Full Item Description
Two sheets of ordinary parchment, vellum, clay tables, pounded metal or any other material capable of being written upon or inscribed.
If sufficiently detailed and powerful divinations are brought to bear, one may be able to detect a subtle linkage between the two sheets. Those who can see magic could see a faint line joining the two pages.
Twin paper was originally conceived to provide the Tyresian empire a means to communicate with it's High Seas fleet. It quickly found use with the Diplomatic Corp and in even more sensitive applications, including use by spies deployed in lands of the many enemies of Tyresia.
A great deal of it's appeal is the simplicity of it's use - all one needs to do to use it is to write upon it. No incantations need be spoken, nor magical energies called upon.
Preparation of the paper (or any other material) in this manner requires the use of a specially formulated magical paste. The paste is applied to one sample of the material and then the second piece is pressed into it. After leaving them together for 24 hours, the paste will have disappeared and the two materials linked.
The paste is very costly to manufacture, the process requiring magical components equal in value to an ounce of gold per square inch of surface. A batch of paste generally requires about a week of work by a skilled alchemist.
Quite simply, anything inscribed upon one sheet will appear on the other, regardless of intervening distances or obstacles.
Magic effects, however, are not transmitted, so trapped gylphs, curses, etc, cannot be duplicated using this item. The text is replicated, but the magic effects are solely confined to the original copy.
The medium cannot be erased and reused - the subtle enchantments upon it cannot survive such rough treatment.
One can assemble two books from a sufficient number of such pages. The books then can be used as a secure form of communication.
In the interplay between nations, espionage has always been a tool of statecraft. Those realms with magic have open to them many more opportunities for the application of spycraft.
Apart from use as a communication device, with both users aware of the books properties, it can be used to capture secrets if some of the pages were carefully deployed.
Note paper on an important person's desk could be substituted for this paper, and their notes would then be compromised.
Even more creatively, one could have the two pages printed with different contracts prior to enchantment, with the signature line in the same location on each sheet.
Once enchanted, signing one contract would sign the other.
'Yes, I destroyed the letter - you saw me do it!'.
Sensitive or important documents could be easily backed up 'offsite', as it were.
Most of the above uses immediately suggest different plots. The main ones are:
1. Obtain a member of a communications journal pair to cut off communications or substitute alternate orders.
2. Plant the paper where it would pick up important secrets where used.
3. Drop a supply of the paper to an agent undercover in an enemy kingdom.
4. Prevent any of the above :)
An ideal companion item for a spy deep within an enemy is the use of a magical quill which writes illusionary text. In reality it writes a plain-text message which due to the paper not transmitting magic, comes through clear on the other side. If someone were to see the local copy, they would see the illusionary text which would appear as something unimportant.
Spells which accomplish the same task are also useful.
A lesser powered (No magic capturing) version of the Book of Transcription made with this type of paper would be even more powerful, being a 'bug' with unlimited range, though the book would be hideously expensive.
Eg. For a 100 page book with standard (8'x11' - yes I know that is not a medival standard) size pages, you are looking at expending the equivilent of 550lbs of gold to produce the necessary twin paper. This is not even touching the cost of making it into a book of transcription.
Anyone of power would be well advised to periodically checking their library for books radiating enchantment they are not expecting. Could provide much gainful employment for lesser wizards of a trustworthy sort :)
A pair of books created with large amounts of Twin Paper. Generally used on fleet flagships for communication with High Command, and sometimes on especially important espionage missions.
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? Responses (12)
Fix the bolding
A great addition to any espionage game, obviously goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway. Hmm, this is a pricey enterprise, creating these sheets, but then again, royal courts and governments could theoretically mass produce these in droves, having teams of alchemists working around the clock, and procuring the necessary components ad nauseam.
Hmm, here's a plot. You can have an entire nation overthrow another one, with this innovation, assuming the latter nation does not have the secret paste recipe or awareness of the process. A potentially humbling tide turner in a great war.
The list goes on. Thieves Guild intrigue, unscrupulous monks copying the religious texts of another secret order, on and on.
Good work val. Useful and uncomplicated.
Updated: Bolding fixed...
A useful means of mystical communication. Another use might be watchtowers on the outskirts of the country. When an invading force is first seen, the watchers write out a warning, then burn their linked-logbook, as the messages have already been imprinted within the matching book inside the capital. This instant communication gives the soldiers an extra edge, because they do not need to return to the capital or anywhere else to give warning; instead they can focus on survival, and hindering the enemy's progress.
This is a pretty cool one!
Especially if you plan on using it to capture enemy secrets, there is another expansion necessary: some simply means of disenchantment (fast, not necessarily cheap). On the one side, once you have learned the secret, you will want to prevent accidental writing on your copy that would immediately show on the other side. On the other side, once somebody knows of this, paper and all mediums of information will start to be suspected, and important documents will be surely disenchanted shortly before writing, just in case.
And so starts another magical arms race... :)
On Chaosmark's idea: would the burning of one paper result in some changes on the other side? Maybe even temporary, but there should be some hint that this happened... the paper could turn brownish for a while, etc.
A very good basic enchantment. Of course once this item becomes known, it will cause two things to happen.
Visible Watermarking for government documents. Contracting companies will do the same. This will make it difficult to 'forge' things with the enchanted paper.
Wax seals will be used, as those can not be duplicated by the enchantment (or will just show as a splat). And Notaries will become a requirement, as they will list what they have certificed and why. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Notary_public for information about these people). The Notary has a record of what they witnessed. Thus they can eliminate some of the semi-fraudulent processes.
Still, it is a great 'fantasy' radio. The price is not that outragous and would provide huge advantages in government, warfare, and large scale businesses over those who do not have it. Even expensive, it would easily pay for itself.
Communication processes are great. And if Books of Law were made with this paper, and tied to a few dozen other books of the same time, you could have instant distribution of laws, warrents, and such to the outlying providences.
From this item, Ledgers of Governence would be created. Right Sided Pages for sending out to the outlying location, the left sided pages for inbound information. Thus laws, tax records, appointments, warrents, and such could be recorded and sent instantly.
Of course one thing. If what is done to one page, is done to another, then what about burning one page? Will the other burn as well?
Your point about countermeasures is well made, and could help reduce it's impact. However a powerful nation could get around some of the measures by forging or stealing watermarked paper and then treating it.
The wax seals and Notary are an excellent countermeasure.
Regarding damage transferral, it was not stated explictly, but only minor alterations such as writing will transfer, otherwise the use as a 'backup' copy is not possible. So, I'd say physical damage (tearing, etc) do not transfer at all, and total destruction like burning will simply cause the other sheet to become somewhat scorched but readable.
So the shreading of this age will be painting it over with black ink. If the ink used was flamable, even the better.
Actually many an early modern era espionage mission was done by France and England to get the other's official paper, much the same way people try to steal Money Blank paper. With it, you could make official documents. With this technology though, you would not only have to steal the heavily guarded paper, but put it back so someone will use it (after enchanting it).
If this paper imaging becomes 'common', then they will start enchanting certain paperweights with a detection spell keyed to it. Thus the copied paper can be detected easily. Technology, counter technology, it is a natural progression.
Aside: There is a spooktale where the KGB tagged certain military office's paper supply with a radioactive material, so when they sent orders out on it they could trace where the orders went (finding the spies associated with the office via geiger counter). Do not know how reliable this one is, but it sounds good.
I heard something similar, but it was a terribly invasive ultraviolet dye...
Updated: Changed to Scroll to add a few related entries and thoughts.
If you slipped this into somebody's backpack you could have a pretty sweet plot as they think they've found a holy artifact- just write something along the lines of:
'Hello, I'm your god.'
As long as they're not familiar with Twin Paper, that'd make a pretty entertaining plotline.