Books and Scrolls
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Comments: 13
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Rating: 3.7
Condition: Normal
ID: 3193


January 8, 2007, 10:06 am

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Book of Transcription


They say the walls have ears.  Here we have a book that does….

Found written within a fabled Book of Transcription found among the grave goods of Yazaarn the Magi…

“.. What was that?  Petty tricks won’t help you old mage. You’re past your prime.  You should have retired long ago.”
“And let you take over the department? Surely you take me for a fool.”
“Yes, you are a fool. Too long I have waited.  Now, Die!”
...Indecipherable text here (i.e. a recorded, and used spell)...
“What? How? You have no spells up..”
...Indecipherable text here (i.e. a recorded, and used spell)...
“What trick is this old man! What are you doing? Do you think that book will help you?”
“Whoever said youth is wasted on the young is so right. That was an interesting spell however.”

Full Item Description

A non-descript, good quality, leather-bound book.  It ranges in size from small enough to carry in ones pocket, to massive books 18” wide,20” long & 4” thick.

The spine generally is noted “Memoirs of Algan” or similar, rather undescriptive text.

Magic/Cursed Properties

This book has a single magical property.  It will record any spoken words within earshot once activated(it has command words to deactivate and activate, neither of which are ever recorded…). It does not narrate - it will not add “said Huchan” or other context.  If open to the last unwritten page, words can be seen written at real time.

The actual maximum amount of text recorded varies with the size of the book.  The text is of normal size for the culture and language in question. It is left to the GM as to how much text it can record, but a suggestion of 1 minute of speech per page, and 40-100 pages per book. The book should be about 20% full when found and may contain useful information or simple drivel.

Once all pages are filled, the magic of the book is expended.

One effect of this book is that it can record spells as they are spoken, essentially creating scrolls on the fly.  This usage consumes pages at a much greater rate then normal speech, (perhaps 1 page per power level of spell so scribed).  The spells cast in it’s presence do not take effect - the energy is used in the recording of the spell.

At GM’s descretion, the spell snatching affect may allow a resistance roll/Saving throw, etc by the caster to avoid this effect.

If insufficent pages remain to record the spell, the spell will function normally and the book will not use pages.

As a result, the book also functions as a defence of sorts, but it affects all casters and spells within earshot equally.

Pages can only be used once - if a recorded spell is cast from the book (it’s record function must be deactivated), then the text becomes non-magic, inert and unintelligible.

Plot Hooks

The Demonstration

A local mage college stages a demonstration of a unique, dangerous spell.  However, when the spell is cast, nothing happens.  It is re-cast a little later successfully, but the first failure is puzzling to the magi.  Later that week, pirated copies of the spell are found for sale.
The college is looking for who managed to copy the spell.
The existence of these books is a closely held secret so it should not be obvious as to how the copy occurred. All copies of the spell held by the university are well guarded by physical and magic guardians.

Based on feedback, it seems that a rework is in order, at least for versions of the book that allow spells to be captured.  At this point I would suggest that Greater and Lesser versions of the book exist, with the Greater books being able to capture spells, and the lesser only being able to capture mundane spoken words.

The Greater book should be considered an extremely rare item requiring massive expenditures to produce.  Its components should be considered quest items.

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Comments ( 13 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Voted Wulfhere
October 11, 2006, 15:33
If common, these would wreak havok among mages. Just knowing that they exist would drive mages to take elaborate defensive measures, such as non-verbal magics that would detect or shut down such a volume.
October 11, 2006, 15:44
Agreed - these items need to be difficult to create and treated as near-artifact in level.
October 11, 2006, 15:41
Updated: Added possibility of saving throw/resistence roll to avoid the spell transcription effect.
Voted MoonHunter
October 11, 2006, 18:17
An interesting concept. Overpowered item (since it sucks spells out of the air) and gives you the ability to fire them back (if you are playing DnD). A very average write up though. While I don't need a detaile origin, it might be intersting to see who claims to have created one of these firsts (Algen perhaps?). It is obvious this is not a one of a kind item. So guidelines on creation (or a difficulty expression) would be useful.
Voted Scrasamax
October 11, 2006, 18:20
I think the whole snatching of spells should be a contested action, not between the inanimate book and the wizard (well, unless the wizard is casting the spell into the book for the sole purpose of making a quick scroll). It should be a contest of wills akin to a counterspell attempt between two mages. As a magic eating book, it is a bit too powerful, but give it an activation power, or require a mage to will the spell into the book, and then it gets interesting.
Voted Murometz
October 11, 2006, 20:31
Only voted
Voted Cheka Man
October 11, 2006, 21:33
I like the idea, it could change how magic is cast.
Voted Pariah
October 11, 2006, 22:17
The way I see it, if it catches the mage off-guard, then a contest of wills shouldn't be as necessary, but if he knows somethings up, and is actively stuggling to get his spell to happen... So anyone that's actively casting during a combat would get saves from the beginning, but if you're just muttering a quick spell for some light, or to start a fire, while you're walking through a cave you wouldn't get the first couple of saves.
Voted manfred
October 12, 2006, 3:33
Problematic in some regards, as noted, but still interesting. There should be a simple way to turn off the effect, for right now it seems to be a double-edged sword - the spells of both sides of a conflict would be drawn in. One option is to make it work when open, and not when the book is closed (though that might give off the effect pretty easily).

Or perhaps, if a certain part of the book (a bookmark or whatever) is held, the holder could cast spells freely.
Voted chilled
October 15, 2006, 9:26
real good idea man i love it.
a bit overpowered i think but a good effect.
good way to learn new spells ...
October 15, 2006, 10:07
The real limiting factor is the number of pages. One they are used, they are used.
Voted PoisonAlchemist
July 17, 2011, 2:52

I am also of the mind that there should be some sort of contest as to the spell snatching. Additionally, if it uses spells like a scroll is the page of the book consumed as well once it is re-cast? If the lesser item is fairly common I would imagine there are some good stories and fluff that this entry could have. Otherwise I really like this idea, and think the 'greater' version is where the ingenuity lies. 

Voted VWolfdog
May 23, 2016, 23:32
Good writing here. This item is immensely powerful though, and would probably end up being primarily a quest item IMHO.


Random Idea Seed View All Idea Seeds

       By: Magus

A long time ago. Final fantasy III came out with a new approach to learing magic. The characters would be equipped with espers(magical beings) and as they fought more battles, they would learn spells from the espers. What if a similar approach to learning magic was applied to a P&P rpg?

Ideas  ( System ) | December 14, 2003 | View | UpVote 0xp

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