Tome of the Serpent Lords
Nudge the gnome thief stood staring at the corpses of the shadow cobras as the bodies slowly dissipated into wispy nothingness. The small burglar shivered.
Koram grimaced at the gnome, as did the others.
“Why do you go around reading books like that?” Chalk asked Nudge.
“I had the ability to and it looked interesting!” squeaked the gnome.
“And now you are sickly and every day we run into those shadowy snakes!” complained the Scholar of Wexos. “We really need to find that book you read. Perhaps if we destroy it you will be free of this affliction.”
Valance shrugged. He enjoyed summoning spiders to thwart the shadow cobras and wasn’t moved either way.
An ancient book, bound in the thick skin of a mastodon, the Tome of the Serpent Lords is read easily enough by those with a magical means of reading the elder text, but reading this slim volume comes with a price.
Benefit: Anyone using the Read Languages, Read Magic or Comprehend Languages spell can easily decipher these old twisting runes and understand the sinister writings in this book, which is a treatise on the Serpent Lords of ancient times, although it was written by the devotees of these monsters and as such has a strange effect on its readers. At first the reader gains +1 to Intelligence, which is permanent and a great incentive to keep reading. After one week the reader has suffered a loss of 1d4 Constitution, which is temporary, depending on whether the book can be found and destroyed or not. If the book is not destroyed the reader starts encountering 1d6 Shadow Cobras (q.v.) per day that will always single out the one who read the book first over anyone else. If multiple readers are present the shadowy serpents will attack magic-using characters first before anyone else. Destroying the book (one of literally dozens the serpent people have dispersed-but each person that reads the book is tied to that particular tome) lost Constitution points return, the Shadow Cobras cease their attacks, but the point of Intelligence remains.
Usable by: Anyone who can read the books-usually by magical means.