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Staff of Knives - Level 2+

This steel-gray wooden staff transforms into a steel-hard wooden dagger on command.

  • Lvl 2 [+1] 510gp
  • Lvl 7 [+2] 2,600gp
  • Lvl 12 [+3] 13,000gp
  • Lvl 17 [+4] 65,000gp
  • Lvl 22 [+5] 325,000gp
  • Lvl 27 [+6] 1,625,000gp

Implement (Staff)

Enhancement: Attack rolls and damage rolls
Critical: +1d6 damage per plus, or +1d12 damage per plus when used as a melee weapon
Power (At-Will): Minor Action. You transform this item from a staff into a dagger or from a dagger into a staff.

Would you consider this staff to still be a 'staff implement'/'staff weapon' in Knife form? For example, if you have the Staff Expertise Feat which increases the range of weapon attack powers by 1. Would you say it still apply in Knife form?

Or casting an Implement Attack while its in Knife form, would you still count it as a valid implement? (adding its enhancement bonus to attack and damage rolls).

Lets say you have the Staff Fighting Feat, the staff is enhanced with Staff of Knives and another one, would you say that the properties of both staffs are still active during its knife form?

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1 Answer 1

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Would you consider this staff to still be a 'staff implement'/'staff weapon' in Knife form? For example, if you have the [Staff Expertise] Feat which increases the range of weapon attack powers by 1. Would you say it still apply in Knife form?

Staff of Knives seems like it was designed with Sorcerers in mind. Adventurer's Vault 2 followed closely on the heels of PHB2, and at the time, Sorcerers were the only class who wielded both Daggers and Staffs. Monks didn't exist until PHB3 was released the following year.

Transforming "from a staff into a dagger" mechanically does not mean very much, so this needs some interpretation, but I believe the intent is clear: the item loses its Implement (Staff) line, and gains a Weapon: Dagger line instead. The Sorcerer can still benefit from it in this form and use it as an implement for spellcasting. When in Dagger form, it's treated as a Dagger and all Dagger-related feats and bonuses apply. When it's in Staff form, it's treated as a Staff Implement and all Staff-related feats and bonuses apply.

This power, as written, is unclear. No wonder you're confused.

D&D 4e has a fairly strict approach to mechanics: they rule, regardless of how much sense they make, and powers have to be fairly strictly and clearly written to indicate what part of the mechanics they effect. The transformation power here is not written to the standards D&D 4e requires, and is unclear.

"Dagger" refers to any Magic Dagger with the Weapon: Dagger line. Non-magic daggers are just simple one-handed melee weapons, and that isn't mechanically the same thing as a Dagger.

This item's power never says anything about this item gaining the Weapon: Dagger type, or what happens to the Staff (Implement) line when it transforms "from a staff into a dagger". Is it still technically a Staff (Implement), and can a Wizard still wield it? Is it now a Dagger in addition to a Staff, or instead of one? A well-written power would describe precisely what happens to the item's mechanics, and thus what weapon/implement types it gains and loses - this one doesn't, unfortunately.

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First, it can be (Implement(Staff) and Weapon(Quarterstaff Type: quarterstaff)) OR (Implement(Dagger) and Weapon(Dagger type: Light Blade)) Or, the reading could be that it alwaays stays a staff, so the implement doesn't toggle, but the weapon does. In terms of expertise feats, given that nothing implies that it gains the light blade keyword, the only expertise feat that will qualify here is white lotus duelling expertise, assuming that you're proficient with daggers and staves as implements. That's also not considering superior implements or the varous "focus" damage feats. –  Brian Ballsun-Stanton Aug 4 '13 at 3:37
    
As a DM I would rule it counts as either both Implement(Staff) and Weapon: Quarterstaff OR Implement(Dagger) and Weapon(Dagger) / Light Blade at any given moment. The fact is this item is pretty useless unless you can actually turn it into a Dagger with all the keywords that would apply to one, and even then it mostly just adds flavor to a character. Other characters that may find this item useful: Fighters (various specs, such as Arena Training could make use of both options), Rogues with the Sneaky Staff feat, DEX-based staff users wanting a dagger to throw for RBA, etc. –  Corion Aug 5 '13 at 14:44
    
I'm saving both your comments. Thank you, Corion. I need to redraft this soon to be more to the point about the keywords and implications here. And yeah, Corion, if this item doesn't actually change the keywords... the effect does basically nothing. :( –  doppelgreener Aug 6 '13 at 12:26

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