Madame Mombi's Forbidden Tomes is a 2012 release from Fat Goblin Games. It is intended for use with Pathfinder. The author is Doug Lilly and the cover is by Rick Hershey.
This is an 8 page pdf in letter size. It contains two illustrations -- the one on the cover shown at right and the Fat Goblin Games logo. The text is black on a light grey background and is laid out in a fairly standard two column format. The editing and layout are clean if not particularly visually exciting.
Of the 8 pages, 6 are given to content. The first page includes a brief bit of fiction as the introduction and a the credits. The final page is the OGL declaration. The rest of the PDF describes 10 unique tomes with magical properties; some of them have spells while others reveal other potential magical secrets.
The books as described take a variety of formats, some of which are pretty unconventional.
The Baseborn Lover is presented as a play for five participants and includes lines for each of them. At the conclusion, the worst actor is put to death. Studying the play takes a week and requires a knowledge roll; because the book is presented as part of the Shadows over Vathak setting, there is the possibility of a loss of sanity. Success allows the character to learn the formula for two second and five first level spells.
Songs of Aegis is a collection of children's poetry. The poems are written to encourage children to live according to the tenets of the Church of the One True God. This book takes a week to study and also requires a knowledge check. The successful reader can learn to cast two third, four second, and five first level spells. They can also learn Benevolence of the Flock which grants bonus hit points to character's healed by a priest of the One True God.
The Right to Resist is a flexible book whcih can be tied to the owner's limbs to help hide it. The book is filled with marginalia from later owners and so has many authors. The book has an arcane mark which might reveal the owner to authorities. It takes 2 weeks to study and the caster can learn four third, four second, and five first level spells. They can also learn Defiant Stand which allows the character to upgrade the damage dice of a spell by one step.
Penitence and Mastery is part diary and part scientific journal, it was written by a cambion alchemist. The topic of the book is his belief that he was a terrible monster sent to punish his mother and his ongoing attempts to become a true monster. It takes 2 weeks to study this book and it can cost a lot of sanity (2d6). The character can learn a third level, three second, and four first level spells all of which grant the caster monstrous abilities. There's also a preparation which grants bonuses when using mutagens and penalties for not using them often enough.
Case Study, Patient #27705 is a collection of papers in a loose leather cover. It coudments the attempt to treat a mental patient and ends abruptly with no sign of the patient having made any progress. Studying it takes 2 weeks and may cause 2d6 sanity loss. Characters can learn two fifth, four spells each of second, third and fourth, and five spells of first level. There's also a boon which allows the character to dump some sanity loss on someone who fails a save against the character's enchantment spells.
Flight from the Filth Reaches describes the escape of a group of svirfneblin escaping from some Old Ones. The book is charcoal gray leather and the cover has bite marks. The interior pages appear blank but the letters have been pressed in as if by a quill with no ink. Studying the book takes two weeks and can cause 2d6 sanity loss. It teaches a lot of spells: four sixth, four fifth, four fourth, four third, four second, and five first level spells. There's also a preparation which allows the character to double his move for one round and make the terrain behind him difficult. This boon does 2 points of temporary Con damage.
Untitled (or The Book of the Harvest) is a collection of bound tattoos taken from living subjects and preserved. This book has a cov er made of bones and must be carefully opened or it falls apart. It takes 2 weeks to learn its secrets and can cause 2d6+1 Sanity loss. Characters can learn four spells each from levels four through seven, five at level three, four at second, and five at first. Resistance to Transformation allows the character to return to his normal form one round after being affected by a polymorph spell.
It Hides Behind the Stars is a study of the constellations which predicts that a change is coming to each of them soon. No one knows why these changes will come. The book takes 3 weeks to study and costs 2d6 of sanity. It teaches thirty-three spells of up to eighth level. There is also a boon called Ghastly Premonition which allows the character to avoid sanity loss by reducing the roll of the dice.
A Look Beneath, a Treatise on the Necessity and Merits of Vivisection provides details on the inner functions of many creatures but also has information on necromancy and undeath. It carries a disease which those studying the book could be infected with. It takes 3 weeks and can cause 3d6 of sanity loss. Successful study can teach the character 34 spells of levels one through nine. There's also a preparation, Transient Organs, which allows the character to avoid some critical hits and precision damage.
The Hypostatical Golden Fragments is a book written by a heretic priest who sought to become a God himself. It is considered a sin by the church of the One True God. The book contains knowledge of many spells; 39 spells of levels 1 through 9. Insightful Preparation allows the caster to cast a prepared spell as though it were quickened.
First the confession, this is the exact sort of product I love. I love the notion of unique books and tomes with secret knowledge. I like that each book has a unique perspective from the author to the descriptions of the books and their contents.
There are a few knocks, but they are minor: because this uses the Vathak setting, it uses Sanity Loss as a mechanic; absent that setting the limitation is meaningless. A few of the spells to be learned are also included in that setting and so full use of the book probably requires owning the setting book. Likewise, some of the books mention specific groups and histories which are unique to that setting and so some of the impact is lost without using that or knowing the setting.
With those things noted though, it's still a pretty interesting book. These new magical tomes are interesting with good stories and the spells and boons/preparations are nicely tied thematically to the contents of the book. Overall, I think this is a pretty good buy and I like having it my collection.
[5 of 5 Stars!]