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

Kitch Drennai, Model One, and the group look at a screen showing a map of the world. A red area is decreasing, rapidly turning blue. The State, meanwhile, has lights symbolizing pain harvesting facilities shutting off.

"Excellent!" Drennai exclaims. "We've done it!"

"As for you, we have some rewards," Model One opens a chest, revealing pulsed ether carbines and pistols. "These do not run out of ammunition, unlike your solid-slug guns, but take a moment to recharge after approximately thirty bursts. They do have recoil and shorter range, though."

"Kitch, we would like some other help, as well," Eleutherios adds. "Recall the plan for handling the Librarians?"

He nods. "I just thought some extra incentive may be useful."

Eleutherios picks up a PE carbine and pistol. "No external ammo, and no fuss."

He looks at the group. "Now, about the Book of Thoth," he says. "That's the last thing we need."

"And where did you hide it?" Chandi asks.

"Panthassala," Eleutherios explains. "Placed inside the personal layer of a mad emperor."

"Why would you do something that idiotic?" Clockroach glares at the mercenary.

"It was Samir's idea," Eleutherios said. "And I was in his employ at the time. He's the Radical who hire me to kill your creator, after all."

He glares at the apparently apathetic group.

"You're not making us like you any more," Ades/Oro says, reaching for a PE carbine.

"I don't care if you like me or not," Eleutherios adds. "I care if you'll help me kill the insane emperor to get back the Book of Thoth. That's all we need to do. Then, we can take our revenge on the Librarians, fight amongst ourselves, or whatever you wish. It was given to that madman since no one in their right mind would try to retake it. The Mods and other Rads don't even know where it went."

1/15/2009 #1
Crownbreaker

"I'm rather apathetic to our creator's death," Geminos says, taking a carbine and a pistol for each body. "It's hard to be attached to someone you never met."

He looks down at the weapons he is holding and contemplates the possibility of making a biological imitation if he ever has any free time.

"I have no problem with assassination," he adds, grinning. "It's what I was made for."

1/15/2009 #2
Monev11235

Clockroach stashes two pistols in his shell. "This is going to be a very bothersome revenge, isn't it?" Clockroach sighs.

1/15/2009 #3
Cam S

Moros, not being a warrior, examines the weapons. Thinking for a moment, he picks up one of the carbines, and looks down its barrel.

"It's alright, we can kill Samir," he says, distractedly, "but, to tell you the truth, he could've done a better job designing us. I, for one, wouldn't mind being able to read minds, kill with a word or have a third arm."

His back straightens, and his eyes get a distant look in them. He suppresses a smile. An idea occurred to him.

1/15/2009 #4
Jave Harron

"The main reason I brought up Samir is to at least inform you of the culprit behind it," Eleutherios comments. "Though killing him eventually would be beneficial to us in the long run. But without him murdering your creator, you would have just remained incomplete concepts in his drawer. So, in a sense, you have his immoral act to thank for your creation."

"So, you're going to force us to kill him?" Chandi asks.

"Not yet," Eleutherios replies. "Why don't you explore Haven? You can think, do some shopping, or whatever else you'd like. If you care to join me in killing Samir and following revenge on the Librarians, I'll be here."

"What is there to see in this city?" Ades asks.

"Plenty!" Drennai explains. "We have weapons and equipment, in addition to thaumaturgical body sculpting, upgrades for constructs, bars, brothels, bookstores, libraries, a university, and most things. I didn't build this city to be a center of commerce for nothing."

"I have some Haven money you can use," Eleutherios takes the group into a nearby room. He hands out a certain amount of Haven Metrocredits to each. "This should be enough for most purposes. Now, I have some business to attend to."

1/16/2009 #5
Jave Harron

Drennai pushes a button on his desk, and an aide walks in. He hands him a folder of papers, and begins talking. The group can hear some lines for their conversation.

"Sir, it's the strangest thing," the aide says. "Our deposits near the drop-off points were untouched. The Librarians haven't taken as many resources as normal. In fact, we found this letter from them-"

The group may try to listen in more closely, or explore Haven city more.

3/29/2009 #6
Crownbreaker

Geminos debates what to do briefly before deciding to split his attention, leaving half of himself to listen to Drennai while his other half departed to explore the city.

After stepping outside Drennai's office he grabs the attention of one Drennai's staff. "Excuse me, do you know where I can find Haven's university?" The various stores and people of Haven didn't interest Geminos nearly as much the possibilities that Haven's university and libraries offered.

3/30/2009 #7
Jave Harron

Drennai unfolds a piece of paper and turns towards the group. "We received this letter with a bunch of gear from the Librarians," he notes. "It reads: To our children, you are free. The war has ended, and on our terms. We wish to talk with you about your plans afterwards. Signed, The Moderates."

"I don't like this," Drennai notes. "Since when have the Librarians demanded anything other than our goods, and when have they given us refunds? It may be a trap."

"Did the Radicals not have the Moderates against the wall?" Chandi recalls. "Do you they believe us to be so foolish as to walk into such a trap?"

"Perhaps we could exploit this," Drennai notes. "Maybe if you could use a decoy, you could see what is really going on. But in the meantime, you're welcome to explore my city."

---

Geminos is given directions to the Haven City Academy, as well as a guidebook by the secretary. Different smaller campuses around the city cater to different specialties. There's a socioeconomics campus, thaumaturgy and sciences campus, military academy campus, fine arts campus, and some minor ones. The military school would probably be the hardest to gain access to, since it requires identification and several security checkpoints. It's also located near a police department. The thaumaturgy and sciences school, however, does contain more than a few military-related projects. The socioeconomics school contains social sciences, economics, and similar subjects.

3/30/2009 . Edited by dreamshell, 3/30/2009 #8
dreamshell

Chandi is highly skeptical, fearing the letter to be a ploy of the Radical Librarians. On the other hand, if its contents are true, then the group's indentureship is over and they are free to do as they please...

She casts Eleutherios an inquisitive look, curious about his opinion. She then turns to Kitch Drennai.

"What exactly do you mean by a decoy?"

3/30/2009 #9
Crownbreaker

"If you have any undesirables or state prisoners we could use those as decoys. Reshape them to look like one of us using thaumaturgy and give them some mental programming. If they come back they can tell us what happened in the library, and if they don't we get the same sort of information anyway," Geminos suggests. "I'm inclined to think that this is a trick, and I don't feel particularly compelled to return in any event."

---

The Thaumaturgy and Sciences campus is probably the best place to start, Geminos decides, given the difficulty getting into the military campus would present, at least at first. He makes some changes to his exploratory body. He leaves all of the assorted weapons he has accumulated from the group's travels at his current location, where his other body will be able to easily retrieve them.

Not wanting to risk being easily identified, he makes physical changes as well, altering his body into that of a Havenite woman and heads to a shopping district to purchase local clothing with the money Eleutherios gave him/her.

3/31/2009 #10
Jave Harron

Drennai nods. "We have several serial murderers who have been either looked up for life, or in line for human research," he nods. "Here, we allow prisoners to undergo human experimentation as an alternative to a prison sentence. The potential danger of the experiment is directly correlated with the severity of the crime. For a suicide mission or decoy, they would undergo personality reprogramming and mutation to resemble you."

He looks at Clockroach and Ades/Oro. "As for you, I suppose we could make some non-sapient construct decoys with your forms. Once the decoys are ready, we would send them back through to the Library."

Drennai pulls out another file. "But I have had an idea. One of my naval officers informed me of a shape shifting human, which the Librarians have classified as a Su. We have the remains handy, in case the biomancer wants to see how they work, or maybe you'd like to make your own."

---

Geminos notes the city of Haven itself is largely made of a strange blue metal, and there is a blend of people walking the streets in terms of skin tones and age. Aside from the odd servile construct, there are few soulshells or abdead. The thaumaturgy necessary for creating them is lagging in this tomeworld, which was one reason why Model One was so important to Haven.

Geminos enters campus, and notes the buildings have a brick facade, differentiating them from the blue metal buildings comprising the rest of the city. There are no walls or fences around the edge of campus, and moving around is meant to be easy, likely due to a large number of students living in nearby apartments. The Thaumaturgy and Sciences Campus is further broken into a number of other buildings. He finds a poster showing a map of the campus. There are dorms, a student center, a Biological Sciences building (hosting biomancy as well), Engineering hall (holding alchemy and thaumechanics and thaumokinetics, plus related thaumath), and Theoretical Sciences building (likely holding more rare things). Noting the structures, the biology building has several interesting scents coming from it, too subtle for a baseline human to detect. A few figures in Haven military garb enter each of the buildings, indicating military related research may be in each of them, or military members may have classes in each.

3/31/2009 #11
dreamshell

Chandi frowns. "We do not care how you do it, just do it. For my part, I am very eager to leave this whole Library business behind."

3/31/2009 #12
Jave Harron

"Would you like to program them with specific instructions?" Drennai replies. "Like attack if they see the Radicals, or report back if it is indeed the Moderates telling the truth? Hell, we may even send these decoys as agents in your place. However, I would like to inquire something. To make a decoy more convincing, it needs more of your personality and memories. How much would you be willing to give one, and would you honestly try to enslave yourself in a manner the Librarians did to you?"

3/31/2009 #13
dreamshell

Chandi grabs Drennai by the collar and puts the barrel of one of her firearms to his temple.

"You will not speak to me of such things. Do what you must, and leave out the metaphysical. I trust you can resolve the issue you have told us of without having to further test this group's collective patience."

3/31/2009 #14
Crownbreaker

Geminos heads for the biology building. Engineering is a bit far afield of his/her expertise, and the scents from the biology building suggest he will find interesting things.

--

"Careful not to wear out our welcome, my dear," Geminos said. "I doubt anyone really cares what you do to deal with the library. Send a plague through if you feel like. I want no further dealing with them. I have more important things to worry about."

3/31/2009 . Edited 3/31/2009 #15
Jave Harron

"Morality ends where the use of force begins," Drennai glares down at Chandi. "Since we don't even know what kind of shape the Library is in, I will instruct these decoys to send a biomorph messenger back through. Even if their war ended, whoever won would likely be weakened and disoriented. Essentially being in a state where they may be exploited for more profit rather than destroyed. But first, let's see what comes back from the other side."

Chandi puts down Drennai, who calls in Model One. "Help me with the decoys. As for the rest of you, I'll need your help so my biomancers can capture your body types correctly," Drennai says.

---

The biology building has a variety of halls, lecture rooms, and labs inside it. As he enters, no one pays him heed. A group of military figures head towards a room on the first floor, and an elderly looking scientist vanishes into a lab on the second floor. The two most interesting, complex scents are coming from those rooms.

4/1/2009 #16
Cam S

Moros cooperates with the copying, noting in the back of his mind that he would need to brush up on his Thaumath and sacred geometry sometime soon.

4/1/2009 #17
Jave Harron

Drennai looks at Moros while Haven biomancers go to work on several decoys. "So, you're the agony manipulator, I hear?"

Moros nods.

"I have a question," Drennai asks. "Is it possible that some other sensation could be used to as a thaumaturgical power source? I had some experiments with pleasure and relaxation to show those can theoretically produce methods, but I am at a loss as to how to harvest them."

"Why the interest?" Moros asks.

"Power, my dear," Drennai replies. "The State and Sheolites use pain to drive their entire rotten social structures. I was hoping something else could be used as a replacement. But, I also have a question for the biomancer."

Geminos turns, one body already occupied with his female disguise in the University. "Yes, sir?"

"Do you think you could mind control the Librarians, or at least try to?" Drennai grins. "Then, instead of expending effort to destroy them, they could be made to serve you! Do not destroy what you can add to your own strength with."

4/2/2009 #18
Crownbreaker

Geminos heads for the second floor lab. It might be best to avoid direct contact with Haven's military for now. Of course, the elderly man was probably some sort of thaumaturge, so he shouldn't be underestimated either.

--

"I could try," Geminos answers. "I doubt it would be easy. The Library is full of expert thaumaturges, some of them abdead or soulshells, although hopefully their numbers will have been reduced by now. But how does it profit you to see me in control of the Library?"

4/2/2009 #19
Cam S

"The Sheolite Thaumaturges are lazy," Moros declares, "if their subjects still feel pain after the harvesting has taken place, it means that they didn't extract it all. Either that, or they're using an inferior form of the discipline. A more humane way to go about it would to be to have a proper agonist accompany all doctors and use their discipline to anesthesize patients and draw out what pain they would feel into a usable form of energy."

4/2/2009 #20
Jave Harron

"Thank you," he says to Moros. "Now, I have a question. Do you think that you could alter some probabilities? Specifically the one that Geminos' mind control will work on a moderately skilled thaumaturge."

He turns back to Geminos. "It's simple, really," he explains. "The Librarians have demanded goods I produce without providing much in return. It's the ultimate and most unfair in taxes. If you, or a controlled Librarian, was to set up inter-tomeworld trade, things would be much better than this damned tribute system."

---

Geminos enters the old man's lab as a woman. There are several organic items preserved in jars, and several lab assistants and young novices (likely students here) work on strange, rifle-like shapes. A makeshift range, with shards of some kind of ceramic (calcium based, Geminos detects by rubbing his hand on it, almost bonelike), sits near the end of the door. The items in the jars, and what several students are working on have bony 'stocks' and 'barrels,' covered with sinewy muscle tissue. Some sport bayonet like spines. Others are 'carbine' versions. A trigger, resembling a finger bone and contracting muscle, is located in the same spot as a gun. Geminos looks at the weapon types and judges they are some kind of bone-shard thrower, but intended for non-biomancers to use.

"Can I help you, madam?" the old man turns to him/her.

4/3/2009 #21
Crownbreaker

“I suppose that an interdimensional trade network could be profitable. Especially when you can write yourself a new trade partner whenever you want,” Geminos says.

Another thought occurs to him. “Why ask me, though? You clearly have your own biomancers. Why not have them do it?”

--

“I’m not sure,” Geminos says. “I thought this room smelled different, and although it looks like my curiosity may have led me astray.” He/She scrutinizes the objects filling the lab.

“Those appear to be some variety of bonespitter modeled on firearms. What’s the point? Any reasonably skilled combat biomancer can form one quickly, and surely a conventional firearm is both superior and cheaper for non-biomancers?”

4/3/2009 #22
Jave Harron

"My biomancers do not have as much experience compared to other Tomeworlds," Drennai replies. "You have more experience and genetic recipes, since I presume you've been to Tomeworlds with more advanced biomancy."

---

"What are you talking about?" the doctor says. "Biomancy is still highly theoretical! It will be decades before voluntary and rapid tissue resculpting becomes possible!"

One of the grad students comes up. "Firearms were a dead branch anyway. So crude, such slow to reload, and run out too fast compared to pulsed ether. You new here?"

4/3/2009 #23
Crownbreaker

"That is mostly correct. I was created with most of my knowledge of biomancy, though we have visited tomeworlds where the biomancy has developed far beyond what I'm capable of in many cases." Geminos said. "That also explains why you haven't tried to create a Haven virus to convert the state to your ideology."

---

Geminos suppressed a predatory grin into a more friendly one. She could already see opportunities here to gather knowledge and spread chaos. She starts preparing a strain of mind-altering micro-organisms, although she refrains from releasing them just yet.

"I'm just a visitor," she said. "I'm a student of biomancy myself. I've studied it exclusively thus far, though some of the things I've seen recently have piqued my interest in cross-applications with other fields of thaumaturgy."

4/3/2009 #24
Cam S

Moros thinks.

"I can put more power behind it, so he can hammer through defences. Getting around the ones he can't hammer through would be based on his own skill," he adds, "but having a ready source of power might be helpful. If we could prevent one of them or one of their characters from using their thaumaturgy and then tie them up, I could use my needles on them to get a bit of free energy."

4/4/2009 #25
Jave Harron

"The State can rot for all I care," Drennai remarks. "Given recent events, they're fair disorganized now. The Sheolites are now under control. As for the Librarians, some may not be organic, but might you create some method of immobilizing them? Like some organic gel or restraining agent that hardens. Some of my alchemists have been working on materials resembling those."

Behind them, the biomancers step away from the decoys. A pair of constructs, superficially identical to Clockroach and Oro/Ades stand next to them.

"Now, there may be two strategies here. One is to attempt to have the decoys report back to us, and then plan accordingly, or to have the decoys themselves attack," Drennai recommends. "These are just my own opinions, but I think we should at least know who or what we're up against."

---

"One of our goals with this project is to have these weapons also accept alchemical substances to coat their projectiles with," the scientist explains. "Have you applied to our school? We have openings for lab assistants."

4/4/2009 #26
Crownbreaker

"If we want to minimize risk, the easiest thing to do would be turn the decoys into plague carriers. Alter them to exude the mind control organisms and transmit telepathic commands to pacify the organic population," Geminos suggested. "The only advice I can offer for dealing with soulshells and abdead is some sort of micro-organism to feed on dead tissue or certain kinds of metal."

--

"I'm not sure that's really an option," Geminos said. "I'm not sure how long I will actually be in the city. I'll certainly consider it though." She starts to release the mind-altering micro-organisms into the room. If they worked (and given the apparent state of Haven's biomancy it was unlikely that anyone would have adequate defences) they would make those affected suceptible to her telepathic commands.

"What other major projects are based at the university?"

4/7/2009 #27
Jave Harron

"I recall I ran into some microbes like that," Ades/Oro muttered. "That's how I ended up like this!"

"I still have some samples of the ferrovoric bacteria," Geminos adds. "A few alterations to that should work."

The decoys are released, and the group can only wait for them to come back.

---

"Oh, the university's working on a few interesting things," the professor explains. "But I only know our department. We have the completely biomanced flamethrower, the swarm armor, and miniaturized pulsed ether weapons that can be concealed in biomanced folds of skin."

4/7/2009 #28
Jave Harron

Just then, one of the decoy Geminos returns. "I have an update on the Library, if any of you care to hear it," the decoy grins. "We've had a good bit of success."

---

"Would you like me to give you a tour?" the professor asks Geminos. "I can let you into most of the labs in this building."

4/10/2009 #29
Jave Harron

"We managed to get all the baseline Librarians, except for the abdead one and a few soulshells," the decoy explains. "Apparently, the Moderates did indeed win. The remaining Radicals and their Sus fled into the other Tomeworlds. The Book of Thoth is still lost to the Moderates, and still in Panthassala. I can explain how, if you want."

"Weren't the Moderates on the edge of loosing last I heard?" Drennai asked. "Sudden change of fortunes, there."

"The Radicals sent a lot of their military forces towards mainland targets. That left some gaps in their...homefront defenses. So, the Moderates deployed Sus of their own, and attacked the complacent Radicals. As they retreated, an unknown thaumaturgical spell cut off the Library from the outside world. So, the Radicals could not call for reinforcements, and had to fall back to the Tomeworlds," the decoy explained. "I am not sure if any retreated here, but if there are Radicals, they might have already been here. Like a few sleeper Sus or something."

4/14/2009 #30
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