Asmiak's workbook was a black, leather-bound tome that held 25 pages made of papyrus. The edges of the pages had been painted red, a detail that was visible whether the book was closed or open. Inlaid into the front cover was a small claw, or talon made of silver but it had no outward marks of ownership.
Originally, the Book of the Silver Talon was used by its author Asmiak as a workbook, during his apprenticeship to the wizard Thurl. It is unknown how it slipped from his possession, but the book exchanged hands many times in the years to follow. Many of the mages who temporarily possessed the book have died at the hands of Asmiak's agents, in his attempts to reacquire his stolen volume.
One such mage was Casimur, who was slain by a group of gargoyles on Asmiak's command. After they recovered the tome, the gargoyles flew east across mountains and deserts towards the home of Asmiak. When they passed over the High Forest, they soared to rest and were shot down by a volley of silver arrows. The book however was not recovered by the elven archers and would wind up in the stewardship of another mage.
The Book of the Silver Talon was next known to be in the hands of the magician Phandal, after finding it in a bazaar. He in turn traded it to the thaumaturgist Alphon, who wound up fleeing from numerous goblin raids upon his home. Next in possession was the druid Rairun "Blackbrow", who shipped it in a caravan to a colleague, only to learn of that caravan vanishing in the moorlands. It was next found by the adventurer Shoon, who brought it with him to Waterdeep. Shoon traded it to the merchant Deragus, who lost it when his shop was robbed by the master thief Dunas. Its next owner or owners were unknown and as of 1359 DR the spellbook was still unaccounted for.
The Silver Talon contained the necessary glyphs, runes, and instructions to cast 22 spells as well as Asmiak's personal notes on variations of these spells to augment their effects.
- Burning hands
- Asmiak's version of this spell had a longer verbal component but allowed for an extended range, from two to eight feet. The mage Casimur noted it could be fanned back and forth, which when combined with the longer scope, made it much more powerful.
- Flame ray
- This improved variant further increased its potency, creating a more destructive and wider cone of flame extended for 20 feet or more. This version was of higher level and could be considered an entirely different spell.
- Darkness, 15' radius
- The notes Asmiak included for this spell had the caster using a clump of bat fur and a smashed vial of giant octopus ink, rather than coal or pitch, which was smashed on the ground as the material component. This gave the spell a shorter duration, which was reduced even further if giant squid sepia was used as substitution.
- Ray of enfeeblement
- A different verbal component was used; this increased the casting time by 50% and fixed the range to 60 yards and the duration to that of a moderately high-level wizard.
- Gust of wind
- Asmiak's version included a different somatic and material component, using a sycamore tree seed cluster and a milkweed pod. These changes gave directionality to the spell, allowing the caster to rapidly change the course of flow for the wind.
It contained the following spells: Read magic • burning hands • comprehend languages • detect magic • erase • write • identify • message • shocking grasp • shield • phantasmal force • darkness, 15' radius • detect invisibility • knock • ray of enfeeblement • web • wizard lock • blink • dispel magic • gust of wind • infravision • protection from normal missiles
The last pages of the spellbook contained Asmiak's notes on the ingredients and preparation for the inks used to inscribe its lowest-level spells, or the first ten entries in the preceding list.