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Rules Index | GM Screen | Player's Guide

Magic Items

Personal Staves

Source Secrets of Magic pg. 166
When the local shops' offerings don't quite match up with the needs of an adventuring spellcaster, they might want to make their own staff to reflect their personal brand of magic. Doing so isn't easy, and only a chosen few know the techniques to create a brand new staff.

A custom staff is always unique, and you need your GM's permission to create one and introduce it to your game.

Creating a Personal Staff

Source Secrets of Magic pg. 166
Establishing magical pathways to turn a simple piece of wood or metal into a staff is no simple matter. Without some structure to bind multiple disparate spells to a single staff, the magic would surely fail. Thus, a custom staff must always be created around a single trait. For example, an elemental trait (air, earth, fire, or water), energy trait (acid, cold, electricity, fire, sonic, positive, negative, or force), alignment trait, the detection trait, the light trait, and so on. The staff and its spells must have the trait. A few traits are too broad to use, including incapacitation and the traits for spell schools and traditions. The GM might add others to this list.

Determining Level and Price

Source Secrets of Magic pg. 166
Your level sets a personal staff's maximum item level, which determines the Price and the number and level of spells the staff can have, as shown on the table below.

Table 4-2: Personal Staves

Maximum Spells
Staff LevelPriceCantrip1st2nd3rd4th5th6th7th8th
5160 gp12
7250 gp122
9700 gp1222
111,400 gp12222
133,000 gp122222
156,500 gp1222222
1715,000 gp12222222
1940,000 gp122222222

Picking Your Spells

Source Secrets of Magic pg. 166
Once you've decided the trait, choose the spells to inscribe. They must share the trait you chose for the staff. For instance, your undine sorcerer might create a deep sea staff themed around the water trait, inscribing it with spells such as create water and hydraulic push. You can inscribe a number of common spells on the staff depending on its level, as shown on the table above. You can place the same spell into the staff at multiple levels to provide heightened versions, though doing so uses up one of your picks for that spell level. You can add a spell you can't cast to a staff by supplying a casting of it via another caster or by using Trick Magic Item; however, since you can cast a spell from a staff only if it's on your spell list, this option isn't useful for most characters.


Source Secrets of Magic pg. 166
Lini, a 15th-level druid, wants to create a staff to interact with the plants she encounters. She chooses the plant trait to represent that theme. Next, she selects some common spells for the staff, starting with one cantrip and adding one or two spells at each level, up to the staff's maximum spell level. To build a 15th-level staff with 6th-level spells, she selects the following combination of spells:

Cantrip: tanglefoot
1st: protector tree, shillelagh
2nd: entangle, shape wood
3rd: tree shape, wall of thorns
4th: barkskin, speak with plants
5th: plant form, wall of thorns
6th: nature's reprisal, plant form

Note that some of these spells are duplicates of lower-level spells, which can be a great way to fill in levels if new spells don't appeal to you. It's usually best to choose a spell for one of these slots that has an extra benefit when heightened (such as plant form giving you better statistics), but even if you don't find a spell with such a benefit, it's worth filling every open slot.

Crafting the Staff

Source Secrets of Magic pg. 166
Once you've themed and designed your staff, you can craft it with the following the guidelines, along with previously established rules for crafting magical items. As with normal staves, one casting of all listed levels of all spells in the staff must be provided during Crafting.

Choose a magical school for your staff from among the schools the spells on it have. Pick the one that best reflects the spells, usually the one most shared among them. You can optionally give your staff a trait for one magic tradition, instead of the magical trait, if the staff is fully steeped in that tradition and contains spells only from that tradition's spell list.

You still need to Craft the staff. If you're not good at Crafting, you can have somebody use the Craft activity for you, but you must be present the whole time. Since the creation of a custom staff is rare, you and the GM might decide to have a special quest for esoteric ingredients and methods as part of the story.


Source Secrets of Magic pg. 167
Lini selected mostly transmutation spells for her staff, so she chooses the transmutation trait. She could give it the primal trait, but choses to keep it open with the magical trait, much like the verdant staff in the Core Rulebook.

To Craft the staff, Lini follows the normal rules. She provides 3,250 gp in raw materials, spends 4 days at work, and attempts a Crafting check. Each day she works on it, she prepares the spells she needs to put into the staff given its Craft Requirements.

Naming the Staff

Source Secrets of Magic pg. 167
When your staff is complete, give it a name—though skeptics might sneer, spellcasters believe that naming a staff upon creation will help it attune to its new master.


Source Secrets of Magic pg. 167
Lini christens her new creation Lini's Leafstick!

Revising the Staff

Source Secrets of Magic pg. 167
As you level up, your staff will get less useful unless you upgrade it. You might also want to make revisions as you play if you come to dislike the spells you chose.

To change spells already in the staff, use the Craft activity with a Price equal to 1/10th the staff's Price. You can swap out any of the spells in the staff when you finish. The new spells have to have the staff's chosen trait and be an appropriate level, just as though you were choosing them when initially making the staff, and you must provide castings of them.

Upgrading the staff is similar to upgrading an item to a higher-level version. Decide the staff's new level. Pay the difference in Price, pick the new spells, and use Craft for the upgrade. You must supply castings of the new spells. Upgrading doesn't let you switch any of the spells you'd previously chosen.

Related Rules

Staves (Source Core Rulebook pg. 592 2.0)