Monday, May 16, 2022

Thirteen Tomes

I came across the below in my files; I think I wrote it for a Secret Santicore but now I'm not sure whether it appeared or not, so here it is: Thirteen Magical Tomes. 

The Enfolding

A surprising amount of oddly-shaped vellum pages folded together into a hexagon and interleaved.  Folding and re-folding the overlapping pages in various configurations reveals new combinations of sigils and encrypted writing - including spells, observations on pandimensional tangents and astrological anomalies, and several rhyming verses which serve as songmaps to places long-hidden.  Skillful diviners may use the ritual folding and unfolding of the hexagon as an aid in predicting the future.


A heavy, square tome bound in mastodon-hide; tufts of fur along the spine are braided to make an integral bookmark.  The pages are chocolate-brown, and the words within and scribed in an opalescent white ink which contains both powder of ancient mastodon-bones, and mother-of-pearl.  The enchantments within are most ancient and savage, and deal primarily with the control of feral spirits which linger deep within the earth - shifting, predatory things that skulk in the peripheral vision of the zeitgeist and periodically attempt a bloody return to reality.

Dreams of the Traveler

Copious pencil-scrawls lurch and stumble across the dog-eared pages of a vintage repair manual for a 1967 Volkswagen bus; this tome, fallen through time or perhaps imported from another world, contains the wisdom of a great wonder-worker, as filtered through the mad ramblings of a drug-addled second party.  At first glance, the writings are primarily fiction fragments, bits of bad poetry and song lyrics, and half-remembered tales of dubious sexual conquest.  Wizards who study this book for several weeks - aided by an altered state of consciousness - may extract a number of fell sorceries and amusing enchantments, including several suitable for the use of bards specializing in six-stringed instruments.

Silent Witness

Between nondescript covers dwell beautifully-illuminated pages, with an illustration for each spell depicting its use against monsters, knights, kings, and demons.  When a spell is memorized from this tome, then used, the illustration within the book magically changes to represent the spell’s most recent use.  Typically the illumination is lavish enough to provide the context leading up to the casting.  The Silent Witness does not sugar-coat reality - the artwork will depict whatever happened, even if was a misfire or the spell was cast while fleeing.

5 Zingal’s Web

A round book decorated with spiderwebs in drizzled wax; within, each page contains a spell, written out in a spiral.  The writing is in an old script, from the time of the Priests of the Ziggurat, but most well-educated wizards should be able to puzzle it out after a few weeks of study.  The initial word in each spell, taken sequentially, tell of the demise of the book’s author, the genie-tamer Zingal, who crossed the wrong efreet noble.  

The Phoenix-Tree

This small bonsai fits in the palm of the hand, but contains volumes of wonder.  A wizard examining the tree instinctively knows which tiny branches contain which spells.  The twig-like branches must be plucked and tossed, one at a time, into a fire - the flickerings of the flame will then impart to the sorcerer the power and technique of the enchantment.  The branches will regrow quickly over the following day so long as the Phoenix-Tree is given good wine and some of the ashes from the fire.  Should the main trunk of the tree ever be sacrificed to the fire, a new, unknown spell of the highest level castable by the wizard will be revealed, but the Phoenix-Tree will be no more.

The Most Glorious Handbook Of Enlightened Ploob

All that remains of the sundered nation of Ploob are refugee clerics and rare artifacts like this one, a small vade mecum bound in crimson silk.  The Handbook contains an assortment of spells useful to arcane scientists in hunting and purifying those slaves to haughty extradimensionals who would pollute our ancient culture with their corrupt religions...

Butterfoot’s Handy Primer

A small book, easily portable, and all parts of it rugged enough to take a beating, including its difficult-to-tear and waterproof pages.  Its title appears on the front cover, with the description ‘Being A Treatise And Convenient Reference For Thee Novice Enchanter’.  The book contains not only basic, reliable spells, but also chapters on crafting and procuring supplies and accessories, fashion advice for the upwardly-mobile wizard, and ‘Thoughtful Selection of Familiars’.  A series of humorous illustrations, captioned ‘Don’t Do This’, appear every few pages.


Although it may first appear to be a bizarre cloak of human innards - and it functions nicely as such - closer observation reveals carefully-crafted knots in the lengths of intestine which convey deep sorcerous knowledge to those wizards familiar with the bizarre and dark culture which created the quipu.  The information encrypted in the knotwork includes several spells, as well as the geometric arrangements necessary to construct glyphs of use in certain protective scrolls and talismans.

10  This Final, Gleaming Splinter

Although the pages of this grimoire appear to be glass, they are in fact flat, sorcerously-shaped pieces of crystalwood; each page is translucent, with strange symbols shallowly carved and bevelled.  When a single page is held up before a significant light source (to include the daytime sun or a strong full moon), the shadows cast by the symbols on a wall or floor manifest as an easily-readable magic script.  The tome includes a number of mid- and high-level spells of indeterminate age.  A sage familiar with botany or geology may be able to identify the crystalwood of the pages, and suggest that it has been taken from one of the largest known specimens ever to grow - the so-called Legacy Tree which bloomed and shined in the center square of the long-crumbled dwarven citadel of Mors Mundar.

11  The Swirling Window

When the star which warmed the great world of Rindaril went nova, that realm’s greatest archmage stood atop a mountain on a more distant planet, awaiting his own destruction.  Behind him he placed a psychographic plate, slightly out of phase, which captured the image of his mind during that moment before the nova consumed him.  Since that time, the plate itself has been alchemically developed, and passed through the hands of numerous wizards in several realms.  The Swirling Window appears as a brassy metal plate about the size of a door, etched with green and purple whorls.  A wizard who lays upon the plate and meditates may manage to access the remnants of the archmage’s memory - which can be plumbed for wisps of lore, or as a means to learn and memorize the spells of a long-dead world.  Rumors that overuse of the Swirling Window are a sure path to possession by a milennia-old archmage are surely hyperbole.

12  Manual of Madness Manifest

Bound in black leather, this spellbook contains a mix of blank pages and those covered with writing in an ink which seems to contain a mixture of human bodily fluids.  Although the handwriting is inconsistent, once decoded and read the tome reveals its secrets: page after page of rare and unusual spells, with particular focus on enchantments dealing with sanity, blindness, mind control, and the invasion of dreams.

13  The Spectacular Opuscule of Lady Primrose

A thick, encyclopaedic tome with robin’s-egg blue cloth covers contains page after page of cramped mirror-writing.  Within the grimoire are numerous common and uncommon spells, as well as recipes for a number of basic potions, unguents, and alchemical preparations.  Here and there are representative diagrams, layouts of summoning circles, and the like.  The spine of the book serves as a sheath for a matching enchanted dagger (which may be lost, or present).

1 comment:

  1. Each entry dripping with flavor.
    Added to the Blog Database.