This is an item i'm wanting to make. I think its Kosher. Comments would be welcome.
The Spymaster's Novel
This large book is set on a lectern and has several powerful effects woven into its pages. It has a small pot of black ink affixed to the spine which needs to be replaced every month. The book is used to detect spoken words uttered within 2 paces of a linked ring (and arcane connection). This ring is given to agents and they can then communicate with Peter by speaking into the ring. Peter can then check the book to see if he has received any messages.
Perceive the Distant Utterance
This picks up any words spoken within hearing distance of the ring the book is linked to. It activates the â€œThe Scribes Invisible handâ€ when a code word is spoken and turns the effect off when the code word is spoken again.
(Base 1, +4 arc, +2 sun, +3 hearing)
+1 two uses per day
+3 environmental trigger (Sun up/down)
Total level = 34
The Scribes Invisible hand
This effect allows the book to write itself based on the input from the â€œPerceive the Distant Utteranceâ€ effect. It requires the book to have blank pages and the ink reservoir to have a fresh (i.e. less than a month) supply of ink. It activates when the â€œPerceive the Distant Utteranceâ€ picks up a the code word and lasts until the code word is uttered again.
(Base 10, +1conc)
+5 item maintains concentration
+2 three uses per day
+3 linked trigger
Total level = 25
The Percanariusâ€™ Swift Blade
This effect wipes clear a single page of writing from the book, allowing it to be used again. It destroys only the ink leaving the page unblemished. This effect is trigger by rubbing the books large, leather bookmark over the page as if rubbing on a chalkboard.
(Base 4, +1 part)
The precamerous effect is perdo herbam. This means that all of the inks used must be exclusively plant based if the enchantment is going to effect them. (Not all medieval inks were IIRC)
You've used the intellego imagonem guideline for useing a sense at a distance. One could argue that the book does not have a sense of hearing to be used at a distance.
So the ring isn't enchanted at all, it's just an arcane connection to the book. I like this it's very clever. Here's a question that it brings up:
In order to fix the ring as a permanent AC, the creator probably had to use a pawn of vis to fix the connection. Is this pawn of vis expended or is it "spun" and still detectable after the spell traces have perished?
My opinion is that the pawn is expended as if a ritual spell were cast with it. Permanent AC's should not have to be detectably magical.
Can magic make sounds of voices into writing? We've certainly had a discussion or two on this board about changing writing into sounds, is it now time to take up the discussion the other way round?
I think your book kicks ass. I'd defiantly put something like it in my game unless some unintended consequences of magical transcription rear their heads
Yeah, thats pretty much what i asumed i'd have to do. However, I only need a plain writing ink with no fancy colours and it doesn't have to last forever so i'm not massively fussed about using vegetable inks, especially since most mineral inks in period used vegetable gums as thickeners, figured i'd save myself a requisite
Didn't think about that. And it could be a problem. One could argue that a magic item uses a sense of hearing if it has a command word activation though, and thats already a part of hermetic magic, so i suppose the debate could go either way.
Aye, i didn't think giving agents an enchanted item was very wise, all that expense and you might lose it. I'd agree with you on the expentiture of the vis too.
This is where i thought it might fall down. I really like the idea of a magic book writing as you dictate to it though.
As do I
I like the idea of a spymaster style Tytalus with 7 or 8 of these books in his tower on lecterns in a dark and shadowy room, writing away as his agents send him reports and updates.
I like the idea of the book, but I have to say I think translating speech to written word is beyond the scope of Hermetic magic. Well, unless the Tytalus bound a spirit into the book or something [I think simply Spell Binding [TMRE] any scribe's ghost to The Scribes Invisible hand will allow the translation.]
An alternative would be to give the spies a frame or tablet to write on, then use an InIm spell to see whatever is written on it and copy it to the book. This too runs into the trouble of opening the door to magically copying books.
You could also simply construct a "recorder" that plays back the sounds, but that's boring.
BTW, based on the ear for distant voices I would suggest a target Individual rather than Hearing for Perceive the Distant Utterance.