Xenotheurgy Magic Items
Cerebral stones are a catch-all term for bits of solid inorganic debris that enters our world from the far realms every now and then. Some are crystalline, some are metallic, and some seem to be made of stone. A cerebral stone can hold a breach of up to 3rd level.
Physical Description: Along with their random appearance, cerebral stones have relatively variable sizes, weights, and densities. Each one weighs 1d10 pound/breach level and takes up 1d10 cubic feet/breach level (roll separately for each). They need not remain in their unworked form and may be used for other purposes, even being transformed into weaponry or armor. Regardless of form, cerebral stone has 11 AC, 15 hit points/breach level, 10 hardness, and a break DC of 17.
Identifying Cerebral Stones: Any creature who touches a cerebral stone feels a bit uneasy, animals hesitate to venture near it, and plants tend to avoid them (vines occasionally snake around them, giving them a wide berth). Anyone who carries a cerebral stone item around with them in an encounter realizes that they can use it to produce magic, though they don’t know what magic it can produce. Cerebral stones of the same breach may be of the same similar size or composition to each other.
Activation: As a full-round action, any creature can use a cerebral stone to imitate the breach held within. Each time that they use it, however, they take a stacking –1 penalty to Will saves for 24 hours unless they have access to xenotheurgy. Furthermore, with each use, the user must make a Will save (DC 12 + breach level x 2) or else the cerebral stone shatters into pieces. The user does not benefit from empowerment unless they possess access to xenotheurgy.
Using a cerebral stone does not provoke attacks of opportunity and must be done by a corporeal creature.
Price: Cerebral stones generally cost 75 gp/breach level of the breach contained. If the cerebral stone has been crafted into an item, add the price of that item to this cost. Even the most malleable of cerebral stones is resistant to being worked, however, and masterwork items cannot be crafted from it.
Sometimes, a xenotheurge approaching the end of their life (or sanity) feels the need to pass on their knowledge in some way. Most are too paranoid to take on an apprentice so they opt to write down what they know. In most cases, what they write down is harmless. Horrific, insane, and blasphemous, perhaps, but harmless. They are too unhinged to choose the right words, lack the vocabulary necessary to teach the art, or end up writing memoirs instead of an instructional book. A few, however, manage to stay on task and write with great skill, producing a book with knowledge enough to imitate xenotheurgy. As the book is linked to the far realms rather than the reader, they are at considerably less risk, making such tomes a favorite tool of cults who want power without a price attached (other than destabilizing the universe).
The reader of the book is the effective xenotheurge, using their Hit Dice in place of a xenotheurgy level. A weak reader may not be able to access the full power of a forbidden tome.
Physical Description: A typical forbidden tome is a couple inches thick, bound in leather or similar substance (although extremely lengthy “forbidden scrolls” aren’t unheard of). Most bear some sort of locking mechanism. Few if any exceed 10 inches in any dimension and they normally weight 8-10 pounds. Most are protected against smallish flames, vermin, and brief dips under water. A forbidden tome has AC 12, 10 hp, 4 hardness, and a break DC of 15
Identifying: Anyone who reads even a single passage of a forbidden tome will know that it is blasphemous, incoherent, and a bit terrifying. Anyone who takes the time to read it for a full hour, however, feels the tome’s murmur start affecting them as they gain access to the dark powers within.
Knowledge (the planes) can reveal that the tome deals with a terrible form of power from a place called the far realms and a high result may shed light on which specific murmur it grants access to.
Activation: Each forbidden tome is linked to a single murmur. If a creature reads the tome for a full, uninterrupted hour after getting a full 8 hours of sleep or rest, they gain access to the murmur as well and to all murmurs that it is capable of granting.
Unlike with real xenotheurgists, the level of the murmur never increases by using breaches and the breaches can be used at will as standard actions that don’t provoke attacks of opportunity. Breaches cast in this way do cannot benefit from empowerment or meta-breach feats unless the reader has outside access to xenotheurgy.
The level of the murmur must be high enough to use the breach and your Hit Dice must equal or surpass the necessary xenotheurgy level to use a breach of a given level. Furthermore, all tomes have a maximum level of breach that they store. No tome can store 6th level breaches and no tome grants access to disturbances or incursions.
Each consecutive day that the reader studies the tome, the level of the murmur increases by +1. If the reader misses a day, however, they do not gain access to the books murmur or breaches on that day. Thus, if the book is read seven times, the reader suffers the effects of a seventh level murmur for one day.
After a tome has been read seven times or fifty breach levels of breaches have been used from it, the tome becomes inactive for a year and a day.
Random Generation: Roll randomly on a d20 to determine the forbidden tome’s murmur (see post 2) and roll a d6 to see how many times that the tome has already been read. If the tome hasn’t been read for over a year, it starts with a murmur level of 1.
Cost: The cost of a forbidden tome depends on the highest level of breach is is capable of granting: 1st-level 1,969 gp; 2nd-level 20,250 gp; 3rd-level 64,969 gp; 4th-level 146,250 gp; 5th-level 274,219 gp
Major Artifact: The Codex Vesania
The true tome of madness, the codex vesania, was penned by an Alienist and blessed xenotheurgist named Sion Ponure. Later in life, realizing that his soul was forfeit, Sion started researching his fate with great fervor. Having long-since reclassified himself as an afflicted xenotheurgist, Sion interviewed adventurers who had fought monstrous beasts, strolled through a couple cerebrotic blots, and even peered into Iphegor’s infamous Ebon Mirror searching for hints and evidence.
Quickly losing his mind to madness, his body to illness, and his soul to the far realms, Sion rapidly penned all of his notes together in a nihilistic and incoherent mess, hoping that something would call out to him. As he neared death, Sion had an epiphany of sorts. Whether out of madness or odd cunning, he skinned himself and somehow bound his book in his own flesh. Whether this helped in any way is unknown, but the result was the codex vesania, a forbidden tome of singular might.
Effects:The codex vesania is filled with random knowledge and factoids of all forms. If used as a reference source, it provides a +5 circumstance bonus to Knowledge (arcana), Knowledge (dungeoneering), and Knowledge (the planes) checks. Of greater concern, scribbled in the corner of one page, seems to be the truename of the far realms itself. Anyone foolish enough to pronounce this word out loud (DC 50 truespeak check) is driven instantly insane as the insanity spell (no saving throw).
More impressively, the codex vesania functions as an empowered forbidden tome. Whenever it is found, it contains two random murmurs. Unlike other forbidden tomes, the codex vesania can grant 6th-level breaches to those strong enough to use them and the tome does not lose its power no matter how many breaches are used. When it has been studied seven times, the codex vanishes to reappear elsewhere after a year and a day (no mundane or magical means can stop this disappearance) and the reader gains access to the two murmurs that the codex possessed.