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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Staff of Defense?

    In our next campaign, the DM has said it will be high-magic, and to reflect this he is giving us all 1 uncommon magic item to start. I will be playing a "God" wizard as in Treantmonk's guide, and I was initially going to take the Pearl of Power (+1 spell slot of up to 3rd level/day). However, I remembered that in the LMoP module, there is a Staff of Defense.

    The Staff of Defense grants +1 AC, 10 charges to cast Mage armor (1 charge) and Shield (2 charges), recovers 1d6 + 4 charges at dawn.

    Do you think this staff should be rated as uncommon? The players can get it at level 2-3 in LMoP, but it seems a little strong. If it is uncommon, should I take it over the PoP?

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Default Re: Staff of Defense?

    From what i have seen trying to think of rarity of the item as being an evaluation of power between most items just do not work. For instance a ring of protection and a cloak of protection have different rarities (ring is more rare as I recall) but have the same effect (the ring is slightly easier to wear since you could wear many rings but probably only one cloak but since attunment is a thing that benefit is so slight that I have a hard time seeing that making something more rare or not).

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Re: Staff of Defense?

    Staff of Frost and Staff of Power have the same rarity, Staff of Power is better than the Staff of the Magi which has a higher rarity.
    Whose to say what item rarities should be. Its a clown fiesta in there. Maybe Staff of Protection is the standard and PoP should be common; especially in a high magic setting.
    Is the proper identification of a magic item actually a concern of morality? Are you somehow cheating by picking one of the objectively strongest items in a category? Can I see why kids love the taste of cinnamon toast crunch? Should you be taking winged boots instead because it will negate more if not all t1 challenges a wizard might face?

    No. No. Yes. Yes.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Re: Staff of Defense?

    As others have said rarity =/ power. Magic items are also not designed to be picked/bought by players in 5e.

    To show this just take the Headband of Intellect.

    Start with an 8 Int and max out other important stats like Con, Dex, and Wis. Take a race that boosts those stats/has great abilities.

    For example: Variant Human w/ Resilient (Con)

    Str 8
    Dex 16
    Con 16
    Int 19
    Wis 16
    Cha 8

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Staff of Defense?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wondermndjr View Post
    In our next campaign, the DM has said it will be high-magic, and to reflect this he is giving us all 1 uncommon magic item to start. I will be playing a "God" wizard as in Treantmonk's guide, and I was initially going to take the Pearl of Power (+1 spell slot of up to 3rd level/day). However, I remembered that in the LMoP module, there is a Staff of Defense.

    The Staff of Defense grants +1 AC, 10 charges to cast Mage armor (1 charge) and Shield (2 charges), recovers 1d6 + 4 charges at dawn.

    Do you think this staff should be rated as uncommon? The players can get it at level 2-3 in LMoP, but it seems a little strong. If it is uncommon, should I take it over the PoP?
    The staff of defense sucks and I would look more toward active magic items instead of passive/reactive.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Re: Staff of Defense?

    Quote Originally Posted by R.Shackleford View Post
    The staff of defense sucks and I would look more toward active magic items instead of passive/reactive.
    I don't really understand your logic. Can you explain what you mean by "active" and "passive" items? It seems fine to me -- our DM likes targeting squishies and we lack a reliable tank, so AC will be more important for me.

    Also, the other party members if necessary:
    Human Battlemaster (Dex-based, +1 weapon)
    Eladrin Assassin (dual wielding, Goggles of Night because DM has houseruled no darkvision for any race)
    Half-Elf Bladelock (Dex-based, Rod of the Pact Keeper)

    The rest of the party isn't optimized at all, but I'm trying not to worry about it.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Staff of Defense?

    Just got it... Can't wait to see it works. Playing as a bladesinger I hope it'll serve me well. But I think it's a solid choice for a wizard

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Imp

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    Default Re: Staff of Defense?

    Go for something interesting, that you'll get regular but different use out of. Staff of Defence might be a powerful choice, but it's a bit boring and you can't do anything creative with it.

    Even something as mundane as a Driftglobe will be much more memorable when you use it than the passive and forgettable bonus offered by the Staff or the likes of a Headband of Intellect.
    I apologise if I come across daft. I'm a bit like that. I also like a good argument, so please don't take offence if I'm somewhat...forthright.

    Please be aware; when it comes to 5ed D&D, I own Core (1st printing) and SCAG only. All my opinions and rulings are based solely on those, unless otherwise stated. I reserve the right of ignorance of errata or any other source.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Planetar

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    Default Re: Staff of Defense?

    One of those DMs does not realize that rarity does not mean power. For example, a +1 weapon is much more powerful itam than a driftglobe. Magic tables should be used instead.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Staff of Defense?

    Quote Originally Posted by JellyPooga View Post
    Go for something interesting, that you'll get regular but different use out of. Staff of Defence might be a powerful choice, but it's a bit boring and you can't do anything creative with it.

    Even something as mundane as a Driftglobe will be much more memorable when you use it than the passive and forgettable bonus offered by the Staff or the likes of a Headband of Intellect.
    Seems to me that the Staff of Defence is fun and powerful. +1 AC at all time and you don't need to waste spell slots (and known but that's risky) for Mage Armor and Shield. Assuming you only regain the minimum, that's one mage armor and two shield saved, so you can actually cast fun spells instead.

    Compared to driftglobe wich is basically the light cantrip + mage hand...

    It's true i wouldn't pick a boring +1 weapon/armor or a stat boosting item however. Those are purely passive and don't let you use your resources more efficiently.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Re: Staff of Defense?

    Quote Originally Posted by Addaran View Post
    It's true i wouldn't pick a boring +1 weapon/armor or a stat boosting item however. Those are purely passive and don't let you use your resources more efficiently.
    The Headband of Intellect is by far the most powerful option though.

    The OP wasn't asking about which one would be more fun, but which of 2 items would be more powerful.

    I think it's good to establish the most powerful option so you can then make a choice of whether to go with power or just what you feel like. If the OP decides to just go with what they feel like, then this exercise doesn't matter.

    This isn't to say that the Headband can't be the most fun option either. Since it greatly increases your power it opens you up to taking whatever feats you want, for example, while the other characters are catching up. Those feats give you powers that other uncommon magic items won't match.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: Staff of Defense?

    Quote Originally Posted by R.Shackleford View Post
    The staff of defense sucks and I would look more toward active magic items instead of passive/reactive.
    Wtf? Even if it were classified as a rare, it'll still be worth picking up.

    It can also be used to cast Shield on other targets. It's broken like that.

    Quote Originally Posted by ad_hoc View Post
    The Headband of Intellect is by far the most powerful option though.
    For sure it's a great choice for the first eight levels but then it'll be entirely redundant. +4 Int for a wizard is really the best possible ASI choice to make. And then your AC is going to be the problem.

    The staff keeps the character alive and retains usefulness even after the character has exceeded the headband's stat allocation.

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Re: Staff of Defense?

    Quote Originally Posted by dropbear8mybaby View Post
    For sure it's a great choice for the first eight levels but then it'll be entirely redundant. +4 Int for a wizard is really the best possible ASI choice to make. And then your AC is going to be the problem.

    The staff keeps the character alive and retains usefulness even after the character has exceeded the headband's stat allocation.
    The problem here is the waste of ASIs.

    The solution is to not waste them and take feats or increase Dex or Con.

    The Headband of Intellect is usually not very powerful because the character that wants it already has a good intelligence. If you create a character with it, then it is broken.

    Further, the power of the staff decreases over time as the Wizard gains spell slots. The power of extra ASIs/Feats remain.

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: Staff of Defense?

    Quote Originally Posted by ad_hoc View Post
    The problem here is the waste of ASIs.

    The solution is to not waste them and take feats or increase Dex or Con.

    The Headband of Intellect is usually not very powerful because the character that wants it already has a good intelligence. If you create a character with it, then it is broken.

    Further, the power of the staff decreases over time as the Wizard gains spell slots. The power of extra ASIs/Feats remain.
    That makes no sense. And no, the power of the staff does not decrease over time at all. The maximum 1st-level spell slot allotment is 4, even at 20th-level. This staff gives you, essentially, 5 extra 1st-level spell slots. Every day. It never becomes a bad item short of replacing it with a Staff or Power/Magi.

    But you're always going to want to get your Intelligence score to 20. The wizard has far too much riding on Intelligence to neglect that extra 1 to DC and extra spell prepared per day, especially once they get up past the 8th-level mark and are really struggling for preparation slots.

    Oh, and the staff also means not having to prepare two almost mandatory spells as well, meaning more versatility, and the entire class concept of the wizard is based on being versatile with spell choice and expanding that choice through the spellbook.

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Re: Staff of Defense?

    To clarify:

    I have already decided that I don't want the Headband of Intellect, or the Winged Boots, or anything else. Sure, you can exploit the Headband to get very good stats initially. Maybe the Winged Boots would let me do unintended things. But I don't really want those.

    I'm looking for something that will give me a solid boost to my spellcasting. Something that will let me conserve spell slots, or improve my spell save DC. While the Immovable Rod or the Winged Boots are excellent items, they aren't what I'm looking for. The Staff of Defense fits this: I can save 2 or 3 1st level slots, while also getting a nice defensive boost as well, which is really just a bonus. The Pearl of Power gives me an extra slot, and it can be up to 3rd level, which also makes it fairly strong.

    If I missed anything beyond the Pearl of Power, point it out. If I didn't, the question is: Staff of Defense, or Pearl of Power?

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Nod_Hero's Avatar

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    Default Re: Staff of Defense?

    I've only played a wizard to level 11 so far but let me tell you, the Staff of Defense was a mainstay. Not having to use one of my prepared spell slots for Mage Armor, 4 free uses (I'd never risk that last charge, the Staff was too valuable) of Shield per dawn, +1 AC, it was amazing. I only recently unattuned from it (making space for the Staff of Magi) and in the three encounters since, I've missed it! I don't get to use Magic Missile nearly as often now, because I save those slots for casting Shield.

    You will need to talk with your DM about the wording of the staff, RAW it doesn't actually let you cast Shield as a reaction, but Crawford has tweeted that it could be allowed too. http://www.sageadvice.eu/2015/01/22/staff-of-defense/

    Hint: Throw a Continual Flame on top of it, even at low level you've got a very wizardy looking staff to show off to the gullible masses.

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Beholder

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    Default Re: Staff of Defense?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nod_Hero View Post
    I've only played a wizard to level 11 so far but let me tell you, the Staff of Defense was a mainstay. Not having to use one of my prepared spell slots for Mage Armor, 4 free uses (I'd never risk that last charge, the Staff was too valuable) of Shield per dawn, +1 AC, it was amazing. I only recently unattuned from it (making space for the Staff of Magi) and in the three encounters since, I've missed it! I don't get to use Magic Missile nearly as often now, because I save those slots for casting Shield.

    You will need to talk with your DM about the wording of the staff, RAW it doesn't actually let you cast Shield as a reaction, but Crawford has tweeted that it could be allowed too. http://www.sageadvice.eu/2015/01/22/staff-of-defense/

    Hint: Throw a Continual Flame on top of it, even at low level you've got a very wizardy looking staff to show off to the gullible masses.
    The bolded part is the deal-breaker for me. That tweet isn't an official source, so the staff basically just lets you use your action to get 5 AC for a turn (instead of doing something productive), and have a slightly better (+1 AC) Mage Armor up all of the time. RAW, it's meh.

    RAI, however, it's amazing. It makes you basically unhittable for 4 rounds per day.
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  18. - Top - End - #18
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: Staff of Defense?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wondermndjr View Post
    If I didn't, the question is: Staff of Defense, or Pearl of Power?
    The staff of defence is by far the better item of the two. Aside from giving you a flat +1 AC bonus at all times (alone that's almost worthy of an item), it essentially gives you 5 free spell slots a day (6 if you're willing to risk a 5% chance of losing it). Those slots are almost mandatory for wizard survival. Mage Armour alone is a significant boost that most wizard characters would be crazy not be casting every day. And Shield is a literal life saver.

    Now, having said that, something I forgot to mention in all of this was that the staff is a rare item. This is confirmed by the Adventurer's League magic item cards, which are written by WotC staff, not AL staff. So if that takes it out of the running, then Pearl of Power is probably your go to.

  19. - Top - End - #19
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Nod_Hero's Avatar

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    Default Re: Staff of Defense?

    If the Staff of Defense gets vetoed then Pearl of Power is good, but I think I'd be inclined to take a second look at Wand of the War Mage +1, Wand of Magic Missiles and Cloak of Protection. The first two for overall increased effectiveness, and the last because it has the ac and saving throw boost.

  20. - Top - End - #20
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Staff of Defense?

    Quote Originally Posted by dropbear8mybaby View Post
    It can also be used to cast Shield on other targets. It's broken like that.
    Wait, what? On what basis are you concluding this?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nod_Hero View Post
    You will need to talk with your DM about the wording of the staff, RAW it doesn't actually let you cast Shield as a reaction, but Crawford has tweeted that it could be allowed too. http://www.sageadvice.eu/2015/01/22/staff-of-defense/
    That is the strict RAW but I believe it to be an oversight. Shield is hardly worth one charge with that limitation; much less 2 when Mage Armor (8 hours) is only 1. It's primary benefit is its casting time. But definitely talk to your DM about that.
    If you cast Dispel Magic on my Gust of Wind, does that mean you're disgusting?

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  21. - Top - End - #21
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: Staff of Defense?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dalebert View Post
    Wait, what? On what basis are you concluding this?
    I think I was confusing it with something else.

  22. - Top - End - #22
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Re: Staff of Defense?

    The DM has allowed me to take the staff. Hopefully it should prove useful and allow me to conserve spell slots. Thanks for the advice!

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