Nifflas: Where Librarians Mean Business

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Mostly Ghostly: I just have to say that this is some really awesome work you've got here!

Since you've stated some anime (okay, just some of Miyazaki's work) as inspiration, you might like to have a look at King of Bandit Jing by Yuichi Kamakura. There is an anime series (13 eps), but the 2 manga series (both 7 volumes) are better! It even includes a lot of play on words for a number of things (including alcohol).

Love how you use interviews/tales to flesh out the background to the setting, without making everything definite. Keep up the great work!

Oh, & I bookmarked ya =D
I'm really liking the idea of books as a source of magic and also sentient books. By combining these with an idea I posted earlier about books in addition to having information/stories in them being wizards' spellbooks, we could combine the spellbook and the familiar into one entity.
"Look, I'm sorry, okay? You've got so many pages, and there was nothing to mark where my fireball spell was written. No, it wouldn't be too pleasant if someone bent my finger backwards to remember where it was. Look, I'm trying to recover some overdue books from some very shady characters right now, so would you please just open up so I can prepare my spells and not have to chase them unarmed?"
--Wizard and Librarian Argos Boot
If somebody publishes this, I will buy it. Seriously, quit your day job Mostly Ghostly, and find someone to publish this. This is the only thread-based champaign setting I've bothered to read all the way through, and I have to say that it beats the living pants off even most published settings. I'll get around to contributing once finals week is over.
Wow.

Seriously, Wow...

I'm still trying to wrap my head around this one, so I can offer impressions/ideas. Bear with me as these are fairly half formed thoughts.

Quick question, because I didn't notice if the reference had been cited... Tieflings just show up places with no memory of who they were, only referrnig to having come from 'backstage'. The only similar 'backstage' I can remember is from Gaiman's 'American Gods', but admittedly I have not read all of your source material. Where did your 'backstage' come from, or did you come up with it?

On Stories as Food or Spice: I'm not too thrilled with stories as direct physical sustenance, but what if the stories were literally 'Soul Food'. The impression I get from this world, tales of the Great Inebrated One aside (All raise thy Holy Pint in his honor) is that the world seems to be in ruins, or stalled in the process of unmaking itself. Perhaps the current state of the souls of the world is that they are starving and dying, and the only thing that sustains them are stories.
Without stories, the soul begins to die, and once to far gone, the individual is just an, I don't know.. apathetic husk? animal? DMV employee?

So why can't people just make more copies of books? Here's my thought...
No two books can bear the same title. Why? Because the title is the books Name.
A writer cannot write a book without Naming it.
Not sure how that would work in a practical sense (pages go blank? the story doesn't unfold? or perhaps without expressly Naming it the writer gives the book their own Name) but it does seem to fit the setting concept.

EDIT-One more thought
Nothing has been posted about dragonborn and where they fit in
Dragons breathe life, and those struck by their lifebreath become twisted and deformed creatures.
A village of people on a distant island, who having angered a dragon were struck with his breath and warped, retained their sanity and sentience. After a generation or two, the deformities began to stabilize, and those born from the dragons breath went into the world, no longer repulsed by their own appearance.
If you'd like something more, how about this. An odd consequence of their creation, Dragonborn Names are bound to their very life. A Dragonborn can aquire new Names, but they cannot give their Name without that breath being their last.

That's all I've got for now. Gotta run
First let me just say that Mostly_Ghostly, Mistress_of_Mockery, The_Fae and everybody else contributing to this, you guys are awesome! I love this idea and have decided to try and work it out for my groups first foray into 4e.

I had a couple of thoughts while looking through this and thought I'd share.

The Tieflings' origins, that of mysteriously appearing from who-knows-where, I think I will give to the Eladrin in my game. The Eladrin are statted to be more otherworldly (at least in what I've seen so far) and I think it fits them better. Plus now their encounter power "Fey Step" can become "Slip Backstage" which I like the sound of. :D

But if I do that, I don't know what to do with the Tieflings.

And to me, the Storm-Born just screams Genasi. I'm not sure if we'll get their stats in the Monster Manual, though. I believe I heard mention that they'll be in the Forgotten Realms book.

Also, borrowing a little more from what I have seen of "steampunk" and Hayao Miyazaki's work, perhaps some of the Libraries power comes from the fact that they literally control the power. They generate all the energy/electricity/what-have-you that the Day uses in the Library, through some mysterious (to the general public) means. I imagine an image of the Great Tree Library with several large cables coming from it and going to key points in the city to then go to powering the trolleys and the streetlights and everything else, including possibly the Mills.

Just some thoughts.
Actually I was wondering about the dragonborn as Ghostly said they were raptors but of all the true races we have really least discussed dragonborn. Tieflings are taken and changed humans; halfings are nameless and stop growing after there name is taken *meaning most were children...*; dwarves live in the rubble of the outside world; elves are uncomfortable on land and so always fly; and the Eladrin are lightning struck 'mad men' who the storms whisper arcane secrets to *Reason for them more often being mages, or at least intelligence boost*. The dragonborn and the gnomes, as well as the warforged, are the only true races. Gnomes and warforged are very well taken care of I think but the dragonfolk have no culture, homeland or defining characteristic other than being raptors.

I kind of like the idea of humans angering the dragons and becoming the dragonborn after the worst of the mutations killed themselves out. But then it might as well be another human culture and I think they deserve more than that. Maybe have them originally be normal, non-sentient, dinosaurs but then one of the Leviathans came in the area and transformed the one It liked the most; the raptors. Or maybe both are creation stories told by both dragonborn and the other humans alike. Maybe no one really knows how the dragonborn became what they are or why their breath isn't life giving like their heritage would suggest.

The Genasi, unless they are making them not matter as much for what element they are, are the four main elements usually. That is about the only reason I use the storm born for Eladrin is because lightning is its own element separate from the other 4. Although the 'Slip Backstage' sounds amazing and I could see the Eladrin being similar to their 'brethren' elves. *Well brethren in the implied setting of 4e anyways* The elves might fly around or float in their trees but the Eladrin fly around to allow their Circus to be widely known. I might change my Eladrin as well to be the circus where as the elves are just flyers by nature. Maybe that was the split in their culture, over the darker side, whatever that might be, of the Circus.

I have to throw a little proper genre talk around but steampunk is ingenuity over wide spread use. So the idea of flying ships might be everywhere but few people uses specifically technological means to fly, same goes with electricity and any other sort of vehicle. There isn't a specific name for widespread use of a tech. before its time but I would put it in romantic sci-fi.
Some thoughts:

We might switch Tieflings and Eladrin around. Eladrin could be the ones to appear in closets and under beds, and Tieflings could be the storm-born instead. This makes sense to me when looking at the powers assigned to each race. I like the idea of the Eladrin's teleport being "stepping backstage", and the Tiefling's "Infernal Wrath" could be storm-inspired strength.

Perhaps the dragonborn aren't a true-breeding race, per se, but rather the unlucky victims of dragon-breath mutation. I think that many of the victims of dragon-breath would lose their minds, but maybe Dragonborn have retained their faculties, though their bodies are twisted and distorted, each its own special monster.

Also, I just started reading China Mieville's "Un Lun Dun", at someone on this forum's request (If I remember correctly). It's some great inspiration, and I'd recommend it heartily.
So why can't people just make more copies of books? Here's my thought...
No two books can bear the same title. Why? Because the title is the books Name.
A writer cannot write a book without Naming it.
Not sure how that would work in a practical sense (pages go blank? the story doesn't unfold? or perhaps without expressly Naming it the writer gives the book their own Name) but it does seem to fit the setting concept.

There are quite a few good ideas for books floating around; this is defiantly one of them, especially if all books are living objects to one degree or another.

Consolidating the ideas so far, you might get something like this:

Books contain stories/information, which are useful in their own right, but In Nifflas they are something more. Stories can literally be power, enough even to run the great mills in the hands of a skilled librarian. Each book has a unique name, a keystone that grants the stories inside the ability to inspire and provide power. Copies can be made but without the name they are merely a shell, and each copy reduces its impact further. The library recognizes the world they live in is in delicate balance, and the books power must be lent for the islands to survive, but only for so long to each person.

Some books have more power then others, even being pseudo-sentient, which can grant special abilities to the holder (mechanically, encounter powers etc.), or in even rarer cases their study can lead to power in its own right (wizards).

^ That get most of it, albeit crudely?

Edit:

Would it be possible to find vacuum tubes in the junk? I’m having this great imagery of a quintessential, sword laden, fantasy adventuring party gathered around a radio when the wizard chimes in “Yeah, you have to let the tubes warm up first”

Since no-one in the Day really understands EM, it would be a nifty oddity; it might even get strange transmissions from “back-stage” on occasion.

Don't drink the holy-water; we don't like it when you drink the holy-water.

Also, I just started reading China Mieville's "Un Lun Dun", at someone on this forum's request (If I remember correctly). It's some great inspiration, and I'd recommend it heartily.

I just did the same, actually. I'm only about 8 chapters in, but already enjoying it immensely.

I also like the spellbook/familiar idea, though I'm not sure how easy it would be (mechanically) to implement. I'm sure it can be done though. As for publication... I'm currently working with Ghostly to try to find the best way to publish this. I agree that it has a lot of potential as a published setting and am completely supportive of getting this out there.
Here's a consolidation of existing ideas about the role of books, and some new contributions of my own:

"What are stories? Think of it like this: reality is like a sheet of paper, and the sheet is what is Now, the little slice of time that is this moment. The world is concerned with what is, but stories are all what ifs and maybes and perhapses. They talk to the world, and remind it what it might be, what it has been, what could have come to pass, and doing that twists the sheet of paper, folds it into new shapes.

Now, stories are floating around all the time. People tell them to each other, people build up memories, people wonder and dream. But some folks have learned to focus them, to twist reality in a certain place by telling a certain story in a certain sort of way. Sometimes, for small twists, a little story made up on the spot and spoken is good enough. But for big twists, you need more power. You may need a name, which is a sort of story about the person it's attached to. Or a book - writing a story down distills it, focuses the power, and books have their own names - their titles. Of course, some stories are more powerful than others... and sometimes a story gets so big, so powerful, that it starts changing the book it's written in. The most powerful books can move, can change what's written on their pages, even speak in their own strange way. And there are other books, even more powerful than these... so powerful that just to read them wouldn't just fold the world... it would tear it. That's what the Unkindlies are for. To protect those books and the world.

Every story bends the sheet a little, but some have learned to use 'em to twist in the way they want (most of the time, anyway). That's all a mill really is, in its secret heart - a fold in the world, a crinkle that changes things that pass through it. Of course, like with anything, there are complications. If you're trying to get a certain effect, say, trying to power and airship or make a ball of fire, or open a door, you need a certain kind of story. And you need a different kind of story for each kind of twist, which is why so much of a Librarian's time is spent out in the Islands, looking for new stories.

But there's another way. There's a way to take the undistilled power in a story and use it for whatever fold you want. But if you use that way, it...eats the story, removes it from existance - no one remembers it, no-one knows it, like it was never made in the first place. So this is another duty of the Librarian. We must lend books out, for their power is needed throughout the Islands, but there are those who would destroy the stories for their own gain, who would abuse their Library card. And we must stop them."

-Fox Mechran, Cheif Librarian, elucidating the Sheet of Paper model of Magic
I also like the spellbook/familiar idea, though I'm not sure how easy it would be (mechanically) to implement. I'm sure it can be done though.

I wonder. Given the power of some of these books to influence/change/warp reality, per M_G's post above, I wonder if the spellbook could actually be a familiar. It seems to me that it would actually be the wizard who would serve in the role of the familiar, and would act as the servant of the book. Through the wizard the book has mobility, enhanced senses, and expanded ways to work it's will upon the world.
I wonder. Given the power of some of these books to influence/change/warp reality, per M_G's post above, I wonder if the spellbook could actually be a familiar. It seems to me that it would actually be the wizard who would serve in the role of the familiar, and would act as the servant of the book. Through the wizard the book has mobility, enhanced senses, and expanded ways to work it's will upon the world.

I really like the idea of book-as-familiar, but I don't really picture a master-servant relationship, rather a partnership, a symbiotic relationship similar to the one you're describing, Kopesh. Maybe the forbidden books do, however, have the power to control people and use them as puppets, rather than partners (another reason for the Unkindlies to fear them so much).

Also, a thought on planes and other worlds:

"Nifflas is a dream, a story in a book, real as leather and ink and paper and yet as intangible as dragonsong. They say our world is like a page in a book, and that magic folds the page, twists it and wrinkles it. So, you have to wonder... what happens in those creases and crinkles in the world? And what's written on the other pages?"

- Godric Rustywatch's thoughts on the Book of Worlds
I Like the idea of the world being a page in a book, I mean I really do its great and wonderful and all, but time seems so extremely long that wouldn't it make more sense if a 'plane' were one book? Plus all those folds and creases and what not, who would read our story? You could hardly read one page if it had as many wrinkles it as it should with all the magic around. But if its spread out amongst the pages well then people might tolerate it a little better.

Either way, no matter which is right we all know for sure that the Great Wheel model is wrong. How could anything naturally shape itself into a wheel most of all somethings as large as the planes themselves. Could you imagine if two of these Plane-Wheels crashed into each other? It would be a disaster for both worlds. And obviously that has never happened before so how could that theory be right?

-Salin's thesis on the Library of Worlds model of the Planes and Rebuttal against The Great Wheel Model

We are all just a dream. A story that ain't been written down yet. Folk will try and tell 'eah that this world is already written and we only fold the pages 'ever so very slightly. But it just ain't true. Our fates ain't written for us anymore than that lullaby floatin' in your head right now. Now some will tell 'eah we are the dreams of a man. Some folk that comes from a land of wonder. I'll tell 'eah that ain't right either. This dream is bein' dreamed by a woman-folk. She might be a young one but her imagination is a great one to be sure.

Garduck, Dwarf-Smith on the Mid-Day road

I like the idea of philosophers roaming the streets of Day and we have two, at least, new ideas here to run with. The idea of the Fated Book, where everything is written and we only crease the pages instead of changing the story, and the idea of the Wonder Dream, where nothing is fated and anything can happen. We are all the dreams of the Red King after all.

Maybe the DMG will have rules for intelligent items and those items will still be able to over power characters. That would allow for the powerful books to take control of a wizard. I like the partnership idea for book-wizard familiars although I think it would be fun to run a book and have a human 'wizard' familiar as your cover up. Need the PhB though to see whether book familiars are viable or not, they should be as its less likely familiars will be combat oriented in 4e because of the whole 'less of things that aren't pivotal' design.

Also I had an idea for Sorcerers when they come out. Kinda works with Psions in a way too. Sorcerers could be those people that have such amazing imaginations that they can create stories on the spot without needing any books. In fact sorcerers often never learn to read or write as they believe it hinders their creativity. They often learn other forms of art, less defined and regulated by the Library. I could also see the Library having an issue with the sorcerers not sharing their stories. For the psions instead of a powerful imagination their brains just work like one giant book, the stories are all inside from birth they just need to be unlocked.

Edit: No matter what the storm born end up being I think I just found out what the storms look like. Found two amazing and beautiful pictures of Lightning going through a volcano cloud. It conjures up a perfect picture of why the storm's are feared and it seems to me that these wonders could hold arcane secrets. If you lived to speak after the strike.

Volcano-Thunder 1
Volcano-Thunder 2
Oh ho! I caught the reference. Very sly Fae, very sly.

I really like the explanations for sorcerors.

I'm just throwing this out there but for those of you who read Neverwhere, do you think that the trains would fit in well here?

For those of you who haven't I'll try to sum it up in Nifflas terms. It's mainly Neil Gaiman, with some Miyazaki (Catbus and Spirited Away) within.

One of the crowning achievements of Yebba Dim Day is their expansive tram system. Up in the day these mechanical carts run like clockwork, bringing people too and from their days.

But what most people don't remember is that there was a second train system, the one in the Labyrinth. It's been called the Rusted Rails, the Night Bus, or the Black Tram.

They'll carry you through the labyrinth with blinding speed. The fastest one, according to rumor, made the Kessel run (from Hobgoblin Spire on the first island to the Jut on the last) in less than twelve parsecs (roughly as long as it takes to make a bad reference).

Oh, but it's not as simple as all that. Nobody knows the schedule, not even the drivers. Most wander around, picking up passengers as they see fit, demanding what they will in payment. Some take currency, some demand favors or tokens. Some will take your name (or worse, make you take one of their's. You never know where a name has been.)

The only thing that gives any real order to the Black Trams is the Guide. However, this book is so incredibly rare that it's existence is more story than fact.

"They are driven by deformed gypsies and merchants. Kings in their own little worlds, half-loony, half-bonkers."

"But Grandpa, doesn't that mean that they're totally insane?"

"Ah, I knew you were a sharp one."



So I don't know, I like the idea, but I feel it might be a little off here. Opinions?
Oh ho! I caught the reference. Very sly Fae, very sly.

*snip*

They'll carry you through the labyrinth with blinding speed. The fastest one, according to rumor, made the Kessel run (from Hobgoblin Spire on the first island to the Jut on the last) in less than twelve parsecs (roughly as long as it takes to make a bad reference).

*snip*

So I don't know, I like the idea, but I feel it might be a little off here. Opinions?

Which reference? I had a few. One to Wonderland of course, the more obvious one, and then one aimed at String Theory actually. The multiple wheels were the 'Membranes' in String that can collide and restart each universe. If anyone caught that I won't feel like as much of a nerd -.-

See now I think you have your facts wrong The Solo Han ran the Kessel run in 10.7 parsecs so the trains have been beat before. I can't remember whether that was in the movie or not, its been too long, but watch Blue Harvest from Family Guy to get that one.

I like the idea, especially the reference. I see huge mining carts running around the Day and Night. So what type of obstacles does the kessel run have? Crinkles in The Page?
Didn't catch the string theory reference, The_Fae, but now that you explain it, it makes sense.

I really like the night bus idea, Jaimes_gaines. I think it fits perfectly. As for the star wars reference, I think Wiz_Tao said it best: If there's any setting where you can get away with lame pop culture references, this is it.

Edit: I like the idea of the Labyrinth being the Night, and the above-city being the Day.
I was thinking the Red King thing Fae. At first I thought it was for the Dark Tower (there might be a line about the Crimson King and dreams in there, not sure).

Is it really '10.7 parsecs'? I swear, I've always heard him say 'less than 12 parsecs'.

All I was thinking for the Kessel run would be from one side of the Labyrinth to the other. The image in my head was lots of hair pin turns and such, but it was really more of a bad reference than anything. It would be cool to have it be in the setting though.

Page-wrinkles sound interesting, how would they work Fae? Would it be like involuntary teleportation (if the world is a page and you fold it then you can get from one area to the next with just a step), your basic planar rift, or something else?
Ahhh yes the Crimson King, I forgot about him completely actually. I need to finish that series, and read the original books he was in, so I don't really know much about him.

He might say less than 12 parsecs in the movies but I remember 10.7 parsecs in Blue Harvest. Maybe I am remembering incorrectly though, I will go check. I stand corrected though, in both medias Solo says less than 12 parsecs. Could have sworn I heard 10.7, oh well.

I can see the hair pin turns and what not, areas of the track are derailed but there is a way to switch which rail you are on and what not. I'm thinking Donkey Kong games, not the originals obviously but the ones with the Kong's as the main characters and they are platforming around.

For the wrinkles I see a lot of things happening and the closest media I know of to have what I am thinking of would be Enterprise when they were in The Expanse. If they page-wrinkles are caused by magic one possible reason for them not appearing as much throughout the Above world is that they are all channeled down into the Kessel run.

A page-wrinkle? Now that makes it sound like you should be able to get from point A to point C quicker but it ain't always so. These wrinkles don't always merge space, sometimes they merge time and other times they merge Estorics. Now you might be saying 'Estorics, what are those things?' Well estorics happen to be the general name for all magical effects that leave an impression on our Book or Page. So these 'wrinkles' can be on one of three levels, simple space, time or on a purely magical level. All this to explain why the Kessel run isn't often survived or transversed eh?

Col Therat Alburt, Would-Be-Librarian of the 3rd Labyrinth Entrance

I see a lot of things going on in these wrinkles, magical distortions, time travel even. Could be an interesting Epic adventure hook: The PCs have to travel through the Kessel Run and they end up running through a time portal to some point in Day history that is about to be changed by someone else.

Edit: If you can find information on creatures from Lost Odyssey look up the Ageless Ones. They are chained floating books that obviously cast spells at you. But they emit some sort of scream when they do so. Possible inspiration for the almost sentient books within the library? They also have a move called 'Forbidden Chapter' which has an instant death effect. Not that I would suggest putting something like that in 4e but just to give you an idea of their power in Lost Odyssey.
I don't have anything particular to say right now, but I don't want this to die.

BUMP
Well, we added a good deal of optional information/stories so far, and resolved several verisimilitude issues; it might be prudent to have an official update (ver. 1.1 if you will) from Mostly Ghostly on which ideas made the cut.

From that point we would have a more solid foundation and could continue the debate.

Really looking forward to the release date, finally get to work on the mechanical aspects of this setting.

Don't drink the holy-water; we don't like it when you drink the holy-water.

Hi everyone. I'm sorry I haven't posted in a while - I've been at a Con all weekend, and I've been busy most of the week.

I am working on a "version 1.1", and I have some more ideas stewing, which I'll post later. Just wanted to let you all know that the thread isn't dead.
Rumor - Due to a rising demand of sepia ink the Parliment has supplied each wizard with one government-issue cuttlefish.
Here are some more random ideas:

Necromancers and the Undead tend to get cast as evil, as "unnatural". But what if there was a community on one Island that used necromancy out of simple necessity. Corpses are a readily available resource, and if you whisper the right story in their ear, one about their living days and the glories of war, they're a reliable means of protection that doesn't cost the lives of villagers.

Half-Elves are named that because they are half-elf - that is, they are human people of the sky - but also half something else. They are strange bird-hybrids, with gliding wings that allow them to fly for short distances.

The previous idea came from watching Mirrormask again (I picture half-elves as similar to the Bird-apes who are all called "Bob"). I also love the "Giants Orbiting" - two intertwined giants who float through the air, and Valentine's flying tower - I think magically flying architecture would be a wonderful way to get around Nifflas.
Is 'Giants Orbiting' from Mirrormask? I really need to watch that movie, this is making me want to sooo much more.

I don't see the people of Nifflas seeing necromancer as evil, because everyone knows the Skerries are pretty scary, but the might show heavy disdain for it because bodies, at least as of current ideas, are used for food. Instead of trying to figure out a balance of bread and dead many think it best to just not allow necromancy, and even the use of resurrection rituals, on the 5 main Islands. Are the Skerries the out skirts of the 5 Islands of Day or are they like 'mini' Islands that orbit around the Day Islands? I have this image of the latter over the former that is why I ask.

Also I am looking over residuum and its effectively disenchanted material from magic items. It can be used for currency in some cases and is easily carried, something like 500.000 gold to a pound or 10.000 gold to the weight of a gold coin. To jump back to the topic of Nifflas currency what is it exactly, I remember soil and seeds being used as various ideas, as well as corpses and names. The latter two seem unwieldy given adventurers go through a lot of corpses. Names might not be a bad idea though, RP the fact that giving out your name is basically either enslaving yourself or selling a part of your soul. Allows for interesting Warlock flavour, they sold one of their names to another Being and in its place the Being gave them a Moniker and power. If soil is to be used I don't suggest it being as easily carried as residuum but something similar in weight to gold ratio as that maybe? I don't think anything should be heavier than the current system 4e uses.

Just more things to think about and debate until V 1.1 comes out.
If you're going to have winged elves, I would not call them that. I'm perfectly fine with a wingy race, just don't call them elves.

If you want to change some minor things about a race (such as take away the forest and add skyships) that's ok, they're still basically elves. But when you change a race so much I'd change the name, just to avoid confusion.

I personally liked the idea of elves being nomadic skypirates. Maybe give them an 'air-hike' ability if you want them to have a special thing. 1/encounter let them jump again in the air. Maybe have half-elves get a air-step ability, they can't go up, but they can kinda glide for about thirty feet.
Instead of making them truly fly why not allow them to 'control' the wind? They have fey origins, meaning for certain purposes they are fey, which can be explained in the same way that Eladrin could be explained; The Sky has an odd connection with the Garden, many things that come from it are wonderfully strange. Others wonderfully fearsome. That is assuming Eladrin are still Storm Born, if they turn into what the Tieflings are now I don't know how to keep the two races connected as I think they should be. Also controlling the wind explains their uncanny knack with bows and their ability to aim perfectly. *elven accuracy*

Of all things Half-Elves get a bonus to Constitution as their second bonus, their first being Charisma of course. Maybe elves don't look different from humans until 15 and up, teenage years. Maybe before this time everyone is the same, its only after these years cultures begin to change a person from human into a dwarf or an elf. Only once the halflings should be 15 do they stop growing, forever the size of a child, forever cursed without their names. Half Elves could be elven by culture, they lived with them most of their lives, but a year or two before they turned that right age the Half was taken to land to live on solid ground, making him only partially elf. His elven culture though allows him to speak exceedingly well on the pirates' behalf as someone needs to keep the humans off the Elf Pirates backs.

Mirrormask was amazing and I think I finally see what the city and Library look like. Same with the books and the sphinxes. I can see the Giants as one form of a Leviathan in the space between the Stars and the Islands. Stars = far realm to me. The Closet could be Shadowfell, the place where everything dark is swept away to. Meant to hide it from other people but sometimes the things slip out. Too many ideas not enough time.
Hey everyone. Sorry for the delay, but dark necromantic magic has been used, and the thread is now back from the grave - Version 1.1 is up! (I edited the first post, so check there). It's still, of course, a work in progress, and I don't know if it all holds together. Also, as I posted in the update, if anyone has any adventure ideas, I'm running a game for my group in about a week, so they'd be much appreciated.
Seeing everything up there on Page 1 makes me very happy. I like where this setting has gone.

Fae, I like the half-elf thing, but does that mean you could have quarter or gibbous (a gibbous is a three-quater circle) elves? Like if an elf stays on the ground too much does he start to lose some of his powers? Could a person on a boat eventually become elven?

I think we could differentiate between the elves and the eladrin with a little flavor, make the elves more humany, make the eladrin more fae-ey, and make the distinction that eladrin are not elves.

Rumor: The Eladrin are the lost ones. The ones who have fallen. They are changed and reborn by the drop. This may be true or not.

Elves = winds and rain, Tieflings = lightning and thunder. Maybe their changed by different things? I'm thinking of in the Edge Chronicles when the pirates fly into the mother-storm. I see mad people, standing on the edge of the skerries, shouting at the storm, trying to argue with the thunder.



Some quick adventure hooks for MostlyGhostly:

A book has fallen into the sewers and the library is willing to pay money to get it back.

A pirate ship has accidentally offloaded some live cargo. Retrieve it before it runs amok (you get to decide what it actually is, depends on level I guess).

A wizard is willing to pay for adventurers to find the final ingredient to a potion. All he needs is a story about ducks. See if you can find anyone who knows a good one.

I can't think of much right now. I'll post more if I can think of em.
Looks to have come together nicely, thank you for your updated work.

I would suggest the heading return however. It helped to know what the stories were relating too before you read them, especially considering how off-the-wall some of them are. But that’s just nit-picking on my part.


Currency:

I was thinking for non-name, non-corpus currency small cubes of rare metals (gold, copper, tungsten, iridium, unobtainium) stamped with the Rook’s symbol could be employed. The stamp would be a sort of ‘unified’ name, identifying each cube as having a specific standardized mass and purity, and since you can’t copy a name, you can’t practically make counterfeits.

There is only so much junk so scarcity would make metals valuable. In addition I might help to raise the value to weight ratio: say 500 “gp” per pound as opposed to 50, just to keep bags lighter and lower the cost of transporting currency (something almost no-one likes to deal with anyways).


Adventure ideas:

The party consists of Liberians tasked with recovering a reasonably powerful overdue book (it can power small aircraft) from an overzealous inventor who claims he’s discovered the birthplace of the dragons.

An investigation by the party takes them to the less then respectable associates of the inventor, and after some small skirmishes with them they extort the heading the inventor took to leave the Day.

Charting an airship (blimp, plane, etc.) the party departs the Day in pursuit, only to be knocked out of the sky (by what I don’t know) onto an unknown skerry. There they find the inventor’s crashed aircraft, perhaps brought down by the same force that crashed them, and tracks leading away to a ruin.

No sign of the inventor is found but they do recover the book and some exploration sets off a trap that shifts the ruins revealing murals that depict an ancient civilization worshiping dragons. Further exploration of the island leads the party to a friendly Trent that conveys “Yes, used to be lots of humans and Dragons about, but I took a nap awhile ago and they up and disappeared”

The party is left with a book that powers a aircraft and a solid hook to find out what happened to these humans. Treasure and titles await, and maybe a passage worthy of the Almanac.

Don't drink the holy-water; we don't like it when you drink the holy-water.

We have another item on the list of currencies. Rare metal cubes, names, stories, soil, seeds and, in a way, books. Any or all could be used as this setting seems to lend itself less to a universal money type and more to varying amounts of haggling over conversion rate. If your characters like that.

"No no no Da'lek ain't worth three pawn cubes, it just ain't a good name to be honest with yea. Now maybe I could tink about givin' yea a pound a 'alf of soil for it though. For a name like that yea might find what I just said to be the fairest deal in all of Day."

-Unscrupulous Merchant of Penchant Circle

The warforged are in the monster manual, and the DMG gives rules (good ones at that) on how to make creatures as well. So if you wanted a specific type of warforged but MM doesn't have it you should be able to create it very quickly. You could do the warforged revolution as your first adventure as stats for warforged characters are in the back of MM as well.

Thats all I have right now.
Not to jump straight into mechanics, but this setting will have the best encounter loot ever. "You search the battlefield and find the six kobold corpses, their spears and armor, a small monograph on balloon maintenance, and the names Trubik, Henris, and Pallvangar."
You forgot about the dirt and Junk on their corpes as well, those can be very useful you know. Unless your party operates within Day or have a cart/wagon the use of bodies as treasure is null and void because corpses weigh a lot. Still, I am telling my party just to see if they spend the money on the wagon to turn around and sell the bone bread. Names as well are somewhat null and void, because you would have to keep the target around long enough to get their name if they have one and in my campaign acquiring a name takes a special type of hook. Also I would say its frowned upon for good characters to use the hook and would cause serious alignment questions for a lawful good person to use the hook, not to limit the PCs but just because stealing/taking/threatening-for names seems amoral to me.

Pallvangar sounds like an important name though.

I don't see very much that needs to be changed rules wise other than names and flavour for this setting to work. The lack of a random treasure system seems a little counter intuitive to both Nifflas and D&D but thats ok. Other than that it seems to fit well enough.
Where do names come from? I mean, originally? When a young adventurer tells his family "I'm going out into the world to make a name for myself," where does he go and how does he go about it? Are names forged from the stories of deeds you've accomplished? Are they found in ancient books? Is there some forgotten mill on one of the skerries that grinds something valuable into names? How are they stored? The_Fae seems to be saying that names can only be transfered from a living, willing subject. I like the idea that names can be claimed as treasure - mostly because I want to include a random name generator in the loot tables for encounters, because the idea fills me with glee.

Also, the rules geek in me cackles with joy at the thought of coming up with a system of assigning rough monetary values to names, based on number of syllables, aesthetics, etc. - then telling my players that they have to "buy" their characters' names using their starting wealth!
This is the most interesting thread I've read on any forums.
I had not thought about where the names actually come from. The mill idea is very possible and the Library might be the only one to know about it, creating a book of names each year kinda like the baby name books that I see around so many soon to be parents. I see four types of name, just to explain this real quick, you have normal names, titles, family names and monikers. Family names are the only thing that pass down from generation to generation and are worth a fortune just by themselves. Names and titles can be traded and are not valued by a scale, at least one that the Nifflians know about, but by the individual taking them. Monikers are used by Warlocks to replace family names, traded off to great powerful beings, and halflings who are nameless (Which should be all of them). Making a name for oneself would most likely be the acquiring of titles that come from specific deeds such as saving a village or eating too much chicken.

Anything I say by the way is a definite for my campaign, not sure if you saw that looking over the older posts. So this is all subject to Ghostly for the official campaign.

You'll have to make your own random treasure generator, it is not even an optional rule in the DMG it just doesn't appear.

Edit: Oh and welcome to the discussion Great Zamboni.
Maybe Librarians would "back" names with stories, in the same way US currency was once "backed" by gold. So, when a person accomplishes a great deed, they go to the Library or tell a Librarian about it. The Librarian writes down the story, and gives them a name or moniker for it in return. Family names would accumulate value the older they were, as they would be the collective history of the family. I'm thinking, actually, of a phrase from Planescape - the "Dead Book". When someone dies in Sigil, their name is "written in the Dead Book". So, perhaps one of the duties of a Librarian is to go to the skerries whenever someone dies and write the story of their life, so that their family name retains its value. Also, the more terrible a monster, the more awful things it does, the more valuable its name would be. Or perhaps the one who killed it wouldn't take its name so much as gain one themselves - "Killer-of-Dagon" or something. Or... what if a monster's name was more valuable if their story was known. I'm imagining a Librarian investigating the life of a Kobold or a Dragon, so that it's death would be more profitable, slowly becoming empathetic to it, and deciding not to kill it. Just some ideas.
I love the idea of names being "backed" by stories - and I find your analogy to US currency to be both apt and amusing, MG - but I don't know if the Librarians should hold the sole authority to "mint" names. That feels to me to be a more primal activity, not something that one organization can lay claim to.
I may be misunderstanding the role of the Librarians, but they seem to me to be a thin, "human," "civilized" veneer over what is fundamentally an uncontrollable aspect of nature, namely the Library and the forces that propel and shape stories.
I think of stories as a fundamentally human endeavor, not as something primal necessarily. I wrote a piece earlier about how some Librarians think stories work, about how the world just is, but that stories remind it how it could be or how it has been, or never was. Stories twist and shape the world, and the Librarians understand them better than anybody, which would be why they have such a monopoly on them (though of course there is much they don't understand, many parts of the Library none have even set foot in).

That said, perhaps people on the Skerries can create a weaker form of story. That is, they can make oral history about a person or event, and a person's name can gain power through hearsay without a Librarian to write it down.

Also, as there are a number of sly pop-culture references in the setting already, I thought I'd add another: in the HP Lovecraft Mythos, there is a powerful, evil book called the "Necronomicon", which roughly translates to "The Book of Dead Names" in Latin (I think). Every Librarian's Dead Book, in which he writes down the stories and names of the deceased, could be called his Necronomicon.

Finally, I'm thinking about Warlocks, and about the old magical idea that if you know something's name, you have power over it. So perhaps a Warlock is a person who has discovered, stolen, or bought the name of a powerful being, and uses that name as a power source.

Edit: I second The_Fae's welcome. = ]
As a note, Necronomicon is a meaningless gibberish phrase, explained by Lovecraft himself as a sort of conflation of latin and greek; perhaps a mistranslation by Olaius Wormius. The two words it is composed of "Necron" or "Nekro" (latin/greek) and "gnomos" or "gnomon" really translate to something more like "Book regarding the laws and customs (gnomos) of the Dead."
I'd also like to nominate Unaussprechlichen Kulten, from Lovecraft and others. It's supposed to mean "Unspeakable Cults," but it actually translates to "Unpronounceable Cults" - which fits Lovecraft's beasties to a T, as well as echoing back to the whole idea of naming.

And apropos to nothing, what happens to a halfling who acquires a name somehow? Maybe he slays a dragon, or finds a name in an old book down in the Labyrinth - regardless. This is a pertinent question because PCs, in most D&D games, tend to earn wealth and status far out of proportion to the general population - and I assume that halflings will be a playable race in most people's campaigns.

And thanks for the warm welcome!
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