I know what you're thinking: "Dude, just play a Sorcerer". Well, I ask this question because of two main reasons. Wizards get some extra spells for specializing, and my DM says sorcerers are rare.

I was making a Wizard whom specialized in Illusions and didn't want the hassle of keeping the book around to read and study because if it's lost/stolen/burned and I'm out of spells...

So is there a way to do both the specialization and get rid of the spellbook? Or am I going to have to just justify Sorcerer?

Most of the books are available to me so if you reference a book I can look for it. If I don't have the book or it's in Dragon like all the good stuff is I can look it up.

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    \$\begingroup\$ With the old title ("Is there a way to get rid of a Wizard's Spellbook?"), you could just answer "burn it"... \$\endgroup\$
    – Joe
    Commented Oct 25, 2012 at 4:59

5 Answers 5


The Eidetic Spellcaster ACF (Dragon vol. 357 pg. 89) replaces a Wizard’s familiar and Scribe Scroll with the ability to memorize and prepare spells without a spellbook. This works, as I recall, exactly like doing things with a spellbook, the spellbook is just in your head.

Otherwise it’s Spell Mastery, or things like the Archmage’s Spell-like Ability High Arcana.


Considering page 186 of Complete Arcane, there are a number of solutions here.

First, there is no such thing as a singular spellbook. A competent wizard will have at least 3 copies. The gold/time cost is insignificant against the risk and can be mitigated through various means:

  • The original master
    • Almost always a book, this is kept in a secure location. On the other hand, the best thing to keep in the secure location is the location itself. Consider using murals on the walls as your spellbook. Requires a DC (15) craft painting check (trivially solvable via the correct spell) or a DC (20) craft woodworking/stoneworking check. It costs 300 gp per spell level... but unless the GM explicitly sets out to say "no fun for you" ... you're not losing your spells. As an illusionist, you can then create permanent images of normal walls on top of your local spell-walls. Given that you only need to access these in an emergency, this seems like a remarkably useful mid-level solution.
  • The local library
    • At your Home Base, or lodged with a trustworthy Wizzard, you should have a complete paper library of all your spells as transcribed from your original master. You should use this to make your travelling compendiums. Given that you're offering a seriously non-trivial service to whomever you lodge this with ("You get a free copy of all of my spells... so long as I've got a copy of all of my spells to return to.") unless the NPCs in your game are silly... this is an excellent second-tier storage solution. (Only three 9's though. Service Provider is not responsible for sudden cases of Acts of Dragon.) Again, conceal or alter these as appropriate, especially in confederation with your local associates. This is one of the huge draws of joining a wizard's guild or academy.
  • The travelling compendium
    • Tattoos. Now you have reason to be obese: a higher surface area for spells. as per page 187, with the access of a good reliable hand-mirror, you can have 82 pages of spells covering your body (not counting groinal areas). While no substitute for a thousand-page tome, if you're really needing your spells, they have to flay you to get rid of them. At which point you have more urgent concerns. As an illusionist, of course, you disguise-self as appropriate.
    • Tokens. A good wizard will have material backups. In this case, you can scribe one page-equivalent of spells onto a sling-stone. Which you keep in a sling-stone pouch.
    • Secret Page. "Dear Diary. Today I prepared Explosive Runes." The secret page spell may or may not be usable to hold spell-pages. It is, however, excellent at concealing spell pages. Having an almanac on you, especially one with nice soft pages with some of the front pages missing will almost certainly give the enemies the wrong impression (mmm, a book of toilet paper.) For that matter, when combined with illusions many surfaces can be turned into a "spellbook". Consider so inscribing the interior of your backpack. A book of secret-page concealed sources should be your primary spell repository for every day adventuring.

Three different spell-repositories should be more than sufficient to hold your spell collection. The self-tats should be sufficient to cover the emergency case outlined in your question. If, after all of this, your DM still decides to deny you all of your sources of spells, politely discuss the problem of "no fun at all" after the game.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Another (significantly more expensive) route discuss in Complete Arcane is to scibe spells in the actual architecture of a building. It's crazy expensive, but it's nearly impossible to know the spells are there unless you're looking for them, and they can't be destroyed without demolishing the structure entirely. \$\endgroup\$
    – DuckTapeAl
    Commented Oct 25, 2012 at 5:44
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ With the tokens thing, does that mean a wizard's "spellbook" could plausibly be a chest full of bone jewelery? \$\endgroup\$
    – Cobalt
    Commented Mar 10, 2014 at 13:10

Have you considered solving the underlying problem, which is your spellbook's vulnerability? You're an Illusionist; you ought to be able to conceal your prized spellbook using your character's strengths. Likewise, wizards can make a copy of their spellbook. That copy can be stored in a safe location. The spells Secret Page and Secret Chest seem to be relevant (PS google for "wizard protect spellbook").

Think of it as insurance; you're buying peace of mind.


The Spell Mastery feat is the obvious answer, but not necessarily the best. Beyond that, it depends on what sources are available beyond core.


I'm pretty sure Complete Arcane makes provisions for alternative spellbooks that are harder to lose or have stolen, like scribing the spells on your body or on items, or, as others have mentioned, magically disguising and/or warding your spellbook to make it harder or impractical to steal/lose.


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