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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Burn the Libraries

    After a few days of giving librarian players with librarian characters access to a library in game I have resolve that henceforth I shall arrange for all libraries in my settings to burn to the ground shortly before the players arrive.

    In the first place, no one recognizes that modern libraries are.... well.... modern.

    The contents of an ancient/medieval library are likely to be largely concentrated on a single subject. Monastic libraries? Lots of religious scripture. Lots of commentaries on scripture. Sermons. Hymns. Devotionals. The occasional nugget of philosophy or natural science. That non-religious library is going to have a lot of records of commercial contracts and tomes on legal theory. Looking for a book on dragons? You're probably going to have to find out who wrote one and then track down someone who has made a copy.

    Which almost certainly won't be in a public library because there won't be any public libraries as we understand them. Libraries belong to individuals (and consist of maybe a dozen book, a few dozen in the case of a very well-appointed library) or institutions (see monks, above). A few places that have students will have reading libraries where commonly used texts (textbooks and other course related material) will be chained to shelves and can be read at desks which are also attached to the shelves. Most documents will be in stacks which are not accessible to members of the general public and must be requested by name.

    Good luck finding those documents, however, because the catalog isn't online, it isn't Dewey Decimal or Library of Congress or any other useful system. It's likely to be organized by author name. If you're luck titles will be available. Some catalogs will be by date the volume was obtained. Ironically, the larger the collection is the harder it will be to locate relevant information. Fortunately any collection of real size will attract researchers who will develop their own catalogs and may rent access to their catalog or their research services (including access to the collections) for a price.

    Access. Yes. Characters will need access to the library which, if it is sizable, will be broken up into collections which will have separate access requirements and may be stored in separate rooms or even separate buildings. If the collection is large enough it may be stored in separate dimensions. Letters of introductions will almost certainly need to be obtained, there are likely to be interviews, paperwork, and bribes. If you've ever tried to deal with the custodians of the Topkapi museum collections you know what I'm talking about.

    Libraries also have perils. Nothics stealing critical pages and entire volumes. Book worms which are insects that don't mind eating flesh and, if disturbed, can skeletonize a grimoire or its reader in moments. Allips trying to disgorge their terrible secrets upon the unsuspecting. Pages poisoned by accident of construction or deliberate act. Corrupt keepers of knowledge and guardians of forbidden lore that will kill to protect their secrets. Cursed tomes that will turn you into an Allip or inflict a similar fate.

    And despite all of this, players will persist and then they will ask the question that will keep you up nights in frantic preparation, composition, and post-traumatic experience induced stress: What have I learned from the scroll/book/clay-tablet?

    Which is why I'm not sharing my homebrew rules which cover all of this and make research a sort of separate mini-game. Use the downtime research rules from XGtE, give your players one or two nuggets of information, and call it a day. Because f--- the players. What did you learn? Dragons are bad. That's your nugget of lore. Was it worth it? Was it?!?
    Last edited by jjordan; 2021-01-10 at 06:29 PM.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Burn the Libraries

    I'm very sad to hear you aren't sharing your Bureaucratic Nightmare minigame. The downtime rules work well for research on the side, but it'd be nice to have something for when the main plot involves getting information.

    More importantly, you forgot to mention that in many institutions fully half the texts are inordinate versions of whichever couple books the scribes-in-training use to learn the job. Even if they regularly obtain other materials, the old storage technology meant most books last 40-ish years before there's a large chunk rendered illegible by decay.

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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Burn the Libraries

    I generally gate keep library access. The various scholar organizations will answer questions, given payment, but they are the library interface. And lots of the knowledge was lost, and most of what we have now is fragmentary and internally inconsistent.

    Research is less about getting lost in a library for a week and more about knowing who to ask and what questions to ask. And discerning fact from fiction.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Burn the Libraries

    Sounds like a good way to turn a library into a 'dungeon'. Not the fire part though...

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    Default Re: Burn the Libraries

    Quote Originally Posted by jjordan View Post
    The contents of an ancient/medieval library are likely to be largely concentrated on a single subject. Monastic libraries? Lots of religious scripture. Lots of commentaries on scripture. Sermons. Hymns. Devotionals. The occasional nugget of philosophy or natural science. That non-religious library is going to have a lot of records of commercial contracts and tomes on legal theory. Looking for a book on dragons? You're probably going to have to find out who wrote one and then track down someone who has made a copy.
    This is not entirely true. For example, while we don't have a complete catalog of Monkwearmouth–Jarrow (the monastery where Bede wrote), and it no doubt contained a lot of ecclesiastical works, it's also going to include a lot of standard Latin texts... grammars, poetry, histories... because that's how you taught Latin. The works of Anglo-Saxon literature... Exeter book, Junius, Vercelli, and Cotton... all come out of monasteries, and usually have a mix of secular and religious writings.

    And that's without getting into classical libraries, like Alexandria or Pergamum. Herculaneum had a library of 1,800 books (scrolls, not codicies) and it survived to the modern day.

    Sure, in a strictly medieval setting, Earl Bob's library is going to be a dozen books. But that assumes a strictly medieval setting. This is without gods specifically dedicated to defending the printed word and knowledge (in the Realms, Deneir and Oghma). Or extraplanar libraries. Or the spell Copy, from the Wizard's Spell Compendium, Volume 1, which can copy 10 pages a casting, at lower cost than would exist for a book of the same size, requiring only 1 drop of ink; or the Deneirian spell, Amanuensis, or the Oghman spell Duplicate, both of which just require a writing surface. The Edificant Library in the Realms was destroyed, but it was replaced with the Spirit Soaring, and replenished from other libraries. Candlekeep is in the Realms.

    I'm not saying that you're going to have a public library style library in every small town... but there's going to be significant libraries, many of which will have indicies and catalogs, because that's part of the history of libraries.
    The Cranky Gamer
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Burn the Libraries

    Quote Originally Posted by Alcore View Post
    Sounds like a good way to turn a library into a 'dungeon'. Not the fire part though...
    See, that's what I thought. But it didn't work out that way with the library that I built. Lemme esplain...

    The Library of Tyn-Run
    The library is part of the university at Tyn-Run. It doesn't have a fancy name, it's just a university and it's located in the city of Tyn-Run. The university was established to train priests of the Sky Father. It was established in Tyn-Run because it's a major commercial city (a chokepoint on the trade routes and the entry point into the Kingdom of On-Asta) and because Tyn-Run is a politically reliable city. The Sky Father is a solar deity who witnesses everything and, as such, is invoked in commercial transactions. They are public notaries as much as they are priests.

    The library itself is a stone building 60ft wide by 100ft long with floor to ceiling translucent windows and a large skylight.

    The basement is used to store documents and materials used in the repair and production of documents. There are no lights down here, lots of chests and boxes. Bookworms (statted as a swarm of beetles) and accidental poisoning (arsenic) are the 'big' risks down here.

    The first floor contains the reading library and the stacks. The reading library is composed of large wooden, doubled-sided shelves with reading tables and benches built into them. Commonly used scrolls (grammars, textbooks, histories, sermons, scriptures, and liturgical documents) are available here, chained to the shelves. The stacks are 10ft by 10ft stone alcoves located around the perimeter which contains shelves with stacked scrolls in containers. One spiral staircase leads up to the second floor a separate spiral staircase leads down to the basement. The stacks and the stairs are behind iron-barred gates. There are narrow, translucent glass windows that go from the floor to the ceiling of the second floor. These are equivalent to thick, iron-bars because of the framework.

    The second floor contains the reading room and scriptorium. This isn't a production library so the scriptorium function is largely used by more senior researchers and visiting scholars. It's an arcade around the interior perimeter of the building and the center is open to the skylight above and the reading library below. The skylight is translucent rather than transparent (lower quality glass) and composed of lots of little pieces of glass held in place by an iron framework. There are tables, inclined scribal desktops, reading stands, and benches.

    So it's a very basic, big library setup based in large part on the Mazarine Library in Paris. Without the ornamentation. It has about 4000 scrolls in the stacks and reading library, so it's a big library.

    The players told me they were looking for information regarding the great rift that suddenly formed in the mountains 500 years ago. The library is located on the edge of the rift so it seemed like a good match. A few of them had ulterior motives. They found most of the things that were to be found and had a big fight with an Allip that they won pretty handily because I screwed up the tactics and they made good use of a faerie fire spell. They made a contact that might get them admission to the really big library they are headed to in the capital. So from that perspective things went well.

    The things that totally honked me off were the actual information gathering:
    -I cast detect magic and walk around the library. That bugs me. "Oh, hey, yeah, you're the first person in the two hundred years the library has been in existence to think of that. You've totally found an overlooked treasure." Players expect to find magic in a big library and I think you'd find the knowledge of how to craft your own magic after MORE THAN A SINGLE DAY OF LOOKING. It's a question of expectations and I can bow to player expectations or not have players. Still bugs me.
    -"That's it?" I had a system set up where players rolled a skill check to see how well they navigated the catalog to request documents, that gave them a modifier for a second skill check to see how much information they pulled out of the documents. Alternately they could socially interact with their assigned research assistant and try to make use of his knowledge. They could also hire a professional researcher, but they declined to do so. I let them do this twice (two four hour periods). And then I gave them the information they pulled out. To begin with, a couple of them switched subjects on me and I didn't have information handouts prepared on those subjects. And then the information that I gave them, which I thought was pretty darn detailed, wasn't enough. "There isn't a volume that directly addresses your chosen research subject. You've deduced this information based on facts mentioned in passing in the documents you've been studying." I thought I'd put a ton of work into this and the players had gotten much more information than they would have under the XGtE downtime rules.

    Which is a conversation I had with the players after the game, including a little play-through of how things would have gone under the RAW. They got nothing for their day of research based on the rolls they made and the money they spent. Which left everyone dissatisfied. Which is when I made my little post about how in the future my libraries will burn to the ground right before the players get to them. Maybe while they are in them. Which is just me saying that from now on players won't have unlimited time to look at research materials. I'll contrive to put a time limit on them and they'll get what they get and questions of "Can I do some more research to get more details?" will be met with the reply of "I think you're going to have to find a new library to look in because the roaring flames make this one look unsafe at the moment."
    Last edited by jjordan; 2021-01-11 at 01:10 PM.

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    Default Re: Burn the Libraries

    Quote Originally Posted by jjordan View Post
    Good luck finding those documents, however, because the catalog isn't online, it isn't Dewey Decimal or Library of Congress or any other useful system. It's likely to be organized by author name. If you're luck titles will be available. Some catalogs will be by date the volume was obtained. Ironically, the larger the collection is the harder it will be to locate relevant information. Fortunately any collection of real size will attract researchers who will develop their own catalogs and may rent access to their catalog or their research services (including access to the collections) for a price.
    Fun fact: depending on the time period you're basing your game off of, it's entirely possible that the filing system is based off of absolute positioning, rather than relative positioning like we do now. They'd still be pretty likely to organize it by subtopic, though, since that's one of the more obvious ways of doing it, at least for people with a Western cultural background (which most people unthinkingly import into their settings).

    Unless, of course, you're one of my poor classmates' predecessor - in that case, you just organize a modern law library alphabetically by title and then browbeat anyone else who tries to access the stacks. Now that's power tripping!
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Burn the Libraries

    Quote Originally Posted by Amechra View Post
    Fun fact: depending on the time period you're basing your game off of, it's entirely possible that the filing system is based off of absolute positioning, rather than relative positioning like we do now. They'd still be pretty likely to organize it by subtopic, though, since that's one of the more obvious ways of doing it, at least for people with a Western cultural background (which most people unthinkingly import into their settings).

    Unless, of course, you're one of my poor classmates' predecessor - in that case, you just organize a modern law library alphabetically by title and then browbeat anyone else who tries to access the stacks. Now that's power tripping!
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall
    I'm not saying that you're going to have a public library style library in every small town... but there's going to be significant libraries, many of which will have indicies and catalogs, because that's part of the history of libraries.
    Catalogues can, obviously, vary by place and time and person. The Topkapi Treasury has one complete and two partial catalogues which were compiled at different times by different authors in different languages and the organization of each is intended to make sense, and does, if you are deeply steeped in the culture and time the catalogues come from.

    In my game the municipal library across town from the university library is organized by date of accession because it deals with contracts and civic regulations and actions and the births and deaths of citizens.

    Any number of modern collections have catalogues for separate collections which are far less admirable than the highly organized catalogues of their general collections. And catalogues can be inaccurate for various reasons. Error, skullduggery. The librarian of one of the high schools I attended had a couple of shelve of books in her office which she deemed inappropriate. I discovered these by accident, because the record showed they were checked out, and was amused because I had been the last person to check out over half of the books and had read the majority of them.

    While it's possible for an ancient/medieval-style library to have an excellent catalog, I think it's more likely, and more fun, that they won't.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall
    This is not entirely true. For example, while we don't have a complete catalog of Monkwearmouth–Jarrow (the monastery where Bede wrote), and it no doubt contained a lot of ecclesiastical works, it's also going to include a lot of standard Latin texts... grammars, poetry, histories... because that's how you taught Latin. The works of Anglo-Saxon literature... Exeter book, Junius, Vercelli, and Cotton... all come out of monasteries, and usually have a mix of secular and religious writings.
    I'm going to split a hair and argue the materials for teaching Latin are an artifact mostly peculiar to the Western European experience where it was necessary and desirable to teach students a language lost to most common usage but still the langauge of learning. It's a great detail that DMs can consider employing but without that need libraries become even less diverse unless they are the domain of private collectors/enthusiasts.

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    Default Re: Burn the Libraries

    Quote Originally Posted by jjordan View Post
    I'm going to split a hair and argue the materials for teaching Latin are an artifact mostly peculiar to the Western European experience where it was necessary and desirable to teach students a language lost to most common usage but still the langauge of learning. It's a great detail that DMs can consider employing but without that need libraries become even less diverse unless they are the domain of private collectors/enthusiasts.
    A lot of settings have there be a separate "language of magic" that you'd presumably have to teach new wizarding students, which would have similar results.
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    Default Re: Burn the Libraries

    Quote Originally Posted by Amechra View Post
    A lot of settings have there be a separate "language of magic" that you'd presumably have to teach new wizarding students, which would have similar results.
    Spoiler: slightly off topic
    Show

    I decided that it made more sense for each different school (not as in Evocation, etc, but as literal places where wizardry, etc are taught) to have its own "language of magic"--sure, a fireball is a fireball and has the same key sound-patterns in its verbal component, but there's a lot of filler required. You may have 4 key syllables/phonemes, but they have to be spaced properly and have the right tone (in the tone-based language sense) and the right emphasis, so it's way easier to fill the gaps with words that contain those syllables naturally.

    So some use a dialect of high elven. Others use Old Imperial (effectively latin-equivalent). Others use draconic (or the chopped-down children's version that non-dragons speak). Those that teach priests may use a form of celestial. The avant-garde dwarven school at Shinevog uses nonsense words, and as few as they can get away with (for efficiency).

    And even those that use the same languages use different words for each of the needs. Which means that if you know your history and magical schools, you can figure out who taught the spellcaster you're facing. Which can clue you in on what sorts of spells they're likely to know, since each school specializes to some degree. Unless they came up with it on their own, in which case...well...yeah.
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    Default Re: Burn the Libraries

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall View Post
    Sure, in a strictly medieval setting, Earl Bob's library is going to be a dozen books. But that assumes a strictly medieval setting. This is without gods specifically dedicated to defending the printed word and knowledge (in the Realms, Deneir and Oghma). Or extraplanar libraries. Or the spell Copy, from the Wizard's Spell Compendium, Volume 1, which can copy 10 pages a casting, at lower cost than would exist for a book of the same size, requiring only 1 drop of ink; or the Deneirian spell, Amanuensis, or the Oghman spell Duplicate, both of which just require a writing surface. The Edificant Library in the Realms was destroyed, but it was replaced with the Spirit Soaring, and replenished from other libraries. Candlekeep is in the Realms.
    It also assumes a strictly European medieval setting. The medieval technology levels and social systems like feudalism occurred in other parts of the globe that were significantly more literary than Europe in the case of both the Islamic world and much of East Asia. In fact the medieval period was arguably less literary than the classical period that preceded it, due to cultural, demographic, and religious factors. Also, pulp paper making and wood block printing were developed in China and did not diffuse to Europe until quite late, but this is an artifact of Earth history that need not be replicated in a fantasy world.

    Personally I feel that, since the majority of characters in D&D style fantasy are presumed to be literate, even if they have rural origins, wood-block printing ought to be a mature technology to explain this.
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    Librarian in the Playground Moderator
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    Default Re: Burn the Libraries

    Quote Originally Posted by jjordan View Post
    I'm going to split a hair and argue the materials for teaching Latin are an artifact mostly peculiar to the Western European experience where it was necessary and desirable to teach students a language lost to most common usage but still the langauge of learning. It's a great detail that DMs can consider employing but without that need libraries become even less diverse unless they are the domain of private collectors/enthusiasts.
    Given the multilingual nature of most D&D worlds, I'd argue that they're likely to have MORE syllabaries. What's written in elven? In dwarven? In gnome? What language do they speak around here, and what common ones are nearby that you'd want familiarity with?

    Another note about D&D worlds having a lot of books... they have paper, which is easier to make than parchment or papyrus, once you know the trick of it.
    The Cranky Gamer
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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Burn the Libraries

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall View Post
    Given the multilingual nature of most D&D worlds, I'd argue that they're likely to have MORE syllabaries. What's written in elven? In dwarven? In gnome? What language do they speak around here, and what common ones are nearby that you'd want familiarity with?

    Another note about D&D worlds having a lot of books... they have paper, which is easier to make than parchment or papyrus, once you know the trick of it.
    Looking at relative prices (here I'm going to take 5e because that's what I've got), books are as expensive (25 gp, so roughly a month's excess wages for a skilled laborer) as a
    * climber's kit
    * component pouch
    * flask of holy water
    * hourglass
    * set of jeweler's tools
    * a disguise kit
    * navigator's tools
    * thieves tools
    * half a pound of gold
    * 2.5 cows (10 gp each)
    * a trained mastiff (and only slightly cheaper than a pony) or 3 donkeys/mules
    * 5 lbs of silver
    * half a rowboat. (50 gp each)
    * not quite 2 carts (15 gp each)

    That's not cheap. Oddly, 1 sheet of paper costs 2 silver, while 1 sheet of parchment costs 1 silver.

    So I'd guess that they're in the early stages of paper-making. Or are killing cows like crazy .

    Realistically, I'd guess that there's a very common use of slate-type writing tools for most people. Priests teach literacy to children (at least in Common or whatever racial language) but most people don't write much.
    Last edited by PhoenixPhyre; 2021-01-11 at 07:50 PM.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Burn the Libraries

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    Realistically, I'd guess that there's a very common use of slate-type writing tools for most people. Priests teach literacy to children (at least in Common or whatever racial language) but most people don't write much.
    The wax tablet was the common tool for the written word and for students. Artists might use silverpoint on boards covered with gesso. For less complex accounting (which is really the primary use early writing was put to) tally-sticks could be in use.

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    Default Re: Burn the Libraries

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall View Post
    Herculaneum had a library of 1,800 books (scrolls, not codicies) and it survived to the modern day.
    I accept that magic makes copying over books much easier, but I'm not sure how much overlap there can be between books preserved in this particular manner and books a party of players could access.


    On to not just nitpicking someone's details:
    Quote Originally Posted by jjordan View Post
    -I cast detect magic and walk around the library. That bugs me. "Oh, hey, yeah, you're the first person in the two hundred years the library has been in existence to think of that. You've totally found an overlooked treasure." Players expect to find magic in a big library and I think you'd find the knowledge of how to craft your own magic after MORE THAN A SINGLE DAY OF LOOKING. It's a question of expectations and I can bow to player expectations or not have players. Still bugs me.
    I think its safe to play up the "expect to find magic," aspect.
    "It's a library maintained by scholars, half of whom can cast. There's too many auras for you to check within this casting of the spell. The good news is, they've been using particular types of magic to mark particular types of texts. Sealed documents have enchantments to make you give them back, the politically important records have conjuration from summoned extraplanar witnesses, and the high quality lorebooks have little illusions in the illustrations. When you check one of the necromantic auras it turns out to just be a preservation spell on a pressed flower. Maybe someone uses them to track their recent research?"
    Not entirely sure I've got the feel you're looking for, but it'll probably help manage expectations on whether or not any of the books will have more detail than "Dragons are bad," because they're the ones with the relevant magical aura. Meanwhile the number of auras hopefully dissuades the party from thinking they'll find something major just from a single 1st level spell. Hopefully it feels useful without being an automatic solution.

    Quote Originally Posted by jjordan View Post
    "That's it?" I had a system set up where players rolled a skill check to see how well they navigated the catalog to request documents, that gave them a modifier for a second skill check to see how much information they pulled out of the documents. Alternately they could socially interact with their assigned research assistant and try to make use of his knowledge. They could also hire a professional researcher, but they declined to do so. I let them do this twice (two four hour periods). And then I gave them the information they pulled out. To begin with, a couple of them switched subjects on me and I didn't have information handouts prepared on those subjects. And then the information that I gave them, which I thought was pretty darn detailed, wasn't enough. "There isn't a volume that directly addresses your chosen research subject. You've deduced this information based on facts mentioned in passing in the documents you've been studying." I thought I'd put a ton of work into this and the players had gotten much more information than they would have under the XGtE downtime rules.
    I'm sorry to hear this went poorly. Two ways to lesson the problem spring to mind from your description, although I'm not going to pretend they're likely to be very accurate to your particular situation.

    First, would it be possible to move these activities to the end of the session where everyone rolls, finishes for the night, and gets their results next session? That should remove the worst effects of surprise information requests and you'll have a warning if what you were expecting to write wasn't asked for. I've used this for attempting to gather information, so I'm not just brainstorming in a blank void about what the party might look for and what version of it they'd find in the places they look. Saves me time too.

    Second, maybe make multiple handouts from the same search? For instance, if two party members roll to search for the same thing they both get one page of more basic materials, and the one who rolled higher also gets a second handout of the additional material they found from some other source?
    "The assigned research assistant grabs you books with this in them, and this you piece together from vaguely related texts on other subjects. Alice also finds one traveler's fourthhand account of someone talking about the topic which gives her this information."
    I think that would feel more substantial than one list where I have no clue what I did to get the information or where I could do better the next time the game involves research. So you're also getting information on how to search a library within the setting, even if the write out the DM hands you doesn't say any more than it would have.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Burn the Libraries

    Quote Originally Posted by sandmote View Post
    I think its safe to play up the "expect to find magic," aspect.
    "It's a library maintained by scholars, half of whom can cast. There's too many auras for you to check within this casting of the spell. The good news is, they've been using particular types of magic to mark particular types of texts. Sealed documents have enchantments to make you give them back, the politically important records have conjuration from summoned extraplanar witnesses, and the high quality lorebooks have little illusions in the illustrations. When you check one of the necromantic auras it turns out to just be a preservation spell on a pressed flower. Maybe someone uses them to track their recent research?"
    That's a good one. I'll definitely be using that in the future. The big library they're going to has the magic books segregated in lead-lined cubbies.

    Quote Originally Posted by sandmote View Post
    First, would it be possible to move these activities to the end of the session...
    It's a good idea but I think it would be difficult to arrange the timing. The two librarian characters (monk and knowledge cleric) are pretty hardcore about searching out sources of information and building contacts to get access to more information.

    Quote Originally Posted by sandmote View Post
    Second, maybe make multiple handouts from the same search?
    I've sort of been doing that, but the two librarians have different avenues of research and the other two are really just being patient and playing along. And they're being interesting about it. One of them spied on other researchers to see what they were looking for and found cool information. The other one wanted to spend their time looking at illustrations and marginalia to see if they could find any information about a single subject.

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    Firbolg in the Playground
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Burn the Libraries

    Originally Posted by Mark Hall
    Given the multilingual nature of most D&D worlds, I'd argue that they're likely to have MORE syllabaries.
    Did you mean libraries? A syllabary is a writing system where each character represents a consonant-vowel combination, as in Hangul for Korean or Ge'ez for Amharic.

  18. - Top - End - #18
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    DwarfFighterGirl

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    Default Re: Burn the Libraries

    Quote Originally Posted by Palanan View Post
    Did you mean libraries? A syllabary is a writing system where each character represents a consonant-vowel combination, as in Hangul for Korean or Ge'ez for Amharic.
    From context, I expect them to mean "A collection of books maintained, not for the purpose of preserving their content, but because a vulgar translation of the same collection is available, so they can be used as the textbooks of a language learning program."
    Non est salvatori salvator,
    neque defensori dominus,
    nec pater nec mater,
    nihil supernum.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Burn the Libraries

    I really like the idea of creating hand outs to represent research efforts. this let's you carefully control the flow of information, throw false leads and misinformation, put forward conflicting ideas and so forth.
    It's also amazing for showing off the world.
    It seems like it would push the challenge back into player territory; a puzzle that the players, not the characters need to solve.

    Let's face it, the roll dice get answers model of research is fairly boring to actually play through.
    But if you make librarians are a jealous and secretive bunch that don't let outsiders browse the shelves, and instead let a PC with a large donation ask a question and then have them hand over a single book to read in a study room with a guard outside the door which results in an index card with the authors name, the books title and a few bullet points of information.
    Now the player has something interesting!

    Especially if they ask to read another book the next day and get another index card with a lot of the same info but a few new points. Then on the third day they get another card with some points that directly contradict previously established points, which author do they trust? maybe they need to ask for information on the various authors?

    Meanwhile days go by, money is spent and the librarians get progressively more grumpy about these unwashed vagabonds coming to them with interminable questions.
    Pretty soon, no amount of donation is enough to get access to the library and if the PC's want to keep researching they're going to have to do a quest for the head librarian...
    I am rel.

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    Librarian in the Playground Moderator
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    Default Re: Burn the Libraries

    Quote Originally Posted by Palanan View Post
    Did you mean libraries? A syllabary is a writing system where each character represents a consonant-vowel combination, as in Hangul for Korean or Ge'ez for Amharic.
    It also means a list or catalog of syllables, such as one might find for someone learning a language.
    The Cranky Gamer
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Goblin

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    Mar 2019

    Default Re: Burn the Libraries

    When you said syllabary I confess I was thinking of grammars and lexicons.

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