The Tome of the Unicorn is a large book. It is 2 feet broad, 3 feet high and more than 4 inches thick. The pages of the Tome are polished plates of electrum and a casual observer might think that they are blank. If the observer concentrates on the Tome, the contents will show, written in Thorass and they will be visible for some time.
History of the TomeEdit
Legends claim that the Tome of the Unicorn was once made by the mage-king of Iltkazar. His Majesty, the most-Mighty Emperor Shoon VII of the Shoon Empire created the book. It is also said that the book contains many unique spells, including means to create a permanent gate between planes of existence, the means to construct golem armies, and necromantic spells that could animate and control whole graveyards of undead soldiers.
It gained its name from its cruel construction. To finish it and preserve its final enchantments, Shoon bathed the metal book plates in the blood of 12 slaughtered unicorns in the Year of Mourning Horns. He had to destroy an elven tribe, who guarded the unicorns, so that both evil acts brought him the eternal enmity of elves and druids across Faerûn.
Twelve years later, in the Year of Shying Eyes, Shoon faked his own death. Without distractions of ruling his empire, he achieved lichdom three years later. He planned to rule his empire from behind the throne. To the blessing of the Realms, his attention to his magic and lack of attention to his empire during his lifetime, and his daughter's and great-grandson's poor management skills, helped usher in the empire's collapse only 33 years after his death. But Shoon had still his secrets and safeholds of his empire and kept his Tome with him, to prevent losing it to the Iryklathagra, the blue dragon, who stole his unicorn-horn Staff a century before.
It is not much known about the whereabouts of the Tome during the next 700 years. Elven historians assumed that Shoon fled to safeholds in the ruins of Deep Shanatar or his dungeons beneath the Imperial Mount of Shoonach. At some point during that time his form degenerated into a demilich. His skull remained but was now imprisoned within the last page of the Tome of the Unicorn. Whether Shoon was the engineer of this fate or he was confined there by an enemy is unknown.
In the Year of the Skulk the Tome was seen in Baldur's Gate, where it was in the possession of Bhaernom Khreyt, an expert on the Shoon Empire. But his ship, the Wave Wizardess, sank with the loss of all hands on its way to the Moonshaes later that year. The book turned up in royal hands of Ruathym in the Year of Azure Blood. It remained there, until it was stolen in the Year of the Prince by Shond Tharovin. He managed to speak with the demilich and made a pact with him. In exchange for the souls of seven people to be consumed by Shoon, the lich would tell him where he could find the artifact known as Living Gem. Shond arranged for a caravan to be waylaid on a journey through the Cloud Peaks, and the elf Zallanora Argentresses was with them. Shoon was released from the Tome and began to feed upon the souls. As he advanced on Zallanora, the Time of Troubles began warping magic in mysterious ways. The two beings switched spirits. Shoon got the body of the elf and was freed from imprisonment and Zallanora became the skull.
After that the emperor and Tharovin destroyed all traces of what had happened there. Shoon kept his word and told the mage where the Gem was hidden. For the next ten years, the now lich-turned-elf learned to live in the changed Realms, where there was almost no trace of his old empire. He hid the Tome of the Unicorn in a safehold under the ruins of Shoonach, which he visited once every month to check for its security. The spirit of Zallanora was still within, despairing and going mad. It was unlikely that someone would find the Tome, because the dungeon was well guarded by monsters and traps, and so the truth about Shoon's return to the living was not well-known.
The Tome of the Unicorn has 23 spells, one to a page: charm person, darkness 15’ radius, ESP, scare, dispel magic, charm monster, fear, fire trap, polymorph other, wizard eye, animate dead, death spell, duo-dimension, phase door, statue, clone, glassteel, permanency, power word, blind, trap the soul, gate, imprisonment, power word, kill.
The remaining pages functions as a manual to create iron golems and stone golems. The gate spell on page 21 also includes instructions on how to make the gate permanent and which components are needed for achieving this. The imprisonment and power word: kill spells on the following pages are part of a curse of the book. Every time one of these pages is perused, there is a 7% noncumulative chance that the reader will suffer imprisonment as per the spell. Also the inside of the front cover contains some enchantement. It is a protective spell turning magic has been cast upon it. The back cover houses an extradimensional space in which the demilich resides. Each time the book is opened there is a 9% chance that the lich is summoned and attacks the user. If someone concentrates on the back cover the chance for summoning it is 100%. The demilich appears as a flying skull over the pages of the book. The lich will also appear if the book takes some amount of damage. If the tome would be destroyed the lich will be freed from it and its physical remains become stationary at the point of the Tome’s destruction.
At the time when Shoon was still bound to the book he was only interested in draining souls. When he drained it he normally returned to the Tome, but if someone still concentrated on the back cover he would have stayed and continued with his attacks. He never spoke unless he was respectfully addressed as Emperor or if someone used the spell speak with dead, ESP or used telepathy on it. Shoon was a cynical, cold-blooded, uncaring creature conversing calmly in a deadpan tone, even while attacking.
Now that Zallanora resides in it as a demilich the situation differs. She is nearly gone mad with fear and despair. The skull will move quickly and nervously, her speech is rapid and raw with panic. She does not understand what happened to her and is horrified by her “new” body and what it can do. Unless someone talk her to a semblance of calm, she randomly howls or drains souls. She even does not go back to the Tome, once freed, and continues howling until either dead or another force releases her. Shoon in her old body believes she might even be able to drain his soul and this may return their spirits to their proper bodies. Something he wishes not to happen.
There are enchantments placed on the book which allow the demiliches to use stealspell to gain spells from the mind of any person who touches the Tome of the Unicorn, no matter how brief a contact was. Stealspell is not hampered by unconsciousness, insanity, anti-magic shell, mind bar, or similar magical or psionic protections. The spell transfer takes place immediately, but the stolen spell is chosen randomly.
- ↑ Steven E. Schend (1997). Lands of Intrigue: Book Three: Erlkazar & Folk of Intrigue. (TSR, Inc), p. 9. ISBN 0-7869-0697-9.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 Steven E. Schend (1997). Lands of Intrigue: Book Three: Erlkazar & Folk of Intrigue. (TSR, Inc), p. 10. ISBN 0-7869-0697-9.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Steven E. Schend (1997). Lands of Intrigue: Book Three: Erlkazar & Folk of Intrigue. (TSR, Inc), p. 11. ISBN 0-7869-0697-9.