Tome: A Mystery RPG
A death in the Library of Worlds forces the characters of the murdered writer to find his killer. With the fate of several literary worlds at stake, the murderer must be stopped if the Library is to survive.
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Jave Harron

The Library: The Library of Worlds is the last significant stronghold of Kaftorian culture. Originally, it was designed a century ago by a group of wealthy merchant-thaumaturges interested in building a place to study foreign lore. To ensure a good degree of secrecy, a remote island was created with thaumaturgy in the middle of the Black Sea. The Library of Worlds was constructed using thaumaturgical automatons, in order to further preserve secrecy. Sages and philosophers from around the Known World were covertly hired and brought to the Library. Most of the major systems within the Library were automated with thaumaturgical means, including defense and repair work. Book binding, a technology not yet developed by the outside world, was uncovered from research. The amount of thaumaturgical information that could be written in books was significantly larger than scrolls or parchment. The Librarians uncovered the ability to create worlds in books, but only shortly before the disaster that destroyed Kaftor.

Without a way to report their discoveries, the Librarians began to use their world-building skills for amusement. They created worlds out of the interest, when one of the Librarians had an idea. They would use the tome-worlds they created to recover resources. They would sow the seeds of a New Kaftor, if not a new world. After all, they had theoretically infinite resources at their command, limited only by their imaginations. Within the tome-worlds, they imagined advanced technologies and lost thaumaturgy brought back to life. The Librarians found they themselves could not easily enter, but they could take resources out of tomeworlds. Resources could be extracted from tome-worlds in several ways, but two common ones included loosing material to disasters as well as thaumaturgy disguised as religious rituals. This same logic could be included on a larger scale within the tomeworlds. To harvest more resources, more disasters could be initiated. The process would strip-mine the tome-worlds and likely render them uninhabitable, but would yield the greatest amount of resources.

Two camps of Librarians began to form. One camp, the Moderates, arose in favor of the traditional methods of resource harvesting, and minimizing their impact on the tome-worlds. The other camp, the Radicals, desired to exploit the tome-worlds to the maximum, destroying everything (and everyone) inside to maximize the outputs of resources. Tensions arose between the Moderates and Radicals over their most commonly used tome-worlds. Both sides accused each other of manipulating the tome-worlds, and creating characters to act as puppets to their desires. Both camps included powerful thaumaturges, so direct confrontation between the two would easily obliterate the Library and the resources they had captured. So far, this has deterred open hostilities between the two camps. However, a Moderate Librarian was recently found dead. As fingers were pointed all around, the Moderates began to investigate. A tomeworld that the victim had been working on had been strip-mined. Only a few character concepts remained in a notebook nearby. The Moderate Librarians used their thaumaturgy to bring these characters to life, and informed them of the situation. They had to find the killer of their creator, or the Library of Worlds, themselves included, would collapse into chaos. The killer had been manipulating several of the most commonly used tome-worlds, and likely left some clues in there. The characters must explore the most commonly used tome-worlds to find the person that killed their creator, and is trying to upset the Library in the process.

-Layout: The entire island the Library resides on is no more than three square miles. Most of it is rocky and unable to support crop growth. A small dock with some rickety, abandoned ships resides. A new dock build to house some craft taken from tome-worlds is under construction nearby. The primary Library compound is build into the ground, and extends downwards six levels. Dorms are built closer to the surface, and several thaumaturgical automatons can commonly be seen roving around the Library. Running water, flush toilets, and thaumaturgical lighting are common around the Library. The lower levels of the Library hold many older scrolls and books, while the tomeworlds are generally stored in the upper levels. There have been no voyages to the mainland since volcanic ash clouds were seen to the far south, and refugees told of what happened. Since then, the Library has turned inwards, and there have only been occasional visitors. Normally shipwrecked fishermen or traders, they have been assisted by the Librarians and then sent on their way. The island tends to be difficult to sight and land on, deterring many from returning. Recently, there has been one strange visitor, and she appeared shortly after the murder. There are roughly fifty Librarians, and the two camps are roughly equal in numbers. Resources taken from tome-worlds have normally been stored in specialized warehouses built by the automatons. The Librarians intend to start trading with their neighbors once their internal squabbles have been worked out. However, no one has formally approached with the intention of trading yet. The volcanic eruption that destroyed Kaftor also changed the sea lanes.

-Technology: Technology in the Library was originally thaumechanical, but that has recently been changing. Importing thaumaturgical and manufactured goods from the tome-worlds, many Librarians have been unsure how to integrate all of it together. A few Librarians have been trying to use engineer-characters drawn from Tome-worlds, but inter-factional strife has prevented much from being done. Weapons technology is one thing that certainly has attracted a lot of interest, and weapons drawn from tome-worlds can range from stone hatchets to early pepperbox-styled firearms. Gunpowder weapons are fairly rare and poorly understood, though pneumatic air guns, repeating crossbows, alchemical solution spraying hand-pumps, and other mechanical projectile weapons are becoming popular. Due to the Library's close quarters, thaumaturgical melee weapons are also popular exports from the tome-worlds. Both sides are hording weapons in anticipation of having to use them. So far, the loot has been fairly evenly distributed, so both sides are looking for a decisive factor.

-Extraction: Resources are "transferred" between a tome-world and real world by destroying them with a certain fashion (often specific to the tome) or through certain thaumaturgical rituals (such as a subverted religious ritual). The Moderate writers get a smaller, but more constant flow of resources by using this. The Radical writers, however, gain many more resources, but it is a one-time deal, as a tome-world is essentially destroyed in the process. Sometimes, goods are damaged, which is why robust designs and items often become the most popular items.

5/14/2008 #1
Crownbreaker

Couple of questions:

How populous is the library? It is several hundred or only a few dozen?

Where do harvested resources appear in the real world?

Does the Library have contact with other Kraftorian survivors?

5/17/2008 #2
Jave Harron

The Library has about 50-60 people residing in it. The Librarians are generally a blend of living people, soulshells, and self-aware ab-dead. There are are few refugees, unlucky fishermen, or lost traders that sometimes land on the island. Generally, they can expect a neutral Librarian to meet them, and explain a bit about the Library (but not too much). The Librarians often gather information on nearby states and their own states of affairs from these few sorts that land (mostly through friendly conversation or subtle mind-reading thaumaturgy). The groups are normally given some supplies, have their boats fixed by the automatons, and sent back on their merry ways. Generally, visitors stay no more than a few months at most, but a few Librarians have considered the idea of taking on apprentices from the outside world.

A few of the people that encounter the Library are Kaftorian survivors. However, most of the time, they seek to reunite with a few scattered communities of other survivors along the coasts of the Black Sea. There have been a few contacts between the Library and these communities, but mainly the cases of the above scenario.

The harvested resources are not yet in a state to feed a significant population. Several warehouses were constructed on the island away from the Library proper, each with multiple levels extending underground. Thaumaturgical transportation circles placed on the floor and walls help to transfer goods harvested from the tomeworlds there. Each warehouse is calibrated for a specific tome world, and the five most active tomeworlds have been the most 'productive.'

5/17/2008 #3
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