Mythos Tomes – The Tale of Priest Kwan

Location: Stored in Ho Fang’s booby-trapped teak cabinet in the Shrine to the Bloated Woman (China).

Physical Description: Woodblock print scroll (mulberry, hemp, and rag paper) stored in a hollowed-out piece of bamboo adorned with faded yellow velvet.

Author:  Unknown.

Publication History: Unknown. Composed in Classic Chinese. A successful History/Archaeology roll places the scroll as an artifact from the waning years of the Ming Dynasty.


An obscure and disturbing work of poetry presented as a homily recounting the actions of a wayward Buddhist Monk, who joined the Order of the Bloated Woman, found “pure faith,” and defended the sect from a crusading noble, Hun Tao. With his victory over the noble, the monk excoriated the cult for its impotence and lack of faith. With vicious fervor, he single handedly restored order to the group. The text ends with Kwan’s vicious rebuke that praises the virtues of secrecy, curses betrayers, and enunciates the consequences of weakness and cowardice.

Spells: Call the Black Sphinx, Grasp of Cthulhu, Power Drain, Shrivelling, Steal Life

Chinese woodblock printing. Introduced 7th century CE.

Connection to the Broader Campaign: 

The scroll contains rituals of the Order of the Bloated Woman with poetic references to the cult’s attire and preferred methods for dispatching adversaries. It mentions places of power throughout China with an allusion to a volcanic eruption on Gray Dragon Island (“Towering Fire in the Sea”). It discusses the priest’s powerful ally, an entity described as the Great-Faceless Lion, which references the Black Sphinx and the enthralled Cult of the Black Pharaoh (Hēi’àn zhīzǐ – Children of the Dark One). It describes Kwan’s improbable journey to Egypt to commune with the Black Sphinx and obtain greater power. 

Comparison of this text with The Goddess of the Black Fan reveals this work is a description of the adventures of Liu Chang-Fang and his relationship with the Bloated Woman. Consequently, investigators in possession of both works reduce the required Study Time of each text by half. 

Kwan’s personal temple with stylized rendering of the Goddess of the Black Fan

Thorough Reading: 

The Second Stanza: Defeat of The Noble by Kwan  

Beneath the blood jade skies, Kwan stands resolute, Tyrant of the damned, ‘gainst noble brute, Imperial legions, a terror-stricken swarm, With spirits of malice, and the majestic lion’s dread form. 

The Lion’s mouthless words speak of Goddess, glory vast, Her endless guises yield power unsurpassed, The priest tears flesh, blood dark, with humble offerings, potent wards does he mark. 

In shadows accursed, Kwan calls the malign, Goddess of Black Fan, with whispers serpentine, By his side, the Faceless Lion, a terrible ally, Invigorating his cultists, spreading fear far and wide. 

With twisted faith unholy, in realms of the profane, Kwan’s heart, a hateful beacon, through darkness and pain, Imperial might crumbles, as the lion’s dread flows, Goddess of Black Fan, in malevolence glows. Her many mouths smile. The graceful sickles fall. 

The Third Stanza: Priest Kwan’s Magics

All rituals spoken in an unusual, guttural Chinese dialect. An Extreme Language (Chinese) roll identifies as local to a region known only as Leng. Ingredients are listed in Mandarin. 

Steal Life:

Forces of death that underlie
All life that blooms then fades to die
Heed my call, sap their vitality
Channel their essence into me

Ingredients: salt circle ouroboros, black candle, bǐshǒu (Chinese dagger)

(Stab black candle with bǐshǒu, drawing life force into self)

Wasting desiccant winds I beckon
Drained of sap be this my victim
Petrified, mummified, all shrunken
Alive but husked, your soul lies sunken

Instruction in Mandarin describing a complicated sequence of wrist rotation and position of individual digits to create a clawing gesture that achieves the spell’s effect.

Power Drain
Dark stone, hear this call I bring, Leech the essence from iron offering,
So feed your power, draining it away,
Thus shall I feast same on weakened prey.

Ingredients: Lodestone, begging bowl, bent iron nails

(Place lodestone in bowl with nails, repeating verse until drain complete)

The Black Sphinx. Art by hogglesoubliette.

The Fifth Stanza: Pilgrimage to the Faceless Lion

Across the vast realms, Priest Kwan did journey, From China’s sacred lands to desert sands so gory, Through mountains and deserts, his path winding far, Guided by shadows, beneath the ghostly star.

In China, he left, where fragrant rivers gleam, Through silk roads of peril, chasing a dark dream, Over steppes and valleys, through tempest and flame, Seeking the Faceless Lion, whispering its name.

By the Nile’s dark flow, under temples grand, In the pyramid’s heart, ‘neath time’s shifting sand, Kwan called forth the spirit, in temples long hushed, The Lion emerged, in silence, weak souls crushed.

In crypts where Pharaoh rests, and night never ends, The Faceless Lion rose, its power Kwan did bend, Through spells and dark rites, their bond was sealed tight, In shadows they whispered, hidden from light.

Thus Kwan’s journey, ‘cross lands so grim, To commune with the Lion, in the realm of the dim, From China’s green valleys to Egypt’s black tomb, Their pact forged in darkness, heralding doom.