Spellboooks as Scrolls

Fair warning, since you are delving into the ruins of a keep owned by a powerful Archmage, so powerful that he was able to ascend to god-hood in fact, you should expect to find a LOT of spellbooks as treasure in this campaign. Clearly this is a boon for characters of the Alchemist, Magus, and Wizard classes.

In the interest of not limiting the utility of of such treasure only to those classes which actually prepare spells from books spellbooks, spellbooks can also be used as scrolls. Each spell in the spellbook can be used once, as a scroll of the appropriate spell. All the normal rules for casting a spell from a scroll apply to this use of a spellbook, with the following modifications.

Activation: To cast a spell from a spellbook, a spellcaster must read the spell written on it. This involves several steps and conditions.

  1. Decipher the Writing: The writing in the spellbook must be deciphered before a character can use it or know exactly what spell it contains. This requires a read magic spell, a successful Spellcraft check (DC 20 + spell level), or a successful Use Magic Device check (DC 25 + spell level). Deciphering a scroll is a full-round action.
    Deciphering a scroll to determine its contents does not activate its magic unless it is a specially prepared cursed scroll. A character can decipher the writing on a scroll in advance so that she can proceed directly to the next step when the time comes to use the scroll.
  2. Activate the Spell: Casting a spell from a spellbook requires reading the spell from the spellbook. The character must be able to see and read the writing. Unlike activating a scroll, casting a spell from a spellbook requires the caster to provide any necessary material components or focus. Casting a spell from a spellbook is subject to disruption just as casting a normally prepared spell would be. Using a spellbook is like casting a spell for purposes of arcane spell failure chance. To have any chance of casting a spell from a spellbook, the user must have the spell on her class list, or else succeed on a Use Magic Device check (DC 20 + spell level).
    If the user meets the requirements noted above, and her caster level (for those making a Use Magic Device check treat their ranks in Use Magic Device as their caster level) is at least equal to the twice the spell level, she can automatically activate the spell without a check. If her own caster level is lower than the twice the spell level, then she has to make a caster level check (DC = 2x the spell level) to cast the spell successfully. If she fails, she must make a DC 10 Wisdom check to avoid a mishap. A natural roll of 1 always fails, whatever the modifiers. Casting a spell from a spellbook uses the same action as the spell’s casting time and it provokes attacks of opportunity exactly as casting a spell does. If the caster level check fails but no mishap occurs, the spell is not expended.
    • Determine Effect: A spell successfully activated from a spellbook works exactly like a spell prepared and cast the normal way (always using the user’s caster level, even if it is lower than the minimum caster level for the spell in question).
      The writing for an activated spell disappears from the spellbook as the spell is cast.
  3. Mishaps: When a mishap occurs, the spell on the scroll has a reversed or harmful effect. Possible mishaps are given below (roll 1d8). If a mishap occurs, the spell disappears from the spellbook.
    1. A surge of uncontrolled magical energy deals 1d6 points of damage per spell level to the caster.
    2. Spell strikes the caster or an ally instead of the intended target, or a random target nearby if the caster was the intended recipient.
    3. Spell takes effect at some random location within spell range.
    4. Spell’s effect on the target is contrary to the spell’s normal effect.
    5. The caster suffers some minor but bizarre effect related to the spell in some way. Most such effects should last only as long as the original spell’s duration, or 2d10 minutes for instantaneous spells.
    6. Some innocuous item or items appear in the spell’s area.
    7. The spell has delayed effect. Sometime within the next 1d12 hours, the spell activates. If the caster was the intended recipient, the spell takes effect normally. If the user was not the intended recipient, the spell goes off in the general direction of the original recipient or target, up to the spell’s maximum range, if the target has moved away.
    8. A small, highly localized magical fire consumes the pages of the spellbook containing the spell and a number of additional pages to either side equal to 1d8 + the spell’s level. Spells in captured spellbooks are always assumed to be recorded in alphabetical order by level, and spells take up a number of pages equal to the spell level. If a spell is only partially damaged in this way it can still be used, but the DC to decipher the spell increases by 2 for every missing page and the caster must always check for a mishap (with a +1 to the DC for every missing page).

Special Note

Yes, a desperate wizard can use his own personal spellbooks in this manner.

Spellboooks as Scrolls

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