Tag Archives: book

Transition: a story by Simon Forster

First Transition

It was lunchtime and Lex left the office just after noon, trying unsuccessfully to beat the rush to the cafés along the street. As always, no matter how soon or late he left, he found himself in a long queue and it took a good quarter of an hour before he even reached the fridge where the sandwiches were kept chilled.

He stood looking at the selection of sandwiches on display, feeling disappointed at the poor choice. Everything seemed to have mayonnaise in it, and Lex hated mayonnaise. Some loud American tourist was trying to budge past him, talking to his wife about the slow buses of London. Lex did his best to ignore him. He reached out to pluck a plain ham and cheese sandwich from the fridge…

…I am engulfed in a strong feeling of dislocation, which makes me dizzy and nauseous. The world fades around me, becoming grey and indistinct like a thick fog. For a moment I feel weightless and silence reigns all around me. Then the feeling passes and in a swirl of colour the world rotates into view once more…

For a long moment Lex simply stood looking at his hand, which a moment ago had been reaching for a sandwich. The fridge was now empty. The sounds of the café, the loud tourist and the traffic outside had all gone, replaced by an all pervasive silence that made Lex wonder if he had suddenly gone deaf.

He looked up and around, taking in the empty café. The interior walls were decorated in damp patches, while the glass-fronts were shattered and let in a cold wind that brought goose-bumps to Lex’s bare arms. The counter had seen better days and there was no sign of the food or assorted coffee that had been there a moment before. There was a smell of rot in the cold air, mixed in with a mustiness that reminded Lex of wet dogs.

There was also no sign of the people, including the staff, who had been there when Lex was reaching for his non-existent sandwich. Outside the street was quiet, no pedestrians passing and no cars driving by. It was darker outside, as if dusk had suddenly arrived.

Lex remained still, not wanting to move. Everything seemed so real, but he knew that it was impossible; he was having some kind of dream, probably just nodded off– while standing?– nothing more than that. Out of the corner of his eye he thought he saw something move; a shadow falling across his own. He turned his head…

A wave of dizziness passed over him, making him wobble and almost fall over. He closed his eyes against the sudden vertigo and then someone was holding him upright and asking if he was ok. The cars were roaring by outside and the sudden babble of voices, percolating coffee and a street full of consumers made Lex feel light-headed.

He sat down on a quickly vacated stool, looking around at the café as it was seconds ago, before he had gone all dizzy and seen an empty, derelict café. The sandwich he had picked up was in his hand, where it had always been.

“I’m fine,” he murmured to whoever was asking. He was sure he was fine. He’d just had a dizzy spell, probably from lack of food after waiting so long in a queue. But the memory of the empty café stayed with him as he walked back to work– a shabby call-centre for some second-rate internet provider that had seen better days. He barely acknowledged his co-workers as he made his way over to his desk, where his squat and ugly monitor stared at him, prompting him to enter his user-name and password.

For the rest of the afternoon Lex was too distracted to do any work, and it was only his more senior position– dealing with hard-copy letters of complaint, rather than phone calls or e-mails– that allowed him to escape the notice of his boss; slacking off was very much frowned upon. As soon as the clock turned five, Lex shambled out and headed for the tube station down the street.

Riding home, he kept looking around him, still feeling out-of-sorts. He hadn’t been in an empty café, because that was impossible. But what had happened? He was tired, frustrated with the work he did, stressed out; maybe he had fallen asleep and dreamt it all. Maybe he was coming down with something. Whatever it was, it had him feeling very spaced-out.

He returned home, feeling tired and dislocated. His girlfriend, Lois, took pity on him, realising that he was wasn’t much in the mood for light conversation and crap television. She was staying at his tonight, probably for most of the week if their routine was anything to go by. She made him some soup and sent him to bed, convinced he was getting the bug that was going round the workplaces. Lois worked as a designer in a children’s magazine, a position Lex secretly envied. But any envious thoughts were absent that night as Lex drifted in and out of sleep, dreaming of empty streets and quiet cafés.

<>

The next morning Lex woke to the sound of some radio station he’d never heard of chattering away. The Nine Inch Nails album he’d woken up to on Monday– it was Wednesday, his brain told him– had been swapped without his knowledge, and he knew who was responsible.

Lois walked into the bedroom, dressed in her dressing gown, hair cocooned in a wet towel, her face shiny from scrubbing. She held two mugs of steaming tea in her hands, and a smile that was somewhere between tolerant and annoyed.

“I had to turn off that awful music,” she said as she caught sight of Lex’s sleepy face. “I don’t how you can listen to that noise; especially first thing in the morning.”

“Bheraggah,” he replied, still too sleepy to form proper words.

“Go and shower. I’m heading in early today, so I’ll have my breakfast while you’re getting wet.”

Lex nodded, stumbled out of bed and got himself wet and washed. Time passed quickly while he stood under the warm water, feeling his body wake up, his mind struggling to catch up.

Lois poked her head around the door. “If you stay in there much longer, you’ll be late. And your tea’s getting cold.”

“I’ll be out in a minute,” he replied, coughing as water leapt into his open mouth.

“Well, I’m off now. I’ll see you tonight. Kisses.” She closed the door before Lex could say anything, and a minute later he heard the door open and shut.

Alone and uninterrupted, he stayed in the shower for several long minutes, until he felt ready to face another day at the office. By the time he had dressed, drank his cold tea and grabbed an apple to eat on the way to work, he knew that Lois was right, he was going to be late.

<>

The morning dragged by, as it always did on a Wednesday morning. It was that mid-point in the week that some people liked, because it meant the weekend was almost upon them, but Lex hated it more than Tuesday (which a lot of his co-workers claimed was the worse day of the week, somehow forgetting about Monday) since it made the end of the week seem so far away. He plodded through his workload, a handful of angry letters from mature clients who were always writing in to complain about the lack of bandwidth, or download speed, or other things that Lex, in all honesty, knew nothing about. His job was to go through each letter, and reply using the standard responses that had been written into a manual that rested on everyone’s desk. It was two years old now and looked to be a permanent fixture.

Lunch eventually arrived and Lex hurried out, hoping that this time he would beat the rush to the café. He almost jogged out of the main doors, straight into the lunchtime crowd. Sighing, berating himself for once again being too slow off the mark, Lex joined the tide and headed in the direction of his usual venue. He reached it quicker than usual, for a change, but as he walked up to the entrance, he stopped, so suddenly that the person behind him bumped into him. The man cursed and muttered as he shot Lex a dark look, then stepped around him.

Lex stared ahead, remembering what had happened yesterday. He had forgotten about the dizzy spell, feeling asleep and dreaming of that empty café. He hadn’t realised it before, but he it had frightened him; and he was still scared now. He couldn’t go inside.

Turning away he headed off to the corner-shop just off the main road, looking for a cheaper and less troublesome lunch. As he turned the corner, he saw a man across the road staring at him intently. He wouldn’t have noticed him in the crowd, but the man’s eyes bore into his back, making his presence known.

The man looked odd, which wasn’t all that unusual for London. But this was something else, more than the odd tourist or drunken, drugged-up Londoner. The man looked out of place, and his clothes were of a style that Lex couldn’t place, but just seemed wrong somehow: tan-coloured trousers, with too many pockets for office-wear; a long trench-coat that had a distinctly military feel to it, but was a lurid green that clashed painfully with the pale blue shirt the man wore underneath. His dark hair was untidy, thick and tightly curled. His eyes were dark, intense, and the man looked angry.

Then the man shook his head, as if to clear it, then a bus went past and Lex lost sight of him. When the bus had pulled away, the man was nowhere to be seen. Shaking off the uncomfortable feeling– like his skin was crawling– Lex quickly bought himself a sandwich and a fruit drink, barely paying attention to what they were, and made his way back to the office to eat his lunch in the rudimentary staff-room. He had no desire to stay outside, not with than man about. It– strangely– didn’t feel safe.

<>

Lex told Lois about it over dinner.

They sat at his dinner table– a small, dented table that sat crammed in the corner of the lounge– eating pasta and pesto (he couldn’t bring himself to cook anything more exciting), and after listening to Lois go on about her day, he jumped in and told her all about the strange man who had been staring at him. It sounded stupid.

“You’re getting paranoid, Alex,” she said. “This is London, it’s full of strange men. You for a start.” She meant it in a good-natured fashion, but Lois had a habit of saying things in a tone of voice that rubbed Lex the wrong way. And she still called him Alex, even after six months together. He hated being called Alex; but he couldn’t quite tell her that. Sometimes he felt like a right coward.

“This was different,” he tried to explain. “And then he just vanished.”

“Into the crowd?”

“Yes, into the… No! Not into the crowd… well, maybe he did. Oh, I don’t know. It was odd, made me feel uncomfortable.”

“Most things do.” She said it softly, and Lex wasn’t sure if he was meant to have heard that or not. “Anyway, he’s not here now, so you don’t have to worry about it anymore. Now finish your food; you’ll never get big and strong if you don’t eat properly. Speaking of which, what did you have for lunch today? Still eating sandwiches, like I asked?”

“Yes, still eating my lunch. Just wish they had a better choice. I mean,” he went on, “what is it with putting mayonnaise in everything?”

“If you tried it, you might like it. It isn’t that different to salad cream, and you like that.”

“Nah, don’t think so. It’s horrible stuff. The way it looks, the smell of it…” He mimed puking up. “No, not for me, thanks.”

“You know your problem, Alex, you’re too damned fussy.”

Lex nodded, fully agreeing with her, even if he didn’t really feel that way. If anything, she was the fussy one, but he didn’t say that. Having an argument with Lois was like a pencil without any lead: pointless. He always lost.

Dinner was followed by some bland police-drama, then bed and, for Lex, some much needed sleep. He still felt tired after his episode that Tuesday lunchtime. Lois was also tired from a long day designing some layout or other, so other than a quick cuddle, they rolled over and slept.

Lex dreamt of wide-eyed men and white-goo seeping out of sandwiches.

<=>

To be continued…

Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring

The Fellowship of the RingI’m almost finished with The Fellowship of the Ring, which I haven’t read (yes, to my shame), in a couple of decades; and I have enjoyed it immensely. Tolkien has a wonderful way of writing, use of language and, of course, creating a world with all its myths and so forth. Makes me want to delve deeper and read more stuff on Middle-Earth, but that can wait until I’ve read the rest of the saga.

Since I haven’t read it in years, and my last experience with the work was the films, I was surprised at how much the films differed from the book; i.e. a lot! I know some of the reasons why, and can see how some elements would never have worked on film (not for a mainstream audience at any rate), but it does make me wonder how much The Hobbit is going to be altered; are they going to keep the singing in it, for example. The songs are very much part of the saga, and it is was left out entirely from the new film, I feel it’d be missing something.

Anyway, I digress. Reading this book, and the posts about wider sandbox play, travel and the like, makes me wonder even more about the nature of the journey in our games. Lately, over the past few years certainly, I’ve been hand-waving a lot of travel from one place to another, and I’m thinking that I should change my tactics and make the journey more part of the adventures; and after last night’s session, the opportunity to do that may well come up next week when the party head off into the wilderness, now that have may dealt with the bandits and spent a week getting their ‘base’ together (session report to follow, probably tomorrow).

Question for anyone who has bought/read/played The One Ring game, how do the journey mechanics work/play in that game? I am curious to see if it fits the flavour of the setting.

The Hobbit

An Unexpected Party

An Unexpected Party

I started reading The Hobbit last week, and must confess that I don’t think I have read it since school, a good twenty or so years back (probably more).

I like re-reading books with old/new eyes and more experience behind me, and being a writer myself, I find I appreciate a good book more than I used to. After this I’m going to tackle the Lord of the Rings again, which I also haven’t read for a couple of decades.

Reading The Hobbit, I was struck how funny it is, something I didn’t remember from when I first read it. It’ll be interesting to how the movie turns out, and from the pictures I’ve seen of the dwarves, they look different from I’d have expected from reading the book (do those pictures have the coloured hoods? I shall have to go and have a look… back in a second… hmm, I see no hoods, not on the pictures I can find).

All this has also added to my desire to get The One Ring rpg, which I have been tempted by (anyone got it, any good?).

I’ve enjoyed the story so far, and am almost finished (just at the beginning of the Battle of Five Armies), and actually looking forward to reading the other books. It’ll be interesting to see if I like them, since I didn’t get into them when I was younger.

No point to this post, other than to share. Thanks.

Recommendations

booksI read a lot of fiction, covering a lot of genres (although fantasy tends to dominate, which should come as no surprise), and I usually have two books on the go at once; one for home reading, the other I read on the daily commute to work (the only good thing about that commute is the chance to read, otherwise commuting in/out of London is awful and I hate it).

But I don’t read a lot of non-fiction, other than to do some research on the web. This is bad.

Thankfully, that is changing. Recently finished a book on life in the middle ages, and currently reading one on life in Victorian Britain (both books are very good), and have one on medieval mercenaries waiting in the wings. And today I’m hoping to track down a book on life in the 1500-1600′s.

As much as these are interesting (often entertaining) in themselves, they are also a source of inspiration and their use in both my writing and my campaigns will be hugely influential. But I need more. I’ve always had an interest in history, but dull lessons at school and dull, poorly written, boring and badly laid out history books put me off doing much with it.

So, I ask you, dear member of our small but remarkably vocal and intelligent community, what other history books that are out there would you recommend? Something that reads well, isn’t a dry and plodding academic text with no ‘feeling’ to it, a source of inspiration, useful for a variety of reasons, and that maybe even changed the way you saw history or RPGs or worldbuilding, or whatever.

Any suggestions?

The Time-Travellers Guide to Medieval England

Time Travellers Guide to Medieval EnglandI’m currently reading Ian Mortimer’s history book, The Time-Traveller’s Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century.

It is interesting, very readable, full of facts and information, and best of all it is a great resource for playing D&D games.

Just about everything is covered in this book, from daily living, to size of towns, population density, smells and sights upon arriving at a city. It tells you about Medieval humour (ribald and often violent), their attitudes to life, social status, the church and religion.

Reading this has inspired me in oh so many ways. There are stories and facts in here that generate adventure hooks; there are details that will allow a DM to evoke the feel of a city or small market town; lists of things that can be bought at market; greetings when people meet; all sorts of useful and informative stuff.

I highly recommend this to anyone who wants to run a game in 14th Century eras, which a lot of D&D and fantasy games tend to fit in.

You can get it from Amazon both in the UK and the US; although I personally got mine from a Waterstone’s in London.

Vornheim, Grindhouse, and Blackmarsh

A while ago I briefly reviewed both Vornheim: the complete city kit, and Lamentations of the Flame Princess Weird Fantasy RPG Grindhouse Edition, and said I’d do another review once I had the physical copies.

Trouble, I’m rubbish at doing reviews. I never know what to say. I got both in the mail when I came back from Brighton, and just got Blackmarsh (by Robert Conley) of Bat in the Attic today.

I haven’t used Vornheim yet, simply because I’m playing D&D rather than running it but I’m looking forward to using it. I’ve enjoyed reading and flicking through it, and am considering taking the Urbancrawl rules and seeing if I can use them to do something similar for dungeon crawls; which is one of the best things about this book, it inspires and motivates you to not only use it, but to take what’s there and make it your own, use it as a source of ideas. And it’s a nicely designed book too :)

The Grindhouse set is also beautifully designed, and I was impressed by the quality of the paper. I think the colour artwork comes across better on the PDF (simply because it’s bigger to look at), but that doesn’t take anything away from the books. I’ve only played one session with these rules so far, but that went well and everyone enjoyed it. One of the things I like most are the spells, chiefly those that are different from the standard ones we’re use to; and I especially like the Summon spell, which is like a guide to monster creation.

Blackmarsh I bought for two main reasons: firstly, because I wanted to do something like it myself, but really needed to see what someone had done to get an idea of what worked; and secondly, if I need a setting I can use it, especially if my own setting isn’t ready in time for my new campaign (still a few months away); if nothing else, I should be able to fit it into my own setting without too much trouble.

Anyway, that’s my review, such as it is. I like all three, I’d recommend them to others, and they’re good value for money. Not come across anything I don’t like or care for, but haven’t fully tested them or played with them yet either. I’ll no doubt comment on each as part of actual play reports in the future.

Now, back to see if I can use Zak’s idea to create something of my own…

V is for Vade Mecum

A handy book

vade mecum (n) a handbook or other aid carried on the person for immediate use when needed.

In the frontier town of Jainesville, an enterprising merchant has been selling handbooks to passing adventurers, which, he says, will provide assistance when most needed. Each book is a crudely bound booklet of 20 pages, with almost illegible handwriting written on cheap paper. The books are covered in old leather, cut from worn armour by the look of them. Each book is fairly cheap, going for 5 silver pieces, and has proven to be somewhat useful to those adventurers they have bought them.

Currently, the merchant known as Ignatious (human male, 0-Level, 5 hp) has the following books for sale, and always has at least one copy in stock. The aid each book grants is listed with the books:

The Warrior’s Way

If the hands of a Fighter, this book of handy tips and advice on tactics, with examples from famous battles of the last decade, allows such a warrior to prepare himself or herself to face the upcoming challenges that lie ahead.

When read for an hour every morning, a Fighter may re-roll any Surprise check made during that day; but is limited to a number of times equal to their Wisdom modifier (minimum of once per day, regardless).

In the heat of combat, a Fighter may spend a round hastily skimming passages. If this is done, an Intelligence check is made (3d6), and if successful one of the following effects take place the following round; otherwise the round spent flicking is merely wasted:

  1. +1 to the next round’s attack roll;
  2. +1 on the next saving throw made in the following round;
  3. +1 on the next round’s damage roll;
  4. ignore the opponent’s armour, as a weak spot is recognised, for the next round only.

The Holy Writings of Ignoble the Great

A booklet of advice, hymns, and popular prayers for the One True Faith. In the hands of a Cleric, this handy book offers several benefits.

If used during morning prayer, such as when memorising spells for the day, a Cleric can choose one spell to be cast as if the Cleric were one level higher than normal.

In the midst of combat, flicking through the book (with a successful 3d6 Intelligence check) has one of the following benefits if a round is spent looking for the right piece of advice:

  1. +1 on any the next attempt to Turn Undead made within the next 1d4 rounds;
  2. in the following round, any variable dice rolls for the next cast spell is a minimum of the average roll;
  3. advice on binding wounds allows a Cleric to heal 1d2 hit points to an injured character is such action is taken on the next round;
  4. a hearty and inspiring prayer allows the Cleric, if (s)he reads it aloud in the next round, to grant an ally a +1 on their next attack roll or saving throw (their choice), lasting for the next round or until used.

Memoirs of a Mage

A collection of essays and notes from various magic-users, many of which are now dead and were burned at the stake. Contained within is handy knowledge that a Magic-User can take advantage of.

If read during the spell memorisation process, a Magic-User can boost the power of any one spell. When cast, this empowered spell is treated as if the Magic-User was one level higher than normal.

During a fight, a Magic-User can flip through the pages, spending a round to do so, and if a 3d6 Intelligence check is made, one of the following benefits are granted:

  1. +1 to the next ranged attack roll (spell or otherwise) made in the following round;
  2. the Magic-User can counter another Magic-User’s (of Elf’s) spell by casting another spell. This may be done out of sequence, and any spell of equal or higher level must be used. This benefit remains in effect for 1d4 rounds or until used;
  3. on the following round, if the next spell cast has any variable dice roll,  it will have a minimum of the average amount;
  4. an insightful passage allows the next spell cast to ignore anything less than total cover, or be fired into melee without harming allies, so long as the attempt is made in the following round.

Willifred’s Wondrous Ways

A DIY book for dungeoneers and adventurers. In the hands of a Specialist (or thief, rogue and so forth) the advice, diagrams and examples in this book can be invaluable.

If read for an hour a day, a Specialist can re-roll a failed skill check, once per day. Another check may be re-rolled for every point of Wisdom modifier.

During combat, or as traps are going off, and if a round is spend leafing through the book for an appropriate passage, several benefits are possible. On a successful 3d6 Intelligence check, roll 1d4:

  1. +1 (+10%) on the next skill check made in the following round;
  2. re-roll any failed skill check made on the next round;
  3. force a trap to re-roll an attack roll, or damage roll, when triggered in the following round;
  4. +1 to the next saving throw made within the next 1d4 rounds.

Stone, Rock, Pebble: A Dwarf’s Way of Life

A Rough Guide to Dwarves, full of mistakes, but with a few insightful and dwarven folklore. In the hands of a Dwarf, this book reminds them of who they are and where they came from.

If a Dwarf reads the book for at least an hour a day, they gain a +1 on saving throws versus paralysis and poison for the rest of the day.

Dwarves spending a round reading this book during combat or other involved event, gain some benefit if a 3d6 Intelligence check is made:

  1. +1 hit point (temporary, lasts for 1d4 turns before being lost) when reminded that dwarves are tough little buggers;
  2. +1 to any attack or damage roll (choose one) made during the next round;
  3. ignore the effects of encumbrance for the next round;
  4. insulted by the mistakes in the passage. Gain +1 to hit and damage in the next round, but must attack the nearest person in rage (lasts until end of next round).

Living in the Trees: An Outsider’s Life with Elves

Another book mixed with mistakes and truth. Has lots of pretty pictures of elves, with fewer text than normal. An Elf reading this book will laugh at some of the words, cry at some of the pictures, and curse all of humankind at other sections. Sometimes they come across a piece of interest or a truthful statement.

Reading this book for at least an hour a day, an Elf will laugh, cry and curse, and benefit from +1 to any saving throw once per day. An additional bonus is gained for each point of Wisdom modifier.

During combat or other stressful situations, a round spent reading and a successful 3d6 Intelligence check, has one of the following benefits:

  1. the next spell cast is treated as though the Elf is one level higher than normal, so long as the spell is cast during the following round;
  2. +1 to the next saving throw versus magic, if made within the next 1d4 rounds;
  3. increases the chance to search for secret doors by 1 for the next 1d4 turns;
  4. immune to fear, charm and hold spells for the next round.

The Little Folk’s Cook Book

A book of halfling recipes and anecdotes, most real and accurate. A Halfling probably already knows most of these, but it still has its uses.

Reading this book while cooking up a meal (takes about an hour) allows those eating said meal to heal 1 hit point if injured, or be satisfied and fully fed if already healthy.

In a fight, a Halfling can quickly skim this book in the hope that something useful can be found within. A round spent flipping through the pages, together with a successful 3d6 Intelligence check, has one of the following effects:

  1. allows a Halfling to quickly make a pie-bomb, with whatever food they have on them. In the next round they can throw this ‘bomb’ as a ranged attack, and on a hit the target must make a saving throw versus paralysis of be distracted (-1 to their next roll);
  2. a tale of halfling cleverness allows a +1 to any saving throw made in the following round;
  3. a recipe for a healing poultice allows the Halfling to tend to wounds in the following round, healing a point of damage;
  4. there is nothing useful, but the book itself makes a handy improvised weapon: treat it as a ranged weapon, 10′ range, doing 1d2 damage on a successful hit.

Tomorrow, the letter W.

Random Books

I needed a way of randomly determining what is on a book shelf, and although I thought I’d read something on one of the OSR blogs, I couldn’t find anything; so I came up with some tales of my own instead (and if anyone knows of such a table elsewhere, please point it out to me, thanks).

Without further ado then, I give you:

The Tables of Random Book Generation

First, determine what type of book it is by rolling 1d8:

  1. Antiquity (1-2 stone tablet; 3-4 hieroglyphs on baked clay; 5-6 metal sheet)
  2. Scroll (1-2 papyrus; 3-4 parchment; 5-6 vellum)
  3. Codex
  4. Wax tablet
  5. Manuscript (1-2 plain text; 3-4 illuminated script)
  6. Woodcut Prints
  7. Folio (15″ tall)
  8. Atlas Folio (25″ tall)

Next, roll 1d100 and multiple the result by a 1d6 roll. This is how old the book is in years.

A 1d10 roll determines the subject matter of the book, and a then 1d8 to decide what race the subject concerns, and another on the same table to determine the race of the authors and hence the language it is in (or at least the language it was written in):

Subject Matter (1d10)

  1. Archaeology
  2. Cosmology
  3. Demonology
  4. Geography
  5. History
  6. Languages
  7. Magical Arts
  8. Philosophy
  9. Politics
  10. Warfare

Race or Written Language (1d8)

  1. Human (Common Tongue)
  2. Human (unknown language or dialect)
  3. Elf (Elven)
  4. Dwarf (Dwarven)
  5. Halfling (Common Tongue)
  6. Humanoid (1-2 goblin, 3-4 orc, 5 toll, 6 giant; respective languages)
  7. Dragon (Draconic)
  8. Unknown Race or Language

Next, determine the benefits (if any) of reading the book (assume that, if the language can be read, the time taken to read and understand it is a minimum of 1d100 hours, reduced by the Intelligence score of the reader, to a minimum number of hours equal to the dice roll that determined the type of book):

Reading Benefits (1d6)

  1. Boredom sets in: make a saving throw versus magic or fall asleep for 1d4 hours;
  2. An enjoyable read, but nothing you haven’t heard or read before: no benefits;
  3. Quietly compelling: but again, no benefits.
  4. You learn something new: gain a +1 on any skill or ability checks when confronted with a question or problem relating to the subject of the book;
  5. You gain a sudden insight into the workings of the world: gain a permanent +1 to a skill that relates to the subject matter;
  6. This book is amazing! From now on, whenever consulting the book for 1d4 hours, the reader can ask a question as per the Commune spell and receive an answer (note: this is not magical, but rather due to the knowledge the book holds).

And finally, generate the title of the book using the tables after the continuation link.

Continue reading