Greyhawk 636 CY: The Rise of Asmodeus
The Codex of Infinite Planes
The Most Powerful Magical Tome in Existence
The Codex is a large tome 3 feet by 2 feet in size and 8 inches thick. It weighs an incredible 395 lbs and is very difficult to move around. The covers of the Codex are wrapped with a black reptilian-like hide (an outer-planar beast of great power that has been extinct for uncounted millenia, thus unidentifiable) with banding, corner protectors and 2 latches made of an unusual, extremely hard, brownish metal. The latches do not lock, but are merely to keep the cover closed when the book is being moved around. If the tome is left open for an extended period of time, the book will close and latch itself. Annoyingly, this only happens when no one is watching.
The material of the cover itself, visible on the inside of the cover when the book is open, appears to be a black, obsidian-like material which cannot be affected by any physical or magical force, and closely resembles the shell material which composes the Crystal Spheres (see various Spelljammer campaign materials).
The pages of the Codex are composed of a very thin, flexible, dull grey metal somewhat reminiscent of oxidized lead sheeting but cannot be scratched, dented, torn, or affected by any physical or magical force. Neither can it be written on in any known way. The number of pages cannot be counted, and there is always at least one left, no matter how many are turned.
In short…The codex contains the keys that grant the ability to travel between planes and the alternate realities of the multiverse at will.
Minor Benign Powers:
1) 4 to planar knowledge skill)
2) One Bonus Feat
3) +2 bonus to Alchemy skill.
4) Conjure spell components
Major Benign Powers:
1) Ability to survive physically on any Plane of Existence.
2) +2 Luck Bonus to Armor Class (Permanent)
3) Spell Secret: can choose one spell known to them that becomes permanently modified as though affected by one of the following metamagic feats: Empower Spell, Enlarge Spell, Extend Spell, Still Spell, or Silent Spell. The spell’s level does not change and once the choice of spell and modification are chosen, they cannot be changed.
4) Plane Shift (Keys to physical transference to any plane)
Minor Malevolent Effects:
1) Chance of insanity per reading (temporary 1d6 weeks) [Will save DC 25 per reading] – as per Ray of Madness spell, but successful save confers no benefit to the reader.
2) The Codex occasionally summons outsiders of varying power (from pests to real trouble) to challenge the possessor – to make sure the possessor is really worthy. The Codex absorbs the soul of any possessor slain by one of these challengers – ie. No chance for resurrection or reincarnation.
Major Malevolent Effects:
1) The possessor withers and ages (3% of maximum lifespan, e.g., 3.5 years for a human) each time the Portals of Doom power, Storm of Vengeance Power, or Elemental Swarm power of the Codex is used, eventually turning the possessor into a deathless lich-like guardian of the item. This aging is permanent and cannot be reversed.
2) The possessor has an unquenchable desire to be worshiped and will eventually attack anyone who refuses to bow to him or her. Once invoked, this effect is continuous while in possession of the Codex.
Prime Powers (see below for descriptions of fatigue effects)
1) Portals of Doom (Will save, DC 30, or temporary insanity with each use, and creates Mortal Fatigue) -This is the ability to open portals between this world and the Elemental Planes. In recent history, Thigru the Archmage would open up portals to the Elemental Plane of Fire above cities and let the Plane rain down upon the city, destroying it utterly. The shaft of stone that Itsitlawikanah sits upon came from a portal to the Elemental Plane of Earth. He would flood cities with portals to the Elemental Plane of Water.
2) Elemental Swarm (Severe Fatigue, and erases 1/2 of a wizard’s memorized spells) – you open a portal to one elemental plane of your choice. You can then summon elementals from that plane. After the first ten rounds of casting, 3d3 elementals of 12 HD each appear; after the second ten rounds, 2d3 elementals of 16 HD each appear; after the third ten rounds, 1d3 elementals of 20 HD each appear. The elementals remain for an hour from the time that they first appear. These elementals will obey you explicitly and cannot be turned against you. The Codex allows that you do not need to concentrate to maintain control over the elementals. They cannot be dismissed with spells such as dismissal.
3) Storm of Vengeance (Mortal Fatigue) – Casting this awesome spell requires concentration and continual casting for the entire ten round duration. In the first round of casting, you summon an enormous black storm cloud over the area of effect (a 120 yard radius circle per 5 character levels). Lightning and crashing claps of thunder appear within the storm; creatures in the area of effect must make a fort save (DC = 19+ possessor’s wisdom bonus) or be deafened for 10d4 rounds. On the second round of reading from the Codex for this spell, acid rains down in the area, inflicting 1d4+1 points of damage. No saving throw is allowed. On the third round, you call six lightning bolts down from the cloud. Each is targeted by you, and you can send them all at one target or separate them out to up to six different targets. Each lightning strike causes 8d8 damage. A successful Reflex save (DC = 13+ possessors wisdom bonus) indicates half damage. On the fourth round, hail stones rain down over the area, causing 3d10 points of damage (no save). On the fifth through tenth, and final, rounds violent rains and wind gusts reduce visibility to five feet. Movement is reduced 75%. Missile fire and spell casting from within the area of effect are impossible. Ending the spell early, either voluntarily or otherwise, causes all effects to end immediately, and the Codex transforms you into a Cloud of Vengeance (from the Al-Qadim setting) permanently to do its bidding (no save).
1) All second and third level spells are quickened, with no level memorization requirements (permanent once invoked).
2) Possessor has limited omniscience. Once per day the possessor may use greater scry, ignoring penalties for crossing planes and with a +15 to the check. Alternatively, the possessor may cast divination with a 99% percent chance of receiving a correct response.
Notes on Fatigue: Severe = -4 penalty to attack bonuses, -3 penalty to AC. Movement = 3. Impossible for character to stand up. Must make Concentration check to cast spells. This state lasts until the character rests. Each 8 hours of pure rest allows a con check (DC=15). Once the save is made, the character is no longer fatigued.
Mortal= incapable of attacking or defending ones self. Character collapses into a trembling heap immediately. The character must make a Fort save (DC 20) or the strain is too much and he dies. If he succeeds, he remains unconscious for 1d6 hours and awakens severely fatigued.
Characters of less than 11th level who attempt to read the Codex must make a Fortitude save (DC 30) or be disintegrated, as by the spell. Even if they save, they will be repulsed 20’ and stunned for 3-12 rounds, taking 1-10 points of damage in the process. The first time a character of 11th level or higher attempts to read the Codex, they must also save (Fortitude DC 15) or be repulsed, stunned, and damaged (although there is no risk of disintegration). Once a character has successfully begun reading the Codex, s/he need no longer make a saving throw to continue reading on another occasion. Moreover, that character has become the new possessor of the Codex. The previous possessor (if still alive) immediately loses all powers and side effects, although permanent effects remain.
There are 99 doomed pages in the Codex. Each of these doomed pages has a 1% cumulative chance of bringing about a terrible fate for the character reading them.