A table of ideas for fantastical things that could be in books. It’s arranged as five subtables, so you can pick a category or roll on them all with percentiles and rounding.

1-10 Nasties

  1. Paper Wasp Hive: Two dimensional insects that build their hives between the pages of a book. They do not damage the pages, opening the book destroys the lacy hives and incenses the swarm.
  2. Bookmark trap: A spring loaded razorbladed contraption that violently forces itself out of the book and into the face of the unwary.
  3. Contact Poison: spread along the pages. Might require a papercut, prolonged contact, or simply puff out as “ordinary” dust.
  4. Hollowed Out: Contains a cursed stiletto in the hollowed out pages.
  5. Ruination Moth Larvae: The grubs of the ruination moth cocoon in soft materials like paper or cloth. The larvae emit a pheromone when threatened, which makes the adults aggressive towards those who disturb them.
  6. Traitor Ink: The book is printed in traitor ink, that easily transfers to skin and then turns a brilliant scarlet. It resists washing off, and being marked in such a way means a lot of things to a lot of different people, generally not good.
  7. Actually a Mimic: The classic. Waits till the book is open, and swallows fingers.
  8. Safeguard: the book has locks upon it, and a hidden catch. if the catch is not toggled, then the a vial of acid will be punctured and rapidly foam outwards, dissolving the book and possibly the holder.
  9. Flensed Leather: the book is bound in still living skin, and stitched in nerves. Touching the book prompts a traumatic psychic connection. Whether the contents are in the pages, or the trapped mind is up to the DM.
  10. Needles: A wide array of poison needles, worked into the binding, the cover. They might fall out and wait to be stepped upon, or might be rigged, spiking the fingers of the unobservant.

11-20 Compulsions

  1. If the book senses it is threatened, there is too much damp, not enough librarians etc. reading the book instills a compulsion to copy or ensure the books contents are preserved.
  2. If someone reads at least the first chapter, the book instills a compulsion to read it straight through, in one sitting, immediately, no matter what.
  3. If someone can read sheet music, they find themselves with an insidious melody stuck in their head. It is thankfully not contagious, as it takes an effort of will to suppress humming it.
  4. Those who read the book find a compulsion, an inability to look away from the small injustices of the world. How they act or not on this is up to them, but they are uncomfortably aware of them.
  5. Upon reading this book, the reader is affixed with the singular desire to destroy it, to keep its secrets, and remove all copies of it from existence.
  6. The reader recognizes an aspect of themselves in the book, and find a compulsion to revisit it, again and again. With every reading, they become more certain that they are really a character portrayed in the book, and not themselves at all.
  7. The reader will now be willing to fight and die for the sake of an island nations rulers. The islands themselves may have sunk beneath the waves, or be a bustling democratic republic. The reader does not care, as long as the royal family is known to be safe.
  8. The reader is rendered mute, unless they are quoting this book or another book. They are quite certain that nothing they could say would ever match the beauty they have already read, and so keep their mundane tongue leashed. They may chain parts of quotes, but each transition is halting.
  9. Each successive reader finds themselves seeking to complete the previous readers goal. If a priest read it last, the present reader will find themselves seeking to bring glory to that divinity, and protect the faithful. The next reader will have the present readers goal.
  10. A reader finds themselves unable to get over the book. A sad history might leave one depressed, a comedy renders one unable to take anything seriously, a scholarly treatise gives one a curiosity and a focus.

21-30 Skills

  1. The Art of folding: Dedicated practitioners learn the contortionists art, and gain great agility, at the cost of needing to be free of rigid objects or other encumbrance.
  2. A Method for The Keeping of Secrets: The studier of this text learns of secret codes and cyphers, their creation, dissemination, maintenance and ultimate breaking.
  3. The Justicers Guide: A set of deductive exercises, common patterns, and useful observations that grant the reader benefits when attempting to understand a criminal or crime scene.
  4. On Siege: a comprehensive and practical guide to the logistics and engineering of a siege. An asset to any attempting to carry out, survive, or sabotage a sustained assault on a fortified position.
  5. The Mark Of Command: If one can get over the condescending tone, this book teaches effective techniques for authoritative communication, from troops, to servants, to simply making threats.
  6. Markets Tide: a guide to book keeping, investment and the running of business. A very effective primer for those wishing to deal better with merchants, detect scams or find evidence of mismanagement and corruption. Or just plain old running a merchant house.
  7. A Wanders Companion: Part guide book, part memoir, part survival handbook. Includes all sort of handy techniques for a variety of terrains. Covers both social, survival and cultural knowledge.
  8. Under The Sail: A compendium of maritime techniques. Is intended as a history, but dedicated reading grants insight into charting, shipbuilding or sailing.
  9. The Seasons: An agricultural handbook, aimed at a feudal lord that wishes to govern their peasantry better. Contains insights into taxes, governance, herb-lore and case studies of blights, famines, and effective rulers.
  10. Sapling: A book on teaching techniques, and individual mentorship in trying times. Partly a philosophical treatise. Readers can put the techniques into use to help less experienced characters push themselves further than before. Less effective the more students a teacher has, and takes time.

31-40 Trivial

  1. A Handbook For Elves: A book written by a dwarf about how to entertain, cook for, and otherwise deal with elves socially.
  2. Thegmin High Fashion: a courtier’s commentary on the fashion of the court, and how it has gone inevitably downhill since she lost the position in charge of the royal wardrobe.
  3. The Kellrimere Conspiracy: A later discredited history of a particularly murky period in a neighboring kingdoms succession. All involved are long dead.
  4. Wines of the Loraol Valley: A sommeliers guide to buying wine from a place no one has heard off. Written in an over-embellished style. It sounds like a lovely place.
  5. The letters of Knarill: A collections of letters between an alchemist and various peers, debating incomprehensible points about the nature of transmutation.
  6. A Surfeit Of Incomprehension: A book of riddles and wordgames, written in a patronizing tone.
  7. On The Bones of Grinth: A treatise by a gnome researcher on a mysterious set of bones recently unearthed in a mine, of a previously unknown creature.
  8. Number’s Language: A potentially quite valuable compilation of mathematics and engineering insights. Seems to have been written as part of a series.
  9. History of Ken’Ret’Tun: A brief history of a distant country, but a cursory inspection shows that the author’s knowledge is mostly based on legend and hearsay, and not from any actual time spent there.
  10. Songs of Entim, the Bard: A collection of rather catchy ballads and tunes. Some old classics that have been reworded, and a decent collection of tunes so old they are new.

41-50 Charming and pleasant

  1. Faint music echoes from the pages when one runs a finger down the spine.
  2. The book has rose or other flower petals pressed between it’s pages.
  3. A popup book, with beautiful illustrations.
  4. A ribbon, with a small charm on the end, used as book mark.
  5. The book reads itself aloud, in a gentle voice.
  6. Amusing marginalia, someone has written humorous commentary on the contents of each page.
  7. Illuminated with wondrous skill, the pages practically glow.
  8. The book contains many more pages than it should by volume. Thankfully, it has an Index.
  9. A folio for a comedy long thought lost.
  10. In an unknown language, but with beautiful calligraphy and illustrations.

About The Hiatus

I had a rather taxing semester, and this blog fell by the wayside. Will try and keep it up better up to date, but next semester could be even less friendly to blogging. We shall see what happens.