This page is about the wooden pole, NOT the collective noun "staff" that means a group of retainers, such as the employees of an organization, the servants of a household or the officers assisting a general officer.

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Basic Information

A staff is a long pole, generally made of wood1 and used as a bludgeoning weapon. Staves exist as a weapon in most cultures and appear in both Eastern and Western Martial arts - they are typically not a battlefield weapon but are typically used for preliminary skill at arms training or sport fighting. Staves are also common weapons for law enforcement or security guards due to their applications in forming barriers as well as hitting people.

A weapon staff is normally larger and more heavily built than a walking staff - very few people will be fooled by someone claiming that a quarterstaff or bo is "just a walking stick" - but staff techniques can be used just as easily with an improvised weapon like a walking pole or broomstick. The other things that can be used with staff techniques are polearms, including spears. Indeed some fighting styles use the staff as a basis on which polearm techniques are built.

For more athletic styles, the staff may also be used for vaulting and similar acrobatic pursuits.

The staff can also serve as a symbol of office - especailly when combined with symbols like the shepherd's crook - and, for a variety of reasons, is a popular item amongst wizards, in which case it is usually a Magic Staff.


1. full source reference

Game and Story Use

  • The staff is traditionally a weapon for wizards or monks2. In reality staves were nearly ubiquitous (in Medieval Europe at any rate) and are frequently cited in murder cases. Staff work was part of pretty much everyone's combat training and 'a bout at staves' was a common entertainment at fairs.
    • That 'bout at staves' would be a good thing for PCs to get involved in if they're visiting a festival. Since few PCs are likely to spend time learning staff skills they may get some unpleasant surprises.
  • It's fairly likely that the town guard will carry staves as their weapon of first resort - good for herding crowds, prying brawlers apart and tripping people and horses alike.
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