A Book by its Cover

A Book by its Cover

“…finally the doors were thrust open and with a great howl the spectre faded to nothingness.  There, under glass, on a table of marble sat the book.  Our priest Narnock cast a spell and determined the book was not trapped.  Gently Rafain removed the glass lid and, fingers trembling, reached down and touched the great tome he had spent the last eight years looking for.  The book was 3 cubits wide and 4 cubits long, it was black as night and Rafain commented the cover was soft and warm almost as if where made of flesh.  I shivered at his words and the glint in his eyes.  Slowly with both hands he opened the great book, soon he would learn all to well what dark secrets its pages held…”
-Dylan Rambage of Thesely

The Book of Seztreg:  Six hundred years ago the dark elf Seztreg made his way to the surface world to escape the domination of the females of his kind.  He created a small tower away from prying eyes and magically concealed it.  Now with privacy he delved completely into the dark arts.  He studied the lower planes endlessly and learned the secrets of its denizens, and eventually he gained control of some of them.  With his new found power he released his evil upon the world. He forged a small kingdom that was ruled with an iron fist and enforced by his demonic creations.  The kingdom stood for 100 years before Seztreg’s twisted mind betrayed him.  His mind became more and more warped the more he delved into the knowledge of the lower planes, eventually he grew so bold as to summon forth a demon prince to do his bidding.  The two powers were locked in a struggle of wills for days when Seztreg blinked, this one slip was all the demonic power needed as he dragged the screaming mage into the depths of the Abyss where he remains today in a state of eternal torture.

Szetreg consolidated many of his dark secrets in a single large tome which he kept from prying eyes in his hidden tower.  It is said the book sits waiting unaffected by time to share its secrets with another.

The book of Seztreg contains the following magic-user spells

3rd level: Monster Summoning 1, Secret Page, Tongues, Vampiric Touch
4th Level: Charm Monster, Dimension Door, Monster Summoning 2, Wizard Eye
5th Level: Animate Dead, Conjure Elemental, Contact Other Plane, Hold Monster, Magic Jar, Monster Summoning 3
6th Level: Death Spell, Geas, Invisible Stalker, Legend Lore, Monster Summoning 4, Spiritwrack, True Sight
7th  Level: Banishment, Cacodemon, Forcecage, Monster Summoning 5, Torment, Seztreg’s Extraction, Truename
8th Level: Mind Blank, Monster Summoning 6, Trap the Soul
9th Level: Gate, Imprisonment, Monster Summoning 7, Temporal Stasis

Seztreg’s Extraction (Necromantic)

Level:   7                                  Components: V, M, S
Range:  Touch                           Casting Time: 6 turns
Duration: Perm             Saving Throw: Neg
Area of Effect: Person touched

Explanation/Description: This spell serves two functions.  The first allows the caster to draw the essence of a minor inhabitant of the lower planes such as a Larva, Mane, Lemure, Imp, Quasit, or any other lower plane creature with 3 or less hit dice into a gem receptacle that must be worth at least 5,000 gp in value.  The subject creature receives a saving throw versus magic at -1.  If the saving throw is successful then the creature dies, the essence is lost, and the gem receptacle crumbles to dust.

Is successful the receptacle may hold the stolen essence for up to 24 hours, during that time the magic-user may attempt to transfer the essence to a human subject.  The subject must be human, and must be of at least 2nd level and no more than 5th in any class. The gem must be placed on the subject’s bare chest and a series of command words spoken.  The subject will receive a saving throw versus magic at -2, if successful the gem will crumble to dust and the subject will be unaffected, upon failure however the subjects soul is destroyed and the body infused with the essence of the lower plane creature.  Humans so affected will become Demon Ghouls.

Upon time of creation there is a 10% chance that the newly created Demon Ghoul will break free of its creator’s control.  Demon Ghouls who are not under the creating wizards control will do everything in their power to escape his pressence.  Otherwise, the Demon Ghoul will be subservient to the creating wizard and will do his bidding as commanded without regard to its own safety.  Once the creating wizard dies the Demon Ghoul is free and cannot be controlled by another wizard.

This process can not be reversed short of a full Wish spell. 

Demon Ghoul Creation
Through his infernal conferences and experimentation Seztreg was able to perfect a method of creating a servant creature known as a Demon Ghoul. This method is detailed in the book.  The process involves using the spell Seztreg’s Extraction to draw the essence of a minor denizen of the lower planes such as a Mane into a receptacle.  The essence is then transferred into the body of a living human vessel.  The essence mixes with and utterly destroys the human soul; however the human body continues to function, now infused with the essence and becomes a demon ghoul under the creator’s control.

Demon Ghoul
Frequency: Very Rare
No Appearing: 2-8
Move: 12”
Armor Class: 2
Hit Dice: 5
% in Lair: 15%
Treasure Type: B, Qx2, R, S, T
No. of Attacks: 3
Damage/Attack: 1-8, 1-8, 1-10
Special Attacks: See Below
Special Defenses: +1 or better weapon to hit
Magic Resistance: Standard
Intelligence: Low
Alignment: Lawful Evil
Size: M
Psionic Ability: Nil

Demon Ghouls are created using the essence of  a lower plane being (see Seztreg’s Extraction) Demon Ghouls are very similar in appearance to normal ghouls (indistinguishable 35% of the time) with skin that is covered with bumps and small thorny protrusions. Demon Ghouls not under the command of a wizard will often be found with a pack of ghouls and/or ghasts.

A hit from a Demon Ghoul causes fear in the victim (as the magic-user spell of the same name) unless a saving throw versus paralysis is made.

Though not true undead Demon Ghouls are unaffected by sleep, fear, and charm magic.  They are treated as Special in regards to clerics turning undead.

Other Information
Other than spells and information on the creation of the Demon Ghouls the Book of Seztreg holds a vast amount of knowledge on the lower planes.  Including information on the 9 hells, what devils dwell in each and who rules them.  Information on several layers of the abyss, what demon prince rules which layer and what demons they command.  Detailed information about each type of the lesser and greater devils, demons, and daemons; excluding the arch devils, dukes, demon princes, and lords.  It also contains the formula to create  Homonculous and  Flesh Golems, and detailed information on proper demon summoning.  Rumors persist that somewhere hidden among the text are the true names of several demons.

In addition to the spells and information already listed the book confers upon its owner the following powers.

While within 10’ of the tome the owner will receive a +2 on all saving throws and a +1 to intelligence. He will be able to control undead as a 3rd level cleric, and he will also be able to use the following powers.

Speak with Dead 1 time/day
Suggestion 1 time/day
Monster Summoning I 2 times/week
Mind Blank 1 time/day
Detect Invisibility 2 times/day
ESP 1 time/day
Magic Jar 1 time/month

Side Effects
With Power comes a price and the Book of Seztreg is no exception.  Some effects take place immediately and some over time, regardless delving into the dark mysteries presented will take its toll on the reader.

Upon first opening the tome the reader will receive a permanent -1 to charisma. In addition his hair will turn stark white.

Each day that the book is in someone’s position there is a cumulative 5% chance the person’s alignment will switch permanently to lawful evil.

When any of the powers listed above are used there is a cumulative 1% chance that the character will be struck with Megalomania (DMG page 84).

The Looking Glass
Instead of me posting an entry here this week let’s try something different.  I am in the process of writing a new module.  I would like you the reader to submit to me a new monster.  The winning monster will be posted in this section of a future column and will also make an appearance in the new module when it is published.

The ground rules

  • The module is for levels 1-3 so the monster must be level appropriate.
  • The monster should be something that would be comfortable living underground.
  • It should be written up in a style similar to a Monster Manual entry (Frequency, No appearing, etc.)
  • The monster should be something new and not simply a variation of an existing monster.
  • The monster should NOT be undead.
  • Send entries in email to whughes@ptatech.com by September 17th

5 thoughts on “A Book by its Cover

  1. I didn’tthink about that. For the sake of time let’s limit it to two entries max per person.

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