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Crafting a Descriptive Book requires a book and a feather, in no particular shape. Once crafted, players may link immediately, in which case a new age will be chosen out of the many possibilities. Players who wish to customize their age may instead place the Descriptive Book in a Writing Desk and copy symbols from a notebook, so creating a customized age. Otherwise, all of the symbols in the Age will be randomly generated. More often than not, this random generation of symbols will lead to instability, which can cause negative potion effects or the presence of Decay.
Using a Descriptive Book while the book is in one's inventory will cause the book to fall on the ground. Eventually, the book will decay and be destroyed, essentially closing off access to the Age that has been created. Thus, it is recommended to always use Bookstands for this and any other books.
Remember to ALWAYS bring a Linking Book to the overworld before entering a new age. Players who forget to bring a Linking Book to the overworld will be stuck in the age that they have created with no method of escape.
In earlier versions of Mystcraft, prior to version 0.10.x, it was possible to spam-create Descriptive Books, then copy all the randomly generated symbols from the book into one's Notebook, then write ages based off of these symbols, completely sidestepping Unstable Ages.
As of Mystcraft 0.10.x, the mechanisms for writing Descriptive Books have received an overhaul. First, one needs to craft a Book Binder and place a single piece of Leather in the top-left slot. It is believed that the leather is intended to be consumed with each crafting of a book, but as of yet, this does not occur. To acquire a randomly-generated Age, one can place one or more pieces of Paper into the grey box below the two item slots and a link panel. Upon doing so, a Descriptive Book will appear in the top-right slot. Using only one piece of Paper appears to make the world more unstable or at least less favorable, more often spawning Void/End worlds and causing more negative potion effects, as well as Random Explosions.
Previously, it was possible to view the symbols in a Descriptive Book, even if it was randomly generated, in a Writing Desk. The pages now all appear blank if the age is random. Exploration and trade is necessary to find new pages and to create Stable Ages.
Here a few tips if stuck in an age:
One option is to locate a Star Fissure. It is important to note that if the world is randomly generated, Star Fissures will not spawn, as they must be specified by putting a Star Fissure page into the Descriptive Book. Star Fissures appear as a hole into the void with some water at the bottom. Jumping in will return the player to the initial spawn point in the overworld, wherever it is that the player first spawned. Thus, a Star Fissure will allow inventories to persist, but it will not return the player to their bed.
Another option, if the player has already explored the Twilight Forest, is to create a portal to the Forest (assuming that you have or can find one or more Diamonds, water source blocks and grass blocks to create nature-type blocks) and then find a portal back to the overworld. Note that, in the configuration file for the Twilight Forest, there is an option to create portals in dimensions other than the overworld, which is turned off by default. Thus, this method may not be possible. A similar tactic can be attempted with a Nether Portal, but this may also similarly not work.
Find your character file in your save folder and delete only this file. You will spawn in your map like the first time you entered it. Using this will also delete all of your inventory.
Another possible way to get out of an Age is to use a world editor such as MCEdit or NBTExplorer to move the player to the Overworld. Additionally, using the /tpx 0 command will teleport you to the overworld's spawn location, keeping your inventory.
You can also, if you have already been into the nether, spawn a nether portal and walk in. Then, once you are in the nether, walk into the same portal and you will be at a portal in the overworld.
All of the above can usually function in a similar manner, but must be attempted by a server operator.
Mystcraft commands can change a book to link to a new or already generated Age, possibly one in which there exists a linking book. One could also ask a friend to enter the age that you are entrapped in with a Linking Book to the overworld or, if one has a friend who is a server operator, that friend could use the /tpx command to teleport one to the overworld.
Do not go to a new age without crafting a Linking Book to the Overworld. You will get stuck.
When you enter an Age, be very careful. It is advised that one brings some building blocks, a water bucket and one or two healing potions, as the Age can have very negative effects either as ambience (permanent and unchanging) or due to exposure to the sky. Effects due to exposure to the sky can be prevented by keeping a block above one's head or staying underground at all times, such as when the world is a Cave World. Random explosions can also be taking place.
If random sinkholes are appearing in the ground or a wall of a given color is approaching rapidly and eating the terrain, use a Linking Book to escape immediately. This is due to having a very unstable Age, such as by placing a Dense Ores symbol in the Descriptive Book or by having major contradictions in the way that the book is written (e.g. several types of terrain generation, several types of sky color, several types of biome controllers, etc) and will eventually destroy the Age. Read more at the article on Decay.
Prior to Mystcraft 0.10.0.00, Descriptive books could be crafted by simply combining a book and a feather in a crafting grid: