Sentient Books?

So after a recent read of Sorcery of Thorns, the author had an interesting take on the idea of sentient books: That they need careful maintenance in special libraries that are more akin to Prisons, or they will in fact turn into monsters.

This doesn't completely jive with Ars Magica, but the idea is neat. My thought is that as a Major or Breakthrough Discovery (likely a Solomnic Magic one, rather than Hermetic) to bind a Jinn or Spirit into a book. Then the book would in fact Teach the reader, vs a static book.

Has anyone else experimented with the idea of Sentient, or more High Fantasy style books that are enhanced with enchantments? Any other comments or ideas are welcome too.

You could also approach it from the Magic Thing side, like the cloak in RoP:M.


Callen already commented on my first thought when reading this question. I could have sworn that there was already a book that was a Magic Thing in AM fiction.

EDIT: Creating a book that is also a Magic Thing is a story idea I have been bouncing around for when I run things. Though since I am not the main SG I have to avoid making it to powerful, which it could easily be.


I had an article on "Faerie as Books, Books as Faeries" somewhere and "Magic Books" which talked about using the rules for Magic Things for intelligent books ie magic creatures in the shape of books... but with the requisite flaws for an object / abilities and powers allowing communication as needed.

And technically a jinn could easily take the shape of a book like other inanimate objects - the curcubites of Tales of Power "The City of Brass" are jinn that take the shape of bottles and then transform as required. Technically they are able to use all their sense and powers in any form.

Although not books, I did write some thoughts on using floating skulls (inspired by various older supplements from the "World's Most Popular RPG" and associated IP eg Planescape Torment that have some spells that could be useful for "book creatures".


This is what I started doing (see comment below)... need to dig notes out.

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I have 2 ideas for sentient books. The first is a sort of faerie holodeck called the Book of Lugh. This faerie is shaped like a book and can be read as an excellent traticus on faerie lore, detailing a variety of epic battles and events from Irish mythology. However, when the book is read in an enclosed room, the faerie uses their illusionary home power to recreate the settings from the epics, and a version of phantasm of the human form to recreate the characters.

As a result, the faerie book might train the reader in single weapon by having them fight illusionary Fomorians during the Second Battle of Mag Tuired, or teach them the harp by having the reader play in the court of King Nuada of the Tuatha DĂ© Danann.

But the real kicker is that this faerie also occasionally acts as a threshold guardian because of their Spirit Away power. This means that sometimes, the reader’s opponent in training is a faerie actually guarding the entrance to Arcadia. When that guardian is defeated, the reader will find themselves physically transported to the wars of Irish gods in Mag Tuired or another fantastical location in Faerie.

Which is exactly what the faerie book wants, as now it can feed off the vitality of the reader’s adventure to get back home.