Often spellcasters acquire a simple quarterstaff as a "prop" and never use it for anything else. Throughout over a century of literature and a quarter century of RPG gaming, many wizards found more useful adaptations of the staff. Through careful crafting and some ingenuity new and useful staff selections have been made available to spellcasters who choose functionality.
Staff, Arcane: Made from wood that is either naturally or stained black, this heavy staff has gold inscriptions on it. The inscriptions might be in Draconic but are more often simply impressive-looking nonsense. The narrow end has an elaborate metallic spike on it. The head will typically have either a stylized depiction of some animal (eagles and dragons are popular) or a massive, rough crystal. An arcane staff tends to break when struck firmly against something, but does provide a +1 bonus to any Bluff, Diplomacy or Intimidate skill checks to convince another person of your magical power.
Staff, Explorer’s: This smooth, hardwood staff has a few metal fixtures on it that makes it somewhat useful to the traveling spellcaster. Unlike many staves, it has a single, flat side making it possible to set it down without it rolling off. It has a heavy, metal loop attached near the middle of the staff, just above the handgrip. Furthermore, the staff can bear up to 200 pounds at its centre point, allowing it to be used as a brace, leaver, or even anchor without causing a huge amount of concern. Finally, the staff has a slotted foot to which a spike can be attached, providing a +2 circumstance bonus to Balance checks to keep footing on icy surfaces.
Staff, Extending: This item, when purchased, comes in the form of 10 one-foot sections of wood and a pair of metal caps. The sections of wood are set with metal on each end; one bears screw threads and the other is a sheath tooled to accept those threads. As many sections as desired can be put together, resulting in a staff as long as the bearer wishes. This has a number of mundane uses, but spellcasters might be interested in placing separate enchantments on each section. This would allow for a staff with spell powers that vary depending on what combination of parts are connected at any given time.
Staff, Final Strike: This heavy, metal staff is dangerous to use, dangerous to hold and deadly to be around. The surface of the staff is typically scored with a crosshatch pattern and around the middle of the shaft is a single, gold band. Despite its sturdy appearance, the final strike staff is actually hollow. Inside it is a dense pack of explosive powder. When the golden ring receives a sharp blow the staff explodes, doing 6d6 slashing damage to everyone within a 10-foot radius. Anyone in the area of effect may make a Reflex save (DC 15) to take half damage. If someone is holding the staff when it goes off they do not get a saving throw.
A final strike staff is a fragile item and any hard knock or sudden jerk could set the thing off. In any situation that the Games Master feels warrants it he may request that the staff’s wielder make a Reflex save (DC 13) to avoid setting off the staff. Additionally any time the staff is directly attacked or is used to strike another person it has a 30% chance of spontaneously exploding.
Staff, Fire: A fire staff is a hardwood staff with an expendable glass top and a gold-lined reservoir in the upper part of the shaft. The reservoir contains alchemist’s fire. The first attack made with a fire staff is a touch attack. If it succeeds the glass top shatters, spreading alchemist’s fire on the target. This causes the target to suffer 1d6 points of fire damage. If the first attack misses, the wielder may keep making touch attacks until he finally hits. Reloading a fire staff is a full round action that provokes an attack of opportunity.
Staff, Kestrel Stand: A specially-crafted staff with a foot-long, perpendicular rod attached with a hinge to its upper end, this item serves as a way for avian familiars and animal companions to rest within arm’s reach of their masters. A bird (or other familiar, as several different creatures might enjoy perching on a kestrel stand) counts as being in physical contact for purposes of shared abilities. Many kestrel stands have an attachment to mount a cuttle stone as a staff topper.
Staff, Light This hardwood staff is typically made of a light-colored hardwood, such as maple or birch. It has a solid central shaft and tightly bound metal ends. The top end has a crystal cap, under which the wielder can fit a fuelless light source. This allows the wielder to carry a light source with him without compromising his ability to protect himself. It is possible to use the staff as a weapon without damaging the light source, so long as it is not used as a dual weapon.
Staff, Lightning Node: Another specialty staff, the lightning node staff bears an insulated handle of leather and cording around a shaft of steel or other conductive metal. The bottom end of the staff comes to an anchoring point and the top splits into a forking pair of tines. A lightning node staff is used by shoving it into the ground and releasing it before being struck by a ranged electrical effect, such as a lightning bolt spell. For the staff to work, it must be within five feet of the user when the effect occurs. Half of the spell’s potential damage is routed into the staff, discharging harmlessly into the ground. The other half continues on to the user, who benefits then from whatever other defenses (evasion, Reflex save, resist elements, etc.) may apply. A lightning node staff has a 50% chance of being destroyed when used in this way.
Staff, Hollow Core: These deceptively simple staves look like any other ordinary, fairly thick (three-inch-diameter), wooden staff. However, in reality they have a hollow, metal core and at least one way of accessing the central shaft. Detecting the access point is difficult (Search DC 25) and the access point may or may not be secured with spells or mundane traps. The staff can store a total volume equal to one cubic foot of material, so long as no part of the material is greater than ¾ of an inch wide. The staff is typically used to carry sensitive letters, illegal spell components and other small objects that the wielder would rather other people not see.
Staff, Quick: This ridiculous looking staff has dozens of strings attached to it. Attached to the strings are a vast array of small pouches, dried animal parts, plants, bird feathers and oddly-shaped rocks. While these staves are useless as weapons, they put the components for as many as 10 spells in the character’s hands. This means that the character does not have to spend any time locating the components of those spells.
Staff, Sage: A wooden or metal walking staff with a built-in podium on its upper end, these items are invaluable to scholars who find themselves reading while they travel. While they serve few other useful functions, the sage staff does provide a subtle focus for those who use them constantly. After one year of regular use, a sage staff grants a +1 circumstance bonus to Knowledge checks if a text applying to the skill in question can be placed within it and read while the check is made.
Staff, Thunder: This dark grey staff has a large, metal, animal claw (often a raptor talon) fitted at the top end, typically made of a somewhat ductile metal, such as copper, and large enough to hold a single thunderstone. Although useable as a weapon, the staff is more often used as a method of escape or distraction. As a standard action the wielder may swing the staff at the ground, detonating the thunderstone under the feet of an attacker in melee range.
Staff, Walking Stick: This short, stout, wooden rod is normally capped with a bronze or iron tip. While useless in combat, a walking stick provides a +2 competence bonus to Balance checks if its bearer uses a move-equivalent action to brace himself against the ground with it. The stick provides this bonus only if the Balance check was forced by unsteady ground, an earthquake, or similar event – the walking stick is useless when making a Balance check to walk a tightrope, for example.
Staff, War: This metal-bound masterwork hardwood staff is balanced and hardened for use in battle. It has a Hardness of 10 and 10 Hit Points. Many magicians who find themselves in the thick of battle appreciate the heft of these not-terribly subtle weapons.
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