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?'
'Yes'
...
'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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