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Old 04-18-2024, 09:57 PM   #1
David Bofinger
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Sydney, Australia
Default Wizard Staff

I find the way wizard staffs (staves?) work to be unsatisfactory.
  • I think the "explodes if moved against his will" rule requires too much insight into the wizard's thinking and mostly when the staff does explode it's kind of silly. Has anyone ever had a staff explode and thought, "Cool, that added to the story"? Because I think we've all had stupid industrial accident explosions.
  • The staff spells are a ladder, like D&D, rather than offering choice, as TFT abilities should.
  • The mana rules, being based on IQ rather than ST, are an attempt to allow wizards to dump stat their ST.
  • I don't know what kind of character the occult zap rules are aimed at supporting.
  • The idea that a starting staff for a combat wizard is a two-handed club strikes me as silly, but maybe this is as much a problem with clubs as with staff.
So how should wizard staffs work?
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Old 04-19-2024, 05:30 AM   #2
DeadParrot
 
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Default Re: Wizard Staff

If the wizard takes the quarterstaff talent and follows up with using a quarterstaff as her wizard's staff, she now has a 1d6+2 melee weapon that can also, if the proper rolls are made, disarm her opponent. Since many wizards will quickly increase their DX so spells will cast successfully, that quarterstaff quickly becomes a reliable damage dealer. DX 13 = 83% success chance. Does require a ST of 11 to avoid penalties. Others have used daggers as staff choice to good effect.

The Staff III occult zap bypasses armor and natural defense. A range 2 ability that is also rolled at DX+3 and can be fired in any direction. "Ha, you just thought being in my rear hex was safe!" For the above wizard, pretty close to certain damage unless crit fails happen.

There are a few talents that ladder but Staff seems the only 5 step version.

Yes to exploding staff adding to story. After defeating an enemy wizard, one PC was fascinated by a shiny jewel that was part of the wizard's staff and picked up the staff. Boom! The PC was the party's wizard and should have known better.

IQ vs ST seems a design choice.
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Old 04-19-2024, 06:42 AM   #3
Shostak
 
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Default Re: Wizard Staff

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Bofinger View Post
So how should wizard staffs work?
I completely agree with you, David. I have used both the RAW Legacy Edition Staff spells and nerfed house-rule versions. I'm not satisfied with either. I do not like how the Staff spells become de rigueur for wizards, how the uniformity of arcane abilities possessed by staves lead to predictable behavior, and how arguments about conditions necessary to trigger an explosion inevitably break out.

If I had my way, the Staff spell would be jettisoned completely. If a wizard wants a walking stick they can use as a club, let them have a walking stick they can wield as a club, or, with the appropriate talent, let them have a quarterstaff they can use as a walking stick. If they want an enchanted staff or wand, they can use the Weapon & Armour Enchantment and Magic Item Creation spells to make a bespoke arcane tool with unique capabilities chosen by the wizard according to their desires and abilities. The powerstone rules already in place from the Classic era allow for such an accessory to expand the reservoir of ST necessary to power spells.

Admittedly, this places magical staves beyond the capabilities of most beginning wizards, and it invites the question (probably best dealt with as its own thread) as to whether or not enchantment rules presented in ITL are satisfactory.
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Old 04-19-2024, 07:27 AM   #4
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Default Re: Wizard Staff

The biggest buff in Legacy is that staves now function as clubs and hence get the HTH damage increase over the Melee/Wizard boardgames as seen here:
https://www.hcobb.com/tft/house_rules.html#barehands


Also TFT is full of ladders. If you want a forest of talents instead see GURPS.
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Old 04-19-2024, 06:51 PM   #5
Steve Plambeck
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Default Re: Wizard Staff

My preferences are:
  • One single Staff spell, at IQ 8. For a starting wizard at low IQ it's really not much more than a walking stick, but it does do 1d6 damage.
  • A Staff has to be wood. Period. They all work the same whether it's a full walking stick, or a wand you can hide up your sleeve.
  • All Staffs have a couple utilitarian tricks baked in. One is the tip emits one torchlight, for free, whenever the wizard wills it. The tip can also be willed, again for free, to emit a spark for starting campfires or lighting a pipe. This is partly for color, and partly to make a starting wizard a bit more helpful for any party (also it's an original house rule my group used since 1979, so I'm nostalgic about it).
  • None of that occult zap business -- we ain't from Hogwarts
  • Yes it blows up if someone tries to steal it
  • At a certain point a wizard learns how to begin storing Mana in it, just a little at first. As the wizard acquires more skill at magic, that amount goes up in several steps. My mechanics for all that is so far removed from RAW we wouldn't even call it TFT anymore, so I'll leave that out of this thread. The important thing is that it's the wizard who determines what their Staff can do, not the Staff determining what the wizard can do.
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Old 04-19-2024, 09:13 PM   #6
Bill_in_IN
 
Join Date: Dec 2021
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Default Re: Wizard Staff

The addition of the Staff Spells in Legacy is one of the few things that I like in Legacy compared to Classic. Having said that, I do recognize the frustrations mentioned in this thread.

We never really came up with any house rules around the staves in our Classic days. This is actually weird because we had all kinds of other house rules. As a result, staves were just walking sticks and no more than defined in Classic ITL. Wizards depended upon ST and power stones. In Classic TFT, staves weren't useful much at all and most wizards didn't bother with having one.

I have liked exploring the new Staff Spells in Legacy TFT. The mechanics is a bit weird but not hard to implement. I will admit that it has shifted Legacy wizards toward being loaded up with levels of Staff spells and it does soak up IQ points that could diversify the wizards talents/spells.

I think that I will build up a wizard devoid of a staff and see what happens. Maybe it will be like a Classic TFT wizard.
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Old 04-19-2024, 09:24 PM   #7
hcobb
 
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Default Re: Wizard Staff

I suggest that wizards sans staves take Unarmed Combat so that they don't block their own spellcasting.
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Old 04-19-2024, 11:12 PM   #8
David Bofinger
 
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Default Re: Wizard Staff

I think, "I sneak into the wizard's tent and steal his staff so that when he tries to fight us he's at a disadvantage," is a potentially fun story element, and I don't know why we'd want to have an exploding staff rule whose main effect is to make such escapades impossible.
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Old 04-20-2024, 01:39 AM   #9
David Bofinger
 
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Default Re: Wizard Staff

Quote:
TFT is full of ladders.
Your definition of "full of" might be different from mine. It seems to me that *most* things in TFT aren't ladderlike: the attribute system, languages, most talents, most spells, etc, basically the core elements of the system. The exceptions include Staff, Unarmed Combat, a few talents like Physicker to a limited extent, and IMO making war on such things is generally admirable.
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Old 04-20-2024, 03:55 AM   #10
hcobb
 
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Default Re: Wizard Staff

By ladders I mean things like the attribute system. You flip xp into dx to provide a set level of effects at each rung.
Compare to the GURPS forest where increase DX or put points into Sword which also increases Dagger fighting.
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