This month’s RPG blog carnival is about literature and is hosted by Pitfalls and Pixies. Here are four books to inspire plots and problems for your RPGs.
The Book of Blood Speech
A textbook in black leather, it contains detailed instructions on the use of blood in control magics. Written by the Warlock Iemaex, its scientific and precise prose hide the deep ethical concerns behind using such magic. Iemaex had no such ethical issues and the text contains unpleasant descriptions of their experiments as examples for the student. Iemaex’s spells are highly personalised to their targets, so the first few chapters deal with obtaining blood samples and the testing needed. Once properly enchanted with a customised spell, the blood is re-injected into the victim. The rest of the book lists spells of Iemaex’s invention that can be cast remotely on the ensnared target. These include spells of disease, command, pain, persuasion, loyalty and madness. Despite efforts to suppress it, Iemaex had the work widely printed shortly before their escape to another plane. Colleges of magic keep a copy in the locked reference sections of their libraries should they need to counteract the effects someone using Iemaex’s legacy.
- The thieves guild librarian wants a copy and there’s one the city’s mage tower ripe for the taking.
- Two days after the debutante party of Lady Cogobeus, all of the guests are acting very strangely.
- Afo wants to make sure his new accountant stays loyal and had hired you to ensnare them with blood magic.
The Rhyme of Gadral of Tidall
Such is the interest in the single remaining original printing of this poem that the library of Tidall has unbound it and mounted it in a large glass display in a dedicated annex. The poem details the life story of a thief known as Gadral . Poetry critics consider the poet’s choice of meter and rhyming scheme to be needlessly complex, to the point that some of the of the verses are almost meaningless collections of random words. Public interest stems from the last verse. As Gadral dies of old age, they tell of treasure caches hidden all over Tidall and the surrounding countryside. Desperate for clues, the greedy and the poor scour the poem for hints. In a hundred years, no cache was found until an apprentice mage used a discern language spell to decrypt one of the gibberish verses. The cache contained three hundred thousand gold pieces and a dozen precious artworks and reignited interest. The apprentice kept the cash and returned the artwork before leaving for tropical climates. Now a hundred people a day visit the poem and try to solve the riddles of where the other caches might be hidden.
- A section of the poem has been stolen from the library. Dozens now hunt for it as the believe the thieves have deciphered something.
- Track down the apprentice to find out how they found the treasure.
- A cache had been found by accident but contains ten more pages of the poem. Finding where they fit could reveal more.
The Commentary of the Prophet Wymark
Originally an acolyte who had failed to progress in the temple of Etni, god of law, Wymark was chosen by Etni to become the god’s new prophet. The god had decided that their church had drifted from its diety’s message and required correction from the most humble cleric Etni could find. Gripped by divine favour, Wymark travelled widely as they wrote and preached Etni’s revised creed. In the face of dogmatic inertia and vested interests, Wymark was only able to bring correction to a quarter of the Flock of Etni before the holy civil war began. Wymark escaped the fighting that killed nearly all of their followers. Dying, Wymark took their personal copy of the creed and added their personal interpretations of Etni’s words. The handwritten notes were smuggled away and a new edition of the creed was printed with the commentary. The humble and mortal viewpoint made the creed more accessible as a religion. Growth of the creed fellowship has been slow in the past decades, as the Flock still actively persecuted any believers they find. Copies of the book have been damaged and distributed so often that there is no longer a single complete copy. It is rumoured amongst the creed faithful that Etni will make a new prophet out of the person who brings the creed into a complete work again.
- Carry a page of the the creed to the scribe Zeiquan to confirm it is authenticity.
- Burn an underground creed printing shop
- A secret meeting of creed faithful threatens to fall into fighting if an agreement cannot be reached on what should and shouldn’t be included in a new printing.
The Lost Database
When your civilisation spans a hundred solar systems, it is important to keep track of where things are and who owns them. The Grand Council of the Stellar Commune, in an effort to better understand what they were governing, commissioned the Great Survey. Everything in the Stellar Commune would be catalogued and the information added to a single combined database. Wanting it to be immediate and accurate, the grand council committed five years worth of surplus currency to the survey. With such massive resources available it only took six months to build a complete inventory of a society. A dedicated team of the most proficient surveyors was formed to keep the database updated. The finely detailed database was opened up to selected organisations. Historians and officials were expected to use the information to guide culture and government policy. The architecture of the database made it ripe for expansion and soon the personal information of the Stellar Commune’s subjects was added. Within five years, the entire civilization’s information system was built around and on the database. Until it went missing. Despite there being layers of security, multiple high level users, dozens of backups and redundancies, all the information is gone. Computer forensics reveal that database has been moved not deleted. There exists out there a network node with all the information on it and the Stellar Commune cannot function without it.
- You’ve successfully hidden away the database. Now you just need to stay ahead of law enforcement long enough to collect the ransom.
- Enter cyberspace and follow the thieves digital trial to locate the hidden network node.
- You network node is the last one unaffected, protect it.
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