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1

There is a potential solution in the item description itself, particularly if there is a spellcaster with a grudge against the party. A staff of the magi gives the wielder spell resistance 23. If this is willingly lowered, however, the staff can also be used to absorb arcane spell energy directed at its wielder, as a rod of absorption does. Unlike ...


-2

Make it into an artifact that needs to be developed to use its full power. Previous users were high enough level that they could use all its powers at once but the magic user is too low level to access all its abilities. Then the magic user needs training to access its power.


-2

Another take on what do the PC's know about the item: The Staff of the Magi is charged. Suppose it has only one or two charges left?


3

You are proceeding from a fallacy that "Do what you want" is an exception to the way you are "supposed to" allot treasure. It's not. The CR/APL/treasure rules are all designed to be little more than a handwave; a "well so probably this might be about right." If you want something that is going to make sense in every edge case, you are misapprehending the ...


-5

I would just make that item break after single use (because it is too complicated for their low skill level), and then introduce a quest of fixing it which they can complete once they reach a certain level adequate for having that item.


41

Make it be cursed. A very powerful item will make many adventuring parties suspicious, but if yours are just happy to go forward using it, they are in for a surprise. I would pick an "interesting" curse that makes them wary of using it but still leaves them (technically) with the option to do so. For example, every charge used could alert some extraplanar ...


1

Admit your mistake and replace it with something proper. Sure you can do stuff with it in-game but it was an out-of game mistake to begin with so fix it that way too.


-5

I would say the staff is old and brittle upon further study on it. As you could easily hook them with the "brilliance seems dulled" or an "off aura is sensed". And when they check the staff put a low perception check and a moderatley high craft or appraise check on it. The perception will tell them its damaged as the appraise can enlighten them as to how ...


-2

Similar to the responses by Erik and MrLemon; A powerful individual, the owner of the item, could materialise or otherwise show up dramatically in an unexpected location and explain that they were set-up to steal it intentionally. They were (unbeknownst to them at the time) hired as a Tiger Team to pen-test where it was stored. That way the owner doesn't ...


-3

What do the PCs actually know about the staff? Did you say "it's a Staff of the Magi, here are its powers?" If not, you could retcon it to be a lesser sort of item, with some similar powers, but more suited to the characters' level.


5

I would let things run the natural course. So ask yourself the following question: is someone going to miss the Staff? The person who put it there, other people who were trying to break the vault? If the answer is yes, then you have someone searching for the PCs, which may want to take it back from them by good or evil means. Someone with a crazy vault and ...


44

The Brinks Job, The Italian Job, Willow, or Charlie Varrick? the players worked their way through a series of fiendish traps into a high security vault, where they recovered a Staff of the Magi. Your low level PC's broke into a secure storage site and stole something extremely valuable. Hollywood is packed with this trope, a big heist and the ... uh ...


0

I would also suggest working the Artifact into a small story arc, where they get to unleash its true powers against opponents that they would otherwise not be able to handle. Then, at the end of the arc have the Artifact leave them, either by sacrificing it to save the day or by having a powerful entity or the Artifact itself say that now that they fulfilled ...


79

While a lot of the other answers are perfectly valid and good ideas, I'd like to offer an alternative solution that hasn't been mentioned yet which can also work in some situations: deal with the problem out-of-game, not through DM fiat, but rather through admitting you made a mistake. DMs shouldn't be expected to be infallible. If you can explain to your ...


3

As a slight twist on the other suggestions, you can have a good guy turn up and say that it is his staff and it was stolen from him. He will offer the players rewards (and I agree prestige, relations, favours, etc is better than gold) if they return his stolen property to him. He can provide proof that it is his of some sort, which could be as simple as a ...


117

Reward the PCs with attention A group of level 2 PCs with a staff of the magi will soon find that everyone wants it. Many of these will be bad guys, but a few of them will be good guys. The GM can reward the PCs for their superior play by having the good guys contact the PCs and offer to take the staff off their hands for their own safety (instead of, for ...


10

Have someone powerful show up and trade it with them for multiple other, less powerful items. Make it clear that the powerful person wants to trade because he is a good guy, not because he feels that he and the party are on equal footing. Let him both explain that his trade of the major item for 10 minor ones is fair and better for the party, since they'll ...


0

From experience in OD&D and AD&D 1st Ed., one of the best ways to deal with this general problem (not specific to Staff of the Magi, which has surely changed since I last dealt with one) is to let the party begin to be overrun with people (and monsters) trying to steal the overpowered item from them. They can either use up charges they can't replace ...



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