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shidara
Pie
(11/27/02 7:52:05 am)
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Scribing Time
My mage player has recently expressedhis frustration that the party doesn;t take enough time for him top scribe spells into his spellbook. Granted, they discuss these things in-character, and I've pressed the urgency of the mission upon them in the past.

So, I've been thinking about introducing a new magic item, and I'd like a litttle feedback, especially on the costs & Minor/Medium/Major status.

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Lesser Quill of Scribing (medium wondrous item)

These enchanted feather pens, taken from a magical bird, are used by many a wizard to speed the arduous task of transcribing spells from scrolls to spellbooks and back. The pen is animated, and writes the user’s thoughts as they occur. A crafty wizard can use such a pen to have the pen write words the user is reading. The pen writes in the user’s hand.

Used by scribes and scholars, spellcasters prize these items for a different reason.

This item is usable by any class that uses arcane magic that is stored in spellbooks to halve the time required to transcribe a spell into or out of a spellbook, or to scribe a scroll. However, at the end of the period used to scribe the spell, the user must make a DC 10+ the spell level + the number of pages scribed concentration check to determine if any stray thoughts were intercepted by the pen.

For example: Me Lin is using a Quill of Scribing to copy an invisibility spell from a companion’s spellbook. Invisibility is a 2nd-level spell, and so would take 4 pages in a spellbook. Normally, the spell would take 3 days to scribe, but the quill allows the scribing to occur in just 1 and a half days. After that time has passed, Me Lin makes a concentration check against DC 16 (10 + 2 + 4) to determine if the spell was transcribed successfully. Characters cannot take 10 or take 20 on this concentration check.

The GP/XP costs associated with transcribing spells is not reduced in any way by this item; it simply allows a wizard to more efficiently transcribe spells.

Caster Level: 4th. Prerequisites: Craft Wondrous Item, Scribe Scroll, Mage Hand, Detect Thoughts. Market Price: 5,000 gp


Greater Quill of Scribing (Major wondrous item)

Similar to a Quill of Scribing, this enchanted feather pen is used to speed up transcription times by powerful wizards. The Greater Quill of Scribing reduces the transcription time by 75%, allowing a spell to be transcribed in one quarter the time normally required. However, the increased speed also carries an increased risk of error, so the concentration DC is 10 + the spell level + one-and-a-half times the number of pages scribed. Thus, a 5th-level spell (requiring 10 pages) would have a DC of 30 (10 + 5 + 15) to transcribe successfully with the Greater Quill of Scribing. A ninth-level spell, requiring 18 pages, would have a DC of 46 (10 + 9 + 27). For this reason (the greater chance of failure), most wizards use these quills to transcribe lower-level spells, and take the time to scribe more powerful spells by hand.

Caster Level: 8th. Prerequisites: Craft Wondrous Item, Scribe Scroll, Mage Hand, Detect Thoughts. Market Price: 12,500 gp

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Shidara

Grumgarr
Pie
(11/27/02 8:13:07 am)
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Darn! Nib broke!
Shidara, I like it.

Having had the same (justified) gripes from the only Wiz in my group, I feel there should be something to help him out.

In the FRCS (I think - it could be the Magic of Faerun) there are rules for Mastering a Spellbook (using it as if it were your own, thereby learning the spells) - which is a lot quicker than scribing spells one-at-a-time. Of course, this won't be for everyone and isn't a sure thing in any case.

I think I may just leave one of your Quills lying around anyway...thanks :)

Grumgarr

Andorax
Orc
(11/27/02 8:41:42 am)
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Re: Darn! Nib broke!
I disagree with one thing about it. Make it for books only, not for Scrolls.

One is a necesary tool for the Wizard to be effective and do his job.

The other is an item creation issue. If the quill can speed item creation, they'll be looking for the Flask and the Forge Hammer next.



You might also allow the rules for "mastering" a spellbook from FR, perhaps allowing it with a week's worth of successive camping sessions instead of intense study, and let him pick up enemy wizards' books wholesale.

"Whadda ya mean, Orcs get levels too?!?"

Abelard
Orc
(11/27/02 1:49:25 pm)
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Re: Darn! Nib broke!
Seems like a good item.

One question: if you blow the Concentration DC, what exactly is the effect? You imply that the scribing attempt fails and is wasted, but does the wizard still have to pay the GP costs for the failed attempt?

On another note, this has been an issue for my party's wizard too. But the party did at one point take some time off just so he could scribe some spells. The trick was to choose a spell that everyone in the party could clearly benefit from - Greater Magic Weapon.

shidara
Pie
(12/2/02 8:18:24 am)
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Re: Darn! Nib broke!
<<<One question: if you blow the Concentration DC, what exactly is the effect? You imply that the scribing attempt fails and is wasted, but does the wizard still have to pay the GP costs for the failed attempt?>>>

Yep, if you blow the Cooncentration check, the spell is unusable - The cost is still paid, the pages in the book are still used up, but they are wasted and unrecoverable short of a Limited Wish or better.

Basically, a blown Concentration check means that a random thought or word had worked its way into the wizard's mind while scribing, and the quill scribes word-for-word the thoughts of the user, and so there are extraneous words in the spell's text.

I think this balances the items nicely - there's far more at stake for higher-level spells (higher DC, more pages wasted, etc.), but the time savings are valuable as well.

Shidara

shidara
Pie
(12/4/02 3:07:58 pm)
Reply
Re: Scribing Time
I just skimmed through the Magic forum here at MonteCook, and found exactly what I was looking for:

The spell "amanuensis" from the Magic of Faerun allows the caster to copy 1 page (about 250 words) per minute magically. It is usable to copy spells from spellbooks, but the GP and materials costs are still the same. It's a 3rd level wizard/sorcerer spell that lasts for 10 minutes per level.

So, a 3rd level spell takes 6 minutes to "photocopy," an 8th level spell takes 16 minutes, etc.

This seems a little powerful, considering what the normal time constraints are on transcription. But, I'd like to keep my wizard happy, and carrying around 10 different spellbooks to learn out of is a little ridiculous.

Thoughts?

Shidara

DarthLookie
Pie
(12/4/02 10:13:04 pm)
Reply
Re: Scribing Time
I don't know, shidara, amanuensis seems entirely too powerful IMHO for a 3rd level spell, assuming you are using the standard PHB spell scribing rules. In my last campaign, we simply halved both the time and GP requirements to scribe spells to a spellbook. In my next campaign, if anybody wants to play a wizard, I'm planning on introducing one of your Quills; I like the flavour, and I don't see them as unbalancing at all. However, I do agree with Andorax - they should only be useful for copying spells to spellbooks, not for scrolls.

shidara
Pie
(12/5/02 9:24:18 am)
Reply
Re: Scribing Time
<<<I don't know, shidara, amanuensis seems entirely too powerful IMHO for a 3rd level spell, assuming you are using the standard PHB spell scribing rules. >>>

I agreed with you, until I *really* read and thought about the scribing riules. This is what I have come up with:

According to the PHB, scribing a new spell into a spellbook from another spellbook requires the following: (1) a Spellcraft check to understand the spell and then (2) 1 day + 1 day per spell level to scribe the spell.

Since the number of pages a spell takes up in a spellbook is also related to its level, I figured the "1 day per level" time addition was the actual scribing time, and the default "1 day" time is just study time.

Therefore, I have ruled that any spell which is to be scribed by normal means takes 1 day of study and preparation or materials. Then, it takes 1 day per spell level to scribe the spell, scribing two pages per day.

Amanuensis only speeds the actual scribing time - it does not allow the scriber to study the spell faster. Threfore, IMC, a spellcaster who wishes to use Amanuensis to transcribe a spell from one spellbook to another must spend 8 hours in study and preparation of the spell, and then may cast Amanuensis to copy the spell at a rate of 1 page per minute, or 2 minutes per spell level.

This, I think, follows the intent of the rules of both the spell and the scribing rules, and yet still makes Amanuensis a valuable but balanced spell. It would, essentially, allow a wizard to transcribe a maximum of one spell per day, assuming he took 8 hours to do the proper study and preparations.

Shidara

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