THE DRAGONSTAFF

APPEARANCE - ABILITIES - HISTORY/ORIGIN

The Dragonstaff is a rod made out of an unidentifiable wood, that is endowed with quite a powerful magic. It will allow a mage with enough strength, knowledge, and will, to cast spells of other classes, but there are some quite dangerous limitations. It was first discovered by the ranger Arem Falhan, who says that its magical qualities were given to it by the gods. Its current whereabouts are not known; it may have been lost in the deepest ocean, or perhaps it is simply sitting in the attic of a simple farmer’s house. It is said that the Dragonstaff allows a mage to channel magic through it, so that he can actually get the knowledge of other spell classes, which aren't part of his elementary alignment. Obviously due to its design, the staff is named Dragonstaff. It is still unclear if there are no further secrets behind the design, so that a certain kind of use may trigger dragon-like might for example. Several experts who have examined the mysterious history of this staff say that it is likely that proper use may unleash even more, yet undiscovered, powers.

The Dragonstaff
View picture in full size Image description: Arem Falhan's Dragonstaff. Picture drawn by Erelen.

Appearance. The Dragonstaff artifact is a wooden rod, just under a ped long, with carvings on it. Most of it is fairly straight, with lines spiraling, and rings, but the top fourth has something quite different from the rest. Two dragons mount upon this section, their tails spiraling down the staff. The wings of the dragons are spread out as if they were frozen in the moment of taking of, but they have no legs. Their eyes are each a different color, being gemstones set into the wood. These stones are red, blue, white and black, the black being not opaque, but a cloudy black that light can be seen through if it is strong enough. Between the two dragons a green gem is set. The crystal is unusual, with thin green tracings swirling through it as if moss had been set into glass. It emits light at all times, but usually it is quite dim. When magic is being used around it, either clerical or not, it will glow more brightly, depending on how strong that source is. It glows most brightly when magic is being channeled through it, and sometimes, if that spellcasting is powerful enough, light can be seen coming from the eyes, and even emitted out of the wood itself. Return to the top

Abilities. The following notes were copied from a scholar-mage who was researching the staff at one point in its history:

"When a mage channels magic through it, the Dragonstaff allows the mage to use his will to force the spells of his own class into those of others. Although a highly powerful ability, because of the versatility of having many schools’ spells available to you, it also comes with a high difficulty. There is no way to learn how to use the staff other than to try it. To change a spell, there are a couple of different paths to take. First, you can have an intimate knowledge of the other classes spells, and which in your own are the closest in power level and effect. Then, after much experimentation it is possible to have a feel for how the staff changes the spells.

The other and highly more dangerous way is almost too likely to harm the wielder to write here. It involves knowing what you want to accomplish and bending the staff to your will. Cast a spell into the staff, and then focus intently on what it must do, and if your will is strong enough, the staff will work that spell. If you cannot force the staff to do it, there is no danger; the only effect will be a strange weariness of the mind. But if you succeed on the first step, and the spell is too powerful, then it will draw all of the cár'áll necessary out of you, even at the cost of your own life. At the same time, it will draw mana off of anything around you to complete the spell. It is possiuble that if it can't get enough, the thing might destroy itself trying to get the power.

Unfortunately, the Dragonstaff is highly unpredictable without an extreme focus and strength of will. Of my first try, I was only able to produce a few sparks from my finger when trying to summon fire by using water in my own school. Later, several unusual mishaps occurred. One such occurred after wrestling mentally with the staff for quite a while to cause fire to rain down upon a rock in front of me. After a bit of work, I was surprised when no fiery death came down on the rock, but a cascade of dead leaves. I can imagine that this sort of warping could lead to some unfortunate occurrences.

Another time I experienced the draining ability of it, when I tried to see how powerful of a spell I could cast using the staff. I set a seed from a cloewen tree down on the ground, and thought intently about it becoming a tree. After getting past the initial resistance of the staff, I suddenly felt myself being sucked into the staff; my very life-force was beginning to leave me. My wife found me underneath a giant tree that hadn’t been there a moment before, and the grasses withered for a radius of about twenty peds. I was close to death, but not too far gone for recovery. After a month of recovery I was ready to experiment again, but I never again showed that blatant disregard for its potency again."

-- Fingroth Harwarim: "Anicent Artifacts rediscovered", p. 60. Return to the top

History/Origin. The Dragonstaff is a legendary artifact from before the decline of human magecraft. According to a few manuscripts copied from Ximax, it was made by a human ranger, one hardly more schooled in magic than the least novice in any of the lesser institutes for the art of the time. This modest education nonetheless places him higher than many of the magic-users of today.

His name, almost impossible to make out from the ancient documents and only mentioned once, appears to be Falhan. On him, the papers make no more reference, except to imply that he must have been smiled upon by the Gods.

Further digging in long unused scroll chambers comes upon the name numerous times. It seems that this Falhan was quite well-known in numerous respects. A master craftsman by way of carving, his insignia is borne by many a relic from that time. We also can guess that he was in the favor of much royalty. He often went so far as to entertain one king on a given night, and on the next visit an old aquaintance on the opposite side of a war zone.

In a letter to a friend, a monarch mentioned Falhan's staff, telling us some more interesting first-hand details. He writes:

"Last week, Arem Falhan did us the pleasure of stopping by. Along with his usual stories of adventure in the wilds between civilized kingdoms, he gave us a tale of more unbelievable proportions than any aforehand; and yet I find myself believing it in every particular. I will tell it to you from the beginning. Mind, I may not be precise in every nuance of his speech, but his story should shine through even my poor memory.

He walked into the hall in the late afternoon, as the cooks were beginning to prepare supper. No horse, as usual, but he carried a long object wrapped in cloth. Although receiving numerous questions about it, he answered in one, saying that this was a story for after eating. So we talked, and ate, and waited for a while, until finally he was willing to speak. As the last light fell upon the hills, and the only illumination was the firelight and the stars, he began.

Apparently, Arem had been finishing carving a rod that he had worked on for quite a while, and he sat down beside a stream to see if he was done. Then, all of a sudden, three or four voices break out around him, coming from everywhere at once.

They said, and this is as close to word for word from Arem as I can come, 'Arem. Walk to the rock you see across the stream, and climb onto it. On top, you will find five gems. Place red, blue, black, and white in the eyes of the dragons carved on your rod. Then set the green on the end.' Silence ensued, and Arem, dazed, contemplated whether or not he had been hallucinating. Then, he recovered himself. He was no longer sitting next to the stream, he was about thirty peds above the stream on the rock. He obviously no longer doubted that he had heard the voices. After the laborious task of picking his way back down the sheer sides, he sat back in his original positioin near the stream to recover.

He tried quite hard to remember what had happened, and eventually regained a memory of a series of images, but no more than faint traces. The moment when all of the eye-stones were placed in, and their fusing into the wood. The final green stone placed into the hollow on the end, and the flash of light directly afterward. From these, it was simple to piece together what must have happened, but we are no closer now to discovering how then when we started.

After Arem finished recounting his tale, he pulled out the bundle and unwrapped it. I had numerous experts examine the piece, and they were astounded. A craftsman couldn't understand how the gems were set so perfectly. The court mages looked at it, and could see many different kinds of magic inside it. I even had a priest examine the staff, and he could tell that it had been touched by some power, but there was no determining how. We even tried scratching it, and since it is wood, that should be done easily. But it was no more easily harmed by an axe than a fingernail.

All I know is that somehow, Arem was favored by a few Gods, and I guess they sought to make his life easier. Now, perhaps if they will tell him who they are and what he's supposed to be doing, we can clear some of this up. But short of that, I doubt there are going to be many answers found except through experimentation with the scepter."

-- Excerpt of Kilvon, King of Tharania from "A View on Power" by Calamis the Studious, p. 71 f.

Further searching through manuscripts in many lands bring bits and pieces of the artifact’s life to light. It has traveled through the lands, residing in many places, but in none for very long. A few other things mention Arem, and it appears that he died in a battle, but neither where nor when are given any thought by the writer. The scroll doesn’t mention the Dragonstaff at all, so he may have passed it on before his death. The staff has been in the possession of many kings, paupers, merchants, and even a clerical shrine at one time. However, there is no way to tell where it resides in this day and age. Return to the top

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