Book-related items

I'm creating a npc redcap for my saga. He's a very mercantile fellow, with affinity and puissant bargain (magical books). He's got some extra magic item virtues, so he's got spell levels galore.

To aid him in his commercial endeavours, I gave him a few vis-detecting, identifying, and weighing items. But as a merchant, his focus is in the hermetic book trade. It would be nice if some of his items related to that.

I know from some recent threads that the ability of magic to affect books is limited, particularly with intellego magic. So things like the vis-items - items to discern the relative quality of a tractus, for example - are probably out of the question. Can anyone suggest magic items that would work under RAW?

One small one I thought of was a pouch or bag that protected books during travel, keeping them from getting wet, bent, etc, but I wasn't sure how to pull this off with the spell/item rules.

Have, for exemple, the bag cast a ReAq spell of Sun duration to anything put inside. With a +3 trigger so that it is cast again after sunrise/sunset. And unlimited uses.
This should be enough, and implies that you can take the book out of the bag and it'll still be protected (at least until sunrise/sunset)

Covenants have a few spells "for librarians" and "for scribes).
Some of these might be useful you him.
Things like making books weightless and checking for physical damage to the books.

An old favorite of mine is to turn a book into soething small and portable, like an acorn - makes it much easier to move a library that way :slight_smile:
(MuAn(He) allows you to turn the parchment (animal product) and covers (usually wood) into an acorn for the duration. You might also need a Te-req for books with fancy decorations etc.)

It might be easier simply to shrink the books and then put them inside a waterproof container. May I therefore present a pair of lesser enchantments (both of which I personally, that is to say the modern-world person, would happily kill, steal and maim for):

Book-Wrapper of the Weary Scholar
Level 20 MuAn(He)
R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Group
Base 4, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, +1 Group

This leather strap buckles around a stack of books. When the clasp is fixed, up to ten books inside it are reduced in size and mass until they are no more difficult to carry than the heaviest among them. Any mint-condition book being so carried will somehow arrive at the other side looking well-loved and oft-consulted.

(A group of books is apparently 10 individuals. Reducing them by 2 pts of size is a tenfold decrease is mass; therefore, ten books so reduced are merely the mass of one.)

Satchel of the Drenched Scholar
Level 5 ReAq
R: Per, D: Sun, T: Ind
Base 1, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, +1 slightly unnatural

This travel-worn leather courier's satchel is entirely impervious to rain. The size and shape of the interior is exactly designed to fit a bundle of ten miniature books.

That works too, though technically, it's a 3 point reduction in size that's factor 10 (p. 192) :slight_smile:

Also, the following:

Mirror of Castigation of the Lazy Editor for the Lack of the Author's Bio
Level 20 InAn
R: Touch, D: Conc, T: Ind
Base 5, +1 Touch, +1 Conc, +1 for 24 uses/day

Open a book. Place this battered but well-loved hand mirror against the verso of the title page. While you concentrate on it, it will show you the name of the author of the text, and something of the circumstances of the book's writing. Since the item has no penetration, if it is deflected harmlessly off the author's magic resistance, you know that it was written by a magic resistant author, possibly a Hermetic wizard. In any case, it merits further examination.
This item was created by Gratian of Merinita in 1237. A sense of homely, well-worn familiarity is present in all his spells and enchantments.

...would this count as scrying? I've never been certain of the rules regarding deliberately-Forceless Intellego magics.

While the description is cool, the latter effect is probably more likely to give you details of the scribe who copied it rather than the author of the original words.

Serf's Parma, but I'm fairly sure written text loses any connection to the author that can be traced via magic in short order.

I think your right. Extrapolating the rules on Art and Arcane connection from A&A (about the closest thing I could find), If an informational book functions like Art Work with an aesthetic quality the the authors original manuscript would be an AC for half as long as it took to write it. Copies would not have any connection to the Author.

I'm using the Level 5 guidelines for Intellego Animal spells on p117 of ArM5.

In which case it won't ping off anyone's parma, because you aren't using it as an arcane connection and you aren't doing anything to anyone except the book.

It still won't tell you anything about the author, though, unless the copy you hold was penned by the author. The history of that particular parchment might give some indication as to who put the ink to it - but as mentioned, that's got a good chance of being the scribe of copyist and not the original author of the work.

As for 'is it scrying?' - well... technically, I guess. But if someone tried to prosecute on that chances are very high they'd get 'that look' from the Quaesitor and advised not to pursue the matter further.

I like these both. Yes, I'd kill for em in the mundane world.

I've now found the spell "weightless transportation of books" (PeAn 25) in Covenants, p100, but I like your approach better. Why the herbam requisite? And why Muto? Why not Rego? The covenants spell is Perdo but I think that's because it makes the books weightless.

Projects (p. 90) has a short discussion of using texts as AC. :slight_smile:

Many books of the period were constructed using wooden boards as covers, rather than leather bindings. If you can persuade your sodales to bind books entirely in animal products, you won't need the Herbam requisite. However, in the case of your redcap book merchant, he'll constantly be coming across books written by a wide variety of authors, and so would be best off being prepared.

Shrinking things or enlarging them is Muto. You could use Rego to bear their weight (or Perdo to negate it), but then they'd still be bulky.

If you want overkill, you can always use a MuAn(Te) spell to turn the books into stone, then PeTe(An) and MuTe(An) spells to make them weightless and diminutive. That way, the books will arrive at the other side looking far less bashed up than books which travel frequently do. My gaming books, which travel in my rucksack once a week, will certainly testify to this.

As always in Ars Magica, there's more than one way to skin a cat.

That makes a lot of sense. In which case, it'd be a useful item to equip said book-merchant with.

I imagine it returning the information which is basically analogous to the copyright information available on a modern book. "Written in the Year of Our Lord twelve hundred and twenty by me, Simon of Warwick, employed as a copyist in the library of Blackthorn covenant, and bound by Timothy of Coventry in that same place. All rights reserved under the Berne Convention."