Glarck’s Remote Spell Books

Glarck’s Remote Spell Books

by Bryan Fazekas, published in Footprints

One of a traveling magic-user’s greatest difficulties is carrying spell books. By their nature spell books are heavy, and magic-users of any significant experience require numerous books. The books are also extremely valuable, subject to damage or theft. During his long life the arch-mage Glarck tried many solutions to this problem, including:

  • Books stored at an inn [had to travel back to the inn to memorize spells, and had them stolen once].
  • Books packed on a donkey [worked fine until a troll killed and ate the donkey, Glarck could not carry the books].
  • Books packed in a Bag of Holding [worked fine until the Bag was destroyed by an enemy Fireball, spraying his books across the Astral Plane].

The arch-mage produced lower weight traveling books that held a reduced number of spells. While that helped reduce the weight problem, it did not eliminate it. As an arch-mage he still required a lot of books, more than he could easily carry in a pack.

Glarck tried scrying his books using various spells and magic items, and while he could see the books, he had to have someone open the books and turn pages, and a way to communicate with that person. His path seemed fruitless, but he persevered, and after decades of experimentation he successfully produced the first Remote Spell Book.

Remote Spell Books resemble good quality standard spell books. They are of typical size (12″x8″) and have covers that are heavier than is typical, mostly dragon hide or similar material. Each book is bound to a translucent gem which resembles those used as a Gem of True Seeing. The gem detects as magical and most who look through the gem see whatever is on the other side, although the view is obscured by the translucency of the gem.

Magic-users looking through the gem see something different – they see the pages of the spell book the gem is bound to. By concentrating upon the book, the magic-user can view any page in the book and may memorize spells from it exactly as if the book was in front of him. The book does not need to be open – the magic of the gem allows viewing of any and all pages, one at a time, within the closed book. This functions across any distance as long as the gem and spell book are on the same plane. If on different planes the gem appears cloudy to the magic-user and nothing can be seen.

The book and gem are bound tightly together; when holding the gem and concentrating on the book, a magic-user will know the direction in which the book lies, and by a subtle vibration will be able to gauge roughly how close the book is, although once within a mile of the book the magic-user will be unable to discriminate any further. Triangulation will be required to actually locate the book. If a magic-user possesses the book but not the gem? When holding the book and concentrating on the gem, the magic-user will get a similar feel, knowing the direction of the gem and by vibration roughly how far away it is. In either case the magic-user must concentrate on the missing item – this will not happen accidentally. If the book and gem are on different planes, the magic-user will feel disoriented when concentrating and the vibration will feel dissonant.

During his life Glarck produced more than thirty Remote Spell Books. His personal books were each dedicated to a single spell level, although many of the books he created for others could hold any level of spell. His senior students were believed to have produced nearly a hundred more of the Remote Spell Books, although these were not all of the same quality as the originals.

After his death Glarck’s personal books were never discovered, nor were the gems bound to those books. His notes regarding the secret of manufacturing the books was never found, and the records of his students are fragmented and incomplete.

The books he produced for others and the books of his students crop up from time to time, although as a general rule any wizard fortunate enough to acquire one of these books does not brag of it. Those that have spoken out have spent a large part of their time defending their property from thieves.

Each book has 30 to 120 (10d10+20) pages. Typically, a spell requires one page per spell level to record it, so a 9th level spell consumes 9 pages. Books generally have 10 to 40% of the pages blank, while the filled pages list spells valued by adventuring wizards. Glarck’s 9th level spell book is reputed to be more than 400 pages, a massive tome.

Adding or removing pages from a Remote Spell Book breaks the magic binding the book to its gem. It is believed that the gem can be re-bound to the book, although without Glarck’s original notes the process is unknown.

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