Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Wizard's Book

For good reason, magic-users in role-playing games are protective of their spell books. In HighFantasy, a wizard has an especially good reason to be protective of his or her spell book.
In fact, the book is a living entity that draws its life force from the wizard and is therefore attuned to its owner only. A book separated from its owner will actually die if the separation lasts over two weeks.
The relationship between the book and a wizard is so strong that when the wizard takes damage there is a chance that the book will be harmed also.
The chances are rather low that any given successful combat strike upon a wizard will harm his or her book, but with enough combat the odds become palpable. If a wizard is burned, damage to the spell book is almost certain.  Most damage sustained by a spell book is represented as a loss of pages.  Although not expressly stated, it seems that each page represents a spell.  So, if a wizard takes damage, it is possible that the wizard also loses spells.

While damage to a wizard could impose damage to his or her spell book, the converse does not appear to be true (other than the loss of spells).  I suppose that rules could be established whereby damage to a spell book automatically inflicts damage upon the associated wizard.  Perhaps such a rule would be too harsh.

Wizards begin the game with a wizard's book...A person must be born with the talent to be a wizard. As they grow older the local witch maids and magic users nurture this ability along. The majority of the learning however, is self-taught. At birth each child is tested and those who are indeed magical receive the covers for their book. As the child grows he adds scrolls that are given to him or found by placing them inside the book, at which time they “heal in” and become part of his book and life force. More spells are found by searching, buying or questing for scrolls.
I would expect there to be some period of apprenticeship among (or at least an initiation into) “the local witch maids and magic users.”  Book covers have to be crafted and I assume that some sort of bonding ritual is necessary for the book and the wizard to become attuned to one another.  This attunement is such that a “wizard separated from his book should be able to sense the direction his book is as long as it is alive.”

Captured books cannot be read. The pages appear blank because the life forces are not identical between the new reader and the book. Whenever the wizard dies or whenever his book is separated from him for more than a two week period, the book disintegrates into a collection of pages known as scrolls. Another wizard finding a scroll may read the title of it only. In order to use the spell it must be incorporated into his book, taking on his life force, before it can be totally read.
An interesting aspect of a wizard's spell book is its relation to the wizard's familiar.  Creating a familiar requires “living pages from the Wizard's spell book...”  Additionally:
The pages that are used will become the Familiar's abilities.  For example, a Fly page will give the creature wings, a flame spell would make the creature fire based and able to use fire equivalent to the Wizard at the time of its creation.
Given the relationship between spell book pages and Familiar abilities, I would hope that spell books could contain more than one instance of a particular spell.  It would be a shame to forgo having access to a Fly spell simply because one's Familiar has the ability of flight.


  1. I'm enjoying this series of posts perdustin. I've long owned Goldchester and In the Service of Saena Sephar, but not the High Fantasy RPG. This post has got me interested enough to pay for a copy from Noble Knight (1st Edition, 2nd print).

    I too think the above is a great set of rules that I could easily use in my D&D games.

    1. Congratulations on your purchase! I know you're not actively blogging now, but I'd like to hear what you think about 1st Edition.

  2. OK, the book has arrived, now I just need to take the time to read it. I love a rulebook that is complete in 48 pages or less. :-)