A scroll is a spell (or collection of spells) that has been stored in written form. A spell on a scroll can be used only once. The writing vanishes from the scroll when the spell is activated. Using a scroll is basically like casting a spell. The price of a scroll is equal to the level of the spell × the creator’s caster level × 25 gp. If the scroll has a material component cost, it is added to the base price and cost to create. Table: Scrolls gives sample prices for scrolls created at the lowest possible caster level for each spellcasting class. Note that some spells appear at different levels for different casters. The level of such spells depends on the caster scribing the scroll.

Table: Scrolls
Minor Medium Major Spell Level Caster Level
01–05 0 1st
06–50 1st 1st
51–95 01–05 2nd 3rd
96–100 06–65 3rd 5th
66–95 01–05 4th 7th
96–100 06–50 5th 9th
51–70 6th 11th
71–85 7th 13th
86–95 8th 15th
96–100 9th 17th

Table: Scroll Costs
Spell Level Cleric, Druid, Wizard Sorcerer Bard Paladin, Ranger
0 12.5 gp 12.5 gp 12.5 gp
1st 25 gp 25 gp 25 gp 25 gp
2nd 150 gp 200 gp 200 gp 200 gp
3rd 375 gp 450 gp 525 gp 525 gp
4th 700 gp 800 gp 1,000 gp 1,000 gp
5th 1,125 gp 1,250 gp 1,625 gp
6th 1,650 gp 1,800 gp 2,400 gp
7th 2,275 gp 2,450 gp
8th 3,000 gp 3,200 gp
9th 3,825 gp 4,050 gp

Physical Description: A scroll is a heavy sheet of fine vellum or high-quality paper. An area about 8-1/2 inches wide and 11 inches long is sufficient to hold one spell. The sheet is reinforced at the top and bottom with strips of leather slightly longer than the sheet is wide. A scroll holding more than one spell has the same width (about 8-1/2 inches) but is an extra foot or so long for each additional spell. Scrolls that hold three or more spells are usually fitted with reinforcing rods at each end rather than simple strips of leather. A scroll has AC 9, 1 hit point, hardness 0, and a break DC of 8.

To protect it from wrinkling or tearing, a scroll is rolled up from both ends to form a double cylinder. (This also helps the user unroll the scroll quickly.) The scroll is placed in a tube of ivory, jade, leather, metal, or wood. Most scroll cases are inscribed with magic symbols which often identify the owner or the spells stored on the scrolls inside. The symbols sometimes hide magic traps.

Activation: To activate a scroll, a spellcaster must read the spell written on it. This involves several steps and conditions.

Decipher the Writing: The writing on a scroll must be deciphered before a character can use it or know exactly what spell it contains. This requires a read magic spell or a successful Spellcraft check (DC 20 + spell level). Deciphering a scroll is a full-round action.

Deciphering a scroll to determine its contents does not activate its magic unless it is a specially prepared cursed scroll. A character can decipher the writing on a scroll in advance so that she can proceed directly to the next step when the time comes to use the scroll.

Activate the Spell: Activating a scroll requires reading the spell from the scroll. The character must be able to see and read the writing on the scroll. Activating a scroll spell requires no material components or focus. (The creator of the scroll provided these when scribing the scroll.) Note that some spells are effective only when cast on an item or items. In such a case, the scroll user must provide the item when activating the spell. Activating a scroll spell is subject to disruption just as casting a normally prepared spell would be. Using a scroll is like casting a spell for purposes of arcane spell failure chance.

To have any chance of activating a scroll spell, the scroll user must meet the following requirements.

  • The spell must be of the correct type (arcane or divine). Arcane spellcasters (wizards, sorcerers, and bards) can only use scrolls containing arcane spells, and divine spellcasters (clerics, druids, paladins, and rangers) can only use scrolls containing divine spells. (The type of scroll a character creates is also determined by his class.)
  • The user must have the spell on her class list.
  • The user must have the requisite ability score.

If the user meets all the requirements noted above, and her caster level is at least equal to the spell’s caster level, she can automatically activate the spell without a check. If she meets all three requirements but her own caster level is lower than the scroll spell’s caster level, then she has to make a caster level check (DC = scroll’s caster level + 1) to cast the spell successfully. If she fails, she must make a DC 5 Wisdom check to avoid a scroll mishap. A natural roll of 1 always fails, whatever the modifiers. Activating a scroll is a standard action (or the spell’s casting time, whichever is longer) and it provokes attacks of opportunity exactly as casting a spell does. If the caster level check fails but no mishap occurs, the scroll is not expended.

Determine Effect: A spell successfully activated from a scroll works exactly like a spell prepared and cast the normal way. Assume the scroll spell’s caster level is always the minimum level required to cast the spell for the character who scribed the scroll, unless the scriber specifically desired otherwise.

The writing for an activated spell disappears from the scroll as the spell is cast.

Scroll Mishaps: When a mishap occurs, the spell on the scroll has a reversed or harmful effect. Possible mishaps are given below.

  • A surge of uncontrolled magical energy deals 1d6 points of damage per spell level to the scroll user.
  • Spell strikes the scroll user or an ally instead of the intended target, or a random target nearby if the scroll user was the intended recipient.
  • Spell takes effect at some random location within spell range.
  • Spell’s effect on the target is contrary to the spell’s normal effect.
  • The scroll user suffers some minor but bizarre effect related to the spell in some way. Most such effects should last only as long as the original spell’s duration, or 2d10 minutes for instantaneous spells.
  • Some innocuous item or items appear in the spell’s area.
  • Spell has delayed effect. Sometime within the next 1d12 hours, the spell activates. If the scroll user was the intended recipient, the spell takes effect normally. If the user was not the intended recipient, the spell goes off in the general direction of the original recipient or target, up to the spell’s maximum range, if the target has moved away.

Editor’s Note

If I fail my caster level check to activate a scroll, but don’t have a mishap, is the scroll used up?

No. In the Activation section, in the first paragraph after the bullet points, add the following sentence: “If the caster level check fails but no mishap occurs, the scroll is not expended.”


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