In the Empire combat rules, it states:
“… a rod is popular with many magicians who take the battlefield because it can be combined with a shield or with another one-handed weapon…”
It mentions nothing of the sort in the “Wand” category, leading me to ask the question: Can I only use a rod with a shield/sword? Or could I use a wand?
For a definitive answer you would need to email PD with the question but as they’re both implements there is nothing to stop you from casting offensive spells through a wand, rod or staff. The only restricting factor is the reach of the phys-rep. In the same way if you have a shield/sword and a dagger your offensive capabilities will be reduced (unless your really really good with short weapons).
Yes you can, however as wands are 12" long pairing one with a shield is a bit odd. Like using a dagger and shield.
Yes as @thresher says it’s just really the difference between swords and daggers. The only restriction on phys reps comes if you have a magical item that has to be phys-repped by a Wand or a Rod. But generally battle-mages use Rods or Staves as they have enough reach.
Don’t forget that using a shield bigger than a buckler and ambidex (e.g. wand and sword) are both skills you need to buy.
Basically, a rod is a sword and a wand is a dagger. So largely if you use it as a primary fighting weapon, you want to use a rod, because reach is great.
Sword and wand is a nice little combination if you mostly focus on self-buffing or support casting (e.g., using swift-heal or empower while fighting). Could be a great style for a League mountebank type, although very vulnerable to arrows.
Where wands really shine is that you can tuck one in a belt or boot or sash super-easily, without the size and bulk of carrying a rod around. In a tight space (e.g. a tent), a wand you can whip out of your belt is great for getting off a quick paralyse or repel if a sudden fight breaks out - much the same niche as a dagger.
I completely neglected to remember this. Considering I built my character to be more of a support mage, I shouldn’t even be worrying about this because I don’t even have ambidex XD. Thanks for the reminder, and if I want to bring a sword, dagger, I’ll just wear it on my belt and switch it out with my wand when I need to.