Magic Weapon rewards and Staff Implements

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Question: If a mod offers a magic weapon reward, say a +1 Lightning Weapon, can a caster choose that weapon as a quarterstaff/implement.

I am aware of the general differences between using a staff as an implement vs. as a quarterstaff. But the staff section of PHB2 (p 206) makes it clear that a magic staff may function as both, depending on its use.


So if I choose a +1 Lightning Quarterstaff, can I use the +1 enhancement bonus on my Implement attacks? The Lightning Weapon description (PHB 235) refers to "damage dealt by this weapon", so would that mean the Lightning Quarterstaff's powers would only work if it were used as a melee weapon, not as an implement?


I took the bonus money, since the rules lawyer at the table ruled that you could not take a magic quarterstaff and use it as an implement, so the point is moot. However, I would like to hear some opinions for when it comes up again.


Thanks.  

Why don't you just ask the DM to give you a staff implement of his choice instead of a lightning weapon? I'm sure nothing says that your DM can't deviate from the module's listed rewards...
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I'm sure nothing says that your DM can't deviate from the module's listed rewards...


Except, y'know, the rules.

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Question: If a mod offers a magic weapon reward, say a +1 Lightning Weapon, can a caster choose that weapon as a quarterstaff/implement.




The rules as written are unclear on this point. That means that yes, you can do it - but this gives you the problem that every future DM you will have for that RPGA character may disallow this staff implement from working for you.


In other words, it is unwise to base your character on unclear parts of the rules, because that means your character will not work as intended on some of the tables you play at.


Question: If a mod offers a magic weapon reward, say a +1 Lightning Weapon, can a caster choose that weapon as a quarterstaff/implement.


 




You can certainly select a +1 lightning quarterstaff.  Whether you can use a quarterstaff as a staff implement (not just the reverse) is unclear, so be aware that you may find yourself at tables without being able to do so.

I’d like to start by saying that I agree with what both Bgibbons and Kurald_galain have said, the rules are fuzzy on the can I use a “quarterstaff” as a “staff implement” issue.

I would like to point out that –IF– you can use the “quarterstaff” as a “staff implement”, then your follow up question of “can I use the +1 enhancement bonus on my Implement attacks” is yes. This precedence is set by swordmages and dagger wielding sorcerers all over LFR, who use magical weapons (and their enhancement bonuses) on Implement key word powers all the time.

I’d like to start by saying that I agree with what both Bgibbons and Kurald_galain have said, the rules are fuzzy on the can I use a “quarterstaff” as a “staff implement” issue.

I would like to point out that –IF– you can use the “quarterstaff” as a “staff implement”, then your follow up question of “can I use the +1 enhancement bonus on my Implement attacks” is yes. This precedence is set by swordmages and dagger wielding sorcerers all over LFR, who use magical weapons (and their enhancement bonuses) on Implement key word powers all the time.




I would be careful pointing out Swordmages/Sorcerers/Warlocks as examples of anythign related to this because they have specific rules that allow them to use weapons as implements which isn't related to the quarterstaff/staff implement issue.
Sorry WOTC, you lost me with Essentials. So where I used to buy every book that came out, now I will be very choosy about what I buy. Can we just get back to real 4e? Check out the 4e Conversion Wiki. 1. Wizards fight dirty. They hit their enemies in the NADs. -- Dragon9 2. A barbarian hits people with his axe. A warlord hits people with his barbarian. 3. Boo-freakin'-hoo, ya light-slingin' finger-wigglers. -- MrCelcius in response to the Cleric's Healer's Lore nerf

Why don't you just ask the DM to give you a staff implement of his choice instead of a lightning weapon? I'm sure nothing says that your DM can't deviate from the module's listed rewards...



As a matter of fact, the rules do state that the DM cannot give any rewards outside of what the module lists as potential treasure bundles.  This statement is incorrect.
Sorry WOTC, you lost me with Essentials. So where I used to buy every book that came out, now I will be very choosy about what I buy. Can we just get back to real 4e? Check out the 4e Conversion Wiki. 1. Wizards fight dirty. They hit their enemies in the NADs. -- Dragon9 2. A barbarian hits people with his axe. A warlord hits people with his barbarian. 3. Boo-freakin'-hoo, ya light-slingin' finger-wigglers. -- MrCelcius in response to the Cleric's Healer's Lore nerf

I’d like to start by saying that I agree with what both Bgibbons and Kurald_galain have said, the rules are fuzzy on the can I use a “quarterstaff” as a “staff implement” issue. I would like to point out that –IF– you can use the “quarterstaff” as a “staff implement”, then your follow up question of “can I use the +1 enhancement bonus on my Implement attacks” is yes. This precedence is set by swordmages and dagger wielding sorcerers all over LFR, who use magical weapons (and their enhancement bonuses) on Implement key word powers all the time.


The problem is not whether I could use my Implement keyword powers. The PHB2 is clear that I could use a magic staff with those. The problem is with the powers of the weapon itself. See PHB page 235. I'm wondering if the weapons powers would apply to my implement keyword powers, or only my melee attacks.


This is probably moot though, since it is a gray area in the rules. I'll just have to hope that one of the mods offers a magic staff or just save up the money for it.


How about a straight up +2 weapon though? The mod I played tonight offered +2 Elven Cloak that I cannot use yet (only lvl 2), or a +2 weapon, among other things. Is it really that gray of an area that I could not go with the magic quarterstaff +2 and use it as an implement?


Further, what is the best course of action to get this cleared up? Send an email through customer service? I'll try that.


I’d like to start by saying that I agree with what both Bgibbons and Kurald_galain have said, the rules are fuzzy on the can I use a “quarterstaff” as a “staff implement” issue. I would like to point out that –IF– you can use the “quarterstaff” as a “staff implement”, then your follow up question of “can I use the +1 enhancement bonus on my Implement attacks” is yes. This precedence is set by swordmages and dagger wielding sorcerers all over LFR, who use magical weapons (and their enhancement bonuses) on Implement key word powers all the time.


The problem is not whether I could use my Implement keyword powers. The PHB2 is clear that I could use a magic staff with those. The problem is with the powers of the weapon itself. See PHB page 235. I'm wondering if the weapons powers would apply to my implement keyword powers, or only my melee attacks.


This is probably moot though, since it is a gray area in the rules. I'll just have to hope that one of the mods offers a magic staff or just save up the money for it.


How about a straight up +2 weapon though? The mod I played tonight offered +2 Elven Cloak that I cannot use yet (only lvl 2), or a +2 weapon, among other things. Is it really that gray of an area that I could not go with the magic quarterstaff +2 and use it as an implement?


Further, what is the best course of action to get this cleared up? Send an email through customer service? I'll try that.




The rules are fairly clear on weapons-as-implements. You get to use the weapon's enhancement bonus and critical dice on your implement powers, but not its powers (I think this comes from the PHB2, and doesn't make a great deal of sense).


Unfortunately, the question: 'can I use a magic quarterstaff as a staff implement?' is one that has been going around and around on the boards for a long time, and WoTC seem unwilling to commit to stating a firm position on it. The problem stems from the fact that in the staff implement section, it says 'treat as a quarterstaff for the purposes of melee attacks' (or words to that effect).


The rules for implements in general are a bit messy. The rules for weapons-as-implements are downright screwed up. The whole area needs a massive rewrite in my opinion. But that's unlikely to happen.

The rules are fairly clear on weapons-as-implements. You get to use the weapon's enhancement bonus and critical dice on your implement powers, but not its powers (I think this comes from the PHB2, and doesn't make a great deal of sense).



The relevant question then becomes, can you use its properties.

I suspect it depends on the property.


I'd rule that a property that reads "When you hit with this weapon" or something similar would not function when using the staff with an implement power, since you're not using the staff as a weapon when wielding it as an implement. If the power contains both the Weapon and Implement keywords, however, then I'd allow it.


Example: a goblin totem weapon's property reads "Your attacks with this weapon against a creature larger than you have an additional bonus to damage rolls equal to the weapon’s enhancement bonus." If wielding a staff with this property, I'd rule an artificer could use the weapon's property when making an attack with Magic Weapon (power with Weapon keyword), but not when using Life-Tapping Darts (power with Implement keyword and does not have Weapon keyword).


Example: a scalebane weapon's property reads "On a critical hit you deal +1d12 damage instead of +1d6 against reptiles." Since the property does not specify that you're using the staff as a weapon when gaining the benefit of this property, I'd rule that the property functions regardless of whether the staff is wielded as a weapon or an implement.


--


Pauper


The rules are fairly clear on weapons-as-implements. You get to use the weapon's enhancement bonus and critical dice on your implement powers, but not its powers (I think this comes from the PHB2, and doesn't make a great deal of sense).


Unfortunately, the question: 'can I use a magic quarterstaff as a staff implement?' is one that has been going around and around on the boards for a long time, and WoTC seem unwilling to commit to stating a firm position on it. The problem stems from the fact that in the staff implement section, it says 'treat as a quarterstaff for the purposes of melee attacks' (or words to that effect).


The rules for implements in general are a bit messy. The rules for weapons-as-implements are downright screwed up. The whole area needs a massive rewrite in my opinion. But that's unlikely to happen.





The rules on this have never actually been clear.

The RAW answer that is often contradicted is that Properties and Powers are defined on the magic item level. As long as you are using it as a Magic Item its Properties always function and its Powers are usable as often as their definitions allow. This is the General Rule to which there is not and has never been a stated Specific rule to override it.


However, the FAQ has an answer based on the old PHB 1 which has never been updated. Someone asked what benefits you gain from using a weapon as an implement, such as a Pact Blade or Holy Avenger. The answer came back as being Property, Enhancement, and Critical. Enhancement and Critical are called out in the books (both PHB 1 & 2). Proficiency is the only weapon trait ever explicitly denied in any rule in all of 4e. If the FAQ ruling is taken as a rule (capable of overriding the printed rulebooks for some reason) and as being an exclusive list, presumably it means you can't use the Special clause when using a weapon as an implement, such as "Special: You can use this weapon as an implement for powers." Also a number of PHB2 daggers have powers that cannot possibly be used (as they only work with sorcerer attack powers, which are never weapon powers) and some of the original songblades have powers that only work with 2 bard powers (as they work with bard powers with the thunder keyword, almost all of which are implement powers). (I tried looking them up in compendium but it appears all the PHB2 weapons have had thier powers removed. Joy.)


The answer seems pretty clear to me that Properties and Powers work on Magic Items regardless of whether those items are used as Implements or Weapons. But I also know that this debate has been on going among the devs, and as of yet I have not seen any final answer come up to clear up the debate. So I must unfortunately advise you to Expect Table Variation.

Here is my question to and response from customer service.





Customer (Bryan H)09/01/2009 11:48 PM

Page Number: 206
Book Name: Players Handbook 2


If one of the rewards in a Living Forgotten Realms mod is a magic weapon, a +2 weapon for example, may a caster take that reward and choose a quarterstaff and still receive the +2 item bonus on his implement powers? The PHB2 seems to imply that one could, but the DM and players were fuzzy and/or negative about it.

If the answer is affirmative, would the item powers of an item like the +1 Lightning Weapon apply to implement powers as well. This item is found on page 235 of the PHB.

Specifially, I play a druid and I want to know if magic quarterstaffs, chosen as a magic weapon, would apply bonuses and powers to the druid evocations Pounce and Flame Seed.

Thank you.





Response (Support Agent)09/02/2009 11:30 AM

Bryan,

Yes, you can take a quarterstaff with a weapon enchantment and use it as an implement. There are some special rules for using weapons as implements, that can be found in our Player's Handbook FAQ here:

Answer Title: FAQ for the Player's Handbook!
Answer Link: wizards.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/wizards.cfg...

Thanks, and Good Gaming!


Josh
Online Response Crew
Wizards of the Coast




The relevant PHB FAQ entries

16. When you are using a magic weapon as an implement, like a Holy Avenger or a Pact Dagger, what benefits do you get from the weapon?


You gain any bonuses listed under Enhancement, Critical and Property.


17. I am using a weapon as an implement, like a long sword for a Wizard of the Spiral Tower or a staff implement, do I gain the extra damage from feats like Weapon Focus?


Yes, you do gain this bonus to damage.


21. What implements can I use with powers granted by my paragon path or epic destiny?


If a paragon path power or epic destiny power has the Implement keyword, you can use any implement that you are allowed to use from your class, as well as any implement you are allowed to use from another feature (such as a multiclass feat).


The answer seems pretty clear to me that Properties and Powers work on Magic Items regardless of whether those items are used as Implements or Weapons. But I also know that this debate has been on going among the devs, and as of yet I have not seen any final answer come up to clear up the debate. So I must unfortunately advise you to Expect Table Variation.


Thanks for your detailed response. It pretty much is what I got from customer service, except it seems clear to me that powers don't necessarily work. For example, the Lightning Weapon chosen as a staff would not allow me to use its powers when I use my druid evocations, but a regular magic quarterstaff is just fine.


Works for me. Now I have a +2 staff I can use right away, instead of a +2 Elven cloak I can't use for another level. I'll just print out the email from customer service and keep it with my character.


The answer seems pretty clear to me that Properties and Powers work on Magic Items regardless of whether those items are used as Implements or Weapons. But I also know that this debate has been on going among the devs, and as of yet I have not seen any final answer come up to clear up the debate. So I must unfortunately advise you to Expect Table Variation.




The CustServ answer (which is now a rules source for the campaign) is that a weapon's powers can be used when it is being used as an implement.  So, for example, a sorcerer using a +1 frost dagger could make all of the damage from his spell cold and could use the dagger's daily power in conjunction with a spell.


 


 


 

The CustServ answer (which is now a rules source for the campaign) is that a weapon's powers can be used when it is being used as an implement.  So, for example, a sorcerer using a +1 frost dagger could make all of the damage from his spell cold and could use the dagger's daily power in conjunction with a spell.


Wow, thanks. Sorry for not catching that one earlier. So that means I CAN use the powers of a lightning weapon if I choose one as a staff.


That makes me wonder why the PHB FAQ doesn't list Powers. It just says Enhancement, Critical and Property.


In any case I will add my customer service response to the thread you linked.


The CustServ answer (which is now a rules source for the campaign) is that a weapon's powers can be used when it is being used as an implement.  So, for example, a sorcerer using a +1 frost dagger could make all of the damage from his spell cold and could use the dagger's daily power in conjunction with a spell.


Wow, thanks. Sorry for not catching that one earlier. So that means I CAN use the powers of a lightning weapon if I choose one as a staff.


That makes me wonder why the PHB FAQ doesn't list Powers. It just says Enhancement, Critical and Property.


In any case I will add my customer service response to the thread you linked.





The FAQ answer basically predates weapons as implements (with the exception of two specific weapons (listed in the question) whose powers have no relation to weapon/implement powers and Wizard of the Spiral Tower PP which has been causing hang ups since day 1).

I recieved the opposite answer from CustServ 5 months ago. The post linked is 4 months old. Has CustServ changed its answer in any consistant way or is it just typical CustServ inconsistancy? I can't say.


These particular CustServ answers suggest a +2 Lightning Quarterstaff can be used by a Wizard to turn all of their powers into Lightning (+ another element) attacks. This is how I run things at my tables as it is my understanding of the rules. But you -will- run into disagreements on both the ability to use a magic quarterstaff as a staff implement at all and the ability to apply powers.


Unless/until WotC comes to a firm and definitive answer on these things and publishes it in a direct and unambiguous way aimed at settling the debate, we will be stuck with table variation.


The CustServ answer (which is now a rules source for the campaign) is that a weapon's powers can be used when it is being used as an implement.  So, for example, a sorcerer using a +1 frost dagger could make all of the damage from his spell cold and could use the dagger's daily power in conjunction with a spell.


 




I'm not sure where you get that from.  They said nothing of the sort.  They said there were special rules regarding theuse of weapons as implements and points to the FAQ which clearly states that only Enhancement, critical, and Properties affect implement powers used through a weapon.

Turning damage to cold and the daily power are all powers and not Property, Enhancement, or Critical.

Sorry WOTC, you lost me with Essentials. So where I used to buy every book that came out, now I will be very choosy about what I buy. Can we just get back to real 4e? Check out the 4e Conversion Wiki. 1. Wizards fight dirty. They hit their enemies in the NADs. -- Dragon9 2. A barbarian hits people with his axe. A warlord hits people with his barbarian. 3. Boo-freakin'-hoo, ya light-slingin' finger-wigglers. -- MrCelcius in response to the Cleric's Healer's Lore nerf

Look at numbers 3, 4, and 5.

I guess I'm not surprised that the answer you got directly contradicts other CustServ answers.  I guess it's time to flood them to get a straight answer since they seem to be ignoring and nto updatign their own FAQ.

Sorry WOTC, you lost me with Essentials. So where I used to buy every book that came out, now I will be very choosy about what I buy. Can we just get back to real 4e? Check out the 4e Conversion Wiki. 1. Wizards fight dirty. They hit their enemies in the NADs. -- Dragon9 2. A barbarian hits people with his axe. A warlord hits people with his barbarian. 3. Boo-freakin'-hoo, ya light-slingin' finger-wigglers. -- MrCelcius in response to the Cleric's Healer's Lore nerf

Since the rules and customer service answers regarding this issue seem fuzzy, I use the Character Builder (CB) to resolve it, even though people laugh and ridicule when I mention it.


The CB is billed as a means to make an official character, and to my knowledge it's the only official source that actually shows these rules being implemented. So, Yes, I'll agree with the Rules Lawyers that the CB is not written core rules, but where else can you find the core rules being implemented via an official source?


A couple weeks ago I ran into this issue with my sorcerer. I selected a +2 Resounding Quarterstaff after one of the games and was informed that my sorcerer could not use a weapon (quarterstaff) as an implement since the class did not allow it. However, after adding the quarterstaff in the CB, I noticed the enhancement bonus added to my implement powers.


Then I checked the CB known issues to see if this was a bug with CB. To my surprise I found that not only was it okay, but it appears that the quarterstaff's restriction of being two-handed-only is a known issue of the CB, at least per the CB known issues list.


So based upon the CB it looks like quarterstaffs can indeed be used as implements, and one-handed implements at that.


 


 



The answer seems pretty clear to me that Properties and Powers work on Magic Items regardless of whether those items are used as Implements or Weapons. But I also know that this debate has been on going among the devs, and as of yet I have not seen any final answer come up to clear up the debate. So I must unfortunately advise you to Expect Table Variation.




The CustServ answer (which is now a rules source for the campaign) is that a weapon's powers can be used when it is being used as an implement.  So, for example, a sorcerer using a +1 frost dagger could make all of the damage from his spell cold and could use the dagger's daily power in conjunction with a spell.


 


 


 




I can't find the source for this now, but this has been specifically denied that you can do this.


Doing whatever type damage you want with implement powers opens up all sorts of ridiculous cans of worms.


However, be wary of wording of things as 'with this weapon'. Things like weapon focus have been ruled to work with weapon-as-implement (that's in the FAQ), and the wording of weapon focus is that you get a bonus to damage rolls 'with this weapon group'.


I will reiterate: the rules on this are completely screwed up.

I can't find the source for this now, but this has been specifically denied that you can do this.


This is the problem. Until someone who says there is still official confusion on this issue comes up with a link to another customer service reply that clearly contradicts this, all I have to go on is the answers I can FIND here on the forum, like those linked above. Earlier someone said they had gotten the exact opposite answer, but they did not post it or link to it.


 


I can't find the source for this now, but this has been specifically denied that you can do this.


This is the problem. Until someone who says there is still official confusion on this issue comes up with a link to another customer service reply that clearly contradicts this, all I have to go on is the answers I can FIND here on the forum, like those linked above. Earlier someone said they had gotten the exact opposite answer, but they did not post it or link to it.


 




Well, the FAQ entry states that you get enchancement, properties and critical dice, but not powers, but I can't deny that the more recent custserv answer says that you can get powers, and is an official rules source.


Can open. Worms everywhere.


So based upon the CB it looks like quarterstaffs can indeed be used as implements, and one-handed implements at that.




Based on the CB, it looks like anyone can use a 'monk unarmed strike' as a weapon to deal 1d8 with their unarmed attacks.


I'm dubious about how far we want to rely on the CB being an official rules source.

You can also make unarmed ranged basic attacks. Just think about the sheer awesomeness of how cool our characters must be to be able to make unarmed ranged basic attacks.

It's like Tranzor Z.  ROCKET PUNCH!!

Sorry WOTC, you lost me with Essentials. So where I used to buy every book that came out, now I will be very choosy about what I buy. Can we just get back to real 4e? Check out the 4e Conversion Wiki. 1. Wizards fight dirty. They hit their enemies in the NADs. -- Dragon9 2. A barbarian hits people with his axe. A warlord hits people with his barbarian. 3. Boo-freakin'-hoo, ya light-slingin' finger-wigglers. -- MrCelcius in response to the Cleric's Healer's Lore nerf

You can also make unarmed ranged basic attacks. Just think about the sheer awesomeness of how cool our characters must be to be able to make unarmed ranged basic attacks.

I've always understood that to mean an improvised ranged weapon, such as a thrown rock or chair, as described on p. 219 of the PH. Certainly, a character without any possessions in a room without any interesting features cannot make an unarmed RBA.
DCI Level 2 Judge WPN Advanced TO RPGA Herald-Level GM

You can also make unarmed ranged basic attacks. Just think about the sheer awesomeness of how cool our characters must be to be able to make unarmed ranged basic attacks.


"I'm so cool I once killed a man by sptting at him."

"Bah, I'm a bard; people die when we make fun of them."

I can't find the source for this now, but this has been specifically denied that you can do this.


This is the problem. Until someone who says there is still official confusion on this issue comes up with a link to another customer service reply that clearly contradicts this, all I have to go on is the answers I can FIND here on the forum, like those linked above. Earlier someone said they had gotten the exact opposite answer, but they did not post it or link to it.


 






This is probably a pain to read, since it's in the order it appears in the final email in that thread.

Response (Support Agent) 03/19/2009 05:29 PM
Daniel,

The relevance is that you only get the enhancement bonus to the rolled damage from an attack made with the weapon. You do not get it with any other damage added with other abilities or other powers. You don't make an attack with the daily power of the lightning sword, it's just additional damage from another power.

The rule for this is the basic rules of how enhancement bonuses work, listed on page 225. It says enhancements add to powers delivered by the weapon, or powers directly from the weapon (when the weapon power has an attack roll). The Lightning weapon daily does not include an attack roll, so it does not benefit.


Thanks, and Good Gaming!
Customer (Daniel Grund) 03/19/2009 02:51 PM
Power (Daily • Lightning): Free Action. Use this power when you hit with the weapon. The target and each enemy within 2 squares of the target take 1d6 lightning damage.

Why would rules that cover additional damage added to an attack be relevant to damage dealt by a seperate power? (One which deals damage directly, not by adding additional damage.) Can you cite a rule relevant to the power in question?
Response (Support Agent) 03/19/2009 12:06 PM
Daniel,

Our Players Handbook FAQ covers the first question for you. When using a weapon as an implement, you can only benefit from the weapon's enhancement, critical,and property bonuses. This does not include any powers.

You can find the FAQ here:

Answer Title: FAQ for the Player's Handbook!
Answer Link: wizards.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/wizards.cfg...

As for your second question, they do not benefit. Only the damage roll from the attack itself can benefit from the enhancement. Other powers that add additional damage (like the lightning daily, or a sneak attack for example) do not.


Thanks, and Good Gaming!


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Online Response Crew
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Customer (Daniel Grund) 03/18/2009 02:05 PM
Can I use powers on my weapon when I use it as an implement?

Specifically, I am playing a swordmage with a lightning bastard sword.
A) Can I use the at-will power to convert all my spells to lightning spells (i.e. Flame Cyclone has Fire and Lightning keywords and does Fire and Lightning damage)?
B) Can I use the daily power to arc lightning off a target I hit with a swordmage spell?

and related but slightly off topic:
C) Does the lightning sword daily power (and similar powers) benefit from the sword's enhancement bonus to damage?

I personally am thoroughly dissatisfied with all of the answers from this exchange.
For A & B the custserv agent cited the FAQ as his only rules basis, reading the list of benefits provided as exclusive and thereby preventing the use of powers. No actual rules were cited, so if this is correct it means FAQ answers override core rules. (As I said earlier, the core rules for item powers are defined at the magic item level, not the weapon or implement level. There is no rule anywhere defining what a power on a weapon or implement is or does other than those that apply to all items.)
As for C: there were 0 items in the PHB1 that could possibly apply the enhancement bonus to damage on a power that comes from the weapon itself according to this answer, though the alternative interpretation is that the lightning weapon (already a very nice weapon because of its power) was the only case where it applied. The rule on page 225 that the custserv agent cites has no implication of an attack roll being required, and lightning weapon is the only PHB1 on-hit->damage power that is not called out as extra damage in its text.

In other words he used FAQ as overriding RAW and made demonstrably false claims about the contents of other rules and came to conclussions I dislike. Since I do have a stake in the outcome, you may feel free to concider me biased.

That said in my local area we have long considered this conclussion (for A&B anyways) to be nonsense and played with item powers working equally well whether the item is used as a weapon or implement. It has only served to enhance fun in my experience. As for lightning weapon damage: the DMs tend to prefer the extra damage interpretation (so no static bonuses). Then again, the strength of the power is in minion clearing, so it hasn't made too much of a difference.

Okay, so my base problem is CS saying "x is so" without having anything from the rules to reference.  Under Staff implements, PHB 240 it specifies that a staff implement can be used as a quarterstaff, but nowhere does it say the reverse is true.  Nor does this logically imply that it's the case.  (Simple logical analogy:  All humans are mammals does not mean all mammals are humans.)  That being said, I still don't mind the idea of someone being able to use a +2 vicious staff or something.


What I do mind is the obviously bad ruling that when using a weapon as an implement that you cannot use powers with it.  There are weapons with powers that are obviously intended to be used while using it as a weapon (such as the daggers intended for sorcerers in the PHB2.) 



Anyways, in this thread: community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758...


post 507, there are contradictory answers from a customer service rep. (note I cut out sblocks that no longer function with the current forum system.)  Original poster: Sithobi1


"My questions to CS: With the FAQ that weapon focus applies to implement powers, a lot of confusion has popped up around whether or not that applies in all cases. A few follow.

1: Sorcerer multiclassed into Rogue uses a dagger to cast a spell, and has combat advantage. Can the sorcerer apply sneak attack?

2: Sorcerer with the Daggermaster paragon path uses a dagger to cast a spell. Does he crit on an 18-20?

3: Sorcerer using a Frost dagger uses it to cast a spell, and hits. Can he use the daily power?

4: Sorcerer using a Frost dagger uses it to cast a spell, after using its at-will power. Is the damage from the spell cold?

5: Swordmage with a Radiant weapon uses it to cast a spell, after using its at-will power. Is the damage radiant?

6: Swordmage with a Radiant weapon uses it to cast a spell that has the Radiant keyword. Does he get the bonus damage?
Thank you for writing.


CS's answers:

1. Sneak Attack damage can be applied.

2. They will roll a critical on 18-20 for their powers.

3. A sorcerer can use the Daily power if they hit with a spell.

4. They cold keyword would be applied and deal cold damage.

5. Again, yes.

6. They indeed would get the damage bonus.

Good Gaming!

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Paul
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so obviously they are stating different things here, and the base problem is that CS should be able to explain their answers with references to the rules.  This, along with the whole contradictory answer part, was why various people complained about CS being an official rules source.  Also, CB as an official rules source is also fairly silly since CB is often wrong as well.  (Though they're improving it over time...I've heard they recently fixed things like iron armbands of power adding to close burst powers.)


Fundamentally there are a LOT of rules questions out there, and it's virtually impossible to get real answers that can be considered 1. official, 2. not contradictory of other official rules, 3. correct, and 4. within the realm of reason for players/gms being able to find them.


WOTC really should make some rather large and extensive rules updates and clarifications.  I'm fairly sure that when they made the 4e PHB, they didn't forsee a number of these questions problems involving things like free actions(any the many rules questions they spawn), weapon<->implement transparency, powers that make enemies "move" (but not push/pull/slide), teleportation, vertical forced movement, and probably a few dozen other issues.


The sad state of affairs is that in a home game, most of this stuff isn't problematic, but in LFR, it obviously very much is.

WOTC really should make some rather large and extensive rules updates and clarifications.  I'm fairly sure that when they made the 4e PHB, they didn't forsee a number of these questions problems involving things like free actions(any the many rules questions they spawn), weapon<->implement transparency, powers that make enemies "move" (but not push/pull/slide), teleportation, vertical forced movement, and probably a few dozen other issues.

The sad state of affairs is that in a home game, most of this stuff isn't problematic, but in LFR, it obviously very much is.


Amen.

It is a problem for us as LFR GMs more than anything else and yet WotC seems to miss that point when they pass out CS rulings that are "DM Discretion" and that's without the issues of the CB not following the rules or the contradictory CS rulings.

It is a problem for us as LFR GMs more than anything else and yet WotC seems to miss that point when they pass out CS rulings that are "DM Discretion" and that's without the issues of the CB not following the rules or the contradictory CS rulings.



I wouldn't be too sure on that. Several of the people in the Design Teams of D&D (e.g. Mike Mearls, SRM) have been heavily involved in the RPGA. I think it is more of a difference in philosophy between the people that insist on RAW for player consistency (most often heard here on the boards), while others feel that it is impossible to capture every little exception and that a good DM (even in a public setting) should be able to handle these issues fairly (many designers seem to follow this one). Personally I am torn between the two sides. I can see why a public game needs concistency, but I also feel that too many DMs that run RPGA games* somehow forget their own responsibilities when running RPGA adventures.

* Well, the ones you hear a lot about, but I suspect that you don't hear all that often about  people who had a great time.


In any event, if there is any rules issue that gets a response of "it is up to your DM", best take a conservative approach. That way there is less chance of a dissapointment, although, I have met players and DMs with in my eyes some pretty odd ideas on the D&D rules...

See these are problems I can solve easily in my home games - I can just say "it works like this...." The same as I can for any rule I do not like. For example I do not like how Grasping Shadows works, so in my home games it is changed to what I think is a more balanced power. In an RPGA game I have no ability to do that and must wait for an official change (again) to make the power reasonable (IMO).


This is where these rules issues (Holy Ardor, Weapon Staff vs Implement Staff, Warlock Rod Combo being ones that leap to mind) cause problems - I must make a DM call on how those things will work at my table, and so must the next DM and so on. We have at least 10 active DMs in our RPGA group, that makes for a lot of potential changes in how things work - not one of which is official. But many of these issues have been widely recognised for a year or more now.


To take my characters anywhere I need to be able to take the rules they work with anywhere and get the same rules - as supported by WotC because they are the ultimate DM of the LFR campaign. As they point out a reasonable GM can solve these problems - well they are the DM when it comes right down to it, with the rest of us being Assistant DMs - so they need to step up and do what a DM should do.


If I don't like it for my home games I can just change it, like I do with Grasp of Shadows. But the RPGA isn't a home game.


Finally the issues I've had with DMs (when playing) have never had anything to do with rules application, but rather DM attitude, and non-rules related choices. (eg "I hate Skill CHallenges, lets get this done you can roll (skill list)" or targeting a character until it is actually dead despite more threatening targets being available). Just like the things that have made my playing experiences good have nothing to do with DM rules application and everything to do with DM attitude (eg fun first).

It's not just rules ambiguities, it's stuff that's plain broken, or at least poorly playtested (Dragon magazine, I'm looking at you). In a home campaign, a GM can just ban a particular power or feat they don't like, but in LFR, if a player turns up with a legal power on his character sheet, you have to let him use it, even if it does need to be hit with the nerf bat. See RRoT for an example. Everyone I knew who used it agreed it was overpowered, but that didn't stop them. Ditto Veteran's armor, ditto a bunch of other stuff that's not been errata'd yet.


I wish there could be an 'LFR over-DM' to make calls on the rules ambiguities, but I also wish WoTC would pull their collective finger out and be more pro-active about errata. No-one wants errata, but the alternative is worse, and it seems to me that the amount of playtesting some of these releases get is minimal, given how long it takes CharOp and the Errata boards to fill up with broken combos from the latest release.

Having spoken to lead designers about this, I agree with Madfox. The design philosophy is built around the individual DM making the call based on what works in their campaign. Something that seems absurdly strong can be just fine in a non-optimized setting. For example, a "broken" weapon in the hands of a melee leader can be absolutely fine.


In discussing this with them, they said (Rob Heinsoo specifically) they understood that the RPGA worked differently and it was something they struggled with. They don't want to make two games.


The answer, in many ways, is CS. And, when they are comfortable making a ruling, they do. But, sometimes, even something that seems pretty broken may be something they do not want to rule on in a particular way due to the core issue involved, with which they may have ideas or ongoing development.


Personally, I can live with that.

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That approach is fine when CS is making competent rulings and is not a self contradicotry source of rulings.


They don't need to make 2 games, they just need to fix the problems that are highlighted repeatedly by RPGA players and non-RPGA players.


If it gets argued about as much as some things do ('lock Rod Combo for eg) then a ruling is needed.


House rules should be about making the game work how I want, not fixing badly worded rules that cause unending debates.

I agree that it would be nice if they would address these issues that come up often. I'm particularly wishing they would answer open issues on the Errata boards. (The bard valorous feat that is essentially useless come to mind).


On the 2-rod combo, not to awaken the debate (if you want, check out the old posts on the topic and post there), they seem to be fine with it (from my specific questions to them and from the similar effects they keep releasing). In some cases, no answer may be a way of saying they are fine with it, or not worried enough to take action, or reserving the right to take future action. CS, of course, generally does answer questions (they have upheld the 2-rod combo many times).

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Subtitle this post "Why using Customer Service as a rules source is a bad idea".

Not knowing when to leave something alone, I e-mailed CustServ to confirm the accuracy of a few posts that were floating around about two issues discussed in this thread.

The response in both cases was essentially: No, we changed our mind about this and never bothered to let anyone know; sorry about that.

For what it's worth, here's what appears to be the current interpretation of quarterstaffs-as-implements and weapon powers of implement-weapons.  For today, at least, and assuming you ask the same person I did.

Question (Incident: 090915-000267)
I have seen a few posts of CustHelp responses that, being a bit old (and with no way of authenticating), I wanted to make sure were accurate and still the current ruling before enforcing them in our gaming group:

Link to Post

A staff implement can function as a weapon (treated as a quarterstaff); however, that does not mean that quarterstaffs are actually the same as staff implements, and you cannot take a magical quarterstaff and use it as a staff implement to gain the benefit of its enhancement bonus and other properties.

Link to Post

When using a weapon as an implement, damage from Implement powers is considered damage dealt by the weapon. So, for example, if a swordmage used the At-Will power of a +1 frost longsword (PH, p. 234) and then used the weapon as an implement for an Implement power, the damage dealt would be cold damage.

I would appreciate if you would let me know if these above interpretations are correct, or if not, what is the current understanding of the rules.

Response
Actually, those are both incorrect.

The developers re-evaluated the staff issue, and it's been decided that magical staffs and magical quarterstaffs are more or less the same thing. The main difference is if it's an implement enchantment or a weapon enchantment on the item.

If it's a weapon enchantment, it can be used as an implement, but with the following restrictions (from the Player's Handbook FAQ):

"16. When you are using a magic weapon as an implement, like a Holy Avenger or a Pact Dagger, what benefits do you get from the weapon?

You gain any bonuses listed under Enhancement, Critical and Property."

In the case of your longsword example, you cannot benefit from the power that makes the damage cold because you do not benefit from powers used with weapons as implements.

I hope that helps. Let us know if you have any further questions.

Josh
Online Response Crew
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Follow-up
Thank you for the quick response. While I did note that statement in the FAQ, more recent Customer Service answers have been that you can use powers from weapons when used as implements (see, for example, this post).

This has generally been held to be the better response, in part because there's no rules basis for the FAQ's answer and in part because it's consistent with later rulings treating damage dealt through a weapon-implement as "damage dealt by this weapon"

The FAQ, unfortunately, has not been updated for some time. At least one of its answers (#29, that a creature takes damage when force moved into an area that deals damage when a creature "moves" into it) has been flatly contradicted by multiple CustServ responses since.

Would it be possible for you to confirm that the post-FAQ Customer Service answers stating that the powers of a magic weapon apply when used as an implement were incorrect, and not a correction to the FAQ?

Response (after escalation)
The answer you just received from Josh is the most recent clarification provided by the Rules team. The answer provided by Paul was from in the spring and is outdated. We apologize for the confusion.

Take Care and Good Gaming!

Sam
Online Response Crew
Wizards of the Coast
1-800-324-6496 (US and Canada)
425-204-8069 (From all other countries)
Monday-Friday 9am-6pm PST / 12pm-9pm EST
Saturday-Sunday 10am-4pm PST / 1pm-7pm EST

Well, at least they actually checked with the rules team. 

Sorry WOTC, you lost me with Essentials. So where I used to buy every book that came out, now I will be very choosy about what I buy. Can we just get back to real 4e? Check out the 4e Conversion Wiki. 1. Wizards fight dirty. They hit their enemies in the NADs. -- Dragon9 2. A barbarian hits people with his axe. A warlord hits people with his barbarian. 3. Boo-freakin'-hoo, ya light-slingin' finger-wigglers. -- MrCelcius in response to the Cleric's Healer's Lore nerf