A Cold Day in Hell
Book of Vile Darkness
Book of Vile Darkness
The book itself is about knowledge and understanding, so most of it’s abilities are due to understanding and possession of it as a reference. It has to be read for 56 hours in order to confer it’s major special power. The book cannot be studied more than four hours a day. Doing so will cause massive headaches and you will not be able to remember 1d6 prior hours of reading. Those hours must be done by reading every day, if a day is missed, you will have to start over again. After the first reading of the book, you gain a +1 insight bonus to Wisdom and a full level of experience (done in the tradition manner).
Once the book is read once, the second time is easier and can be done for 6 hours a day. However, the second reading takes 62 hours instead of 56 hours. The second and subsequent readings do not need to be done every day for it to work. However, if you go 7 days without reading, you will have to start over. The second reading gives a +2 circumstance bonus to skills directly involved with things mentioned in the text (too many to list, but for instance, knowledge of the older gods, sacrificing, pacts with demons and devils, vile energy, special prestige classes, planar/undead anatomy). To get the bonus, you must study the section again for 10 minutes that day. After 24 hours, you will need to study it again to gain the bonus.
The third reading can be done for 8 hours a day but takes 80 hours to read. Same timing and stipulation as second reading. For this, you gain a +1 insight bonus to Intelligence and you can ad hoax some of the general knowledge in the book when making checks related to subjects in the book. Bonus varies on specificity of check, you can only get detailed knowledge and a for sure bonus by reading it as mentioned above.
Reading it after three times does not gain any special abilities, but it may lessen time it takes to get the circumstance bonus; also possible increase if rolling well. This is a HIGHLY prized item by any evil cleric or fiend. It does not disappear like many of these artifacts, but it will disappear if a powerful evil being finds it. This is why only extremely powerful entities have held onto the book for any length of time. Vecna bound the book before his ascension and was the only one to have made successful copies of the book. Those copies have been expanded upon since then and no one knows how many different versions of the book there are at this point. However, the human skin, demon bone cover is unique and easily identified as a copy that was made by Vecna himself. Knowledge written after that is what would be suspect; but there is no way to distinguish where he left off and others began at this point. Only after many, many readings of the book would you be able to tell where one hand ends and another begins.
Called a book, but is not quite a real book. There is a bound portion and an unbound portion. Getting both is the hard part. Some knowledge in the book is so powerful that it has even been known to drive fiends themselves mad. No one section is 100% bound, and missing even one page can be the difference between madness and understanding. It is written in sections by different hands, and while Vecna himself created it to be 100% bound in human skin and demon bone, only his personal copy remains intact. The improved upon book has lost some of that cohesion, but has gained more insight from even more powerful sources. Reading the entire book will allow enough understanding to get more from the second reading, and so on. No one knows how many times you have to read it and read into it to unlock all of it’s secrets.
The book has been penned by many authors over time. Investigation into this will find who is supposed to have written in it, but the early days of its creation are fuzzy at best. The only known contributor is Vecna because he bound the book and its copies.