The complex notation of a spell took up several full pages of a spellbook: the more powerful the spell, the more pages it took up. A spellbook could have any number of pages.
Copying a spell into a spellbook was a lengthy process that took up several hours and consisted of two basic steps. The first part involved mastering the basic elements of the spell in order to reproduce its basic form. The second part involved experimentation with the spell as the writing wizard deciphered the notation of the source from which the spell was being copied, such as a scroll or another spellbook. Since each wizard typically used a unique notation, this deciphering process was always necessary. The exception was when writing a copy of one's own spellbook, in which case no experimentation was necessary since the wizard had already mastered the spell and understood their own notation.
In addition to time, the experimentation process involved in copying a spell also required the use of costly materials, such as material components spent in attempts to master the spell's basic form, as well as inscribing materials such as high-quality inks. Magical writing on ink was not always a requirement for a spell to be recorded into a spellbook, however. The wizard Dostrealt was known to record his spells using a script that consisted of raised dots and dashes that could be read by running one's fingers over the pages.
Types of Spellbooks
- Tar'Ael Veluuthra, a spellbook made for the Eldreth Veluuthra, which contained spells to aid spying and movement
- The Demonomicon of Iggwilv contained several spells of her own creation, all related with controlling and binding demons.
- Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, Skip Williams (July 2003). Player's Handbook v.3.5. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 128, 130. ISBN 0-7869-2886-7.
- Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford (2014). Player's Handbook 5th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 150, 153. ISBN 978-0-7869-6560-1.
- Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, Skip Williams (July 2003). Player's Handbook v.3.5. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 178. ISBN 0-7869-2886-7.
- Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford (2014). Player's Handbook 5th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 114. ISBN 978-0-7869-6560-1.
- Rob Heinsoo, Andy Collins, James Wyatt (June 2008). Player's Handbook 4th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 158. ISBN 0-7869-4867-1.
- Dale "slade" Henson (April 1991). Realmspace. Edited by Gary L. Thomas, Karen S. Boomgarden. (TSR, Inc), p. 67. ISBN 1-56076-052-4.
- Sean K. Reynolds, Duane Maxwell, Angel McCoy (August 2001). Magic of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 172. ISBN 0-7869-1964-7.
- Ed Greenwood, Tim Beach (1995). Pages from the Mages. (TSR, Inc), p. 4. ISBN 0-7869-0183-7.
- Sean K. Reynolds (2004-05-19). Tar'Ael Veluuthra. Magic Books of Faerûn. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 2016-05-19.
- Eric L. Boyd (July 2007). “Wells of Darkness”. In James Jacobs ed. Dungeon #148 (Paizo Publishing, LLC), pp. 80–81.