Invested item - magical scribe


I am trying to design an invested item for a powerful NPC magus which copies books by itself (e.g. gem encrusted quill).

Basically I think that this would need 4 effects and some mundane help.

  1. The item must be able to see what it copies (InIm)
  2. The item must be able to "write" (ReAq)
  3. The item should be able to turn pages (ReAn) - could be done by mundane help, but no reliance on others is prefered
  4. The item should be able to move itself (e.g. to turn pages by touch, use different inks by touch)
    The item should basically "write" exactly what is sees by diping itself into appropriate coloured inks and using them on the new book.

I am not sure if I am right about my calculations for the effects.

InIm - Base 1, Touch +1, Sun +2, Part(page) +1, 2 uses/day +1, Trigger +3 => level 9
ReAq - Base 1, Touch +1, Sun +2, Part(page) +1, 2 uses/day +1, Trigger +3, unusual use +2 => level 11
Turn pages:
ReAn - Base 1, Touch +1, Part(page) +1, ??? uses/day 50? +6, Trigger +3 => level 12 ? - how many pages can such a quill write each day ?
Move quill (self):
ReAn - Base 1, Sun +2, 2 uses/day+1, Trigger +3 => level 7

For an old magus this item should be fairly easy to produce helped by using appropriate materials like a quill for scribing and gem(s) for sight/movement/Aquam/Animal/clairvoyance (1 should be enough to store the 4 effects).

My main question is how many pages can such an item write each day and thus how many pages have to be turned each day ? In addition are the calculations above correct ?


The issue I would have here is that in order to write, something would need to be able to have the skill scribe and understand what is being written.

InIm would mean that the Gem would 'see' the book, but that's about it. How would it translate what it saw into inks. I think the issue is not having a device writes by motion is not an issue neither is the pen percieving the page.

The issue comes with the translation between the two. How would the Quill 'know' what it's seeing and turn that into writing.

Accordingly I'd have a ReAn on the quill to allow it to write of it's own accord.

I think a breakthrough may be in order to instill skills into items.

Thx for the input, basically this leads to the question if a skill is needed to copy a text by magic.

I was thinking more along the lines of a magical xerox machine based on some items from the Covenants expansion which are able to write down spoken words IIRC.

Basically it is not even actual writing I was thinking about but copying what the items sees by arranging the mundane inks like they are arranged in the original.

Due to this I think that real understanding/skill is not needed.

Any other opinions ?


Some suggestions about copying books magically

I could see creation of a magical desk with quill, inkpot, perhaps gems encrusting it that will take a supply of the raw materials (creating nothing) and then using a ReAn (he/te requisite for ink, InIm for determining what to copy) and make an exact copy of a book.

I could see a secondary effect that would then bind the book using the binding materials.

(imagine desk with vellum in spot A, ink spot b, binding materials spot c, source to copy in spot d, activate and it makes the copy and binds it).

The key is the intelligence+finesse used to do it. I guess if you want exact copy (same inperfections, blots, cribbed notes in margins), the finesse might not have to be that high.

Slightly off topic, but I was considering an Intellego spell that would let you comprehend books written in other languages. There are spells that allow you to have conversations with other objects, such as InHe and InTe (Stone Tell of the Mind that Sits for example). Why not a spell that lets you talk to a book? And what else would a book have to talk about other than whatever is written inside of it?

However, as the RAW clearly states, written text does not actually possess (to paraphrase) any information that could be gleaned by In spells. The information a live person would perceive from the written text is a complex amalgam of the reader's own personal experience base and the contextualised interrelation of the chosen words, phrases, etc. Since the page(s) do not have a mind of their own which could perceive that which is written upon them, the only information likely to be gleaned from In spells on parchment would be information about the parchment itself and who might have handled it or been in its vicinity.

The text and the pages upon which it is written are two distinct things as is the mind of the author who wrote the text.

The fact that study xp requires more than simply reading the book, but also much time spent pondering upon what was read, seems to indicate that the actual meaning of texts lies in the mind of the reader, not upon the written page.

I am not denying that, and having the book merely read itself to you would not be that great of a bbenefit. The book has no teaching skill. I was thinking of such a spell to be used to gain quick information on a subject, or for assistance in translating and transcribing said work.

@Fruny, great link, especially since the NPC's INT+finesse is 11, so he might pull this off with a decent chance of success.

Personally I feel that using a "simple" spell to copy a book seems somewhat "demeaning". Due to this I would still prefer a magic item to do this work in a season instead of a doing it instantly.

@Marko Markoko, I am fairly sure that there is a spell in one of the sourcebooks about learning about the contents of a book (or maybe for looking if a book contains a certain phrase?).

@ladyphoenix, I think that he desk would still need something to turn pages since I do not think that InIm is not enough to see all the pages of a book at once.

But from what I have seen till now I think that the item I have orginally described would be possilbe, or have I overlooked anything ?


Because neither the ink nor the paper understand the language they're used to write in. The book does not have a mind to use InMe on. Unless of course it DOES have a mind....but that's a whole different issue. You can question the book and the ink but they'll probably know they have been written on but won't understand what.

Okay, which is the better conversationalist though? A rock or a book? A rock has no senses or language, yet according to the spell it can have a conversation about things that happened around it. A book should have a basic understanding of its own self. The words are indeed part of its essence. It doesn't need to read the words. It can feel them.

I guess an InHe(An,Te requisite) could question a book but they would not know or understand what is written or read. They would say more where they were, who had handled them, perhaps descibe the letters and such but it would get you same sort information as if you questioned a rock (the rock couldn't tell you its composition after all)

The closest analogy I can think of I could have a Tattoo of a Greek word. I can 'feel' the word, but it makes no sense to me.

go back to the comparison with the rock. The rock has no association with language, yet you can still talk to it with a spell. The book should have a much closer lingusitic sympathy. And the Tattoo analogy doesn't hold. The Tattoo isn't a part of you, it is something added to you. For a book, the words are as much a part of its essence as your blood or bones.

And what else would a book possibly have to talk about other than what's written inside of it? I am not worried about munchkins. I like giving players all kinds of cool power. But to me a book that can read itself just feels right.

The communication is a product of the magic, it's not communicating in latin per se but is commicating in magic.

I would still hold the analogy of the tattoo being true because a book without words is still a book, the words are painted/etched onto the book.

The pages and binding would be part of the book (as flesh muscles sinew and bone), the words are painted on afterwards.

The only allowance I would give is if you had maybe an imagnem requisite you could sense/see what it percieves and understand it, if you understand the language it's written in. I'd say the Book had no real concept of the language.

Actually, the words are put on the pages first, before it is bound and covered.

I'm still going to have to agree to disagree on this one. I think the 'book' is not the contents, but even if for a moment I agree that the contents are part of the book I still dont' think that this means the book understands it.

For example if by some fluke said tattoo of a greek work wasn't a tattoo but happened to be a birthmark. It's still a greek word, I know it's there and maybe even what it looks like, but I still don't understand it.

Fair enough. Though if I had a birthmark of a Greek word on my butt, I would go ask my grandmother what the heck it said so that I would know when girls started asking me questions :laughing:

Marko, I had intended to touch upon this point after my previous post but didn't have time yesterday.

In response to the rock (SToTMTS), I would argue that what the magus is actually achieving by use of the InTe spell is a link to the natural spirit inhabiting the rock, not the dead substance itself. The parchment or book on the other hand is a man-made processed product detached from nature and thus devoid of any natural spirit or elemental entity.

In this way there is a consistent explanation coinciding with other aspects of the Ars system, including:

  1. The ability to question all elemental forms (Fire, Water, Air, Earth)
  2. The concept of genus loci
  3. The true merenita aspiration of joining with nature (i.e. nature mysteries)

These are to name but a few that readily spring to mind.

A book is nothing more than a composite of several processed materials, none of which would actual perceive (let alone understand) any topical information intended by the mind of the writer.

If somehow the book were to be infused with a summoned spirit after the fact, then I would agree that In magic could discern topical information just as with the rock or fire or stream, etc.

To put it another way, there seem to be two levels of reality at work when using In magic on otherwise inanimate objects. The first is the physical or empirical reality (look that magus is conversing with a rock!!) and the metaphyscial or spiritual reality appreciated by those with greater arcane understanding (the magus is actually communicating with metaphysical entity inhabiting the elemental form).

Thats my take anyways.

Interesting point Boxer. But in the InTe guidelines, one magnitude above speaking with a natural stone, we have speaking wih unnatural stone; such as brick or a statue.

So the consistancy and theory break down.

If I can talk to an artificial object such as a statue, I should be able to talk to a book, a bookshelf, the desk, the quill, and etceteras.