I love it. The item has a lot of very mundane properties that are a hinderance and at the same time a benefit. It is submissions like this I am looking for. While it does have a huge ability to cast the fireball type spell so many times a day, it is still a well balanced item.
Instead of being able to read anything any scholar is reading 'near' them, I would just say that anything that their light illuminates, even a little, is instantly available for them to see/read/understand.
Nobody would steal them since they go out when they leave the library and are useless.
Unless you require them to be a set, I would think that they would want to split up and travel as best they could. While the great library is no doubt great, it is still limited in the days of rare books. Since they can manipulate people, it would seem to me that they would find another scholar that traveled just to view the library, who has access to or owns his own library, and convince him to take the orb and open up yet another door of knowledge for all the orbs since they can communicate over any distance. They would continue to do this and travel anywhere that has the promise of more books to read.
For an intelligent orb that is thirsty for knowledge, don't see them settling in a place where they have already read everything. Their thirst would be unquencheable and they would use their manipulations to seek more knowledge...no? Go to Comment
Allow to take it nothing. I wasn't implying permission from the staff, I was implying convincing somebody to steal it. Then they can use the Jedi mind trick on the few it may encounter that might even slightly realize something is going on. I was not thinking that they would simply ask to take it. The orb wants to leave, even the most trustworth person can be singly convinced to stash it and run away with it.
And I disagree that books will find their way to the library. So a few will, yes, I am sure, but why do all five orbs need to be waiting for the chance that they might get some new good books. There are hundreds and thousands of miles all over the entire world that has books in different languages, cultures, etc that will NEVER make it to the "great" library no matter how great it is. Not to mention those that love their books would never give up their books. Those of evil tendency would never share thier books and I am sure they will have some knowledge that would never make it to the great library anyway. The orbs must know this and their ability to talk at any distance would be of great use. Travel to different countries, libraries of undead or just great evil, selfish book collectores, etc.. You are not thinking big enough. A power like this would not be stagnate is my point an no library no matter what its influence will ever claim all the books it wants, even on a local scale. Movement of the orbs is the only way to see these books.
Why would talk on distance be different from face to face? They are orbs. They don't have body language or facial expressions, the talking would be exactly the same, what difference could there possible be? beside strength of reception. The are items speaking through whatever means they have and I don't see a difference in their difference. Go to Comment
Convince a person to take the orb? They would have to convince all the personal to allow to take it. While they can manipulate and push people slightly into directions desired, the whole library's staff would be strongly opposed against it, not easy to manipulate.
Someone may ask a question, why does this person desire this item, and never needed it before? It IS very handy, but candles and lamps can replace it. The situation described above threatens to expose them. There are smart people around.
And, talk on distance is not the same as talking face-to-face (orb-to-orb). Also, many scholars do not travel the dangerous roads for knowledge, they are content to wait for it. With their abilities, and the Great Library being the biggest and best source of knowledge, most books and scrolls will sooner or later find their way to them. Go to Comment
This would be something innocuous to help give the players a hint about the true nature of the orbs. They enter the library and are compelled to not just read, but write thier own thoughts. A perfect way to gain new knowledge and find out the current abilities of any who could quest for the knowledge the orbs seek.
Also, with such an unparalleled filing system, other libraries would want to research how it works, especially the more extensive libraries wizards can gather. When all research can't explain it, some other answer must be found.
Why five lights? Perhaps they can only access the knowledge their light shines on and the knowledge of their fellows. Since intelligent items rarely every can be reproduced exactly, each light might have it's own quirks. One light might have a slight pink tinge and like romantic stories. A bluish light might have an especial interest in the sea or sky. These quirks might lead to the general sorting of the libraries contents. Go to Comment
I like the can only read what is seen by their own light. That is a nice touch.
Mostly, the reason I had them become "useless" outside the library, is because if I was an immortal magik item who could not ambulate, I would not want to become "lost" and be at the mercy of my relatives to get new information or "horrors" have some human find a stupid way to break them. Besides, they would simply influence the person not to take them. THough notice, it is only influence, not control. If they really wanted to, a person could take one.
Also, by being harmless magik items, people ignore them. You are right. There are a lot of smart people out there.
As for the other libraries, perhaps they will influence the individual to donate their books when they die. The Orbs have all the time in the world. Eventually a copy of something or a comentary will come to them. If they are in a hurry, they could inspire someone to read the book in that other library, and either copy it or write a commentary.
Also remember that they are getting information from their relatives. Perhaps a few of them occasionally send things their way, as a favor for information imparted.
If the King ever vists the library, I am sure that the Library will become an "important treasure" to the country. I am sure the nobility will always invite visiting dignitaries to the library.. who might feel it important to send copies of their books here. This is just a thought.
Also, they might not see the value of other libraries or other lands. Just because they are intelligent and educated, it does not mean they are not snobs or capable of bias.
They are immortal. These books are transitory to them. The knowledge of man is also transitory. Only the knowledge that they have gained through time and debate is "true" and will stand the test of time.
There are dozens of ways to view the light balls and their view on things. It depends if you want to make them background items, plot devices, or patrons of the adventurers. Go to Comment
As a vague curiosity, does it exert a charm-like effect over the dragons? Do they willingly serve it, seeing it as something potentially able to outlive them and thus potentially wiser? Are there dragons who might be immune to the sphere's control? Does it make a difference if the dragon in question is exceptionally stupid or intelligent? Go to Comment
It can control dragons just about anywhere in the world, so it can be anywhere it wants. It actually finds dragons vain, egotistical, self centered, and predictable. They are annoying. It keeps them out of civilized lands and in the hinterlands. Civilization actually has been able to thrive because of the lack of dragons, all because of the orb.
It can simply scry upon them anywhere that it thinks about, and control from where it is. Yes, it is that powerful. But it is following its own council, it does not do anything the person wielding it would ask. However, since it grants its "wielder" immunity from Dragon magics and breath, it is still a sought after item. Go to Comment
This particular piece is a great one to set into a campaign. It's presence explains so many things for certain fantasy kingdoms. While I have written up only one, I wonder how many would be out there and if they are working together or against each other.
When the new settings area comes out, I may just list a place that becomes this Kingdom. Go to Comment