Source: More Magic of Thassilon, pg(s). 1
A famine rod is a magic item from the ancient Thassilonian realm of Gastash, the domain of greed, in what is now Varisia. When a command word is spoken, the rod emits a ray of limited range which drains the life force from its target and transfers it to the user. This increased vitality eventually drains away, although it is not returned to the one from whom it was taken. The rod has limited uses which renew themselves once a week.