Friday, October 12, 2018

50 Terrible Knowledges

[1] Perfectly formed in your mind is the schematics and practical construction of a specific device. The device is a large table where you strap down a member of a mortal race; your mind also easily envisions how to adjust the machine for each race common in the setting, and the machine will sever all their limbs, scoop out much of their insides, and insert inside them a series of pipes and tubes along with hollow mechanical arms to allow liquid to flow through and control their every action and motion.

You have no knowledge of what specific liquid allows for the total body control or suspends the life of the being so they do not die from the machine, nor do you know what other liquids may do if added, unless you experimented to find out. Your morality has not changed, but this design is clear.

[2] You now know that every single insect in the world was born after being given a strict set of instructions by someone. Every one of them has a specific destiny and knows exactly when they will be born, eat, mate, and die unless disrupted by a thinking being. Despite not having the intelligence or personality to use this knowledge. You don't know who or what does this, and you don't know what purpose it could possibly serve.

[3] Roll a random elder god. They owe you a very minor favor, equivalent to a spell. Once you collect this favor, you then owe it a very, very large favor, equivalent to a life taken. Due to the nature of these things, you cannot simply refuse their favor to cancel out your end of it.

[4] You know the specific number, relative heights, and angle and position of metal cymbals to place outside of someone's window when it rains. If they sleep through the noise, or can hear it for more then 3 hours, it drives them totally fucking insane, permanently. Saving throw can be made at the start of each hour if the character is aware of the cymbal's power.

[5] There is a specific combination of clothes, accessories, makeup, and body language you could employ to seduce a holy virgin archpriest or priestess with little effort. Their religious rites and magic powers depend on their virginity, and many people would lose faith if you took it. This power doesn't confer any Charisma bonus, nor does it work on anyone else, just this holy and respected person- the knowledge lays bare in your mind.

[6] By aligning a few hundred stones in the woods in the proper way, and painting the trunks of some of the trees blue, you know how to call a Childeater to inhabit that place.

Childeater (4 HD, +4 to hit, -1 AC, 2 attacks at 1d8 suction cups, senses kids)
Morale- 8 vs adults
Numbers- One

Gaunt pale beast with blue skin; has two tentacle arms with suction cups arms with membranes that stretch at the end that capture and digest things trapped within. Makes no sound.

[7] You know the exact location of the ruined Church of Blue Flame. Everything it burned was to create holy ash- but was turned over by a cruel, heretical lord when the Church refused to pay his fees. Once a sanctuary, now its crumbling basement holds the souls of those suffocated and buried alive in piles of ash. You also know why the trapped spirits within cannot harm you alone.

[8] You learn a horrendous torture you can perform on young horses. Once complete, one of the horse's severed hooves will become painted with gold, and scrapping off the paint will earn you a few gold. The torture method is so bad that the horse suffers enough to make it into a ghost that haunts its stable, despite just being an animal.

[9] You can carve a strange sluice for water in solid stone along with a wheel made of specific materials to create a machine that endless empties and fills its own fountain. The unlimited energy machine corrupts the water and land around it; animals grow fat and starved at the same time, and the water itself turns crops it waters into little black eggs for various horrible pests.

[10] You see something that makes your heart stop beating. You are still alive, but will never “detect” as a living thing ever again; becoming invisible to some spells and creatures.

[11] You learn a secret word. This word can be used as a substitute for secret magic words that activate magic items, or as passwords for magic locks, this word allowing you to bypass them as though you knew the actual passcode. However, you also know every time you speak this secret word out loud, an innocent person you will never meet spontaneously combusts and burns to death in front of their loved ones.

[12] By wrapping them up in a series of blankets folded in a special order, you know how to make a pregnant cat give birth to a single two headed kitten with gigantism. You are 90% certain that this same technique could work on a human.

[13] You know who writes all the plays, and you know how much suffering is caused by giving them even a single copper coin.

[14] You can identify any normal mushroom by sight and smell, and heal 1 HP if you eat and find the rarest and most deadliest mushrooms; their poison has no effect on you. Spores of mushroom based creatures also don't effect you either. If your skull is split open after you die; people will find mold-like spots growing on your brain.

[15] You fear something deep below. Merciful sleep washes over you every time you are submerged in cold water. You float instead of sinking and cannot be harmed or drown in this state. Once you return to dry land you wake up.

[16] You have a compulsion to collect and gather some seemingly worthless trinkets. You have little control over this, and must make a save to avoid stabbing someone who tries to take them from you or keep you away from them. The next solar eclipse; you can gather the trinkets to create a beam that brings down a star being, which blesses you and heals all injuries and suffering to those who receive her gentle touch.

[17] You know what happens when you die, and because of it, you desperately seek immortality. +2 against all death saving throws and you live an extra 10 years of natural life span, clinging on.

[18] By aligning silver coins on strings and forcing someone in a chair to watch them for a day, you can force the most sociopathic, empathy-lacking person to suddenly grow a conscious. They will have to decompress and remember, feel, and regret every single bad thing they've done without caring and will be unable to do anything else for a time.

[19] The God of War is an imposter. He killed the last god of war in his sleep. You know what mountain range the old god is buried; you don't know what would happen if you tried to find him, or wake him back up.

[20] Pistons made of brass and tin can be used to hammer impurities out of gems; the impurity being that the gemstones are really eggs for some long, long dead race of beings. Each one is a little different, has a little spell tied into their very being, and a little maniacal.

[21] As long as you can fit your hands around it; you can grip the body of any snake or serpent and using a special grip and motion in your hands, cleanly push out the organs and flesh while keeping the skin, eyes, and fangs lifelessly in your hands. The fleshy lump pushed out is the snake, which suffers immense pain and dies, blinded and defanged, within a few minutes. Intelligent and monstrous snakes seem to hate you most of all, even if they don't know this ability, and an intelligent snake or a snake of 3 HD or higher gets a saving throw to avoid your hands of death.

[22] You know how to extract the gland in a nursing woman's brain that forges a lifelong connection between her and child. This process is fatal the mother. If injected into any creature, they could imprint on whoever you wish; feeling protective instincts of them as though they were their own child.

[23] You know how to stalk and kill a tiger while it sleeps. If you do this, you must wear its skin and act out three days in its life. You receive +1 to your stealth rolls for the rest of your life when you wear that tiger skin, as long as you do not kill anything else and prove to the tiger skin that you are not a born killer like it thought.

[24] Whenever you are crawling in a small, enclosed space or tunnel, you have a 1 in 6 chance to sense anything that is crawling towards you, if it knows of you or not. Whenever you sleep in a cage or jail cell, a rat crawls out of your mouth and runs outside; tries to get eaten by a falcon.

[25] To you, the relationship between animals and their types is much, much different then to normal people. If you were to perform a surgery on an animal, feed it, train it, or butcher you can do techniques that would work on its “actual” ancestors that defy logic but function. Horses are actually closely related to wolves, and can be trained to sic people and feel no fear, for example. Doing this causes the animals you interact with to shift into unnatural forms between these unusual genetic cousins.

[26] There are eight stars in the sky that you refuse to name, and all constellations and navigational methods that use those stars are totally off limits. Once per adventure, you can point up to the night sky and cause panic in mortals like Turn Undead. Every time you do this, one of these stars winks out, like a weight is lifted.

[27] By presenting a bloody femur that was extracted from a body that died less then an hour ago; you can use it as a holy symbol and get +1 to turn undead rolls. The undead shirk and whimper from it, as though reminding them of an even lesser existence.

[28] If you are starving to death, you can “bake” dust into little pies and stave off death. This does not you from taking penalties and damage to your stats due to the starvation, simply keeps you alive on a bitter, awful diet.

[29] Whenever a creature is summoned near you, you always smirk because you know that the spell caster is never the one that decides what gets sent, even if they choose when they cast the spell. You get +2 damage against summoned beings with all attacks, spells, and other effects.

[30] You know the name and how to show respect to the mother of grubs. If you incant her name on an altar and cut off one of your fingers, she'll grant you a magic grub that can halt any poison or disease for an entire day. Does not cure.

[31] You know a method to remove tattoos from skin. It requires straining and digging in soil and loam and permanently makes that land infertile and barren. The area of land required to remove a tattoo is 10,000x the surface area of skin.

[32] You become extremely adept at creating furniture, clothing, utensils, and other items out of the body parts of members of your own race.

[33] You know the truth about the importance of skin coverings, and how to changes how other beings view the mortal races. You wouldn't be caught dead unless at least 90% of your outfit is made of leather from harmless species and especially pathetic, gormless individual creatures. You get +1 AC as long as you wear no other armor then this outfit.

[34] No matter what you eat or how sick you become, you will only ever vomit once again in your entire life. You can do so at will; and the resulting red bile will deal 2d6+ Con modifier acidic damage to anyone or anything.

[35] You now know what terrible beast causes all men and beasts to sleep, and how much it enriches that beast. It is hard for you to sleep, but nobody can ever sneak up to you and kill you in your sleep, nor are you effected by the Sleep spell.

[36] You gained supernatural skills of mediation and consoling. You can start a willing, desperate person with no one else to turn to on the Sixth Steps of Hope; and once begun on the path, one stage will be completed within each year or faster until all Sixth stages are complete. The path cannot be stopped, and the person will require your guidance or will advance at the slowest rate.

The 1st step grants religious piety and devotion, suspending curses and divine punishments sent against that person. The 2nd step teaches dedication, allowing the person to gain either +10% XP or gain another HD after finishing some training, or whichever is more fitting. The 3rd step teaches love and lust, which grants the person +1 to their Charisma modifier. The 4th step removes vanity and physical greed, allowing the person to gain XP for donation/willing give up their treasure or wealth for charity. The 5th step teaches hope for the future, and grants +1 to all saving throws and to hit modifiers for attacks. Finally, the 6th step of reunion comes and goes in a day; where the person lays down, refuses to move, blesses everyone they see, and dies when night falls.

[37] By carving and polishing two black stones, you can use bread dough and rare mineral oils to form a lump. When the eyes are inserted, the lump becomes a creature that looks like a child of whatever species the dough was shaped as. If a human child is created, most people will feel the same need to protect it, or if its an animal child then most animals of its type will want to protect and kill it depending on their nature. Regardless of its type, it smells delicious to monsters and outsider beings. After it takes 1 hit point of damage or after 1 day, the dough turns back into useless mush and the eyes dissolve into black smoke.

[38] You know just where and how deep to cut to perform ritual bloodletting. Each cut deals 1d4 hit point damage but restores 1 point of a damaged attribute. If anyone else tries to copy your technique they will deal 1d6+1 damage to the patient instead with no benefit.

[39] You know a confounding riddle that could stump always anyone; though you don't know the answer. Telling this to someone who craves riddles and games will stump them, unless they are very old or very powerful. If anyone ever tells you the answer, you die.

[40] There's a passenger inside your head. They watch everything you do, and feel everything you feel, but can't speak in any way you can understand. After 1d4 years, the passenger will return to the other realm with its findings, but deposit in your mind some chilling logical observations and simple truths that would terrify most normal people. You gain Intelligence equal to the years the passenger watched you, permanently.

[41] If you deal at least 6 damage to an enemy on a single attack, you can store a single drop of their blood in a vial. Over a year it turns into a deep red crystal, which you can use to conjure glowing lights underneath your skin by crushing the gem with your thumb. The lights either grant effects like the Light spell, or force a morale check against animals and beings closely aligned with the forces of Nature or Neutrality.

[42] You have knowledge of a mechanical schematic made of metal strong enough to bear the strain with springs and straps. When placed on the back of an animal; it snaps the animal's body into an upright, standing position and lets them walk like a man. After a few days of awkwardness, the animal can move similar to a man, and gains more dexterity in their paws/claws/arms to be similar to a servant that cannot speak. Other animals are fearful of and cry out in pain when they see a strapped animal. If you could find metal strong enough, there is no limit to how large an animal you could strap. Dogs and horses are best for this, since you can train them easily and repress most of their destructive instincts.

[43] By strengthening your neck muscles and controlling your breathing; you can put yourself in a state of false death when you are strangled to death or your neck is broken from being hung. You can be awoken in a few days and are helpless until someone wakes you up. Make sure to have friends to dig you up after you're buried, since everyone will sense you as being dead.

[44] You know when the sweetness in the air is really rotting flesh, and can smell any corpse up to half a mile away as long as it's in the stage of decomposition where it starts to smell.

[45] You've learned math; techniques to crunch numbers, carry the one, and move money around. You can get +10% money on loans or taxes you take out, but each year you do this there is a 1 in 6 chance one person you collect from finds out you're messing with the numbers and starts an angry mob to try and kill you. Even if you tried to teach this to somebody else, they just can't get the numbers to work the way you can.

[46] You can create a powerful, tasteless, colorless poison using rare materials and by giving up one level to infuse the brew with magic. Anyone who drinks the elixir, even if mixed with something else, will slowly have their bones becoming weaker until they can't move without snapping their own limbs and ribs. They die within 1d6+2 dies without help.

[47] You know the health benefits and secret methods to cut open people that match your race, gender, and general size and shape and steal their pancreas from them. Stealing them, storing them in jars, and later surgically implanting them into yourself will greatly improve your lifespan and health. Each time you do this, you can reroll all of your HD and take it as your new hit point total if its higher then your old one. If you take at least 4 pancreases into yourself, you can speed up your body once a day and perform two actions or attacks in one round. You cannot cast two spells in a round, as your tongue gets all twisted up trying to speak spells that fast.

[48] You can throw objects at a strange angle that increases the distance far beyond what is sensible to your species or level of strength and agility. The object “catches the air” and just hangs at a certain altitude, not falling until much further along then it normally could. This applies to ranged weapon projectiles and throwing weapons as well.

The thrown projectiles make a high pitched squealing noise as they move through the air, and anyone who is a cannibal or human eating monsters hear wonderful music instead of a whistle.

[49] You can take a step behind a shadowy corner, ask everyone to turn around, or throw up a cloud of smoke and suddenly disappear. You can then reappear where someone can see you, stepping out from behind a new corner or from a shadowy place. You can even reappear in places you couldn't normal reach; such as reappearing on the other end of a small chasm.

Every time you use this power, you appear 1d8 years older or lose 1d4 Dexterity permanently, whichever is worse.

[50] You've learned how to see. Truly see. Whenever attacked by or accosted by an invisible creature, spell, object, or trap you get a saving throw to see it. Whenever you encounter a creature with a gaze attack, you get no penalty to attacking it without looking at it directly; there are plenty of clues. But 1 in every 20 people you see has a thing growing on them, curled around them. You know they're corrupted inside and can't be trusted, but you don't know how to fix them.


  1. Dreadful and gameable, a lovely combination.

  2. I'm reading this again in 2020 and enjoying it even more. What does #13 mean? Is it a reference to something?

    1. It's partially a jab at the "Shakespear was actually an evil regressive guy who stole all his stories from underprivileged writers" nonsense you might hear once or twice, but no it's mostly just meant to be ominous and spooky.