[RPG] Does the Wand of Magic Missiles completely overpower the regular Magic Missile spell?


To my knowledge, the Wand of Magic Missiles does the exact same thing as the magic missile spell, except it can cast more than most lower-level wizards can. Now, I know that at higher levels, magic missile is kind of pointless (except against multiple low-health enemies). I also know that if I use up all the charges and roll a 1 on the subsequent d20 roll, it gets destroyed. So, does this balance it out, or do this and things like it leave the magic missile spell useless?

Best Answer

The wand is more powerful, but only on day one of the adventure, and only with very low level wizards

The Wand of Magic Missiles is more powerful than a low-level wizard, but it's slower to recharge than the wizard's spellcasting, so you can't use it often.

If you cast the level 7 version, or cast seven level 1 versions, your wand is now empty. There's only a one-in-six chance that it will recover all its charges the next day. Most likely, your wand recovers some of its charges, and you now have to wait for it to recharge.

A wizard, on the other hand, can cast magic missile every single day, multiple times per day. When he's higher level, he can still use all his low-level spell slots on magic missile.

The wand can cast magic missile seven times per day - six, if you aren't willing to risk losing this valuable item over 1d4+1 damage - and while that's more than a wizard's 1st level slots, the wizard can also cast magic missile in his higher level slots, so the wand is only really more powerful than a wizard at very low level.

And even then, that's six or seven magic missiles on the first day, then maybe you only recover 3 charges the next day. Now it's got fewer uses than a 2nd level wizard, and on average you'll have to entirely forgo the wand on day 2 of the adventure if you want to to recharge to 7, and even then it's not a sure thing.

The wizard, on the other hand, can keep casting, all day every day, and does not have a 5% chance to burn out when he casts his last magic missile.

It's also unlikely to randomly generate that item when you're level 1. On the magic items chart for level 0-4, the treasure hoard has a 12% chance to give you 1d4 rolls on Table F, which in turn has a 2% chance of giving you that wand. So while any character can be a wizard or sorcerer, acquiring that wand at a level where it's stronger than a wizard is uncommon.