Spellbook

From PathfinderWiki
A wizard's spellbook.
See also: Images of spellbooks.
See also: Formula book, prayer book, meditation book, familiar, and trinket

A spellbook — sometimes termed a grimoire,1 shadow book, eldritch tome,2 or codex — refers to collections of spells stored as writings. They are used by several types of spellcasters,3 but are most associated with wizards.

Physical description

Most spellbooks resemble hardbound paper books also known as bound codexes, but any object that collects written spells can suffice, and many variants exist.3 A new, empty spellbook can hold 100 spells, weighs about 3 pounds, and costs anywhere from 14 to 15 gold pieces,56 while spellbooks containing spells can be worth tens of thousands of gold pieces to a buyer, depending on their contents.2

Variants

Folded codex
A pleated codex made of one long sheet of paper or several adhered to each other. While faster and less expensive to create than a bound codex, they are also more fragile and awkward to use.3
Palimpsest
A reused spellbook whose spells have been removed (though not always completely) from the salvaged pages. Palimpsests are most often found in the possession of apprentices and low-end magic shops.3
Scrolls
Distinct from the ephemeral magical item, codexes in scroll form predate bound spellbooks. Many scroll codexes use papyrus wrapped around spindles to make them easier to store and use. While rarely used by modern spellcasters, they are still employed by traditionalist dwarves and in parts of Garund.32
Tablets
Spells can also be engraved into solid materials, such as durable damage-resistant wood, student-friendly wax tablets that can be more easily erased than a palimpsest,3, bone, clay,2 and rings of metal disks.4

Regardless of their materials, formats, and origins, most spellbooks become unique items whose design and contents evolve alongside their owners, and are often magically, mechanically, or alchemically secured, treated, or trapped in order to preserve their function and protect their contents.2

Writing in spellbooks

A magus carrying her spellbook.

Wizards scribe new spells into their spellbooks, with more complex spells requiring more space. Spells can be acquired from numerous sources, including:7

  • from another wizard's spellbook8
  • from an arcane magical scroll
  • upon achieving a greater understanding of magic and spellcasting
  • after creating a new spell from independent research

Spells can be rewritten through certain extraordinary means, such as a spell.9

Whatever the source of the spell, writing it into a spellbook is a costly business in terms of both time and money, since the process often requires special inks and materials.7 Likewise, standard printing presses cannot produce magic items, including spellbooks.1011

As personal items of a spellcaster, spellbooks also often contain copious non-magical writings that provide context for their beliefs, research, and practices.2

Reading from spellbooks

Spellcasters who regularly prepare their spells perform simple preparation rituals to do so. For spellbook users, these rituals are often also recorded in the spellbook itself.12

Known spellbooks

See also: Category:Spellbooks

Associations

In crime

Spellcasters who cast any significant spells within five miles of the Esoterium Lodge in Corentyn without being registered members can be punished by having their spellbooks confiscated and burned.33

In magic

A spellbook can be temporarily stored in a random part of the Ethereal Plane by use of a spell.34

In wizardry

Each wizard is required to study their spellbook every day in order to prepare spells, and can prepare only the spells written in their spellbook, with the one exception of the cantrip read magic that all wizards can prepare from memory alone. Sometimes, wizards might share their spellbooks in order to copy new spells from each other's repertoires.35

Wizards who adhere to the journals and works of Arustun, founder of the ancient Jistka Imperium, sometimes bond their minds to a spellbook in a way that makes its capacity effectively unlimited while obfuscating its contents from others. Such Poleiheira adherents also specialize in exploration instead of a specific school of magic.36

With creatures

Venedaemons slowly strengthen themselves from their victims' spellbooks.37

If given an opportunity, a crepitus goes well out of its way to destroy wizards and burn their precious spellbooks to ashes.3839

References

Arcane Anthology discusses spellbooks in detail.

For additional as-yet unincorporated sources about this subject, see the Meta page.

  1. Dave Gross. Lord of Runes. Tor Books,
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Alexander Augunas, et al. “Introduction” in Arcane Anthology, 2. Paizo Inc.,
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Alexander Augunas, et al. Arcane Anthology, inside front cover. Paizo Inc.,
  4. 4.0 4.1 Logan Bonner, et al. “3: Classes” in Core Rulebook, 204. Paizo Inc.,
  5. Jason Bulmahn, et al. “Chapter 6: Equipment” in Core Rulebook, 158. Paizo Inc., 2009
  6. Jason Bulmahn, et al. “Chapter 6: Equipment” in Core Rulebook, 161. Paizo Inc., 2009
  7. 7.0 7.1 Jason Bulmahn, et al. “Magic” in Core Rulebook, 219. Paizo Inc., 2009
  8. Logan Bonner, et al. “9: Playing the Game” in Core Rulebook, 480. Paizo Inc.,
  9. Logan Bonner, et al. “7: Spells” in Core Rulebook, 367. Paizo Inc.,
  10. James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 257. Paizo Inc., 2011
  11. Erik Mona, et al. “Chapter 5: The World” in Campaign Setting, 237. Paizo Inc., 2008
  12. Alexander Augunas, et al. “Spellbook Preparation Rituals” in Arcane Anthology, 4. Paizo Inc.,
  13. Alexander Augunas, et al. “Analects of Aroden” in Arcane Anthology, 6–11. Paizo Inc.,
  14. Alexander Augunas, et al. “Arrowsong's Sorrow” in Arcane Anthology, 30–31. Paizo Inc.,
  15. Greg A. Vaughan and Rob McCreary. (2011). Wake of the Watcher. Wake of the Watcher, p. Inside Front Cover & p. 38. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-311-8
  16. 16.0 16.1 Amber Stewart. “Daemonium” in Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Book of the Damned Volume 3, 40. Paizo Inc.,
  17. F. Wesley Schneider & Jerome Virnich. Benabak (Imp)” in Hell Unleashed, 18–19. Paizo Inc.,
  18. Alexander Augunas, et al. Cold Irony” in Arcane Anthology, 24–25. Paizo Inc.,
  19. Adam Daigle. “Continuing the Campaign” in The Dead Heart of Xin, 66. Paizo Inc.,
  20. Alexander Augunas, et al. “Spellbook Preparation Rituals” in Arcane Anthology, 5. Paizo Inc.,
  21. Ron Lundeen. “NPC Gallery” in Dreams of the Yellow King, 56–57. Paizo Inc.,
  22. Alexander Augunas, et al. Divine Anthology, 4–5. Paizo Inc., 2016
  23. Amanda Hamon, et al. “Redwing's Spells” in Dungeoneer's Handbook, 30–31. Paizo Inc.,
  24. Alexander Augunas, et al. “Runes of Wealth” in Arcane Anthology, 18–23. Paizo Inc.,
  25. James Jacobs. “The Runelord Legacy” in Secrets of Roderic's Cove, 76. Paizo Inc.,
  26. James Jacobs. “The Runelord Legacy” in Secrets of Roderic's Cove, 79. Paizo Inc.,
  27. Alexander Augunas, et al. “The Workbook of Lokoris Sarini” in Arcane Anthology, 26–27. Paizo Inc.,
  28. Gareth Hanrahan, et al. “The Spells of Serren” in Knights of the Inner Sea, 28–29. Paizo Inc., 2012
  29. James Jacobs, et al. “Appendices” in Rise of the Runelords Anniversary Edition, 426. Paizo Inc., 2012
  30. Logan Bonner, et al. “3: Classes” in Core Rulebook, 206. Paizo Inc.,
  31. Alexander Augunas, et al. “Tome of Stone Wards” in Arcane Anthology, 28–29. Paizo Inc.,
  32. Alexander Augunas, et al. “Wisdom of Jatembe” in Arcane Anthology, 12–17. Paizo Inc.,
  33. Brian J. Fruzen. Let Bygones Be, 8. Paizo Inc.,
  34. Alexander Augunas, et al. “Magical Knowledge” in Magic Tactics Toolbox, 17. Paizo Inc.,
  35. Jason Bulmahn, et al. “Chapter 3: Classes” in Core Rulebook, 79. Paizo Inc., 2009
  36. John Compton, et al. Jistka Imperium” in Blood of the Ancients, 16. Paizo Inc.,
  37. Amber Stewart. “The Soul Reavers” in Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Book of the Damned Volume 3, 60. Paizo Inc.,
  38. Mike McArtor. (May 29, 2008). The Creepy Crepitus, Paizo Blog.
  39. Stephen S. Greer. Tower of the Last Baron, 30–31. Paizo Inc.,