Reading any of the below books invokes a PERMANENT penalties of –1 INT because reading might be fundamental, but reading these books is downright painful.
What's Hidden in the Book?
In any book listed below, there is a 15% chance of finding one of the following (1d10):
01. Inaccurate and unlabeled map of the surrounding countryside.
02. A handwritten list of errata for the book.
03. A random spell scroll (roll on whatever damn spell scroll table you like).
04. Three pages of erotic self-portraits of the book’s owner.
05. A treaty between a local goblin tribe and the book’s owner; the treaty has been torn in half.
06. A recipe for a lovely cabbage and garlic radish stew; when read backwards, it’s a curse that saps 1d6HP after every night’s rest.
07. A dry-pressed flower; it’s a wintersweet blossom—one sniff and a PC is knocked unconscious for 1d4 hours. If the PC eats it, instant death, no save.
08. An inventory list listing every book on the shelf.
09. Two counterfeit “safe travel” papers endorsed by a forged Walthamthorp Barony seal.
10. A love letter from an old man to his young goblin lover.
1d30 Weird Books on a Shelf
01. Princess of Secrets
Specially commissioned by Baron Walthamthorp, this richly illustrated volume collects 202 original ballads by several realms-renowned bards and troubadours that celebrate the late Baroness Walthamthorp’s life and charitable deeds.
02. At Home in the Forest
A whimsical collection of sketches of beetles and weevils frolicking in verdant fields and woodland clearings under the watchful eye of a deceitful and petty god.
03. Hybrids for Funny Prophets
In this volume of the collected prayers of Brother Farthsun of the Underwhelming Order of Godly Wrath, the monk’s playful mix of masterful nonsense, mysterious melancholy, and unappealing beauty delight and repel the reader in a nauseating display of ineptitude. Vulgar marginalia by the cleric himself annotate the works.
04. My Eternal Zombie Paramour
A thinly plotted, dull, and highly derivative children’s story about a monster that lives in a privy and the girl who finds it in her heart to love him.
05. Enchanting Gardens
A grisly comedic series of illustrations of goblins terrorizing a small village and the surrounding countryside.
06. Walking the Demon Home
Ma Uksub’s collection of handwritten cabbage recipes. The volume is well-thumbed and many pages are food-stained.
07. Children and Girls
An illustrated history of the rise and fall of the Demonshire Barony, including an extensive family tree dating back several hundred years that shows the Uksub family can trace its lineage to a minor nobleman’s bastard son.
08. Baby of Excelsior
In this savory picture book, incest, murder, greed, and the bittersweet pain of love denied are intimately explored in a sparse story of a kindly troll who rescues an injured ogre migrating west for the winter.
09. All the Library Horses
This is an annotated bibliography of the wizard Thimwhit Frugalot’s collection of 642 spell scrolls. Frugalot’s writing is filled with nearly incomprehensible jargon and the book is only of value to scholars of arcane dirt magic. Several of the pages sport handwritten notes and rude doodles.
10. Cats of Magic
A history of the Usurped King, Glemmond IV, a much-maligned figure in the realms due to his crushing taxation policy and witch-cursed albinism. The story is required reading for all male nobles of the Glemmond line.
11. Cats and Fairies
This volume is an apologetic for the Usurped Kings’ reign. The author asserts that Glemmond IV, upon his elevation to the throne, took as his primary mission to settle the burdensome debts his father and grandfather inflicted upon the kingdom in their quests to raid and conquer the eastern kingdom of Far Abitithia for their rich sea trade. How he failed is the focus of this richly engrossing revisionist biography.
12. Druids of the Lost Ones
In Midsun 897, the ill-fated My Faerie Jenny set sail from Fair Abithia with a crew of 28 men on what was supposed to be a regular trade run to the Cormorant Isles. They were caught in the middle of a duel between a weather mage and a powerful djinn and found themselves 1,000 leagues off course in an unknown land filled with fearsome lizardmen, gargantuan crabs, and man-eating grubs. This is their thrilling tale of survival in grueling conditions, as told by Orangerinde Knabblesack, Balladeer Extraordinaire.
13. Crossbreed: A Primer
Without overloading lay readers with confusing schematics, the authors illustrate their discoveries that rewrote barnyard alchemy and ushered in the practice of selective breeding via their now well-known “Nail & Hammer” method of herd reduction. Written in plain language, this is an exhilarating romp for the intellectually unadventurous.
14. Slaves Without Shame
Huncort Feeblerson explains the benefits of goblin slavery and the economics of forced labor in this farcical stage play skewering the current monarchy’s policies.
15. Foxes of Mystery
A retired polearms drill instructor looks back on her life of service to the Barons Walthamthorp and explores the choices she made that brought her into the barony’s inner circle of military field advisors. Tinged with the melancholy of missed opportunities of campaigns past, Helga Surefist pays scrupulous attention to the machinations of a realm at war and the complex rhythms of a life on the march.
16. Confused by the Crypts
In language dotted with musical interludes and raunchy Dwarven slang, Grundtal Bredviken brings to life the teeming, nasty side of life in the undercity of Dolmvay during the early part of the century, exploring in detail its pox-infected brothels, disease-infested taverns, underground child slave trade, and the city’s magical, ever-shifting sewers.
17. Dead at the Stars
A realms-wide group of magic users, clerics, technomancers, and alchemists, all with appointments at several well-known universities, contributed to this in-depth treatise designed to bridge the gap between magic, science, medicine, and religion. The volume attempts to explain the philosophical, ethical, and religious dilemmas that recent discoveries in arcane knowledge has created, but is mostly filled with polemics wherein each contributor denounces another on the grounds of heresy of one kind or another.
18. Dogs of Hell
A general, reader-friendly encyclopedia of the last two hundred year’s military campaigns. Roughly 327 entries cover major battles, significant technological and magical advancements, diseases and camp epidemics, and the major achievements of war heroes and noblemen.
19. The Trees Follow Me
Gorgeous hand-drawn illustrations and rough sketches illustrate an abundance of information about the life cycle and breeding habits of dryads: their ecology, biology, habitats, powers, and human interactions are all detailed in short accompanying essays that are comprehensively succinct.
20. Mice and Owls
This tome provides the general reader with a cursory overview of the myths and misunderstands surrounding the complex Dwarven–Elven relationship since the pre-Cataclysm period.
21. Owls and Owls
As one of the most comprehensive collection of Power Words available, this glossary is an outstanding reference source. More than 760 entries detail mages, concepts, demons, deities, sacred texts, ley lines, and important landmark locations.
22. Turtle of the Colored Magic Dawn
Writing in a loose, free-flowing tone, Karklin the Unwounded profiles six survivors of the doomed Nalthram Sea Caves Expedition by combining their words with candid drawings and portraiture. Whether the subject is dwarf, elf, half-goblin, or human, Karklin gives her or him (or it, as some prefer) a fully realized personality that burns off the page. This trailblazing book is a must-read for the under-prepared thrill-seeker.
23. Phantoms Without a Mouth
Geoffrye of Flamming’s all-encompassing take on the rise of House Falsdrake places each duplicitous member of the shamed branch of nobility in a fully-realized context that displays their infamy. In contrasting the political plotting of the Falsdrakes with the League of United Churches’ weakening hegemony, Flamming creates an absorbing if slightly factually inaccurate read.
24. How to Grow Better Cabbages
Cowherd Burnitdun explores how healers responded to the Creeping Shits epidemic of 902 with anal infusions of yeast-brined cabbage. An informative if slightly unsettling read; luckily, the volume is not illustrated.
25. Afraid of My Friend
Luke Odawin’s memoir of life as a dragonrider is interesting all on it’s own—but his tales of dragon domestication, sky battles against the Demon Hordes, and his death-defying ride into the Frozen Blight make this an exciting page turner. Odawin down-to-earth tone, as captured by the balladeer Janek Troutfeather, make this humble wingman’s story highly enjoyable.
26. Bunnies and Wizards
In this extremely rare and perplexing combination of words and images, infamous necromancer Sharla Grünfinger collects 42 short invocations to the Forgotten Gods.
27. Little Ducks and Girls
Kimble Brynt and Swalloe Halftow bring their considerable talents together to make this picture-book biography of Gorsly the Talking Mallard come to life for young readers.
28. Sounds of the Hills
This assemblage of interviews, journal entries, official decrees, and sworn affidavits document the discovery of a space-time portal hidden in a goblin lair located in the hills above the Village of Thanek’s Ox.
29. Cats on The Moon
This fantasy story is a refreshing blend of church dogma, technomancy and rural life, set in an intricately built world where dragons and gnomes do not exist and dwarves have established colonies on the two moons. Nerdip Bidderbaden, a Dwarven “moon jack” in training, narrates a cleverly plotted tale of forbidden love and magical apocalypse.
30. There’s a Goat in My House
Ethel the goat celebrates the arrival of her aunt Merriam, but Ethel and her best friend, Helen, learn that a multitude of repressed memories can rip apart any happy family. In a story that’s both wry and wistful, the bittersweet conclusion to this cautionary tale will have most readers biting their tongues.