Heh, so that's what those special books were lol. I remember seeing "The art of war" and wondered what happened there. As far as I can tell it isn't usable though? Or maybe it's for something I haven't used.
I guess I'm the only one who finds books useful in the current balancing, so they should probably be more worthwhile. I do think that connecting the scriptorium with a profession (plant processing, LW, or whatever) would help alot though, since a skilled dwarf would then make books much quicker then they do right now.
Making crates of them is definetly a good idea, and so is the idea of a one shot (or maybe few shot, like say 50% chance of return) books that give alot more experience. That would allow you to make a tradeoff between the efforts of your industry vs. the time for your specialist dwarves, which is very good. Either ones you find through arch, or maybe ones that just require alot more mats (although I can't think of any rare mats that they would logically require). Perhaps crates of rare books, with high cost? And maybe make wizard-type enemies drop them? Oh and I think putting them all in one building is a mistake, you generally specialize them to a specific dwarf that only needs a specific type of training anyways.
As for the transformations... that's strange, doesn't the spawn reaction involved multiple transformations where you transform back and forth? Anyways, I know nothing of modding so I guess that's that heh. I'd still definitely prefer having the option to transform into castes, with a warning in known issues or something that you can't transform again. Now that I finally got the 2nd dwarf caravan and bought half a mil's worth of runes and blueprints, I guess I'll be trying out the other transforms heh. I'm looking forward to the healer mage.
I'll try to look at weapon balance later, probably when I play through with the fortress defense races enabled, that's when combat should get very !FUN!. I think my tests vs. dwarves were pretty conclusive, but when you're outnumbered or fighting against creatures that don't feel pain or bleed (nightwings), the balance can be very different, so we'll see.