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Book of the Damned (A&L; Major Artifact)

Aura overwhelming all schools [chaotic, lawful, evil]; CL 25th; Slot none; Weight 40 lbs.

DESCRIPTION

Held between covers of bladed steel, stretched human flesh, and compressed ashes, this massive collection of loose folios, leathery scrolls, and gory manuscripts is the authoritative volume on unspeakable topics and evils for which there are no names.

The Book of the Damned contains the multiverse’s single greatest collection of profane lore, detailing the evil planes and their denizens with an audacious comprehensiveness beyond that which a tome of its size should be able to physically contain. This blasphemous book consists of numerous scattered chapters divided into three volumes—daemonic, demonic, and diabolic. Should all chapters of those three volumes be united in their entirety, the completed compilation exhibits the following abilities. The complete Book of the Damned radiates a permanent unhallow effect in a 150-foot radius and a sympathy effect tuned to attract all evil creatures. Any creature of good alignment that willingly touches the tome must succeed at a DC 20 Fortitude save or be immediately slain. Additionally, while the Book of the Damned is outside of its repository (see below), any evil being of demigod-level power (daemonic harbingers, demon lords, infernal dukes) or greater using scry or a similar spell can view the Book of the Damned with no risk of being detected by the bearer. Finally, any creatures that make use of any of the tome’s abilities are damned, condemned to one of the Lower Planes after death regardless of their deeds. Only the intervention of a deity can prevent this punishment.

The complete compilation of the Book of the Damned can be used in multiple ways—as a profane talisman, as an obscene reference volume, and as a gate to the multiverse’s most complete repository of unholy lore.

Talisman: As long as the book is carried, its owner casts all spells with the evil descriptor as if she were two caster levels higher and gains a +5 bonus on all Charisma-based skills and checks made when interacting with evil outsiders. The bearer can also make use of the following spell-like abilities:

Reference: Any character who can read Abyssal, Celestial, and Infernal and who spends a total of 30 days (not necessarily contiguously) studying the tome learns soul-tainting secrets—the ultimate blasphemies of all creation. The bearer gains a +10 bonus on Knowledge (planes) checks whenever she consults the book for 1 hour regarding a question. Additionally, the book’s descriptions of Abaddon, the Abyss, and Hell prove so vivid that any teleportation to or within those planes always brings the caster to the desired location (no familiarity roll needed). The bearer of the Book of the Damned also gains a +5 bonus on the opposed Charisma check required by the planar binding spell (this bonus stacks with the +5 bonus the tome grants on interactions with evil outsiders). Once per day, the bearer can ask the tome a question relating to any profane topic; she then opens the book to a random page to find the answer, revealed as if the bearer had cast vision.

The book also contains a copy of every spell with the evil spell descriptor.

Repository: Once per day, the bearer of the Book of the Damned can cause the tome to disappear into its own internal demiplane, leaving behind a sinister shimmering portal. This reproduces the effects of a mage’s magnificent mansion spell, allowing the bearer and those she chooses to enter an unnerving but semi-safe library filled with the countless volumes of blasphemous records the Book of the Damned merely serves as a window upon. The book and those within the repository are affected by a powerful nondetection effect, shielding all within from the sight of even the gods. Creatures do not age while inside, although upon leaving, they immediately age an amount equal to the time spent inside. While within the demiplane, visitors may access any of the powers described in the Reference section.

Creatures of nonevil alignment find the macabre surroundings and frightening servants within the repository unsettling, and must succeed at a DC 30 Will save or be afflicted as if by the nightmare spell every time they attempt to rest within. Nothing can prevent this effect. The entrance to the Book of the Damned’s repository can be entered by creatures other than those the bearer chooses on certain nights, specifically during lunar eclipses and the midnight hour on the night of a new moon, during which time the barely visible portal manifests as a normal door.

DESTRUCTION

The Book of the Damned must be divided into its varied chapters and each must be destroyed separately within the span of 1 day. The chapter on the daemonic requires the pages be scrubbed of ink by the tears of a good outsider, the pages of the demonic chapter must be fed to a good or lawful outsider, and the diabolic chapter must serve as kindling for a pyre that burns a good or chaotic outsider alive. If all of the chapters are not destroyed at the end of 1 day, any destroyed chapters reappear undamaged in an obscure corner of the multiverse.

HISTORY

In the earliest days of the multiverse, the angelic hosts of Heaven sought to have an accounting of the totality of knowledge of all realms, so they might know the glories of the divine, the plights of those they would protect, and the faces of their enemies. The warrior-scholar was tasked with this seemingly impossible undertaking, and 1,000 legions of lesser celestials were placed at his command. Although untold centuries of tireless toil passed in the chronicling of the Material Plane and the planes of law, good, and neutrality, those realms willingly yielded their secrets to the angelic hosts. But the Lower Planes proved even more hostile and secretive than expected.

RAMIFICATIONS

None can read the secrets of the foulest tome in creation without being forever changed.

  • Damnation: Those who read from this tome are unequivocally damned. When the reader is slain, her soul is condemned to Abaddon, the Abyss, or Hell, as appropriate. Such is the ancient accord that prevents the taint of the blasphemous tome’s secrets from being carried into the goodly realms in the afterlife. Only the direct intervention of a deity can save a soul that has read from the Book of the Damned, and such powers are loath to break their eternal pledges.
  • Fiendish Machinations: Few fiends or the godly beings who rule over their kind would balk at laying waste to whole mortal realms in order to possess secrets with the potential to grant them power over their enemies and brethren. If taken from its repository, the Book of the Damned is a beacon to powerful fiends of all types.
  • Sacred Apocrypha: When the angelic hosts reviewed the works, they expected to be confronted by all the profanities of fiends and their unholy lords. What they didn’t expect was their brother’s unflinching thoroughness when it came to the most regretful deeds of the celestial races and deities of light. The angelic scholar’s works chronicled innumerable strained compromises between celestials and fiends, instances of unholy deception, successions and sacrifices made for greater goods, occurrences of angelic corruption, massacres on divine battlefields, alliances between opposed deities, and catalogs of slain empyreal lords—in short, a collection depraved enough to undermine nearly any mortal faith. These records, not the bold confessions of fiends, were what led the folios known as the Book of the Damned to be scattered, as only when these foul pages are united is the so-called apocrypha to the book’s sister volume, the Chronicle of the Righteous, revealed.
Section 15: Copyright Notice

Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Artifacts & Legends © 2012, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Author: F. Wesley Schneider.