Powers and Perils

How to Make a Wand or Staff

Wands and staffs are exceptionally useful objects for a Magic Using character. They allow the mage to use more mana points than his Energy Level (EnL) allows. They allow the mage to cast spells thru them at very little 'personal’ mana cost. They also allow the mage more success due to Magic Experience Level (MEL) being subtracted from the die roll.

The question, however, is…how do you make a wand or staff? And what skill set must one have in order to make a credible wand? What spells must be used? This is not directly addressed in the v2 rules.

For the actual simple physical creation, I simply propose that skill as a Jeweler combined with Carpenter (Woodworker subskill) is necessary to make a credible wand or staff.

Starting wizards have a choice between armorer and Jeweler skills. Most wizards I have seen prefer the Armorer skill over the Jeweler skill. This tells me Players see a large advantage in that skill over the Jeweler skill. I suggest that the work of an Armorer might not lend itself to skill in carving or mounting of objects onto a staff, but a Jeweler would be able to attach thin metal banding, precious metals, and jewels. However, is that really sufficient?

Since most wands are made of wood, I propose that the ‘Carpenter’ skill with ‘woodworker’ specialty suffice as a minimum jointly used with the Jeweler skill. Another option would be a less expensive Artist skill used along with the Carpenter skill. The Jeweler skill is an expensive skill and, per the rules, uses the “basic attributes…as for the Artist”. The rule for Woodworkers is that if they are also artists, their work can be considered more valuable/exceptional (higher value for created items). Per the Laws of Magic, items that are valuable make more suitable magic items. A simple stick of little value might be still able to be used as a wand, but will it really hold the power of a beautifully made article?

So…what kind of wood? Which Law of Magic applies to changing a carved stick into a powerful magic item? Words of Power could be engraved onto the wood. Perhaps the name of some Higher Power (such as Enki ‘Lord of Magical Knowledge) need be cleverly woven into the carving. I doubt the kind of wood matters much unless the wand is also imbued with additional Ensorcellments to allow employment of a magic power. A wood tied to a spell or attribute per the Natural Magic section would be ideal. And, of course, the rarer it is, the more powerful might be its potential.

What spells are used to create the item? I propose that a ‘simple’ Ensorcellment spell using the ‘Mana Storage’ option be the only magic necessary for a basic wand or staff.

One problem I see is that the rules for Mana Storage and the description of wands given in Book Four don’t quite tie together. What magic would be used to make the MEL be the controlling attribute for making the mana storage value? A Mana Storage device can hold (EL+1)*10 mana. At EL4 this works out to 50 mana. The Wand described in Book Four can hold MEL*5 mana while the Staff can improve the volume of mana to MEL*8. For a MEL9/EL4 Wand, this would be 45 mana, and for the staff 72 mana (a not inconsiderable amount).

While using the Mana Storage Ensorcellment option might be about equivalent for wands, this does downgrade a staff somewhat. One option would be to simply declare that a staff used for this purpose is ‘more inclined’ toward this use and provide a simple, but separate, mana storage amount. Perhaps instead of the Rulebook increase a different value of (EL+3)*10 could be used for staffs.

Keep something in mind. When a Mana Storage device of any kind is created, the initial full mana amount must be placed into the object by the mage. If you only have one staff, for instance, and no other mana storage available, high mana capacity objects might be very difficult to make.

Per Book Four, when a staff is used, the MEL is subtracted from the success roll…increasing the chance of success! For a wand, it is unclear but I believe the intent was to use the (usually) lower EL value. Now, what spell or action would account for this?

I further propose that to make the wand or staff more efficient in success, that the mage give up some actual EnL…equal to the casting cost of the Permanent Magic spell used(but not the storage mana), probably by using some of his lifeblood. Magic has cost…and this cost might take the mage some time to recover (using the rules for recovery of EnL).

Why? Perhaps by bleeding and using this to prepare the wand or staff, the mage imbues it with his MEL and/or EL in such a way that the object can then use that MEL and EL. Something has to be the cause of the increased success of these items. In keeping with the spirit of the Book Four descriptions of wand and staff, Wands would deduct the EL from the success roll and Staffs would subtract the full MEL.

David A. Sanders