Thursday 9 February 2017

Books! aka Droppin' Lore aka Make Libraries Great Again

Historically valuable, gamewise worthless unless they're a spellbook (at least in my game).

So here's the basic idea.

Books and Such

I've got a big table of book topics, each topic with a hash code so I can say "You find Book #156 - The Nature of Heaven" and they can write down just Book #156 if they want.
Table of generic book subjects here.

Every hour of study, roll a die based on how many books on the subject you've got available to reference:

Roll it on the following table:

Then ask a question and I'll give an answer based on what you rolled.
And that's it!


For some time I had a limited number of uses per book (a la David Black or Vornheim), which has the unfortunate side effect of players ditching books when they run out of information juice.
Throw away books?! Not on my watch!

So instead books let you ask an unlimited number of questions on their topic, but it takes quite some time and you don't get many useful answers unless you have more books to reference.
This should hopefully encourage collecting books, hanging onto books, and maintaining a library. And it also means that finding the another book on the same topic is cause for happiness instead of indifference.
Each book takes up one encumbrance slot, so one of my hopes is that someone will hire a book-bearing retainer to porter relevant books around the dungeon for them.

You may notice that I haven't got anything in here in regards to the quality of a book's writing. This is intentional! I figure that book quality is abstracted, that way I don't need to worry about it. If one book's a light synopsis on the topic and the other's a long-winded rambling tome, you can use the one to inform the other.
If pressed, I can always say a really good quality book counts as two books or counts as a book on more than one subject. I probably won't, though.

The other thing I want to play around with is having, say, a frieze that counts as +1 book on a subject. So you find a frieze depicting the miracles of Jesus, and if you've got your Bible on you it counts as having a bonus book on the subject.
I've already got the National Library of Fortress-City Fate counting as a book on every topic, and that's made people become interested in it for the first time. Score!

Books for My World

Players: Please don't view this one. Is secret.
For everyone else: this actually turned out to be a good way for me to collate various lore garbage that may or may not ever be learnt by my players! Feel free to have a look, and use it as a basis for your own stuff.
Books of my world are here.
A side effect of giving the players quite a vague title/subject matter is that in some cases they'll have no idea what the book is even about until they spend a few hours "reading it" by asking questions.
If you've only got the title "Book #116 - Ur-Darghab, City of the Deeps" and one-word answers to your questions at best, it takes a bit of questioning to work out that this is a book about a Dwarf arcology city.