The Book of Insatiable Avarice
Physical Appearance: A dozen small diamonds are inlaid into the book’s magnificent golden cover that bears the engraved image of countless coins and remarkable jewelry. The edges of its 216 vellum pages are embossed with gold that matches the unusual color of the book’s ink.
Ink & Quill
Author Thomas Knauss
Series Dragonwing Games/Bastion Press
Publish date 2002
Background: The frugal wizard, Mitros the Miser, penned this abominable book nearly two centuries ago. Initially intending to write his will within its gilded covers, Mitros grew disgusted by the unscrupulous behavior of his greedy relatives hoping to lay claim to his vast fortune.
Disheartened by their abhorrent actions, Mitros perpetrated an unspeakable act of spite, pouring the remainder of his estate into the production of his cursed book. While on his deathbed, Mitros bequeathed the accursed book to his eldest son, Egros, the most loathsome and despicable of Mitros six children. Covetous of Egros treasure and despondent about their non-existent inheritance, the remaining siblings conspired against him, hatching a plot to steal the book from their brother. However, the books spell quickly enraptured the corrupt and wicked Egros. Blessed with its tremendous powers, Egros murdered his scheming brothers before they set their plan into action. For the next thirty years until his death Egros lived in complete solitude incessantly counting his vast hoard of wealth, while society actively shunned the despicable and ruthless penny-pincher. Egros decaying body remained undiscovered for almost sixty years until a group of intrepid thieves infiltrated his mansion. To their horror, the palatial estate proved completely bereft of material goods except for the enticing golden book still clutched in Egros skeletal hands. The disappointed thieves grabbed the book and left Egros home, vowing to keep their treasure a secret.
From there, the book passed through many different hands especially among the ranks of thieves. At last count, six different thieves guilds in four cities possessed the book for at least a few years. The books current owner, Erastius Backsplitter, a half-orc rogue and guild master, keeps the book within the sanctuary of his vault beneath his bedchamber. The book remains under constant guard, unseen by anyone other than Erastius for the last six years.
Powers: The dreadful book conveys the following abilities upon its reader:
- Rogues and evil beings reading the book gain an additional 2,500 xp. Neutral creatures reading the book gain an additional 1,000 xp, while good creatures lose 500 xp.
- Three times per day, the reader may cast clairaudience/clairvoyance as if she were a 20th-level sorcerer. This power is treated as a spell-like ability.
- Twice per day, the reader may cast passwall as if she were a 20th-level sorcerer.
- Only the reader receives the benefits of protection from spells once per day as if she were a 20th-level sorcerer.
- The book grants the reader a +2 luck bonus to AC, attacks and saves at all times.
- The book bestows the rogue’s sneak attack ability upon the reader. She inflicts an additional +3d6 points of damage on all sneak attacks. This bonus stacks with all other sneak attack bonuses regardless of their source.
Curse: The reader becomes a kleptomaniac, driven by the insatiable desire to steal any item valued at more than 100 gp that she sees. She cannot resist the urge to pilfer them, regardless of the potential consequences. She takes the most valuable item first and descends down the list in order of value. Naturally, this side effect results in either the destruction or ostracism of the reader. Furthermore, the reader’s actions also cause the loss of 1d4 points of Intelligence and Wisdom as well as the reader’s conversation to chaotic evil, while she owns it. The book itself demands sustenance, literally devouring the gold piece equivalent of the sum of its owner’s adjusted Intelligence and Wisdom score. The items must be placed within its cover no later than sundown; otherwise the book withholds all of its powers until its owner sates its appetite. For instance, a wizard with an Intelligence of 14 and a Wisdom of 13 must feed the book the equivalent of 27 gp per day. The book also records deficits, hence if she failed to feed it for two days; it does not function until she places 81 gp of valuables inside of the book.
Destruction: The book may be destroyed by burying it in a paupers cemetery within the simple, pine coffin of a penniless humanoid. The grave must remain undisturbed for one year before the book finally disintegrates. In addition to magical investigation, a successful Knowledge (Arcana) skill check (DC 34) reveals the means of its destruction.
Caster Level: 20th