Last Updated on January 22, 2023
Secret doors can be a real hassle.
Their inaccessibility is the point, really. It’s like there is a whole section you can’t explore because you happened to value one skill over another. And if there is a plot device behind that door? You’re screwed.
It’s like, “I’m sorry, DM. I decided that not getting unalived by monsters was a bit more important than noticing the sweep of dust on a section of the floor. Do I look like Aragorn to you?”
Well, we can relax now. We have The Wand of Secrets. This wand is an easy solution to an oddly specific and vexing problem.
In this post, we will go over the specifics of how to use the Wand of Secrets to its fullest potential, and then offer a range of homebrew options for more powerful versions available at higher tiers of play.
What Is a Wand of Secrets in DnD 5e?
The Wand of Secrets is an uncommon magic wand that reveals the presence of secret doors and traps.
Wand of Secrets
The wand has three charges. While holding it, you can use an action to expend one of its charges, and if a secret door or trap is within 30 feet of you, the wand pulses and points at the one nearest to you. The wand regains 1d3 expended charges daily at dawn.
Item Tags: DETECTION
Physically, the wand of secrets can have any appearance. It could be a magnifying glass, a metal detector, or an eyeball on a stick, depending on your flavor.
Who Should Take the Wand of Secrets?
If given the option between a Wand of Secrets and most other uncommon magic items, you are not likely to pick this wand. In general, we get so excited about that first magic weapon or that piece of clothing or armor. Finally, we get to be cool and have magic items!
Think twice, though, before you pass this one up. Especially if you are a Rogue since, for some reason, it’s your job to handle the traps. It’s not like anyone can have a background with thieves’ tools and an investigation check…
Before you skip out on this wand, look around at your table. How many of the players have Intelligence as their dump stat? I mean, we should ask that question in every social situation – not just at the gaming table. If you are the only character with an Intelligence above 12, then it falls to you to find the details everyone else will miss. Sad, but true.
Artificers and the Wand of Secrets
Artificers can replicate the wand of secrets with an artificer infusion at 2nd level. While this may not be as awesome and intimidating as a repeating heavy crossbow, it might just save your life and the lives of your party members.
The Best Uses of the Wand of Secrets
If you are in a room and the party does an investigation or perception check of lower than 12, go ahead and whip out the wand and use a charge. It’s better to be safe in that situation so no one loses a chance to advance the plot or get a treasure.
If you are walking down a suspiciously unguarded hallway and you get an investigation/perception check of lower than 12, use the wand lest a giant ax careens from the ceiling and split thee in twain. Remember that this wand is good for secret doors AND traps.
If you have to decide what to hold in your other hand while using this wand, you should probably choose a shield. You can always throw your shield at a trap to set it off, but you can’t stab the trap and be safe.
The Wand Sheath is also a great tool since you will be able to quickly stow the sheath and pull out your tools to disarm the trap or pick the lock. So, put your wand in a sheath and keep it handy when a hostile environment suddenly gets non-hostile. Monsters don’t like to hang out in trapped hallways, you know. They’re smarter than we are.
New Detection Wands in 5e
The Wand of Secrets, while handy, does have a bit of a shelf life. At some point, you will have a high enough investigation or perception check to make it obsolete.
You will also eventually find cooler stuff to carry with you. Eventually, the wand will go back to the pawn shop. When that happens, consider replacing that item slot with some of our homebrew options that improve on the Wand of Secrets and keep it relevant at higher tiers.
Smoke Bomb of Pathfinding
A one-use item that sends out a puff of smoke that leaves the room through all available portals during one action, revealing all hidden doors to everyone who tracks the path of the smoke.
Homunculus of Obsessive Tinkering
This clockwork homunculus is trained to find locked doors and clever mechanisms and to tinker with them.
Once per long rest, the homunculus will run to the nearest trap or lock and make an intelligence check using your thieves’ tools proficiency. When that lock or trap is disabled, it will move to the next nearest lock or trap and continue to do so for one minute. It automatically knows the location of all secret doors, traps, and hidden chests in a room, so don’t pull this guy out until after you think you’ve found them all.
Goggles of Gearsense
Rare, attunement by someone with proficiency in Tinker’s Tools or Theive’s Tools
While wearing these goggles, you can see the outlines of all doors and traps within 60 feet, hidden or not. However, everything else in your vision is glossed over, granting you disadvantage on attack rolls.
Scroll of Mapping
Very rare, attunement
This scroll magically creates a map of the room you are in. It marks all traps, doors (secret or not), windows, and furniture. It activates on a command word that takes a bonus action.
So long as the scroll remains in one spot, it will map its surroundings in a radius that expands 10 feet per round. The scroll itself is capable of mapping in a radius of 90 feet, but it stops at walls and closed doors.
The map will keep this drawing until you use a bonus action to shake it and erase the drawing. This is essentially an animated Etch-a-sketch that maps its surroundings.
Lantern of Revealing
When the light of this lantern passes over a hidden door or trap, it reflects off the surface of the trap or door, revealing it to everyone.
Amulet of Paranoia
Legendary, sentient, attunement by someone with proficiency in Thieves’ of Tinker’s Tools
You may ask this amulet to help you search for secret doors and traps. When you ask, it will grant you advantage on that search. However, because of its paranoid nature, the amulet will often prompt you to conduct such a search unnecessarily and at inopportune times (whenever the DM wishes to do so).
If you ignore such a prompting, the amulet will be offended and will not work with you until you appease it with compliments and apologies during your next short rest. This puts a bit of work on the DM, but it’s fun. Here is a chart for your DM to use. The DM may use this often as they like. When the amulet prompts a player, roll on this chart.
Goggles of Analysis
This grants you advantage on investigation and perception checks but disadvantage on Dexterity saving throws. It also reveals secret doors and traps, but if you take fire damage, you are also blinded until the start of your next turn.
That’s it for now. Like everything we do here at Black Citadel, we hope these tools will change your next session for the better.
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I played the game a lot as a kid, back in first edition. Over the past few years since 5e was released, I’ve really started getting back into it. Currently, I run a campaign online for some friends and my brothers, and we also play a side-sesh just to mix things up.