Using Staves

This idea has been bashed around a bit in the Tavern and dpeg suggested I post it here. In a nutshell, the idea is to allow the monk background to start with staves.


  • Staves are flavour-wise very appropriate for monks as cloth-armoured martial arts specialists
  • Now that more classes can start with a falchion, staves are the most restricted-access weapon class in the game, as only priests currently start with staves
  • This restricted access is not justified as quarterstaves are weaker than tridents, which are available, and staves as a whole are not an overpowered weapon class that should be restricted from the start.
  • Monks currently don't have much going for them - if you are planning to rely on unarmed combat, transmuters get a spellbook that really helps with unarmed melee combat, and gladiators also have unarmed combat plus a lot more.
    • Yes but giving monks staves doesn't make monks better–it makes monks into two classes. One class for pure hand to hand, which is what they are right now and which the game needs to have, and one class for staves, which is very little like the first. You might as well just stick it on Fi/Gl instead. — brickman 2011-02-19 17:18
      • Read 2 more lines before answering. Staves don't work well with shields, that's why they are more appropriate for monks than for Fi/Gl. — galehar 2011-02-19 21:52
  • Thus currently if you want to go unarmed, transmuter is the better way to go, and if you want to try staves as your starting melee school, priests are the only option.
  • Staves do not work well with shields, so they are not appropriate as a weapon choice for fighters or gladiators, so it is good to have a class with light armour and no shield have access to the staff instead.
  • This would be very simple to implement, would not be “overpowered”, and adds some interesting starting game plans as discussed below.


  • The quarterstaff could be made a weapon choice for monks, and the skills that would have gone to UC would go to staves.
  • In the interests of keeping character creation simple, all monks could be given a quarterstaff in addition to the unarmed combat skill, with the number of skill levels set appropriately for balance.

Gameplay effect

  • The unique aspect of the Staves class is that the top-end weapons are the elemental staves [EDIT: I'm told there may not be that much synergy between quarterstaves and wizard staves]. This suggests that the staff monk would want to eventually branch into magic, which is a monkish type thing to do as they eventually get into the mystical depths of their studies.
    • Elemental staves don't benefit much from high Staves skill. Starting with staves doesn't do much of anything to help a character pick up spellcasting, and it's actually worse than unarmed combat if they intend to pick up transmutations. — minmay 2011-02-18 20:02
      • Of course it helps, it reduces the speed delay and increase accuracy. Training staves to 12 will more than double the damage output. And if they intend to pick up transmutation, then they'll take the UC option obviously. — galehar 2011-02-19 21:52
  • The interesting thing about this is that the starting character would not know though what spellbooks they will find, what staves they will find and thus it becomes a bit like draconians and demonspawn in that their late-game characteristics are much harder to predict than other starting backgrounds.
    • Just play a wanderer. I also don't see how the current non-spellcasting classes don't work just as well with this. — mrmistermonkey 2011-02-19 01:01
  • However, the non-magic game would also be interesting. It would be natural to branch out into polearms (which crosstrain with staves) and which are also a more “martial arts” flavoured weapon school. This would be similar to how short blades are for some classes the “intro” class to long blades.
    • If you're crosstraining to polearms, why can't you just start a fighter or gladiator or anything else that starts with polearms, really? — mrmistermonkey 2011-02-19 01:01
      • The point is that the monk with quarterstaff background have several interesting options to branch to. — galehar 2011-02-19 21:52
  • This would also be a good way to go for species like minotaurs and centaurs which have natural unarmed attacks but are not good at magic, and in the case of centaurs, can wear robes but not other armours.
    • Mi/Ce already like monks, and would be better with unarmed monks than staffy monks, anyway. — mrmistermonkey 2011-02-19 01:01
  • Thus the option to start with staff opens up two different “game trajectories” that are currently not available as starting backgrounds, and would make a currently somewhat overlooked class more interesting.
  • This would also make monks a more attractive background for elves, which is also a very flavour-appropriate combination.

Summary Whether or not there is synergy between quarterstaves and wizard staves, it only makes sense that each weapon class should be an option to start even without a god. Monks are the most flavour-appropriate place to make staves available, and monks need something more to make them worth considering over transmuters. — danr 2011-02-18 17:28

I support the idea, it's definitely worth a shot. Also, I've rarely seen so much love on a wiki page ;) — galehar 2011-02-19 21:52
It's an interesting idea but could do with some tweaking. For example, this would be great if staves became a viable weapon, though that would mean they'd need a bit of buffing from how they are now. How about staves of a certain skill also have a side effect of sometimes dumping points into the corresponding skill and even more rarely dumping points into spellcasting. This way they become more than just sticks that assist magic, they become tools of channeling energy. For example, a monk with a staff of fire will eventually level up his fire magic skill and so go from slapping enemies with a staff to hurling around a weapon of fire powered from his own skill and finesse. While non-elemental staves would have less direct benefits, they can similarly help branch into magic, the odd ones out being staff of wizardry and energy, though the former can just concentrate on spellcasting and get that sooner while energy… does something? Details, details. — Usht_54 2011-05-25
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dcss/brainstorm/background/monks.txt · Last modified: 2011-12-21 16:13 by XuaXua
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