[RPG] Why can’t a quarterstaff be made out of metal?


Both Pathfinder and 3.5e have restrictions on the use of special materials in crafted weapons. For instance, by mithral and adamantine they both specify that items not made of metal (or not primarily of metal) do not gain any benefit from using these materials. Quarterstaffs in particular are called out as examples of this.

Is there an official explanation provided (by WotC, Paizo, Dragon magazine, etc.) for why couldn't you make a staff of metal? It's still an effective weapon, and one might argue it's even MORE effective than a similarly sized length of wood, without the danger of it splintering in combat!

Speculation is never appropriate for an SE answer. Answers must have cited evidence demonstrating the publishers’ position

Best Answer

Nobody says they cant

But they are usually made of wood, as wood is much lighter than iron or steel. The heaviest of woods are between 74.4 lbs/ft3 to 84.5 lbs/ft3. While iron has a density of 491.5 lbs/ft3, and steel has a density of 483.81 lbs/ft3 according to Wikipedia. Both are at least six times heavier for the same dimensions.

And evidence of that is the Undine Weaponshaft, which is a mundane enhancement that can be applied to metal quarterstaves, spears and tridents (normally made of wood), it even says they can be made of special metal materials (mithril and adamatine). At the end of Ruby Phoenix Tournament module, there is an npc with an Adamantine quarterstaff. At the Council of Thieves adventure path, there is another npc with a bonded item that is a Mithral quarterstaff. At the Crucible of Chaos module (3.5) there is a magical staff, but this time made of Mithral.

According to the core rulebook on staves (the magical ones):

A typical staff measures anywhere from 4 feet to 7 feet long and is 2 inches to 3 inches thick, weighing about 5 pounds. Most staves are wood, but an exotic few are bone, metal, or even glass.

A typical staff is like a walking stick, quarterstaff, or cudgel.

So, your typical quarterstaff (4 lbs) would weight at least 6 times as much (24 lbs), but its not impossible to be crafted. And also note that this is twice the weight of the heaviest weapons in the core rulebook (greataxe, halberd, guisarme, etc), and as such, why would anyone carry one of those for 1d6 damage if they could deal twice as much damage with an overall better weapon.

So when we read the rules about special materials saying a quarterstaff cannot be made of mithril/adamantine, it is talking about our typical quarterstaff.

A longsword can be a mithral weapon, while a quarterstaff cannot.

An arrow could be made of adamantine, but a quarterstaff could not.

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