Might character generated skill books fit nicely into Marosia’s envisioned setting?
It could work something like…
-Character must be Master level of the skill they wish to create a book for.
-Character can create a maximum of ??? Skillbooks in a lifetime.
-materials must be gathered/acquired for the book.
-A preset book description will be mechanically enforced (applied automatically at project creation) (EX: simply Alchemy Skillbook: Within this book is knowledge related to alchemy. Something that conveys what the book mechanically will do regardless of character customization.
-An optional character created description may be added. EX: Unique title, some amount of text space within to include actual text/pictures related to the topic. This character generated portion would be submitted to GM for approval to check for topic relatedness, ethics approval, or whatever else seems necessary.
-Some actual time and perhaps tools are required for actual project advancement, in addition to raw materials.
-The completed book will have a set number of uses, clearly visible to other characters so that they have a mechanic that allows them to both RP condition of a book they are considering to purchase and so that they have some measure to know what exactly they are purchasing. For easy coding, perhaps all skill books start with 10? uses, and there is no other quality/rot calculation required.
-A character with book object in inventory may initiate a Read project. (or on location, depending on how much you want books to rely on characters providing for their security)
-Each Read project of the book takes one from remaining uses.
-Each Read project takes some amount of time. (could be set amount for easier coding, or calculated based on reader’s related skill. But there is a time cost as an actual project.
-Starting a read project may be cancelled at any point before completion, which will result in 0 skill gain yet also won’t reduce the number of uses. (EX: someone new simply curious about how a book works may not have really meant to use it, and that can be undone without penalizing someone for accidentally clicking a wrong button).
-When a Read project completes, the reading character gets ??? increase to the relevant skill.
-The same character may only use a specific skill book x? number of times (maybe even only 1 time?).
-When a skill book is used for the last allowed time, some event is printed like: [Skillname] book is too worn to read.
-The book object fully disappears after last allowed use. (Or, the object could be replaced with An Unreadably Alchemy Skillbook, if it is desired that they still exist simply as relics or as trash or RP devices)
-A Read project may be started anywhere, unless there will be some situations/states where objects/projects in general are disallowed.
-books may be picked up, dropped, given, stored, etc. like any regular object.
-a skill book may be copied, using appropriate materials and a timed effort, yet the copy will not give any skill increase and will have some mechanic that identifies it as a copy. Copying exists solely so that player created work can be preserved for novelty/librarires/historians/preservationists/collectors/family moments, etc., since the original author will definitely die at some point and using the books would otherwise mean works must be fully lost.
-The skill required to create a skill book, the time and materials, plus the number of allowed creations per character and the allowed number of uses, should be balanced to ensure books are something a society must decide how well to value in comparison to learning by going out and getting their hands dirty with practice.
-Allows investment in the young, or investment in society members who are desired to take a leading role in certain manufacturing.
-Allows for (presumably pay-per-read) town libraries. Or, at least creates opportunity for locales to philosophize about whether knowledge is a right/should be “free.”
-Allows wealthy families another type of luxury good.
-Allows more opportunity for RP related to elitism.
-Allows opportunity for characters to choose additional self development paths.
-Creates an additional valuable commodity for merchants.
-Creates an additional opportunity to gain fame/build legacy.