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View Full Version : [3.5] Quarterstaff Rethought



Tetsubo 57
2008-08-17, 12:51 AM
I love the quarterstaff. Iíve always considered it one of the iconic weapons in the fantasy genre. The simplicity, clean design and availability make it attractive. So cheap to make itís basically free. Used by commoners, holy men and fighting monks in both Eastern and Western traditions. But my favorite staff welding character would have to be the Monkey King. Chaos incarnate with a staff in his hands.

Sadly I havenít ever really seen the staff used effectively in a fantasy role-playing game. I would like to change that. Here-in I offer my take on the quarterstaff. It will be presented firstly as a Simple weapon. I shall than build on its usefulness and martial might as both a Martial and Exotic weapon.

As it stands now a quarterstaff has the following 3.5 statistics:

Simple weapon. Quarterstaff: No cost, 1d4/1d4 (Small), 1d6/1d6 (Medium) ◊2, No range increment, 4 lb., Bludgeoning damage. It is a double weapon.

My version:

Simple weapon. Quarterstaff: No cost, 1d6 (Small), 1d8 (Medium) ◊2, No range increment, 4 lb., Bludgeoning damage. It is a two-handed weapon. It grants a +2 equipment bonus to Balance and Jump skill checks.

Martial weapon. Quarterstaff: No cost, 1d6 (Small), 1d8 (Medium) ◊2, No range increment, 4 lb., Bludgeoning damage. It is a two-handed weapon.
In the hands of a character trained in all martial weapons, has the feat Martial Weapon (Quarterstaff) or is a Monk it receives the following changes: The +2 equipment bonus to Balance and Jump skill checks is increased to a +4 bonus. The quarterstaff has reach, so you can strike opponents 10 feet away with it. In addition, unlike most other weapons with reach, it can be used against an adjacent foe.

Exotic weapon. Quarterstaff: No cost, 1d6/1d6 (Small), 1d8/1d8 (Medium) ◊2, No range increment, 4 lb., Bludgeoning damage. It is a two-handed weapon.
In the hands of a character with the feat Exotic Weapon (Quarterstaff) or is a Monk it receives the following changes: The +4 equipment bonus to Balance and Jump skill checks is increased to a +6 bonus. The quarterstaff has reach, so you can strike opponents 10 feet away with it. In addition, unlike most other weapons with reach, it can be used against an adjacent foe.
A quarterstaff is a double weapon. You can fight with it as if fighting with two weapons, but if you do; you incur all the normal attack penalties associated with fighting with two weapons, just as if you were using a one-handed weapon and a light weapon. A creature wielding a quarterstaff in one hand canít use it as a double weaponóonly one end of the weapon can be used in any given round.

Under all circumstances the quarterstaff is a special monk weapon. This designation gives a monk wielding a quarterstaff special options.

Behold_the_Void
2008-08-17, 01:29 AM
Martial or higher should allow it to be finesse-able.

Decoy69
2008-08-17, 08:14 AM
Nice, I may just uhh... Liberate, that for my campaign. :smallwink:

DareTheRogue
2008-08-17, 08:51 AM
I may utilize this as well.

Prophaniti
2008-08-17, 09:18 AM
I like it as well. Just make sure you add the clause that if using it as a double weapon, you don't have reach with it. Something like "if you use the quarterstaff as a double weapon, it is not considered to have reach until the start of your next turn". At least, that makes sense to me. I think that's what happens with the spiked chain, too, if you take that PrC that lets you use it as a double weapon.

This sounds to me like something that could be done to a lot of weapons. It gets different bonuses and uses the more trained you are with it. It'd take a lot of work to hammer out though, and I at least don't have time.

Saph
2008-08-17, 09:25 AM
Sadly I havenít ever really seen the staff used effectively in a fantasy role-playing game.

GURPS makes the quarterstaff into a pretty good weapon. Since quarterstaff parry is 2/3rds of your skill instead of half, a staff expert is incredibly hard to hit. Its damage isn't bad either.

- Saph

Mark Hall
2008-08-17, 10:21 AM
2nd edition did some marvelous things with a quarterstaff. If you had a quarterstaff specialist with Two-Handed Style, you had a weapon faster than a dagger (Speed Factor 1 as opposed to 2), that hit as hard a short sword.

For bonuses to skills like balance, etc, I would consider the quarterstaff an appropriate tool for adding +2, provided you were trained in the skill.

nargbop
2008-08-17, 10:47 AM
Take the example of a good oak whacking stick. It takes me, a Boy Scout with no particular talent, about an hour to find a straight healthy young tree, fell it, cut it to size, and trim off the little burrs. And then significant time to dry out. I would want to cap the ends with metal so that it lasts longer, too.

An excellent bo staff takes a lot of time to make, by people with lots more skill than me.

I suggest the following change to the stats of the original post : the martial and exotic versions are masterwork weapons. The stats you've made are all appropriate for the weapon, IMO, but beyond the scope of 3.5 rules. Hooray for homebrew.
I would leave the standard quarterstaff as it is. As a DM, I would occasionally break the darn things because they're just sticks.

DMfromTheAbyss
2008-08-17, 11:01 AM
There was also a prestige class put out called the knight of staves from the master of arms series (basically cool prestige classes based on under/suboptimal weapons to make them cool again). It did some of the things your looking for.

Also My DM let me get away with having an "iron shod" staff that updated the damage to 1d8. It cost a bit then... like 30gp but was worth it.

Also Also the Feather staff and Long staff (both count as quarter staves) from the complete adventurer and rogue I think are also cool upgrades.

Also I suggest you look into spells that can be enchanted on staves for true powergaming... Entangling staff and Spikes along with shillelagh (sp?) are a good ways to take that stick you just picked up and start wronging people. (it helps to have a druid in the party).

Also what do you guys think of different stats for the "Monks Spade" basically a quarter staff with crossier or jangly spikey bits to add a bit of weight (and make the all important "ching... ching" sound as you walk). It's still a staff, often used by japenese/chinese monks if my history is correct?)

For reference they had one as a staff in Jade Empire that looked wicked...

Anyway just some random thoughts on staves from someone who did use them to good effect in 3.5.

Knaight
2008-08-17, 11:06 AM
As for not finding rules which handled them well one of the Fudge weapon chapters has it as one of the better weapons. High damage, parry bonus, reach, speed. If I remember correctly. That and theres the sheer versatility of it. Oh and I would change it to something like this by default.

Quarterstaff 1d6/1d6 or 1d8, reach(can hit adjacent enemies)
Quarterstaff Mastery
+2 to balance when using a quarterstaff
+4 to jump when using a quarterstaff
+4 to trip attempts when using a quarterstaff or other polearm.

Leon
2008-08-17, 12:12 PM
2nd edition did some marvelous things with a quarterstaff. If you had a quarterstaff specialist with Two-Handed Style, you had a weapon faster than a dagger (Speed Factor 1 as opposed to 2), that hit as hard a short sword.

For bonuses to skills like balance, etc, I would consider the quarterstaff an appropriate tool for adding +2, provided you were trained in the skill.

I think our DM has added a bonus to THACO when being a specialist with a Staff in our game in addition to those things


I like to re flavor the great club into a War staff (Derived from the Diablo II: Diablerie)



Tho it still puzzles me why a large lump of wood is a martial weapon and a Small lump of wood is a simple weapon

Knaight
2008-08-17, 12:16 PM
Try using them both. Although the quarterstaff is simple by default. Of course, where the developers really screwed up was making the sling a simple weapon. Those things are harder to use than a bow.

Prophaniti
2008-08-17, 12:23 PM
The 'Simple/Martial' weapon categories are stupid to begin with. Having learned to use a sword, I can tell you it doesn't have anything to do with effectively using a halberd, yet for the same feat I get proficiency with both, as well as maces, bows, and other extremely varied weapons. Seriously, flails? Using a flail is a frickin' pain. My sword training is exactly no benefit with a flail. Slings are another good example, I've never been able to work the things, even though I'm good with a sword and competent with a bow. The feat Martial WP, and even Simple WP, should realistically take months of steady training to make you competent with that many very different weapons. I always use a homebrewed weapon proficiency system, and when using d20 I don't charge a feat for it, you get far too few of those for a weapon proficiency to be worth it.

Chronos
2008-08-17, 12:25 PM
I like the idea, but I'd leave the damage where it is, at 1d4 small/1d6 medium. Yes, the quarterstaff is a very versatile weapon (I'm proficient with it myself, and can see how you would do all of the things you're describing with it), but there's still a reason most fighting folks use swords instead.

I'd also swap the double-weapon status with reach (i.e., make it count as a double weapon at Martial, and as a reach weapon at Exotic): It's easier to fight with both ends of a staff than it is to hold it by one end and reach out to strike with the other.


I like to re flavor the great club into a War staff (Derived from the Diablo II: Diablerie)Amusingly, in the Diablo II computer game itself, the highest-damage weapon is actually a staff, though few players ever notice. If you take the unique quarterstaff Ribcracker, and upgrade it from exceptional to elite, it ends up doing more damage than the Windhammer, plus it's faster and gives bonuses to defense. And it counts as a "mace-class" weapon, so a barbarian's weapon mastery still applies.


EDIT:

The 'Simple/Martial' weapon categories are stupid to begin with. Having learned to use a sword, I can tell you it doesn't have anything to do with effectively using a halberd, yet for the same feat I get proficiency with both, as well as maces, bows, and other extremely varied weapons.The same feat doesn't get you proficiency with both. The feat you take to get proficiency with a longsword is Martial Weapon Proficiency: Longsword. Likewise, for a halberd, it's Martial Weapon Proficiency: Halberd. Several classes such as fighters get proficiency in all martial weapons, but that's assumed to be part of the extensive training they put in before becoming adventurers.

Mark Hall
2008-08-17, 12:33 PM
I think our DM has added a bonus to THACO when being a specialist with a Staff in our game in addition to those things


If you were a specialist, you got a +1 to Hit and a +2 to damage, as well as additional attacks; it was the Two-Handed Style specialization that gave you the decrease in speed factor; sorry I wasn't clear on that.

And Chronos beat me to the Martial weapon feat thing.

Knaight
2008-08-17, 12:46 PM
The 'Simple/Martial' weapon categories are stupid to begin with. Having learned to use a sword, I can tell you it doesn't have anything to do with effectively using a halberd, yet for the same feat I get proficiency with both, as well as maces, bows, and other extremely varied weapons. Seriously, flails? Using a flail is a frickin' pain.
There is some overlap. That said, the categories are a bit off. I can use a rapier, smallsword, and staff decently. On the other hand I'm not going to hit anything with a bow beyond 20 yards, and I can't fire with any speed. I'm worse with a sling(that said the sling is by far the harder weapon. I don't know what Wotc was smoking, but they had a bonfire in the central building when they came up with that. A crossbow is point and click. A bow is point, hold arrow in place, release properly while holding the bow. A sling is swing once, either overhand(this has the best distance, and the most power, that said its also the hardest to aim with) side hand, or underhand(by far the most accurate). For exceptionally long slings you might swing it over your head, but thats usually not a good idea.

Greg
2008-08-17, 12:53 PM
I'd allow the quarterstaff to deal nonlethal damage (martial) and give +2 on trip attempts (exotic).

Mark Hall
2008-08-17, 04:59 PM
I'd allow the quarterstaff to deal nonlethal damage (martial) and give +2 on trip attempts (exotic).

Why would it take an exotic WP to get a bonus to trip with a weapon well-designed to hit someone in the leg?

Sstoopidtallkid
2008-08-17, 05:08 PM
There's a thread over on Wizards that rated all weapons on a percentile system, with set markers for whether it should be Simple, Martial, or Exotic. If someone still has a link, that could be a big help here.

Spiryt
2008-08-17, 05:12 PM
Martial or not, I really don't think it's really resonable to give quarterstaff tripping.

Surely, it's well designed to hit someone in the leg, but which weapons aren't? After taking a hit with the sword to the leg, you can also be tripped, beacuse your leg can be off in the first place.

If axes don't have tripping quality, quarterstaff also shouldn't.

Mark Hall
2008-08-17, 08:58 PM
Martial or not, I really don't think it's really resonable to give quarterstaff tripping.

Surely, it's well designed to hit someone in the leg, but which weapons aren't? After taking a hit with the sword to the leg, you can also be tripped, beacuse your leg can be off in the first place.

If axes don't have tripping quality, quarterstaff also shouldn't.

Compared to other weapons? A quarter staff is very well set up to trip. Its length and style of use makes a strong, unexpected hit to the knee (or hooking of a leg) very easy. Sure, you can trip with a battle axe, but not without telegraphing it to a large extent.

Knaight
2008-08-17, 09:07 PM
A quarterstaff gives you more leverage and a better angle than quite a few weapons. That said most polearms would be pretty good if you wanted to trip someone. A halberd for example is very easy.

Mark Hall
2008-08-17, 09:31 PM
A quarterstaff gives you more leverage and a better angle than quite a few weapons. That said most polearms would be pretty good if you wanted to trip someone. A halberd for example is very easy.

Actually, it's a major component of fighting with halberds according to several period fechtbucher.

Knaight
2008-08-17, 10:11 PM
Exactly, because of how well suited the halberd is to tripping.

Leon
2008-08-18, 07:08 AM
A quarterstaff gives you more leverage and a better angle than quite a few weapons. That said most polearms would be pretty good if you wanted to trip someone. A halberd for example is very easy.

A large component of most pole-arms is basically a quarter staff with a sharp bit on the end