Thieves & Kings
Books in Argoth are treasured things that only the most wealthy of folk can afford. Each copy of a manuscript is hand written and illuminated by a practiced scribe, taking months to complete a single volume. Some of the larger texts can take upwards of a year to pen. Subjects are therefore carefully chosen, and those fortunate enough to read them treasure the contents. Books are considered an exceptional item to the common folk of the land.
Some books, however, are exceptional among the exceptional. They treat a subject so thoughtfully and so accurately, that they become sources of high knowledge. Reading an ordinary volume gives one a basic understanding of a subject. Reading and studying an illuminating manuscript, on the other hand, grants very thorough knowledge of its subject.
Property : An illuminating manuscript is a general term for a book or scroll of such high quality that properly reading and studying it immediately confers upon readers advantage regarding research of the subject about which it is written. It grants this property, as long as it is available to hand, and can be referenced.
Reading and understanding an illuminating manuscript is no small task. One must first read the work, requiring both a knowledge of the language of the text, and possess a basic mind capable of understanding the concepts presented, representing a minimum Intelligence value of 12. Next, one must complete a dedicated study of the work, equal to three full days of uninterrupted study to pore over its words. One may not engage in adventuring, nor operate a business nor any other task, beyond the minimal requirements of daily existence.
At day’s end, the character must attempt a DC 12 Intelligence check. Successive checks must be made on three separate days. One may attempt to remaster the work, if they fail any given check, but three failures implies an inability to understand the concepts of the work, and further study is without merit.
Characters who have mastered the contents successfully may assist others in reading the same manuscript, spending the day discussing the topics with them, and providing an automatic +2 assistance bonus to the check at day’s end. No roll is required, but a reader can only benefit one student at a time. Such help can also be applied to a character who lacks the requisite Intelligence value of 12, allowing them to attempt to make a roll to gain the benefit from the work. However, such a student only has three chances of failure, before they can no longer benefit from the work.
Producing a book or scroll of such high quality requires a detailed knowledge or training of the subject, and takes an extra-ordinary amount of time, effort and coin. Developing an illuminating manuscript on a new topic requires a DC 20 Intelligence (Arcana/History/Nature/Religion) check regarding the topic in question, and costs a minimum of 1000 sp in materials each month, often more as the topic develops.
It takes a minimum of three months to write, during which one may not engage in any other activity, such as adventuring or running a business. Checks must be made each month on successive months to complete the work, though access to other research sources can assist on the construction. Failure means scrapping the project and starting over.
These works have a general market value of 3000 sp per volume, provided the buyer has an interest in the subject in question, and can read its text. They often go for more, as the work involved in their creation makes them vanishingly rare, and they often appeal to buyers with a particular flavor for the topic in question. Most are used by the various Shek-Pvar as instruction manuals, but many are sold to nobles seeking understanding of obscure topics, such as politics or herbology.