Named for their gleaming polished, ivory exterior, the whitebone tomes were originally created by Archmage Skezemo, who used the tomes as a tool to summon demons. The pages of the books appear to contain gibberish, lines, runes and sigils written in dried blood. A specifically created stone altar in his library contained grooves which the books would latch into, and if arranged in the right order with the books all opened at the correct pages, one could summon specific demons safely with minimal effort. A seventh book contained in the library itself holds the instructions for which pages to open for specific demons.
To fuel the immense magical power to open a portal to the infernal realm, Skezemo had only one option; he required the essence of six demons. The mage was wily, though, and sought out the Devil, Ngama Ngama, tricking her into telling him the ideal demons for the task and their weaknesses. Using the Devil's tricks, Skezemo overcame the demons and trapped their souls inside the ivory covers. As each book was possessed, the ivory shaped and rearranged itself to tell a tale of which demon resided within the book.
The demons residing within are now forever one with the tome. If the tome is destroyed, the demon will return, but if the beast is in turn destroyed, it's corpse will then dissolve back into the form of the book.
One feature of the Whitebone Tomes that Skezemo did not intend is that the demons' influence leeches through the book and into whoever holds it. This is a two-edged sword, because it means that the holder is granted additional power, but is also negatively influenced by the demon-book.
The books seem to be able to almost passively effect the world around them to end up where they want - they always seem to be able to find their way eventually to areas suited to the demons trapped within.
Books of Six
She, Graven'tolah the Bird of Prey
The Graven Tome
T'was a dreary eve 'pon the cliff when'st the Hellmage arrived. Through the blood of eagles and the old steel eye of Toakleth the sky-watcher, She, Graven'tolah was brought to the world. The winged Witch of Mokloeth screech'd with fury and dids't send forth her black ravens to rend the Hellmage's flesh. But the mage was prepared! And yes, he dids't send forth infernal flame to smite She, Graven'tolah's wicked birds from the air, and he bound the wily demon's wings to her body with cord woven of children's hair, and sent her a'plummeting from the rocky rise into the first Whitebone Tome.
The Graven Tome's cover engraving depicts a raven sitting atop a branch of a dead tree, bordered by the moon in the background. Strewn across the ground at the base of the tree is a plethora of dead doves.
If the Graven Tome is on one's person, it grants a natural slow-fall effect. Carriers can glide off buildings and cliffs with ease.
The Graven Tome causes all non-raven birds within 50 yards to screech and caw uncontrollably. This makes it hard to go unnoticed, or to move silently. Ravens are attracted by the book, and can always be seen in the vicinity of the holder, silently watching, waiting. They do not do anything to the holder, but it can be quite unnerving having ravens watching you day and night. A high volume of ravens in one area is a good indication of the Graven Tome being nearby.
The Graven Tome may sit within an abandoned building in the ruins of an ancient city. The correct building can be found because of all the flocks of ravens perched around it, on nearby trees and the roof. None will fly away when people approach. They will simply watch, silent.
Areas of high altitude are also a good place to seek The Graven Tome.
Alhgru, the living dark
Book of living dark
T'was a dark cave the Hellmage walked through,
He was likely to be eaten by Ahlgru.
A line of fire, at the entrance he drew,
And the beast of swirling shadows quickly withdrew.
As the Hellmage delved deeper, the shadows all grew,
And in all his empty glory, he met the demon, Ahlgru.
The Hellmage lit a sanctified brand of Bamboo
and retreating, Ahlgru made a great hullabaloo!
Victory at hand the Hellmage began to pursue:
He cornered Alhgru;
the white brand he threw,
and Ahlgru he slew,
Whose soul went into
Tome number two.
The Book of Living Dark has no cover mural; it's cover is completely blank and smooth.
One who holds the Book of Living Dark in their hands is able to blend in with shadows perfectly, so long as they remain still.
If a person has this book in their belongings, they are protected from all forms of magical scrying.
Those who own this book find themselves being ignored more; their opinions hold less weight and people seem to take an instant disliking to them. All charisma related rolls suffer.
The Book of Living Dark always seems to find its way into dark places; cellars, caves, mines and deep underwater.
Aleatorem, keeper of the Dice
The Gambler's rulebook
It is said that if one wanders the streets of the Tellamo slums for long enough, while the moon is new and with purpose in your heart you will eventually find yourself hopelessly lost. Do not stop to find your bearing - you must continue walking the streets without direction, traversing dark alleys and narrow, unkempt roads. Soon you will find the buildings will swallow you, their sheer walls and the narrowness of the streets restricting the view of the night sky. Finally, you will come across a building whose architecture seems not quite right - as though it were not made by human hands, but looked like it was supposed to be. This is the Aleatorem's house of ill-repute.
If one walks to the door they will be greeted by a doorman who will deny you access to the building. To gain entrance, you must speak the phrase, "One soul is the price that is needed to play; one soul is the price I am willing to pay."
If you speak this to the doorman he will let you though, but if you try to force or trick your way in, you will immediately black out, waking up the next morning with a massive headache, and will never be able to find the place again.
Upon entering, one will find an assortment of humans and not-quite humans; Soul traders who offer many services from sexual satisfaction to assassins, rare item traders and people who will see to it you gain a position of power. All they ask for is your soul, once you die.
In a dark corner Aleatorem is said to sit, rolling dice and keeping watch over his domain. The beast, it is said, looks almost human, except for the beady black eyes under his twisted top-hat and his needle-teeth, permanently bared in a predatory grin.
One may challenge Aleatorem to a game of dice if they wish; if you win, you get to keep your soul and Aleatorem, bound by demonic contract, will grant the winner one boon which is within his power to give. The dice are fixed, of course, and one cannot win unless you bring your own dice and demand that they be used. Aleatorem will refuse, and bargain and ridicule and threaten you but if you do not give in to his wiles, he will eventually agree.
It is said the Hellmage went down this path and found Aleatorem. He brought his own dice and bested the trickster demon. For his boon, he simply asked Aleatorem to become one with his Whitebone tome. Aleatorem was furious, but had to comply. Before he surrendered his essence to Archmage Skezemo, however, he laid down a curse, yelling to the patrons of his house of ill-repute that no business could be continued within the walls unless someone destroyed the book and freed the demon once more.
How the Hellmage got out of that building alive is anyone's guess, but it is said the soul traders seek the book to this day!
The Gambler's Rulebook has an engraving of two cobwebbed dice resting on snake eyes. In the back, many sets of otherwise featureless eyes peer menacingly at the dice.
Having the Gambler's Rulebook on your person makes people have uncanny luck. In gaming terms, if players fail any dice roll they earn a second 'luck' roll on their failed roll with a +5 dc.
anyone who possesses this book will be accosted ceaselessly by soul traders, disreputable people, assassins and lowlives, all trying to destroy the book to re-release Aleatorem. The book can be magically scried so they will always seem to know the rough location that it's in. If one ALSO has the Book of Living Dark on them, they will be immune from this scying, however. It is advisable not to seek out the Gambler's Rulebook until you have the Book of Living Dark.
Aleatorem's house of Ill-Repute is the most likely place to find this book - or rather, the demon himself; it is likely he's already been freed and the only way to get the book back is to slay him (or trick him with a dice game again).
Otherwise, this book could be found in places of gambling. Casinos, race tracks and the like.
Finally, a GM could have this book already in Skezemo's library, just waiting to be taken. The library will hold sufficient wards to hide the book from scrying but as soon as they leave it's walls, the players will begin to be hunted. The smart thing to do is leave the book there until they find book 2.
Shahra and Slaine
Codex of Decay
Morbul was deep in the grips of an epidemic of massive proportions when the Archmage Skezemo arrived at our town. We had already tried dozens of antidotes, herbal remedies and even asked the clergy for help but none could cure the pock-marking sickness and decay which spread through our citizens. Now, this Skezemo arrived and told us the horrible truth; it was no natural illness we were witnessing but rather it was twin demons plaguing the town. Shahra of Decay and Slaine of Pestilence; the fel witches of Antlicoa were hiding somewhere in the city. Archmage Skezemo hunted down the beasts to an cellar. He went in alone and was down there for hours, but finally he returned with two white books - he did not give us details of how he slew them, but within days those who were still alive within Morbul made a full recovery. Skezemo asked for no payment and left the town swiftly after that.
It was not until some months after the fact that we learned that it was in fact this 'Hell Mage' who unleashed Shahra and Slaine into Morbul himself. May the gods damn him to an eternity of pain!
The Codex of Decay has an apple etched upon it. In the morning the apple appears healthy, but when observed at in the afternoon or night-time, the apple is seen to be rotting away. The apple is completely rotted by pre-dawn but once the sun rises it appears as new once more. The Codex of Decay begins to smell like rotting meat afternoon turns to night, and by early morning it reeks.
The Pestilent Bible Has a similar progressing cover - at dawn it is empty. However as it is observed later through the day, flies and insects appear to be etched on it. By the time night falls the cover is filled with the image of these bugs. Occasionally - and more often at the end of the day - flies and other insects seem to pull out of the book cover itself. If someone were to keep this book in their bag all day and then open the bag at night, a swarm of insects will spill out; some of them carrying disease.
If you actively hold the codex of decay in one hand and touch any organic matter with the other hand, it will decay at a vastly accelerated rate. food will decompose in a couple of minutes and wood will turn to rot quickly. This can be useful to destroy wooden cages or walls, get rid of food, decompose corpses quickly or even as a torture device.
Holding the Pestilent Bible in your hand does a similar thing - any food you touch with your free hand will be poisoned. Resting your hand on a person will sicken them and using a weapon with your other hand will cause it's cut to poison the victim.
The Codex of Decay will cause all food to rot within a day, meaning that if one were to travel distances with the book, they must survive off the land.
Ownership of The Pestilent Bible makes a person violently ill within a day. If one kept the book (or were forced to keep the book), they would be dead within three days. This illness passes within a couple of hours if the book is given away, meaning the best way to carry this book is by sharing the burden with the group, passing the book from person to person several times a day.
Both books could be found lost in graveyards, in dead forests, with the undead or anywhere that plague and decay run rampant.
Ngama Ngama advised the Hellmage that the final tome was to be filled by Somnaq the elder. But there was problem - because Ngama Ngama knew of no weakness the aged demon held. Nevertheless, the Archmage knew he had to try, so he sought out the demon - Deep below a sandy tomb in a cavern he rested, in the middle of a black-glass forest. An ancient creature of wood and deep roots was Somnaq, and when the Hellmage entered his clearing, the demon beckoned him forward. There was no great battle. There was no matching of wits, and great trickery. For hours, they merely talked. The Hellmage talked to Somnaq of his plans for power; of his ambition and his drive. He also admitted to Somnaq the reason for his being there. Somnaq surprised by Hellpriest by revealing that he already knew of Skezemo. He told the mage that he was wearied and old, and already knew too much of the world. He was prepared to share his power. Somnaq would relish the chance to be taken from the accursed forest Black-Glass Forest, for there were things in there that even he feared.
And so Somnaq passed his essence into the final Whitebone Tome. The Hellmage had his set.
The cover of this book has no mural. Instead, it is cracked and worn. Chips and nicks are taken out of it, and It feels like it would fall apart in your hands if you mishandle it.
Holding this book in one hand and touching another person with your other hand will cause whoever you touch fall alseep instantly (depending on saving rolls).
Having the Wearied Tome in your possession grants you great wisdom.
Owning this book makes you feel unnaturally old - you will have all the penalties to strength and health that being old will normally give.
A great sense of weariness comes with this tome. Not only will whoever is in the vicinity feel tired and worn, but whoever owns this book is at risk of falling asleep where they stand, randomly throughout the day. The longer this book is held, the more likely this is to happen and the longer the sleep will last.
If someone keeps this book for over a month, they are at risk of falling asleep and never waking up.
'Sleeping Beauty' - This book may be found within the hands of a sleeping owner, clasped tightly to their chest.
It's likely this book will find itself somewhere quiet and calm. Libraries, quiet glades, tombs.
Otherwise, this book could also be found within Skezemo's library.