Carved deep into Caspi’s southside is a repository of knowledge that is the envy of any civilised world. Worming through the ancient stones thousands of tall shelves stand, packed with knowledge taken from every world that Spherover meets. Copies of every text stolen, purchased or painstakingly researched sits in these hallowed halls and wait for any of the nations enquiring minds.

Approaching the Phoenix library is a lesson in the age of Spherover, you must walk past columns remembering the ages the library has lived through. The first set when only tribes of great wizards were permitted to call the nation home. Five pairs of vertical monoliths reach high, uncarved and with only moss for decoration, their massive size a statement of the power it took to bring them here. The next five pairs are in ruins, collapsed into a pile of stone discs each taller than a man. Once beautiful, soot mars the surface and the decorations are malformed and twisted by heat. A memory of the monster who brought fire to the library. In comparison, the final five feel fresh and conservative in design. Short and squat columns of polished white marble lead to the thick oak doors. 

The doors are a mundane skin on an arcane soul, the library beneath it shifts and changes with the winds of magic. This mundane nature extends to the front desks and their workers but no further. Behind it stretches the library which appears built for titans. Shelves tall as castle walls line avenues wide enough to host the great horse races of Caspi. The roof is lost in gloom supported by pillars as thick as the great redwoods.

None can agree on what gives the library its nature, some say that wizards trapped some the feywilds, forcing them to adopt the form of a library. Others feel it’s the realm of a great god of knowledge who permits entry to those who offer their own experiences. What people do know is that the library offers a vast wealth of information for those determined enough to traverse it. Travellers must deal with the way the world warps around them.

Approaching the looming shelves supplies the unsettling sense that they are shrinking. Get within a few feet and the giant shelves appear to be just normal stacks of books. Looking around though it’s clear that this effect is local. The scale of the room warps like an inverted magnifying glass with the browser at the centre. The closer the matter of the library is the more sane and rational its dimensions. Books can be examined, read and even taken to the quiet rooms. They can’t leave the library though, the tomes are likely to object.

 

The librarians

Warding themselves with drabness these dedicated individuals wander far into the library. They are masters of mundanity, wearing grey, sporting dull haircuts and holding neutral expressions they walk into halls that would send others mad. 

The warping of dimensions is perhaps the most comprehensible madness of the library. These librarians return with stories of empty cities whose buildings are built not of bricks but books. Halls that sink underwater revealing shelves of golden paged books. The expeditions hope to map these bizarre locations and the knowledge they hold. These adventuring librarians rarely return with knowledge that most would consider useful. Perhaps locating a tome on obscure fauna of some random reality that no one is sure has ever been contacted. With most of the books in the far stacks being complete gibberish to find one that is clear in both text and origin makes it rarer than diamond. Added to the map of the library it helps all librarians from then on navigate and, if they are really lucky, locate a vein of sane texts that can be loaded on to a trolley and returned to the reading hall. 

Any great movement of text is liable to cause a disturbance though. Archetypes will move in trying to corrupt and twist the librarians in their image. Vampiric cliches found across cultures reach out trying to force their nature and story on the weak. Many a librarian has succumbed. Some find themselves in a passionate love story with a formerly platonic work colleague, others run off to fight one of the stack’s many monsters to avenge a non existent family member. Returning back having fought off inklings, corrupted patrons and living tomes the librarians bring knowledge that all those who visit can access. Books ranging from science so advanced that it’s base principles are still beyond Spherover to poetry that offers insight on their lost civilisation.      

 

Adventure hooks

  • Lost patron: Many go into the library, and while the towers which sit close to the entrance are well marked and trafficked, going deeper offers far more danger. Captain Folsom has been missing for three days after heading out into the stacks. He wanted to identify a brooch he believed he’d seen in some book in a previous visit. The tracks lead out to The Garden, a part of the library where books and plants have become mixed. With particularly violent stories taking root into lethal plants that look to get their fertilizer from corpses. 

 

  • The Book Wyrm: A badly wounded librarian stumbled into the staff room recently. She’d opened up a previously sealed part of the library hunting a text. A cave like space opened up before her. Stacked layers of paper made the walls. he cavity excavated as if someone had hollowed out a book as large as a city. She found the book, had her fingers on it when out of the gloom a great origami face appeared. Draconic in shape and with teeth that looked if they were made from a thousand steel pens it snapped out. Fighting it as she retreated she was able to seal it away but it’s only a matter of time till it escapes.  

 

  • Getting lost in the narrative: Someone has broken the rules of the library and left a book open. Not only does this ruin the spine but it also has allowed the story to sprout. A section of the library is now at risk of dragging in unwary patrons and librarians into a story where the only escape is to turn the last page. To bad that the story is some brutal pulp novel with a sky high body count. 

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