A staff of night was a magical staff with powers of darkness and the summoning of a fearsome umber hulk.[1][3] A variant was the runestaff of night.[2][note 1]


It was made from a black wood and adorned with carvings of runes representing stars, darkness, and night, as well as a depiction of an umber hulk.[3][2] The ends were capped with black onyx.[2] It otherwise resembled a fairly unremarkable walking staff.[4]


Originally, it bestowed both infravision and ultravision powers automatically and continually upon grasping the staff.[1] However, after the Year of Wild Magic, 1372 DR, it merely cast the darkvision, and low-light vision spells, for the cost of one charge each.[3]

It also contained the dispel magic spell but this only worked against light spells, such as light, continual light, and faerie fire, and not against glowing magical auras, while permanent magical lights would eventually reappear. To use this function, the bearer had to touch the staff to the magical light and make a wordless mental command. This would expend one charge.[1][3]

The staff of night could conjure an orb of darkness for the cost of one charge.[1][3] Formerly, similar to darkness, 15' radius but was only a 20-foot-wide (6 meters) sphere centered on the midpoint of the staff, moving with the staff and thus its wielder. It could be dispelled as normal.[1] After 1372 DR, this was a standard darkness spell, 40 feet wide (12 meters) and with greater option in placement.[3]

Its greater power, however, was to summon a mighty umber hulk. This could be done once every seven days; the bearer felt a slight ongoing tingling from the staff when it was ready to be used again and uttered a command word when they wished it summoned. Doing so expended six charges. The umber hulk appeared at full health, obeyed the bearer's will, and fought and served faithfully and obediently, even in the most dangerous tasks (though it would not harm itself). It disappeared after a short time.[1] After 1372 DR, it could only summon an umber hulk once per tenday, but cost only two charges to do so. It functioned similarly to summon monster VI.[3] If the summoned umber hulk died or was destroyed, then the staff itself lost all power and would quickly crumble to dust.[1][3]

Finally, the wielder was granted immunity against any umber hulk's confusing gaze.[1][3]

Following the runestaff model in the mid-1370s DR, the runestaff of night instead let its wielder cast darkness (able to counter or dispel any light spell), darkvision, and low-light vision, each thrice a day but at the expense of one of their own prepared arcane spells. Similarly, once a day, it also allowed them to summon a fiendish umber hulk.[2]


To make a staff of night after 1372 DR, one needed the spells darkness, darkvision, dispel magic, and summon monster VI, as well as knowledge of crafting magical staves.[3][2]


A staff of night was worth around 15,500 gold pieces in the early 1360s DR,[1] and 30,000 gp after 1372 DR.[3] The runestaff of night, meanwhile, cost 14,000 gp.[2]


Folktales held that a staff of night was an evil thing, but this untrue: it had no inherent evil power.[1]


Staves of night were relatively common magical staves found around Faerûn. Examples were likely to be found in the ruins of Myth Drannor.[4]

Notable Staves of NightEdit


Further ReadingEdit


  1. Runestaffs were introduced in Magic Item Compendium for 3.5-edition D&D, using a different mechanic to the standard magical staff of 3rd/3.5 edition. The staff of night presented in Magic of Faerûn for 3rd-edition D&D was adapted in Magic Item Compendium as a runestaff of night. This article considers the runestaff as a variant, not a replacement, for the standard staff.


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