What is a wand?
According to my recently purchased copy of The Element Encyclopedia of Secret Signs and Symbols by Adele Nozedar, a wand is a symbol of power. Adele writes “The wand is an essential tool for anyone who aspires to a position of authority and power: witches and wizards, druids, bishops, and the monarchy”. I had always considered wands to be associated with wizards and fairies and the like, but had never carried that notion over to bishops and monarchs before. What an interesting idea. It made me wonder what modern day items would be considered wands based on this definition of a wand as a tool representing authority and power.
Modern day wands
The first that comes to my mind is the gavel. I can’t help but see this as a wand based on Nozedar’s description. Considering the authority we consider a judge to have, and certainly the authority considering they can hold your life in their hands. Though I must admit while I can easily tie a judge’s gavel to power and authority, I have trouble imagining it providing any sort of magical ability to the wielder in the way I typically visual a wand doing.
The next that comes to mind is a school teacher’s marker. This, of course, has changed over time and depends on the circumstances. In many cases today it is the dry erase marker or the greatly feared red pen. While teachers are not the figures of authority to adults that they are to school children, there is still power in the red pen that marks your mistakes and your grades on each paper you turn in. A small wand by most standards but perhaps a stronger level of magic due to that.
I am sure there are other great modern day wands out there, what can you think of?
Bring it to you RPG
So neat idea but how does it apply to your RPG game. I can see this being a great tie in either in a ShadowRun or Champions game. Any of your major NPC’s could be a closet magic user, implementing their wand as a focus item without letting on to the world their true nature or abilities. It could be used as a surprise for the characters who may not see it coming. Back in the day I played in a Champion campaign where many of the major politicians were magic users, they just used them to gain and keep their positions and only as much as needed so that it was not well known to the general population. Just goes to show that magic users can wield their power in a low-key, yet highly effective way.
What creative ways have you used wands or focus items in your games?