Monday, July 30, 2012

Table 5: Encounters Inside The Library Of All Worlds

Reconstruction of Library of Alexandria for Carl Sagan's Cosmos  
Roll a D30 and consult the list below:
  1. A child offers to give you a tour of the Library of All Worlds for one bead. One hour only.
  2. A Scratch family scribe looks up when you approach, and declares: "One bead per page to take a letter, one bead per five pages read."
  3. A group of 1-15 Strangers are being guided on a tour of the Library by a member of the Collections staff. 
    • On a D10 roll of 1-6, the tour guide is a boy or girl from the House of Wisdom apprenticing with Collections; 
    • On a 7-8, this is a delegation includes high dignitaries, and the tour is by a Librarian; 
    • On a roll of 9, the delegation of dignitaries is guided by Heather Scratch, head of Collections; 
    • On a 10, the delegation is led by Hermes Branch Crookstaff, the Librarian of All Worlds. 
  4.  From 1-3 bookhounds approach you, demanding to know whether you have books or scrolls to sell.
  5. Wandering help check from a Librarian. "May I help you; can I be of assistance?"*
  6. A troop of Mankines trudge by carrying books and scrolls. One if the troop stumbles and drops a whole pile of scrolls. A Librarian approaches with a stick and  begins to beat and castigate the ape.
  7. A group of scholars are playing the Jeweled Bead Game, which uses polyhedral gemstones with strange markings and symbols on the facets. 
  8. A scuffle breaks out between two scholars who have been standing at the Reference Desk. "I was first!" one says. "No, you imbecile, I was first!" the other rejoins. They come to blows.
  9. A group of 1-6 Crow guards wearing Librarian's medallions appear, as if from nowhere, and drag a female scholar away. She begins yelling and screaming for help. A book falls to the floor during the altercation. Where did it come from?
  10. When you pass by a shelf, you hear a low moan from nowhere. Several books on the shelf appear to have been damaged recently.
  11. You hear a munching sound from nearby, and a sound like strips of paper being torn. You see no one is around nearby, but the sound persists.
  12. A group of students is gossiping about an upcoming lecture at the Chamber Platinum. You hear the phrase "imploding realms" before they notice you and hush up.
  13. String music is coming from a nearby study carrel. A group of scholars and youth sit at the feet of a woman who is playing an oud. They appear to be completely captivated by the music. A man begins to chant poetry while she plays.
  14. A old man who is clearly distressed is rummaging around among the papers and books he has spread out all over a large study table. "Where IS it?!? Where did it go? I just left the table for a minute."
  15. A woman scholar looks up as you approach. "Stop that" she says."I am trying to concentrate. This is a library. You're breathing: I can hear it a mile away."
  16. A cart of books begins rolling across the floor of its own accord.
  17. Someone is stooped over a card catalog.** You can't make out their face or their gender; they are robed and hooded. They are pulling out cards and pocketing them.
  18. In your peripheral vision, you see someone taking a razor to a book. They are carefully removing certain pages. You are uncertain whether you were seen observing them.
  19. A spontaneous lecture breaks out in a nearby gallery. Gather 'round my friends, and let me tell you what I have learned recently about: 
    • the history of the _____
    • the affair of the ______
    • the lies and calumnies of the _____
    • my dissertation _____
    • how the professors of the House of Wisdom abuse their research assistants _____
  20. You hear the sound of blades clashing from a nearby entrance to the Vasty Stacks.
  21. You feel a sudden flow of magical energies toward you. Suddenly, two Plume guards with Library medallions arrive. "What did you see?" they ask expectantly.
  22. A group of students is playing the Jeweled Bead Game. Gold beads are in small piles around them as they play. It's a competitive game. Gambling in the Library precincts. "Want a piece of the action?" one of the students asks.
  23. A dissheveled man stumbles out of the Vasty Stacks. "What year is it?" he demands to know. "What realm am in? Who is King?"
  24. One of the New Philosophers is holding forth in a gallery against the tyranny of grand narratives. Again. One of his students asks "What about REAL tyrants like you?" The philosopher slaps the boy so hard that blood and a tooth spatter the Library floor.
  25. A grey haired faun brings flowers and fruit for a woman Librarian at the Reference Desk. He leaps over the counter, kisses her, and then runs back the way he came.
  26. Several Librarians are trying to handle a large green Ogre barbarian. The Ogre is 8' tall, and dressed in full plate armor. In one hand he holds a precious scroll; in the other, his axe. They are imploring him to put the scroll down before he damages it with his massive mitt. He is becoming enraged.
  27. A woman approaches you. She hands you a scroll. "Take this to the Underground Library in Strangerside. You will be richly rewarded."
  28. Glancing in a nearby study carrel you discover a body. Did the scholar die of natural causes, or was their foul play?
  29. Someone has a large scroll rolled out and weighted down at each of its four corners. It is a richly inked spherepath tracing the connections among dozens of realms. The reader has ink and quill and is marking the scroll. Spheres and realms are disappearing. New ones are appearing. Connections between realms appear and disappear under his plume.
  30. An odd gong sounds. Librarians appear from everywhere. They tell everyone they see: "You must leave immediately! There is great danger!"  

*In some parts of the Library, this function is carried out by a Shelf-Bound Spirit with the gift of projection.

**There are many card catalogs scattered thoughout the Library of All Worlds, as well as a master set at the Reference Desk in Collections and in the Acquisitions in the bowels of the Library. Some of the card catalogs in the library catalog the entire collection (with the exception of secret holdings). Others only catalog materials held nearby the catalog. It is the odd duck Librarian who chooses to have her spirit Shelf-Bound to a card catalog, but occasionally this does happen. The two master catalogs are well-protected magically.

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