Welcome to Booktown and her Secrets...
“It’s cold today brother, and the streets are empty. Booktown can be like that, particularly at festival-time; not for her residents the rousing songs of bawdy taverns and gin-houses, nor the dark game of souls, friendships and alliances. Her people come here to learn—and primarily to learn secrets.
“Books? Yes, countless books, but they’re not the only thing here, this place is like a rambling vast museum—a museum where everything has a price. From the dirty flea-markets crammed into every alleyway, to the bibliophiles and antiquarians, this is the home of the strange, the curious, the dangerous. Take care you aren’t devoured by them. And on the scent of that power—for power is truly what everything here is all about—come the greedy, and not all of them have human souls—some say the fact that everyone seems human—or humanoid—here is almost as big a lie as the one at Festival, and we all know what truly goes on there behind closed doors…”
So, let us continue our trip down the alleyways of the Blight with B—for Booktown, the place of magic, the home of secrets, the lair of the arcane.
You already know that each part of the Blight follows a set format—with a taster text a page long to give a feel for the place, then an introduction. The place then gets a fully detailed set of smells, sounds, feel and look, as well as seven words to sum the place up succinctly. We then get a note on the parishes and streets that make up each district—for some are scattered across many separate parts—and then move to the gritty detail of the place as a whole.
What comes after, however, is the GM's Guide—a lengthy treatise on the district with useful suggestions, tables and optional rules for GMs to use. These may be equipment, character classes or rules; in truth they vary from each place and are shaped by that location. Finally each place has an encounter list for day or night; you never know who you might meet on the alleys, for here, my friends, the ‘gods’ walk the streets. Watch out for the Pagan Lord of Lice, the Feaster of Flies. Is that shadow the Tall Man of Misery? Ah, but I get ahead of myself…
Here's a fraction of the foulness...
PART TWO - GM’S GUIDESecrets…
“Lust’s passion will be served; it demands, it militates, it tyranizes.”
- The Marquis de Sade
The true principal trades of Booktown are its secrets, its dark knowledge, and its unspeakable information. The intention with the (taster) list below is to provide GMs with a number of possible avenues of knowledge to add to Booktown. Making these secrets too easily available will water their effect, however, and it is suggested that they are only ever found rarely; it also makes Booktown a magnet for those with a thirst for knowledge.
Some of these secrets are powerful; if you prefer to keep a strict balance in your game then avoid using the ones you feel unbalance things. If, however, you enjoy mingling characters with terrible foes and disgusting knowledge, then consider using them—sparingly.
Secrets come in all shapes and sizes, but in the Blight they are bound by one thing—obsessive protection. Secrets are not given away or discovered easily, but secrets do still come to light or are found in the treasure hordes and grimoires of obsessive collectors and those who thirst for power.
Written secrets may be found anywhere, but as such knowledge is powerful, it is usually hidden; in code in the pages of an innocent book, scrawled in the margins of a spellbook in almost invisible writing, or subtly worked into art, poems, or other more obscure methods. The discovery of secrets is ultimately left to you as GM to handle. Take care, however, that even in a place swarming with knowledge like Booktown that these secrets are rare. If they weren’t, they would have appeared as common knowledge in the Pathfinder Core Rulebook. Some secrets are consumed by their discovery, some are not.
Written secrets come in many forms, but each is bound by a trigger; which may be a complex ceremony, a spell or other action (up to and including sacrifice). The secret also has a consequence if it is triggered. Finally, the secret will have a reward; some rewards come at a small cost, some are considerable. Where losses—of Hit Points, Statistics or other effects are inflicted—these are only recoverable through the use of a miracle or greater restoration spell or through statistical gain through experience. A restoration spell temporarily restores the losses for a period of 1 hour per level of caster. Temporary losses are recovered in the usual time period, permanent losses remain.
Secrets are meant to be used once by a character, multiple uses are, in general, impossible, although you may wish to consider a suitable punishment for those who attempt to use secrets more than once. Growing an extra, hideous head, being haunted by a demonic disgusting lover night after night, or something similarly unpleasant for example…
The Secret of Dreadful Sight
This secret must be noticed and deciphered before its true purpose is known.
Trigger: Speaking the words of the secret aloud. Saying the words is not difficult, but draws the attention of things that lurk in Between.
Consequence: The Between things drawn by this secret are demented creatures that have spent their endlessly long lives in the shadows at the edges of mirrors; consorting with them costs 1 Wisdom, permanently, a DC 21 Will save negates the loss. The save is made only once, and fail or succeed, the character gains the reward of this secret. The Between things are jealous creatures, and if the secret is given over willingly by a keeper (for example by one PC to another) the things remove the given reward from the previous recipient, and reveal a terrible secret to the character, who must make an immediate Will save (DC 21) or lose 1d3 Wisdom, permanently. The secret does not hint at this penalty.
Reward: The character gains the help of the creatures in Between. Once per week he can command them to whisper secrets to him.These secrets replicate the spell legend lore (caster level 11th).
The Secret of the Voice that Never Ceases
As soon as a character becomes aware of this secret she…