Librimancy: The letter of the law

June 25, 2021 at 9:57 pm

“All knowledge which ends in words will die as quickly as it came to life, with
the exception of the written word: which is its mechanical part.”

— Leonardo da Vinci

Wizards are often bookish sorts, more comfortable among scrolls and tomes than out in the ‘real’ world. But some take it even further, committing their lives and their power to the written word. These are the librimancers and they dedicated to collecting and preserving written records and channeling the power held within them.

While some of these wizards live solitary lives in remote towers hoarding their books, most librimancers work in groups around large libraries and collective archives. Most major cities have at least one library, available to the wealthy or highly educated at least, and particularly rich or powerful individuals may keep a private collection large enough to value the services of librimancers. On Almeri, there are several cloisters in the Godless Realm around the Bay of Sycorax, and their ink-stained brothers can often be spotted haunting markets for rare manuscripts.

While not necessarily scholars or scribes, most have these skills and may have begun their careers in these mundane tasks. All librimancers must be literate and their studies might take them toward theology, poetry, or even medicine or alchemy. Very few restrict their education to the purely magical.

One thing that connects all librimancers is their grimoires, whether they be heavy bound tomes, sheets of rune-covered silver, or lightly rolled birch scrolls. A blank librimantic grimoire costs $200 and is required before joining most orders. In addition, a librimancer may copy two spells per IQ point (or 500 XP spent) into the grimoire. Material costs for adding to the grimoire are half that of scribing a scroll (ITL, p.142) and must be done by the wizard themselves. Casting from the grimoire requires a wizard’s chest like any other caster. The costs of being a librimancer can quickly add up, and this is one reason why they often band together (and are bound to the order by debt) or gain other valuable knowledge to exchange.

In addition to storing their spells, the grimoire can be used by a librimancer as a vessel to hold the power of the various Staff spells. The book gains all the benefits of a normal staff, although a grimoire cannot function as a physical weapon.

Because of the extended casting time of grimoire spells, librimancers are rarely combatants and focus more on planning and support. Their wider range of options makes them very useful in unfriendly environments though. They often scribe detection and protective spells into their books and only keep a small number of ‘emergency’; magics in their memory. One exception is the Write Scroll (IQ16) spell, which can only be learned from memory. Scrolls are a favored weapon of the librimancer, and most carry a few favorites with them at all times.

While a few step out into the world to find lost manuscripts or seek out new sources of knowledge, most librimancers stick close to their cloisters or collections. As such, they often specialize in crafting materials like scrolls and other written materials. They have been known to enchant pairs of books so that notes written by a traveling researcher are magically copied into a tome in the cloister, or tablets enchanted with Trance-like powers that when a question is written on them, the answer (or at least helpful guidance) appears underneath. These powerful items are nearly never sold by the wizards, and are kept closely between themselves.

These word-obsessed wizards are known to stylize their magic in keeping with their profession. Missile spells could be folded sheets, shadows could erupt from tossed inkpots, and protection spells present themselves as strips of writing wrapping around the wizard or glowing glyphs surrounding them. It is said that cloisters of librimancers have created variants of the Reveal/Conceal spells to hide or uncover secret writings. Although most adherents would probably be against Concealing writings from anyone.

New IQ 10 Spell: Silence (C) Perhaps because of their long exposure to quiet archives, librimancers with this spell can snuff all noise from a single hex. This does not bar noises from around that hex in an open area, but if cast on a doorway noises could only be heard as if through the wall. Costs 1ST per turn.

New IQ 12 Spell: 3-Hex Silence (C) Like the spell above, but covering 3 connected hexes. Costs 2ST.

New IQ15 Spell: 7-Hex Silence (C) Like the spell above, but covering 3 connected hexes. Costs 3ST.

New IQ14 Spell: Scribed Servant (C) This magical servant, often known as a Sheaf, is used for small assistance or to carry messages. It appears as a complex folded sheet of paper in the form of an animal or miniature person. It has ST3 and MA6 or 12 if in a bird form. The sheaf cannot speak or hear, but shares a bond with its caster and does what it is instructed. It can be written upon to deliver a message and will accept a response. To create a Scribed Servant, the wizard needs a prepared scroll (of any kind) that has been cleaned with Delete Writing. In the course of the ritual, an additional $25 in materials is used and 10ST spent. If successful, the Servant will fold itself into the desired shape to do its master’s bidding. Failure wastes the materials but the scroll can be used. The Servant remains active for a full day and can be re-activated for a day for 3ST. At no time can a wizard have more than five active scribed servants.