I had a character concept and want to know if I can actually do what I want it to. So my basic idea is to make a mage-like character that has a pure magical whip that comes out of a wooden handle. The innate attack would go something like this: Innate Attack(1d Cutting, Melee Attack (1-4) -15%, Magical -10%))[5]. I've never been too clear on the staff spell but from what I read it seems that the item has to be organic or alive at one point. So my question is:

  1. Can a touch (deathtouch) spell travel through a wooden handle/wand and down a purely magical innate attack (much like a force whip) and transfer the spell into the target?

  2. What if anything can the magic travel through? Some people suggested leather since it was alive at one point. And if that is the case what about things like vines, cotton and hair?


3 Answers 3


The idea of using a whip as a Staff is an interesting one, but it doesn't look like it works with the normal GURPS rules. The first line of the Magic Staff rules on Characters 240 says "A "magic staff' is any wand or staff imbued with the power to extend your reach for the purpose of casting spells". In the examples for what kind of objects can be Staffs, it mentions wands, short staves, and full staves. In the example list of potential staff materials, all of the listed materials are things that you could make a traditional rigid staff or wand out of. While it isn't spelled out directly, it seems like the intent of the rules is that a Staff should be a rigid object up to 2 yards in length.

However, this is GURPS we're talking about, where basically everything is cool to houserule. The only important, mechanical restriction in the Magic Staffs entry is the length of 2 yards or less. Even this is something that can probably be thrown out. If I were your GM, I'd just slap an enhancement on your Innate Attack like "Counts as a Staff, +30%" and call it a day.

By rules as written, you cannot make a whip that acts like a magic staff. However, you should absolutely talk to your GM about it. It doesn't sound like it's too powerful an idea to me, and an enhancement in the 30-50% range should probably cover it.

  • \$\begingroup\$ The touch requirement of Deathtouch is pretty important, since it allows you to deal up to 3d damage without having to spend 3 turns building up a missile spell. Might be worth comparing the balance of the new whip+Deathtouch combo with Flame Jet, which is similar. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 16, 2017 at 13:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ Necromantic comment -- the Staff spell, in Magic, only limits that the material must be once-living, which doesn't seem to imply that the Staff spell can be enchanted onto only rigid materials. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Commented Jul 19, 2017 at 11:34

I would handle this by making the whip a power, and give it a made up enhancement like "Can deliver touch spells [+50%]" That way you can have your normal magical wand, and you can extend a whip from it when you need to. Technically, as it's written below, the whip would flash in an out of existence each time you use the power. You can keep it that way, or just have it stay on. Since there is no game effect to the flashing or persistent nature of the whip it is considered a "special effect" and you can freely choose to do either or as you see fit.

Tendril Wand [8]

This power allows the caster to extend an ethereal tendril out of a magical wand, allowing the user to attack in a whip like manner. In addition, the tendril can make touch attacks as though it were a magical staff.

  • 1d cutting [7]
  • Melee Only 1-4 [-15%]
  • Can deliver touch spells [+50%]
  • Trigger (Magical Wand) [Occasional, -30%]

An alternative version of the power would have "Can deliver spells [+100%]" and would cost 11 points. This would allow you to cast any spell out of the whip as though the whip were a staff, eliminating up to the first 4 hexes for distance modifiers.


Staff Spell "Any rod-shaped piece of organic material (wood, bone, ivory, etc.) up to 6 feet long."

I am pretty sure that would include leather whips, though only those 2 yards long or less.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Whips aren't staffs, even when stretched out. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 16, 2017 at 8:37

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