02 April, 2011

Books Magical and Mundane

"You see an ancient and musty tome before you. The cryptic writing on the cover resolves into.."

1. Zarathustra's Atlas - A massive folio volume with non-euclidean maps of the multiverse. Shows time-space locations of portals and gates, transitory, migratory and fixed. Several pages are enchanted with illusions to illustrate working models of worlds, systems and planes.
2. Gormenghast's Bestiary - Each page gives information about a different animal or monster. As soon as the book is opened to a page, an individual of that sort is instantly summoned forth.
3. The Vitiform Codex - As long as this heavy book is kept damp and exposed to at least four hours of sunlight each day, each page grows a different herb (loosely defined, may include fungi, etc.) Raised texture resembling vines pervades the volume, rising up into actual vines in the centre of the page to present the herb detailed on the opposing leaf - even those not generally associated with vines. If left on the ground for long enough, it will put down roots.
4. Holy Scripture - The sacred text of a local religion, but containing bits of heresy in several of the passages. Was this its original form? Includes several clerical spells within the writings.
5. The Book of Faces - Once a person, or a part of the person's body, has touched a blank page of this tome, a simple sketch of the person in their current environment will reside on that page when next the book is opened. Certain conditions and incantations can increase the quality of the image up to a fine painting. Though the image is unmoving, it will 'update' each time the book is opened.
6. Gnomes - A detailed study of a small, mostly woodland-dwelling people. Those in this volume are from six to twelve inches in height, and frequently wear pointed red hats. They make their homes inside trees, large mushrooms, or occasionally underground, biding their time and drinking their wine.
7. Piracy on The High Seas - Rather than a narrative account or record of legal codes, this unusual book proves to be a manual of instruction for prospective privateers and freebooters. Includes several Jolly Roger designs and advice for selecting parrots.
8. Pie - Recipes for a wide variety of sweet and savory pies. Several are purported to have effects similar to simple potions.
9. Ledger - The records of a local shop, business or bank. Examination will show a decided lack of honesty in the proceedings.
10. Journal - The first third of this book details the trials and tribulations of a group of explorers or adventurers, including a handful of maps. The hand of the writing changes suddenly about halfway through, then abruptly stops, leaving the remaining pages blank.
11. The Warlock of Zeveste - A fictional account of the adventures of a weretiger warlock, filled with dangerous trolls, scantilly clad women, thrilling sorcery, and narrow escapes.
12. Asenath's Art of Fine Brewing - Detailed information on the creation of a wide variety of beer, ale and mead. Includes guidelines for distilling faeries.
13. Science - A hand-written treatise on the basics of astronomy, physics, biology and chemistry. Trapped with a blinding curse.
14. On Faeries - A thick tome full of pressed faeries, pixies, sprites and more. Pressed between the pages, and annotated with text, much in the manner of a traditional herbal.
15. Dreams of Evaericar - This appears to be an old but unused journal, and is found with random coins tucked in the pages, totalling no more than 2 gold. If at least one copper coin is placed inside, then the book placed under one's head before going to sleep, more coins will be found within the next morning, totalling no more than 2 gold. Additionally, a narrative of all the sleeper's dreams for the previous night will be recorded on its pages. At some point within the first 1 to 8 nights, one of the unremembered dreams thus transcribed will be terribly disturbing, testing the sanity of the dreamer when they read it the next day. After one week of consecutive use, the sleeper will find themselves able to lucid dream. After one month, they will discover the 77 steps of lighter slumber, leading down to the cavern of flame. After sleeping with the book under their head for one year and one day, their physical body will be transferred to the dreamlands as they sleep, leaving the book behind, now blank.
16. A History of The Royal Family, by Telgar Vosk - A study of the royal family of a nearby kingdom. A thorough reading will reveal that the current ruler does not actually belong on the throne.
17. The Verses of Dimloth - A book of poetry. When opened, the pages generate a warm light in a five foot radius.
18. The Book of Ning - This ancient tome, bound in some questionable material, contains frenetic descriptions of a multitude of unwholesome rituals. Extended ritual versions of several magic-user spells are contained within.
19. Codex of The Silver Key - Careful study of this lengthy and sanity-trying volume will eventually empower the reader with knowledge of how to part the veils of reality. The gate thusly formed will lead to entities which must be entreated for passage to the desired destination. The entities themselves may well prove too much for all but the strongest minds to endure.
20. The King in Yellow - Once begun, the reader will find this convoluted and paradoxical manuscript of a play very difficult to put down. If the entire play is read, the reader is rendered irrevocably insane (although not necessarily unplayable.) See this link to convey partial details of the play to the unfortunate reader.


James said...


NetherWerks said...

Very nice! Good to see The King in Yellow in the list. Gormenghast's Bestiary would also be a fun item to discover...

Anonymous said...

Fantastic post that will get used in my game at some stage. Thanks migellito.

migellito said...

One is glad to be of service :)

The bestiary proved quite enjoyable.. they kicked themselves whenever they forgot to mark a page, and they actually added party members via the book on two occasions (githyanki and minotaur heh.)