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Spellbooks & Scrolls Variant Rules



 

Despite all of the potent magical items and devices accumulated during a wizard’s lifetime, the spellbook, their unique collection of spells, remains their most prized possession. Not only demonstrative of their personal power, spellbooks also reflect the individual personality of their covetous owners. Appearing in a variety of shapes, sizes and materials, spellbooks boldly proclaim their author’s intentions and ambitions. The stretched humanoid skin covering a necromancer’s foul smelling spellbook offers a sharp contrast to a gnome illusionist’s colorful leather bound collection of spells. Bindings, page materials, varieties of ink and multitudes of different spells ensure that no two spellbooks are exactly alike.

Scrolls, on the other hand, do not betray their owner’s disposition as readily as a spellbook. Devoid of an outside binding, scrolls instead reveal their author’s demeanor through their cases, small tubular devices used to store them. Carved from a variety of diverse materials, individual spellcasters uniquely brand these storage containers in a personalized manner ranging from an intricate monogram to a heraldic symbol. Unlike spellbooks, scrolls serve as a shared medium for a variety of different spellcasters, both arcane and divine. Easier to create and far less expensive than similar permanent magic items, scrolls provide an inexpensive and reliable alternative to rods, staffs and wands. Among spellcasters, their low cost makes them more popular than potions, however, the restrictive usage of scrolls precludes them from superseding potions as a popular alternative among non-spellcasters.

Varieties of Scrolls and Spellbooks

As written products, spellbooks and scrolls share many of the same composite materials. Both require a writing instrument as well as a suitable writing substance and medium. Although ink, quill and paper are clearly the most widespread materials, a number of other more exotic materials remain in use. A description of each material and the costs and advantages of these materials follows. All additional costs are cumulative, using the figures provided below as the basis.

Note: The special benefits received from the various materials described apply to the item’s saving throw against a variety of attack forms. The benefits do not apply to the spellcaster except in the cases of humanoid blood ink and the vrock quill pen.

Scrolls: It costs 12.5 gp per level of the spell multiplied by the caster’s level in order to create a scroll. A spell recorded in this manner occupies only one page, regardless of the spell’s level. This presumes that the caster is using vellum or high quality paper and black ink as the scroll’s composite materials. Less expensive writing materials generally prove ineffective using modern scrollcrafting methods, although with the appropriate feats and skills, scrolls can be crafted using other materials. Obviously, some of the more expensive materials presented below substantially increase the scroll’s cost. Additionally, the cost of the scroll case is not included in the computation. Sample scroll case materials are also described in greater detail.

Spellbooks: Standard spellbooks contain 100 pages. The initial cost for the standard wizard’s spellbook includes the book’s cover and binding, pages and a leather strap and buckle to hold the book closed. Transcribing spells into the spellbook, with the exception of free spells gained upon acquiring an additional level, costs (spell level)² x 10 gp per spell, presuming that the writer is using base materials such as a quill pen and black ink. Less expensive materials may be used assuming the wizard takes the appropriate feats and skills. Many of the materials described below significantly add to the cost. Each spell takes up one page per level, therefore ten 1st-level spells uses ten pages, six 2nd-level spells uses another twelve pages, etc. Clearly, a high level wizard maintains more than one spellbook.

Scrolls

Scroll Writing Materials

Scrolls can be crafted from a variety of diverse material, however vellum or high quality linen paper remains the most widespread material. These materials are easy to use and do not require any special feats or knowledge in order to use them as part of the scroll crafting process. However, in some locations or settings the materials or knowledge to make vellum or linen paper may not be available, leading to other materials being used. Older scrolls may use materials such as clay tablets, or papyrus, while nomadic settings might use birch bark. Additionally, certain scroll media require special writing tools, as listed in their detailed descriptions. The costs given below are for typical materials. Weights and costs given below are for individual sheets, each approximately 8.5 inches wide by 11 inches long. Any scribing speed modifiers are applied after calculating the cost of the scroll, although you are still limited to a maximum of one spell scribed per day. Alternate skill requirements to create a scroll of a specific material are listed in the detailed material descriptions.

Table: Scroll Page Materials

Material Cost Weight Hardness Hit Points Break DC Special
Birchbark 2.5 gp 0 1 3 +5 DC to the craft check. Requires the Thrifty Scrollcrafter feat.
Metal Plates, Bronze 12.5 gp 1.2 lbs. 9 1 14 Increases the time required to write scrolls by 20%. Can’t use with standard shape scroll cases.
Metal Plates, Copper 10 gp 1.3 lbs. 7 1 13 Increases the time required to write scrolls by 20%. Can’t use with standard shape scroll cases.
Metal Plates, Gold 150 gp 2.8 lbs. 6 1 10 Can’t use with standard shape scroll cases.
Metal Plates, Lead 6 gp 1.7 lbs. 5 1 9 Can’t use with standard shape scroll cases. Requires the Thrifty Scrollcrafter feat.
Metal Plates, Mithral 330 gp 0.6 lbs. 15 1 20 Increases the time required to write scrolls by 30%. Can’t use with standard shape scroll cases. +5 DC to the craft check.
Metal Plates, Tin 15 gp 1.1 lbs. 6 1 12 Increases the time required to write scrolls by 10%. Can’t use with standard shape scroll cases.
Palm Leaves 6.5 gp 0 1 7 Increases the time required to write scrolls by 10%. Can’t use with standard shape scroll cases. +5 DC to the craft check. Requires the Thrifty Scrollcrafter feat.
Paper, Linen 12.5 gp 0 1 5
Papyrus 10 gp 0 1 6 -2 circumstance penalty against all water based attacks
Tablet, Clay 10 gp 3 lbs. 5 2 7 Can’t use with standard shape scroll cases.
Tablet, Stone 15 gp 5 lbs. 8 3 10 Increases the time required to write scrolls by 50%. Can’t use with standard shape scroll cases.
Vellum 12.5 gp 0 1 5
Vellum, Uterine 20 gp 0 1 5 Reduces the time required to write scrolls by 10%.

Birchbark: In some areas, birchbark is the available, cheap, disposable writing material, whereas parchment is the expensive alternative for manuscripts. The typical birchbark document consists of a single piece of the material, possibly stitched together with other sheets of birchbark to form a scroll. Birchbark is not suitable for using as the pages of a book due to it’s tendancy to become brittle and fragile relatively quickly. To write on birchbark, the letters are incised in the soft surface with a pointed stylus of metal, wood, or bone and then use charcoal to highlight the scratches. Alternate Skills Used in Creation: Craft (basket), Profession (woodcutter).

Metal Plates: Metal plates made from materials such as copper, bronze, tin, lead, or even gold have been used over the ages for inscribing information the writer did not want to deteriorate. While, metal plates have tended to be used for documents such as laws, religious works, or geneologies, some metal scrolls may be found. To write on a metal plate, the text is first written onto the plate using a piece of charcoal. This step is then followed by using a sharp chisel to engrave the letters. Following the engraving, a paste made from charcoal dust mixed with oil is rubbed over the text and the excess is wiped off. This makes the writing clear and distinct. Metal plates are typically 1/25 of an inch thick. Alternate Skills Used in Creation: Craft (jewelry).

Palm Leaves: Palm leaf scrolls are produced from the talipot palm or varieties with similar leaf properties. The talipot palm leaf is 2/25 of an inch thick, has flexibility similar to papyrus, and has excellent durability, reportedly lasting as long as 600 years. Preparation of palm leaves as a writing medium requires the leaves be pressed, dried, polished, and then a hole is typically bored near one of the ends of the leaf so that the “pages” can be strung together to form a single multi page unit. Text is either incised into the pages using a metal stylus or painted on using a brush. Incised writing is made visible by applying a mixture of lampblack, bean plant or berry juice, and aromatic oil. The oils used have included camphor, citronella, castor, lemongrass, cedarwood, mustard, neem, eucalyptus, clove, and sesame. Alternate Skills Used in Creation: Craft (basket)

Paper, Linen: Although a fairly new material, linen paper’s popularity continues to soar, ensuring its future position as the most popular writing material. Comparable in price to vellum, but with more abundant source materials, linen paper is the most popular medium among young spellcasters. Formed from rags or other cotten fabric, linen paper is produced in a manner very similar to papyrus in that it is moistened, pressed and then dried. Linen paper enjoys the most popularity in large, cosmopolitan cities.

Papyrus: In many cultures, papyrus replaced stone and clay tablets as the primary writing medium. Despite its ancient origins, papyrus remains a popular but rather expensive material. Formed from the pith of the papyrus plant, the entire process of moistening, pressing and drying the plant material lasts about one week. Unlike stone or clay tablets, writing on papyrus’ coarse surface requires some type of ink. While the papyrus fibers tend to be more resistant than parchment or paper, papyrus is extremely vulnerable to water.

Tablet, Clay: Clay tablets are used as a writing medium, whereby characters are imprinted on a wet clay tablet with a stylus often made of reed. Once written upon, tablets used as a scroll, are grilled in a kennal or fired in kilns making them hard and durable. If the writer does not want to make their writing permanent, the tablets can be dried in the sun or air, remaining fragile. Later, these unfired clay tablets can be soaked in water and recycled into new clean tablets. All clay tablet scrolls are of the fired variety. Clay tablets are typically 1/4 of an inch thick. Alternate Skills Used in Creation: Craft (pottery)

Tablet, Stone: Stone tablets are typically made from rock types such as marble (light) or basalt (dark). To write on a stone tablet, the text is first written onto the tablet using a piece of charcoal or chalk. This step is then followed by using a sharp chisel to engrave the letters. Stone tablets are typically 1/4 of an inch thick. Alternate Skills Used in Creation: Craft (sculpture)

Vellum: In many cultures, vellum replaced papyrus and remains the most popular choice for scrolls. A more expensive form of parchment, vellum is crafted from the specially treated and untanned skins of younger animals, producing a smoother and finer finished product. The parchment maker thoroughly cleans the skin, removing all hair and other debris before rubbing it with powdered pumice. Alternate Skills Used in Creation: Craft (leatherworking)

Vellum, Uterine: The highest quality vellum is crafted from the skins of stillborn animals or the highest quality skins from young animals. Uterine vellum’s fine surface reduces the time required to write scrolls and spellbooks by 10%. Alternate Skills Used in Creation: Craft (leatherworking)

Scroll Cases

These hollow cylindrical tubes are often carved from ivory, bone, wood, metal and even jade. Although relatively fragile, their primary purpose is to protect their contents from water and air, rather than attacks. A typical scroll case easily holds four scrolls; you can cram more inside but retrieving any of them becomes a full-round action rather than a move action. You must destroy the scroll case to damage its contents. Most scroll cases weigh no more than 1 pound.

Table: Scroll Case Materials

Material Cost Weight Hardness Hit Points Break DC Special
Birchbark 2 gp 0.1 lbs. 0 1 10 +1 circumstance bonus against water based attacks
Bone or Ivory 5 gp 0.5 lbs. 5 3 15
Jade 50 gp 1.3 lbs. 13 4 24
Leather 1 gp 0.5 lbs. 2 2 15
Metal, Adamantine 2,751 gp 1.1 lbs. 20 5 30 DR 1/—
Metal, Bronze 12 gp 1.2 lbs. 9 4 17
Metal, Copper 14 gp 1.3 lbs. 7 4 16
Metal, Lead 12 gp 1.7 lbs. 5 3 15
Metal, Mithral 301 gp 0.6 lbs. 15 4 26
Metal, Steel 15 gp 1.1 lbs. 10 4 20
Metal, Tin 18 gp 1.1 lbs. 6 3 15
Wood 1 gp 0.5 lbs. 5 2 15 -1 circumstance penalty against all water and fire based attacks
Sealing Wax
Non-Standard Shape x2 x1.5

Birchbark: Birchbark scroll cases are made of panels of birchbark sewn together with cord made from the roots of a conifer. Well made birchbark scroll cases are nearly waterproof and can be used to store viscious liquids such as tree syrups.

Bone or Ivory: Easily the most prevalent material, the hollowed tubes of bone and ivory make excellent choices for scroll cases. Extremely durable, fairly abundant and easily manipulated, they offer outstanding value for the price.

Jade: Spectacularly beautiful and exceptionally hardy, jade’s cost is the only factor prohibiting its widespread usage. Only exceptionally wealthy sorcerers and wizards use jade on a regular basis.

Leather: Leather scroll cases are actually thin wooden scroll cases covered with leather. Despite their affordability, few spellcasters, other than druids, use this variety. A Leather scroll case is not water-tight, but is more resistant to water or fire than a normal wooden scroll case.

Metal: Bronze, copper, tin and iron are the most common metals used to manufacture scroll cases. Despite their durability, the expertise required to forge them drastically reduces their prevalence within the mystical community.

Wood: Inexpensive and rather plain, wood is typically only used for low level, less valuable spells. A wooden scroll case is not water-tight.

Sealing Wax: While sealing wax does not prevent a thief from opening a scroll case or reading the contents of a page, it does provide a cheap method of checking if a document or scroll case has been tampered with. Sealing wax is typically sold for 1 gp per pound.

Non-Standard Shape: Some scroll materials cannot be used with a standard scroll case. Apply the non-standard shape multiplier to the material cost to determine the total cost for a non-standard scroll case. For example, a wooden scroll case for a stone tablet scroll would cost 1 gp x 2 (non-standard shape multiplier) = 2 gp, and weigh 0.5 lbs. x 1.5 (non-standard shape multiplier) = 0.75 lbs.

Spellbooks

Spellbook Page Materials

The pages of a spellbook are crafted from a variety of diverse materials, however parchment remains the most widespread material. Providing a balance of being readily available in many markets, relatively inexpensive and reasonably durable, it is the default material used for the pages of spellbooks. However, in some locations or settings the materials or knowledge to make parchement may not be available, leading to other materials being used, such as a traveling wizard’s spellbook which uses slightly more expensive but lighter paper pages. Older spellbooks and scrolls may use methods such as clay tablets or papyrus, while in large cosmopolitan cities or modern settings paper might be the default material. The costs given below are for typical materials. Weights and costs given below are for 50 sheets (pages), each approximately 8-1/2 inches wide by 11 inches long.

Table: Spellbook Page Materials

Material Cost Weight Hardness Hit Points Break DC Special
Metal Plates, Bronze 50 gp 60 lbs. 9 65 28 Increases the time required to write spellbooks by 20%.
Metal Plates, Copper 32.5 gp 65 lbs. 7 65 26 Increases the time required to write spellbooks by 20%.
Metal Plates, Gold 7,000 gp 140 lbs. 6 45 20
Metal Plates, Lead 8.5 gp 85 lbs. 5 40 18
Metal Plates, Mithral 15,000 gp 30 lbs. 15 65 40 Increases the time required to write spellbooks by 30%. +5 DC to the craft check.
Metal Plates, Tin 70 gp 55 lbs. 6 65 24 Increases the time required to write spellbooks by 10%.
Palm Leaves 5 gp 4.0 lbs. 0 2 16 Increases the time required to write spellbooks by 10%. +5 DC to the craft check.
Paper 7.5 gp 0.5 lbs. 0 1 6
Paper, Linen 25 gp 1.0 lb. 0 1 6
Paper, Rice 1.25 gp 0.3 lbs. 0 1 3 -2 circumstance penalty against all water based attacks
Papyrus 10 gp 0.8 lbs. 0 1 7 -1 circumstance penalty against all water based attacks
Parchment 5 gp 1.1 lbs. 0 1 6
Vellum 25 gp 2.0 lbs. 0 1 6
Vellum, Uterine 40 gp 2.0 lbs. 0 1 6 Reduces the time required to write spellbooks by 10%.

Metal Plates: Metal plates made from materials such as copper, bronze, tin, lead, or even gold have been used over the ages for inscribing information the writer did not want to deteriorate. While, metal plates have tended to be used for documents such as laws, religious works, or geneologies, some spellbooks with metal plates for pages or metal scrolls may be found. To write on a metal plate, the text is first written onto the plate using a piece of charcoal. This step is then followed by using a sharp chisel to engrave the letters. Following the engraving, a paste made from charcoal dust mixed with oil is rubbed over the text and the excess is wiped off. This makes the writing clear and distinct.

Palm Leaves: Palm leaf writing sheets are produced from the talipot palm or varieties with similar leaf properties. The talipot palm leaf is 2/25 of an inch thick, has flexibility similar to papyrus, and has excellent durability, reportedly lasting as long as 600 years. Preparation of palm leaves as book pages requires the leaves be pressed, dried, polished, and then a hole is typically bored near one of the ends of the leaf so that the “pages” can be strung together to form a single multi page unit. Text is either incised into the pages using a metal stylus or painted on using a brush. Incised writing is made visible by applying a mixture of lampblack, bean plant or berry juice, and aromatic oil. The oils used have included camphor, citronella, castor, lemongrass, cedarwood, mustard, neem, eucalyptus, clove, and sesame. Each “book,” or bundle of leaves, is usually fastened together with braided cords threaded through two holes pierced through the entire manuscript about 1.5 inches from each end or by the insertion of bamboo splints. The resultant “binding” is finished by the addition of heavy wooden covers at the front and back, also tied by the braided cords or wrapped with webbing or a textile cloth. The wooden covers are sometimes painted or decorated with ivory and mother of pearl inlay work.

Paper: Although a fairly new material, paper’s popularity continues to soar, ensuring its future position as the most popular writing material. Slightly more expensive than parchment, but with more abundant source materials, paper is the most popular medium among young spellcasters. Formed from any number of fibrous materials such as straw, leaves or rags, paper is produced in a manner very similar to papyrus in that it is moistened, pressed and then dried. Paper enjoys the most popularity in large, cosmopolitan cities.

Paper, Linen: Linen paper is a higher quality variety of paper made from rags and cotton fibres. It is slightly heavier than regular paper and holds up to usual wear and tear much better.

Paper, Rice: Rice paper is a lightweight, multi-purpose material which has the same appearance and purpose as paper. Unlike paper that is made from the pulp of trees, rice paper is made from the sliced and flattened pith of the rice paper plant that grows in swampy sub-tropical forests. Rice paper is used primarily by artists as a surface for painting. This thin and smooth translucent paper is suitable for scroll mounting, calligraphy, brush painting and so much more.

Papyrus: In many cultures, papyrus replaced stone and clay tablets as the primary writing medium. Despite its ancient origins, papyrus remains a popular but rather expensive material. Formed from the pith of the papyrus plant, the entire process of moistening, pressing and drying the plant material lasts about one week. Unlike stone or clay tablets, writing on papyrus’ coarse surface requires some type of ink. While the papyrus fibers tend to be more resistant than parchment or paper, papyrus is extremely vulnerable to water.

Parchment: In many cultures, parchment replaced papyrus and remains the most popular choice for spellbooks. Parchment is created from the specially treated and untanned skins of sheep, calves and goats. The parchment maker thoroughly cleans the skin, removing all hair and other debris before rubbing it with powdered pumice.

Vellum: A more expensive form of parchment known as vellum is crafted from the skins of younger animals, producing a smoother and finer finished product.

Vellum, Uterine: The highest quality vellum is crafted from the skins of stillborn animals or the highest quality skins from young animals. Uterine vellum’s fine surface reduces the time required to write spellbooks by 10%.

Spellbook Covers & Binding

Book covers and the binding are crafted from a variety of diverse materials, however wood remains the most widespread material. Often covered in wax or bound in leather, wooden book covers prove exceptionally durable and highly affordable. Metallic book covers, especially those comprised of precious metals, are usually reserved for important religious books or the spellbooks of wealthy wizards. A good portion of the books in circulation is also adorned with other materials such as inexpensive gemstones and flecks of gold or silver. A default wizard spellbook cover is treated wood bound in leather, while a traveling wizard’s spellbook is typically bound with lighter untreated wood covers. The costs given below include the general costs for binding the actual book as well as the material costs for the actual covers.

Table: Spellbook Cover Materials

Material Cost Weight Hardness Hit Points Break DC Special
Carvings* 300 gp Add the cost of the carvings directly to the base cost of the spellbook cover.
Gemstones* Varies Add the value of the gemstones directly to the base cost of the spellbook cover.
Metal, Adamantine 9900 gp 3.6 lbs. 20 5 30 DR 1/—
Metal, Bronze 5 gp, 3 sp, 8 cp 3.6 lbs. 9 4 17
Metal, Copper 4 gp, 6 sp, 5 cp 4.3 lbs. 7 4 16
Metal, Gold 595 gp 11.9 lbs. 6 3 15
Metal, Lead 3 gp, 2 sp 7.0 lbs. 5 3 15
Metal, Mithral 540 gp 1.8 lbs 15 4 26
Metal, Platinum 4950 gp 9.9 lbs 7 4 16
Metal, Silver 32 gp, 5 sp 6.5 lbs. 6 3 15
Metal, Steel 5 gp, 3 sp, 8 cp 3.6 lbs. 10 4 20
Treated Wood 5 gp 0.5 lbs. 5 3 13
Wood 2.5 gp 0.2 lbs. 5 3 13 -1 circumstance penalty on all saves against water and fire based attacks

* Extra adornment, not a cover material. Add the cost of the adornment to the base cost of the spellbook cover.

Carvings: Some wizards choose to have an assortment of intricate symbols carved into their spellbook covers, drastically increasing the price of these covers.

Gemstones: Gemstones are sometimes used as adornments on spellbook covers. Add the price of the gemstones directly to the base cost of the spellbook cover.

Metal: Metal plates made from materials such as adamantine, copper, bronze, lead, or even gold have been used over the ages as durable spellbook covers. Many contain an assortment of intricate carvings and symbols that may drastically increase the price of these covers. More valuable metals are often purchased as an exhibition of conspicuous spending and a brazen proclamation of their owner’s arrogance or tremendous wealth, and not because they offer any practical advantage. Metal spellbook covers are typically 3/25 of an inch thick, although covers made from softer metals are often slightly thicker.

Treated Wood: Leather bound books easily outnumber the combined total of the remaining varieties. Although equal in durability and function, the less fashionable wax treated covers remain largely confined to aristocratic spellcasters and politicians.

Wood: Although durable, untreated wooden book covers are extremely rare. Pine and oak are the most popular varieties. Wood spellbook covers are typically 1/5 of an inch thick.

Safeguarding Spellbooks

Like any other prized possession, wizards go to exceptional lengths to protect the integrity of their spellbooks against natural and magical hazards as well as theft. Some of the aforementioned materials provide additional protection against a variety of different attack forms; however, none of those measures prevents the violation of their spellbook by an unwelcome reader. Wizards continually devise new strategies to combat such intrusions ranging from the use of mechanical locks to potent protection spells. Only a handful of foolish wizards leave their spellbooks in plain sight, the majority conceal their books within secret panels or magically alter their appearance. Despite the effectiveness of many of these methods, wizards continually research new and innovative means of safeguarding their spellbooks.

Mechanical Devices

Less costly but also less effective than magical wards, novice spellcasters usually opt for mechanical devices as the primary means of protecting their spellbooks. While the binding of a standard wizard’s spellbook or travelling wizard’s spellbook includes a leather strap and buckle to help keep the book closed, there are a wide range of mechanical devices that can be used to secure a spellbook. The cost depends entirely upon the materials used to secure the book as well as the lock or securing device’s complexity. In order to determine the properties of the mechanical safeguard, choose a device or devices from Table: Mechanical Devices to Protect a Spellbook and a material for each device from Table: Material Modifiers and apply the relevant modifiers to the base properties. For example a wizard securing her spellbook with an average steel lock and two steel clamps must spend 70 gp. Note that your GM may disallow certain combinations of devices and materials.

Table: Mechanical Devices to Protect a Spellbook

Device Cost Weight Hardness Hit Points Break DC Disable Device DC Special
Box, Simple 70 gp 1.0 lb. 15* 15 25 25 You must destroy the box to damage its contents. Contents gain a +1 circumstance bonus against liquid based attacks
Box, Average 90 gp 1.5 lb. 15* 15 28 30 You must destroy the box to damage its contents. Contents gain a +2 circumstance bonus against liquid based attacks
Box, Good 130 gp 1.6 lb. 15* 15 30 35 You must destroy the box to damage its contents. Contents gain a +4 circumstance bonus against liquid based attacks
Box, Superior 200 gp 1.3 lb. 15* 15 35 45 You must destroy the box to damage its contents. Contents are immune to liquids and gases.
Clamp (Pair) 30 gp 0.3 lbs. 15* 15 28 Can use up to 2 pairs of clamps per spellbook, each pair must be defeated to allow the spellbook to be opened.
Leather Strap and Buckle 0.3 lbs. 2 2 20 5
Lock, Simple 20 gp 1.0 lb. 15* 30 20 20
Lock, Average 40 gp 1.0 lb. 15* 30 25 25
Lock, Good 80 gp 1.0 lb. 15* 30 30 30
Lock, Superior 150 gp 1.0 lb. 15* 30 35 40
Wires/Bands (Pair) 10 gp 0.1 lbs. 15* 10 26 Can use up to 2 pairs of wires or bands per spellbook, each pair must be defeated to allow the spellbook to be opened.

* Security devices get a +5 bonus to the hardness. When using an alternate material, use a base of 10 hardness, apply the alternate material multiplier, and then add 5 for the security device hardness bonus.

Table: Material Modifiers

Material Cost Weight Hardness Hit Points Break DC Special
Bone/Ivory x0.5 x0.5 x0.5 x0.7 x0.8
Metal, Steel x1 x1 x1 x1 x1
Metal, Adamantine +2,750 gp/lb. x1 x2 x1.3 x1.5 DR 1/—
Metal, Bronze x1 x1 x0.9 x1 x0.9
Metal, Copper x0.6 x1.2 x0.7 x1 x0.8
Metal, Lead x0.1 x1.6 x0.5 x0.6 x0.8
Metal, Mithral +500 gp/lb. x0.5 x1.5 x1 x1.3
Stone x0.2 x5 x0.8 x3 x0.9
Stone, Jade x3 x1.2 x1.3 x1 x1.2
Wood x0.1 x0.5 x0.5 x0.5 x0.8
Wood, Darkwood x0.1 +10 gp/lb. x0.2 x0.5 x0.5 x0.8

Boxes: Lockboxes for books come in a range of qualities. Hinged from the inside, the lock is built into the front of the box, connecting the top and bottom portions. You must destroy or open a box in order to damage its contents. Higher quality boxes provide extra protection against water, and the highest quality boxes provide complete protection against liquids and gasses. Intricate carvings and inlaid gemstones adorn many of these items.

Clamps: A total of four clamps can secure a spellbook, however most wizards opt for only two. The clamps operate much like a vise grip, securing the book’s corners.

Leather Strap and Buckle: A standard wizard’s spellbook comes with a simple leather strap and buckle to help hold the large tome closed. It also provides minimal protection against those without opposable thumbs and the extremely clumsy.

Locks: Locks come in a wide range of forms. From simple warded locks or pin-tumbler locks, to more complex combination locks or disc tumbler locks, locks come in all shapes and sizes.

Wires/bands: A pair of metallic wires with looped endings encircle the book. The wires’ endings are attached into the locked mechanism, securing the book. A total of four wires can secure a spellbook, however most wizards opt only for two.

Magical Wards

Although usually more time consuming than mechanical devices, higher level spellcasters preferentially protect their spellbooks with an assortment of spells and magical wards. Many of these spells such as explosive runes, secret page, and sepia snake sigil enjoy a great deal of popularity with spellcasters. However, some spellcasters realize that the proliferation of these protective spells detracts from their effective usage. Rogues and rival spellcasters, aware of these spells’ devastating consequences, continually devise new methods of detecting and circumventing them. For that reason, a growing number of powerful wizards conduct clandestine magical research searching for alternative magical wards to protect their precious spellbooks. Despite their best efforts at secrecy, most spells eventually circulate among the wizard population.

Regardless of the aforementioned drawbacks, the traditional collection of protection spells continues to enjoy widespread popularity. They fall into two general categories, passive and active wards. Passive spells include illusory script and secret page. They afford protection through illusion or trickery, concealing the spell book’s actual nature by donning the guise of a mundane book or other written work. Unlike their active counterparts, passive spells generally do not harm the warded spellbook or the trespasser. However, once bypassed by an authorized reader, they allow unfettered access to the spellbook.

Active spells, on the other hand, prevent access by injuring or perhaps killing any unwanted intruders. Included in this list are explosive runes, fire trap and sepia snake sigil. They prevent theft through violent force, regardless of the potential destructive consequences to the protected item. Active spells unleash energy in a variety of forms ranging from fiery explosions to conjured guardians. In contrast to passive spells, they often embody the spiteful and vindictive nature of their casters.

Active Spells Passive Spells
Champion of the Tome
Explosive Runes
Fire Trap
Glyph of Warding
Oozing Script
Phineus’ Writhing Tentacles
River of Blood
Sepia Snake Sigil
Symbol of Death
Symbol of Fear
Symbol of Healing
Symbol of Insanity
Symbol of Mirroring
Symbol of Pain
Symbol of Persuasion
Symbol of Revelation
Symbol of Scrying
Symbol of Sealing
Symbol of Sleep
Symbol of Slowing
Symbol of Strife
Symbol of Striking
Symbol of Stunning
Symbol of Vulnerability
Symbol of Weakness

Venomous Pages
Antipathy
Approaching Wizard
Blot
Book Ward
Ethereal Library
Illusory Glue
Illusory Script
Ironpage
Obscure Object
Obscure Text
Phantom Trap
Secret Page

Inks

The number of different recipes for ink is countless, ranging from exotic materials such as the black ink secreted by octopi to humanoid blood. However, most inks are formulated with lampblack, water and a gum or glue. Ink proves extremely durable, rarely fading or peeling despite the passage of time. A default wizard spellbook is written using black ink.

Table: Inks

Ink Type Additional Cost per Page Special
Black Ink
Chalk 1 cp
Charcoal (1 stick) 5 sp
Ghost Ink 25 gp Shines when illuminated by a fire beetle gland or a sunrod.
Glowing Ink 5 gp Allows the text to be read in normal darkness.
Invisible Ink, Simple 2 gp Normally invisible to the naked eye, 1 common trigger to make visible
Invisible Ink, Average 10 gp Normally invisible to the naked eye, 2 common or 1 uncommon trigger to make visible
Invisible Ink, Good 25 gp Normally invisible to the naked eye, 2 uncommon or 1 rare trigger to make visible
Invisible Ink, Superior 75 gp Normally invisible to the naked eye, 2 rare or 1 unique trigger to make visible
Octopus Ink 10 gp +2 circumstance bonus against fire based attacks
Stained Animal Blood Ink 25 gp +2 circumstance bonus against fire and water based attacks
Stained Humanoid Blood Ink 150 gp +1 caster level to all necromancy spells as well as the benefits of stained blood

Black Ink: At any given time, hundreds of different ink recipes enjoy widespread usage. However, all inks contain the same base ingredients previously mentioned. Any color other than black requires a special dye, doubling the ink’s cost without any additional benefit. DC to Make the Ink: Craft (alchemy) DC 12.

Chalk: When writing on stone, the text is first written on the stone with chalk. This step is followed by using a sharp chisel to carve the letters into the medium. DC to Make the Chalk: Profession (woodcutter) DC 10.

Charcoal: When writing on stone or metal, the text is first written on the medium with charcoal. This step is followed by using a sharp chisel to carve the letters into the medium. In the case of metal, the leftover charcoal dust is then mixed with oil and rubbed over the surface with the excess wiped off, to cause the letters to stand out. DC to Make the Charcoal: Craft (alchemy) DC 10 or Profession (woodcutter) DC 10.

Ghost Ink: Pale blue when wet, ghost ink quickly dries to near transparency 1 minute after application. Ghost ink is most often used to blaze trails and mark locations in a subtle manner. The pigment shines with a warm red glow under the light shed by fire beetle glands and sunrods, but under optimal normal conditions (such as a pale surface like parchment or a plaster wall) can only be noticed with a successful DC 25 Perception check. One vial of ghost ink is the size of a potion vial and sufficient for writing a page’s worth of characters. DC to Make the Ink: Craft (alchemy) DC 25. Source Seekers of Secrets

Glowing Ink: Glowing ink emits a faint but steady light (typically red or green) that allows you to read it even in normal darkness. You have a +2 bonus on Perception checks to locate objects with glowing ink. Mixing glowing ink with marker dye makes the dye glow in the dark until it fades. DC to Make the Ink: Craft (alchemy) DC 20. Source Adventurer’s Armory

Invisible Ink: Messages written with invisible ink only become visible under specific circumstances. Revealing the secret message with the proper triggering agent is a full-round action per page of text.

Simple: This ink is keyed to a single, fairly common trigger, such heat or vinegar. A successful DC 20 Craft (alchemy) check takes 1 hour and reveals the message without the proper trigger. DC to Make the Ink: Craft (alchemy) DC 15.

Average: This ink is keyed to either two common triggers or one uncommon trigger, such as blood or acid. A successful DC 25 Craft (alchemy) check takes 1 hour and reveals the message without the proper trigger. DC to Make the Ink: Craft (alchemy) DC 20.

Good: This ink is keyed to either two uncommon triggers or one rare trigger, such as a specific vintage of wine or a specific kind of monster’s blood. A successful DC 30 Craft (alchemy) check takes 1 hour and reveals the message without the proper trigger. DC to Make the Ink: Craft (alchemy) DC 25.

Superior: This ink is keyed to either two rare triggers or one unique trigger, such as the blood of a specific person. A successful DC 35 Craft (alchemy) check takes 1 hour and reveals the message without the proper trigger. DC to Make the Ink: Craft (alchemy) DC 30. Source Adventurer’s Armory

Octopus Ink: The actual ink from an octopus or squid only accounts for a small quantity of the ingredients in this unusual concoction, yet despite its trace amount, the benefits are unmistakable. Naturally, this variety of ink enjoys the most popularity in coastal areas and port cities. DC to Make the Ink: Craft (alchemy) DC 20.

Stained Animal Blood Ink: The blood of sheep, goats, and cattle usually comprise this ink’s main ingredient, although some brewers use the blood of game animals. Despite its grisly overtones, its usage is not restricted to evil spellcasters. Contrary to popular belief, the ink appears maroon or brown in color rather than red. DC to Make the Ink: Craft (alchemy) DC 25.

Stained Humanoid Blood Ink: This grisly liquid bears a bright reddish tint. Typically, one should assume that unless the caster is using their own blood or the blood of a willing doner, that the creation of stained humanoid blood ink involves an evil act. The ink also has a fairly short shelf life, roughly one month before it loses its potency. This unfortunate side effect ensures the continual demand for this precious commodity among its nefarious constituents. DC to Make the Ink: Craft (alchemy) DC 35.

Pens

Pens is a catch-all term used here to refer to the variety of implements used to write a spell in a spellbook or scribe a scroll. Different implements are used for different writing mediums, so a prolific writer or researchers is likely to have more than one writing implement. For example, the two most common types of pen are the reed pen and the quill pen. Sharpened reed pens are used exclusively on papyrus, while broader, flat reed pens are used on parchment and vellum. Quill pens, made from the hardened and sharpened feathers of birds such as geese and swallows, are best suited for parchment, vellum and paper. All pens must be dipped in ink prior to their usage.

Table: Pens

Pen Type Cost Special
Brush 5 sp
Chisel 1 gp
Giant Eagle Quill Pen 10 gp
Inkpen 1 sp
Owlbear Quill Pen 50 gp Can be used as a tiny, piercing weapon inflicting 1d3 hp of damage. It is treated as an exotic weapon.
Quill Pen 1 gp
Reed Pen 5 sp
Stylus, Bone 1 sp
Stylus, Metal 5 sp
Stylus, Wood 5 cp
Vrock Quill Pen 1,000 gp Increases the difficulty class against transcribed spells and scrolls by one. Its fragility prevents it from writing more than ten pages.

Brush: Brushes are an implement consisting of bristles, hair, or the like, set in or attached to a handle and used for painting or calligraphy. Brushes are used when writing on linen paper, palm leaves, paper, or rice paper.

Chisel: A chisel is a tool with a characteristically shaped cutting edge or blade on its end, for carving or cutting a hard material such as stone or metal.

Giant Eagle Quill Pen: Commonly found among primitive, nomadic cultures, these pens also serve as status symbols among privileged spellcasters. The pen offers little value other than its majestic appearance. Giant eagle quill pens are used when writing on linen paper, paper, parchment, vellum, or uterine vellum.

Inkpen: A handle with a detachable metal penpoint, filled by dipping into an ink pot. Inkpens are somewhat delicate and tend to be used for writing on linen paper and uterine vellum.

Owlbear Quill Pen: One of the most unusual writing instruments, this large pen may also be used as a weapon. However, it remains largely a novelty item among fanciful spellcasters. Owlbear quill pens are used when writing on birchbark, linen paper, palm leaves, paper, papyrus, parchment, vellum, or uterine vellum.

Quill Pen: Geese, swallows and turkeys are the most common feathers used in the manufacture of quill pens. The quill pens are often heated in order to harden them before they are sharpened. Quill pens are used when writing on linen paper, paper, parchment, vellum, or uterine vellum.

Reed Pen: Reed pens come in two textures, a sharp pen used for papyrus and a broad, flat pen used for writing on parchment and vellum. Reed pens are used when writing on clay tablets, papyrus, parchment, vellum or uterine vellum.

Stylus: An instrument of metal, bone, wood, or the like, used for incising letters into mediums such as birchbark or palm leaves.

Vrock Quill Pen: Incredibly rare and highly treasured, many intrepid spellcasters met their untimely demise attempting to secure these exotic writing implements. A small, but burgeoning black market exists for the elusive pens, however, the available quantities are insufficient to meet the increasing demand. The few pens in existence are reputed to be extremely coarse and malodorous, yet the disadvantages pale in comparison to its potency. Vrock quill pens are used when writing on linen paper, paper, parchment, vellum, or uterine vellum.

Exotic Items

In addition to the traditional materials, any number of exotic items can be purchased in the largest cities. These items include colored inks, humanoid parchment paper, and monstrous quills. Few of these items have special properties, but provide a valuable insight into the purchaser’s mindset. The GM should adjudicate the acquisition and uses of these materials very carefully.

Section 15: Copyright Notice – Ink & Quill
Ink & Quill. Copyright 2002, Bastion Press, Inc. Author: Thomas Knauss.

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