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A spellbook is a type of book that Wizards and other Arcanists use to record their known spells. The complex notation of a spell takes up several full pages of a spellbook: the more powerful the spell, the more pages it takes up. A spellbook can have any number of pages.

Whatever their appearance, spellbooks are generally classified in two groups - arcanabula and grimoires. Arcanabula, or workbooks, are a wizard's everyday working tomes. They tend to contain spells jumbled in any order, interspersed with annotations and notes of magical lore, and are often stained and bartered from travel and use in the field. Grimoires, sometimes called greatbooks, are formal, ordered collections of spells.

Spellbooks are never far from their authors. Many wizards will make copies of their spellbooks and hide them in various places to avoid the loss of their knowledge. Evil wizards have been known to create duplicates of their spellbooks and lay magical traps upon the covers to destroy the mind or body of any who would attempt to read from their pages. Spellbooks are so precious to a wizard that should they need to leave their homes, for whatever reason, they would probably have their Arcanabula with them and have left their actual spellbook in a secured location lest it be taken by bandits or worse, destroyed.

Arcane Magical Writings


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To record an arcane spell in written form, a character uses complex notation that describes the magical forces involved in the spell. The notation constitutes a universal arcane language that wizards have discovered, not invented.

The writer uses the same system no matter what her native language or culture, However, each character uses the system in her own way. Another person's magical writing remains incomprehensible to even the most powerful wizard until she takes time to study and decipher it.

Apprentices will often have to learn how their master records their magical writings in order to copy from their spellbooks.

Spellbook Construction

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Aside from ornamentation and spurious false writings, all spellbooks require one page per spell level (minimum one page) to record any particular spell. The pages of most spellbooks have been treated for durability and protection against fire, mold, water, parasites, staining, and other hazards. These procedures make even a blank spellbook relatively expensive.

The base cost of 15 SM buys a well-bound leather volume of 100 hemp pages, a style also typically used for other high-quality books such as the genealogies of noble families or the master copies of sages' published writings. Exotic materials increase the cost and weight of a spellbook accordingly, and these materials are usually reserved for grimoires, not arcanabula.

Spellbooks
Cover Weight Hardness Hit Points Cost
Leather 1 lb. 2 +0 5 SM
Wood, thin 1 lb. 3 +1 10 SM
Metal, soft 5 lb. 5 +4 100 SM
Metal, hard 5 lb. 7 +5 200 SM
Dragonhide 2 lb. 4 +2 200 SM
Slipcase +1 lb. +1 +1 +20 SM
Pages (100) Weight Hardness Hit Points Cost
Parchment 2 lb. +0 1 20 SM
Paper, linen 2 lb. +0 2 20 SM
Paper, Casymar 2 lb +0 2 15 SM
Paper, Hemp 2 lb +0 2 10 SM
Vellum 2lb. +0 3 50 SM
Bone or ivory 4 lb. +0 4 100 SM
Metal foil 20 lb. +1 8 500 SM

The weight, hardness, hit points, and cost of a spellbook of unusual construction is the sum of its cover and page construction.

For example, a spellbook made with a steel plate cover (hard metal) and copper foil pages weighs 25 pounds, has hardness 8, 13 hit points, and costs 700 gold pieces.

All fine books can be purchased with a waterproof double slipcase of chased and tooled leather, strong enough to protect against driving rain or burial in snow but not against prolonged immersion. Special physical treatments (such as baths in secret herbal tinctures and alchemical solutions designed to retard fire and mold damage) are included in the above costs.

Protecting Spellbooks

Any wizard with the means to do so will carefully safeguard her spellbooks against accident, battle damage, or theft. Most arcanabula feature cheap and inexpensive protections (often a simple explosive runes or fire trap), but for most wizards, the risk of losing a workbook isn't enough to justify the expense of high-level protection.

Grimoires, on the other hand, are generally stored in the most secret hiding places (sometimes even on other planes) and equipped with mechanical traps, loyal guardians, and deadly spells of defense. The protections applied to a greatbook can take virtually any form, from magically sustained poisonous spiders or snakes, to bladders of paralyzing or sleep-inducing gases, to scything blades or poisoned needles concealed in the locks, lids, or frames of the coffers and cabinets the books are hidden in. These traps are never of a design or nature that might endanger the book, but otherwise are almost limitless in the kinds of damage they can inflict on the uninvited.

Magical protections can add thousands of gold pieces to the cost of even the simplest tome. Some of the most common spellbook defenses include the following.

Resistant to Energy (Minor): The book has resistance 5 against acid, cold, electricity, fire, and sonic attacks.
Moderate abjuration; CL 6th; Craft Wondrous Item, resist energy; Price +100SM.

Resistant to Energy (Major): The book has resistance 12 against acid, cold, electricity, fire, and sonic attacks. Moderate abjuration; CI 10th; Craft Wondrous Item, protection from energy; Price +300 SM.

Glamered: The book looks and feels like something else of similar size (no more than 25% larger or smaller in any dimension) and weight (between half as heavy and twice as heavy as the original). Upon command, the book switches between its normal and its glamered appearance, but anyone who touches the book in glamered form can make a DC 14 Will save to disbelieve the illusion.
Moderate illusion; CI 6th; Craft Wondrous Item, major image; Price +200 SM.

Pungent: The book is infused with an acrid essence that repels damaging pests. Any creature that touches the book without first speaking a command word must make a DC 14 Fortitude save or become nauseated for 1d4+1 rounds.
Moderate conjuration; CL 7th; Craft Wondrous Item, stinking cloud; Price +200 SM.

Levitating: The book hovers in the air at whatever point it is placed, much like an immovable rod (though the book can support only its own weight).
Moderate transmutation; CL 6th; Craft Wondrous Item, levitate; Price +200SM.

Waterproof: The book is impervious to damage caused by immersion in or exposure to water.
Faint abjuration; CL 3rd; Craft Wondrous Item, endure elements; Price +100SM.

Spelltrapped: A magic trap has been incorporated into the book (for example, a burning hands spell that strikes anyone handling the book except its owner). The trap can be set to operate when the book is touched, when it is opened, or when a particular page is read. Any spell appropriate for a trap may be used.

See also:

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