Black tome of
( " )
Item Type Book
Artifact? Yes
Weight 400s
Danger Level 1
Material Paper

The black tome of Alsophocus is a random artifact book. Each time it is read, the PC can attempt to learn a random spell from it at the cost of corruption. Simply carrying it also corrupts the PC, as it contains the essence of Chaos and Corruption.

The corruption cost for reading is around 2% of a corruption per turn, although this is only incurred if the PC finishes reading; if the PC interrupts their reading (e.g. due to a hostile monster), they will only suffer from a single turn of the corrupting essence (0.1% of a corruption). However, reading to the end and failing to learn the spell incurs the full corruption cost. Learning Wish from the tome is an exception to the normal corruption cost, causing "only" 6-7 corruptions.

It appears as a black tome when unidentified, but can be distinguished from normal spellbooks of that name by its unusual weight.


The corruption cost for learning spells is quite heavy. Most of the classes that are good at learning spells get lots of random spellbooks, and characters that aren't good at learning spells may end up getting corrupted for nothing. If a monster is around to interrupt reading, you can narrow down what spell the PC is attempting to learn based on the remaining reading turns. In this way it's possible to avoid undesirable spells, or attempt to learn specific spells that have unique read times. Still, vanishingly few characters can get practical use out of it as a means of learning spells.

Like any artifact containing the essence, it can be useful for creating potions of raw chaos, although Moon Sickle is preferable for this as it doesn't cause corruption while carried.

Guaranteed/Common sources[]

It can be obtained in the same manner as all random artifacts, including precrowning, surges of power and loot.

Greater Identify information[]

------------------------- black tome of Alsophocus -------------------------

When used in melee combat it grants a -4 bonus to hit and causes 1d2 points 
of damage. When used as a missile it grants a -4 bonus to hit and causes 1d2
points of damage.

It contains the essence of Chaos and Corruption.


The item references a short story of the same name. Alsophocus is an ancient necromancer in that story and creator of the book. Reading the Black Tome gives enormous power, but also severely affects the mind of the person reading it.