In D&D 4e Player's Handbook 1, at page 157, there's a section about "Arcane Implement Mastery" for the wizard. It says the following:

You specialize in the use of one kind of implement to gain additional abilities when you wield it. Choose one of the following forms of implement mastery.

Then, one of the options is "Staff of Defense":

A staff of defense grants you a +1 bonus to AC. In addition, once per encounter as an immediate interrupt, you gain a bonus to defense against one attack equal to your Constitution modifier. You can declare the bonus after the Dungeon Master has already told you the damage total. You must wield your staff to benefit from these.

Now, my wizard player chose the staff of defense, but I have a question:

Is the staff of defense an actual physical item that the wizard automatically has as soon as the PC is generated? Or is it the equivalent of a "feat" that the PC has while holding a magic staff?

Because after going at page 241 to look at all the existing staffs, I don't see any "Staff of Defense" listed as an item.

We've actually been playing for a long time already, the player is now high level, and she has been using the "Staff of Winter" all this time as an item. Though after checking at her character's sheet, I also noticed "Staff of Defense". So, is it actually two physical staffs, and she has to choose which one to use at any given time? Or is "Staff of defense" something she has WHILE still holding her Staff of winter?


1 Answer 1


In 4th Edition, Staff of Defense is a wizard class feature, not a magical item.

Any wizard can attune to and use any magical implement, but all wizards pick an implement to specialize in and gain a corresponding class feature: a PHB wizard can choose from staff of defense, wand of accuracy, or orb of imposition. This gives the specialist a small bonus whenever they wield any implement of that type, enchanted magic item or not.

So yes, it's a bit like a feat, though you only have one chance to take it.

However, I imagine you're not unique in your confusion, as a magical item called the staff of defense exists in both prior editions and editions yet to come. It's entirely possible your player may also have been confused and written the staff down as a magic item when the class feature was mentioned to them.

Do you have Adventurer's Vault?

Just to muddy the waters a bit, Adventurer's Vault introduces among its pile of magic staffs the defensive staff (on 2s, +1 item bonus to FRW, +1 item bonus to AC for a staff of defense wizard) and the staff of ultimate defense (on 3s, +enchantment bonus to the activated defense boost of a staff of defense wizard). If you have the book and award out of it, it's also possible your player may have received one of these staffs as a reward and recorded the name inaccurately.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for your answer! It explains things very well :) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 4, 2023 at 12:40

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