By Keith Haun (firstname.lastname@example.org)[Inspired, of course, by the Sith Lightsaber wielded by Darth Maul in Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace. -- Incanus]
The increased Default penalty is due to the fact that having the butt end of a quarterstaff tap your side when you swing is no big deal, while doing the same with a Force Staff could get you killed.
After each time you roll to hit with a Force Staff, roll again against your skill to see if you hit yourself (no modifiers). If you fail the roll to hit, add a -3 penalty. If you hit yourself, you take full damage.
Force Staffs are incredibly hard to master, and as a result are rare; characters seeking one would likely have to get a special one ordered from a manufacturer of Force Swords. Considering Force Swords are LC 3, the attempted acquisition of a Force Staff in this manner would likely draw attention from the authorities.
As an alternative, you could simply get two Force Swords and attach them together at the base, for a jury-rigged Staff. Roll against Armory (Force Sword) at -2. Success produces a Force Staff with a few minor inherent flaws. Critical success negates those flaws. Failure means try again; Critical failure means you damaged one or both of the Force Swords and will have to repair them with further rolls. (Stats for regular and jury-rigged Force Staffs are given below.)
Most Force Staffs are equipped with separate wiring and power systems for each blade, making it usable as a Force Sword when only one blade is extended. (There is a -1 penalty when doing this, as the handgrip is twice as heavy on a Staff as a Sword, making it a bit awkward.)
Fast-Draw: Force Sword may be used to draw and ignite one blade in one turn. Critical failure may (GM's discretion) result in you hitting the wrong button, and the blade facing towards you igniting instead, hitting you in the stomach for full damage. (No defense roll allowed.)
The possession of a Force Staff is also good for a bonus when used with Intimidation, Fast-Talk, or other such similar skill. Simply showing the weapon should be good for a +1 (assuming the target knows what the Force Staff is), while an elaborate display of prowess could gain a bonus as high as +5 or more. For a display of prowess, roll vs. Force Staff to see if you hit yourself (Since you're not actually trying to hit anyone.) If you fail, not only do you hit yourself and take full damage, there is an immediate -10 reaction penalty to those who saw your clumsiness.
Having a Force Staff break in two in front of you in the middle of the fight is not good; if it happens, you are mentally stunned for one turn, and will probably want to toss away the off-handed half as soon as possible, if the staff was cut down the middle of your hands. If you want to keep both halves and fight with two Force Swords at once, flipping the staff halves around in one hand, roll against DX-6, DX-10 if you're trying to flip both at once. Failure means you dropped it. Critical failure, you hit yourself, and then you dropped it. Roll separately for each hand, and it counts as a Ready action.
|Dmg. Type||Dmg. Amt.||Reach||Wt [lbs]||Cost||LC||TL||Min ST|
The typical Force Staff has 2-5 C cells for each blade. Each cell lasts for 5 minutes for each blade. The middle section of the Staff has DR 10, and 20 HT.
Jury-Rigged Force Staffs: Wt. 6, LC probably 0, staff midsection has 5 DR and 10 HT (unless armor is added separately.) Rolling a critical success on the Armory roll restores everything but LC to regular values.