Briel's Book of Shadows
Appearance: This untitled volume is a large, leather-bound folio with twenty-one wrinkled, dogeared sheets of parchment sewn in place. It has received heavy (though careful) handling, and is obviously a workbook, full of scribbled notes and thoughts, rather than a formal compendium of spells.
History and Description: This untitled, ancient volume has traditionally been known as Briel's Book of Shadows, as it is thought to be the work of the Archmage Briel when he was but an apprentice under the tutelage of the great Aumvor the Undying (now believed to be a lich whose lair is somewhere in the vast mountain ranges of the North). The sage Ubergast of Amn points out that the informal handwriting found in the Book closely resembles that preserved in a letter in the archives of Baldur's Gate, wherein Briel wrote of his intention to found a school of wizardry there. Certainly no other claimant to authorship has declared himself, nor has been advanced as more than speculation by sages.
Contents: The book's inscriptions are rambling, and the pages are much stained with various liquids and powders used as ingredients in spells, spell inks, and in the making of a homonculous. Its useful contents are as follows*:
Complete descriptions and instructions for the cantrip Prestidigitation.
The magical and medicinal uses of unicorn horns.
A recipe, copied from another source, for the making of a homonculous.
The uses of unicorn horns
The horns of unicorns are rare and precious things, seldom gained by a user of magic, so it behooves one not to waste or misuse any such gained. Often the horns of other creatures will be sold or offered as those of unicorns; the powers and properties below are unique to the true items, and testing will avoid successful deceptions.
When a unicorn lives, its intact horn has strong magical powers, notably the ability to call upon Silverymoon (the divine unicorn, the goddess Lurue) for one clerical spell of any sort per day, something seldom done (some say Silvanus grants such magics). Unicorns cannot be coerced into such use of their horns nor do the horns retain this power if removed from the host, or if the unicorn is slain. Other powers do continue after the separation from the living beast, and these should be carefully noted; most importantly, they are sovereign remedies against poison. Upon direct contact with any poison - liquid, solid, or vapor - a unicorn's horn turns from its usual ivory hue to purple, the intensity of the color (mauve through black) deepening according to the efficacy of the poison. (This effect fades in 1-4 rounds after the cessation of contact.) Some very rare horns are naturally of a hue other than ivory, but they are never purple, and turn to such hues only when poison is present. Powdered unicorn horn, taken internally (washed down with water or wine) is an antidote to all ingested poisons, neutralizing such immediately, to prevent any further damage. Rubbing an envenomed blade, spearhead or arrow-tip with powdered or whole horn will remove and negate the poison (so effectively that the process of removal itself is not dangerous). A unicorn horn carried next to the skin of any creature confers upon that creature a +7 bonus in all saving throws of any sort.
Druids have found that a Faerie Fire spell cast upon a whole horn or piece of one will last for 44 rounds. The efficacy of a Mending spell is increased by touching a part of the item to be mended with a unicorn horn during casting; magical items can be made whole - although their dweomer is not restored - and shattered items with many fractures (such as broken earthenware pots or crystal flasks) can be completely restored. If the cantrip Light is cast with a unicorn horn in hand, the glow centers upon the horn, not the caster's palm, and the horn can be released by the caster and the caster and horn separated by any distance without the light failing - until the caster ceases to concentrate on it. Other powers of unicorn horns are rumored, but no more as yet have been verified. Powdered horn is known to be a possible ingredient (there are herbal alternatives) in the making of a sweet water potion.
Being A Recipe, Most Complete And Correct, Prepared By The Willing And Allied Hands Of The Grand Alchemist Of Neverwinter, Askrim "the Bold," And The Wizard Dauntus, Seneschal of Silverymoon: The Making Of A Homonculous.
Firstly, an acidic base of water into which is crushed a thousand thousand ants, and out of which is strained the insect remains, is prepared in a black iron cauldron.
Secondly, the following herbs must be crushed and powdered together in a separate vessel: an acorn, and a whole plant or large leaf each of balmony, birthwort, fennel, and ginseng.
Thirdly, a brass brazier must be lit, stoked with charcoal, and over the flames must be cast a handful of rose petals, incense, and a pinch of fine sand.
The cauldron of acid must now be placed on the brazier and heated. Straightaway, ere it comes to the boil, the powdered herbs must be stirred into it (mind that a dipper or ladle of wood and not metal is used), and the following ingredients must also be introduced into it, in the order given: the whole skin of any reptile (size is unimportant, so long as the skin is whole), a human eye, the brain of a mind flayer, the wings of a bat, and the mouthparts or whole head of a vampiric bat. These may be agitated and stirred as necessary - they must be wholly dissolved ere the mixture comes to a boil.
As the mixture begins to bubble in earnest, the magic-user shall let fresh blood from his own body into a vessel by means of an incision, and one pint exactly must be added to the pot. The alchemist then must tend the mixture constantly, allowing the brazier to burn out and the mixture slowly cool. When the side of the cauldron is no warmer than the room, the mixture may be covered (tightly, with stretched and tarred hide sealed with wax, to keep the air out) and left undisturbed for 1-4 weeks. When it is adjudged ready (by the smell of the seal, which should be sharply spicy) by the alchemist, the mixture shall be uncovered and put once more over a brazier with charcoal and incense. As it heats, the magic-user must cast a mending spell upon the fluid, then a mirror image, and then a wizard eye. He must then remain within the presence of the cauldron, or at least within the future radius of control of the creature (48"), as the mixture is heated to a boil. The alchemist shall then stoke the fires hotter, and when much of the fluid is boiled away, the completed homonculous will be revealed in the cauldron. When it has cooled (the vapors from the cauldron passing away), the magic-user must touch it. It will then be animate, and will survive (barring physical attack or misfortune) until the death of the magic-user, whereupon it will dissolve into boiling vapor and pass into nothingness. If it should die first and the magic-user survive its death, he must guard and hide its corpse well, for whatever is done to the carcass shall happen also to the spell caster - the remains should not be burned save the caster has magics to protect against fire. Remember too, that it can see in the darkness where one cannot, and can guard while one sleeps, waking one at the approach of any creature.
*Spell lists from FR Artifact Database