Been fooling around with my artificer character, who has Eldritch Fusillade Expertise, which among other things states the following:

"Draw or stow a wand and load crossbow as free action."

Now a little known fact (PHB 242) about wands in 4e is that you can craft them with any encounter or encounter-utility spell, turning them into a magic item daily use ability.

Let's say I created a wand with the wizard spell "Shield", which is an immediate interrupt. In order to use the wand as an interrupt, would I need to be holding it in my hand when attacked, or could I have it in my character's pack or holster and draw it as part of the immediate interrupt "round"?

To use a magic item's power do you have to be "Wielding" it or just have it on your person?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Would be nice to include the text of Shield. \$\endgroup\$ – DCShannon Jul 3 '14 at 23:00

You have to Wield every item in the appropriate slot, so amulets in the neck, weapon and implements in the hand and so on, except for Holy Symbols, Ki focuses, and Wondrous items, those are slotless, but you have to carry them on yor person.

You can not interrupt your action with a free action, unless a power specifically tells you so. A famous example is Swordmage Warding, you can not put your other hand on the hilt of your Versatile Longsword for an Opportunity attack for +1 damage. Similarly, you can not interrupt the Interrupt of Shield with a free action.

You can initiate free actions whenever you want, but when they resolve are determined by the rules of the game:

If an effect has a trigger but is neither an immediate action nor an opportunity action, assume that it behaves like an immediate reaction, waiting for its trigger to completely resolve. (Rules Compendium, p195)

So the sequence of thing happening looks like this:

  1. Triggering action starts (enemy hits you for Shield, or moves away for Opportunity Attack)
  2. Free Action starts (get the wand, or place hand on the sword)
  3. Triggering Action resolves (you take damage, or attack with OA)
  4. Free Action resolves (you have the Wand in hand, or two hands on the hilt)

4 is too late, because those Free Actions are Reactions. For them to have any effect, they would have to be Interrupts, but they are not. (see citation)

  • \$\begingroup\$ You can use free actions pretty much whenever you want. I'm not sure what action you think he's interrupting. I believe that you can put your other hand on your longsword's hilt for an opportunity attack. Quick draw says you can draw a weapon for an attack, but he's not attacking. It also says you can get an object in order to use it, but it distinguishes between object and weapon, so I'm not sure that applies to using the item power on a magic weapon. \$\endgroup\$ – DCShannon Jul 3 '14 at 23:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ You can put your hand on the hilt in time for a Reaction, as in the question you mention. But it is too late for an opportunity action or an immediate interrupt, as shown above. \$\endgroup\$ – András Jul 5 '14 at 21:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ @András do you have a cite for that? Putting your other hand on your sword is not a triggered action and thus would not be subject to the rule you mentioned. (Though more importantly, the text of this feat can only be used on your turn) \$\endgroup\$ – wax eagle Jul 7 '14 at 20:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ You can end all your turns with a free action to put your other hand on the hilt. But if you only put it there if an OA is needed (so on a trigger) you make it triggered. RC p195 \$\endgroup\$ – András Jul 7 '14 at 20:37

You can use a free action whenever you want. So, if you can pull out your wand as a free action, then you can have it out when you're hit, and use the immediate reaction. However, the feat in question does not let you do this on other creatures' turns.


I believe you need to be wielding a magic weapon to use its power. I can't actually find a rules reference for this, but I'll be assuming as much for the rest of this answer.

So, given that assumption, you need to have the wand in your hand when you're hit, as the trigger for Shield is "You are hit by an attack". I believe you would have to get the wand out by the time the enemy attacked, perhaps when they move into an adjacent square. I'm not sure if you could pull it out between an attack being declared and the dice being rolled, or even after the dice being rolled. This isn't Magic: The Gathering, and these timing issues are not as explicitly defined as they could be.

As far as when pulling out the wand "resolves", note that this free action is not a triggered action, and therefore any rules about when triggered actions resolve do not apply.

The Rules Compendium describes Triggered Actions on page 195:

A triggered action is any action that can be taken only when a specific trigger occurs. A trigger is an action, an event, or an effect that allows the use of a triggered action.

Since you are allowed to pull out your wand without having to wait for any specific trigger, the action is not triggered.

Drawing the Wand

I specified earlier that this works if you can draw your wand as a free action. As silversociety pointed out, Eldritch Fusillade actually says that you can draw or stow a wand as a free action on your turn. I found the full text for the feat in a revised version of an article from Dragon Magazine 402 called Tools of Two Trades:

Benefit: You gain a +1 feat bonus to attack rolls that you make with a crossbow or a wand. This bonus increases to +2 at 11th level and +3 at 21st level.
You can also draw or stow a wand once per round as a free action on your turn, and you can load a crossbow as a free action.

Because it is not normally your turn when you're attacked, this doesn't work because you can't draw the wand as a free action. If it was your turn, then it would work. So you could do this in response to an attack of opportunity, but you would really just want to get the wand out before even moving.

Alternative Feat

András pointed out that the feat Quick Draw may allow this. Quick Draw, from the Player's Handbook, says:

Prerequisite: Dex 13
Benefit: You can draw a weapon (or an object stored in a belt pouch, bandolier, or similar container, such as a potion) as part of the same action used to attack with the weapon or use the object.
You also gain a +2 feat bonus to initiative checks.

If your wand counts as an "object stored in a...", and activating Shield is an example of "use the object", then maybe this could work. However, you're drawing it as part of using the action, the action is an immediate interrupt, and the interrupt won't be triggered because you don't currently have the wand equipped, so you would never have the opportunity to draw.


Yes, you need to have the wand in your hand when hit. Yes, if you can draw a wand as a free action then you can do this right before you are hit. No, Eldritch Fusillade does not allow you to draw your wand as a free action on other people's turns.


From PHB 267 a free action states "...you can take as many free actions as you want during your turn or another combatants turn."

From PHB 268 an interrupt action states "an immediate interrupt lets you jump in when a certain trigger condition arises, acting before the trigger resolves. If an interrupt invalidates a triggering action, that action is lost."

From PHB 269 it says under "Actions on Other Turns" that you can do free actions, immediate actions and opportunity actions".

With all of this together I think your defensive idea would work as intended. First you would use a free action to drop your weapon from your main hand. Then you would use the free action to draw your wand into your main hand. Then you would use the immediate interrupt encounter power on the wand.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I just read the full definition of eldritch fusillade expertise that says that "you can also draw or stow a wand once per round as a free action on your turn, and you can load a crossbow as a free action". The on your turn part makes the above unachievable. \$\endgroup\$ – silversociety Dec 27 '13 at 8:01

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