Hot off the Press! These are not your eldritch manuals or ancient folios of doom. These are random books, a GM can use whenever a PC reaches for a shelf, which usually happens when said GM is least expecting it. These can be found in most libraries, many private homes, and anywhere else one could expect to find a book. More than a few have some built-in plot hooklings as well, while others, like many books of our age, are plain drivel.
The Night I Slew That Priest- Kilgore Ivo.
A tome which describes in great autobiographical detail, the slaying of one wanton human cleric by one Kilgore Ivo, half-orc bounty-hunter, after he returned home to find the priest, making passionate love to the half-orcs wife. This tome can be found in some libraries, due to its historical value, as Kilgore Ivo managed to include perceptive aspects of his life and times, in between foaming rants and explicit detail of the priests slow, excruciating demise.
The Curse of Sloth- Ennis Nob
A ponderous, verbose book of commentary on the decline of civilization, written by a priest of Yaix, God of Industriousness. This book is reviled by the masses, and would probably be burned if let out of any given library. It speaks of longer workdays, shorter rest, and fewer feasts and holidays.
The Gossamer Veil and Other Tales- author unknown
This seemingly innocent collection of archaic tales and legends, has sprinkled through out its pages, veiled and coded references to several demons of antiquity, including Vephelot, Poggodin of the Three Tongues, and Hoom the Doom. What is worse, the text contains hidden passages that allow insight into the proper summoning techniques of said demons. The book does not radiate any magic of course, and unless one knew going in, what vile information could be found in its innocuous pages, this tome reads like a series of long, somewhat boring tales, of heroes and nobles of a bygone age.
Joys of Wood- Chelen Choss
An intriguing guide for any enthusiast of woodworking and carpentry. The book details thirty odd constructs one could invent, with nothing except some wood, a few simple tools, ingenuity, and elbow grease. It features helpful instruction, and illustrations of various oddities one could make with good timber. The last ten pages deal with the detailed instruction on building a wigwam entirely of wood, entitled Pitching a Tent.
Songs of Our Forefathers- various authors
A vast collection of Ogre songs, translated sloppily by some order of human monks. It tells of the Ogre Sagas, and includes such audacious titles, such as Axes Clanging, Slaughter of The Innocents, Not As Ugly As You and The Day the Dwarves Died Twice.
Standing Shores- several dozen scribes
The grim and somber recollections of many different priests, monks and scribes, who at one time or another were tasked with documenting the life and times of the soldiers stationed at the terrifying Sea-Wall of Marnonin, where for three hundred years, a small force of green, inexperienced men and women, rarely replenished or provisioned by the distant and uncaring capital, held out against the continuous onslaughts of the Sea Raiders and their Whale-ships. More than forty thousand mortalities are documented in these tragic pages, but also anecdotes of bravery and human spirit, persevering against great odds.
Ghostwalker- Gellon Sisk
A posthumous biography, written by Brother Gellon Sisk, about the brief, but exciting career and exploits of one Brother Benhir Donnat, who lived, prayed, ate and slept in cemeteries, in order, as he had said, to study and further understand the nature of ghosts, and the peculiar behavior of disturbed undead. For seven weeks, Benhir Donnat lived on cemetery grounds. He had achieved quite the celebrity status by this time, and monks of distant orders would often flock to see the Ghostwalker. On the Holy Night of week eight, many folks gaped and prayed as they watched Brother Donnat being eviscerated by a particularly unfriendly Wight, which had chosen that particular hour to emerge from the very grave Benhir was sitting on at the time. The Ghostwalker was no more, but Gellon Sisk, wrote this largely embellished tale to commemorate his friend.
What To Get A Gnome Who Has Everything- Perrin Weel, Bard-Of-Bards
A tome of jokes, japes, and anecdotes, written by the obnoxious Perrin Weel, a retired jongleur, and amateur author. Other than the often raunchy and poignant humor, one may find interesting stories of human interest and even a rough, but passable travel guide to the rustic, colloquial Low Countries.
Martyrs Lament- Dalona Radzing
A riveting but heavily religious tome, based on the life and times of the author, written in her own hand, while she was imprisoned for ten years, for commiting blasphemy in a temple of the One True Faith. Dalona wrote not of the One True Faiths hypocrisy, and not of the evil natures of the Inquisitors of the Faith, but of the wonders of her bucolic homeland, though modern scholars claimed to see the ingenious words between the words that Dalona had used, in order to mock and taunt the priesthood that punished her. Sadly, Dalona went from the Donjon to the gallows, but monks collected her journals, and released them to the public several decades later. The modern tome, long now uncontroversial, was named post-mortem.
Knuckle Roller & other games- The Mad Gnome of Aubirs Gambling Emporium
An exhaustive documentation of over three hundred card games of both chance and strategy, compiled by the Mad Gnome, a legendary gambler extraordinaire and master of a deck of cards. Besides describing the rules behind every conceivable card game, the tome offers some unique tips and insights into the world of successful card-sharking.
A sub-section deals with games of dice, twenty in all, highlighted by the Mad Gnomes favorite non-card game, the well known Knuckle Roller. Needless to say, interested and often shady parties often peruse this book, and librarians are loath to keep it in the open.
The Hutuluz Creed- Chaggor Chux, Fingers-Clutching-Throat
Written by a long-dead Hutuluz shaman, this grim tome is the voice of the Hobgoblin Nation. A proud, strong race of single-minded warriors, the Hutuluz spit in disgust on their smaller, twisted goblin cousins, and all other chaotic humanoids of chaos. This text, stolen from the hobgoblins many years ago by intrepid adventurers, lists the laws, creeds, and military strategies of the severe and forbidding race. Rewritten into common by scribes, to serve as a warning on the eternal brutal northern enemy, it now serves as fodder for the humanoid-hating demagogues, as well as an instructional guide on the misunderstood and ruthless hobgoblin war-machine. Even some human armies have come to secretly employ several of the books wisdoms, especially those that pertain to lawful and vicious tactics of army efficiency and protocol.
Shipping Lanes- group effort
Another exhaustive treatise, the driest read imaginable, describing in minute detail the shipping lanes of a mighty, sea-dependant kingdom or empire. This tome can be often found in a captains quarters or a harbormasters private collection. This book is usually amended and refined as the years go on, and is a truly colossal work. There are many pirates and smugglers, who wouldnt mind getting their hands on this treatise, though suffice it to say, this book is usually hidden from view, or kept under lock and key and well-guarded.
Devolved Remnants of True-Wyrms and Dragon-Kinde- Morkoel Rasher
A dissertation and biological guide on all the devolved remnants of true dragons, which as all know, have been extinct for thousands of years. These pages describe many huge-to-giant worms and other serpentine creatures of the nearly tamed wilds. Everything from the Dun Worm to the Vortex Snake, and from the Pog-Choy Worm to the Scabrous Wyvern, can be found here. This book is a veritable trove of information on many deplorable and hideous creatures. Interestingly, the author takes on a rather deliberate and belligerent tone, when discussing these worms, often referring to them as runts or snakelings. Morkoel Rasher was a sage, though some whisper that he was a dragon.
My Travels Among the Unwashed- Pyuss IV
An informative, if highly prejudiced and misogynistic tome. The compiled journals of one Pyuss IV, during the time before he achieved pope-hood, when he traveled the Great Grass Sea to document every tribe in that vast pathless expanse. Over a hundred different tribes are featured in these pages, though as many signs of mockery occur as do passages of insight into the myriad cultures and beliefs of the Plains Peoples.
To Raise the Scythe, to Ride the Plow- Orn the Warrior-Peasant
A somewhat esoteric, (despite the content), training manual of sorts, describing in great detail how common farmers and workers tools can be wielded with devastating effect if the proper training is undertaken. It covers the scythe, the sickle, the awl, and many other random tools, such as the odd, but effective Monks Spade 1659. Where the book becomes peculiar, is when it goes into abstract polemics of socialism, grass-roots movements, and revolutions in between sober and practical pictorial essays on the weapons of the common man. Orn himself was a past peasant hero and champion, in a largely rural and agricultural area, who dared to stand up to a conquering force, and inspire his fellows to do the same.
Merchants Companion- unknown
This book has one goal and accomplishes it simply and logically. It lists every conceivable conversion chart detailing ratios between the currencies of every known kingdom. It lists the names of every coin, the make-up and weight of said coins, and even offers charts on bartered goods-to-coin comparisons.
The Eugenic Crusade- Baravar DuCoggio
This folio details the sixty-year Eugenic Crusade of the half-orcs of Stalavance. A bloody part of history, this book, written by the Archmandrite DuCoggio himself, talks of the madness of the half-orcs, the needless slaughter, and the mysterious hybrid race of half-orc, which resulted from the devastations and selective breeding experimentation, which occurred throughout this time, spear-headed by Ogol Kance, a hulking and charismatic half-orc general.
Book O Bastards- the monks of Hops and Yeast
An aptly named book, meticulously penned by the monks of the House of Hops and Yeast, this ancient collection quite ignobly attempted to document every possible bastard born child of every noble over a four hundred year period. Over thirty thousand names and brief descriptions fill up this massive tome, as the monks seemed to include even entries of those people whose identities were yet unproven or still under suspicion. In the wrong hands, this tome could have been devastating in olden times. Nowadays, its a well-known reference classic.
One Thousand And One Uses For Tears- The Lachrymose Lady Credea
"Blessed are you that weep now, for you shall laugh" (Luke 6.21)
One of the original Weepers, Lady Credea Gorry led a long miserable life. So much tragedy, heartbreak, and loss had befallen this noblewoman that at the age of fifty, she gave up her rights and titles, and joined The Chalice Bearers permanently. In her spare time, she penned this classic, prized by both alchemists and lovers of tragedy. It literally details a thousand and one uses for the salty drops of sadness, from homeopathic remedies to more abstract and sinister uses.
Belorvens Bears- unknown (presumably Belorven)
A mystery lovers dream, this book tells of the rather mundane tales of a ranger named Belorven, and a troupe of performing and dancing bears, which he raised and cared for. It covers many ursine facts for the species enthusiast, and goes on to describe benign training techniques, and how to generally coax the bears into compliance. What makes this book so popular, is that a legend is attached to it, one with no basis in fact, but stimualting nonetheless! It is rumored that Belorvens Bears each carried one of the small, mythical Thrar Stones painlessly embedded in their hind legs. Since Belorven only recently retired, setting his bears free into the wilderness, treasure-hunters scoop up this book like mad, in the hopes of finding clues to help identyfing these half dozen bears, as they search for them in the forests. Presently, this is a trendy and fashinable tome for someone to possess, and it can often be seen adorning the shelves and tables of the noble classes.
Haversacks Discourse on Dementia- Haversack
An egregious halfling penned this odd journal, which discusses in unecessary detail, what it meant to spend twenty years, living inside maddening walls of The City of Asylum. Other than one halflings take on madness, this manual could prove useful to those misguided few who wish to travel there.
The Rider and the Drider- Jombel
A tale of a series of recurring, romances and lurid trysts between a hapless knight and a drider, a drow creation, an accursed half-spider, half-humanoid creature. The story begins with the rider and the drider meeting on the field of battle, like two knights about to face of in a mortal struggle, but quickly devolves into graphic raunch. The two spend the next ten years passionately fornicating, despite all the taboos, hazards, and angry relatives in place. Jombel was a famous four hundred pound eunuch, known for his lascivious tales.
The Hair of Stone and Thistle- unknown (reputedly, The First Warlock)
A witches folio, reprinted and soothed for the masses. Like many other such works, it is heavily encrypted, and on the surface appears to be a collection of agricultural tips, homespun remedies, and rare herbs and minerals. Almost like an almanac, which it indeed is, but one for true witches and warlocks. One has to be proficient in the witches tongue to see the true words on the page. Though quite a few copies of this book exist, what is unknown to the general occult-loving populace is that only the original lost tome, is indeed magical and sinister in nature.
The Dreaming Pig- Lord Tuon Calarge, aka St. Calarge
Lord Tuon Calarge was a knight of good standing in his day, but when he retired to his keep, he began a career of writing childrens tales of mischief and adventure, that propelled him to sainthood. So keen were all children on Calarges books, that when the Childrens Knight passed on, his major domo, took to the writing of Calarges tales himself, in essence becoming a ghost-writer in his lieges place. The Dreaming Pig is a collection of all of Calarges stories under one cover. A copy of this can be found in most libraries and often orphanages.
The Three Mistakes of General Ifos- unknown
A moral fable, an adventure and exotic travel classic, and a tome om military strategy, this most popular of tales, tells the story of one General Ifos, a man of hubris and folly, who at the ripe old age of seventy, decided to conquer Vinviria the Unconquerable. It tells of the tragic generals death at the hands of foul sorcery. A muderous, magically animated cuirass, squeezed the life from the general, even as he wore the breastplate to battle. What the actual Three Mistakes of General Ifos were, is a popular topic of debate in the halls of universities, taverns, and guild halls. No one can agree what they were, or should have been. According to the Koligran Legions motto, the three were as follows, though this is by no means necessarily true. Only the reader himself, can draw the proper wisdom from this ancient lesson.
Engaging in a land war in Vinviria
Red Horse Hill- Tonas Undrepya
A sinister, gloomy tale, not unlike that of the Headless Horseman, this book spins the story of the infamous hill of the title, upon whose summit, the dreaded Flayed Red Horse dwelt. A creature of nightmare, it is said, that the beast is the ghost of a once-proud steed, which was abused by its owner, and at one final gruesome stage, wholly skinned alive. Nowadays, Red Horse Hill, quite a real place, draws visitors from far and wide who try to witness glimpses of the supernatural daemon. Many spooky tales have sprouted up from the legend, and this collection features them all. This book was written by the highly respected Tonas Undrepya, whose talents at writing tales of the horrific are much celebrated among the literate populace. What no one suspects however, is that Tonas Undrepya also happens to be a vampyre.
Everything You Have Ever Wanted To Know About Military Epaulets And Were Afraid To Ask-Vice Admiral Kysel Statt
A one-trick pony. If shoulder straps are your thing, this serves as your bible. If not, it looks pretty on the mantlepiece, since its written by a decorated vice admiral.
Inkdrinkers Bane- no one (rather invented by The Soiled-Pants-Man)
This gag book, another popular item to be found at noble manors, is a play on the not so funny, and ever-increasing danger all books face, as the devious and malevolent creatures, known as The Ink Drinkers make themselves known by infesting libraries and monasteries around the country. Inkdrinkers Bane is a thick, leather bound, etched and gilded blank book of crisp empty, milk-white pages. A party conversation piece, nothing more.
Wyrmfood- Ser Lotan Farx.
A riveting, autobiographical account of a bards journey among knights. Lotan, who named himself Ser Lotan Farx, had disguised himself as a paladin, in order to join the Great Wyrm Hunt. Lotan was the only survivor of the foolish expedition, and his tale is the only one to this day, which bares testimony to the muck and mire dungeon beneath the Sighing Hills.
Methods of Methodemus- various apostles of Methodemus
The man from whom the word method was derived, St. Methodemus was a rebel monk of the One True Faith. Sailing west to the golden shores of Biracra, he founded the city of Ponns, and converted hundreds of thousands of people to his cause over the next few decades. His philosophies were centered on a rigorously structured existence, revolving around daily, monthly, and annual rituals or methods. St. Methodemus was killed during the Haraconian siege of Ponns some years later and his devotees were scattered to the winds. His work remains behind.
A sample chapter:
Give, of thy Essence (Masturbate)
Pay Homage to the Sun (Fire)
The Sea (Water)
The Dirt (Earth)
The Wind (Air)
Pay Homage to Void (Death)
Give, of thy Essence
Eat NOT that which walks, crawls, swims, flies, burrows or slithers, but that which grows only above the earth.
Exercise the body, for it is an instrument that executes the Methods.
Study Thee Numbers, for they are the language of the gods.
Admonish the Enemy
Chastise the Wicked
Acknowledge thy Brother
Give, of thy essence
Eat, under cover of darkness, the blood of the white-bull, the rib-bones of the ox, the fetal goat. (This is to imply meat can be eaten after dark.)
Sleep when Midnight calls you home. Nothing good happens after Midnight.
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? Responses (26)-26
5/5 for these really entertaing books, and an HOH.
A wonderfully inspiring read, with some of my favorites being Jombel's The Rider and the Drider, Gellion Sisk's Ghostwalker, and Everything You Have Ever Wanted To Know About Military Epaulets And Were Afraid To Ask by Vice Admiral Kysel Statt.
I am now afraid that I am going to have to a do a book listing of my own.
tried to bridge the non-existent gap between Moon Hunter's '30's' and manfreds 'Books'
And you have made a nice collection of them. Thankies.
Yet another truly great list! The stream of content on this site never ceases to amaze...
this list is a reminder that the 30 don't just have to be people.
I must say that this was a nice twist, and the fact that my Knuckle Rollers made it in there. Kudos muro... Ghostwalker was probably my favorties one.
ps... the link needs to be fixed.
why do you say that? I click Knuckle Roller and it works.
Didnt work for me... weird.
The link works fine for me.
Haha, Good work on the various links, Muro!
it's obvious you put forethought and depth into each of these books, and they certainly are a believable thing you might find sitting, dog-eared on a table.
Favourite tome: Red Horse Hill- Tonas Undrepya
Well, this was a lot of work. You must have spent quite some time writing it down.
The effort is great and as a GM stuff like this is always nice to have around. For once I'll not need to provide sample book titles on the fly in the next library or wizard's study. Phew.
I love these. I thought that I had already commented on them! Its useful, fun, and creative, with a lot of work put into it! 5/5
I have to add a few of these to my game, I have a curious halfling who has to look at everything!
You know, I could of sworn I had voted on this. Well take that and like it!
This is a terrific list! I'm always in need of random books, and I hate having to stop and try to come up with something. Calvin & Hobbes? Um ... they're great wizards of the Last Age. Yeah.
If you think this is extensive, you should see the parent submission Books
Okay, re-reading this one - Thanks Dozus!
This one deserves a little HOH I think...
This one fills me with the joy of writing and word smithery.
I can only imagine the joy you must of felt when writing such phrases as:
It covers many ursine facts
The two spend the next ten years passionately fornicating, despite all the taboos, hazards, and angry relatives in place. Jombel was a famous four hundred pound eunuch, known for his lascivious tales.
An egregious halfling penned this odd journal, which discusses in unecessary detail, what it meant to spend twenty years, living inside maddening walls of
Thanks axle, and yes indeedy! These were very fun to write!
Every Strolenite should have a list of 30 books to call their own! Then watch the looks of surprise and fascination your PC's exhibit, when they pick up some random, dusty tome in some dusty, random library, and say to you, "So, Mr. GM, what is this book I just picked up, eh?"
What an excellent idea for a Quest!
Anyone second this?
30 books or
'Hey Mr. GM what is this book I just picked up eh?'
Maybe we could broaden that to other stuff in the room.
After the PCs shatter the Alter of Pain and Gain, pry the Kidney Rubies from the Icon of Nepherons, or download the Presidents enemies list....what else will they find in the room. What will tell us about the culture of the room's occupants. Or what will be useful, but not obviously useful.
Actually, one of the reasons for Strolen's is to create ideas and pieces for people to come and grab. Most people don't have time to do "all these little details" or generally cool idea, when they are focusing on their main storylines. We are here to provide all those little bits (and medium bits and a few big bits) that they can come, get, and use.
Books should be added to The Books Thread as well... I don't know if it should be a quest...
Perhaps a Book Drive?
This is why I love 30s submissions so much. When I was actively running a game, I had several of these general-purpose lists printed out in my binder, ready to whip out at a moment's notice. This one is definitely making it to the binder for my next game.