10 Remarkable Staves

One-dimensional, unremarkable treasure is boring. Adding interesting descriptions to treasure adds depth, detail and verisimilitude to the GM’s campaign.

By William McAusland (Outland Arts)

By William McAusland (Outland Arts)


Of course, a GM doesn’t have time to slavishly detail every piece of treasure in his campaign. That’s where the list below comes in handy.

The GM can use these descriptions to bring to life the staff wrenched from the corpse of a defeated foe or found in a mouldering crypt. However they are used, the descriptions below are inherently more interesting than, “It’s a magic staff.”

Use the table below, to determine the staff’s appearance or pick a description from the list that best suits its powers.

  1. Almost six-foot in length, this thick oak staff seems strangely twisted, as if rung out like a wet blanket. The grain of the wood twists round the staff in a spiral pattern.
  2. Mystic symbols picked out in blue woad decorate the length of this four-foot long staff. Several of the symbols speak of home, hearth and health while others hint at the magical powers lurking within. From the staff’s size it looks like it was crafted for a gnome or halfling.
  3. This slender staff is of smooth, white polished wood; it seems to shimmer in the light and the air always seems fresh and airy in its immediate vicinity.
  4. Knobbly and gnarled, bark still clings to various bits of this brownish-red staff. String of various colours and a couple of white swan feathers are tied to one end.
  5. Five holes pierce the last few feet of this oaken staff. Each is tightly plugged with a different opaque stone that seems to glow with a sullen, perhaps threatening, glow.
  6. As straight as a mast and highly polished, this staff is otherwise featureless except for four runes—one for each of the elements—beautifully etched into the wood. Perceptive PCs also notice another rune—that for magic—carved into both ends of the staff.
  7. At first glance this staff appears to be wooden, but a close examination reveals it to be of dull iron painted and etched to appear like wood. The staff is three times heavier than normal.
  8. This staff comprises scorched and blackened wood. A fine layer of charcoal coats the burnt wood, and covers the hands of anyone carrying or touching the staff. The wood is vaguely warm to the touch.
  9. This seemingly fragile staff is comprised of different thick bands of coloured glass mimicking the colours found in the various prismatic spells: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.
  10. This short four-foot long staff is crafted from a long, slightly curved bone. Perhaps the rib bone of some gigantic beast, the staff has symbols relating to death, destruction and unlife carved into its length.


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This article will appear in GM’s Miscellany: 20 Things II, available in March 2017. For more, check out our Free Resources page.

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