How would a PC make a book that would last for ten thousand years?


Advice


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Is there any spells or rituals or even magical items that already exist in the game that would enable a PC to put magic on an object that would protect it from decay indefinitely?

I am asking as a GM that is wanting a dungeon (and many of the objects in it) to feel like something a powerful PC wizard would one day eventually be able to do or make for themselves.

Is there something like the old permanence spell hidden somewhere I haven't seen it?

Wish seems like one potential option, but that seems a little over the top for preserving one book.

I am struggling to think of anything else except animating objects maybe to clean and care for themselves? We have spells that preserve corpses that probably should be about the same rank as preserving an inanimate object so maybe a rank 5 spell or ritual version of something like peaceful rest?


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From a rules standpoint, I'm not aware of any rules saying that items will decay over time. Campaigns don't usually span that long of an amount of time, so it generally isn't relevant.

So for a narrative balance type of thing - and something that could be given to PCs... I'm thinking that you are right that a homebrew spell or ritual would be the way to go.

For IRL comparisons, I wouldn't think that preserving a mundane object would be that difficult. IRL Historians often preserve artifacts without the use of magic, but preserving a corpse for more than a short time is very difficult to do.

So basing the homebrew on Peaceful Rest makes a lot of sense. Maybe keep the spell rank the same at rank 2, but have the duration be a number of years, with a heightened effect increasing the number of years. So Rank 2 would keep the item preserved for a year, and maybe Rank 5 keeps the item preserved for a decade, and Rank 8 keeps the item preserved for a century.

The old Permanency spell was about taking magical effects (which are normally temporary with a duration measured in spans less than a day) and keeping the effect going for a longer or permanent duration. That could also be homebrewed, but I wouldn't know what to base it on for setting spell rank and such.


PF2e is neat in that, as the GM, you can relatively easily create a Ritual that was cast on objects to preserve them. It could be more arcaney, with a temporal effect that makes time work differently on the objects. Or it could be more sciencey, protecting the object on a molecular level from chemical reactions. Or...

Your imagination is the limit.


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You could also make it an item whose formula the party can reverse engineer. A magical or alchemical lacquer that preserves objects, perhaps, a lot like Unguent of Timelessness from PF1E.


I would also go with a ritual, maybe alchemy

also consider that depending on where you store stuff and what you store it does not need much

a parchment tome in a seaside ruin? well, ther you need magic

a stack of carved crystals or metal disks in a cave in the middle of the desert, possibly with the entry sealed? an archeologists wet dream

also consider that most players dont exactly demand a realistic progression of deterioration in your games

its an old ass tomb? let there be a mummy that falls into dust as soon as anybody tries to interact with it
have some inscriptions on the door on the outside that are barely readable and/or in some forgotten language written

most players wont ask how a book has survived for so much time in whatever place, if they start to just drop some vague hints or let someone make a knowledge check to give them an inkling about how something has been preserved
'It is not uncommon for transmuters to change the structure of their spellbooks to resist the elements'
'the alchemist had his formula book probably treated with possibly even a wide variety of tinctures, no wonder it was probably his most prized posession. maybe not even he saw it coming that it book would survive *this* long'


A recursive Mending spell.

Pocket dimension in a timeless plane.

Copying the book every few years and burning the old one.

Liberty's Edge

A book with adamantine sheets.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Interestingly enough, scientists believe glass could be used to record data for 10000 years or more, because it doesn’t degrade naturally, it is just rather fragile


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Unicore wrote:
Interestingly enough, scientists believe glass could be used to record data for 10000 years or more, because it doesn’t degrade naturally, it is just rather fragile

Glass deforms overtime from the pull of gravity like very slow moving water. That's why very old windows are heavier and thicker at the top then the bottom.

It would take a very long time, but eventually messages embedded in glass would be too deformed to properly interpret.

EDIT: Seems I may have been mistaken. Such deformations would take so long as to be a moot point.


Ravingdork wrote:
Unicore wrote:
Interestingly enough, scientists believe glass could be used to record data for 10000 years or more, because it doesn’t degrade naturally, it is just rather fragile

Glass deforms overtime from the pull of gravity like very slow moving water. That's why very old windows are heavier and thicker at the top then the bottom.

It would take a very long time, but eventually messages embedded in glass would be too deformed to properly interpret.

EDIT: Seems I may have been mistaken. Such deformations would take so long as to be a moot point.

Glad you caught that because yeah, that's a myth about glass (one I used to spread...) and happens more due to the creation process than sagging over time.

Add a little magic to one's glass and it needn't be fragile. Or add a magic material, maybe not even so sturdy as self-correcting, like a crystal that embodies a memory and reforms when damaged.
Later on in the Serpent Skull AP (so in Golarion canon) there's a ruined yet fecund city where the PCs can experience ancient memories via various artifacts. The memories were intense, page-long scenarios.


Granite wears away about 1 inch per 1000 years. So 10,000 years it would of worn away about 1 foot.

So make each line thicker than 1 foot.

Like 10' wide and 5' high, which can only see it clearly from a nearby mountain top.

And you can make terrible puns as you climb over "it" or have an NPC meet them over "there".


So, not a complete solution, but these are useful additions to anything.

8th rank Waterproof will make something permanently hydrophobic and give it resistance 10 to acid. On a long timescale, this will prevent rot and mold from taking hold.

6th rank Fireproof will make something permanently immune to catching fire, give it resistance 10 to fire, and force a counteract check for any magical fire.

I couldn't find anything that increased the hardness of objects, which is almost certainly a result of the shield rules existing in the system meaning that hardness has serious balance considerations attached to it. A tweaked Greater Preserving Rune (preserving a book instead of the food in a bag) would be a good option, though.


I feel like this should just be a low level ritual.

Arguably inherently magical items are probably protected from natural degradation, I can't imagine magical swords and armor should be falling apart when not used, but that was more explicitly outlined in PF1 than PF2.

Anyways, I suggest negotiating a ritual with your GM to cover this kind of thing.


The Raven Black wrote:
A book with adamantine sheets.

This would be my thought as well. Some kind of non tarnishing metal that is thin enough to use as pages and durable. Adamantine/mithril/enchanted gold potentially to make it sturdy enough. The other option is going very old school stone Stelea or tablet rosetta stone style.

Paper I think probably wouldn't work but vellum or hide based things may especially with enchantments.

I don't know if I have seen any talk about how enchanting a more perishable cloth/paper thing like a spell book effects how long it can last or how long the enchantment lasts.

I still think the adamantine/mithril pages probably are your best bet because even if your magic fails that stuff is likely to last a long long time with any kind of protection. Downside it also now is REALLY expensive and a target for sticky fingered folks.


There's actually a few odd items that include effects you may find relevant.

https://2e.aonprd.com/Equipment.aspx?ID=2302

The Preserving Rune (Greater) outright says:

Quote:

Usage applied to a basket, bag, or other container; Bulk —

Non-magical food and drink inside the container never spoil, and the rune has an activation.[...]

If it can prevent things like bread going stale due to air exposure, it would certainly preserve even a paper book for as long as the rune's magic remained intact.

=====

Another example is the Alchemist's Haversack:
"Also, the haversack preserves mundane ingredients, food, and drink inside, so they stay fresh indefinitely. This feature doesn't prolong the duration of magic or alchemical items."


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Thanks, those will help dial in levels!


Yeah, the level 8 item version (Greater Preserving Rune) seems like a good comparison. If it can keep food good indefinitely, it seems like a similar level rune placed on a book would be able to protect it from any typical mundane damage. Honestly because the level 8 item version allows for once per day purify food and drink effect, a more proper item level might be 5 or 6 for just protecting an item effect.


Feels like motivation would be relevant to what measures would be taken.

In other words: *why* would said wizard have taken steps to preserve items for that long? If, say, it's due to vanity -- maybe he wants to ensure that his self-aggrandizing autobiography will be found for posterity to preserve his fame -- then that's one thing; if it's more like "we managed to avert some catastrophe in our time but the problem will probably reassert itself and here's how to save yourselves, future people" then it'd probably be defended with more drastic measures including perhaps against deliberate attempts to locate and destroy it (e.g. if said catastrophe was related to a cult that may not have been entirely rooted out, that sort of thing).

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