LoadingReadyRun: Wizard Chat

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Oooh! I cant wait for that episode on how to decorate my pocket dimension! Its getting a touch cramped with the new alchemical laboratory on the 1/2th floor.

On the subject of casting devices. I was a staff user in my youth. Imbuing your mighty stave of rune carved adamantine with the power to light things it touches on fire is EXTREMELY useful... Especially if a friend forgets their own fire spell and wants to have a smoke.

Nowadays though I rarely perform such direct spell casting. Preferring to focus on the subtler more passive arcane arts like alchemy, enchanting and of course divination. However on the occasion where I need such a brash form of magic my trusty staff still serves me well.

I personally prefer the use of magic circles, but I can see a decent argument for either side, even though, out of the two, I prefer a wand, since it frees up a hand for chalk.

Is this a real forum? My cat walked on my keyboard and now I see people talking about staves and orbs and goblin terror. Every-time I look at the address bar I get a migraine and see a rainbow with eight colours. What's happening to me?

Alan Beirne:
Is this a real forum? My cat walked on my keyboard and now I see people talking about staves and orbs and goblin terror. Every-time I look at the address bar I get a migraine and see a rainbow with eight colours. What's happening to me?

I'm fairly sure that you want to get to your nearest warlock and have him determine whether your "cat" is one of the domesticated felines native to the mortal realm. Chances are if you get a migraine by looking at the address bar, it isn't. (Why are you pointing out the eight colours of the rainbow as if it's something new?)

You'll also need to have the fee in gold coins on you. (Preferably unenchanted ones; while positively enchanted coins are worth more, it's not easy to determine whether they're cursed at first glance.) Other precious metals will do in a pinch.

I've heard that some people in the mortal realm are using wood pulp derivatives for currency, which are just too flimsy and delicate for day-to-day transactions if you ask me. And you really don't want to start running up credit with the wrong warlock.

Thunderous Cacophony:
How can you have a whole section on wands vs. staves but never mention orbs?!?

ewhac:

Oy, don't get me started.

Obviously, the volume-to-surface area ratio can't be beat, but that's about it. And what happens when the oaf of a fighter in front of you bumps into you and makes you drop your Orb on to the stone dungeon floor? It gets scratched, that's what. You ever try casting a Purify Evil spell through a scratched Orb? Not pretty.

Even if you only drop it on dirt, you'll still ruin the AR coating (yes, I'm in the AR coating camp; sue me!). Unless it's kept in very fine cloth, you're going to get scratches and blemishes. And if you've got a sentient Orb with an attitude, heaven help you if you try to keep it in anything less than dragon silk.

And that volume-to-surface area ratio advantage is also its disadvantage. Those things are effing heavy -- you'll be too encumbered to carry any loot. (Yes, you can mount an Orb on the end of a staff, but all that does is free up a pouch.)

So, yeah, Orbs are more of a lab tool, IMHO.

Well, you're both right, usually orbs have their place and that place is worklab
BUT
my mentor had staff with orb on it, the orb was made from the huge polished blood diamond
that orb was resilient- you could whack rock golem few hundred times without any scratch on it
Of course blood and hemolymph still left stains on it so before casting high level spells some cleaning was necessary (mostly by me)
Now the hard part- price
Finely crafted black oak staff is expensive on it's own, blood diamond orb as well- now imagine price of combined item
I once asked her about the price, and she just smiled and said that it costs as much as few hundred powerful souls
It was some sort of family artifact, as far as I know
Also resonance is huge issue with such combinations, I can tell you that much
While staff and orb were in resonance, resonance wasn't stable, so expensive recalibration was necessary 2-3 times per century
While I dreamed about obtaining similar staff, I rationally realized I couldn't afford such maintenance :(

Eric the Orange:

Thunderous Cacophony:
How can you have a whole section on wands vs. staves but never mention orbs?!? It's just shoddy journalism is what it is; in my millennia, you kids would have been set to scrubbing cauldrons for a week for such insolence.

Oh sure if you want to be the kind of pansy who doesn't carry around a phallic symbol.

I'm always carrying a phallic symbol. (I'm not even going to link to the appropriate meme, because you and I both know what I mean).

blackrave:

Thunderous Cacophony:
How can you have a whole section on wands vs. staves but never mention orbs?!?

ewhac:

Oy, don't get me started.

Obviously, the volume-to-surface area ratio can't be beat, but that's about it. And what happens when the oaf of a fighter in front of you bumps into you and makes you drop your Orb on to the stone dungeon floor? It gets scratched, that's what. You ever try casting a Purify Evil spell through a scratched Orb? Not pretty.

Even if you only drop it on dirt, you'll still ruin the AR coating (yes, I'm in the AR coating camp; sue me!). Unless it's kept in very fine cloth, you're going to get scratches and blemishes. And if you've got a sentient Orb with an attitude, heaven help you if you try to keep it in anything less than dragon silk.

And that volume-to-surface area ratio advantage is also its disadvantage. Those things are effing heavy -- you'll be too encumbered to carry any loot. (Yes, you can mount an Orb on the end of a staff, but all that does is free up a pouch.)

So, yeah, Orbs are more of a lab tool, IMHO.

Well, you're both right, usually orbs have their place and that place is worklab
BUT
my mentor had staff with orb on it, the orb was made from the huge polished blood diamond
that orb was resilient- you could whack rock golem few hundred times without any scratch on it
Of course blood and hemolymph still left stains on it so before casting high level spells some cleaning was necessary (mostly by me)
Now the hard part- price
Finely crafted black oak staff is expensive on it's own, blood diamond orb as well- now imagine price of combined item
I once asked her about the price, and she just smiled and said that it costs as much as few hundred powerful souls
It was some sort of family artifact, as far as I know
Also resonance is huge issue with such combinations, I can tell you that much
While staff and orb were in resonance, resonance wasn't stable, so expensive recalibration was necessary 2-3 times per century
While I dreamed about obtaining similar staff, I rationally realized I couldn't afford such maintenance :(

Ewhac, it sounds like you're just buying low-quality orbs (not that I would expect more from someone who gets the AR coating; does your cauldron still have it's safety stand attached?). Like Blackrave said, a good orb is durable enough to withstand the rough and tumble of most dungeon crawls. It does require some maintenance, true, but that's what Unseen Servants are for. Price is an issue, but you have to look at what you're getting for it: The orb has much more storage capacity than any dozen wands, and any staff with a high-enough grain to hold the same volume and variety is going to be prohibitively expensive (plus you know it's going to have to come from a tree-ent in an old-growth forest, and if there's a druid in the party you'll never hear the end of it).

Also, it's not just about who can put out the biggest flash. I dare you to find a staff that offers the same divination and scrying potential as even the most basic orb on the market. You can't peer deep into the mists of probability if all you've got is a bit of wood, no matter how many arcane runes you've scribed upon it.

Wow.
I've never seen Paul out of costume before.
(Only teasing! but that looks way too natural on him lol)

They HAD to bring up Wands vs Staffs. Sometimes I think they just bring on guests like that to draw in ratings with the controversy.

I'm a Wand user myself, but I know many good Wizards who swear by the Staff, and I see how they have their uses.

I'm currently in the employ of a High Lord in the Western valleys. I won't say who as I don't want to name drop. My job often finds me in the endless catacombs beneath his castle; clearing it of giant rats, ghouls, and even the odd Minotaur that end up there somehow.

As such my needs are different from the average wizard. Big pointy hats are the first to go as they're constantly get knocked off by the low ceilings. Flowing robes also tend to get caught on things, and end up filthy after barely an hour. I do, however, keep a hat and robe for more formal occasions. My point is that in my line of work a wand is essential. Tight corridors and low arches make staffs unusable as there just isn't enough room to move. A few years ago I was working with a young wizard. Capable lad, but he insisted on carrying a large staff with an ostentatious brass head; a family heirloom I discovered. It was a disaster with bolts of lightning going everywhere as the staff whacked against the walls. The damned thing even got stuck fast in a doorway once.

So it's wands for me. A good wand can last many lifetimes.

BrotherRool:
Does he even know how a staff is meant to work? You're meant to walk with it, not carry it about like some handbag.

I bet your staff is fine for your Sünday strolls in the park, but when you're climbing a mountain, or scaling a wall it just becomes a hindrance. When you find yourself hanging to a rocky outcrop attacked by Furnace Sprites just try to swing a staff around.

thenumberthirteen:

BrotherRool:
Does he even know how a staff is meant to work? You're meant to walk with it, not carry it about like some handbag.

I bet your staff is fine for your Sünday strolls in the park, but when you're climbing a mountain, or scaling a wall it just becomes a hindrance. When you find yourself hanging to a rocky outcrop attacked by Furnace Sprites just try to swing a staff around.

Trust a wand boy to give up at the slightest bit of hardship. Good luck trying to bring down the mighty bridgy of GobAcKSpiridur and cast the firey Fli'thillion into the dark pits of Serenity with a piddly little staff. Go play with your wand, staffs are for men.

BrotherRool:

thenumberthirteen:

BrotherRool:
Does he even know how a staff is meant to work? You're meant to walk with it, not carry it about like some handbag.

I bet your staff is fine for your Sünday strolls in the park, but when you're climbing a mountain, or scaling a wall it just becomes a hindrance. When you find yourself hanging to a rocky outcrop attacked by Furnace Sprites just try to swing a staff around.

Trust a wand boy to give up at the slightest bit of hardship. Good luck trying to bring down the mighty bridgy of GobAcKSpiridur and cast the firey Fli'thillion into the dark pits of Serenity with a piddly little staff. Go play with your wand, staffs are for men.

There you go with that "Staffs are more powerful" nonsense. Millennia of study has shown conclusively that size has no bearing on the strength of a magical implement. It comes down to the quality of the materials and the skill of the user. A wand and a staff of the same construction, say ebony with a soul silver core (as is my wand), would be of the same power, but the staff would be many times the cost.

1) I definitely want to hear more wizard chat.

2) I secretly hope that there is at least a little bit of history/backstory that was fleshed out for this episode involving epic quests, etc...

I propose a compromise: canes.
Stylish, useful for beating up urchins (if you're into that sort of thing), comes in both metal and wood, and has a middle ground between the staff and wand debate.
With that being said, if I had to choose it would be staves.

I love this premise!

thenumberthirteen:

There you go with that "Staffs are more powerful" nonsense. Millennia of study has shown conclusively that size has no bearing on the strength of a magical implement. It comes down to the quality of the materials and the skill of the user. A wand and a staff of the same construction, say ebony with a soul silver core (as is my wand), would be of the same power, but the staff would be many times the cost.

... but I have a bad back...

Thunderous Cacophony:

Ewhac, it sounds like you're just buying low-quality orbs (not that I would expect more from someone who gets the AR coating; does your cauldron still have it's safety stand attached?).

Har de har har. Not everyone has 100 millennia of family lineage and a trust fund to get them started in wizardry. Most of us have to improvise with what's available. If you have unlimited funds to fashion blood diamond Orbs (as Blackrave's mentor appears to have), then yes, an AR coating is silly. In fact I daresay a blood diamond Orb would be insulted at the addition. But if you're just starting out, an AR coating can get you most of the way toward a purer surface at just 20% of the cost. In my current studies, I'm at the point where an AR coating buys you almost nothing.

Also, if you're doing the kind of experimental research that can wreck an Orb, keeping the per-Orb cost down becomes important. Right now I'm mucking around with a handful of inexpensive Orbs and working them into a sort of net such that they can operate cooperatively. But the probability of a resonance cascade goes up geometrically with the number of Orbs, and getting the tuning right is a bear. (Literally. I need a bear to shove the things around once they're fired up and projecting at each other.)

I have to say, though, that those souls in the physical realm are getting awfully clever. Apparently they've worked out a way to fashion artifical diamond (unenchanted) in virtually any size and configuration, and with astonishing purity. I know it sounds totally impossible, but you really no longer need to delve into the Earth's depths or risk stealing from an irate dragon in order to get a pure diamond of any size. Just zap up some appropriate currency, polymorph to resemble the locals, and approach a merchant. Ask for whatever size and shape you want. You will be greeted, not with uproarious laughter, but by a clerk with parchment and pen asking, "What color?" (I got a couple of these for next to nothing, and so far they've worked out exceptionally well.)

Price is an issue, but you have to look at what you're getting for it: The orb has much more storage capacity than any dozen wands, and any staff with a high-enough grain to hold the same volume and variety is going to be prohibitively expensive [ ... ]

I'm not disputing any of that. I was merely commenting on the practical difficulties of hauling an Orb on your typical adventuring quest.

TheOrb:
I propose a compromise: canes. [ ... ]

Yes! My mentor had one of those! They also serve well to conceal swords, which proved its use on one memorable night when we were waylaid by a bandit in an alleyway. The bandit produced a modestly respectable dagger and made the traditional demand. Whereupon my mentor gazed at him levelly for a few moments, then fluidly drew the sword from the cane and pointed it at his throat and said, "I see your six inches and raise you twenty-four."

He fled.

The only reason most wizards still use wands or staffs is marketing. They're rarely useful for anything other than a focal point for a wizard's innate power, and once you get past the basic levels of training, you don't really need one.
Sure, the higher quality wands/staffs can help you to focus your magic, but I for one prefer my magic a bit more.. unfocused.
As for the claim that they can improve the power output of your magic, the effect is pure placebo.
I personally carry around an enchanted sword for the 'whacking stuff' business that staff users are so fond of.

Lieju:

nuba km:
or even bare hand for the particularly skilled.

It's fine for spells that don't use much mana, but anything above level 5 on the Veles-scale, you really don't want your skin to be the surface for the plane-transition of energy.

Sure, if you're completely incapable of conjuring energy for yourself. The only time I've needed to take energy from another plane was when I once bathed an entire realm in fire. It's very rare that one has to do such a thing on short notice. Had I the time to prepare, I probably would have brought along an orb of some kind, or really any enchanted item that can function as an energy gateway. A lesser wizard might have needed new hands after that one.

sumanoskae:
have someone use unicorn blood to engrave your flesh with magic symbols. You get all the portability and ease of use of a wand (Plus, you'll never lose a tattoo), but your hands will be free, so if you need a way to defend yourself at close range, you can carry a weapon (Spellswords FTW).

Oh please. Unicorn blood is no more effective than the blood of goats. It's only artificial scarcity and snobbery that makes unicorn blood more expensive.

I'm definitely on the side of wands here. Nothing beats the feeling of whipping out your wand and then playing with it public. You'd be amazed how many people are impressed by seeing a large wand.

No offense to the orb-users, but I really haven't seen their practical use outside of the laboratory. Yes, they're more powerful than either staves or wands, but they're unwieldy. Also, slippery. If you can spring for the expensive kind, then maybe the several hundred-thousand extra units of channeling power's worth it, but otherwise I find it difficult to aim and use in a combat situation. Unlike the wand for its occasional quick-draw uses, or the staff for its on-hand nature, any orb, blood diamond or otherwise tends to be buried in a pocket in your robes, wrapped in some slick silk thing that's difficult to get a hold of, and- well, it's a mess to deal with when you're being attacked by undead servants of the insane necromancer you're fighting.

I'm really more of a fan of moderation. Due to a trans-dimensional decade long quest, I managed to scrape together enough gold to buy both a wand, and a staff - both are good in different situations. If you can take the time to learn proper shielding, you can prevent their resonances from interfering with each other, and causing spells to fizzle. Mind you, that took a LOT of work - just trying to pin down what frequency each one's resonance was took half a century. If anyone wants to try the same trick, let me know and I'll give you a few pointers, maybe save you a decade or two. Anything to put a stop to this incessant wand-stave debate.

Except going with magic cards. That's just silly.

I still cannot unsee Paul with a red beard...

sumanoskae:
Wands and staves? please!

Check it; have someone use unicorn blood to engrave your flesh with magic symbols. You get all the portability and ease of use of a wand (Plus, you'll never lose a tattoo), but your hands will be free, so if you need a way to defend yourself at close range, you can carry a weapon (Spellsowrds FTW).

jakjawagon:

Oh please. Unicorn blood is no more effective than the blood of goats. It's only artificial scarcity and snobbery that makes unicorn blood more expensive.

By the Phantom Plane, you young pups are either idiots or insane. Blood runes on your body? What will they think of next, banshee essence injections?
These aren't your everyday enchanted ink tattoos that you can dispel and wash off when you're done with them. This is blood, magical blood in most cases. Putting that on your body is like giving yourself a permanent fireworks aura spelling out "Kill me to avenge your fallen and ensure the survival of your species!" Ever had a unicorn that wanted you dead? How about every unicorn in the area? Those horns aren't for show, you know. They'll rip through your protections, magical or otherwise, like a dwarf squad through a goblin. That's not even getting into the nature wizards that will be all over you at the mere sniff of the mixed magics you'll be giving off.
Hope you two don't travel much. There's a reason these stupid fads, quite literally, die off.

Amaria:
If you can take the time to learn proper shielding, you can prevent their [wand and staff] resonances from interfering with each other, and causing spells to fizzle. Mind you, that took a LOT of work - just trying to pin down what frequency each one's resonance was took half a century.

You used Kn'droth's Method, didn't you? Iteratively working through every known frequency until you find the right one? Gathering the complete set of tuning crystals alone (from 2.718 mP to 6.04 mP) must have taken you a decade.

Try this instead. Assuming you have a complete set of tuning crystals with Belden Standard Ordinal Designations, select the following crystals and array them around the artifact whose resonance you're trying to isolate: 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, 23, 31, 37, 41, 43, 47, 53, 59. (Yes, there are way more than this, but these will help you narrow down the search considerably. And yes, I deliberately excluded #1.) Let sit for a fortnight as usual. When you come back, some of the crystals will be in sympathetic resonance, others will not. Those that are resonating represent what I call the "prime resonators." If, for example, two is resonating, then so also will be four, six, eight, ten, and so on. Contrariwise, if three is not resonating, then neither will be six, nine, twelve, fifteen, etc. In other words, this first measurement lets you prune your search space considerably. What you're hoping for is for a small handful of higher-order crystals to be humming. (If number two is resonating, then I'm sorry, you'll only be able to eliminate at most half of the search space.)

Note that if none of above prime resonators are humming, then you'll need to repeat this step with another, higher-order set; send me aethermail for a complete list.

...Or you could wait for my monograph on the subject, which I hope to complete and publish as soon as I learn LaTeX.

(By the way, why does no one ever seem to share a set of tuning crystals? I mean, you're going to use them maybe five times, and then they gather dust. Why not make them available at your local guild? I mean, sure, I suppose there's some value in making an acolyte go through the long, arduous slog of collecting their own set, but once you've got your Black Cord, it's just nothing more than annoying busywork.)

Except going with magic cards. That's just silly.

*snicker* I once met a youngster who was messing with that. To be fair, his theory was interesting -- that the fibers in the paper each formed resonance sites, and therefore should be able to hold magic power. But unless all the fibers in the card were exactly the same length, any power present would fizzle out in the resultant noise. Poor fella got fried a couple of times before he figured it out...

ewhac:

Amaria:
If you can take the time to learn proper shielding, you can prevent their [wand and staff] resonances from interfering with each other, and causing spells to fizzle. Mind you, that took a LOT of work - just trying to pin down what frequency each one's resonance was took half a century.

You used Kn'droth's Method, didn't you? Iteratively working through every known frequency until you find the right one? Gathering the complete set of tuning crystals alone (from 2.718 mP to 6.04 mP) must have taken you a decade.

Try this instead. Assuming you have a complete set of tuning crystals with Belden Standard Ordinal Designations, select the following crystals and array them around the artifact whose resonance you're trying to isolate: 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, 23, 31, 37, 41, 43, 47, 53, 59. (Yes, there are way more than this, but these will help you narrow down the search considerably. And yes, I deliberately excluded #1.) Let sit for a fortnight as usual. When you come back, some of the crystals will be in sympathetic resonance, others will not. Those that are resonating represent what I call the "prime resonators." If, for example, two is resonating, then so also will be four, six, eight, ten, and so on. Contrariwise, if three is not resonating, then neither will be six, nine, twelve, fifteen, etc. In other words, this first measurement lets you prune your search space considerably. What you're hoping for is for a small handful of higher-order crystals to be humming. (If number two is resonating, then I'm sorry, you'll only be able to eliminate at most half of the search space.)

Note that if none of above prime resonators are humming, then you'll need to repeat this step with another, higher-order set; send me aethermail for a complete list.

...Or you could wait for my monograph on the subject, which I hope to complete and publish as soon as I learn LaTeX.

(By the way, why does no one ever seem to share a set of tuning crystals? I mean, you're going to use them maybe five times, and then they gather dust. Why not make them available at your local guild? I mean, sure, I suppose there's some value in making an acolyte go through the long, arduous slog of collecting their own set, but once you've got your Black Cord, it's just nothing more than annoying busywork.)

Except going with magic cards. That's just silly.

*snicker* I once met a youngster who was messing with that. To be fair, his theory was interesting -- that the fibers in the paper each formed resonance sites, and therefore should be able to hold magic power. But unless all the fibers in the card were exactly the same length, any power present would fizzle out in the resultant noise. Poor fella got fried a couple of times before he figured it out...

Sorry to butt in Sir ewhac, but I see you've got a complex system you want to predict the behaviour of? I'm not expert on Magicka Particulate Resonance in wands and staves and things but you could always just model it as a simple object using Narpothelop's Paradigm and then add some secondary terms to account for complications and variables. So why do you Transmuters need a whole journal again?

Just an observation from a Mage of Conjuration.

ewhac:
Har de har har. Not everyone has 100 millennia of family lineage and a trust fund to get them started in wizardry[...]

I didn't start off at the top either; I can still remember the stink of the Essence of Gelatinous Cube Wizard Axelcranz made me use to scrub his floors when I was an apprentice. I just don't see the point in buying sub-standard equipment, especially if you're going to be adventuring on a regular basis; invest your shares of the loot in appropriate equipment befitting a mage, or be prepared to watch your spells bounce off even the most basic magic-resistance spells.

If you are conducting experiments, that's a whole different ritual. I need a weekly delivery from the Glassblowers Guild just to keep me in supply. Still, there is a fine line between cost-effective and cheap. I'd recommend making a deal with the local fey; a little bread and honey and they're happy to inscribe delicate runes all day (and the pixie dust that falls off doesn't do any harm either).

You are right in that the orb is not the least cumbersome instrument on the market, but it shouldn't have to be. You have fighters for a reason, don't you? The mercenary companies still operate, don't they? I know one archmage who stored his lackeys in extradimensional pockets; he'd just release a few periodically, and he had enough time and safety to conduct a ritual right there on the battlefield!

And sure, you can buy diamonds, but where's the history? Where's the intrigue? Where's the hidden curse that perverts your psyche and forces you into a deal with Asomodeus? Casters these days have no respect for the Art, it's all "conjure" this and "convenience" that. At least when I pry the diamonds from the fabled Lost Crown of the Daewar I know I'm getting a quality focal point.

As for the cane issue... I'm not even going to touch that. What kind of wizard carries any weapon bigger than a silver knife? In my day, you learned the grease spell or got devoured, and deservedly so. Carrying a sword around, you might as well be a *shudder* warlock.

ewhac:
You used Kn'droth's Method, didn't you? Iteratively working through every known frequency until you find the right one? Gathering the complete set of tuning crystals alone (from 2.718 mP to 6.04 mP) must have taken you a decade.

I was actually using Ar'leatir's updated method rather than Kn'droth's. It's a little faster, but yeah - not the fastest thing ever.

Gathering the tuning crystals was a fun little side project, actually - it took me about twelve years, in total. Even if it was occasionally a headache to get - especially finding tuning crystal 83, after that shortage caused by those bloody goblins - I find that it's worth it. Not having a complete set's really just half-assing it. It's the long slow method, but no one's going to deny that it's better in the long run.

ewhac:
Try this instead. Assuming you have a complete set of tuning crystals with Belden Standard Ordinal Designations, select the following crystals and array them around the artifact whose resonance you're trying to isolate: 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, 23, 31, 37, 41, 43, 47, 53, 59. (Yes, there are way more than this, but these will help you narrow down the search considerably. And yes, I deliberately excluded #1.) Let sit for a fortnight as usual. When you come back, some of the crystals will be in sympathetic resonance, others will not. Those that are resonating represent what I call the "prime resonators." If, for example, two is resonating, then so also will be four, six, eight, ten, and so on. Contrariwise, if three is not resonating, then neither will be six, nine, twelve, fifteen, etc. In other words, this first measurement lets you prune your search space considerably. What you're hoping for is for a small handful of higher-order crystals to be humming. (If number two is resonating, then I'm sorry, you'll only be able to eliminate at most half of the search space.)

Note that if none of above prime resonators are humming, then you'll need to repeat this step with another, higher-order set; send me aethermail for a complete list.

...Or you could wait for my monograph on the subject, which I hope to complete and publish as soon as I learn LaTeX.

Hmmm... I'll give that method a shot, yeah. Sounds like it would have saved me some long nights and a boring century dealing with pinning down the exact resonance. If I might ask, how'd you compensate for the tuning crystal quantity offset? I always found that having more than six tuning crystals arrayed together caused the reading on the resonance to shift a bit - six-thousand and twelve going to six-thousand and fourteen, for instance. (It's not a problem with lower resonances, but when you start getting into the larger ones, things start getting skewed.)

ewhac:
(By the way, why does no one ever seem to share a set of tuning crystals? I mean, you're going to use them maybe five times, and then they gather dust. Why not make them available at your local guild? I mean, sure, I suppose there's some value in making an acolyte go through the long, arduous slog of collecting their own set, but once you've got your Black Cord, it's just nothing more than annoying busywork.)

Personally, I don't like the idea of idiotic apprentices and acolytes working with my quality tuning crystals - some guilds are good about keeping idiots away from the nice toys, but any of those already have half a dozen sets. If I need to use them to judge the resonance of a new focus I splurged on, I don't want to have to deal with cracked tuning crystals and smudged runes. Friends, colleagues, even hated arch-nemeses (at least I know they're intelligent) I'll lend them out to, but if an apprentice touches my tuning crystals, there will be several dozen lightning storms in the general area. Also a corpse, but the thralls will clean that up.

ewhac:
*snicker* I once met a youngster who was messing with that. To be fair, his theory was interesting -- that the fibers in the paper each formed resonance sites, and therefore should be able to hold magic power. But unless all the fibers in the card were exactly the same length, any power present would fizzle out in the resultant noise. Poor fella got fried a couple of times before he figured it out...

That's pretty clever, but it seems like too much work to me. Dealing with fiber length and their respective resonances was what made magic carpets go out of fashion, and I don't miss those days one bit.

Thunderous Cacophony:
Carrying a sword around, you might as well be a *shudder* warlock.

Hey now, we're all friends, here. There is absolutely no reason to start calling people names. You know as well as I do that even a young and naive spellsword knows their cantrips better than a warlock ever could. Be nice.

Btw this is the greatest thread ever!!!

I hear what everyone is saying with regard to wand vs. stave, but in the interests of fair journalism I did a little scrying, a little mesmerising, a little bribery, and you know what I discovered? Lord Tholmerous Dragonsoul has controlling stocks in Hollander, Skrullak and Leap; this plane's leading wand production workshop. If that's not a conflict of interest, I don't know what is.

Oh and by-the-by, friends, there's quite a large and completely unguarded enchanted forest I know of on a plane not a quater-turnwise around the wheel. It's on a different planetoid than the Prima Terra. I can give you the precise degree and constellation to find it. The wood is really excellent for both wands and staves.

Also, with regard to sword-canes, you've got to be extremely careful. Unfortunately, the best materials for making swords with are also amongst the best for disrupting magic, plus the fact that by hollowing out your cane to accommodate you're drastically reducing it's magical capacity. You might as well just carry two wands and a sword, and keep them separate to avoid the problem of anti-magical and resonance interferences.
I will also say that while (non sword-) canes are technically a fair compromise betwixt wand and stave, they rather unfortunately call to mind that disastrous vogue we had a couple of centuries back for ironically imitating Corporeal Realm mortal magicians. I think we can all agree that the sooner that phase of magical fashion is forgotten, the better.

It would he been funnier if they had Jon Etheridge (Miridon) do a phone call cameo.

Just wondering... Why was Graham wearing a fake beard, when he HAS a real beard?

***BTW***
Wands are for GIRLS!
Men use SCEPTORS!

ewhac:
Try this instead. Assuming you have a complete set of tuning crystals with Belden Standard Ordinal Designations, select the following crystals and array them around the artifact whose resonance you're trying to isolate: 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, 23, 31, 37, 41, 43, 47, 53, 59.

I hate to tell you this, but where the hell is 29?

As to everyone else... Staves, wands, canes, scepters... what about rods? Where do THEY fit in?

Anyway, clever stinger, LRR. I knew it was about Mr. Wizard the moment I heard "Don Herbert". ^_^

you realize that this now needs to become a regular segment on a show?
it's just too good to be lost, and that guy that listens in needs to be called a nutcase by everyone else that tries to listen in every week..
it's literally comedy gold.. you could add a magical system that prevents him recording it with a tape, a fail safe that cuts off the radio in a public space and just make him look totally eyeball rolling head spinning mad to everyone around him
it would be fantastic.

Jakale:

sumanoskae:
Wands and staves? please!

Check it; have someone use unicorn blood to engrave your flesh with magic symbols. You get all the portability and ease of use of a wand (Plus, you'll never lose a tattoo), but your hands will be free, so if you need a way to defend yourself at close range, you can carry a weapon (Spellsowrds FTW).

jakjawagon:

Oh please. Unicorn blood is no more effective than the blood of goats. It's only artificial scarcity and snobbery that makes unicorn blood more expensive.

By the Phantom Plane, you young pups are either idiots or insane. Blood runes on your body? What will they think of next, banshee essence injections?
These aren't your everyday enchanted ink tattoos that you can dispel and wash off when you're done with them. This is blood, magical blood in most cases. Putting that on your body is like giving yourself a permanent fireworks aura spelling out "Kill me to avenge your fallen and ensure the survival of your species!" Ever had a unicorn that wanted you dead? How about every unicorn in the area? Those horns aren't for show, you know. They'll rip through your protections, magical or otherwise, like a dwarf squad through a goblin. That's not even getting into the nature wizards that will be all over you at the mere sniff of the mixed magics you'll be giving off.
Hope you two don't travel much. There's a reason these stupid fads, quite literally, die off.

Ah, you've happened on the exact reason why I can no longer enter the demon realms. Acquiring demonic blood was far from easy, but as long as I avoid that particular plane of existence, those blood etchings are worth the weight of the blood in... well... demonic blood.
Of course, I do need to vanish the moment that anyone accidentally mixes up their Plane Transference Geometry and opens a portal to the 5th Dimension, but then, no one likes to hang around in those circumstances...

In any case, on the stave/wand debate, I'm weighing in on... a runic dagger. Of course, I am a Shadow Mage. (On which note: Hat?! No. A close fitting dark grey robe to blend into the darkness, with a hood to hide the face. Then one surprise attack with the dagger, and I'll have enough life-blood on my hands to summon a 4th degree Shadow Storm...)

'dons 26" wizard hat'
i think many wizards are forgetting the immense power that is an orb married to a stave, for area casting it is simply unbeatable although i will admit it does suffer some long range radian accuracy problems
but i assure you if an enemy sees three boulders next to him vaporize he'll be too busy running to worry about
doing anything else
and let's be serious if you are inside an arcane shell cast by such a powerful device no mere strip of enchanted 6th dimensional wartoak is going to cut through it
that's what those pesky pocket universe frequency hoppers will sell you if you let them
i'm speaking of-course, of a battlemage's baton if you're serious about fighting there is no other option!
and the range you can get on a portal from this device is literally otherworldly

but lugz, you cry i'm not royalty how can i get such a tool?
they're pricey to the point of ludicrousness so you'll have to make one.
the downside.. well obviously you'll need a dragon heart-stone or similar for the orb's power core
mature dragon heart-stones are prohibitively expensive it's true but you can still get good results from one aged a mere 600 years. if you cant afford it, you're going mining for a fossilized dragon and believe me they're rare.
the upside is any outer cage will do just fine so-long as it doesn't spoil the energy density transfer rate
simple malachite would work! then you don't get it all scuffed up if someone gets a wand blast off at it
and dropping your weapon? there are hover charms for that! be a practical caster

i admit, it may be hard to afford one of the fancier orb carrying models of stave to attach it to which would be required
but as-long as you've got a minion or two raiding goblin camps is plausible, if dangerous.
many inexperienced wizards waste all their cash on the biggest staff and rush off to test it only to realize they have no experience using one.. finding one as loot is fairly likely but of course practice safe looting, examine any casting device to exhaustion before touching it, it's very tricky to tell if they're damaged or cursed from looking at them
if not wander on down to your local witch doctor and ask him if he can weave you one from root
and no, i don't discriminate against witch doctors, they're people too and they are a productive part of the magical community! a little mojo can go a long way but remember mixing magic can be dangerous and if your going to combine
magicks be aware of the 5 point rule and casting auras of the two magicks you may need a sealing spell to bind the orb to the staff but that's child's play
and you'll want to take something to trade with obviously, i suggest fire salts or crystalline benzeum they always seem to run low on those

the next serious upgrade would be transtemporaldimensionfolding filigreeing to pull more C/ev's
but seriously, that stuff's too experimental for practical use right now
changing the runes is time consuming so unless you want to be 'that wizard'
who always casts the shields

you'd be better off with the classic, but still good triaxilating mini orbs providing you know a good
axalising charm you can get a good boost from even small, cheap orbs
try it yourself, you'll be swearing by those little fellows soon enough
a good friend of mine keal used these to great effect

so now you have a robust, if eclectic battlemage's baton root woven staves aren't the best and without
a magic dam capping the stave tip it will loose power eventually but with
a serious power core and axilating orbs to store more juice only a fool would question your casting
potential your wizard pals may smirk at first but collapse a few wards with an implosion spell and they'll
soon realize it's a force to be reckoned with even if it isn't the most powerful stave in your
particular dimension remember hand made tools are always impressive and fashionable!
'removes wizard hat'

cant believe you guys actually named a video wizard chat, brilliant video, funny as always, i loughed so hard

Mydnyght:

ewhac:
Try this instead. Assuming you have a complete set of tuning crystals with Belden Standard Ordinal Designations, select the following crystals and array them around the artifact whose resonance you're trying to isolate: 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, 23, 31, 37, 41, 43, 47, 53, 59.

I hate to tell you this, but where the hell is 29?

Great G'ltanroth, you're right!

Finding these prime resonances has been the biggest difficulty of the whole affair. There seems to be no simple way to reliably isolate them. It looks like my monograph will be delayed yet again. Thank you for pointing this out; you've saved me considerable embarrassment.

Wands and staves provide different situational benefits. Wands are for sqiddling your way out of a tricky situation. Accidentally summoned too many imps and they're rampaging all over your laboratory? The wand's just your thing. On the other hand, I would be loathe to attempt a grand incantation without the help of a trusty old staff. If you want the ruin of a town, city, or even a province, you should stick with staves.

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