Sunday, January 30, 2011

Unexplored Worlds: Laws Of The Aethereal Spheres by Master Bruen Prouses

  • Written in the latter years of the Ebon Keep Dynasty, in a time renown for diabolism and human sacrifice, Laws Of The Aethereal Spheres is an account of the great sorcerer Bruen Prouses's attempts to divine the structure of the universe and how it might be bent to his whim. The prose of the book is dense and its syntax twisted in unconventional ways. In a way, the unreadability of the book is a good thing. This is because anyone capable of decoding Prouses's writing will surely go mad from the horrible truths that his circuitous sentences obfuscate.

  • Although Prouses lost his sanity and eventually disappeared entirely, his masterwork was completed and found its way into the hands of other sorcerers. The first new owner of the book, Maine Cheever, purchased it when Prouses's possessions were sold off to cover his debts. Cheever, a powerful and jealous wizard in his own right, studied the work and attempted to replicate Prouses's feats. After a decade of work, he also went insane and commenced to unleash his powers on the the local population.

  • Cheever's reign of terror was eventually end at the hands of the barbarian king, Drejan of Oranta, who burned the wizard's tower to the ground. The barbarian's closest advisor, Trilake, discovered the book completely unharmed as he sifted through the ashes. He, too, fell into its madness. To save his friend, Drejan stole back the book, had it bound in iron chains, and tossed into a volcano. There it was lost for several decades until an eruption flung it, again unharmed, far from the mountain. To this day, the cover of the book still bares the mark of the iron where the chains melted against its surface.

  • The tome eventually found its way into the hands of a merchant prince, Civeodalimpac. Having heard the stories about the book, the merchant sought to copy and sell it to interested scholars. However he soon discovered that Prouses's enchantment did more than protect it from harm. It also prevented anyone reading the book to transcribe its words to another book. No matter how they might try, the scribe can do little more than write vague impressions of the material they are reading. Thus, the original Laws Of The Aethereal Spheres is the only copy in existence.

  • The book has traveled from nation to nation, passed from one mad man to the next, either by chance or by force. Occasionally it will disappear for years at a time where it become a myth for storytellers to scare children and caution the adults over the dangers that reading the wrong book can bring. But eventually the tome reimmerges and wreaks havoc on the world again.

  • While most of the book consists of Prouses's narrative describing first his search for universal truth and power, and second the manifold horrors he eventually discovered, it also details the ritual he used to contact the outer planes. Although the spell could be of great use to any would-be archmage, there are two problems with it.

  • First, the ritual does not actually do what Prouses proposes. Instead of allowing him make queries of celestial beings, the spell opens a portal directly into their minds, allowing the caster to sift through their thoughts and memories directly. This can be dangerous for the sorcerer's mental health as well as draw the ire of the spell's target.

  • Second, the ritual cannot be performed as stated in the tome. In particular, the focus Prouses describes, a silvered mirror, does not function for purposes of this spell. Instead, an wooden frame gilded in gold is required for the ritual to be cast. The specific mirror Prouses used for his research had such a frame, but the sorcerer incorrectly attributed the power to the mirror without further testing. Due to the inability to copy any part of the book, including the ritual, no prior owner of the book who has worked out the error has ever been able to pass this knowledge on to later owners.

  • Unexplored Worlds is my attempt to design an RPG campaign in the open. Since I have not rolled a d20 in anger in many years, this is my way to keep playing without actually playing. All posts are written to be system-agnostic, so please use whatever keeps your interest in your own games. Just let me know how it goes!


© 2011 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.

3 comments:

  1. These UW posts are always so interesting, I would ask you where you get your ideas from but I know it doesn't work like that.

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  2. That was great, especially that bit about the mirror! A very cool detail that illustrates a valuable lesson as well :P

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  3. @ Blue Kae - I wish I knew too. For this one, I wanted to write about some kind of artifact. From there one idea lead to another until I had a full post.

    Also, taking a shower helped.

    @ MMOGC - I almost tagged that lesson a little harder, but I didn't want to be so on the nose about it. Subtlety is important.

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