Manuals are the remains of ancient history, left behind by their creators as a legacy to the world. Most have long since been lost and destroyed, but a rare few still appear on various creatures. When a creature has one it will hold it in hand, claw or tentacle, and the only way of locating it is by looking at the being in question and seeing it first hand. It is impossible for mortal beings to use any skill or spell to locate these special manuals, and a great deal of luck is involved in discovering them.
The 'read' command is used when holding a manual, prayer book, tome or libram which contains special knowledge. When used, the reader will attempt to gain knowledge from the source, and if successful some affect will be bestowed upon the person. Most manuals are entirely specific to a limited number of classes, and only those classes will gain from reading them. Trying to 'examine' the book will generally tell you who the knowledge is intended for.
Many manuals exist, and their affects range from boosting health to granting new abilities such as improved assassin techniques, killing methods, fighting stances and spell improvements. Almost every manual is destroyed on reading, even if the user gains nothing from it.
Spellbooks are somewhat more common than manuals, if only very slightly. A mage can learn new spells through acquiring these books, though again each book is specifically designed for its own caster, be they Necromancer, Invoker or Transmuter.
A 'read magic' spell should be cast upon the spellbook to first discern which spell it contains. The caster must then hold the book in hand, and attempt to memorise the stored spell. Successful or otherwise, the book will usually vaporise after use.