If it were not for the help of a scorned mistress, we would never have gotten so far. The surface of the oak door was covered in an intricate pattern of symbols and words, though nothing we recognized. As we traced the pattern the mistress described, the carvings began to glow with an inner light. Suddenly the door opened with a soft puff of air.
Before us stood an ghastly sight… leathery skin covered the frame of a being that might once have been human and carved, ever so intricately open its flesh were words. It did not move upon our entry. In fact it looked quite like a mummy unwrapped from its linens. It appeared that one hand seemed blackened as if some intrepid explorer got their torch too close. As Clayton stepped closer to examine the cramped writings, I surveyed the rest of the room. Here was a treasure beyond anything we could hope to imagine. Books thought lost to humanity, hidden here.
I was just reaching to stroke the spine on an exquisite copy of Liber Ivonis, when Clayton shrieked. I turned to see my partner’s hand, held fast within the dried and leathery grip of this human book. How it had moved, apparently so beyond life, is beyond my understanding… but as I stood in shock, I could see it’s mouth begin to form words. The dry cracked lips whispered in a language I didn’t know, and my partner stood fixed to his spot, bond to the strange creature before us.
As I drew my gun, a sultry voice spoke behind me, “We can have none of that my dear…”. Something hard can across the back of my head with such force that I fell flat. Something warm trickled down the back of my neck. As I lost consciousness, I was certain that I could see the words carved into it’s skin glow and swirl and dance between it and my partner.
I awoke with a start, lying by the ghastly figure, no longer speaking, no longer moving. Clayton was no where to be seen and the rare books that had lined the walls of this secret room were gone.
The Lexi Sakra (λέξη σάρκα), or the Word Made Flesh
Hidden along the banks of Lake Yath, nestled in the Dreamlands, lies a seemingly ruined and forgotten library, surrounded by thick vegetation that seems to crawl with all manner of deadly beasts. Within the library are all manner of books, many of which were thought to have been destroyed by the fires at Alexandria, hidden away by the Ulada u Viedach (ўлада ў ведах) sect. The Ulada u Viedach are an ancient sect dedicated to the protection of knowledge… ALL knowledge. Since the days before the written word, they have sought to collect and preserve as much knowledge as possible. Their pursuit has taken on many different aspects, with acolytes dedicated to the remembrance of the spoken word (passed down from person to person), collectors who seek out copies of anything they can get a hold of (legally or not), countless scribes copying rare and damaged texts, and ultimately, the Lexi Sakra.
The Lexi Sakra are the elite acolytes of the Ulada u Viedach. They have transformed their bodies into the living embodiment of a book, the words forever carved into their flesh, their own personalities erased so that they have become nothing but the book. Few within the order are privy to the process of creating a Lexi Sakra or even what they origins are, a fact that creates some tension within the order. It has been observed that the Lexi Sakra seem to have exceptionally long lives though, perhaps even having achieve some sort of immortality.
They appear largely human from a distance, but upon closer viewing, it is obvious that they are something more. Within the walls of the ruined library, the Lexi Sakra wander the halls nude. They are deaf and blind, yet you would not know it from the way the move in slow deliberation. Some of the older Lexi Sakra stand motionless, like hideous statues unless disturbed in some way. They are largely uninterested in others, mumbling passages from their respective books in quiet tones. Outside of the ruined library, they wear flowing red and black robes whose threads also bare the story of their particular book. The closer one gets to the Lexi Sakra, the more they notice the words carved upon their flesh.
Lexi Sakra do not feed conventionally. Instead, they will often seek out those traveling through the Dreamlands, enticing them with their rare and sometimes forbidden/forgotten knowledge. They crave the chance to be read, as any book that lies unread is useless. The act of actively reading the words upon a Lexi Sakra drains POW from the reader, transferring it to the Lexi Sakra. The drain is often so slow, that the reader is unaware of it.
Generally non-violent, the Lexi Sakra are not without the ability to protect themselves for above all they are dedicated to the preservation of knowledge. They will only attack those who have threatened them or their pursuit of preserving knowledge.
Lexi Sakra are essentially human, albeit enhanced ones. They are physically the same as a human for normal combat purposes.
Being the embodiment of an important text requires a lot of POW. Each Lexi Sakra will have a base POW of 25. For Lexi Sakra embodying rarer mythos tomes, or particularly potent ones like the Necronomicon, add the base SAN lose to the POW.
Being the living embodiment of a book, they have long lost any sanity or sense of self and thus do not suffer SAN loss themselves.
Since they are more or less human looking, though certainly disfigured, SAN loss for simply viewing them is minor 1d3. To see a Lexi Sakra in combat can be more disquieting as the POW within them causes the words on their flesh to glow and move like serpents, so double the SAN loss to 1d6+1.
Each Lexi Sakra embodies a particular book, and knows and can use all of the spells within the book. When using a Lexi Sakra in your game, be sure to pick an appropriate book for it to be associated with.
Read Lexi Sakra (POW drain)
Reader loses 1d3 POW per day that they read from the Lexi Sakra. This POW is only temporarily lost and can be renewed through normal rest. This is a passive ability and does not require a roll by the Lexi Sakra.
Walk Between Worlds
The Lexi Sakra can walk between the waking world and the dream world without a gateway, easily creating their own gates from their current location back to the ruined library. This gateway costs 3 POW to create and effects only the Lexi Sakra.
Preserve the Word
If a Lexi Sakra is damaged in such a way that its text would be obscured or lost (most physical damage would cause this), then the Lexi Sakra will reach for the person closest to it and grab hold. They will hold onto the target for 1d4 rounds before letting go, unless they are killed. While it has hold of the target person, it will begin chanting its book. If the Lexi Sakra has not been killed before the 1d4 rounds is up, the target will be marked to become a Lexi Sakra to replace the damaged one. There is no save against this attack. The Lexi Sakra will choose the character in closest proximity to them, so those engaged in melee are the most likely targets. If no one is with melee range, then the Lexi Sakra will attack the closest person they can reach. Their drive to preserve knowledge is so intense that they will fight to the death and possibly beyond in order to achieve it.
They will begin having dreams of being surrounded by Lexi Sakra, dancing nude around them, the words carved into their flesh glowing with some inner light, pulsing, and the then seeming to move across their skin like living things. The dreams will progress in intensity for 7 days, during which time the target may begin showing signs of forgetfulness in their daily lives, or pronounced knowledge of the book that touched them. The target may also begin to see or feel raised scars in their skin, or experience phantom hearing loss or blindness that cannot be explained medically.
The only way to halt the process is for another person to become the Lexi Sakra for the damaged book. Willing persons will be extremely difficult to find outside the Ulada u Viedach. Note that the process can only be halted, not reversed. It is best to have the Keeper begin a timer at this point. Letting players know that for every 30-60 mins of game play, the players are experiencing a full day. This helps keeps things moving in what should feel like a very time sensitive and imperative situation.
Day 1: The skin where the target was touched begins to form an odd rash. They begin having odd dreams involving the Lexi Sakra. They may have dreams about the book they are becoming, rituals or spells that were contained in it.
Day 2: Upon waking, the rash has spread across the entire limb. The actual touch site is now showing more definition as the rash starts to show what appear to be words of some sort. A doctor examining the target will be deeply concerned about the rash, though they won’t likely “believe” that the rash is forming words. They may place the patient in the hospital under observation. Target experiences auditory hallucinations of strange whispers is a language they don’t know. The dreams intensify. SAN 1d4
Day 3: The rash has spread across the target’s torso. If a doctor has already been contacted, they may quarantine the patient for free of contagion. There are very clear words/symbols on the limb first affected. The whispers become more distinct. Target begins noticing hair loss over entire body. The dreams are so real that the target can barely tell the difference between being awake and asleep. SAN 1d6
Day 4: The rash has started to spread across the remaining limbs. The target begins showing signs of hearing loss. Auditory hallucinations continue though. Seems like all sounds other than the whispers are muffled. Visual hallucinations begin, glowing words that resemble those on the target’s body move through the air around them, little wisps at first, invading everything they see. Attempts at skin grafting or dermal abrasion does not remove the rash or words. SAN 1d8 Permanent SAN loss. Mythos increases by the same amount at this SAN loss roll.
Day 5: The rash now covers all limbs and is creeping up over the face (if that wasn’t the original site they were touched). They can now only hear the whispers, steadily become a strong chant. Their eyes are beginning to lose their color as the visual hallucinations increase making it difficult to see anything. Involuntarily they will begin joining the chanting they hear in their heads. The words that seemed strange before will begin to become recognizable and even familiar. SAN 1d10 Permanent SAN loss. Mythos increases by the same amount at this SAN loss roll.
Day 6: Rash has fully covered the target and is readable by anyone who knows the language. The target may begin unconsciously to feed as a Lexi Sakra, as others around him/her try to decipher the script that has covered them. This is an unstable time for them and they may completely drain the POW of any unsuspecting persons reading their skin. The target is now blind and deaf by all medical reasoning. They will generally sit very still at this stage, lost in the book that they have become. If attacked at this stage, they can and will unconsciously protect themselves by using any spells available to them from their book. SAN 2d10+5 Permanent SAN loss. Mythos increases by the same amount at this SAN loss roll.
Day 7: The process is complete. The target’s SAN is reduced to 0 if it hadn’t reached that already. The target is now the full embodiment of the book/Lexi Sakra, that was damaged/destroyed. They will seek to return to the ruined library where their brethren await them. Generally this will be a simple use of the spell Walk Between Worlds. If they do not have the POW to cast the spell, they will seek to feed as soon as possible or will call out to their kind for help.