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Platinum314

Staves vs. Wands

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In the isometric fantasy RPG I am designing at the moment I have a spellcasting system that is like a mathematical language. All sorts of things in the game world can have spells associated with them, at the moment I have been trying to figure out what would distinguish between staves and wands, or if I should dump one and concentrate on the other. Pretty much staves and wands are able to be activated at will, and contain their own source of mana, in contrast to scrolls and spellbooks where the source of mana is the caster. In addition spells on staves and wands cannot be copied into spellbooks. I have been thinking about staves having the ability to be recharged with the casters mana, kind of like a battery, whereas with wands you can't. Is this a significant distinction?

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Original post by Platinum314
I have been thinking about staves having the ability to be recharged with the casters mana, kind of like a battery, whereas with wands you can't.

Is this a significant distinction?

From a powergamer point of view, and without further knowledge of the game; this is translated in my mind as:

"Sell wands to buy staves".

An also switches on the idea: "Try spell-less staff-recharger mage. ASAP".

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Original post by Zanshibumi
From a powergamer point of view, and without further knowledge of the game; this is translated in my mind as:

"Sell wands to buy staves".

An also switches on the idea: "Try spell-less staff-recharger mage. ASAP".


This could be balanced by giving wands more powerful magic. Then someone would be more likely to have a primary staff, and some wands as backup/emergencies.

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Original post by tstrimp
This could be balanced by giving wands more powerful magic. Then someone would be more likely to have a primary staff, and some wands as backup/emergencies.

Yes, it could. I didn't say I wouldn't like it:).

You just have to be careful in not comparing both again after this change, wands and staves become completely different kind of items (grenades vs rifles).

[Edited by - Zanshibumi on May 22, 2007 1:49:39 PM]

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Just from their nature, that staves are big sticks, I would give staves a physical attack for use against monsters resistant to magic. But that wouldn't work if the game has no physical attacks.

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Original post by Zanshibumi
Quote:
Original post by Platinum314
I have been thinking about staves having the ability to be recharged with the casters mana, kind of like a battery, whereas with wands you can't.

Is this a significant distinction?

From a powergamer point of view, and without further knowledge of the game; this is translated in my mind as:

"Sell wands to buy staves".

An also switches on the idea: "Try spell-less staff-recharger mage. ASAP".


This is one of the main things bothering me.

However I do think I can minimize this by making wands more cost effective than staves, either by making staves much more expensive than wands, or by making wands hold more mana or something. Wands would also be lighter than staves, and thus you could hold more, so maybe staves would be used for spells you cast a lot. You probably won't see a mage running around with two dozen staves.

I also have plenty of reasons to cast spells that you design out of your spellbook, so it wouldn't be smart to use only staves anyway.

Bringing up the idea of selling and buying brings up another problem.
If you can copy scrolls, should you be allowed to sell them? This can be fixed if I make it cost some sort of resource to create/copy scrolls.

Quote:
[i]Original post by sunandshadow/i]
Just from their nature, that staves are big sticks, I would give staves a physical attack for use against monsters resistant to magic. But that wouldn't work if the game has no physical attacks.


Using a staff as a weapon is something I am considering, but that is a different problem.

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I tend to think of staves as casting more area-effect spells (e.g. light spells, earthquakes, shielding, and the like) while wands cast more directed spells (fireball, magic missile, and the like). That's largely due to my experiences playing Angband, but it seems a reasonable way to make a distinction between the two types.

Mind you, that effectively means that the wand-stave dichotomy is purely for flavor.

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Sounds like you have approached this design backward. You started with a list of weapon types, and are now trying to figure out how each type of weapon fits into the gameplay, instead of looking at the desired gameplay and deciding what weapons you should make.

If you don't need both Staves and Wands, then don't waste your time on creating both. There's not forced rule saying that every RPG "requires" X number of weapon types.

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Three words.

DUAL
WIELDING
WANDS

Wands are the pistols of high fantasy, staffs a are similar but of a much bigger caliber, sorta...

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I've always like to view staffs and wands as simply things to channel and focus magic through.

A staff being larger may be more likely to allow channelling more magic over a given period, meaning more powerful spells, but wands being smaller are easier to focus on a given target quickly.


Over all, the differences shouldn't be that great, let the player tailor them to the look they want.

And a big no to dual wielding wands. That just doesn't sit well with classic fantasy.

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Maybe go the other direction with staffs. Make a staff give you a free ranged magical attack comparable to what you'd get from a sword/bow (aka less powerful than a wand or a good spell) which replaces your "attack" button completely. So that if you have a staff, you go around using weak magic to fight by default in the same way that a melee character might use normal sword swipes by default and then throw in some "techniques" against bosses. I've seen it before, and it works (and you actually feel like a magic user rather than a guy who can toss a few spells). Meanwhile wands, if you bother to have them, function like they always do (or alternately you make both replace your default attacks).

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It strikes me that the most convenient way to carry a staff is in your hand; you already have it equipped all the time, and you're unlikely to have more than one with you.

In contrast it'd be awkward to be carrying a wand around constantly, so you'd probably get it out when you actually need it. You might wear it on your belt or have it in a small pouch or even up a sleeve if your garments allow. Due to the size you're able to have more than one wand and depending how your game works you could even use two at once -- it would likely become unwieldly to have more than a handful of wands with you ready for use though -- you could carry as many as you could stuff into your pack, but it'd be awkward to have more than a small number carried in such a way as to be ready to be pulled out quickly and used at short notice.


So:
- A staff is probably equipped constantly and you'd want to carefully choose what spell or spells it was capable of as they'd be the easiest to use at short notice.
- You can carry a number of wands at once and could possibly even dual wield them.
- You can perform much more precise and intricate movements with a wand; perhaps this could allow for different, more powerful and/or finer controlled spells?

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Nobody has brought up the idea of shields?!?! Wand + Shield OR Staff. I don't think that staff's having charges or wands "running out" is very good, as the caster just uses them to focus the spell (in theory). I'd say make Stave's add more power to the spells, but perhaps Wands allow for a more defensive stance. If your not taking the shield route, i'd say stick with just stave's for magic-users...or just wands.

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Assume I opened up with a Hurt&Burn Sorcelator joke, and we'll move from there.

I like the "rifle/grenade" dichotomy best. I'd go so far as to put in a trichotomy (which may or may not be a word)

Staves are permanent and are a constant source of magical awesomeness, regulated by your abilities, possibly with skills and synergy with the weilder so the staff is your personality (Fire mage + Fire Staff + lots of practice and familiarity = uber fire magic). This is the mage's primary weapon, and there's a complex relationship there. Upkeep, upgrades, penalties for losing it, magical ways to recover it or summon it to you over long distances, whatever. The staff is part of your body.

Wands are vessels to be filled and emptied, but require special effort/resources to "charge" with magic, and their performance is static, based on the enchantment that went in. They can be of varying quality, but will be reusable.

Finally, I'd include one-use consumables. A glass orb that's thrown and broken to release an AoE healing spell, a doll that's burned to summon an imp, a potion, poured into a body of water to purify it.

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Thanks for the suggestions.

My game design is coming along quite well at the moment. Perhaps sometime soon I will have some sort of prototype to show off.

You can have only one staff equipped at a time, and can only be used when equipped. The energy that an equipped staff contains will start regenerating once the players mana is full, the player also has the option to transfer their own mana into the staff whenever they want.

Wands on the other hand can be used at anytime by clicking on them in your inventory. They hold magical energy, which regenerates at a very slow rate. There will also be other ways to recharge them.

Scrolls & Spellbooks are cast directly from the players mana. In addition the player can create new spells off of scrolls that they have. There will be many puzzles in the game based off of this element.

Potions are one time uses. You can also mix potions together, and mess with them with alchemy equipment. This idea may also be extended to other one time use items.

There will also be enchanted items, armor, weapons, rings, ... At the moment I am working on a good system for this.

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Quote:
Original post by Iron Chef Carnage

I'd go so far as to put in a trichotomy (which may or may not be a word)


Trichotomy is a word.

In arithmetic there is the Trichotomy of Real Numbers, which states that if you have 2 real numbers a & b. Then a>b, or a<b, or a=b, it has to be one of those three. (This doesn't work with complex numbers :) )

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just my two cents, but i say:

staves = main weapon for any mage, they must have the stave equiped to cast spells from the spell book.

wands = back up weapon that contain spells that can not EVER be put into a spell book. they should also only be directional(no AOE), and maybe have the spells be more powerfull then the ones that can be put into a spell book.

staves would use the characters mana and be limited in power by the character them selfs.

where wands contain there own mana that recharges over time. the amount of mana they contain is small, giveing the wands a limited number of uses before it has to recharge itself.

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