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Warlocks and Sorcerers share Charisma as their spellcasting ability and both can use an arcane focus. The Rod of the Pact Keeper is a focus for warlocks. Can a multiclass Warlock/Sorcerer use the Rod of the Pact Keeper as a focus for both spell casting classes but without the extra abilities the rod give the warlock?

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Yes.

Let's make a little checklist:

  • Requires Attunement by a Warlock. You are a warlock, check.
  • It's an arcane focus. Both of your classes can use an arcane focus, check.

There's no reason you wouldn't be able to use as an arcane focus for both classes since you have the only two requirements of the item. As you said, your sorcerer spells can't benefit from the bonus but the special ability only requires you to hold the rod, use an action and have a spent warlock spell slot.

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Rod of the pact keeper isn't a spellcasting focus.

Here's the complete, current rules text for the rod of the pact keeper:

While holding this rod, you gain a bonus to spell attack rolls and to the saving throw DCs of your warlock spells. The bonus is determined by the rod’s rarity.

In addition, you can regain 1 warlock spell slot as an action while holding the rod. You can’t use this property again until you finish a long rest.

Nowhere does it say that the rod can be used as a spellcasting focus for any class.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Nor does any wand, but Jeremy Crawford said in the Sage Advice that every wand can be used as such. I believe the same applies to magical rods and staves. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 18, 2018 at 8:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ @AguinaldoSilvestre Even an immovable rod, which has nothing to do with casting spells? Even a +1 quarterstaff? \$\endgroup\$
    – Marq
    Aug 18, 2018 at 8:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Marq That's because a +1 Quarterstaff isn't a Staff. A Rod of the Pact Keeper or Immovable Rod is still a Rod, so it should be able to be used as a spellcasting focus. \$\endgroup\$
    – nick012000
    Aug 18, 2018 at 9:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ @nick012000 My point is there is no written rules support for that. \$\endgroup\$
    – Marq
    Aug 18, 2018 at 9:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ @AguinaldoSilvestre: I think the issue here is over different interpretations of the equipment description An arcane focus is a special item ... a rod ... designed to channel the power of arcane spells \$\endgroup\$
    – user11450
    Aug 18, 2018 at 15:52
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A magic item must specify that it can be used as an arcane focus.

There are several magic items that belong1 to the list (orb, wand, crystal, staff, rod) of arcane focus types, and each of them specifies that it can be used as an arcane focus: see for example the Astral Shard (crystal), the Orb of Shielding (orb), the Ruby Weave Gem (crystal).

Since the Rod of the Pact Keeper does not list this option, it cannot be used in first instance as an arcane focus.

An item designed for being an arcane focus could be used as such by a multiclass spellcaster.

If an item, magic or not, is specifically designed to be an arcane focus then it could be used as focus by both casting features. For example, the Orb of Shielding states:

If you're a spellcaster, you can use this orb as a spellcasting focus.

A Warlock/Sorcerer can hence use this magic orb as an arcane focus for spells belonging to both classes.

There are other magic items that are arcane focus for a specific class. See the Dark Shard Amulet:

You can use the amulet as a spellcasting focus for your warlock spells.

In this case, such item works as an arcane focus only for Warlock spells, and cannot be used for Sorcerer ones.


1 See this answer of mine for other magic items that do not belong to the types list of arcane focuses but they can be employed as such.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The 3 items you cite at the start of this answer all include text specifying that they can be used as foci because their usage as foci is non-standard. That is, they can all be used as foci in specific ways that nonmagical foci cannot. The Astral Shard can be used as a spellcasting focus while wearing it (normal foci must be held); the Orb of Shielding and Ruby Weave Gem can be used by any spellcasters, even those that can't normally use orbs/crystals as foci. Hence, these items are not evidence that a magic item must include such text to be used normally as a focus. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 2, 2023 at 2:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @RyanC.Thompson I completely disagree. The shard text says: "You can use the shard as a spellcasting focus while you hold or wear it", so it specifies that you can use it as an arcane focus even with the usual way of usage. The Ruby Weave Gem and the Orb of Shieldgin are specifying this usage even for spellcasters that can use orbs for as focus. \$\endgroup\$
    – Eddymage
    Oct 2, 2023 at 5:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ If it just said "You can use the shard as a spellcasting focus while you wear it", it would be confusing. Does that override the normal rule that one must hold a focus to use it, or does it add to it? Wording it as "hold or wear" removes the ambiguity, at the very minor cost of being slightly redundant with the normal spellcasting rules. Likewise for the other items: the special rules for using these items as foci overlap with the normal rules, which is redundant but unambiguous. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 2, 2023 at 11:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @RyanC.Thompson Again, I vibrantly disagree: the fact that has to specify it confirms that a magic item must list this property, it is not automatic. Indeed, the description of focuses says: "An arcane focus is a special item designed to channel the power of arcane spells." Magic items must be designed to be arcane focuses \$\endgroup\$
    – Eddymage
    Oct 2, 2023 at 11:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ Let us continue this discussion in chat. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 2, 2023 at 15:33

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