The Scriptorium Sepulcher of Sanguineous Tehom

The Scriptorium Sepulcher squats across from Funeral Street, featuring a mixture of architectural styles and a wide, orderly cemetery tended by skeletal gardeners. The Sepulcher, as it is most commonly known, is home to Sanguineous Tehom, an ancient lich and powerful necromancer, who maintains the largest cemetery and library in the city, though the latter is considerably larger an more densely packed than the former.

As a frequent employer of the undead, mindless or otherwise, and a long time resident of Kheol, Tehom is careful to abide by the laws which govern necromancy in the city. Some even whisper that he helped to establish those laws, since none but he and the Yamas know how long he’s been residing there. The cemetery out front is where all of his former servants are buried, save a few who had living family to whom they were returned.

The library, however, is the real draw of the Sepulcher, and the reason that inquisitive souls in many forms come to him from many, many places. Tehom sees himself as a librarian first, and necromancer second, and his knowledge is so deep and wide that he has grown beyond the paranoia and jealousy of many lesser magic-users. To that end, he allows anyone access to the library, provided they follow a few simple rules.

  • First, they must respect the books and each other. No petty rivalries may erupt in the library, lest they disturb patrons or damage the books themselves.
  • Second, any person may read any book, scroll, or other source held within the library, whether it’s a good idea or not. There are works in there which can drive a mortal mad, but Tehom trusts his patrons to know better than to read things at random.
  • Third, while anyone can read anything, none may copy anything. You can take only your memories, and may not take works out of the reading rooms, nor make copies of them. You’re free to write down what you remember after leaving the Sepulcher grounds, but not within the fences of the manor.

These rules are simple, and mostly go unbroken, but when they are, the punishments invariably result in expulsion from the library, the destruction of any illicit copies made, and sometimes banishment. Generally, Tehom and his librarians (all huecuvas) are willing to be lenient about an initial slight, but instruct all first time visitors of the rules. Any who break the rules a second time are simply banned, and entrance to the library without permission is difficult and painful to the extreme.

Outside of the library, the Sepulcher is built like a crypt but decorated like a manor, and is off-limits to any not specifically invited to visit. Tehom himself is polite yet distant, and rarely invites people into his home, but he does take an interest in the occasional library patron or adventurer. He has been known to hire strangers for dangerous tasks, and often employs those killed in his service as servants in his home.


Artwork: “The Catacombs at Palermo” from South by East: Notes of Travel in Southern Europe, by G.F. Rodwell, 1877

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2 thoughts on “The Scriptorium Sepulcher of Sanguineous Tehom

  1. Just finished up reading through your blog. Really loving this. How exactly do you imagine a party to adventure in a place like this? Feels like it would make a great novel, but throw some players in there and it is going to go bonkers.

    Also, do you have any tips on converting monsters from 5e to Black Hack? I would have no problem doing a Goblin. But looking at the TBH monster manual for Dragon and the 5e monster manual for Dragon, leaves me rather confused.

    Thanks!

    Like

    • Thanks!

      Personally, I see Kheol as more of a base of operations for having weird adventures in the Underworld, as a place to procure hard to find resources like spiritum or ghost lotus, or as a place to get lost lore from Sanguineous Tehom.

      As to converting monsters over to TBH, I think there’s two basic ways to do that. The first is to pick one ability and make that their “thing,” then just assign a number of hit dice, based on the original monster if you want, and then throw them at the players. The thing about converting later editions of D&D is that it has a different HD economy than early editions, so you might need to give it fewer HD to make it work. A direct conversion from 1e or B/X is probably the easiest, or from another OSR system built on those older editions.

      The other way is to take inspiration from a monster, giving it HD based on roughly how powerful you want it to be compared to the PCs, and then a cool ability to round it out. Monsters in TBH are even more abstract than they are in a lot of other games, and I think that has a lot to do with the more abstract and “haphazard” combat you see in earlier editions of D&D. Challenge Ratings didn’t show up until 3rd Edition, when WotC decided to make combat more mechanically balanced. In older editions, and I think a lot of OSR games aim for this as well, it’s more about throwing interesting things at the PCs, and not worrying so much about balance.

      Hope that helps!

      Liked by 1 person

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