How does the magic item Quaal's feather token work (DMG, p. 188)?

  1. Am I right in assuming that if I get the (Bird) feather token from having/crafting this magic item, I get a fully functioning Roc (apart from its inability to attack)?
  2. It talks about how long the Roc lasts for. As long as it has a positive HP and I do not dismiss it or make it fly for a full day at maximum capacity, does it live for centuries like a usual Roc does?

Sorry if these seem like dull questions, but I think it is quite overpowered to have a Roc (a CR 11 creature) to take you around adventuring especially when the magic item (Quaal's feather token) is only rare.


2 Answers 2


First of all, the magic item Quaal's Feather Token has a single-use effect (DMG, p. 188):

This tiny object looks like a feather. Different types of feather tokens exist, each with a different single-use effect.

Secondly, as you specified the creature cannot attack. Part of a creature's CR comes from the amount of damage it can deal per round, but in this case no damage can be dealt. That said, it does not seem overpowered to me.

As for the second point:

The bird disappears after flying its maximum distance for a day or if it drops to 0 hit points. You can dismiss the bird as an action.

These are the only conditions that cause the creature to disappear. Without these conditions, the creature remains.


The phrase "The bird disappears after flying its maximum distance for a day" can be read at least two different ways:

  1. (The bird disappears after flying) (its maximum distance for a day), i.e. the bird disappears after flying 144 miles (because its maximum distance for a day is 144 miles, including rests);
  2. or (The bird disappears after) (flying its maximum distance for a day), i.e. the bird disappears after it has a day in which it fly 144 miles (or 72 miles at half speed).

Given that most of the other tokens except the tree (which is permanent) have a limited effect (usually by time), interpretation #1 is probably how it was intended.

Otherwise you could fly 143 miles per day, stopping one mile short, and keep the bird forever.

Note that I'd probably still let it fly 144 miles (the maximum) even if at half speed -- it has the same (theoretical) maximum (144 miles), just takes twice as long because it is half speed.

Same if it flew 36 miles per day, for four days, just because the characters wanted to take some breaks.

You could still use the bird as a guardian (stay in one spot), and it would be imposing, even if it can't attack.


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