Don't drink the holy-water; we don't like it when you drink the holy-water.
Vaeliorin - That would make a good rumor, methinks. Maybe some skerry settlements have built their settlements on the bottoms of islands for protection from Dragons/storms/etc?
Thanks, Kord's Boon, both for the compliment and for articulating what was bothering me about the way the Library works. How about this - stories are the power source of magic. The mills work by special magical processes, and thus are essentially fed stories. Some mills are special - they take other intangibles or material objects, but are not nearly as common, reliable, or useful as the ones that feed on stories.
Stories are also the base power source for aircraft and a great deal of the more advanced technology (anything not purely mechanical). I like this solution because it doesn't change the fundamental nature of people, and also provides a striking image - frantically whispering stories to an engine to fix it in mid-crash.
Also - I don't much like the "demi-humans", as elves, dwarves, halflings, etc. seem to be exactly like humans except for different hights or ear shapes and different cultures. I'm including Dragonborn as Dinosaurs, but don't plan to include elves or the others, basically because they're too human. I may use them as populations of humans with distinct cultures (possibly work in some of the cultural bonuses halflings get as profession bonuses for traders, somehow), but probably not as PC "races".
The_Fae - The way I imagine it, the Library hires people from all walks of life. Librarians do all sorts of things - searching through the Library itself for new card catalogues, tracking down people who haven't returned books, expanding the knowledge of the almanac. Librarians can be of any class - it's a job, and certain skills may make you better at parts of it. For example, a warlock may develop his skills independently, then become a Librarian, just as one would become an adventurer. Is that helpful?
Ghostly, have you read Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman? It might have a couple of good examples for the Labyrinth.
The Inebriated one doesn't need to eat souls! He distills them into spirits of course. Possibly quite literally too. This could be an explanation for ghosts: Those people who somehow escaped the Great Distillery in the Sky but were in the process of being turned into god-alcohol.
I wouldn't even have a clue as to were to start for other gods in this setting. I could see most of them being aspects of the Inebriated One, similar in a way to Brahma, I think thats the name, in Hindu beliefs. Which for those that don't know, Brahma is the force that is within everything and it is what Hindu followers try and get to, to commune with that force. All of the Hindu gods are aspects of Brahma and are supposed to represent different ways to get to the same point. Some Inebriated followers might not drink while others act like it is water. Some might think that living in a monastery, practicing martial arts while drunk and making alcohol of all types is the way to Him. Whatever gets your airplane in the air.
Depending on how humans were created, the 'demi-humans' (isn't that a 2e term? I don't think I've used that since) could be a simply 'flavoured' version of humans (literally). Say, when a human dies the Inebriated One eats his soul (or whatever, thats probably not a great idea), he'd probably get tired of the same-tasting humans every day. So he spiced things up by making dwarves, elves, halflings, etc.
Ahhh I didn't know he had an apartment, I figured he was just squatting somewhere as to avoid people noticing him.
Some other ideas:
Maybe there are alternate stories, other myths, and other Religions, but the followers of the Inebriated One simply see the other Gods as aspects of theirs.
Sometimes, if a person is caught outside when a storm passes, they will be changed. They will no longer simply be the person they were, though they will have all of that person's memories: they will carry with them a piece of the storm that altered them. These people are known as the storm-born, composite entities of both elemental power and human mind. They know the languages of humans, but when they speak, they speak in a voice of thunder, and lightning lives behind their eyes.
Of the above: Maybe the Storm-born could be the equivalent of Eladrin, what with the similar "a part of two worlds" flavor?
Also, I like your ideas about demis, Tao, but, it still seems that they would still be better represented by unique human cultures, not separate species. It's just always seemed odd and rather wrong to me to impose a single culture on an entire species. Traditional elves, for example, are essentially humans with unique culture and habitat, but because they are described as a race, it shoehorns an entire species into a very small box. It seems much more believable to create a distinct culture of sky-pirates or sewer dwellers made up of several races than to create one "sewer-dwelling race" or one "sky-pirate race". These are just my personal feelings, however.
The books of the library are alive. They whisper to each other, and the more powerful can even move. Once, a Librarian wandering the stacks late at night thought he heard the books begin to whisper with one voice, to speak in a voice of power. He called this being "Sussurrus", and has spent his life wandering the stacks, plumbing the depths of the Library, trying to find it again.
* Sorry, I couldn't resist. =]
The High Janitor...
I'm making a short little campaign guide for my players but I can't find much on the roles of Dragonborn or Half-elves.
I can't figure out what the value of books would be. What is in the Library books? Why would people want to borrow them? I like the idea of players hunting down those whose books are overdue, and I want the Library to have an important place in the world, but I can't figure out what it would be.
Maybe Half-elves exist, but in such small numbers they don’t have a cultural niche. While elves and humans are occasionally attracted to one-another, their children are non-viable (sterile) and so the union is generally frowned upon as being fruitless.
I would love to see this take on more steampunk aspects but I would rather not fiddle with 4e's balance without too much technology and all.
Anyways on to what you actually said Moonglum. I like the idea of books being spices simply because it means that unless the PCs want to get into trading and dealing books and what not it doesn't have any value to them. There is enough other Junk to pick up around the Islands and Skerries that the PCs don't need to worry about picking up the books and spare pages as well. Unless they want to side deal illegal copies or get a little extra for turning in an unknown book. Not everything needs value to the PCs to have value in the world. We don't have to design like WotC does, 'If it doesn't have good play value we don't need it.' Which seems to be the basis for every decision in 4e.
Mistress_of_Mockery - I wanted to make dragonborn not just "dragons, only not quite as cool". I am also of the opinion that Dinosaurs are awesome. Thus, I decided to make Dragonborn essentially intelligent raptors. The idea is that dinosaurs are relatively common on the Islands: herds of apatosaurs roam across the larger islands, pterodactyls and even allosaurs are sometimes used as mounts, and they are all sentient to a greater or lesser degree. Raptors are the most intelligent of the lot, and have to some extent integrated themselves into Nifflian high society.
You know we have no speak of the gnomes. I would like to actually see them around in this place, they could be humourous. If the Garden being the Feywilds goes through then we could have the gnomes be tenders and growers sent to the Junk Room to make it into a green house or a plant room or something akin to that. They would try and plant everything everywhere, from the littlest dragon's tooth to the bastard sword the PC was carrying until he was disarmed.
Also for the Garden in the 'lighter' areas I can see Alice and Wonderland like environments, talking flowers and mushrooms with mystical powers. As the the light from the top of the rabbit hole fades things start to get crazier. I'm sure no one would have issues thinking about Wonderland in a much darker way.
On the subject of books, I like the idea of stories being tied to food because it gives the Library direct and immediate power. However, I am also partial to the idea of books as the power source of magic and the engine of technology. This is why I like the idea that they power mills, rather than being their input.