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I've got a character in my campaign who was lucky enough to snag a Rod of Lordly Might.

The snag is that she's a Hexblade Warlock, and she wants to use the Hex Warrior ability on the rod (basically get her CHA bonus on attack rolls)

Rod of Lordly Might

If you press button 1, the rod becomes a Flame Tongue as a fiery blade sprouts from the end opposite the rod's flanged head.

If you press button 2, the rod's flanged head folds down and two crescent-shaped blades spring out, transforming the rod into a magic Battleaxe that grants a +3 bonus to Attack and Damage Rolls made with it.

If you press button 3, the rod's flanged head folds down, a spear point springs from the rod's tip, and the rod's handle lengthens into a 6-foot haft, transforming the rod into a magic spear that grants a+3 bonus to Attack and Damage Rolls made with it.

My answer was, "No. It's a rod, not a weapon."

Her counter was, "What if I activate a form of the rod, then attune?"

My return answer was... "Uh, let me think about it."

My gut says, "Allow this, but as soon as the form of the rod changes, it's no longer a pact weapon."

But really the question is what's RAW?

(and yeah, I looked at Can the Rod of Pact Keeper +1 be selected as a pact weapon by a Pact of the Blade warlock?. Not exactly the same. This is a basic question of the primary Hex Warrior feature - XGE: page 55)

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Is your question about turning the Rod into a pact weapon or about using the hex warrior feature on it? Your wording is a bit confusing. \$\endgroup\$ – Szega Dec 21 '18 at 9:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ It’s confusing as anything, but please note that the weapon you choose with Hex Warrior is not a pact weapon! See this answer for all the gory details. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Dec 21 '18 at 15:52
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A rod can be a weapon too...and the Rod of Lordly Might is in fact a magic weapon

The Rod of Lordly Might has this text in its first paragraph:

This rod has a flanged head, and it functions as a magic mace that grants a +3 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with it.

So it's it's natural form it is a weapon, and thus a target for the Hex Warrior ability.

Additionally there is another rod which is explicitly a weapon:

Tentacle Rod

Made by the drow, this rod is a magic weapon that ends in three rubbery tentacles.

So just because something is a Rod does not preclude it from being a weapon (or indeed a magic weapon)

If it's chosen as the Hex Weapon in its base form, is it still considered the Hex Weapon in its other forms?

The relevant text of Hex Warrior we need to consider is:

The influence of your patron also allows you to mystically channel your will through a particular weapon. Whenever you finish a long rest, you can touch one weapon that you are proficient with and that lacks the two-handed property.

So we have three possible questions to answer here:

  1. Is it still the same named weapon? (ie is it still the Rod of Lordly Might in its other forms)
  2. Is the user proficient with the new forms?
  3. Do the new forms lack the two handed property?

Is it still the same named weapon? (ie is it still the Rod of Lordly Might in its other forms)

Yes, it is still a weapon and it is still a Rod of Lordly Might. As such I'd rule that it is still the same weapon for the purposes of the Hex Warrior feature in each of its forms.

Is the user proficient with the new forms?

Yes the Hexblade warlock is proficient with martial weapons and as such is proficient with all the weapon forms the rod can take.

Do the new forms lack the two handed property?

None of the new forms have the two-handed property so they are all still valid Hexblade weapons.

So the answer to the final part of the puzzle is that yes it is still the same weapon for the purposes of the Hex Warrior feature in each of its weapon forms.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ @Rubiksmoose Are all the pieces still present? Is it still a weapon? Yes? There's your answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Draco18s Dec 21 '18 at 16:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Draco18s it is helpful if all of the answer is in the actual answer which is what I was getting at and which illustro has taken care of. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Dec 21 '18 at 16:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ It may—or may not—be worth noting that if the rod of lordly might did change into a two-handed weapon or some weapon that the warlock wasn’t proficient with, we would be left with an ambiguous case: it is not at all clear that effects stop on targets that become invalid after they’re targeted, and the requirements on Hex Warrior are only on what the weapon must be to choose it. It may well be that you could continue using it in such a case. But that’s purely hypothetical as far as I know; I don’t think there are any weapons that can do that. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Dec 21 '18 at 18:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ I accepted this answer because it points out a few things I didn't take into account (In its base form, it's a mace) However, what happens when it becomes a ladder or a battering ram? I think I'm going to have to think a bit more on this. \$\endgroup\$ – Sum of e D pi Dec 21 '18 at 18:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SumofeDpi In the case of it turning into a non-weapon is a case I (intentionally) didn't deal with as in those case I would presume the warlock isn't going to be trying to use it as a weapon. I certainly wouldn't (from the perspective of fun in the game) rule that they had to reapply the feature to the Rod of Lordly Might each time they used a non-weapon form as that would just make the player never use those non-weapon forms (which takes away from the game imo) \$\endgroup\$ – illustro Dec 21 '18 at 19:43
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Your gut is correct.

Per the Hexblade's "Hex Warrior" skill:

The influence of your patron also allows you to mystically channel your will through a particular weapon. Whenever you finish a long rest, you can touch one weapon that you are proficient with and that lacks the two-handed property. When you attack with that weapon, you can use your Charisma modifier, instead of Strength or Dexterity, for the attack and damage rolls. This benefit lasts until you finish a long rest.

The Rod itself is not a weapon, however clicking buttons makes it into one of three weapons. Every day, the Hexblade can channel, or otherwise declare, the specific form of the weapon as their hex weapon.

So wake up and say, "Flame Tongue, I choose you." Then so long as the Rod is in Flame Tongue form, it works as a Hex weapon. But the other two act as normal.

The caster just can't change on a whim. It has to be after a long rest.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The Rod itself is a magic weapon (explicitly by its text). Additionally, just because something is a Rod doesn't mean it is not a weapon. See my answer for more details. \$\endgroup\$ – illustro Dec 21 '18 at 13:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ @illustro if tis is important for rule lawyers, rod "functions as a magic mace", not "is a magic mace". If this distinction means anything, I don't know, but it's there. \$\endgroup\$ – Mołot Dec 21 '18 at 15:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Mołot If it “functions as a magic mace,” without caveat, then when it functions as a magic mace for any function you might want to make of it—including choosing it with Hex Warrior. Also, the “It’s sorta possible” header is incorrect, even stipulating the rest of the answer, since it would appear to answer the title question, but the question is erroneous (conflating pact weapons and the weapon chosen with Hex Warrior). \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Dec 21 '18 at 15:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ And in any event, you act as though transforming the rod of lordly might results in an entirely separate object, which is preposterous. This is still the same object, the same weapon, that was originally chosen with Hex Warrior. Of course the benefit would still apply. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Dec 21 '18 at 15:56
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Why not let them have it?

RAW, the Rod functions as a magic mace. If the Hexblade wants to use it as the target of his hexblade effect, then it can function as a magic mace for that effect (ref: illustro's answer). Additionally, you can push buttons and transform it into other weapons, which are all valid targets. That part is pretty straightforward.

The real question is whether attaching the effect to the mace form lets you then use the other weapons without changing the effect target. It's not clear, as the Hexblade rules don't account for targeting a weapon that then transforms into a different weapon. It's going to have to be your call. I would suggest that you allow it, though.

Doing otherwise strips away some of the awesome that the Rod of Lordly Might is supposed to have. The intent of the rod is that it's a magical item that lets you swap between weapon forms as needed. Having the Hexblade thing work poorly with that effectively removes a chunk of that.

Letting them have the full range doesn't lead to any major balance issues. They still don't get more than one weapon at a time (and therefore can't dual wield). It doesn't let them have access to any weapons that are more powerful than the weapons they'd have access to anyway. At that point, it's basically a ribbon. If they were overpowered with it, they'd be overpowered without it.

So, if they get to have more awesome to play with (good!) and it doesn't really make them notably more powerful (potentially important) then the only thing left to worry about is the potential spotlight distribution issues. It's true that having access to a fully operational Rod of Lordly Might is likely to give them a bit more spotlight, and that's something to watch out for... but it's also something you can fix by consciously adjusting who get's the attention, without having to limit a PC's Awesome Thing.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Absolutely agreed, and the most important point. But it might be worth pointing out that despite changing form, the rod of lordly might is still the same object you chose with Hex Warrior in the first place, so there is no real reason to suspect that changing form would break the effect. (Also, probably should avoid the word “attune”—Hex Warrior doesn’t use it, and it means something rather different in the context of magic items.) \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Dec 21 '18 at 15:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan Valid point. Wording changed. \$\endgroup\$ – Ben Barden Dec 21 '18 at 18:04
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No

You can transform one Magic Weapon into your pact weapon …

No matter how you use it the Rod of Lordly Might remains a Rod, not a Magic Weapon.

Or ...

The influence of your patron also allows you to mystically channel your will through a particular weapon.

A rod is a rod, not a weapon.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I would beg to differ. The wording of the item states that the rod "becomes a Flame Tongue" and "transforms" into the other weapons. That would indicate that it is no longer a rod, but one of the three weapons. \$\endgroup\$ – MivaScott Dec 21 '18 at 8:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ As pointed out in my answer the Rod of Lordly Might is explicitly a magic weapon in its base form. So your first paragraph is wrong. \$\endgroup\$ – illustro Dec 21 '18 at 13:37

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