This dusty, delapidated building appears to have been abandoned for some time. Within it is a plethora of ancient tomes and ancient knowledge, however rumours of a deadly curse keep curious scholars at bay.
Skezemo walked frantically through the lamp-lit streets, panting lightly and peering around in a suspicious manner. How could they do this to him - he, Archmage Skezemo, member of the high council! The elderly man was lucky - he had heard the guards clattering up the stairs of the great hall long before they entered, and had managed to sneak out a back entrance. Since then, he had learned what happened by overhearing talk by the townsfolk. It seems a stray youth had broken into his private library! The damnable child had turned an act of delinquency into a heroic deed, because in there he had discovered the devilish summoning runes drawn in blood. Skezemo cursed beneath his breath - he should not have been so careless; he should have cleaned his mess up; but he never would have been found out if kids respected privacy! Pooh, Skezemo grimaced, if he ever for his hands on the boy...!
Suddenly, a shout rang out. Skezemo looked behind him - a whole patrol of guards was on his tail! The archmage pulled up his robes in an undignified manner and ran. The chase continued for two blocks before Skezemo finally reached his destination - the closed, double-doors of his personal library. When the guards reached the man, he was drawing something large on the doors. Skezemo turned as the patrol formed a semi-circle around the man. His wrist was slashed open viciously and bleeding profusely on the ground. Behind him on the doors was drawn a massive, intricate pentagram scrawled in the mages own blood.
The captain of the guard stepped forward; 'Archmage Skezemo, you are hereby charged with commiting heretical acts and consorting with demons! The sentence is death by hanging!
Skezemo hissed at the guards and raised his hands menacingly, 'You will have to kill me here and now, dogs! I'll not go to be hung like a traitor!' The captain of the guard obliged. Without another word he impaled Skezemo with his spear, nailing the mages body to the door.
As Skezemo took his last breath he laughed, however, and as his life left him the pentagram on the door burst into flames! Skezemo's body melted like wax, and through some unholy magic, it was absorbed into the building itself! The stone walls of the library turned to black, and the windows bled into a stained crimson.
The building still stands today. Skezemo's library has become a place of much rumour about curses and hauntings. Even the dry-blood stained pentagram remains. Somwhow, any attempt at washing away that pentagram or defacing the property simply does not last - by the time the next morning arrives everything is back where it was.
Entrance to the library poses no difficulty - the doors are not locked, and one will not suddenly be stricken with illness simply by walking within. Nevertheless, the history of the place means that very few people dare enter.
The interior is as would be expected of a decades-old abandoned library would be. Dust and cobwebs decorate the walls, floors and bookshelves of the building. Skezemo's library is not massive - it contains several spacious rooms lined with bookshelves, one small study and a loft up a thin stone staircase, containing basic sleeping quarters. In the main chamber there is a large, square slab of stone which has been magically molded into a study desk. On this desk is six small indentations in the stone which seem to be made to hold specific books. The indentations are arranged in a five-pointed star shape, with the sixth set in the middle.
The majority of the books in the Library are arcane related tomes, of variable age and value - There are some rarities including a couple of original books which have no copy, and there are some mass-produced books on magical theory which an apprentice may use as a study guide.
Dotted through the bookshelves in no particular order are several dozen large, iron-bound books with a latch requiring a particular key. These books cannot be opened except through either excessive force or by use of the key, which can be found in a hidden drawer in the desk which lies in the study. These books have a much riskier subject than Skezemo's other. These contain information about occult magic - rituals to summon demons and tap into their powers, as well as a book which contains details about specific demons, including strengths and weaknesses. One of these books contains instructions for utilizing the 'Whitebone Tomes'.
There is one other type of book from Skezemo's library. A set of six, though only two remain within. The Whitebone Tomes are named as such due to their intricate carved ivory covers. In the pages of these books are seemingly random runes, lines and sigils - all written in what is presumably Skezemo's own blood. The whitebone tomes are reputed to hold the trapped essence of demons and it is rumored that holding onto these tomes will grant the power of the demons to the holder.
That is not the only curiosity of the Whitebone tomes, however. These books latch perfectly into the indentations on the stone slab, and if opened on the correct page and arranged in the correct order (as indicated by the locked instruction book on the shelves) they create specific ritual circles. Skezemo designed each of these pages for ease of duplicating his summoning of demons he had already brought forth; every time he discovered a new one, he would devise the ritual and record it magically in each of the books.
The stone slab, when magic is channeled into it, will complete the circle and also create a barrier against demons, providing a safe environment to study... Or bargain.
The final pages of the Whitebone Tomes have no instructions; this circle is a failsafe Skezemo put in place. By invoking the final pages, Skezemo's body will be remade new in front of the summoners very eyes, and his essense will be wrenched from the library and returned. Skezemo will live once more! Unlike the demons, Skezemo will not be confined by the barriers made by the stone, so one must hope that the mage is in good spirits after his imprisonment!
Skezemo's library is possessed by the essence of the archmage himself, and is effectively haunted. The thick stone building makes demolition difficult, and any minor damage such as windows broken will be inexplicably repaired by the morning.
Within the library, one can often hear whispers, feel sudden cold chills and feel eyes watching.
With the exception of the Whitebone tomes, there is a small chance whenever someone opens a book in the library that a violent negative reaction will occur. These effects are varied and numerous in nature, but some examples are listed as follows:
Â• 1-4 demonic imps will burst from the pages and harass the reader.
Â• a wave a nausea falls over all within the library.
Â• Everyone within the library falls unconscious. When they wake, they may find themselves in different positions, leaving them to wonder what happened to them.
Â• when a book is opened, all the other books on the same shelf becomes animated and flies dangerously at the reader.
The chance of these effects occuring are fairly low, but if someone is browsing dozens of books to find one, the effect may occur a couple of times.
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? Responses (8)
4.0/5 plus an extra +0.5 because I like Libraries, so 4.5/5
If I might ask, what inspired you to write this?
Like most of my subs, I start with a single idea and let it naturally expand from there. The idea I had was 'Wouldn't it be cool if there were books that were gibberish, but if you brought them together you could summon nasties!'. From there I decided i'd make it a location, because I needed that for the Occult guild. A library seemed natural for books, and then because there was demon summoning involved i figured a backstory about some secret demonologist kinda guy seemed appropriate. After that, i figured i'd better give the place itself a bit of flair, so i made the 'haunted' kind of idea. Then I figured a good way for it to be haunted was if I linked it to Skezemo's demise.
That's about how it came to be.
This is well done stuff. Immediately useful and powerfully stylish. Why hasn't the city torn down this place yet? Send in some exorcists and demolition dwarves.
Maybe there's some bureaucratic hold, since some of the books aren't Skezemo's, and must be recovered, but no one wants to actually go through all the books of a cursed library one by one.
I can't think of a reason for not locking the doors, though.
Another thought: having the party all lose consciousness is definitely the scariest thing on this list. What if they woke up in different positions? Or what if they woke up and one of their members was trapped in the wall somehow? Or what if, whenever they left a book unattended, it was back on the shelf the next time they looked for it?
I agree with Forganthus - this is very usable. In fact, you could have described the middle of the story with the PCs having interacted with Skezemo prior to this fall.
A link to 30 imps I think is in order :)
A good quality sub that seamlessly combines the story on Skezemo and the library itself.
I agree with Val on this one having the PCs interact with him prior to his actions toward the end that cursed the library. Possibly a player who was seeking his help/advice/knowledge/etc on a particular matter that he said the answer was among his many tomes... then disaster struck before said help could be given. Just a thought. Gives the players a reason for wanting to get involved instead of just breaking and entering a cursed library of some deranged evil demonologist.
Skezemo sounds a bit too jazzy for a wizard's name, but at least it's memorable.
All in all, a good sub.
Update: Remade from an early draft after being lost to the void! Formatting is shot, and some content may be missing because I can't remember it all, bit the bones of it are there!