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ID: 6617


April 4, 2013, 11:13 am

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Corran's Scribe


If you had writing as bad as Corran's, you'd look for a way around it too.

Handwriting was not a strength Corran possessed. As a lad, many a teacher lamented at his scribbles, which seemed to mock intelligent attempts to decipher their meaning. While nobody could find intellectual fault with his prose- once deciphered, or preferably translated and transcribed legibly- Corran's writing became notorious. 1

It just wouldn't do. Requests for information on projects, bills demanding payment, these all required Corran to write. Writing was the enemy for Corran 2, and the increasing demand on him to correspond in writing was wearing on him.


He started by forcing Bethany to neatly write out each and every letter possible 3. Uppercase, lowercase, punctuation, every squiggle and mark possible. This stretched on for days as Corran realized the library of symbols and letters needed another addition, or some strange mark used to denote respect when referring to certain nobles from a small congregation of religious nutjobs living near a volcano 4. Ignoring all protests that her hands were getting filthy with ink, Corran pressed on.

Taking a mold of his wife's hand holding a pen, he carefully prepared an articulated hand of brass. Taking pains to allow it the range of movement Bethany's hand had whilst writing, Corran observed his wife writing for a long period of time, perfecting the hand as he went.

Enchanting the brass hand to move, Corran glowed 5 as it proved capable of moving a pen. Providing it simple magical instructions, it could write as well as Bethany.

It was slow. Working the controls to get it to write meant a sentence took minutes to compose, and a full letter could take hours. 6

He needed to make it faster. He knew what he wanted it to write long before it got there, because telling it what to write next had to be done letter by letter. Improving that meant being able to give it longer, better instructions- or maybe... what if he could get it to read his thoughts directly? 7

Corran tried multiple times to craft something that would direct his mental dictation to the hand. His first attempts had been elaborate designs, intent on appealing to anyone who would later view his creation 8 . Trying to allow them to create his thoughts proved hazardous, as many of them started to ooze a thick, muddy liquid, seemingly created from Corran's mind 9 . Thinking upon this, Corran decided that his thoughts needed to be filtered.

Taken from Bethany's few remaining pots and pans, Corran placed leather strips along the inside of a strainer to make it more comfortable to wear, crafted a lightweight glass dome to fit over the top, with a tube connecting his thought-catcher to the hand's base. To Corran's mind, the strainer would separate all the random 'junk' thoughts floating through his head, only allowing what he wanted the hand to write through.

The Scribe 10

Finalized, the Scribe consists of the collector, the tube, and the hand assembly 11 . The collector is the strainer and glass globe, connected to the tube. Placed upon Corran's head, he would only have to think of what he wanted the hand to transcribe. 12 ; Those watching him dictate to the hand saw a thick, colorful liquid float up from the strainer, moving through the tube into the base of the hand.

Made of a flexible, watertight material created by judicious application of Vulcans Walking Stick to a metal pipe and a sample of rubber sap, the tube extends from the collector to the base of the hand.

The hand is mounted over a book of blank paper which a mechanism flips and maneuvers as appropriate. The hand rests on a small pole of metal, with clockwork mechanisms within allowing it a full range of movement over the paper, with the articulated hand being able to write with a fountain pen 13 . The hand is capable of operating the pen on its own, including the use of ink. The back of the hand connects to the tube. Despite magical examination, no one can explain where the fluid seen coursing into the tube goes as it seems to disappear, how the hand utilizes it, or how thoughts are translated 14 .

Capabilities and Use

The writing of the hand is perfectly legible, in Bethany's script 15 . The hand writes sufficiently fast to keep up with Corran's thoughts, and indeed is fast enough to provide appropriate footnotes, oftentimes not even as directed by Corran 16 . Corran attempted a few drawings with the Scribe, which proved that it was much better at drawing than he was, albeit that is not saying much.

1 Even Corran had to take a long period of time to translate his own writing.

2 When not dealing with a certain chamber pot.

3 Corran loved his wife. Really.

4 Corran only helped said congregation for the monthly slabs of bacon they had send to him.

5 Not a pretty sight, let me tell you.


7 Bethany took this opportunity to mention that reading her husband's thoughts was the scariest part of my capabilities.

8 A flair for showmanship dogged Corran during his later years, as he became more amused by those seeing his work.

9 His mind is a gutter.

 10 That's me!

11 About 80LBS of beauty!

12 That damn Furball needs to stay away from my walking stick or I swear I'm going to punt it off the city walls...

13 Corran never did attempt allowing me to write using his blood.

14 How does it work? Veracit wanted me to explain it to him but even I'm baffled by this.


16 All footnotes are extensively researched and are guaranteed to be of the utmost quality

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Comments ( 21 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

February 8, 2012, 8:03


This one started out really well, we have another amusing story of Beth and Corran, and we have the imagery of Corran with a Doc Brown style colander on his head. But the end result of the item is one that is dull, inaccessible and unnecessarily limited.   I was surprised you end with this

“However, the Scribe does not work for other users. Believed to be a problem with the collector assembly and its compatibility with Corran's thoughts specifically, all attempts to modify the Scribe to accommodate another user have failed.”

How about giving the hand a little personality, a little bit of that puckish mischievousness that often seems to grow out of Corran’s quiet and domestic ambitions.   You could give the hand some of Bethany’s traits so that it will change the wording to fit her sensibilities.  Perhaps Bethany is more polite than Corran. 

“I am not writing the phrase ‘demonic crap box’, how about ‘an item from my privy’.” 

Or perhaps Bethany has a little more attitude then Corran.

“I am not addressing Veracit as ‘his Grace’ I don’t care how many Dukedom’s he is granted.  I shall instead write ‘Mr. Veracit who stayed at our home for 6-months without offer of rent or compensation’.”

I know I could change it if I use it and I will, but I would let my players have a go with this. It be could useful for a mage so that they can be sure to take notes while working on spells. I would also give the hand a bit of personality.  

February 8, 2012, 9:55
Well said. I'm certainly going to improve this in the next few days.
February 9, 2012, 14:25
I agree with much of what axle said, and would love the scribe to be given a little more personality as well. You said it adds footnotes. What about making the scribe automatically correct/clarify everything that Corran dictates? For example, Corran may dictate that the fish was "over a meter long!" and the scribe will add a footnote with the actual (diminutive) length of the fish. After all, it is the duty of the scribe to preserve the factual account for future generations of researchers, yes?
February 9, 2012, 18:22

The Positive: I like this!  It's a solid, interesting idea with a lot of detail.  I can see how it fits into and illuminates your world.

The Negative: The text is a bit verbose.  If you're bringing your reader along on a lengthy ride, you should give more of a payoff along the way:  Some sort of a twist or surprise would really add to the piece.

The Constructive:  What amazing benefits might arise from Corran's Scribe?  What awkward revelations might the scribe bring forth?  Whose sinister designs might require just such an object?  What tales might it best fit into?

February 9, 2012, 18:40
I could imagine this scribe system being used to create a mimic of somebody else's handwriting. Perhaps a key piece of evidence in a case of treason was generated by somebody using a hand like this. Imagine if Iago had one of these made with Desdemona's hand.

But perhaps Corran could use it for marital instead martial power plays,
"I am sorry Beth but I have the shopping list right here in your hand writing and eye of newt isn't on it."
February 17, 2012, 17:58
Update: Well guys, I took a crack at improving this. Hope you enjoy.
February 17, 2012, 17:59
And I broke it. Please hold while I fix my sub.
February 17, 2012, 18:05
Update: Sorry about the update spam, hopefully this fixed it.
February 17, 2012, 18:09

*Throws hands up in a fit of rage* I don't know why in bloody hell it refuses to accept the entire submission, but I'm sick of trying to get it to work. I'll come back to this and fix it another time.



Managed to fix it without any formatting. Sometimes I hate the html editor on this site Strolen.

February 17, 2012, 22:23

Wow, the first time i read this I thought you had some formating issue, then I thought you just edited this badly, and I was preparing long detailed a critique about how some paragraphs didn't make sense.  I was even going to mention how your footnotes weren't working as superscripts. Then I realized that the damn scribe ruled me again.


Damn clever sir, it is amazing how you turned this around with out much effort, it made me realize what a great core you had to this idea.     

February 17, 2012, 22:28
I am sorry I said without much effort, i just noticed what you went through editing this thing. I laughed out loud while reading this and had to try and explain it to my wife. Thank you for this, I really enjoyed it.
February 17, 2012, 23:03
Creatively, it was without much effort.

As for the actually getting it to post without butchering my writing... well, uh... :D

I'm glad you enjoyed it Axle. I certainly had some fun with the Footnotes.
Voted Murometz
February 18, 2012, 13:35

The foot-notes are a riot! I enjoyed this immensely. Clever, creative, detailed. I missed most of the formatting issues and updates you seemed to be having, but it sure it sure looks good now! The mystery of the liquid is a nice touch as well. A humorously classic duo, Corran and Bethany.

April 1, 2013, 17:42
April 4, 2013, 11:14
Now (Mathom be damned) formatted with ACTUAL superscript!
Voted Dossta
April 4, 2013, 12:15
Surprised I didn't vote on this before. I can't remember the original article as well, but as it stands now it is tight and well-formatted. Love the footnotes!

Perhaps the Scribe can be used by others once Corran passes away, but would have to take the place of a familiar or something similar. And once removed from Corran's guidance, perhaps it can be a little more autonomous as well. It may prove an invaluable aid in research if it can "remember" facts from a previous owner's work, and could even work as a translator in a pinch ("Look, I'll just think of what I want to say to the foreign magus and you'll take care of the details. Right?").
April 4, 2013, 17:23
Lurking in my personal workspace (somewhere) is a submission that would've been composed by someone on the scribe... it's something I might come back to.
Voted axlerowes
April 29, 2013, 22:41
now its perfect
Voted valadaar
February 17, 2017, 11:19
This is indeed excellent. Now I want to see fiction with this :)


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