All Sizes and Shapes
There is no standard size or shape for a spell book. A player character can't
walk into a wizard's lab or study and instantly spot the spell book because it
is the biggest, longest, fattest, squarest, roundest, or thinnest book there.
Neither can he measure all the books to find the one that conforms to the
dimensions of a spell book. The spell book's size and shape is determined largely by
the culture of the wizard who owns it.
Consider, for example, the book you are reading right now. How would one of
these pages have appeared in other times and places? In medieval Europe, this
page would most likely have been 10 or more hand-lettered sheets of parchment,
perhaps embellished with illuminations and painted scenes. In ancient China, this
page would have been several hand-printed pages on colored paper and bound with
red lacings. The Egyptians would have used a rolled scroll of papyrus, with
several required to make a book. Even more cumbersome, the ancient Babylonians
would have used clay tables marked in cuneiform and dried. American Indians would
have written it on leaves of birch bark or painted it on a cured buffalo hide.
Writing and written works have changed greatly through the centuries of Earth
history. A fantasy game world is no different. Spell books should come in a
variety of shapes and forms--whatever seems best for the campaign.
A spell book may be a heavy tome, bound in leather with crisp parchment pages.
It may be a collection of papyrus scrolls tied with red silk strings. It might
be a pile of clay tables marked in cuneiform, or a cheap-looking folio printed
on linen rag paper. It even could be thin sheets of embossed gold between
covers made from the hide of a naga.
If you don't want to create a unique spell book for your campaign world,
here's one standard you can fall back on: Compare them to bulky coffee-table books
of today or large, hefty dictionaries. Even if you do create unique spell books,
this standard should give you some idea of the appropriate size and bulk.
Often a wizard's complete set of spell books occupies several shelves of his
library, especially when the character reaches the highest levels. At this
point, it is no longer practical for the character to carry all of his spell books
with him when he travels. Therefore, many wizards opt to make traveling spell
The traveling spell book is a more selective, more portable version of the
character's complete spell books (although there is little that can be done to
make clay tablets portable). In the traveling spell book, the wizard places only
those spells he believes he will need while traveling.
There is no limitation on which spells can be included, but a traveling spell
book has a limited number of pages. Thus, a high-level wizard may need several
traveling spell books to contain all the spells he thinks are necessary.
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