You shiver with indrawn-breath as your hand caresses the plain but loathsome
leather cover. Your gentle, sensitive fingertips caress a map of healed scars,
calluses, the whirl of a palm and fingertip, the heavy stitching, gently
circling the well-worn designs tattooed on living flesh...which was skinned
off with a consecrated knife and tanned for this book. Such a pleasent, musky
smell like old leather and paper, such a comforting heft to the tome. You
can stand it no longer as you open the blasphemous book to gaze at the hidden
horrors within the Dead Man's Book.
The Dead Man's Book is old, as these things go. Fifty years ago, shortly
after the Awakening, a simple bookbinder's Talent awoke. Not much of a Talent,
as these things go. But enough. He was already old, grey-hamed and hoary,
and wanted a legacy. So he made one, stitched from dead men's flesh. And
The pages of the book are of extremely fine, thin paper, bound and glued
by hand by a master bookbinder. Each page has been hand-written, in English,
in a steady, even, elegant and practiced hand in clear, high-quality ink.
Aside from the cover and the contents, no unusual or forbidding materials
or methods were used to construct this tome. There are six hundred pages,
divided into three sections.
The White Section
Written on white paper with red ink, the first third of the grimoire may
resemble to the layman nothing more than a simple Anatomy book, each of the
two-hundred pages containing a picture or diagram of the human corpus or
a part thereof, sketched from life in realistic detail. See here the muscles
of the hand, the skin removed, the ligaments and viscera bare. See now, the
little bones of the smallest finger, the shape and connections of the fingernail
still attached and plain to see. Orderly notes dot the page, those unschooled
with the Occult will note some are instructions, and contain unfamiliar words
or phrases from some thaumaturgical grammer.
The Red Section
Written on red paper with black ink, the second third of the book is much
more macabre. Recipes and formulae dot the page in occult script, interrupted
regularly with supporting diagrams of a most unwholesome nature: bits and
pieces of human flesh and bone arranged in mocking parody of innocuous tools
and objects, strange geometrical designs with weirdling and familiar runes
forming mystic circles...more disturbing still are the apparently harmless,
seemingly unrelated diagrams of common objects, free of any bit of corpse
or arcane design. For why would they be in this section, if they were truly
not connected in some way with the hellish materials within.
The Black Section
The third section is written on black paper with an ink that glows white
only in the dark, so that the reader sees letters of cold fire form before
them, a baleful pale phosphoresence. No diagrams mark this section, no unwholsome
pictures dot the pages. The matter of the text is darksome enough, more disturbing
for the lack of pictures...as though in this final, blashemous chapter even
the author became reticient to put down the full scope of his ebon studies.
On the inside back cover, a different hand, using a bit of heated wire or
some similiar implement, has burned some mystic formulae in broken French.
While non-magical, the Dead Man's Book was the subject of despicable rituals
and craftmanship, reflected in a loathsome, dark and oily appearence to astral
sight. Anyone foolish enough to use Psychometry on the book had best be prepared
for a shock.
The White Section
The first section details nothing more, or less, than the proper method of
using metahuman materials in enchanting, just as some shamans use animal
materials. As with animal materials, the metahuman must be freshly slain
by the magician or talismonger to harvest properly. Any magician may so such
harvesting provided this section is available for reference, or with careful
study may incorporate the process into their own magical workings. To simulate
this, a character with the book in their possession must pay the karma and
take the time to increase their Enchanting or Talismongering skill by at
least one; after the skill has been improved, they may make use of metahuman
Using metahuman materials presents a slight, but noticable, taint in any
magical working that uses them, detectable by anyone who uses the Psychometry
metamagic, though full magical analysis may be required to identify why any
given focus, ritual material, or the like seems "off."
The Red Section
This section contains the means to incorporate certain metahuman materials
as exotic materials in the creation of foci; specifically the properly prepared
(read: refined and/or radical) materials of dead metahumans. The proper procedures
for searching for such materials in conjunction with grave-robbing and other
such activities is included. A magician who wishes to may read this section,
and incorporate such knowledge into their own tradition, following the same
method as the White section (knowledge of the White section is contingent
on, and required, to gain knowledge of this section.) The text particularly
specifies such materials as "the life-blood of a wizard" or "the mouldering
bones of a sorceror," because the author believed the magic weilded by the
owner grants greater potency. This is true to the extant that some such materials
may, rarely, become natural radicals suitable for use as exotic materials.
In addition, the formulae for several foci are included, although given the
archaic nature of the text the exact term is never used, rather they are
called "a magician's tools," "charms," or "enchantments."
A weapon focus: 8 in the shape of a slim, silver sword
(suitable for a sword cane), with a brief Latin inscription. In the hilt
must be included a reliquary, containing the properly prepared bone of a
saint (in this case, the actual bone of a Catholic or local saint, prepared
as a refined metahuman material component.)
The tongue of a Tibetan lama or sorceror, bitten out after
their death following the proper ceremonies, and prepared by this formula,
becomes a power focus: 8.
The Hand of Glory
The hand of a hanged man, prepared into a most unwholesome
and disturbing candelabra. It becomes a stacked Sustaining Focus (Mob Mind):
4/Reusable Anchoring Focus (Shattershield): 4 Focus.
The Corpse Servant
A Homonunclus Focus: 8 crafted from at least six different
The Black Section
This final chapter describes a number of places of power aspected favorably
toward such magics are contained in this book: mass graveyards in Europe
and the Americas, certain ancient and sephulcres in Egypt, the Middle East,
and South America, the ossuaries and catecombs of Eastern Europe, Russia,
and Rome. Geomancers who read this section will discover the vile author
describing how a magician might forge their own such unwholesome place, by
rites of blood, murder, and desecration, on certain nights in the proper
places. Any geomancer who has incorporated the lessons of the White and Red
sections may repeat the procedure with the Black section, and learn how to
create a proper fane or sanctum sanctorum.
Such a location would be a power site of 3, aspected toward enchanting using
metahuman components and the magician who created it, and against all other
magical operations, and requires at least a year of rituals (8 hours per
day) and at least six sacrifices of bound and helpless or willing metahumans.
The section also contains a horribly perverse unique enchantment known as
the "Cage of Bone." Wherin a living metahuman (even the magician themselves)
is flayed open, and certain runes (the True Name of a free spirit, along
with certain binding spells) are inscribed on the living bones of their ribs
or skull (requiring a Biotech(6) test, an Enchanting (6) test and Rune Lore
(6) test; and dealing a Deadly wound to the suject, who may resist the damage
normally, but who must also test for magic loss normally.)
The "Cage of Bone" is a stacked Free Spirit Focus: 6 (useable only for the
Free Spirit whose True Name is incorporated into the formula)/Unique Enchantment.
To complete the ceremony as described in the book, the magician summons the
Free Spirit, which is bound within the unqiue enchantment of the "Cage of
Bone." The magician may then command the spirit to aid him with any of it's
powers, up to and inclduing Channeling or Possessing (the nature of the Unique
Focus is such that even if the spirit somehow later goes free, or is disrupted,
it returns to the Cage of Bone. Even if the bearer of the enchantment dies.)
The spell formulae on the back cover is for the Corps Cadavre: 6 spell, as
used in the Petro Voudoun tradition.