Ever since our first year here at Necromancers of the Northwest, and the release of our first ever Advanced Arcana, nothing has meant the holiday season more than when it came time to release the latest volume. You see, I actually spend a good portion of the year working on each Advanced Arcana, in between our other various projects, and I probably started working on Advanced Arcana III around May of this year. So, please forgive me if I take a little bit of time to gush about how excited I am about it.
One of the many things I love about Advanced Arcana is the appendices, little “freebie” sections that, these days at least, are about half as long as the minimum for one of our normal books. We did some really cool things with them this year, and one of them was alternate potions, scrolls, and wands, which serve similar roles to the ones found in the core rules, but do so in unique, interesting, and (I believe) fun and exciting ways.
The reason I bring this up is because today’s Magic Market is going to expand that treatment to staves. I know that we already gave staves quite a facelift in The Ebon Vault: Secrets of the Staff, and that gemstaves (and, to a lesser extent, some of the “cycles” of staves in that book) do exactly the same sort of thing, but let’s be honest, Secrets of the Staff came out quite a while ago, and staves haven’t gotten a whole lot of love since. So, without any more talk about the awesomeness of Advanced Arcana III, or how you should go buy a copy right now, let’s get down to some staves.
These staves are prized by any spellcaster who regularly engages in melee combat. While a battlestaff functions in most ways like a normal staff, it cannot actually be used to cast the spells it contains in the normal fashion. Instead, whenever the staff’s wielder makes a melee attack with the staff, he may choose to expend a number of charges from the staff in order to have it cast a spell upon striking the target. This is a free action, but the wielder must declare that he is using this ability before making his attack roll. If the attack hits, the spell automatically hits, even if it would normally require an attack roll (the target may still make any appropriate saving throws, however). The number of charges expended in order to cast a spell in this way is calculated in the same way as for a standard staff.
A battlestaff can only contain spells that have one or more targets, and even if the spell would normally be able to have more than one target, only the hit creature is affected. A battlestaff functions in all other ways as a normal staff, and the process to create a battlestaff is identical to that used to create a normal staff, but the cost in materials is 1.5 times that of a normal staff of the same sort, and the market price is similarly increased.
Very powerful magic items, these function as normal staves, except that they have some extra features. Anyone wielding a consumption staff gains an amount of SR equal to 3 + twice the highest-level spell the staff is capable of casting. Whenever this spell resistance causes you to not be affected by a spell, if that spell was of the same spell level or higher than the highest-level spell that the staff can cast, then the consumption staff regains 1 charge.
A consumption staff otherwise functions as a normal staff, and the process to create a consumption staff is identical to that used to create a normal staff. The market price of a consumption staff is equal to that of a normal staff of its kind, plus an additional amount of gold based on the highest-level spell the staff can cast, as indicated on the table below.
Popular amongst spellcasters who regularly engage in arcane duels, these staves function in all ways as a normal staff, but have an additional feature. Three times per day, as an immediate action, the wielder can cast one of the spells stored by the staff as a counterspell. Doing so expends twice the normal amount of charges that would normally need to be expended by the staff to cast the spell in question, and the spell is only able to counter spells that it would normally be able to counter. If the spell is able to counter any spell, but requires a caster level check to do so (such as dispel magic), you suffer a -5 penalty on that check, due to the difficulty of channeling the spell through the staff.
The process to create a counterstaff is identical to that used to create a normal staff. The market price of a counterstaff costs the same as a normal staff of the same sort, with an additional cost based on the spells it contains. The price is increased by an amount equal to 1,000 gp x the highest-level spell that the counterstaff can cast, plus 200 gp x spell level for each other spell it can cast. The cost in materials to create the counterstaff is half of this modified amount.