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Selections from the library of the CFRCby John Walter Biles
Mr. Cherrington's offerings of various books for Glantrian libraries inspired me to get off my butt and present some tomes from the research libraries of PCs in past games I have run...
(These are from the libraries of the CFRC, an adventuring party who eventually saved Glantri from destruction in the Wrath of the Immortals, became Archdukes of Glantri, and then the campaign died, unfortunately, as they were working on immortality).
The Fifth Harmonic of Energy (500 gp, a box of scrolls; the box is made of silver (it is worth another 500 gp itself) and is engraved with images of flames and clouds)
The Fifth Harmonic of Energy is an Alphatian primer on the magics of energy. It is a fairly straightforward theoretical text useful in the research of almost any sort of magic which controls energy in some fashion. It is written in Alphatian; translations into Common and other languages exist, but the price usually goes up.
The King in Yellow (500 gp, Bound in Purple Velvet with brass fastenings)
This version of the King in Yellow is an elaborately illustrated and annotated play (much cheaper, but less useful editions exist which merely print the text of the play without comment) which parodies several of the religious myths of the cults of Ixion, turning it into a tale in which Ixion is an indecisive weakling torn between the affections of Valerias and Nyx, and how this brings tragedy and destruction upon the lands which worship him and contributes to the destruction of Nithia. It is quite popular in Glantri, since Glantri rejects the worship of the Immortals, and banned in any land where Ixion or Valerias is worshipped. The annotations provide insight into a variety of topics ranging from planar geography to the paths of immortality to extra-planar magics and is thus useful for research into such topics.
Some copies of the King in Yellow are perfectly harmless. However, the first set of copies of this book were created by a cult of the Outer Beings. They appear mundane, but have a slowly corrupting effect on those who read the books, causing them to reject and oppose the Immortals (Will save at a difficulty of 25 for D&D3E, Save vs. Spells at 9610 penalty for other editions). Those who fail the save will begin to dwell obsessively on the book and begin to seek out other secrets of the universe, a search which will likely lead them into the hands of other foul tomes or cults of the Outer Beings...
Secrets of Pyromania (500 gp, Bound in Red Silk with copper fastenings)
Secrets of Pyromania appears to be a badly done translation and condensation of the rare tome The Holy Power of Flame, an ancient Alphatian text written on the Alphatian Homeworld by the Followers of Fire. The result is that it is essentially a combination of badly-translated religious spiel about the glory of fire, and a grimoire full of spells which do not work. A sufficiently intelligent wizard can, however, use the book to aid research into fire magics. The Academy of Fire (the fire elementalist secret craft) is believed to possess improved versions of this book which contain functional spells and which are thus much more valuable.
Certain rumours claim that a few cursed copies of Secrets of Pyromania exist which can, in fact, infect their readers with actual pyromania. If the DM decides such rumours are true and you have the misfortune to buy one, it requires a save vs. spells at 963 (Will save, difficulty 18 for D&D3E) to avoid being infected with pyromania. Such cursed copies typically contain one or more fire spells to aid you in your reign of terror.
Secrets of Sindhi Mind Control, by an Darokinian Mother, (500 gp, Bound in Purple Velvet with brass fastenings)
Secrets of Sindhi Mind Control, by a Darokinian Mother is often considered to be one of the most insane books which can yet be found in reputable magical libraries. The book is a long, rambling rant about the evil Sindhi and how they are using evil mind control to corrupt the youth of Darokin. Anyone with even marginal knowledge of Sindhi culture can tell that the author of the book knows very little about Sind, although one may get the impression that the author had a bad experience with someone from Jaibul. However, the book does provide insights into a variety of ways in which magic can be used to influence minds, making it a valuable resource for researching spells to influence minds, which is why wizards collect it.
Certain editions of the book seem to exist which contain one or more actual spells which can be memorised out of the book; such editions are very rare, uncertain of origin, and cost far more than 500 gold pieces.
Watchmen (500 gp, Bound in Gray Silk with brass fastenings) Watchmen is a book about creating wards and summoning creatures capable of acting as guards for your valuables. Written by the third century Thyatian merchant Ludovicus Tyraxus, this book is very popular and fairly common in wizardly libraries. The book is unusually well and clearly laid out for a magical research work and can be gainfully consulted by non-spellcasters who simply seek a greater understanding of forms of magical security.
Enchanted versions of Watchmen are known to exist which can help protect your research library from attack and theft. They are additionally expensive proportional to their powers.
Baxtin's Guide to Magical Fisticuffs, Abridged (600 GP, Bound in White Silk)
Baxtin was a tenth century wizard noted for having originally been a very skilful unarmed combatant before he struck it rich, attended the Great School of Magic, and became a wizard noted for his development of spells which created magical hands that slapped people around. His original guide to magical fisticuffs was a combination of grimoire and reference work on the subject; the abridged version cuts out all the spells, making the book less valuable, but also MUCH cheaper.
Baxtin later published a second edition, shortly before his death; it has a sale value of 800 GP in the abridged edition.