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Running LMOP and the party has already defeated Glasstaff and taken his Staff of Defense. The wizard is now attuned to it, and in our last session they asked a question I was not prepared for: Can the wizard use the staff to cast Mage Armor on party members every morning?

  • Only 3 of the 5 party members would benefit from changing their base AC to "13 + Dexterity modifier", so it would only use 3 of the staff's charges.
  • The staff regains minimum 5 charges each day, so this seems sustainable.

The only rule that might stand in the way would be whether or not using the staff's charges would also count against the wizard's spell slots.

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    \$\begingroup\$ In general that's the beauty of Mage Armor; one person with access to it and ability to cast it multiple times can cast it on themself and their friends. (Either at higher levels when low-level slots are cheap, or via an item like this.) Especially when it would bump her AC by more than 1. e.g. on Critical Role, I have to assume Imogen doesn't realize that Mage Armor could be cast on someone else, because it makes no sense for her not to cast it on her close friend Laudna, especially at their current level. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 24, 2023 at 13:09

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Yeah, they could do that. Staff Charges don't use up Spell Slots, that's what makes a Staff such a powerful item. This is just how the item works.

Keep in mind that Dawn is pretty early and Mage Armor only lasts for 8 hours, so you might need a 2nd cast halfway through the day.

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The Staff of Defense (LMoP) says:

The staff has 10 charges, which are used to fuel the spells within it. With the staff in hand, you can use your action to cast one of the following spells from the staff if the spell is on your class’s spell list: mage armor (1 charge)...

Since your wizard attuned to the staff, and mage armor is on the wizard spell list, the wizard may use the staff to cast mage armor.

The DMG section on "Activating a Magic Item" (p. 141) says:

SPELLS. Some magic items allow the user to cast a spell from the item. The spell is cast at the lowest possible spell level, doesn't expend any of the user's spell slots, and requires no components, unless the item's description says otherwise. The spell uses its normal casting time, range, and duration, and the user of the item must concentrate if the spell requires concentration.

Because the description of the staff says that the user may cast the spell from it, fueled by charges, no spell slots are used for this casting (and the wizard does not have to have the spell prepared or even known).

The mage armor spell has range of "Touch" (not "Self"), so the wizard can use the staff to cast the spell on themselves or another creature.

Thus, the only things limiting the number of people on whom the wizard may have the spell running are the charges in the staff, and as Erik notes, the duration of the spell itself.

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