A staff is a rod made from wood or other materials that has many uses. It can be used by people to support themselves while moving, conceal other weapons inside like a thin sword, or serve as an instrument to channel magic to create spells. They can come in many shapes and forms, with magical ones usually decorated with a gem or glass sphere at the top to contain magical energy. Some can be as short as 0.4 meters and others taller than the user.

Peaceful uses

One of the possible functions of a staff is to aid in walking. This can on one hand be because the user is wounded or hurt in a leg (crutch) or just to facilitate maintaining one's balance (walking stick). More often than not, a staff is used for the latter option longer than strictly necessary, making it more of a status symbol.

Around the nineteenth century in the western world, using a walking cane was done to be fashionable or to appear to be of high status. Much earlier already however, it was a custom for dignitaries or people of certain professions, such as bishops, monarchs (scepters) but also jesters, to use a staff to indicate their position.

Besides these, shepherds and similar also used staffs (crooks) as aid because it widened the reach of their arms, facilitating the control they could exercise over the animals they herded.

Use as weapon


Several martial arts make use of the staff as a weapon to stab and strike down opponents.

Magical device

Staffs are used as a tool and weapon of magic, and wielded by wizards or another type of mage or magician. Short staffs are called magical wands.

Types of staffs

  • bō (棒)
  • gun (棍)
  • makila
  • quarterstaff
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