Sunday, August 16, 2020

Margin texts from Fermentum Nigrum Dei Sepulti (spoilers, players keep out)

Fermentum Nigrum Dei Sepulti, recently published by LotFP, features margin notes all over that lend it crazy good flavor. The book, however, does not compile them in one single place in an appendix, which would have been nice for the lazy GMs among us. So, I have tried to do just that.

Some of the notes, however, I was not able to read faithfully no matter how hard I prayed, meditated and squinted. So I need your help! See the parts in italics below.

1 Blood and bones of Christ, the scriptures say nothing of this--how can we contend with this foulness in the depths that beckons at every sleeping and waking hour? (p1)

2 Can you hear it? I hear it muttering in the darkness promising things to me that only a god could grant! (p3)

3 Ach, this strange voice in my head--I fear it is the devil, it slashes visions of naked bodies before me, makes me feel as if I will never die! It tempts me to grave and terrible sin, and yet I write on, hoping to dispel evil through dutiful work! (p5)

4 Nous sommes près de l'abbaye, et près je le prie, de trouver le secret de ses bières, et l'histoire dans le livre me donne un soupçon trop étrange et grave... (p6)

5 Largely illegible (pp 8-9)

6 Fick Abt Reiner, Fick pervers Jane, Fick Bruder Tedrick, Fich Maria, Fick die Jungfrau, Fick Bruder Anton, Fick Bruder Marco, Fick Bruder Peffer, Fick Bruder Lars, Fick Bruder Adso, Fick Bruder--Geh zum Teufel! (pp 10-11)

7 The bewitched thing in the Aedificatum! The rumors are true--it has laid a curse on us! I will burn it to the ground! Hell take every last book! (p13)

Largely illegible (p14)

9 Behold what the ale does, Jehovah! The one in the depths has given us the secret of conquering death! No more do we fear Hell! We will destroy you next! (p17)

10 Die kleine dreckige Schlampe im Kostergasthaus bringst mich noch ins Grab! (p18)

11 The first bottle taught me hunger... the second, rage. The third gave me power, and the fourth converted me to the truth! (p21)

12 I feel it inside me, creeping from muscle to muscle, fattening itself on my blood and fear, and hear it calling me from the darkness below! (p23)

13 Bruder Friedrich ist tot! Hüte dich vor dem Hopfemoürger! (p25)

14 Fire Fire Fire, glorious Fire eating the bones of this fucking church! Take that, Christ, you shitten mercy-monger! I serve a better god now! (p26)

15 You vile monks! How dare you plot against me! I know everything! Do you think I'm blind, writing all your wicked plans upon this wall in plain sight? (pp28-29)

16 Why does nobody remember Brother Jesge but me? Christ, did they wipe him from their mind after they betrayed him? Was it vile witchcraft made them do it?! (p31)

17 I have seen the void skies of hell, the cold dark emptiness teeming with stars and silence! I have soared through that nothingness, far from the light of God--and exulted! (p32)

18 What is this wicked, forbidden word that has sprung to vile life in my skull, wriggling and moving through my brain? Why does it whisper itself so loudly at me, fighting to be released? (pp 34-35)

19 Largely illegible (p37)

20 Largely illegible (mirrored?) (p39)

21 Magnificent, Brothers! Glorious! With this beer, I baptise you again in the name of the Black Rock, and the Black Barm, and the spirit of fermentation! (p40)

22 Largely illegible (p42)

23 This must be the work of that old sodomitical pair, Peter and Marco! They poisoned the beer--what sin-feed or hell-hop have they picked from one another's assholes? They'll kill us all! (p45)

24 Come to me, Jane, my whore! Come and strip off your flesh, and consecrate yourself to the foaming blackness! We will be angels of zyme! We will be united in a single fruiting body! (p47)

25 Largely illegible (p49)

26 Cardinal Rafael, I am begging you: something evil has recently grown among the roots of this Abbey, and I fear it shall consume us all soon... in the name of Christ the Merciful, please have the Pope send help immediately! (p50)

27 They don't understand why I laugh so happily every time I puke on them... not yet, but they will! (p53)

28 This ale is holy! It must be! When I drink it, I feel as tall as Gargantua, and as mighty as Samson! (p54)

29 Largely illegible (p57)

30 Let us go rip up the barleycorn field, and discover whatever that vile pig Reiner has been having our brothers bury there at night! (p59)

31 a summo caeli egressio eius et occursus eius usque ad summum eius nec est qui se abscondat a calore eius lex Domini inmaculata convertens animas testimonium Domini fidele sapientiam praestans parvulis iustitiae Domini rectae laetificantes corda praeceptum Domini lucidum inluminans oculos (p61)

32 What they did to simple-headed young Dietrich... what a wondrous sin! It was beautiful and glorious to watch the idiot burn! He was no use to the One in the Depths, so there is nothing to mourn! (p62)

33 Et vidi quod aperuisset Cerevisiarius unum de reptem dolio, et audivi unum de quatuor animalibus, dicens tamquam vocem tonitrui: Veni, et vide. Et vidi: et ecce equus nigri, et qui redebat super illum, habebat poculum, et data est ei corona, et exivit vincens ut vinceret. Et cum aperuisset dolium secundum, audivi secundum barbarus, dicens: Bibe, et vide. Et exivit alius equus spumeus: et qui redebat super illum, datum est ei ut sumeret pacem de terra et ut invicem se interficiant, et datur est ei concitantem. Et cum aperuisset dolium tertium, audivi tertium animal, dicens: Veni, et vide. Et ecce equus aestuabundus: et qui redebat super illum, vinea humulus in manu sua. Et audivi tamquam vocem in medio quatuor animalium dicentium: Bilibris tritici denario et tres bilibres hordei denario, et humulum, et fermentum ne cerevisiam. Et cum aperuisset dolium quartum, audivi vocem quarti animalis dicentis: Bibe, et vide. Et ecce equus liquidus: et qui redebat super cum, nomen illi Ebrietas. et insaniam sequebatur cum, et data est illi potestas super quatuor partes terrae, imperiae gladio, ebriete, et morte, et bestiis fermente. Et cum aperuisset dolium quintum, vidi subtus altare animas suffocatum in cerevisia propter verbum Nigrum Fermentum, et propter testimonium, quod habebant: et clamabant voce magna, dicentes: Utquequo Domina (profanus et ebriamen), non judicas, et non vindicas sanguinem nostrum de iis qui habitant in cerevisia? Et datae sunt illis singulae stolae nigrae et spumosae: et dictum est illis ut requiescerent adhuc tempur modicum donec compleantur conservi eorum, et fratres eorum, qui fermenti sunt sicut et illi. Et vidi cum aperuisset dolium sextum: et ecce terraemotur magnus factus est, et sol factus est niger cerevisia: et luna tota facta est humula viridans: et stellae de caelo ceciderunt super terram, sicut ficus emittit grossos suos cum oc vento magno movetur: et caelum scateus; et onmis mons, et insulae de locus suis motae sunt; et reges terrae, et principes, et tribuni, et divites, et fortes, et omnis servus, et liber absconderunt se in speluncis, biberunt cerevisiae: et dicunt montibus, et petris: cadite super nos, et dona nos Sanctum Fermentum, et ab ira Nigri Fermenti: quoniam venit dies magnus irae ipsorum, et quis non bibe? (pp 64-65)

34 Do you hear them, riding like hell in our direction? They're headed to the Abbey, to come to our aid! (p66)

35 Let the flames consume this wicked place, as long as the catacombs lay unburnt! We shall exhume the stony flesh of the black goddess tonight, and bear her forth from her prison like saints bearing Christ... (p69)

36 maleficos non patieris vivere... qui immolat diis occidetur praeter Domino soli viduae et pupillo non nocebitis... et indignabitur furor meus percutiamque vos gladio et erunt uxores vestrae viduae et filii vestri pupilli... (p70)

37 Why did I ever worship that tongueless, mindless God? I feel a true god within me, pulsing with every breath and thought, and am ashamed at kneeling for their lies and fantasies! (p73)

38 Oh, an ale! I would cut off my right arm for a tankard of fresh-tapped ale! Black One, deliver me from this thirst! (p75)

39 The visions it gives me are a horror, strangely-clad fools gathered round a table, fiddling with papers and laughing at the horrors we endure. God, save me from this fiend of the pit! (p77)

40 DEUS, DEUS meus, respice in me: quare me dereliquisti? longe a salute mea verba delictorum meorum. DEUS meus, clamabo per diem, et non exaudies: et nocte, et non ad insipientiam mihi. (p79)

41 Gloria, gloria, in excelsis fermentata! Gloria, gloria, in excelsis Petra Nigra! Gloria, GLORIA GLORIA! (p80)


  1. A translation of the german notes (not necessarily better than google translate):
    6: Fuck abbot Reiner, fuck the pervert Jane, fuck brother Tedrick, fuck Maria, fuck the Virgin, fuck brother anton, fuck brother Marco, fuck brother Peffer, fuck brother Lars, fuck brother adso, fuck brother-go to hell!
    10: That diry little slut in the monastery-inn will send me down the grave eventually!
    13: Brother Friedrich is dead! Beware the Hopfemoürger!

  2. Hi there,

    I figured I'd help out: it never occurred to us to collect the marginalia into a single page. (It was really just fun set-dressing for the book—but it's a cool idea.)

    As for the not-fully-legible scribbles, that was intentional. (I always figured some of the notes in books found during adventures ought to be impossible to read, just like in real life.)

    Still, since you're interested, here the original texts. At least, I think this is what they say. (It's been a while since I looked at the PDF, I'm just going from my original marginalia text.)

    5. Curse this wicked place, and curse my mother who sent me here, and curse the Abbot for letting us abide here, and curse every brother in this place who is plotting against me, I'll rip their balls off and wash my face in their blood before I let them do such a wickedness to me!

    8. What is this world I glimpse, hidden away in shadows, with shores of waving barley and forests of hop-vines acrawl before an ocean of delicious bubbling beer? By God, I'd give anything to go swim in that blessed ocean!

    19. Who painted the beasts on the walls? The Brothers? I know which ones are plotting against the Abbot, and I know which ones are faithful, and I want nothing of either bunch!

    20. Is ʇɥᴉs ɐ dnuᴉsɥɯǝuʇ ɟoɹ ɹǝsᴉsʇᴉuƃ ʎon' pǝɯou ᴉu ʇɥǝ dᴉʇs oɟ ʇɥᴉs ɐqqǝʎ¿ ɹoʇ ʎon' I ɹǝɟnsǝ ʇo ƃᴉʌǝ ᴉu¡ I,ll uǝʌǝɹ pɹᴉuʞ ʎonɹ ɟonl ɐlǝ ɐƃɐᴉu¡

    25. Dear Christ forgive me, I swam down and found the way through to the place I'd seen in the vision. The things in the sea… they mounted me, drained me… but whatever I left in them, they left something me, too. I feel it.

    29. What a joy, to drown in ale, and return transfigured, like the ones who climb out of the pit! I have seen them come out, mighty as gods, naked as corpses, eyes cold and serious and wild!

    #20 is indeed flipped upside down (but isn't backwards, just flipped—or at least the text I sent Jacob was). It's a reference to a specific infection effect.

    I'll leave the Latin to someone else, except to say that most of those snippets are excerpts from the Vulgate, modified to praise, ahem, a different god.