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The Tome of the Unicorn was a large book. It was 2 ft (0.61 m) broad, 3 ft (0.91 m) high and more than 4 in (10 cm) thick. The pages of the tome were polished plates of electrum, and a casual observer may have believed them to be blank.[3] If an observer concentrated on the tome, the contents would have appeared, written in Thorass.[1]


The Tome of the Unicorn contained 23 spells, one per 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, and power word, kill.[1]

The remaining pages functioned as a manual to create iron golems and stone golems.[1] The gate spell on page 21 also included instructions on how to make the gate permanent and which components were needed for achieving this. The imprisonment and power word: kill spells on the following pages were part of a curse of the book. Every time one of these pages was used, there was a low chance that the reader would suffer imprisonment as per the spell. Also the inside of the front cover contained some enchantment. It was a protective spell turning magic has been cast upon it. The back cover housed an extradimensional space in which a demilich resided. Each time the book was opened, there was a low, but higher, chance that the creature was summoned and attacked the user. If someone concentrated on the back cover, the summon was guaranteed. The demilich appeared as a flying skull over the pages of the book. The creature would also appear if the book took some amount of damage. If the tome was destroyed, the lich would be be freed from it, and its physical remains would become stationary at the point of the tome's destruction.[2]

There were enchantments placed upon the book that allowed the demiliches to teal spells from the mind of anyone who touched the Tome of the Unicorn, no matter how brief the contact was. This ability was not hampered by unconsciousness, insanity, an anti-magic shell, mind bar, or similar magical or psionic protections. The spell transfer took place immediately, but the stolen spell was chosen randomly.[2]


Upon the final creation of the book, Shoon bathed the metal book plates in the blood of twelve slaughtered unicorns in 355 DR. In order to do this, Shoon had to destroy an elven tribe, who guarded the unicorns. These evil acts brought him the eternal enmity of elves and druids across Faerûn.[1]

Twelve years later, in 367 DR, 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 the empire's collapse only 33 years after his death. However, Shoon still had his secrets and safeholds of his empire, and thus managed to keep the tome with him. He did this in order to prevent losing it to Iryklathagra, the blue dragon, who stole his unicorn-horn staff a century before.[1]

Shoon was bound to the book and was only interested in draining souls. When he drained them, he normally returned to the tome, but if someone still concentrated on the back cover, he would stay and continue 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.[2]

It was 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 remained unknown.[1]

In 1107 DR, the Tome was seen in Baldur's Gate, where it was in the possession of Bhaernom Khreyt, an expert on the Shoon Empire. 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 the royal hands of Ruathym in 1126 DR. It remained there until it was stolen in 1357 DR 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 told 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.[1] Zallanora resided in the tome as a demilich. She had nearly gone mad with fear and despair. The skull moved quickly and nervously; her speech was rapid and raw with panic. She did not understand what happened to her and was horrified by her "new" body and what it could do.[2]

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.[1]

Rumors & Legends[]

Legends claimed 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 was 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.[1]



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 Steven E. Schend (August 1997). “Book Three: Erlkazar & Folk of Intrigue”. In Roger E. Moore ed. Lands of Intrigue (TSR, Inc.), p. 10. ISBN 0-7869-0697-9.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Steven E. Schend (August 1997). “Book Three: Erlkazar & Folk of Intrigue”. In Roger E. Moore ed. Lands of Intrigue (TSR, Inc.), p. 11. ISBN 0-7869-0697-9.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Steven E. Schend (August 1997). “Book Three: Erlkazar & Folk of Intrigue”. In Roger E. Moore ed. Lands of Intrigue (TSR, Inc.), p. 9. ISBN 0-7869-0697-9.