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KillianHawkeye
2011-10-10, 01:56 AM
Hey, all you creative types and aspiring writers! :smallbiggrin:

In an upcoming section of my D&D campaign, my players will be going to a demiplane that is basically a self-contained treasure vault. In addition to actual treasures, there is going to be a substantial library. Although no one has been to it in thousands of years, let's say that the books and whatnot are magically preserved.

So, I need suggestions for some interesting books! I KNOW my players will want to poke around in there and I want to have something cool and/or interesting, but I don't have time before the game next weekend.

If anyone would like to take up this challenge, I'll need book titles and maybe a sentence or two describing what each book is about. Subjects can range from the magical to the historical; stories, legends, monster lore, adventurer's diaries, religious texts, bad poetry, forbidden knowledge, dark rituals, infernal legal documents, whatever.

Thanks! :smallwink:

DementedFellow
2011-10-10, 02:31 AM
Here are some ideas:

Naked Came the Ranger: When Gillian finds out that her husband is having an affair, she decides to cheat on him with a variety of men from their neighborhood.

Gone with the Rend: The novel depicts the experiences of The Scarlett Horror, the spoiled daughter of a well-to-do plantation owner, who must use every means at her disposal to come out of the poverty that she finds herself in after learning the ways of the Barbarian.

Furious George:George is on a city-wide killing spree when he comes across Chef Pisghetti's kitchen. Once inside George discovers some pasta the chef was cooking and had placed in a pot. He notices that it had been crisp but is now all floppy. He didn't like this. Not. One. Bit.

Splynn
2011-10-10, 02:41 AM
Hmm this looks fun. I can definitely think of a few things.

The Nature of Unbeing; Rather large book which appears to be the philosophical musings of a particularly ancient lich. A lot of questions on what being undead is, how it affects existence, and what this particular lich's exiestence therefore means. His conclusion is rather nefarious.

Mystical Musings; The account of a gnome wizard who was trying to connect to a different plane. At the end of the book it becomes obvious that the gnome was connecting to a demon, and slowly went mad as the demon possessed him.

Navigating the Pit; A book made of the skin of a demon. It tells of a breed of dark magic that is used to summon, and control, demons. The text itself seems written in blood.

The Finest Vacation Spots of the Southern Rim; A travel book obviously written about a far-off plane, and where to travel. Details denizens, cuisines, and activities for what seems to be an absolutely marvelous vacation spot. Something seems odd, though.

A Journey Most Grim; the first person journal of a Horizen Walker who traveled to a plane called the 'Southern Rim'. He heard about the plane from another book, and was intrigued. The plane is controlled by an ancient Aboleth looking for fresh victims, and he barely escaped with his mind, or life.

To Brew the Old Way; a book on different brews that a family of dwarves has perfected over the years.

To Trick the Wit; the book of a Bard by the name of 'Wit', and the different riddles and traps that he found over the course of his adventures. Mostly riddles, with encrypted answers.

(Illegible name); Another book by a lich. Though this one appears to be a lich's notes as he attempts to create a dark ritual.

Smoke and Mirrors; a book for a beginning mage. It details basic cantrips and how to cast beginning incantations.

A Game of Thrones; a book about a fictional world and setting called Westeros. This one introduces one to the setting, and the Stark family. (everyone enjoys a good reference like this. Can really be any book your group likes, though :D)

Calanon
2011-10-10, 04:43 AM
The comedic tale of Verdantine: "This is a story all about how my life got flip turned upside down I'd like to take a minute just sit right there I'll tell you how I became the prince of a town called Strovencait~" This story may seem like an ordinary childrens comedy book but unbeknownst to the commoner this book sows the seeds of darkness and evil in youth. with a Spellcraft check of 30 an evil aligned Wizard can learn the secrets to creating a Lichs Phylactery and 1d8 spells between 1st and 5th lvl. Any child reading from this book upon coming of age suddenly grows an addiction for Arcane Knowledge learning more and more and becoming power hungry. upon qualifying for Lichdom the books pages begin to appear in the now Evil Wizards spellbook replacing blank pages. This book was penned by a Lich named "Loex Doraanar".

Embalming Tale: "My First encounter with Undeath" : This book tells the tale of a famous Necromancy whom created Flesh Golems on his eternal quest to procure the perfect bride. Each Golem he created was imperfect and flawed until one day he made the perfect Golem; He soon married this Golem and loved her dearly. His failed creations saws this and grew angry and violent and in the night slaughtered his Wife, taking her skin and eatting it. The next day when he awoke to see his wife he saw only a bloodied mess in her place wandering around his mansion he saw his wife... all of them and when he uttered the words "I love you" they all charged at him screaming "You cheating pig!". This book contains the knowledge for making Flesh Golems and functions as a Flesh Golem Manual. The Author of this book is thought to be the very man mentioned in this book however when interviewed the man wore only a mask so this can only be speculation at best.

The Burial of our Kin: This is the tale of a Noble family of Necromancers. upon hearing of the death of there soon to be family leader request the help of his adventuring party to put his soul to rest. During the Arrival of this group they notice many strange things going on around the mansion from ghost haunting the halls to undead wandering the grounds at night, the family tells them its nothing to worry about and the group puts it behind them. On the day of the burial they realize there purpose for being there and discover that they are to be sacrifices for the return of this nobleman, not to Life but to a state of Undeath. Yes, the family intends to bring the Nobleman back as a Lich. Realizing this the party must find a way to escape from the castle before the ritual is to begin. This book once opened sucks the reader into the book... literally. they Reader must than play the role of one of the party members and escape before the ritual is complete should the Reader fail in this endeavor the readers soul is trapped in the book as the trap the soul spell until someone can free them by completing the quest. The author of this book is Unknown, however perhaps this is for the best...

thats all i got for now...

supermonkeyjoe
2011-10-10, 04:53 AM
"101 ways to preserve books through the ages" :smalltongue:

B!shop
2011-10-10, 04:57 AM
The Fall of Silver Halls: the account of the siege of Silver Halls, an old fortress in a far world, with detailed descriptions of magical and mundane siege tactics and options.

The Farming of Death Roses: the research book of a nameless herbalist on the farming of Death Roses, a deadly semi-sentient plant.

On the Seven: the weird theory on the importance of the number seven in the long forgotten culture of the Drocca's Empire

Steel & Coal: a blacksmith workbook for novices, with basic knowledge on smithing and forge maintenance.

Calanon
2011-10-10, 05:34 AM
On the Seven: the weird theory on the importance of the number seven in the long forgotten culture of the Drocca's Empire

If you don't mind me asking what the Drocca's Empire is/was Idk why but for some reason I can see some players being deeply enthralled by this game.

Note: If you just made it up on the spot I'll just borrow that book from the library write in it as I go along :smallwink:

B!shop
2011-10-10, 05:58 AM
If you don't mind me asking what the Drocca's Empire is/was Idk why but for some reason I can see some players being deeply enthralled by this game.

Note: If you just made it up on the spot I'll just borrow that book from the library write in it as I go along :smallwink:

Feel free to use whatever you want!

The Drocca's Empire was a nation in an old campaign I DM'ed.

It was an arabian-like emirate focused on astrology and numerology that fell under my player's armies.
Droccans were obsessed by numbers, and the number seven was the most important of all. They had seven provincies, seven castes, a pantheon of seven deities and other similar thing I don't remember right now.
If you want I can look for my notes on that caimpaign for you :)

Calanon
2011-10-10, 06:08 AM
Feel free to use whatever you want!

The Drocca's Empire was a nation in an old campaign I DM'ed.

It was an arabian-like emirate focused on astrology and numerology that fell under my player's armies.
Droccans were obsessed by numbers, and the number seven was the most important of all. They had seven provincies, seven castes, a pantheon of seven deities and other similar thing I don't remember right now.
If you want I can look for my notes on that caimpaign for you :)

I would be eternally grateful if you did. would you mind PM'ing me it?

FlyingScanian
2011-10-10, 06:14 AM
I would be eternally grateful if you did. would you mind PM'ing me it?

This sounds mightily intriguing... could I get in on that deal as well (approximate amount of extra work: 5 seconds :smallwink: )

Thrawn4
2011-10-10, 06:25 AM
"The book of nimble fingers"
A green book, though the pages seem to be covered with brown specks. Once you open it and go through the pages, the book closes itself forcefully, thereby crushing the fingers.
If you can avoid this, your fingers are really nimble.

Kolonel
2011-10-10, 06:28 AM
Encyclopedia Reptilica: a book on the culture of several lizarman tribes.

By the king's sword: an overall military guidebook (from drafting to on-field tactics) as told by King Kanron, the conqueror.

Tales from the Walker: strange, interesting stories by a human wanderer from all over his continent, written in novelesque style. (i.e. fun too read but not entirely true and accurate)

You can find several books that might fit in the vault in Neverwinter Nights 1 (everywhere througout the game), all with a title and a page long summary.
Even if you don't have the game, I'm sure you can find these on a wiki or bioware forum.

Cicciograna
2011-10-10, 06:33 AM
Here's (http://www.mapmage.com/bookmage.html) a little program to generate random bookshelves; allows to generate per subject or per author libraries.

Parra
2011-10-10, 06:33 AM
The Dragons Picnic: Volume 4 The continuing misadventures of our favourite Red Dragons as they strive to create the perfect picnic

Talya
2011-10-10, 06:48 AM
Tan-Lo Nidda's Guide to Basic Wizardry.

(in it, include the modified text of another TLN's guide to being a certain billionaire vigilante.)

boomwolf
2011-10-10, 06:59 AM
Old School joke will be "Sealed fate", a book that is halfway written, about the adventures of the party itself.

Other options

"The impossible truth" a book about the meaning of life, with dire conclusions that life is nothing more then a game for higher being beyond our understanding.

"The bright side of the dark arts" a book describing all the "good" uses of necromancery, and recommending it to be used in every household.

"The keyless locket" a romance story about two elves who are deeply in love, yet never meet directly. end of the story reveals that it is actually a single doppelganger with split personality...

"Truth and dare" a magical book that answers every question written into it, but often subtracts critical information thus leading to confusion and mistakes.

Calmar
2011-10-10, 07:36 AM
The Necrology of Aristides a fundamental work on study of the living dead. This huge book is a collection of the scholar Aristides' writings concerning all types of walking corpses, such as the barrow wight commonly found in the North, or the ghoul of the desert, as well as the study of insubstantial spirits such as the unseely wraith or the restless ghost.

The Saga of Sjorl Strongarm Gunnirsson, Conqueror of Skôr - An epic poem from the Northern lands, depicting, not surprisingly, the adventures of Sjorl Strongarm Gunnirsson, slayer of the goblin warlord Oldúsh the Filthy, thief of the two golden rings of the dwarven king Gnurri the Cunning and Conqueror of the realm of Skôr, hitherto ruled by his own brother Ragnar the Ursurper.

Saintheart
2011-10-10, 07:43 AM
Chronomancis Variata - a heavy, black, leatherbound book with a lot of silver and bronze circles embellishing its cover. Seems to be an arcane study on the theoretical arcane energies required to perform shifts through time. However, for anyone accustomed to moving only in three dimensions and only in one direction on the fourth dimension, it seems a confusing array of changes in tense - past, present, and future versions of words are often used in the same paragraph, let alone the same sentence - and whilst it's written longhand by Altides Badarin, the longhand is written in different forms of cursive. As if the author had randomly added pieces to its paragraphs at far-divided moments in his life.

B!shop
2011-10-10, 08:09 AM
I would be eternally grateful if you did. would you mind PM'ing me it?


This sounds mightily intriguing... could I get in on that deal as well (approximate amount of extra work: 5 seconds :smallwink: )

I'll do even better: I'll put all the info on this thread (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=11999997) for you and everyone interested :)

NikitaDarkstar
2011-10-10, 08:16 AM
You could always borrow some of the somewhat famous books from D&D (not sure which system you're playing, but going to go with 3.5 as an example.)

Libris Mortis: This rather large, leather-bound tome seems to contains everything you could possibly want to know about necromancy.

Draconomicon: Contains details on the various dragon-kinds0, some you've never even heard of and their society.

The complete books: This book seems to be full of useful advice for a <insert class here>

the Monster Manual: This scratched, scorched and somewhat smelly book makes you wonder if the author ever regretted tracking down the Tarrasque...


And so on, sorry for the not so good descriptions, but I'm in a rush. And I'd obviously settle with possibly one or two like this, but references can be fun. :)

Sorcerer Blob
2011-10-10, 08:16 AM
How to Sell Your Soul for Fun and Power in Five Easy Steps by Gilderoy Demonpact, Warlock, Esq.

I think the title is pretty self-explanatory for this primer on how to be a Warlock. I actually use this book as a running in-game joke (for myself, not sure my players pick up on it every time...) I'd love to have a player who uses said book though, the idea of it being sold in local bookstores in the self-help section just is too funny to ignore.

The_Admiral
2011-10-10, 09:03 AM
Theory Of Arcana 3rd edition
A leatherbound tome published by the Kharatrope's University Arcana's reasearch division detailing the latest theories about the source and applications of arcana. It makes extreemly dry reading.

The Book Of Good News
A black leather tome which details the history of a currently well known religion.

Kurgan
2011-10-10, 09:13 AM
Well...if you don't mind ponies too much, over at the pony thread we made a dating guide chock full of terrible advice. Here it is (http://www.equestriadaily.com/2011/09/story-midnight-and-shimmers-guide-to.html), just click the second link labeled "bonus material".

TheArsenal
2011-10-10, 09:15 AM
Carving Rocks: Or How I met your mother.

BRC
2011-10-10, 09:32 AM
Poorly Written Fanfiction based on characters from a mythology that has since been long forgotten.

Volumes upon Volumes of it.

Other Books
The Draconic Debates: A series of incredibly long satirical novels written by a pair of feuding Dragons over the course of centuries. Each Dragon would write novels mocking the other.

They're Apparently Hilarious if you're a 500 year old dragon. The humor tends to be lost on everybody else.

The Mischevious Spellbook:
Designed by an Archmage as a test for his apprentices, this spellbook seems to contain genuine magical formula for a series of incredibly powerful spells, like a 1st level Fireball spell that can be shaped to the whim of the caster. However, upon close examination, every spell in the book contains some fundamental flaw rendering it useless.

My Time As a Dragonslayer: The Autobiography of noted Dragonslayer Olaf Skenaldson. Olaf apparently didn't feel his life was epic enough for him, so it's about 30% Truth, 20% Exaggeration, and 50% outright Fiction.

hayabusa
2011-10-10, 09:34 AM
On Comparing the Respective Cults of Kord and Tempus: A rather dry and large tome written by a planeswalking cleric of Annam, doing exactly what the title of the book says: comparing and contrasting Kord and Tempus and the dogma of both religions.

Romance of the Alexandran Academy: Recalls the love between a prospective Paladin and a woman from the nearby town, as well as his romantic rival, who turned into a death knight after being scorned. Written as historical fiction.

Silma
2011-10-10, 10:19 AM
"Stay Away"
The biography of Berd "Stay Away" Riggins, a halfling bard. He had some sort of strange ability to keep everyone at a distance. When someone tried to get close to him, he would get mind-zapped and started walking the other way.

"The Book Of Books"
A magical book that is in fact a catalog of all the other books in the library. When a new book enters the library it is inscribed on this book. However, TBOB includes even books that are present in the library, and not a part of it.
So imagine the PCs finding the name of a powerful book on necromancy written in TBOB. Naturally they will seek it out. But the book will not be in the library, it will be in the possession of a powerful necromancer who just happened to be in the library at the same time.

"How to create your own artifact: Part 1"

This books describes the details and ingredients required to perform a powerful ritual to create an artifact (sentient item). On the last page it says that the actual ritual is on Part 2. What the players won't know is that all copies of Part 2 are destroyed.

Telonius
2011-10-10, 10:25 AM
"Caves and Cavemen." A description and ruleset for a collaborative storytelling game, wherein the participants imagine what it would be like to live in ancient times. Includes an appendix of corrections, and a compendium of treatises arguing whether or not dinosaurs should be included along with saber-tooth tigers, as well as the relative merits of "Warrior" versus "Shaman."

Calmar
2011-10-10, 11:05 AM
The Ecology of the Giant Chicken - This work of twelve volumes gives lengthy descriptions and instructions about the nature of giant chicken, their qualities, advantages and disadvantages as layers and mounts and the methods of breeding thereof.

The Trebuchet in Modern Siege Warfare - A recent manual about state-of-the-art high-tech siege machinery.

The Book of the Silent Killer -This compendium is authored by an anonymous assassin guildmaster and offers detailed accounts about various kinds of toxins and poisons for every occassion, from swift murder to gruesome revenge to hilarious (and unhealthy pranks).

The Royal Family of Cardovan - This huge book contains the biographies of all 476 members of the royal family of Cardovan from the founding of the kingdom until the reign of Queen Caitlynn II the Bold.

The Dialogue between Duty and Consciousness - A philosophical work from the world of Ortho about the benefits and limitations of respectable lawful behaviour.

The Book of Amorous Affairs - "A truthful Account of the exciting and the shocking Dalliances of the Nobles and Courtiers of the Imperial Palace of Nu"- vast collection of cheesy love stories that is widely considered to be complete rubbish.

Gensh
2011-10-10, 11:22 AM
I once included a library investigation in my Exalted game. Here are the named books (all written by a necromancer):

A Beginner's Guide to Brain Surgery: How Not to Use a Pickaxe - Despite the title, this book is definitely not for beginners, containing methods for altering personality and erasing memory, up to the combination of two separate minds into one. On the other hand, it's a useful read to anyone who wants to learn the quickest way to brain a humanoid foe with a pickaxe.

Pressure Points and You - While this starts out being a self-help guide to traditional Chinese-equivalent-culture medicine, it somehow (d)evolves into a manual for hokuto shinken (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUlFqL72iV0). In Exalted, it counted as a teacher for learning Dark Messiah Style; in 3.5, I'd say it'd let a wizard scribe an arcane spell variant of the Stygian Touch power.

Better Living through Demonology - This book details a theory on how to trap demon inside handheld, wafer-thin plates, about the size of a playing card. Due to the ease with which this would allow the transport of demons, even simply putting the card in one's pocket, the author coined the term pocket demon, or pokemon for short.

Facial Reconstruction: A Practical Guide - A guide to plastic surgery and dentistry.

A Beacon of Hope: A Deconstruction of Death Essence - A book specific to the Exalted setting: "The book, much like the one Rita recovered before it, seems to be a basic breakdown on the theory of how Essence Flows can be redirected and puts forth that Death Essence is simply regular Essence forced in upon itself. Potentially if one were to apply enough force to it, it could rebound into regular Essence again. He notes that despite his control over Terrestrial Circle Sorcery and Shadowlands Circle Necromancy, he has been unsuccessful in converting a single mote. In the trailing pages are diagrams for what seems to be a gravitational generator."

First Age Repair Basics - Artifact repair

Magitech for Everyone - At first glance, an item creation guide, but anyone with experience in the field would notice there are several glaring errors.

1,001 Recipies for Chiaroscuran Delights - An award-winning cookbook, though any chef using it must be careful not to upset whomever s/he's feeding, as the food has an unusual tendency to coalesce in the form of demons or long-dead relatives. Someone familiar with the mechanical or magical arts will notice that something's not quite right about the recipies, and when used in tandem with Magitech for Everyone, it reveals the coming Reclamation (a major plot point in Exalted) and also the existence of a secret bunker under the manor where the library is located.

Transhuman?: Cybernetics for the Current Age - In Exalted, an essay on the possible integration of Alchemical Charms into other Exalt types; in D&D, warforged grafts.

Noedig
2011-10-10, 11:44 AM
Planar Vortices and their Characteristics This tome deals with the formation of planar vortices, and how they might be used to further study of plane to plane interaction. The book is largely made up of arcane equations and diagrams. Written by Barh of Waterdeep

Akeen's Guide to Sigil This book is largely self explanatory. A very detailed guide on the city of Sigil. Curiously, the book is always adding pages to itself. There is no author listed, but the name on the title sounds oddly familiar

Aetherships and their Construction Vol. 1-12 These tomes deal with the qualities and processes of constructing the massive plane shifting entities known as Aetherships; sentient vessels used for interplanar trade, war, and piracy. Written by Captain Damien Vorhees

Necromancy: A Dissertation This book is bound in white leather, and contains a scientific study of all things necromantic. There is a fascinating chapter on the negative energy plane. Written by Alegron the Weeper

Contractual Agreements with the Lower Planes Cursory observation of this massive tome reveals that it is immensely old. Inside it is a collection of useful legal advice, penned in Infernal. Topics range from soul selling, loophole exploitation, and how to deal with breach of contract. Written by Arcanaloth by the name of Klixllal

The Power of Song This beautifully worked leather bound book contains hundreds of sheets of music for most instruments in existence. The author goes by the rather narcissistic title of The Artist

The Art of War This book is rather odd. It appears to have only thiry or so pages. Instead of a single author, this book is actually a compilation of every strategy ever used in war. Each strategy is listed by name and author. This book seems to be constantly updating itself, removing bad strategies and adding new ones.


Thats all I can think of for now.

GungHo
2011-10-10, 11:46 AM
If you don't mind me asking what the Drocca's Empire is/was Idk why but for some reason I can see some players being deeply enthralled by this game.

Note: If you just made it up on the spot I'll just borrow that book from the library write in it as I go along :smallwink:
Though he had a answer, this is a great idea to set up future threads. Could be tales of lands no one remembered... how many civilizations, townships, or baronies may have been lost on our own planet?

I'd also put in some things in there that wouldn't be that interesting or might be valuable only to certain people. Accounting books. Lineage books. Heraldry and banners. That being said, just because they appear uninteresting, some things like the lineage books might be worth a lot... what if you use it to discover that someone who is currently a King has no bloodright to be a king? Tying it in with the above... what about records of a mithral-rich dwarven delve (yes, stealing from Salvatore) that was lost and is sought after.

Is it worth it to try to bring it to light? Would someone kill them for it?

hayabusa
2011-10-10, 12:13 PM
Though he had a answer, this is a great idea to set up future threads. Could be tales of lands no one remembered... how many civilizations, townships, or baronies may have been lost on our own planet?

I'd also put in some things in there that wouldn't be that interesting or might be valuable only to certain people. Accounting books. Lineage books. Heraldry and banners. That being said, just because they appear uninteresting, some things like the lineage books might be worth a lot... what if you use it to discover that someone who is currently a King has no bloodright to be a king? Tying it in with the above... what about records of a mithral-rich dwarven delve (yes, stealing from Salvatore) that was lost and is sought after.

Is it worth it to try to bring it to light? Would someone kill them for it?

Even the heraldry can be used to provide an "interesting" occurence. Those ruins you cleared out that had a standing eagle holding a blade and a spear on the coins? Turns out, by reading the book, that family actually evolved into the nobility of the land you're currently in. They want their money back...

Corolinth
2011-10-10, 12:28 PM
On Ovnouadr, Sqoiufbwer, and Arglfargl - grilcgrovwynio ac oiwccio kioyyoewi iojlfhkjdfiu

Grok's Trip to Town - An illustrated tome about a troll named Grok, and his trip into town. Grok meets a puppy, and they become friends.

Future is Unwritten, The - blank

Total Enlightenment and the Art of Horse-Drawn Carriage Upkeep - Neither about total enlightenment, nor maintaining horse-drawn carraiges.

Complete Common to &ئ®&Ʒ∂$@Ѫ§♫% Dictionary

BRC
2011-10-10, 12:45 PM
The Heroic Songs: When the PC's ask what's in this book, start recounting their previous campaigns, using flowery, overwrought language and with some key inaccuracies (For example, a Half-Orc character becomes a Human, the Paladin who later falls becomes a simple fighter, a Sorcerer becomes a Wizard, ect).
The True Stories of the Heroic Songs: Claims to be a "Correct" version of the stories told in The Heroic Songs. In reality, it just has different inaccuracies.
The Art of Self Improvement: This intelligent book presents itself as a list of things one should NOT do, in fact it changes itself depending on the reader. The end result is a 500 pages of personalized insults directed against the reader.

Chilingsworth
2011-10-10, 02:36 PM
How about a magical equivilant to a newspaper or photographic archive? Maybe a collection of magical image-storing gems?

Lysander
2011-10-10, 03:58 PM
Just remember, any book that looks interesting or useful is one your players will probably try to steal. So either don't let them find any books that can provide any game advantage, or figure out how to give them a game advantage fairly.

"1001 Delicious Turnip Recipes" won't ruin your game. And something highly academic and specific like "Archmage Bjorn A. Harvessskold's Guide To Purifying Chimera Blood For Use In Weather Control Spells On The Maltovian Archipelago Vol II" probably won't be useful either. But if you let them get their hands on "Necromancy for Beginners" or "100 Words of Power" you know they're going to try them out.

Mark Hall
2011-10-10, 04:28 PM
Surprised I'm the first to suggest this:

To Serve Mankind.

I'd also throw in a bunch of real-life books. Like Slaughterhouse 5. Or Siddartha. Or "The Collected Works of William Shakespeare", but in the original Klingon. Or "As written by a million monkeys". Throw in some blasphemous religious texts ("Gadzooks! This illuminated novel contends that Thor is blonde, and lives in a plane known as 'New York'! We must destroy these heretical works immediately!")

Calanon
2011-10-10, 06:26 PM
The book of "Vile" Darkness: This book appears to be the dreaded book of Vile Darkness in every single manor however upon reading it the reader is filled with a desire to perform good acts and shuns darkness completely. The reader automatically becomes Lawful good and cannot change alignments until he finds the true book of vile darkness.

Lichdom: My Quest for absolute power: This book is autobiography of an infamous Lich who lived for millenia after millenia annihilation entire planes by summoning an evil creature known as The Atropus this book provides nothing but a simple mental feed into the reader of these events with the Lichs voice in the back. There are no benefits other than a good story from reading this book, However it should be noted that some readers have claimed to have been possessed by the Lich in the book and are now his thralls forever seeking his phylactery just to get the voices out of there head.

The Epic Spell Compendium: This book appears to be the results of every Nethrese Arcanist before the fall of the empire. Reading this book inspires greatness in almost all Arcanist who read it educating them in the method to cast Epic spells it also contains the epic spell required to make a Mythallar that allowed the Netheresians to create floating enclaves. However this book comes with a price upon reading it the caster can feel his connection to the weave fades away almost to the point of vanishing reducing his caster level by 20. Mystra's Will allowed this book to remain in creation but with her departure she cursed any and all who would seek this forbidden tome.

"Lo the Path of the Netherese, there arrogance triumph any dragons to the point of making mountains fly. Pride always comes before a fall, remember this dear reader."

GoblinArchmage
2011-10-11, 04:21 AM
This book is in an obscure or esoteric language appropriate for the campaign setting (probably something like Draconic, Infernal, Abyssal, or a dead langauge of some sort). Those who are capable of reading it, though, discover that the entire volume, except for the simple title Notes, is encrypted. Furthermore, the deciphered text is extremely, and probably deliberately, ambiguous.

Comprehending the writing reveals the tome to be a spellbook containing numerous powerful, but complicated, spells. Additionally, it contains details on the creation of a small variety of bizarre, and possibly dangerous, magic items such as a Lich's phylactery. The author frequently makes vague references to obscure concepts and locations, and it is difficult to tell whether these are literal or metaphorical.

Elemental
2011-10-11, 04:57 AM
Perhaps some prophecies?

Volumes Two, Six and Eleven of the Catarinian Books:
The only surviving writings by the great oracle Catarine of Malzan. The other twenty-three books were destroyed because of what they foretold. These remaining tomes are badly fire-damaged.
Catarine had her revenge as so far, all her predictions have been correct.

The Imperium Codex:
This ancient silk scroll is stained with the blood of the hundreds who sought its secrets. Unfortunately, the scroll is both cursed and untranslateable.
All who read it believe that it tells of their rise to greatness. However, their friends will always betray them to seize the scroll for themselves.
The actual text is written in a now dead language and was primarily concerned with the fortunes of an ancient stockmarket.

Volumes VIII-IX: Land Registry of the Sultanate of Veridan:
This pair of dusty ledgers appears unremarkable, however, closer inspection reveals cryptic mentions of the fate of one "Champion of Twilight".

Finally, something different:

Druidic/Ruranite Dictionairy:
Unfortunately, Ruranite is a dead language no one has spoken for countless centuries.

Saintheart
2011-10-11, 05:13 AM
The Bourne Supremacy Ultimate Showdown. Because somewhere in the multiverse, some useless writer will have been licensed to write more of this crap.

Sir Augusta
2011-10-11, 06:47 AM
Heres a few ideas-

-The adventures of (insert one pc's former character): I have done this before, and the pcs love it when they see something like this.

-On the Run: The story of a young good dragon who is being hunted by dragonslayers, constantly on the run. In the end, either kills his pursuers, is killed (book cuts off), or is saved by some adventurers. Normally, its the slayers that get their tales told, so its fun to mix things up.

The Battle of (Somewhere): Details the battle's importance, and how (something) or (someone's actions) turned the tide of battle for better or worse. Generic, but easy to fit into your campaign. Possibly written about a battle that your pcs' former characters participated in, that'll make it more interesting to them.

Mark Hall
2011-10-11, 09:42 AM
The Battle of (Somewhere): Details the battle's importance, and how (something) or (someone's actions) turned the tide of battle for better or worse. Generic, but easy to fit into your campaign. Possibly written about a battle that your pcs' former characters participated in, that'll make it more interesting to them.

ESPECIALLY if it's completely wrong, attributing success to someone they know to be an utter incompetent... but who had enough money to pay for the history (qv Battle of Arausio).

QuidEst
2011-10-11, 11:08 AM
"Getting Rich" by Robyn Vaults- grants the reader their intelligence bonus in ranks of Knowledge(Dungeoneering) upon reading.

"To Grill a Mockingbird"

You can have an oddly bound book with strange runes that cannot be deciphered even with magic. There are a few illustrations that give some hint as to its nature, however. (Basically, see how long it takes them to realize they've discovered the Player's Handbook.)

"Book of the Reader". The book contains a transcription of whatever the character's player gives as character directions or speech.

"A Very Quick Guide to Demolition"- Any PC should know better than to open something so obviously full of Explosive Runes.

You might also include a few puzzles with rewards if they solve them. You could have a book that is sealed as tight as a block of wood- they have to pour universal solvent to get rid of the sovereign glue binding the pages. Have the contents be something worth the time and trouble (but not necessary), with a title that makes it clear that it's important.

Also, you would be remiss if you did not include at least one pop-up book of low level spells. XD

Kitsap Charles
2011-10-11, 03:43 PM
"How I Did It", by Victor von Frahnkenshteen. An essay on practical necromancy.

Dr.Epic
2011-10-11, 03:50 PM
You can just watch that one episode of Avatar the Last Airbender for inspiration: give the library a guardian spirit, maybe some sort of device that predicts astronomical/astrological occurrences.

Pokonic
2011-10-11, 04:07 PM
On The Layers of Hell vol. 1-8.

A set of 9 skin-bound books, each detailing one of the layers of hell and a few exerpts and notes from varying devils in it. Includes commentary from varying mages on the back pages. The last tome once existed, but has been since stolen from the library.

How to use the plains for fun & profit.

The last notes of a half-copper dragon orc who became rich due to interplaner connections, this thin book details his rise to power and contains advice on money-making and on managing funds.

Gorfang113
2011-10-11, 05:55 PM
My ideas, ive actually used two of them, "The Art of Fleshcrafting" was the name of a flesh golem manuel a fleshwarper PC found, and the artificer has a copy of the Encyclopedia in his alchemists lab (every good one has a copy).

"The Invisible Book of Invisibility": A plinth has this written on a namecard. Scrawled underneath the name is a note that says Currently Missing.

"Aquatic Life of The Golden Coast": Disappointingly does not talk about the magical or humanoid life, only talks about "normal" animals.

"Thrall to an Eye Tyrant": A autobiography written by a gnome illusionist who spent 5 years as a charmed captive of a Beholder. A good book by itself, has some interesting observations on the Beholder for those interested in that sort of thing.

"Slay, Devour, Hate": A book supposedly written by a devil, tells of its travels through the upper layers of the abyss and the changes it did to him.

"The Art of Fleshcraft": A series of books on how to create and use grafts. Has a short appendix listing convinient places to collect "materials" and creatures that are good for "practicing" on.

"The Tale of Alrathrass and Kaira": An epic poem about a romance between a Brass Dragon and a Elf Druid. Ends when Kaira is mortally wounded by a supernatural poision. Her druidic mentor feels pity on them and binds her to a tree, making her into a Dryad. Alrathrass spends the rest of his life with her protecting her tree.

"An Observation and Explanation On the Phenomena of Various Mental Reactions": A poetry book written by Inevitables. Includes classics such as "The Cessation of Vital Functions", "The Female Being That Travels At a Moderate Pace in Physical Attraction", and everyone's favorite, "In Regards To The Season Commonly Referred to as Autumn"

"A Observence on The Ability of Natural Necromancy": A collection of essays, drawings and notes on creatures that have the ability to create undead without magical knowledge (Creatures with a create spawn ability).

"The Fine Art of Winemaking": About various winemakers, what vineyards produce quality wine, and what vintages to try. Written by elves. After a short reading the players can tell its obviously biased towards the authors.

"Encyclopedia Alchemica, 232 Ed.": A collection of alchemical recipes, written by The Scarab Lord (the father of modern alchemy in my campaign setting, replace as needed) himself. Very useful, and provides tips and hints to make the items faster or better. After several thousand years of republishing by he government it has lost many of its recipes, having been deemed unfit for the public by censors. The first edition was said to have had included every recipe in existance, along with the formlua to create a philospher's stone (plot hook).

"The Humble Art of Brewing": Anything but, a direct rebbutal to 'The Art of Fine Winemaking". Written by Thurdrin Redbeard, master dwarven brewer, it gives many instructions on how to make your own quality alcohol. ALso includes a complete list of types of dwarven ales, with a near complete list of the popular ales of other races. Contains instructions on how to make fabeled brews such as Bugman's XXXXXXXXXX or Erudrain's 300 Proof Honey Rum.

Polarbeast
2011-10-11, 11:06 PM
Some fantastically creative people here!

A Treatise of General Nature on the Names and Types of Stones, Mountains and Earth - A bound stack of quartos, each sheet almost five feet high, this is a lengthy encyclopedia of geology which, as dry as that sounds, is actually quite clever, humorous, and full of anecdotes. By Ohlirfim Stavanovik Goruss (Storm Giant) (written in Giant, using the Dwarvish alphabet)

The Bone Winter - A heavy scroll penned in a spidery hand, this is the account of the last march of the Ka'amenshee, a mountain tribe who sought revenge against a harpy clan led by Sivvahrr, an Old White Dragon. The account is written by the only survivor; it may or may not be factual, but it is fascinating, and scary to read at night. By Amban Surehand (written in an archaic form of Common)

The Art of Folding for Spanners - A thick tome covered in sheets of pounded steel, this is an apprentice-level work for smithing, focusing on the art of folding iron on the anvil and the colors of iron based on purity and temperature. Approved by Council of Argom (written in Dwarvish)

Dancing the Blades - Three thin books bound in tattered red leather, embossed with a stylized hawk, these are the adventures of Elreed Vindioch, a dashing duelist who claims to have been the best swordsman who ever lived. The book makes references to learning the secrets to his skill, but has little actual useful information for Skill points. However, it is full of clever insults one might use against an opponent. By Elreed Vindioch, Knight Errant of the Paragon Wind, Lord of the Flashing Blade, Successor of the Sheath, Esq. (Written in Common, with several paragraphs in Elven)

The Economies of River Traffic of the Kingdom of Brandannon, with a focus on the Bellsward R. and the Wrathwindle R., between 1215 and 1627, with Appendices - More or less exactly that, as written on a stunningly long scroll of vellum. By Pervius the Quill (written in Common and Aquan)

The Book of Skins, Being a Record of thee Moste Lively and Awefull Transformations - A dark brown book covered in discomfiting etchings, this is an encyclopedic list of clever and creative shapechanging, unfortunate mistakes, and tragic consequences through the ages, via the magic of transformation. Contains no spells, but fearful, painstaking descriptions. By Elebus Vee (written in Common and Draconic)

Banjax
2011-10-12, 02:30 AM
Blatently stolen from Girl Genius Comic (http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20110103) How to Use Found Objects as Weapons A heavy Iron bound tome, reading this allows you to use the book as a +1 mace (I especially like the sound effect in the bottom left panel)

Calanon
2011-10-12, 01:55 PM
Pretty women: A guide to making even the ugliest of creatures in to beauty: This tome is a detailed guide created by an unknown and now dead goddess of love. This book only effects creatures with a Charisma of less than 8 and no greater than 10. Upon reading this the reader gains the ability to use Charm Person -at will as a spell-like ability. However any creature that reads this that is already a thing of beauty (Charisma above 10) automatically takes a penalty to Charisma of -8. This book can only be read once in a life time by any one reader.

QuidEst
2011-10-12, 03:44 PM
Pretty women: A guide to making even the ugliest of creatures in to beauty: This tome is a detailed guide created by an unknown and now dead goddess of love. This book only effects creatures with a Charisma of less than 8 and no greater than 10. Upon reading this the reader gains the ability to use Charm Person -at will as a spell-like ability. However any creature that reads this that is already a thing of beauty (Charisma above 10) automatically takes a penalty to Charisma of -8. This book can only be read once in a life time by any one reader.

That seems a bit harsh. 0_o That'd pretty much kill any Bard who takes a peek, after all! I presume you mean less than eight or more than ten?

Mr.Silver
2011-10-12, 04:16 PM
Love's True Face
A mediocre romantic novel about a disfigured nobleman who wears a mask to hid his face and a young woman who falls for him. Despite being rather cliche and full of purple prose, it remains popular with readers across the plane it originates on [note: same one as the PCs]. This particularly volume however is notable in that the text on page 162, instead of continuing the scene where our heroine stands up to the nefarious Baron DeVillarn, now consists of what appears to be a note asking for help in securing release from a printing workshop, providing an address and an addendum to send food.


Untitled
An rather plain book, notable only due its lack of a title or any identifying features whatsoever. Inside, it details the backstories of one of the PCs (ideally the one who first starts reading it) and everything said character has done up until this point, and will continue to detail whatever said character is doing in the present to whoever is reading it. Attempting to skip ahead of the present (whether by turning pages or magical means) will only ever passages along the lines of: "despite trying [attempted method] the book refused to grant any insights into what lay in the future." If further attempts are made additional lines detailing how pointless these attempts are and how silly the characters performing them look.


The True Nature of Time, Reality and the Multiverse - By Raymond Eugene jr.
This impressive looking and important sounding book has a picture of a rotating cube on the front. Despite being written in a language the PCs speak fluently, the actual text seems impossible to understand despite your best efforts - as it apparently requiring mastery of a new mathematical system that seems so complex as to utterly confound even the greatest living genius. Indeed, to the untrained eye it would almost seem to be gibberish. You have no doubt though that if you could only understand it, the information contained within the book would have an imaginable impact upon magic, science, religion and all forms of sentient society.


(I might have been a bit too subtle with that last one).

Calanon
2011-10-12, 09:35 PM
That seems a bit harsh. 0_o That'd pretty much kill any Bard who takes a peek, after all! I presume you mean less than eight or more than ten?

Any creature with a minimum of 8 Charisma and a maximum of 10 Charisma can use the book without worry so anything with 8, 9 or 10 charisma can use the book and gain off of it.

Its a book I use in my games to cripple players who choose to search the Lich's Library if you will... the real name of the book is :

The Tome of 1001 schemes: A guide to self improvement overall its pretty much like the pretty women book except it to all the stats and ALL your stats need to be below 10 (However instead of a Spell like ability it maximizes all the players stats to a base of 18 however if even one of your base stats is above 10 they all get decreased by a 1d20)

but I don't share those books statistics to often :smalltongue:

RedWarrior0
2011-10-12, 10:22 PM
Everything that has happened ever: The PCs enter a room, roughly two hundred feet cube, with the middle most of it being taken up by an absolutely massive book written in some obscure language, unable to be comprehended.

On the Art of Transfixion: a PC who opens this and begins reading must read it through, taking some hours, and is completely unaware of his surroundings during that time.

A Most Provocative Tale of Achilles and Tortoise: Read Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid. Now.

The Most Numerous Advantages of Pacts with Baatezu: the author is only given as 'A'

The Traveller's Guide to the Far Realms: An Epic Tale of Despair and Hope, Sanity and Insanity, and the Nature of Reality: Complete gibberish. If read aloud, takes all within 100 ft to the Far Realms

Try Not To Laugh: a collection of terrible and gruesome 'jokes' that causes a no-save Hideous Laughter for the reader; a save is allowed for those who hear it read aloud.

Financial Records of the Kingdom of Transmortia: Just what it sounds like; Mostly onyx, some coffins and phylactery materials.

An Account of the Most Numerous and Ominous Prophecies: Filled to the brim with 'fertilizer'.

Templarkommando
2011-10-12, 11:33 PM
A Million and One Ways to Kill a Kobold by Helltos the Magnificent. A mischievous bard who perished after stealing a skull from an Imp. Only records about 6 ways to kill a kobold. "Kill it good, Kill it dead, and kill it with somethin gbig and blunt are about as descriptive as it gets. So it's a mostly blank book.

Players Handbookby Anonymous - a guide to gambling, various card games, dice games, and common casino games.

Well Tempered Clavier by Johann Sebastian Bach. Why the library contains the two volumes of this particular title is unknown to you, but apparently the library's owner thought it was important enough to merit a little extra dimensional travel.

Kalirren
2011-10-12, 11:56 PM
Now you've got me thinking about the statistics I'd do on this library just to find out about the structure of the multiverse and its state of habitation.

I'd suggest some Zipf's Law distribution of holy texts of different faiths in various stages of illumination.

Random newspapers from other planes. Video and audio recordings of famous works of art and famous performances. (This is a magical library we're talking here.)

A surprisingly small section on actual planar travel.

Certainly some sort of catalog, perhaps half-complete, and a metahistory of the collection, including a list of entities that have previously curated this collection.

Ason
2011-10-13, 01:16 AM
If you're looking for actual texts to hand out to your players, you could always make a quick adaptation of the stuff from the Elder Scrolls' Imperial (http://www.imperial-library.info/content/elder-scrolls-iii-morrowind) Library (http://www.imperial-library.info/content/elder-scrolls-ii-daggerfall-books). I find the stories and texts there enjoyable in their own right, and if you change around the gods/races, it'll probably do the trick for your game.

Calanon
2011-10-13, 01:50 AM
Tempted to offer the Nether Scrolls but I'm worried that logically a Wizard would try to steal them...

meschlum
2011-10-13, 01:56 AM
The Laws of Reality: a detailed guide to the rules, bylaws, and regulations governing the operation of existence, with detailed sections outlining all the available hacks and exploits. Sadly, the reality depicted in the book is not the one in which the game takes place.

History of the Modern Kingdoms: written by a king who'd heard that most history was false because the winners wrote it, he set forth to lose every war he could in order to be able to create the most accurate history texts in existence.

Condensing Mana Flows for Fun and Profit: this books provides the details as to how to assemble a Mana Flow condenser, which takes up roughly three quarters of its contents. The instructions are very detailed and stringent, with numerous mentions of the bad things that happen if assembly goes wrong - mostly of an explosive nature. Once built, the condenser generates a constant, slow stream of condensed mana - a light purple fluid somewhat denser than water. The remaining quarter of the book is devoted to dire warnings and records of all the bad things that happen when trying to disassemble the condenser. There are absolutely no instructions or advice as to how to put the condensed mana to use. Scrawled towards the end of the tome (and somehow only noticed after the condenser is built) are the words - "Hope you live high above ground level!"

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Summoning: this tome explains in detail why the creatures you summon are utterly incompetent, and gives advice on putting them to better use. Using the book requires dedication, and allows its reader to permanently modify the way they summon things, making them somewhat smarter (gaining the ability to ask for, and drink tea, as well as very well fitting suits). Unfortunately, due to a printing error, it can be confused with copies of the Complete Guide to Summoning Idiots, which ensures that any summoned beings are utterly incapable of ding anything but providing obstacles. As to the Complete Guide to Idiot Summoners, it's certainly a rumor, and stories saying that those reading it end up being the targets (and victims) of the users of the other books are certainly false. Maybe.

Ossian
2011-10-13, 02:00 AM
Internet should have taught you something...

Put there ALL the books mentioned (one or two copies) + bestiaries in 30 volumes each + lapidaries (magic stones ) in 30 volumes etc etc etc.

Then put 50 shelves of letters (diplomatic / magicians' correspondence! hahaha good luck reconstructing their train of though).

The put 500 dictionaries (or everything else is useless)

then add 30 times all of the above in commentaries to existing work done by others, or even commentaries to commentaries to commentaries....

Filled.

QuidEst
2011-10-13, 07:04 AM
I don't think that I would put penalties for exploring the library. Certainly nothing that would drastically change a character. Instead, I would limit them to a certain number of books (either a fixed number or based on riddles/other tests of intelligence), and roll on a table for what they get. A few books do nothing, some give "consolation prizes" (eg. ranks in Knowledge(whatever)), and some do pretty cool artifact-y stuff. Tell them the titles and so on, then let them trade, etc. Any arbitrary rules (only letting a book be read by one player) can be enforced by magic or sphinxes. Just a suggestion!

(As a player, I'd also kind of like getting a book that does something awful, but being forewarned. An illusion spell to make the title more appealing, and I could leave it lying around where some enemy will read it.)

Silverscale
2011-10-13, 10:27 AM
The Idiot's guide to Beginners (Insert Skill Here):Reading one of these all the way through gives the reader a +2 bonus the covered Skill. Each player can only benefit from reading a given "Idiot's Guide" once.

The Idiot's guide to Intermediate (Insert Skill Here): Reading one of these all the way through gives the reader a +4 bonus the covered Skill. Each player can only benefit from reading a given "Idiot's Guide" once.

The Idiot's guide to Advanced (Insert Skill Here): Reading one of these all the way through gives the reader a +6 bonus the covered Skill. Each player can only benefit from reading a given "Idiot's Guide" once.

The Intermediate guides can only be read by Characters of at least 5th level with at least 4 ranks in the covered Skill.

The Advanced guides can only be read by Characters of at least 10th level with at least 12 ranks in the covered Skill

Calanon
2011-10-13, 07:15 PM
I don't think that I would put penalties for exploring the library. Certainly nothing that would drastically change a character. Instead, I would limit them to a certain number of books (either a fixed number or based on riddles/other tests of intelligence), and roll on a table for what they get. A few books do nothing, some give "consolation prizes" (eg. ranks in Knowledge(whatever)), and some do pretty cool artifact-y stuff. Tell them the titles and so on, then let them trade, etc. Any arbitrary rules (only letting a book be read by one player) can be enforced by magic or sphinxes. Just a suggestion!

(As a player, I'd also kind of like getting a book that does something awful, but being forewarned. An illusion spell to make the title more appealing, and I could leave it lying around where some enemy will read it.)

Its a warning to the players that says "This is a special Library... enter at your own risk" I know its cruel but players need to know that the BBEG isn't messing around so...

It is completely reasonable to nerf the books; instead making them do ability damage rather than a permanent penalty that you can't remove. :smalltongue: I just like to mess with my Optimizers every now and again

QuidEst
2011-10-13, 08:31 PM
I just like to mess with my Optimizers every now and again

Ouch… go easy on the poor guys! Optimization ain't a crime- 'specially if you're taking it as skills above ten. Just my take, though.

If I were to show the BBEG means business… I suppose I'd be tempted to swipe the Dr. Who approach and do flesh-eating shadows. XP (Good for a villain with shadow spells, naturally.) But with books, I might do something like disorient them (switch who controls which character for some period), do some pure fluff stuff (books that write their words on your flesh), or give it a bit of background (the books are the detailed descriptions of how his victims perished… every last one of them- I believe there's a spell lying around that lets you recall something you witnessed).

Calanon
2011-10-13, 11:11 PM
Ouch… go easy on the poor guys! Optimization ain't a crime- 'specially if you're taking it as skills above ten. Just my take, though.

If I were to show the BBEG means business… I suppose I'd be tempted to swipe the Dr. Who approach and do flesh-eating shadows. XP (Good for a villain with shadow spells, naturally.) But with books, I might do something like disorient them (switch who controls which character for some period), do some pure fluff stuff (books that write their words on your flesh), or give it a bit of background (the books are the detailed descriptions of how his victims perished… every last one of them- I believe there's a spell lying around that lets you recall something you witnessed).

oOo when I DM i purposely go after the person who performs the best in my eyes :3 and yes i know optimization isn't a crime but i like my parties to be balanced (I don't block any levels of tier so everything is ok... except archivist for obvious reasons >_>) meaning I don't like the Barbarian to be shown up in the boss fight against said BBEG by a Cleric who persisted Divine Might and some other cheese (Especially if this Barbarian is Optimized out the wazzons!)

KillianHawkeye
2011-10-15, 01:10 PM
Thanks for all the great ideas, everyone! I'm off to the game now.