The Therimoire of Heward

The quasi-deity Heward is known for his mastery of both music and technology, and is perhaps most famous for his Mystical Organ, which produces a number of different magical effects, and whose whereabouts are lost to history. However, the Organ is not his only work that has survived.

Part song book and part spell book, the Therimoire of Heward is a magical grimoire that is geared towards bards and illusionists of musical bent. First mentioned in an inventory of the Viceroyalty of Ferrond (modern-day Furyondy) in CY 151, reports of the Therimoire have appeared across the Flanaess sporadically since then. Most recently, it is known to have been presented to the high priest of the goddess Lirr in Innspa, during the great Growfest festival celebrated by that goddess’s Seven Shrines, in CY 540. It is said to have been stolen several years later by an unknown thief, and it has not turned up since.

The book itself is over-sized, being some 16 inches wide and 20 inches tall. It has a cover of soft and supple leather, but it is of such a nature as to be very resistant to tears and rips. Embossed in the leather is a single letter H, highly stylized and in an antique style.

The first thing that should be noted about the book itself is that it is, in fact, a sentient artifact, in much the same way that a magic sword can be intelligent. It has an INT of 16 and an EGO of 11. The Therimiore has a neutral (good) alignment, and can speak Common, Ferrel, Velondi, Flan, Old Oeridian, and the alignment tongue of Balance. Indeed, the book has an excellent singing voice, and will often burst into song, sometimes in inopportune moments. It has the ability to charm person with a 3″ range three times per day, and can create an illusion (as the wand) twice per day, with a range of 12″.

The Therimoire is broken up into three distinct sections. The first is a treatise on the nature of technology and things technological. Anyone with an INT of less than 15 attempting to read even a portion of this section will be struck as if by a confusion spell for 1-10 days. Those with an INT of 15 or higher (not coincidentally the minimum intelligence for bard characters) who read the section will take 2-7 days of uninterrupted study, at the end of which time they will be able to fashion items such as clockwork mechanisms, complex devices working on mechanical principles, etc. Although the initial proficiency with these skills will be someone rudimentary, with practice and diligence using these skills, they can be improved to the point where quite wondrous items can be created. It is said that copies of this section have been made and can be found nearly as frequently as other magical books such as the manual of gainful exercise or book of exalted deeds.

The second portion of the Therimoire is a song book and sheet music for organ, seemingly unremarkable on its surface. However, the songs listed within can be played by the Mystical Organ to produce many of its wonderous magical effects. The DM is encouraged to come up with the nature of the songs and the effects they produce, as per the guidelines in the AD&D DUNGEON MASTERS GUIDE, but possession and study of this book will make much of the trial-and-error normally required redundant, as anyone with the skill to play the Organ can simply work from this book. Of the 34 magical effects possible by playing the Organ, fully 21 are listed herein (those which are benign, as well as the Organ’s prime powers; malevolent powers, as well as side effects, will come to be learned by trial and error). It is thought that, owing to the specialized nature of this section of the book, it has not been copied and distributed as an independent work.

The third portion of the Therimoire is a section of special prayers to receive druidical spells which are uniquely available to bards. The following are added to the spell list for bards only, but only if they have access to these special prayers.

First Level

  1. Audible Glamer
  2. Charm Person
  3. Comprehend Languages
  4. Message
  5. Taunt
  6. Ventriloquism

Second Level

  1. Deafness
  2. Locate Object
  3. Magic Mouth
  4. Vocalize
  5. Whispering Wind

Third Level

  1. Illusionary Script
  2. Suggestion

Fourth Level

  1. Charm Monster
  2. Shout

As with the first section, there are reports that the third section of the Therimoire have been copied and distributed separately.

Written by 

Wargamer and RPG'er since the 1970's, author of Adventures Dark and Deep, Castle of the Mad Archmage, and other things, and proprietor of the Greyhawk Grognard blog.

2 thoughts on “The Therimoire of Heward

  1. Pages from the Mages, Greyhawk Edition? I’ve always found Greenwood’s work along these lines quite inspiring, though they were of course centered on his Forgotten Realms.

    Coincidentally, I’ve been doing something similar for my pending OSR campaign– the more modern ways of dealing with spellcasting have, IMO, made the seeking and finding of rare spellbooks less interesting.

    Mostly I haven’t delved too deeply into unique works like the Therimoire, though that’s on the list… instead I’ve concentrated on hoary old well-known tomes which have themes (“The Wards of Wanno”, “Zig’s Compendium”, Daern’s “Mysteries of the Elements” vol. 1-4, “Conjuration for Fun and Profit”, etc.) which are likely present in any decent archmage’s library but otherwise comparably rare.
    I am throwing some tables around them regarding how complete any given copy will be– I was recently re-reading A Song of Ice and Fire and was inspired by Tyrion’s commentary on a number of old books and how multiple volumes were damaged or known to be incomplete.

    Keep up the good work!

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