Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Phoenix Breviary

Phoenix Breviary - A hand-size book bound in what appears to be black ostrich hide.  Its pages are empty.  Placed in a fire, the book will be unharmed and reveal the canonical hours of a banned cult for as long as it is surrounded by flame.  Anything written in it will disappear until revealed similarly.  Plenty of room in the margins or endpapers to add notes and maps.


  1. Books, books...ah, let's try:

    Fearful Codex of Ancient Wisdom - A weighty volume bound in pale, scaled leather of unknown origin. This magical tome contains a wealth of knowledge both mundane and esoteric, and is inhabited by an archival spirit that will direct the reader to their desired content on request.

    Unfortunately, the spirit has undergone a great deal of trauma over the millenia and the "fearful" part of the title is now literal. Attempting to simply open the codex and read normally will reveal nothing but blank pages, with perhaps a fleeting glimpse of text slithering away to pages deeper in the book. Only through persuasion can you access the codex. The book has definite dislikes, some of which follow:

    Being read by firelight is terrifying - paper burns! Natural light is better, but being read outside in the weather is undignified and risky. Magical illumination is best, preferably indoors and someplace quiet. Any kind of liquid nearby is alarming - ink runs and paper is ruined! Don't even think about eating while you peruse the codex. The book doesn't really like to travel either and would prefer to tucked away safely in a library somewhere when not in use. It enjoys the company of other books but isn't fond of other magical tomes, even nonsentient ones. It's also really, really phobic about the number eight, and invariably uses constructions like "two cubed" or "nine less one" in its own text when needed.

  2. I am really happy to see you making response items. It's one reason blogging is fun. Your idea made me think of book that is shy, say a spellbook that only reveals one spell every session of play that the caster keeps it.

    1. I like that. Or how about a novel or history or biography that's afraid it'll be discarded when finished so it never ends, adding more to its contents as the reader nears the finish? A history or biography might become implausibly detailed over time, whether it remains true is debatable. A novel will keep adding characters and subplots until it makes a soap opera look straightforward.