Having finally put up the Christmas tree and hung the lights on the balcony - as well as watched Mrs. Wampus trot out her traditional army of penguins - it's well and truly the holiday season around here. On that note, two things: first, watch this space for Secret Santicore news later this week.
And second? The Grimoire of the Grinch.
GRIMOIRE OF THE GRINCH
It has been said that the wizard who authored this tome of spells and recipes was a twisted fiend who hated children, despised merry snowball-fights, and rejected casual contact with his neighbors. Whether that legend is true, we may never know, but a reading of the grimoire suggests the nameless sorceror who penned its pages was certainly a strange character. What well-adjusted wizard would need spells such as these?
The grimoire itself is square, one foot per side, and bound with some sort of hide bearing green fur. When found, it contains the following unique spells.
Cuddly As A Cactus (level 1)
Upon the incantation of this spell, the caster's skin takes on a verdant hue and sprouts numerous cactus-like spines; the effect lasts for 1 turn per level of the caster. The spines easily poke through clothing without damaging the fabric, due to the nature of the sorcerous effect. The wizard's AC is improved by one against unarmed attacks during this period; DM may adjudicate further or different bonuses when grappling is involved. While the transformation is in effect, the wizard is susceptible to effects targeting plants, but is immune to dehydration. The material component of this spell is a chunk of cactus-flesh or nopal, which is eaten by the wizard.
Charming As An Eel (level 2)
This enchantment temporarily boosts the caster's ability to fast-talk and intimidate. After speaking the final syllables, the wizard may then enter into a soliloquy or speech for up to three minutes*, during which their purpose is to deceive or intimidate; any Charisma-related rolls based on this convincing speech are at +2. However, the nature of the spell is such that it only functions if the associated argument is full of either superlative mendacity, or very dark implications; it will not boost a plea for assistance or an attempt to build rapport, instead being designed to convince authorities ("I couldn't have murdered him, I was in the outhouse the whole time") or to threaten ("Hand over that key, mate -- I know where your children sleep.") The material component is a bit of slime, lard, or oil, which is rubbed between finger and thumb.
(* = I'd make this a real-time improv requirement for the player, but that's just me)
Heart's An Empty Hole (level 3)
The effect of this spell lasts one round per level of the caster; throughout, he or she is immune to charm effects which are based upon the love or beauty of the charming party (so it would be effective against a naiad, for example, but not a harpy). The material component of the spell is a heart made of paper or lace, which must be torn in half as the spell is recited. Use of this spell too often (say, more than once a month) risks a loss of Charisma and/or Wisdom as the sorceror slowly grows more distant from his fellows.
Brain Full of Spiders (level 2)
Casting this strange spell - which requires the sorceror to consume several live spiders (or a handful of meat from a giant specimen) - grants an instantaneous burst of insight, as though all of reality were a series of interlinked webs, and the wizard is a spider walking upon them. The vision lasts only a round, but during that time the caster may gain particular clues as to how facts, people, places, or experiences are linked (results are 100% DM fiat). Following the vision, the wizard invariably suffers a terrific nosebleed which causes 1d3 points of damage; there is a 1% chance per caster level that during the vision some kind of extradimensional intelligence (typically arachnid in form) slips into the wizard's brain for good.
Garlic In Your Soul (level 3)
Seemingly a variant of Heart's An Empty Hole, this spell provides temporary immunity to any magical effect transmitted by a vampire's bite (but not its strike or any other spell-like abilities a given bloodsucker might have). The material component of the spell is a clove of garlic which has been stewed in bat's-blood under the light of the full moon.
Termites In Your Smile (level 2)
While under the transformational effect of this incantation (one turn per caster level), the wizard has the ability to gnaw through mundane wood (green or dried) at a pretty alarming rate. The material component is a pinch of sawdust and several termites, which are tucked between cheek and gum like chewing tobacco. There is rumored to be a similar spell which uses mint as the component, called 'Bucky Beaver'.
King of Sinful Sots (level 2)
This spell lasts one turn per level of the caster. Once cast, the spell must be fueled by the consumption of alcohol and tobacco, else the effect ends. A wizard who is the King of Sinful Sots increases dramatically (+4, +20% as appropriate) his odds of winning any gambling, game, or other non-combat contest conducted with similarly inebriated companions.
Drive A Crooked Hoss (level 4)
This spell summons a strange, multi-dimensional cubical steed from beyond this plane of existence. The steed appears in 1d4 rounds, running at top speed as it phases through all matter (being multi-dimensional). The cubist steed charges headlong at the spot touched by the caster - typically a wall (perhaps that of a jail cell or castle, never more than a few feet thick). As the weird mount passes, the wizard must attempt to leap upon its back or grab hold of its fractal mane - for the beast will not stop. However, if the sorceror is successful in holding on, he may ride the planar beastie straight through the wall, phasing along with it. Once on the other side, the creature fades away, depositing the wizard back in the material world.
The Grimoire also contains incomplete notes on the creation of a figurine of wondrous power - the 'seasick crocodile', carved from a single piece of coral, which transforms into a large crocodile that vomits acid (2d6 damage).