The Lock and Key
It is known in some academic circles that a strange and unique tome exists among the list of odd metaphysical reference material that is currently available today. It should be said that it is not a single volume, but two books. One which contains a translation of an older, apparently nonexistent tome and the other, which is a key for deciphering the first. The translated material, which is encrypted and requires the key to be of any use, seems to be a grimoire or book of shadows. Only one copy of the original existed and has been destroyed or otherwise lost to the ages. Speculation that the original text was the spellbook of an ancient Russian sorcerer is widespread when researching the rumors that surround this set of books. It is unknown who performed the translation and subsequent encrypting of the original tome. However, due to particular phrasing in Old East Slavic and its apparent translation into a more modern Russian dialect, some have suggested the translator be of Russian ancestry. Whoever did this translation obviously had a copy of the original volume. Still, the original has never surfaced on the standard or black markets. There are some wild tales about the origin of the book; however, these claims have never been fully substantiated. At the moment, there is no physical evidence that these claims are fact. The mystery surrounding the book's origin and the unknown translator are trivial in comparison to the absurd notions that comprise the actual content of this archaic mystical tome.
The Lock and Key first surfaced in 1922. It was found in the Boston apartment of Mr. Stewart Brooks when police were called by neighbors reporting that Mr. Brooks had been wailing in his apartment for hours. Mr. Brooks was found covered in his own blood from self-inflicted wounds and wailing uncontrollably. Books was taken for evaluation and subsequently committed to the Roxbury Sanitarium, where he died in 1954. Mr. Brooks never recovered from his mental break. As such, he was never able to divulge any information about the origin of the books found in his apartment. Curiously, Mr. Brooks, was known to draw a specific set of spiral patterns that another patient Ms. Agatha McGinley also drew identically. The two had never met and had never had any contact within the hospital that would have allowed them to collaborate on the symbol or see one another's drawings. Regardless, they are identical. This spiral symbol is also present on various pages throughout the Lock and Key.
The books were confiscated by the police. They were later released to the Roxbury Sanitarium in hopes that they would help his doctors understand the root of his mental illness. Dr. Stanton Pellegrin, Mr. Brooks's doctor, spent years trying to understand why this man, who had been an accountant of good repute, would suddenly descend into madness. Dr. Pellegrin's theory was that the book was the catalyst for the break. He spent much of his time researching the book and attempting to find it's origins. Much of what we know about these books is a result of Dr. Pellegrin's research. It was Dr. Pellegrin who contacted colleagues at the fabled Miskatonic University's Oren Library to study and possibly identify the original work that the translation was derived from. It was never determined, however, and the lone copy of these books remain at the Oren Library in the restricted section.
The book is regarded as a spellbook rather than a reference. It makes some very wild claims and offers spells which, if we can believe them to be accurate, boast some very astonishing results. The writer of the tome is clearly an acolyte of an evil deity, named in the book as "Yerg SothEth," who appears to be associated with the traversal of dimensions and time itself. Other such books have named the same deity as "Yog SethEth," "Yog-Sothoth," "The Opener of Ways," "Guardian of the Gate," "Eater of Souls" and other various names dealing with traveling or opening gateways into different dimensions. This book asserts that with the rituals provided within one could move into other dimensions or even backward and forward in time. There is a specific ritual as well, which allows the caster to travel to the same dimension that this blasphemous god exists in and become a servitor to the evil entity. Upon returning, the caster would be imbued with the dark god's power to open a gateway between our plane of existence and its. This would effectively result in the ruination of all mankind.
Most rational researchers into the subject believe the entire mystery surrounding the books to be an elaborate hoax. There are some very compelling arguments to the validity of these books as authentic translations of an ancient and dubiously potent and as yet undiscovered text. Some say that the book is currently in possession of a family that has kept this dark secret for ages and will continue to do so. Some believe the book is buried with its original writer in the haunted and deadly "De Beulen Huis" graveyard in Denmark. In contrast, the vast majority think it is fake. The books are in the care of the Oren Library at the Miskatonic University in Arkham, Massachusetts, they are in the restricted section. There have been numerous attempts at the theft of these books, and they are no longer available for viewing.
The Lock and Key
Language: Encrypted (Can be deciphered with the use of the Key, once translated, the text is a mix of English, Hebrew, Latin and Russian. Rolls for each of these languages must be made) To decipher the text one must know how the key works, this information can be obtained from Dr. Stanton Pellegrin, Henry Armitage or other individuals determined by the keeper. Keepers can create custom mechanics for deciphering the text but a base a roll in Mathematics, Linguistics or combination of the languages used in the encryption should be made. After the text is decrypted the keeper should ask for additional language rolls to understand the text. This may seem overly difficult but it should. The original book of shadows that this translation comes from is a very potent book written in Old East Slavic, which contains very specific spells and rituals pertaining to Yog-Sothoth and dimensional travel. The original was taken back to "De Beulen Huis" and re-buried with it's author by Christopher McGinley after discovering the book and it's terrible connection to his family. You can find the McGinley story here
Sanity Loss: 1d4/1d8
Mythos Rating: 25
Cthulhu Mythos: +3/+6
Study: 30 weeks
Spells: Call/Dismiss Yog-Sothoth, Contact Deity: Yog-Sothoth, Create Gate, Voorish Sign, Summon/Bind Servitor of the Outer Gods, Dedication to the Opener, Dismiss Servitor of the Opener
Dedication to the Opener: Upon casting, the caster is transported to Yog-Sothoth. Yog-Sothoth will then imbue the caster with his essences and transform the caster into a servitor. Once this transformation is complete, the caster is transported back to his/her original location. The caster will have powers granted by the deity but is now a slave to Yog-Sothoth and will be driven by the desire to bring Yog-Sothoth into the caster's plane of existence.
The caster gains the ability to send dreams, dominate and manifest themselves as a shadow that can exist up to 100 feet from the caster's location.
The caster is also horribly deformed by the transformation. The extent of this deformation is at the keeper's discretion.
Casting: The caster spends 1d8 sanity and 1d8 magic points. They must also successfully cast a Create Gate spell. A symbol is drawn on the ground. Once the caster steps into the symbol, they are transported to Yog-Sothoth.
Dismiss Servitor of the Opener: Once cast this spell will dismiss a servitor or Yog-Sothoth.
The caster spends 1d6 + 1 sanity and 5 points of POW. The caster must then spend 10 MP. This gives them a 20% chance of success. If the caster wishes to add additional MP from artifacts or other participants, they can at this time providing an extra 5% per MP. If successful, a gate will open, swallowing the servitor and closing after.