Magical Artifact: The Little Alph

It will happen sometimes that when a cleric or magic user studies or meditates upon semiotics and the deeper meaning of language, a vision takes shape within their mind of the Alph.  The Alph is a magical artifact in the form of a single glyph or written character containing all associations of meaning and symbolism.  If paper, clay or some other recording media are available when the Alph manifests then the viewer may record the symbol, thereby producing what is colloquially known as a "Little Alph".

A little Alph can in theory replicate any spell related to symbols, communication or understanding language.  This includes:  arcane mark, break enchantment (written magic only), commune, command (all), comprehend languages, confusion, contact other plane, demand, discern lies, dispel magic (written magic only), erase, glibness, holy word, illusory script, lullaby, magic mouth, message, mnemonic enhancer, read magic, sending, sepia snake sigil, stone tell, suggestion, symbol of ... (all), whispering wind, word of recall, zone of truth.

A Little Alph can only be used by a cleric or magic user.  The would-be user must contemplate a portion of the Alph for a full round and expend sufficient mana (or expend an existing prepared or unused spell slot) to cast the spell as if she were of sufficient level to do so.  The caster level is either equal to the caster's actual level or twice the spell level, whichever is higher.

There are dangers in using a Little Alph:  If the spell caster has insufficient mana (spell slots) available to cast the spell, then understanding of the Alph overwhelms her and she is unable to speak or understand speach and writing for a number of days equal to the level of the spell being cast.

Only a portion of the Alph should normally be viewed at a time to produce each specific effect.  Viewing the Alph in it's entirety automatically produces the same impairment of speech and comprehension of the written and spoken word, but for a period of 24 days.  Those viewing it uncautiously (most first time viewers who have not been warned) automatically succumb to this effect.

Some Little Alphs are actually bound in books with page flaps which intentionally cover strategic portions of the glyph to produce specific effects.  Similarly some Little Alphs which have been damaged or reduced to fragments still function but only allowing access to a limited number of spell-like abilities.

The nature of a Little Alph makes it impossible to transcribe accurately.  Copies are always flawed and either don't produce any effect, or produce cursed effects.