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Read magic was a widespread universal spell that let one read scrolls and spellbooks.[7]


Magical writing or inscriptions were often ciphered, appearing as gibberish. A caster used this spell to read magical writing found in books, scroll or other objects. Afterwards, the caster was able to read the magical writing on the targeted object without re-casting the spell. A caster was able to use this spell to read glyphs of warding[13] The reverse of this spell, unreadable magic, was used to cipher magical writing or inscriptions. This prevented anyone from reading the writing, even if read magic was cast on the object. The cipher lasted until the spell expired.[12]


In addition to verbal and somatic components, the spell required a material component or a focus, a transparent crystal or mineral prism.[7][13]


According to the Book of the Silver Talon, the ingredients for the ink used to inscribe read magic into spellbooks was: one ounce of giant squid sepia, one large sapphire, a drop of blood from the writer, a pinch of earth, a sprinkle of water and either one powdered carbuncle, a large rock crystal, the eye of an eagle, two eyes of a falcon or a fist-sized blue quartz.[14]

The rocks and gems had to be powdered with a mortar and combined with the blood, water and earth. This mixture was heated in a crucible at night when the Tears of Selûne were visible at night. Once cooled, it was mixed with the sepia and stored in a vial or other container.[14]


See also[]

Further reading[]


  1. Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, Skip Williams (July 2003). Player's Handbook v.3.5. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 269. ISBN 0-7869-2886-7.
  2. James Wyatt, Darrin Drader, Christopher Perkins (October 2003). Book of Exalted Deeds. (TSR, Inc), p. 57. ISBN 0-7869-3136-1.
  3. Ed Greenwood, Eric L. Boyd (March 2006). Power of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 72. ISBN 0-7869-3910-9.
  4. Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 46. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  5. James Wyatt (October 2001). Oriental Adventures (3rd edition). (Wizards of the Coast), p. 93. ISBN 0-7869-2015-7.
  6. Richard Baker (November 2004). Complete Arcane. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 91. ISBN 0-7869-3435-2.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 David "Zeb" Cook (August 1989). Player's Handbook (2nd edition). (TSR, Inc.), p. 137. ISBN 0-88038-716-5.
  8. Richard Baker (1996). Player's Option: Spells & Magic. (TSR, Inc), p. 180. ISBN 0-7869-0394-5.
  9. Jeff Grubb and Andria Hayday (April 1992). Arabian Adventures. (TSR, Inc), p. 152. ISBN 978-1560763581.
  10. slade, James Butler (November 1996). Netheril: Empire of Magic (The Winds of Netheril). (TSR, Inc.), pp. 18, 121–122. ISBN 0-7869-0437-2.
  11. Gary Gygax, David Cook, and François Marcela-Froideval (1985). Oriental Adventures. (TSR, Inc), p. 76. ISBN 0-8803-8099-3.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Gary Gygax (1978). Players Handbook 1st edition. (TSR, Inc.), p. 68. ISBN 0-9356-9601-6.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, Skip Williams (August 2000). Player's Handbook 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 243. ISBN 0-7869-1551-4.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Ed Greenwood, Tim Beach (1995). Pages from the Mages. (TSR, Inc), p. 21. ISBN 0-7869-0183-7.