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8/17/2018 11:14 pm  #1


The Dark Treasury

So, somewhat inspired by my own research in my day job as a Professor of Asian history as well as my recent re-reading of Robert E. Howard & Clark Ashton Smith, I created a set of volumes of lost, forbidden, arcane and profane knowledge for my home campaign, which is a mash-up of AS&SH and Labyrinth Lord.  In the lore of my campaign world, the Dark Treasury has only been assembled in whole three times.  The first time was just before the fall of Atlantis.  The second was under the reign of the Golden Emperor of ancient Leng, sometimes called the King in Yellow.  After a brief age of philosophy, the realm degenerated into warring states and saw the rise of the yuan-ti and other serpent folk.  The third time was under the Pharaoh Necrotis who ruled in the Karim Desert.  His reign resulted in a massive apocalypse known as The Time of Dark Heaven and he became the first of the Mummy Lords.  Ever since this time, more than 1500 years ago, the works have been scattered.

There are 13 works in total.  All have special powers and/or contain spells and rituals.  As you'll recognize, most of these are cribbed or adapted from various sources, but a couple are my own invention.  Not sure exactly what I'll do with them in the campaign yet, but they'll be connected to the second Time of Dark Heaven, which is a big apocalyptic campaign I wrote for 1st edition AD&D over about 15 years awhile back.  I think I'll drop some of them into various mega-dungeons like Barrowmaze and Rappan Athuk.  Here is the list:
1. Necronomicon
2. Book of Vile Darkness
3. 7 Cryptic Scrolls of Shan
4. Book of Dzyan
5. Liber Mortis
6. Grey Grimoire
7. Scrolls of Skelos (Iron-bound Book of Skelos)
8. Ebon Codex (Book of Eibon)
9. Pnakotic Manuscripts
10. Tome of Eldritch Alchemy
11.  Book to be Burned
12. Lemurian Fragments (Includes Scarlet Verses & Libram of Pain)
13. Book of Keeping

Most are currently lost of fragmented, though a few are in the hands of powerful magicians, necromancers, cults (like the Starry Wisdom Sect or the Sisters of the Moons), or even the forces of good.  Just thought I'd share this since I've had so much fun messing around with this.
 


"Behind closed eyes,realize your sight."--Blue Oyster Cult
 

8/19/2018 1:05 am  #2


Re: The Dark Treasury

I'd like to suggest another classic volume.

The King in Yellow. A thin black volume with a large Yellow Sign embossed across the cover. The text is an ambiguous, dream-like play in three parts describing the succession of royalty in an alien city. It reveals truth as a phantom and the essential hopelessness of man's search for meaning in a cold and dispassionate universe, exposing readers to madness. Spells: The Yellow Sign.

The Library of Khromarium will pay handsomely for its return.

Last edited by Brock Savage (8/19/2018 1:08 am)

 

8/19/2018 10:38 am  #3


Re: The Dark Treasury

Brock Savage wrote:

I'd like to suggest another classic volume.

The King in Yellow. A thin black volume with a large Yellow Sign embossed across the cover. The text is an ambiguous, dream-like play in three parts describing the succession of royalty in an alien city. It reveals truth as a phantom and the essential hopelessness of man's search for meaning in a cold and dispassionate universe, exposing readers to madness. Spells: The Yellow Sign.

The Library of Khromarium will pay handsomely for its return.

I know of the book (and it's on my Amazon wish list) but I decided to limit my Dark Treasury to 13 titles.  But you may have seen the reference to the King in Yellow in my backstory.  So there's a nod.  My campaign world is full of Easter eggs and extrapolations like that.  Among the principal forces of evil is the sinister Blue Oyster Cult, affiliated with the necromancer Imaginos....
 


"Behind closed eyes,realize your sight."--Blue Oyster Cult
     Thread Starter
 

8/19/2018 11:09 am  #4


Re: The Dark Treasury

Spider of Leng wrote:

But you may have seen the reference to the King in Yellow in my backstory.

I saw the reference to the King so I decided to mention the book. Good luck with your campaign!

 

8/22/2018 8:25 am  #5


Re: The Dark Treasury

Sounds like an epic bibliophile quest! Am interested on what your take on the individual volumes 'powers/abilities' are and what happens when you bring them all together (Mwahahaha)!

 

8/22/2018 9:47 pm  #6


Re: The Dark Treasury

I've sketched out general spells, rituals, etc. for each volume but I'm still thinking about what they could do together.  For example, The Book to be Burned, one of my own creations, is a treatise on evil elemental magic.  It is full of elemental spells, information on controlling and summoning elementals, opening gates to the elemental and para-elemental planes, and details on worshiping elemental beings such as the Princes of Elemental Evil and the possibly fictitious Elder Elemental God.  The work was lost when the Temple of Elemental Evil was destroyed but is believed to be somewhere in the Forbidden Caverns of Archaia.

The Ebon Codex contains histories of the ancient sorcerers of Mhu Thalan.  It also has records concerning the Great Old Ones, spells on opening gates, prayers to Ythaqqa, information on scribing protective circles against OId Ones and their minions, and curses to cripple and kill foes such as the Emanation of Yoth and the Green Decay.  It has other powers and spells too, mostly connected to conjuration and summoning.  Local lore holds that there is a copy in the Barrowmaze. [Incidentally I'm currently reading the Book of Eibon published by Chaosium and getting all kinds of ideas for fleshing this book out more].

Certainly the collective power of the Dark Treasury will drive any mortal mind insane within a relatively short time.  But it can also provide the power to trigger apocalypses, wake Great Old Ones, open gates to other worlds, times, and dimensions, and who knows what else?  I think only the truly mad would want to own all the volumes. 


"Behind closed eyes,realize your sight."--Blue Oyster Cult
     Thread Starter
 

10/23/2018 7:12 pm  #7


Re: The Dark Treasury

I fleshed out the various works of the Dark Treasury awhile back and recently created a list of factions and individuals who will be the ongoing antagonists and allies of the PCs as they slowly acquire knowledge of these fell and eldritch works.  Here is the list of factions.  Some are original; many are cribbed from fiction and/or pop culture sources.  Feel free to ask for more detail on any of them.  Eventually I'll get around to posting my notes on each work from the Dark Treasury, but they're pretty extensive in a couple cases.

Akiyasha the Sorceress
Starry Wisdom Sect
The Blue Oyster Cult
The Cabal
The Black Ring/Thulsa Doom
The Union of the Snake
The Nine Trigrams Sect
The Faceless Masks
Knights of the Sun & Moon
Templar Knights
Rangers of the Knot
Druids of the Vale
Sisters of the Moon
Pnakotic Brotherhood
Vecna's Cult
Great Race of Yith


"Behind closed eyes,realize your sight."--Blue Oyster Cult
     Thread Starter
 

10/24/2018 11:05 pm  #8


Re: The Dark Treasury

M'Koth wrote:

Sounds like an epic bibliophile quest! Am interested on what your take on the individual volumes 'powers/abilities' are and what happens when you bring them all together (Mwahahaha)!

Indeed---I can foresee a Club-Dumas-like quest to recover (or prevent the recovery of) several volumes which are required to decrypt/decipher some forgotten lore, mystical ritual, prophecy of doom, etc.

Spider of Leng wrote:

I've sketched out general spells, rituals, etc. for each volume but I'm still thinking about what they could do together. 

For my work on the Demonomicons of Iggwilv (noted by Gygax in S4 to be one of six copies), I sketched out the contents of the volumes (on DF @ https://www.dragonsfoot.org/forums/viewtopic.php?p=1194457#p1194457 ), and definitely like the idea of collecting a set of the books in order to glean necessary information from each, for some fell purpose (or beneficial---perhaps the PCs need a Dismissal or Exaction spell along with a truename in order to prevent some catastrophe). 

Spider of Leng wrote:

Incidentally I'm currently reading the Book of Eibon published by Chaosium and getting all kinds of ideas for fleshing this book out more.

Lin Carter published a cool (and very short!) chapbook in 1984 about the history of the Book of Eibon, which IIRC was included in Chaosium's volume?:  https://www.ebay.com/itm/153230968080

Spider of Leng wrote:

Certainly the collective power of the Dark Treasury will drive any mortal mind insane within a relatively short time.  But it can also provide the power to trigger apocalypses, wake Great Old Ones, open gates to other worlds, times, and dimensions, and who knows what else?  I think only the truly mad would want to own all the volumes.

Which of course means you have several sets of groups seeking them, right? ;)

Spider of Leng wrote:

Here is the list of factions.  Some are original; many are cribbed from fiction and/or pop culture sources. 

These looked fun!:

Spider of Leng wrote:

Akiyasha the Sorceress
Starry Wisdom Sect
The Blue Oyster Cult
The Nine Trigrams Sect
The Faceless Masks

Allan.

 

10/25/2018 12:45 pm  #9


Re: The Dark Treasury

Spider, I want to game in that world!

 

11/01/2018 10:00 pm  #10


Re: The Dark Treasury

As promised, I'm going to start uploading my write-ups on the Dark Treasury.  Feel free to crib/steal whatever you'd like.  I'm drawing upon all kinds of sources and inspirations.  Note that place names referenced herein are from my home world of Krysonia, which is a long-running 1st edition campaign transitioning to Labyrinth Lord Advanced when the new book comes out.  I added Hyperborea as the north pole of my world when I picked up AS&SH last spring and started working it into my own backstory and campaign.  Veteran gamers will no doubt spot other NPCs, places and such from assorted published works that I've amalgamated into my campaign as I suspect many of us do.

We start with the Necronomicon for obvious reasons.

The sinister and fabled Necronomicon is probably the most infamous of all the works in the Dark Treasury.  It has been dubbed "the gate to insanity," among other things.  Bound in human skin and inked in human blood, the book is generally attributed to a mad prophet of the Karim Desert named Abdul al Hazred, though many scholars debate the man's very existence and argue that the work is the product of many twisted hands and demented minds over many centuries.  According to popular lore, shortly after al Hazred finished the book, he was annihilated by an invisible demon or jinn in the light of day on a busy street.

In terms of its contents, the book is encyclopedic, though bafflingly so.  It is filled with cryptic allusions, references and symbols.  Most believe it is beyond the power of mortal minds, even those of elves, to comprehend all the mysteries of the Necronomicon.  The book reputedly contains all the necromantic spells known to man.  It also contains explicit instructions for raising armies of undead, creating undead and controlling more powerful entities.  Furthermore, it can serve as a liturgical text for priests of Set, Nergal, and Orcus, not to mention followers of Great Old Ones such as Azatoth or Nyarlathotep.  Descriptions of profane rites and ceremonies can be found within, as can instructions for creating unholy sites and gates to realms of death and chaos.  Some claim that the book contains information about the Chaos Tablet (see Barrowmaze).

The book is Chaotic Evil in alignment and is indestructible to any being below the power of a greater deity of good.  Anyone of good alignment who touches the book with bare flesh suffers 2-24 points of damage.  Reading it is 80% likely to render the reader evil, insane, or both.  Neutrals or evil creatures may handle the book without taking damage but may still be subject to gradual insanity at the GM's discretion.  The original was written in the hieroglyphic script of ancient Khemri.  A few translations have been made, mostly into Elvish, though at least one Thracian (Ixian) version has circulated in Hyperborea, and there is also at least one Dwarven (Duergar) copy.  All editions in various common tongues are fragments and none of these copies suffices to be included in a complete version of the Dark Treasury.  The book is known to contain many special spells pertaining to the Great Old Ones and other beings of the so-called Cthulhu Mythos.  These spells include:
Bind the Soul
Black Binding
Body Warping of Gorgoroth
Call/Dismiss Azatoth
Contact Deity/Nyarlathotep
Create Gate
Dread Curse of Azatoth
Dust of Suleiman
Elder Sign
Death Spell
Summon Night Gaunts
[All from Call of Cthulhu]

The original book has been lost and rediscovered many times over the centuries.  Its current location is unknown, though most believe it is in Hypberborea, possibly on the Plateau of Leng.  It is known that the evil wizard and traveler of worlds, Jupiter Kwan, is eager to acquire the book, if not the entire Dark Treasury.  The Great Library at Valakant contains the most complete Elvish manuscript.  Another is said to be held by one of the drow noble houses in Erelhei Cinlu.  A copy is also reputed to be somewhere in Rappan Athuk.  Some evil groups work against its recovery, fearing for their own survival.  The Templar Knights of the Church of Ukko in Valakant would like to acquire it and try to destroy it with divine aid.


"Behind closed eyes,realize your sight."--Blue Oyster Cult
     Thread Starter
 

11/02/2018 11:20 pm  #11


Re: The Dark Treasury

And here is the second work, The Book of Vile Darkness.

First compiled centuries ago by the Cabal and frequently appended since, this dread tome is a repository of rare and unique spells and vile rituals pertaining to the summoning and control of infernal beings.  It also contains a wealth of information on demonic and devilish cults.  Furthermore, the book is full of information on the geography and inhabitants of the Infernus, though it is likely that not all the information contained herein is current and/or accurate.  But one can assume that any conjuration or summoning spell from the standard rules involving Infernal creatures or Great Old Ones can be found in here.  The tome radiates evil and any non-evil being that possesses the book for more than a week must make a wisdom check each week at a penalty of +1 (cumulative) per week or their alignment shifts one step towards the nearest evil one on the scale.  Once the first check is failed, only atonement, limited wish or similar magic can restore the user's original alignment.

The original book is bound in the leathery skin of a pit fiend and decorated with embossed skulls of desecrated innocent children.  In addition to the information mentioned above, the Book of Vile Darkness has detailed information on dark magic items and artifacts.  Most significantly, the steps for casting the spell of eternal night, AKA "Dark Heaven," can be found in this tome.  The text of the original is High Infernal, but there are numerous debased copies floating around in Krysonia and Hyperborea.  The original was held by the Cabal for centuries but was stolen by thieves not long ago.  It is believed these thieves were in league with drow, but there is no hard evidence.  There is a reward of 100,000 gp for its recovery.  It is said that the forces of good would pay twice that for its destruction.  But the only reputed method of its destruction is the sound of a thousand fallen angels weeping in concert for forgiveness for their vile crimes.

In game terms, all spells and items from the AD&D 3rd edition Book of Vile Darkness are in here.

Note: In my campaign world, all the traditional lower planes, along with those from the Role-Aids Demons supplements and a couple others, are intertwined into the Infernus.  While there are demons, devils, daemons, etc., with differing alignments, there is no such thing as that lame 2nd edition Blood War.  Sometimes the demons and devils cooperate, sometimes they fight and intrigue against each other.  One may encounter mercenary demons in the planes of Hell or devils in the Abyssal realms.
 


"Behind closed eyes,realize your sight."--Blue Oyster Cult
     Thread Starter
 

11/03/2018 9:18 pm  #12


Re: The Dark Treasury

The Seven Cryptic Scrolls of Shan

Written by the deranged philosopher Shan the Elder (Shan the Greater) sometime in the formative years of Leng, this work is a dark counterpart to more prosaic texts of divination.  It is comprised of seven linked scrolls or books, each of which provides information on specific areas of knowledge.  These are linked to the traditional Five Elements (wuxing) of Leng, as well as the Cthulhu/Kthulhu Mythos.  Use of the scrolls can attract beings of the mythos and can transform the user into a worshiper of these ancient beings.  This also makes them highly sought after by certain dark cults.  The scrolls are written in an archaic form of the language of Leng, generally intelligible only to scholars and mystics.  The areas of focus and associated elements are as follows:
Wood Scroll (木卷)
Concerns the history of the Golden Emperor of Yore, also sometimes known as The King in Yellow.  Also has information on fantastic inventions and magical healing.  Spells contained in this scroll include Resurrection, Control Skin, and Consume Likeness.
Metal Scroll (金卷)
This scroll contains information on ritual cannibalism and ghoulish cults.  The spells found herein include Raise Dead, Summon Ghouls, Animate Dead, Ghoul Touch, Control Ghouls, Corpse Visage, Compel Flesh, and Contact Spirits of the Dead.
Moon Scroll (月卷)
This scroll provides detailed information on spirits of the air and night, including details on interacting with geniekind.  Spells found in this scroll include Summon Air Elemental, Unseen Servant, Summon/Bind Byakhee, Contact Flying Polyp, Summon Ithaqqa, Curse of Darkness, Enchant Whistle, and Summon Nightgaunt.
Earth Scroll (土卷)
As would be expected, this volume contains the means to summon & control beings associated with the element of earth.  Gates to the plane of earth can also be opened using the information herein.  Spells found in this scroll include Summon Earth Elemental, Call Cthonian, Contact Sand Dweller, Earthquake, and Create Dust Storm.
Water Scroll (水卷)
In addition to covering information about water beings and water elementals, this scroll provides extensive information about the deep ones, their communities, and machinations.  It also treats the Hounds of Tindalos.  Spells found in here include Water Breathing, Summon Deep One, Contact Hound of Tindalos, Command Shark or Porpoise, Contact Chthulhu, Contact Star Spawn of Cthulhu, Enchant Flesh, and Create Mist of Ryl'eh.
Fire Scroll (火卷)
The fire scroll gives insights into other dimensions and hidden realms, in addition to fire elementals and beings such as efreeti.  Spells include those opening to Kadath and the Plateau of Leng, Cloak of Fire, Create Fetch Stick, Brew Space Mead, Brew Dream Drug, and Create Glass of Leng.
Void Scroll (空卷)
The void scroll serves as a primer on the Cthulhu Mythos and has information on all the Great Old Ones and their cults, though its veracity is suspect.  It also has extensive details on opening gates and summoning Mythos creatures.  Therefore, in game terms virtually any of the call/summoning spells from the Call of Cthulhu or Realms of Crawling Chaos books can be found in this scroll.  Anyone reading it must make a wisdom check at a +3 penalty or risk insanity and induction into a random cult of the DM's choosing,

The Seven Cryptic Scrolls are written on strips of treated bamboo and held together by silken cords.  For centuries they were carefully safeguarded in the Purple Lotus Monastery in Leng.  But they were stolen not long ago and there is little clue as to their current whereabouts.  It is known that the powerful witch, Akiyasha of Mimana, seeks the scrolls.  They are also sought by the Nine Trigrams Sect, a notorious secret society of Leng.

[Note: In my campaign world, the Mysterious Celestial Kingdom of Leng is an ancient and forbidding land surrounded by mountains and desert.  It is essentially a mash-up of ancient China and Tibet, a vast kingdom where rulers are advised by monks and lamas.  Its name is derived from the place in Hyperborea and it is believed that gates to the Hyperborea Plateau of Leng can be found in the haunted ruins of Sarkomand, an ancient trading city located on the shores of Qing Hu, or Azure Lake.  Incidentally, the Asian-derived lands of my world are located west, rather than east, of the traditional fantasy realms populated by elves, gnomes, humans, etc.  A few enterprising travelers do make it east and unions between these adventurers and elves are not unknown, creating powerful half-elven characters with unique skills and abilities.]
 


"Behind closed eyes,realize your sight."--Blue Oyster Cult
     Thread Starter
 

11/04/2018 9:56 pm  #13


Re: The Dark Treasury

The Book of Dzyan

The Book of Dzyan is the only surviving fragment of a much larger ancient work called the Books of Khui-te.  The path laid out herein is sometimes referred to as the "Secret Doctrine."  It was originally written in ancient Vendhya by a guru after meditating and communing with primordial spirits for decades.  Its teachings are fragments, stanzas of poetic wisdom pertaining to inter-planar and inter-stellar travel, other dimensions and reincarnation.  By mastering the mental disciplines and carrying out certain rituals, some quite profane, one can travel through worlds and attain oneness with the multiverse.  Unlike the other volumes in the Dark Treasury, this work is not inherently evil.  It can, however, be used to gain access to other places and times, reputedly even the ends of the multiverse, where the mad being Azatoth pipes at the end of time.

The Book of Dzyan is written in the ancient script of Vendhya, now known to a few gurus, mystics, yuan-ti, and snake-men.  Even to these beings its methods and teaching can be inscrutable.  There have been a few efforts to translate it into the common tongue.  The most famous was by a female philosopher named Irina Blatovsky.  Her version of the text, called The Secret Doctrine, circulated widely in her lifetime.  But she disappeared while studying in Shangdu.  Since then, more than a century ago, copies of this translation have become increasingly valuable.  The original work is believed to still exist in manuscript form somewhere in the Yuanshan Mountains, north of Vendhya.  Madame Blatovsky claimed she would astrally project there (and elsewhere) to converse with asuras, devas, and other beings and later recorded their conversations for her transcriptions. 

In terms of specific spells one might find in the book they include Create Gate, Contact Nyarlathotep, Astral Spell, various demon summoning spells, Create Barrier of Naach-tith, Create Time Gate, Create Window, and Create Scrying Window.  In terms of its physical form, the Book of Dzyan allegedly consists of loose-leaf pages inside a slender acacia box that is tied with silken strands from an earth spider.  Even if separated the pages always come back together as a whole.
 


"Behind closed eyes,realize your sight."--Blue Oyster Cult
     Thread Starter
 

11/05/2018 10:40 pm  #14


Re: The Dark Treasury

Liber Mortis

The Liber Mortis, or Book of the Undead, is a collection of some of the greatest spells and treatises on the black arts of necromancy.  Its black leather cover seems to radiate evil and corruption, evil while the book appears spotless and neat.  There is a silver pentagram on its leather cover and a book latch on the side that keeps the tome closed when not in use.

The book emits a mild aura of evil in a 15 foot radius.  This is easily detected even by beings not sensitive to magic.  Any non-evil creature will feel a sense of disquiet in its presence and all morale checks will be at -2.  But the Liber Mortis is far more than just a spellbook.  It is imbued with negative planar energy to the point that it has a will of its own.  It cannot dominate its wielder outright but it will use dreams and other lures to encourage a caster to delve deeper into its secrets and begin to cast spells, which have an increasingly deleterious effect, as noted below.  Indeed, many would-be guardians of this dark work have become its tools and victims.

Any spellcaster may use the spells in the book, even if their regular class precludes them.  Furthermore, the spells cannot be memorized from the book but can be cast repeatedly as if they were from a scroll.  With each spell cast, the caster loses 1 point of wisdom but is unaware of the loss.  When the caster reaches -1 wisdom the book will consume the caster;s soul (no save allowed) and his body will crumble to dust and cannot be resurrected.  Any mage who reads the book will gain 1 level of experience.  All those who peruse the Liber Mortis must make a wisdom check or move one step towards Chaotic Evil in alignment.  For instance, a Lawful Good reader would become Lawful Neutral. 

The Liber Mortis' known abilities & spells are:
Cleave Flesh (4xday)
Detect Undead (3xday)
Invisibility to Undead (3xday)
Speak with Dead (3xday)
Animate/Preserve Dead (3xday)
Magic Circle vs. Undead (2xday)
Create Undead (1xday)
Create Greater Undead (1xday)

*Cleave Flesh is a 1st level spell that allows the caster to force the flesh of a corpse to drop away, leaving a clean set of bones to animate as a skeleton or use for other arcane purposes.  It will not do the same to living flesh but will disrupt it, causing 2-8 points of damage.

The book also allows the reader to control undead as a cleric of the same level as the user.

Gives the alchemical recipe for Hydra's Teeth.  These items, made from the actual teeth of a hydra and combined with rare unguents, allow the user to bring forth a number of skeletons equal to the number of teeth used to serve the caster.

The book also contains detailed information on the creation of spectres and attaining lich or demi-lich status.

The book attunes itself to the user according to alignment.  The closer one is to Chaotic Evil, the more abilities that can be used.  Thus, as one becomes more mad and more evil, they can gain more powers and can use more abilities.  The damage listed below applies the first time the user reads the book closely.  It only applies once per reader.
Alignment                                        Damage Incurred                                            Use Abilities
LG                                                     4d4                                                                  1
LN                                                     3d4                                                                   1,2
LE                                                     1d4                                                                   1,2,3
NG                                                    3d4                                                                   1
N                                                       2d4                                                                   1,2
NE                                                    1d4                                                                   1,2,3
CG                                                    2d4                                                                   1
CN                                                    1d4                                                                   1,2,3
CE                                                     Nil                                                                    All

The book was recently recovered by an adventuring band known as the Guardians of the Glade and Gorge.  They turned it over to the Rangers of the Knot based on the edges of the Mystwood.
 


"Behind closed eyes,realize your sight."--Blue Oyster Cult
     Thread Starter
 

11/05/2018 11:25 pm  #15


Re: The Dark Treasury

The Grey Grimoire

This is an arcane tome pertaining to the black arts associated with demonkind, most notably the denizens of the demi-planes of Diannor, Verekna, Vecheron, Thanis, and Og.  The Grey Grimoire was originally a compilation of scrolls that included the Forbidden Key and the Scarlet Verses, first bound by one Maegrallith over a thousand years ago.  Since that time it has passed from one master to the next and has been the property of demon lords from every order and orbit at one time or another.  Most of the spells scribed herein are common to demonkind, but known to only a few mortal wizards and thaumaturgists.  Because the book is written in a bastardized form of the Infernal tongue, mixed with smatterings of common, any mortal reading the book has only half their normal chance of learning the spells in here.  Moreover, repeated use of the spells in the book will imbue the caster with a demonic taint (Chr save applies) as detailed in the (Role-Aids) Demons supplements.

In addition to all standard Thaumaturgist [Demons] spells, the Grey Grimoire contains the following spells.  [From Demons II]
Bleed
Cloak of Torment
Feral Blight
Fester
Fiery Lash of Torment Unbearable
Mark of the Beast
Sanctum Infernal
Dweomerdire
Grievous Sympathy
Infernal Ingestor
Utterdark
Watchward
Tears of Blood
[Also contains all the Infernal spells from the Demons supplement except for the arch-magics]

There were a few debased copies of the Grey Grimoire circulating around Krysonia but the last known viable edition was owned by a thaumaturgist named Kellis Green.  His last known residence was in Valakant but he seems to have disappeared.  As for the book, it is grey in color, its cover fashioned of some kind of Infernal leather, with scrawl in the Infernal tongue on its cover.  The text inside is said to glow in the presence of demons.
 


"Behind closed eyes,realize your sight."--Blue Oyster Cult
     Thread Starter
 

11/06/2018 11:21 pm  #16


Re: The Dark Treasury

The Scrolls of Skelos

The Scrolls of Skelos, also known as the Ironbound Book of Skelos, are legendary texts sought by sorcerers all over Krysonia.  Within the pages of this forbidding book are spells and incantations to bring the dead to life, control the elements, and summon demons from the Infernus, the Outer Darkness, the black gulfs of space and the Pits of Arallu.  In the present age only three complete copies are known to exist.  One is held under guard by the Knights of the Sun and the Moon in Safehold.  Another is in a remote temple in jungled Vendhya.  The third copy was found by pirates on a nameless isle under the idol of the Toad God, Tsathoqqa.  It was brought to Thulsa Doom, necromancer of the Black Ring.

Single pages from incomplete copies of the scrolls often find their way into sorcerer's hands.  These usually contain a spell or two or the true name of a powerful demon or eldritch entity.  On a small island far to the south the lore of the savages living there holds that demons guard the bones of the long dead mage Skelos.  Some believe that they can resurrect the mage as a form of undead.  Woe betide those who dare try.

The complete Scrolls of Skelos function as a Libram on Ineffable Damnation.  It contains the following powerful spells in addition to the normal abilities of such a tome:
Finger of Death
Greater Planar Binding
Gate
Soul Bind

It also holds two unique spells:

Sword of Skelos
8th level magic-user spell
Components: V,S,M
Casting Time: Special
Range: Touch
Duration: Permanent
Saving Throw: Yes
This spell enchants a weapon, usually a sword, to slay upon command.  The casting requires that the weapon is exposed to the four elements: the weapon to be enchanted is covered in tomb dust from the Karim Desert, slashed thrice through the air, sprinkled with water, and thrust into a hot flame.  To complete the enchantment the weapon must be blooded by a human sacrifice immediately after the spell is cast.  By uttering a command word at a target the caster causes the sword to fly unerringly towards its target.  The range is 25 feet plus 5 feet per 2 caster levels.  The victim must save vs. death magic.  If successful, they take 3d6 damage plus 1 point per caster level.  If they fail, they are slain instantly.  But anyone who saves is thereafter immune to the effects of that particular weapon.
Preparing the weapon to be enchanted takes a full day.  Completing the spell takes 10 minutes.  Only two Swords of Skelos created by the same caster can exist at the same time.  The material component of the spell is a jewel encrusted sword or weapon worth at least 500 gp.

Undead Gate
8th level Magic-user/ 6th level Necromancer Spell
Components: V,S,M
Casting Time: 6 Hours
Range: Special
Duration: Special
Saving Throw: None

By means of this spell, the caster can enchant any normal portal to act as a gate for undead monsters.  The portal need not be large enough to allow the undead to pass through it, as the magic of the spell causes the undead to appear in the vicinity of the portal.  Once the undead gate has been placed, it cannot be moved.  Furthermore, no more than one undead gate can exist in any given square mile area.  Any attempt to create another gate negates all of them.  An undead gate remains enchanted indefinitely but can only be used one time per level of the caster.  Thus, a 16th level necromancer could use her gate16 times, after which the enchantment would vanish.  The gate can be detected as magic and can can closed via dispel magic or dispel evil spells.  Once the spell is cast the caster can use it so long as they are within 120 feet of the portal. Upon command the undead gate will summon a random number of a random type of undead monster.  Summoned undead appear anywhere within 120 feet of the portal as commanded by the caster.  They remain until destroyed or for 1 round per level of the caster, at which point they simply vanish.  They can understand the caster's spoken commands.  To determine the type and number of undead, roll d20 and see below:
1. 1-8 Sons of Kyuss
2. 1 Ghost
3. 1 Banshee
4. 1-6 Spectres
5. 2-12 Wraiths
6. 1-6 Monster Skeletons
7. 1-6 Monster Zombies
8. 1-10 Huecuvae
9. 2-24 Ghouls
10. 1-8 Poltergeists
11.  2-20 Animal Skeletons
12. 3-24 Zombies
13. 3-30 Skeletons
14. 2-20 Shadows
15. 1-4 Juju Zombies
16. 2-8 Giant Skeletons
17. 1-4 Ghasts
18. 2-16 Wights
19. 2-8 Mummies
20. 1-4 Vampires

Undead summoned via the gate are standard with one exception: they have a minimum of 5 hit points per die.  The material component for this spell is a mortar and pestle made from human bone.  In this container, while chanting words of power, the caster spills the blood of a mage or cleric of at least 10th level.  The resulting powder is blown into the frame of the portal to activate the spell.

As noted above, most versions of this work are mere fragments.  They appear as standard scrolls on ancient papyrus, written in an ancient pictographic script.  The Iron Bound Book of Skelos binds the scrolls together in one large tome, itself bound in the skin of a prehistoric crocodile.  Any mortal being who touches the book takes 2-8 points of damage unless they wear gloves.
 


"Behind closed eyes,realize your sight."--Blue Oyster Cult
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11/07/2018 11:46 pm  #17


Re: The Dark Treasury

The Ebon Codex (Book of Eibon)

The Ebon Codex, also known as The Book of Eibon, is the work of the legendary magician Eibon of Mhu-Thulan.  The book deals with magic he practiced, records of the area and historical accounts of other mages.  The book was produced after Eibon's disappearance by his former apprentice, Cyron of Varaad.  The book contains information on magics in use at the time and accounts of famous mages from throughout ancient history.  This makes it very valuable to historians and those researching eldritch magic and lost spells.  It also contains records of the Great Old Ones such as Shub-Niggurath, Nyarlathotep and Tsathoqqa, the latter being a deity by whom Eibon was favored.  There is also a limited amount of information on the Old Ones popularly known as "the Drowners," aquatic, gelatinous entities.

The Ebon Codex contains a large number of spells.  Among them are procedures to open gateways in time and space, numerous prayers to Tsathoqqa, incantations to protect oneself against the followers of the Great Old Ones, how to make a protective circle against Nyarlathotep and his followers, spells to create clouds and walls of fog and mist, potent curses to cripple and kill foes and incantations for calling forth the Emanation of Yoth and the Green Decay.  Many spells of conjuration and summoning are also found in its corrupt pages.  These include spells to call forth a dhole and control it.

Finally, the Ebon Codex contains narratives on the exploits of Eibon and other ancient Hyperborean sorcerers.  These include records of Eibon's journeys to Shaggai and the Vale of Pnath and an account of the wizard Zon Mezzamalech's attempts to view the Tablets of Ubbo Sathla.  Bound in black leather formed from pterodactyl skin, the original consists of vellum pages written in the Hyperborean language of Tsath-Yo.  There are reputedly other versions in other mediums such as stone tablets.  A copy is supposedly hidden somewhere in the Barrowmaze complex.
 


"Behind closed eyes,realize your sight."--Blue Oyster Cult
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11/08/2018 12:01 am  #18


Re: The Dark Treasury

The Pnakotic Manuscripts

The Pnakotic Manuscripts, also known as the Pnakotic Fragments, were originally created by the Great Race of Yith and kept in their library city of Pnakatos, hence their name.  There are allegedly 1,011 fragmentary manuscripts in the "complete" version of the work.  They seem to have started as prehistoric records of the Great Race.  They were later appended by voormis worshipers of Tsathoqqa and then by the mystic group known as the Pnakotic Brotherhood.  The Brotherhood was frequently ostracized and persecuted on account of its profane practices and rituals, but each new generation added to the texts. 

The subjects of the manuscripts vary widely.  Some are so obscure as to only be treated herein.  For example, one fragment discusses the minor Great Old One Rhan-Tegoth, an insectoid amphibious creature that was reputedly the last Great Old One to sleep and whose awakening will signal the return of the Old Ones.  It was worshiped by the prehuman, cannibalistic gnophkehs but few alive today know of its existence.

The Pnakotic Brotherhood still exists in cells across Hyperborea and Krysonia proper.  The bound version of these manuscripts is not complete and is in fact a mere translation of earlier scrolls.  The originals, still scattered, are written in the ancient script of the Great Race.  The oldest such manuscript is supposedly in the Temple of the Elder Gods in Ulthar, part of the Dreamlands.  Some believe that a significant portion of the fragments are held by a cell of the Pnakotic Brotherhood in the city of Fazzuum in Hyperborea.  These are inscribed on megatherium hide. 

In terms of spells, the Pnakotic Manuscripts are fairly limited, but their information about ancient races and places and other worlds is invaluable to sages and magicians.  The information concerning the Great Race and their activities and goals is also of much interest and value.  Finally, those seeking a return of the Great Old Ones will find much on arcane rituals and practices in the disparate fragments, though piecing them together well enough to properly conduct such rituals may well prove deadly in itself.
 


"Behind closed eyes,realize your sight."--Blue Oyster Cult
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11/08/2018 11:25 pm  #19


Re: The Dark Treasury

The Tome of Eldritch Alchemy

A small folio volume covered with runes, this is one of the few arcane tomes written in the common tongue, albeit in an archaic form of it.  It is compiled and updated by the Sisters of the Moon, a coven of witches.  The book contains all manner of alchemical formulas and recipes for potions.  The chemical formulas herein tend to emphasize transmutation, including turning base metals into gold and making other mundane items and materials into more precious ones.  There are also a few spells pertaining to shape changing and summoning familiars in this work.

The alchemical instructions include information on how to inscribe pentagrams and other circles of summoning and protection.  Recipes for potions and means of creating zombies are covered as well.  One can also find information on mixing drugs to produce hallucinogenic effects in this work.  Perhaps most sought after is the formula for creating a reanimation serum, which, when combined with electricity, can create the semblance of life in a previously dead creature.  Basic instructions for creating any golem in the standard rules can also be gleaned from reading this text.

Any alchemist who uses the tome will find their chances of creating a specific substance or effect doubled in half the time.  Any witch who reads the book will gain 1 level of experience.  This will even allow witches in the Hyperborea setting to attain 13th level, a powerful number for coven leaders.  Reading the book will allow anyone to discern the properties and uses of all mundane herbs, gems and the like as they pertain to the science of alchemy.  Assassins can use the tome to research rare toxins and poisons.

As noted above, the tome is held by the coven of witches known as the Sisters of the Moon.  Its headquarters is in the Mystwood and the most complete copy is normally held by the Mistress of the Coven.  There are shorter, incomplete versions all over Krysonia, but none can be used to complete the Dark Treasury.


"Behind closed eyes,realize your sight."--Blue Oyster Cult
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11/09/2018 10:49 pm  #20


Re: The Dark Treasury

Book to be Burned

Written by a mad druid who may have been a follower of Impurax, Lord of Decay, this work discusses the elemental and para-elemental planes.  It places special emphasis upon the worship and summoning of evil elemental creatures such as the Princes of Elemental Evil.  The book also contains scattered references to an Elder Elemental God.  Some conflate this being with the Arch-deity of Madness and Insanity, dread Tharizdun.  But other sages contend that these are distinct entities.  At one point the book was in the possession of the High Priest of the Temple of Elemental Evil.  But it was lost when the temple was sacked by the forces of good.  Some now claim it is somewhere in the Forbidden Caverns of Archaia. 

In game terms the book contains all manner of elemental spells, including those in the Castles & Crusades elemental spells supplement.  It also contains detailed information about the geography and inhabitants of all the elemental and para-elemental planes and guidelines on how to open gates and summon creatures from these planes.  It also contains information on the long lost cult of the Demi-god Zuul.

In appearance the book consists of papyrus sheets bound in leather.  Runes representing the four core elements are graven on the cover and embossed in silver.  Any spellcaster who uses the spells in the book casts them at two levels higher than normal and all saving throws against these spells are at -2.  But for every month someone owns and uses the book, their alignment shifts one step towards Neutral Evil.  The book is still highly sought after by elementalist spellcasters and Daoist adepts.  Druids want to protect it from others lest they pollute the neutrality of the elements.  It can be destroyed by subjecting it to blows from elementals of each core type in succession on the ethereal plane.  There is only one copy of the book so far is known.  It is written in an archaic form of the sacred druidic language.


"Behind closed eyes,realize your sight."--Blue Oyster Cult
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