Lesser Enchanted Item: Journey-Book

This item is loosely based upon the journey-books found in Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth books (well, the TV show too, but I try not to watch that) - it seemed a good way of maintaining communication with travellers, etc. I guess telepathy might be seen as better by some, but this way Arcane Connections can be kept on the item(s) rather than to a person (less risk).

Lesser Enchanted Item: Journey Book
Size/Materiel: Small Book (2 x 2 = 4)
These books are made as a pair in the usual way, but have blank pages. A small packet of dried ink is stitched into the cover of each book. After enchantment each book is carefully removed from its covers, and the covers swapped over (and fixed as permanent arcane connections to the original book - a perfect task for your apprentice!).
Instilled Effect:
ReTe 29
Any text written, drawn or sketched into this book is duplicated in the target book, using the dried ink in that book to form the text or images.
(Base 3 (Move pigment in an unnatural way) +4 magnitudes (Range: Arcane Connection) +1 magnitude (Duration: Sun) +1 magnitude (Target: Individual) +1 level (2 uses per day) +3 levels (environmental trigger: dawn or dusk)).

Thoughts? Good? Bad? Indifferent?

Clever, even if done before in several varieties, but it doesn't have to be continuous. (And "Duration:Sun" is +2 mag's, and "Target:Individual" is +0, but those balance out.)

(Base 3, +4 AC, +10 levels = infinite uses/day)
= Level 25, done. Every scratch, every penstroke is 1 use - but there are infinite available.

Whether a SG would agree that "dirt = pigment" is another question, as "Terram" = generic solid matter, but "pigment" might be seen to be more complex than mere "dirt"* - probably +1 magnitude there, for the equiv of "metal". The enchanter can, of course, name the ink/pigment used, but iron gall is a standard.*

(* traditional possibilities include metals (iron gall), animal (insect shells, squid ink), and herbam (oak gall). Earth dyes (ochre) tend to be just that - dyes, not inks - but are possibly suitable.)

And the "Central Rule" (p 111) also may come into play for any "insta-communication" device, for game balance if the SG/Troupe feel it approp enough. But since this needs to be made in (at least) pairs, two 25 pt items and 6 vis seems like a reasonable price to pay. (Even if +1 more magnitude, Level 30 is still only 3 vis/book, and since it is a book and thus not very durable, no reason not to make it a 70 year duration (if not 7?), and a Lab Total of 45 is not that much harder to achieve than 38.)

Thanks for the critique and ideas!

That was my thinking - 7 years seems quite acceptable (if only because the book will likely be filled up before seven years are out, though I imagine a quick rego terram spell might quickly blank the pages again),


The prob with 7 years is that, if it's an item you like and want to have around, that's 1/28 of your time - repeating one season every 7 years = ouch. I'd push it to 70, and if/when the book is filled or worn out (even if the pages are erased, they'll wear through eventually), then replace it.

(Also, it doesn't say one way or the other, but I interpret the rules for enchanted devices and lab texts as that a Lab Text specifies whether the item is 7 year or 70 - it's not in the Lab where that total is changed, but in the item itself. So later versions are also 7 year, like it or not, or you can reinvent a new 70 year version. Do it right the first time. :wink: )

(And when you teach your grog scouts to become literate, make sure they take a specialty in "writing small" :laughing: )

That is a very cool device, very useful for covenants having expeditions out in the world they wich to communicate with.

Consider having the packet of dried ink be a device on its own, creating an amount of ink with Duration: Sun. This way the text written disapears at sunrise/-set, so the books isn't filled out. But it wilkl get worn anyway, so it won't last indefinately. You just need to remember to check it each day to see if there are new entries. Or D: Moon if you don't want this daily chore.
And also consider adding various wards to the book, otherwise it could quickly become ruined during travels. Wards against fire, water, vermin, mold etc. come to mind.

Related point - text on parchment doesn't get "erased", it gets "excised" (I believe that's the correct term?). A small, very sharp knife, specific to the task, is used to peel off the very top layer of skin, and the ink with it. (For more on this, see "palimpsest").

Magical erasure is, of course, entirely different.

(edit - format typo only)

As is Erasure with a capital "E"...

Actually, it does get erased--removed by the action of a blade--thus, the origin of the term. If the pigments are water based (lampblack) one can wash it off, if iron-gall or the like, it will make a permanent change, but one which could be magically reversed, to be sure.

You could compare this construction with The Transformed Folio, a ritual spell used to accomplish essentially the same effect; it's on page 102 of HoH:True Lineages. Note that according to the official errata (http://atlas-games.com/arm5/arm5errata.php), the spell level should be 45 due to a Group target; perhaps your Journey Book should have a Group target as well?

I will have to take your word for it, as I don't have a copy of True Liniages,

My reasoning for not is this:

I would guess that the spell you note targets a pair of books, linking the two (hence the target of group).

However, the enchanted items each have an enchantment targeting the other book, hence using a target of individual makes more sense (think of each book "casting" a spell targetting the other book).

If the books where made of a set of three or more books then each book would need to target more than one other book, and so a group target would make perfect sense.

In some ways I guess the spell would be a more efficient solution - and it won't take two seasons in the lab to make the books, presumably however the spell has a very limited duration (year?) and I guess you could make single journey-books if you are happy with one-way communication,

A book is a group of pages like a wall is a group of stones. A single vellum roll would be Individual, but the writing would be unidirectional, I guess.


You make a fair argument, and one that I don't know the answer to,

Arguably the pages in a book could be considered to be a "group",
Equally the book could be said to be an "individual" (after all, a "book" item includes a set of pages in much the same way as a "human" item includes a bunch of organs),
Also the pages could be considered to be "part" of the book,

Any ideas?

But a Pe Te spell to blow a hole in a wall is not T:Group, since the stones form a single wall.

But a CrTe spell that built the wall might have target: group (although the obvious solution would be to not bother, and just build the wall as one solid lump),

The PeTe spell might run into issues with target-size if the wall is big enough too (in which case t: group might be the easiest option, allowing you to disintigrate part of the wall),

If all you were effecting were the pages, as a whole, then yes, such as shrinking the entire "book", or changing it to something else, or destroying it. But when you come to "writing", you have a number of individual characters, each distinct and separate.

It's clearly up to the individual SG/Troupe to interpret for their saga.

I think the Animal guidelines make it pretty clear that a single page is an Individual, whether it's bound together with other pages or not. Likewise, canonically, there's a really hefty complexity charge for affecting writing, because it's so incredibly intricate... Serf's Parma, but I want to say it's like +6 magnitudes.

I think the Animal guidelines are one of the least consistent of all when compared to other Arts, so I wouldn't rely too much in them. A book is also an individual after all.

If you want to avoid the problem altogether, make it a rolling papiruys. A single piece of fabric, so individual.

I would enchant the ink and quill, though, not the book. If you enchant the quill and place an arcane coonection in it, you can make that whatever it writes on a piece of parchment appears in the other book, while your piece of parchment keeps being blank. Not great for fancy writing, but to get rough messages across, fairly good system.


With respect, that's only with regard to Creo and Animal targets, not (specifically) any other Technique. And imo RAW that's absurd, since it requires +5 magnitudes just to create anything like a saddle or suit of leather armor, since such are made of dozens of different pieces (straps, etc) - +2 Group, +2 finished product, +1 magnitude Terram (buckles) requisite. :unamused:

And gawdz forbid you want to create something made of wool or felt, which is made of HOW MANY "individual" hairs?! :open_mouth:


To create the popular 65 lbs (30 kg) of silver coins to spend in a moon is Level 35 (Base 5, +1 Touch, +3 moon, +1 Group, +1 elaborate shape to mimic local currency), the necromancers among us can create a squad of undead, ready for animation for that same Level 35 (Base 5, +1 Touch, +3 Moon, +2 Group), and to create an entire simple ship for the same duration (sans metallic parts) is Level 40 (Base 2, +1 Touch, +3 moon, +1 Group, +3 size, treated & processed +2). But these high magnitudes still won't get us one (1) pair of leather boots for a journey, which requires Level 45 by the RAW (Base 5, +1 Touch, +2 Group*, +3 Moon, +2 treated & processed).

(* One boot would be the same, since a boot is more than one piece of leather. Left or right, your choice!)

Everyone sing!
"One of these things is not like the other,
One of these things is doin' its own thing!..."

Gawdz forbid you want to create a suit of clothing, a classic effect that is, RAW, pretty much a Ritual or not possible, for those who can cast something that high to begin with.

Most of you know me, I'm not one to readily buck canon, but with CrAn it's called for. A book, if affected as a whole, is an individual; anything else is inconsistent with the rest of the Guidelines. At worst, you get "one individual" worth of pages, a sheep-skin sized collection of pages, depending what you're trying to do and what Technique you're applying.

That said, I have to enthusiastically agree with the latter part of Mnsr. Dahl's comment, that "writing" is absurdly complex and intricate, and it has to be unless your SG and Troupe are good with trivial magical xerox spells, and that's a diff discussion and up to each as they please. Each letter is clearly an individual, as even the slightest flaw in a single letter can make a huge Pucking difference in meaning. :wink: