8
\$\begingroup\$

I'm waffling on some interpretations regarding the Order of Scribes wizard subclass in Tasha's Cauldron of Everything (p. 77-78), and would really appreciate some second opinions. Most of the features seem pretty straightforward in their application, but as usual I think there are some edge case spells with more than one reasonable interpretation.

Say someone casts the Simulacrum spell to create a duplicate of a Scribes wizard. It seems to me that your duplicate, who has no equipment of its own, does not have its own Awakened Spellbook at the time of creation. Part of the description of the Simulacrum spell says (PHB, p. 276):

[...] It appears to be the same as the original, but it has half the creature's hit point maximum and is formed without any equipment. Otherwise, the illusion uses all the statistics of the creature it duplicates, except that it is a construct.

Can the simulacrum summon its Wizardly Quill and, using a blank book, gain its own Awakened Spellbook and therefore its own Manifest Mind?

This doesn't seem to violate any of the Simulacrum spell's restrictions, as the simulacrum has the original creature's class features.

The description of the Scribes wizard's Wizardly Quill feature states, in part:

As a bonus action, you can magically create a Tiny quill in your free hand. [...]

Part of the Awakened Spellbook feature description states:

Using specially prepared inks and ancient incantations passed down by your wizardly order, you have awakened an arcane sentience within your spellbook.

[...]

If necessary, you can replace the book over the course of a short rest by using your Wizardly Quill to write arcane sigils in a blank book or a magic spellbook to which you're attuned. At the end of the rest, your spellbook's consciousness is summoned into the new book, which the consciousness transforms into your spellbook, along with all its spells. If the previous book still existed somewhere, all the spells vanish from its pages.

And the Manifest Mind feature description states:

You can conjure forth the mind of your Awakened Spellbook. As a bonus action while the book is on your person, you can cause the mind to manifest as a Tiny spectral object, [...]

I guess the root of the question is:
Does the simulacrum effectively take your Awakened Spellbook from you when it creates its own? Or does it have its own?
In other words, is your existing spellbook considered to be "the previous book still exist[ing]", or does the simulacrum act as if its previous book does not exist?

I would appreciate any thoughts or references I may have missed that would clarify my uncertainties.

\$\endgroup\$
0

2 Answers 2

10
\$\begingroup\$

The Simulacrum cannot "replace" a spellbook they never had

It's important to keep in mind that a Simulacrum copy of you is not you. This manifests in many ways (if you have a familiar, they cannot dismiss it: if you are concentrating on a spell, they cannot end it), but one in particular stands out: your equipment is not theirs.

This is not only logical, it's part of the spell's description, which states that the Simulacrum copy has most of your game statistics, but like you said there are a few major exceptions. One being (PHB, p. 276):

It ... is formed without any equipment.

This doesn't just mean that they appear without a copy of your equipment: it means that your equipment is not theirs. One helpful example of this is that if you are attuned to a magical item, the Simulacrum is not similarly attuned to it as well. Similarly, if you created a spellbook, it isn't their spellbook too.

Now, you're completely correct that the Simulacrum could create their own Wizardly Quill. But when they attempted to "replace" your spellbook, they'd run into the following problem (TCE, p. 78, bold added):

If necessary, you can replace the book over the course of a short rest by using your Wizardly Quill to write arcane sigils in a blank book or a magic spellbook to which you're attuned. At the end of the rest, your spellbook's consciousness is summoned into the new book, which the consciousness transforms into your spellbook, along with all its spells.

Now, the first part of this description could apply, so it looks at first like this might actually work. But when you get to the bold section, it falls apart. The Simulacrum can't summon "their spellbook's consciousness" or fill a book with "their spellbook's... spells" because they don't have a spellbook: they never did, because they were created without equipment, and they are not you. Thus, there is nothing (neither consciousness nor spells) to transfer into this blank spellbook when they attempt this process.

One might argue that the Awakened Spellbook isn't equipment at all: that it is a creature. Now, that may be (the rules are unclear on this), but in that case it will run afoul of the text of the Simulacrum spell (PHB, p. 276, bold added):

You shape an illusory duplicate of one beast or humanoid that is within range for the entire casting time of the spell.

The Awakened Spellbook probably isn't a beast or humanoid, but that's beside the point: the important detail is that if we are arguing that it is a creature, it is a separate creature from its creator (who is not an awakened spellbook). The two beings may be strongly magically linked, (like a wizard and their famliar), but that is different from being the same creature. When the wizard is copied by the simulacrum spell, they are the only creature the spell copies.

The upshot (and how to get around it)

Thus, whether we consider the book to be equipment or a creature, the Simulacrum copy can't use the Awakened Spellbook method of "replacing" their spellbook when they are first created, as it only works if they have (or ever had) an Awakened Spellbook already (which they don't and didn't).

That being said, they could buy a new spellbook, and then awaken this new blank spellbook, thus being able to use all their class features again. If they are ok with this spellbook being empty (containing no spells, but being able to be used for the Manifest Mind, and other Order of Scribes features), then this would cost just 50 gp, according to the rules on adventuring gear (PHB, p. 150).

Now, if they wanted to have all the spells from your spellbook in theirs, they would have to physically copy them in. This would be considerably more expensive (much like it would be expensive for a simulacrum of a fighter to get outfitted with its own armor and weapons), but they won't be entirely out of luck there either: their Wizardly Quill will let them do so at only 2 minutes per spell level, (TCoE, p. 77), and they can use your spellbook as a guide to copy the spells, debatably using the rules a wizard uses for copying their own spellbook (PHB, p. 144) (10 gp per spell level: credit to BlivetWidget for pointing that out) since they also "understand... your notation" (ibid). But they won't be able to do so automatically as part of a short rest. Oh, and you'll need to provide them with some gold to spend on the rare materials they'll need to copy the spells. Because of course, they don't have any equipment.

\$\endgroup\$
2
-3
\$\begingroup\$

I think the answer by Gandalfmeansme is well thought out, and provides excellent rationale for why the original wizard would not lose their own spellbook to the duplicate, but I think after further consideration I come to a different conclusion about the end result.

From PHB 114, a wizard has a spellbook

As a student of arcane magic, you have a spellbook

This is a class feature, not just a piece of equipment. If a wizard's spellbook is lost, destroyed, etc. then the equipment is gone but the feature remains, such that they have a spellbook in the abstract sense only. In more natural language, we would say they had a spellbook. A wizard in such a state turns to the "Replacing the Book" rules (again on PHB 114):

Replacing the Book.

... If you lose your spellbook, you can use the same procedure to transcribe the spells that you have prepared into a new spellbook.

Now, regarding a simulacrum. The spell (PHB 276) says:

You shape an illusory duplicate of one beast or humanoid... it has half the creature's hit point maximum and is formed without any equipment. Otherwise, the illusion uses all the statistics of the creature it duplicates, except that it is a construct.

So, the duplicate is also a wizard, with all wizard class features (one of which is having a spellbook). It is formed with no equipment, but as a duplicate of the wizard (who had a spellbook), it too had a spellbook. It too can use the rules in "Replacing the Book" shown above in order to replace its missing spellbook.

Now, let us also consider the Order of Scribes wizard (beginning on TCE 77). In addition to the above method of "Replacing the Book", the Scribe has an alternative method of doing so:

Using specially prepared inks and ancient incantations passed down by your wizardly order, you have awakened an arcane sentience within your spellbook. ... If necessary, you can replace the book over the course of a short rest by using your Wizardly Quill to write arcane sigils in a blank book

The simulacrum/duplicate of a Scribe must also have this feature. If the duplicate can use the PHB rules for replacing the spellbook, they must be able to use the TCE Scribes rules for replacing the spellbook, as both methods serve the same function and have no difference in prerequisites aside from the subclass itself, which the duplicate has. It does not matter that the duplicate was formed without equipment; a wizard, too, is "formed" without equipment! The duplicate represents a snapshot of a creature that had a spellbook, and so they too had a spellbook. The duplicate is a wizard, and having a spellbook is a wizard class feature. And as Gandalfmeansme points out, your equipment is not theirs, so when a duplicate replaces their book, it does not "steal" the book from the original.

\$\endgroup\$
10
  • \$\begingroup\$ “ but as a duplicate of the wizard (who had a spellbook), it too had a spellbook.” I think I’m not understanding this logic. I see how the duplicate is a copy of a person who had a spellbook, but it is also a copy of a person who had parents. Would it be accurate to say the duplicate also has parents? Or am I misunderstanding your use of “had”? \$\endgroup\$ Oct 22, 2021 at 4:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ I do like the point you are making about the PHB rules and the Scribe rules having similar verbiage, but I don’t agree that “they have no different prerequisites.” In the PHB rules on copying (which I assume you meant when you said “replacing”) your spellbook, it points out that the wizard spends less money because they understand their own notation. Your duplicate knows what you know, but doesn’t own what you own, so it seems insincere to claim the two rules are equivalent. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 22, 2021 at 4:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ (Sorry to pile on, by the way. It’s a good answer! I just think it could use some clarification. I particularly like the point that the original wizard was also “formed without… equipment.” Well put!) \$\endgroup\$ Oct 22, 2021 at 4:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Gandalfmeansme as to parentage, for purposes of the game, I would say it functions as if it had parents. You don’t need to potty train it or teach it language. If one of your parents was an elf, the duplicate will also have inherited all racial features and abilities that key off of having an elf parent. Etc. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 22, 2021 at 12:11
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Related: rpg.stackexchange.com/a/150975/44723 \$\endgroup\$
    – Akixkisu
    Oct 24, 2021 at 9:28

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .