The following blog post is Part 10 of the Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition campaign, Dreadstorms Lost. These blogs are intended for other game masters who might want to use this campaign setting and the scenarios to inspire their own role playing games. (Free for noncommercial reuse.)
Behind the scenes
Sometimes I get carried away a bit. For the partial spell book hidden in Clemens’ bedroom, I created a small spell book that I printed out for my players to to read and get clues on the coming plague. Having a physical thing to hold and pass around was a fun change for them. (At least I think it was a fun change. Maybe they were just humoring their crazy GM. Who knows?!)
The text in the “book” is intentionally crowded and hard to read, reminiscent of the ancient hand-drawn manuscripts. It is full of bizarre, ominous imagery, indecipherable notations, and sketches of ingredients. “Iredeemevle” is an intentional misspelling.
The tone of the book is intended to sound stilted and old fashion; more a scholars’ journal that a real spellbook. As though this was more a curious discovery for the writer and not something that any mage would ever consider casting.
Why do we care about the Gratimortus?
The Gratimortus is the planted spell book that Kazel discovered after finding his dead wife and was desperately trying to find a way to revive her [#9 – The Mystery of the Missing Champions]
Pages from the book:
What does the book say?
If the players are able to find the piece of the Gratimortus hidden in Clemens’ bedroom [#8 – Champions’ Manor – Dreadstorms Lost], the following is the text and pages of the book.
[Note: This book is a scholar’s speculation and does not have had ALL the details on what the spells was really accomplishing, or the final result.]
Book of the Iredeemevle
Among the spells most vile and destructive to life is the
Will of Orcus Plague
To the foolish this most grievous of magics promotes a means to return the dead to a new and vigorous life.
Indeed it resurrects but by bringing forth abominations of the most heinous of intent. It is through the casting that the plague is wrought and through the abominations that the plague persists and can eventually destroy entire worlds.
It is known that with this one ritual many peoples can return to the world of the living without the blessing of the divine ones. Instead the punishing god of the underworld sends back the dead twisted and fouled with his evil.
By channeling stolen life force into the dead flesh directed by this spell, the caster is turned into a conduit for Orcus. The caster’s life force slowly leaches out as the spell powers up.
The pulse of energy that drains life occurs immediately before the first rays of sun each day. The caster pulls life energy from nearby animals, weakening and killing them. Affects the smallest of animals first and works its way up the food chain.
Creatures killed by the life drain rise as undead as the last rays of sun leave the day. The undead are compelled to eat larger prey en mass to further advance the plague.
The area of influence increase each day the ritual continues. To become infected by the plague one must be killed by a plague bearer or to die from the life drain pulse at dawn.
Once the ritual is complete, the spell caster dies and becomes an Orcus’ undead plague bearer, with the additional curse of continuing to pulse the life draining force at it’s final strength wherever they roam.
The original targets for resurrection also become undead plague carriers, though much stronger and deadlier than those simply caught in the wave or killed by other plague bearers. It is said that even the breath of these abominations is toxic.
[Elements for the Spell]
The Will of Orcus Plague requires two elements. One, the Will of Orcus Gem and two, the Ritual of Purifications. The Will of Orcus is an iridescent gem the size of an acorn. The color of the gem is constantly changing and in itself can be hypnotic to look upon.
The mindless undead and those of weak mind or disposition can easily be controled by one who masters the gem.
The last know location of the Will of Orcus was in the possession of a demon called The Grand Inquisitor of Mortals. As long as it remains on the infernal plane with the Grand Inquisitor, this plague has no chance of every coming to pass in our world.
The Ritual Cleansing and Activation Components
- Fresh Hemlock Thorn, 1 thorn every hour to pierce tongue
- 13 leaves from a branch of Mistletoe each day, swallowed whole
- Thimble, oil of verbanium at start and finish of ritual, rubbed on brow, sternum and palms
- Fist full, powdered nutmeg added before sundown each day
- 5 Wolfsbane petals, swallowed whole before sunrise each day
- Oil of Nightshade applied to eyes, once per day at noon
- 1 dash of cassava root every hour for 4 hours
- Ground dragon tooth
- Salamander liver
- grick beak
- 1 bucket troll blood