As far as I know wands seem to work like this.

Wand of Magic Missile made by anybody who can with the Craft Wands feat, the bare minimum of a caster level of 5 and an Int of 13 would function much like this...

The wand fires a single Magic Missile towards it intended target.

With that, how would one get wands with spells like Magic Missile, that get multiple missiles/rays at higher levels function that way.

EX: Wiz of Lv 9 casts Magic Missile firing 5 missiles at the intended target.

How could I get that kind of effect with a wand?

Does it mean using more than one charge?

If so is that another Use Magi Device check per charge use?


2 Answers 2


To create a more powerful wand, create a wand that possesses a higher caster level

It sounds like many of the wands in the campaigns you've been in have been created at their minimum caster levels, which is what folks most of time want wands for: having a particular spell on hand that doesn't need to scale. Actual spells are usually considered better than wands for combat because spells use the caster's statistics but wands typically use the minimum statistics. The saving throw DC of a caster's own color spray spell, for example, can be in the 20s, but the default saving throw DC of color spray spell from a wand of color spray (1st-level spell at caster level 1) is… um… 11. This, for example, makes a wand of cure light wounds (1st-level spell at caster level 1) awesome for out-of-combat healing but a wand of fireball (3rd-level spell at caster level 5) typically a waste of gp as combat option.

However, a wand needn't be created at the minimum caster level necessary to cast a spell. Making a powerful wand—like a wand of magic missiles that, when activated, spews five missiles instead of one—means creating the wand of magic missiles so that it possesses a higher caster level. On Magic Item creation, in part, says, "A creator can create an item at a lower caster level than her own, but never lower than the minimum level needed to cast the needed spell." (The formula for determining the market price of a wand is 750 gp × spell level × caster level; see here.) (And for more on this sometimes-confounding statement see answers to this question and this question.)

Thus a wizard 9 that possesses the feat Craft Wand could create a wand of magic missile (1st-level spell at caster level 1), but she could also create a wand of magic missile (1st-level spell at caster level 5) or a wand of magic missile (1st-level spell at caster level 9).

The first wand has a market price of 750 gp (15 gp/charge) and spews 1 missile per activation; the third wand has a market price of 3,750 gp (75 gp/charge) and spews 3 missiles per activation; the third wand has a market price of 6,750 gp (135 gp/charge) and spews 5 missiles per activation.

The typical creature—even the typical creature that possesses a lot of ranks in the Use Magic Device skill—can't simply elect to expend more charges from a wand to generate from that wand a greater effect. Many class features and feats, however, make wands better, and it wouldn't surprise me if there were an ability like that out there somewhere.

Note: This answer eschews enumerating the myriad of ways that game elements can expand the utility of wands in favor of addressing what the writer views as the question's fundamental issue. Somebody braver than I can list all the game elements that are available to improve facility with wands.


Wands with Higher Caster Levels

Most wands operate at the minimum caster level and ability score to cast the spell in question. For example, a Wand of Burning Hands (1st-level spell) is usually treated as a spell cast by a 1st-level wizard with an Int of 11 - it does 1d4 fire damage with a DC 11 Ref save for half. Similarly, a Wand of Web (2nd-level spell) would be treated as cast by a 3rd-level wizard with an Int of 12 - it lasts 30 minutes (10 mins/caster level) and has a DC 13 Ref save.

It's possible to create a wand with a higher caster level than usual. You can create them yourself, or you can sometimes find them as treasure. These wands are more expensive than usual, even if you create them yourself. Because the cost formula is 750 gp × spell level × caster level, it's often not worth the price - for one extreme example, a Wand of Cure Light Wounds with caster level 2 (CL2) costs twice as much as a CL1 wand and heals 1d8+2 instead of 1d8+1.

However, a wand is always treated as cast with the minimum Int value required (or whatever the caster's primary stat is). As such, the saving throw value is often low compared to spells you could cast yourself. As such, many players purchase focus on wands for spells where the benefit of a higher caster level is minimal, such as Comprehend Languages (CL only affects duration) or Endure Elements (CL has no effect).

Staff-Like Wand

Ultimate Magic introduced Arcane Discoveries that wizards can take in place of feats. The Staff-Like Wand discovery has steep requirements (11th-level wizard with the Craft Staff feat), but allows you to use any wand at your full caster level, with your full Int stat for the save DC and the benefits of all of your feats. This greatly increases the power of wands without increasing their crafting cost.


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