One of the most wide-spread of the basic tomes of magic, many mages since the times of the Wars of Binding have their first introduction to the basic principles of magic in this ponderous, weighty tome written in a combination of Istarian and the True Speech – often sprinkled with words, phrases, and sections in other languages as well. The tome is divided into sections covering each of the schools of magic, as well as the various magical effects along with explanations of the various instruments and tools associated with the magical arts. There are ten volumes in the series, each covering one rank of spell, with the tenth discussing lost arts and mighty magics from the past like the Great Veil. It is most common in the Heartlands and Kistath, though some groups have their own preferred instruction tomes such as the Sepher Ratziel and related tomes for the Society of Light, or the older Book of Seven that was much in use before the Codex Magica was penned and is preferred by some traditionalists despite the archaic style of the text.
“Volume I: Magic of the First Rank” In addition to all of the Wizard cantrips listed in the Player’s Handbook, Volume I contains the following spells: Alarm, Arcane Mark, Comprehend Languages, Detect Magic, Erase, Find Familiar, Identify. It also adds a +1% chance to spell research for all arcane (wizard) spells of 1st Rank if used as part of spell research. Cost: 300sp
There is a relatively common printing of Volume I, the Triple Horn edition, that includes a basic Bestiary and Index that grants Advantage when attempting to identify fantastic creatures (using a basic Intelligence, Survival, or Perception check). While it does no more than give a name and type, but often that is enough to jog the memory, and allow a further check for Arcana, History, or Nature knowledge related to the creature in question. Cost: 1000sp
“Volume II: Magic of the Second Rank” Contains the following spells: Arcane Lock, Detect Illusion, Detect Thoughts, Knock, Magic Weapon, Nystul’s Magic Aura. It also adds a +1% chance to spell research for all arcane (wizard) spells of 1st or 2nd Rank if used as part of spell research. Cost: 600sp
Various editions of this Volume II include an “Enchanters Appendix” which discusses the creation and use of D’lanni Stones. Using this volume grants Advantage when examining or attempting to identify D’lanni Stones and their contents. It also covers the creation of Coldsilver and Truesteel. Cost : 1500sp
“Volume III: Magic of the Third Rank” Contains the following spells: Counterspell, Dispel Magic, Glyph of Warding, Magic Circle, Remove Curse, Sending. It also adds a +1% chance to spell research for all arcane (wizard) spells of 3rd Rank or lower if used as part of spell research. Cost: 900sp
The very rare and obscure Oriflamme edition, which dates back to the Wars of Binding, includes instructions and formula for creating very basic Wands and Kris with very basic materials. These are far from polished, and casters using them incur Disadvantage – but they are at least able to cast spells! Cost: 2000sp
“Volume IV: Magic of the Fourth Rank” Contains the following spells: Arcane Eye, Leomund’s Secret Chest, Mark of Ownership, Mordenkainen’s Private Sanctum, Polymorph. It also adds a +1% chance to spell research for all arcane (wizard) spells of 4th Rank or lower if used as part of spell research. Cost: 1200sp
There is a rare edition of Volume IV, the “Red Dragon Binding” that includes an in-depth appendix regarding the creation of Alchemical Powders, Draughts, and Salves, as well as normal Alchemical Preparations, in addition to the normal contents. This volume also grants Advantage to the Arcana Skill if used to attempt to identify such alchemical items, as well as Potions, Elixirs, Dusts, and the like. Cost: 2500sp (All volumes of this edition generally sell for half again the normal price)
“Volume V: Magic of the Fifth Rank” Contains the following spells: Arcane Retribution, Contact Other Plane, Legend Lore, Scrying, Teleportation Circle. It also adds a +1% chance to spell research for all arcane (wizard) spells of 5th Rank or lower if used as part of spell research. Cost: 1,500sp
“Volume VI: Magic of the Sixth Rank” Contains the following spells: Arcane Gate, Contingency, Globe of Invulnerability, True Seeing. It also adds a +1% chance to spell research for all arcane (wizard) spells of 6th Rank or lower if used as part of spell research. Cost: 2,000sp
Some obscure copies of the Volume VI dating back to the Cult Wars include the spell Spiritbreaker as well. These are known as the Black Tear printings due to their unique binder’s mark. Cost: 5,000sp
“Volume VII: Magic of the Seventh Rank” Contains the following spells: Etherealness, Interdiction, Symbol, Teleport. It also adds a +1% chance to spell research for all arcane (wizard) spells of 7th Rank or lower if used as part of spell research. Cost: 2,500sp
“Volume VIII: Magic of the Eight Rank” Contains the following spells: Antimagic Field, Demiplane, Mind Blank, Zone of Metamagic Minimization. It also adds a +1% chance to spell research for all arcane (wizard) spells of 8th Rank or lower if used as part of spell research. Cost: 3,000sp
Rarely found but highly valued, there is a stand-alone appendix to Volume VIII that was part of the Grey Temple edition that is known simply as the “Artificer’s Appendix”. It is focused on the creation of magical artifacts and the filled with examples, lessons, and diagrams of how such matters should be handled – as well as including the spell Glass Into Iron. Cost: 10,000sp (Other volumes of this edition generally sell for double the normal price)
Magical Items Covered: +1 Weapons and Armor, Arcane Seal, Blastbracer, Blastbroach, Blastrod, Cloak of Protection, Cloak of Shadows, Driftglobe, Gauntlets of Ogre Power, Gem of Brightness, Headband of Intellect, Lantern of Revealing, Necklace of Adaptation, Ring of Mind Shielding, Ring of Protection, Rope of Climbing, Rune of Warning, Scarab of Protection, Sending Stones.
It is important to note that there is a very poor copy with flawed spell copies that can never be successfully learned (but do not impact the ability to learn them if studied elsewhere. It is a Very Difficult Arcane Lore check to tell the difference.
“Volume IX: Magic of the Ninth Rank” Contains the following spells: Arcane Censure, Astral Projection, Foresight, Gate. It also adds a +1% chance to spell research for all arcane (wizard) spells of 9th Rank or lower if used as part of spell research. This volume also grants Advantage to Arcana, History, and Religion skill checks as related to Angels (both the Host and the Fallen), Demons and Dearthlords, the Lords of the Maelstrom, and the Delian Council. Cost: 4,000sp
“Volume X: Magic of the Tenth Rank” This volume contains no spells, but possession and use grants Advantage for Arcana checks in general. It also adds a +5% chance to spell research for all arcane (wizard) spells if used as part of spell research. Cost: 5,000sp
Note: Having and using the entire ten-volume set grants Expertise (double proficiency bonus) to Arcana in addition to any other benefits that the individual volumes might bring. In general, using tomes in this manner increases the time increment by one for each tome used. So if the time needed for an Arcana check regarding Angels was ten minutes, then if the use of Volume IX (to gain Advantage) would increase this to 20 minutes, while if the entire ten-volume set was used to gain Expertise then the time spent would be 120 minutes – and gaining both Advantage and Expertise in this example.
Some of these spells are found in the Necromancer Games tome, the Book of Lost Spells (is available at https://www.froggodgames.com/book-lost-spells). Those spells are as follows: Arcane Censure (9th Level), Arcane Retribution (5th Level), Detect Illusion (2nd Level), Erase (1st Level), Interdiction (7th Level), Mark of Ownership (4th Level) Spiritbreaker (6th Level), Zone of Metamagic Minimization (8th)