Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Evil Encyclopedia of Evil

One of the several fun things about Blades of Avernum was item creation. I spent long hours, once upon a time, writing up scenarios, and I would always populate these scenarios with a multitude of custom items. A brief survey of such items:

Tin Foil Hat
Doorbane Axe
Science Pole
Gobbet of Flesh
Tasty Bugs
Meat of Malevolence
Lord Hammer's Hammer
Evil Candle of Doom
Coins of Costliness
Succubus Skirt
Pants of the Archangel
Miracle Pants/Miraculous Pants
Silk Panties
Pants of Pollution

Forgive me, I was young and BoA offered a "pants" item slot.

Anyhow, the set of items I most frequently tried to include into my scenarios as macguffins were nothing more than a list of alliterative names. Recently, when I was trying to decide what evil macguffin or plot coupon an evil priest of Quasxthe might want adventurers to steal from the monastery of Pelor (the mantra of the Open Gaming Table: options, options, options), it occurred to me to dust off this list. (The name is not actually redundant. It's less like the Evil League of Evil and more along the lines of the Monster Book of Monsters and the Invisible Book of Invisibility - it is an encyclopedia about evil which is itself evil.)


Each individual volume of the Evil Encyclopedia of Evil is a lesser artifact. Collectively, the entire encyclopedia qualifies as a greater artifact.

Evil Encyclopedia of Evil
Centuries ago, before the Inundation, the evil archtheurge Megiddo Mehida, adventuring companion of the first Count Rogan, made decades of work out of (very carefully) studying copies of the Book of Vile Darkness, Book of Exalted Deeds, Tome of Ancient Lore, Tome of the Stilled Tongue, Book of Infinite Spells, as well as lesser documents like Tomes of Understanding, Tomes of Leadership and Influence, Tomes of Clear Thought, Manuals of Quickness of Action, Manuals of Gainful Exercise, Manuals of Bodily Health, Golem Manuals, Vacuous Grimoires, and uncountably many scrolls. He learned more words of the Dark Speech than any sane mind could possibly contain. He worked for further decades, copying, writing, and splicing pages whole to construct a single document which would combine the powers of all these books and contain all the power that words collected together could possibly contain.
Megiddo worked so long and hard that one day, his minions entered his libratory to find it deserted; the only thing remaining of their master was a multi-volume encyclopedia. No one knows the details, but it is thought that Megiddo put so much of himself into his work that his physical form ceased to exist, and everything of him was subsumed within the encyclopedia itself.
The next part of the story is uncertain, but it is known that all the volumes of the encyclopedia were somehow dispersed to all corners of the globe even before the Inundation. To this day, evil cults still seek to recombine the scattered portions of the encyclopedia and wield its immense power for themselves.
The Evil Encyclopedia of Evil has seventeen volumes. Perusing each volume has a different effect on the reader. Once a character has begun to read, he is compelled to continue in whatever manner he began until he has finished (which takes 4d6 hours) unless he makes a DC20 Will save. If a character reads the book aloud, everyone within earshot must make a DC20 Will save or stand fascinated until the recitation is complete. If the book is read silently, only the reader suffers its effects. If the book is read aloud, all listeners suffer its effects. No two readers or listeners can ever quite agree on the specific contents of the volume they read, only that it was profoundly distasteful.
A character who suffers the effects of reading or hearing a volume read aloud takes an effect as if a spell had been cast on them, specific to each volume. Treat this spell as cast by a level 20 wizard or archivist, save DC 17+spell level. The effect of this spell is permanent, and can only be removed by Remove Curse or Dispel Magic.
Volume : Effect
Album of Agony : Angry Ache (BoVD 85)
Book of Blight : Unholy Blight (SRD)
Codex of Catastrophe : Earthquake (SRD)
Compendium of Corruption : Corrosive Grasp (SpC 53)
Dictionary of Doom : Doom (SRD)
Manifesto of Malevolence : Malevolent Miasma (SpC 137)
Manuscript of Malignance : Love's Pain (BoVD 98)
Omnibus of Obscenity : Blindness/Deafness (SRD)
Opuscule of Offensiveness : Addiction (BoVD 84)
Palimpsest of Plague : Contagion (SRD)
Paper of Pestilence : Plague of Rats (CD 174)
Publication of Profanity : Desecrate (SRD)
Report of Wrath : Rage (SRD)
Text of Turpitude : Red Fester (BoVD 102)
Tome of Tyranny : Geas/Quest to kill your closest friend (SRD)
Treatise of Terror : Fear (SRD)
Volume of Villainy : Morality Undone (BoVD 99)
If all 17 volumes are brought together and read aloud, all participants suffer all 17 effects once the reading is complete. Additionally, an Apocalypse From The Sky spell centered on the readers takes effect immediately after the completion of the recitation. The books themselves take no damage from the apocalypse.
It is possible to copy a volume of the Evil Encyclopedia of Evil using mundane skills and materials. A proper copy is identical in power to the original. However, the copier takes the effect of reading the book, but they automatically fail all saves, and the effect cannot be removed except by the application of a Wish, Miracle, or spell of similar power.

No comments:

Post a Comment