Staff of the Arcanist

Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

So, in the last campaign I played an arcanist and when we hit 20th level, there was the opportunity to craft / get a Staff of the Magi (for the final boss encounter). While a Staff of the Magi is really cool, etc... I thought that it might be more thematically appropriate to have a staff specifically for the arcanist hybrid class - one that had better synergy with the arcanist. So, without further delay, I present my attempt at a Staff of the Arcanist.

Staff of the Arcanist
Slot none; Aura strong (all schools); CL 20th; Weight 5 lbs.
A long wooden staff, adorned in steel and silver and with a sky blue gem inset in the tip, this potent artifact contains many spell powers and other functions. Unlike a normal staff, a staff of the arcanist holds 30 charges and cannot be recharged normally. Some of its powers use charges, while others don't. A staff of the arcanist does not lose its powers if it runs out of charges.

The following powers do not use charges:
Mage Hand
Hold Portal
Ghost Sound

The following powers drain 1 charge per usage:
Dimensional Anchor
Greater Invisibility
Dispel Magic
Black Tentacles
Wall of Force
Fire Snake

These powers drain 2 charges per usage:
Overwhelming Presence
Chain Lightning
Freezing Sphere

After one complete day in the possession of a new user, a staff of the Arcanist becomes sympathetic to that user and additional powers are unlocked. The staff imparts Spell Resistance of 10 + the number of points currently in the arcanist's pool while in the user's possession. The staff can also be used to absorb arcane spell energy directed at its wielder, as a rod of absorption does. To absorb arcane spell energy, the wielder must first successfully resist the spell or spell-like effect with the staff’s SR. Once resisted, the wielder immediately knows the number of charges the effect will add to the staff and may instantly choose to add them to the total.

Once a day as a full-round-action an arcanist may concentrate and choose to convert charges from the staff to arcanist points at the ratio of two charges to a point (to the arcanist’s maximum allowed). Once a day, as a full-round-action an arcanist may concentrate and choose to add charges to the staff by expending arcanist points at the ratio of two points to a charge, though this method cannot cause the staff to explode in a retributive strike. Excess points are not transferred.

Should the staff be parted from the arcanist’s possession for more than a month, the sympathetic vibrations between user and staff fade. A full day must again be spent before the staff can be attuned to the arcanist.

If the staff absorbs enough spell levels to exceed its limit of 30 charges, it explodes as if a retributive strike had been performed (see below). The wielder has no idea how many spell levels are within the staff, for the staff does not communicate this knowledge as a rod of absorption does. (Thus, absorbing energy can be risky.)

A staff of the arcanist can be broken for a retributive strike. Such an act must be purposeful and declared by the wielder. All charges in the staff are released in a 30-foot spread. All within 10 feet of the broken staff take hit points of damage equal to 8 times the number of charges in the staff, those between 11 feet and 20 feet away take points equal to 6 times the number of charges, and those 21 feet to 30 feet distant take 4 times the number of charges. A DC 23 Reflex save reduces damage by half.
The character breaking the staff has a 50% chance (01—50 on d%) of traveling to another plane of existence, but if she does not (51—100), the explosive release of spell energy destroys her (no saving throw).

Should be in homebrew.

Seems to err on the overpowered side of things given the ability to convert charges into your own spell slots through some exploits, which circulates into the arcanist giving up it's only technical weakness at the point they'd get this item: spell slots being reduced.

Given that seems to be the staff's purpose, I'd be wary as a DM when a player shows me an item that has an ability this powerful, who then adds more power to it, like spell resistance.

All I get from this is you intend to have not only a very powerful staff, but one that essentially let's you have an unlimited number of arcane points to have access to by absorbing enemy spellcasting, which is then converted into either unlimited uses of their own class utilities or with their own exploits can become more spells, for a two spell swing overall, you get to cast two+ spells and the enemy doesn't get any.

Normally this is the type of item I'd either veto immediately, or not allow until the campaign is almost over and it won't break the game. And at that, I'd probably still jack up the price.

Well, it is an Artifact. Which is basically "GM only items of overpoweredness."

My idea was to make an artifact that interacted with what made the arcanist different. I understand that some people think that anything that messes with a basic mechanic of a class - particularly a full caster class and doesn't completely nerf it is therefore OP and completely verboten. That's a perfectly valid opinion to have, but its not constructive to the question at hand.

The trouble I had was with balancing out things. I can see taking out SR completely to help balance the point swapping more (arcanists already get SR as a possible exploit (SR:24 @ 20th L) so maybe I will drop that. The downside is that the SR in the staff is linked to keeping the staff recharged (the SR acts in a way to absorb the magical energies). As written if you let the charges drop too low, the SR drops too low and it's difficult to recharge the staff.

The other option would be to limit the number of arcanist points you can move in a day to something like 1/3 of CL. But then I'd make it a standard or a swift action, not a move. the 1/day is to keep it from being overused.

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