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Dungeons and Dragons: The Utility Stick

Let me introduce to the most versatile and useful weapon in Dungeons and Dragons: the quarterstaff.

This realization came from building a half-orc monk. As a player, I'm usually the over-thinker. If I ever start an adventure without at least three damage types to use, a rope and about a dozen sacks, I can barely get out the front door. Whatever happens on an adventure, I will try to have a plan prepared weeks in advance.

And the monk doesn't really do that. When you play monk, you really have to embrace the poverty of the class. Although you can tool up a Fighter with an arsenal, or carry around a library on the back of a Wizard, the monk really lends itself to carrying nothing but the bare essentials.

There is a reason you have about 10GP of starting cash.

So when faced with the prospect of not having a tool bag with the right piece of kit for getting out of an oubliette rapidly filling with water, I started to think about how to use what I already had... the staff.


When I was younger I played a game called Silent Hill 2. But I played it in company. Male bravado took over, and I would jauntily sing through that horror game "I've got a big stick... I like to hit sh**... with it!" And then go chasing after the monsters.

This taught me the first use of the Utility Stick. Hitting them with it.

Disarming Traps

This is actually something I picked up from reading the Pathfinder equipment lists. Yes, I'm the kind of person who spends hours reading through that for tiny advantages. In that list there's something called a "pole". The idea is that you take this pole, and poke traps and things with it to see if they'll explode in your face.

You can do that with your Utility Stick! Use it to open doors and windows you think might be trapped. Added to this is flipping over recently slain monsters to check what they have on them. Sometimes DMs are sneaky, and that dead orc might not be as dead as you think. Particularly sneaky DMs put explosives on them!

You may have done it in Skyrim a few times, but a simple way to get rid of a trap is to set it off deliberately. Once the rocks have fallen, you just need to clamber over them... no need to fiddle around with that weird looking trigger for an hour or two. Utility Stick can do this for you from a safe(-ish!) distance.

Related to this is investigating weird substances or ash. I know 'poke it with a stick' is a very primitive strategy, but you'd be surprised the number of adventurers that just thrust their hands into steaming piles of goo...

Opening Locks

Another item that can be found in the usual adventuring gear, is the humble crowbar. Whilst your stick is no substitute for a good yard of steel, in a pinch you can use it to force doors or chests... provided you come up with a clever way of wedging it in a gap.

This is simply using your Utility Stick as a lever, which can help with all sorts of Strength checks. Now that you know it can be used like that, you'll probably think of new ways to take advantage of it.

Bear in mind your Utility Stick could break, and it will cost you a small fortune of copper pieces to replace it. Or just break a new one of a tree. Up to you.

Walking Stick

Not just for old men, a walking stick can help you walk up some tricky mountainsides and rubble. Let your DM know you're using your staff to keep your balance, and they may give you Advantage on whatever check you're doing.


Your Utility Stick comes in very handy for climbing. You can use it to give yourself that extra bit of reach. You can make it into an anchor point by jamming it between some rocks, and dangle a rope off of it for the rest of the party.

There are any number of ways you can use this handy length of wood to make your way up a mountain, and if you're lugging it up there you might as well use it. Contrast that to the heavy metal axe the fighter is having to strap to his back to carry up there. They will be instantly jealous of your light and versatile Utility Stick.

Miscellaneous Role Play

From a make shift flag pole to something to hand your wet clothes off after getting dragged into the river by lizardfolk, your Utility stick has all sorts of non-standard applications. A staff and a cloak make a really good tent (you did bring rope with you right?). A bit of thread and some bait turn your stick into a fishing pole.

A good one to remember is hanging a kettle or pot off it over a fire to cook some stew. Which leads us to the last use...

Fire wood

Yeah. Swords and hammers tend not to burn so well. If you're up in the mountains, and about to freeze to death, get one of the casters to light up your quarterstaff. An hour of burning Utility Stick just might get your through that blizzard the DM sent against you.

Really, the quarterstaff is just an amazing tool, and I've used it so much for various situations it's become a piece of kit I never want to leave home without!

So Wizards, Sorcerers, Warlocks, Monks and Druids... I know it's a little bit cliché, but remember to pack your staff. Your Utility Stick can often make the difference when it is least expected. And for just a few copper pieces, it's an absolute bargain!

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