A Thaumaturgic Staff serves as the 'Badge of Office' for a wizard in Western Thaumaturgic culture. In many cases, they often act as canes or walking aids for their users; but they are not simple mundane pieces of wood or metal. A Staff serves as a Practioner's primary focus, constantly absorbing and concentrating Magical power so that the wielder will readily have access to it. It can also serve as a kind of lightning rod through which to channel a Burst Spell, allowing the Thaumaturge in question to draw considerably more power from the surrounding area in a shorter length of time. The Staff can furthermore be used as a kind of concentrating lens for casting Magical spells so that the wielder can more easily produce Spells, with a much-reduced risk of said Spell malfunctioning. Some Thaumaturges, as a mark of their prowess, carry a simple mundane object resembling a staff, prefering to draw and cast Magic entirely by their own merits. Others, such as Anneliese, reject the use of a Staff because they do not wish to be associated with the established Thaumaturgic community. According to classical lore, a Thaumaturge's staff must be a reflection of his or her self for it to be used properly; either an object that somehow represents the individual practitioner carrying it or something with which they have a particularly close tie. For example, when Anneliese damages her leg, she is given a Victorian-era walking cane by Cassie which she turns into a Staff. Her closeness to Cassie, and the love between them which the object represents, serves as a link that fits with the classical proscriptions of Thaumaturgic lore.
The object which serves as a Practioner's Staff, even if it is not actually a cane or stick, is always referred to as his/her Staff. Some modern Thaumaturges, for the sake of anonymity, use mundane objects like hockey sticks or baseball bats rather than a distinctive, clasically-fashioned Staff. A proper Staff should be inscribed with charms and runes to properly form and channel energy, but said markings do not have to be visible to the naked eye. In older times, these sigils would be made as obvious as possible as a status symbol; in the modern day, however, this is often not advisable, if for no other reason than it would attract a lot of attention. Many staves have their inscriptions worked in silver, which is naturally attuned to Magical energy and can be fashioned to either conduct or nullify Thaumaturgic power depending on what the smith in question has in mind (some very high quality silver runes can even do both at the discretion of the sorcerer / sorceresss wielding the Staff).
It is not technically necessary to have a Staff that is in the general shape of a staff or stick; in theory, anything can be used for the purpose. However, such long and thin shapes are most ideal for channeling Magical energies through them (which must flow in the same manner as electricity). Thus it is very rare to find a Practioner whose Staff does not in some way resemble its namesake.
A Sceptre is a more specific derivative of the Staff. It is unknown when these were first fashioned, but Western Classical Thaumaturgic scripts - i.e. from the Greco-Roman period of history - make no mention of them, and they appear largely limited to Western culture. Sceptres are not nearly as common among the Thaumaturgical community as Staves, and are banned by many sects and organized practices of Magic. Sceptres can take a much more varied form than Staffs, but follow the same general rules of shape. They are inscribed with specific silver runes to make them purely offensive weapons; their sole purpose is to focus and channel Magical energies into destructive blasts, either raw or shaped. For example, Anneliese's Sceptre is an obsidian rod inscribed with bands of silver runes and inlaid with special, Thaumaturgically-attuned pearls. She normally uses it to fire blasts of pure Magical energy at her enemies, which can take a variety of forms and have a variety of effects - their manifestations and results depend entirely upon the thoughts running through the Practioner's head at the time of the projection, albiet within a limited scope. The other method of using a Sceptre is "shaped" projection: i.e. firing bolts of fire, lighting or plasma. Some Practioners prefer this method, as it allows them more control over the effects but requires more energy and concentration. A sceptre can be designed, through its runes, to optimize - or be entirely devoted to - one of the two methods.
Sceptres may be thought of as analogous to handguns in the Magical community. They are generally quite a bit smaller than a Staff and thus more easily concealed (although they do not have to be) - Anneliese's Sceptre being, for example, a baton about the length of her forearm which she hides in her coat, a 'sceptre' in the literal sense of the term. The advantage of a Sceptre is that it allows a Practitioner to produce a lethal blast of Magical power almost instantly with relatively little energy, as most of the energy for the attack will already be stored in the Sceptre and then quickly replenished. They are, however, as mentioned above, rather controversial items and are extremely limited in the scope of their utility. Attempts at creating Sceptres which are useful for a wider variety of castings have, historically, generally met with failure - with a few exceptions from extremely talented individuals. Another trick which has become much more common in the modern era, for the sake of anonymity and secrecy, is the creation of a Staff that resembles a Sceptre and can be easily hidden.