This item is one I first saw in Lew Pulsipher's 1e campaign back in, oh, 1987.
When a Staff of Death is found it invariably has 9-13 charges and many believe they cannot be recharged. The Staff of Death is made of black wood and bound with black iron bands. It has no bonuses to hit but can hit creatures only struck by +3 weapons and makes all saving throws at +3. It has the following powers;
Cause Serious Wounds - 1 charge
Cause Critical Wounds - 2 charges
Harm - 5 charges
When activated the Staff is wreathed with a terrifying, unholy black nimbus. Once activated the wielder has 3 rounds to attempt to strike a target - if a successful hit is scored the target suffers all of the effects of the appropriate spell with no saving throw and then takes normal quarterstaff damage. If the strike misses or no attempt is made within 3 rounds the magic fades and the charges are wasted.