Caleb Buchanan grew up the youngest of six brothers on a farm in Oklahoma. Always a bit on the scrawny side, he never took to the rigors of farm life like his brawnier brothers, not the least because of his propensity for "fits and shakes" that would sometimes leave him recuperating in bed for days.
During his bouts of recovery he took to learning however, and learned himself good, with a mostly complete copy of the Encycopedia Britannica, and much more esoteric works, he inherited from his grandfather on his mother's side, a Scottish Presbyterian minister who emigrated to the U.S. (sometimes his mother said 'fled') for mysterious reasons.
Caleb thought the worst of his fits were left behind in childhood; he hadn't had trouble with them since his last spell when he was fifteen. But about a year ago Caleb got a case of the shakes about as bad as he ever got. This time, the message from God that came with the shakes was clear--the end times were coming. Fire would rain from the sky. The dead would rise. The Kingdom of God was at hand.
One part of his vision didn't make sense however; Caleb's premonition of the end times ended with the image of a glowing deck of cards. The meaning wasn't clear until he heard about the big gambling tournament down in San Rafael. Caleb left his life in Oklahoma behind and traveled down to Texas.
His faith proved founded when he won the pot at the tournament.
It might have been tested when he saw that dynamite duel however.
With his winnings, Caleb looked to purchase a building and grow him a congregation.
Then his faith was tested again when he was deputized, what with all the cannibalism, and the shadow doors, and nearly getting killed by a giant flaming worm, and finding poor Bill Foster in that basement.
But Caleb found him a new book, one that reminded him of some of his grandfather's stranger ones. Only weirder.
He's been studying the Book of Shadows.
From my notes I show the following, spells but some of the details aren't clear.
Open Gate. Shadow Gate. Something about access to the shadow desert?
Create Shadow [writing gets fuzzy here] Drug? Dog?
I'll try and make some rolls. Intelligence 80 (not really sure how dice rolls on the forums work, but here we go)
@Jonathan Meadows has summoned me, and so I appear. If you wish for me to roll dice, type
!roll XdY+Zor mention me in a new topic with
roll XdY+Zafter my name.
You rolled 1D100: 0
Damn. First roll and I roll 100!
You need to use lower case:
You rolled 1d100: 3
1d100: 3 = 3
From critical failure to critical success? I don't know what's real anymore!
You rolled 1d100: 44
1d100: 44 = 44
As Brother Caleb studies The Book of Shadows, he learns the following:
The Shadow-Desert is a bleak parallel version of our world, a sort of “pocket universe” where the sun shines dimly at best, where shadows are long and indistinct and sometimes appear where no shadow should be. The book states that in many ways, the Shadow-Desert resembles something called the Dreamlands, as it is accessible both physically and via dreams. The book also references a pharmaceutical method of entering the eerie desert world and you learn the spell Create Shadow-Drug (see below).
Many real-world roads exist as faint trails in the Shadow-Desert. Familiar cities and towns may appear as mirages or shadows, and in other cases the settlements (or slightly different versions of them) may actually exist as ghost towns inhabited only by specters and more shadows. The only supplies to be found in the Shadow-Desert are those that can be gathered (like firewood), hunted (animals), or taken from other inhabitants (e.g. ammunition or gear taken from a fellow traveler); in the ghost towns of Shadow only the buildings exist, not the whiskey, food, guns, or horses.
Anyone physically present in the Shadow-Desert who dies is actually dead, though he or she may stalk the Shadows as a specter thereafter; dreamers slain there lose 1D8 Sanity points and awaken in the real world when the spell or drug that sent them there wears off.
• Cost: 5 POW and 1D3 Sanity points
• Casting time: 5 minutes of singing
This rare recipe is known to a few southwestern American Indian medicine men. It requires a variety of ingredients, mostly animal bones and herbs (some of which can only be obtained in the Shadow-Desert itself ). Each casting creates 1D6+6 individual doses of the drug. The drug can either be ingested or smoked, and costs 1D6 magic points and 1D4 Sanity points to use. The effects appear 15 to 20 minutes after the drug has been taken.
The drug makes the user sleepy, and when it takes effect he or she falls into a deep sleep from which they will not rise until the dose has worn off. Each dose lasts 2D6+2 hours; additional doses add the same amount of time again. Additional doses are dangerous, however, as each dose after the first requires a successful CON roll, otherwise the user’s body enters a coma, leaving his or her mind trapped in the Shadow-Desert. For up to two doses, the CON roll is Regular, for three to four doses it is Hard, and for any more the roll is Extreme.