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The Staff of Defense is described in the Lost Mine of Phandelver adventure (on p. 53), but the magic items in Appendix A have no rarity mentioned. The Staff of Defense, particularly, is unique to LMoP (i.e. it's not described in the DMG, or any other place I've found). It requires attunement. The description states:

While holding the staff, you have a +1 bonus to your Armor Class.

The staff has 10 charges, which are used to fuel the spells within it. With the staff in hand, you can use your action to cast one of the following spells from the staff if the spell is on your class’s spell list: mage armor (1 charge) or shield (2 charges). No components are required. The staff regains 1d6 + 4 expended charges each day at dawn. If you expend the staff’s last charge, roll a d20. On a 1, the staff shatters and is destroyed.

What rarity would this item belong to? (This is a question similar to homebrew "what rarity would my homebrew be", but the "homebrew" is actually official.)

This is an useful question for loot distribution.

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DNDBeyond lists it as "rare"

The Staff of Defense is listed on DNDBeyond here:

Staff, rare (requires attunement)

The item description is only visible on DNDBeyond if you own the adventure there - or at least the item from it. You can see it (and its rarity) in the list of official magic items here, even if you don't own the adventure.


This fits with Mike Mearls' statement on Twitter in January 2016:

in your opinion what rarity would the “staff of defence” pg 53 lost mines of phandelver

I think I'd make it rare - getting shield a bunch of times is super useful.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Is that in the "homebrew" section of DnDBeyond? Does it show the source if not? \$\endgroup\$ – GPPK Aug 2 '18 at 15:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @GPPK that link is hidden behind the module pay wall. I don't think a homebrew would be associated like that. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Aug 2 '18 at 19:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ It is indeed official. Someone shared the Legendary Bundle with me, so I have access to the content from all the official corebooks, supplements, and adventures. (And yeah, DNDBeyond doesn't allow people to sell homebrew, only share it for free or keep it private.) You can see it (and its rarity) in the list of official magic items here, even if you don't own the adventure. I've edited that link into the answer as well. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Aug 2 '18 at 19:37
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Mearls response

Mike Mearls answers it in his twitter.

I think I'd make it rare - getting shield a bunch of times is super useful.

Adventurer's League Certificate

It also seems, from this spreadsheet and from comments on ENWorld, GiP and Reddit, the item has a certificate indicating it's Rare as well. I don't own the certificate myself, so I can't confirm, but it seems to be the case.

So, from the closest we can get to official sources, the item is classified as Rare. The same appears to be true for Spider Staff, described in the last chapter and also unique to LMoP.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ While mearls' tweets may be helpful, they aren't official. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Aug 2 '18 at 19:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ That's why I mention "from the closest we can get to official sources". Although I do think V2Blast's DNDBeyond link is more official than that, so I'll probably be accepting his answer. \$\endgroup\$ – HellSaint Aug 2 '18 at 19:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ How is a Shield that you have to cast as an action, instead of reaction, useful? \$\endgroup\$ – RonLugge Aug 2 '18 at 20:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ @RonLugge That's Mearls response - he usually answers tweets, feel free to ask him. :P - twitter.com/mikemearls/status/692508618277658624 \$\endgroup\$ – HellSaint Aug 2 '18 at 20:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @RonLugge For me, the main strength of SoD is actually the passive +1 AC. AC is hard to come. Most spellcasters can, in some way, profit from the fact they are casting spells (Wizard on Abj school, for example, would profit from casting shield), even if +5 AC is essentially the same as using Dodge. That said, my personal "power level rarity" would be Uncommon. \$\endgroup\$ – HellSaint Aug 2 '18 at 20:22

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