This is a web enhancement for Issue 28 of d12 Monthly.
The Necrodominus Codex is an ancient tome which was created by a powerful and resourceful necromancer centuries ago.
It has been lost for a long time, but it has passed through many hands throughout the years since its creation. And it contains spells and rituals related to necromancy and the creation of undead.
Author of the Codex
Archmage Krolak Deathhand was a brilliant but morally ambiguous mage who lived centuries ago. He was fascinated by the mysteries of life and death, seeking to unlock the secrets of immortality.
Towards the end of his life, Krolak delved deep into forbidden necromantic practices, experimenting with dark magic to extend his own lifespan. His insatiable curiosity led him to create the Necrodominus Codex, a book containing his most potent and sinister spells and rituals related to raising and controlling the undead.
History of the Grimoire
The Necrodominus Codex has a dark and storied history, passing through the hands of many ambitious and power-hungry individuals over the centuries:
Archmage Krolak Deathhand (Original Owner)
Krolak created the Grimoire in his quest for power and immortality. It served as his guide in mastering necromancy. Ultimately, he met a gruesome end at the hands of vengeful villagers who discovered his dark deeds.
The Grimoire was stolen from Krolak’s tomb by Lady Elowen, a powerful witch* who sought to gain eternal youth and power. She used its dark knowledge to conduct forbidden experiments, but she too met a tragic fate, becoming one of the undead herself**.
* A witch who managed to keep this a secret from everyone around her, including her husband, Lord Archil Bourdekin, who was instrumental in winning the battle against an incursion of orcs from the Dragontail Mountains.
** It is believed that Lady Elowen became a spectre, but this is unconfirmed. In any event, it is believed she still haunts the place where she died (a small cave complex under the estate of Lord Bourdekin), which is still held by his descendants.
The Whispering Cult
A cult of necromancers* and dark scholars acquired the grimoire after Lady Elowen’s transformation, and used it to amass an army of undead servants, wreaking havoc across the northern parts of Cambria. At the time, the Codex was hidden away in their secret lair**.
* The cult was led by Ollett The Bloody (a name given to her after her death) and was active for over 20 years before discovering the Codex.
** The cult was named after their secret lair, which was located in the southern foothills of the Dragontail Mountains. The Whispering Crypt itself is filled with the hushed murmurings of restless spirits. It’s exact location was lost after the last of the cult perished.
Inquisition of Light
The Grimoire was discovered by the Inquisition of Light*, a holy order of the deity Lucindar (Goddess of guidance, fire, and summer) dedicated to eradicating necromancy. They locked the Codex in a vault beneath the temple in Sunhaven**, hoping to keep its dark secrets hidden forever.
* This holy order was disgraced and disbanded soon after it destroyed The Whispering Cult and secured the Codex. It was discovered that a small group of the members used one of the spells in the Codex to revive a fallen comrade.
** Sunhaven was chosen as it was the birthplace of the Inquisition of Light and fairly well protected. It was stored in a vault underneath the Haven Temple, protected by magical wards and guards.
The Wailing Sorcerer
A sorcerer named Uzor the Wailing had the Grimoire stolen* from the Inquisition’s vault. He sought to unlock its power and conquer death itself. Unfortunately for himself, the thief who stole it proceeded to sell that information to the church of Lucindar**, who then hunted down the sorcerer and killed him. Regrettably, the tome was never recovered.
* Stolen by a rather industrious and inventive gnomish thief by the name of Umros, who had the reputation of never failing to acquire an item for his employers. There are a number of ballads and stories recited by bards throughout the Freelands, such as “Umros the Whispering Shadow” and “Umros and the Dragon’s Hoard”.
** This information is only known by some priests within the Lucindar church and Umros himself.
The Codex Today
The whereabouts of the Necrodominus Codex remains unknown, but is sought by dark mages, adventurers, and those who hunger for power over life and death. Its malevolent influence continues to shape the fate of those who come into contact with it.
The Necrodominus Codex’s Contents
The Codex contains a number of spells (some of which are listed below), as well as a few rituals.
As GM, feel free to add more spells to this Codex if needed.
Krolak’s Ghoul Minion
Components: A human heart, a silver knife, and the caster’s blood (D4 hit points damage)
This dark ritual allows the caster to raise a loyal ghoul minion from the remains of a deceased humanoid. The ghoul serves the caster faithfully, following their commands without question.
Each time the caster uses this spell, D4 HP are subtracted from their total hit points. These remain “used” and cannot be healed (effectively lowering the caster’s maximum hit points) until the ghoul is destroyed, when the caster can heal them normally.
Krolak’s Corpse Puppetry
Duration: 1 hour
Components: A small puppet fashioned from the corpse’s hair and grave soil
Corpse Puppetry allows the caster to temporarily control a nearby corpse, making it move and perform simple tasks. The caster can see, hear, and communicate through the puppet, but the animation is limited to basic actions and gestures. Spells cannot be cast via the corpse, and the animated corpse cannot attack or even defend itself. The corpse has 10HP and is destroyed once it reaches 0.
Orune’s Soul Bind
Components: A gemstone worth at least 500 gold pieces and a vial of virgin blood
Soul Bind is a powerful ritual that traps a recently deceased creature’s soul within a gemstone, preventing it from moving on to the afterlife. These soul-gems, as they are known, are used as currency or for bargaining with otherworldly entities. The creature cannot be dead any longer than 5 minutes.
Camitara’s Grasping Claws
Duration: 1 round/level
Components: The severed hand of a criminal
With Grasping Claws, the caster conjures undead talons that emerge from the ground, grabbing and immobilizing any target within 10-ft for the spell’s duration. The victim must make a save Vs. paralysation (or an easy STR check) to break free.
Components: Rare herbs and spices worth 1,000 gold pieces, a scroll inscribed with funerary rites, and a specially prepared corpse
The Mummify spell preserves a deceased creature’s body indefinitely, transforming it into a powerful mummy. The mummy can be controlled by the caster or used as a guardian to protect a tomb or lair.
At your discretion, the Codex can also contain information on enhancing your undead from the articles Enhance Your Undead, Phylacteries, and Teaching An Old Undead New Tricks in Issue 6 of d12 Monthly.
Blood Pact with the Lich King
Components: A black obsidian dagger, the caster’s own blood, and the heart of a recently slain foe.
Description: This ritual is used to forge a dark pact with a powerful Lich King, granting the caster access to necromantic knowledge and protection in exchange for servitude and sacrifices. The caster must cut their own palm and drip their blood onto the obsidian dagger while reciting the Lich King’s name. The heart of a slain enemy is then offered as a sign of loyalty.
Eclipse of the Soul
Components: A dark room, a mirror with no reflection, and a crystal phylactery.
Description: Eclipse of the Soul is a ritual that severs a living individual’s connection to their soul, leaving them soulless. The caster must perform the ritual within a dark chamber, gazing into the mirror while reciting incantations. The individual’s soul is captured within the crystal phylactery and can be used for dark purposes.
Blighting of the Harvest
Components: A cornfield, a vial of cursed soil, and a talisman of decay.
Description: This sinister ritual is used to curse an entire harvest, causing crops to wither and die. The caster must visit the targeted cornfield at midnight, sprinkle the cursed soil among the crops, and hang the talisman of decay upon a prominent scarecrow. Over the course of a week, the harvest becomes blighted and inedible, spreading fear and famine through the land.
NOTE: See article Quite A Scare! in Issue 28 of d12 Monthly (the FULL issue) for how to keep pesky necromancers from blighting your crops!
Transference of Decay
Components: A decayed corpse, a living vessel, and a ceremonial dagger.
Description: Transference of Decay is used to transfer the state of decay from a rotting corpse to a living vessel. The caster must first prepare the decayed corpse, then use the dagger to cut a symbol on the vessel’s flesh. The decay is then transferred, and the vessel begins to rot while the corpse rejuvenates and stays this way for 1 year and a day. .
Curse of Eternal Restlessness
Components: The ashes of a deceased soul, a doll representing the target, and a vial of unholy water.
Description: This ritual curses a living individual, causing them to suffer from eternal restlessness and torment. The ashes of a deceased soul are mixed with the unholy water to create a vile potion. The doll representing the target is then immersed in the potion, binding them to the curse. The victim will experience sleepless nights and haunting visions until the curse is lifted or they die from fatigue (it takes as many nights as the victim’s Constitution score for them to finally succumb).
Over to You
Can you see the Codex making an appearance in your campaign?
While You’re Here…
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