I'm currently running my first campaign (I've done only short scenarios before) I have found it perplexing how to present spells from the large Mythos tomes to the players. It is not that hard if they read some notes by a madman or something like that, and the notes are reasonably short and include only one or two spells--I can simply describe the content of the notes as they progress reading it and at some point note that "You find a description of a ritual which . . ." etc. The things get difficult if the book is long and contains several spells, I can of course make up kind of a synopsis for the contents of the book and describe it so, but how to get the spells in? If simply presenting them huge list of spells the book includes, they suffer serious inflation.
Here are some possible solutions:
- I tell them vaguely what the book includes and also mention that there are plenty of spells, so that it is up to players tell what they are looking for tand then I'd tell if there are any matches. The problem is, that then I conceal information PC's know from the players themselves. This also feels very lame, as finding 'correct' spell should not be similar to rolling library use and then finding some nice info from the library.
- I tell them only about the spells their characters have some information or clue, for example, if they have saw evil guy to summon a demon, I'll tell only about summoning spells. Problem: I'll (again) conceal info for them, and examining the book further will require from the players at least some clue how are Mythos spells like.
- I drop the spells as they progress in the book. Problems: even though I can make a synopsis of the contents of a book, I really cannot exactly know where reads what in a book of hundreds of pages. In addition, the inflation will come in anyway sooner or later, and every night telling the players "yeah, you today came up with couple of new spells more" will become boring and give the players overdose of supernatural so that they'll definitely lose their interest at some point. CoC magic should not be just selecting the most well-fitting one from your grimoire.
- I modify the 'forbidden books' stats so that they contain less spells. Problem: I think that tomes such as the Book of Eibon and Necronomicon really should contain plenty of rituals and ceremonies. They, after all, are studies in occult and magic.