When spellbooks get wet


Rules Questions

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Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

A few words from someone that work with modern and ancient books and know people that have restored books after the 1966 Florence flooding.

The old books are more resistant to water than most modern one. The paper is way more sturdy and parchment, vellum and so on resist very well to being immersed in water.

The ink is a different thing, some are water soluble and will be destroyed, but other are water resistant. Case in point after the Florence flooding the books that couldn't be restored immediately were kept in tanks filled with distilled water. It was way more damaging to dry them incorrectly and without washing away the mud and other pollutant than to keep them submerged. Molt was one of the big dangers for the wet books.

Copying a spell has a high material cost. It is done by the spellcaster, so the cost isn't paying a scribe. We can only assume that it is the cost of special inks.
My basic assumption will be that the wizards use high quality inks, probably oil or alcohol soluble ones that will suffer little or no damage from immersion in water.

So, if a wizard fall in the water there is little risk of immediate damage to his spellbook. On the other hand, it is very important throughly dry the book after exposure to water. Mold can be terrible for a book.


Xexyz wrote:
If the spellbook did get damaged by being soaked in water, why wouldn't a mending spell fix it?

1)Because cantrip can't produce complex information from nothing.

2)"All of the pieces of an object must be present for this spell to function."

How about dissolved ink that is gone with water, evaporated, etc.

3)"This spell has no effect on objects that have been warped or otherwise transmuted, but it can still repair damage done to such items"

You can repair a book, but not restore writings warped by water.


Would Make Whole be sufficient? It works on magic items after all. Sort of anyway.


Diego Rossi wrote:

My basic assumption will be that the wizards use high quality inks, probably oil or alcohol soluble ones that will suffer little or no damage from immersion in water.

So, if a wizard fall in the water there is little risk of immediate damage to his spellbook.

That is a perfectly reasonable house rule, but on the previous page it was shown from the description of Blessed Book and Waterproof Bag that ordinary spellbooks and scrolls held in a normal backpack are by RAW 'ruined' within a few rounds (somewhere between 0 and 9) if the wearer falls in the water.

(If he falls into lava or acid, they'll probably be fine.)


The basic assumption in the game is that gear is never damaged except when someone deliberately targets it. For example, Fireball damages nothing unless you roll a 1 on your save, and then it can only potentially damage a single item. Even total immersion in lava has no rules for damaging equipment, and if lava can't hurt your spellbook I really fail to see how rain will do so.

Lava Effects
Lava or magma deals 2d6 points of damage per round of
exposure, except in the case of total immersion (such as
when a character falls into the crater of an active volcano),
which deals 20d6 points of damage per round.
Damage from lava continues for 1d3 rounds after exposure
ceases, but this additional damage is only half of that dealt
during actual contact (that is, 1d6 or 10d6 points per round).
Immunity or resistance to fire serves as an immunity to lava
or magma. A creature immune to fire might still drown if
completely immersed in lava (see Drowning).


I think, a GOOD DMing is to ASK your player about his spellbook BEFORE putting him into the water. It will be fare, so he can prepare.

But if it is a rush situation (flee to the water) - this wuestion will be fair, like: "If you will flee to the river - your spellbook will be wet and some spells may disappear", and then, if he decides to risk... roll a d100 :)


thorin001 wrote:
if lava can't hurt your spellbook I really fail to see how rain will do so.

If lava can't damage a book, then we've already left the realm of sanity; sense and reason will not avail us beyond this point.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Matthew Downie wrote:
Diego Rossi wrote:

My basic assumption will be that the wizards use high quality inks, probably oil or alcohol soluble ones that will suffer little or no damage from immersion in water.

So, if a wizard fall in the water there is little risk of immediate damage to his spellbook.

That is a perfectly reasonable house rule, but on the previous page it was shown from the description of Blessed Book and Waterproof Bag that ordinary spellbooks and scrolls held in a normal backpack are by RAW 'ruined' within a few rounds (somewhere between 0 and 9) if the wearer falls in the water.

(If he falls into lava or acid, they'll probably be fine.)

You mean:

Waterproof bag: "Items kept inside remain relatively dry, making the bag ideal for carrying maps, scrolls, spellbooks, and the like, although the bag is not impervious and can only be completely immersed for 10 rounds before enough water seeps in to ruin such items."
and
"Blessed Book - All such books are durable, waterproof, bound with iron overlaid with silver, and locked."?

Sorry, that don't prove in any way that "normal" spellbooks aren't as water resistant as good books.

Unless you use the same line of reasoning for any other effect cited:
- Blessed Books are durable, so any other book isn't durable.
- Blessed Books are bond with iron overlaid with silver, so no other book can be bound with iron overlaid with silver.
- Blessed Books are locked, so no other book can be locked.

You are using the waterproof bag as a proof that a map is destroyed after 10 round of exposure to water? Unless you are using water soluble inks 10 minutes will do very little.

You are assuming RAW from something that don't give any RAW rule beside saying that some specific item give or have some specific protection
If my map is written with inks that aren't water soluble putting it in a waterproof bag and immersing it in water for 10 rounds don't ruin the map, even if the bag say that items in it are ruined after 10 rounds.


Let's ignore the Blessed Book, which I agree is pretty weak evidence.
The waterproof bag text clearly states that a waterproof bag containing maps, scrolls and spellbooks can only be completely immersed for 10 rounds before enough water seeps in to ruin them (and similar items). So either this is a vulnerability that only occurs in waterproof bags (in which case they are less waterproof than regular bags, which is silly) or immersion in water ruins maps, scrolls and spellbooks within a minute. I guess RAW inks are water soluble?


The waterproof bag didn't sneak in until Ultimate Equipment and there is no clear rule otherwise in the CRB, including in environmental effects.

It is just likely up to the GM. I can't think of a single time our group's wizard ever had to worry about their spellbook in water.


I think it's pretty ludicrous to assume that wizards, who are among the smartest people around, would sink thousands of gold pieces on materials for spell books -- including inks -- without checking if that ink is water soluble. Or subsequently using their reality-warping powers to WATERPROOF THE BOOKS which are the source of said powers.

YMMV.


Matthew Downie wrote:
thorin001 wrote:
if lava can't hurt your spellbook I really fail to see how rain will do so.
If lava can't damage a book, then we've already left the realm of sanity; sense and reason will not avail us beyond this point.

But lava can damage a book, just not when it is attended. Throw the book in the lava and it incinerates from 20d6 of fire damage. Throw a character in the lava and his gear is fine until he dies and the stuff is no longer attended. That is RAW and RAI.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

So in Core campaign, the wizard has no way to protect the spell book until they can afford the Blessed Book?

Water proof bag is Ultimate Equipment, Book Ward is second level (so you have to go through two levels in order to get it) and from Seeker of Secrets. Neither is allowed in Core Campaign.

It is assumed that the wizard got training. If a fighter can be assumed to have been taught how to properly care for his equipment, why can't we assume the same for a wizard?


IMHO spells like Book Ward shouldn't really need to exist; I would much prefer to simply assume that all wizards do something along those lines and focus on more interesting things. Then again, maybe I should be playing Dungeon World. ;-)


d-reason wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
d-reason wrote:

Okay. I've got this link after my new player's arcanist was literally drowing in water during adventure, for quite decent amount of time, and then dragged to safety by comrades. I got really few things to say, after I read whole thread:

Waterproof bag 5sp
Book Ward spell (level 2 sorcerer/wizard spell)

Be honest with yourself, and start to play character with 18+ Intelligence accordingly.

Prestidigitation will dry the pages, but writings will be lost, as inks are delicate, and focusing diagrams needs to be perfect. So remember the scout song and "Be prepared!".

P.S. When I play a witch, I buy spellbook. Why? Because I ask NPC wizards to copy some of my spells there for some fee. So later, in case my familiar die and ressurection is not an option, new familiar can be taught some of rare spells from my previous reperoir with scheme: show spellbook to wizard>>ask him make scrolls>>feed them to new familiar. Witch has 18+ Intelligence. She is smart enough to do such precaution, as 2 spells per level for brand new familiar is ridiculos.

A lot of items are "flavor" items. You still have not produced any specific rules that say how water affects a spell book. Does it need to soaked? Does it only take being in the rain for 3 seconds? etc etc

I agree that if the book is submerged for a long time it makes sense that it should be damaged to some extent, but I won't pretend like I have seen rules for it when I have not. If rules have come out then quote them. Even if there are new rules out, I doubt there were any when this thread was made.

I have Book Ward spell in front of me. And I think of Cicero. Why so? Because "existance of an exception is proving that there is a rule for which this exception was made."

Cicero used that as defining argument in court. And he won.

This spell specifies that it is making object immune to acid and fire(as via protection from energy) and making it waterproof. We know what particular book developers...

You obviously did not read my entire comment and your logic does not always work in PF. There have been enough debates here that show that. Someone did quote a rule which is all I asked you to do.


For a core only game I would just ask a GM and hope he does not say something silly such as "There is nothing you can do". If that is his answer you might have bigger problems.


Since the waterproof bag doesn't exist in Core, there is no Core rule saying that spellbooks aren't waterproof...

If I was a wizard, I'd wear a tall pointy hat and keep my spellbook in that. Then, if I had to go swimming, my book would be above water level any time I wasn't drowning.


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This thread is exactly why when I make a wizard, at first level I use my Scribe Scrolls feat with starting gold to make a couple 0 level scrolls: Prestidigitation and Mending. I also add Mending to my list of go to cantrips. Finally I put a rank into Craft: Books, usually giving me between a +7 to a +9 in the skill.

If my GM then commits to a waterlogging, firing, acid bath or other destructive action on my spellbook I'm prepared from go. I also make a point to tell GMs that, at night or first thing in the AM my PC maintains his book the same way the martial PCs take care of their armor and weapons.

If the GM calls for detail I'll first start with the mundane. Using my skill in crafting books I clean and wax the outer surface, then fix any fading ink inside. If there's any wear I use Mending to tighten bindings, remove tears, etc. If I happen to also have Prestidigitation studied I'll use that to really clean every square inch of the thing.

As the game goes on I make copies, get wands of the 2 cantrips and, once I can make Wondrous Items or buy them I try to re-create a custom item I had years ago: a Satchel of the Spellbook. Essentially it casts a constant Mending and Prestidigitation on any one book kept inside it for 1 hour. It isn't an extradimensional space but its locked with an Arcane Lock and outfitted with a permanent Resist Elements. The bag isn't indestructible or protected against theft (though I usually cast Alarm on it and should probably permanize that on the device) but it's a decent container at the Mid levels for keeping the primary spellbook safe.

Frankly with my spellbook-using PCs I usually let them get away with using these 2 cantrips and their own natural skills to maintain the tome. I also expect that, in the cases where they know ahead of time they might encounter humidity or moisture they're using proper stowage techniques. In case of unexpected calamity there's a reasonable expectation in my games that the spellbook can be recovered through the application of these 2 cantrips, though they might need to either 1. have them prepared, 2. have them on a scroll, 3. have them stored in their familiar, 4. recall at least 1 from their bonded object, 5. get another PC to cast them, 6. hire an NPC to do the work.

Finally, if all else fails, I would rule that the wizard can find the grooves left in the paper (after drying it out) to restore the spells, so long as they pay the proper cost in GP for scribing a spell in their spellbook. They can use Craft: Books, Craft: Caligraphy, Profession: Scribe, Profession: Librarian (kind of a stretch) or if all else fails, a combination of Knowledge: Arcana and Spellcraft.


Mark Hoover wrote:

This thread is exactly why when I make a wizard, at first level I use my Scribe Scrolls feat with starting gold to make a couple 0 level scrolls: Prestidigitation and Mending. I also add Mending to my list of go to cantrips. Finally I put a rank into Craft: Books, usually giving me between a +7 to a +9 in the skill.

If my GM then commits to a waterlogging, firing, acid bath or other destructive action on my spellbook I'm prepared from go. I also make a point to tell GMs that, at night or first thing in the AM my PC maintains his book the same way the martial PCs take care of their armor and weapons.

If the GM calls for detail I'll first start with the mundane. Using my skill in crafting books I clean and wax the outer surface, then fix any fading ink inside. If there's any wear I use Mending to tighten bindings, remove tears, etc. If I happen to also have Prestidigitation studied I'll use that to really clean every square inch of the thing.

As the game goes on I make copies, get wands of the 2 cantrips and, once I can make Wondrous Items or buy them I try to re-create a custom item I had years ago: a Satchel of the Spellbook. Essentially it casts a constant Mending and Prestidigitation on any one book kept inside it for 1 hour. It isn't an extradimensional space but its locked with an Arcane Lock and outfitted with a permanent Resist Elements. The bag isn't indestructible or protected against theft (though I usually cast Alarm on it and should probably permanize that on the device) but it's a decent container at the Mid levels for keeping the primary spellbook safe.

Frankly with my spellbook-using PCs I usually let them get away with using these 2 cantrips and their own natural skills to maintain the tome. I also expect that, in the cases where they know ahead of time they might encounter humidity or moisture they're using proper stowage techniques. In case of unexpected calamity there's a reasonable expectation in my games that the spellbook can be recovered through the application of these 2...

For general, non-targeted destruction of your spellbook, like say dunking, what makes you think that your GM will not also ruin your scrolls?


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individual admantium scrollcases


thorin001 wrote:
For general, non-targeted destruction of your spellbook, like say dunking, what makes you think that your GM will not also ruin your scrolls?

Good Taste, Intelligence on the GM's behalf and a better understanding of what parchment and vellum is than most?

Also the fact it's not listed under the section "Water Dangers"

Also the fact that raw metal rusts amazingly faster with dunking than most people realize.

Granted most weapons are oiled and treated to help resist such, but that tends to wear quickly in combat and has to be quickly reapplied.

I also assume we are now worrying about bow strings, other wooden and leather objects as well with the same level of misunderstanding of how such things work?

I am reminded of a game where a GM thought that because a female character had sex she would be pregnant immediately since she did nothing to *not* be pregnant and that morning sickness and such would start the very next day.

I was like, "Dude, WTF? Do you know nothing about human reproduction?"

Turns out he didn't.


Kthulhu wrote:
Karjak Rustscale wrote:

Technically, it should be.

but it's a kind of a dick thing to do to people, might as well steal their spell component pouch while you're at it.

Ya gotta love how anytime anyone dares to suggest attacking a WIZARD'S weakness, they're called a dick and it's considered bad DMing.

Spam a fighter with will saves? Encouraged.

Come up with situations that call for a spell that the sorcerer doesn't know? Encouraged.

Put the paladin in a situation where he can either do a kamakazi run and die or end up falling? Encouraged.

But dare to screw with the board-appointed "win-button" called the wizard? F#@K NO! YOU'RE A HORRIBLE DM! YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG!

Christ, why bother actually playing the game? If someone says "I think I'll make a wizard" at character creation, just declare them the g#!~+&ned winner.

That's kind of like changing a barbarian's alignment to lawful good (taking away rage) and stealing all their gear.

Or making a cleric unable to worship their deity.

Or dropping a rogue's dex to 1.
It basically renders them useless.

Spam a wizard with fort saves? Nothing wrong with that.

Come up with situations that stops the wizards from learning spells? Nothing wrong with that.

Put the wizard in a situation where he can either get destroyed by a swarm or fireball himself and die? Nothing wrong with that.

These are all mean, but I don't think there's anything special about the wizard in particular, apart from being a strong class..


I love seeing people say stuff like "my wizard has an INT of 18, of COURSE he took precautions with his spellbook"...

Okay... fine.

You don't need to show up for game anymore, your character has an INT of 18, he'll be fine. :P

There is a certain amount of assumption that takes place on both sides (GM and Player)... GM assumes that Players will declare actions, so that GM knows what is going on.

How many times have you heard something like this:

"But I ALWAYS cast that spell in the morning!"

As a GM, I actually track this. If they had a bad night, weren't able to rememorize or experienced something that prevented their "usual" spells... then they don't have them.

I actually had a player who put the bonuses from Heroes Feast as PERMANENT enhancements on his character sheet.

He just added the bonuses, and eventually stopped casting the spell.

So in regards to books. Surely an INT 18 wizard would take safeguards with his books, but WE, the PLAYERS dictate the actions of our characters. If you want to hide behind your characters stats and claim they 'wouldnt have missed something so obvious', then you simply aren't willing to take responsibility for your own actions.

My fighters spend their downtime in camp polishing and sharpening stuff, checking laces and buckles... regular maintenance. It takes me one sentence to say this, but I make a point of saying it.

Clerics memorize spells, they designate a time every day. Wizards memorize spells, they should mention this...

Just because a player THINKS a detail like this should be assumed, does not mean it will be.

Just because there aren't extensive rules about books getting wet doesn't mean they can't be affected by water.

Using the argument of "there aren't rules about it, therefor my book is safe" is like saying "there aren't rules saying my character DOESN'T just get a free wish every day, therefor he does"...

Getting a book wet is usually bad for the book.
If a book is made to resist this, great. Good for you for thinking ahead.

Without quoting rules, I think most people would agree that most books (even expensive, well made ones) aren't great around water.

If you play a caster, talk to your GM about your spellbook, it can add depth to your character, and increase his interest in it.

Wanna have an awesome waterproof book? Make it out of hammered bronze plates. Sure it weighs a ton, but you can use it as a sheild or improvised weapon!

Have it be thin sheets of wood treated and enchanted.

Research some kind of permanent, portable illusion, make a holographic crystal to store your pages...

It's part of the fun, have fun with it.

If you choose to have a plain old paper book, it's gonna burn in fire, or get soggy when immersed in liquid.

How fast this happens, and the exact rules, are up the person running the game.

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

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It's fine either way you run it, so longs as you:

1) Let the players know how damaging you think water should be.
Let the player know before they jump in the water that doing so might damage their books, scrolls, and such. It may seem obvious to you, but it may not have occurred to the player, and since different GMs run this in different ways, it is courteous to be up front with how you run things. Also, don't ambush the player with water damage--that is, if they don't know how you run water damage, don't force them into the water, or if you do, give them a one time pass on their equipment and let them know how you plan to run water in the future.

2) Don't favor one character above another.
If the wizard has to worry about his spellbook, the fighter should probably have to worry rust. By the same token, don't give the wizard a free pass on his spellbook but wreck the archer's bow.

3) Give the PCs a chance to overcome this obstacle.
If you're playing core only, either assume the baseline backpack is water resistant to some degree, or make an exception and include those waterproof bags and/or the book warding spell. Also considering giving wizards an option for recovering their spell book from some (though not necessarily total) water damage--maybe make whole works, or maybe you include a custom spell. Fighters have ways to mend broken swords, after all.

Basically, just try to be fair.


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If you enjoy delving into the minutiae of equipment maintenance, more power to you. All I'm saying is that, personally, I'd rather spend that time in other ways. Thankfully, the world is big enough for both of us.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

It may just be me, but this sounds like a great idea for a 3pp book!


Why bother....

become a Sorcerer, and no book.
become a cleric, and wear a metal focus, and no book.

after all, Create Water is a zero level cantrip, good at all level for making stuff old wizard.... wet.

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