The material below is designated as open game content. (See previous page for license)
To a mortal the power of the gods may seem infinite, but there are forces in the multiverse that even the most powerful deities fear; questions so dangerous that even the vast intellect of a god should not contemplate the answers. While most gods know better than to open the doors to such forbidden knowledge, there are still those who were once driven to go where others do not dare. Gods that attempted to understand the very nature of existence in their search for raw power or knowledge, only to be driven mad by the glimpse of the forbidden that they possess.
A god possessing the secrets of all creation is dangerous, and one driven mad with the power he possesses even more so. Deities from all pantheons fear the implications of such knowledge, and they do their best to remove the threat whenever it arises. Some mad gods are simply killed, the dead husks of their corpses left to rot on the planes they once commanded. The more powerful are exiled, sent into a remote plane of pure chaos and pain where they will be forever tormented by what they know.
Halgo Torke was a diviner and planar scholar driven by a need for personal power, a dwarf with a desire to master magic that lesser men scorned or feared. Like many mortals he dreamed of achieving godhood, establishing himself as part of the divine host and living forever beyond the reach of the lesser beings who taunted him for his interest in magic as a child. He turned to the diviner’s path in order to find the secrets of immortality and the multiverse alike, and unlike many men who set such goals, Halgo almost succeeded in his quest.
Wise men often note that there are some prices that are too high to pay in the quest for knowledge, but those concerns meant little to Halgo. The dwarven wizard dealt with demons and fiends of all kinds, trading his soul and his services a dozen times over in his search for raw power. He dabbled with the life essences of dead gods, warped the souls of man and dwarf alike, and eventually found the one source of knowledge that had eluded him for the decades of his career. The path to the Realm of Mad Gods; a planar prison used to hold the deranged gods whose understanding of reality had shattered their minds and made them a threat to all existence if they were permitted to act unchecked.
Halgo traveled to the Realm of Mad Gods, learning much about the nature of reality and how it can be broken through the use of magic. While the alien realm took a toll on the dwarf’s sanity, his communion with the slumbering deities imprisoned there revealed new avenues of power that could be used to create his own spells. Returning to his planar home, Halgo penned the Tome of Mad Gods so that others could one day follow in his footsteps.
Scribing the Tome took Halgo the better part of fifteen years, and in that time his sanity was slowly chipped away with each word he committed to paper. When it was complete he bequeathed the book to the planar library known as Libris Veltane, then disappeared from public view forever.
What happened to Halgo Torke has been the subject of much debate, although many believe that he was exiled to the Mad Gods' Realm himself after his book was completed. The wardens of Libris Veltane refused to copy the book, placing it in a secure chamber protected from planar travel and divination in an effort to contain the knowledge held within. It lay there for nearly a century before the librarians discovered that the book was missing, and no attempt to divine its fate or location has succeeded since it disappeared.
It is known that several prominent planar wizards claimed to have studied the Tome, and the occasional scrap of Halgo’s planar lore or magic is found among the belongings of a defeated demon or infernal wizard who traded with the dwarven wizard in his search. Desperate planar scholars and doomsday cultists alike continue to search for the Tome, hoping to discover some scrap of knowledge that will elevate them above their peers or give them the ability to destroy worlds. Most sane creatures live in fear that one will eventually succeed.
Bardic Knowledge/Knowledge (arcana, the planes)
Characters with the Bardic Knowledge ability, Knowledge (arcana) or Knowledge (the planes) may already be familiar with Halgo and the Tome of Mad Gods. The first time a character hears of either, have them make a check and consult the following table.
DC 15: The Tome of the Mad Gods was written by the dwarven diviner Halgo Torke, who claimed to have visited an eldritch realm where deranged gods slept in an eternal torpor and revealed the secrets of the universe to anyone who could find a way into their dreams.
DC 20: Halgo succeeded in finding a path to the Realm of Mad Gods, a planar prison that sends divine beings into a catatonic torpor and is used to imprison those that could unravel the very fabric of reality with the forbidden knowledge they possess. He created a variety of spells during his quest to find the Realm, most of which are contained within the tome.
DC 25: The Tome of the Mad Gods was given to the planar library known as Libris Veltane when it was completed, where the librarians immediately sealed it and locked it away from curious eyes. It was later stolen, although no-one has determined who took the tome or where it was taken. Rumors suggest that the Mad Gods themselves removed it, subtly using their powers in the hopes that someone may one day destroy the universe and free them from their prison.
The Tome of the Mad Gods is a heavy tome five times thicker than a conventional spellbook. Bound with covers of thick dragon-bone, it is a faded yellow and bears the star-filled eye that was Halgo Torke’s sigil burned into the center of its cover.
The thousand pages of the Tome are filled with a wild, scrawling script that speaks volumes of the dwarf’s mental state when he composed the tome. Meaning is often difficult to determine, requiring the reader to rely on their interpretation of obscure clues and references to planar lore. The only truly coherent records are the details of the spells used, all of which are printed in a kind of stiff certainty and clarity.
If viewed with spells that detect alignment, the Tome of Mad Gods has a dim chaotic aura.
Value: 54,000 gp (53,100 gp for spells, +900 for lore)
Hit Points: 10
Weight: 7 lbs
Special: The Tome of the Mad Gods contains a vast amount of planar lore, with details of Torke’s deals and trades with some of the vilest creatures known to man or god. If the Tome of the Mad Gods is consulted for one hour while researching a question regarding an evil or chaotic outsider, the user gains a +2 circumstance bonus to their check due to the extensive details on such creatures contained within the tome. The Tome of the Mad Gods also contains the true name of over a dozen devils and demons, allowing the reader to summon and bind these creatures with the greater planar binding spell.
By reading the entire Tome and making a successful Knowledge (the planes) check (DC 25), a creature can follow the confusing and many-layered path to the Realm of Mad Gods that Halgo recorded. Attempting to access the plane without this information is risky, as the Realm shares planar borders with only a scattered few demi-planes and direct travel to the Realm via planar magic is nearly impossible.
The Tome of the Mad Gods contains over a thousand pages, but not all are filled with spells. If you would prefer to limit the book to the normal 100 pages common to spellbooks, treat the tome as a collection of books with a common author.