An eldritch staff is not merely another magic item. While a sorcerer or wizard can go through dozens of wands and simple magic staves in his career, he will never have more than a single eldritch staff. This staff is a powerful item, a creation that reflects the power and spirit of the mage who crafts it. While other magic items remain the same throughout their existence, the eldritch staff grows along with its master, maturing with him so that its utility is not diminished. At the end of its career, the staff if a powerful and crucial part of the mage.
Finding an Eldritch Staff
The eldritch staff like a spellcaster, begins life quite humbly. Whether a sapling, a branch from a larger tree, an unworked ingot, an ivory tusk, a length of bone, or even a piece of driftwood or scrap iron, all eldritch staves begin their life as a simple piece of lumber, ivory, bone, or metal. Each mage knows his staff from the first moment he sees it, even before it is carved, polished, or worked in any way. The spellcaster simply understands, as if he has seen a piece of his soul reflected in the raw materials. Some mages discover their staff before they have even truly begun their training. Others go through years of their career before stumbling across just the right piece to match their skills and temperament.
Crafting an Eldritch Staff
Once the raw materials from which the staff will be created are found, the spellcaster may begin work on the item. This process is relatively simple, but grows more complex the later in his career a spellcaster attempts to craft his staff. A neophyte wizard will find it a much simpler process to create his staff than will an archmage, if only because the neophyte has much less power available for investing in the staff.
The first step in creating the staff is known as the Investiture. The spellcaster must devote a portion of himself to the staff in order to bind it to his spirit and allow him to draw upon its powers. This binding takes the form of a single point of Constitution, a wound that never quite heals and that ties the eldritch staff and the spellcaster together. This Constitution point is gone forever and is not regained even if the staff is destroyed. The exact ceremony involved in the Investiture varies from spellcaster to spellcaster, as befits such an intensely personal experience.
Once a staff has gone through the Investiture, it is ready to be transformed into an item of power. The spellcaster must craft the form of the staff with his hands, using the feel of the magic within it to reveal its true shape. In most cases, the staff resembles its caster in size and shape. All eldritch staves are roughly the same height as their creator, and their bulk and shape are also proportionally close matches for the body of the spellcaster who creates them. If a character with no magical training knew a wizard or sorcerer, he could easily pick that spell caster's staff out from a collection by its appearance alone.
The Arcane Matrix
|Element Configuration DC|
|Spellcaster Level 1||DC||Configured Elements 2||DC Modifier|
1 The creator's current spell level.
2 The number of elements currently configured in the staff. Add the corresponding DC Modifier to the DC determined by the spellcaster's level to determine the final DC of the Spellcraft check for configuring an element.
The order in which elements are selected for configuration is irrelevant - the point at which an element is selected determines both its overall utility as well as the restrictions it applies as thr staff matures. Since some of the benefits and penalties for an element scale with the addition of new elements into the matrix, the creator must always be prepared to pay the price for power - nothing comes for free.
Benefit: Whenever the wielder of the staff casts a spell, he can choose to charge the staff with its energy rather than releasing the spell immediately. If the wielder then makes a successful melee attack with the staff against any target, the spell is discharged into the target. In addition, all variable numeric elements of the staff (other than range) are Maximized. A staff can hold a charge for a maximum number of rounds equal to twice the spellcaster's level, after which time it dissipates normally.
Drawback: When the element is configured in the staff's matrix, the staff's owner must choose a spell slot of the highest level spells that he wishes to use with this ability. This spell slot must be of a level that the creator can currently cast. That spell slot is irrevocably lost.
Benefit: Pick a single school of magic. Any random numerical element of a spell from that school (such as the number of monsters summoned by a summon monster spell) cast while wielding the staff is increased by a number equal to the current number of elements configured in the staff.
Drawback: All random, numerical elements of any spell cast from any other school of magic are reduced by a number equal to the current number of elements configured in the staff (to a minimum of one).
Benefit: If a spell cast by the wielder of the staff kills one or more of its targets, it immediately causes an additional 1d4 points of damage to a single target within 20 feet pf any target killed by the spell. The caster chooses this target, which must be within range of the original spell and gets a save as if he were the original target. This damage increases by one point for every additional element configured within the staff. Each time an additional element is configured, then spellcaster must select one school of magic. spells cast from those schools do not receive this bonus.
Drawback: The spellcaster must choose one of the following schools from which he can cast spells: Conjuration, Enchantment, or Illusion. He casts all spells from that school at -1 caster level.
Benefit: Any summon monster, summon nature's ally, or summon undead spell cast while wielding the staff receives the following benefits:
- When a random number of creatures are summoned, one additional monster of the same type answers the call.
- The duration of the summons is increased by one round per configured element.
- All summoned creatures receive a +1 morale bonus to attack rolls and saving throws for the duration of the spell.
Benefit: The character gains a +1 circumstance bonus per configured element to all Concentration checks while she is holding the staff.
Drawback: From the time this element is configured, the character suffers a -2 penalty on all Spellcraft checks.
Benefit: When wielding the staff, the creator gains a +2 bonus to all saves against spells of any type. This bonus is not provided when the caster is caught in the area of effect of a spell or when the caster is not the primary target of the spell.
Drawback: When this element is configured, the creator of the staff must select a school of magic that he can cast from the following list: Enchantment, Evocation, or Transmutation. The save DC of spells cast from the chosen school is reduced by 2.
Benefit: When this element, and each additional element, is configured, the range of all spells cast while wielding the staff is increased. This does not affect spells with a range of touch, self, or an area defined in feet.
|Close||+5 feet per element|
|Medium||+20 feet per element|
|Long||+80 feet per element|
|Close||-5 feet per two elements|
|Medium||-10 feet per element|
|Long||-40 feet per element|
Benefit: when this element is configured, the staff's creator must choose one ability score and one school of magic. Whenever a spell is cast from the selected school and causes damage to one or more targets, each target must make a successful Fortitude save (DC 10 + spell level) or suffer 1d4 points of temporary damage to that ability.
Drawback: Whenever a target suffers ability damage from this element, the cast also suffers one point of temporary ability damage to the same ability unless he makes a successful Fortitude save (DC 10 + spell level). The caster suffers a -1 penalty to this save for every additional creature beyond the first that suffers damage from this ability.
Special: This element may be chosen multiple times. Each time, a different ability score and school of magic must be chosen for the benefit.
Benefit: When this element is configured, the spellcaster selects one spell that he is currently able to cast. This spell no longer requires preparation, and the caster can replace any prepared spell of the appropriate level with this spell as long as he is wielding a staff. This ability works exactly like a cleric's ability to spontaneously cast cure or inflict spells, or a druid's ability to spontaneously cast summon nature's ally spells.
Drawback: When this element is configured, the spellcaster must select one spell that he can cast of the same level as the spell chosen to gain the benefit. Whenever this spell is cast, the staff's owner suffers a 50% arcane spell failure chance.
Special: This element may be chosen multiple times. Each time, a different spell must be chosen for the benefit and a different spell must be chosen for the drawback.
Benefit: When this element is configured, the spellcaster must select one spell descriptor (see Special Spell Effects in the Player's Handbook, Chapter 10, Pages 171-174). Any spell with this descriptor cast by the staff's creator is treated as if the caster were one caster level higher than his actual level for purposes of determining level-dependent effects.
Drawback: When this element is configured, the spellcaster must select one spell descriptor. Spells with this descriptor require a spell slot one level higher than normal to cast.
Special: This element may be chosen multiple times. Each time, a different pair of spell descriptors must be chosen for the benefit and the drawback.
Benefit: When this element is selected, the creator must select a single school of magic. Whenever the caster unleashes a spell from this school while wielding the staff, the target or targets of the spell must make a Fortitude save (DC 10 + the caster's caster level). If a target fails this save, he is knocked prone in the square in which he is currently standing.
Drawback: When this element is configured into the staff's matrix, the staff's owner received a permanent -1 penalty to all Fortitude saves.
Special: This element may be chosen multiple times. Each time, a different school of magic must be chosen and the penalty to Fortitude saves increases by an additional -1.
Benefit: When this element is configured, the creator must select a single spell he can cast. Whenever that spell is cast, the spellcaster may make a Spellcraft check (DC 20 + spell level). If the Spellcraft check is successful, the spell may be cast again in the following round without using any of he caster's spell slots. Note that the target of the spell can change between castings, and the spellcaster may not make a Spellcraft check to cast the spell three or more times. This element only affects spells with a casting time of a full-round action or less, and each recursive casting also requires the same type of action that casting the spell the first time did.
Drawback: When this element is configured, the caster loses the ability to scribe or use scrolls of any kind. The spellcaster may still learn a spell from a scroll, but may not use it as a spell-completion item.
Benefit: When this element is configured, the creator must select a single touch spell. He may now cast that spell as an Attack of Opportunity provided he has it prepared (or, if he is a spontaneous spell caster, has available spell slots of the appropriate spell level or higher) when the attack is provoked. The creator must be wielding the staff in order to cast the spell, and is considered to have the normal threat range when doing so.
Drawback: When this element is configured, the character must choose a spell slot of the same level as the spell chosen for its benefit. The character permanently loses that spell slot.
Special: This element may be chosen multiple times. Each time, a different touch spell must be chosen for the benefit.
Benefit: When this element is configured, the spellcaster must select a school of magic from which he can cast spells. Spells that are cast from the selected school receive a +1 bonus to any caster level checks made to overcome spell resistance. This bonus increases by +1 each time an additional element is configured.
Drawback: A spellcaster wielding an eldritch staff with this element becomes more susceptible to enemy spells. As a result, any time an opponent must make a caster level check to overcome the wielder's spell resistance, that opponent gains a +2 bonus to his check.
Special: This element may be chosen multiple times. Each time, a different school of magic must be taken for the benefit, and the size of the drawback increases by an additional +2.
|Creature Type||% Roll|
Drawback: When this element is configured, one random monster type (determined using the table to the right) becomes immune to spells cast by the wielder of the staff. If the Humanoid type is rolled, a specific humanoid subtype must be selected by the DM.
Benefit: When this element is configured, the spellcaster must select a single spell (which may require no more than a standard action to cast). The selected spell can be cast as a free action, but the spellcaster must sacrifice an additional prepared (or uncast, for sorcerers) spell of the same or higher level when the benefit of this element is used.
Drawback: The staff's wielder can never apply the Quicken Spell metamagic to any spell of the same level as the spell chosen for the benefit of this element.
Special: This element may be chosen multiple times. Each time, a different spell must be chosen.
Benefit: When this element, and each additional element, is configured, the spellcaster must select a single spell. The selected spell can be cast without the need for verbal components.
Drawback: When this element is configured, the spellcaster must select a school of magic from which he can cast spells. When spells from the selected school are cast, they are accompanied by a cacophonous burst of sound that is clearly audible for 10 feet per caster level of the spellcaster. Spells selected as a benefit for this element are not affected by this drawback.
Wielding the Staff
In order to receive any of the benefits provided by the elements within the eldritch staff's matrix, the staff must be in the spellcaster's hand. When held, the power of the staff floods through the user and allows him to draw upon its power as he casts spells, The spellcaster may choose not to use the benefit of his staff for any spell he casts. Doing so, however, does not relieve the effects of any drawbacks, which remain with the character whether he wields the staff or not.
Damaging the Staff
These items of power are a favorite target among those who hunt spellcasters and monsters who understand what a staff represents. Though the bond between a spellcaster and his staff is not a intense or as intimate as the bond shared with a familiar, it is still a painful experience to lose a staff.
The Broken Staff
If a staff breaks, the spellcaster is in for a great deal of pain and suffering. On the plus side, the destruction of the eldrtich staff removes all drawbacks formerly imposed by the staff's arcane matrix. The loss of the staff disrupts the spellcaster's own energies: Immediately upon the destruction of the staff, the owner suffers a permanent loss of 1d4 hit points. These hit points may not be restored by any method - when the connection with the staff is destroyed, it takes some of the spellcaster with it. In addition, the spellcaster permanently loses one spell slot of a random level.
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