This post covers all three tomes related to the Book of Eibon appearing in the MoN and background related to the authorship, history, and general content of the Book of Eibon. The specific content for each tome will be adjacent for ease of comparison. If you prefer to reference an individual tome, refer to the Chapter specific post (linked below).
- Sélections de Livre d’Ivon: Roger Carlyle’s Library (America)
- Liber Ivonis: Gavigan’s Secret Room at Penhew Foundation (England)
- Livre d’Ivon: Shrine to the Bloated Woman (China)
Sélections de Livre d’Ivon: Handwritten manuscript bound in decaying blue calfskin
Liber Ivonis: Bound in calfskin with an iron clasp, black-edged papers, musty smell
Livre d’Ivon: Hand-written manuscript bound in royal blue shagreen (stingray leather)
Eibon was apprenticed to wizard Xylacus, where he studied in the black tower until the mysterious death of his master. After this he traveled widely both by himself and with a companion sorcerer, Salgis. Through eldritch gates, he traveled the wide earth and world beyond, including Shaggai. Through his journeys, he eventually found and formed a pact with “Saccoche” (Tsathoggua). In exchange for sating his master’s strange appetites and providing mundane knowledge, Eibon received powerful magical instruction and dark secrets. Eventually, he returned to the black gneiss tower beside the sea and established his reputation as Hyperborea’s greatest sorcerer.
- Sélections de Livre d’Ivon: 13th century, Gaspar du Nord’s French commentary on Latin Original. Du Nord was a sorcerer from the Averoigne region (South Central France) that saved himself from the church’s persecution by disrupting his master’s monstrous plans.
- Liber Ivonis: 9th century, Latin translation by Caius Phillipus Faber
- Livre d’Ivon: Attributed to Ivon le Grande, Sorcier de Hyperborée. French translation by Gaspar du Nord from prior Greek manuscript
- Book of Eibon: Original work, written in pre-historic Hyperborea. Syron of Varand, a disciple, writes the final chapter, asserting his mastery of magic and claiming that he compiled his master’s works after he fled persecution. No existing physical copies known to be in existence.
Earlier Versions: Kushite (2500-1750 BCE), Punic (1600 BCE), Greek (75 BCE)
- Sélections de Livre d’Ivon: A handwritten copy by du Nord from an earlier Greek and/or Latin manuscript. The desk in Carlyle’s office reveals the book was purchased as part of a large collection in an auction at a Bavarian estate in April 1918. The book is listed along with 300 additional volumes, none of particular mythos interest.
- Liber Ivonis: A handwritten Latin translation by Caius Phillipus Faber from the 9th century. No earlier version of Eibon’s original work has been verified or preserved. Never printed, only six bound handwritten manuscript versions are known to exist.
- Livre d’Ivon: A handwritten French translation of the Book of Eibon by Gaspar du Nord translated from the Greek version of the Book during the 13th century. Du Nord used a version acquired from his former master, Nathaire. Thirteen copies are known to exist, in partial and complete forms, including the Selections mentioned above. Many pages are missing or completely spoiled, which may account for missing spells compared to the earlier Latin translation.
- Sélections de Livre d’Ivon: This text introduces itself as a translation of the Book of Eibon by Gaspar du Nord, a 13th-century French magician, using both the Greek and Latin manuscripts of the Book of Eibon as references. This text includes his commentary in footnotes, marginalia, and frequent comparisons to the text he acquired from his master, Nathaire. Mentions his conflict with his former “mentor” and his new, benevolent instructor Z’thoqqua. Will also discover a strange border illustration of an inverted, broken ankh (symbol of the Brotherhood of the Black Pharaoh), which appears to have been added relatively recently. The Sélections may represent du Nord’s working personal copy of the text.
- Liber Ivonis: Written by the self-described “greatest of all sorcerers”, Eibon, this incredibly dense text contains complex diagrams featuring bizarre geometric shapes, which defy the limited surface of the pages, as well as complex mathematical formulae, extensive discussion of the primal matter of existence and natural philosophy. Much of the knowledge recorded in the book is attributed to a master teacher, “Saccoche”, who is depicted in a grotesque illustration of an obese, drowsing monstrous furry hybrid of a bat and frog. There are additional disturbing and gruesome illustrations of “experiments” and “trials” using a wide variety of vivisected three-toed, fur-bearing humanoids. A notation inside the back cover indicates that the book is property of the Misr House Library. Contains pages of passages in an unknown language (Hyperborean) without translation.
- Livre d’Ivon: Provides details of how the Greek manuscript came into Gaspard du Nord’s hands. The remainder of the text is remarkably similar to the discussion above for Libre Ivonis
Connection to the Broader Campaign:
All three tomes based on the Book Eibon can serve as connections to the Nitocris portion of the campaign.
The Sélections contains a spell to contact Nodens, which offers the only other means of reaching the helpful Mythos entity aside from the Mask of Hayama. Nodens can provide useful clues to disrupt Nyarlathotep and additional advice, particularly regarding the defeat of Nitocris.
The Sélections also contains the image of the Brotherhood’s Inverted Ankh, which may have been sketched by Carlyle from his dreams or hint at prior possession of the tome by a member of the Brotherhood at some point in its past. Perhaps Omar al-Shakti or Gavigan wish to recover the tome to gain access to the powerful Gate spell.
Eibon’s Wheel of Mist offers a powerful protective spell, and you could construct a sidetrack adventure for your Investigators to create the magical disc (depicted below) necessary for this spell.
The Liber Ivonis provides description of Nyalarthotep and the Black Wind, as discussed below.
If you wish to link your campaign to the Shadows of Yog-Sothoth, Carl Stanford may be interested in the Livre d’Ivon due to the Contact Cthulhu spell.
A full study elaborates on the story of Eibon the Great, who lived in a five-story, five-sided tower constructed of black gneiss along the towering cliffs fringing the sea in Mhu Thulan. This dark stronghold originally served as the laboratory and abode of Xylacus; however, he died mysteriously and the alchemical furnaces grew dark as his cadre of pupils dispersed across Hyperborea. Eibon joined this exodus and studied widely across the land, applying secrets he had learned in his master’s vast study. Eibon employed the proscribed mystical gates to travel between lands and worlds, expanding his knowledge while unsettling his consciousness. Eventually, he returned to Mhu Thulan to reclaim the ebon tower and hone his caliginous craft. In a short time, he became regarded as the most powerful sorcerer in all of Hyperborea. His power only deepened in meeting his new master, Tsathoggua, the Sleeper of N’Kai, in the bowels of Voormithadreth, the extinct, four-coned volcano.
“In that secret cave in the depths of Voormithadreth, lies the somnolent black toad, Tsathoggua, coated in a bat-like fur, his darks orbs gazing through drowsing lids as he surveys his formless spawn flowing like ichorous mercury before his corpulent frame. His ancient mind holds glorious secrets, and I freely offered my service. For that, he has gifted me with precious knowledge and dread artifacts.”
Content Specific to Sélections:
Readers will find the origin of this text murky on deeper reading, as the origin of the Latin manuscript may have been a translation of a separate text originating directly from Hyperborea. Alternatively, the translated manuscript may have come to France by way of ancient Egypt. Most of the content contained in Du Nord’s Sélections is similar to the full volume of the Livre d’Ivon translated from Greek; however, there are two specific excerpts identified as noteworthy, which includes discussion concerning enmity between Pazz-luzza and Nodens, which contains Du Nord’s notes on his efforts to reach Nodens (Contact Nodens spell). The passage containing the Inverted Broken Ankh also includes an illustration of a three-legged swastika, which describes the spell Eibon’s Wheel of Mist.
There is a more detailed description of Hyperborea than found in the more technical Livre d’Ivon and Libre Ivonis. Described by du Nord as a legendary continent in the Arctic, which was originally a warm, fertile paradise featuring dense jungles populated by the Earth’s last vestiges of dinosaurs. A race of sentient furred biped, known as the Voormi, once populated Hyperborea, but were eradicated by internecine conflicts and migrating pre-human settlers. The ancestors of the Voormi labored as slaves to the Serpent-people and eventually formed a subterranean, shamanistic culture imitating and worshipping their deity, Tsathoggua. The Voormi established the first capital of Hyperborea, at Commoriom, and later relocated to Uzuldaroum following prophecies of Commoriom’s impending destruction. Eventually, massive ice sheets covered over all of Hyperborea.
Content Specific to Liber Ivonis:
In this version of the text, recorded conversations between Eibon and “Saccoche” are preserved. The strange being reveals many secrets to the wizard. Confusingly, he also reveals he is known as Pazz-Luzza. If desired, a successful History/Occult/Cthulhu Mythos roll reveals that this name likely corresponds to Pazuzu, the Mesopotamian king of the demons of the wind, a bearer of storms and drought. The name Pazuzu may be associated with an additional Nyarlathotep mask, the Black Wind. Keepers may wish to elaborate on this fact depending on player interest. It may be possible to infer that Eibon was misled by Nyarlathotep masquerading as Tsathoggua to propagate knowledge that would eventually advance his far future plans. This version of the text features a well-preserved illustration of a mass of strange glowing orbs suspended in space with iconography depicting a key and gate. The text on the opposite page describes the invocation to Yok Zothoth (Contact Yog-Sothoth).
Content Specific to Livre d’Ivon:
There is added commentary at the end of this tome revealing the fate of Eibon. The master sorcerer Eibon disappeared shortly after the elk-goddess Yhoundeh’s premier inquisitor and high priest, Morghi, came to his black tower with a writ for his arrest. Under threat from the Inquisition, Eibon fled to Cykranosh (the planet Saturn) through a magic panel gifted to him by Tsathoggua, never to be seen again in Hyperborea. Rumors circulated when Morghi himself vanished close on the heels of Eibon. Many within the Inquisition believed that he was allied with the sorcerer, and their plotting led to a decline in the worship of Yhoundeh. A detailed review of the text includes a spell written in the margins by an unknown hand invoking the Sleeper at R’lyeh, Kthulhut (Contact Cthulhu).
- The Book of Eibon, published by Chaosium
- The Colossus of Ylourgne by Clark Ashton Smith
- The Tsathoggua Cycle , published by Chaosium