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The Precepts of Akh'All

by Geoff Gander

"'Lo, the hills quaver under the shadow of He Who Must Not Be Seen, horrid Ubbeth churns the seas with his mighty form! Rasthz-K'ha! He who sweeps in from the skies! Above it all, 'midst the charnel horrors of obscene dreams which no man must dream, of sounds no sane mind should dare hear, I hear the words, 'AN-CHAGGOTH MWATH-KHEM!'. They come! They will stand over all! The Immortals are as nothing to them!"

--Galfridus Cassius Cato, "Liber III", The Precepts of Akh'All, published in Thyatis City circa AC 627.

The Precepts of Akh'All is a spellbook containing a fragment of the lore of the Outer Beings. Originally written in AC 627, by Galfridus Cassius Cato in the Thyatian city of Kantridae, the Precepts are a collection of barely intelligible scribblings, dire hints of the awesome powers of the Outer Beings, and a handful of spells. As Galfridus was not a spellcaster himself, the fact that these spells actually work is nothing short of miraculous.

All seven known copies of the Precepts come in the form of a black ledger, measuring one foot long by eight inches wide, containing roughly 200 hand-written pieces of parchment, sewn into the ledger itself, arranged in four "books". There is no writing on the cover; the image of a broken sphere is painted on it with red ink, symbolising Mystara broken by the power of the Outer Beings (though casual readers will not know this). The writing is, for the most part, legible, though an experienced observer of handwriting will notice that the style of the lettering itself changes considerably whenever the writer lapses into writing about his dreams, which is all too often. In these places, the writing is exceedingly shaky, and an Intelligence check is required to read each page. There are roughly 60 such pages in the Precepts.

Liber I discusses the ancient times, the era when the Outer Beings freely roamed the multiverse. This section is the most unintelligible one, consisting mainly of praises of the Outer Beings' power, mixed with broken narratives of how they were sealed away into their prisons by the Old Ones, while Mystara was still an infant world.

Liber II goes into greater detail about the Outer Beings themselves, going so far as to name Akh'All, Rasthz the Many-Mouthed, Ubbeth of the Deeps, He Who Must Not Be Seen, and Yurrgh-Thal. Much of the focus is, as the name implies, on Akh'All, whom Galfridus identifies as one of the leading Outer Beings, a "festering source of infamy." Mercifully, the attempted descriptions of these beings fails completely, though there are suggestive hints as to what they might look like. This "book" also details some of the Outer Beings' known powers, but these are couched in the vaguest form, and are of no use from an investigative perspective. The account does, however, manage to convey the sheer power and malevolence of the Outer Beings.

Liber III is a prophecy of the coming battle between the Outer Beings and their minions, and the massed forces of law and goodness. This part is truly apocalyptic, relating how the Outer Beings will be freed from their prisons by "the walking lizards and their servants", and how they will subsequently "ravage the world from end to end, moulding it into their own blasphemous image."

Liber IV discusses civilisation's only hope for salvation. In cryptic language, Galfridus exhorts the reader to seek out lost lore, and to learn as much as possible about the horrors facing Mystara. Embedded in the text of this section itself are two spells - identify servitor (3rd level) and nullify Outer powerr (4th level). These spells cannot be discovered unless the reader is actively search the text for something interesting, and he or she makes a successful half Intelligence check.

DM Notes: The Precepts are intended to make the PCs aware of the Outer Beings, and to provide them, if they are resourceful, with two spells to aid them in identifying and combating the various servants of these evil entities. There are, in fact 18 copies in existence around the Known World, so it would not be improbable that the PCs might come across a mysterious black ledger during their travels...