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View Full Version : D&D 3.x Other Dire Staff [What's the base damage of a tree?][Weapon+Feats]



Admiral Squish
2014-07-04, 11:37 AM
Dire Staff
http://aidanmoher.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/monkey_king_by_aiyayo-d4kp0kc.jpg

A dire staff is an enormous cylinder of wood, metal, or even some kinds of stone, as tall as a man and thick. Some may have handles or hand-holds built in, others may be as simple as a hacked-off tree trunk. The length can be carved, decorated, banded, or plain, as long as it's large and heavy. A dire staff is a brutally simple weapon, suitable for characters with great strength, and the weapon makes up for its lack of finesse with immense, crushing power.

A dire staff is a fearsome weapon, but it is unsuitable for those who lack strength. Attacking with a dire staff is always a standard action, though a user proficient with its use can use a dire staff to attack at the end of a charge. It cannot be used for attacks of opportunity, or as part of a full attack, and it cannot be used as part of a martial maneuver or other special attack. If a character attacking with a dire staff fails to hit their target, they take -2 penalty to AC until the start of their next turn, due to being off-balanced by the weight of the weapon.
Each dire staff is carefully weighted and balanced for a specific level of strength. Each dire staff is made with a particular strength rating, and requires a minimum strength modifier to wield properly. If a character that wields a dire staff has a strength modifier lower than the dire staff's, they take a -2 penalty to attack rolls and AC while wielding it, and gain none of the dire staff's special benefits. When wielded by a character that meets or exceeds this strength bonus, the wielder adds twice their strength bonus to the damage roll instead of the usual strength bonus for a two-handed weapon, and in the hands of a particularly skilled wielder, the dire staff increases its base damage by 1d6 per point of strength modifier it was designed for. This bonus damage only applies if the wielder has a base attack bonus of +6 or greater, as it takes a great deal of skill to get the full benefits out of such a heavy weapon.

A dire staff's base price increases by 100 gold per point of strength modifier it's designed for, and it's weight increases by 10 pounds per point. Most dire staffs have a strength modifier of +3 or higher, but they can be created with as low as a +0 modifier. you cannot make a dire staff with a negative modifier.

A dire staff with the sizing property can adjust its strength modifier as a normal use of the sizing ability.

A dire staff carved or decorated in a religious fashion can be treated as a shrine to a particular deity for the purposes of consecrate or desecrate spells.


Exotic Two-HandedCostDamage (S)Damage (M)CriticalRangeWeightType
Dire Staff1002d63d6x2-50 lbB


Feats:
Batter
You can use the immense weight and power of your dire staff to batter opponents around the battlefield.
Prerequisites: Str 17, Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Dire Staff), Power Attack
Benefit: When you make a successful melee attack with a dire staff, you can make a bull rush or trip attempt against the target as a free action. If you make a bull rush attempt, you cannot choose to move with the target. If you fail your trip attempt, the opponent cannot react to try and trip you.

Devastating Dire Staff
Your skill with the dire staff lets you wield it to devastating damage.
Prerequisites: BAB +10, Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Dire Staff)
Benefit: When wielding a dire staff, the bonus d6s to damage from the weapon’s strength modifier become d8s instead.

Dire Staff Hurler
Your great strength allows you to hurl your dire staff to devastating effect.
Prerequisites: Str 17, Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Dire Staff)
Benefit: As a full-round action action, you can hurl your dire staff into the air to smash down on your foes. Select a single 5-foot square within 60 feet. Any creature or creatures in that square must make a reflex save (DC 10+ ˝ your base attack bonus + your strength modifier) or take damage as though hit by a melee attack with your dire staff. Creatures that are unaware of the attack do not get a reflex save. The save DC decreases by 1 for every 10 feet away from you the target square is. Though this is not a normal thrown weapon attack, a dire staff with the returning property will return to the wielder as normal.
__________________________________________________ ________________________________________

So, yeah, I made this, and I'm not certain why, exactly. I have always wanted to be able to wield a battering ram or just a great big log in combat, so this is sorta my way of making it happen. I know it's not terribly realistic, but I like it. I'd love some way to make it better or more representative, so please leave your comments/suggestions!

SuperDave
2014-07-04, 01:24 PM
So when you say "If a character attacking with a dire staff fails to hit their target, they provoke an attack of opportunity", does this mean if you fail to deal damage, or only if you completely miss (I.e. whiff)?

You also say that it has no range, but I feel like this is a weapon that deserves Reach. You should have the option to swing it like a bat, as a full-round action or a move action or something.

What would be the range increment for a weapon like this? How far could it be thrown, and how much damage would it do it it hit the opponent end-on? My guess it that you'd basically have to make a save to avoid instant death by having your ribcage crushed.

You also don't explain what "Price: 100 (+50/Str)" means. Does this weapon get cheaper as you get stronger?

Speaking of which, is the attack penalty larger the more you miss the Str requirement by? Is it easier to attack with if you're stronger than the minimum? Do you need to have a certain Str score in order to use it one-handed?

Anyway, despite all my nitpicking, I think this is an AWESOME weapon (in the Biblical, shock-and-awe sense of the word). It's really cool to see a completely original, non-magical item in the homebrew section. Very original idea you've got there. I look forward to trying it out!

Jormengand
2014-07-04, 01:39 PM
So a second-level fighter is running up to something and dealing 7d6+8 (or possibly even 8d6+10) damage to something, without even trying to optimise?

Admiral Squish
2014-07-04, 02:05 PM
I'm glad you like it, I did hope it would be impressive.

AoO
The idea was that they would provoke an attack of opportunity if they fail to hit the target in a meaningful way, IE, failing to roll higher than their AC, or by failing a miss chance roll. I did add that last-second, though, so I suppose it could use some clarification, or possibly more thought.
The idea was that a weapon such as this would leave them open to counterattacks if they failed to hit, but perhaps an attack of opportunity is a bit much, especially considering the lack of iterative attacks. Maybe just a -2 to AC until their next turn?

Reach/Range
I don't think reach would be appropriate. In most cases it would be wielded as the monkey king is shown doing in the image, using their body as a pivot point to swing the weapon around in an arc or down over the shoulder in a smash. It would be rather impractical to wield it by gripping the end in the first place, and in the second place, if they were to do it thusly, it would be a more glancing blow to catch them with the end of it, the real 'sweet spot' on the weapon being somewhere in the middle.
As to throwing it... that sounds pretty seriously awesome. But I don't know if it's practical. I seem to remember caber rules somewhere, though... I'll have to see if I can find it.

Cost/Weight
The idea was that you would add the listed value for each point of strength bonus, much like with a composite bow. The / was a 'per' not a 'divided by'. But on consulting those entries, I think I'll add that info into the text of the writeup itself.

Increasing Penalty
I think that may be a bit too complicated. It does make sense, but the details of this weapon are plenty convoluted already, it seems adding another sentence or two for this may be too much for most.

Second-level fighter
Err... Not quite. First, aforementioned fighter would need to spend the feat on it, which is less of a challenge on a fighter, granted. Second, the fighter would have to wait to at least... third or fourth to be able to afford it, if you keep to the rule of not buying things that cost more than 1/2 WBL. And said fighter would also be forsaking heavier armors and such to be able to afford it. Granted, it would be a very strong option for a few levels, but overall, by the time you can afford it, the wizard's doing it better anyways.

Amechra
2014-07-04, 04:54 PM
I don't know about that damage scaling; I don't worry so much about the Fighter as I do the Warblade.

A Sizing Dire Staff is nasty, especially when you take into account that getting a really high Strength can be pretty easy (I can make a level one Wizard who can hit Str 30); I'm a tad "worried" about a melee weapon that deals 3d6 + [Str]d6 + bonus damage from manuevers.

jiriku
2014-07-04, 05:26 PM
I do believe that the damage is rather too high. It would be fairly simple, especially levels 2-5, to build a character who could one-shot any sort of reasonable opposition with this weapon. I'd suggest that if the damage is going to scale at +1d6 per point of strength bonus, then the base damage should be set to a simple 1d6, as with a regular staff. Alternately, you might consider just granting an extra +50% bonus damage from strength, rather than all the bonus dice -- let's just say a dire staff really gives you the leverage to whack stuff.

Admiral Squish
2014-07-04, 05:47 PM
Maneuvers
You raise a very valid point. I fiddled with the wording to prevent its use in martial maneuvers or other special attacks. Seems like it would be a bit too slow to use in complex techniques.

Sizing
I don't think the sizing benefit is that much of a problem. It's like 5000g (I thought it was a modifier, which would have made it less problematic still), so you probably wouldn't be getting it very early, and unless you invest a bunch of the build into temporary strength buffs (like rage) you wouldn't get that much use out of it. Though I suppose it would keep the weapon useful if you got hit with some manner of weakening effect, too, which really seems like a plus in my book.

Damage
Hmm... The challenge is making something that works at all levels. As it is, it seems to be a bit overpowered in the 3-5 range, then its usefulness seems to drop off as you get into the normal range of iteratives. I want to keep the scaling damage to keep it useful in upper levels (though I don't think I can guard against some more impressive fests of optimization), and I don't want to artificially limit it by character level... I don't think lowering the base damage to 1d6 is particularly valid, either, it's a much larger, heavier weapon than a staff, even in it's basic form. Maybe 2d6, but no lower. And just dropping it to a regular weapon with a 2x str bonus is just boring...

What if I installed a BAB-based cap? Like, your skill only lets you get so much out of the weapon, no matter your inherent strength. So, you can't boost that damage by more than 1d6/BAB.

EdroGrimshell
2014-07-04, 07:30 PM
This would go incredibly well with my N'mak (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?312505-N-mak-a-Race-of-Heavy-Lifters) race, it's ability to lift heavy loads without trouble makes it an incredible good option for them, possibly even a favored weapon for the race.

Admiral Squish
2014-07-05, 12:36 PM
This would go incredibly well with my N'mak (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?312505-N-mak-a-Race-of-Heavy-Lifters) race, it's ability to lift heavy loads without trouble makes it an incredible good option for them, possibly even a favored weapon for the race.

You know, I imagined such a weapon being used by some of the more violent physical races, but on further inspection I could certainly imagine a N'mak bearing an enormous stone or iron pillar into battle.

Epsilon Rose
2014-07-05, 01:41 PM
This seems like it would be really powerful at low levels, where you're getting a bunch of extra dice on your one attack per round, but really weak at high levels, where you're getting a bunch of extra dice on one attack and losing out on your other 3 or 4.

Admiral Squish
2014-07-05, 03:31 PM
This seems like it would be really powerful at low levels, where you're getting a bunch of extra dice on your one attack per round, but really weak at high levels, where you're getting a bunch of extra dice on one attack and losing out on your other 3 or 4.

I know, that's the problem. I really want wielding one of these to be a valid option at higher levels... I mean, that's why I put the scaling damage thing in there in the first place. I don't want to say you just can't use it until a certain level, and I can't seem to make it scale in such a way that it's not too strong at low levels and too weak at high levels. It evens out a bit in the mid-levels, and overall the damage is pretty comparable at the high end. I just need to fix the low-level problem somehow.

-------------

Let's try a comparison table.

Dire StaffGreatsword
Damage (5th*)7d6+11 (avg. 35)2d6+8 (avg. 15)
Damage (20th**)14d6+29 (avg. 78)2d6+23 (avg. 30) or 8d6+92 (avg. 120)***
ActionStandardStandard or Full
Special Attacks/AoOsNoYes
Feat CostYesNo
Str damage-2 attacks/AC, lose special benefits, reduced attack/damageReduced attack/damage, multiplied by attacks
DR/HardnessSubtractive damage lossMultiplied damage loss

*+1 weapon, 20 Str
**+5 weapon, 34 str
***Assuming all four attacks hit, which seems to be very rare at higher levels.

So, the dire staff deals much greater damage/attack, and it only needs a standard action to use each turn, offering greater battlefield mobility, and is much better for overcoming damage reduction or hardness. However, the greatsword can deal more damage overall, if they can make all their attacks count, can use special attacks and attacks of opportunity, does not need a feat to use, and is much less vulnerable to strength damage. It is definitely way too strong at low levels, though.


EDIT: Okay, I tried a couple drafts of a bab-capped damage, but I just couldn't make it work. So, I brought the base damage back up to 3d6, and said you can't get the str-based bonus damage unless you have a +6 or greater BAB. Though, now I'm wondering if it would be better off as a feat. Come to think of it, I bet I could add a feat to let you throw it.

Epsilon Rose
2014-07-05, 04:09 PM
Why not make the damage scale of BAB and either make a high str a requirement for wielding it or gate the different damage levels with str requirements. After all, the Monkey King was stupidly strong, which is what let him wield it in the first place, but also incredibly skilled, which is what made it useful. It might also be worth noting that he did use it with special techniques more often then not.

Admiral Squish
2014-07-05, 04:49 PM
Making the damage scale by BAB runs into the same problem as before in the lower levels, though it does help even things out in the longer run. But it kinda breaks away from the original idea that a dire staff with a higher strength modifier is just that much heavier and more damaging than one with a lower modifier.
A strength requirement doesn't really address the level you can get to use it at. Races with sizable strength bonuses could easily tip the scales and get into it sooner than would be advisable, and then we're right back where we started.
I think the new edit gating the bonus damage to the point where most characters would be getting their second attack seems to work pretty well on limiting the damage in the early levels.
_____
Unrelated, here's some feats I just doodled up.

Batter
You can use the immense weight and power of your dire staff to batter opponents around the battlefield.
Prerequisites: Str 17, Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Dire Staff), Power Attack
Benefit: When you make a successful melee attack with a dire staff, you can make a bull rush or trip attempt against the target as a free action. If you make a bull rush attempt, you cannot choose to move with the target. If you fail your trip attempt, the opponent cannot react to try and trip you.

Devastating Dire Staff
Your skill with the dire staff lets you wield it to devastating damage.
Prerequisites: BAB +10, Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Dire Staff)
Benefit: When wielding a dire staff, the bonus d6s to damage from the weapon’s strength modifier become d8s instead.

Dire Staff Hurler
Your great strength allows you to hurl your dire staff to devastating effect.
Prerequisites: Str 17, Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Dire Staff)
Benefit: As a standard action, you can hurl your dire staff into the air to smash down on your foes. Select a single 5-foot square within 60 feet. Any creature or creatures in that square must make a reflex save (DC 10+ ˝ your base attack bonus + your strength modifier) or take damage as though hit by a melee attack with your dire staff. Creatures that are unaware of the attack do not get a reflex save. The save DC decreases by 1 for every 10 feet away from you the target square is. Though this is not a normal thrown weapon attack, a dire staff with the returning property will return to the wielder as normal.

I'm also considering the option of making one that lets you use the dire staff in maneuvers/special attacks. I figure two feats would probably be enough, tax-wise, to allow such a thing, but I'm not quite certain.

Admiral Squish
2014-07-06, 03:34 PM
Okay, updated the first post with the new feats, and came up with this one, too:

Dire Staff Mastery
You have learned to wield your dire staff with great skill and finesse, despite it's enormous size.
Prerequisites: Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Dire Staff), BAB +10, Initiator Level 8.
Benefit: You can use your dire staff as part of a special attack or maneuver that includes making a melee attack. The special attack or maneuver must require at least a standard action to use, and no special attack or maneuver can allow you to attack more than once per turn with the dire staff, or attack with the dire staff in combination with some other weapon or natural attack in the same turn.

SuperDave
2014-07-17, 03:42 PM
In the context of the Crossroads setting, is the dire staff a simple, martial, or exotic weapon? We don't really have exotic weapons anymore; whether a weapon is "exotic" or not depends on where you're from and what you grew up seeing. This weapon is explicitly modeled after the staff of the Monkey King, but as you've pointed out, anyone with the strength to pick up a tree-trunk could potentially wield this, so it's not really limited to any region or culture. And despite its unusual size, the mechanics of the weapon are pretty simple: you just whack your enemy with it, as hard as you possibly can, until he's dead.

Admiral Squish
2014-07-18, 09:24 PM
Regarding the crossroads setting, seeing as the immense strength required to wield it to great effect would be rare among humans, it could be a weapon tied to wild Sasquatches. I still think proficiency with the dire staff would require its own feat, if only for the sake of balance. And while the basic mechanic is relatively simple, it would require a great deal of practice to get used to actual combat with such a heavy weapon.

It's not explicitly based off the monkey king's staff, the actual inspiration was the totem poles wielded by the tauren in warcraft (the RTS, not the MMO). Only later did I realize the monkey king's staff would be a great example of this weapon.

Debihuman
2014-07-19, 04:04 AM
There should be a minimum strength requirement to wield a dire staff but you never state what it is. Tossing this should always require a full-round action.

Debby

Silva Stormrage
2014-07-19, 04:14 AM
Shouldn't all those new feats be fighter bonus feats?

Admiral Squish
2014-07-19, 10:22 AM
The hard minimum is +0, but most staffs will be +3 or higher, which I added to the post.

Changed the action on the staff-hurling, you raise a valid point.

Fighter feats, huh? Make sesne... I can't remember how to note that, though. I'll look it up and fix later.

Debihuman
2014-07-20, 06:54 AM
There is no advantage to having a dire staff weighted for Str 16 (+3), but there are disadvantages. A medium-sized PC with Str 16 wielding it still does only 3d6+6 points of damage, but it costs 300 gp more and is 30 lbs heavier. The savings to having a dire staff weighted for Str 10/11 (+0) is 300 gp and 30 lbs. less encumbrance. Am I missing an advantage here?

It's nice for fluff to have it weighted for different strengths. However in the hands of a sufficiently strong PC, the cost and encumbrance are not worth the fluff.

Debby

Carl
2014-07-20, 10:17 AM
There is no advantage to having a dire staff weighted for Str 16 (+3), but there are disadvantages. A medium-sized PC with Str 16 wielding it still does only 3d6+6 points of damage, but it costs 300 gp more and is 30 lbs heavier. The savings to having a dire staff weighted for Str 10/11 (+0) is 300 gp and 30 lbs. less encumbrance. Am I missing an advantage here?

Once their BAB reachs 6+ each point of strength it's weighted for also adds 1D6 damage, so that becomes 6D6+6.

Admiral Squish
2014-07-20, 10:41 AM
Once their BAB reachs 6+ each point of strength it's weighted for also adds 1D6 damage, so that becomes 6D6+6.

This, pretty much. for a low-level character, a +0 would be fine, but you're gonna want to go big as soon as you get into the multiple attacks range.

Debihuman
2014-07-20, 05:59 PM
I suspected there was a bonus in there that I missed. Wait until some of the super strong monsters gets a hold of this. This could be bad for the PCs when the enemies can have these too.

Debby

Admiral Squish
2014-07-20, 07:01 PM
I suspected there was a bonus in there that I missed. Wait until some of the super strong monsters gets a hold of this. This could be bad for the PCs when the enemies can have these too.

Debby

Hmm... good point. But then, any such monster would be trading off some things too. The monster would have to be able to wield weapons, and if they had BAB high enough to be using the weapon, they would be trading their iterative attacks/multiple natural attacks just the same as a PC would. Plus, they would lose out on their AoOs, which would likely be more of a loss for such a monster than a PC.
Still, a giant with a dire staff would be able to do some crazy damage... A stone giant with the weapon could smash foes for 4d6 (base)+8d6 (dire staff)+16 (str). But then, that's not all too much more than a character could be doing at a level near their CR, only a few extra D6s.