What would you find in a Wizard's Journal?


Advice


That is the question I pose: What would you find in a Wizard's Journal? I'm building a puzzle book that'll encompass Act III of my campaign, and it'll be based around the mad yet methodical writings of the slain Act II BBEG.

This is going to be a physical notebook, which I've already purchased (blank), and plan to fill out in detail. Much of the journal will be that of a diary, the story of why our villian did what he did, what he hoped to achieve, what he did achieve, and so on. There will also be pages of madness (he was truly insane, thanks to the Dark Grimoire). But hidden throughout will be mentions of a place he was trying to get to, and the treasures thereof. Here are the things I know I will have, in no particular order:

-Cipher - A date/time cipher, which will be based on the faerunian Calendar (Dale Reckoning). This won't be the entire journal, just points that I want to emphasize as vital.

-Magical symbols - These will likely be Red Herring pages, with no actual use for the quest. I'll likely have them tie in as clues to solving traps on the path to the end goal, but not all of them; some will simply be where this wizard sketched out a symbol he needed to save for later.

-Maps - These will come in two forms. One will be a greater map of the Realms, though with enough detail missing as to make it something they'll need to figure out on their own. The second will be area specific maps, which will help guide them from the macro to the micro.

-Clues - Just like Professor Henry Jones, our researcher has mapped out clues that will help the party through difficult situations. Indiana Jones didn't have magic to bypass the Leap of Faith, but I'll definitely have more elaborate traps to accommodate our wizardly friends.

So what else would you add? Feel free to post ideas, or even write in-character, which I'll alter to fit into my journal (and will be much appreciated)

-Jhaosmire

Paizo Employee Social Media Producer

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Dear Journal of Magical Expertise

The Barbarian yelled at me for casting fireball again. After ruining her favorite hairstyle & fur pelt cloak. I'm afraid I don't have much longer t-

The rest of the journal would be filled with red ink I'm afraid.


Maybe some random sketches for when he was bored and didn't knew what to write in the Journal.


Payton Smith wrote:
Dear Journal of Magical Expertise...

Likely the last pages of the journal would have teeth marks, at least enough for said barbarian to figure out that "leather bound" doesn't mean jerky.

Kyrone wrote:
Maybe some random sketches for when he was bored and didn't knew what to write in the Journal.

I'll definitely include some sketches. The wizard was a mixed class Wizard/Bard, so some musical scales, bits of music and such, should be included.


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Why can't this familiar of mine listen to anything for more than 6 seconds!!! Every time I look up from my book, it's just sitting there with a blank look in it's eyes! I wonder if rangers have this problem with there animals?


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What sort of evil book grips the wizard's mind? That could lend some fun page material.

Also, shopping lists mixed and jumbled up with spell component lists.

Stick of butter
Pound of salt pork
Glass beads
Chicken
Assorted vegetables dead flies
Chicken


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

"I'm not sure, but I think that nice lady at the herbalist's shop was putting the moves on me..."


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Maybe include some notes on theoretical rituals, alterations to things like Animate Object or Plant Growth which end up having random effects on the ritual depending on the substitutions the wizard muses about.

You could also toss in some nonchalant references in passages to a handful of minor outsiders. These could be used to conduct rituals to summon things like imps who might know more about the master's plans. Especially useful if the wizard is otherwise vague in describing important plot points.

This physical journal as a plot piece a super cool idea which I may bogart in my own home game someday.


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You open the book and find extremely extensive notes concerning the ritual to summon a succubus. On the final page, you find a small piece of parchment acting as a book mark. This parchment is covered in short hand notes on the grappling rules.


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lemeres wrote:
You open the book and find extremely extensive notes concerning the ritual to summon a succubus. On the final page, you find a small piece of parchment acting as a book mark. This parchment is covered in short hand notes on the grappling rules.

It's actually some kind of arcane writing... reproduced below:

https://paizo.com/threads/rzs2pa2b?Succubus-in-a-grapple


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I love this...

I don't know if it would fit THIS wizard's journal, but I would love finding a wizard hashing out slurs on their most hated rival(s)... Some of it legit, some of it 'judicious with the truth'. Tracking down these people to hear their side of things is hook for whole other adventure(s).


I imagine there would be a lot of notes on magical theory and metaphysics as a wizard gains power through intense study.

Essentially the fantasy equivalent of a physics majors notebook.


Lots of scribbled-out material component shopping lists. Maybe a week of half-hearted exercise tracking on one page


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Dear Diary:

I tried that 'Transfer Dimension' spell today, but I'm not sure it worked. If it did, I ended up in a Dimension with no discernible difference. If so, it also means I failed my permanent 'Ghost Sounds' experiment in this dimension as well. Apparently there will be no solace form the constant playing of the 'Hamster Dance' that is currently infecting my tower. I'm am beginning to lose hope.

Dear Diary:

It has been 2473 repeats of the Hamster Dance since I last wrote in you. Dee dee doo doo doo, dee da dee doo doo, dee dee doo doo dee da dee doo doo... Sleep has not come easy, as I believe my Hamster familiar is trying to kill me. The more the song plays, the more powerful it becomes. May the Gods pity those whom face Sir Nibbles wrath.

Dear Diary:

I cannot find Sir Nibbles. I can only dee da dee doo doo has left to start his conquest of blood and tyranny. Dee dee doo doo doo, but sleep still does not come, has his forces are still hiding in the tower, waiting for me to doo. Even now I see the things Dee and dooing from the corner of my eye.

Dear Dee Da:

Everything a Mimic, Everything a Mimic, Everything is Dee Da Dee Doo Doo, Everything a Mimic.


Love the Spell Component shopping list idea, especially mixed in with his traditional groceries. That's in.

The failed workout schedule is in too, pretty great.

I like the idea of the Summon modifications, just this guy is a pretty strict Necromancer. I'll augment that to allow the other wizard in the party to make more custom undead, assuming he decides to take a necromancy spell ever.

Lastly, the Familiar problems are wonderful, for sure going in.

Keep 'em coming, I have 100 pages in the journal, 30 of storyline diary, so 70 to fill with the rest.


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His badly written Fionna and Cake fanfiction?


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Tender Tendrils wrote:

I imagine there would be a lot of notes on magical theory and metaphysics as a wizard gains power through intense study.

Essentially the fantasy equivalent of a physics majors notebook.

While theory works, a wizard (or at least a battle mage, like an adventurer) does not only gain power through dry academics alone. Experience in the field also plays a part. And a good wizard writes down his experiences.

"Today, I substituted the theta rune in place of the delta rune on the fireball. I missed the target location by 10 feet to the left, but surprisingly, the subject still half melted. Further adjustment needs to be made at the gamma rune in order to prevent deviations, but otherwise the power of this approach appears promising

sidenote- No, I don't know how a goblin managed to melt. No signs of charring at all. Further tests pending."

This could lead to the development of new spells as well, or metamagic versions of a spell (heck, if any of the metamagic feats eventually have the 'uncommon' tag, this might be the way for the wizard to gain access to them).

Silver Crusade

I'm sorry. But I'm afraid that I accidentally turned myself into a cow. Please help.


lemeres wrote:
Today, I substituted the theta rune in place of the delta rune

I will be directly swiping this into the journal. This is 100% what i was after when I made this post, thanks for the contribution.


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Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

How about log entries describing missions to get various special components for their necromancy. Basically providing descriptions of victims killed, items the victims had.

Some of these items might be something that might be in the necrmancer's possession, living quarters, or laboratory. They players might be able to let the next of kin know what happened to their lost loved one.

In one game, as the GM, I had a journal kept by a ghoul. The ghoul had been taken over by the fever recently, having recently been alive. He was present around some other ghouls, and was going in and out of the fever controlling him. The ghoul rather than killing a boy he found, instead covered the entrance to the basement so the other ghouls would hopefully not smell and go down there to kill the boy. But he unfortunately lost 'control' of himself before being able to go back and release the boy.

The ghoul in a later moment of clarity, wrote about his recent memory in his journal in common, concerned about the fate of the boy. He then tried to leap off a cliff to destroy himself, but only managed to do cripple one of his legs.

The PC defeated the crawling ghoul and took his journal. Noticed the beginning of it was in dwarven, but never investigated any of the latter pagers to realize some of it was written in common at the end.

Perhaps the necromancer might have a log entry about a crop of victims who needed to have died due to starvation, and so the adventurers might have time to find the location where they were being kept, so they could be saved.

Might also be interesting if there might be a page, for some reason that has obviously been quickly torn out of the journal for some reason. Might even be more interesting if the log entries after the torn pages talk of having woken up and things being different in the morning from when he had gone to bed, a couple days later log wise, realizing that he somehow is missing two or three days of memories.

Might even be fun to throw in a random philosophical contemplation of moral concern that what he was doing might have been wrong, before he works through the quite reasonable personal explanation of how that obviously isn't the case.

Dataphiles

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Quote:
The "Assistant" dropped another flask today. A week's worth of time as well as precious ingredients wasted. I'm moving opposable thumbs to the top of the list on the tweaks I'm adding to the "Assistant".

Edit: Thought of more.

Quote:
There once was a wizard named Bucket...
Quote:
I was researching a new necromancy spell and a thought occurred to me. A path to crafting an actual working phylactery... not that I would actually use such a thing. Of course I wouldn't. But to think, the ability to keep researching for decades, centuries, even millennia longer than my mortal body would be able survive. Just to finish testing my theories. Again, it's nonsense. I'd never ever do such a corrupt thing to my soul. Still...


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Descriptions of failed attempts to reverse-engineer effects from magical items into working spells/metamagic that could be cast.

Attempts to recreate lost/uncommon magic off of little more than vague descriptions about what they could do.

Attempts to recreate divine/occult/primal spells as arcane spells.

Spell Research done as part of preparing to learn their next level of spells.

Paranoid worries about other wizards trying to steal research & what could be done to prevent it.

Complaints about how older wizards are so full of themselves and haven't kept up with the times.

Complaints about how society could start accepting those "dirty goblins" as actual people instead of vermin.

Dismissal about how Bardic magic can't be considered "real" magic.

Complaints about how younger wizards are so undisciplined nowadays and don't know how lucky they are.

Plans to neuter familiar after a certain "incident."

Half-written thesis on how their Arcane School is objectively the superior option for any wizard.

Grumbling over how they should have been a Universalist instead of picking an Arcane School.

Paranoid delusions about all the forces out to get them, both real and imagined.

Angsty notes about how no one understands them or recognizes how obviously superior their viewpoints are compared to everyone else.


Is this journal seperate to the dead wizards spell book?

If not, it should probably have a page for each spell the wizard knew, describing (in character) what the spell does and what verbal and material components it needs, along with some arcane symbols/diagrams related to that spell.

(For verbal components, one method I use is to look up the names of spells on a draconic language website and use the draconic words for those spells as the verbal components, though Latin also works)

Dark Archive

I wonder what would happen if I put a foxes head on the cat skeleton, then raised it? Well, first, I'll need to get a fox. Cat's are all over the place, no problem there, but haven't found a fox anywhere.

__________
(30 pages later, no indication it's related initially)
Well, that was a bust. Hmm. Did I fully remove all the meat from the bones? That might have been the problem. I need to make sure that the ant farms are functioning properly. Who'd have thought ants were the best way to clean up bones? Don't like Zombies - they stink too much. Skeletons are best.

__________
(Another 15 pages later)
Nope, still no success. What about a fox skull on a dog's body? That might work, they are more related.

__________

Well, it works. Sort of. Too bad he just follows me around, won't actually heed anything I say. Just follows me, barking at any food I actually hold. Tried to eat some - funniest thing I ever saw! Kept eating the same two pieces for an hour!

Dark Archive

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Day 5, Success! I successfully animated my primary spellbook, so that it can follow me around, return to me if lost, and remove itself from unsafe environments!

Day 6, Initial search efforts in vain. It seems to be gone...

Day 218, Replacement spellbook complete. At great expense, and over many harrowing adventures, I've finally managed to procure copies of all the spells I lost that fateful day. *This* spellbook will *not* be animated!


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To quote one of the best mtg card flavour texts;

Day 31: I have finally succeeded in my time reversal experiment!
Day 30: I might have a problem here....


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I prepared Explosive Runes this morning.

Dataphiles

Last Page:

Quote:
According to the tomes I've uncovered I believe that the Golden Macguffin of Questiness is in the Castle of Aaaaaaaaaauuuuuugggggghhhhh....


Day 1= Ohh golly geez, I just got my apprenticeship to learn how to do magic, and to fly around, and to become invisible, and if I try hard enough to eventually become the bestest wizarding Wizard around.

Day 1783= Today another band of goody-too-shoes attempted to storm my lair, so I did my best impression of Thanos throwing the moon at the Avengers, and Meteor Swarmed there back-sides. The half that didn’t die, I processed to kill. So pretty average day.


Tender Tendrils wrote:
Is this journal seperate to the dead wizards spell book?

This is separate from his actual spellbook, but there will be mystic notes throughout, so likely this is where he sketches spells and runes while he figures them out.

Chetna Wavari wrote:
According to the tomes I've uncovered I believe that the Golden Macguffin of Questiness is in the Castle of Aaaaaaaaaauuuuuugggggghhhhh....

It's always in Castle Aaaaaaauuuuuuuugggghhhh....

I plan on having the Golden Macguffin, which will be the Eye of Savras, an item that to the untrained will show what Fate has written down for that person's final death. To the trained, it'll have more powers... still deciding on those though.


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Quote:

Overslept this morning. My familiar decided it was a good idea to check out the lizard exhibit in the experimentation room, borrowed an egg. Now she won't stop sitting on it and calling it 'her precious'. Bah, what's the worst that could happen.

...
One incubation period later
Woke up this morning to find a statue of my familiar sitting next to a cockatrice. I guess I have a new familiar now. Note to self, buy amber lens glasses to keep an eye on them.
Quote:

Ugh, those stone giants down lower on the hill just won't shut up! So much noise they make when I let the experiment wing go hunting in the night. What am I supposed to do? Just let my little murder machines starve? Tomorrow I will try talking to them.

...
Tommorow
So, I went to that stone giant village and I tried talking. I really did. They just weren't interested in hearing past "the murder machines are mine." I won't bore you with the details, but on the bright side my murder machines now all have a heck of a throwing arm!
...
One conveniently long enough stretch of time later
Today I tried recruiting some of the local stone giants to aid me in mine quest to claim the Eye of Savras. Walked up to one and they immediately started throwing stones screaming "No! Never Again! Never. Again. NO!" I graft the corpses of their comrades to my meat machines once and suddenly I'm the bad guy. Gah, I'll just recruit off-plane allies.
Quote:

Plan extraplanar allies is underway, just got of the hell-o-phone and ordered up some genuine demons to command. All I have to do is keep them fed and point them at my enemies, and the only price I have to pay is my soul when I die. Suckers, I'm not going to die. Ha!

...
one week later
So, Plan extraplanar allies is cancelled. I overslept (note to self, train cockatrice to wake me up) and they decided to take a peak at the experiment wing. I woke up and they had eaten all the murder machines. I wasn't summoning them to eat my troop! Anyways, just got off the hell-o-phone and I can't return the demons or get my soul back (not that it matters) but there is nothing wrong with just setting them loose on the mountain. Shopping list time:
Lizards
Lizard eggs
Stone Giant arms (freshly picked, free-range)
Drake scales
Orphan blood (preferably natural, though artificial could work)
Angel talons
Butter
Margarine
Cages

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