Grimoire Item in Ethnis | World Anvil


Grimoires are a type of Meta-Tech invented circa 7800 CS by House N'Chear to preserve and store the Soul of a dying entity. This is done by Binding the Soul to a prepared vessel with a powerful Auric-Combination spell—classic choices for a prepared vessel include skulls and tomes, though they can take many forms.

Though the stored Soul retains its memories, it lacks the wetware of a brain to encode its memories into thought, and becomes a passive store of knowledge dissociated from any sense of a present moment. This knowledge is accessible through Auric Divination, though this takes time, energy, and skill.

While creating Grimoires is a practice few places allow, they often decorate the lairs of the wealthy and the powerful, and can be found tucked back in the nooks and crannies of any place where the number of casters is greater than the number of people keeping an eye on them.

You'll never find a Grimoire that wanted it.

Hierus Nomen
Author, Cradling the Grave: An Account of the Undead

Meta Technology could not have advanced without Grimoires, but they're not something discussed in polite company. Historical treatment of them ranges from morbid fascination—"what a backwards and vulgar practice"—to outright vilification—"We must burn anyone who practices this wicked magic!". Even where they are at their most revered—in tales of sacrifice and valor—there lurks the underlying sense that in becoming a Grimoire your identity is lost, soul polished smooth like a stone in the tide; until all that remains is the memory of the self rather than the action of it.

Attempts to resuscitate Grimoires back into functioning bodies have vanishing levels of success even under the best circumstances. Even resuscitated, they take years to rehabilitate, if ever, and they have a vastly altered personality. They are prone to Soul Sickness.

While the understanding behind creating a Grimoire is foundational enough for a master spellcaster to piece together on their own, the practices behind more pragmatic, merciful, commumal, or militaristic use have been reinvented and lost multiple times throughout history.

Tell us about your Grimoire!

Grimoire by Lorsynth and Ademal
Art by and Ademal


Grimoires are a store of memories.

Used by
Related Technologies
Related Condition
Child Technolog(ies)


Echo Chamber
A room full of Grimoires granted hearing and speech echoes with their dreamy murmurs. Meditate upon their wisdom. Speak to them and they will listen without thinking—beware of what they might repeat.
Grimoire Tome

A heavy Tome with an ornate Grimoire spine. As the reader parses the memories, they write notes into the Tome, rebinding as needed to remove or add pages. The Tome remembers anything written in it.

A labor of love and a feat of engineering, Divinoriums are Monolith-containing Grimoires of such quality and veneration that they become their own classification. A Divinorium is mentally present.

Nobody aspires to become a Grimoire. Anyone who appeals to your sense of duty on the matter has already measured your skull and set aside a space on their shelf for it.

To be a Grimoire is to have your soul bound to your skull, anchored to the physical realm even in death. Without the wetware of a brain to process stimuli and the passage of time, memories tumble freely together until the edges are rounded off—a fermentation process which removes all personality in the process.

Trapped in a timeless prison of your own mind, even your identity succumbs to entropy. You stop being a present self and become the past self. An account of who you once were and what you once knew. Ego death. A tombstone and euology of your living self. If you're lucky. More likely this is to prepare you for service to another. Whatever they tell you, you remember. Whatever they ask, you regurgitate.

Speak only when spoken to. You are as I say.

If you read the forward, or if you are already familiar with my work, you'll know that I, last of my line, was raised within the Vadakendanic Procession as a scribe to a wealthy family. The Procession considers itself very much past the archaic, cruel dealings and magics of its past, and yet their holds have shelves of Grimoires in their libraries. "Voluntary", I was told. "When you're old enough for it to matter, I'm sure you'll volunteer, too."

I'll stick to the printed word, thanks.

Hierus Nomen, Historian
Author, Cradling the Grave: An Account of the Undead

Crafting and Care

While Binding can technically be done with a Meta Cask gem of any quality, you need gem of great size and construction. A diamond as large as a brain is best, but topaz is easier to source. This may prove quite a challenge to a domestic Psiolic with no access to a gem printer. If you cannot source it yourself, you'll have to risk your wallet and legal status on private markets. Find a Net Witch to do it for you.

Once you have your gem, prepare it. If the intended Soul is not a Monolith, your Grimoire will need a way to replenish any meta when used. Unlike a living being, a Grimoire will slowly lost meta over time. Remember, if a Grimoire runs out of Meta, the Binding will come undone and the Soul will be forever lost. You can either restore your Grimoire's meta by hand, if you're sloppy, or you can source an auxillary cask—something cheap and easy—the absorb ambient meta to keep the Grimoire at full charge.

The last step of this is either the hardest or the easiest, depending on your line of work. I'm not going to tell you how to source a Soul. Figure that one out on your own. Souls don't keep on their own, so the last step is to Bind it into the Cask in their dying moments or from another Cask.

— From the anonymous forums of a modern spellcasting board


Tech Clade

Soul Binding
Technology / Science | Jul 4, 2022



You discover a Grimoire...

— The Narrator

Roll or design your own Grimoire, tell us about it down in the comments section!


Instructions: Roll 1d4 to generate a broken, useless Grimoire. Roll 1d6 for a chance of a viable, low-quality Grimoire. Roll 2d6 for a chance of a good Grimoire. Roll 3d6 for a chance of a rare Grimoire.

Roll Description
The badly-damaged remains of a tome. The Soul has long unbound, though judging by what little you can glean from the text, you're not missing out on anything very useful.
The sloppy etchwork and rusted framing of this fractured, unbound Grimoire skull are reflective of a craftsman who clearly thought they knew what they were doing. Any open eye could tell them otherwise.
You find someones shoddy attempt at a Tome. The body is warped beyond symmetry, text illegible, connections corroded, Soul gone. This craftsmanship is a vain waste of a Soul.
Tattered bindings, chipped crystals, and the worse half of a skull. Nothing remains on it, least of all any sense of identity.
Though rudimentary, the Tome is functional. There's integrity in the work of the craftsman who bound it, even if their skill leaves much to be desired. Sometimes, you can glean useful information from the pages.
You could look at this Grimore and imagine that at one point, it was an object to behold. But now, it has been reduced to a barely functional fraction of what it once was. At least it works for the most part.
Though age has almost consumed this tome; its binding still holds true. Heavily smoothed etchings and metal worn raw, the touch of a thousand hands before yours. The fragility shows true in the fragmented cracks of its surface.
A Grimore that has gone through many hands. Some of the decorations are missing, scratches mar the surface, and while it is a functional Grimore, it certainly is no ones prized possesion.
This Tome might have been an heirloom, it is worn and built on a budget and the hologram pages like to flicker at the most annoying moment. Whomever had it last tried to take good care of it, at least.
Someone with good talent and no cash made this Grimoire. The patterning and framing is carved with beautiful patterns, but shoddy tools and metals have led to time leaving its erosions and rust.
Clean, crisp leather adorns this Tome and frames the engraved spine within. The pages have obviously been thumbed through countless times, but the pages flash to life with little delay.
A Grimore made by someone who was efficent but not artistic. Solid wrought framing, and a clean, pock-free skull. It won't catch many eyes, but it might be better that way.
A modern-made Tome, the sleek two-tone profile holds within it a powerful binding. The pages are crisp and smooth, both to the fingertip and to the eye.
The ruby-studded eye sockets of the Grimoire stare out past silver framing, The horns are etched with a tale of the soul within, it looks like it was a pretty wild life.
The golden dipped surface of this tome is etched with striking pictography of a Sazakraht on the attack. The pages within are trimmed with golden floral textures of a Nege-trees leaves.
Grimoires like this belong in the hands of the rich and famous. An immaculate skull with teeth of ivory and golden plate across every inch. There is not a surface that has not been carved with beautiful fractal patterns studded with gems like grapes on a vine.
Glitter and glamour, this grimoire has a presence that shall not be denied the approval of any eye. The tome opens with a forward telling the story behind every rivet, framing, hatch, and latch of its intricate construction—from the silver-plated vertebrae of the spine of the book to the holographic fore-edge of the lifetime accomplishments of the Monolith within.
It floats of its own accord, pages flipping open to answer questions you didn't even know you had. Be wary of a Grimoire like this one—those eyes are meant to mesmerize and its words to hypnotize. This edifice of raw craftsmanship is so well-made as to inspire envy of the skill, of the value, and of the vision. Look away, ye unworthy.


1d100 Sophont
1 - 50
51 - 85
86 - 99


1d4 Experience

Grimoire by Lorsynth and Ademal

Even in death, she has style.


Please Login in order to comment!
Jul 9, 2021 20:34 by Michael Chandra

Fragging awesome, and at the same time absolutely terrifying.

Too low they build who build beneath the stars - Edward Young
Aug 4, 2021 18:21 by Ademal

Thank you! That's the aim!

Check out my summercamp by going here and checking out any of my gold-star articles!

Jul 13, 2021 13:14 by Avalon Arcana

This is really cool! I love the section on how to keep them "alive" so to speak, or restoring their meta. Wonderful job :)

You should check out the The 5 Shudake, if you want of course.
Aug 3, 2021 01:57 by Han

Oh the generator addition is really cool here. (Are you going to CSS the dice roll outputs one day? They stand out a bit.)   The concept of souls stored in books isn't a new one by any means, but the Ethnis take on it feels pretty awesome -- and downright terrifying. Are there any recent cases of a resurrection from a Grimoire succeeding? Do those people have any memories of their time as one, and if so, what are their thoughts on that period?

welcome to my signature! check out istralar!
Aug 4, 2021 18:20 by Ademal

With how large the population of Ethnis is, it would be wrong to say that it hasn't happened recently. It happens all the time. However, it tends to happen in such obscure corners that nobody really has the time to notice, or ends up anywhere near them to interact.   Many of the resurrected either become Revenant -- undead who are fully conscious or close to it -- or they are put into Penitent Effigies -- spirits imprisoned in gargoyle golems. Depending on how long it's been since they got put into the Grimoire, most of their old personal identity feels... distant, to them.   The closest we might be able to relate to it is that they feel constantly in the throes of a dissociative episode, sometimes for years. This is because the consciousness develops, but there's still this lacuna of thought between the present self and the past, a time of inertness equal to ego death. The conscious mind has access to the old thoughts and memories, for the most part, but processes them through the lens of a newly formed personality, and so the old self feels alien. This is usually an unpleasant feeling.   Thank you for reading! I'm glad you liked!

Check out my summercamp by going here and checking out any of my gold-star articles!

Aug 5, 2021 15:44 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

I got an academic Sazashi grimoire that is more efficient than it is beautiful. :D   This is both fascinating and terrifying. Really well done.

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
Aug 9, 2021 06:24 by Ademal

Take good care of that one, it's a stickler for details!

Check out my summercamp by going here and checking out any of my gold-star articles!

Sep 13, 2021 01:12 by Grace Gittel Lewis

Friggin ACE. The quotes really get across how terrifying these things are.

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