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Stat Sticks

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It's not easy being a Bare-Fisted Monk in Diablo III. note 

Stat sticks are weapons carried or equipped by a character primarily or solely for the statistics they give.

This happens when possessing a weapon gives bonuses to a character even if it is not used. In extreme cases, the weapon will provide these bonuses even when held by a character who cannot legally use it. If that sword gives additional MP to anyone who has it in their inventory, then why not give it to your mage? Your mage can't use the sword as a weapon, but he can certainly use the MP!

This also happens when weapons are used to house valuable types of inventory in such a way that more of that type can be carried with the weapon equipped than without. Your character may have the Diamond Sword in his inventory even though he never uses it, simply because it's a convenient place to store power diamonds. May also be used to clear stat requirements for Level-Locked Loot.


Can overlap with Informed Equipment, when you can't even see the items you've equipped. Contrast Ornamental Weapon, when your weapon truly has no use outside of looking pretty. When some of the weapons typically hit by this trope are used in combat, it's Boom Stick.


  • In World of Warcraft, this term refers to all weapons equipped by spellcasters and healers. In previous expansions, it also referred to any melee weapon equipped by a hunter or any ranged weapon equipped by a melee class until the Mists of Pandaria expansion removed the ranged weapon slot and turned guns, bows, and crossbows into two handed weapons, turned wands into main hand weapons, and removed throwing weapons from the game (warriors and rogues now have an infinite supply of basic throwing knives in their pockets for pulling instead).
    • This also somewhat inaccurately referred to the Relic class of item during the Cataclysm expansion. Although relics were not weapons, prior to Cataclysm every relic had a unique effect on one or more of the wielder's class abilities, such as raising the damage of a spell, adding a side effect, or increasing the area of effect, which made them a more dynamic tool than standard pieces of armor (the relic item slot also occupied the same spot on the character sheet as the ranged weapon slot for those classes that could equip ranged weapons) until Cataclysm replaced their unique effects with straightforward stat bonuses. Like throwing weapons, relics were removed from the game in the Mists of Pandaria expansion (although relics and throwing weapons in players' inventories were merely downgraded to unequippable Shop Fodder, which some players still hold on to out of sentiment).
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    • The Monk class introduced in Mists of Pandaria has most of their attacks consist of unarmed punches and kicks, while weapons reside on the monk's back and only get drawn for a weak "Jab" attack used to generate resources for everything else. A cosmetic glyph allows the monk to forego this as well and jab with their fists. A highly requested feature by monk players is to at least allow the display of fist weapons during unarmed attacks.
      • Also has been the case for feral Druids since practically forever, as they transform into bears or cats to fight. You don't even see their weapons.
  • Also done in Diablo III. As seen in the page's image, most of the Monk's weapons are cosmetic, leaving swords, maces, axes, etc. around his waist while still allowing them to provide the stat bonuses, including actual weapon damage.note  As the Wizard and the Witch Doctor classes are primarily reliant on spellcasting and have no incentive to use their weapons in melee, only the Barbarian and Demon Hunter actually are seen using the weapons that they have equipped. The Crusader, introduced in the Reaper of Souls expansion, is also surprisingly reluctant to swing his weapon around for an armored knight; while a melee build is possible, most of his attacks are based on casting holy magic from a distance.
    • Of notable mention, the Enchantress companion uses her free hand to cast most of her spells (and she wields a two-handed staff in her other hand) and the Demon Hunter can put her crossbows away to throw grenades, chakrams or bolas as a primary attack.
  • In Torchlight equipping two weapons of the same type doesn't increase the speed at which you fire them, so the offhand weapon becomes useful only for the stats and gemslots it provides you with.
    • In the sequel, Embermages are generally far stronger offensively with spells than with weapons, so weapons are often just used for applicable stat bonuses and any sockets they provide.
  • Certain items in Team Fortress 2 can be used to attack with, but the main draw are effects you either get when the item is out or just equipped. The Pain Train when used by the Soldier is the clearest example of this trope: the only difference between it and the Soldier's default shovel is that having equipped makes you take extra bullet damage but cap points faster. Since the shovel is almost useless to begin with, you'll probably never even take it out when you have it.
  • Dragon Age: Origins has this trope in the case of dual-wielding backstab rogues. Normally dual-wielding attacks alternate hands, so both weapons are equally important. However, rogues only ever backstab with their right-hand weapon; their left-hand weapon can therefore be used as a Stat Stick.
  • This is the idea behind Chefstaves in Kingdom of Loathing. Since Mysticality classes attack using spells, attack power is useless to them; Mysticality related enchantments are much more important. Most utensils are weaker than other weapons while increasing Mysticality or spell damage, but the Chefstaves exemplify it. They all have the same power as the starting weapons, but they provide great percentile spell damage increases, as well as 2-3 of the following: MP regeneration, bonus power to certain elemental spells, direct and/or percentile Mysticality increases. Of course, KoL is unusual for an online game in that a weapon's power doesn't act as a limiting factor to the damage you can do with it, so the trope's only intended. As you level up your Muscle stat, it's eventually possible to hit powerful enemies with a Chefstave about as effectively as with an axe, even though the game keeps reminding you that you're really not using the Chefstave to its full potential.
  • Slight variant in Flyff: Billposters carry sticks around, since Assist buffs can only be used with a stick equipped. Thus, if one can afford it and has money to spare, there is no reason not to get one that gives additional MP or INT while it's equipped.
  • Mabinogi allows player characters to apply enchantments to their equipment, allowing you to make weapons that increase your intelligence or MP scores to make you a slightly better spellcaster. Wands, however, can make a kind of double-inversion: they're intended for use in spellcasting, but they're... acceptable for hitting things with. But you can use them as a weapon, combined with their meditate-while-running attribute (drastically increase MP regeneration) and Mana Shield (absorb damage as MP damage), to make a low damage output blood tank.
  • Vindictus:
    • Magic-user Evie starts out only wearing cloth; and building sufficient skills for even light armour is difficult and time-consuming. Since she relies primarily on innate magic armour to avoid being a Squishy Wizard, any armour that she does wear is almost entirely for the stat boosts.
    • Also, as of the Labyrinth expansion, Staff Evies can no longer use their staffs for melee, only for magic, making their staffs essentially this.
  • Demon's Souls and the Dark Souls series let you equip a weapon or shield in each hand. Pushing the Y/Triangle button lets you wield whatever is in your right hand with both hands for extra damage while whatever is in your left hand Sticks to the Back. Some weapons/shields aren't very effective as weapons or shields but provide passive bonuses when equipped, so they'll just end up sitting idly in your left hand or on your back.
    • Demon's Souls:
      • You can upgrade any normal weapon to "Blessed", which makes it weaker but gives it a passive HP regeneration effect, or "Crescent", which does the same but for MP regeneration. Turning a sufficiently light weapon such as a dagger into one of these essentially gives you a HP or MP regeneration ring that you wear on your back. This lets you use a valuable ring slot that would have been taken up by the actual ring for something else instead, or you can wear the ring anyway and have the effects stack.
      • The Kris Blade makes you both deal and take more Magic damage. It's actually a decently strong weapon for a mage, as it does almost entirely Magic damage and has S scaling with Magic, but since mages tend to rely primarily on blasting things with spells from a distance rather than getting up close, it's rarely used to hit things and mostly used for its passive effect.
      • The Morion Blade gives you a massive boost to damage when you are at low health. Despite its description saying that this buff only applies to the Morion Blade itself, it actually applies to all damage you do. It also stacks with the Clever Rat's Ring, which provides the same effect. A low-health character with the ring equipped and the Morion Blade on their back can dish out some serious pain.
      • The Large Sword of Searching has a Random Drop Booster effect. You better get used to seeing this glued to your back if you want those rare upgrade materials to drop.
      • The Adjudicator's Shield is the only greatshield that doesn't block 100% of Physical damage, and does jack shit against Fire damage (it's made of wood after all). However, it has a substantial HP regeneration effect, even better than a Blessed weapon, and it's as light as some medium shields.
    • Dark Souls I: The almighty Grass Crest Shield increases stamina regeneration speed. 99.9% of all players have this shield practically fused to their back at the molecular level. The remaining 0.1% are new to the game and don't know what they're doing yet. There are other weapons and shields in the game that provide passive effects, however they're either perfectly good on their own without the effect and thus don't count as stat sticks, or their effect isn't very good so nobody uses them at all.
    • Dark Souls II:
      • In an effort to introduce some variety into the game, the developers thought to put in two shields that both have the Grass Crest Shield's effect from the first game: the Blossom Kite Shield and the Slumbering Dragon Shield. However, the Blossom Kite Shield is half a pound lighter, so it tends to be the one that gets used, if the player even decides to use either one at all. Not only is the effect on these two shields much weaker than the Grass Crest's was, but this game increased the number of rings you could equip from 2 to 4, meaning that it became more viable to just use the Chloranthy Ring for stamina regen since its effect is much stronger.
      • The Watchdragon Parma is another Random Drop Booster that you'll be wearing primarily on your back.
      • The Handmaid's Ladle increases Vitality and Endurance by 1 and Adaptability by 2, and the Work Hook increases Dexterity by 5. On a normal playthrough, these bonuses are as laughably useless as the weapons themselves. However, on a Soul Level 1 run, they are absolutely invaluable, and you'll be swapping between the two in your offhand near-constantly.
      • In general, the game has less stat-stickery than the others, since it's the only game in the series where Dual Wielding is effectively implemented, so you can actually use a weapon in your offhand. In the first game it was effectively absent, while in the third it's limited to "paired" weapons which are simply right-hand weapons that become dual-wielded when two-handed normally (leaving the left hand free for a stat stick). Therefore, players of this game may want to take advantage of this unique mechanic that isn't available in the other games.
    • Dark Souls III:
      • Like in Demon's Souls, you can give normal weapons a HP or MP regeneration effect. While Blessed is still called Blessed, Crescent is now called Simple, and the game accuses people who upgrade their weapons this way of being simpletons who can't beat the game without automatically regenerating MP. The effects also aren't nearly as strong as they were in Demon's Souls.
      • The Grass Crest Shield itself makes a return, though general consensus is that stamina in this game regenerates fast enough on its own and doesn't really need anything to help it. Plus, there's still 4 ring slots, so the Chloranthy Ring is the better option for those who must have faster stamina regen. There are still die-hards who stick with the Grass Crest though, probably more for the nostalgia factor than anything else since it was such an iconic piece of equipment in the first game.
      • The Crystal Sage's Rapier is a decent weapon for an Intelligence build with sufficient Dexterity, but for everyone else it's just a Random Drop Booster that you wear on your back. It's especially useful in this regard since it's available very early on, while the Covetous Gold Serpent Ring isn't available until much later. Even once you get the ring, the effects stack, so you're still probably going to use it when item farming anyway.
      • The Shield of Want and Mendicant's Staff both increase the amount of souls gained from killing enemies. While the former is actually a pretty good shield, almost nobody who has any clue what they're doing in these games ever uses shields except for parrying (which this shield can't do), so it gets stuck to the back anyway. The latter sees very little use either as a staff or stat stick because of how rare it is to drop.
      • The Scholar's Candlestick boosts the strength of sorceries, but has a requirement of 16 Faith to effectively use as a weapon. No sorcerer with half a brain should ever be putting even a single point into Faith since sorceries scale entirely off Intelligence (unless you plan to use Dark sorceries which require an equal amount of Intelligence and Faith). Plus, even if you did meet the Faith requirement, it's a dagger, so it's not going to be a very strong weapon anyway.
      • The Old Wolf Curved Sword gives you the effects of both Pontiff's Left Eye and Right Eye rings at the same time, except stronger, and if you wear those rings along with it, the effects stack. If you plan on using one of both of those rings, get yourself an Old Wolf Curved Sword to wear on your back along with them.
      • The Morion Blade returns from Demon's Souls, though its effect is weaker.
      • The Ancient Dragon Greatshield is the Adjudicator's Shield from Demon's Souls with a new paint job. Again, the HP regen effect is much weaker than it was in Demon's Souls, though at least it's a bit better at blocking Fire damage than the Adjudicator's Shield was.
      • The Witchtree Branch sorcery staff and Saint-Tree Bellvine miracle chime both give you maximum spellcasting speed, but are the weakest casting tools in the game. Despite their descriptions making it sound as though you only have increased speed when casting from those particular tools, it will still apply when casting from a stronger tool in your other hand. The Bellvine's much lighter weight makes it the superior stat stick out of the two, even for sorcerers who lack the Faith to cast from it even if they wanted to.
  • Elden Ring, the Spiritual Successor to the Souls games, is mostly absent of this due to both the reintroduction of proper Dual Wielding, and most weapons not even having passive effects in the first place (most of them are on armor pieces now). However, a few examples still snuck their way in.
    • The ever-popular Grass Crest Shield returns in the form of the Great Turtle Shell, which as its name implies, is literally a turtle shell you use as a shield, lampshading how you're likely to leave it stuck to your back. It's relatively useful as a shield because it comes with the Barricade Shield skill—until you get the relevant Ash of War, then you can just stick that skill on a better shield.
    • The Icon Shield is the newest iteration of the Adjudicator's Shield, providing health regeneration.
    • Like the Witchtree Branch and Saint-Tree Bellvine from Dark Souls III, Azur's Glintstone Staff increases casting speed (though unlike its predecessors, it won't automatically get you to the maximum by itself), even when casting from a stronger tool in your other hand.
    • Most casting tools in the game grant a passive 20% damage bonus to a specific type of spell. This bonus still applies when casting from a numerically stronger casting tool in your other hand.
    • Though they aren't passive buffs, many Ashes of War give weapons Skills that are basically spells you cast with the weapon (but without stat requirements besides the weapon's). Offensive spells at least scale with the upgrade level of the equip weapon, but status buff generally don't. Many players will keep a very light weapon such as a Dagger equipped solely for "casting" these skills.
  • Final Fantasy IV: Is it more effective for Rosa and Rydia to equip bows and whips respectively so they can cause decent physical damage between spells? Or is it better for them to use staves and rods to improve their magic? Especially prominent in the DS remake where it is an entirely valid strategy to have Rosa constantly Pray when she is not casting, giving both her and Rydia an unlimited amount of MP.
  • This is often recommended for Final Fantasy VI for characters whose effectiveness is not dependent on their basic physical attacks (which is most of them); why does Sabin need the weapon with the highest physical attack power (in the GBA version, the Godhand) when his best skills are all powered by his Magic stat (raised by Tiger Fangs but NOT the Godhand), for instance?
  • Final Fantasy X: Lulu's puppets. Her only use for the attack command is amusement. Yuna doesn't even have the amusement factor. Unless you give them Stonestrike or Deathstrike weapons, or grind their user's Attack stat. In fact, their Celestial weapons are designed with this trope in mind: both grant One MP Cost to their users (each spell costs one MP) and Lulu's also gets Magic Booster (doubling MP cost to whooping 2 MP while giving spells +50% efficiency), explicitly gearing them towards the use of magic.
  • Final Fantasy XI has a number of these, but the most famous of them are the eight level 51 elemental staves. Each of them has a number of significant stat boosts themed around its element (for example, the Fire Staff boosts Attack and the Wind Staff boosts Evasion), as well as far-more-important hidden effects that increase the potency and accuracy of spells of its element at the expense of the same for the element that it beats. Eventually, Squenix implemented an "all-in-one" version created by fusing them all together to spare people's straining inventories.
    • There is also the ammo slot for any weapon that doesn't use ammo. Most players stick a throwing item that gives minor stat buffs into this slot but there was always a risk of the player throwing said item at the enemy and losing it. This was eventually acknowledged by the developers who removed the ability to throw the most popular ones and starting adding unthrowable items specifically for this slot.
    • There was also a period of time where it was common for Dual Wielding classes to equip a weapon in their second weapon slot that has a chance of hitting multiple times per attack rather than a weapon which does high damage. Due to the way Weapon Skills work in this game this allowed the player to crank out Weapon Skills (which primarily base their damage on your main hand weapon anyway) at a much faster rate.
      • This is still done by anyone rich enough or lucky enough to get their hands on a Kraken Club...because there's still nothing that can beat it for sheer TP gain.
    • Archery has been completely abandoned in the meta for years, but the Ambuscade bow Ullr is the best-in-slot option for Accuracy, Magic Accuracy, STR, DEX, and AGI among the nine jobsnote  that can equip it. Of those nine, only a Ranger would be shooting instead of meleeing anyway.
    • The briefly popular Footwork set up on Monk turned their fist weapon into this. The fist weapon was only there to grant multihitting to the player's kick attacks. Good luck getting the weapon needed for this though...
  • In Final Fantasy XII:Zodiac Age it is good idea to give Wyrmhero Blade (which can be obtained rather soon from Trial Mode in this version of the game) to your Black Mage, as it comes with permanent Faith status (which raises damage of spells), it is one of few weapons that does not need license, so it can be equipped by anyone independently of their job and attacking with the weapon itself has the longest charge time by far, but that has no impact on charge times of those Scathe spells your Black Mage will be casting anyways.
  • Final Fantasy XIII temporarily does this to some of the characters, whose primary attack is disabled while they're locked into one-to-three classes, some of which don't ever attack physically directly. This trope ends, at least technically, around the halfway mark, when all classes are unlocked for all characters. Even though Hope, for example, can attack physically, he really shouldn't be.
    • This gets played up later as you find weaker weapons with added effects, such as making debuffs more successful or boosting your healing skills, making their abilities more worthwhile than their lackluster stats.
    • Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII continues the trend. Each Schemata has its own individual weapon, even if that Schema doesn't even possess any attacks. A Schema with the Ghostly or Preta Hood accessories will likely carry around a BFS not for actually attacking, but because it gives an HP boost.
  • Averted in Final Fantasy XIV thanks to some pretty fantastic character animations. Spellcasters are seen holding up their staves/wands/whatever and clearly casting spells from them. Monks use fist weapons and clearly strike enemies with them.
  • Final Fantasy Tactics has some early-game daggers and swords that increase your Magic Power stat by one. Doesn't sound too great, but when 10 is considered a fairly high magic stat and most early-game staves and rods don't increase it...
  • In Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light, since your Black Mage will usually be hurling basic-level blasty spells at your enemies and have a Strength penalty anyway, they might as well carry something that grants a massive Magical Attack. The same is true of the White Mage, only with healing spells instead of fireballs and ice blasts.
  • In Fire Emblem: Thracia 776, there is the King Sword, a special sword that has 13 might, 70 hit, 20 critical, and has a Brave effect and the Charm skill. While a powerful sword, its Charm skill makes it a very powerful support booster. It is held by Perne but it is often in the hands of Leif since he has a lot of support partners and Charm stacks with it.
  • In Fire Emblem: Awakening, the Faire skills buff Strength by 5 whenever they equip the weapon type of that Faire. However, it will increase magic instead if they are wielding a magic weapon. Since every weapon type, save Bowfaire, has at least one staff-wielding class (Trickster with Swordfaire, Falcon Knight with Lancefaire, War Monk/Cleric with Axefaire, and Sage and Valkyrie with Tomefaire) and staves aren't "equipped", they can improve their healing capability and extend their staff range from holding unto the magic weapon. This is no longer possible in Fire Emblem Fates, which only increases the damage output of the type and not buff the stat itself.
  • Persona 4 has a few characters who generally resort to this. Yukiko is both The Medic and an offensive Fire mage so rarely finds herself using her basic attack. Fittingly, her weapons are paper fans so this trope is mostly justified. The stranger case is Naoto, who is primarily a magic user despite her weapons being revolvers, so even guns end up being used for this. Teddie's claws sometimes fill this role too, as he's mostly used for his Status Buff skills and Ice magic.
  • Persona 5 falls into the trappings of this trope with weaponry, but the guns suffer more from it. Because your gun ammo is limited and only replenishes after you leave the dungeon, basic gun attacks would be used almost exclusively for easy knockdowns. Gun stats are also almost irrelevant when you begin using Gun skills with increasing frequency, and you're expected to almost never use your basic attacks during a boss fight. By the endgame, it's not unusual if the only guns that matter to you are the ones that give the most relevant stat bonuses. Royal downplays this trope by refilling your ammo each battle, making basic gunfire more accessible across random battles.
  • Angband has a weapon type specifically designed to do this—the Defender.
  • In Dungeons & Dragons 3.5ed most weapon enchantments provide bonuses and special abilities specifically for the action of swinging the weapon. But a few such as Defending, Warning, or Eager apply as long as you are wielding the weapon. This is easily abused by applying them to Armor Spikes, which are technically always wielded while still leaving your hands free (or leaving your weapons free for actual weapon enchantments). In fact, it's common for spellcasters to get armor solely so they can apply weapon enchantments to armor spikes. This applies even moreso in the case of shuriken, which, despite being weapons, are far cheaper (to compensate for them being designed for throwing), meaning one can stack very expensive enchantments on them for relatively low prices.
    • The infamous Nightsticks provide their benefit as long you possesses them, even if you aren't holding them. Theoretically, you could have an entire vault of Nightsticks somewhere and keep the benefits while out adventuring.
    • Dungeons & Dragons: 4th edition has implements. The non-magical versions are only useful if you have some special feature or ability that gives benefit for using them (as general implements provide no bonuses.) Otherwise, they're only useful for the enhancement bonus for more accuracy or damage. 4th edition also subverts it with an optional automatic enhancement bonus rule, which makes magic items only useful for the powers they give rather than through statistical benefit.
  • Dungeons & Dragons Online does oppositely. Wizards, sorcerers, and occasionally other caster types will usually run around holding two scepters just for the passive bonuses to spells, at the cost of making melee attacks inaccurate and weak. High-level crafting (like the highly customizable greensteel) can also make weapons with fantastic passive bonuses.
  • Ancient Domains of Mystery's Sword of Nonnak is a slightly above-average sword (can't be upgraded through blacksmithing, though), but for mages it's a viable choice for even a late-game weapon, as +5 Willpower is very handy for a spellcaster, and immunity to cold and death attacks is always nice.
  • This will happen to you in Disgaea games when you start creating high-powered gear in the post-game. A high-leveled, high-tier sword will still give huge, HUGE boosts to intelligence, meaning that if you want to train a low-level spellcaster, give her a really awesome sword and watch her destroy absolutely everything. From the third game onward, Magichange lets you turn your high-leveled monster into one.
  • Tales of Symphonia:
    • Genis Sage fights with a Kendama, a Japanese children's toy. It enhances his magic power, and he mentions that having something to focus on helps him concentrate on spellcasting in combat. He can hit things with it, but... there's a good reason he mostly uses magic.
    • His sister, Raine, is a through-and-through White Mage, who holds onto a staff to enhance her magic (and thus, healing) powers... except she's an aversion, since she's apt to run onto the frontlines and beat people up with it. She's not too bad at it, either, due to her Ex Sphere. Raine can even be seen smacking the hell out of several armed solders with just her staff in the opening.
  • In Dragon Quest IX, wands do very little damage, but, if you buff your wand skills, your magic using classes gain huge bonuses to Mana. This is essential for the Squishy Wizard classes.
  • Mario Kart Wii, a racing game, has the lightning cloud. Normally, its only use as a weapon is to pass it on to someone else so that they get zapped with it... but your speed increases slightly while you hold it, and your speed when off-road isn't reduced, meaning the best strategy is to not use it as a weapon for as long as possible and then pass it off at the last second.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic:
    • The iconic lightsaber becomes this for the Sage and the Sorceror combat styles. Since both combat styles are based on using ranged Force Powers, you quickly lose the need to use the two lightsaber attacks available to you.
    • The Powertech specialization has no special attacks that use their blaster pistol: they all involve weapons attached to their armor or pulled out of Hammerspace.
  • If you have the luck to find a bow (or crossbow) that enhances statistics rather than the weapon itself, they can become this in the endgame of Might and Magic VI and VII — due to how the combat and inventory system works, blasters always take precedence when it comes to attacks, but stat-enhancing enchantments only requires you to carry the weapon, not actually use it.
  • Rogue Legacy: Swords for the Dragon class, since their only attack is magical. Can also be the case for Archmages if you have enough mana / Siphon to be able to rely largely on spells.
  • The Legend System allows players to design mundane weapons by choosing three properties from a list. Some aspects of these rules lend themselves to Stat Sticks:
    • Defensive weapon properties function as long as the weapon is wielded. Natural Weapons always count as wielded, making them ideal for carrying defensive properties while you do your actual attacking with something else.
    • A weapon with the [Arcane] property doesn't gain increased accuracy from being enchanted, and can't benefit from certain properties like damage bonuses; instead these are transferred to any magical attacks made by the wielder.
  • In Planescape: Torment, reaching the specialization levels (7 and 12) in your primary class allows you to buy unique weapons from Coaxmetal in the Lower Ward. For a mage, these weapons are the Runeblade and Karlaac's Knife. The former gives 50% magic resistance, while the latter allows memorizing twice the amount of first-level spells you normally can. Both are utterly useless in melee due to lack of Enchantment (which nearly all later enemies require to be hurt), low damage, and in case of Runeblade - deliberately terrible accuracy.
  • Appears in Dungeon Crawl in two forms. Magic staffs can be used as weapons, but their accuracy and damage ratings are based on the user's skill with the magic school they enhance and can't be improved with scrolls of enchantment. Thus, by the time they could be used as a decent weapon they are nearly useless compared to magic. Casters will also frequently equip randomly-generated artifact weapons with useful properties even if they never attack with them.
  • Path of Exile:
    • Spell damage has no relation to weapon damage, so casters will usually use wands (which increase spell damage), scepters (which increase elemental damage), or daggers (which increase the Critical Hit chance for all attacks made while equipped). These weapons can also generate with modifiers to increase spell damage, mana, cast speed, or spell critical chance.
    • There was a point in time where this trope was used to full effect for physical attackers. Prior to changes to dual wielding, it was possible to use an attack skill with only your main hand, so you can have a powerful weapon in one hand and a Stat Stick in another, such as Prismatic Eclipse, which can give a a ton of global attack speed but has awful base damage. At one point, the best melee builds most often used a weapon with multiple "% of physical damage added as [element]" on the off-hand and used skills that only attacked with the main hand.
    • Minion-based characters will frequently use one of the unique weapons like the The Queen's Decree unique greatsword, since these are the only weapons that have an impact on minion skills.
  • Force weapons in Phantasy Star Online are usually this, seeing as the strength boosts for canes, rods, wands and cards are very low and some increase magical strength. Oddly enough, even the most common rare weapons are staples for Forces since they'll usually boost a specific technique's power more than some of the higher end weapons, making weapons for them more crucial that Hunters who rely on weapons.
  • Forces in Phantasy Star Online 2 are similar to their predecessors, as Rods have low striking attack stats but high technique attack. A more explicit example, however, is the Summoner's Takts, batons they use to direct their Pets. Even the highest-tier ones inflict little more than Scratch Damage directly, so they exist entirely to impart abilities on the wielder.
    • Despite the seeming attempt to allow for a variety of builds, Mags suffer from the problem that there's no reason not to just 100% prioritize them in your main class's primary offensive stat to serve as this trope. Trying to multi-stat a mag destroys its efficiency, and the defensive stats are all but worthless in a game where every player is a Glass Cannon anyway. Of course, this also means that you'll want to pay for more mags if you're going to use multiple classes and not just use alt characters instead.
      • Alleviated somewhat with the scion classes, As Hero, Etoile and Luster have an innate skill that spreads a Mag's attacking stats evenly (200 points invested anywhere along M-Atk, R-Atk and T-Atk equates to 200 points in all 3) allowing players to effectively play these classes regardless of the attack spread on their mag. That being said it still only applies to the 3 main attack stats, with any other investment being a waste (except Dexterity, if playing Braver, Bouncer or Phantom).
  • In many MOBAs such as Defense of the Ancients and League of Legends, characters can hold a certain amount of items in generic slots with zero restrictions on who can hold what, and benefit stackingly from these items even if it makes no logical sense (Although for balancing reasons shoes and certain modifiers tend to be an exception). This can lead to such ridiculousness as a Stripperific character wearing two full sets of heavy armor at the same time, a swordsman using a crossbow, an axeman carrying four swords at once, or an archer triple-wielding swords, while their attack animation remains unchanged.
    • Defense of the Ancients also has LITERAL stat sticks in the form of Iron Branches, cheap items which for some reason give 1 to all stats when equipped. They're usually bought at the start of the game solely for the early game then sold later.
  • Warcraft III: Heroes don't have individual weapons, so whatever the weapon's effect is always applied to the hero, no matter how many there are. Many custom maps put in a limiting system for RPGs.
  • In Mass Effect 3, you can get Power Enhancer upgrades for pistols and SMGs, which can turn them into this - especially if the weapon in question has low weight and as such little effect on your cooldowns. After a certain number of intel upgrades for your cooldown speed, your guns start existing solely to buff your Sentinel/Adept/Engineer/Vanguard Shepard's biotic attacks, tech blasts, or in the case of the Sentinel, both - you can rip through everything with your powers, and they recharge extremely quickly.
  • Lord of the Rings Online has several classes that can use a bow. However, unless you're a Hunter, the bow's damage is irrelevant 99.9% of the time, as it will only be used for the passive bonuses and the occasional pull. So, Guardians, Champions and Beornings will be looking at bows *only* for the passive stat bonuses. Ironically enough, Hunters will almost never be looking at using these same bows from levels 45 and up, as they will be using their Legendary Bows instead.
  • The Wakfu MMORPG treats basically all weapons like this. Players' main form of offense are their character spells, which generally do more damage per AP cost than any weapon of the same level. Even considering elemental resistances and weaknesses, you're probably better off spending a turn using spells to set up for future turns or to buff your allies for their turns. Weapons give some useful stat bonuses, such as elemental damage bonuses, extra Control, extra range, and extra AP at higher levels, but those bonuses are largely the only reason players even bother. Choosing between crafting "Close Combat," "Area of Effect," and "Ranged" weapons mostly depends on which type usually gives you the stats you want rather than how the weapons themselves are used.
  • The Torn Notebook and Burnt Pan in Undertale become this in a Pacifist Run. Since you won't be attacking monsters with them, they're largely equipped for their special buffs: the Notebook extends your Mercy Invincibility, while the Pan makes food heal an extra 4 HP.
  • In Dungeon Fighter Online, The Creator class is best equipped with the Broomstick weapons, despite not using their equipped weapons to actually attack.
    • A lesser example is the Launcher specialization of the Gunner classes, which is best equipped with the Hand Cannon category guns. Said weapons are rarely used by a Launcher character, as they tend to only use their abilities, the majority of which do not utilize the characters' equipped weapon.
  • Earthbound for the most part averts this since characters are not seen using their weapons during battle, and for detail, the "attack" command depends on the type of weapon equipped (Bash for melee weapons, shoot for ranged weapons). Equip a baseball bat and Bash someone? Equip a gun and shoot someone? Makes perfect sense. Then this trope applies once you get Poo's only equippable weapon in the game: the Sword Of Kings. Equip it, and... it will still say Bash, making it seem as if he doesn't even use the sword.
    • The Casey's Bat is a solid example, as it gives an amazing attack bonus of 125 (about twice that of Ness's penultimate weapon) but only has 25% accuracy (referencing Casey at the Bat). Since instant wins are dictated by your attack stat, however, it makes your party get them against higher-level enemies they'd normally have to battle, allowing for quick EXP farming as well as making it much faster to get Ultra-Rare Drops like the Sword of Kings from Starmen Supers.
    • Paula's ultimate weapon, and arguably her penultimate weapon as well. Both provide a solid attack boost but the main draw of them is the guts boost, which makes it more likely for Paula's melee attacks to crit and, more importantly, increases the odds of her surviving a lethal blow with 1hp.
  • Borderlands 2 has Miss Moxxi's weapons, most notably the Rubi. While not useless on their own, any damage you deal while holding them will heal you for a percentage, including melee, grenade, and elemental damage. This is especially useful on melee-oriented characters like Zer0 or Krieg, as well as on Salvador, who can use two weapons, one that deals damage, and the Rubi to keep his health up. This also works well with a Cataclysm-specced Maya, who uses skills like Helios and Ruin to add a lot of elemental damage to her Phaselock skill.
  • Weapons with burning or freezing properties in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild can be used as regular weapons to attack enemies with (and, in fact, can one-shot enemies of the opposing type), but many players carry them around as a means of helping with temperature regulation in certain environments. Equipping a Fire Rod or Flame weapon offers a level of protection in cold or snowy regions, while Ice Rods and Frost weapons can help with withstanding the heat of the Gerudo Desert during the day (but not Death Mountain, which averts Convection, Schmonvection and just sets you on fire without the proper precautions).
  • The Artillery Saber from West of Loathing grants bonus pistol damage while doing negligible melee damage. The reasoning being that everyone in the army had to have both Sword and Gun, even if they were better gunfighters than fencers-or, as the name suggests, manning a cannon battery. Likewise, the Runed Pistol does very little damage itself but buffs spell damage, since someone etched those runes everywhere. Even inside of it.
  • The Marauder class in Warhammer Online uses two one-handed weapons, but basically never shows the offhand one, replacing it with a horrible mutated limb.
  • Titan Quest:
    • Player characters can use spells as their primary form of attack (i.e., elemental magic or Summon Magic). In such cases, the player character will likely equip a weapon that gives bonus stats to their spell instead of attacking directly with it.
    • On higher difficulty levels, the player's resistances take a nosedive, requiring the player to find equipment that has the right resistances for the next boss. It's common to equip a weapon not because of how much damage it dishes out but because it has a juicy +100% resistance to Lightning damage.
  • Fable I: The Frying Pan is a Lethal Joke Item thanks to its unmatched number of augment slots, which let a magic-focused character load up with enough Mana Augmentations that their Will energy regenerates as quickly as it can be used.
  • Warframe: Gara, Khora and Atlas have abilities whose power is affected by their melee weapon's equipped mods, but not its base stats. Weapons that are themselves mediocre but have access to unique damage-boosting mods, built for raw damage over usability, are thus favored to make those attacks as strong as possible.
  • Grim Dawn has caster off-hands, tomes and similar items equipped in the off-hand slot in lieu of a shield or second weapon. All varieties give bonuses to a magical damage type and skill cooldown reduction. Caster weapons (daggers and scepters) blur the line with Elemental Weapon since they also inflict magical damage with regular attacks.
  • Star Ocean
    • Mages in this series are pretty much never expected to use physical attacks, so players look for weapons that directly boost magic damage. From the third game onward, the ability to customize equipment has prompted players to load up mages with equipment factors that directly increase the magic stat or elemental damage.
    • Part of the reason that Noel in the second game and Ronyx in the remake of the first game are considered subpar is because they don't have good stat sticks. Noel's weapons typically give lower magic boosts than others, and none of them give additional bonuses like MP-cost reduction or MP regeneration that the other mages get. Ronyx's weapons don't improve his magic stat at all which, combined with bows having their range and attack speed badly nerfed in the remake, prevents him from fully enjoying the Balance Buff the other mages were given.
  • Tales From My D&D Campaign: One of the enchanted tomes Draven finds in the Ginaron library is technically a "+0 shield". That is, it occupies the shield "slot" and must be held to use, but it does not actually boost Draven's AC. It does grant some other useful bonuses, so Draven decides to hang onto it.
  • In The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, weapons can have "Constant Effect" enchantments (unlike later games in the series where weapon enchantments take effect "on strike" only). As long as it is equipped, even if you are not actively wielding it, you get the enchantment bonus. A prime example is the short blade Keening, one of the Tools of Kagrenac and an essential item in completing the main quest. Among its several enchantments is a buff to your maximum Magicka, making it particularly useful for magic-oriented characters who otherwise may not even use a weapon. You can also enchant custom weapons with similar effects.
  • Grow Castle: E-grade equipment can grant bonuses to global skills if any active hero holds it. If the equipment is otherwise unremarkable, it's common to give it to noncombatants like the Military Band, or the Defender.

Alternative Title(s): Stat Stick