So many magical items have personalities, powers, and machinations. The other day I was considering how this is never really done to wizard’s spellbooks… and those are FILLED with spells and untapped arcane energies. It just made sense to me to create something like that in Hubris.
“It is known to some scholars that the skins of snakes can be read like books. Those who speak the serpent language know that these creatures continuously hiss their titles. As they grow, the animals revise and expand themselves, shedding old knowledge for new. The most common and convenient
method of reading a snake (among human ophidobibliologists) is to have it slither through an ivory serpent-reader – a sphere with ornately carved orifices and channels. Common snakes are usually fairly uninteresting works – garter snakes tend to be cookbooks, corn snakes are generally works of adventure fiction with cliche characters or too-convenient endings. Rarer breeds- 100’ anacondas, albino cobras- often contain long-forgotten secrets or comprise unique works of poetry or philosophy. Giant snakes are typically encyclopedias or great multi-volume sagas representing the myths and theogonies of entire cultures. Nagas are linguistic texts, translating from the languages of snakes to the languages of humans. The snakes growing from the heads of medusae are generally reference works—(Vornheim, pg 8)”.
This is a cool and unique idea and really served as inspiration. I wanted to make spellbooks more than just tomes of spells that the wizard flips through. I found the picture below and thought that this would be a cool idea for a spellbook. What if an image with a personality and quirks manifested on the page to bother the wizard, guide or heckle them, etc.
I decided to use the structure of familiars and magic items in DCC as a reference for this (also wanted to keep it in line with the rules). Anyways, enjoy!
The Wizard’s Spellbook (here it is as a PDF: Wizard’s Spellbook)
A spell book isn’t just a dusty old tome with a bunch of squiggly lines and jibberish that a caster reads and mumbles to be able to summon massive fireballs, bring forth demons, or move mountains. No… these books are filled with weird runes, riddles, bizarre and horrible phrases that lesser minds were not meant to see or know. If a mere mortal without any magical talent or training were to attempt to read these passages they would be driven mad from the images and horrors that assault their mind. Or worse, their eyes catch fire and melt out of their sockets.
It should come as no surprise that a wizard’s spellbook is anything but mundane. The wizard casts a ritual when they obtain their spellbook, imbuing it with a sliver of their essence. The book becomes a living thing with a personality and features.
Go to the table that fits the wizard’s alignment and roll 1d5 to figure out the book’s cover, appearance, personality, and quirks.
Special Ability– The wizard must succeed a Luck roll. Success means the caster rolls 1d3 and gains that special ability while the book is in their possession.
The Wizard’s spellbook and Other Spellbooks– If a wizard finds another spellbook, roll on the table below to figure out its personality. The two spellbooks will interact with one another, often striking up conversations, getting in fights, and becoming increasingly jealous of one another.
|1||Reflective mirror type material.||Angelic looking female, hair moving gently in a breeze.||Extremely vain. Craves and needs compliments about her beauty.||Needs to see reflection in mirror once per day or gets grumpy.||1) conjure a handheld mirror 1x/day for 1 turn; 2) +1 to persuasion rolls; 3) +1 spell damage against demons|
|2||Yellowish leather, slightly warm to touch.||Golden sun, flares arc off of the orb.||Proud. Believes in truth and hates lies.||Gives of a slight glow in complete darkness. Boasts about it.||1) lights up like torch when held in hand; 2) Gi ves +2 to Fort saves resisting cold (environment); 3) +1d3 damage to fire spells|
|3||Grey binding, rough and pitted.||An old and stern looking version of the wizard’s mother.||Cranky and always frowns and complains.||Constantly corrects the wizard and chastises for wrong-doings.||1) +1 Spellcasting rolls; 2) +1 Will saves; 3) +1 to intimidation on children|
|4||Book is covered in feathers.||Regal eagle head. Proud and piercing gaze.||Judgmental and stern. Mistrusts people and never forgives liars.||Screeches when fish or small wildlife is near.||1) Can summon 1 fish for food per day; 2) 1x/day- gain +30′ range to vision for 1 turn; 3) +1d3 spellcheck against liars|
|5||Bound in necrotic flesh||The horrific visage of a severed zombie head fills the pages.||Warns of the horrors of undeath and wants the wizard to kill any undead they come across.||Hates undead and moans and wails when they are near.||1) +1 to saves against undead enemies; 2) +1d3 to spellchecks against undead targets; 3) +1d3 to spell damage against undead targets.|
|1||Dull grey||A bored, chubby man with lanky greasy hair.||Apathetic, woeful, and doubts the wizard will ever really succeed at anything.||Giggles when the wizard fails at a task. Sighs deeply when they succeed.||1) +2 to saves against spells that change emotions; 2) 1x/day- gain +1 temporary Luck point; 3) 1x/day- ignore 1d4 damage (as reaction).|
|2||Vibrant red felt||Young girl in a country dress.||Peppy and attempt to shake you out of your neutrality.||Constantly asks questions, and wants to be held up so she can see.||1) 1x/day- increase Personality by +1d3; 2) 1x/day reroll one failed skill or attack roll; 3) +1 to saves against sleep or charm spells|
|3||Sickly green leather||An ooze undulates across the pages.||Believes that it can tell the future and has experienced all known realities. Is almost never right about outcome.||When the wizard is injured the book oozes with slime.||1) Ignore 2 points of damage against oozes; 2) +1d3 to spell damage against oozes; 3) 1x/day- Allow wizard to reroll failed knowledge check|
|4||Dull brown fur w/ tails sticking out of the pages||An anthropomorphic ratman sits on the pages, twitching his nose, looking shifty.||Always wants to cut a deal to get out of trouble.||Reluctant to help the wizard for fear of getting caught and tortured. Also afraid of other rats.||1) 1x/day- +1d2 Luck for 1 turn; 2) +1 melee damage to rodents; 3) +1 to spellcasting against rodents|
|5||The cover is made of rope||A man hanging from a tree, gently swinging back and forth.||The man’s voice is hoarse and he makes gargling noises when he talks. He feels he is a coward and constantly fears death.||The book fears that should the wizard be killed, it will experience final death, and pleads with the wizard to hide when there is danger.||1) A; 2) A; 3) A|
|1||Blood red leather||Giant, aggressive looking bloodshot eye.||Aggressive and demands satisfaction for wrong-doings against the wizard.||Constantly calls the wizard weak and flawed. Stroking the binding calms it down.||1) 1x/day- +1d3 to melee attack roll; 2) 1x/day- gain +1d3 to all spell damage for 1 turn; 3) +1 to Will saves against spells that calm emotions|
|2||Bound in human flesh, stitched together||Man being flayed alive by hooks and needles.||In constantly pain, laments his existence.||Screams in agony when the wizard is injured. Weeps quietly when the wizard tries to sleep.||1) 1x/day- ignore 1d3 damage per attack for 2d4 rounds; 2) 1x/day- cause target to suffer -1d3 to Will save for 1 round; 3) +1d3 to spell casting against followers of Drallic the Flayer|
|3||Covered in white fur with black spots||A gnoll’s face covers the pages.||Aggressive and desires the wizard to venture out and cause havoc. Whispers about rewards should this be accomplished.||The gnoll takes delight in the suffering of others and lets out a hideous cackling laugh when others are injured.||1) 1x/day- gain ability to track by scent for 1 turn; 2) 2x/day- +1d3 to spell damage; 3) 1x/day- make Luck roll- success, Gnoll leads you to a place and you find a small valuable trinket (worth up to 50 gp).|
|4||Brown leather with two demonic eyes||A woman giving birth to a demon, sits on the pages and screams as it emerges. As the day progresses she can be seen cuddling the baby, feeding it, or it crawling around the book. This repeats every day.||The woman nurtures the wizard, as only a mother could. Consoling when injured or failure occurs, and celebrating victories.||She becomes enraged and screams at those who injure the wizard, promising diabolical retribution.||1) 1x/day- reroll one failed roll; 2) 1x/day- when a critical is scored, gain +4 on the next roll (not damage); 3) +1d3 to spell casting against angelic targets|
|5||Black leather with claw marks||A severed, mummified hand with jagged, broken nails and an eye in the palm.||The eye is vindictive and hungers for knowledge above all else. It desires to read book and constantly asks the wizard to read to it or to prop it open in front of a book and turn the pages.||The eye believes it can see the truths in a person’s soul.||1) The eye can see into a person’s soul. There is a 50% chance it is right about a person.; 2) +1 to Intelligence rolls; 3) 1x/day- ability to cast a level 1 spell that the caster doesn’t know (including cleric spells). Determine randomly|
When a wizard bonds to a patron (DCC, pg 148) their spellbook becomes contaminated with small traits that match the patron. Consult the list below for patrons and the effect.
Charred Maiden (pg XX)-The book is hot to the touch and smoke wafts out of its pages.
Floating Island of Terror (pg XX)– Small metal tubes burst from the book and connect to the binding. Small amounts of oil drip from the pages.
Spider Goddess (pg XX)– Spiders crawl all over the book and the pages are stuck together with think spider webs.
Twisted One (pg XX)– Small bumps and growths appear on the book cover, the book’s pages gain a fleshy texture.
Bobugbubilz (DCC, pg 322)– The book cover becomes bumpy like a toads flesh. The pages are damp and slimy to the touch.
Azi Dahaka (DCC, pg 330)-The book becomes pitted and aged looking. Dust and sand fall from the book when opened.
Sezrekan (DCC, pg 336)– The cover takes on a semi-ethereal feel, and the book releases a maniacal laugh when opened.
The King of Elfland (DCC, pg 342)– The cover becomes covered in clumps of moss. When the book is opened small ethereal fairies flutter out and then disappear.
The Three Fates (DCC, pg 348)– Three glowing runes appear on the front cover of the book. When it is opened the book floats 2” above the casters hand and splits into three version.
Yddgrrl, the World Tree (DCC, pg 354)– The cover takes on a bark-like texture. The pages become a patchwork of leaves stitched together.
Obitu-Que (DCC, pg 355)– Five ruby eyes appear on the book cover. The book is wreathed in spectral red fire.
Ithha, Prince of Elemental Wind (DCC, pg 356)– The book hums with power in the hand of the caster. The pages flitter, as if by a gentle wind, and opens to the page the caster was concentrating on.