Spellbook: The Sardian Manuals.

Title: The Sardian Manuals
Physical Description: The Sardian Manuals are a quintet of small chapter-books of white rag linen pages bound in folios of sealskin, and enclosed in a box of maple wood inlaid with mother-of-pearl in arabesque with a secret button to open the lid, and another secret button that arms or disarms a trap, usually a poison needle. Each section of the book contains twenty pages written in black ink in a closely-spaced roundhand miniscule, with small illustrations in blue, yellow, red and green. The seals, runes and other necessary diagrams for the spells are done in combinations of sienna and black ink. The books hum faintly whenever the box is opened, and each of the folios is marked with a rune denoting his area of power — Transmutation, Divination, Conjuration, Illusion, and Necromancy.
History: The Sardian Manuals are reputed to be the work of the magus Sardinos, who kept the lantern-house on Whidbey Island. Sardinos was not entirely sane, but he was a clever magician who kept a regular series of apprentices and journeymen busy with the scribing and illumination process of the fifty-one known, complete copies of the Manuals. Each of the four sections concentrates on an area of magic that Sardinos thought his apprentices needed to know, rather than on a catch-all for spells; as a result, the first folio deals with Transmutation spells, while the second deals with Illusion; the third folio covers Divinations, and the fourth handles Conjurations. The fifth — the one most likely missing from any incomplete set — is the Necromantic section. Each of the four sections contains one fourth level spell, two third level spells, four second level spells, and two first-level spells. Most people regard Sardinos and his disciples with suspicion because of the contents of the Necromancy section of the book. Wizards in possession of the Manuals are at -4 on CHA checks if it becomes known they possess the Manuals, and at -6 if it is known that they also have the Necromancy section intact.
Value: 5000 gp
# of Pages: 100
#of Spells: 45 (10 1st level, 20 2nd level, 10 3rd level, 5 4th level)
Spell List:
1st Level Spells (10 pages) 10 spells
Summon Monster I, Obscuring Mist, Feather Fall, Magic Weapon, Color Spray, Silent Image, Comprehend Languages, Detect Undead, Cause Fear, Ray of Enfeeblement
2nd Level Spells (40 pages) 20 spells
Summon Monster II, Web, Detect Thoughts, Locate Object, Glitterdust, Fogcloud, See Invisibility, Identify* (alt: no material comp.), Minor Image, Blur, Alter Self, Eagle’s Splendor, Mirror Image, Magic Mouth, Bull’s Strength, Whispering Wind, Blindness, Ghoul Touch, Spectral Hand, Command Undead
3rd Level Spells (30 pages) 10 spells
Summon Monster III, Stinking Cloud, Arcane Sight, Tongues, Major Image, Displacement, Ray of Exhaustion, Vampiric Touch, Magic Weapon, Haste
4th Level Spells (20 pages) 5 Spells
Evard’s Black Tentacles, Scrying, Hallucinatory Terrain, Contagion, Rary’s Mnemonic Enhancer


  1. I’m glad you like them. I think about the role-playing aspects of it, because when the GM knows what book a particular spell is in, he can have a sage tell the party a) who the evil wizard’s master might be, b) what spellbook he studied from; c) what other spells the caster might have access to; d) where he might be from; and e) what areas of magic he might be familiar with.

    The GM can also tell PCs through other characters just where to find the spells they need. “Oh, you need a copy of the Book of Openings if you want to cast that spell.” “Great! Do you have it?” “No, it was stolen by the northern barbarians in the Year of the Four Emperors when they sacked the Tower of the Archmage. It’s either lost or destroyed.” “Isn’t the spell in any other book?” “No. You’ll either have to research it and re-discover it, or go to the barbarians and try to find it there.”

  2. For the record, much as I dislike D&D in general, I love the write-ups of these spellbooks. I was tonkering with something similar for Ironclaw long ago, so I’m generally pleased to read.

    Plus, Evard’s Black Tentacles, man! My fave spell!

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