Yesterday, I addressed the acquisition of "raw" feathers, as well as the associate costs, etc. Today, I'll address preparing those feathers for use a quill
Cleaning, Curing, and Cutting
Once a feather has been obtained, it must be cured, cut, and trimmed in order to be used for writing.
First, the feather must be soaked (to make it more pliable) in preparation for curing. For the feathers of ordinary and extraordinary creatures, this can be accomplished by soaking the feather for approximately 24 hours in water that has been purified (by a cleric of any level). For the feathers of magical creatures, the water must also be blessed by a cleric of at least 7th level, and the feather must be soaked in that water for a number of days equal to the difference between an AC of 10 and the AC of the creature from which the feather was procured (e.g., a feather from a magical creature of an AC of 7 would need to soak for 3 days in purified and blessed water.)
Once a feather has soaked, it is tempered to give the tube resilience and toughness (making it less brittle). For the feathers of ordinary and extraordinary creatures, this is accomplished by first heating purified sand (through the use of the cleric spell purify food and drink), then removing the sand from the heat source, and third plunging the tip of the feather into the hot sand, allowing it to remain there until the sand cools. For magical creatures immune to the effects of heat, this tempering process is normally impossible to achieve, and will affect the success of trimming and cutting the feather (as outlined below).
Once the feather has been tempered, it is ready to be cleaned, trimmed, and cut. First, the barbs nearest the tip are removed, giving the hand a clean area to grip the quill. Next, the tip is trimmed to create a small opening at the end of the barrel, allowing access to remove membranes from the inside of the barrel. Finally, the tip is shaped (adding both a point, as well as a “slit” to aid ink flow). For the feathers of ordinary and extraordinary creatures, the chance of success for this process is 10% per level of the spellcaster plus 10% for each point of dexterity above 15 (e.g., a 7th level magic-user with a dexterity of 16 would have a 80% chance to successfully clean and cut an ordinary/extraordinary feather for curing.) For the feathers of magical creatures, the chance of success is the same as above minus the difference between an AC of 10 and the AC of the creature from which the feature was procured times 5% (e.g., the same magic user attempting to clean the feather of a magical creature with an AC of 5 would have a 55% chance of success.) Furthermore, if a magical creature is immune to the effects of normal weapons, the tools being used by the scribe preparing the feather must be of a sufficient level to affect the creature (e.g., if a +2 or better weapon is required “to hit” the creature normally, the tools of the scribe must likewise be sufficiently magically endowed.) For the feathers of creatures immune to the effects of heat (and therefore immune to the effects of the heated sand), the chance of success is similar to that of magical creatures (as above) with the AC modifier multiplied by 10% instead of 5% (e.g., the same magic user attempting to prepare the quill of a magical creature immune to the effects of heat would have only a 30% chance of succeeding.)