The Book of Silent Songs
This is a book I made as a prop for my D&D campaign of the same name. The campaign is about the legend of the first Bard, and follows a group of adventurers searching for the famed Book of Silent Songs which she hid to keep it from falling into the wrong hands. The party must find the book in order to save the Earth from a primordial evil being that appears as a bright star visible in the daytime sky. The Bard was inspired by (and named after) the character Menolly from Anne McCaffery’s Dragonsinger series. I loved those stories as a kid, and they actually hold up fairly well reading them as an adult. There is a lot of actual planetary science and astronomy throughout the series, which I didn’t remember much. It isn’t a focus, but it’s a foundational part of the background of the world, and McCaffrey clearly did a some research for it. Who knows, maybe it inspired the one-day planetary scientist in me.
Anyways, the whole first part of the campaign focuses on the search for the Book. The party is chased by an evil wizard who wants the book for himself, there are kidnappings, seductions, betrayals, destroyed villages- it was a whole deal. The players finally discover they can use the Dragonsinger’s Song to locate the secret island where Menolly hid the Book of Silent Songs. The island was really fun, and full of musically themed puzzles. It seemed really anticlimactic to have them finally find the famed book without giving them an actual book, especially since I’d already made lots of other props for the campaign. I use the book to store songs, maps, writings, and other materials for the campaign, so practically it serves as a reference book. Throughout the second half of the campaign, I have been writing spells they find within the book in-game to solve problems and puzzles.
The Bard is of the Dragonborn race, so the dragon is on the cover for obvious reasons. They players also needed the scale of a golden dragon to unlock the book, so there’s a little pouch where the scale (a large pick I painted gold) slides in. The inside is lined with fabric matching the decoration on the cover. I made it out of a regular photo album because I thought it would be the easiest to add pages to when needed. I didn’t want to have plastic sleeves inside, since that seemed not very fantasy-like. So I made inserts out of white cardstock, with colored fabric glued to the edge to hold it in the binding. I used brass, silver, and copper craft tape at the tops of the fabric to keep it from fraying. On the cardstock, I used photo corners to hold printed sheets in. I didn’t want to cut the printed stuff down out of convenience, so I had to place the photo corners sticking off the edges of the cardstock. It looks pretty cool all put together, but I’ll admit the photo corners are kind of annoying because they get caught on each other when turning the pages. If I did it again, I’d probably just give in and use plastic sleeves.