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Old 04-20-2024, 12:42 PM   #11
phiwum
 
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Default Re: Wizard Staff

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Originally Posted by hcobb View Post
I suggest that wizards sans staves take Unarmed Combat so that they don't block their own spellcasting.
That's a pretty expensive way to go.

I have several NPCs who don't use staffs. I have only seen one staff-less wizard PC. The cheap mana battery is just too tempting.

Staff I is just an investment, so that you can get Staff II and Staff III. Of course, Staff IV is a huge upgrade, but I've yet to see an IQ 15 PC. There have been a few Staff IV NPCs I've created, but I don't think any of them have seen a battle.

David's right that the new Staff spells are so useful that it would be foolish to forego their benefits in a PC. Fortunately, I have some foolish and headstrong players, so it's bound to happen from time to time.

There is, of course, a solution. The mana battery only matters to a character reaching 35 attribute points or so. Starting with Staff II is beneficial only later in the game, so it's really an investment (unless the player goes further and starts with Staff III). If you want to discourage long-term planning that makes all starting characters too similar, all you have to do is kill off a few wizard PCs long before they start storing Mana in a staff. The players will stop thinking about long-term development and you'll have a more diverse set of PCs.
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Old 04-20-2024, 04:40 PM   #12
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Default Re: Wizard Staff

The joys of Staff I:
  1. Able to suddenly defend without blocking spell use.
  2. A reasonable offensive spell to use against critters immune to weapons or against a weapon expert who is applying some annoying super defend option against you, that can be used after a half-move.
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Last edited by hcobb; 04-20-2024 at 06:33 PM.
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Old 04-21-2024, 07:51 AM   #13
Bill_in_IN
 
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Default Re: Wizard Staff

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Originally Posted by phiwum View Post
That's a pretty expensive way to go.

I have several NPCs who don't use staffs. I have only seen one staff-less wizard PC. The cheap mana battery is just too tempting.

Staff I is just an investment, so that you can get Staff II and Staff III. Of course, Staff IV is a huge upgrade, but I've yet to see an IQ 15 PC. There have been a few Staff IV NPCs I've created, but I don't think any of them have seen a battle.

David's right that the new Staff spells are so useful that it would be foolish to forego their benefits in a PC. Fortunately, I have some foolish and headstrong players, so it's bound to happen from time to time.

There is, of course, a solution. The mana battery only matters to a character reaching 35 attribute points or so. Starting with Staff II is beneficial only later in the game, so it's really an investment (unless the player goes further and starts with Staff III). If you want to discourage long-term planning that makes all starting characters too similar, all you have to do is kill off a few wizard PCs long before they start storing Mana in a staff. The players will stop thinking about long-term development and you'll have a more diverse set of PCs.
I started Hagen Physis with Staff 4. As an elf, he only started with ST 6. He now has ST 8. So, he is slowly coming out of his two or three shot Charlie mode and has started charging his staff.

As I was getting re-acquainted with TFT, I created a IQ 18 goblin wizard that started with Staff 5 and Wizard Wrath and sank IQ into Missile Weapons(x3). His DX was low but received a +3DX for Staff Zap and Missile Spells. In battle that made him amazingly survivable even though it required that he be very effective with a 3d+3 Wizard Wrath and a couple of 1d+2 Staff Zaps that get past armor. After his initial 1 on 1 arena battles, I teamed him up with an experimental Giant wizard (who has the Aid Spell, of course), and a goblin sword expert with two weapons talent who started much like a fencer but now wields two broadswords. I now used this squad as NPCs. I have done so with several of the PCs that I created as I was getting re-acquainted with TFT.

Last edited by Bill_in_IN; 04-21-2024 at 08:09 AM.
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Old 04-21-2024, 09:45 AM   #14
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Default Re: Wizard Staff

>Micro-rant ON<
The STAFF spells aren't really spells at all... they're a 'class feature' masquerading as spells.
>Micro-rant OFF<
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Old 04-21-2024, 09:56 AM   #15
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Default Re: Wizard Staff

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Originally Posted by hcobb View Post
Able to suddenly defend without blocking spell use.
ITL 117 (regarding the defend action)...
"Neither of these options permits the casting of a spell or the making of any sort of attack. They are purely defensive."
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Old 04-21-2024, 12:00 PM   #16
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Default Re: Wizard Staff

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Originally Posted by hcobb View Post
The joys of Staff I:
  1. Able to suddenly defend without blocking spell use.
  2. A reasonable offensive spell to use against critters immune to weapons or against a weapon expert who is applying some annoying super defend option against you, that can be used after a half-move.
Fair points. For the first point, usually (at least in my games), wizards do a good job of avoiding engagement, but there are certainly times when this can't be reasonably done. (Gargoyles out in the open, for instance, can choose their targets -- though the staff doesn't help in HTH anyway.)

As for the second point, what good does Staff I do against someone defending? An attack is an attack, and as far as I know, there's no explicit rule that one cannot defend against a staff zap. That said, I never considered the possibility of defending against a staff zap for Staff III or higher (even if adjacent to the wielder). Also, the text DOES explicitly say (Staff I), "The staff does not have to touch its target in order to deliver its flare of magical energy," so there may be a point to be made for the claim that one cannot defend against staff zaps, but it's not obvious.

Let me know if I've overlooked something.
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Old 04-21-2024, 12:03 PM   #17
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Default Re: Wizard Staff

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Originally Posted by TippetsTX View Post
ITL 117 (regarding the defend action)...
"Neither of these options permits the casting of a spell or the making of any sort of attack. They are purely defensive."
I think that Henry meant that one could have a staff in hand and choose to defend with it when necessary and still be able to cast spells on other turns. A wizard with any other hand weapon cannot switch so easily from casting spells to defend and vice versa, since he can't cast spells with a weapon in hand (unless he can do it without hand gestures).
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Old 04-22-2024, 01:37 AM   #18
Steve Plambeck
 
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Default Re: Wizard Staff

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Originally Posted by TippetsTX View Post
>Micro-rant ON<
The STAFF spells aren't really spells at all... they're a 'class feature' masquerading as spells.
>Micro-rant OFF<
I say, true. I say it's even more true for the Magic Item Creation spells, but that would start another thread.
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Old 04-22-2024, 09:50 AM   #19
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Default Re: Wizard Staff

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Originally Posted by phiwum View Post
As for the second point, what good does Staff I do against someone defending?
ITL 18: "Making a physical attack with the staff as a weapon does not cost ST." And can be blocked with a Defend option.
ITL 117: "Defending is effective only against non-missile physical attacks"
I.e. not occult blasts.
Also on ITL 117: "Dodging is effective only against missile spells (and thrown and missile weapons). It is no good against other spells or attacks."
So there ain't nothing no warrior can do to dodge or defend against a staff zap.
Wizards rule, berserkers drool on their shields. Q.E.D.
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Old 04-22-2024, 05:01 PM   #20
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Default Re: Wizard Staff

So let's get back to the original question.

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Bofinger View Post
So how should wizard staffs work?
For my taste, I like the idea of a wizard's staff as an arcane foci. I don't need occult zaps or an alternate ST battery. What a wizard can really use is a way to boost their spellcasting... DX bonuses, increasing the range, duration or damage, etc.

And let's treat it like an actual magic item. None of this "pick up a stick and cast the spell on it" nonsense.
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Last edited by TippetsTX; 04-22-2024 at 08:47 PM.
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