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Wands are the primary tool for using magic. They make casting much easier, and have special properties of their own. Some even believe wands are "quasi-sentient," possessive a limited form of intelligence. Hence Garrick Ollivander's famous phrase: "The wand chooses the wizard."
The bond between a wizard and a wand is a complex and poorly understood phenomenon. It can be said with certainty that there isn't merely one wand out there for a given wizard. But some wands are clearly better suited for a particular wizard than others. Everything about a wand affects its "personality" — wood, core, length, flexibility, and possibly even its creator, age, and other less obvious criteria.
A wand in the wrong hands — that is to say, a wand that does not bear "allegiance" to its wielder — is less effective, inflicting a -2 penalty to all spell casting rolls. However, a wand in the proper hands functions normally, and is highly resistant to most forms of magic. Unless a spell's description specifically states otherwise, a wand on the person of its proper owner cannot be targeted with magic by other wizards. This is what makes the Disarming Charm such a useful spell in duels.
A wand that is no longer in physical contact with its owner can be targeted by other spells, but even then, such spells suffer a -4 penalty as the wand attempts to resist any wizard that is not its owner.
A wizard who has no wand allegiance, such as a young wizard choosing their first wand for school, will generally try numerous wands before finding the right one. When the right connection is finally made, the wand will give some sign to the wizard or witch that it has chosen him or her. This might be as subtle as a warmth emanating to the young wizard's hand, to an ethereal song, to a manifestation of light. The signs are as varied as wands are.
Though rare, it is possible for a wand to change allegiance. The method by which this is done will vary from wand to wand. Some wands respect power, and can change allegiance if their wielder is defeated in combat. Another wand may respect guile and subtlety, and approve of a wizard that tricks its owner out of possession. Though one skilled in wandlore might be able to guess at a given wand's preferences, each wand is unique, and the only way to know for certain how to change a wand's allegiance is to try. The one constant, however, is that for allegiance to change, the new would-be owner must physically claim the wand, or the opportunity is lost.
Wands tend to be selfish about their owners, and do not share. If a wizard claims a new wand, accepting its allegiance, any allegiance with another wand is immediately broken.
One of the primary attributes of a wand is the wood that its shaft is made from. Not just any wood can be used to make a wand. Wand-trees — trees whose wood is considered to be wand quality — are occupied by bowtruckles (tree guardians). Wand wood already has some magical properties, due to the presence of the bowtruckle, and is the only wood that can reliably channel and withstand magical forces.
The woods listed below are the only woods available for wands. Some have special properties, and most of these have a Brownie cost associated with them, ranging from the very cheap to the rather expensive, depending upon the rarity and potency of the wood's special powers.
Some descriptions have sections in italics, indicating a system effect.
|Acacia||—||Acacia wands often won't produce magic for any but their owners, who tend to be subtle wizards, not prone to flashy magic.|
|Alder||100||Owners are often helpful, considerate, and likable, despite being an unyielding wood. Well suited to non-verbal spell work. The penalty to cast non-verbally with an alder wand is only -2, rather than the usual -3.|
|Apple||—||Best suited for those who are quite charming with lofty noble ideals and big goals. Often paired with linguist owners.|
|Ash||15||Ash wands bond for life, and resist being used by any but their true master. Ideal wielders of ash wands may be stubborn, and will certainly be courageous, but never crass or arrogant. Anyone other than the wand's owner that attempts to use it suffers a -5 penalty (instead of the usual -2 for using a wand without allegiance). An ash wand's allegiance can never be claimed by another.|
|Aspen||—||An aspen wand is often coupled with duelists or other martial magic users, generally strong-minded and determined, more likely than most to be attracted by quests and new orders; this is a wand for revolutionaries.|
|Beech||—||A wand wood for the wise, beech is capable of great subtlety and artistry. It performs weakly for the narrow-minded and intolerant.|
|Birch||—||Much like their owners, birch wands are tolerant, resilient and tough. Their wielders are often driven, and known for their zeal. Ambitious and energetic, they constantly seek out new horizons. Like rowan, these wands have a distinct antipathy to Dark Arts. Birch wands suffer a -2 penalty to cast any Dark spell.|
|Blackthorn||50||Blackthorn is best suited to a warrior. These wands are very useful for offensive hexes. Once per scene, a blackthorn wand may grant a +2 to a Harmful spell.|
|Black Walnut||—||Highly empathic to the inner turmoil of its wielder. Black walnut reacts poorly to deceptive wielders. Those with good instincts and powerful insight are the best matches for black walnut wands.|
|Cedar||—||Loyalty and strength of character are traits of wielders of cedar wands. They are formidable when crossed.|
|Cherry||50||Held in high esteem in Japan, this is a rare wood with a reputation for strange potency. It is known for lethal power when paired with any core. However, if paired with dragon heartstring, it should only be teamed with a strong-minded wizard of exceptional self-control. Once per scene, a cherry wand may grant a +2 to a Harmful spell.|
|Chestnut||—||While attracted to those skilled in herbology, taming magical beasts and natural fliers, chestnut displays little personality of its own. Instead, it tends to take on the personality of its core and/or its owner.|
|Cypress||—||Associated with valor, cypress wands find their soul-mates among those whose nature is bold, courageous and self-sacrificing.|
|Dogwood||50||Known for its playful nature, dogwood can be mischievous and quirky. It requires an ingenious, clever owner with a taste for excitement and fun. It is capable of producing dazzling enchantments and serious magic; however, some refuse to perform non-verbal spells. Once per scene, a dogwood wand can upgrade any successfully cast non-Harmful spell by one success level. Dogwood wands cannot be used for non-verbal spells.|
|Ebony||—||Frequently paired with non-conformists and distinct individuals, ebony is happiest when in the hands of those who are unafraid of being themselves. The wood is jet-black, lending to its impressive reputation of being highly suited to combative magic and transfiguration.|
|English Oak||—||Staunch, loyal and true, English oak is drawn to individuals of great strength, fidelity and courage. Owners also tend to have powerful intuition, and an affinity with the magic of the natural world.|
|Elm||—||Known for causing the least accidents; elm produces highly sophisticated wands that are capable of advanced magic. Renowned for producing elegant charms and spells, they prefer dignified individuals with presence and magical dexterity.|
|Fir||—||Crafted from the most resilient trees, fir wands demand stamina from their owners. They favor strong-minded and focused individuals, and they prove changeable indecisive in the wrong hands. Fir is also particularly suited to transfiguration.|
|Hawthorn||50||Hawthorn is paradoxical and difficult to master. Adept at both curses and healing magic, it is most comfortable when paired with one enduring a time of turmoil. Only those with proven talent should handle hawthorn, as their spells can backfire when mishandled. Once per scene, a Hawthorn wand may grant +2 to any Harmful or Healing spell. However, any Failure on a Harmful or Healing spell becomes an Embarrassing Failure.|
|Hazel||5||Hazel absorbs the emotions its owner, and is best suited to one with good emotional control. It produces outstanding magic; and its devotion is legendary, as the wand often "wilts" upon the death of an owner. Hazel also has the unique ability to detect concealed springs and wells. When passing over any hidden, natural water source, the hazel wand will emit a silver, tear-shaped puff of smoke.|
|Holly||—||Somewhat rare and traditionally viewed as protective, holly is a good match for those in need of overcoming anger and impetuousness. They are also known to choose individuals undergoing a dangerous or spiritual quest. Holly is volatile, varying dramatically depending on its core; and it is rarely paired with phoenix feather due to conflicting natures. May not be paired with a phoenix feather core.|
|Hornbeam||—||Suited to one of single-minded passion or vision (some call it obsession), hornbeam chooses truly talented individuals. It adapts more quickly to the owner's style of magic than any other, becoming personalized extremely fast. Also, hornbeam absorbs its owner's code of honor, refusing to perform any act that goes against their principles.|
|Ivy||—||Protective and tenacious, ivy wands are a powerful force to be reckoned with when teamed with a suitable partner. It can be contrary and difficult to master initially; but in time, will take on the characteristics of their owner.|
|Larch||—||Larch has a well-deserved reputation as an attractive and powerful wood that is known for instilling courage and confidence in its owner. Although much sought-after, it is difficult to please and tricky to handle. Larch often conceals hidden talents and unexpected effects, and its owners tend to be similar.|
|Laurel||25||Laurel cannot perform a dishonorable act, and is known to produce powerful (sometimes lethal) magic. Intolerant of laziness, it can easily be won away under certain conditions; but it will otherwise cleave to its first match forever. A peculiar quirk of these wands is that they will issue a spontaneous lightning strike if some fool attempts to steal it. Laurel wands will refuse to cast Harmful spells against an unarmed opponent, and will never cast a Harmful spell as the first spell in a duel or magical battle. If anyone attempts to steal (but not disarm) a laurel wand, whether physically or by magic, the wand will instantly lash out against the thief with a Lightning Bolt Spell, which strikes with a Good Success.|
|Mahogany||—||A beautiful and desirable wood, known for being fairly powerful, yet pliant, and excellent in transfiguration spells.|
|Maple||—||A desirable and beautiful wood, maple is both costly and seen as a status symbol. These wands seek owners with a penchant for travel and growth, and are happiest when paired with high-achievers.|
|Olive||35||A lovely but peculiar wood that must be handled carefully. While exceptionally adept at producing healing magic, it struggles greatly with offensive spells, and is useless for Dark magic. Olive is difficult to pair as it seeks peace-loving individuals, and is happiest in the hands of a pacifist. Once per scene, an olive wand may grant +2 to any Healing spell. It suffers -3 to all Harmful spells, and will refuse to cast Dark spells.|
|Pear||—||Golden-toned pear wands are best suited to generous, warm-hearted individuals. The owners are usually wise, well-respected and popular. They are remarkably resilient in the face of age and use, and they are known to possess splendid magical power.|
|Pine||—||Pine wands pair with those of mysterious airs, loners and other intriguing individuals. Pine values being used creatively and does well when being used in the creation of new spells.|
|Poplar||—||A strong wood that can be relied upon for integrity and consistency, poplar has a reputation for producing solid, uniform magic. It is most at home in the hands of a witch or wizard with clear moral vision.|
|Red Oak||35||Unyielding, fierce and loyal, red oak is drawn to individuals with great strength and a desire to help the greater good, and who have a sense of unyielding morality and an affinity towards fire magic. Once per scene, a red oak wand may grant a +2 to a Fire spell.|
|Redwood||—||Falsely believed to be "lucky," redwood wands are simply attracted to individuals who possess the ability to land on their feet. They require a resilient partner who can snatch advantage from catastrophe and make the right choices. As the trees are rare, the demand often outstrips the supply of wand quality wood.|
|Reed||—||Bold speakers, and those possessed of an eloquent tongue are best suited to reed wands. Owners are notably protective of friends and tend to be of a loyal disposition. Paired with a dragon heartstring core, the individual's loyalty is known to be fierce and admirable.|
|Rosewood||—||Fairly rare and seldom used, rosewood produces beautiful, sturdy wands. They seem to be attracted to demure and artistic individuals. While they do produce elegant charms and spells, they aren't particularly powerful wands.|
|Rowan||40||Prized for for protection, rowan wands are exceptionally adept at defensive charms. They are noted for their disassociation with the Dark Arts, and they to seek out pure-hearted individuals as partners. In the right hands, they can match or outperform many other wands in a duel. Once per scene, a rowan wand may grant +2 to any Protection spell. Rowan wands suffer a -2 penalty to cast any Dark spell.|
|Silver Lime||15||Highly attractive and unique, silver lime was in vogue during the nineteenth century due to its reputation for performing best in the hands of Seers and those skilled in Legilimency. In its heyday, silver lime was a status symbol, and unscrupulous wandmakers sometimes created forgeries as supply outstripped demand. Once per scene, a silver lime wand may grant +2 to use the Legilimency Spell. A true Legilimens with this wand may make use of this benefit even without wielding the wand, as long as the wand is on the wizard's person.|
|Spruce||—||Spruce requires a firm hand and a bold partner with a good sense of humor, as it sometimes has a mind of its own. In the hands of a timid individual, these wands can be dangerous. Upon meeting their match, spruce wands become superb and loyal helpers, known for producing flamboyant and dramatic magic.|
|Sycamore||—||A most handsome and highly prized wand woods, sycamore is highly adaptive and capable of brilliance in the right hands. It requires a partner who is curious, vital and adventurous, and can best be described as a questing wand. They also have a strange propensity to spontaneously combust if engaged too long in mundane activities.|
|Vine||—||Uncommon and possessed of a very special nature, Vine seeks out extraordinary wizards and witches of vision and greater purpose. Attracted to hidden depths, it appears to be more sensitive than any other at detecting a prospective match. Some even emit magical effects at the mere entrance into their room of a suitable owner.|
|Walnut||—||Versatile and adaptable, walnut is frequently paired with innovators and inventors as it is attracted to intelligence. Once subjugated, walnut will perform any task desired. Lacking a moral compass, it can prove lethal in the hands of those lacking conscience, as the owner and wand may feed unhealthily off one another.|
|Willow||100||Uncommon and handsome, willow judges its partner by potential, rather than confidence. Owners are frequently troubled by some unwarranted insecurity that they learn to overcome in time. These wands are also reputed to be adept at non-verbal magic. The penalty to cast non-verbally with a willow wand is only -2, rather than the usual -3.|
|Yew||200||Yew wands are exceptionally rare, as are suitable partners. Ideal matches are unusual and occasionally notorious. Never has one been mediocre or timid. Found equally in the hands of heroes as well as villains, yew wands are often misunderstood. They possess a fearsome reputation for dueling prowess and curses; but in the hands of a fierce protector they are equally powerful. Yew wands shine in the direst of circumstances. Once per scene, when the caster is facing a penalty of -5 or worse, the wand may grant +5 to the roll to help mitigate the penalty.|
A wand's core determines its most fundamental capabilities. A variety of things can be used as wand cores, but all must be inherently magical in nature, and must originate with a living creature (plant-based cores have been tried, and are universally considered vastly inferior). Not just any bit of an animal will do, either. The core is the part of the wand responsible for channeling magic from the wizard, and into a more cohesive form as a spell. Like a copper wire conducts electricity, the core must be able to carry the magic along the length of the wand. This means that cores must be formed of a single piece, and must also be narrow enough to fit inside the shaft, and flexible enough not to break if the wand bends.
All wand cores provide certain benefits, and most have some kind of drawback as well. Note that these traits only apply if the wand is actually used for casting. Wandless casting neither gains the benefits nor suffers the drawbacks of a wand's core.
In 1927, Garrick Ollivander took over his family's wand shop and revolutionized wandlore by restricting his creations to three "Supreme Cores" that he considered superior to all others. A wand that has been purchased since that time was most likely acquired from Ollivander, and hence would have one of the following three wand cores:
Consistent and easy to use, unicorn hair is the most commonly used core for modern wands. This core proves the most difficult to use while performing the Dark Arts. Quite faithful a wand with this core is least likely to co-operate with a new owner. If mishandled, used for evil purposes the core can come across as depressed and could even fizzle out in power entirely if truly abused.
- Consistent Magic: Any time the caster is facing a penalty to a spell casting roll, the wand grants +1 to the roll to help mitigate the penalty.
- Difficult to Corrupt: Unicorn hair wands suffer -2 to cast any Dark spell, and cannot benefit from Consistent Magic when casting a Dark Spell.
- Loyal: Unicorn hair wands will almost never change allegiance to a new master. A wizard attempting to use a unicorn hair wand that is allied to another master suffers the usual -2 penalty, and cannot benefit from Consistent Magic.
Dragon heartstring wands are noted for producing powerful magic and flamboyant spells. But they are temperamental, being more prone to wild flares of magic that cause accidents. These wands are the easiest of the Supreme Cores to turn to the Dark Arts.
- Wild Magic: The wielder of a dragon heartstring wand may accept a -2 penalty to a spell casting roll. If cast successfully, the success level is increased by one level. However, when using this benefit, a Failure is considered an Embarrassing Failure.
Phoenix Feather (300 Brownies)
One of the rarest of cores is the phoenix feather, as phoenixes themselves are rarely seen. Phoenix feather wands are slow to reveal their power, but most diverse in range of magic. This is a core with a mind of its own, so to speak, which makes it difficult to use for those it's not bonded to. Even its owner can find a phoenix feather wand doing things on its own initiative.
- Diverse Magic: Phoenix feather wands grant +1 to all spell casting rolls.
- Independent: Phoenix feather wands resist users that they are not allied to. A wizard attempting to use a phoenix feather wand that he or she is not allied to suffers a -4 penalty (replacing the usual -2 penalty), and cannot benefit from Diverse Magic.
Alternative cores do exist, and saw much greater use before Garrick Ollivander's refinement of the craft. Other wandmakers may still use these cores, though they are considered increasingly inferior. Note that nearly all of these cores inflict a penalty to most spells cast with them, so choose them at your own risk.
Augurey feather wands are helpful for weather-based magic, and spells that reveal secrets.
- Augurey feather wands grant +2 to all Revealing and Weather spells, but suffer -1 to all other spells.
Basilisk Eyestalk (80 Brownies)
|Lore Threshold: Wizard Lore 7 / Dark Arts Lore 4 / Wandlore 2|
The name of this extremely rare core is a bit deceptive, as basilisks don't have eyestalks. This is actually the optic nerve of the basilisk. Basilisk eyestalk wands are potent in the Dark Arts, and especially useful for spells that immobilize. However, they are useless for healing magic.
- Basilisk eyestalk wands grant +2 to all Binding and Dark spells, but suffer -1 to all other spells, and will not cast Healing spells.
Demiguise Hair (60 Brownies)
|Lore Threshold: Wizard Lore 7 / Wandlore 4|
Wands made from the long, silky hair of the ape-like demiguise benefits from the creature's gift for invisibility. The difficulty of capturing (or even seeing) a demiguise makes these wands very rare.
- Demiguise Hair wands grant +2 to all Hiding spells, but suffer -1 to all other spells
A very poor wand core in most respects. It's one advantage is in the brewing of potions with plant-based ingredients.
- Dittany stalk wands grant +4 to Potions rolls for potions with plant-based ingredients, but suffer -1 to all spells.
Kelpie hair wands are useful for water-based magic.
- Kelpie hair wands grant +2 to all Water spells and the Bubble-Head Charm, but suffer -1 to all other spells.
Though inferior to the Supreme Cores, kneazle whiskers still manage to persist as wand cores, probably due to the ease and low cost of obtaining the whiskers from kneazle breeders.
- Kneazle whisker wands grant +2 to all Ward spells, but suffer -1 to all other spells.
Manticore Mane (20 Brownies)
Much as a manticore's skin can repel charms, wands with a core of manticore mane hair excel at counter-spells.
- Manticore mane wands grant +2 to all spells with the Counter-spell keyword, but suffer -1 to all other spells.
Puffskein tongue wands are useful for…well, nothing in particular. They cast decent spells, but aren't extraordinary in any way. Considered a rather bland wand core, puffskein tongue is rarely used.
- Puffskein tongue wands have no benefit or drawback.
Sphinx Tongue Sinew (30 Brownies)
Sphinx tongue sinew wands are useful for spells that obscure the truth.
- Sphinx tongue sinew wands grant +2 to all Hiding spells and the Confundus Charm, but suffer -1 to all other spells.
Troll Whisker (10 Brownies)
Troll whisker wands often have difficulty with advanced magic. They can produce big, potent spells, but these frequently have much larger and less focused effects than the caster intends.
- Troll whisker wands grant +2 to all Area spells, but suffer -1 to all other spells.
Veela Hair (50 Brownies)
|Lore Threshold: Wizard Lore 4 / Wandlore 1|
A temperamental core that is difficult to control, but in the right hands, it is well-suited to magic that affects emotions.
- Veela hair wands grant +1 to the Cheering Charm, Entrancing Enchantment, and to Potions rolls to create love potions.
The length of a wand may symbolize something in regard to its owner. Arithmancers often argue that a wand's measurements have numerological significance, though this doesn't seem to be universally true.
Most wands range from nine to fourteen inches in length, though some rare wands can be as long as eighteen inches. Some can be as short as seven inches, though any wand less than nine inches tends to belong to someone who is somehow "lacking".
A wand's flexibility typically reflects the personality of the wielder and has little to do with the sort of wand wood used. For instance, a hardwood wand could still be "quite bendy: if the wand's wielder is mercurial or fluid sort of person.
Below is a list of terms for a wand's flexibility, listed from most to least flexible (uncapitalized for ease in copying/pasting into game):
- rather bendy
- surprisingly swishy
- slightly springy
- fairly bendy
- very flexible
- quite flexible
- reasonably supple
- quite rigid
- slightly yielding