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Mages and staffs

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Tom, Jan 13, 2016.

  1. Tom

    Tom Istar

    Quick question--is it cliche for a mage to use a staff? I was just thinking of the awesome fight sequences in The Force Awakens where Rey uses her quarterstaff, and I want one of my characters to fight with one as well as use it for magic, at least until he gets a sword. (Mages are not supposed to use weapons, so this character circumvents the rule by reasoning "Hey, my staff is technically not a weapon...")

    I'm a bit concerned, however, given the frequency that staffs and mages pop up together in fantasy media, from games like Dragon Age and WoW to books like LotR and beyond. Is it something everyone's seen before too many times, or can I pull it off?
  2. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    I'd be fine with it. I don't think any story needs to acknowledge a thousand other stories. Besides, you actually are going to address it because of the prohibition (in your world).

    I see a different sort of problem. A staff is in fact a weapon. You would have to posit that quarterstaffs (or even whole staffs!) are not weapons in your world. That seems a stretch. How about, "Hey, technically only swords and cutting edges are forbidden to mages. This is just a stick!"

    But I see a corollary problem. Surely your mage isn't the first to think of this. You could approach it the way warrior bishops did in the Middle Ages. Swords were forbidden them, too, so they just used maces. Theological problem solved! IOW, your mage would not be unique in your world. S/He'd just be using Standard Technicality 3.4a
    Tom likes this.
  3. Queshire

    Queshire Auror

    I have to disagree with Skip on needing something like having the rules technically only cover swords and cutting edges. This is one area where the staff wielding mage trope actually works for you. If every mage in your story has their own staff, and you establish that mages are forbidden weapons, the readers will fill in whatever blanks they need on their own.

    I also don't think you need to worry about other mages using their staffs as a weapon. Again, the trope of the staff wielding mage flinging around fire balls and never thinking to kung fu with their staves is strong enough that the readers won't question it.
    Tom likes this.
  4. Miskatonic

    Miskatonic Auror

    The staff or wand it just an implement that the mage can use to focus their magic. It makes plenty of sense, regardless if it's used a lot.
    Tom likes this.
  5. Exactly this. Plus quarterstaves are among my favorite weapons, so I love seeing them used in battle. I say go for it!
    Tom likes this.
  6. BronzeOracle

    BronzeOracle Sage

    I thought the scenes in Return of the King where Gandalf used his staff as a weapon were well done - even when it was just giving Denethor a well needed whack over the head! :)
    Tom likes this.
  7. trentonian7

    trentonian7 Troubadour

    For the record, priests could use blades- maces were cheaper and commonly used by knights as well as militant clergy. They countered innovations in plate armor which became increasingly more resistant to cutting blades. The idea that warrior priests only used maces is a false trope originating in role playing realms, not historic ones. Furthermore, the notion that priests abstained from blades so as to not draw blood is completely ridiculous- a mace to the face will draw plenty of blood.
    thedarknessrising likes this.
  8. MiguelDHorcrux

    MiguelDHorcrux Minstrel

    My character has a wand that can transform into a staff :p

    Do not worry about it. I doubt Suzanne Collins worried about Katniss wielding a bow when the weapon was already famous in film because of Legolas.
    Tom likes this.
  9. Yeah, I will say that it has been rather tricky working certain elements into my novel, because I keep drawing from roleplaying sources instead of historical ones.
  10. trentonian7

    trentonian7 Troubadour

    By no means do you need to base your mages off of historical organizations. It's perfectly reasonable for a conceited order of mages who believe they're too high to use blades to ban the usage altogether. Though, I agree with other commentators that other mages likely would have exploited this loophole to use staves as well.

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