Books are sacred; they preserve thoughts, minds, and souls through the ages.
Books are profane; they are commodities to be bought, sold, and stolen.
Books are always of great value. They are written and bound by hand, on paper made by hand. Some women and men search their whole lives for just one special text. Others spend their lives accumulating more and more of them. Still others are agents, finding books for wealthy or desperate patrons.
Bookhounds like these women and men are willing to die for the right book; still other bookhounds are willing to kill for them.
Many of these Encounters Around The Library of All Worlds were inspired by a card draw from the RPG Inspiration Cards.
Usually, I used a combination of the image, Title, and Archetype. I often used the Event, Character Trait, and Character Quirk descriptions as well.
Table 4: Encounters Around The Library of All Worlds
(Roll a d12)
- A bidding contest has broken out in a book stall selling rare texts. This particular fight is over The Book of Feathered and Jeweled Masks, by Paradise Host. The text is an illustrated volume on the erotic arts.
- A fortune teller has set up a table and is reading fortunes by randomly selecting pages to read from The Book of Lost Dreams. Each page of this book has complex, swirling images of people, plants, animals, stars, and planets.
- There is a constant flow of locals in and out of a one story structure called The Book House. This book and scroll shop goes down three stories underground. Most of the patrons are youth of the Scratch and Crookstaff families. Strangers and Outsiders will be treated rudely if they enter the store without a local escort.
- A group of six or seven men and women are having a friendly argument pouring over a scroll. The document purports to be the provenance for a bundle of books from The Library Realm. This discussion is happening in a tent in one of the many booths selling books and scrolls.
- Several boys and girls of the Scratch family are reading and/or writing letters to paying customers. One of the boys is clearly not transcribing faithfully what the patron is saying. He scratches one note for every 5-6 words the patron says. The patron seems not to notice this.
- A table is overturned. "Heresy! Outrage! How dare you sell our Holy Book!?!" an outraged Outsider priest screams at a bookseller. The priest summons an iron mace with a gesture and advances on the bookseller.
- As you approach one booth, glancing at the books for sale, a Troll-like bookseller aggressively approaches you. "You're not going to leave here without buying something, now are you?" she growls at you.
- A bookseller suddenly hides several titles when an obvious bookhound approaches his booth.
- You spot a finely bound book with a green cover of glistening iridescent scales. The cover is embossed with the image of a dragon. The book's title is The Life of Alurax The Illustrious Dragon As Told to Lord Answer of Wingspan. You feel a sudden urge to possess this book at all costs. Just at that moment, a wealthy browser places a gloved hand upon its cover, and taps twice with his index finger. "I want this one" he says.
- You find an out-of-the-way booth with two chairs, a table, inksets, and large pieces of parchment. Parchments with elaborate multi-colored ink patterns drawn on them are hanging on strings overhead, drying. A sign over the booth says "Spherepaths Drawn Here." The proprietor is facing you, and has not noticed that someone at the back of the booth is taking one of the drying parchments off the string.
- A sudden breeze blows scrolls everywhere. The must have come from several nearby booths. Scrollmen and browsers alike leap into action to grab up scrolls. A few girls run away with a couple each.
- A spontaneous poetry reading has broken out under some trees. About 30 people have gathered to listen to a contest of poetic skill between three poets. Winesellers move among the crowd. There are books everywhere around the seated audience. One book gets up and begins to skitter away.