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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Book of Mutations

This malignant volume is more rumor and myth than fact. Legend says the tome was created by a powerful demon lord as a reward for one of his most loyal worshipers in the material world. The Book grants great power, but like all such gifts, the volume exacts a price from anyone that chooses to use it.

The Book is a large volume, approximately 18 inches wide, 24 inches high, and several inches thick. The covers of the Book are fashioned from strips of bone, carefully polished and woven together with human hair. The volume's spine is made of black-dyed human vertebrae, while the pages are carefully tanned and stretched human skin. The contents of the book are written in the foulest of demonic tongues using human blood as ink.

The Book radiates Epic protection magic and Legendary alteration magic. It is a potent artifact of evil.

The Book's protection magic is aimed at protecting the volume itself. This protection has two components:
  • Only the most potent destructive magics can harm its pages. It is immune to physical attack, and only Legendary magical attacks will affect it.
  • Despite its horrid appearance the Book exerts a powerful effect on any that handle it. Anyone touching the volume will find themselves draw to it, and desire to keep it safe. Shaking off this effect requires a Great test of willpower.

To unlock the secrets of the Book requires many days of study and research. Simply translating the contents is a Great test of language skill. Comprehending each of the rituals described requires a Superb test of ritual lore.

The Rituals

There are seven rituals outlined in the book. Each ritual requires a collection of ritual objects (Superb quality and cost) to perform, though the objects are not consumed when used. Carrying out a ritual requires a full day of preparation. The rituals themselves take one hour to carry out (success requires a Great test of ritual magic). A ritual affects a single subject, unless the Ritual of Preparation is used. There are three ways each ritual can be used. Each use of a ritual inflicts Demonic Consequences (see below) on the caster.
  • Performed upon self - The Book's owner performs the ritual upon themselves, gaining the benefit outlined in the individual ritual.
  • Performed upon a willing subject - The target receives the benefit of the ritual and becomes Bound by Blood (see below).
  • Performed upon an unwilling subject - The target receives the benefit of the ritual and suffers Taint of the Demon (see below). Unwilling subjects succumb to the ritual if they fail to make a Superb magical resistance check.

The rituals are:
  • Ritual of Preparation - This ritual can only be performed upon oneself. It allows a subsequent ritual to be performed upon multiple targets (six times the subjects). This ritual can be performed multiple times before another ritual is used, multiplying the subjects of the final ritual by six each time (6, 36, 216, etc.)
  • Ritual of Subjugation - The subject of this ritual becomes a willing follower of the caster, obeying them as if they were a revered and trusted overlord.
  • Ritual of Strength - The subject gains one rank of physical strength and endurance each time this ritual is cast upon them.
  • Ritual of Altered Senses - This ritual enhances the senses of the subject, allowing them to see in the dark, hear a pin drop from across the room, or smell as well as a dog. Each use of this ritual improves two random senses one rank.
  • Ritual of Living Blood - The target of this ritual gains superior healing abilities. Each casting of the ritual improves their resistance to disease and poison by one rank. It also improves their healing speed by one rank. Three uses of this ritual provide the target with true regeneration.
  • Ritual of Guardian Flesh - This ritual strengthens the target's body against physical assault. Each casting of this ritual improves the target's natural resistance to physical harm by one rank.
  • Ritual of Resilience - This ritual grants the subject improved resistance to damaging magic of all sorts (though specifically not to the effects of the Book itself). Each time this ritual is cast the subject gains one rank of resistance. Three uses of this ritual provide the target with true magic resistance.
Demonic Consequences

The Book's creator had a purpose in mind when he created this volume: gaining access to the material plane. Each use of the Book's rituals has a chance of inflicting a permanent change upon the caster. Each time the owner uses a ritual they must succeed at a Great test of willpower. If they fail the test their physical form is altered, gaining one physical feature of the demon lord that created the Book. The first changes will be minor, but over time the user will come to resemble the demon lord in physical form. After a score of rituals the congruence between the demon and the caster will form a bond between the two, allowing the demon to influence the user. Eventually the demon will be able to project their consciousness into the ritualist's body, permanently displacing the owner's soul.

Bound by Blood

A willing ritual subject becomes bound to the caster. Should harm befall the caster the bound subject suffers a portion of the consequences. Each wound inflicted upon the ritualist inflicts a minor wound upon the bound follower. Should the caster be slain the follower suffers a permanent Good loss of vitality.

Taint of the Demon

Unwilling victims suffer this effect each time they are subject to a ritual from the Book. Each ritual inflicts one of the following consequences upon the subject:
  • Dullness - The victim's mind becomes dulled, reducing their intellect and drive by one rank.
  • Demonic Visage - The victim takes on a demonic appearance, gaining one of the following features: black eyes with slit pupils; coarse, scaly skin; horny, sharp claws; twisted, knotted musculature; hunched, hulking appearance
  • Cruelty - The victim becomes cruel, and vicious, taking delight in the suffering of others. They must make a Good test of willpower to resist taking advantage of any situation that allows them to be cruel to others.

Eventually use of the book will unleash a demon lord upon the world, complete with his own horde of minions. The idea for this item came from a campaign I participated in many years ago. I'm sure the details of the book are very different from the original creator's ideas. I hope you find it useful!
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