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This question is about the Rare magic item "Rod of Absorption" from D&D 5th Edition.

How the rod absorbs spells and gains levels of energy seems clear enough, my uncertainty is about how attuned spellcasters "convert" energy into spell slots. This section of the item's description is the relevant part (pg195 DMG, also in the SRD):

If you are a spellcaster holding the rod, you can convert energy stored in it into spell slots to cast spells you have prepared or know. You can create spell slots only of a level equal to or lower than your own spell slots, up to a maximum of 5th level. You use the stored levels in place of your slots, but otherwise cast the spell as normal. For example, you can use 3 levels stored in the rod as a 3rd-level spell slot.

What exactly happens when you convert levels of energy into spell slots?

For example: consider Alice the variant human fighter 1* (no other multiclass levels) who has taken the Magic Initiate feat which includes the ability to cast a 1st level spell:

  • she would be a spellcaster
  • 1st level spell from Magic Initiate is a "spell known" (Page 3, Sage Advice Compendium, Jeremy Crawford - published 2020 April 6th),
  • then attunes to a Rod of Absorption with at least 1 level of energy

Can Alice create a spell slot and use it to cast whatever 1st level spell she knows from her Magic Initiate feat even if she has already cast a spell using the Magic Initiate feat and by the rules of the feat "Once you cast it, you must finish a long rest before you can cast it again using this feat."

Is this an action under the Use An Object (PHB pg 193) rule that Alice can take at any time, even days before she would want to use this spell slot to cast her known 1st level spell?

Once Alice has created a spell slot for herself can she then end-attunement from the Rod of Absorption and keep this spell slot until she uses it?

If this is correct, can Alice spend 50 levels of energy from a Rod of Absorption to give herself 50 level-1 spell slots to cast the single 1st level spell she knows from Magic Initiate?

I'd expect that any spell slots disappear when used and wouldn't expect any spell slot created by Rod of Absorption to return after a long rest.

*PS: I know a level 1 fighter would not or should not get access to magic item as powerful as a Rod of Absorption, the low level is to focus the question on a PC with limited abilities.

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You create slots AS you cast a spell.

The wording on the item is a bit confusing, but the following line makes it clear that the spell slots are not created to be used later:

You use the stored levels in place of your slots, but otherwise cast the spell as normal.

The expression "in place of" is relevant here.

Since replacing the spell slots or creating them while casting, they cannot be kept for later (with or without attunement). Nor are they regenerated. Incidentally, creating regenerating spell slots would be completely unbalanced since the number that could be created would exceed the number of slots that even a high level caster gains. Even if slots of levels 6 to 9 are inaccessible.

The restriction on Magic Initiate is independent of spell slots.

Concerning Magic Initiate, the Rod only provides a spell slot for a spell and does not change any other restrictions. The restriction:

once cast, you cannot do so again until you finish a long rest

is independent from spell slots and therefore not affected by the Rod.

Magic Initiate makes you a spellcaster but it does not give spell slots.

The Rod can only provide spell slots of any level that you already have them. A fighter without Eldritch Knight martial archetype or multiclassed with a Spellcasting class does not have any spell slots so the Rod can create none in this case.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ So you need the ability to cast a spell from a spell slot (and it must be a SLOT) then you can cast a spell known/prepared using the Rod's 'Energy' regardless of the status of your spell slots. The spell slots could all be spent or whatever. Wouldn't it have been nice if Magic Initiate said it just gave you a 1st level spell slot and a 1st level spell known. \$\endgroup\$ – TREB Jun 4 at 11:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ @TREB the reason why it doesn't say that is because then it'd be so good that every single spellcaster would have to take it. Having an additional 1st level spellslot is way better than just being able to cast a single specific 1st level spell once per day without using one. \$\endgroup\$ – Cubic Jun 4 at 11:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ Every spellcaster take "it"? You mean take the rod or the feat? As "able to cast a single specific 1st level spell once per day" would be Magic Initiate. A wizard holding an attuned Rod of Absorption containing 50 levels of energy could cast Shield 50 times in a single day all that wizard would have to do was have Shield prepared. \$\endgroup\$ – TREB Jun 4 at 12:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ @TREB No, Magic Initiate, if it gave a 1st level spell slot instead of just letting you cast a 1 single 1st level spell per day. I'm not sure how you're confused given that I was replying to what you said. Also, I think you're still misunderstanding the rod; Once it has absorbed 50 spell levels it breaks, no matter what. Even if you use its power to cast spells, the number doesn't go down. So that wizard could do that exactly once with the rod, then never again. \$\endgroup\$ – Cubic Jun 10 at 9:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's quite clear to me now what you were referring to the feat not rod acting differently. I always knew about how the Rod could only absorb 50 levels of spells regardless of whatever "energy levels" are reached or spent. I didn't redundantly reiterate that as it wasn't relevant to state the obvious. \$\endgroup\$ – TREB Jun 10 at 10:11
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Magic Initiate doesn’t give you the ability to use the second ability of the Rod

The rod is somewhat poorly worded, but this much at least is pretty clear:

Magic Initiate does not give you spell slots, nor does it give you the ability to cast spells using spell slots. What it does is giving you a spell you know and cast once per day, nothing about spell slots. You don’t have any spell slots, and the rod can’t create spell slots of a higher level than you already have naturally – so in this case, it can’t create any spell slots for you. Nor does it give you the ability to use spell slots to do something you couldn’t have already done before with a spell slot; And Magic Initiate does not give you the ability to cast spells using a spell slot. That is only granted by the Spellcasting or Pact Magic features, neither of which you have.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Is that the "You can create spell slots only of a level equal to or lower than your own spell slots" clause? But if you DID have just a single spell slot (such as from Eldritch Knight) you could potentially have 50 spell slots? Would those spell slots persist even if you ended attunement to the Rod of Absorption? These spell slots would obviously not persist after being spent and wouldn't replenish after a short or long rest as no rule says they do. \$\endgroup\$ – TREB Jun 4 at 11:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @TREB as the other answer states, that's the poorly worded part. The rod doesn't actually give you spell slots, it just gives you the ability to use stored spell levels in the rod as if they were spell slots. So with 50 stored spell levels you could cast 50 1st level spells in a row, but you'd never actually have 50 1st level spell slots. \$\endgroup\$ – Cubic Jun 4 at 11:39

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