Affordable Arcana: Magic Rods is a sourcebook that adds some flavor to Pathfinder games. The book is simply a list of low-powered magical rods that can be integrated into just about any Pathfinder campaign. For dungeon masters, this is a great tool at many points in the campaign in that it’s a great way to provide your players with useful, yet not over-powering magical items at lower levels in the campaign. Many of the items give a low-level bonus (+1, +2, or +3) to skill checks. Much of the items in the book are of this nature, giving you some very nice options that add a lot of flavor to your game in lieu of giving your players the same old low-level items that they are used to getting in a standard campaign setting.
Some items are a great help if you’re a DM running a low-magic campaign or if you’re just not willing to give your players +1 magical items yet. One such item is the Rod of Tyranny act as a great replacement for a +1 magical weapon. This rod acts as a masterwork mace that gives a +1 to intimidate checks and penalizes opponents by -1 on the same check, but gives no magical bonus to hit or damage. Or if you’re a DM who is just trying to help your players make it out of the lower levels, the Rod of Battle Casting can be a big help to inexperienced casters with a +2 to their combat casting checks.
Later in a campaign, this book provides options for treasure that is still useful in some situations. Items, such as the Rod of the Climbing Claw can be useful in mid-to-higher levels of a campaign, since it acts as a magical grappling hook that never misses its mark. The Rod of the Blacksmith repairs 2d4+2 points of damage to arms and armor per day. That can deal with the pesky problem of occasionally needing to repair weapons or armor, which every player faces at every level. Casters of any level will find it useful to keep around a Short-Ranged Rod to add 10 feet to spells with a 25’ range up to 3 times per day.
We recommend this book for DMs looking for magic items that provide something new and fresh, something to limit the magic level, or something to help your players survive. Players have plenty of reason to check out this book as well. If your caster character just took the “craft rod” feat, this book provides more options at very low cost that can make your character more versatile.
- Reviewed by William Paprocki (GeeksAGogo.com)