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Ink and Quill

Author Thomas Knauss
Series Dragonwing Games/Bastion Press
Publisher DWBP
Publish date 2002
Pages 65
ISBN none
OGL Section 15 i-q
Content Puller {$content}

Netbook can be found on the following website

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The material below is designated as Open Game Content

Despite all of the potent magical items and devices accumulated during a wizard’s lifetime, the spellbook, their unique collection of spells, remains their most prized possession. Not only demonstrative of their personal power, spellbooks also reflect the individual personality of their covetous owners. Appearing in a variety of shapes, sizes and materials, spellbooks boldly proclaim their author’s intentions and ambitions. The stretched humanoid skin covering a necromancer’s foul smelling spellbook offers a sharp contrast to a
gnome illusionist’s colorful leather bound collection of spells. Bindings, page materials, varieties of ink and multitudes of different spells ensure that no two spellbooks are exactly alike.

Scrolls, on the other hand, do not betray their owner’s disposition as readily as a spellbook. Devoid of an outside binding, scrolls instead reveal their author’s demeanor through their cases, small tubular devices used to store them. Carved from a variety of diverse materials, individual spellcasters uniquely brand these storage containers in a personalized manner ranging from an intricate monogram to a heraldic symbol.

Unlike spellbooks, scrolls serve as a shared medium for a variety of different spellcasters, both arcane and divine. Easier to create and far less expensive than similar permanent magic items, scrolls provide an inexpensive and reliable alternative to rods, staffs and wands. Among spellcasters, their low cost makes them more popular than potions, however, the restrictive usage of scrolls precludes them from superseding potions as a popular alternative among nonspellcasters.

Varieties of Scrolls and Spellbooks

As written products, spellbooks and scrolls share many of the same composite materials. Both require a writing instrument as well as a suitable writing substance and medium. Although ink, quill and paper are clearly the most widespread materials, a number of other more exotic materials remain in use. A description of each material and the costs and advantages of these materials follows. All additional costs are cumulative, using the figures provided below as the basis.

Note: The special benefits received from the various materials described apply to the item’s saving throw against a variety of attack forms. The benefits do not apply to the spellcaster except in the cases of humanoid blood ink and the vrock quill pen.

Scrolls: As described in the SRD, it costs 12.5 gp per level of the spell multiplied by the caster’s level in order to create a scroll. A spell recorded in this manner occupies only one page, regardless of the spell’s level. This presumes that the caster is using vellum or high quality paper and black ink as the scroll’s composite materials. (Less expensive writing materials prove ineffective). Obviously, some of the more expensive materials presented below substantially increase the scroll’s cost. Additionally, the cost of the scroll case is not included in the computation. Sample scroll case materials are also described in greater detail.

Spellbooks: As described in the SRD, all spellbooks contain 100 pages. The initial cost for the wizard’s spellbook includes the book’s cover, pages and a 25 gp fee for binding the book. Transcribing spells into the spellbook, with the exception of free spells gained upon acquiring an additional level, costs 100 gp per page, presuming that the writer is using base materials such as a quill pen and black ink. Many of the materials described below significantly add to the cost.

Unlike the SRD, each spell takes up one page per level, therefore ten 1st-level spells uses ten pages, six 2nd-level spells uses another twelve pages, etc. Clearly, a high level wizard maintains more than one spellbook.


Using a sharpened writing instrument known as a stylus, the writer etches characters onto a soft clay tablet or another pliable material such as wax, stone or metal. When the composite material hardens, the impressions become permanent. Despite its permanency and lack of ink, this form of writing is nearly extinct. Confined only to ancient cultures and abandoned ruins, it proves too unwieldy for regular usage. Because of its unruly size, only single spell scrolls appear in cuneiform. Cuneiform is a lost art, confined only to antiquity.

Cost: N/A


In many cultures, papyrus replaced cuneiform as the primary writing medium. Despite its ancient origins, papyrus remains a popular but rather expensive material. Formed from the pith of the papyrus plant, the entire process of moistening, pressing and drying the plant material lasts about one week. Unlike cuneiform, writing on papyrus’ coarse surface requires some type of ink. Because of its lack of durability, papyrus is used largely for scrolls.

Cost: 6 sp per page
Drawbacks: Papyrus is extremely vulnerable to water. Any saving throws against water based attacks receive a -2 circumstance penalty.


In many cultures, parchment replaced papyrus and remains the most popular choice for scrolls and spellbooks. Parchment is created from the specially treated and untanned skins of sheep, calves and goats. The parchment maker thoroughly cleans the skin, removing all hair and other debris before rubbing it with powdered pumice. A more expensive form of parchment known as vellum is crafted from the skins of
younger animals, producing a smoother and finer finished product.

Parchment cost: 2 sp
Vellum: 5 sp per page
Advantage: Vellum’s fine surface reduces the time required to write scrolls and spellbooks by 10%.


Although a fairly new material, paper’s popularity continues to soar, ensuring its future position as the most popular writing material. Slightly more expensive than parchment, but with more abundant source materials, paper is the most popular medium among young spellcasters. Formed from any number of fibrous materials such as straw, leaves or rags, paper is produced in a manner very similar to papyrus in that it is moistened, pressed and then dried. Paper enjoys the most popularity in large, cosmopolitan cities.

Cost: 4 sp per page

Book Covers

Book covers are crafted from a variety of diverse materials, however wood remains the most widespread material. Often covered in wax or bound in leather, wooden book covers prove exceptionally durable and highly affordable. Metallic book covers, especially those comprised of precious metals, are usually reserved for important religious books or the spellbooks of wealthy wizards. A good portion of the books in circulation is also adorned with other materials such as inexpensive gemstones and flecks of gold or silver.

Wood: Although durable, untreated wooden book covers are extremely rare. Pine and oak are the most popular varieties.

Treated Wood: Leather bound books easily outnumber the combined total of the remaining varieties. Although equal in durability and function, the less fashionable wax treated covers remain largely confined to aristocratic spellcasters and politicians.

Metallic: Bronze and copper appear most often as metallic book covers. Many contain an assortment of intricate carvings and symbols that may drastically increase the price of these covers. Silver: Often adorned with a variety of pastoral scenes, elf wizards treasure these spellbooks above all others. Silver offers the lustrous beauty of its more expensive counterparts without the weight or the prohibitive cost.

Gold: Avaricious human wizards prize their golden spellbooks, meticulously polishing and cleaning the shining covers. Purchased largely as an exhibition of conspicuous spending, golden spellbooks brazenly proclaim their owner’s arrogance or tremendous wealth.

Adamantine: Despite not being the most attractive material, adamantine provides durability unmatched by any of its counterparts. Regardless of the hefty cost, a number of extremely powerful spellcasters exclusively purchase adamantine spellbook covers in order to store their most potent spells.

Material Cost Weight Special
Wood 5 gp 3 lb. -2 circumstance penalty on all saves against water and fire based attacks
Wood sealed with wax or leather 10 gp 4 lb. None
Metallic 20 gp 8 lb. +2 circumstance bonus on all saves against fire based attacks, -2 against electrical attacks
Silver 30 gp 6 lb. +2 circumstance bonus on all saves against cold and fire based attacks
Gold 300 gp 10 lb. +2 circumstance bonus on all saving throws
adamantine 1,000gp 10 lb. +4 circumstance bonus on all saving throws
Gemstones   * None

* Add the value of the gemstones directly to the base cost of the spellbook.

Scroll Cases

These hollow cylindrical tubes are often carved from ivory, bone, wood, metal and even glass. Although relatively fragile, their primary purpose is to protect their contents from water and air, rather than attacks. Regardless of the material, almost all scroll cases weigh no more than 1 pound.

Wood: Inexpensive and rather plain, wood is only used for zero and 1st level spells.

Leather: Leather scroll cases are actually wooden scroll cases covered with leather. Despite their affordability, few spellcasters, other than druids, use this variety.

Bone or Ivory: Easily the most prevalent material, the hollowed tubes of bone and ivory make excellent choices for scroll cases. Extremely durable, fairly abundant and easily manipulated, they offer outstanding value for the price.

Metallic: Bronze, copper, tin and iron are the most common metals used to manufacture scroll cases. Despite their durability, the expertise required to forge them drastically reduces their prevalence within the mystical community.

Jade: Spectacularly beautiful and exceptionally hardy, jade’s cost is the only factor prohibiting its widespread usage. Only exceptionally wealthy sorcerers and wizards use jade on a regular basis.

Scroll Case Materials Cost Special
Wood 1 gp -2 circumstance penalty against all water and fire based attacks
Leather 2 gp None
Bone or Ivory 5 gp +1 circumstance bonus against fire based attacks
Metallic 20 gp +1 circumstance bonus against fire based attacks, +2 circumstance bonus against cold based attacks
Jade 50 gp +2 circumstance bonus against all attack forms


The number of different recipes for ink is countless, ranging from exotic materials such as the black ink secreted by octopi to humanoid blood. However, most inks are formulated with lampblack, water and a gum or glue. Ink proves extremely durable, rarely fading or peeling despite the passage of time.

Black ink: At any given time, hundreds of different ink recipes enjoy widespread usage. However, all inks contain the same base ingredients previously mentioned. Any color other than black requires a special dye, doubling the ink’s cost without any additional benefit.

Octopus ink: The actual ink from an octopus or squid only accounts for a small quantity of the ingredients in this unusual concoction, yet despite its trace amount, the benefits are unmistakable. Naturally, this variety of ink enjoys the most popularity in coastal areas and port cities.

Invisible ink: Although invisible to the naked eye, this cobalt chloride solution becomes visible when the page is heated. It disappears again when the page cools.

Stained blood: The blood of sheep, goats, and cattle usually comprise this ink’s main ingredient, although some brewers use the blood of game animals. Despite its grisly overtones, its usage is not restricted to evil spellcasters. Contrary to popular belief, the ink appears maroon or brown in color rather than red.

Stained humanoid blood: Exclusively used by evil necromancers, clerics with access to death or destruction spells and evil non-humanoids, this grisly liquid actually bears a bright reddish tint. Unlike its less expensive cousin, its usage is strictly confined to evil spellcasters. The ink also has a fairly short shelf life, roughly one month before it coagulates and becomes unusable. This unfortunate side effect ensures the continual demand for this precious commodity among its nefarious constituents.

Ink Type Additional Cost per Page Special
Black ink None None
Octopus ink 10 gp +2 circumstance bonus against fire based attacks
Invisible ink 15 gp Invisible to the naked eye
Stained blood 25 gp +2 circumstance bonus against fire and water based attacks
Stained humanoid blood 50 gp +1 caster level to all necromancy spells as well as the benefits of stained blood


The two most common types of pen are the reed pen and the quill pen. Sharpened reed pens are used exclusively on papyrus, while broader, flat reed pens are used on parchment and vellum. Quill pens, made from the hardened and sharpened feathers of birds such as geese and swallows, are best suited for parchment, vellum and paper. All pens must be dipped in ink prior to their usage.

Reed Pen: Reed pens come in two textures, a sharp pen used for papyrus and a broad, flat pen used for writing on parchment and vellum. Reed pens cannot write on paper though.

Quill Pen: Geese, swallows and turkeys are the most common feathers used in the manufacture of quill pens. The quill pens are often heated in order to harden them before they are sharpened. Quill pens work extremely well on all surfaces except for papyrus.

Giant Eagle Quill Pen: Commonly found among primitive, nomadic cultures, these pens also serve as status symbols among privileged spellcasters. The pen offers little value other than its majestic appearance.

Owlbear Quill Pen: One of the most unusual writing instruments, this large pen may also be used as a weapon. However, it remains largely a novelty item among fanciful spellcasters.

Vrock Quill Pen: Incredibly rare and highly treasured, many intrepid spellcasters met their untimely demise attempting to secure these exotic writing implements. A small, but burgeoning black market exists for the elusive pens, however, the available quantities are insufficient to meet the increasing demand. The few pens in existence are reputed to be extremely coarse and malodorous, yet the disadvantages pale in comparison to its potency.

Material Cost Special
Reed Pen 5 sp None (Cannot be used with paper)
Quill Pen 1 gp None
Giant Eagle Quill Pen 10 gp Ink receives a +1 circumstance bonus against water based attacks.
Owlbear Quill Pen 50 gp Can be used as a tiny, piercing weapon inflicting 1d3 hp of damage. It is treated as an exotic weapon for proficiency purposes.
Vrock Quill Pen 1,000 gp Increases the difficulty class against transcribed spells and scrolls by one. Its fragility prevents it from writing more than ten pages.

Exotic Items

In addition to the traditional materials, any number of exotic items can be purchased in the largest cities. These items include colored inks, humanoid parchment paper, and monstrous quills. Few of these items have special properties, but provide a valuable insight into the purchaser’s mindset. The GM should adjudicate the acquisition and uses of these materials very carefully.
Safeguarding Spellbooks

Like any other prized possession, wizards go to exceptional lengths to protect the integrity of their spellbooks against natural and magical hazards as well as theft. Some of the aforementioned materials provide additional protection against a variety of different attack forms; however, none of those measures prevents the violation of their spellbook by an unwelcome reader. Wizards continually devise new strategies to combat such intrusions ranging from the use of mechanical locks to potent protection spells.

Only a handful of foolish wizards leave their spellbooks in plain sight, the majority conceal their books within secret panels or magically alter their appearance. Despite the effectiveness of many of these methods, wizards continually research new and innovative means of safeguarding their spellbooks.

Mechanical Devices

Less costly but also less effective than magical wards, novice spellcasters usually opt for mechanical devices as the primary means of protecting their spellbooks. Although a wide assortment of variations is available, all of these systems operate on a lock and key premise. The cost depends entirely upon the materials used to secure the book as well as the lock’s complexity. A simple device utilizing steel wires and an average lock costs no more than 20 gp, while a secure adamantine box with an intricate combination lock can run more than 2,000gp. The subsequent charts describe the costs and statistics of the various mechanical systems available. All costs are separate and cumulative. For example a wizard securing her spellbook with an average key lock and two steel clamps must spend 145 gp.

Base Cost: 10 gp

Steel wires/iron bands: A pair of metallic wires with looped endings encircle the book. The wires’ endings are attached into the locked mechanism, securing the book. This type of device can only be used with a key lock.

Sturdy wooden box: Oak and pine are the most common wood, although more exotic wood such as sandalwood and teakwood are also used. Hinged from the inside, the lock is built into the box connecting the top and bottom portions. Intricate carvings and inlaid gemstones adorn many of these items.

Steel clamp: A total of four steel clamps can secure the book, however most wizards opt for only two. The clamps operate much like a vise grip, securing the book’s corners. Because of their relatively small size, nothing less than a sturdy combination lock works properly.

Iron box: Less decorative but much stronger than the wooden box, iron boxes afford a relatively inexpensive alternative to steel clamps. Like their wooden counterparts, iron boxes are hinged from the inside, and the lock is built into the front of the box, connecting the top and bottom portion.

adamantine bands: These bands function in a manner identical to the steel and iron bands, although a key or combination lock may be used to secure the bands.

adamantine clamp: This device follows the rules for the steel clamp.

adamantine box: The most secure mechanical safeguard, these rare and highly treasured boxes are masterfully crafted, preventing water and even air from escaping or entering between its seams. Custom made interior hinges connect the top and bottom portion. Although any lock can be used in conjunction with this device, most boxes possess at least an expertly crafted key lock.

Magical Wards

Although usually more time consuming than mechanical devices, higher level spellcasters preferentially protect their spellbooks with an assortment of spells and magical wards. Many of these spells such as explosive runes, secret page, and sepia snake sigil enjoy a great deal of popularity with spellcasters. However, some spellcasters realize that the proliferation of these protective spells detracts from their effective usage. Rogues and rival spellcasters, aware of these spells’ devastating consequences, continually devise new methods of detecting and circumventing them. For that reason, a growing number of powerful
wizards conduct clandestine magical research searching for alternative magical wards to protect their precious spellbooks. Despite their best efforts at secrecy, most spells eventually circulate among the wizard population.

Common Spells

Regardless of the aforementioned drawbacks, the traditional collection of protection spells continues to enjoy widespread popularity. They fall into two general categories, passive and active wards. Passive spells include Illusory Script and secret page. They afford protection through illusion or trickery, concealing the spell book’s actual nature by donning the guise of a mundane book or other written work. Unlike their active counterparts, passive spells generally do not harm the warded spellbook or the trespasser. However, once bypassed by an authorized reader, they allow unfettered access to the spellbook.

Active spells, on the other hand, prevent access by injuring or perhaps killing any unwanted intruders. Included in this list are explosive runes, fire trap and sepia snake sigil. They prevent theft through violent force, regardless of the potential destructive consequences to the protected item. Active spells unleash energy in a variety of forms ranging from fiery explosions to conjured guardians. In contrast to passive spells, they often embody the spiteful and vindictive nature of their casters.


Bücherschrank mit angekettetem Buch aus der Bibliothek von Cesena Press with chained book in the Library of Cesena, Italy

Bücherschrank mit angekettetem Buch aus der Bibliothek von Cesena Press with chained book in the Library of Cesena, Italy

Ink and Quill

Author Thomas Knauss
Series Dragonwing Games/Bastion Press
Publisher DWBP
Publish date 2002
Pages 65
ISBN none
OGL Section 15 i-q
Content Puller {$content}

Netbook can be found on the following website

The Grand OGL Wiki

The material below is designated as Open Game Content

In simplest terms, manuals are instructive guidebooks imparting insight to enlightened readers. Some manuals provide insight through magical means, however most manuals possess no magical properties. In these instances, the reader acquires additional knowledge from the painstaking dissection of the manual’s theories, statements and ideas. Although not as costly as their mystical counterparts, a number of rare, coveted manuals still command a steep price on the open market. Because of their hefty cost, most owners treasure these costly books, preventing their widespread circulation while maintaining their value. In the case of the most valuable manuals, fewer than five copies exist at any given time. Fearful that transcription would result in theft and proliferation of the manual’s secrets they are rarely duplicated. Although many owners realize the monetary value of these prized treasures, many do not possess the intellect to properly unravel their secrets. Unlike magical books, simply reading the manual fails to bestow its true meaning and abilities. Close scrutiny, dedication and a sharp intellect are the only tools capable of unlocking their hidden Wisdom and knowledge. Discovering the manual is only the first step in a journey to comprehending its mystery.

Understanding the Manual

As previously discussed, understanding the manual is not just a matter of reading it and instantly absorbing its content. Every manual possesses a difficulty class, just like skill checks and saving throws. The manual’s difficulty class represents its subject matter’s complexity and nuance of language. Characters must read the manual without interruption and never receive more than one attempt to comprehend its meaning. A character can read a number of pages per day equal to double her Intelligence score; hence a wizard with a 20 Intelligence reads 40 pages per day. A modified Intelligence check equaling or exceeding the manual’s difficulty class bestows its benefits upon the character. In many instances, other factors such as language, authorship and a few feats also significantly affect the correct interpretation of the manual. Their impact is discussed under individual headings.


Language always presents the first barrier to comprehending the manual. Few manuals are written in the common tongue, and translation often loses much of the author’s original intent. Penned by a variety of different races and beings throughout the epochs of time, ancient and obscure dialects and languages appear frequently. The following chart provides the additional modifiers.

Language’s Effect on Manual’s DC
The reader is literate in the manual’s language. +0
The manual is written in an ancient form or obscure dialect of a language that the reader understands. +2
The manual has been translated into a language and alphabet that the reader understands. +4
The manual is written in an alphabet, but a different language, than the reader understands. +8*
The manual has been translated into an alphabet, but a different language, than the reader understands +12*
The manual is written in a different alphabet and different language than the reader understands. N/A**

* A character with the Philologist feat reduces the difficulty class by four. Therefore, the -8 modifier becomes a -4 modifier and the -12 modifier becomes a -8 modifier.

** The character has no chance of understanding this manual.


The author’s race and ethos also dramatically impact upon a character’s ability to comprehend the manual’s message and purpose. Concepts and philosophies espoused by one race of beings may be completely alien to another. In addition, the author’s alignment also impacts the reader’s interpretation of her message. A rambling, disorganized and sadistic manual penned by a chaotic evil wizard offends and confounds a lawful good wizard attempting to decipher its convoluted meaning. To reflect these cultural and ethical differences, the following charts provide the modifiers to the manual’s DC.

Cultural Modifiers to the Manual’s DC
Reader and author are of the same race +0
Reader and author share some racial heritage. +1
Reader and author are of different races but the same creature type. +2
Reader and author are different creature types. +8

For example, a Neutral Good human with a 16 Intelligence and literate in Elven attempts to read a sixtyfour page manual written by a Lawful Good elf in an ancient form of Elven. The manual’s DC is 16. The manual’s modified difficulty class is computed by referring to the preceding charts. Although the reader is fluent in Elven, the manual’s ancient form of Elven causes some difficulties, increasing the manual’s DC by +2 for a total of 18. Because the author and reader are of different races, but the same creature type, the manual’s difficulty class again increases by +2 generating a new DC of 20. Finally, their differing alignments add an additional +1 modifier to the DC resulting in a final modified total of 21. The character must make a successful Intelligence check against this difficulty class if she wants to gain the benefits of this manual. With an Intelligence modifier of +3, she must roll an 18 or higher to succeed. If she possessed the Comprehend Writing feat, she adds an additional +4 to her die roll. She needs two days to read the manual because she reads thirty-two pages per day. (Intelligence 16 x 2 = 32).

Alignment Modifiers to the Manual’s DC

Author’s Alignment

LG +0 +1 +2 +1 +2 +3 +2 +3 +4
NG +1 +0 +1 +2 +1 +2 +3 +2 +3
CG +2 +1 +0 +3 +2 +1 +4 +3 +2
LN +1 +2 +3 +0 +1 +2 +1 +2 +3
N +2 +1 +2 +1 +0 +1 +2 +1 +2
CN +3 +2 +1 +2 +1 +0 +3 +2 +1
LE +2 +3 +4 +1 +2 +3 +0 +1 +2
NE +3 +2 +3 +2 +1 +2 +1 +0 +1
CE +4 +3 +2 +3 +2 +1 +2 +1 +0


Any benefits bestowed from the comprehension of a manual are permanent, provided that the manual remains in the reader’s possession. If the recipient loses access to the manual, the character also loses the benefits thirty days afterward. Once the abilities vanish, they can only be restored if the reader again acquires and rereads the manual. This does not necessitate an additional comprehension check. Bonuses gained to AC, attacks, checks and saves are considered insight bonuses. They function as extraordinary abilities rather than spell-like or supernatural abilities.


All written works are subject to misinterpretation, and manuals are not an exception. Any character failing her Intelligence check by a number greater than ten misunderstands the manual’s message. The character must make a successful Will save against the manual’s unmodified DC; otherwise she suffers the consequences of misinterpretation. (The exact consequences are described under each manual.) Furthermore, if she rolls a critical failure of her Will save, she subjects herself to the effects of a gross misinterpretation in addition to the effects of misinterpretation, (also described under the manual.) Spells that cure mental conditions remove the effects.

Using the previous example as a basis, if the human wizard rolled a “4” on her Intelligence check, she subjects herself to the perils of misinterpretation because her total, “7” [4 (her roll) + 3 (her Intelligence modifier)] is fourteen less than the manual’s DC. To prevent misinterpretation, her Will save must equal or exceed “16”, the manual’s original DC.


All manuals appear in the following format.

Author: Name, race, alignment
Language: Language, alphabet
DC: Difficulty class
Length: Pages

Background: This section provides information about the manual’s author as well as its general purpose and meaning.
Benefit: This section describes the benefits received from correcting interpreting its meaning. Misinterpretation: This section discusses the perils of misinterpreting the manual’s meaning. The misunderstanding of some manuals, however, has no ill effects.
Gross Misinterpretation: This section describes the consequences of gross error.
Market Value: The manual’s monetary fair market value.


Author: Phyllamus the Mighty/human/CN
Language: Ancient Common/Common
DC: 16
Pages: 154

Background: Roughly half of this strength training manual consists of primitive sketches and crude diagrams describing exercises prescribed by the manual’s author, one of the greatest wrestlers in recorded history. A master of his craft, but not exactly the brightest individual, Phyllamus manual enjoys its popularity because of its simplicity and handiness. Gladiatorial schools, military camps and wrestling schools occasionally obtain a rare and coveted copy. At the present time, approximately one hundred copies remain in circulation.
Benefits: The character receives a +2 insight bonus on all Climb, Jump and Swim skill checks. Misinterpretation: The character loses 9 xp.
Gross Misinterpretation: The character receives a -1 insight penalty to the aforementioned skill checks.
Market Value: 274 gp

The Chronicles of Frazzemor

Author: Frazzemor/elf/NG
Language: Elven/Elven
DC: 18
Pages: 334

Background: This autobiography of the elf wizard, Frazzemor, chronicles his life long struggle against the drow. The manual serves as the basis for much of the surface world’s knowledge of drow culture, magic, physiology and religion. Meticulously documented and researched, Frazzemor devotes nearly his entire life story to the study of his underworld cousins, only sparingly mentioning his family background. Only six copies of this manual are rumored to exist, drow agents destroyed the rest, hoping to preserve their secrets.
Benefits: The reader receives a +2 insight bonus to all attack rolls and saving throws against the drow.
Misinterpretation: The character loses 80 xp.
Gross Misinterpretation: Whenever she encounters the drow, she suffers a -1 insight penalty to all attack rolls and saving throws.
Market Value: 2,316 gp

Doctor Kirvowski’s Fables and Legends

Author: Milos Kirvowski/human/CG
Language: Common/Common
DC: 18
Pages: 370

Background: Written when he was only twentyfour years old, Doctor Kirvowski’s collection of folklore still spellbinds its readers. Currently sixtythree years old, Doctor Kirvowski rarely discusses the work that showered him with accolades as well as misfortune. Hailed by his university as the foremost study of the undead, the unsuspecting author became the unlikely target of several kidnapping and murder plots concocted by covetous necromancers and evil clerics. Frightened by the unwelcome attention, the young doctor fled the university, disappearing from public view for more than thirty years. He recently emerged from hiding, but remains unwilling to discuss his research about the living dead. To the best of anyone’s knowledge, approximately twenty copies of the manual exist, although rumors claim that Doctor Kirvowski himself owns at least a dozen of them.
Benefits: The character receives a +1 insight bonus on AC and all attack rolls against the undead. The manual also provides a +2 insight bonus to all Knowledge (undead) checks.
Misinterpretation: The character loses 83 xp.
Gross Misinterpretation: The character loses 208 xp.
Market Value: 2,384 gp

The Heart of Hell

Author: Egrod de Muurdorg/human/LN
Language: Ancient Common/Common
DC: 24
Pages: 598

Background: The most comprehensive study of Hell ever written, bar none. Egrod examines and speculates about the origins of Hell, its political hierarchy, its inhabitants and its ultimate goals. Written in a scholarly and unbiased format, the manual reserves judgment on the plane’s wretched creatures and their practices. Nearly ninety years old at the time of its completion, Egrod devoted fifty years of his life to the manual. Because of the terrifying consequences unleashed by misinterpretation, only a few well-guarded copies exist today.
Benefits: The character receives a +2 insight bonus to AC, attack rolls and saving throws against devils.
Misinterpretation: The character immediately loses 120 xp.
Gross Misinterpretation: The character moves one alignment step closer to Lawful Evil. (The character moves toward evil before law.)
Market Value: 3,522 gp

History of the Orcish Kingdoms

Author: Lubboch the Miserable/orc/LE
Language: Orcish/Dwarven
DC: 13
Pages: 185

Background: Despite this history’s extremely selective viewpoint, (all orcish defeats are omitted), it still proves a valuable resource. Clearly the most successful orcish attempt at scholastic research, Lubboch breathes more life into the history’s major players than any other orcish chronicler. He even grudgingly praises dwarves and humans, although he still mocks elves at every opportunity. The book’s elf skin cover, however, reinforces Lubboch’s inherent racial prejudice in addition to shocking unsuspecting handlers of the manual. Approximately twelve copies are currently in circulation.
Benefits: The character receives a +1 insight bonus to AC and attack rolls against orcs.
Misinterpretation: The character loses 20 xp.
Gross Misinterpretation:The character loses another 50 xp.
Market Value: 599 gp

Innards of Toxins

Author: Barsabborum/half-orc/NE
Language: Orcish/Dwarven
DC: 17
Pages: 135

Background: Despite its author’s lack of formal education, Barsabborum’s remarkably scientific study of poisons and toxins remains the foremost authority on the subject. Barsabborum, a greatly feared assassin during his lifetime, discusses the ingredients and effects of poisons in addition to the pros and cons of their actual usage. Many thieves’ guilds actively seek his infamous manual, hoping to unlock its secrets for their own deadly plots. Fortunately for their potential victims, only fourteen copies remain in existence.
Benefits: The character receives a +2 insight bonus on all saving throws against poison. The character never accidentally poisons herself.
Misinterpretation: The character loses 40 xp.
Gross Misinterpretation: The character receives a -1 insight penalty on all saving throws against poison.
Market Value: 1,150 gp

The Monarch

Author: Ciolino Chevalli/human/N
Language: Common/Common
DC: 18
Pages: 122

Background: Prized by politicians, Ciolino’s guidebook to maintaining political power occupies a permanent place on the mantles of many kings and nobility. An admired aficionado of chess, Ciolino refers to the game throughout his treatise. “The masses”, he states, “are pawns directed by the king. Show them the path to glory, and their loyalty is yours. Forsake them and risk your undoing.” Despite his obvious intellect, Ciolino always remained on the fringes of his king’s inner circle. Because of its popular content, his manual is fairly common.
Benefits: The character receives a +4 insight bonus to her Diplomacy skill.
Misinterpretation: The character loses 12 xp.
Gross Misinterpretation: The character receives a -2 insight penalty to her Diplomacy skill.
Market Value: 367 gp

Possession of the Soul

Author: Vnnarzii/tiefling/CE
Language: Abyssal/Infernal
DC: 22
Pages: 204

Background: Chilling and unsettling, Vnnarzii, a tiefling wizard with demonic heritage describes the horrific ordeal of demonic possession. Using blood-curdling imagery, Vnnarzii expresses the sorrow and terror experienced by the victim as she succumbs to the incomprehensible evil overwhelming her. Vnnarzii writes, “With every contorted palpitation of her withering heart, the master’s baneful, dark influence coursed through her veins like a plague of ravenous locusts devouring a field of grain. His infectious, festering evil coldly embraced her enslaved body and banished her terrified mind to its darkest recesses.” Only six copies of this diabolical manual remain in existence.
Benefits: The character receives a +4 insight bonus on all saving throws against demons. Misinterpretation: The character immediately loses 160 xp.
Gross Misinterpretation: The character receives a -2 insight penalty on all saving throws against demons.
Market Value: 4,360 gp

Recollections of a Dwarven Gladiator

Author: Grock Oresmasher/dwarf/NE
Language: Dwarven/Dwarven
DC: 15
Pages: 118

Background: Grock, a gladiator for seven years, fondly recalls his combats in the arena. Gory and unspeakably graphic in its violent details, Grock recalls his fiercest battles and most challenging opponents. Grock emphasizes throughout the manual that he attributed his success to his uncanny ability to Intimidate his opponent. “A frightened adversary”, he writes, “already has one foot in the grave.” The most illustrious gladiatorial training schools usually maintain at least one copy of the manual, making it one of the more common manuals in circulation.
Benefits: The character receives a +2 insight bonus to her Intimidation skill and a +2 insight bonus to her Bluff skill.
Misinterpretation: The character loses 6 xp.
Gross Misinterpretation: The character receives a -1 insight penalty to her Intimidation and Bluff skill checks.
Market Value: 190 gp

Unity of Mind and Body

Author: Tsau Huang/human/N
Language: Ancient common/common
DC: 16
Pages: 236

Background: Tsau Huang, the founder of the Mang Quei monastery, completed this legendary martial arts masterpiece nearly six hundred years ago, just prior to his eightieth birthday. Racked by crippling arthritis and practically blind, Tsau Huang’s son, Su Huang, transcribed his father’s words and drew the manual’s numerous illustrations. Scholars consider it one of the monastic system’s greatest contributions, a
wondrous amalgamation of the virtues of physical prowess and spiritual balance. Only eight copies of the manual survive today, six of which are held in the libraries of renowned monasteries.
Benefits: The character’s AC and all unarmed attack rolls receive a +1 insight bonus.
Misinterpretation: The character loses 50 xp.
Gross Misinterpretation: The character loses another 125 xp.
Market Value: 1,418 gp

The Wellspring of Magic

Author: Tiorro the Wise/half-elf/NG
Language: Elven/Elven
DC: 25
Pages: 1,435

Background: Tiorro, the quintessential wizard of his day, spent one hundred and sixteen years studying and research this all encompassing work on arcane studies. The manual describes seven different theories regarding the origins and proliferation of magic as well as its practitioners. Teeming with mind boggling mathematical computations and esoteric philosophies, the manual proves a difficult read for even the sharpest minds. Nevertheless, its tremendous benefits continually appreciate its value. Four copies are known to exist at the present time.
Benefits: The reader receives a +2 insight bonus to all saving throws against arcane spells as well as a +2 insight bonus on all Scry and
Spellcraft checks.
Misinterpretation: The character loses 166 xp.
Gross Misinterpretation: The character receives a -1 insight penalty against arcane spells and a -1 insight penalty on all Scry and Spellcraft checks.
Market Value: 4,791 gp

Writing Manuals

Ink and Quill

Author Thomas Knauss
Series Dragonwing Games/Bastion Press
Publisher DWBP
Publish date 2002
Pages 65
ISBN none
OGL Section 15 i-q
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The material below is designated as Open Game Content

Over time, characters accumulate enough ability and knowledge to write manuals themselves. Endeavoring to share their experience with others, they begin the arduous task of authoring a manual. To begin the process, characters must fulfill the following prerequisites.

Intelligence 15+
Knowledge (8 ranks in any specific discipline)
Write Manual feat

After meeting these requirements, the author selects a specific topic within her area of expertise and begins researching the manual. Research lasts for as little as one week or as long as fifty years. Characters allot research time in increments of one week and must state the length of their research time prior to beginning the manual. Once completing these preliminaries, the character begins authoring her manual.

The character spends an equal amount of time writing the manual as she spends researching the manual. Each week the character writes a number of pages equal to the following formula. [(Ranks in Knowledge skill) + (Intelligence modifier)] x (Constitution modifier) + (her Intelligence modifier again).

For example, an 11th level wizard with a 17 Intelligence, 15 Constitution and fourteen ranks in Knowledge (undead) decides to spend two weeks researching and two weeks writing her manual about slaying vampires. She produces thirty-seven pages per week. [14 (her ranks in Knowledge) + 3 (her Intelligence modifier) = 17. 17 x 2 (her Constitution modifier) = 34 + 3 (her Intelligence modifier) = 37.]

Cost: After determining the length of her manual, the character then pays for its costs using the materials and figures provided in the Scrolls and Spellbooks chapter. In addition, the manual also costs the character a number of gold pieces equal to the points generated by the following calculation as well as half that amount in experience points. This value represents the cost of research, lost income and living expenses. Using the following computation as an example, the character must spend 404 gp and 202 xp in addition to the manual’s material costs. The sum of the manual’s material costs and secondary costs, (research, lost income etc.) determines its market value.

Characters determine the abilities bestowed by the manual using the following computations. [(Ranks in Knowledge skill + ranks in Profession (any writing) skill) x Intelligence modifier squared + (the number of weeks spent researching the manual squared)] x 2.

Using the preceding example except adding 8 ranks of Profession (poet) yields a total of 404. [14 (her ranks in Knowledge (undead) + 8 (her ranks in Profession (poet) = 22. 22 x 9 (her Intelligence modifier of 3 squared) = 198. 198 + 4 (number of weeks spent researching the manual squared) = 202. 202 x 2 = 404. With her 404 points, the manual’s author purchases any combination of the following insight bonuses.

Any points not spent are lost. Although a character may spend an unlimited amount of time researching her manual, any research time exceeding her Intelligence score is omitted from the calculation. Using the preceding example as a guide, if the wizard spent fifty weeks researching her manual, her points are calculated as if she spent seventeen weeks because the weeks of effective research exceeding her Intelligence score are not counted.

Difficulty Class: The manual’s difficulty class is equal to 10 + the author’s ranks in the Knowledge skill minus her Intelligence modifier. Using the preceding example, the manual’s DC is 21. [10 + 14 (her ranks in Knowledge (undead) - 3 (her Intelligence modifier) = 21]. The author automatically understands her own manual.

Misinterpretation: Characters lose a number of experience points equal to the points spent divided by 25.

Gross Misinterpretation: Characters lose additional experience points equal to the points spent divided by 10 or receive an insight penalty equal to half the insight bonus received for successfully understanding the manual.

Point Cost

Type of Bonus +1 +2 +3 +4
Skill Bonus 20 80 180 320
Limited Saving Throw Bonus * 250 1,000 2,250 4,000
General Saving Throw Bonus 1,000 4,000 9,000 16,000
Limited AC Bonus * 250 1,000 2,250 4,000
General AC Bonus 1,000 4,000 9,000 16,000
Limited Attack Bonus * 250 1,000 2,250 4,000
General Attack Bonus 1,000 4,000 9,000 16,000

* To qualify as a limited bonus, the character only receives the bonus against one creature. Otherwise, the bonus falls into the general category. For instance, a +1 insight bonus to attack rolls against demons is considered a limited attack bonus. A +1 insight bonus to attack rolls against outsiders is considered a general attack bonus.

Special and Superior Items

The Quintessential Paladin
Author Alejandro Melchor
Series Quintessential Series
Publisher Mongoose Publishing
Publish date 2002
Pages 128
ISBN 1-903980-79-8
OGL Section 15 qpal
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While battle rages on, paladins have little time to rummage around their pouches for a magical item, which is why they invented reliquaries, special containers custom-made for relics of religious importance, or for magical items. A reliquary is specially blessed to allow anyone holding it to use the properties of the magic item contained within at will, bypassing some methods of activation.

Making a blessed reliquary requires a divine caster with the Craft Wondrous Item feat. If it was sold, a reliquary would have a market price of 10,000 gp plus the cost of the item. The most important feature of a reliquary is that it does not fill a limited space for magic items, regardless of the form it takes. A medallion reliquary could still be worn next to a magical pendant, and a reliquary pouch could hang from a magic belt with no problem whatsoever.

The second great advantage of a reliquary is that, depending on the form it takes, it help its wielder activate the powers of a magic item by willing it so (this still takes the normal activation time of the item), and channelling its power through the reliquary, as long as the reliquary is in contact with the wielder (although shrine reliquaries have a special property that bypasses this). Items with a constant effect do not benefit much from being stored in a reliquary, as they are not active unless commanded, which may be too late to be useful in an ambush.

A reliquary must be crafted to fit a specific kind of magic item and cannot hold any other. A reliquary made for rings cannot fit a potion, for example. Reliquaries made for rings and potions can fit any ring or potion, but those made for rods, wands and wondrous items can only fit that specific item due to the uniqueness of its shape. Potions are poured inside a reliquary and the contents evaporate when their power is invoked, as if the reliquary’s wielder had imbibed the potion from a flask or vial. Arms and armour, staves and certain wondrous items can only be placed in a shrine reliquary.

A reliquary can take a number of shapes and forms, but none of them are unassuming. They are finely crafted items with rich ornaments or at least the symbol of a religion. In most cases when a reliquary is found as part of a treasure, it holds the magical item it was made to safe keep, but seldom any indication that it is more than a simple container.

Medallions: Reliquary medallions are slightly larger than normal, sometimes as big as the palm of an adult human. The face opens to reveal the compartment within, and it is carved with images both relating to the religion that made it and the function of the item it was made to contain.

Sword Pommels: paladins prize this form of reliquary the most, as it allows them to use the magic item while fighting without distracting their attention from their opponent. Pommels cannot be larger than a closed fist without unbalancing the weapon.

Rings: Reliquary rings are larger than common rings, for they must have space for the magic item, which is often a gem. This is the smallest kind of reliquary.

Pouch: The size of a spell component pouch, it is more a box that can be strapped to a belt than a normal pouch. The lid is secured with locks and ribbons, and is the largest of the portable reliquaries, able to hold the smaller varieties of rods and wands.

Shrines: From small altars to entire buildings, shrines are an exception to the rule when it comes to reliquary-making. With a special ceremony that involves an entire night of praying and intercession from the deity that sponsored the shrine’s building, a divine caster (and only a divine caster) is keyed to the shrine to act as its champion and guardian. This champion can invoke the power of the enshrined magical item as a spell-like ability from any location within one mile per divine class level. Only one person can be keyed to the reliquary, and the position can only be passed on voluntarily. If the champion dies, a new one must be selected, who then must undergo the ceremony.


Arnold Böcklin (1827–1901) Title: Der Abenteuerer Date1882

Arnold Böcklin (1827–1901) Title: Der Abenteuerer Date1882

Tokens are priceless items in more ways than one. For one, they can be anything; from a lump of rock to a princess’s scarf of finest silk. The true power of the token does not lie in its material value, but in what it represents for its owner. Only paladins have the faith and conviction to create tokens, which are symbols of their cause, of a quest, an oath, their honour or their devotion.

Creating a token is fairly simple. Upon undertaking a quest, an oath, a vow or when making a promise, the paladin picks up the object most significant to what he is about to do and charges it with his own soul, spending experience points to make the item into a token. A token can be imbued once only (it may not be recharged) with up to 25 XP per class level.

As the token is a reminder of his dedication, having it close provides the paladin with an incentive to fight on and never give up. Tokens have two uses: to give bonuses to certain dice rolls or to allow the re-roll of a failed check. Spending five of the invested experience points gives the paladin a +1 bonus to an attack roll or ability check, while spending 20 XP allow the re-roll of a failed skill check or saving throw (the second result stays, even if it was lower than the original). The paladin can invoke the power of his token once per day per Charisma modifier, and only gains a +1 bonus or a single re-roll, regardless of how many invested XPs he spends. Invoking the power of a token is a free action that provokes an attack of opportunity.

If the paladin loses his token, he suffers a -1 circumstance penalty to attack rolls, skill checks and saving throws for a day. If he has not recovered the token before the day passes, it loses all power, and all the remaining experience points are lost. When the paladin spends all of the invested experience points in the token, it becomes a normal item without adverse consequences.


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