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Staffs: Are they for Wizards?


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We all know the archetype: Wizard and his big staff with the knobbly bit on the end.  But does a Wizard in Pillars have any special synergies with staves beyond what everyone else gets?  While there is one or two magical items referred to as Wizard staffs their powers could have theoretically have been put on any weapon.  The class talents for Wizards that apply to weapons all apply to implements, not staves, and all the starting equipment options available by culture are all equipped with implements, not staves.  The Wizard companion you pick up also seems to prefer rapiers for the close-in action, starting with a rapier equipped and portrayed as wielding it in many of the artwork.

 

In fact, the only casting class that can start with a staff is the Druid, whose spells quite often require him to be closer to the action such as many of their healing spells.  Then again, so do many of the wizard spells, and the lore does speak of wizards and their staves in various places.

 

What are your opinions?  Is there any reason for a Wizard to pick a staff over other weapons?  Is there any reason why a Wizard SHOULD be given a synergy with staves in Pillars to encourage the traditional look or should they actually avoid it?  Do Druids make better use of them?  These are random musings I thought I would share, not serious questions but something I like to ponder in those free moments in the office.

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I ignored staves in PoE, preferring to use ranged implements (wand/sceptre/rod) for wizards, druids, and priests.

 

If push did come to shove and my wizard was engaged in melee, I preferred to use the spells that summoned a magical staff rather than actually keep a melee weapon equipped.

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I ignored staves in PoE, preferring to use ranged implements (wand/sceptre/rod) for wizards, druids, and priests.

 

If push did come to shove and my wizard was engaged in melee, I preferred to use the spells that summoned a magical staff rather than actually keep a melee weapon equipped.

That's something I forgot to mention as well, that the Wizards get spells that give them weapons anyway so would they feel the need to have a magical weapon anyway. 

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No, Wizards especially don't use staves (or really any weapon, to be honest). A wizard will want a small shield+hatchet combo to have on when casting spells for free deflection, and an implament of some kind to use when conserving spells at range (until you get high enough you can win encounters soley with per encounter spells).

 

Beyond that, they can burn a level 3 spell slot on a great implament, or a level 5 slot on a great pike. Both are pretty amazing weapons, largely better than what a non-wizard could be using, anyways.

 

I think it's sorta an issue with Q.Staves in general, since everyone can use everything in this game, I don't know if Q.Staves really have a niche. I guess reach weapon with +1 engament? That's about the only unique thing I think they can do. I've never actaully personally tested reach+engament, normally just using a pike to poke behind the tanks, rather than actually tanking.

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Well, Concelhaut's Parasitic Staff is.

 

But in general? No. Implements are clearly meant to substitute in that respect, but there's not even much reason to use an implement with a caster unless you're really fond of Blast, since bows, guns, and arbalests are pretty generally superior.

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Well staves are peasant weapons. So they share accuracy bonus with hunting bows and unarmed, two of the most used weapon types. They can serve as backup weapons for characters that use those as main.

 

There were a couple of staves with useful spell bindings. Like the one with healing spells. I give it to Zahua to supplement his, well, obvious needs to heal all the time. But only as backup weapons for obvious reasons.

 

Shapeshifting Hiaravias can also kind of use staves. As most shapeshifting druids would boost their unarmed strikes anyway, and there aren't many good singlehanded hand axes and spears to compete. But you'll most likely not melee with them, just use them for the spell binding.

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Personally, I'm a little opposed to the stereotype and have always believed magical implements are designed around the person (i.e. an old man would have a staff to help stay upright, a fleet-footed traveler would use a wand to travel light, a noble of magical powers would use a scepter as a sign of station, etc). 

 

In PoE, however, it's clear that micro-management is emphasized (it even says so when you adjust the difficulty) so I'd say look at the stats. 

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Have not made a PC wizard (yet) and Aloth is sometimes the first to be left at the keep and almost never goes melee but one of my current PCs is a Rogue with Peasant who uses Hatchet/shield, Pistol, and Durance staff as his reach weapon - doing nicely with it early on (Level 4 atm)

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Yep, this is pretty much what I thought, I guess the reason why I asked these questions is due to how the lore of the game seems to portray things differently (and sometimes contradicts itself) in this regard.  You have Aloth who comes with a rapier not a staff and the division of the weapon groups putting implements and staves in different groups, but then you come across "The Mage's Staff" in a certain pub, references to mages and their staffs, and certain mages you meet (or find remains of) having staffs (and wearing robes).  I'm not sure if they are either portraying the staff as a traditional weapon that mages just tended to use as a fashion statement or if it's a case of the developers themselves falling into old habits and forgetting that "our mages are different" kinda thing.

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Yep, this is pretty much what I thought, I guess the reason why I asked these questions is due to how the lore of the game seems to portray things differently (and sometimes contradicts itself) in this regard.  You have Aloth who comes with a rapier not a staff and the division of the weapon groups putting implements and staves in different groups, but then you come across "The Mage's Staff" in a certain pub, references to mages and their staffs, and certain mages you meet (or find remains of) having staffs (and wearing robes).  I'm not sure if they are either portraying the staff as a traditional weapon that mages just tended to use as a fashion statement or if it's a case of the developers themselves falling into old habits and forgetting that "our mages are different" kinda thing.

 

Maybe they are just trying to say our mages are free to be different (see Aloth as the first mage you interact with in the game) but that doesn't mean they can't be the traditional robe & staff mage we all know and love??

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Yep, this is pretty much what I thought, I guess the reason why I asked these questions is due to how the lore of the game seems to portray things differently (and sometimes contradicts itself) in this regard.  You have Aloth who comes with a rapier not a staff and the division of the weapon groups putting implements and staves in different groups, but then you come across "The Mage's Staff" in a certain pub, references to mages and their staffs, and certain mages you meet (or find remains of) having staffs (and wearing robes).  I'm not sure if they are either portraying the staff as a traditional weapon that mages just tended to use as a fashion statement or if it's a case of the developers themselves falling into old habits and forgetting that "our mages are different" kinda thing.

 

 

This has always been an area of interest for me.  Fantasy games set in the "medieval-ish" often seem to half-embrace/half-rewrite literary archetypes without actually having any mechanics that apply to it.  For example, Inns and Taverns are a staple of fantasy settings -- what could be more celebratory than heading to the Inn for food and drink after a wild adventure out of town? -- but in some fantasy games there's no point in actually eating anything at a tavern because the point of food is just a "buff" -- it gives two or three minutes of higher stats but the effect vanishes before you actually get out into a difficult situation.

 

In the above example, the game is trying to emulate the story, but the game mechanics don't always emulate that story well.  Usually, the best remedy is to make sure such affects mesh well with the game you're running -- have the buff last until the next time you complete a combat, or have it last for the next number of "in-combat minutes" or whatever. 

 

IMO, Obsidian does a much better job than most developers because it does have workable mechanics, like the "survival" mechanic in New Vegas or the "rest buffs" from inns. 

 

In the case of staves, however, the literary purpose is usually more utilitarian than the game allows.  Magicians in most stories, for example, are older people who wield magical devices to aid in their otherworldly powers -- wands for focus, scepters for control, or, in the case of staves, something to rest on and keep yourself going.  Of course, these are just examples, but they have an easy means of representation in the game.

 

In the "AD&D" system that inspired Baldur's Gate for example, an older person would get buffs to certain stats that improve with age, and would lose the more physical stats as they got older -- strength and dexterity might go down, while intelligence and wisdom would go up.  Arcanum brought this a step further by having items that helped compensate for those lowered stats -- perception could be remedied with glasses, and a staff could help stamina regen if you were generating a lot of fatigue. In other games, a staff wasn't just something to lean on -- it often could be more decorative, providing a minor raise to reputation, as a staff was often a symbol like a scepter or a crown.

 

Pillars of Eternity doesn't yet have those mechanics -- it's a young title and still in the first game of its (hopefully long-living) series.  It already has a reputation statistic that might be malleable with the right "garb" so to speak, and weapon stats have a lot of potential with new stats like "interrupt" or "deflection" versus simpler stats like damage and speed.

 

Perhaps at a later installment, more magical or social stats will accompany the traditional flat combat statistics, but until then, I find the "wield whatever you want/wear whatever you want" options to be rather liberating.  In short, a game's mechanics should emulate the setting of its story -- there should be a reason why magicians all tend to wear certain things just as there's a reason why a knight tends to wear heavy armor while a thief tends to stay light on their feet.

 

Phew... sorry for the long post but it's a complex subject when it comes to way fantasy archetypes work so well in stories but only sometimes translate well into games.  ;)

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Yep, this is pretty much what I thought, I guess the reason why I asked these questions is due to how the lore of the game seems to portray things differently (and sometimes contradicts itself) in this regard.  You have Aloth who comes with a rapier not a staff and the division of the weapon groups putting implements and staves in different groups, but then you come across "The Mage's Staff" in a certain pub, references to mages and their staffs, and certain mages you meet (or find remains of) having staffs (and wearing robes).  I'm not sure if they are either portraying the staff as a traditional weapon that mages just tended to use as a fashion statement or if it's a case of the developers themselves falling into old habits and forgetting that "our mages are different" kinda thing.

I'm not entirely sure why you feel the need to adhere to stereotypes when the game almost explicitly tells you not to.

 

Mages can focus in any weapon group so groupings really doesn't mean anything. They aren't penalized to try any of them. Even magical implements aren't in the same group. So pick what you like.

 

If you read the class descriptions you'd find that they almost never mean what they do in D&D anyways. Fighters for instance, aren't regular Joe's with martial training. They harvest soul energy too. It's all soul-based.

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Yep, this is pretty much what I thought, I guess the reason why I asked these questions is due to how the lore of the game seems to portray things differently (and sometimes contradicts itself) in this regard.  You have Aloth who comes with a rapier not a staff and the division of the weapon groups putting implements and staves in different groups, but then you come across "The Mage's Staff" in a certain pub, references to mages and their staffs, and certain mages you meet (or find remains of) having staffs (and wearing robes).  I'm not sure if they are either portraying the staff as a traditional weapon that mages just tended to use as a fashion statement or if it's a case of the developers themselves falling into old habits and forgetting that "our mages are different" kinda thing.

 

Maybe they are just trying to say our mages are free to be different (see Aloth as the first mage you interact with in the game) but that doesn't mean they can't be the traditional robe & staff mage we all know and love??

 

 

Maybe.  Just wondering where the "Great Arch Mage's Awesome Rapier of Mageyness" is. :D

 

 

Yep, this is pretty much what I thought, I guess the reason why I asked these questions is due to how the lore of the game seems to portray things differently (and sometimes contradicts itself) in this regard.  You have Aloth who comes with a rapier not a staff and the division of the weapon groups putting implements and staves in different groups, but then you come across "The Mage's Staff" in a certain pub, references to mages and their staffs, and certain mages you meet (or find remains of) having staffs (and wearing robes).  I'm not sure if they are either portraying the staff as a traditional weapon that mages just tended to use as a fashion statement or if it's a case of the developers themselves falling into old habits and forgetting that "our mages are different" kinda thing.

 

 

This has always been an area of interest for me.  Fantasy games set in the "medieval-ish" often seem to half-embrace/half-rewrite literary archetypes without actually having any mechanics that apply to it.  For example, Inns and Taverns are a staple of fantasy settings -- what could be more celebratory than heading to the Inn for food and drink after a wild adventure out of town? -- but in some fantasy games there's no point in actually eating anything at a tavern because the point of food is just a "buff" -- it gives two or three minutes of higher stats but the effect vanishes before you actually get out into a difficult situation.

 

In the above example, the game is trying to emulate the story, but the game mechanics don't always emulate that story well.  Usually, the best remedy is to make sure such affects mesh well with the game you're running -- have the buff last until the next time you complete a combat, or have it last for the next number of "in-combat minutes" or whatever. 

 

IMO, Obsidian does a much better job than most developers because it does have workable mechanics, like the "survival" mechanic in New Vegas or the "rest buffs" from inns. 

 

In the case of staves, however, the literary purpose is usually more utilitarian than the game allows.  Magicians in most stories, for example, are older people who wield magical devices to aid in their otherworldly powers -- wands for focus, scepters for control, or, in the case of staves, something to rest on and keep yourself going.  Of course, these are just examples, but they have an easy means of representation in the game.

 

In the "AD&D" system that inspired Baldur's Gate for example, an older person would get buffs to certain stats that improve with age, and would lose the more physical stats as they got older -- strength and dexterity might go down, while intelligence and wisdom would go up.  Arcanum brought this a step further by having items that helped compensate for those lowered stats -- perception could be remedied with glasses, and a staff could help stamina regen if you were generating a lot of fatigue. In other games, a staff wasn't just something to lean on -- it often could be more decorative, providing a minor raise to reputation, as a staff was often a symbol like a scepter or a crown.

 

Pillars of Eternity doesn't yet have those mechanics -- it's a young title and still in the first game of its (hopefully long-living) series.  It already has a reputation statistic that might be malleable with the right "garb" so to speak, and weapon stats have a lot of potential with new stats like "interrupt" or "deflection" versus simpler stats like damage and speed.

 

Perhaps at a later installment, more magical or social stats will accompany the traditional flat combat statistics, but until then, I find the "wield whatever you want/wear whatever you want" options to be rather liberating.  In short, a game's mechanics should emulate the setting of its story -- there should be a reason why magicians all tend to wear certain things just as there's a reason why a knight tends to wear heavy armor while a thief tends to stay light on their feet.

 

Phew... sorry for the long post but it's a complex subject when it comes to way fantasy archetypes work so well in stories but only sometimes translate well into games.  ;)

 

 

I like the wield whatever you like as well, I just felt like I was seeing a lot of the 'standard mage gear' being portrayed and along with certain bits and pieces (the soulbound weapon for mages being a staff, the Dyrford mage staff in the tavern, a certain ghost you see of an apprentice and his broken weapon you find, the first level spell that allows the caster to summon a staff) was a deliberate indication that staves were still strongly associated with mages and why that would be the case (whether simple tradition because the Bob the Great First Mage liked them and everyone was a slave to fashion or because like you said they were good for old men to use and a lot of wizards are crotchety old men).

 

 

Yep, this is pretty much what I thought, I guess the reason why I asked these questions is due to how the lore of the game seems to portray things differently (and sometimes contradicts itself) in this regard.  You have Aloth who comes with a rapier not a staff and the division of the weapon groups putting implements and staves in different groups, but then you come across "The Mage's Staff" in a certain pub, references to mages and their staffs, and certain mages you meet (or find remains of) having staffs (and wearing robes).  I'm not sure if they are either portraying the staff as a traditional weapon that mages just tended to use as a fashion statement or if it's a case of the developers themselves falling into old habits and forgetting that "our mages are different" kinda thing.

I'm not entirely sure why you feel the need to adhere to stereotypes when the game almost explicitly tells you not to.

 

Mages can focus in any weapon group so groupings really doesn't mean anything. They aren't penalized to try any of them. Even magical implements aren't in the same group. So pick what you like.

 

If you read the class descriptions you'd find that they almost never mean what they do in D&D anyways. Fighters for instance, aren't regular Joe's with martial training. They harvest soul energy too. It's all soul-based.

 

I'm not.  I'm trying to work out if the lore says the stereotype is still there or not.  The game actually portrays many of the wizards stereotypically, I'm trying to work out why when the game also tells us that the wizards in Pillars is different.  To work out whether it's intended or a case of 'old habits die hard' even amongst the designers of the game themselves.  Most of my mages haven't even touched a staff as I didn't think they were supposed to mean anything, fancy rapiers seemed more their style.

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That's something I forgot to mention as well, that the Wizards get spells that give them weapons anyway so would they feel the need to have a magical weapon anyway. 

 

 

I'm playing my first wizard right now. Wearing one of the unique hide armors (can't remember which), sporting one of the unique pistols and one of the unique staffs as weapons. Works fine with me, though I went a bit against the grain in creation as far as stats are concerned.

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That's something I forgot to mention as well, that the Wizards get spells that give them weapons anyway so would they feel the need to have a magical weapon anyway. 

 

 

I'm playing my first wizard right now. Wearing one of the unique hide armors (can't remember which), sporting one of the unique pistols and one of the unique staffs as weapons. Works fine with me, though I went a bit against the grain in creation as far as stats are concerned.

 

Out of curiosity, what stats did you go for?

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That's something I forgot to mention as well, that the Wizards get spells that give them weapons anyway so would they feel the need to have a magical weapon anyway. 

 

 

I'm playing my first wizard right now. Wearing one of the unique hide armors (can't remember which), sporting one of the unique pistols and one of the unique staffs as weapons. Works fine with me, though I went a bit against the grain in creation as far as stats are concerned.

 

Out of curiosity, what stats did you go for?

 

 

I upped CON a bit, having in mind that I can up it even more with enchanted gear later on. I maxed might, upped INT and went for decent DEX while lowering RES one notch. There are so many will related items in the game that it doesn't make that much of a difference. The result is a pretty resistant wizard, who can hold her own even when in melee.

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That's something I forgot to mention as well, that the Wizards get spells that give them weapons anyway so would they feel the need to have a magical weapon anyway. 

 

 

I'm playing my first wizard right now. Wearing one of the unique hide armors (can't remember which), sporting one of the unique pistols and one of the unique staffs as weapons. Works fine with me, though I went a bit against the grain in creation as far as stats are concerned.

 

Out of curiosity, what stats did you go for?

 

 

I upped CON a bit, having in mind that I can up it even more with enchanted gear later on. I maxed might, upped INT and went for decent DEX while lowering RES one notch. There are so many will related items in the game that it doesn't make that much of a difference. The result is a pretty resistant wizard, who can hold her own even when in melee.

 

Hmm interesting thanks, always curious on the different ways of building a wizard, especially a more frontline than usual type one. :)

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I'm not.  I'm trying to work out if the lore says the stereotype is still there or not.  The game actually portrays many of the wizards stereotypically, I'm trying to work out why when the game also tells us that the wizards in Pillars is different.  To work out whether it's intended or a case of 'old habits die hard' even amongst the designers of the game themselves.  Most of my mages haven't even touched a staff as I didn't think they were supposed to mean anything, fancy rapiers seemed more their style.

 

There are quite a few unconventional wizards actually:

 

If you've done Raedric's Keep you'll encounter a large number of "spellswords" (they may be in other places too but I remember the keep best 'cuz there were so many of them). They are essentially melee wizards that spell caster-only buffs and attack you with a rapier (IIRC).

 

Spellsword is actually one of the wizard's AI default.

 

Also in Raedric's Keep you'll meet (spoilers) an animanccer who is really a necromancer.

 

Most if not all Laguefeths too have natural mage abilities. They are extremely fast and will rush towards your backline and spam magic missiles.

 

And then of course there are the orge matrons.

 

Actually come to think of it, all but one of the above had a counterpart in AD&D. So even in AD&D the wizard class are not always Elminster-esque old man with a staff.

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Sorry for a little offtopic, but didn't wanna star a new one for this one question...

 

Anyone has any idea what is this purple glow effect on Aloth?

I was going to suggest maybe Arcane Veil but I see you still have both uses available and I remember that it's blue now I think of it.  Could it be the shield spell?  Is it on all the time or does it only occasionally pop up?

 

 

 

I'm not.  I'm trying to work out if the lore says the stereotype is still there or not.  The game actually portrays many of the wizards stereotypically, I'm trying to work out why when the game also tells us that the wizards in Pillars is different.  To work out whether it's intended or a case of 'old habits die hard' even amongst the designers of the game themselves.  Most of my mages haven't even touched a staff as I didn't think they were supposed to mean anything, fancy rapiers seemed more their style.

 

There are quite a few unconventional wizards actually:

 

If you've done Raedric's Keep you'll encounter a large number of "spellswords" (they may be in other places too but I remember the keep best 'cuz there were so many of them). They are essentially melee wizards that spell caster-only buffs and attack you with a rapier (IIRC).

 

Spellsword is actually one of the wizard's AI default.

 

Also in Raedric's Keep you'll meet (spoilers) an animanccer who is really a necromancer.

 

Most if not all Laguefeths too have natural mage abilities. They are extremely fast and will rush towards your backline and spam magic missiles.

 

And then of course there are the orge matrons.

 

Actually come to think of it, all but one of the above had a counterpart in AD&D. So even in AD&D the wizard class are not always Elminster-esque old man with a staff.

 

Didn't think of those spellswords.  Guess I just noticed the stereotypical wizards more due to standing out more as unexpected.  :grin:   I do think there should be a unique weapon or something whose history involved being made and/or used by a spellsword type mage in addition to the standard mage items you can find just for balance (and because it would be cool).  This is where you then point out that there already is a weapon like that in the game that I've overlooked of course. ;)

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