Bazaar of the Bizarre-Tomes of Gideon

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Original article from Dragon Magazine 245

Note that at the time of publishing this was 2nd edition, thus all stats are still in 2nd Edition format
Tomes of Gideon
History: In the beginning, the dwarves of Kuldarzik (their name for Cerilia) were serene and diligent, not concerning themselves with the passage of time or affairs in domains out- of their mountain kingdoms. In a time long before the gods died at Mount Deismaar, a group of wise dwarves lead by the sage Gideon Rinsparr decided to keep a chronicle of the dwarven people. Gideon believed the dwarven view of history needed to be preserved for future generations.
At first these chronicles were compounded in a single volume, written exclusively in an ancient dwarven script. In later years one volume became many, and soon the Tomes of Gideon were created. It is believed that Moradin, the creator of the dwarves of Kuldarzik, personally watches over the Rinsparr clan and their work.
The Rinsparr dwarves have always been the keepers of the sacred tomes, and the writers of dwarven history. Even two millennia after the chronicles began, descendants of Gideon still pen the archives of the dwarven people. The Rinsparr clan travels to each of the various dwarven holdings once every two months to learn of the latest happenings of the land.
The ?Rinsparr Observers,? as they are called, record pivotal events for the Tomes of Gideon. These journals are then given to the head of the clan who transposes what he (or she) feels is most important into ancient dwarven script. In addition to the observers, there are elders, scribes who pen the actual text of the tomes; transcribers, who make a duplicate of the elder?s work to be viewed by others; and protectors, who defend the Rinsparrs and their work from harm.
The Tomes of Gideon are located somewhere deep in the heart of Baruk-Azhik, unknown to most residents of that domain. Outside the Rinsparr clan, the only ones who know the true location of all the tomes is the Overthane of the land, the provisional thanes, and the High Priest of Moradin. All penned originals and copies are heavily guarded, though copies of the tomes are allowed to leave the secret location. No originals or copies of the tomes have ever left the borders of Barukside Azhik.
The Tomes of Gideon deal strictly with dwarven history. Only in rare instances are entries concerning the outside world recorded. Events such as the destruction at Mount Deismaar and the death of Michael Roele have been documented, but from a dwarven perspective.
The Tomes of Gideon are much revered by all dwarven nations throughout the world of Kuldarzik. Dwarven history has become more significant with the coming of other races over the past millennia. Copies of original volumes penned by Gideon are used as teaching tools by many dwarven clans.
Families of importance across the domain often send their children to study from the sacred tomes. Clans of lesser nobility might wait years to have the opportunity to read the tomes. Unless a dwarf can read the ancient tongue of his people, a Rinsparr translator must be present to interpret the writings.
Craftsmanship: There are currently 24 volumes of the Tomes of Gideon, all constructed with the same dwarven elegance and workmanship as the first one made by Gideon himself. The tomes are each 12 inches wide and 18 inches high, and they are between three and four inches thick.
The binding of the tomes are sewn with gold wire, set with precious gems, and decorated with intricate carvings that indicate the contents of each volume. A tome?s cover is carved by hand from the oldest of trees in the province, typically oak or maple, carved with artistic and distinctly dwarven designs.
The pages of the tome are made from the leathery hide of the varlhorns, a species of deer common to the provinces of Baruk-Azhik. Both cover and pages are then treated with a mysterious dwarven elixir that allows them to stand the test of time and hold the scribes? ink to the page. More detailed lore may go into the crafting of a tome, but it?s a secret heavily guarded by the Rinsparr clan.
While not as exquisite, copies of original volumes are made of more sturdy and conventional materials to stand the wear and tear of hundreds, if not thousands, of readers over the years. Original copies of the Tomes of Gideon are used only in rare instances. Duplicates are made from older copies of the same tome, never the original.
Value: Outside dwarven realms, the Tomes of Gideon, while still valuable, are useless to most non-dwarven readers. Written in the most ancient of dwarven languages, only members of the Rinsparr clan and select other thane families can translate the tomes properly.
A stolen volume can be pillaged for its gold and precious stones, which are roughly valued around 5,000 gp. A thief of one of the tomes would invite the wrath of every dwarf on Cerilia should one of the tomes be despoiled in any way. At best, a quick death would be afforded to anyone removing even one volume from the sacred halls.

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