# A critical issue that needs to be addressed immediately - Spellbook weights

### Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

So, while working on a side project, I discovered some weirdness with the spellbooks and their weights.

A blank typical wizard's spellbook (100 pages), weighs 3.0 lbs.
A blank traveling wizard's spellbook (50 pages), weighs 1.0 lbs.

If we assume that the weight of the book will be the total of the page weight plus the cover weight, we get the following equations

100x + y = 3
50x = y = 1

where x = the weight of each page, and y = the weight of the cover.

Solving for x and y, we get weights of

x = 1/25 = 0.04 lbs.
y = -1 lb.

I realize that we're dealing with magic, but can anyone point out a non-flubber explanation for the weights of the spellbooks that lets me get positive values for the page weights and cover weights that fit the base information given?

(Incidently, for those who care, each parchment page in a blank spellbook costs 1 sp, while the cover/binding costs 5 gp.)

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Firstly:
I'm not doing math- because I am a math moron.

For fluff though:

The wizards spellbook is a big, hard bound book. Its meant to keep all the wizard's spells safe for eternity and is stored (usually) at home or some other safe place.

Your traveler though is your spare. Its smaller, lighter, with a cover made of less stern (and probably less permament/sturdy) stuffs. its designed to carry your spells with less weight and less hassle than your big ole Tome.

I'd say that your "Spelbook" is made of heavier paper and binding than the traveler, and thats why the weights are so wonky.

The paper and binding both weigh less for the traveler because thats the entire point of it. Its not just smaller page wise, the pages and cover are of lesser quality.

-S

Yeah, I can go with that. It'd be nice if the pages were made out of the same material and the fact that the traveller's book had 50 fewer pages made the difference in the weights. Bumping the weight of the big spellbook's covers up doesn't seem to help mathematically.

The mistake in your math is that you asume that both book covers have the same weight.

What Selgard said. Two books similarly bound can weigh completely different just from the type of paper used. (Go to an art store. Pick up a 100 page, 9x12 tapebound, "mixed media" sketchbook. Find a 9x12 pad of watercolor paper, or even bristol board. Entirely different weight.)

Yes, but to get things to work, I need to make the 100 page book have a cover that weighs more than 3 times that of the 50 page book... which I guess I can do.

 Former VP of Finance

Caedwyr wrote:
Yes, but to get things to work, I need to make the 100 page book have a cover that weighs more than 3 times that of the 50 page book... which I guess I can do.

I would suggest comparing the cover weight of a Pathfinder Core Rulebook and that of a Pathfinder Adventure Path.

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Or the Core Rulebook to the Tome of Horrors Complete.

Lilith wrote:
What Selgard said. Two books similarly bound can weigh completely different just from the type of paper used. (Go to an art store. Pick up a 100 page, 9x12 tapebound, "mixed media" sketchbook. Find a 9x12 pad of watercolor paper, or even bristol board. Entirely different weight.)

I am trying to stay away from varying page weights, since spell scrolls already have some restrictions on what type of paper can be used for scrolls. Given the limitations on scrolls, I'd expect there to be some similar limitations on the quality/type of paper needed for spellbook pages. I could say that the traveling spellbook is made using lower quality materials/lighter weight parchment, but I'd rather not if possible.

Don't forget the locking buckles and decorative inlay that self-respecting Wizardly Tomes have.

Chris Self wrote:
Caedwyr wrote:
Yes, but to get things to work, I need to make the 100 page book have a cover that weighs more than 3 times that of the 50 page book... which I guess I can do.
I would suggest comparing the cover weight of a Pathfinder Core Rulebook and that of a Pathfinder Adventure Path.

Hmm, that would imply different bindings/materials used for the 100 page versus the 50 page spellbook. Any ideas on what type of materials might be used to get those types of weight differences, and would fit thematically?

 Former VP of Finance

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Hmmm...maybe if you would tell us why this is so burningly important, we may be better able to help you, rather than just giving real world examples of why books differ in weight.

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You might want to work on your definition of 'critical issue'. ;-)

Benly wrote:
Don't forget the locking buckles and decorative inlay that self-respecting Wizardly Tomes have.

For garden variety clasps/buckles, I'm going to include these in the bindings. For more elaborate locks and adornment, those would be extra addons. It's a good point that the 100 page book is going to need larger buckles/straps that could easily eat up the extra weight.

Chris Self wrote:
Hmmm...maybe if you would tell us why this is so burningly important, we may be better able to help you, rather than just giving real world examples of why books differ in weight.

Ah.. the title. It's a joke mostly. I'm working on updating the 3.0 Bastion Press book Ink & Quill which has rules for custom bound books/spellbooks and I'm trying to make the weights published in PFRPG match the materials/relative weights used in that book. It's obviously not an direct adaptation, so I've got some wriggle room. I'm trying to work out some base numbers so I can reproduce the existing spellbooks under the custom spellbook rules.

I don't think it matters since I don't really think you should be holding a spellbook all day or you'll get soar arms, and if you must have one at all times, shouldn't you keep it in a backpack or other storage device (Putting it in those extra-dimensional bags actually sounds a bit risky upon further thought...)

I can always go with my explanation that spellbook covers are made of flubber to make them easier to handle ;)

rounding errors A travelrs spellbook could weigh 1.4 pounds get roudned to 1 while twice that for a regular weighs 2.8 and get rounded up. Binding on regualr spellbook might be a little heavier for more pages.

This is just a personal playing style but I always tried to play wizards a certain way. I would always have a school/home/sanctuary to store my stuff as a wizard. So I would have my big heavy tomes on bookshelves and then one for travelling (this was in 3.x system) and the other for storing spells I came across. So I would have the spells on my shelf organized by level of spells and then I have the travelling one set up to put the most useful (or used) spells in the travelling book. That way I was prepared and I had another source in case a thief stole my travelling spellbook. In the case of the game I am referencing I got forced out into a river at an early level trying to stay away from necromancers and undead. So my spell book got a little damp.

Caedwyr wrote:

So, while working on a side project, I discovered some weirdness with the spellbooks and their weights.

A blank typical wizard's spellbook (100 pages), weighs 3.0 lbs.
A blank traveling wizard's spellbook (50 pages), weighs 1.0 lbs.

If we assume that the weight of the book will be the total of the page weight plus the cover weight, we get the following equations

100x + y = 3
50x = y = 1

where x = the weight of each page, and y = the weight of the cover.

Solving for x and y, we get weights of

x = 1/25 = 0.04 lbs.
y = -1 lb.

You have made a fundamental blunder in your setup of this word problem. You have assumed that the books are the same width and height, and therefore a page in one book weighs the same in the other book, and the covers weigh the same. This is a poor assumption, as anyone who's ever owned a hardback and a paperback can attest. There is in fact another variable, which is the ratio of overall size between the two books. Call it Z.

So the system of equations is this:

100x+y=3
(50x+y)z=1

You cannot solve it definitively without a third relationship, but a host of solutions is available via trial and error. Here's a logical solution:

x = .02 lb
y = 1 lb
z = 0.5

Do I win?

Also, it should be noted that the weights in the book are likely approximations. Before the advent of the printing press there was a lot of variations in how books turned out. Even with the printing press there's a ton of variation between two presses.

Make up your own numbers and go with what feels right.

Yeah, I realize that's a possiblity, but I was going with the assumption that since spells take a set number of pages per spell level, the spellbook page sizes were the same between the two. Otherwise, you get the situation where some clever player tries to argue that he writes really small in his microdot spellbook, and that he therefore gets to carry around 10 spellbooks each with a weight of 0.1 lb...

Either way, I think I have figured out what variables to manipulate to get a working system out of this. Thanks for all the input.

Caedwyr wrote:
Yeah, I realize that's a possiblity, but I was going with the assumption that since spells take a set number of pages per spell level, the spellbook page sizes were the same between the two. Otherwise, you get the situation where some clever player tries to argue that he writes really small in his microdot spellbook, and that he therefore gets to carry around 10 spellbooks each with a weight of 0.1 lb...

That's when you tell him he has to use 16 pt courier font in the big spellbook. And if he questions you, a cow falls out of the sky and he takes damage.

Wasn't item weights not precisely how much something weighs, but a combination of weight and the difficulty of carrying it? I think I remember reading something like that.

Meophist wrote:
Wasn't item weights not precisely how much something weighs, but a combination of weight and the difficulty of carrying it? I think I remember reading something like that.

I know that's how the very very very old system worked. Either Advanced DND 1st, or maybe even the "basic set," encumbrance was rated in 'coins,' where were approx 1/10 lb but they would fudge it up or down for highly encumbering items. A screen door would have a much higher encumbrance rating than a bag full of wood chips that used to be a screen door would. I thought they abandoned that system in 3rd or 2nd.

beej67 wrote:
Meophist wrote:
Wasn't item weights not precisely how much something weighs, but a combination of weight and the difficulty of carrying it? I think I remember reading something like that.
I know that's how the very very very old system worked. Either Advanced DND 1st, or maybe even the "basic set," encumbrance was rated in 'coins,' where were approx 1/10 lb but they would fudge it up or down for highly encumbering items. A screen door would have a much higher encumbrance rating than a bag full of wood chips that used to be a screen door would. I thought they abandoned that system in 3rd or 2nd.

Maybe I confused somebody saying that's how it used to work with how it works now or something. Either way, it sounds interesting.

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Every time I see this post's title pop up on the main page, I read it as "spellbook wights" and I think:

That's frickin' AWESOME!

Then I read it again and say "oh."

Caedwyr wrote:

So, while working on a side project, I discovered some weirdness with the spellbooks and their weights.

A blank typical wizard's spellbook (100 pages), weighs 3.0 lbs.
A blank traveling wizard's spellbook (50 pages), weighs 1.0 lbs.

Another idea:

50 pages is 1 pound.
Typical spellbook covers are 1 lb (traveling one is --, not a pound)

Now a variant typical spellbook with weaker covers would weigh 2 lb.

Every time I see this post's title pop up on the main page, I read it as "spellbook wights" and I think:

That's frickin' AWESOME!

Then I read it again and say "oh."

Now that would be a totally awesome critter!

-S

I'm not entirely certain that I remember correctly, but I believe an old Thrid Edition book had a few spell book options that mint help you iron out the weights of spell books and covers.
I don't recall if it was Complete Arcane, or Complete Mage, but ... It's a resource that may help, at least.

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Chris Self wrote:
Hmmm...maybe if you would tell us why this is so burningly important, we may be better able to help you, rather than just giving real world examples of why books differ in weight.

I suspect he's gotta work out equipment weights for his next Venerable Strength Three Mage, so he can carry the maximum amount of spell pages per weight.

Every time I see this post's title pop up on the main page, I read it as "spellbook wights" and I think:

That's frickin' AWESOME!

Then I read it again and say "oh."

This is a serious and critical issue: where are the "Spellbook Wights"? Wouldn't they be sort of a variant undead mimic thing?

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Swivl wrote:

Every time I see this post's title pop up on the main page, I read it as "spellbook wights" and I think:

That's frickin' AWESOME!

Then I read it again and say "oh."

This is a serious and critical issue: where are the "Spellbook Wights"? Wouldn't they be sort of a variant undead mimic thing?

Those are the undead spellbooks who've been written into, and erased one too many times.

LazarX wrote:
Chris Self wrote:
Hmmm...maybe if you would tell us why this is so burningly important, we may be better able to help you, rather than just giving real world examples of why books differ in weight.
I suspect he's gotta work out equipment weights for his next Venerable Strength Three Mage, so he can carry the maximum amount of spell pages per weight.

My venerable strength 3 mage has invested in the skills and equipment necessary to use his microdot spellbook. Each traveling spellbook contains the equivalent of thousands of pages of spells, so long as we define each dot as a page... I'm sure my GM will go for it!

Think about the typical bible that someone might have at their home. About 5"x8" pages are thin and the cover is 1/16" to 1/8" thick paperboard material. Maybe 2 lbs tops.
Have you ever seen the formal bible at a cathedral? I saw one recently that was probably 18"x30", the pages were thick heavy paper, and the cover was this thick engraved leather over board that was at least 3/4" thick in places. I bet it was at least 15 lbs. The younger alterboys actually have trouble holding it steady.

I think of it like that (but maybe not quite as extreme).