View Full Version : Pathfinder homebrew feat for staff lovers

the Blue Morpho
2013-02-14, 07:17 PM
I was looking around at building a Staff Magus and found the inspiration to attempt make a feat to grant staff users reach. The picture that comes to mind is Kilik from the Soul Calibur series, thrusting his staff forward while holding it by the end with a single hand.

Reaching Staff

Prerequisites: Weapon Focus (Quarterstaff), Quarterstaff Master, Weapon Specialization (Quarterstaff), Base Attack Bonus +6 or Staff Magus Archetype Level 6

Benefit: While wielding a staff one handed you threaten both the typical range of the weapon as well as the range a similar weapon with reach would possess. So, a human with this feat could use a quarterstaff in one hand to attack creatures both 5 and 10 feet away. Attacks and maneuvers made at 10 feet suffer a -2 attack and/or CMB.

Seem fair? I was also debating whether to add a Strength requirement around 12 to 15, but maybe a Dex requirement would be better suited or if it has enough prereqs already.

2013-02-14, 07:23 PM
It is an interesting feat, but why not just use Lunge (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/feats/combat-feats/lunge-combat---final)? The AC penalty seems appropriate for the attack you describe - I actually played Kilik in SC2, if people sidestepped while you did the "stab" attack with the staff then you were pretty much hosed.

the Blue Morpho
2013-02-14, 08:16 PM
Lunge only lasts for your turn and can't be used for Attacks of opportunity.
From a flavor perspective it's method is also different-- The reason the AC suffers on lunge is because it's assumed the character is lunging forward with their non-reach weapon (say a rapier a la Raphael).

This feat is suggesting the character is using a weapon nearly the height of a typical human is being wielded in a less exposed way to cover the distance. It's easy to sidestep or see it coming (because of the windup) and so the Accuracy suffers.

As for Soul Calibur, it was a great opener for people who weren't expecting it. Those who were... well at least you learn they're expecting it.

2013-02-15, 08:00 AM
Reading up further on the similarities and differences, I found a few comparisons:

Improved Whip Mastery essentially does the same thing, natural reach +5 feet and some flavour abilities (grab unattended items with the whip etc), it's a 3-feat chain.

Polearm master fighters get something similar as a class ability at lvl 2, with a scaling penalty that lowers with levels.

I'd say the feat as written is balanced and I don't personally have an issue with it, though I do think you might find it hard to justify why staffs get this feat and there isn't a similar feat for say, spears, or halberds.

To use Soul Calibur as an example again: Seung Mina is Kilik's female counterpart, and they share 70-80% of all their moves. Only difference is that Seung Mina fights with a poleaxe.

the Blue Morpho
2013-02-15, 06:43 PM
That's a good point. Those weapons inherently have reach, but they can't attack something within 5 feet.

To be honest, I'd house rule that any feet that can be applied to a staff can be applied to a weapon similarly designed. So a pole arm or a long spear weilder could benefit from the whole feat chain described here (with the weapon focus and specialization feats tailored to the appropriate weapon of course) as well as feats like Tripping Staff and Tripping Whirl. Of course the Attack penalty decribed by this feat would have to be applied to those weapons that already have reach for their 5 ft. attack.

At least the flaw of Pathfinder feats being so specialized can be navigated by a friendly DM. It's just when dealing with RAW purists that it gets dicey.

2013-02-15, 08:09 PM
I'd be very, very careful allowing players to take "Halberd Mastery" or "Glaive Mastery" along the lines of Quarterstaff Mastery. Stepping on the fighter's toes by grabbing Weapon Specialization is just the start of your troubles.

The quarterstaff and the whip are two weapons mentioned earlier who gets custom designed feats for them because by default - they're not good options. More to the point, they're horrible weapons. Things like Quarterstaff Mastery or Improved Whip Mastery are there to make them more competitive compared to the standard options.

By allowing these feats to work for various other weapons, you're making the standards that much more powerful, widening the gap again.

For instance, using the hypothetical "Glaive Mastery" feat chain I can wind up with a character who can choose to use the Glaive as a 1-handed or 2-handed weapon (whichever is more convenient), can take full advantage of the weapon's reach and simultaneously make attacks in adjacent squares, can use lunge to make attacks an additional two squares away from him ... Throw combat reflexes in there and watch the opportunity attacks add up.

In short, it's the 3.5 Spiked Chain nightmare all over again.

It would possibly also allow magi to wield various large weapons in spell combat. A strength-based magi wielding a fauchard with spell combat is terrifying.

the Blue Morpho
2013-02-16, 12:45 AM
I hadn't considered the disparity between weapons that were already awesome before feats. Where the Attacks of opportunity wouldn't stack up more, since lunge can only be used during your turn, I can still see that allowing the staff chains to apply to a wider array of weapons would be counter intuitive.

Of course, these feats are pretty cool for staff magi, since at level one they may start with a lame quarterstaff, but at later levels, when they can replace it with a magic staff, the feats can still apply due to the Staff Weapon ability at level 10.

What do you think about removing the Weapon Focus(Quarterstaff) requirement from the feat? Would make it a little more accessible for Staff Magus, while still requiring other classes to jump through the Weapon Focus hoop for Quarterstaff Mastery and Weapon Specialization.

2013-02-16, 07:24 AM
Right you are, I keep forgetting Lunge only works on your own turn :smallsigh:.

As written Reaching Staff is pretty awesome for staff magi because they can use spellstrike without needing to use casting on the defensive (potentially failing to cast their spell). Normally they'd have to use the whip for this, which has a laundry list of bad qualities.

That having been said, a magus that uses the quarterstaff is sacrificing threat range (scimitar's 18-20, staff's 20 only), which is crucial for crit fishing shocking grasp-builds, for... No real benefit, other than what the archetype offers. I think reach is a viable option to make the quarterstaff be more enticing.

As for the weapon focus requirement... I'm guessing most magi that bind themselves to using the same weapon for their entire adventuring career probably will pick up weapon focus at some point anyways, so it's not that much of a sacrifice. It should also be noted that weapon focus is also a requirement for Weapon Specialization, another feat requirement for Reaching Staff.

Edit: Made a quick mockup of a staff magus build incorporating this feat-

Lvl 1: Quarterstaff Mastery
Lvl 1: Combat Casting
Lvl 3: Weapon Focus
Lvl 5: Weapon specialization
Lvl 5: Intensify Spell
Lvl 7: Elemental Spell
Lvl 9: Reaching Staff

The one thing that struck me is that you qualify for reaching staff quite late in the game because of the BAB requirement. I'd suggest adding "+6 bab or Staff Magus 6th lvl" as a requirement. This would be similar to how many monk feats are labelled.

Examples can be found here (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/feats/combat-feats/crane-style-combat-style)and here (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/feats/combat-feats/archon-diversion-combat).

Alternately you could add a line to the staff magus that reads "treat your staff magus level as your base attack bonus for any feats that include 'staff' in the title". Of course this might open you up to some obscure 3rd party superfeat, but that's the risk you take brewin' ^^.

the Blue Morpho
2013-02-17, 06:01 PM
You're right, I hadn't considered that for the BAB requirement. I had just looked at the written req's for Quarterstaff Master. I'll edit the feat after this post.

I thought Quarterstaff Master Automatically allowed you to pick up Weapon Specialization just by virtue of possessing QM, but upon rereading the feat I realized it was likely intended just for removing Weapon Spec's Fighter Level requirement.

My reading comprehension tends to go down when I'm looking to squeeze in more good feats to a build.

What I find interesting though is a lot of people tend to dis on the Staff Magus because of giving up scimitars, yet I see it as incentive to bite the bullet and invest in Weapon Proficiency (Elven Curve Blade)-- Same Crit range, Bastard Sword damage, Finesse weapon, likely works with Dervish Dance, has the icing of a CMD bonus versus sundering, and makes a Staff Magus look more like Gandalf. You'd need to throw Somatic Weaponry in to your feats as well, if you want to benefit from the awesome "shield" your staff becomes while Spellstriking with an Arcane Pool Keened Elven Curve Blade, but with the sheer amount of AC you can gain from a High CL staff it'd be worth it. It's just a matter of surviving to level 10.

I just perceive the early levels of a staff magus being closely similar to that of a regular wizard until they wildly diverge mid game.

Edit: Also, don't forget to use Intensified Shocking Grasps with Arcane Thesis and sometimes Energy Admixture from 3.5. All those Intensified Spells are now level 1 spells and you can choose to drop a 10d6 electric + 10d6 (element chose upon taking elemental spell) spellstrike at the cost of a fifth level spell.

Throw in Spell Perfection to negate Energy Admixture's spell level adjustment and you're cooking with gas!

2013-02-18, 08:25 AM
I'm not quite sure how you're getting the elven curve blade to work with spell combat or dervish dancer, or the staff magus in general. First of all it's a two-handed weapon, secondly it's not a scimitar, and finally all the staff magus abilities specifically call out "staff" or "quarterstaff" in the descriptions.

If you mean to alternate casting spells and using spellstrike the following round to deliver it via elven curve blade then it makes more sense, but then I'm guessing a dervish scimitar will outperform you since he can actually use spell combat and he gets dexterity to damage, something the curve blade does not without the Agile enchantment.

I didn't mention Arcane Thesis or Energy Admixture because they're both 3.5 feats - my build assumes Pathfinder only :smallsmile:

the Blue Morpho
2013-02-19, 06:06 AM
Wow, there it is, plain as day. I didn't see it was Two handed since I found it through a google search for elven weapons-- the link lead to the OGC Weapon Desctription page, which says it's a Finesse Weapon, yet makes no mention of it being a Two-hander-- though it IS listed under Exotic Two-handers.

As for the presumption about Dervish Dance applying (for a Magus that has both hands free) the ECB is described thusly:

Essentially a longer version of a scimitar, but with a thinner blade

and to explain using spellstrike with it (under the previous mix up about it being a one-handed weapon) Staff Magus does not alter any abilities beyond adjusting proficiencies, moving spell recall down to where Improved Spell Recall would be, granting Quarterstaff Master, Quarterstaff Defense, and
Staff Weapon. Spellstrike and Spellcombat remain unchanged.

So, instead of the Elven Curve Blade Proficiency, a staff Magus could still pick up proficiency with a scimitar and combine weilding the staff and blade in each hand and accomplish spellstriking with the Somatic Weapons feat.

IF you're in a campaign that rejects backwards compatibility, there's always the option of purchasing the inexpensive dancing property for your staff. Or maybe defending? since the intended use would be to receive it's granted shield bonus from Quarterstaff Defense.

2013-02-19, 07:41 AM
Right, but Spell Combat prohibits dualwielding weapons - it specifies that one hand must be free in order to cast spells. To quote http://www.d20pfsrd.com:

At 1st level, a magus learns to cast spells and wield his weapons at the same time. This functions much like two-weapon fighting, but the off-hand weapon is a spell that is being cast. To use this ability, the magus must have one hand free (even if the spell being cast does not have somatic components), while wielding a light or one-handed melee weapon in the other hand.

So while you can still Spell Strike with a weapon in each hand, you can't use Spell Combat to cast the touch spell in the first place.

the Blue Morpho
2013-02-19, 05:25 PM
Like I said before Somatic Weaponry (http://dndtools.eu/feats/complete-mage--58/somatic-weaponry--2674/) can get around that.

and if you're playing in the rare PF campaign where you're refused the inherent backwards compatibility or the DM reads that "must have one hand free" bars Somatic Weaponry from applying, just get the Dancing or Animated enhancement (not defending as I mentioned before-- it was an insomniatic night), whichever the DM rules applies appropriately for receiving the Quarterstaff Defense benefit, for your staff.

2013-02-19, 09:07 PM
As a Pathfinder DM I consider myself fairly open-minded when it comes to allowing players to tweak their classes, use homebrew or give access to 3.5/3rd party material - but if someone were to show me Somatic Weaponry and tell me that stumps the Spell Combat restrictions, I'd shut it down in a heartbeat. Frankly the fact that one hand needs to be free even if the spell does not require somatic components seems to fly in the face of the questionable use of Somatic Weaponry.

Then again, I'd also point out that the limitation on Spell Combat is there primarily as a balance act and that quite frankly the magus is plenty powerful as is. You can get around the Spell Combat limitations to some degree, like with using the wand wielder arcana or the tiefling tail alternate racial trait, but then you're actually investing elements into your build specifically to make that happen. Using a single questionable feat to sidestep the entire issue seems a bit cheap.

That's just me though. I wouldn't let the players get enchanted benefits from a dancing weapon if it was loosed, since it's not wielded while it's fighting on its own. Animated weapon(?) I've never seen or heard of, so I'm not sure how that works. I'm guessing it's more 3.5 material...?

Either way this thread is veering off course - I'd say the feat as written now is balanced. It makes staff wielding a more interesting option without making quarterstaffs overpowered in any way. I personally would not put a strength or dex requirement on it since Magus is quite MAD (INT, DEX or STR+DEX, CON) as it is, and it would be a shame to lock the staff magi into a specific ability score spread.

Just be careful with power slippage in regards to polearms.

the Blue Morpho
2013-02-27, 03:53 AM
Dancing. (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/magic-items/magic-weapons/magic-weapon-special-abilities/dancing) Helps if I actually refer to the proper abilities :smallsigh:

Personally, I don't see much of a problem allowing the expenditure of a precious feat to allow a character to navigate around a restriction every other Arcane casting class has (Must have at least one free hand to cast a spell with a somatic component).

I also just noticed there's a third party PF version of Somatic Weaponry (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/feats/3rd-party-feats/kobold-press/general-feats---3rd-party---kobold-press/somatic-weapon) that actually seems much more fair since it only allows for one weapon you have the weapon focus feat.

But I can appreciate your perspective on interpreting the rules. Just like I appreciate your help with the feat! I'm pretty satisfied with it as is too. Thanks!