi and you are set! \$\endgroup\$ – Pyrotechnical Jul 23 '18 at 2:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Pyrotechnical, thanks, but the reason I asked because the build is for specifically a Warlock. And a SOM might be a bit much for what I intend. \$\endgroup\$ – Jhyarelle Silver Jul 23 '18 at 4:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JhyarelleSilver the answer to your question is still herein. This is more information than you require and might be useful for later. \$\endgroup\$ – Pyrotechnical Jul 23 '18 at 13:16

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