I have a first-level character who would like to keep a journal, but is on a very tight budget, and I am dissatisfied with the idea of using charcoal, given how easily it smudges and smears in real life. The PFSRD has this to offer for writing utensils:
- Chalk (1 cp)
This fat piece of white chalk easily marks wood, metal, or stone. You can write with it for about 24 hours before it is expended. Chalk also comes in other colors, but these are rarer and can be more expensive.
This can be used on wood, metal, or stone, but doesn't mention paper. Common sense says it makes sense for chalk to not work on paper, so this is no good for a journal.
- Charcoal (5 sp)
Sticks of charcoal are useful for marking floors and walls, writing on paper or parchment, and making rubbings of engravings or other markings. In a pinch, they can even be burned to stay warm. A good quality rubbing generally takes 1 minute per sheet of paper.
This explicitly states it can be used on paper, but from a reality-check point of view, I can't imagine being capable of keeping any kind of long-term journal written in charcoal. The pages would smudge against each other and smear into illegibility almost immediately.
- Inkpen (1 sp) + Ink (8 gp)
This is a wooden stylus with a metal tip that retains a small amount of ink after you dip it in a vial of ink.
This vial contains 1 ounce of ink. Ink in colors other than black costs twice as much.
The inkpen and ink don't mention usage at all, but common sense fills in the details that this would be a very efficient option for long-term writing on paper. However, the journal costs 10 gp, making this an 18.1 gp expenditure in total, which is out of the price range of my 1st level character after mandatory equipment expenses. Ideally, my writing utensil would be 1gp or less.
- Quill, Poisoned (30 gp) + Ink (8 gp)
I'm not even bothering to quote this because it's vastly more expensive than the inkpen and doesn't even include the cost of ink. Ironically, the page only lists a poisoned quill and not a normal one, which surely must be implied to also exist.
Those are the only four options the PFSRD seems to have entries for. However, the Pantograph entry on the same page describes the existence of the holy grail item: a pencil (emphasis mine).
This metal framework of parallel strips is used to duplicate drawings, allowing enlarging (up to twice the original size) or shrinking (down to half the original size) of the copy in the process. The pantograph is anchored, then fitted with a stylus and a writing implement such as chalk, an ink pen, or a pencil. As the stylus is traced over the drawing or other item to be duplicated, the pantograph reproduces the motions, creating a copy. While handy for making quick, accurate copies of ancient carvings, runes, and drawings, a pantograph is unable to produce a convincing forgery. More elaborate and expensive pantographs allow even larger or smaller copies to be made, or multiple copies to be made at the same time.
Outside of this entry, there is no other mention of such a thing anywhere on the SRD, and external searches for "Pathfinder pencil" predictably turn up nothing else useful. Is there any other reference to a pencil (or any other writing implement) in any other source material that might not be listed on the SRD? Or do I really need to just ask my DM for an off-the-top-of-their-head fiat ruling?