Sunday, October 26, 2008

From Across the Table - Books

From a thread over on Dragonsfoot, here's my list of magical books - not spellbooks per se, but essential & not-so-essential reference works for the adventuring spellcaster. IMO, I'd avoid any kind of hard and fast general rules for the books. Rather, I prefer more of a Swords & Wizardry-type approach. Detail each individually and make a note about it's general rarity, gp cost, benefits & required level to understand and benefit from it. This way you can make each book as detailed and interesting as you like without worrying about throwing the game system out of whack and having to ditch everything. I've included an example at the end to give an idea of whay I'm talking about.

The Flesh Manual of Inimical Copulation (Procedures for making chimerae)
Vivimancy Studies of Horbus Zell (Necromantic processes for golem creation)
The Alexite Thaumaturgion (Thaumaturgic case studies)
The Alchemical Wedding of Artemus Phlox (Alchemical philosophy)
The Tenfold Phylactery (Warding and Protection spell theory & practice)
The Telluric Lectures of Xox (Elemental Earth magic)
The Protean Plates (Elemental Fire magic)
The Epistle of Illusymus the Younger (Charming magics)
The Hierarchical Omnibus of Gesticulated Dweomers (somatic spellcasting procedures)
The Copper Lexicon of the Venerable Archons (verbal spellcasting procedures)
Worley's Ethereal Taxonomy (ethereal creatures and methods of ethereal travel)
Oxfam's Astral Monographs (astral landmarking and navigation)
Nagora's Extemporaneous Phantasmagoria (impromptu illusion magics)
The Umber Hornbook (herbology & plant magics)
The Prophecies of Uong-Sal (fortunetelling methods)
The Indivisible Jade Tablets (1st level magics)
Telemachian Quattros vol.1-9 (common spellcasting case studies by level)
Shoshanna's Guide to Incipient Conjuration (procedures for ritual spellcasting)
The Scarlet Compendium of Conflagratory Evocations by Emerikol the Chaotic (fire magics)
Elder Phlonk's Teleology & Topography of the Hidden Realms (planar geography)
Magister Gharkal's Systemic Conjuration (conjuration magic)
Effulgent Theurgical Inscriptions of Simak the Inscrutable (procedures for inscribing scrolls)
The Aquamantic Exegisis of Marinus Rolias (elemental Water magics)
Cutullus Boreali's Atmospheric Dweomercafting (elemental Air magics)
Geoffrey of Kant's Unexpurgated Guide to Ethical Occultism (magical standards & procedures)

Here's 10 few more, this time not so helpful:

The Greatest Glamour by Thedris of Thred (an allegory on botched spellcasting)
Ghoff's Interpretive Supernumerology (a flawed theory of mathematical conjuration)
Ogg's Abyssal Onomastikon (a badly transcribed and dangerous list of demonic names)
The Kyuss Commentaries (untested and thoroughly evil methods of undead manufacture)
The Fervent Tome of Scald the Unflinching (a cursed book that inspires feverish obsession)
Journeys Among the Planes by Scoliosi Magus (a fantastic and entirely fictional planar travelogue)
The Homonculi Monologues (a deceitful series of essays on various diabolical topics)
The Fifth Elemental by Krekkius vos-Savant (a misguided manual on elemental summoning)
Miscibility for the Soul by Ralhd the Resplendent (parables encouraging freeform somatic gestures)
The Xhelddannic Living Bestiary (an engrossing cursed book that devours the reader bit by bit)

Here's an example:

The Protean Plates: These comprise 8 or maybe 9, it's not certain, beaten copper plates bearing etchings in Old Wyrmish. Only 3 sets are known to exist, although there may be more. The subject matter deals with the sources and properties of elemental fire and includes a summary of spells and creatures that derive their existence from that element. Studying the plates requires fluency in Old Wyrmish and (20-INT) weeks of relatively uninterrupted study after which the magic-user must succeed at a standard Chance to Know roll. If successful, the Magic-User gains the ability to cast elemental fire-related spells & control fire elementals as if they were 1 level higher than normal. The DM should decide which spells qualify for the bonus but a good rule of thumb is to include only those spells whose descriptions specifically mention 'elemental plane of fire' or 'elemental fire'. Magic-Users only. @8,500gp/Very Rare

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