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Codex of Conversations

Source Ultimate Intrigue pg. 245
Aura faint divination; CL 5th
Slot none; Price 10,000 gp; Weight 3 lbs.

Description

At first glance, this book appears to be a nondescript volume filled with blank pages of ordinary paper (though it might instead contain recorded conversations; see below). By speaking the proper command word, the owner can cause the exterior of the tome to appear exactly like another book, changing its size, shape, and color so as to be an exact duplicate of the specified title. Once activated in this manner, the codex of conversations begins recording any verbal communication that occurs within 20 feet of it, inscribing the words upon its pages in whatever language they are uttered. If the language being spoken has no written form, the inscription occurs phonetically in whichever language the book’s activator specifies. Additionally, the activator can utter an additional command word to cause the text to be recorded in an encoded form that she specifies. Repeating this second command word decodes the script.

The codex can detect and differentiate voices, inscribing each conversationalist’s words in a different color of ink, up to a total of eight colors. The book doesn’t attribute names to these voices, though the reader might be able to determine who they are through context. If the book hears more than eight different voices, it reuses the eight colors as evenly as possible; two inscriptions with the same color ink could thus be the words of different people. The book continues to record conversations until another command word is spoken or until all 200 pages are full (each page holds about 300 words, or about 2 minutes of conversation). A user might bring the book openly to a meeting in order to accurately record all that is said, or attempt to surreptitiously slip a codex of conversations into a target’s library, replacing a seldom-used volume with the magical one in the hope of gathering vital information unnoticed.

When a codex of conversations is deactivated, it returns to its true nondescript form, but the words it has inscribed remain intact for as long as the user wishes to keep them. Another command word causes the recorded conversations to disappear from the pages of the book, resetting it to be used again. The codex can’t record anything other than the spoken word, so it can’t inscribe musical notes if a song is sung. It can record verbal components to spells, but the resultant verbiage is not magical and can’t be used to cast the spell or be read as a scroll. It can inscribe command words to other magical items when the words are uttered aloud.

Construction

Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, clairaudience/clairvoyance, comprehend languages, illusory script; Cost 5,000 gp