Tuesday, November 29, 2016

House Rules - Eldritch Staves

Eldritch Staves (from Path of Magic)
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.

While the eldritch staff provides powerful enhancements to a spellcaster's abilities, it does so at a cost. As specific types of power are channeled through the staff, they create paths that grow easier and easier to tap into with each use. But other path, used less frequently, grow stiff and inflexible, and the spellcaster may eventually find them closed to him. As with many things in the magical arts, all things carry a price. As a spellcaster goes through the steps of creating his eldritch staff, he must be mindful of how the staff will aid him - and how it will hinder him - in the future.

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.

In order to find the materials for his eldritch staff, the spellcaster must first possess the Craft Eldritch Staff item creation feat. If this feat is taken at 1st level, the spellcaster may begin play with the raw materials for his staff and may begin crafting it immediately, if he so desires. When taken later in play, this feat represents the location and harvesting of the necessary raw materials by the spellcaster.

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 Investiture
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.

When the Investiture is complete, the spellcaster has the first component of an eldritch staff. At this point it is simply a piece of wood, metal, bone, or ivory attuned to his spirit, but with a little work, its true power begins to shine through.

The Crafting
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.

To craft the staff, the spellcaster must be alone with the Invested raw materials for a full twenty-four hours. At the end of that time, the spellcaster makes a single Spellcraft check (DC 10 + the level of the spellcaster). If the spellcaster has at least five ranks of the Craft: Woodworking skill, he receives a +2 synergy bonus to this check.

If this check succeeds, the spellcaster has seen the true shape of the wood, metal, bone, or ivory, and it able to let the magic guide the blade across the wood, use the chisel to pound out the course details, or forge the metal into shape. It requires an additional day per level of the spellcaster to complete the project. During each day, the spellcaster is required to spend at least eight hours working on the staff without interruption or undertaking any other strenuous activity. If the spellcaster is interrupted for more than a few minutes, the day does not count towards the time needed to craft the staff.

If the Spellcraft check fails, the spellcaster must put the raw materials away and wait until he has achieved another level before he may attempt to craft the staff again. After the crafting is complete, the spellcaster is ready to move on to the next step: Designing the arcane matrix to provide the true power of the staff.

The Arcane Matrix
Element Configuration DC
Spellcaster Level 1DCConfigured Elements 2DC Modifier
1130-
2141+1
4152+2
6173+3
8184+5
10195+6
12216+7
14237+9
16258+10
18279+11
2030--
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 power of an eldritch staff lies in its arcane matrix, the unique focus of elements through which magic flows. When directed by the will of the spellcaster, this matrix provides a magnifying conduit for certain magical elements; it also restricts the flow of energy for others. While one eldritch staff may increase the range of of a spell but decrease its damage at the same time, another staff may do the exactly the opposite, magnifying the effect of a spell while limiting its range. While one or more elements for a matrix are defined at the time of its creation, others are only discovered with the passage of time as the staff and its creator both increase in power.

During this phase of the staff's creation, the creator determines the number of components that make up the original matrix. For every two spellcaster levels (or at 1st level, if the staff is created at this time), the creator is able to configure one element in the matrix. At every even level thereafter, an additional element may be configured, provided the spellcaster is able and willing to fuel the configuration process.

To configure an element, the spellcaster simply selects one and makes a Spellcraft check with the DC determined by the table to the right. If the check succeeds, the caster must pay ten times the final Spellcraft DC in experience in order to complete the configuration. If the Spellcraft check fails, or if the spellcaster chooses not to configure an element when he is given the chance, that slot for the matrix becomes a null, and interstice of the matrix that may never be filled by an element. While it is possible for a staff to have ten elements in its matrix, it is much more common for this number to be considerably lower due to failed configuration attempts.

The Elements
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.

The following list details some of the elements that are available for spellcasters to configure into their eldritch staff. Other elements may be added to this list in the future.

Arcane Impact
   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.

Arcane Power
   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).

Blowthrough
   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.

Calling Stick
   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.
   Drawback: When this element is configured, the spellcaster must choose one spell from his spell book or one spell that he knows. This spell becomes incomprehensible to him forever - it may not be prepared, cast, cast from a spell-completion item, or even used from within a spell-trigger item.

Concentration Stabilizer
   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.

Deflect Spell
   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.

Eldritch Reach
   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

   Drawback: When this element is configured, the creator must select a school of magic from which he can cast spells. Spells from the selected school have their range reduced by the following amount per element configured in the staff:

   Close-5 feet per two elements
   Medium-10 feet per element
   Long-40 feet per element

Eldritch Venom
   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.

Embedded Spells
   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.

Focused Infusion
   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.

Forceful Casting
   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.

Recursive Casting
   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.

Reflexive Casting
   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.

Shredded Resistance
   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.

Susceptible Target
Creature Type% Roll
Elemental (Water)
1
Vermin
2
Animal
3-4
Elemental (Earth)
5-6
Elemental (Air)
7-9
Elemental (Fire)
10-12
Outsider (Earth)
13-15
Ooze
16-19
Outsider
20-23
Outsider (Water)
24-27
Shapechanger
28-31
Construct
32-35
Giant
36-39
Outsider (Air)
40-43
Dragon
44-46
Fey
47-49
Outsider (Good)
50-52
Plant
53-55
Monstrous Humanoid
56-59
Outsider (Fire)
60-63
Outsider (Chaotic)
64-67
Outsider (Lawful)
68-71
Beast
72-75
Humanoid
76-80
Outsider (Evil)
81-85
Undead
86-90
Aberration
91-95
Magical Beast
96-100
   Benefit: The caster must select one monster type (dragon, monstrous humanoid, giant, and so on) when this element is configured. Whenever a creature of this type is affected by a spell cast while the staff is wielded, it suffers a -4 penalty to its save. If the Humanoid type is selected for the benefit of this element, the creator must select a specific humanoid subtype for the benefit.
   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.

Note: If a creature falls into more than one type, and one of its types is selected in either the benefit or the drawback portion of this element, then the creature is affected in the appropriate way. If the same creature type is rolled when choosing the drawback of this element, roll on the table again for a new creature type.

   Special: This element may be chosen multiple times. Each time, a different type of creature must be chosen for both the benefit and the drawback.

Thoughtless Cast
   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.

Wordless Cast
   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.

A staff begins its life with the same durability as a wooden quarterstaff: A Hardness of 5, 2 hit points, and a Break DC of 14. This fragility is frightening to many spellcasters who take great pains to further improve the strength and durability of the eldritch staff, Though there is certainly a strong desire to simply pile as much protection onto the staff as possible, this is not practical - too much tampering with the staff dampens its matrix and jeopardizes the weapon as a whole.

At every odd level (not including 1st level, even if the staff is created at this level), the creator is able to add protection to the eldritch staff. The amount of protection that may be added is based on the power of the arcane matrix: The more powerful the matrix, the stronger the protection surrounding it can be without causing disruption of its effects. Consult the Staff Protection table below to determine the amount of protection possible based on the number of elements in the staff's matrix, as well as the cost of adding that protection. If a spellcaster chooses not to add protection when the option is available (at each odd level), he can pay the combined cost for each step that he skipped in addition to the cost of the new step to bring the staff's protection up to date.

Staff Protection
Number
of Elements
Hardness
Increase
CostHit Point
Increase
CostBreak DC
Increase
Cost
1110051,50011,000
22400103,00022,000
34900154,50033,000
461,600206,00044,000
582,500257,50055,000
6103,600309,00066,000
7124,900329,60077,000
8156,4003411,20088,000
9188,1003611,80099,000
102010,0004012,0001010,000
The cost of this protection is based on the difficulty of acquiring the special materials needed to provide the staff with its own armor. For each new step of protection added, the spellcaster must succeed at a Spellcraft check (DC 10 + the number of elements in the staff's matrix). If the spellcaster has at least five ranks in the Craft: Woodworking, Craft: Weaponsmithing, or Craft: Jeweler skills, he receives a +2 synergy bonus to this roll.

On a failed Spellcraft check, the raw materials for the attempt are lost, but the spellcaster can try again until he succeeds provided he pays the cost to acquire new raw materials. Each attempt requires one day per element in the staff's matrix, during which time the spellcaster must work for a solid eight hours a day with no interruption lasting more than a few minutes. If the spellcaster is unable to work for eight hours a day, or he is interrupted for some reason, the day does not count toward the time needed to enhance the staff's protection.

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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