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ID: 438


January 14, 2006, 6:13 pm

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Literacy Learner


The blackboard of the middle ages

Literacy Learner. This item is also known as a chalkboard and comes in two varieties and many different sizes. The chalkboard is used to teach the illiterate to write, but it is also used by scholars to write down notes on the fly, while others use it to do various calculations prior to writing them down on paper or parchment.
The smaller size chalkboards can often be purchased at stores where other writing material can be purchased, while the larger versions are typically custom made. The process for creating them is the same overall. One takes a sturdy material that serves as the back of the board. Usually wood is the primary choice. Onto this back-end, sooth is applied on one side, to create a black surface. Next resin from trees is heated and applied on top of the sooth, to create an even, but slightly rough surface. (Best results are achieved with resin of pine trees.)Once the resin has hardened, the board is ready for use.
Boards are typically written on with chalk and when the boards needs to be cleaned, all traces of writing can be erased using a damp or moist piece of cloth.

Normal chalkboards are made of wood, weigh 1 pound and cost 15 silver pieces.
A masterwork version with a iron back, weighs 2 pounds and costs 15 gold pieces.

As the sooth does not stick to the iron back as well as it does to the wood, the first variety is used by scholars. It is only wealthy people that prefer the second option, even though it can be cleaned only approximately one hundred times.

Magical Properties:

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Comments ( 7 )
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March 10, 2004, 0:40
Just some notes to point out.

1: Resin wiped with a damp cloth will become sticky once more and pull fiber from the cloth, rather than become clean.

2: The masterwork quality (a D&D 3ed term btw) weighs more and works worse, and so hardly seems worthy of the term masterwork.

3: Tradionally, blackboards were made of slate. It quarries into sheets easily and can be planed smooth with little effort. If it could be lightened and made stronger, it would serve as more of a masterwork piece.
March 10, 2004, 2:59
Points noted... Let me bring up the defense:

1: Resin can me alchemicaly manipulated to harden and resist water. (that is actualy the idea, but I should probably have made that clearer)

2: From a chemical perspective, the more expensive version is not the better one, so yes it is a bad deal, but not all actions of people are always the smartest ones.

Last but not least some historical background on the term "masterwork":
digging into the past, when quilds where plentyfull, a young man (or woman) would join a quild and first be appointed apprentice, then rising thru experience and the ranks of social order, one would be allowed to create a masterwork piece. A piece of high quality and great craftmanship that would then be judged. If this item would be judged of masterwork quality, one would be allowed to be a master and thus train young apprentices and ask higher prices for their work.

Ergo Masterwork is not a D&D term, it is a medieval term.
Barbarian Horde
March 10, 2004, 10:10
On the subject of the term "masterwork", Ylorea is of course perfectly correct.

Chalkboards (or something similar) would certainly exist in a medieval/fantasy universe since they are an invaluble tool for both the sage and the teacher. However, like Agar, I just don't see point of all this work. Why not just quarry slate, which is both easier and cheaper, and produces much better results.
March 10, 2004, 13:46
Well done. Ok, with a hardener, the learners are feasible. And with the non-D&D use of masterwork, the "masterwork" learner makes a sort of sense, especially if it accented with finery, like precious metals or stones.

This is a good and simple item that cen help flesh out a society. Good work.
Obsidian Shadow
March 29, 2004, 19:17
many of the people here on this site create fantastical items of great power and influence in order to stand out and receive good ratings. Your 'Literacy Learner' does not slay dragons, nor does it kill with a touch. However, I am impressed with the simplicity and practicality of your item. After all, where would all those famous wizards be if they couldn't read a simple spell? Good work, and hope to hear more from you soon.
Voted Cheka Man
October 29, 2006, 18:25
Simple but very useful in any literate world.
Voted valadaar
March 4, 2015, 8:25
I really have no idea what about this is better than a slate chalk board.

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