“If you’re not interested, why do you keep trying to sneak a peek at these books?” Artimis responded. He leaned against a stump, holding a massive leather-bound book so the light from the campfire permitted him to read.
“It’s not to learn about cursed daisies, that’s for sure,” Melee answered. “I want to know what those books are, why you insisted on dragging them out of that labyrinth, and why you won’t let anyone else look at them.”
Artimis still didn’t look up. “I told you,” he said. “The books are about the history of daisy growing in the area. Who would ever have thought the subject could be so engrossing?”
Melee shook her head. The elf slept with an arm over the large sack which he used to haul around those ten huge volumes, never letting anyone get a chance to inspect them. Between the heavy sack slung over his shoulder all the time and an apparent preoccupation with blessed daisies, the elf seemed to be having trouble pulling his weight lately. After that encounter with the goblins, she recalled bitterly, the fool had sat down to read while everyone else bound their wounds.
“I’m more than aware that magical texts with great powers exist,” she said. “If you think you’re going to keep those books to yourself, you’ve got another thing coming…”
The Daisy Tomes
These ten large, heavy, leather-bound volumes are often found as a set. Except for a flower and volume number imprinted on the spine of the work, each book is unmarked. They detail the history of daisy growing in the area. Seemingly innocuous, they are, in fact, enchanted with a powerful sorcery. Upon reading even a single word of any volume, the reader becomes obsessed with the subject and has trouble concentrating on anything else, feeling an intense desire to read through all ten volumes in order. A saving throw vs. magic negates this effect but gives the reader no hint of the curse. Reading a different volume requires another saving throw, and only one who has successfully saved against all ten volumes may peruse them without risk.
Until all ten volumes have been fully read, the subject’s dexterity score suffers a -4 penalty due to preoccupation with daisies at all times. This obsession is particularly feared by spellcasters, as a save vs. magic is required each time a caster attempts to memorize a spell. Failure indicates that memorization has failed for the day. Additional penalties on efforts requiring concentration and mental ability may be ruled by the referee.
The books must be read in order, and each volume takes a minimum of five hours of reading in a relatively quiet and uninterrupted environment. Reading while walking or on horseback is not permitted, though reading while riding in a wagon or boat may be allowed. A remove curse can break the spell, but only for one book per casting (i.e., ten remove curse spells would be required to completely free the subject from the enchantment.)
Note that there is no restriction against these books affecting more than one person at a time.
These books may be found all at once or (deviously) only one or two may be initially encountered, requiring effort on the part of the subject to locate the remaining volumes. A possible method of using this in play would be to write up the effects on a slip of paper to be passed to the reader, directing the PC to act as if he or she is enjoying the books and to not reveal the curse.
UPDATE: I’m sad to report that the elf Artimis and the fighter Melee perished in combat with a trio of vicious thouls. They were played by my kids, and the passing was a very sad occasion. I reminded them that their characters would live on in the stories posted here on Lord Kilgore. Artimis, my son’s elf, had plowed through about half of the Daisy Tomes at the time.
No word on what the thouls did with the books. However, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the cursed volumes turn up again somewhere in the future.