A mage in my game has claimed a scroll with several arcane spells inscribed on it. He would like to add the spells to his repertoire (and has space to do so), but he does not speak the obscure language the spells are written in. Would the "read languages" spell allow him to do this? It certainly has enough duration to allow him to cast from the scroll, but a week of study is potentially hundreds of spell castings.
1) What about simply transcribing the scroll into his spellbook as a formula? Would that take a week as well?
2) What about assistance from someone who knows the language, say a sage or similar?
3) What about assistance from a mage that knows the language?
1) I don't think I understand your question. Spells are stored in one of three ways: your repertoire in your spellbook; as scrolls; or in other people's spellbooks. A scroll could be used as a sample to make a scroll; and scribing a scroll creates a formula to create future scrolls; but these are not the same as what is used to learn to cast a spell.
2) If he has an assistant who knows the language, I would permit transcription.
3) If he has an assistant who knows the language, I would permit transcription.
To answer your underlying question, though, I would say that if a mage has devoted one of his precious spell slots to having Read Languages in his repertoire, I would basically allow him to scribe spells in foreign languages into his spellbook. I might require that he do 1 casting per day of Read Languages per spell he plans to transcribe - so a 1st level spell would require 1 casting per day, a 2nd level 2 castings per day, and so on. Other time spent each day would cover things like meditation, re-formulation of ideas, deep thought, illumination and illustration, etc. - which wouldn't require that Read Magic be active.
I like that. Thank you! To clarify the first question, I found in the core book: "While a mage generally has the formula for every spell in his repertoire, the reverse is not true; an arcane caster might have possession of a spell formula without having it in his repertoire." I think it implies that a spell formula might be contained in a mage's spellbook, but inactive; not being updated for the constant changes a mage must keep track of.
That's bad writing on my part, in that I'm using formula in a manner that is different from how I use formula as a defined term in a later chapter.
Formula in the passage above means merely "copy of the spell in a spellbook or scroll".
Ah, okay. Thanks for the clarification.