An arcanabula, sometimes known as an orizon, was the term used for a wizard’s working spellbook; often a hodgepodge of spells (including some that were unusable by the author) and research notes for both the completed spells therein and for spell concepts still in progress.[1]

An arcanabula differed in concept from a "travelling spellbook" in that the latter was generally a distilled copy of one or more arcanabulae, lacking the research notes for the sake of compactness, though most travelling spellbooks with blank pages remaining almost inevitably became aracanabulae.[1]


Throughout Faerûn, the most common form of arcanabula was the spellbook that every aspiring wizard started his or her career with. This was a well-bound book, approximately 9” × 12” (23 × 30 cm), with leather-covered suthwood front and back covers protecting fifty leaves of well-crafted parchment suitable for writing on both sides for a total of 100 pages. The whole tome weighed in at three pounds (1.4 kg).[4][2]

The cover material varied widely from region to region. Some were cloth or felt covered, some were uncovered, and some used linen paper or even vellum instead of parchment. Likewise, page counts varied from 25 to 500 pages, though these were commonly purchased and used only after the first one had been filled to capacity.[1]

Commonly, the front cover and/or spine bore the owner’s sigil marked upon it, either visibly or invisibly.[1] The first twenty pages or so were devoted to the research put into learning the basic cantrips, starting with spellcrafting notes which culminated in the read magic spell, followed inevitably by prestidigitation and detect magic and progressing through the common cantrips, culminating with arcane mark, with which they finally gained their personal sigil “officially”. After this “cantrip section” was a grouping of usually three to seven spells of the first power, researched in a similar manner to the earlier cantrips. After these pages, which occupied approximately one quarter of the book, the contents depended on the owner; mostly a dozen pages or so of mixed notes and half-finished spells, with the remainder of pages still blank.[citation needed]

The arcanabulae of an illusionist was often glamered to look like something else. They were typically nondescript, or resembled something other than a book―a gaming board, for instance.[1]



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