[Make Stuff] Spellbook ideas!

edited April 2012 in Make Stuff!
Hey Story Games, let's brainstorm some cool ideas for spellbooks!

Give me some names of spellbooks, their properties, what they look like, links to pictures of them, what they can be used for, and what types of spells are found in them.

I'll go first:

The Jewelled Heart of Quadraksals is a mighty tome, large and heavy. It's cover is made of gilded and jewel-encrusted dragonskin. Inside it's perfumed pages (made from the pulp of two dozen cypress trees not less than four hundred years old) you will find many spells of illusions both grand and subtle. But how will you read it? Only Quadraksals himself knows how to part those covers and reveal the contents of his jewelled heart!

The Book of Lands is an ancient tome. Though it contains but a few spells, it's magical pages put no limit on the number of simple words that can be written on them. This book has been passed down from generation to generation through a long line of sorcerous geomancers, all of whom recorded their investigations of stones and soils and the things that grow in them, in all the lands they ever travelled to. No greater store of geological knowledge exists!

The Coiled Ropes of Gorgonas is an unusual spellbook. It was composed in the ancient language of Khorhaq Ttal, which is much like Ogham, except that it is not inscribed on stone, but written with knots in rope and string, like Quipus. This "book" is thus a thick collection of knotted cords. Its current owner, Gorgonas, has saturated these cords in paralytic poison, which he has developed an immunity to, and he uses them as garottes when needs must. Beware their poison! For it has twisted the features of Dread Gorgonas to such a degree that he now wears a hideous mask to hide his mangled features.

But the Elf Queen has by far the strangest spellbook. The Quickling is a small fox-like creature, about the size of a squirrel, that sits upon her shoulders and whispers its spells into her ear.

Your turn!


  • Turing's Staff of the Enigma is a two yard long ebony staff. The upper third is composed of two dozen rings with ivory inlaid runes. Each ring can rotate independently and they form a cypher where the correct orientation of each ring is set. Also,knowledge of the runes is required to unlock the spells it contains. Rapping the butt of the staff on a hard surface will cause the rings to spin clock-wise and anto-clock-wise at random before stopping. In a pinch, the top heavy staff can be wielded as a two handed mace. The rings are enchanted and very durable.

    It is rumored that entering an incorrect combination can create spells that appear to be correct, but are flawed or boobytrapped when used.
  • The Grimoire of Visages is a remarkable and unusual tome, created by a student of the arcane arts who had no idea of its potential. Anyone can enter their name on a page of the book, accompanied by an illustration, whereupon the possesor of the book can communicate with them over any distance, but even more remarkably, those whose names are recorded in the book can lend aid to each other, so that a fighter might assist a bard in battling goblins, even if they are in different countries.

    There is also a sinister side, however, as those who only desire profit can abuse the grimoire to constantly send messages to the people who have signed the tome, pestering them with trivial news of their goods and services.
  • The Vulpine Codex is rumored to contain many spells of unspeakable power, beyond the scope normally thought possible even with the mightiest of mortal magics. The fox-fur-covered tome contains no such spells, of course, but it does hold in-depth and comprehensive advice on how to fake it, both mundanely, and a discussion on how to use illusions, enchantments, and memory-alteration spells to great effects (although the book itself actually contains no spells). So far all who have read it have seen the value in perpeptuating rumors of its power.

    Iak, a self-taught wizard prodigy from the edge of the Dusklands, is very, very heavily tattooed with highly elaborate geometric patterns, which of course encode a lifetime's worth of spells, all individually derived from arcane first principles, and thus unique, although a handful are fairly similar to more commonly known spells except for cosmetic differences (The spell "dragon's tongue" is more or less a green-colored fireball that emerges from the caster's mouth rather than hands, for example.)
  • The Secrets of Fine Dining by Barbara Richmond looks just like the sort of book you might expect to find in a rubbish pile outside of a second hand book store. The cover features a pleasant-looking middle-aged woman, whose hairdo and attire hints at the 1970s or 1980s, holding a silver tray with what appears to be a salad of some kind. The recipes themselves look woefully outdated. They include almost no fresh ingredients, and feature copious amounts of ketchup and mayonnaise. There are at least seven different versions of what the author terms "5-Minute Tuna Surprise". But Barbara Richmond wasn’t just an ordinary housewife-turned-author: she was also a powerful witch, who learned to master the arcane arts of alchemy. Some of the recipes, if prepared exactly according to the instructions, might transform their base ingredients into something other than expected; others will allow her restless spirit to take possession of your body.
  • edited April 2012
    Spellcaster Monthly is a monthly magazine written by and for wizards. Every issue includes letters, editorials, discussion, coverage of particular topics, advancements in the state of the Art, and three to five spells. These spells must be transcribed into one's own grimoire before they may be cast, which is itself a slow, error-prone process. Mistakes during the transcription process can result in anything from one's effort being lost or wasted and having to start over, to spells that don't work or fail in ways from infuriating to amusing to spectacular. The spells themselves often contain simple errors that can be caught and fixed by even intermediate students. Still, there are wizards who have learned everything they know by transcribing, fixing, and casting the spells they've gleaned from the pages of Spellcaster Monthly and similar publications (such as Wizard! and its sister publication Wizard! Scrolls).
  • edited April 2012
    Jastara's tome is a large book with orange painted wood covers studded with silver. Jastara abandoned this particular copy when it was infested by a parasitic spell. The spell is a pleasure to learn and cast but does nothing else. When scribed in a spellbook it will consume other spells and rewrite itself with their symbols, slowly getting longer while the other spells are ruined. Erasing the parasite is hard because it will hide seeds of invisible ink inside other spell texts and if erased it will simply start growing from one such seed engulfing the victim spell from within. It seems to prefer summoning spells and hate the taste of scrying and detection spells which it will reluctantly eat in a time of starvation. At the moment the only intact spells are Detect normal ghosts and Detect sarcasm.

    Fongal's Mind Orbs are often stolen by people who hope to learn Fongal's two mighty spells Wine out of Nowhere and the Weighty Argument of the Moon Prince. The orbs are apple sized and made from ordinary glass and filled with enchanted alchemical gas that glow a bright green when held. They contain neither of the spells which are tattooed on the inside of Fongal's eyelids.
  • Those are some excellent spellbooks! I'll add a few more of my own:

    The Mouth of Hashamakh is a dangerous tome. It appears to be a gnarled and blackened old grimoire with deeply-yellowed pages. Whoever has properly consecrated it with offerings of their own blood may peruse the many summoning rituals contained within, selecting just the right hungry fiend to send against his foes. But those who have made the proper propitiations must beware, for the book itself is a hungry fiend, and will happily close upon the hands and faces of unwanted readers, with flesh-rending teeth extending from its covers and its pages lapping at blood like bladed tongues.

    The Lockbox of the Archmage Drufus is an infuriating puzzle of a spellbook. Drufus was a conspicuously flamboyant mage, and his spellbook is said to be full of outrageously spectacular spells—the kind that transform lead into gold, polymorph people into brightly-feathered birds, call forth garish displays of light, fire, and illusion, and create golems from exotic materials that the caster may command. However, this spellbook is not only large, weighing almost a hundred pounds, it is also locked. The gilded clasps that hold the covers shut have yet to be bested, and the key that fits this lock was lost when Drufus was slain by the fire giants.
  • The Tome of Dahr-Wuin, created by an unnamed mountain man widely rumored to be the aforementioned exiled archmage, is a curious sort of spellbook. With timberwolf-fur covers and exquisitely made Wu-Wu reed papyrus pages, the book is enchanted to act in a manner consistent with a detailed ecological system. Spells are known to migrate across pages, grazing on wild inkblots and hunting other spells, and suitably similar ones are known to mate and produce offspring composed of half of each parent's symbols. There have been over seven hundred noted species of spells found and transcribed so far, though it is of course impossible to retrieve the various spells that have gone extinct over the years.
  • The Little Black Book is probably one of the smaller spell books you will find. It can easily fit inside a hat or in an inner jacket pocket. Most of the spells in the LBB are charms for luck, seduction, persuasion, including one for singing that some bards will find very helpful. The LBB does have some strange side effects, but it isn't known if they're magical or not. The user of the contents tends to have unusual lapses in confidence never knowing if their success is due to their natural talents or the effects of the LBB. Some users also resort to drinking heavily and, up to a certain extent, their abilities actually seem to increase with intoxication.
  • The Tapestry of Denton Kleinkappel

    Denton was a lesser lord of the Abendeicher Kingdom before it fell, some 93 years ago. Of course, many of the minor nobles or their families were able to escape into hiding, not being primary targets of the Greenfelter uprising. Denton's family, but not Denton himself, fled into the mountain passes east of their holdings, trying to make their way to the family summer house, while Denton defended their home. It was not summer, and the cold of the pass meant the death of each of them in turn. This particular tapestry was among the possessions the family hurriedly gathered, and with good reason; the tapestry was the repository of Denton's magical learning, over his 190 year life. Beyond this, no one remembers much of what Denton himself was like.

    The tapestry is a rich purple thing, made of fine, but not unobtainable threads. It is stitched through with yellow threads, that at first appear to be gold, but upon inspection can be found to be made of simple cotton, glinting with their magical power. Viewing the tapestry is a bit unnerving, and the longer it is viewed the more difficult it is to focus on the tapestry as a whole. The yellow threads seem to move on their own, when in your peripheral vision, but are unmoving when confronted directly. The threads do not change location, but if you can examine one section of the tapestry at a time, and pay attention to the moving, shimmering threads 'just' out of direct sight, it is possible to learn Denton's spellcraft. The longer one stares and the more intense the focus, the more powerful the spell that can be learned, but the more like Denton one's mind must become, as it was his very personal art that made the tapestry.
  • edited April 2012
    THE COMPANDERIA, being a most thorough list of Shortcuts and Byways contrived and trodden by Sir Alexander Hymn and his many acolytes in the course of their many excursions into the Unknown, compiled by his pious sons to the benefit of wizards and laymen alike is a musty old leather-bound tome, written in a very dry language with no hint of literary talent. It details the many ways in which unnecessary tasks may be avoided and their ultimate result reached with little effort. These range from mundane tasks such as lighting a fire or drawing water from the well, to extraordinary ones such as travelling or investing one's money wisely. These instructions, while generally requiring very little physical effort, demand nonetheless considerable concentration and patience. Page 111 has been torn from most copies of the Companderia, which is most unfortunate, as that page is rumored to contain the means to gain all the knowledge within the book without having to go through the effort of reading and understanding it all.
  • Henrietta's Scarf is but one example of an Bakanalese spell scarf. Made from soft cottons and colorful threads, these scarves contain generations worth of hedge magics inscribed with careful stitches. The Bakanalese are highland shepherds and, while most of their magics revolve around the chores of the season, some of their most dramatic spells involve the scarves themselves.
  • The Rat Scrolls of Vanishing were found in an empty cell in the Corsair Queen's dungeon. The few pages are made from rat skin tied together with human hair, the single spell is carved with a sharp nail and colored with dirt. It mostly invokes the few stars and planets visible from the tiny window of the cell. A few mages have cast it and vanished, never to be found again. It is a teleportation spell but nobody knows where or when the destination is and the caster is transported naked leaving behind the Rat Scrolls, clothes, hair and stomach content.
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    Caleniu Rhori's Deck is an unusual deck of cards. Each of its cards (four suits of fifteen cards each, with an additional 24 trump cards, for 84 total) is marked with various magical symbols. The value and suit are used as mnemonics; Rhori memorized combinations of number and suit, and when arranged appropriately the symbols could be read as the appropriate spell. The cards are utterly nonmagical on their own, aside from the fact that they are a spellbook; they can be used in various card games, although one might not wish to attempt to cast random spells read off of a random poker hand. They do inherently work extremely well with various types of cartomancy.
  • The Mothmouth Dialogues - The appearance of this spellbook is mutable - in a modern setting it appears indistinguishable from a Moleskine journal any coffeehouse hipster might carry, while in an historical setting it might appear as a heavy leather bound tome. The book resists any form of marking placed on the outside by the user and actively changes appearance in order to increase the likelyhood that it changes hands often.

    On the right side of each page appears text written in a consistant, easily read hand (in fact, the entire book can be ready by anyone with fluency in any language) and consists of descriptions of elaborate rituals, all of which involve the sacrifice of innocence, forcing change upon others, the theft of beloved objects, and other forms of corruption. Mixed with the descriptions is praise for past ritual performances and advice for improvement of results.

    On the left hand pages are descriptions of previous rituals being used, including exacting details of the acquisition of ritual components, the pain caused to others in the process, and how the ritualist feels about what they have done. These exacting descriptions are followed by humble requests regarding the outcomes of future rituals, which are then responded to in the facing right-hand pages. The left hand pages are written in several scripts and some of the entries have been annotated in the scripts of those writing later pages. There are no annotations on the right-hand pages.
  • Hooray spellbooks!

    Here's one from my game kill puppies for satan (so look out):

    the yellow grimoire of malthais van orley

    now i have to warn you, malthais van orley (1731-1777) was one cold fucked up mean relentless motherfucker, plus he had a real gift. he could sit down and write six hundred pages in his crabby little hand and in all of them not three consecutive words would make sense.

    benjamin franklin wrote of him: “if it is not the pottage of vermin, then it is the covetous glance he fixes upon my loyal old trey. such a damn’d nuisance is this v. o. that i find myself quite off my hump.”

    in the early fifties, van orley’s (so called) yellow grimoire came to the attention of a disgruntled editor at puffin books named wilfred leer, who published it in two volumes. occasionally you can find it in a college library or one of those used bookstores specializing in books nobody ever buys. don’t be put off by the fact that it’s totally unreadable and the frontspiece invokes a curse of pustules and pox on the reader -- you don’t want it for the reading and the curse only takes effect if you open the book during a waxing moon or in february.

    van orley wrote three satanic spells into his yellow grimoire, but they’re tricky to pick out of the gibberish. have your pcs make a cold roll to find each one.

    - good for driving off vagrants, a first degree spell – toss a small stone at your target. it hits with about the force of a mediocre professional-level fastball. this spell takes a second or so to cast and sometimes gives you a nosebleed.

    - good for having your revenge upon burglars, a first degree spell – say aloud the name of something you own. the thing you name, wherever it is, bursts into fierce flame, setting anything near it alight and burning itself quickly to ashes. this spell takes three minutes to cast (by the clock) and leaves blisters on the palms of your hands.

    - good for cheating the hangman, a greater ritual – kiss your target on the lips. you and your target swap bodies. forever. if you have magical things like bound demons and branded spells, they stay with your old body. you’ll still die of old age when your time is up, no matter how youthful a body you’re in. this spell takes a couple of hours to cast and leaves you exhausted and puking.

    malthais van orley was in fact hanged on march 6, 1777, and so that’s when we say that he died, but who knows?
  • Codex Prismaticus.
    This rather small quarto-sized volume is bound in iridescent reptile skin and bears no title, only a black rainbow branded on the cover. The high-quality vellum pages are inscribed with many colours of ink. The tome's original author pseudo-Prismaticus ingeniously managed to pack a great many spells into this slim collection by layering them. In each chapter, the elements in black ink are common to all spells, while certain colours (orange, green, blue) are common to only some spells, and other colours (blue, red, yellow) are unique to one specific spell.

    Chapter 1 contains Colour Spray, Hypnotism, Conjure Bread (actually steals nearby bread, doesn't create it), and Minor Illusion, but if the blue elements on each left-hand page are left out, or the blue elements on each right-hand page are included, the caster will set off a Fire Trap and be burned.

    Chapter 2 contains Far Seeing, Prismatic Shield, and Cure Poison, but the colour codes for the instructions and the visualization elements are different.

    Chapter 3 contains Dimension Door, Iridescent Fog, and Fly, but if the black elements that are identical to the green elements are not removed, the spell cast will be Polymorph Self, and the caster will become a frog.

    Chapter 4 contains Wizard Lock, Hands of Fire, and Invisibility, and is not trapped at all, but each spell requires translating the common instructions into a different language.

    It is not known why pseudo-Prismaticus used similar elements in these particular spells or why he thought they should be associated with each other but I seem to recall there was a graduate student at one of the more heterodox Northern universities working on a thesis based on notes copied from the codex. There might even be an intact copy of the full text floating around, although copies of individual chapters, though still rare, are much more common.
  • edited April 2012
    Morgan Stinson Social Studies Mr. Bentley 3rd Period

    I have a spellbook that I created during a number of difficult bus rides while I was going through puberty. This heinous tome is a kelly-green, sprial-bound notebook. It was scrawled with a black-as-night uniball that later exploded in my backpack due to evilness. No matter how many times I move, it moves with me. Right now, it is no doubt hiding in some box in a garage, whispering the words of my youth, "You...basically... still... suck..."
  • edited April 2012
    Die transzendentale Lehre der Geheimnisse und der Lügen (Transcendental Theory of Secrets and Lies), by Jakob Otto Karmichael. Issued by an anonymous publisher, whom we now know to Christian Osternagel of Danzig, in 1803. In this little known and enigmatic treatise, the philosopher Karmichael offers a Kantian account of secrets. He argues that secrets escape the conditions of sensible perception, and as such, they exist in a realm where ontological distinctions do not hold. He draws the conclusion that, if someone could attain an "intellectual intuition", a way of knowing that transcended the senses, for that person, all secrets would be one --- to know one secret would be to know all secrets. In addition to pure theory, the book contains several formulae and procedures for attaining the right state of enlightenment, many of which take the form of ritual invocations of Satan. The book is dedicated to an unknown patron referred to only as "Magus", and the dedication indicates that the Theory was supposed to be some sort of dissertation, submitted as a requirement for a rank of IV°.
  • Damn, I just submitted a dissertation on magic as a requirement for that same rank myself.
  • The Impactful Deck, a mashup of investor relations powerpoint slides gleaned from hundreds of dead internet companies.

    I don't know why this exists.
  • edited May 2012
    [Make Stuff] Spellbook ideas! is a discussion thread on an obscure on-line forum purporting to be for the purpose of talking about 'story games' (whatever they are). The thread in question appears at first glance to be a collection of ideas for spell books to appear in the fictional context of these 'games', but to those in the know, each posting on the thread contains a ritual for making that idea take on form in the real world. It is important to perform the ritual with total precision, however, as every single posting in the thread contains the same booby-trap: an incorrect casting of the spell in question will inevitably summon a troll.
  • The Tidal Glyphs by the Amber Coast are magical symbols carved in to the rock shoreline by the Amber coast. They are large and shallow and spread out over a wide area so to read them you need to color them with something. When the tide rolls in they are submerged. They detail a ritual dance and song that takes a few hours to complete. If done correctly the next tide will bring with it a sailing ship made of dried leaves with sails made of spider web. The ship is very fast and light but when touched by a single drop of blood the sail is blown away and the hull breaks apart into normal leaves.

    The scholars of Ratidex continuously add pages to their spellbooks. The pages are soft metal, usually lead but sometimes gold which makes the books of experienced scholars both valuable and very heavy. Ratidex was a master and pioneer of speech altering spells inventing spells such as universal translation, lie detection, altered understanding (offensive cryptography), magical megaphone, thoughtcasting, writing between the lines, subliminal inception, infectous echoes and babble bubbling.
  • edited May 2012
    Johnzo, what kind of spells does the Impactful Deck have in it? Are they motivational spells or do they allow you to enslave people and make them do work for you? Or do you use it on someone else's workforce in order to cripple it? (I don't work in an office, is why I ask.)
  • Posted By: JohnstoneJohnzo, what kind of spells does theImpactful Deckhave in it? Are they motivational spells or do they allow you to enslave people and make them do work for you? Or do you use it on someone else's workforce in order to cripple it? (I don't work in an office, is why I ask.)
    The straight-ahead and cynical answer is that they're Feign Health spells -- they're designed to enchant the audience so that it holds an optimistic view of the company's health and prospects. Works on both investors and staff and sometimes on the author as well.

    I don't like that straight-ahead answer though, it feels too pat and easy. There's got to be something stranger in all those slides.
  • Circling a cheerful yellow star on the edge of the galaxy is the lifeless, blasted, ruin of a planet. Circling the planet is a large moon where a boastful Archmage had scribed across its face 17 spells of terrible power, protected by what, in retrospect, proved to be an insufficiently secure cipher.
  • BLACK_MAGIC.TXT is a large (though extroardinarily low memory size) text file containing some of the most powerful technomantic spells in use today, as well as a variety of techniques and strategies for using combining magic and technology to crack a variety of popular operating systems. Other topics include algorithms for converting runes to binary, an overview of golem AI programming, and a brief discussion of the use of psionic techniques in internet trolling and the engineering of memes.

    Getting the file is difficult. Sometimes it's possible to just ask someone for a copy when hanging out in the right IRC channels, but script kiddies have be then known to try this so much that they're more likely to send you distasteful JPGs instead. Some say that with the right command line trickery you can find a copy hidden on older versions of Red Hat. Some even say that leaving a flash drive in a certain file cabinet of the Computer Science lab of MIT will download a copy onto the system it was last used on.

    Due to the secretive nature of the file, it's author is unknown.
  • Posted By: Peter AronsonCircling a cheerful yellow star on the edge of the galaxy is the lifeless, blasted, ruin of a planet. Circling the planet is a large moon where a boastful Archmage had scribed across its face 17 spells of terrible power, protected by what, in retrospect, proved to be an insufficiently secure cipher.
    I will take this opportunity to say that this thread is partially Planet Algol-related, and this is so perfect.
  • edited May 2012
    I really like the idea of magical playing cards! So...

    Barbozarr's Deck of Insightful Incantations.
    Barbozarr is one of several mages to use a deck of cards for his spellbook. The cards are intricately decorated with pictures, geometrical designs, and text. In order to memorize spells, the cards must be assembled in specific patterns, not sequences, so the snippets of text combine in unique ways, and then these snippets and pictures must be memorized in a specific order for each layout. Certain combinations produce disastrous results for the caster. Only Barbozarr knows the correct layouts! Most of Barbozarr's spells involve reading peoples' minds and discovering their doings and their needs so he can further his business dealings.
  • edited May 2012
    The Black Book of Juan de Betanzos is a slim vellum octavo bound in alpaca leather. It contains de Betanzos' transcription of certain invocations relayed to him by an anonymous yanacona servant in the household retinue of Quispe Sisa, sister of Atahualpa, on the eve of Quispe Sisa's forced marriage to Francisco Pizarro. It is clear that the servant felt the world was about to end as the Inca dynasty crumbled, and she abandoned her role as keeper of secrets before the curious Spaniard. She named the secret names of the forgotten people from before the time of Contiti Virachocha, when the world was in darkness. de Betanzos dutifully recorded these. She then spoke the words that, when accompanied by very specific ritual that she also outlined, would take away the sun and stars Contiti Virachocha had so graciously provided. Performing this ritual, she said, would blot out the sky and cause the forgotten people to return to mourn the lost Inca in a dead, empty world.
  • Jerry's Business Cards are a stack of about 30 standard-sized business cards, held together by a binder clip. Each contains the name and "contact information" for one of the Lords of Hell. The cell number is actually a mnemonic for recalling the details of the summoning ritual. It is said that the coffee stain obscuring part of Moloch's card may be the reason that Jerry isn't around anymore.

  • The Crane Archive.
    Vincent Crane is a graduate of the Miskatonic University. He read some things in the library, part of the Necronomicon, that unhinged him. He decided that he wanted to contact Abdul Alhazred, in order to understand things better. Crane has holed up in his family's old farm outside Muncie, IN. Inside the homestead is a bloody mess, the evidence of Crane's research and experiments. Mad scrawlings adorn the walls, papers are strewn everywhere and various body parts and other indescribable things in jars are scattered here and there. The various notes, books and images, if collected, amount to a Mythos Tome. It is a mixture of English and Arabic, translated via the intermediaries of an English-French and French-Arabic dictionaries. There are three full spells present in the text, Call Dark Servitor, Summon Ancester and Blessing of the Dark (enchant knife). Anyone with a good knowledge of Arabic will be puzzled by some of the translations and might well wonder as to the success of any or even all of these rituals.
  • Here's a spell book created for my Bruca game, though they haven't figured out how to open the box yet and the game has been on hiatus. Bret, Alexander or Topi, if you're reading this, please skip this post.

    The mechanics are Burning Wheel. The setting is heavily flavored by Artesia's Known World and my own fascination with/travels in northern Italy.

    Codex di Hurias Imparato con Annotazioni per Aspiranti al Sentiero Invisibile
    (The Book of Hurias the Learned, with Annotations for Aspirants to the Invisible Path)

    The Codex di Hurias Imparato comes in a deep, richly lacquered box inlaid with an elaborate ivory triskelion—the Daedeki Grammata Rune of Becoming—set upon a sunburst. The box is in fact a cunningly designed puzzle box composed of a dozen sliding slats that must be moved in a precise order to allow the lid to be raised.

    It requires an Ob 2 Strategy Games test to open the box. The user may opt to make an Ob 1 Meditation test to center himself before attempting the box. One who has successfully opened the box receives +1D Advantage to comprehending the contents.

    Inside the box is a book, bound in fine Corsan leather and stamped with the Rune of Becoming, the Rune of Dreaming and the Rune of Glamours. Beneath the codex are four sets of hinged wooden slats. Each unfolds into a beautiful and somewhat disturbing heptaptych that depicts a figure, perhaps Hurias himself, in a different scene that seems drawn from the Arcana: The Magician, The Emperor, The Hermit and The Hanged Man.

    Each heptaptych is in fact a different spell. The book is a primer on Hermetic Lore and Hermetic Ritual and a series of annotations on the heptaptychs intended to guide the reader in unlocking their secrets.

    Reading the primer requires an Ob 3 Read test and takes 4 + (10 - Reader’s Will) days. Success grants the reader an Ob 1 test toward Hermetic Lore or Hermetic Ritual. Successes over the obstacle may be spent to allow the reader to earn additional tests toward learning Hermetic Lore or Hermetic Ritual. Each test costs one success, and the reader must spend an additional 4 + (10 - Reader’s Will) days studying the text per test. As always, successes over the obstacle may also be spent to reduce time as per the Quickly rules. The reader may test once for learning Hermetic Lore and once for learning Hermetic Ritual.

    Heptaptych 1: The Magician. The center panel shows a majestic robed figure standing behind a brass cauldron. In his right hand he holds an ivory wand, and his left hand rests upon the hilt of a sword wrapped with a talisman bearing the Daedekine Ward Rune. His left finger appears to be pointing downward. Serpents are wrapped about both his wrists. He wears a golden crown of laurels, and from its center shines the Light of Understanding, illuminating the Daedekine Rune of Making. The surrounding panels seem to depict his journey from callow youth to master of the craft.

    Deciphering this heptaptych requires an Ob 3 Symbology test linked to an Ob 2 Meditation test. Failure in the Symbology test increases the Obstacle of the Meditation test by one and doubles the amount of time it takes to learn the spell. Failure in the Meditation test means the spell takes weeks to learn rather than days.

    Hurias della Corona di Comprensione (Hurias’s Crown of Understanding), Ob 3 (Hermetic Lore). The magician weaves a crown of laurels (Ob 1 Weaving test) and performs the incantation and mystic gestures. Anyone who wears the crown may add +1D advantage to one Ancient Languages, Astrology, Aura Reading, Foreign Languages, Philosophy, Read or Symbology test. It takes an hour to perform this spell. Successes over the obstacle may be spent to perform the spell Quickly. The magic of the crown lasts until used, at which point it flares with heatless flame and burns to a fine, powdery ash.

    Heptaptych 2: The Emperor. The center panel shows a crowned and armored man, draped in red and seated upon a throne of gold, which represents the Sun Throne of Sole. His crown is marked with the Daedekine Runes of Fire, Earth, Water and Air. Behind him is the mark of an Imperial Eagle. In his right hand he holds a scepter with a Riven Illumination Rune, and in his left hand he holds a globe of the world surmounted by a cross—perhaps the Imperial Dominion Rune. The surrounding panels seem to depict his journey from master of the self to master of the world.

    Deciphering this heptaptych requires an Ob 3 Symbology test linked to an Ob 3 Meditation test. Failure in the Symbology test increases the Obstacle of the Meditation test by one and, once the spell is successfully learned, increases the Obstacle of Bargaining with spirits summoned by the spell by 1. Failure in the Meditation test means the magician has learned a perverted version of the spell; it now summons a Rahabi, specifically a Gamezhiel (Timinit the Vermilion Dancer) that seeks to tempt the magician onto Ligrid’s path.

    Il Lure della Fiamme (The Lure of Flames), Ob 4 (Hermetic Ritual). After ritually preparing himself and the fire, the magician places a wooden disc inscribed with the Rune of Fire into the flames and begins an alternately sibilant and staccato chant to call an elemental forth. If its Name is used, a specific elemental appears. Otherwise, the magician must roughly specify the power of the elemental he seeks. Small elementals are the easiest to easiest to control, while very large elementals are exceedingly dangerous. While most elementals are not especially intelligent, they are willful beasts and do not take kindly to being shackled by a magician’s power.

    Heptaptych 3: The Hermit. The center panel depicts a cloaked and hooded man bearing a staff entwined with two serpents in his left hand and a lantern in his right. He is standing upon what appears to be a mountain peak, but rather than look out upon the vistas before him, his gaze is cast down upon his next step. Shadows gather around him, cast back only by the illumination of his lantern. The surrounding panels seem to depict his journey from a man surrounded by sycophants, followers and ill-intentioned guides to a seeker who chooses his own path.

    Deciphering this heptaptych requires an Ob 4 Symbology test linked to an Ob 3 Meditation test. Failure in the Symbology test increases the Obstacle of the Meditation test by one and doubles the amount of time it takes to learn the spell. Failure in the Meditation test means the spell has twisted something inside the magician’s soul, causing people to forget his presence when he attempts to engage them. He is +1 Ob to all social skills until he receives an Ob 3 Hermetic Purification Ritual. Once freed of the curse, he may attempt to learn the spell again.

    Hurias il Manto di Vigilanza (Hurias’s Mantle of Watchfulness), Ob = vs. Victim’s Perception (+1 for a Single Test against a Single Target; +2 for a Conflict against a Single Target; +3 for a Single Test against a Group; +4 for a Conflict against a Group), (Hermetic Lore). Wrapping himself with a black shawl while performing this incantation, the magician takes command of the perceptions of those around him and forces those who look upon him to simply ignore his presence. Those who witness the magician perform the spell see him vanish before their eyes. It takes 2 actions to perform this spell.

    Heptaptych 4: The Hanged Man. The center panel depicts a man suspended from one foot by a rope from a crossbar, which rests upon two leafless trees. His free leg is crossed behind him. He wears white and red clothing (thought to be a sign of the White and Red Elixirs of the alchemists), and his hands appear to be tied behind his back. A golden halo glows around his head, and from his coin purse spills a shower of golden coins. The suspension of the figure is believed to show the separation of the Self from both the Earth and the Heavens, where one gains insights into the nature of the world and gets a glimpse of the inverted Otherworld. The two trees are symbolic of the ruin of the Earth from which the suspended man seeks solace. The surrounding panels seem to depict the man’s journey from a seeker of truth to one who receives it.

    Deciphering this heptaptych requires an Ob 3 Symbology test linked to an Ob 2 Meditation test. Failure in the Symbology test increases the Obstacle of the Meditation test by one and doubles the amount of time it takes to learn the spell. Failure in the Meditation test means the spell takes weeks to learn rather than days.

    Respiro del Mondo dello Spirito, Ob = Advantage sought (Hermetic Ritual). The magician takes up position in the center of a sacred glen and dons a tippet marked with each of the Daedekine Runes. He takes up an ivory wand in his right hand and sword in his left and begins his incantation, slowly matching the cadence of his chant with the breath of the Otherworld. Once successful, the magician may tap the sacred glen, up to its maximum power rating (+3 to +6, as determined by GM).
  • Miss Spelled is a spellcasting blog, written and moderated by Helen Damnation. Helen, who sold her soul to Lucifer shortly after obtaining her AAS degree in business administration from Wake Technical Community College, started the blog in an attempt to establish a network of spellcasters. At first, she targeted the Wake County area, but found that her posts (which included practical, nuts-and-bolts advice on summoning and binding demons) attracted a great deal of international attention. Miss Spelled includes step-by-step processes for rituals and incantations, recipes for potions, phylactery assembly (featuring guest bloggers with a background in beadwork and metal-crafting), and reviews of 'witchly' apparatuses like braziers and ornamental daggers. The blog is well-organized, and allows the reader to search through a database of over 200 spells and curses. Those who post comments about Viagra, Nigerian Princes, or goat porn are transported directly to Baalzephul's Cloaca, which keeps spam to a minimum.
  • edited May 2012
    Malin Boranda's spell book is a movie reel. She knows it so well that the texture and length of it is enough for her to read it but if projected on a screen anyone proficient in arcane runes could too. The spells are non encrypted and before each their function is spelled out in plain white text on a black background. "With hexed talons you eviscerate your enemies." There are both texts to be read aloud and visual intructions of the ritual movements, often shown by Malin herself but sometimes other mages although these images are distorted as though viewed through a telescope or scrying device. Sometimes the texts are replaced with crude rebus as to prevent the spell from being cast from the reel itself when played. When there is audio (or worse, when a barely audible humming has been there for a while) RUN LIKE HELL! The reel will autocast there parts. The results of these spells are such that anyone present will suffer bodily harm or worse.

    Since Malin is a traveller as well as a thief the reel contain many different spells such as "Our heroine takes on the deceptive appearance of tumble weed.", "The shaman summons a malicious spirit." and "A tornado appears (anchor the projector)".
  • The The Economist Book of Obituaries, Volume 7 is an A5 black hardback book with the title embossed in gold foil on the spine. The interior contains two hundred and eighteen blank pages that can be pulled from the book with a light tug. Removed pages must be replaced with 24 hours or the person who removed them will die. Furthermore, the page will contain their own obituary. The next person to pick up the page has 24 hours to replace the page before they too become the focus of the book's obituaries. Once replaced, the book splits in two. One book contains two hundred and eighteen blank pages. The second book contains as many filled pages as people the replaced page killed.

    Blank removed pages may be used as a form of control over a person. Anything typed in a reasonable serif font on to the paper about a person that is currently alive will come true at some point before that persons death, with the exception of actions that lead to the death of the subject or the intentional death of another. When the page is replaced, it blanks out and the book does not appear to duplicate. However, upon fulfilling the instructions laid out on the page reinserted to the book the subject will receive one blank copy of the book by courier.

  • Blacktongue's Encyclopedia of Paper Golems.
    This chunky volume, bound in worn, brown leather, contains mostly illustrations of various types of people. There are a few alchemical symbols and strange magical formulae scattered throughout, which are necessary for making the book work. If you can decypher these, they contain only one spell. It is a powerful one, however. Cut out a figure from one of the pages and cast the spell and it grows to life-size proportions, fully animated and three-dimensional, able and willing to follow your commands. If this paper golem is destroyed or the words animating it are taken back, it's page is returned to the encyclopedia, undamaged. Only fire can destroy a paper golem permanently, and there are a few ragged, burnt edges in the spine, showing this to be the truth.

    There are rumours that another tome penned by Blacktongue contains a spell that allows a wizard to add another illustration to the encyclopedia. Even darker rumours hint that perhaps this spell does not add illustrations, but actual people to the encyclopedia, transmuting them into illustrations and imprisoning them for eternity.
  • edited May 2012
    Constantin the Chaotic's Unwilling Tome is written in spindly letter with green and orange ink and bound with smooth human skin. The front is the skin from a hand with yellow nails still attached. They grow. Their clippings can be used to make confabulation serum that makes the drinker unable to tell truth. You can never turn to the page you want, usually you get to the index or a long rhyming text about the virtues of voyerism and theft. If you throw the book in the air and it lands open a random page will be displayed. Spells that take up more than one page are very frustrating indeed to read since the book has almost a hunded pages. It contains spells of mind control, illusion, poison, minor summoning, polymorphing of objects and self and the erasure of memories and attitudes.

    By drinking the confabulation serum ones actions also turn into lies and the book can be operated normally although copying it is impossible under the influense of the potion. Get an assistant!
  • The Exaltavit Libro Terribilis Populus is a hide bound book covered in a short, rough fur locked closed with a brass clasp. The key is a simple lead key with a single bit on its blade, implying the lock should be simple to pick. Anyone whom attempts to pick the lock will find the lock consumes the pick used. The key may only be brought within a hundred metres of the book on a new moon. At any other time a repulsive force prevents it. Inside, the book contains about thirty pages covered in a runic language. The language is generated anew every time the book is opened. The book automatically locks whenever closed. At the edge of each page is part of a primer to allow a reader to decipher the language.

    The book, when translated, contains instructions on a ritual to summon any person from any time as long as that person has committed crimes that warranted their death. The cost of the ritual changes with each invocation and cannot be known beforehand. Once the ritual has begun, it is always completed regardless of the intention of the summoner.

  • Aeron chan 'r farw (Translation from Welsh Fruits of the Dead)
    Link to image of this small book.

    The book is made easy for concealment and personal guidance in the ways of waking from death.
    Through the mediations awakenings happen, (also known as the fruit of the dead)
    For it is believed most actions in the living are carried out habitually as one asleep or dead.
    Once the practitioner holds both life and death in equal measure and the fruits of his labour have come to pass, his hart and mind unfold their true nature.
    Only then will the quintessence manifest.
    Death will hold no power over the practitioner again.
  • What do you need these spellbooks for?
  • Well, originally I was writing option lists for the Sorcerer class' spellbook in my World of Algol game (AW hack), and I wasn't sure if I had covered all the options people would want to choose. They seem to be pretty solid, though, and I only added a couple new options.

    Most of the suggestions so far include cool stuff that isn't part of the character options, so I think I will introduce some of these ideas when I run the game, or in my regular D&D game.
  • The Seventeen Specific Curses are magically inscribed on the bones of the ruling family of Kush by their immortal Patriarch. Not, you understand, after death, but rather at birth.
  • Oh, right, "pretty solid" he says, "I only added a couple new options," and then not even ten minutes later, Simon reminds him to add the "part of the sorcerer's body" option. Ha!
  • Posted By: JohnstoneOh, right, "pretty solid" he says, "I only added a couple new options," and then not even ten minutes later, Simon reminds him to add the "part of the sorcerer's body" option. Ha!
    Have you also got "On someone else's body"?
  • Yeah, I have the alive option, which would include it being somebody else.

    This is what the Sorcerer's spellbook-creation rules look like now:

    My spellbook… (choose up to 4 options):
    ○ …consists of multiple volumes.
    ○ …constantly reorders its own contents.
    ○ …has a reputation.
    ○ …is dedicated to a specific extraplanar entity.
    ○ …is beat to shit and falling apart.
    ○ …is bound in human skin.
    ○ …is engraved and decorated with gold.
    ○ …is lavishly illustrated.
    ○ …is made of metal.
    ○ …is my own creation.
    ○ …is perfumed and scented.
    ○ …is stolen.
    ○ …is written in a dead language.
    ○ …was made from the corpse of a fantastic beast.
    ○ …was written by demons.
    ○ …was written in human blood.

    By default, your spellbook can hold up to a dozen spells or rituals. Give it a name and choose up to 2 tags for it:
    Alive: Your spellbook is a living thing (+alive).
    Copy: There are multiple copies of this book in existence.
    Encrypted: Written in code that cannot be read by others without powerful magic.
    Inconspicuous: Does not look or read like a magical tome.
    Insight: Grants +1 to rolls involving one type of magic when consulted.
    Large: Holds up to two dozen spells or rituals but is bulky and cumbersome.
    Limitless: Holds an infinite amount of non-magical writing.
    Monograph: Choose one subject from the Sage's list of specialties. Your spellbook contains extensive information about this topic.
    Poisonous: Those who touch it, save for you, are poisoned. Choose a poison type.
    Secure: Magical locks or wards prevent others from opening it.
    Small: Holds half a dozen spells or rituals but is easy to conceal and transport.
    Trapped: Those who open or read it without your permission suffer harm (2-harm intimate; applied, magic, trap). Choose a damage type.
    Unusual shape: You spellbook is not a book. It is a scroll, perhaps, or a memory cube, a box full of intricate clockwork, a collection of engraved coins or knotted strings, or a deck of playing cards that must be laid out in specific patterns.
    Warded: You always know where your spellbook is and who touches it.

    Also, on second thought, maybe Living Text will be a supplement for the Sorcerer class instead of being just an option in the list.
  • So...

    I could have:
    - multiple volumes
    - bound in human skin
    - perfumed and scented

    And then +alive and +unusual shape


    The Slave-Tomes of Janus
    The Sorcerer Janus was famed for being accompanied everywhere by up to a dozen human slaves held on fine silver chains. These slaves were all taken among from the scholar-monks of the Austral Mountains, trained since birth for perfect recall of memorised texts. They would on command recite the required spell for Janus' use or amusement.
  • Awesome sauce!
  • edited May 2012
    The Red Book of Nelandra Kir
    The Red Book of Nelandra Kir is a thick, illuminated book bound in blood-hued leather. It is a must-read
    status symbol for the decadent and gleefully corrupt wizards of Scarabae that seek to thwart the Church.
    Nelandra Kir was a beautiful mage alive during the Rise of States who was fascinated by spells that
    transfixed or paralyzed their targets. It is said that her lush garden was decorated by many a rival who had
    been turned to marble sculpture and that her preferred way to dispatch particularly meddlesome foes was
    to torture them while under the effects of a paralysis spell.
    The reader can automatically find one useful fact about the history of Scarabae’s rebel wizards who
    opposed the Church in previous ages, by looking in the book. The reader can also find recipes for various
    paralytic poisons.

    More can be found here http://fictivefantasies.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/the-red-book-of-nelandra-kir.pdf
    Other bits of interest here http://fictivefantasies.wordpress.com/old-school-hack-resources/
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