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Hand of the Apprentice / Touch Attack


Rules Questions

Shadow Lodge

Okay, so ... I was explaining "Hand of the Apprentice" to a player, who asked, "So can I use that with a wand that does touch attacks?"

To which I cleverly responded, "... Buh."

Wand Activation wrote:
Wands use the spell trigger activation method, so casting a spell from a wand is usually a standard action that doesn't provoke attacks of opportunity ... To activate a wand, a character must hold it in hand (or whatever passes for a hand, for nonhumanoid creatures) and point it in the general direction of the target or area. A wand may be used while grappling or while swallowed whole.

So you have to be holding the wand to activate it, I'm hip. But from that phrasing, I would say it's fair for the character to use the wand itself to make contact with the enemy, right? I certainly always pictured a wand of Magic Missile generating the spell from the tip of the wand; I don't see any reason to change that image for a touch spell. So ...

Hand of the Apprentice wrote:
You cause your melee weapon to fly from your grasp and strike a foe before instantly returning to you. As a standard action, you can make a single attack using a melee weapon at a range of 30 feet.

So if you can use the wand to activate Ghoul Touch and then make your melee attack, and the whole point of HotA is to make a melee attack at range only more accurately (since you're a Wizard using Intelligence to modify the attack), can you use HotA to deliver the spell if it's the wand that goes flying?

I feel like the answer should be "no," but I can't find a good reason in the rules to support that. Even if it's not strictly rules-legal, should I let the player get away with it? The party has been struggling a little with combat tactics, and this would certainly help, so ... I just don't know. Thoughts?


You are correct, the answer is no. The wand is not a weapon. It is a repository for spells.

Just have the player with HotA pick up the next ogre's club he finds.

Grand Lodge

Hand of the Apprentice allows you to make a thrown weapon attack. Activating a wand is not a thrown weapon attack. Clubbing someone with a wand is unlikely to do more than nonlethal damage and could easily break the item.

Shadow Lodge

Ed Girallon Poe wrote:
The wand is not a weapon.

Bing! Perfect. Thank you.


Ed Girallon Poe wrote:
The wand is not a weapon.

Sure it is.

Just about anything can be used as an improvised weapon.

The trick is action economy. Activating a wand is a standard action, using hand of the apprentice is also a standard action, so there's no way to do both.

Now we move on to holding the charge. Can a wand hold a charge? Is the charge held in the wand? What would happen if you simply threw the wand? Would the spell discharge? What would happen if you threw your severed hand that was holding a charge?

I'm inclined to think that since you need to be holding the wand to activate it, that includes delivering any charges.


Quantum Steve wrote:
Can a wand hold a charge? Is the charge held in the wand?

Why would it work any differently from casting a normal touch spell? The charge is held in the caster (or possibly in one hand, pending SKR's clarification). The wand isn't casting the spell, you are casting it from the wand. As the caster, you are the one that holds the charge.


Grick wrote:
Quantum Steve wrote:
Can a wand hold a charge? Is the charge held in the wand?

Why would it work any differently from casting a normal touch spell? The charge is held in the caster (or possibly in one hand, pending SKR's clarification). The wand isn't casting the spell, you are casting it from the wand. As the caster, you are the one that holds the charge.

In which case you would need not one, but two free hands to use a wand containing a touch spell (one to use the wand, and one to deliver the spell). That in itself makes it dramatically different, both from casting a normal touch spell and from using any other wand.


Quantum Steve wrote:
In which case you would need not one, but two free hands to use a wand containing a touch spell (one to use the wand, and one to deliver the spell).

Depending on how the 'stored charge' thing is resolved, and only if you're holding the charge. You're not holding the charge until the end of the turn, so you could cast the spell, free up a hand, then deliver the spell.

It's only if the FAQ really means the charge is in a hand, that you would discharge the spell into the wand after your turn is over.

Personally, I think it's a perfectly viable house rule to say that weapons, clothing, armor, rings, wands, etc. are exceptions to the "touch anything" clause of a held charge.

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