I was thinking recently about spell books — arcane and divine — and realized that the structure of Seekers of Lore could make good use of them.
I don’t know precisely how I will incorporate them, and I’d welcome your thoughts, but here are a few things I’m thinking about.
- Spell books make a wonderful reward for casters. New spells are always welcome.
- Spell books could contain ‘common spells’, but those are likely to be relatively worthless (in the ‘commodity’ scale, as much as spell books can be).
- Spell books with uncommon spells (those not in the core rule books, say) are likely to have higher market value.
- “Uncommon spells” might be just reskinned common spells, or they might be new spells altogether (or at least, taken from non-core books).
- Spell books are, in classic D&D, noted as being in part “wizard’s notebooks”, and include other information of value.
- Item creation ‘recipes’.
- Alternate applications of magic (which might act something like metamagic feats or allow other tricks).
- Obscure knowledge (bonuses to knowledge checks, or specific information).
- Call of Cthulhu Call of Cthulhu Call of Cthulhu!
- I may or may not involve madness and horror rules. I think I don’t expect this to be that kind of campaign.
- “Famous books”, however, are entirely appropriate.
- Language should probably be significant. I like the idea of having to meet certain requirements (whether just language or something else) in order to use a book.
- Books might have several levels of mastery. These may have different effects.
- Totally unmastered, never even read.
- Reviewed, where the book has been read and the contents discovered but not learned.
- Studied, where the book as been read in detail and certain elements (spells, processes, etc.) learned.
- Mastered, where the entire book has been read in detail and all elements learned.
- Copying books or their content might not be as simple as transcribing them. I like the idea of each physical book being a relatively unique item. It might be possible to copy elements from a book that you have studied, but without mastering it you cannot recreate it well enough that someone can gain the benefits of mastery from your copy.
If I had a local group I would be very tempted to produce physical books to hand out as props. Probably printed 5.5×8.5 (letter paper folded in half) and stapled, 12-16 pages (6-8 sheets of paper, plus cardstock cover), first page outlines the content (including common spells listed by name, uncommon spells, processes and techniques, and formulae), uncommon spells in normal format, descriptions of the processes, techniques, and formulae, and so on. Considering the “multiple pages per spell” guidelines the physical book I describe should be enough to handle the “100-page standard spell book”.
Heh, I’m honestly tempted, if I get this going regularly as a Hangout game, to print and email these out to the people who find them.
I like the idea of the books being more than just a collection of spells.
* Partial notes towards an experimental golem ritual
* A sketched map of the location of some fascinating magical flowers/crystal deposits/etc
* Some alchemical recipes
* Secret passage: a portal hidden inside a page of the book
* Stored object: a drawing which can be peeled off the page to retrieve the item
* Magic index: automatic cross-referencing makes preparing spells from this book easy
* Intelligence: maybe the book just wants someone to talk to after being locked away in a library for all those years…
I’ve given out potion recipes as treasure, as well as books that allow those who have read them to ask a number of questions on a particular topic (like these). I also do the thing with uncommon non-core spells, which are rare and closely-kept secrets by those who know them. I like the idea of multiple levels of mastery of a book, though – might have to steal that.