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Basic Information

An illuminator, also known as a limner, is someone who paints oranamental decorations, especially those in illuminated manuscripts, books, and scrolls. They would often work in tandem with (or immediately after) a scribe, or may in fact be one themselves and work on both the lettering and illustration within a given book. In the middle ages, many books were produced at abbeys or monasteries, so many illuminators in those eras were also monks. Others were middle class artisans.

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Game and Story Use

  • A mad limner might draw Things Man Was Not Meant To Know in the margins of a book. This may cause the reader to go mad. It may render the book a cursed item. If the book is popular, or valuable, it may move from one library or noble estate to another, leaving a trail of broken minds and strange happenings.
  • A particularly skilled illuminator might create a book with such artistic flourishes that it has great value as a treasure beyond the literary content of the volume.
  • An illumination might also reveal information which was widely known and unremarkable at the time of its creation but has since been lost - much, for example, has been learned about the medieval martial arts and their equipment by looking at the illustrations in contemporary works.
    • Likewise, an illumination might have secrets encoded in it. For added difficulty, the secret illumination might have been painted over, requiring the PCs to get the original text and then either carefully scrape it or X-ray it.
    • The illumination might be the actual information - the text may be cruft.
  • A book of heresy or rebellious and inflamatory text might be illegal or dangerous (in a non-cthulhu-y way). The players are charged with determining who made it (with the handiwork of the limner being a likely calling card or clue).
    • They eventually discover (perhaps from interrogating the illuminator) that one illustration is a secret donor portrait. He knows not who commissioned him, but he saw their face a dozen times and drew it on a page from memory. Now the PCs need to bring that page to the standard royal court and suss out the traitor by their likeness.
  • Illumination might not be entirely decorative where magic is concerned. A magic scroll or grimoire might be useless unless properly illuminated.
    • It might also illustrate the correct use of somatic or material components.
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