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Telescoping Staff

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"Is that a telescoping quarterstaff in your costume, Or Are You Just Happy to See Me?"

This Weapon of Choice is an expandable Staff (stick fighting weapon), able to change its length and/or girth (paging Dr. Freud!); possibly extending 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 Sun Wukong's (a.k.a. Son Goku) Expanding Bo-Staff from Journey to the West, especially in Eastern works. Expect Monkey King Lites to wield one as their weapon of choice.

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.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Dragon Ball: Goku's Nyoibou (dub-translated as Power Pole) is his principal weapon for most of the first series but largely disappears in Dragon Ball Z. The said first saga at this point was loosely based on Journey to the West, hence Son Goku's adventures. Adding into this is the fact that Goku's name and his staff (and cloud) have the exact name renderings as Sun Wukong himself, only in the Japanese on'yomi reading.
  • By proxy, in Saiyuki, another Sun Wukong/Son Goku interpretation has the same type of Nyoibou as well, which in chapters not seen in the anime explains that it was from a sealed jar as a cursed weapon which can repair itself in fine condition whenever its summoned. It can also turn into a sansetsukon (three-section staff) as well.
  • Tuxedo Mask has a cane that can do this. Sometimes it also has a sword in it too.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi: Ku Fei's pactio artifact, Shintetsu Jizaikon, is a replica of the one used in Journey to the West. It even supposedly shares the same name. Notably, its width can increase in proportion to its length, meaning that it can be used as a artillery because being stuck by the end of it when it's expanding is comparable to being hit by a train.
  • 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. Again, another Wukong/Goku reference.
  • Read or Die: A clone of Tripataka uses Sun Wukong's staff.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman:
    • Robin uses one across media, especially in Teen Titans (2003) and the Batman: Arkham City video game. In the comics proper, it was given to Tim Drake by Lady Shiva. She offered to train him to perfection in the weapon of his choice, and Tim picked the staff because it's non-lethal potential while the other Robins have different iconic weapons.
    • Stephanie Brown also uses one once she becomes Batgirl.
  • 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.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • As with Wukong "The Monkey King" himself, the staff was featured in The Forbidden Kingdom.
  • In Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Nuada's weapon of choice is a spear which can extend and retract, apparently by magic.
  • Donatello's bō is given this treatment in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014).
  • Saberstaffs in the Star Wars universe. Introduced with Darth Maul in the films, but more common in the games. Atton Rand comments about how they're known for "more slaughter per swing" and are favored by Dark Jedi and Sith, with the Jedi of the era seeing them as a sign the wielder is showing signs of falling. And in the first KOTOR game, that's certainly the case with Bastila. But come the Star Wars: The Old Republic era, they're the favored weapons of Sith assassins and Jedi Shadows (a sub-set of Consulars who focus on some of the less-pleasant missions of the Order). Oddly enough, they also work very well for Form Three/Soresu lightsaber combat, a form that is primarily defensive. (Shadows and Assassins can be tank-specced and Darth Zannah used the form to compensate for her petite build.) Which makes some sense, because two blades theoretically allow you to block twice as many attacks at a time.
  • The Monkey Goes West, a tetralogy of films made by Shaw Brothers based on Journey to the West, notably had Wukong using his iconic jingu bang in all four movies, which he uses to beat up various demons.
  • Light batons, system guard staves, and Rod weapons in the TRON universe. They're second only to DeadlyDiscs as weapons of choice. Quorra in TRON: Legacy uses a "light katana" as her primary weapon. In the Alternate Continuity of Tron 2.0, Mercury's weapon of choice is her lightcycle rod, which has been modified to include several weapon functions.
  • In The Avengers, Loki transforms his Chitauri scepter into a longer, bladed staff. He likely employs illusions to achieve this effect.

  • Journey to the West:
    • The Lancer Sun Wukong (a.k.a. Son Goku read in on'yomi), who possesses an expandable staff made out of Adamantine, known as the Ruyi Jingu Bang or Nyoi Kinko Bou (Compliant Gold-Rimmed Pole).
    • Another less-known example from Journey to the West: Even if it is not brought up as often, Sha Wujing's weapon in the novel is a special club made of mahogany wood and gold. According to him, it can stretch and enlarge at will just like Sun Wukong's staff, 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, he speaks to it to expand it into a full-sized wooden staff, and to suit this trope, it is able to shrink/grow it again.
  • A technological, rather than magical, telescoping staff appears as a weapon in Grand Central Arena. It's explicitly mentioned that the designer was inspired by Sun Wukong's staff.
  • The neo-Zulu in Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age wear telescoping spears.
  • In the third book of Rune Breaker, Pele gets a Steampunk version of this. In the final book, she jams it into a monster's mouth and activates it.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Babylon 5: The Rangers use a form of these although they go from the size of your palm to standard length. Also works as a medical scanner if you look at the end of it and give it a firm shake.
  • In 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.
  • Kamen Rider Kuuga's Dragon Rod would start as a short staff which would lengthen when deployed in battle.
  • Kamen Rider Saber has the Riyu Jingu Bang itself as part of the Saiyuu Journey Ride Wonder Book as a arm-mounted weapon, which is part of Saber's Crimson Dragon combo form.
  • Sara Lance/The Canary is trained by the League of Assassins and highly skilled at using this as her weapon of choice in Arrow; it can split into a pair of Eskrima sticks and doubles as a Bifurcated Weapon.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Early editions of 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 has a collapsible pole in a sourcebook that could be extended to a ten-foot pole.

    Video Games 
  • 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 against multiple, weak opponents.
  • Dynasty Warriors 6: the staff weapon will expand as you up your renbu meter.
    • Warriors Orochi 2 actually puts Sun Wukong/Son Goku himself in the cast with this staff.
    • Also, Hideyoshi's staff can extend as well as bend to pummel his enemies (with it being a sansetsukon). He IS nicknamed Monkey after all...
  • Raijin, a recurring enemy from Final Fantasy VIII, wields one of those.
  • Wukong and his weapon from League of Legends - appropriate, being a largely inspired by Sun Wukong/Son Goku.
  • 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.
  • Jade in Mortal Kombat has this as a part of her arsenal.
    • In Mortal Kombat X, Kitana uses Jade's staff (as well as her shuriken) as one of her variant fighting styles, aptly titled "Mourning".
  • In Persona 5, Ryuji’s penultimate weapon is the Ruyi Jingu Bang itself, the original telescoping staff, furthering his Monkey King Lite traits, which is made from itemizing Hanuman. In Royal, it gets a stronger variant called the Fine Ruyi Jingu Bang, which is made from itemizing Hanuman while a Fusion Alarm is sounding.
  • 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.
  • Nanase from Street Fighter EX uses a bō 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.
  • In Super Robot Wars Alpha 2, the RyuJinKi wields Sun Wukong's "Nyoi Kinkoubou" staff as its main weapon. Most notably it can drop a giant Kinkoubou from the sky to crush enemies, which then shrinks and flies back to its hand; its upgraded form in Alpha 3, Shin RyuKoOh, retains this attack.
  • Used a couple of times in Tales Series
    • In Tales of Xillia and Tales of Xillia 2 Leia Rolando uses staves and can elongate it upon a perfect dodge. In a variation, her staff doesn't elongate physically, but is enhanced with some kind of Hard Light-looking magic. Leia also uses the same power for her Arcane and Mystic artes.
    • In Tales of Arise Dohalim il Qaras has the same gimmick as Leia, but his staff elongates physically this time. His version also lets him to land more Critical Hits.
  • Kirby Star Allies introduces the Staff ability to the series, which gives Kirby a staff that can extend itself. It's yet another shout-out to Sun Wukong's staff, as the Staff ability's hat includes Sun's golden fillet.


    Western Animation 
  • Cheetara in both Thunder Cats series uses one.
  • Prince Pyrus from Shadow Raiders uses one in combat situations.
  • In the Dungeons & Dragons (1983) cartoon, Diana has one of these as her magic item. Another ability it has is an easy way to repair it if it breaks — she can do so simply by holding the pieces together, as she did in one episode.
  • The Serpent of Detentionaire uses one with dual blades.
  • Robin on Teen Titans (2003) has a telescoping bo staff in his tool belt.
  • Chat Noir in Miraculous Ladybug has a magic staff that can extend hundreds of times its length.

    Real Life 
  • A common prop for many a Stage Magician is the appearing cane, which expands to a full-size walking stick from the size of a roll of change.
  • There are a few collapsible staves you can purchase (one of which displayed here). That said, they're Awesome, but Impractical, since, as they're hollow inside, they're not useful as actual weapons.