Originally shared by Sean Dunstan
The Altar of Words
Deep below an elven monastery/library, behind a hidden door only the leader of the monastery even knows about, is the Altar of Words. The altar is a simple, squat column of black stone; a simple waist-high cylinder of stone covered in small crawling writing. The writing is a mish-mash of words, always appearing in the language of the viewer.
The altar is one of the most dangerous items in creation, because it allows anyone to sacrifice a word on it, removing that concept from reality. It cannot “erase” a name (like “Jerry”), but any general one-word concept is fair game.
When you attempt to sacrifice a word at the altar, concentrate on the word and roll+WIS. On a 10+, the word and its related concept are retroactively removed from reality. On a 7-9, nothing happens. On a 6 or less, the person performing the ritual is immediately transformed into a Word Demon for the word he was attempting to sacrifice.
When a word is sacrificed, it is removed retroactively from the world. It never existed in the first place; for example, if the word “weapon” was removed from the world, the simple concept of using an item to harm another never existed, and nobody will ever be able to come up with that idea. Not only will weapons never had existed, nobody will ever be able to come with the idea of a weapon. Period.
Only those present at the ritual will retain any memory of the word they deleted. Even then, it’s a half-remembered knowledge, like trying to remember a dream, and they will still be unable to use that concept.
The monastery’s master has sacrificed no less than four words from the world, but of course only he knows what they are.