“Devouring Tome” for Chthonian Highways

The following is based on an idea that I had posted for DarkHeresy in 2010. Now, I provide a slightly modified version for Chthonian Highways.

The Devouring Tome

Some people devour books. Some books devour people. A Devouring Tome is a hand written folio or manuscript whose topic centers on the Mythos and might have either been written recently or might turn out to be the a piece of work from centuries ago that appears to be not older than a decade.

Reading in a devouring tome may upturn answers to current questions, it might allow to increase the Mythos skill or provide a bonus (or even an Edge) to skill tests after being studied. But to study such a treatise is to invite doom.

Whenever a character studies a Devouring Tome for a longer period of time (half an hour or up to an hour) some malign presence that inhabits its pages comes to live and begins to influence the character. The reader must know pass a skill check Psyche + Perception (15 or 20). If the test is successful, the character notes what is happening and stops reading at once. In case of a failure the character reads on for 1d6/2 hours (unless forced to stop) and will suffer from a point of damage to the Psyche Attribute for each hour. If the character is not interrupted by outside forces another skill check (see above) is called for and the character will read on until he is interrupted, passed the test or until both the Psyche and the Wits Attribute are Exhausted.


The Empty Scribe:

Once the Psyche and the Wits Attribute are Exhausted, the Devouring Tome turns the character reading it into an Empty Scribe: he or she will become unresponsive to what goes on in his or her surrounding as her mind has been emptied by the tome. The character will act like a sleepwalker and start to search for something to write. As soon as he or she finds something the character will start writing down obscure knowledge in an incoherent way. If something like pen and paper are ready, the “empty scribe” will begin another tome of emptiness. One way or the other, the character will simply write and write and write and write eventually die from dehydration. The spell of the Devouring Tome can be broken by destroying it.

Ending up under the Influence of a Devouring Tome is a harrowing experience with a Fear Rating of 15 or 18  that will lead to 1d20 points of Stress.


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