Sunday, October 17, 2021

GLOGtober: Six Awful Books for Buckets of Blood

I'm doing GLOGtober out of order. For Day 3 I rolled a magical book. Here's six of them.

How to Use These Books
  • Build a character class around them, or hack an existing one. The Dabbler Cultist could always use more reading material.
  • They make perfect McGuffins. The player characters must race their rivals to claim the book before it falls into the wrong hands! They player characters were hired to transport one of these books across the country!
  • Give a copy to an NPC and you've got a villainous cult leader.
  • Hand them out as loot. They're worth a fortune to the right buyer.
  • Have an NPC use one to accidentally unleash something ancient and awful.
  • Just one of them unleashed upon the world would be a nightmare. What if all six go missing? It's up to the player characters to unravel the secrets of these tomes before Doomsday arrives....

Six Awful Books
  1. The Necronomicon Ex-Mortis, a vile book bound in human flesh and inked in blood, written around 700 CE and intended as a survey of ancient Sumerian death mythology. However, it is evident from the opening page (which contains only the couplet "that is not dead which can eternal lie, / and with strange aeons even death may die", scrawled over and over and over) that the author's mind shattered during the research process. Reading its passages aloud enacts unearthly effects upon the reader and their surroundings; foremost among these is the resurrection of the dead, which is extremely dangerous if attempted by an untrained necromancer, as the reader could awaken an evil far greater than they can handle. English translations which omit the most dangerous passages occasionally surface on the rare-books market, but the original Necronomicon is believed lost.
  2. Der Hexenhammer Fällt, a late-1400s treatise by the whacked-out clergyman Heinrich Kramer, written after his witch-hunting manual Der Hexenhammer was censored by the local Inquisition for being too unethical. This massive tome consists of "witch-spotting criteria" written after the author ate "vile and Satanic mushrooms", interspersed with paranoid ravings about witches attempting to steal the author's penis. These "criteria" are notable for the inclusion of anachronistic details associated with 1980s counterculture, such as "enjoyment of the music that Witches call 'Metal'" and "gambling with Dice of twenty Faces". The melodramatic writing style inspires weak-willed readers to nearly fanatical devotion to torturing and killing such witches. The book currently belongs to the Christian housewife Mary Lemmings, who took the book from the library maintained by her history-professor husband. She cannot *wait* to share it with the other ladies at her church.
  3. Le Roi en Jaune, an illegal early-20th-century French play with no author listed, describing the intrusion of a stranger known as the King in Yellow into the court of the mysterious city of Carcosa. The only known copy is padlocked shut and chained to a shelf in Oxford's Bodleian Library. There are, of course, many copies unknown to the authorities. While it begins as an attempt to combine a Shakespearean style with then-contemporary aesthetics of 'Weird fiction', no reader has ever reached the end of the play without having their mind forever altered by a memetic idea which drives them to insanity. One shudders to imagine what would happen if it were ever performed for an audience. What's it like, to be driven insane by Le Roi en Jaune? You already know the answer to that.
  4. The lost notebook of Marie Skłodowska Curie. The visionary physicist's notebooks lie entombed in lead-lined boxes at the French national library in Paris, but one was quietly stricken from the record after an incident in the mid-60s. The sole catalogue that has not yet been expunged indicates that the notebook contains empirical laboratory observations made in 1905 and 1906, with the last pages given over to an account of Marie and Pierre Curie's visit to Eusapia Palladino, a Spiritualist medium. Curie describes the obvious trickery and sleight-of-hand visible throughout the seance, but is unable to explain certain phenomena. She then writes that Pierre Curie has used scientific experimentation to reproduce such phenomena in the pair's own laboratory (which was, at the time, a small and dingy shed); either the journal or the catalogue of its contents then abruptly ends. One familiar with the facts of Mme. Curie's life will note that the date of her husband's so-called 'spiritual experiment' was the day before his sudden death. Its existence is not well-known, but fringe historians and physicists believe that it contains an account of Pierre's experimental procedure that could be re-enacted by a modern reader.
  5. Little Uffie's Trip to the Stars!, a hardcover picture book about the adventures of a friendly alien; the book encourages the the reader to commit suicide in order to join the main character in the heavens. The book was never intended to be read by regular children- it was written and produced in order to activate CIA sleeper agents who had been programmed since childhood to be susceptible to certain triggers found within its pages. Children who read it who weren't part of the CIA programme develop severe psychological issues such as violent tendencies and an unshakeable belief in fringe UFO spirituality. Although most copies were destroyed after the sleeper agents were activated, one fell through the cracks; it was rediscovered in a crate of books last year, fell off the back of a truck in transit to an incinerator, and eventually ended up half-buried in a playground sandbox, just waiting to be rediscovered....
  6. Buckets of Blood, an unpublished manuscript by the once-popular horror author Arthur Bachman, who is currently imprisoned after a murder spree in which he killed his family and a number of bystanders and wounded author Stephen King (who Bachman evidently sees as an impediment to his own success). After reading Buckets of Blood, Bachman's editor wrote a diary entry indicating that she considered it Bachman's best work yet, then killed her husband, her pet goldfish, and herself; the manuscript is currently stored a bank vault belonging to Bachman's publisher. Bachman receives a steady stream of fan mail in prison, and claims that he rewards his most dedicated fans by sending them special sneak-previews of Buckets of Blood, which he has fully committed to memory.

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GLOGtober: Six Awful Books for Buckets of Blood

I'm doing GLOGtober out of order. For Day 3 I rolled a magical book. Here's six of them. How to Use These Books Build a character c...