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Saturday, December 27, 2014

Trick Tome of Total Knowledge

Another table for a revamped dungeon feature cliche, this time the mysterious tome in the dungeon that does things to those who read it.

Tome Pedestal

A four-foot high black stone pedestal with a book stand carved in the shape of a pair of clawed hands. A very large tome, about as tall as a halfling and bound in grey hide, rests on the stand, open to a random page. The pedestal weighs about as much as five grown men. If the tome is taken off the pedestal, it acts like a spellbook with a random selection of six to eight spells of a random level from 2 to 9. The spell level of the tome and selection of spells changes every week: Roll 2d6 for tome level, with 10+ meaning the tome is nonmagical gibberish that week.

While the tome is on the pedestal, however, it can be studied for esoteric lore unavailable through other means. It takes 20 to 120 minutes (2d6) to study the tome, after which the words become gibberish for several hours. Roll d4+d8 on the table below for the benefit bestowed, or 1d6 if trying to read gibberish or study is interrupted.

d4+d8 Roll Random Tome Effect
1 or less Letters squirm, turn to gibberish, reader becomes feebleminded.
2 Letters squirm on page, eventually become Ink Weird and attack.
3 Letters glow. Reader swaps body with next person/creature touched.
4 Letters glow, burst into flame, destroying book and burning all in room.
5 Letters squirm on page. Tome will be gibberish on next reading.
6 Letters squirm on page. Tome will not be gibberish on next reading.
7 Tome of Magic: Can now memorize one extra spell per day (d8 = spell level.)
8 Tome of Healing: Can now heal others’ wounds once/day.
9 Letters squirm on page, jump out and become Ink Weird under reader’s control.
10 Tome of Reason: Gain Read Languages/Read Magic.
11 Tome of Class: Gain a second class, starting at 1st level.
12 Tome of Mind/Body: Reroll all mental/physical abilities, keep highest.
13+ Tome of Power: Gain one level, then tome crumbles to dust.

When read, either the words on the page identify the tome (Tome of Magi, Tome of Healing, etc.) or the letters start to squirm or glow. The reader can break off, but any bad effect (1-6) still takes effect. Good effects are canceled if the tome isn’t read to completion.

The Ink Weird is a two-dimensional snake made of ink. It has two hit dice, but attacks as a creature with hit dice equal to twice the dungeon level. Slain creatures become ink sketches on any floor or wall they are touching when slain. If the Ink Weird is under the reader’s control, it will serve for one day, then roll 1d6 each day thereafter; on 5+, it serves another day. Ink Weirds are not alive and can be dispelled, or held at bay by Protection from Evil.

A fireball caused by glowing letters does a number of dice damage equal to the dungeon level and affects everything within 20 feet.

The Tome of Class gives the reader the abilities of one class. Roll 1d4 for class:

Roll Class
1 Cleric
2 Thief
3 Fighter
4 Magic-User

If the reader is already a member of that class (or close to it,) pick the class based on the character’s lowest ability score.

The Tome of Mind/Body affects the mental abilities (Intelligence, Wisdom, Charisma) if both the d4 and d8 are odd; otherwise, it affects the physical abilities.

Curses and blessings can modify the roll, as usual.

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