So, back in the days of my original AD&D I had made the rule (somewhat based in some fictional examples) that “wizards” (e.g. Name-level mages) use staves – and that this was a somewhat “socially reserved” limit on what mage’s would carry around.
E.g. Walking around with a staff was a way to advertise or display that you had reached a certain level of skill. And doing so without the skill or ability was a quick way to get yourself in trouble with the Guild or other groups. This worked well through the various house rules that I used, plus some of the other game systems, but I’m finding that I want my low-level mages of AD&D to be able to walk around with their own staves.
I’m not exactly sure what is driving this desire for change. Perhaps it’s a bit of desire to do away with some of the fiddly bits that crept into my game. Now, that said, KR (my spouse) said that she actually kind of liked this rule – that it made sense to her and it was a nice bit of flavour-text for the mages.
But I’d like mages to have that sort of iconic magic item that they can use – in addition to wands, rods, and crystal balls/orbs/whatever and kris. The Candlestaff mentioned in the last post is an excellent example of the sort of thing I’m talking about, something which is certainly useful but not overwhelming in any real sense of the world. I know it seems kind of redundant, but it really seems a bit more of “over-the-top” style of play that captures the OSR spirit.
Heck, fighters have potential magic weapons of every stripe, it just seems reasonable that mages would spend at least as much time and energy making weapons and useful things for themselves. Part of the problem with the staves in the Dungeon Masters Guide is that they are very powerful – even at the low-end. Which was likely my original thought when I made them “name-level’ magical items by social custom.
But having much more reasonable magical staves seems like a pretty easy thing to arrange.