RPG Sources: Books and Libraries

Tomes, grimoires, dusty libraries, all have been used in any number of stories.  They have varying importance in role playing games, from terribly (and terrifyingly) important in Call of Cthulhu to being MacGuffins in certain adventure scenarios to being where you can exchange gold for questions answered.

I have noticed that D&D doesn’t do all of these very well.  The MacGuffin part certainly, since anything can be a MacGuffin.  The sage has long been a way to bleed PCs of mone get useful information to players, if they think to ask.

As far as books being actually interesting or useful in their own right, beyond carrying spells there is little to recommend them.  This disappoints me.

I’d like to see if something better can be done.  I’m collecting research material to use for ideas that can give written materials greater focus and narrative value.  So far I have the following list of sources:

  • Ink & Quill from Bastion Press
  • Tomes & Libraries from Mongoose Publishing
  • Call of Cthulhu from Chaosium
  • Call of Cthulhu d20 from Wizards of the Coast
  • Darkness & Dread from Fantasy Flight (I’m not certain if there’s anything here)
  • Archmagic from Mayfair Games (Role Aids product, has a section on grimoires)

Are there any other books or RPG sources that focus much on written materials?  They don’t need to be D&D-specific, and small-press materials and blog posts and the like are all valid for what I’m looking for.


  1. Realms of Crawling Chaos has an appendix that you might be interested in (“Reading Eldritch Tomes”). It is only a few pages long, but the rest of the book is good too if you like adding Lovecraftian elements to your game (though the system is Labyrinth Lord).

    Jack over at TOTGAD has been using the format for the magic books he has been posting:


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