Friday, April 3, 2015

Artifact April #3: Liber Gnaritatis Veneficae [Deadlands]


The Liber Gnaritatis Veneficae is an archaic grimoire written in medieval Latin (and not even particularly good Latin, at that).  The pages are yellowed and tattered — frequently stained by ink, wax, blood, and even more nefarious substances — and the cover is leather bound.  A Hard (9) trade: leatherworking or science: biology roll can reveal this leather to be human flesh, possibly tanned by the blood and brain of whatever unfortunate provided the cover.  The book is handwritten, and the somewhat meandering scrawl requires an Onerous (7) language: Latin and a subsequent Hard (9) academia: occult roll to decipher.  Characters can attempt to roll once per week.

The book contains arcane secrets of magic man was not meant to know, as well as information on the summoning and binding of lesser imps and demons.  Practicioners of Hoyle's art will recognise the latter as hexslingin'.

Power: The book allows the reader to use black magic spells and also provides a means for students of the occult to learn black magic and various hexes.  Students of black magic can use (and learn) bolts o' doom 3, cloak o' evil 4, contagion 4, curse 5, dark protection 4, forewarnin' 4, ghostly servant 3, illusion 3, pact 3, puppet 4, scrye 4, sendin' 4, stormcall 2, stun 3, transformation 4 (raven), and zombie 4.  These spells are cast with an effective faith: black magic 6d12.

Furthermore, students of Hoyle can learn some hexes within the sigils and patterns in the pages.  The book can teach the following hexes: bash, black lightnin', bodyguard, brimstone, clear out!, corporeal twist, deadly creepers, deuces wild!, disrupt, diversion, earthwrack, eye spy, flypaper fingers, foil, fortune teller, gateway, graveyard mists, hunch, hunger pangs, impostor, incognito, lethargy, looking glass, mind twist, mirage, missed me!, necromancer, nightmare realm, old timer, parch, penetratin' gaze, phantasm, phantom fingers, playin' possum, poltergeist, rainmaker, reanimate, rust, sandstorm, sandman, shadow man, shadow walk, skinchange: raven, soul blast, soul burst, spirit coils, talisman, texas twister, thunderclap!, timeslip, touch o' death, and whirlpool.  Having deciphered the book, a huckster may learn one of these hexes by making a Fair (5) academia: occult check to decipher the strange sigils and drawings in the grimoire and spending 5 Bounty Points.

Finally, the book has an effective academia: occult 3 for the purpose of finding information.

Taint: The man who penned the book also gave his life to make it (the publisher used the author to make the book's cover).  Through arcane rituals, the author still lives in his book and attempts to control anyone who would use it.  Every time a reader reads the book, or even skims it, he must check for Dominion against the author.  He must also check whenever he uses the black magic spells in the book.  The reader starts with total Dominion.  The author trapped in the book has Spirit 5d12.  If the author gains Dominion, the character uses the author's Spirit 5d12 and faith 6d12 for the appropriate checks.

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