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Scrolls versus Codices


Eff

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A straightforward but slightly pedantic question:

To what extent are books in Glorantha scrolls and to what extent are they bound codices? Does this vary at all geographically (eg is the codex a regional invention slowly spreading)? Are Gloranthan books in scroll format primarily written on single large scrolls or multiple smaller ones?

And, finally, the silly questions:

How heavy was the original Abiding Book? How frequently did the scrolls /quires have to be changed while it was writing itself?

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Though a Lunar through and through, she is also a human being.

Eight Arms and the Mask

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34 minutes ago, Eff said:

To what extent are books in Glorantha scrolls and to what extent are they bound codices? Does this vary at all geographically (eg is the codex a regional invention slowly spreading)? Are Gloranthan books in scroll format primarily written on single large scrolls or multiple smaller ones?

Probably impossible to know, but both exist.  Material used (e.g. parchment, vellum, papyrus) probably is a factor.  (And don't forget the Esrolian clay tablets!!!  Plenty of those in the great Temple of Knowledge in Nochet, particularly to record all those wonderful deals between merchants or Esrolian Houses.)

A few references that might be of use:

Glorantha Sourcebook p.9: Amstali of Nochet "selected several scrolls from the shelves of the Great Library [of Nochet]"

Guide p.750: Ethilrist's History of My Black Horse Troop "The whole work consists of thirteen volumes, with the first twelve written before the Hero Wars."

p.529: port of Old Trade: "This is now a source of great learning and its merchants deal in ancient scrolls"

RQ Companion p.6: Jonstown Compendium "The Jonstown Compendium is a series of books kept in the Lhankor Mhy temple in Jonstown, Sartar. It consists of scraps of material which various scribes have thought worth recording over the ages. These scraps have been culled from the minds of great philosophers, collected from the fantastic memories of tribal storytellers, and transcribed from various odd scrolls and ancient parchments. Each entry was gathered and listed, one after the other, without order or meaning or editorial labor. Each entry begins with a number which is bracketed in our translation. Sometimes this is followed by a title of sorts, wherein the author or redactor lists himself. Then follows the entry. Individual entries may be of any length. One entire volume of the Compendium contains only a single entry 250 pages in length, though most volumes list hundreds of pieces of information."

p.59: more on Ethilrist's work:  "It is written in ink upon paper, and bound in leather. Microscopic and sub-atomic investigations have proved that the paper is from a plant which no longer exists, while the leather is from a creature whose genetic make-up is approximately 57% identical with the present-day horse. The ink was manufactured from freshwater crayfish. The whole work consists of twelve volumes, with an average of 324 pages per book. There is a total of 3868 pages."

Sartar Companion p.23: "The three walls are covered with shelves for scrolls and codices reaching up to the vault."

Same page: "The great Catalog Wheel of Eonistaran is a wooden device like a broad water wheel. Each of the Wheel’s seven boards holds multiple scrolls containing a partial listing of the scrolls and codices within the Library’s collection. At least five different organizational systems coexist within these great scrolls; some are numbered, some are based on the first line, another based on a cryptic code, and so on. If a scholar cannot find what he is looking for in one scroll, he simply turns the wheel and looks in another scroll. Most scholars agree that the 120 volumes comprising Garangian Bronze-Gut’s Compendium of Persons Eminent in Every Branch of Learning with a List of their Writings is more comprehensive (but far less practical) than Desosinderus the Librarian’s more concise Scheme of the Great Bookshelves."

p.24: "Thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of scrolls and codices line the walls. The most famous set of works, the Jonstown Compendium, has several dedicated stacks on the ground floor."

Also I'd note the reference in Cults of Prax to the Seven Mothers Temple which keeps their "Paper Lists" (of weekly lay participants, which are supposed to be regularly burned) and their "Wood Lists" of more 'permanent' lay members which are kept for 5 years.

 

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"The Lead Grimoire
This grimoire is a very ancient scroll sealed with lead bulla. The seal bears
a strange symbol of three arrows each pointing outward and joined in the
center – the Rune of Arkat. The scroll dates from the Second Age and
contains cryptic sorcerous secrets of Arkat. It is written in the Western
script."

Sartar Companion pg 178

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Something I wrote about the Abiding Book some time back.

 

Quote
The Abiding Book is indestructible having been written without human hands.  It is not a mere book but a portion of the World of Forms manifest in this mortal world.  Being in the vicinity of the Abiding Book is like being in Tondiji, Alkoth, the Eternal Battle or the surface of the Red Moon.
 
The Abiding Book is no bible nor holy text but rather an antinecronomicon.  The truths it reveals from reading its pages are clear logical truths.  So profound are these truths that they impart themselves in the minds of those who approach the book while those that dare to read its pages without the appropriate training are made permanently part of the World of Forms and can never leave.
 
Approaching the Abiding Book is like experiencing the creation of the world in reverse.  At first all is utter ruin and destruction such that no-one can imagine that anything of worth remains.  Drawing closer, one sees standing walls here and there.  The walls grow progressively larger as one approaches the books such that here one sees an intact shelf with a row of books and there one sees a surviving arch or portico that can be entered.  Soon the roofs appear and then one is in an ordinary monastery without destruction.  The next level of development is that the furnishings of the monastery grow even more spectacular.  At the peak of this movement, the level of displayed wealth is such that the palaces of the Red Emperor are put to shame.  During the next level of development, the architecture and decor grow even more abstract until there is no longer any monastery but the Abiding Book shining in the distance.
 
The Abiding Book has 216 verses.  There are probably 78 extrapolated verses to get a verse for every day of the year.  To approach the Abiding Book requires the re-enactment of five such verses, one for every action.  These would be logical puzzles resolvable only through the application of proper Malkioni thought.
 
The Abiding Book will not be moved.  It is in its proper place and to seek to move it would be to create a great error in the Cosmos.  Merely laying hands on the Book without proper protection would be to draw the wrath of the terrifying Spell Guardians that defend the book.  The best any hero can hope for is to approach the Abiding Book, bask in its revelations and return.  In HQ terms, I would place this as a powerful start to acquiring God Learner "illumination" and becoming more Gods than Men but you may decide it differently.

 

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18 hours ago, jajagappa said:

Probably impossible to know, but both exist.  Material used (e.g. parchment, vellum, papyrus) probably is a factor.  (And don't forget the Esrolian clay tablets!!!  Plenty of those in the great Temple of Knowledge in Nochet, particularly to record all those wonderful deals between merchants or Esrolian Houses.)

PBS Nova recently (well, September) ran a two-part series on writing https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/series/a-to-z/

As demos, they had a calligrapher using period tools work on papyrus and parchment. One result was that papyrus was easy to write upon quickly, the woven reed texture provided inherent rulings for keeping neat lines. In contrast, parchment was very difficult to write upon. Where a scribe using papyrus and reed pen could do many pages in a day, the scribe with parchment and quill would be lucky to duplicate a page per day. A book of, say, 50 sheets of parchment, was easily a third to half a year of labor by one scribe. And that doesn't count the production of the parchment itself (stretching the animal skin in a frame, soaking in hot water, and scraping the surface to remove undesirable hair, fat, etc.)

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51 minutes ago, Baron Wulfraed said:

One result was that papyrus was easy to write upon quickly, the woven reed texture provided inherent rulings for keeping neat lines. In contrast, parchment was very difficult to write upon.

Interesting to know.  Any comments on durability?  That's another interesting factor to think about including resistance to damp and rot, resistance to fire, cracking and tearing as scrolls are rolled or unrolled, fading, etc.

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13 hours ago, jajagappa said:

Interesting to know.  Any comments on durability?  That's another interesting factor to think about including resistance to damp and rot, resistance to fire, cracking and tearing as scrolls are rolled or unrolled, fading, etc.

Relative durability was discussed in passing about the Merowingian period of the West Roman succession. Apparently Roman bureaucracy happily used papyri throughout the empire, and the Frankish administration of Gaul continued doing so while Egypt was still part of East Rome. There is some evidence for significant scriptorial activity, but there hardly any surviving documents as papyrus doesn't last long in the colder, more humid climate of Gaul (which is a dry and warm place compared to where I am sitting). Parchment on the other hand survives quite well under Central European conditions, but in hot and dry climate it is prone to fracturing. So each to their own climate.

Which is getting interesting when considering the Pelorian rice belt. Peloria is fairly dry in terms of precipitation, but the cities are often situated in the middle of the flood areas, surrounded by rice paddies flooded most of the year.

Pelorian winters are cold. There is snow (at least we know that there is snow east of the Eastern Rockwoods, the Snow Line defining the transition from Beast Rider wastes to horse nomad steppe), which will lead to humidity upon thawing.

For Dragon Pass, parchment is in all likelihood the most durable writing material. Extreme heat with long dry spells is rare (and will set off an Aroka quest or three).

 

The Lunar Empire might know paper from either wood pulp or other plant fiber (linen, cotton, possibly reed). Paper seems to be slightly more durable under humid conditions than papyrus (no glue to fall apart), but has its own inherent chemical destruction (acid, ferrid oxide aka foxing).

 

Mold is a problem for any such writing material, only clay tablets and engravings are safe from Mee Vorala`s spawn. Pieces of wood can be used for engraving angular scripts with a woodcarving knife, and may be somewhat more durable.

 

Temporary writing surfaces include slate and wax tablets. The latter might be preserved as gypsum casts.

 

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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Some number crunching, based upon a series of assumptions.

  • Assume sheepskin parchment supports an octavo fold (8 sheets, 16 pages, after trimming).
  • Assume lambskin vellum (parchment made with skin from young animals -- likely starts thinner and has fewer defects like healed scars needing extra attention) supports quarto fold (4 sheets, 8 pages) to get equivalent page size.
  • The rest of this computation will assume use of vellum -- rationale will be provided later.
  • Assume three lambskins are stacked, quarto folded and stitched, making a signature of 12 sheets/24 pages.
  • Assume the book in question uses 6 signatures (144 pages, 18 lambskins). This somewhat arbitrary size is based upon my bible using 140 pages just for Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John -- taking the four gospels as something that might be important enough to be duplicated.
  • Assume, per PBS/NOVA episode, that parchment does not support rapid writing, and that a scribe is doing well to do one page per day (so, no taking dictation).
  • Assume cost of lambskin is nil. RQG (page 410) gives 3L for a sheep (no separate listing for lambs, but as I will show, irrelevant). Buy animal for 3L, have it butchered ("skilled crafter", page 413) for <5C, sell meat to local tavern with maybe a markup to cover cost of butcher, keep possession of skin.
  • Assume parchment maker is a "skilled crafter" at the upper end of the pay scale -- 10C => 1L per day.
  • Assume processing a lambskin takes 8 days, 16 days for larger sheepskin (arbitrary, but simplifies computation to 1L per page).

 

  • Per RQG (page 413): Cost of a scribe "Write Letter" is 2L per page.
  • Scribe @ 144 pages * 2L => 288L (and 144 DAYS).
  • Parchment maker @ 144 pages * 1L => 144L (and 144 days of processing).
  • Cost of this parchment/vellum book (not including cost of book binding: covers, etc, and no illumination/illustrations) => 432L (21W & 12L) and takes half a year to produce by one scribe and one parchment maker.

Rationale for using lambskin/vellum:

  • RQG (page 405) suggests that a flock (herd) of sheep consists of 100 animals.
  • Assume 40 ewes (and enough rams to keep them happy come the fall).
  • Assume each ewe average 1.5 lambs each spring. 40 * 1.5 => 60 lambs. 60 lambs + 40 ewes => 100 animals (plus a few rams)
  • Assume after the fall season, most of the rams are slaughtered, along with any non-productive (elderly) ewes. Enough lambs are kept back to replace these slaughtered animals. The rest of the lambs are slaughtered (is there any "preserve meat" spell?). This means that only the core 40 animals are overwintered.
  • One flock of sheep, composed as above, easily supplies lambskins for three books.

Interestingly, I couldn't costs for fleeces; after all, those sheep should be getting sheared at least once a year, and especially just before slaughtering.

 

Edited by Baron Wulfraed
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On 12/16/2020 at 8:24 PM, jajagappa said:

Interesting to know.  Any comments on durability?  That's another interesting factor to think about including resistance to damp and rot, resistance to fire, cracking and tearing as scrolls are rolled or unrolled, fading, etc.

If you want to see how one system handles this, Ars Magica goes into unbelievable detail about papyrus, parchment, and different kinds and qualities of ink. And that's before we get to magical properties.

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2 hours ago, Baron Wulfraed said:
  • Cost of this parchment/vellum book (not including cost of book binding: covers, etc, and no illumination/illustrations) => 432L (21W & 12L) and takes half a year to produce by one scribe and one parchment maker.

A large and illustrated book in the Middle Ages could cost a herd of cattle. But this would not be your average book.

However, I'm not so sure about the calculation - the wage costs listed can't possible scale for longer jobs, as it wouldn't even remotely match Crafter and Scribe incomes of about 60-120L per year instead of several hundreds. So I think you could get away with half or less. Even 1L per day for the scribe would lead to a dramatically higher income that usual for that year. Cost listed is probably what we should assume for when PCs buy a quick service, not for a long job or full employment. However, there could be an argument that there's material costs for the scribe, like ink and pens, that are included in the service cost but not the yearly income. 

Did you refer to the parchment cost in the rulebook, of 3 C per 60 cm per sheet (unknown width, but supposedly typical scroll-width)? Going by that, you could probably get four full A4/Letter pages out of one such sheet of parchment (if we assume it's 30-40 cm wide, and naturally double-sided), or a total cost of a mere 11 L for the parchment for the book. Also note that the rulebook has a coarser Hide Parchment for just a third of the cost of the normal kind, so material has to be relevant one way or the other.

While perhaps not the most expensive part, don't forget about the book binder if you're making a codex!

So here's another calculation:

  • Parchment, 11L
  • Scribal services for half a year, 60L
  • Book binding: No idea, let's say it tales several days and has a material cost, perhaps 10L at most? 
  • Material costs for the scribe, like ink and pens: Not sure, some but not a ton? Let's say 10L?

So in this case, we would land at maybe 90 L for the book, let's round it to 100.

By comparison, something like the Codex Gigas has 310 sheets of size 92 x 50 cm (donkey, in this case - two sheets per donkey), or 620 pages. Here, the material cost alone would be 180 L going by the rulebook (possibly more of sheets this large are harder to acquire), upper-tier scribal quality might mean three years of work at 200L per year, and then add illumination (including gold leaf) and various extra costs. Perhaps some more, as National Geographic tried to estimate the time and put it at 5 years of intense labor (these are large pages!). At this point, we're easily up to 1000 L, or a serious herd of cattle.   

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10 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

However, I'm not so sure about the calculation - the wage costs listed can't possible scale for longer jobs, as it wouldn't even remotely match Crafter and Scribe incomes of about 60-120L per year instead of several hundreds. So I think you could get away with a bit less, maybe half? Even 1L per day for the scribe would lead to a dramatically higher income that usual for that year. Cost listed is probably what we should assume for when PCs buy a quick service, not for a long job or full employment. However, there could be an argument that there's material costs for the scribe, like ink and pens, that are included in the service cost but not the yearly income. 

Did you refer to the parchment cost in the rulebook, of 3 C per 60 cm per sheet (unknown width, but supposedly typical scroll-width)? Going by that, you could probably get four full A4/Letter pages out of one such sheet of parchment (if we assume it's 30-40 cm wide, and naturally double-sided), or a total cost of a mere 11 L for the parchment for the book. Also note that the rulebook has a coarser Hide Parchment for just a third of the cost of the normal kind, so material has to be relevant one way or the other.

I've had some problems correlating those annual incomes for some time now. Page 405, for example has "A typical noble or priest is assigned five hides of land by their temple for their upkeep, which produces an annual surplus of about 400 L to support the adventurer and their household." (Emphasis mine). Surplus, to me, implies what is left after the costs of farming have been taken out of the actual "income". In other words, a pre-tax profit (taxes being the cost-of-living and tithes). Of course, that 400L for the noble doesn't include that the tenant farmers receive half of that. So the noble really has a (5-hide) income of 200L If this noble keeps one warrior as a bodyguard, he is responsible for paying the warrior's cost of living (page 423) -- so 60L knocked out the 200L (while the warrior is still receiving 60L base income from somewhere?). The only way I can correlate these is to assume that "base income" is the amount that one is able to /save/ throughout the year from a continuous income/outgo stream. Consider (page 413) a warrior hiring out as a short term guard (say for a caravan with two weeks on the road)... 1L per day -- 14L per job. Say the caravan runs once per season -- five seasons @ 14L => 70L a year for working a mere 20 weeks of the year. However, being on the road likely means buying food/drink at tavern prices (unless the caravan owner is providing meals). 6C for typical mid-day meal, say 10 cups of ale (those cups are small!) for 2C, say a loaf of bread to eat during the day (not really a cost factor) but add a cheese (two cheeses per week, maybe) brings us to about 0.5C/day. If the caravan stops each night at some inn, we have 1C to sleep on the common room floor. That comes to about 9.5C per day, coming out of that 1L per day pay. The warrior nets 7C per trip, or 3.5L per year. If this is sort of a full time job -- four trips per season, or 14L in savings for the year.

Again, using the 100 animal flock of sheep, and assuming 60 are slaughtered/sold each year. Page 410 gives 3L per sheep. That's 180L per year per flock, yet a herder has a base income of only 60L for the year. Where did the other 120L go? Surely the herder didn't lose 40 sheep to predators -- possibly a few could be lost but not that many. Even if one assumes lambs only bring in 1.5L (though as a more desirable cut of meat over elderly mutton, that may not be an applicable assumption), that still comes to 90L in sales, where did the missing 30L go? Some may have gone to pay healers to check/treat the flock, I suppose some may have gone to pay shearing and processing costs of fleeces (though that brings up the lack of a listed price /for/ selling the fleece). Note that if the herder does not slaughter some 60 animals in late fall, come spring lambing season the flock will suddenly swell to around 160 animals, or more than a herder is assumed capable of managing.

Estimating from https://www.dimensions.com/element/sheep the usable (which accounts for trimming to rectangular sheets) for an adult sheep is likely around 36 inches (90cm?), and 18" (per side) -- call it one square of 36x36". A quarto fold would give four sheets of 18x18", octavo fold would give eight sheets of 9x18 (not quite US Tabloid -- 11x17); 22.5x45cm? If looking at it as a scroll, I suppose one could slice from side-to-side to produce three strips of 12x36" (30x90cm?)

Concede I'd missed the parchment listing on page 412 -- but I have to state the two entries don't make sense. ALL parchment is "Made from the carefully treated hide of various meat animals." so how does one explain a 3C "sheet" vs a 1C "hide sheet"? Is the 3C parchment really "vellum" produced from young animals and having a higher overall quality from general parchment made from adult animals. But then -- an adult animal is typically larger, and should produce more parchment per skin.

Producing parchment is rather labor intensive -- soaking the hide in a solution for a few days to dehair it https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parchment#Skinning,_soaking,_and_dehairing then stretching, scraping, drying... possibly with multiple cycles. Granted, the parchment maker might be able to work on more than one stretched frame during a day -- having one soaking while the other is being scraped.

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2 minutes ago, Baron Wulfraed said:

I've had some problems correlating those annual incomes for some time now. Page 405, for example has "A typical noble or priest is assigned five hides of land by their temple for their upkeep, which produces an annual surplus of about 400 L to support the adventurer and their household." (Emphasis mine). Surplus, to me, implies what is left after the costs of farming have been taken out of the actual "income".

Yeah, this is clearly wrong - it produces 200 L, 40 per hide.

2 minutes ago, Baron Wulfraed said:

If this noble keeps one warrior as a bodyguard, he is responsible for paying the warrior's cost of living (page 423) -- so 60L knocked out the 200L (while the warrior is still receiving 60L base income from somewhere?).

I don't think nobles typically keep an armed retinue though - that's something for the chief.

3 minutes ago, Baron Wulfraed said:

The only way I can correlate these is to assume that "base income" is the amount that one is able to /save/ throughout the year from a continuous income/outgo stream.

No, this isn't the case - you have an income, and then you have cost of living, and the difference is the surplus you get (after typical costs).

4 minutes ago, Baron Wulfraed said:

Concede I'd missed the parchment listing on page 412 -- but I have to state the two entries don't make sense. ALL parchment is "Made from the carefully treated hide of various meat animals." so how does one explain a 3C "sheet" vs a 1C "hide sheet"? Is the 3C parchment really "vellum" produced from young animals and having a higher overall quality from general parchment made from adult animals. But then -- an adult animal is typically larger, and should produce more parchment per skin.

I would imagine that one is parchment from "proper" animals (donkey, sheep, cattle), while High Llama, Bison, Impala (or heavens help us, Herd-Man) parchment is kinda crap. This is just a guess, though. 

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The codex was still over 1,000 years away at the end of the western bronze age. Scrolls made from different kinds of things were known, but most things were written on clay plates using cuneiform. So this is one where you should just go with what you want. Cuneiform, papyrus, vellum, codex. Glorantha is much more literate than earth was, so if you want them much more advanced in the tools of literacy, go for it!

 

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I agree with your both results but not to the means to obtain it :

 

the rules say :

12 hours ago, Baron Wulfraed said:

Per RQG (page 413): Cost of a scribe "Write Letter" is 2L per page.

then with a 144pages

12 hours ago, Baron Wulfraed said:

Scribe @ 144 pages * 2L => 288L (and 144 DAYS).

yes. And that s all for the pages : I consider that the cost of scribe write letter includes all the material (paper or clay or... if it is the local standard material, etc...) After all what happens if the scribe fumbles the page and has to writte it in another page ? that is not in charge of the buyer. (well nowdays irl it can) I don't see any scribe explaining to the guy with the big sword and mustache and omg who gave you this scars, a troll ? that he has to pay more

so my base cost is 288 L

then we can (or not) apply any modificator we want :

- the buyer wants some extra (colored pictures, nice or exotic book cover, beautiful inc, solid tablets, jewel .... I m not specialist of what can be provided) ==> raise the price x1.5 x2 x10...

- the buyer wants a cheap result, will not reject the product if there are erasures, scribble, ink stains ..., with poor material then reduce the price x0.5 x0.3

- as @Akhôrahil we can have some optimization by the scribe(s) long-job reduction cost, "industrialization / reuse of some text", etc... to reduce the cost too (or to gain more, if the scribe character succeed his year revenue test with critic)

and that's done, your 144 pages document price is between 100 and 3000L !

 

 

 

 

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Writing a letter involves the scribe sitting and writing as the person commissioning them dictates or composes the letter orally, or possibly even asks them to compose the letter based on what they want to say. It's proportionally substantially more time-consuming than copying out text. I don't think it's valuable except as an upper limit on the cost. (Similarly, paper by the quire will be cheaper per page than paper by the sheet, though that's not relevant to the numbers being used here.)

Though a Lunar through and through, she is also a human being.

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On 12/18/2020 at 4:18 PM, Eff said:

Writing a letter involves the scribe sitting and writing as the person commissioning them dictates or composes the letter orally, or possibly even asks them to compose the letter based on what they want to say. It's proportionally substantially more time-consuming than copying out text. I don't think it's valuable except as an upper limit on the cost. (Similarly, paper by the quire will be cheaper per page than paper by the sheet, though that's not relevant to the numbers being used here.)

Note that the discussion was with regards to parchment/vellum which is not that easily produced, as demoed on PBS/NOVA it is also slow to write upon (taking dictation when using parchment is futile if it takes a day to fill one page).

Papyrus, OTOH, was shown to be fairly rapid when writing, so dictation is feasible; the grain of the reeds making up the papyrus provide natural guidelines.

Paper (as in cellulose pulp pressed in a drying frame) was never a consideration here. There is no entry for "paper" in the price lists from the rulebook -- only papyrus and parchment.

Parchment was used in the example as the subject was a "book" -- covers, individual pages that can be flipped (created from signatures made by folding the animal skin a number of times and then trimming the edges). Papyrus, by the nature of production (weaving strips of soaked reed), is more suited to the format of a scroll as the length is determined by how many layers one can fit into a drying press.

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On 12/20/2020 at 3:55 PM, Baron Wulfraed said:

Note that the discussion was with regards to parchment/vellum which is not that easily produced, as demoed on PBS/NOVA it is also slow to write upon (taking dictation when using parchment is futile if it takes a day to fill one page).

Papyrus, OTOH, was shown to be fairly rapid when writing, so dictation is feasible; the grain of the reeds making up the papyrus provide natural guidelines. ....

It strikes me that a letter on parchment would be a two step process:

In step 1 the scribe takes dictation by writing with a stylus on a board covered with wax.  (This is documented for the Romans, it was their equivalent of a notebook,  there are even archaeological finds -  but there is no reason to think this particular technology is not pre-Roman.)  Any drafting and editing is done in this step.  Erasures are done by smoothing the wax, cheap and easy.  Alternatively this can be done on wet clay, but that makes your notebook less portable.

In step 2 the scribe puts ink on the parchment.  This is copying from the wax so there should not be many erasures.

 

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On 12/20/2020 at 4:55 PM, Baron Wulfraed said:

Note that the discussion was with regards to parchment/vellum which is not that easily produced, as demoed on PBS/NOVA it is also slow to write upon (taking dictation when using parchment is futile if it takes a day to fill one page).

Papyrus, OTOH, was shown to be fairly rapid when writing, so dictation is feasible; the grain of the reeds making up the papyrus provide natural guidelines.

Paper (as in cellulose pulp pressed in a drying frame) was never a consideration here. There is no entry for "paper" in the price lists from the rulebook -- only papyrus and parchment.

Parchment was used in the example as the subject was a "book" -- covers, individual pages that can be flipped (created from signatures made by folding the animal skin a number of times and then trimming the edges). Papyrus, by the nature of production (weaving strips of soaked reed), is more suited to the format of a scroll as the length is determined by how many layers one can fit into a drying press.

It does not take a day to fill a single page of parchment. We have 14th-century contracts from independent scribes indicating that they could produce at least four pages per day on parchment, and overall, the primary factor determining the speed of production was not the physical difficulty of dragging pen across page but the quantity of labor the writer already had. Now, perhaps there was some kind of medieval innovation not known to the ancient world which allowed parchment to be written upon with speed, but to me it seems more likely that a modern TV show may not be able to recreate the conditions of a scribe from antiquity or the middle ages to such a degree as to make their understanding of how easy it is to write on parchment accurate. 

Indeed, one of our few sources on prices in the ancient world, Diocletian's price-controls decree, suggests that the primary driver of cost for writing is the time taken for composition, as it lays out much lower maximum prices for the production of standard legal documents as opposed to freely composed writing. It's not, however, especially convincing evidence as to the literal relative value, as Diocletian's decree is often thought to have been made from a place of ignorance, but it does suggest that to a literate person in later antiquity, the difference between copying out a fill-in-the-blank bit of writing and taking dictation was so great as to make more than doubling the price seem like a reasonable offer. 

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Though a Lunar through and through, she is also a human being.

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On 12/20/2020 at 9:55 PM, Baron Wulfraed said:

Paper (as in cellulose pulp pressed in a drying frame) was never a consideration here. There is no entry for "paper" in the price lists from the rulebook -- only papyrus and parchment.

That doesn't mean that it doesn't exist. lots of things aren't in the rulebook that exist.

Wasp Riders are known to produce paper, from my poor old memory. It is probably niche and the sages prefer parchment, but it exists.

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Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

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13 hours ago, soltakss said:

That doesn't mean that it doesn't exist. lots of things aren't in the rulebook that exist.

Wasp Riders are known to produce paper, from my poor old memory. It is probably niche and the sages prefer parchment, but it exists.

This makes me think Trolls might have paper too, if only for trade purposes.

Edited by Sir_Godspeed
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On 12/24/2020 at 11:12 AM, soltakss said:

That doesn't mean that it doesn't exist. lots of things aren't in the rulebook that exist.

Wasp Riders are known to produce paper, from my poor old memory. It is probably niche and the sages prefer parchment, but it exists.

Regular paper feels too modern to me (invented in China in 100 CE and reached Europe in the Middle Ages), but Giant Wasp paper makes every kind of sense.

I could see it for dwarves as well - they would probably prefer having an industrial process to mucking about with animal hides.

Edited by Akhôrahil
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10 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

I could see it for dwarves as well - they would probably prefer having an industrial process to mucking about with animal hides.

They probably have an Aldryami Stripping-Spit, where they slowly turn an Aldryami on a spit and strip its skin and flesh, casting healing and regenerative magics to keep it going, then they process the resulting pulp into paper.

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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