On enchanted quills and such

I was thinking about enchanting quills or, for that matter, creating a spell that simply duplicates a book (which would, of course, require vis to maintain as a permanent book rather than a moon-long or briefer duplicate). But as a momentary ritual, why not?

It's more a question, I think, of the impact of game balance. Going strictly by the rules, you can create some very impressive low level spells that have a massive effect, such as the festive helmet squishes the head spell I came up with. Sure, it'd be a good idea to increase the level of the spell a few magnitudes for game balance, but game balance and game reality are not necessarily linked.

So a momentary ritual to create a duplicate book should be entirely doable. It's more a matter of whether your troupe wants it done. It certainly doesn't butt up against the Limit of the Soul or anything. It's a book. Mostly animal products and ink. I'll leave figuring out the spell to someone else, though.

Well 'by the book' many of us came up with significantly higher spell levels than you did and that did not include a fudge factor for game balance. I suppose a quill that wrote the SAME book over and over might be easy, but a quill that wrote ANY book? While possible, I don't think it so easy. For instance, does the quill turn the pages of this theoretical book or do you? Given the nature of my magus I already know my answer. The APPRENTICE turns the pages! :smiling_imp:

GAK! I accidentally started a new thread with this. It was supposed to be in the book damage thread. Sorry 'bout that.

:blush: :laughing:

That said, I don't recall coming up with any levels for the spell...

Just a few points that are somewhat interesting to think on.

1> Why are so many books scribed on vellum or papyrus? Sure in medieval times the schollars of the age had nothing else to choose from but magi could easily use clay tablets, chiselled stone, patterns of beads, or books filled with pressings of leaves, seeds, and flowers in particular patterns. These other methods were done historically so it is not out of context that they could be used.

2> Being magi they could certainly use even more creative methods for storing information as a "lab text." A lesser magical item could easily provide the information directly to the mind of the holder and a simple control of only members of a certain house ( or certain lineage ) could then use it. Veriditus might have several different examples of this approach.

3> Last, why write in Latin? Most people that translate, translate into their native language. That would make it more common for people to find texts written in say German, English, or French. The writing of a text in Latin would be done strictly for more general sharing. A House like Bonisagus might require discoveries to be reported in Latin when they are sent back but a good percentage of magi and almost all Ex-miscellanea should write their works in their native tongue ( easier to do too since you need a score of at least 4 in a language to write a book in it ). This would lead magi to have to learn various languages as they try to translate articles ( much as the real world ends up doing ).

Scholars could have used clay tablets as well. They preferred vellum. Clay tablets haven't been used since papyrus was invented (though wax tablets were useful for transient writing.)

2: hmm, maybe. One could handwave that real permanent learning had to be done the hard way, not Creoed in. One could study from a telepathic item... one might also get warping from learning from such items, for seasons on end. And those wouldn't be personalized items, so 4-5 warping points a year.

3: Most people now translate into a native language. But in canon time vernacular tongues hardly had any written forms to translate into; Latin was the language of learning and scholarship. And even Ex Misc magi would be learning from Latin texts. Translation of say the Bible into vernaculars is still some centuries in the future -- though stuff like Chaucer would pre-date it.

And one of the reasons Greek learning was lost in the West was that the Romans translated hardly anything into Latin; they just learned Greek instead, Greek being their language of scholarship. After the Empire Greek language knowledge was lost, and thus the learning, until it came back the long way through Arabic. Though I've never figured out why the Byzantine empire didn't/couldn't provide more knowledge.

1> I would just think that a master of terram might prefer clay or stone. It avoids many worries of people walking off with your work. A nice monolith like the Egyptians used to use would be especially appealing. A criamon might take to tattooing Grogs with their study notes :>

2> Warping is from a constant effect. You would likely be "reading" or studying the text for less then 12 hours a day; so, you should be fine ( also needs to be directly and personally effecting where telepathic knowledge might not be considered ). Especially if the effect is less then the sixth magnitude which it likely will be.

3> I have looked up lists of medieval books and they seem to have come in a variety of languages. The book, "The Name of the Rose," at one point describes the library having more than 400 bibles in different languages for which another library was famous. I also remember from studies that there were many partial translations that were done into other languages of the bible. One of the interesting things that came out some studies that I had was the amount of "dime store novels" that had been written in greek ( crucifixion was a very common story theme in Greek public literature and it was being used as a comparison to the story of Christ's crucifixion ). The 12th century ( 1100 to 1200 ) has foundings of europena universities, french troupadour, and start of middle english. The 13th century has even more works that are found in museums written in a variety of languages. Chronicles, biographies, literature, law, and other items were written in other than latin.

I don't have my rules here but I think warping can happen with substantial expenditures of time. Certainly it can for non-magicals visiting high level auras; you don't have to spend all your time there, just a lot. If similar rules weren't spelled out for magical effects, I'd infer them.

Languages: okay, didn't know that. But how does the quantity compare to that in Latin? And the Order dates from 800 or so, and tends to teach apprentices from a young age, and to have covenants of magi from across Europe. There'll be a long tradition of Latin literacy. In this sort of thing the Order is more like the Church and monasteries than anything else in Europe.

That said, the rules do encourage magi starting out with Native Language 5, Latin 4, so there might be some inclination to do personal lab texts in the native language. Anything meant for sharing, which is all other texts we have rules for, would be in Latin, though, I think. It's like English in modern science, or German in older science, but more so.

I agree with the original post that duplicating a book by Hermetic magic is by no means an impressive act of magic. I would peg it as a CrAn ritual creating an Individual of manufactured and processed goods at Touch range, with an He and Te requisite: IIRC, CrAn(He,Te) 25 Ritual (B 5, +1 treated animal products, +1 Touch, +2 req). I can also grok putting another magnitude for complexity, or requiring a Finesse roll.
This CAN be rejected in favor of more complicated and higher-level spells, but it seems to me such readings are intentionally inflating the level and not made by just following the guidelines in good faith. Which doesn't mean they shouldn't be enforced in a particular saga, if that's how you wish to address the issue.

Casting a 6th or 7th magnitude ritual to copy a book is not an insignificant matter. That's a significant number of raw vis pawns you're investing there, along with a chance to botch. I suggest this possibility will have little affect on the setting, and would be inclined to approve it. Overall, I think mundane scribes with a grounding in Magic Theory will be employed instead of using such magic - much cheaper and safer, even if they are slower.

Enchanting a quill or some other item to copy a book is another option. Again, I wouldn't really mind it in my saga, but I like high-fantasy. A still better solution would be to fashion an item that uses Rego magic to construct the book completely from raw materials - take untreated animal skin, rare earth, and so on and fashion the item from scratch. (This would require considerable Finesse from the wielder, howerver.)
Higher fantasy elements may hinder the copying. If your "book" is a crystal ball invested with InIm powers you will need to create a new magical item to create a new copy.

The level of high-fantasy is a matter for the troupe to decide for themselves, and with it the ease of copying books by magic. Personally, I like high-fantasy sagas and would be happy to use strange and mystical books which would (amusingly enough) make magical copying far more difficult. In a more low-fantasy saga where the bulk of the books are mundane, I would allow copying by the ritual above if anyone is in such a hurry.

Yair