The Rod increases in pitch and speed depending how close a Thing or the Door is. It also radiates rings of different colors, again depending on how far away the target item is. In Sandbox Mode, it may take some time to locate Maxwell's Door, as the Rod may find a Thing first. If held during a storm, there is a small chance the Rod can be struck by lightning. For a short time, this will cause the Rod to react as if a Thing or the Door were very close by.
In Adventure Mode, the Divining Rod is in a Divining Rod Holder directly next to where the character spawns. Once the character takes the Rod, the Holder will disappear a few seconds later. It also acts as a key to unlock a complete Wooden Thing and Nightmare Lock, requiring the player to take the Divining Rod from the holder in the beginning.
The Divining Rod is also an item that Krampus or Splumonkeys can't steal and Eyeplants will not eat. Also, it can't be taken through Maxwell's Door. If it's one of the items chosen to travel with the player, it will be converted into Ashes after the player uses the Wooden Thing. However, the ingredients can still be taken and it can be remade immediately.
- The Divining Rod was added in the The End of the Beginning update.
- Its design utilizes the Radio that Maxwell was using to communicate with Wilson in the Forbidden Knowledge trailer.
- The Divining Rod and other Thing-related items in Adventure mode may have been designed by Robert Wagstaff, given Winona's quote for a Divining Rod Holder ("Just like in the bossman's workshop.").
- Divining Rods in real life are branched twigs that were claimed to be used to locate sources of ground water and mineral ores.
- The Divining Rod's sound effects are made by a tanpura, an Indian string instrument used to create drone sounds.
- The Divining Rod's description, "There must be some way out of here...", is a reference to the Bob Dylan/Jimi Hendrix song "All Along the Watchtower".
- The Divining Rod is the only non-magical and non-ancient item that requires Nightmare Fuel as part of its recipe.