Scholar Orb Item in Saleh'Alire | World Anvil

Scholar Orb

The Quiet Shame of the Archivists

Saleh'Alire » Arcane Items Constructs Fully Sophontic

Academia reminds me of a poorly run Circus. We're all unfed animals weary of our cages, and the crowd is always inattentive- shouting incoherently at nothing, and never paying any attention at all. Not that we're ever entertaining, anyways ... There has to be more out there to the beautiful excitement of knoweldge than this.
— The last page of Professor Taura Tapasan's journals,
before performing the ritual to attach her soul to a Scholar Orb.

Creation & Function

A Scholar Orb is an incredibly rare construct that's been subject to significant moral and ethical debate among Arcanists and Archivists both since their first creation. This is because they're a sentient construct similar to an Archival Spirit- but where Archival Spirits were entirely created by magic in order to be fetches for Archives and their Archivists ... A Scholar Orb was once an actual person at one point. Instead of their Spirit being allowed to travel the Spirit's Path to rejoin the Weave as normal after death, however? Through a complex ritual suicide (or ritual murder), their Spirit has instead been bound to a flawless Gemstone Orb at the exact moment of death.   This ritualized spirit attachment, or soul transferrence, essentially allows the original Scholar to carry on indefinitely exactly as they were, now as a sort of Arcane pseudo-Construct (at least so long as the Orb doesn't become damaged, or get destroyed) ... Unfortunately they also become entirely reliant on a "Keeper", inevitably going on to pass from one "Keeper" to the next for whatever lifetime they will have afterwards. And these lifetimes can, unfortunately, easily be shortened by either irresponsible Keepers, or by tragedy, since Orbs are incredibly fragile by nature- especially since so few Scholars take enough care to pick stable, lasting Geological materials for their new "bodies" while still living.
Origin & Classification
Arcane Construct   Lifespan
Infinite, without damage   Size
Small / Medium   Material
Any flawless Gemstone Orb   Average Height
Roughly the size of a large Grapefruit   Average weight
5 pounds / 2.3 kilograms
As a result of these, and many other factors, the creation of Scholar Orbs has been banned by the Archivist's and Arcanist's Guilds in recent decades. The Archivist's Guild in particular has sought to reclaim what Orbs have already been created since the time the ritual was first discovered (though no one knows exactly how many have been created thusfar)- offering up to 3 Platinum in rewards for the safe return of their Professors, depending on the state they're returned in.  

Mannerisms & Personality

  Every single Scholar Orb is a real person who was an actual Professor once upon a time, that decided to bind their Spirit to a flawless Gemstone Orb for whatever reason (or, perhaps, nefariously had it bound for them). Each Scholar Orb is therefore wholly unique in regards to their history and personality, what languages they speak, and what topics of knowledge they have expertise in, and so on and so forth; no two Orbs encountered will ever be the same- although there may certainly, of course, be similarities between individuals over time.  
Orb Names (roll once)

Orb Names

Roll the Dice
1Lord Thoshe
2Archivist Theosopholus
3High Archivist Tihal
4Archivist Tsora
5High Archivist Tros
6Headmaster Tolkaura
7Scholar Tiamna
8Archivist Thistala
9High Archivist Tiskesi
10Professor Tira
11Lord Tendenka
12Archivist Tiraim
13Scholar Trarok
14Professor Taura
15Archivist Tapasani
16Archivist Tasomah
17High Archivist Taimon
18Headmaster Teganta
19Scholar Tashi
20Professor Talay Talay
21Headmaster Thymotes
22Professor Touiza
23Professor Taiwako
24High Archivist Tangon
25Lady Talepa
26Scholar Turbah
27Headmaster Tian
28Scholar Tansong
29Lady Tanha
30Archivist Tosa
31Scholar Teofilo
32High Archivist Tarsek
33Archivist Taisi
34High Archivist Taerene
35Headmaster Tanhu
36Archivist Taerain
37Scholar Tuin
38Headmaster Tangtan
39High Archivist Tialon
40Archivist Tengelia
41High Archivist Tussorus
Orb Appearance (roll once)

Orb Appearance

Roll the Dice
1Transparent black, with a bright purple core; a large crack runs through its center; medium quality.
2Smooth, clear glossy surface and a semi-transparent royal purple core; excellent condition.
3A pale, nearly matte saffron orange, with a glowing internal core and red swirls; premium condition.
4Crystalline lavender in color with tiny white flakes throughout, it feels almost sharp to the touch despite being perfectly smooth; decent quality.
5Banded olive green and yellow; the outside is rough- almost like an acid has corroded it at some point; low quality.
6Vibrant tangerine with black and grey speckles; good condition- though it seems like it could scratch easy if you're not careful.
7Banded mauve and deep fuchsia, with some of the bands twisting into swirling patterns; the core seems to be cracked internally somehow, causing it to be low quality.
8An iridescent light gray and ice blue; premium condition- and very well polished and cared for, too.
9A multihued semi-transparent maroon speckled with an opaque plum and white; great condition.
10Glossy crimson red, and always warm to the touch with a faint hum to it whenever it's inactive; some small nicks and scratches dot the surface making it average condition.
11A rough, crystalline stone in malachite green with black striations; bumpy and not well polished- but it seems intentional rather than a product of damage. Likely considered low quality, still.
12Transparent sea green with a slightly darker core that seems almost heart-shaped if you turn it the right direction in the light; good condition.
13Glossy marbled pink and white, with thin blue veins; there is some sun damage, but it still looks to be in average condition regardless.
14Matte black, with the faintest shimmer of silver fleck and grey well beneath the surface if one looks closely in the right light; excellent quality and well polished.
15An iridescent yellow that shimmers in shades of moss green and umber in the right lighting; a significant chunk has been broken away from one side, making it incredibly low quality.
Orb History (roll once)

Orb History

Roll the Dice
1Was abandoned by its last keeper after an argument got too heated and they decided they didn't like the Orb after all.
2Was stolen during a raid on its last keeper's castle- but refused to communicate with the thieves, so they sold it thinking it was a simple gem.
3Was entombed in ice for a century somehow until a kind (but simple) adventurer dug it out and pawned it off.
4Fell out of its last keeper's wagon on accident while traveling.
5Was sold when its last keeper became too destitute to keep it.
6Its last keeper swore it was cursed and did anything it could to get rid of it.
7Was abandoned byits last keeper, who considered the Orb's knowledge to be 'too boring' compared to the money it could get by selling it instead.
8Got lost at the bottom of a lake until a kindly Siren fished it out.
10Got stuck in the corner of a ship's cargo hold for 6 months until a crewmate found it and pawned it off.
Orb Personality (roll once)

Orb Personalities

Roll the Dice
1True Neutral Lazy. Doesn't like being used and will constantly complain about it and mention how much it misses being kept in a chest. Whenever someone talks about one of its topics, however, it will interject with glee- even when not addressed directly.
2True Neutral Snobby. Initially quite harsh and condescending, but can eventually be won over slowly through consistent or interesting use. Eventually becomes your biggest cheerleader, and always gets incredibly happy whenever you know information on its subjects already.
3Lawful Good and Easily Offended. Doesn't like being asked what it considers to be stupid questions and will actively refuse to answer anything it thinks is immoral, unethical, or against the law, especially if it suspects the information will be used for bad or illegal purposes. If you push, it will go completely dormant.
4Chaotic Good Excitable. A chatterbox who will ramble on for hours about its topics of knowledge regardless of whether or not you're listening. When speaking on its areas of expertise it often uses a patronizing tone because it assumes all humanoids are complete idiots who know nothing.
5Chaotic Good. Often confused when answering questions, like they can’t quite remember all the things they know- and generally apologetic about this fact.
6Neutral Good, Playful. Enjoys teasing their keeper about what they don’t know, but the quips are generally harmless and without bite; gives good, solid, and detailed explanations, and enjoys helping others learn new things about their topics.
8Chaotic Evil. Tries to disguise their jealousy over their Keepers having bodies, and regrets their decision to become an Orb, but often fails; this jealousy comes out in biting quips, and they have a penchant to intentionally lie about the information they’re asked for.
9True Neutral, Depressed. Was forcefully made into an Orb and misses their days as a normal creature. This depression is all consuming, and so they are difficult to get answers out of on the topics they know. When you can get them to answer, however, they give them genuinely but with a hopeless air- like there’s no point in knowing or passing it on.
Orb Languages (roll up to 1d4 )

Orb Languages

Roll the Dice
3Surface Dwarven
36Deep Dwarvish
Orb Subjects (roll up to 1d4 )

Orb Knowledge

Roll the Dice
1Minor Arcane Technology
2Minor Ancient mysteries
3Magical traditions
4Arcane symbols
5Acane Constructs
6True Dragons
7Minor Magical Creatures
8Temple Architecture
9Architectural Engineering
10Buildings of Import
11Aqueducts and Bridges
12Castle Fortifications
15Caverns and spelunking
21General World History
22Royalty / Nobility
23Major Wars of History
24Major Ethnic Migrations
25Cities of the World
26Wonders of the World
27Interesting Artefacts
28Interesting Landmarks
29Ruins and Abandoned Structures
30Major Legends and Lore
31Laws and Customs
32Natural Rock Formations of Interest
33Animals (Fauna) of Interest
34Plants (Flora) of Interest
35Seasons and their cycles
36Reading Weather Patterns
37Pests and Vermin
38Royal Heraldry
39Major Religions of the World
40Religious Pantheons
41Mythic History
42Ecclesiastic Tradition
43Religious Rituals and Traditions
44Holy symbols
45Coming of Age Rituals
46Undead and Undeath
47Inner Planes
48Outer Planes
50Planar Travel
52Culinary Traditions
54Magical Healing
55Behavioral Sciences
56Business Contracts
57Investment strategies
58Corporate structures
59Bureaucratic procedures (and how to navigate them)
61Law and legislation
62Legal rights and obligations
63Political and governmental institutions
64Current Events
65Foreign Affairs
78Basic Medicine
79Surgical Medicine
81Cultures of the past
83Antiques and Antiquities
89Popular Culture
90Gaming and Entertainment
91Street and urban culture
92Strategy and Tactics
93Techniques and strategies for disposing of Bodies
94Ancient Technology
95Cutting-edge devices
96Clandestine Arts
102Fine arts
103Art History
104Artistic Techniques
105Performance art
108Magical Diseases
109Non-Magical Disease
110Traditional Crafts
116Modern Technology
117Maritime Technology
118Wartime technology
119Desert Animals (Fauna)
120Desert Plants (Flora)
121Mountainous Animals (Fauna)
122Mountainous Plants (Flora)
123Oceanic Animals (Fauna)
124Aqueous Plants (Flora)
125Plains Animals (Fauna)
126Plains Plants (Flora)
127Forest Animals (Fauna)
128Forest Plants (Flora)
129Ancient Animals (Fauna)
130Ancient Plants (Flora)
131Minor Arcane Mysteries
132Forgeries and Fakes
133Phetian Technology
134Phetian Magic
135Phetian Religion
136Phetian Culture
137Phetian Architecture
138Ayenian Technology
139Ayenian Magic
140Ayenian Religion
141Ayenian Culture
142Ayenian Architecture
143Nom'ythian Technology
144Nom'ythain Religion
145Nom'ythian Magic
146Nom'ythian Culture
147Nom'ythian Architecture
148Sa'avian Technology
149Sa'avian Religion
150Sa'avian Magic
151Sa'avian Culture
152Sa'avian Architecture
153Human Technology
154Human Religion
155Human Magic
156Human Culture
157Human Architecture
158Genasian Technology
159Genasian Religion
160Genasian Magic
161Genasian Culture
162Genasian Architecture
163Elven Technology
164Elven Religion
165Elven Magic
166Elven Culture
167Elven Architecture
168Faery Religion
169Faery Technology
170Faery Magic
171Faery Culture
172Faery Architecture
173Halfling Technology
174Halfling Magic
175Halfling Religion
176Halfling Culture
177Halfling Architecture
178Gnomish Technology
179Gnomish Religion
180Gnomish Magic
181Gnomish Culture
182Gnomish Architecture
183Dwarven Technology
184Dwarven Religion
185Dwarven Magic
186Dwarven Culture
187Dwarven Architecture
188Orcish Technology
189Orcish Religion
190Orcish Magic
191Orcish Culture
192Orcish Architecture
193Goliath Technology
194Goliath Religion
195Goliath Magic
196Goliath Culture
197Goliath Architecture
198Beasts of Olienn
199Beasts of Martova
200Beasts of Castrillis
201Beasts of Rusatar
202Beasts of Tolara
203Major Arcane Schools
204Soul Constructs
205Soul Transference
206False Dragons
208Weapons of War
209Engineering for Warfare
210General Planar History
There's absolutely no garuntee that, should one actually manage to stumble across these rare and wondrous items, they'll be able to communicate with them- and that's assuming one even wants to speak to them in the first place; some Orbs were created well before Common and Undercommon became the standard trade languages most Sophonts begin learning from birth. They may even speak languages of cultures no longer among the living ... And of course, not even every modern Sophont speaks all 150 languages in the Universe today.

Combat & Other Abilities

Regardless of its personality or general disposition, every Scholar Orb has an Intelligence score of 18. Their Wisdom and Charisma scores, however, are determined by rolling 3d6 for each ability respectively. Additionally, each has an AC of 13 and 1d12 hit points, and can be easily destroyed.   Each Orb can see and hear normally out to a range of 60 feet. They can speak, read, and understand up to 4 languages as determined by rolling on the tables above. And they also have an extensive knowledge of up to 4 narrow academic subjects (again determined by rolling on the tables above when making an Intelligence check to recall lore from any of their areas of expertise, Orbs have a +9 bonus to its roll, including its Intelligence modifier ( 1d20+9 ).   In addition to the knowledge it possesses, a Scholar Orb can cast the Mage Hand cantrip at will in order to handle small (non-magical) items, and to transport itself short distances. They're also immune to the Charmed and Sleep conditions, and cannot be affected by spells and other conditions which decrease Intelligence and Wisdom scores either permanently or temporarily. Unlike most sentient items Orbs also cannot initiate a conflict with any creature in possession of it.

Cover image: Animal Fur by Tim Foster


Author's Notes

▼ Creature Credits ▼
Scolar Orbs are based on the Professor Orbs from 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons © 1993 - 2022 Wizards of the Coast, a subsidiary of Hasbro; they have been modified and adapted from their original form to fit the world of Saleh'Alire.
▼ Please Read Before You Comment ▼
I absolutely love getting feedback on my setting and its worldbuilding. I love it even more when people poke and prod at it, and ask questions about the things I've built within it. I want both. I actively encourage both. And it makes me incredibly giddy whenever I get either. However, there's a time and a place for critique in particular- mostly when I've actually asked for it (which usually happens in World Anvil's discord server). And when I do ask for critique, there are two major things I politely request that you do not include in your commentary:   ➤ The first is any sort of critique on the way I've chosen to organize or format something; Saleh'Alire is not a narrative world written for reader enjoyment... It's is a living campaign setting for Dungeons and Dragons. To that end, it's written and organized for my players and I, specifically for ease of use during gameplay- and our organization needs are sometimes very different than others'. They are especially diferent, often-times, from how things "should be organized" for reader enjoyment.   ➤ Secondly, is any critique about sentence phrasing and structure, word choice, and so on; unless you've specifically found a typo, or you know for a provable fact I've blatantly misued a word, or something is legitimately unclear explicitly because I've worded it too strangely? Then respectfully: Don't comment on it; as a native English speaker of the SAE dialect, language critique in particular will almost always be unwelcome unless it's absolutely necessary. This is especially true if English is not you first language to begin with. My native dialect is criticized enough as it is for being "wrong", even by fellow native English speakers ... I really don't want to deal with the additional linguistic elitism of "formal english" from Second-Language speakers (no offense intended).   That being said: If you want to ask questions, speculate, or just ramble? Go for it! I love talking about my setting and I'm always happy to answer any questions you have, or entertain any thoughts about it. Praise, of course, is always welcome too (even if it's just a casual "this is great", it still means a lot to authors)- and if you love it, please don't forget to actually show that love by liking it and sharing it around. Because I genuinely do enjoy watching people explore and interact with my setting, and ask questions about it, and I'd definitely love to hear from you... Just be respectful about it, yeah?

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