Charging A Staff without the right spell slot


Rules Questions

Sovereign Court

So I'm trying to come up with a RAW legal way of charging a staff without having the proper caster level. In particular, I'd like a ~7th character to charge a staff that has a spell on their list, plus a 7th lvl spell. I would be the GM in this hypothetical case, so I know I could just "house rule it" but I don't want to.

A couple of things I have thought of:
Staff Magus at lvl 10 can use arcane pool points to charge a staff. This is too high a level though.

Arcanist has consume item arcana. Is there an arcana that does the reverse?

Make it a custom staff with the ability to absorb charges ala a staff of the magi, and get someone to magic missile me once/day. Any idea how to price just that ability? I know how to price a regular staff given spells and spell slots, but staff of the magi has a bunch of special abilities, so I can't just subtract the regular stuff.

Hire a 13+ lvl spellcaster. I know this works. I'd prefer to avoid it, as the user of the staff is trying to be secretive, and walking up to a high level caster and paying him to regularly charge his staff is NOT secretive!

Any other suggestions? Classes, magic items, prestige classes etc?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

My gut feeling is that adding the price of a rod of absorption to the regular price of the staff (calculated with each spell taking one charge), and having the staff use the spell levels absorbed rather than regular charges (and the absorption charges only being used for the staff spells) with then a 10% discount on the price since the absorbed spell levels will generally be more limited that a regular rod of absorption, would be a fairly balanced custom item. It would also be quite expensive, and out of reach of most characters of that level.

I don't know any RAW way to recharge a staff as you are talking about.

Sovereign Court

Dave Justus: that sounds reasonable. I don't know why I didn't think to just add rod of absorption. I'm not worried about WBL, as this would be for an NPC who could "afford" it.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
GralphidB wrote:
Dave Justus: that sounds reasonable. I don't know why I didn't think to just add rod of absorption. I'm not worried about WBL, as this would be for an NPC who could "afford" it.

Just remember, when the bad guy dies, the staff become loot.


What's the spell? Maybe the staff-maker can have invented a 4th level, severely weakened/warped version that would still suit the wielder's purposes. Like reincarnation instead of resurrection.

Sovereign Court

So the spell is simulacrum. The idea is that a fairly high (14ish?) level wizard creates a staff of simulacrum to mass produce copies of himself and uses copies of himself as slave labor to live in luxury and wealth. Tired of having to boss everyone around himself, he appoints "chief overseers" and has them use the staff to create copies of himself, who follow the overseer.

This all works dandy until he dies (or maybe they rebel somehow?), leaving the overseers independent and with small armies of mid-level wizards. The overseers start fighting, and finding the staff to allow them to make more copies would be valuable (even level 3 wizards would be useful cannon fodder, since healing is incredibly expensive). The problem is they are all only level 7, so they can't cast Simulacrum. But they could activate the staff! They just can't recharge it themselves.

I know lesser simulacrum exists, but then the copy can't cast spells, nor is it under control of the caster.

The PCs of course, stumble into the middle of this chaos. Even if they win, do they really want the staff? It seems almost more trouble than it's worth...


Okay, you probably can't get away with a lesser version of the spell. Oh, well.

But while I'm here: you know that staff costs upwards of 200,000 gp to make, right?

Simulacrum's components cost 500 gp per HD of the simulacrum (so 3500 in this case) and you have to expend 50 casting's worth to make the staff => 175,000 gp. Plus the base cost of having a 7th-level spell in a staff is 36,400 gp, so you're looking at spending 211,400 to make this. This is w/o adding in the properties of a rod of absorption or whatever.

Standard WBL for a 14th-level PC is 185,000.

This doesn't have to be a dealbreaker, as story considerations are overriding, but it's still one hell of an expensive item for a 14th-level NPC to own. And while the PCs may not want to use it themselves, they can sell it for the same cost....


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
GralphidB wrote:
Even if they win, do they really want the staff? It seems almost more trouble than it's worth...

Yes they do. Nearly at will free casting of one of the most powerful spells in the game that has a hefty material component cost!!! Of course they do.

One thing to remember is that variable material component costs don't really work all that great for value cost on something like a staff or a wand. If it is assumed that the staff was built in at a set amount of material components, it would need to have at least 7 HD worth for the effect you describe, which is 3500 GP per charge. That adds up to 175000 gp alone just for the material component portion of the staff, which presumably could be sold if the players didn't want to keep it for some reason.

What I would do if I were you is have your original caster have made a 1/day wondrous item that is 'locked' to only making simulacra of the original wizard (or copies of him, since they are the same genetically.) If you also limit it so that only that person can 'use' the item, you have your plot device that can't be used by the PCs.

I might also make the item large enough to be fairly immobile. Then you have simulacra all competing in a fixed location for control of the device, and since only the 'masters' can easily tell which side a given simulacra is on (they all look and act the same) and even then they can only identify their own minions you can have quite a few delightful shenanigans. Each day battles-intrigue-deals-alliances-whatever as each master competes to get to device and use its power, and then retreats to a safe location to hole up, since if you lose a 'master' you lose everything (although you might create a bunch of weaker, but still potential 'masters').

Sovereign Court

Dave Justus wrote:


What I would do if I were you is have your original caster have made a 1/day wondrous item that is 'locked' to only making simulacra of the original wizard (or copies of him, since they are the same genetically.) If you also limit it so that only that person can 'use' the item, you have your plot device that can't be used by the PCs.

I might also make the item large enough to be fairly immobile. Then you have simulacra all competing in a fixed location for control of the device, and since only the 'masters' can easily tell which side a given simulacra is on (they all look and act the same) and even then they can only identify their own minions you can have quite a few delightful shenanigans. Each day battles-intrigue-deals-alliances-whatever as each master competes to get to device and use its power, and then retreats to a safe location to hole up, since if you lose a 'master' you lose everything (although you might create a bunch of weaker, but still potential 'masters').

I like it! Awesome, thanks!


As a slight variation on that, make the item an artifact the wizard found, not created, and make it absolutely immobile---it's built into the mountain (or whatever). Then the cost to make it is irrelevant, and more importantly the PCs cannot sell it. If the created simulacra are tied to the vicinity of the artifact, so that they die if they go more than a mile or two away, the PCs can't really use it for themselves either, so it doesn't matter that it isn't locked to the wizard.

Of course, this implies that the wizard had no choice about where to construct his stronghold; it had to be where the artifact was. This might put it somewhere you wouldn't normally expect a wizard's stronghold, like near some villages but not any cities---normally they're either close to / in a city for its conveniences, or in the middle of nowhere for isolation. The strange choice of location gives the PCs a clue that there's something very interesting about the place itself.

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