Just realized where we've seen the Staff of Suckage before. Wanda was using it on the tower when she repelled Jillian's aerial "recon by fire" group in Book 1, with the tower defenses (here: http://www.erfworld.com/wp-content/uplo ... k1/095.jpg
). If you've read the wiki, you already knew this.
It's almost certain that, knowing its function, she was using it while deploying magical air defenses to ensure that only units with an Archery special could hit her; gives her a major tactical advantage since Jillian's squad couldn't cross the hex boundary and land for combat. Probably also protected her from the Archons' ranged specials, as they all belong to some school of magic. It obviously doesn't block the caster's own magic, since she was able to activate the tower defenses while holding it (as with any Magic Item, the effect it produces still needs to be guided by the user, which tells me it's activated by the caster's passive or active will to use it).
Let's take account of all other Magic Items we've seen so far (copied from the wiki).
* 1.1.1 Eyebooks
* 1.1.2 Eyemancer Table
* 1.1.3 Flying Carpet
* 1.1.4 Message Hats
* 1.1.5 3D Glasses
* 1.1.6 Mathamancy Bracer
* 1.1.7 The Sword of Ruthlessness
* 1.1.8 "Magic Dust"
* 1.1.9 Bracer Blaster
* 1.1.10 Laurel of Napster
* 1.1.11 Staff of Suckage
The Eyebooks and Eyemancer Table have proven to be pretty obscenely powerful. These aren't involved in actual combat, though, so let's ignore them, along with the Message Hats, 3D Glasses, and anything that doesn't contribute to a unit's Hits per turn or other stats, as well as the Flying Carpet, since that modifies the unit's movement type. I'll note most of these are pretty powerful Magic Items, since they've a persistent effect that doesn't just end when it's been used too much - the Flying Carpet, as we've seen, functions even at night, as Ansom and Jillian spent the night on it over a lake, and Ansom had been using it all day long. The Laurel of Napster and the 3D Glasses likewise function just by looking and thinking about the target they're to analyze.
That pretty much leaves us comparing the Staff of Suckage to the Bracer Blaster, comparing a defensive item to the only Magic Item we've seen that is capable of producing an attack (Sword of Ruthlessness was used to attack, but that's because it's a sword, not just a Magic Item, and as it doesn't seem to use Juice for that, it's not a valid comparison). The Bracer Blaster functions to stun, knock back, and bruise, at best - any actual damage it can cause seems fairly limited in scope, as it produces a force beam which is basically a ranged punch. This makes it pretty much a supplemental effect - not as powerful as a Unit's own Specials.
Whatever effects they produce, all Magic Items we've seen so far function along the lines of Automation, Reproduction, and Persistence - that is, they Automatically Reproduce a specified effect, Repeatedly (Persistence), by whatever means provided for them to do so. Regardless of the scope of their effect, they are on a level of usefulness slightly higher or lower than just regular, mundane tools - a lot of them work only for specified situations, and how far you can take adapting them to alternate tasks depends on the nature of the item. The Staff of Suckage also functions along these lines and within that range (given its nature as a Magic Item), so it's safe to say number of uses of the effect can be unlimited, but the power of the spells it attempts to intercept may be able to overcome the effect (hafta roll high to beat it, or cast a spell of over a certain level).
I think we're assuming all
Magic Items function solely on their own Juice, which may be a mistake - Parson's Mathamancy Bracer and the Flying Carpet are both used by non-casters (or at least, in a non-casting way) but we've not ruled out a caster using a Magic Item in tandem with their own Juice. And in fact, I think we've actually seen it; linking this again so you see the seventh panel here: http://www.erfworld.com/wp-content/uplo ... k1/095.jpg
Could be just artistic effect, but that looks to me like Wanda's using it as a focus to activate the tower defense, or she's releasing a spell she stored in the staff (more likely the former, since tower defenses can be stored in the tower itself... but that just speaks to a tower functioning as a temporary Magic Item, and rather than ruling out the possibility of storing spells in any suitable Magic Item, that somewhat backs it up). The off chance I'm making the mistake of being misled by visual cues and my own assumptions notwithstanding, we know the Blaster Bracer contains some form of spell (we could call it a Special, I guess, but Specials can be magic, as the Archons prove, so as far as I'm concerned, it's a spell), which it repeatedly and automatically reproduces whenever it's activated. And the point I'm trying to solidify with all this is that Magic Items can have infinite capacity because they have limited scope - they exist solely to repeatedly serve the same purpose, over and over again (perhaps until they break, but the only thing we've seen broke- er, melted is the Sword of Ruthlessness). Magic Items are Magical, but they're still otherwise just like any other kind of Item.
Just to talk the point to death, the "Magic Dust" may have a finite supply, but we've not seen it all used up yet. Moreover, it also had a persistent effect on Jillian when Wanda used it (you know, that thing that the Staff of Suckage probably has for the person using it, based on their own apprehensions), and when Jillian broke the spell, it caused backlash to the caster. Once again speaks to spells, not just Specials, being stored in Magic Items (and reveals that this also has some effect on the caster, if we assume that both it being a spell and the backlash it caused for Wanda when it broke was not just a metaphor for Wanda facing an unforseen, catastrophic turn of events for herself and having a mental breakdown as a result).
Clearly, the user's intent is all that's necessary
for a Magic Item to work - and, not unlike riding a mount in Erfworld, the user's intent doesn't have to be particularly focused
fjolnir wrote:A word to note, one of the points someone is using towards Charlie being a mastermind is that he figured out the volcano was uncroaked. I argue that anybody with more magic knowledge than "caster heal that stabber" and "foolamancer veil these stacks" and the basic knowledge that the RCC commanders had could have made this determination without too much difficulty; the RCC command knew that GK had a Thinkamancer (Parson interupts a command meeting with a visual thinkagram to Ansom), they later find out that there's also a dirtamancer (tunnel actions, wanda's save, and shockamancy scroll attack), it is common knowledge about the croakamancer (jillian must have mentioned her once, as well as the VAST amount of uncroaked the side has...), GK has a foolamancer as well but everyone already knows he's somewhere else engaging TV units and Jillian at the time. Massive effect of a magic nature ('multi-hex dirtamancy trap')+thinkamancer and the fact that only 3 casters are at gk at the time= link
You make a good point, and I'm inclined to agree (with the idea Charlie just figured it out on his own, anyway). On the other hand, we have a creative Master-class Croakamancer and a well-read Dirtamancer who didn't think of it before Parson did, and they had been sitting on top of the volcano the whole time - I'd say this points to Charlie just approaching Parson's level of genius by being presented with cause to employ knowledge he already had - which makes him more a deductive thinker than the sort of inductive thinker Parson is. To say that another way, Parson figured out it was possible without seeing it happen first; Charlie had to see it happen to know it was possible. And for both Wanda and Sizemore? They had to figure it out by trial-and-error when they cast it, and both were astounded by the results afterwards.
There's only one, maybe two sides in the original RCC who had Thinkamancers we know about at the time. All of the units that the RCC sides had fielded at GK were wiped out by the volcano uncroaking. Your theory assumes that the information had to have been relayed by the commanders on scene to one of these Thinkamancers (or read by one of those casters in the confusion, assuming they were watching the local G-strings at the time), or by Hat Magic (which we know Jetstone has... but writing a message to send through takes time and clarity and a hard surface, since they have to use pen and paper). I wouldn't put it past Charlie's Archons to have frantically tried to get his attention in all of that action, so that's another Thinkamancer who would have witnessed the event "directly". This is all entirely possible, so after having given it this much thought, I'd say you're probably right.