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  1. #1
    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    One of the most overlooked forms of treasure in D&D (and consequentially in

    BR) are books. Generally, only spellbooks are given much value, but in

    societies that do not yet have the printing press a hand written, hand

    bound book is a very valuable commodity indeed. Despite their scarcity,

    they are also often considerable works of art and craftsmanship, compiled

    using only the most valuable materials available and created by people with

    considerable creative talent. Such books are valuable in and of

    themselves, let alone for the information that they contain. In a world

    where information is scarce, the research of scholars is exponentially more

    valuable. Books may contain the knowledge of past geniuses doing work far

    beyond their time. They can also represent a valuable research tool for

    anyone seeking knowledge in the history and culture of a region because

    books give us nearly as much information about their context as they relate

    information about their text. For these reasons, non-magical books can be

    highly sought after and costly items. In past campaigns, I`ve priced them

    as high as artworks in the standard rules and sometimes higher.



    "Thousands of tomes of history fill dusty shelves in the Imperial Library"

    according to the Atlas of Cerilia (3). Not that many of those books are

    actually named in the published materials, of course.

    Here are the titles of books or other documents that I`ve found in the BR

    materials, their authors, and the BR source in which they are

    mentioned. Those in quotes are speculative titles for which no title is

    given by the source material.



    Aerele Scroll edited by Thesselonius of Bindier (BE 97)

    Atlas of Cerilia by Caliedhe Dosiere (AoC)

    Annals of the Divinely Disfigured by Anonymous (BE 7, 14)

    Book of Days by Unknown (RoE 5)

    Book of Laws by Haelyn (BoP 18)

    "Book of Tales" by various (LotHK 37)

    Daznig`s Libram on Those Enemies of the Blood by Daznig (BE 3)

    Four Tomes of Laila the Wise by Laila the Wise (BoM 60)

    "Untitled Book Describing Garradalaighs" by Unknown (BoM 119)

    "Journal of Stone" by Oerean the Stone Mage (BoM 86)

    "Journal of the Wolf" by Shaeron and Naple of Grabentob (BE 112-113)

    "Letters" by Vhorduine Runemaster (BoM 21)

    Occultic Phenomena by Unknown (BE 6)

    Scrolls of the Tainted by Unknown (BE 15, 91)

    "Strategies and Economic Trends" by Selma Efferson (LotHK 45)

    Theocrats of Mystical Forces by Unknown (BE 107)

    Theran`s Torment by Unknown (BE 97)

    "Writings" by Audric the Seer (BoM 97)

    "Writings" by Lauriel the Mist Maiden (BoM 24)



    Two things in regards to the above list:



    1. I`m sure there are a few I may have missed. If anyone comes across a

    book in the published materials someplace please let me know. I haven`t

    gone through the PSo texts either, and there`s probably some in

    there.... I`d like to compile a definitive list, so if anyone comes across

    any new ones, or finds references other than those noted, please let me know.



    2. Are there books you guys think should be represented in the libraries of

    Cerilia?



    Gary

  2. #2
    Senior Member Osprey's Avatar
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    Illuminated manuscripts definitely qualify as artwork! One of my favorite wizards had Profession: Scribe and Craft: Illumination (along with some knowledge skills) as his primary source of downtime income, from which he fueled his magical research. You better believe a well-illustrated manuscript is a valuable treasure! If you combine how much money a character can make at his profession on a monthly basis with the time involved in illustrating one book (years, generally, sometimes one or more lifestimes for something like a medieval Bible), you start to get an idea of just how valuable they are to a world that values art and scholarship.

    I like your intro to your post, Geeman, and think it's a good addition to the concept of kinds of artwork besides paintings, sculptures/figurines, and jewelry. And I agree, books of any sort would be pricey just for the sheer labor that goes into writing one (after writing a 320-page novel by hand, I can vouch for just how time-consuming it really is, even when you can write fast! Multiply this time by the slowness of using quill pens, calligraphy, and parchment or vellum, and we're talking sloooowwww... :blink: ).

  3. #3
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    It's funny to see this post; I just registered here the other day because I have picked up some of the BR setting to use for an OD&D campaign I hope to set up (in anticipation of Castles and Crusades ).

    I am setting my game a couple of hundred years after the box setting depiction; the Empire has not been restored but in fact has regressed; the Gorgon and other armies spent themselves fighting another, so most of the human realms in Anuire have crumbled out to the coast, leaving a big unclaimed (and uncontrolled) wilderness inland, for the most part.

    Anyway, I want a Dark Ages feel, and am deciding that much of Cerilia's history, and all of it during the last few years, has been lost. Much of what the campaign will revolve around will be discovering what happened, re-establishing lost institutions, etc.

    So, to me one of the most valuable things will be books and scrolls, magical and otherwise. I intend it to be a low-magic world with wizards rare, and this should make the quest for knowledge even more important.

    I too have always underestimated the value of books, and not done much with them in the way of detailing when they are found.

    BB

  4. #4
    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    At 11:25 PM 11/12/2003 +0100, Barrataria wrote:



    > I am setting my game a couple of hundred years after the box setting

    > depiction; the Empire has not been restored but in fact has regressed;

    > the Gorgon and other armies spent themselves fighting another, so most of

    > the human realms in Anuire have crumbled out to the coast, leaving a big

    > unclaimed (and uncontrolled) wilderness inland, for the most part.

    >

    > Anyway, I want a Dark Ages feel, and am deciding that much of Cerilia`s

    > history, and all of it during the last few years, has been lost. Much of

    > what the campaign will revolve around will be discovering what happened,

    > re-establishing lost institutions, etc.



    You might consider putting your campaign a couple of centuries before the

    time presented in the boxed set rather than later. When the Anuirean

    Empire fell due to MR`s death the decline could be seen as analogous to the

    "dark ages" that resulted from the fall of Rome, and the fact that the

    Gorgon never really followed that victory up with the kind of expansion

    your talking about isn`t really addressed in the setting`s materials... so

    it might make for a good "alternative reality" BR campaign.



    Gary

  5. #5
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    When I was running my BR campaign, I always tried to stress the value of non-magical items and other rewards. Books, as you've descussed are valuable even when they're not magical, but other similar rewards can be equaly, or even more valuable due to the low-magic nature of the world.
    Maps, titles, land and non-magical items made of unuasual materials are all things that i've used in my adventures to help stress the value of real magic.... only problem is that the adventurers tend to get a little annoyed when you award them a fine steel suit of chainmail, when they were expecting chainmail +5!
    Thanks for the list of published material though!
    Sgt. Froggatt

  6. #6
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    I think the problem of how adventurers will take it is lessened if you run the campaign that way from the outset. If you still need a gp-type standard for treasure you could have some kind of library or sage's guild to re-acquire the books from them. I am not one to roleplay much the sale of gems and jewelry but I think the book sale part could be a bit more interesting in roleplay terms and certainly make it very easy to insert other hooks for adventures (

    I haven't quite figured out how to implement that part yet; I think I would like the knowledge to somehow be intrinsically important to the characters. The obvious way is for magic-users to find spellbooks, which will contain spells their advisors don't have access to, and I am making wizards even scarcer than they are in the boxed set.

    And as to the campaign I was discussing above, I didn't envision a huge victory by the Gorgon over the remnants of the empire. I envisioned the gorgon's defeat, leading to something along the lines of Twilight 2000, if you are familiar with that setting. The armies of both sides enjoy many tactical and no strategic victories, and the land and people are drained over the years (think hundred years' war) until the fragmented empire fragments further... baronys withdraw from counties, manors withdraw from baronies until it's this bunch of farmers against that other bunch of farmers.

    Another hundred years of that, and you are left with some Brecht and Khinasi dominated coastal states, and lots of nice dangerous wilderness between Ilien and BarukAzhik and the Sielwode...

    Another reason to set the campaign later is to do some rejiggering of the pantheon... I have added a couple of deities (notably a goddess of knowledge, art and culture whose followers are most into this cultural recovery thing) and renamed a couple of others. Plus, then I can give players access to the info from the box sets and players secrets books, which is so well-done I don't really want to re-draw maps for the players etc. In that way it will all be dated but still useful. In fact, these will probably form the basis of the books and scrolls they find.

    BB

  7. #7
    Senior Member Beruin's Avatar
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    My players love books as treasures. Unfortunately, they always question me about the contents of any books I include. Usually, I have to improvise, as there are few sources - at least that I know of - detailing mundane books. Most published adventures featuring a library do not even list the title. Therefore a compilation of titles/descriptions would be highly useful. There are a few web-based resources available (a netbook of books exist somewhere) but I would appreciate any tips.



    I often base my books on real books or on Dragon articles. That latter works surprisingly well esspecially with regard to ecology or miscellaneous articles dealing with warfare, economics or whatever.

    A question I often ponder is: Should books have a real effect on the game besides adding colour?

    I can think of a number of possibilites here:



    A book might grant an extra rank in a certain skill (knowledge skills would be appropriate, but one could also think of craft skills - I would certainly be a worse miniatures painter without several painting guides)

    I believe that this is plausible, but I shied away from this for fear of disrupting game balance if I`m not careful enough. Opinions?



    A book might grant a circumstance bonus to a skill check in certain situations. This narrows the use of a specific book but it also raises the need to define when the bonus can be applied.



    An example: One of my players owns a book titled "How to win friends and influence people" (The title was directly taken from a Dragon article I read just before the session). I made this book up on the spot when my players asked me about the books in a library they encountered. The player was delighted (He plays a courtier from AEG`s Swashbuckling Adventures so his reaction was only naturally I guess) and he told me that his character would study the book thoroughly and take it with him. Beforehand, I had pictured the book in my mind as a kind of "How to get rich quick and lose weight" kind of manual, i.e. useless, but seeing his delight, I decided to make the book at least somewhat useful.



    I told him that if he consulted the book before he wants to influence someone (use bluff or diplomacy) he had to make a wisdom check against DC 15 as a kind of luck/idea or insight check. If he succeds he can apply a +2 circumstance bonus to the appropriate skill check. I`m guess that`s a fair and balanced solution but opinions welcome.
    "The empire, long divided, must unite; long united, must divide. Thus it has ever been."
    - The Three Kingdoms, attributed to Luo Guanzhong, c.1330-c.1400

  8. #8
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    I`m surprised someone hasn`t created a simple program that generates book

    names for this exact reason. It would be easily customizable, too, so we

    could make it Cerilia-based.

    .

    Hmmm.... Excel could do this easily.



    At 03:58 PM 12/1/2003 +0100, Christoph Tiemann wrote:

    >My players love books as treasures. Unfortunately, they always question me

    >about the contents of any books I include. Usually, I have to improvise,

    >as there are few sources - at least that I know of - detailing mundane

    >books. Most published adventures featuring a library do not even list the

    >title. Therefore a compilation of titles/descriptions would be highly

    >useful. There are a few web-based resources available (a netbook of books

    >exist somewhere) but I would appreciate any tips.

    >

    >I often base my books on real books or on Dragon articles. That latter

    >works surprisingly well esspecially with regard to ecology or

    >miscellaneous articles dealing with warfare, economics or whatever.

    >A question I often ponder is: Should books have a real effect on the game

    >besides adding colour?

    >I can think of a number of possibilites here:

    >

    >A book might grant an extra rank in a certain skill (knowledge skills

    >would be appropriate, but one could also think of craft skills - I would

    >certainly be a worse miniatures painter without several painting guides)

    >I believe that this is plausible, but I shied away from this for fear of

    >disrupting game balance if I`m not careful enough. Opinions?

    >

    >A book might grant a circumstance bonus to a skill check in certain

    >situations. This narrows the use of a specific book but it also raises the

    >need to define when the bonus can be applied.

    >

    >An example: One of my players owns a book titled "How to win friends and

    >influence people" (The title was directly taken from a Dragon article I

    >read just before the session). I made this book up on the spot when my

    >players asked me about the books in a library they encountered. The

    >player was delighted (He plays a courtier from AEG`s Swashbuckling

    >Adventures so his reaction was only naturally I guess) and he told me

    >that his character would study the book thoroughly and take it with him.

    >Beforehand, I had pictured the book in my mind as a kind of "How to get

    >rich quick and lose weight" kind of manual, i.e. useless, but seeing his

    >delight, I decided to make the book at least somewhat useful.

    >

    >I told him that if he consulted the book before he wants to influence

    >someone (use bluff or diplomacy) he had to make a wisdom check against DC

    >15 as a kind of luck/idea or insight check. If he succeds he can apply a

    >+2 circumstance bonus to the appropriate skill check. I`m guess that`s a

    >fair and balanced solution but opinions welcome.

    >

    >

    >

    >

    >

    >

    >---

    >[This E-mail scanned for viruses by Declude Virus Scanner]
    Paranoia is merely an optimistic outlook on life.

  9. #9
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    I have been known to use a skill group called Lore (x) in which "x" refers

    to the body of knowledge in question. Characters cannot buy Lore skills

    with skill points, and Lore skills are not limited by level limits. I give

    Lore skills as rewards.



    In the case of a book called "How to win friends and influence people" I

    would probabaly grant one or two skill ranks in Lore (First Impressions).

    The first time the PC encounters a character he can add his Lore ranks to

    whatever social skill he uses on the character he is meeting (Bluff,

    Diplomacy, Bargain, Intimidation, what have you). Lore skills tend to be

    pretty narrow in scope.



    However, I do like the idea that if he consulted the book, he could get a

    bonus. That is also a nice solution.



    Kenneth Gauck

    kgauck@mchsi.com

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    Some more books.... (in quotes are the actual titles, the rest are assumed)

    "Victories of el-Arassi" by Boran el-Dussein (COTS p2)
    "Travels of a Pilgrim" by Shamal ibn Nari (COTS p26)
    Journal of Abbadein el-Metoure (COTS p48)
    "An account of the voyages of Sidar el-Bandiya" by Unknown (COTS p.81)
    Writtings of Kariya bint Beydu, Scholar of Ariya (COTS p.12)
    An account of the travels of Alaric ibn Batoudha by Alaric ibn Batoudha(COTS p.36)
    "Prelude to Empire" by Karlbrecht the Bard (HOTGB p. 3)
    Ancient Histories of Danigau as laid down by its first count by First Count of Danigau (HOTGB p.17)
    History of Brechtur by Lady Melirma of Muden (HOTGB p. 31)
    Philosophical Debates by Merchant Master Kellorgan (HOTGB p. 48)
    Memoires of a warrior, by Boeric Sellsword (HOTGB p 62)
    Kinoche: Sera's Game (just an idea.... )
    How Bjarn Saved the raven by Unknown (RH p.6)
    Foolish Vjalli by Unkown (RH p 14)
    The Faithful Skald by Aethelstan (RH p 7) (this and the 2 above could be merged in an anthology.... Rjurik Tales or something...)
    An account of the battle of Dankmaar by Unknown (RH p.12)
    The Concordia Digitalis, by unknown (Sword of Roele,p 41) (forbidden book...)
    Eaters of the Dead, by Unknown (SoR p. 41) (again... forbidden book)
    The Logic of Glyphs: A primer on Warding Magics and their Application by Unknown Avani priest (SoR p.44)


    I am pretty sure that the Warlock of the Stonecrowns has some books, but I couldn't find my copy of it.... Sword and Crown has no books and neither does Vosgaard (what a surprise&#33

    All religions should have some holy books as well....

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