Monday, April 2, 2012

Random Books

Riffing off of Query-Based Reconnaissance, Grognardling, and the Dungeon Dozen, I decided to come up with some books for fantasy campaigns, along with topics and number of questions.  I think I'm going to do something like "For each day of study, a reference work allows you to ask one question about its topic, up to a maximum of n plus your Intelligence modifier.  These questions need not be asked immediately, and may be asked during combat without taking any time."

And so, books!

  1. Manual of the Black Lotus: An Assassin's Formulary.  A thin black book with no writing on the exterior; provides up to five questions on poisons.  Often written in obscure, secret, or malevolent languages (Zaharan, Infernal, Assassin's Cant, &c).
  2. Drums in the Deep: The Memoirs of Durik Thalagrim, Goblin Hunter.  A formidable tome bound in unadorned brown leather and written in a clear style, providing up to seven questions on goblins or subterranean navigation.  Almost always written in Dwarven.
  3. Of Gods Most Foul.  A thick book, with an iron cover and a lock.  An exceptionally complete work on the deities of the monstrous races, this tome provides nine questions on the theology, worship, and rituals of such gods.  Compiled and written by a militant inquisitorial arm of one of the major good-aligned churches, typically in a Church Latin-equivalent language and in a writing style similar to the historical Malleus Maleficarum.
  4. A Compleat History of the Broken Wands.  A scholarly treatise on the history, membership, tactics, and campaigns of a famous company of mercenary wizards, as well as the opponents that they fought.  The book provides up to five questions on these topics, and may additionally provide a few tips or suggestions for spell research to combative mages.  Often written in Elvish, and considered a canonical volume by Elven war-wizards.
  5. The Saga of Ingbold Norviksson, as Compiled and Translated by Imris the Scholar.  Typically found as an illuminated manuscript, though the first editions are rumored to be on scrolls of sealhide, the Saga provides up to seven questions on the gods, heroes, myth, and culture of the Frozen Northlands or other viking-equivalent culture (should such exist in your campaign world).  Typically written in common, but in the style of the historical Prose Edda, and often with very confusing metaphors.
  6. Shortbreads, and other Hobbit Cuisine.  A cookbook, typically bound in green, and providing five questions on cooking or hobbits.  Typically written in Common, as no respectable hobbit would be caught reading a book with such a terrible title.  It's rumored that the original author was ostracized from his shire as a result of the publication, and became the first (and perhaps last) adventuring hobbit.
  7. On the Creation and Descent of the Beast Races.  A weighty tome with a wolf's head on the cover, written by a clearly unbalanced wizard with a good amount of personal experience with beastmen, On the Creation is still a useful reference work for those interested in hunting them.  It provides six questions on the habits, societies, religion, and arcane methods of crossbreeding to the astute reader.  Written in an odd rambling style, typically in an obscure arcane language.
  8. The Unabridged Travels of Alain of Murdosh.  A blue-bound volume of fantastical stories of the sea by a retired deckhand-turned-pirate captain.  Some of them are even true!  Most useful to adventurers, however, is the section on managing a crew of rowdy pirates.  As a result, the book provides four questions on nautical superstition and the practice of piracy.  It may be used for a further four questions regarding other fantastical locales mentioned, but the answers to these have only a 50% chance of being correct.

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