Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Mishelved: H.P. Lovecraft

By Frank Gori

Something about the scene reminded me of the strange and disturbing Asian paintings of Nicholas Roerich, and of the still stranger and more disturbing descriptions of the evilly fabled plateau of Leng which occur in the dreaded Necronomicon of the mad Arab Abdul Alhazred. I was rather sorry, later on, that I had ever looked into that monstrous book at the college library.” –At the Mountains of Madness

There’s something about the forbidden that calls to human nature. If anything of the Judeo-Christian mythos strikes true it’s that we are undone by our own curiosity. Tell us we can have eternal paradise and all we have to do is not eat a certain fruit the only thing we’ll think about is what that fruit might taste like. For gamers it’s the door not taken.

H.P. Lovecraft tapped into this truth in human nature. We know that looking into the darkness is stupid, that what we learn will not be good for us, and yet we look… we have to look. The Necronomicon is perhaps an overused trope, but what other tomes might have secrets? Keep reading for more.

Xezbeth’s Anatomy- Reading this tome grants the demonologist feat and explains the concepts of demon grafting to the uninitiated. It also describes a variety of drugs and types of items that can be retrieved from a demon corpse.

Nichen’s Divinations- This book is always found in perfect condition. Reading it is surprisingly easy as it translates itself into the native language of the speaker. Once having read this tome the reader benefits by becoming more lingual. In fact the reader gains a +3 bonus to linguistics and they also learn a secret ritual that allows them to Contact Other Plane for 1 hours prep and 100 gold or 1 con worth of blood. Every time this ritual is used there is a 1% cumulative chance that the owner will require a DC 35 Will save or go mad (effects may vary by DM I’d recommend they go CN and have to try and murder a friend.)

The Book of Lost things- This book writes maps to things that are lost within 100 miles of the book's owner. Some of those things are amazing others are rather trivial. After the book has been used 99 times, the items it locates tend to be evil artifacts or cursed items (50% chance) or teleportational items (50% chance.) If the owner of the book encounters a teleportational item capable of transporting themselves to the Dark Tapestry they will have the urge to do so and need to succeed in a daily DC 18 will save. Discarding either the book or the item in question ends the daily save.

Light in the Darkness- This book always has the same effect, it grants the Tapestry Enlightened template you can find here.

Crafter’s Delight- This book changes to suit anyone holding it with a craft skill. No matter their skill this book offers new secrets and mastery and will act as the Crafter’s fortune spell if followed. More intriguingly it offers ways to create magic items without needing the proper spells. The items created function as any magic item of the appropriate type desired but when the crafter crafts it they feel a compulsion to sacrifice a person to make the item. It isn’t expressly in the book but only by sacrificing a thinking being to the powers of the dark tapestry will any of the items function.

Hypocrate's Adhesive- This book is a healer’s godsend! Within its pages is a formula that makes a unique glue that will bind wounds like a light healing spell. The more the glue is experimented with the more remarkable it becomes. It can be used to force the body to accept a limb replacement. It can be used on constructs and undead beings to add evolutions per the summoner eidolon section. It can do that for people as well though for every evolution point gained you take a step closer to chaotic evil.

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