Speaking of Staves...

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3.5

Am I reading this correctly?  Does a staff ALWAYS set the DC by the caster himself? Even if it's lower? Or does it default to the staff's CL minimum like it does for the effects? (that part I'm perfectly clear on).

What I mean is, can some first level wizard with an intelligence of 11 (+0 modifier) waltz in and pick up a Staff of Evocation (CL 13th; Craft Staffchain lightningfireballice stormmagic missileshatterwall of force) and squeeze off a healthy 13-dice chain lightning with a DC of 10+6+0? [Instead of a CL item minimum of 10+6+3]
That does appear to be the case; the only real requirement for use is that the spells you're casting be on your class list (since it's a spell trigger item), so it's certainly possible to use the staff with subpar abilities, and the description of staves states this as the way to use them, without mentioning any other option.

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My reading of the rules was that staffs default to the minimum CL it was created with, it only uses the Caster's CL if it is higher then the CL of the Staff.

The Staff does use the ability score and relevant feats however to set the DC of the spell.

However it should be noted that it should default to the minimum ability score to cast the spell, it doesn't specify in the Staff section, but that is the genereal rule for magic items, so I think a DM is free to go either way on this one.

Staffs use the wielder’s ability score and relevant feats to set the DC for saves against their spells. Unlike with other sorts of magic items, the wielder can use his caster level when activating the power of a staff if it’s higher than the caster level of the staff.


under the rules your let the DC to the spell casted from the staff but you can let the staff use her own CL if you like

then as you say in your example you do a chain lightning DC 16 that deal 13d6 but under general rules you can't cast the spell because you need 16 in your key ability score.

Remember that staff are made for powerful wizards in mind.
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as i stated in the other thread:


" it nowhere stated, that you need the key ability minimum to cast the spell from a staff. It's only stated, that ur key ability is used for the DC. That you need a minimum INT or CHA is stated in the Spellcasting feature of the caster class, so you dont have to apply this rule to staffs. As stated in the SRD "Because they use the wielder’s ability score to set the save DC for the spell, spells from a staff are often harder to resist". The important part here is the often, so it means, there are cases, where its not harder to resist, so with a lower DC then the same spell from a scroll or a Wand "

From Rule Compendium

Spell Trigger
To use a spell trigger item, the user must first know what spell the item stores (unless he is activating the item blindly using Use Magic Device). Activating the item requires the user to have the spell stored in the item on his spell list and to speak a word. Even a character who can’t cast the spell stored in the item can use it from a spell trigger item as long as that spell is on his spell list. This is the case even for a member of a class that eventually grants spells but who can’t actually cast spells yet, such as a 3rd-level paladin. A domain spell is on a user’s spell list only if the user has access to that domain. Activating a spell trigger item takes the same amount of time as the casting time of the spell that the item stores, but activating the item doesn’t provoke attacks of opportunity. You can’t activate a spell trigger item in the area of a silence spell or if unable to speak.

The rule say too that you can be able to cast the spell even you can't cast but maybe referred as in the example at the level not the ability score

From RC

Staffs use the wielder’s relevant ability score and relevant feats to set the DC for saves against their spells. Unlike with other sorts of magic items, the wielder can use his caster level when activating a staff if that caster level is higher than the staff’s. He can also use Spell Penetration and Greater Spell Penetration to overcome spell resistance when using spells cast from a staff.

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Yes the user of a Stff would use their own Ability score to set the spell DC etc.

However he would not have to meet the minimum ability score for the spell as he would a scroll. He only needs to have the spell on his list. As a spell trigger item it works like a Wand. except he would use iether the staff's CL or his own (which ever is greater) and his own Ability Score/Feats for the spell.

The Staff specifies that they can be used by those who normally can't cast the spell. There is also no restriction for other items such as Wands. This is different then a Spell Completion item (which does require an ability score)

A Spell Trigger item is just like a Wand you only need to have the spell on your spell list to use.
Yes the user of a Stff would use their own Ability score to set the spell DC etc.

However he would not have to meet the minimum ability score for the spell as he would a scroll. He only needs to have the spell on his list. As a spell trigger item it works like a Wand. except he would use iether the staff's CL or his own (which ever is greater) and his own Ability Score/Feats for the spell.

The Staff specifies that they can be used by those who normally can't cast the spell. There is also no restriction for other items such as Wands. This is different then a Spell Completion item (which does require an ability score)

A Spell Trigger item is just like a Wand you only need to have the spell on your spell list to use.

the problem is that a wand have the DC of the one to made it (minimum DC) a staff use the player ability score then under general rules you can't cast a fireball with a lower ability score, you need a minimum of 13 and if the player level 1 take the staff to cast a fireball and he only have 12 of int the fireball will have a DC of 14 and this are unacceptable in standard rules the reference of "you not need able to cast" is like the ones of trigger items that is because you are able to cast it but you dont have the spell slot to cast it like a wizard level 1 with 18 of int that can cast prismatic spray but he cant because dont have the level 7 spell slot.
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Oma, the staff has a Minimum Caster Level of the one who made it, not a minimum Ability Score. As it is a Spell Trigger item it doesn't need to meet the minimum CL and Ability score to use. (ie a level 3 Paladin can use a Wand if it is on his spell list, a level 3 Paladin can't cast spells) This is different then a Spell Completion Item, you don't need the CL or Ability Score to use a Spell Trigger item

A spell from a lower level caster with lower ability score would have a lower DC, thats all.

And after all how do you determine what the Minimum Ability Score for the spell as opposed the the staff is, A Staff of Evocation Casts a Level 1, level 2, Level 3, Level 4, level 5 and level 6 spell , so do you need Int 11 or Int 16 to cast Magic Missile with it?  You really can't say that the minimum Ability Score is set by the Creator here. So it will always be using the Wielder's ability score.
Oma, the staff has a Minimum Caster Level of the one who made it, not a minimum Ability Score. As it is a Spell Trigger item it doesn't need to meet the minimum CL and Ability score to use. (ie a level 3 Paladin can use a Wand if it is on his spell list, a level 3 Paladin can't cast spells) This is different then a Spell Completion Item, you don't need the CL or Ability Score to use a Spell Trigger item

A spell from a lower level caster with lower ability score would have a lower DC, thats all.

And after all how do you determine what the Minimum Ability Score for the spell as opposed the the staff is, A Staff of Evocation Casts a Level 1, level 2, Level 3, Level 4, level 5 and level 6 spell , so do you need Int 11 or Int 16 to cast Magic Missile with it?  You really can't say that the minimum Ability Score is set by the Creator here. So it will always be using the Wielder's ability score.

???? whats i dont talk about CL and what have to do the CL with the DC of one spell????? the CL dont affect the DC of one spell

for cast magic missil from one staff you need 11 of int but if you only have 12 and the staff have tu orb of force you can't use this spell from the staff only magic missile.
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Another thread that is going crazy.
3.5

Am I reading this correctly?  Does a staff ALWAYS set the DC by the caster himself? Even if it's lower? Or does it default to the staff's CL minimum like it does for the effects? (that part I'm perfectly clear on).

What I mean is, can some first level wizard with an intelligence of 11 (+0 modifier) waltz in and pick up a Staff of Evocation (CL 13th; Craft Staffchain lightningfireballice stormmagic missileshatterwall of force) and squeeze off a healthy 13-dice chain lightning with a DC of 10+6+0? [Instead of a CL item minimum of 10+6+3]


When I look at things it looks like you will use your modifiers to set the DC but you can still use the staff's CL.  Don't forget that the two really don't have much to do with each other as you can have a sky high caster level yet still not have high DCs for your spells.
Yes Oma, and I am saying youdon't need to make a minimum Ability Score to use a Staff and that you use your own Ability Scores to set the spell's DC.

You aren't casting the Spell (spell Completion) you are Triggering the Spell, and as such only need to have the spell on your spell list to cast.