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The staff had fallen out of common use as a weapon when Vetron's Guide to Weapons and Armour was published, so it does not have an effectiveness rating; at the time of Ultima IV, it was the weakest weapon available, but still in common use among mages of all sorts.
Staves first appeared in Ultima I, where they were used solely as an implement to enhance the wielder's magic. In Ultima II they were actually required for any spellcasting, although at the time, spells could only be cast in towers or dungeons. The staff fell out of use around the time of Ultima III (mentioned only in The Book of Amber Runes), only to return in Ultima IV as a low-cost weapon, sold only in Britain and favored by shepherds and magicians alike.
In Ultima VI, a Yew staff could be purchased from Nicodemus near Yew for 100 gold, and charged with up to 10 spells using the Enchant spell. Anyone could make use of these stored spells, and it could still be used as a weapon, dealing 4 damage.
Staves returned again in Ultima VII, where they were extremely rare and possessed of various magical qualities.
Numerous interesting staves existed throughout history:
- Fellowship staff - Used by the Fellowship.
- Firedoom Staff - Shoots fireballs.
- Serpent Staff - Originally used by the high priest of the Ophidians.
- Staff of the Dead - A staff specially made to battle the undead.
- Bladed staff - A combination of a staff and a Sword.
- Dum-dum - A combination of a staff and hammers.
A six foot piece of carved ironwood that has been magically attuned, the staff sold in the weapons shop of Britain is more formidable than it seems. It is the favorite weapon of Magi.
A stout length of ironwood serves many purposes on a long travel, yet among various disciplines, such a tool, if balanced properly, is an effective weapon. In can be a prober of defenses and a sweeper of legs. Elegant in its simplicity, in the hands of a martial master, it is a lively marvel.
Long ago, the gnarled staff was often a repository of magic. The traveler who approached in robes and armed with but a staff was to be treated with caution. In time, the favored channel became the spellbook which could hold more magic and send it forth with a matching speed. The gnarled staff has become a simple weapon, its end weighted and thickened by the wind-tempered woods of the Polar Circles. In the hands of a trained fighter, however, it can deliver a terrible headache.