Trinsic Tales:Metagame/Chapter 08
Chapter #8: Authoribrarian
<Capn_Ascii> "As we join our he--wait, what? The van!? NOOOOOOOO!!!"
- Miranor sighs and gets in the van. "Let's get out of here, we'll fix it later."
- Nenni leaps up into the cabin.
- Cade leaps into the driver's seat, letting out unaccustomed curses at the guy who dented the van.
<Capn_Ascii> "Blllph!" You can hear the guy's muffled screams as he tries to pry himself free of the sheet metal.
<Sheona> "Hey, I liked that van!" Sheona frowns, then shakes her head and hops in
<Nenni> "So, that's two character sheets in the box. Where next? Sleep?"
- Miranor puts the sheet in the box quickly
<Miranor> "Yes. Sleep."
<Capn_Ascii> You all pile in as Cade floors it. You hear a muffled *thump* as he falls away from you and rolls to a stop in the street behind you as you depart.
- Nenni digs claws into the seating to maintain his foothold.
<Capn_Ascii> You keep driving, and soon the welcome lack of light of the abandoned laundromat greets you as you pull into the back lot.
- Nenni lets everyone into the building by whacking the big red loading bay button.
- Miranor goes inside
<Capn_Ascii> You head inside and into the dirty little hole in the wall. ...er, floor. The Lair(tm) looks just like you left it.
- Jug follows
- Miranor goes for the gnome fixer guy. "You fix vans?"
<Jug> < Filthy with a side of disgusting? >
<Capn_Ascii> Gizmo pokes his head out of the workshop door. "Depends. What's a van?"
- Jug heads for bed, being the one that doesn't drive.
- Miranor gestures out towards it. "The thing we drive around in."
- Nenni is always ready to catnap. He picks a comfy-looking cushion which isn't too dusty.
<Capn_Ascii> "Oh, you mean the wagon with the bitchin' paint job? Depends on what's wrong with it.
<Miranor> "Got a dent in it."
<Capn_Ascii> "Oh, 'zat all? Yeah, we can fix that. HEY GUYS!!!" He turns and yells loudly to his cohorts behind the door. "GET THE MALLET, I GOT A DENT THAT NEEDS POUNDING OUT!"
<Cade> "Be careful with my baby!"
<Capn_Ascii> The workshop door closes.Presumably they're going to take care of that while you sleep.
- Miranor gets himself ready for bed.
- Cade conks out.
<Sheona> "I bet my cats are going to want to sleep next to me. I wonder if this body kicks during sleep."
<Capn_Ascii> You each stake out a corner of the base that suits your preferences, and everyone settles down for the night.
<Capn_Ascii> *inn music plays*
<Capn_Ascii> ---DAY 2---
- Nenni yawns and spends 6 seconds focussing his mind for the day ahead. His ears pop, and his psionic point reserve mana-bowl fills up instantly. He closes his eyes again and curls up as if nothing had happened.
- Cade spends the required time communing with his god, or whatever, to prepare his spells, trying not to grumble about how long it takes.
- Sheona spends some time communing with nature, and cuddling with her deadly, deadly cats
- Miranor just sleeps. No spells used means nothing to recover.
<Capn_Ascii> Eventually, everyone is recharged, communed, well-slept, or otherwise physically and psychologically ready to face another day of bull****.
<Miranor> "Alright, I think we should hit the library first today. It'll probably be relatively uncrowded and won't be open at night necessarily."
- Nenni 's ears twitch.
<Cade> "Sounds good."
- Miranor nods. "Okay, let's go then," Miranor heads for the van.
<Sheona> "Sounds nice and quiet, yeah."
- Cade finishes up morning stuff and heads to the van. "Finding a parchment in a library is like the proverbial needle in a haystack, though," he points out to Sheona as the group drives off.
<Nenni> The moment people start exiting the basement, Nenni wallruns up the ladder, outside, and begins preening in the sunlight. Then gets into the van once it's opened.
<Capn_Ascii> As you approach the van, you note that the dent is completely gone - not a scratch of damage. Gizmo does good work.
<Miranor> "Yes, well, we have to do it eventually, might as well give ourselves all day."
- Cade lovingly caresses the van before driving away.
- Jug ponders reading a book while they're at the library.
<Capn_Ascii> As you drive towards the library, you take one of the streets you drove down yesterday afternoon, and notice some...changes. One lot that used to have a gardening store now appears to have a blacksmith's shop instead - you can see him out front hammering away at something. The ABC store on the corner is now a meadery. A used car lot has rows of horses with sale signs around their necks.
<Nenni> "It looks like fantasy is still leaking through to reality. Not that I'm complaining."
<Miranor> "It would be nice if we didn't have to fix it. But we do."
<Sheona> "I dunno, I kinda liked stuff without the fantasy elements. Even if I didn't know how it worked, I knew every device had some logic behind it. Now we have magic."
- Cade parks the van at the library and tests the door, hoping the library doesn't have late hours today.
<Capn_Ascii> You turn the corner near the library and...uh. Well, that's new. Where the library building once sat, there now stands an enormous stone citadel, several stories tall, towering over the nearby buildings. The structure is heavily Gothic in design, with soaring arches and large stained glass windows and gargoyles perched along the upper ledges.
<Miranor> "Huh. Fascinating. Well, let's park and hunt."
<Capn_Ascii> The area where the parking lot used to be is now some sort of large courtyard with a fountain in the middle, depicting a stone statue of a dragon. You approach the building (made from stone that's almost black in color) and the oversized, heavy wooden doors.
- Miranor looks around grimly. "Alright, let's do this. Keep an eye out."
<Nenni> "Well, we've got to do *this* sooner or later, and at the rate things are going, it looks like sooner rather than later is a better bet."
- Miranor gets out and carefully proceeds
- Nenni follows and goes to sniff the fountain and statue, not entirely trusting its apparently stone appearance.
- Cade shrugs and tugs at the heavy doors.
<Capn_Ascii> Nenni: Everything here smells completely real. It would seem that the library has been converted by the same magic that turned your human friends into other people.
- Nenni looks up the walls to see if there are parapets and catwalks looking down upon the forecourt, and to check if anyone (or anything) is watching them from crenelations, arrow-slits, or stained-glass windows.
<Capn_Ascii> Nenni: It's not that kind of building. The place is clearly meant to *look* intimidating, but there's no defensive fortifications in sights. All you can see are the large windows, which all sport polygonal shapes of colored glass.
- Nenni trots up to Cade then.
<Capn_Ascii> The doors open with a suitable spooky *CREEEEEAAAAAAAK*. Light spills through the opening as you step through into the building. It's just as impressive inside as outside, with huge arching halls running off in various directions. From here, you can see dozens of huge bookshelves, all lined with thousands upon thousands of books. It's the library in spirit, but hugely upsized. The only other immediately recognizable thing nearby is the front desk - though it too is bigger and more impressive than usual, the position in front of the door makes its purpose clear. <more>
<Capn_Ascii> Sitting behind the desk is at least one familiar sight - Ms. Robinson, the librarian. She's somewhat infamous around town, mostly because she's that interesting combination of 'smoking hot' and 'thoroughly unpleasant'. She's well known for denying requests for books and materials on a whim, shushing anyone who makes even the slightest noise, and otherwise running the place like her own personal fortress. Looking around you, you realize that the building's current appearance can't be a coincidence.
<Nenni> "Hey, this place is immense! Let's split up - we'll cover ground more quickly that way!" Nenni suggests telepathically to his companions so as to not disturb the silence.
- Miranor slightly facepalms. "No."
- Nenni looks crestfallen, and reconsiders that it may indeed have been not such a good suggestion at all after all.
<Nenni> "So, do we look up 'role play games' in the card index?"
- Miranor nods sagely. "Seems reasonable."
<Jug> "Want to bet it'll be in the Non-Fiction section for today only?"
- Miranor goes to the catalog, not deigning to answer that.
<Nenni> "Hmm. So let's grab the index number for 'Paranormal Activity' too while we're at the index, and we can track down both shelve numbers."
<Capn_Ascii> The card catalog looks much the same as usual, except it seems to have quadrupled in size. There must be a *lot* of books in here.
- Cade stands staring at the ginormous number of...well, pages...in this place. Staring upwards, he suggests, half-seriously, "We should just burn the place down and hope that what we're looking for is magically fire-proof." He says this quietly, so the library witch won't overhear.
<Miranor> "It won't be."
<Sheona> "Not with our luck."
<Capn_Ascii> "Excuse me."
<Nenni> "Hmm, you may be onto something there- magically protected? Maybe a Detect Magic and slowly rotate to face every direction might give a glimmer of aura around the character sheet. But if the entire building is magical, maybe its signal will be swamped in noise."
<Capn_Ascii> As if by magic, the librarian is hovering behind Cade, glaring down at him with a look that could melt a hole through steel. "I do hope oyu're not discussing the destruction of *my* archives."
<Miranor> "Yeah, Detect Magic in here seems unwise for sanity."
<Cade> "Of course not," he says. "Your archives are...err...lovely." He says this while staring at her chest, which just happens to be at his dwarfish eye level.
- Cade blinks and turns back to the card catalogue. "Man, now I get why guys do that sometimes," he mutters under his breath. "Do you always find them so...distracting?"
<Jug> "No, Ma'am. We're just trying to figure out a way to find what we're looking for."
<Capn_Ascii> Cade: Those are some...ahem, impressive stacks, to use library terminology. Her glasses, however, have that scary sheen to them where you can't see her eyes, which makes her otherwise neutral expression that much more terrifying. "Good. Because doing so would be very...unwise." Cade turns around, then glances back her way, and somehow she's back behind the desk again. How does she *do* that?
<Nenni> "Well, let's just go with the indices we've got so far. We can always come back here if something occurs to us."
<Miranor> "Right, right," Miranor looks up the relevant indices.
<Miranor> (Roleplaying Games; Paranormal Activity; Caroll, Lewis)
<Capn_Ascii> You fish out the cards for the appropriate sections, noting with irritation that several of the 'Paranormal Activity' entries are for books about the movies of that name.
- Miranor records the numbers correctly
<Capn_Ascii> You note (with an eyeroll) that the paranormal books have been listed under the 666.xx heading.
- Miranor looks around for the relevant section on roleplaying games, to start there
- Cade follows Miranor, keeping an eye out for any papers or parchments that don't look like they're attached to a book binding.
<Capn_Ascii> The main vaults of the building extend in three directions - north, west, and east. Each one is several stories tall, with circular stairwells at the far ends that lead up to the higher floors. Each floor has a balcony where the vaults intersect with the central chamber, creating a sense of open-ness where the entire building seems like one huge open area. It also means that sound carries quite well in here - you can hear your footsteps echoing as you walk.
<Capn_Ascii> According to the catalog, the roleplaying game books are in the west wing. You make your way there while avoiding any political walk-and-talks.
<Capn_Ascii> You head west down the vault chamber, which has several seperate aisles of shelving. As is typical of a library, it's not terribly crowded, though there are a few people here and there as you go. Of course, none of them talk to you, as they're all busy reading or looking through the shelves themselves. You do notice that one of them appears to be a lady elf in a fancy dress, and another is a gnome who has constructed an impressive 6-foot-tall staircase out of books in an attempt to reach one of the upper shelves.
- Miranor carefully avoids the lady elf, having long had his fill of such dealings
<Capn_Ascii> There's a terrible crashing sound as the gnome's footing slips, and he and the books collapse into a heap. You've barely moved past him when you hear a rythmic tapping sound. A quick glance back reveals that Ms. Robinson has somehow appeared out of nowhere and is glaring angrily at the gnome, crossing her arms and tapping her foot on the stone floor.
- Nenni sniffs them both fairly conspicuously and not very tactfully.
- Nenni sits and watches innocently.
<Capn_Ascii> The gnome, for his part, looks terrified. "No, no, please, I'm sorry! I didn't mean to--!!"
<Capn_Ascii> The librarian snaps her fingers, and the gnome literally disappears in a puff of angry black smoke.
<Capn_Ascii> She then turns her head to look at the rest of you as if to say "Well? You have a problem?" The lady elf meeps and buries her nose in the book she was reading.
<Jug> "Actually, I do. It's this rash..." He looked at Ms. Robinson, then finally said, much more quietly, "Never mind..."
<Cade> "Err...do you want help putting those books back on the shelves?"
- Miranor resists the urge to facepalm
<Capn_Ascii> She looks as if she's about to say something nasty to Cade, but then stops herself. Instead, she shoots him a dismissive glance and snaps her fingers again, and both herself and the books vanish in another puff of smoke. So that's how she's moving around so quickly.
<Capn_Ascii> Presumably she's off somewhere putting them back in order.
- Miranor sighs. "Can we *not* risk unnecessary confrontation, please?"
- Miranor carefully moves on
<Cade> "I was TRYING to make sure we stayed on her good side," Cade mutters.
- Nenni looks at the rack of shelving that the gnome had been trying to reach the top of. What's the subject matter?
- Miranor shakes his head, not being sure such a thing is evident.
- Nenni also tried to read what the title of the book is that the gelf meeped into.
<Capn_Ascii> Nenni: The top shelf is full of...joke books. It looks like he was trying to reach a volume titles "No Pun Intended, Volume Too".
- Nenni scratches his head (with his back foot of course) and think, "hmm, if any of our characters were a joke, that'd be where the character sheet would be. But none of us are." So he moves on, following in Miranor's cautious wake.
<Capn_Ascii> Nenni: The elf is, rather ironically, reading a copy of the Silmarilion.
- Nenni purrs appreciatively and considers rubbing against the gelf's ankle on his way past.
<Capn_Ascii> You reach the stairwell at the far end of the vault and start hiking up towards the third floor, where the books should be.
<Capn_Ascii> This floor looks more or less just like the first floor, except with a fancy tiled floor instead of solid stone. There doesn't seem to be anyone around in this part of the archives.
- Miranor continues on
- Nenni heads for the shelves bearing the appropriate numerical plaque.
<Capn_Ascii> As you approach the shelves, you see a rather large orc wearing some...interesting clothes. He appears to be doing his best to dress like an office worker. His white buttun-up dress shirt is severely overstretched, threatening to explode off of him despite clearly being in the XXXL-or-up size category. He's wearing a pair of dress slacks that have had the lower legs cut off, turning them into some sort of formal kne
<Capn_Ascii> e-shorts, and his feet have been painted with black glossy paint to resemble shoes. He has a black-and-red-striped necktie loose around his neck, and a pair of horn-rimmed glasses are perched below his furrowed brow. He seems to be looking through the same shelves you're after.
- Sheona does her best to not stare
<Capn_Ascii> The orc notices Sheona not looking at him. "What? ...aww, it's my costume, isn't it?" He picks at his clothes. "I know, it's not very good..."
<Nenni> Nenni approaches unperturbed and gives a surreptitious sniff. Is this suspicious orc a mimic from the mall? Are the shelves? All normal? Then he starts prowling the shelves looking for an out of place sheet. As long as the shelves are not more than 30 feet high, he considers running up to the top shelf and looking down on all the books.
- Miranor does his best to work around the orc, looking for books related to building characters, or possibly containing example characters.
<Capn_Ascii> Nenni: This whole building smells like musty old paper, which you have to admit makes your claws twitch. There's *so much* here you could be shredding...
<Sheona> "Well, I like the tie."
<Cade> "Err...how did you think of that costume, exactly?" Cade asks the orc, wondering a little about how this Earth&DnD mixing up is happening for other people.
<Capn_Ascii> The orc steps out of Miranor's way, but continues to talk to the party. "I'm supposed to be a salaryman - you know, from AC&C - but I couldn't find much to work with in my size. I'm ah, kinda husky." He shrugs.
- Miranor raises an eyebrow, seeing the connection, but decides not to press it too much, and just looks for what he's looking for.
<Cade> "Umm. This may sound like a strange question, but what race do you consider yourself?"
<Capn_Ascii> "Uh." The orc blinks. "Wow. That's a heck of a question." He seems taken aback, but then shrugs. "I'm an orc, I guess. My dad was an ord and my mom was an orc and my brothers and sisters are all orcs."
<Cade> "How long have you...been in town?"
<Capn_Ascii> "A few days. I'm here for the convention."
<Cade> "Where are you from?" Cade asks, head tilted slightly to the side.
<Capn_Ascii> Miranor: You paw through the various game manuals stored here. Most of them are ancient, dating back to the early editions of D&D. As you go down the shelf, you begin to come across game books for systems you've never heard of - including one for "Advanced Conferences and Cubicles". The cover depicts a goblin, a skeleton, and a vampire playing a tabletop game using miniatures that look like office workers.
<Capn_Ascii> Miranor: The next book is...wait, this isn't a game manual...
<Capn_Ascii> Miranor: It looks like some sort of unofficial D&D theorycrafting book, written by some fan or other. You flip through the pages and find chapter after chapter of things like how to balance encounters, how to effectively wield Schrodinger's Gun to avoid railroading, how to write believable and memorable NPCs, and so forth.
<Capn_Ascii> The next chapter is titled "Interesting Places to Hide Loot". You turn the page, and discover that the remaining pages have been hollowed out - there's a large brass key tucked into the opening instead.
- Miranor grabs the key
<Capn_Ascii> "I'm from Trinsic. Well, actually, I'm originally from an encampment in the mountains near Trinsic, but I moved to the city looking for better career opportunities."
<Cade> "Which city?" Cade says, looking confused.
<Nenni> Peering at Miranor's progress, Nenni suggests, "What does it say on the page(s) just immediately before that hollowed out section? Sure, that's a key, but without knowing where to find what it fits, it's only half the solution (if that)."
<Capn_Ascii> "Uh. Trinsic is the city."
- Miranor nods and reads.
<Cade> "Oh, right," Cade says, his expression clearing up. "For a moment, I thought you were referring to THIS town as a city. So, how'd you get here from Trinsic, anyhow?"
<Miranor> "Hmm, nothing useful here. See if we can find what this key opens..." Miranor muses.
- Miranor resumes looking
<Capn_Ascii> "How did I get here? I just took the..." He blinks. "The...uh..." His words trail off, and he just stands there, a vacant look on his face.
<Capn_Ascii> "...how *did* I get here?"
- Cade nods. "That's alright, I know the feeling. I'm still trying to figure out how I got to be me at all."
<Capn_Ascii> "I'm sorry, I...can't seem to remember. Wow, that's...worrisome."
<Capn_Ascii> Miranor: You poke around, but everything else here seems to be bog-standard game books and add-ons. Nothing of interest, unless you're looking to run a campaign of your own. And it's not your turn yet.
<Nenni> Nenni suggests to Cade subliminally, "I wonder if this orc has a character sheet somewhere too?"
- Cade tries to pat the orc reassuringly on the back, but can only reach the small of his back, so quickly desists.
- Miranor sighs. "Alright. Next section?"
<Capn_Ascii> Nenni: You can't find anything else as such, but as you nose around, you do notice a faint but distinctive odor coming from the book Miranor found. It smells kind of like charcoal.
<Cade> "Enjoy the convention!" Cade says, hoping to distract the orc from any worrying thoughts. "Your costume's actually really good."
<Nenni> "Let's take that tome with us, Miranor" Nenni suggests, "in case we think of something. It smells a bit like charcoal. I don't know yet what that might suggest or signify, but let's keep it for now so we don't have to come back up here if we think of something."
<Capn_Ascii> "Oh, really? Heh, thanks, but I know you're just saying that." He seems to have relaxes a bit, though. "Yeah, maybe I'll see you guys at the convention. Nice costumes, by the way."
- Miranor nods, grabs the book, and continues.
- Cade follows Miranor away from the orc.
- Sheona tags along
<Capn_Ascii> In order to reach the other segments of the archives, you have to return to the ground floor. You retrace your steps past the spot where the gnome vanished, noting that the elf has moved elsewhere. <more>
<Capn_Ascii> Nenni: As you walk, you notice the charcoal smell again. You sniff around a bit, and realize that it's lingering in the spot where the librarian appeared, and the gnome disappeared. It seems to be a remnant of the smoke that showed up when she worked her magic.
<Nenni> "Hey guys," Nenni talks silently to the team, "this book smells charcoal-like, and this spot where the librarian and the books and the gnome vanished smells the same."
<Cade> "So she vanished something out of the book? And...she's burning it all?"
<Nenni> "Maybe one of us should get teleported by the librarian, while carrying the key in a pocket. That might place us where the gnome is, where archives are, where the librarian's treasure hoard is."
<Miranor> "Seeing as that's not our mission, unless we're out of ideas, how about not?"
<Cade> "Or get us burned to a firey crisp."
<Nenni> "I don't think the librarian killed herself by teleporting."
<Capn_Ascii> ---END SESSION---