The Book of Death’s Grace
This book is actually a collection of handwritten documents, letters, and notes (all scribbled in different hands, some nearly illegible) that someone has stuffed into a very short but disturbing tome called the Book of Death’s Grace. However, one can’t learn that title without reading the book itself—no title marks the tattered, dark brown cover at all. The book is full of rhetoric, myths, suppositions, half-truths, and twisted logic, but also some useful information. Taking the time to read through and decipher its pages one learns the following information:
True chaos, or “deep chaos,” is a religion based on the fundamental aspects of hate, destruction, death, and dissolution. The philosophy of chaos is one of change. It teaches that the current world is a creation of order and structure, but that it was flawed from the beginning due to lack of foresight or understanding of what living creatures really want or need. The gods of creation—gods of order—are untouchable and unknowable. They are aloof and uncaring, says the teaching of true chaos.
A group of children playing can be called “chaotic.” One might very well know a person about whom one could say, “He is chaotic.” A creature, such as a storm giant, can have an alignment of chaotic good. But from a cultist’s point of view, chaos is far more than an interest in individuality or personal freedom. These things are not of chaos! From the chaos cultists’ perspective, “good” is destruction, mayhem, disaster, and slaughter. The philosophy of chaos is one of change. It teaches that the current world is a creation of order and structure. However, this creation was flawed from the beginning due to lack of foresight or a misunderstanding of what living creatures really needed.
Mortals follow the example of their creators and build rigid, inflexible, and uncaring societies based on the unyielding code of law and order. These laws, however, stifle the needs of living creatures. They reward the many and punish the few or the individual, which is diametrically opposed to the way it ought to be. The individual who embraces chaos has a right to true freedom: to do and to take anything and everything he wants. Society should not oppress the individual—the individual should oppress society. The enlightened shall prey upon the masses. It is good to murder, torture, and destroy others, for they are flawed in their creation, betrayed by their creators.
But society makes it difficult, if not impossible, to do this. The will of the many treads on the will of the few, regardless of their enlightenment. The gods of chaos will change all of that, however. They will bring with them change—in the form of fire, destruction, and anarchy, murder, pestilence, and terror. They will set things right by bringing an end to everything that is wrong about the world. The faithful, the enlightened, will be rewarded in the coming realm of utter chaos.
We returned to an age ruled by Chaos during The Dark Ages. This was but a glimpse of the joy and esctasy of chaos.
The Lords of Chaos
Even before the world existed, the Lords of Chaos were. Beyond mortals, beyond gods, these great beings wielded power unimaginable. Called The Many by some, the Natharl’nacna by others, these dark ones attended the creation of the universe and called it flawed. The Lords of Chaos were unjustly trapped in a terrible prison, and we have been trapped with them, but soon they shall all be free.
To a fortunate few, the Lords of Chaos granted great personal power. These blessed individuals were called the Vested of The Many, for they were invested with The Many’s own essence. The first Vested were named Baalhazor, Torgoth, M’rathia, Thoggidrum, and Vladaam. Perhaps today, as the power of chaos rises again, new Vested will receive The Many’s blessing. With such power, the faithful can strike down their enemies and clear the way for their ascendancy.
In the ancient days, The Many spawned new creatures called the Elder Brood. Chief among them were the First Born, some of whom eventually rebelled and struck out on their own. Much more successfully, they forged the “earthbound demons.” The pinnacle of their creations, however, was the new type of craft called Chaos Alchemy: devices fueled by chaos itself that granted wondrous powers.
Long ago The Many desired to establish their hold over the mortal realm. In order to empower more slaves to help them in their terrible goals of destruction, they harnessed the power of raw chaos. Controlling the uncontrollable is managed by devices both alien and unfathomable. Some appear to be fashioned from steel, but even more have the properties of still-living flesh. Chaos Alchemy, the gift of The Many.
The book describes the following Chaos Alchemy procedures and the equipment necessary to complete the procedure. With this book in their possession a surgeon gains +4 Knowledge (Chaos Surgery) to perform the listed procedures.
Bone Lacing: The surgeon laces the host’s bones with metal and hardened living tissue in a series of four long and painful procedures, requiring a week of recovery time in between each. When finished, the host gains an inherent Strength bonus of +2 and 20 bonus hit points. Further, the host gains damage reduction of 10/slashing or piercing (his bones are very difficult to break, thus he takes less damage from bludgeoning, crushing, and even falling damage). Chaos Surgery DC 26; Procedure Time six hours (×4); Recovery Period one week (×4); Price 90,000 gp
Organ Lacing: The surgeon laces the host’s body with metal and hardened living tissue placed strategically around organs. This painful and long process requires four different operations, calling for a week of recovery time in between each. When finished, the host gains an inherent Constitution bonus of +2 and 20 bonus hit points. Further, the host gains damage reduction of 10/bludgeoning or crushing. Chaos Surgery DC 26; Procedure Time six hours (×4); Recovery Period one week (×4); Price 90,000 gp
Muscle Lacing: The surgeon adds various types of fibers, both organic and inorganic, to vital muscle strands throughout the subject’s body. This painful and long process requires four different operations, calling for a week of recovery time in between each. Once complete, the procedures grant a +4 inherent bonus to Strength and a +2 inherent bonus to Constitution. Chaos Surgery DC 26; Procedure Time six hours (×4); Recovery Period one week (×4); Price 165,000 gp
Eldritch Affinity: While not magical in itself, the eldritch implant “rewires” the host’s brain so he can process spellcasting more efficiently. Henceforth, all his spells are cast as if he were two levels higher than normal. Chaos Surgery DC 36; Procedure Time 12 hours; Recovery Period two weeks; Price 33,000 gp
Organic Chaositech devices are creatures unto themselves, at least from a limited perspective. When an organic Chaositech device becomes a part of a host, it lives off the host like a parasite, gaining its nutrition and energy from the host.
Members of the Deathmantle cult, known also as Death’s Grimace, revere death, and obviously so. Each cultist wears a death’s head mask, usually of copper or bronze, but occasionally of iron painted skull-white. They worship murder, specifically slaughter. Mass murder to the greatest degree—the slaying of a whole town, a whole city, or a whole nation—is their ultimate goal.
Of all the Chaos Lords, the Deathmantle cult reveres Chardros the Reaper the most. Chardros the Reaper is one of the three oldest Chaos Lords, the lord of destruction and beauty.
Within the book is a thin slab of stone. Etched into the stone are the following words written a strange script. The eight pointed star of Chaos is in the center of the page below the writting.
By now you should have received the gifts that we and the Crimson Coil have sent to you. A band of fellow followers of Chardros should arrive at your stedding in due time. They will bring word of our preparations and assist with your assault on Marsielle. Feel free to sate your blood lust but wanton slaughter and destruction of the ignorant masses must hold off until the ritual is prepared.
I have also sent word to your brother to begin his march to hold the Valencian pass.
Your service to Chardros will bring you favor in his eyes and surely you will become onE of The Many if it is his will.
May all fall to ruin!
Chaos in France
A leather map of France is folded up and included within The Book of Death’s Grace. This map shows several major cities and villages marked with a skull face. The locations marked on the map are:
- Alps (South West)
- Alps (North East)
- Bar Le Duc, Griesheim and Gyönk, France
- Saint Etienne, France
The city of Marsielle is also marked with the image of a red coiled snake.
The Planes of Chaos
The Lords of Chaos lends their servants creatures from The Abyss, Limbo and Pandemonium, The Howling Land.
Preferred earthbound demons used by the Death Mantle are Shadow Demons, Quasits and Omox Demons. The Quasit is perhaps the least powerful demon but are used to serve the Death Mantle’s sorcerers and wizards. Quasits have ram horns which curl back from the twisted head of the tiny winged demon, and their bodies thin and wiry. Only the bat-winged Shadow Demon’s teeth and claws have any sense of physicality to them—the rest is lost in darkness. Unlike many demons, shadow demons are incorporeal. When a particularly envious and evil mortal soul is pulled into the Abyss, it is transformed, split apart, and combined with other souls until what emerges is little more than jealous malevolence without the impediment of a physical body. Omox Demons are rancid-smelling mounds of animated ooze that have within their shifting countenance the hideous shape of a half-melted man. Omox Demons are strong warriors that resist attacks from weapons, arcane and divine magic not wielded by good creatures.