The Book of Thumbing

January 4, 2019

MS. Found in a Bottle. - Hermann Wögel

The Book of Thumbing is an enchanted book bound in the skin of opposable thumbs and dyed a heinous bright blue. Any person who stumbles upon this book will find pages upon pages of indiscriminate data on a selection of random people all neatly written in a continuously updating black ink. Through its pages a reader will be privy to a vast amount of information on various people’s past and present activities. The data updates itself with new information every time the book is opened, causing the reader to feel inclined to check it often. The book does not display attribute scores, skills or abilities but rather information on where a person has been, who they are with, how they are feeling, what their political stance is, and various drawings of food they have recently eaten.

The Book of Thumbing will tend to always appear and lend itself whenever player characters have need of information about particular NPCs. Using its account of various people’s lives a player could discover an NPC’s most recent location or just some basic clues on where someone has been, what they are doing, or even what they might be capable of doing. The GM can use their discretion but some kind of insight (or what the players believe is insight) should be given to make the Book of Thumbing useful.

Opening the book to gain insight on another person will almost always result in the reader feeling like their life is mundane and boring in comparison to the lives collected within the pages. This is because the Book of Thumbing magically writes about the lives of its subjects in the most interesting and glamorous ways possible. Even the most mundane events are glorified with a false sense of accomplishment and success. Every time the player reads the Book of Thumbing, they must make a DC 14 Willpower save or feel utterly depressed about their own life for the rest of the day. On a failed roll all future Willpower saves must be rolled down one step in the dice chain for the next 24 hours. If the reader rolls a natural 1 on their save, they must then roll on the Book of Thumbing Fumble Table and suffer an even worse fate.

The Book of Thumbing was...
1 Bound by a town witch who wanted to curse the local nosey busy-body.
2 Created by a lonely wizard who wanted friends but was too afraid to try and make any.
3 Brought into existence from the bitter diary entries of someone obsessed with comparing themselves to everyone else.
4 Discovered at the feet of the royal census taker, who mysteriously hung himself just outside of town.
5 Dropped accidentally by a traveling fortune teller who used it for scrying. They may return for it within a few days.
6 Spawned by a demon (who stole the idea from his roommate) for the simple pleasure of causing mental suffering to whoever found it.
Its pages contain...
1 The entire population of a local town or village.
2 All of the kingdom's royal families and members of the court.
3 A single NPC and hundreds of blank pages that will fill as the player meets new people.
4 A random selection of people within a 20-mile radius who are all secretly involved in an evil cult.
5 All of the merchants, farmers, and crafters within a 60-mile radius.
6 Everyone the player character has ever known or will know.
On a fumbled Willpower save...
1 The reader is overcome with a feeling of insignificance and permanently loses one point from their Personality attribute.
2 The reader’s Willpower saves are decreased by two dice steps for an entire week (or adventure) due to prolonged depression.
3 The reader is addicted to the book and will need to check it (and make a Willpower save) after every encounter for the duration of the session.
4 The reader’s fellow party members appear in the book causing the reader to know them better than they ever wanted to. All rolls to assist or heal fellow players are decreased by one dice step (1d) for an entire week (or adventure).

Alternate names for the “Book of Thumbing” includes Codex of Friends, FaceTome, or The Volume of Tendentious Acquaintances.


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