There is perhaps no weapon simpler than the staff. More than that, the staff is the weapon of the common man. Swords are expensive and often outlawed by controlling lords, leaving commoners nothing to protect themselves with other than simple weapons, and what could be simpler to make than a staff? The quarterstaff makes a great weapon choice for any hero who comes from a humble background. While heroes who come from loftier backgrounds certainly can use staffs, the staff is a symbol of the common man, so choosing to fight with a staff rather than more expensive and exclusive weapons like swords and polearms proclaims that the character identifies with commoners.
The staff may be a weapon of defense for commoners, but for those who face bandits, brigands, and monsters on a daily basis, the staff can be a lethal weapon of offense that staggers enemies. While some might favor the axe or the sword, you know that the simple staff of ash or oak can crack skulls and break bones just as easily and is far less likely to draw the attention of others when you roll into a new town.
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About the Author
Rodney Thompson is an RPG designer at Wizards of the Coast. Originally from Chattanooga, TN, his credits for Dungeons & Dragons include Monster Manual 3, the Dark Sun Campaign Setting, Player Essentials: Heroes of the Fallen Lands, Player Essentials: Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms, and Monster Vault.