Created By: Raso on November 1, 2011 Last Edited By: wanderlustwarrior on December 9, 2012
Troped

Telescoping Staff

A staff that is expandable to unusual ranges.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
No Launching Please

Indexes: Weapons and Wielding Tropes, Bigger Is Better

Alternate titles: Expanding Staff, Extending Staff


This Weapon of Choice is an expandable (Bo) Staff, able to change its length and/or girth (paging Dr. Freud!); often they extend so far into Telephone Polearm proportions. The ability of the staff to become smaller is more often used for portability's sake, though it can still have practical purposes.

There is often not a clear mechanism for this, so some can be magical, controllable by the user's mind, or manipulated by some other technology.

Some may likely be an Expy or reference to Son Wukong's Expanding Bo-Staff from Journey to the West, especially in Eastern works.

Subtrope to Retractable Weapon, Morph Weapon and Simple Staff. Note that the default state is still a staff or polearm, not a baton or other size changing weapon.

Examples

Anime and Manga
  • In Saiyuki, Son Goku uses an extendable staff known as the Nyoi-Bo, which can also morph into a three-section staff. As should be expected of his name, he's one of the various media interpretations of Sun Wukong (Son Goku) from Journey To The West.
  • Dragon Ball: Goku's Nyoi-bo (Dub translated as Power Pole.) is his principal weapon for most of Dragon Ball but largely disappears in Dragon Ball Z. The Dragon Ball saga at this point was loosely based on Journey to the West, hence Son Goku's adventures.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima!: Ku Fei's item, Shinchintetsu Jizaikon, is a replica of the one used in Journey to the West called Shinchintetsu Jizaikon.
  • Love Hina: When Naru played Son Goku in the play of Journey to the West she made the staff extend in an Omake, however when Keitaro played the part and uses the staff it does not do this for him.
  • Naruto: The Third Hokage's monkey summon Enma can transform into one of these made out of Adamantine.

Comics
  • Robin uses one across media, especially in the Teen Titans animated series and the Arkham City video game. In the comics proper it was given to him by Lady Shiva.
  • Gambit from X-Men uses one, often made out of Adamantium, which he can channel his explosive power through as it will survive the blasts.
  • A telescoping staff was one of the original weapons of Captain Britain.

Film

Literature
  • Journey to the West has the Lancer Son Goku/Wukong, who possesses an expandable bo-staff.
    • Another less-known example from Journey to the West: Even if is not brought up as often, Sha Wujing's weapon in the novel is a special club made of mohogany wood and gold. According to him, it can stretch and enlarge at will just like Sun Wukong's "As You Will" Cudgel, but since he doesn't fight as much as him, this fact is often overlooked.
  • Ged's staff in A Wizard of Earthsea: he picks a blade of grass, speaks to it to expand it into a full sized wooden staff, and to suit this trope, it is able to skrink/grow it again.

Live-Action TV
  • Babylon 5: The Rangers use a form of these although they go from the size of your palm to standard length.
  • In the TV series Andromeda, Dylan Hunt's Force Lance would expand from a small hand-held cylinder to a full staff when given a good hard shake. It would also fire "smart" projectiles or plasma bursts, making it also a Boom Stick.

Tabletop RPG
  • Early editions of Dungeons & Dragons had the Rod of Lordly Might. One of its functions turned it into a spear up to 15 feet long.
    • The magic quarterstaff in Unearthed Arcana (1985). Normally 6 feet long, could be expanded up to 12 feet long.
    • Although not a weapon, the third edition had a collapseable pole in a sourcebook that could be extended to a ten-foot pole.

Video Games
  • Nanase from Street Fighter EX 2 uses a bo staff of this nature. Her Meteor Combo involves her using the weapon to launch out of orbit, then utilizing her gain in speed and momentum to pummel her foe during atmospheric re-entry.
  • Hualin, a bonus character in Soulcalibur III, fights using the Create-A-Soul staff discipline. Some of her moves (namely her unblockables) involve it growing to mammoth proportions, using changes to throw the opponent from a range.
  • Dynasty Warriors 6: the staff weapon will expand as you up your renbu meter.
  • Jade in Mortal Kombat has this as a part of her arsenal.
  • In Castlevania: Curse of Darkness you can build the Nyoi-Bo staff using Orichalcum, five bamboo spears and five bamboo swords. It's quite weak, but has the greatest reach and is perfect againsy multiple, weak opponents.
  • In Megaman Zero, Zero has access to the Triple rod, basically a spear that can be extended up to three times or can be used to bounce over enemies.
  • Raijin, a recurring enemy from Final Fantasy VIII, wields one of those.
  • Wukong and his weapon from League of Legends - appropriate, being a largely sun-wukong inspired character.

Web Comics

Western Animation


Community Feedback Replies: 67
  • November 1, 2011
    Ghilz
    Retractable Weapon

    Also your YKTTW is filled with typos:
    1. It's "principal" not "princible".
    2. Pretty sure your Mahou Sensei Negima is missing some punctuation. Not even sure what it's trying to say. Is it even written in english? WTF is a pactio?
    3. Warrior Orochi's example shouldn't have the : if you are putting the title as part of the example description.
    4. Love Hina is not italicized.
  • November 1, 2011
    wanderlustwarrior
    Didn't we just have this YKTTW?

    Poles are distinct enough that I would suggest subtrope.
  • November 1, 2011
    NoirGrimoir
    Also they don't just retract, often they extend so far that it is Beyond The Impossible that that amount of length could be retracted. And they don't so much retract as shrink. This is definitely a related trope, but a distinct one.
  • November 1, 2011
    Ghilz
    Depends on the example really
  • November 2, 2011
    Arivne
    ^^^ @wanderlustwarrior: "Didn't we just have this YKTTW?" Indeed we did have this on YKTTW not too long ago.

    Also a Sub Trope of Morph Weapon.

    Tabletop RPG
    • Early editions of Dungeons And Dragons had the Rod of Lordly Might. One of its functions turned it into a spear up to 15 feet long.
  • November 2, 2011
    Ghilz
    If we did have it, can anyone find if it has been launched? If it hasn't, we should merge this one with it.
  • November 2, 2011
    nitrokitty
  • November 3, 2011
    Arivne
    ^^ @Ghilz: I added my Rod of Lordly Might example to it while it was in YKTTW. I can't find that example now, so I assume it was discarded.
  • November 3, 2011
    bluebandana
    In the TV series Andromeda, Dylan Hunt's Force Lance would expand from a small hand-held cylinder to a full staff when given a good hard shake. It would also fire "smart" energy projectiles.
  • November 3, 2011
    Ghilz
    ^Which also makes it a Boom Stick
  • November 3, 2011
    X2X
    It should be noted that when the weapon in question extends to certain lengths, it begins to reach Telephone Polearm proportions.

    Anime and Manga
    • In Saiyuki, Son Goku uses an extendable staff known as the Nyoi-Bo, which can also morph into a three-section staff. As should be expected of his name, he's one of the various media interpretations of Sun Wukong (Son Goku) from Journey To The West.

    Video Games
    • Nanase from Street Fighter EX2 uses a bo staff of this nature. Her Meteor Combo involves her using the weapon to launch out of orbit, then utilizing her gain in speed and momentum to pummel her foe during atmospheric re-entry.
    • Hualin, a bonus character in Soulcalibur III, fights using an extendable staff. Some of her moves (namely her unblockables) involve it growing to mammoth proportions.
  • November 3, 2011
    Ryuuma
    In Curse Of Darkness you can build the Nyoi-Bo staff using Orichalcum, five bamboo spears and five bamboo swords. It's quite weak, but has the greatest reach and is perfect againsy multiple, weak opponents.
  • November 4, 2011
    Arivne
    I would suggest changing this to Extendable Weapon, as you'll get a lot more examples.

    Anime and Manga
    • Gin Ichimaru's zanpakuto sword in Bleach. Its shikai form causes it to extend to 100 times normal length.
  • November 4, 2011
    Ashoka
    @Ghilz: "Pretty sure your Mahou Sensei Negima is missing some punctuation. Not even sure what it's trying to say. Is it even written in english? WTF is a pactio?" A pactio is a magical pact between a warrior and a mage, in which the mage supplies the warrior with mana and an item with special abilities. It's part of the series terminology, so I'd say it's legit.,
  • November 4, 2011
    Ashoka
    I honestly think this should be expanded to any kind of weapon meant for close combat, like Abarai Renji's Zabimaru and Anak Zahard's Green April. Also, I don't exactly know what is meant by one shot gag, a yonkoma, omake or a bonus chapter perhaps?
  • November 4, 2011
    Damr1990
    In Megaman Zero, Zero has access to the Triple rod, basically a spear that can be extended up to three times or can be used to bounce over enemies
  • November 5, 2011
    Ryuuma
    ^^ Yup, but with caution: for example, Renji's Zabimaru can extend because is a Whip Sword. Extendable weapons should be weapons that can grow longer without mechanical help, but only with magic.
  • November 6, 2011
    LaplacesKyton
    Robin, in both the Teen Titans animated show as well in the Arkham City video game.
  • November 6, 2011
    NoirGrimoir
    I think it would be funny if it was called Extendo Staff
  • November 6, 2011
    DaibhidC
    ^^ And in the comics, where it was given to him by Lady Shiva.
  • November 6, 2011
    AlexIDV
    I thought it was going to be about when an animation studio or whatever hires more people, and this affects the studio's works.
  • November 7, 2011
    dotchan
    Should we mention in the description that there's something very Freudian about a staff that can change its size at will?
  • November 7, 2011
    Irrisia
    Mahou Sensei Negima: Anime Chinese Girl Ku Fei's pactio item is a replica of the one used in Journey To The West called Shinchintetsu Jizaikon.

    Mahou Sensei Negima: Ku Fei's Pactio item, Shinchintetsu Jizaikon, is a replica of Son Goku's staff from Journey To The West

    ^That clearer for you?
  • November 10, 2011
    dokatron
    Didn't Monkey (in Monkey) use one of these?
  • November 10, 2011
    Damr1990
  • November 10, 2011
    pcw2727
    Robin in Arkham City
  • November 26, 2011
    TBeholder
    Telescopic Bludgeon?
  • November 27, 2011
    Cider
    I was pretty sure we already had collapsible staff, but apparently we don't. That said, retractable seems to already cover this.
  • November 28, 2011
    TBeholder
    Does this cover only staff-sized ones? Because clubs are essentially the same, only shorter. For example:

  • December 10, 2011
    Auxdarastrix
    Bump
  • December 19, 2011
    Arivne
    Tabletop RPG
    • Early editions of Dungeons And Dragons
      • The magic quarterstaff in Unearthed Arcana (1985). Normally 6 feet long, could be expanded up to 12 feet long.
  • December 19, 2011
    zarpaulus
  • January 3, 2012
    ArcadesSabboth
    From Simple Staff:

    In Naruto, Chouza Akimichi uses a staff in combat, and it changes size with him whenever he goes into Attack Of The Fifty Foot Whatever mode.

    The Rangers of Babylon 5 had the Minbari fighting pike for a primary melee weapon, which is essentially a collapsible staff that can extend so fast that one could be knocked out just by having an end of it hit you when telescoping.

    Ben from Lost prefers a telescopic baton (a homage to Y: The Last Man, whose writer also writes for Lost), but he's not above using a gun if it's handy.
  • February 19, 2012
    Catbert
    Bumping: Also, someone did an Extendable Weapon draft that could potentially be merged with this.
  • February 19, 2012
    Cider
    Yes, someone already did extendable weapon, and even then there was debate on whether or not it was distinct enough from Retractable Weapon or if it should just be made into a redirect. Redirects are free after all.

    If this was to stay up, I'd use the proper name, Sun Wukong, but I'm not really sure, since there aren't any examples that wouldn't already fit on the other page/possible second page.
  • February 19, 2012
    Catbert
    Retractable Weapon as it is written right now doesn't cover normal sized weapons expanding to unrealistic sizes. This and Extendable Weapon do.
  • February 19, 2012
    Catbert
    Retractable Weapon: Make it retractable, thus concealing it and possibly making it small enough to be stored without any problems.

    Extending Weapon: A weapon that extends far beyond the range that makes sense in reality.

    Not the same thing.
  • February 19, 2012
    Catbert
    Creating TRS thread to get clarification on issue.
  • February 22, 2012
    Raso
    Sorry I havent been around to update this.. been busy and forgot about it, If anyone wants to take it over go ahead.

    Up For Grabs
  • February 22, 2012
    pawsplay
    Expanding Staff sounds like a human resources trope.
  • February 22, 2012
    FaxModem1
    Gambit, from Xmen The Animated Series, had an expanding staff, it had nothing to do with his character nor his mutant power, he just had one.
  • February 22, 2012
    TomWalpertac2
    Webcomic example:

    • The Cyantian Chronicles: Darius is given one for his birthday.
  • February 25, 2012
    aurora369
    Raijin, a recurring enemy from Final Fantasy VIII, wields one of those.
  • February 25, 2012
    ZombieAladdin
    If swords count:

    Video Games: In Asuras Wrath, Augus has an extendable sword that's at least the distance from the Moon to the Earth's far side.
  • February 25, 2012
    Telcontar
    Does Ged's staff in A Wizard Of Earthsea count? He picks a blade of grass, speaks to it to expand it into a full sized wooden staff, and is able to skrink/grow it again.
  • February 25, 2012
    zarpaulus
    @ Tom Walpertac 2: I think The Cyantian Chronicles example might actually be more of a Morph Weapon
  • February 25, 2012
    zarpaulus
    • In Star Fox Adventures Krystal's staff collapses when Fox or Krystal puts it away and straps it to their back.
  • May 27, 2012
    wanderlustwarrior
    Bump.

    The TRS thread on Retractable Weapon was locked before anything was done, but this seems a specific enough subtrope and reference to Journey To The West to set up as a subtrope.

    OP mentioned this was Up For Grabs, so I'll take care of this in a bit.
  • May 27, 2012
    wanderlustwarrior
    Someone made a good point that Retractable Weapon is mainly for weapons that retract, anyway.
  • May 28, 2012
    DarkStorm
    Just to add an example or two before it goes live:

    Cheetara in the original Thundercats series used one, too, not just the reboot. Likewise Diana the Acrobat in the old Dungeons And Dragons cartoon.
  • June 2, 2012
    wanderlustwarrior
    Thank you.

    I'm out of my usual country right now, so I won't be able to respond too easily, but I do intend to catch up on this when I get back in 10 days. I will roll updates when I do though, so still, No Launching Please.
  • June 2, 2012
    Hertzyscowicz
    Webcomics:

    • Danzig from Flipside uses one of these.
  • June 2, 2012
    theharbo
    Can't forget Wukong from League Of Legends - being a largely sun-wukong inspired character.
  • June 2, 2012
    nameheregrrer
    • Although not a weapon, third edition Dn D had a collapseable pole in a sourcebook that could be extended to a ten-foot pole.
  • June 28, 2012
    wanderlustwarrior
  • June 29, 2012
    Arivne
    I reiterate the suggestion I made in November 2011: If the name were changed to include all weapons (e.g. Extendable Weapon or Extending Weapon) , not only would it get more examples but it would avoid Missing Supertrope Syndrome, which is generally considered a Good Thing.

    It wouldn't make any sense to have one trope for extending staffs and another for all other extending weapons.
  • June 29, 2012
    Desertopa
    Beisaru of Juathuur can use Word magic to change the dimensions of his staff, not only extending it to great lengths, but altering the thickness as well.
  • June 29, 2012
    Kelnius
    We Already have Retractable Weapon. This is Not A Trope.
  • June 29, 2012
    wanderlustwarrior
    The extending staffs are quite often a shout out to a specific work, and have been much more prevalent than any other kind of weapon. You can make the supertrope if you want, but this has gotten pretty long on its own.

    ^Please read the previous posts. These weapons aren't about retracting, for one.
  • June 29, 2012
    dotchan
    Point of order on Son Wukong's original Bo, it could change both length and girth instantly at will. (Paging Freud!)
  • June 29, 2012
    wanderlustwarrior
    Did I not include that in the description? Because most/many of these examples do that as well.

    Yep, I said "width", changing it to the proper term "girth". Also adding your joke.
  • July 1, 2012
    Ryuuma
    ^ Another less-known example from Journey To The West: Even if is not brought up as often, Sha Wujing's weapon in the novel is a special club made of mohogany wood and gold. According to him, it can stretch and enlarge at will just like Sun Wukong's "As You Will" Cudgel, but since he doesn't fight as much as him, this fact is often overlooked.
  • July 1, 2012
    Hadashi
    That guy from Read Or Die would make a good picture
  • July 5, 2012
    wanderlustwarrior
    Link or upload to that image, please.
  • July 12, 2012
    wanderlustwarrior
    Any other suggestions for trope image? Would anyone like to try to find that one?
  • December 9, 2012
    wanderlustwarrior
    Launching!
  • December 9, 2012
    StarSword
    Wait!

    Real Life:
    • There are several types of self-defense batons that expand from a small metal tube to a stiff rod approximately a foot-and-a-half long.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=9vanly9sq1j63uux0nfttfp1&trope=TelescopingStaff