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. [...] Family names would accumulate value the older they were, as they would be the collective history of the family.
On that note - what happens if someone just makes up a story? Can people "appraise" names and stories, to see what weight they have behind them? The main source (v1.1) implies that stories made up on the fly (as low-level wizard powers, for example) do have power behind them.
The thing is, there seem to be two sorts of stories: those that tell of events that actually happened, and those that are fictional. Obviously only the first sort could "back" names. Then again, maybe the distinction isn't that clear cut, as any account is bound to have fictional elements, especially with tales of legendary people and monsters.
Then there's the distinction between books and oral history. I've pseudo-solved this by saying that written stories are more powerful, as they last longer, though this doesn't entirely make sense.
Really, all this stems from a few key ideas.
Here's a possible solution - There is an ancient Dragon in the Yebba Dim Day, who eats History and breathes wishes.
Wizards have discovered the art of speaking to almost anything, including inanimate objects, and telling it a story about itself, changing what it is.
Warlocks have discovered the names of powerful creatures beyond the world, and use that name as a source of power.
Clerics are called the "Redefined", for they have discovered power in changing their identity. In the same way that wizards change the world by convincing it it is something else, Clerics convince themselves that they are something else, behaving and acting in the way their particular God would, and changing themselves in the process.
I don't think there is a difference between reality and fiction, both can be lied about and both can be believed. Even stories made up on the spot can have power, possibly more than a normal written story because it is unique, which leads me to think that the Universe doesn't care whether the story is true or real it just matters that it is a good tale for its genre.
The entire world of Nifflas is fictional so really Nifflian reality = fiction. Another reason for no difference between reality and fiction.
How does one go about getting a title? Do they just start calling themselves that and wait for librarians to come and record the reason or do people go to the Library to start a Title account in their name?
On to a bit of a mechanical anomaly I just thought of; How are we going to handle Residuum? It seems odd to have a magic item not break into a story, whether the story transfer from the item to the mind of the disenchanter or in some other fashion move into the disenchanter's possession.
I propose one idea right now; Maybe residuum as a concept is good but its name and flavour need to be changed. A disenchanted object retells its story to the disenchanting party and then turns to useless dust. This story sits in the back of the player's mind, always right below the surface. These stories have intrinsic value, to anyone, as they are almost pure magic, as pure magic as humanoids can hear anyways.
I don't have a system for how to price out a name, but that at least gives us a possible direction to take Names and Titles as a currency. Maybe instead of a parcel of gold, once a level the players gain a parcel of Deeds which add value to their names instead of their pockets.
On the names and syllables idea I kind of have to side with my own idea, simply because basing value off of syllables doesn't really seem right to me. Syllables aren't what make a story, Bob's name is worth 15 King Cubes of Junk because he went out and slew a tribe of Giants with his bare fists not because it has 3 letters.
I have a concern with the idea of names and stories as resources. The problem is that for the Library to have power, stories have to be valuable. But for stories to be valuable, they must be scarce. This means that stories can't be reusable, which gives Librarians the impetus to search for new stories, but means that the actual content of the Library (previously used stories) has no value. Does anyone have any thoughts on this?
Also, remember that no D&D campaign setting has ever had a realistic economic model (to my knowledge). Any world in which groups of adventurers regularly dump vast quantities of previously out-of-circulation wealth from tombs, etc., would be unstable to the point of collapse. It's the question all PCs ask at one point or another - when a single CR 1/2 (sorry for the now obsolete terminology) kobold is carrying more coins than most commoners see in a month, why don't all the farmers buy swords and go adventuring?
The economic model in any campaign setting - Nifflas included, I say - is set up around allowing PCs to acquire ludicrous amounts of wealth and then spend it all without having any appreciable effect on the daily lives of the NPCs around them.
Stories are valuable in Nifflas because people want to hear them - they want news of other Islands, they want knowledge of the world outside their little floating rock, they want stories to pass the long dark nights with. Thus, a Librarian's job (along with their duties at the Library itself), is to bring stories to the Skerries, and to write down whatever new ones they find.
It seems to me that the idea of all stories having intrinsic magical power generates more problems than it's worth. It's been a topic of much discussion, and some really cool things have come out of it, but I think I have a way to avoid the confusion it generates while keeping what I think are the coolest bits.
Nifflas is a setting which is very consistant with the "Points of Light" model presented in 4th Edition. It consists of much unexplored territory dotted with isolated settlements. The Yebba Dim Day and surrounding areas are pretty well known, but it's a big world out there. So, if you are living on one of the skerries, you rarely hear news from the outside, you know little of the world, and you're pretty much stuck with stories you've heard about a thousand times.
Stories are valuable in Nifflas because people want to hear them - they want news of other Islands, they want knowledge of the world outside their little floating rock, they want stories to pass the long dark nights with. Thus, a Librarian's job (along with their duties at the Library itself), is to bring stories to the Skerries, and to write down whatever new ones they find. A Librarian sets off with a choice collection of books, and goes from Skerry to Skerry, reading stories to the townsfolk, even letting the few who can read (and who by some stroke of luck possess a precious Library Card) borrow a book or two, though woe betide the unlucky man who loses or damages one of the precious books, or keeps it past its overdue date...
Thus, stories are not magical in and of themselves, but have value because they are desirable to the people of the Skerries. Wizards, however, have learned the trick of harnessing the power of stories for their own ends, and can use them for all sorts of things, from spinning a flying ship out of tall tales and paper, to convincing the air that it's really fire, to inscribing on a piece of armor the story of the one who wears it, imbuing it with power.
They say that every wizard has their own book, and that the book of a wizard is special, that it can speak, even move... And they say too that there are some books in the Library that can do terrible things if they are read. Perhaps these books were written by powerful wizards, or perhaps they've always been there. Whatever the case, the Unkindlies will make sure you never find out...
Don't drink the holy-water; we don't like it when you drink the holy-water.
To keep me motivated as a GM, I need to NOT have everything be broken down in rule form. It makes me feel restricted to what I can or can't do, and it makes me feel like I have to have hard written rules for everything I do or create, which definitely stifles my creativity. I would resist the urge to create a way to find an exact pricing or value to stories because it ruins the setting. It would be a shame to create a game world on magic and wonder, and have a simple formula to break all that down to a number. It would ruin it for me anyway.