A mittened hand rapped on the counter. A second laid a heavy book flat, beside.
Across, a brown mouse in tweed and thick glasses looked from his crossword, beheld a scruffy woman in stained cutter's leathers. She squinted, oddly, in an awkward smile, wrapped in snow-crusted scarves and the clean scent of cold air.
"Yes?" said the mouse, surveying the book she'd put down.
"I'd like te return this," said the cutter-woman.
"Oh." His ears twitched, disconcerted. Careful, he set down his pencil, leaned to drag the book over oaken counter. Lessig's Guide to Northern Beasts, it read. A blotch and smear of something brown-red and slightly sticky marred the gold-leaf. A chunk was missing from one corner, evidently chewed off.
"Uh," squeaked the mouse, sniffing the stain. "Why are you returning this?"
"Done with i'," shrugged the cutter.
"You cannot return an item so damaged, I'm afraid."
The cutter raised an eyebrow. "So, I jus' get te keep it?"
"Of course," said the mouse. "You bought it, after all." His ears flinched back, momently. "You did buy it, didn't you?"
"Hah, wot?" said the cutter.
"You didn't buy it," stated the mouse, ears peeled.
"Wha' kind o' lib'ary makes ye buy th' books?"
They blinked at each other, a moment; mouse and scruffy cutter. "This…" began the mouse, speaking high and tremulous. "Is a book shop…" he said, louder, paws curled. "Not a public library."
"Oi, my mistake." Mittens scooped up the book. Hobnailed boots stomped over the floor. The door jingled.
"Come back here!"
Naught remained of the cutter but snowflakes.
For over three centuries, the Coast has known the mechanical marvel that is the printing press.
Invented by mechanist and blacksmith Lilas Soderheim, of Denseig, the typesetting machine has made fine and replicable print available to the masses. In the time since its conception, literacy has become pervasive in the middle stratas of Coastal society and above. Folk of varied sorts enjoy a wide selection of finely produced, if expensive, books. A selection of such books is listed below.
A Bridge Once Crossed.This book's title references an ominous Firlish saying: "A bridge once crossed may never be retread." It is a proverb uttered in regard to critical life choices, but originally references the Otherworld and its hidden gates. A Bridge is a treatise on the use of magician's compases: Strange and many-dialed instruments meant to detect that and other realms' perilous gates, as well as other invisible phenomena, by an art known as dowsing. Dowsing 4
A Dearth of Reason. A peculiarly dull, true tale. It describes the establishment of the Occultism Department of Firlund's Royal Academy. For a reccounting involving so many truly eccentric, interesting people, including experts in absuturation, xenomantia, and praecantian history, A Dearth of Reason fails incredibly to be entertaining. Some readers believe this dullness is purposeful, meant to dissuade interest in the notably-dangerous and obscure Department. Despite this, it remains a read of scholarly repute. Lore: Occultism 4
A Handbook to Serpents. A short guide to identifying and exterminating small serpents Should they be found in the garden, the chicken coop, or the cradle, this book will guide a person in handling and dispatching the smoking, hungry neonates before they can gobble anything up, or, worse, grow large and overtly-monstrous. Advises beheading and piecemeal separation with a spade or axe, for most species. Lore: Serpents 3
A Harsh Mistress. A novel concerning the keeper of a cursed lighthouse: An ex-sailer enamoured with the sea but horrified to again venture over her rolling expanse. The book describes his first years at the light; how he settled in, kept it up, and came to live in lonesomeness, for none gave him company in that cursed post. Namely, it concerns how he came to listen to the sea at night. Listen for the songs which lilted from the rocks below. Eventually, he discovers a lame siren dwelling there, lonely as he, but still monstrous. At this, the plot truly begins. Lore: Sirens 5
A History of Tea. As its title proclaims, this is a comprehensive history of tea, a plant first discovered and cultivated in the Northern land of Awn, where it remains most popular. A History of Tea denotes the conflicts, agricultural developments, and serving preferences surrounding tea over the last two millennia. Helpfully, the book contains a list of all herbs and barks capable of being steeped in addition to black tea. It is a hearty reference document for travelers and cutters in need of a hot brew, regardless of its origin or quality. +1 to Scrounge tea ingredients
A Hundred-One Candles. Originally, this short book was a police report, one compiled by an officer of the Fortenshire Watch gifted with unusually sharp literary skills. Permission was later given to the officer to publish her work under a pseudonym. It is a recording of the contents of and investigative proceedings surrounding a home in the ancient canal-quarter of Sorelle, one suspected of housing a so-called "warlock." It begins with eyewitness reports of the strange comings and goings from that house's door at midnight, the lights inside, the terrible cries from its attic. It ends with a recounting of the building's interior following the obtainment of a raid warrant. Terrible sights were found inside. Most notably: A body surrounded by a hundred and one red candles, its pores filled completely with the gestating chrysalises of strange moths. Stocks of the book sell out immediately. Lore: Neosorcery 3
A Life Without Pain. The tale of the short, curious life of a Belvirinian girl born to a blighted mother. The child, made apparently immune to pain by her mother's condition, lived as a freak and an oddity; an attraction in circus sideshows, where she endured blows and gouts of boiling water for crowds' fascinated amusement. Only at the end of her life did the girl find solace, discovered, protected, and gently studied by a good doctor at the Royal Academy of Firlund. The book contains insight regarding typical blight, as well as the girl's unusual condition. Lore: Blight 4
A Mechanical History. An exceedingly dry, well-diagrammed work containing concise, if boring explanations of the history and workings of the Coast's most formative mechanisms, such as the steam engine, the pocketwatch, the gunspring, and the automatic guillotine. Edited by the great granddaughter of Doctor Guillotine herself, the elder of whom invented the two later, deadly machines. Permits training in Mechanisms or Ballistics up to level 3.
A Thousand Golden Teeth. A book rarely seen in print due to its perverse subject matter. Written by the chief technician of a venturing town crematory, who in the course of five years kept a meticulous journal of every carefully-squirreled precious item he uncovered in the course of prepping corpses for burning. This is his journal, accompanied by descriptions and brief stories of all the secretly-decorated dead. +1 to scrounge loot from human bodies.
A Vision in a Dream. This, thought to be the greatest work of artful fancy ever devised in literature, describes a mad dream; one in which the author lives an entire life within a fantastical world of antiquity and wild color. Some suppose it to be a vision of the Otherworld. Others, of heaven. It is, in truth, the musing of a mind affected critically by the blood of the lion poppy: Coquelicot. Grants 30 XP and 2 Distress to those under the influence of coquelicot.
All About the Quellflower. A guide to the queer and oddly-detailed ways of romance practiced by Emperoussin aristocrats, boiled down and made sensational for consumption by the masses. Its wild pages detail floriography, gift-giving, etiquette, and, most interestingly of all, the perverse and pleasuresome pains enjoyed by those masked nobles.Etiquette 4
All Along the Boardwalk. A lengthy and good-selling novel. It tells of a squad of Ward Rangers set to defend a length of boardwalk a league long on the Moors so Sere: The expanse of marshy, deadly no-man's-land separating Northeast Firlund from the horrid wilderness. It describes in equal part the dreariness of the moors, the deadliness, but also the mad boredom of defending useless ground. The book becomes interesting by its recounting of the insane and dangerous raids which the guard-Rangers enacted on neighboring ragwretch dens, so bored were they by guard duty. In the end, by their relief, each Ranger was simultaneously reprimanded and decorated for courage and good service. Lore: Moorlands 5
Amidst the Kerchiefeers. A recounting by Firlish anthropologist Kaleston of Since of his year-long stay with roaming ragman gypsies; known as kerchiefeers. A singular work, one which lists in careful detail the art of a people both insular, mistrusted, and apt to spurn outsiders. Recent editions contain detailed patterns for the kerchiefeers' intricate and unique trappings. Craft: Weaving 5.
An Arbiter's Log. The annotated records of a member of the Arbiter's Guild: the nonpartisan body which referees official duels. The Arbiter in question, one Fralina Dailina Tailor Livii, from Empereoux, governed 221 duels over a career of 60 years in six countries. Her records, put down with both attention to detail and biting wit, serve as a remarkable recent history of dueling. Lore: Dueling 7
And Still She Keeps Silent. Tragic cogitations of faith and priestly devotion in the aftermath of Parousia, written by a Silent Sister-priest of Bansa Abbey. Less a story than a protracted and detailed internal conversation, one drawing upon highly-educated reference to historical, artistic, and religious materials. Its primary focus: The remaining silence of Aveth following her evident return to the world of Man. It is regarded as the most important literary consideration of faith in recent time. Lore: Parousia 6
Ars Optica.An ophthalmic guide. Treasured by magicians, who read its dull and technical pages not for purposes of spectacle manufacturer, but for the construction of resonance spheres: Pressurized, lensed devices used in the contact of alien realms. Lore: Xenomantia 4
Bones. A book of madness. It tells, from a broken first-person narrative, of a lone mouse's struggle to survive in an evil, subterranean land. He does eventually emerge from the depths, but he leaves his sanity behind. Lore: Underworld 5
Bound by Iron. The most notable financial guide, including borrowing, investing, and saving advice; experienced market theory; and a history of the ironbound golden pound of Firlund; to have ever been produced. Most especially, it concerns how to best deal with fickle Coastal banks. While they own this book, a character receives better interest rates.
Brobson's Guide to Decoys.A gamesmans' guide, devoted to fishing flies, wooden ducks, and other such beast lures. Written in unceasingly-energetic confidence about their use, history, composition, and construction. A book treasured by hunters of prey both mundane and monstrous, as it contains details for luring both plant-eaters and predators of varied size. Many a fisherman has thanked Brobson for his wooly bugger lure, as have countless cutters for his pattern for false goats, which is much cheaper than buying an actual goat. Craft: Decoys 5
Burden Distributed.A squarish brown book produced by the Teamsters Union. Extremely plain, unentertaining, but filled with unrivaled wisdom on the packing and tackling of beasts of burden. The book itself has lug-rings built into its spine, presumably for ease of carriage. Stowage 4
Catacomb Lost.The chilling, true tale of the eponymous Catacomb Lost, a group of four teenage explorers who went missing in the catacombs neath the Holy City Quarter of Alagór's capital, San Carro. An ossuary-maze of untold expanse, only partly mapped, extant since Aveth's First Crusade: the titanic war whose dead those passages were first dug to house. A forbidden place, if ever there was one; filled with the stacked bones of a holy war three thousand years passed, and the dead of two ensuing millennia. As this book would have it, the tunnels house three new corpses. Only one survived to tell this tale. Her observations are night-unhearable, but hold surprising insight into navigation in artificial subterranea. +1 Navigation in Subterranean spaces
Cavernum. A recently restored and translated text, originally composed some thousand years ago by a nameless explorer from what is now Alagór. Cavernum is thought to be the first recorded example of classical underworld exploration. Namely, the dispatch of some dozen parties of explorers into given cavern on unfathomable depth, all sent in hope of finding a saint's tomb within. Few returned. Those who did appeared far away, far later. Their reports compose much of this work. They are chilling, in the least. Lore: Underworld 5
Conversations with a Dead Magician. A book thought to be untrue, despite its pretensions otherwise. The publisher will not reveal which is the case. Conversations with a Dead Magician tells of the author's time spent researching and conversing with an incunable, reportedly among the last of its kind to be absutured, found buried in an estate auction. It tells first of his original fascination with the blood-fed tome, his time spent recovering it from its unused ages of madness by hours of conversation. Only later does it describe how he eventually came to hate the stodgy and quarrelsome mind within the book, how he dearly wished to shut it forever. How he would, if not for some sense of responsibility to that captured mind, a responsibility he'd not dare share with any other reader. Despite its unverifiable nature, the book contains usefully-true notes on the nature and use of incunabula. Lore: Incunabula 4
Crust and Crumb.A traditional baker's guide. Copies are thin, bound in white linen, and rarely found used without copious jam stains. Contains recipes, primarily for breads of a common variety, but also for biscuits, scones, and cakes. Craft: Baking 5
Culto delle fate nel Nord. An obscure Mapolitan text, published only in that tongue, which provides an analysis of the superstitions or "älf-worship" of the Awnish, the most-Northern folk of Firlund. It describes their offerings, their year-walking, and their establishment of apparent familial links with the fairies of a given land for purposes of mutual peace and protection. Lore: Fairies 5
Curious Predilection.A short and remarkable study of the physiology and behavior of ragfolk and their monstrous cousins, ragwretches. No work has before recorded such a comprehensive understanding of their wonts and medical nature. Includes case studies of individual wretches and ragmen, the collected data from which form an effective timeline for the species' beastly transformation in reaction to anthrophagy. Read and kept by doctors and introspective ragmen alike, Curious Predilection has brought a deal of healthful insight to the increasingly-multispecies Coast. Lore: Ragmen 7
Death's Head. An anthrobotanist's consideration of the mandrake, that motile and aurally-deadly creeper in the night. A tuber of deadly wont, fond of planting itself in the skulls of dead men. The writer finds it a fascinating study, spends near two hundred pages detailing its ways, its intellect, and the difficulties of its cultivation for medical purposes. Lore: Mandrakes 9
Eating Well off Northern Soil. A description collection of the edible flora and fauna findible in Firlund and surrounding states. Peatchokes, rabbits, moss, giant grouse eggs, bark, and odd chard are all included and listed with their favored methods of preparation, usually involving copious measures of salt and butter. +1 to scrounge food in the North.
El Lastimador del Valle. A short work, made for enthusiast entertainment, detailing all known reports of the Lasher of the Valley, a serpent-turned-serial killer once feared in the fertile winelands surrounding Carralay. The Lasher, once thought to be a beast of singular, torturous wont, was known for leaving victims with great, streaking cuts. Not deep, but plentiful. Life-threatening, but not efficient in their dispatch. Victims reported being toyed with by a low and skulking monster which leapt from the vineyards. Only after its eventual slaying by a knight errant was the Lasher revealed. It was a wretched, determined thing. A serpent hatched with a queer deformity of its joints that prevented it killing quickly or crawling aright. Despite its mutant status, the Lasher was a beast of singular willpower: It took three dozen folk before its demise. Lore: Serpents 5
Ferring's Last March. This short journal was written 200 years ago by a Northern field-commander. Though it is poorly translated from Old Awnish, it recounts, in simple accuracy, the lay and ways of the Northlands as they were and yet remain. +1 Navigation in the North
Flavor and Consequence.A record of the brief Spice Wars fought some fifty years ago between Barameccan cultivator-fiefs to meet ever-more-extreme demand for rare spices by Alagór, a country endlessly fond of flavor. By the war's end, several hundred farm-guard had been slain midst the cinnamon-groves, and some five million pesetas of spice had been stolen, restolen repeatedly, and finally sold at a premium due to months-long shipment delays to the Peninsula. Includes, as an aside, several recipes beloved by spice traders. Allows creation of rare paprika cakes and cinnamon roasts.
Forever, Clearly. A short and grim work on the lowly and concealed practice of banishment. Though it may seem otherwise, folk are yet cast out from civilization, usually by small communities insulated from the world, and set to wander the wilderness for the rest of their days. A terrible fate, oft-culminated in starvation or gobbling by some monster. It is a punishment few recognize still exists, whether they know of its truth or not. The book's end details the survivalist ways used by a few interviewed banishees. Lore: Wilderness 6, Matchsmithy 3
Fortecamp's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable.A catalogue of Coastal language and related folk knowledge, from aartemetry to zucchetto. Written in Firlish, but pertinent to all the Coast. An expensive tome, for it is both large, finely bound, and meant for sale to scholars only. All lore skills 1. Does not give more than two sentences description of anything.
Golden Slumbers. The tale of Silliam Tare, the most renowned thief of Fortenshire, Firlund's sprawling capital city. A night-breaker and a burglar known for robbing the sleeping rich. Best known for his final, climactic escape from police by boat through the canals of Sorelle: the city's largest borough. He is rumored to have left a trail of golden lucre all the way, seeding the deep canals with slumbering gold. Locksmithy 4
Gras. Titled simply "Fat" in its original Emperoussin, this is the definitive cookbook of the Sovereign Isles, a land known for its creation and embracement of fat-frying and buttered everything. Croissant, steak chips, liver, cheeses, oily fish: All served with bread and wine and defined by their buttery richness. Cooking 6
Half Again Around. The memoir of an elite guard within the Office of Small Matters. His station: the remote, freezing Keep at Doorneagle; a great, circular wall built about the lip of a sinkhole of seemingly-bottomless depth. He recounts his days spent endlessly walking that round patrol, staring and wondering down at the black he and comrades were told to watch. Never were they told what was within. Never did they find out. The book does not say, either. What it does describe is the ways of folk left in weird solitude. Their behaviors and rituals, seemingly mad to outsiders, made up and practiced on shifts long as 48 hours. Strange walking patterns round the walls, mainly. Half around, a quarter around, all the way about and back again: All in increments like a clock. Rituals enacted to stave off the compulsions of paranoia and sleeplessness, bloomed like the cold wind from that unknowable sinkhole. +2 to stay awake during watch. +2 to Nightmares next sleep.
Helmacht. The history of linkenden, a name dubbed in Lothrsprech, also known as link-children or torchbearers. Once, before the advent of streetlamps, theirs was a simple job: Accept a farthing to guide pedestrians at night, torch or candelabra in hand. Now, it is the most junior and dreaded job created by the venturing economy: The linkend, or linker. A cutter of so little might or skill as to be relegated as lantern-bearer for stronger parties. As linkenden traditionally walk first in marching order, they fulfill a secondary, unspoken role: To trigger traps and bear the brunt of ambushing monster's depredations. They are often the first in danger, the first to perish, and the last to be paid. This book contains, by way of describing the linkend's evolution, the history of venturing. It is often read for that purpose. Lore: Venturing 5
Hostelpoft the Wanderer.A work by noted Lothrheimer novelist Grestle Seiderberg. It described the journeys of the eponymous Hostelpoft, a mouse traveller renowned for his thick dialect and red bindle, who journeyed all across the kingdom in search of fortune. He found not riches, in the end, but knowledge and friends along the way. The book describes major landmarks, cities, and, most notably, pubs and hostels visited by Hostelpoft in exceedingly clear detail. +1 to Navigate in Lothrheim.
In Search of the Craftsmen. An ethnographer's delve into the deep vales of the Gorathian Range, lured by rumors of the mole-like craftsmen who dwell within: hobben. The researcher in question, one Maristoltz Holt, of Peripam, visited dozens of Gorathian villages, most of which she described as "rife with bestial folk of wild eye and unclad feet." In each, she collected reports of the hobben, who came to those human settlements only to buy white liquor and sell hardware. Despite two years of research and tracking, Holt finally met a band of hobben only at random: on the Foothills Road, lugging a stage of vodka kegs. By some negotiation in broken Lothrsprech, she entreated a visit to their cavernous halls, collected there a wealth of cultural data. Lore: Hobben 4
Ironclad. Field-memoirs by a knight under service to the Firlish Crown. A Ser Estle of Kernow, attached with her retinue of keepers to a heavy infantry battalion on the Northern Moors. Ironclad features, among musing about poetry, patriotism, and the meaning of service, enlightening details about the ways of glutted ragmen, many of whom fell neath Estle's titanic blade. It also provides insight into the ways and tactics of Northern knights. Lore: Ragwretches 7; Lore: Knights 5
La Nome, il Nome, the Name. A recent catalogue of Coastal names, taken from censuses, military rosters, and interviews collected in three countries. All are listed by commonality, meaning, and popularity. Merely a linguist's textbook, to be certain, but a useful one. Linguistics 6
Leifson's Fairytales. A recent collation of traditional Northern fairy stories by Leifson, a scholar of applied folklore. Including Askel and the Knockers, Wee Tom fiddle, and The Serpent's Bow, this tome collectects the tales in all their terror and odd power. Curiously illustrated with depictions of fairies deemed scandalously frightening for children, and filled with ancient proverbs and superstitious, the books contents are disturbing, fascinating, and strangely applicable in their lessons. Lore: Otherworld 3
Lessig's Guide to Northern Beasts. Field Sergeant Artr Lessig, of Pyle, distinguished as the Ward Rangers' most senior active officer, has over four decades of ranging seen nigh-every animal and monster to roam the moors, forests, and mountainous fjordlands of the North. Lessig recalls in its sketch-illustrated pages encounters mundane and incredible, including within such beasts as stryge and pool-nymphs. All of these he escaped, often barely, unscathed. His ability to survive the monstrous is rivaled only by his luck in encountering it. 5 Lore: Northern Monsters
Little Remains. The foremost work on the culture of the Ancient Nôr. An ironic, but insightful, book, as much of the Nôr, such as their letters, their science, their mathematics, still has everyday place in the world, and it not at all forgot. What has been forgotten, though, is its decadent culture. What expanses of complex luxury unfolded within with gold and marble-detailed ruins of old, few can say, but this book hazards an educated guess. Lore: Ancient Nôr 7
L'Occitalte. A tale of the Occitalte: the itinerant wagoneers of Maples. Written by an Emperoussin editor fleeing a life of boredom, L'Occitalte recounts a troupe's traversal through the countryside into Maple's wild, forested mountain crags; a harsh and mossy landscape known for its proximity to the Other. It is a tale of a dull man's journey from the usual, to the strange, to the nigh-makebelieve. Its descriptions, penned in increasingly inspired prose, tell of forbidden forests and their monstrous ilk with highly informative detail. Lore: Forbidden Forests 5
Lorn's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage. A genealogical record of the North. It concerns and lists the ancestry and heraldry of the peerage, baronetage, knightage and landed gentry of Firlund and all its associated lands. Alphabetized and recorded by family name. Any important personage to have lived in the last century will have his or her name in Lorn's most recent edition. Lore: Ancestry 10
Matches. A popular book amongst cutters. Matches describes how to catch nearly anything on fire, given a light and enough tinder. Many a chilly venturing team has thanked this thin folio for its tips on how to start a blaze in rain, wind, or meager lands. Many an arsonist has, as well. +1 to Matchsmithy rolls
Mease, Yeast, and Culture. A tome containing the complex biological wisdom of a baker, brewer, and spore-magister, all of whom contribute fascinatingly to form a treatise both historical and practical on fungus' use and role in society. Describes with minute measures the required procedure for producing loaves, mease porridge, and beers alike. +1 to Brewing, Baking rolls
My Liege.Both the most popular and the most reviled entry in the budding genre of romance to have ever been sold on the Coast. My Liege describes the hidden, scandal-worthy affair lead by two Littoran queens; characters modeled none-too-subtly on actual, popular young royals of Firlish and Alagóran domain. It is pulpy, nigh-unbelievable, and flying off the shelves. No redeeming value save entertainment.
My Sister Wears Hobnails. A slice-of-life account by a mundane florist of his elder sister: An experienced and ceaselessly-cheery, despite the nature of her profession, cutter. My Sister Wears Hobnails, is, above all, an entertainment piece, more full of tales of amusingly awkward returns by the scarred venturer to family dinners and weddings than real accounts of the horrors of venturing. Many blame claim this book as a foul influence, as the reason for many a son or daughter's foolish travel to frontier towns in search of fame and fortune. Few know the sister in question went missing in action mere months after the book's publication, disappeared on a raid sent to clear a Naussian tomb. No truthful impressions of venturing may be found within.
On Salt and Welfare. An old medical text, still well-read, known for being both the first and most comprehensively sourced analysis grisodate's effect on and use in human physiology and medicine. Widely accepted for its well-reasoned, regular prescriptions of salt for many purposes, such as wound cleansing, plague prevention, and fertility management. Lore: Plague 6
Partizan. A popular, recent release written by a soldier active in and injured on the frontlines of the Lothrheim/Belvirine border conflict. It provides an unparalleled look at the novel and terrible thing that is modern war. Descriptions of gunspring fusillades, grenades used to pulverizing effect, and the tactical advent that the sniper are given in horridly fascinating detail. Due to its release so early in the war, the book is supposed by some to be at least partially fiction; padded on all corners by make believe. Despite, its view of modern conflict remains unparalleled in its clarity. Lore: Recent Wars 8
Pepper, Shook. A roaringly-popular romance novel of Belvirinian original. It follows the love affair between Pepper, an aristocrat's daughter, and Louis, a dashing gentleman thief, who together embark upon many daring heists. Though the book is meant purely as escapist reading, it does contain several uncanny descriptions of locks, descriptions that are quite helpful when identifying such mechanisms. Locksmithy 4
Pictures from the Rock of Lorn. Writings by a photographer attached to a cartographical party under the employ of Tiber and Fellowes. Namely: His journey to scout the Rock of Lorn, a siren rookery off the Gate of Sloe. It contains many apt descriptions of sirens and their behavior, including how their presence and song affect mankind. Lore: Sirens 6
Piedmont's Guide to Monsters. The Coast's premiere guide to monstrosity, beast, and fiend, collated by none other than its most esteemed explorer and cartographer: Professor Wallace Piedmont. Though now sadly out of date and no longer updated in its editions, due to the Professor's disappearance, the book contains unrivaled descriptions, both verbal and visual, of the ways, habitats, and omens of monsters large and small. Lore: Monsters 9
Prince, Poisoner, Pariah. A biography of Price Alvon the Terrible, of Adaleutia. An utterly mad monarch, twisted in form and mind by centuries of royal inbreeding, who cleverly executed his entire court by tricking them into kissing poisoned rings. For this, the mad Prince was sent to exile, later found himself a mere murderer-oddity, a refugee, in the Emperoussin Court. +1 to create contact poisons
Pseodomonarchaea Daemonum.This book, author unknown, is currently banned in all Southern coastal countries. It depicts, with dubious accuracy, the power structure and supposed hierarchies of the viral entities known as hemorae, or, as the Southerners know them: demons. Xenomantia 6
Ruislip the Whistler. The old biography of Ruislip of Lissp, a minstrel of yore who delivered coded messages by the notes of his penny whistle and bagpipes. Ruislip played in courts all the Coast wide and was never once caught in his dispensation and collection of secrets to and from embedded spies. Only in his final days, preceding retirement, did Ruislip submit a expose to all those he'd betrayed as performer and as a double or even triple agent. The book contains examples of his coded song, and the fingerings required to transmit it. Language: The Secret Tongue of Pipes 10
Sachet's Guide to Pixie Fancy. The most-common household guide to the fancy and cultivation of flowers for their pixies. Includes 100 of the most common varieties of garden pixie, arrangement options, climate guides, and advice for keeping certain species from offending your neighbors. Lore: Pixies 8
Savages. A history of venturing's early years, as told by a strangely ageless narrator. Primarily, a tale of Tiber and Fellowes and Peridot Firm, then known by different names, who first began the practice of scouting ancient texts and grounds for signs of buried gold. These progenitor-banks hired the first cutters, rude mercenaries, who the author described in that time as "mere savages, without couth." The details within these pages suggest hidden processes within the Coast's great banks that still exist today. Beaurocracy 8
Searess. The biography of Amile Firense Opal Clereau, the Emperoussin ballistician notable for refining original gunspring patterns into more reliable, deadly irons of war under the instruction of armsmith Eventine Munitions. Both a scholar of armaments and a philosopher of life, Clereau was continually wracked by conscientious premonitions of what her developments would wreak upon humankind. The ballistician predicted that in the decade following the release of her gunspring patterns, several specific instances of sectarian violence, including strikes by the Holy Inquisition, would flare, Coast-wide. She predicted each, and watched as each, aided by her product, enacted fresh violence over long-stirring tensions. The book provides, along with its miserable supposition, the original, true notes Clereau made in her improvement of the gunspring. Ballistics 8
Silence Emboldened.A recent work. Highly controversial. It concerns the days following Parousia, and the spate of Inquisitional terror which ensued following that now-terrorist organization's related disbanding. In that time, the Inquisition, fearing its end, enacted a series of heinous punishments against those it deemed most urgently apostate. In particular: The removal of three holy sisters' tongues by way of acid. The book describes the actions these sisters took to so incite the Inquisition, and the later, vicious strikes they took against it; emboldened in their silence. Unavailable in the South. Lore: Parousia 6
Someone's Died.An account of plague and its history written for new audiences. In sensational, simple form, it describes the processes and maturation of plague within the lungs and bone marrow, as well as the ways of cremation, and, briefly, burial customs in the South. Primarily, though, Someone's Died devotes much of its page count to thriller-worthy accounts of recent outbreaks. Namely: Bone-chilling, if base, descriptions of grues and their ability to sew carnage and fear. To many, especially the elderly, the occurrence of this book is a fearful thing: A sign that new generations hold so little fear for plague that they may be entertained by its reminder. A sign they've forgotten the real and omnipresent terror it is; that they've put too much faith in their access to precious salt. Lore: Plague 5
Sparrow's End. A novel, which depicts in detail both painful and sensuous the life and demise of Elivabet Ellimere Adele Sidova, a duelist and renowned lover also known by a flighty nickname: The Sparrow. The bastard child of an Emperoussin courtesan and Adaleutian lord, she led a violent, lustful, and sensationally short life in all the high aristospheres of the Coast before meeting an excessively ugly end orchestrated by a union of her enemies. Lore: Aristosphere 6
State of Exurgency.A much-derided treatise by scholar Leelander of Sortz on observations of the Other's expansion in realms abandoned by mankind. Extensive, but unclear and mainly ridiculous, as Leelander was a noted laudanum addict; apt to dream an encounter with spriggans more often than actually observe one. Still, the book inadvertently serves as a handy guide to the maintenance of a coquelicot-product addiction for as long as one may before going utterly mad. +2 to Fortitude rolls to resist coquelicot addiction.
The Abattoir at Ilkreat. A horror novel based on true events. Namely, on the discovery of chilling graves under the slaughterhouse on the isle of Ilkreat, a remote and rocky place used to raise hordes of swine for consuption. Neath that bloody place were discovered dozens, scores of twisted skeletons: young, human frames with the rotted heads of swine. What occurred at Ilkreat, in reality, was never discovered. This novel puts a twist of supposition on the evidence, spins a tale of modern sorcery and horrid pigmen. Lore: Pigmen 6
The Bay of Grey: A History. A narrative of that critical Northern territory, the first and only to produce precious grisodate salt from its aquatic depths. A recounting of both historical and sociopolitical significance, for Grey cements Firlund as the Coast's most insurmountable power: The only state capable of producing and trading the panacea which is grey salt. Any to challenge her would be faced with a war wracked by disease and rampant plague. Thus, national politics remain relatively frozen, cold as the foggy waters of the salt-laden Bay itself. Lore: Bay of Grey 9
The Black Handbook. The regulation guidebook carried by all licensed coroners of the Coast. Advises how to address and medicate any given situation involving corpses, plague, or grues. A civilian version is available at a slightly marked-up price. Lore: Plague 9
The Book of Knives. Written by an enthusiast of dangerous penchant, this book catalogues the blades of the Coast. Stilettos, soap knives, messers; all are accounted for and described in form, history, and purpose. Craft: Cutlery 6
The Bowels of the Earth: A Case Study. The published log, rarely available outside of academia, of a series of experiments carried out by the University of Leah on an outgrowth of the shimmeling: The titanic fungus of the underworld. Said experiments were opportunistic, as the shimmeling, ever unpredictable, happened to reach a slow, probing mouth-tentacle through the boot-cellar of the University's botany building. Through this bleach-scented mouth of ooze, a dozen and more short expeditions were sent, clad in protective gear, into the world of the world-penetrating fungus's guts. Said expeditions only ceased when the shimmeling, probably tired of being probed, withdrew its greasy stalk of probing mold, causing the botany building to collapse. Despite this, the study yielding a bulk of informative findings. Lore: The Shimmeling 7
The Call to Avelier. Stories of countless failed journeys to the mythical holy city of Avelier, lost somewhere within the serpent-ridden plain known as the Long Grass. A veritable sea, where green stalks quaver as three-meter waves midst ungulates large as roaming, tree-topped islands of fur and thew. A collection of wonders, but mostly of disappointment and fear. In the end, it is a cautionary tale. To a rare and foolish few, though, it is an invitation. Lore: Lost City of Avelier 6
The Cant of the Errant Brickman.An expensively assembled collection of woodcuts and definitions describing the system of marks left by driftbricks, itinerant laborers, in communication with each other. These marks denote such concepts as danger, direction, or the generosity of nearby folk to wanderers. Language: Secret Language of Bricks 7
The Casque of Life. A now-debunked phrenological guide. Once, used by crackpots in an attempt to attest the mental and spiritual faculties of a given being by the shape of their skull. Now, a cutter's oddity. The Casque of Life is useful now only for the identification of skulls. Glean additional info from skeletal remains.
The Cheesemonger's Guide. A book owned by every grandmother to keep a tub of squirming feta under the cupboard or dairyman to raise his own cheddar vats. The Cheesemonger's Guide puts the safe and delicious rearing and dispatch of cheeses in simple and foolproof terms. Also includes recipes for notable cheese dishes Coastwide. +1 to any task relating chiefly to cheese
The Clever Folk. An old and out-of-print collection of original children's tales, all of which concern the fearful and enigmatic creature that is the black-eyed spriggan. Its publisher ceased all production after certain allegations of actual Other communion emerged concerning the author, who reportedly lived in a cottage surrounded by strange charms and little-toed footprints. It remains a desired book, not by children, but by magicians and cutters: Practitioners interested in the ways of the Other's furry servants. Lore: Spriggans 7
The Collected Works of Merrill.Merrill was an antique poet of mysterious origin. Whoever he or she was, they wrote a substantial body, mostly pastoral, sweetly rhymed, and finished by flat, disturbing notes. Scholars have observed many of Merrill's works reference Otherworld phenomena: a field of study that is fearful and poorly-understood, at best. As a result, to those who care for such a thing, Merrill's Collected Works have become a useful, if vague, reference in understanding the Otherworld and its black-eyed denizens. Lore: The Other 8
The Deductive Treatises.A series by Maxwellian Horacio. Horacio's treatises are, in higher scholarly circles, regarded as hogwash. The series is composed of several tomes, each of which covers an exciting and fantastical subject, such as serpents, älves, and giant landworms. They are useful only for their entertainment value, as the information within is complete supposition and armchair-philosophy. Hidden -1 to any Lore roll made using a Deductive Treatise
The Drunken Whaler. Tales from aboard the Drunken Whaler, one of the first hunting vessels to venture beyond the Gate of Sloe and spear cachalots for their paraffin head-oil. The writer, a harpoonist, divulges in a simple and tongue-in-cheek style the various marvels, amusements, and terrors of his profession. Sea-rocks high as the clouds, swathed in clouds of bats. A boozy giant employed from the Dark Continent. Cachalots, ancient as time, seen splitting fellow vessels from keel to deckboards. An informative read on modern whaling. Lore: Whaling 8
The Encyclopaedia Arcanica. A 23-book collection, and prohibitively expensive. It is among the most prized items of collected knowledge a scholar may hope to own. It describes, in excellent detail, the most mysterious and esoteric subjects of the known world; beginning with Aathelfern and ending with Zytothurian. Lore: Arcana 10, Lore: Sorcery 8
The Four-legged Owl. The story of House Oldaren, of its distrust of owls, and of its heraldic beast: The towering, beaked stryge. While the tale of the House itself takes short telling, this book's word on the four-legged, feathered monster itself take some time. Much of the work is devoted to discussion of the habitat, behavior, and anatomy of the ferocious stryge. Lore: Stryge 6
The Gilder.A biography of the late Lance Veerchance Delavince Sevreaux, the Rue de Couture's most influential designer. Once a mere milliner's assistant, young Sevreaux drew notice for the complementary patterns he would attach inside hats sold to notable models and aristo influencers. Patterns for wardrobes of clean and cutting design, rife with silver, steel, and gold; at once more elegant and more inspired than anything else those days worn. At the notice of several wealthy patrons, Sevreaux was petitioned to enact some of these patterns, and by their success soon swelled in reputation to become the Coast's most haute clothier. Sevreaux's biography, while a tale of high success, is also a tragedy. The end of his life was marked by madness, distress, and eventual suicide by poison. He had for his whole career utilized a nitre of mercury in his hat-crafting and fire-gilding, a gnawing substance which slowly put insidious holes in his brilliant mind. His influence lives on, today. +1 Style
The Limit of Man.An inflammatory journalistic expose revealing the traditions, lies, and cruel transformative processes, and of holy Alagóran knight brotherhoods. It describes, in no lack of gruesome detail, the ways in which these total institutions break down ayoung human reassemble them, body and mind, into a dubious paragon of "humanity." Unavailable in its subject-country, this short book has thrown the methods and ethics of knight-orders Coast-wide into question. Lore: Knights 7
The Los Karkinos Letters. Correspondence between two Alagóran statesmen on one of the most fractious issues of the last century: The restructure of government houses and agencies following Parousia. Regarded as a masterclass in diplomacy in the face of seemingly insurmountable partisan tensions, but also reviled as a prime example of systemic corruption within the Alagóran state, whether related to the Church or the Principality. +Lore: Recent Alagóran History 10
The Mersdotr Medical Manual. A small, red book sturdily bound. Favored by cutters, who swear by its simple, reliable advice in times of illness and injury. Many a life has been saved by its perusal, by little pages turned under bloody fingers and frantic eyes. Medicine 4
The Ode of Salutiene. A winding yarn of an epic poem, barely readable by common folk, either in translations or in its original Emperoussin. Up until the very culmination of its meandering plot, which involves a fictional sea commander from the last century, the work makes little sense, stabbing with vague purpose at intangible points regarding life and the nature of the world. Only at its end does the Ode come together in a revelatory and epic conclusion. Requires language skill of 7 or higher to read successfully. Bestows 80XP.
The Predator.A rare and insightful work published by renowned anthropologist and natural philosopher Dr. Wallace Piedmont, of Lastreshire shortly before his disappearance on the Dark Continent. A treatise compiling all his research and case material on the Otherworld, a realm he classifies as a "dominant and predatory ecosystem" and frequently refers to as simply "the Predator." A world naturally bent on influential expansion, composed of a network of species both familiar and alien, all of which, even the sentient ones, exist in unnatural symbiosis. Piedmont, supported by evidence retrieved on his many expeditions to the ends of the World, diagrams the biology of the Other in detail never before seen, including detailed analyses of its sentient species, including älves, trollen, and spriggans; topics fearful, forbidden, and folkloric in their mystery, broached with candor and method not before attempted. His book is banned in Alagór. It is uncommonly available in other countries, and it is very expensive. Lore: Otherworld 10
The Redwater Journal. This collection of notes has recently become popular reading in port cities. The notes, now reprinted and bound in red linen, were found two decades ago on the waterlogged corpse of a sailor, who was spotted, floating, on open water midst the Trackless Isles. His notes tell of the fearful last days of the whaling ship Spineback. They describe how its course became lost in a fog bank, how its first hand was first to go mad from whispering song. How its crew were eventually stolen from the rails as they stared, transfixed, at the reddened water below. Lore: Sea Monsters 5
The Well of Catosene. An epistolary report by a fictional co-leader on a venture to the eponymous Well of Catosene. Despite its pretenses at being fiction, it is rumored that the work is actually fact, and the details within, all horrible, trapped, and gilded, make up a very real account of a typical Ancient Nôr ruin. Lore: Ancient Nôr 6
The Writ of Aveth. This seven-hundred- and seventy-seven-page tome is regarded as the unaltered and final revelation of Aveth, Lord of Humanity. Whether this can be truthfully said or not, as the book has been highly edited over the millennia, the Writ remains, as a necessary part of faith, the best selling printed book of all time. Allows a character to take the trait Avethan.
This Much was True. The story of noted letter-forger Whilhemina Alslindova de Since, a dangerous woman of high skill and uncertain national origin. What became quite certain, after her eventual arrest, was her incredible skill at recreating both the handwriting and quality of speech of any given writer. During her trial, Alslindova recounted the creation of over 500 letters in the style of some 105 people, many of whom were high officials. For all, she was paid generously by anonymous buyers, who dictated the falsehoods to be written within. The forger's art is discussed in usable detail in said trail proceedings. +1 Forgery
Three Deaths at Lastimorny House. A fictional thriller concerning detective Leeligan Cyrl, of Kempt, called to great Lastimorny House to investigate three deaths during a long and debaucherous soirée. Her investigation features amusing, shocking interviews with numerous characters scandalously based on real aristos suspected of holding special fancies or odd desires. The culprit, in the end, it revealed to be a covert member of the Holy Inquisition, sent to put an end to a glut of perceived sin. All three murders were carried out using some manner of poison, the author's descriptions of which are strangely accurate. +1 to rolls made to manufacture Poison
Time Lies. The posthumous memoir of horologist Jaccob Jarrows, of Leant. He was a maker of clocks. A professional shrouded in the superstition and mystique of his art. Folk all the Coast over believed him and practitioners like him, those with power over time, to be mighty indeed. Jarrows, a man who held no ounce of personal spirituality nor superstition, recounts in this memoir stories of others' belief in his supposed power. At the start, he tells of how he disregarded their belief, their requests for magical aid. He resisted the mystique for years, kept to the simple, honest art of clockwork. By the end, though, he describes how he humored them, gifted oddly-functional placebos in the form of altered watches and illusions of twisted time. Lies, but magic all the same. +1 Horology
To Capture the Eye.A detailed guide to phototypic theory, history, and application. Begins with the creation of long-exposure silver-plates by the renowned Doctor Bastillion and ending with modern accordion-hood obscuras. Photogravure 4
Trouble and Squeak. A highly-controversial piece, published anonymously by a peddler of conspiracy and sensational pulp. A flimsy card of a book, little more than a pamphlet wrapped in brown paper. It proposes fringe ideas construed for a broad audience: That mice, the mild and industrious smallfolk of society, are in fact all participants in the broadest conspiracy of monetary and societal control ever engendered. It begins by explaining how mice supposedly own the banks and financial systems of the Coast, and ends with a humongous, supposed-exposé claiming that the furry folk invaded from neath the roots of elms hundreds of years ago, bearing plague as a biological weapon designed to slowly subdue and replace humanity. No merit.
Twenty to a Hundred Boots. A telling of one of the most hideously-catastrophic military debacles of the last three centuries. A tale, in times when crossbows were still prevalent, of a scout gone lost in the dry, brown hills of southern Alagór, then inhabited by bands of rebels against that peninsular power. A mission was mounted to save him. A second scout was sent to reconnoiter it and came back reporting the enemies holding the first numbered twenty to a hundred boots. Simply put, this was a terrible understatement. The actions based on this bad intel began scattered fighting and confused routs all the countryside over. The original scout was never found. Lore: Military Strategy 8
Two Centuries of Tragedy. Two hundred years of the stage's most calamitous tales, as seen in this curated folio of its greatest playwrights' works. Beginning with the metrical tragedians of antique vogue, and ending with the very-real horror which befell the Royal Opera in 3.445. Read entirely, this great brick of a book provides a comprehensive standard to the critique of grim theater, as well as an impending, melancholy sense of doom. Ability to gain trait Oversuspicious
Waistley's Care and Training of Cobhounds. A famous breeder's guide to cobhounds: The furry and easily-riled eight-legged beasts so common among Lothrhemer and Emperoussin gentry and guard forces. Bred from dreaded wolf spiders, cobhounds, or spinnenhunde, are irascible, bitey, and far more dangerous than proper hounds. They are also high-steppingly elegant, exotic, and make excellent guard-dogs. This guide, though its advice is rareified, makes a reasonably safe attempt at their maintenance and instruction. Houndsmanship 6
What I Saw on the HMS Learbatton. The tale of a journalist attached to the eponymous Learbatton, a battleship which went missing for three weeks midst the misty Trackless Isles: A sea of rocks, looming mountain isles, and grabbing sargasso feared and rarely escaped. Only by the luck of a rite called the Dorndallow method did the ship return at all to port. When she did, she came to rest in Belvirine, a half-Coast away from her port of exit. When arrived, her crew learned she'd been away six months, not the three weeks they'd perceived. This recounting is the most modern of tales to dare speak of what occurs in the vast and trackless sea. Lore: Lost Waters 6
What Lies Below. The true novelization of an alcoholic cutter's time in Elastor Bay: A wet and shallow inlet-town littered with sea cave-mouths and palls of endless fog. It describes his signing with a band of specialized delvers under the seal of Lagão Treasury, of his ventures with them into the pelagic reaches of sea caves. Sea caves, littered with riches untouched, save by the squelching caress of lemures and other, worse pelagic nightmares. Lore: Lemures 5
Who Yet Remain: Banshees in the 34th Century. A medical treatise on the remaining cases of bansheeism, a horrid, misunderstood disease known for protracting the lives of its victims, on the Coast. It covers examination by research teams, backed by hired cutters, to banshee asylums to measure what quantity of sufferers yet remain alive. The answer: Nearly all; mind-broken and huddling in emaciated, howling affliction. The treatise draws no conclusion on what to do with these banshees, for it is not yet clear whether they can ever be cured. Lore: Banshees 7
This is a recreation of an early Incunabuli article, an embryo, from 2017. The original was ~500 words. This one is 8.7k. It's the second d100 list on Incunabuli.com. The first, a list of pixies, can be found here. This one may take some editing, later.
You'll notice each book carries a skill bonus. These notations are for the Incunabuli system playtest, which the reader is encouraged to explore. Incunabuli is made possible its generous Patrons. To join them and read exclusive articles, support Incunabuli on Patreon.
Holy fiddle fuck!
What HDA said, this is amazing!