[RPG] Can a Staff of the Magi or Staff of Power be used for Retributive Strike at a distance


In the Dungeon Masters Guide, the Staff of Power and Staff of the Magi have an effect "Retributive Strike":

You can use an action to break
the staff over your knee or against a solid surface,
performing a retributive strike. The staff is destroyed
and releases its remaining magic in an explosion that
expands to fill a 30-foot-radius sphere centered on it.

Is there any reason you couldn't use something like a Telekinesis spell or some other elaborately designed trap to break the staff by dropping a boulder or something on it, thereby avoiding the effects of it yourself? I would consider that a solid surface personally…. if you can break it over your knee, a 1,000 pound boulder should do it.

Best Answer

Magic Items are normally difficult to break, especially powerful items. Of course, this will be a DM ruling, but I would rule that breaking the staff for a Retributive Strike would be one of the ways the item is specified that it may be used, and thus require that breaking it for this strike be done with intention, and by the person attuned to it only.

The general idea in 5e is that magic says what it does, and doesn't do other things. In this case, it is stated that "you" can break the staff for this purpose, in a series of paragraphs describing its uses consistently using the word "you" to mean the Wizard, Warlock, or Sorcerer who is attuned to the staff, and does not state any other options.