New Magic Item – Codex of Sublime Understanding

4 February, 2011

Old book (1882)photo © 2009 Maarten Van Damme | more info (via: Wylio)
“One book,” the old man said, walking through the ruins of the grand temple, “one book brought down the church.   It was found by a young priest, Aeli, who had been sent off to gain funds for the faith by aiding a group of venturers.  It was a common practice.”

He ran his hand along a shattered bench.  “Aeli came back from one of their missions, with the book.  He had changed, he became a man of fiery passion and belief.  His companions were already converted to Aeli’s vision of the faith.  The younger members of the faithful soon started turning to him for guidance.  The lines were already starting to be drawn.”

The old man sat down on a broken pillar, he gestured to a shattered statue and the scattered remnants of an altar.  “The final confrontation took place here.  Aeli and his followers confronted the old guard . . . and it all came tumbling down.”  He began to weep.

Codex of Sublime Understanding

This large book is heavily bound in metal reinforced leather or canvass but seems filled with so much gibberish.  Until it is handled by a person of true faith, at which point it reveals the symbol of their faith hidden in the metal work and the text resolves itself into the holy writings of the faith.

Used as a simple reference work, it provides a +5 competence bonus on Knowledge (Religion) check and a +1 competence bonus on Knowledge (Arcana, History or the Planes) checks.  It can serve as nothing more than a useful reference work.

However, with a month’s careful study of the codex, it will reveal to its reader hither towards unknown secrets and deep esoteric understand of her faith.  As that point, the reader can  choose to either:

Reject the secret knowledge and gain the Skill Focus (Knowledge – Religion) feat but they can no longer use the codex for its competence bonus.

Accept the Codex’s teachings as the true core of her faith, in which case she gains a +4 Sacred Bonus to both Wisdom and Charisma, casts all divine spells at +1 caster level, and gains a Spell Resistance of 10 + her character level against spells cast by other members of her faith and +2 sacred bonus to armor class against other members of her faith as long as she possesses the Codex.  But she will be compelled to preach and spread her faith, the true faith, which differs in a variety of small -but very important points- from the official faith as currently practiced.

The book itself is almost impossible to destroy, especially by divine magic which washes off it like water off a duck’s back.

Aura strong divination; CL 17th
Slot none; Price 100,000; Weight 5 lbs
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, Commune or Contact other Planes, Fox’s Cunning, Miracle or Wish, Owl’s Wisdom, creator must have Knowledge (Religion) at 10 ranks or higher; Cost 50,000 (+4,000 xp for D&D)

Notes:  Not quite a cursed item.  Rather a powerful one, but what a price for power.

Trying Wylio for the photo.  What do you think?


  1. This is awesome! I love how your magic items carry interesting stories with them. This is another one that clearly, on it’s own, could be the spark of a high-level adventure, with divine characters facing off against their own religious hierarchy.

    • Thank you. Note that it is set up so that the path of conflict does not need to be taken, but I know I would want to with most of the religious PCs I have played over the years. “Let the true words fill your soul with hope!”

  2. Great item! I love this blend of flavor and mechanic and I love to use heretical creeds in my D&D games – especially as a way to break the assumptions of the Alignment system.

Please share your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: