Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Universe but Were Afraid to Ask



This (somewhat) helpful book can provide a circumstance bonus to almost any kind of knowledge check, but although the gnomes who composed the text were thorough in their coverage of a broad variety of topics, their system of organizing and cataloging that information leaves something to be desired. It is rumored that the book’s index (a separate volume) is roughly three times the size of the book itself, although it is doubtful that such an index exists.

To gain a bonus on Knowledge-based skill checks, the book’s reader must first search for an article related to his topic. This requires 2d10+5 minutes, at then end of which the reader must make a DC 13 Will save. Failure means that the reader is drawn off-topic by something fascinating within the text and will thus spend another 2d10 minutes reading, at the end of which he may make another Will save. The DC of the Will save cumulatively decreases by 1 each time (so that the save needed is 13 at first, then 12, then 11, and so on).

Once the reader has succeeded on their saving throw, they may gain a 2d4-3 bonus to one Knowledge check. (Note that this can result in a negative number, which becomes a penalty on the skill check. Not all of the gnomes’ research was accurate!) As the gnomes who wrote the book were much more interested in complex, strange, and rare subjects rather than simple or common ones, the book has little information to assist ‘easier’ skill checks, but potentially a wealth of resources about the more mysterious things in life. As such, the book provides a maximum potential bonus based on the DC of the skill check, as seen below:

DC of Knowledge Check Max. Bonus from Book
10 to 15 +1
16 to 20 +2
21 to 25 +3
26 to 30 +4
31+ +5

This is one of the 50 books in Elensar’s collection. It is approximately 1500 pages in length and weighs 10 lbs. It is bound with a well-crafted leather binding.

In the foreword of this book is a short passage collaboratively written by the authors which begins as follows:

“This book is the life’s work of at least 10 but no more than 82 gnomish scholars (the majority of whom perished attempting the dangerous research required) who had ventured out into the world to find the answers to the most intriguing questions that were on everyone’s minds. Please use this tome wisely as the information contained within could mean the undoing of us all if used for ill. If you are unable to find the answer you seek in this book it means you obviously asked the wrong question. You should certainly try again, however, as we are confident that every possible interesting question has been answered by our scholars. Any complaints or questions should be sent to Brothers Grim publishing: Attn. Duncan Donaught.”

Additional information.

While gnomes take this book extremely seriously, other races are not so kind. Elves call this text, An Idiots Guide to the Planes, humans refer to it as The Universe for Dummies, Halflings call it the Readers Digest: Planes Edition, while dwarves have used the term “toilet reader”. This is partially due to numerous translation errors that have rendered the book dangerously inaccurate in other languages.

Among the gnomes, Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Universe but Were Afraid to Ask is considered only a basic primer of knowledge, the introduction to a series of books about subjects which the gnomes have found fascinating. Other volumes include the following: Magic and You, Gods and Deities, All Things Green and Growing, Dungeons and Dragons, Evil Stepmothers and Fairy Godmothers, Google Maps, and A Complete History of the World. Few have been successfully translated into other languages; most non-gnomish scholars do not see this as a loss.

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Universe but Were Afraid to Ask

Legacy of the Forlorn Mitch