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
It is a good idea, but just how is it going to give advice, specifically the right advice? Although I do give credit for the sheer originality, I hold much skeptisism towards how you can successfully pull it off, while making sense. Picture this:
You and your party have successfully killed off a rebel squad which held a prisoner you were hired to protect. The sword tells you to kill him, saying he deserved it. following his advice you behead the man, and return to the castle to report how they had executed him when you got him. The king decides to attack the last rebel stronghold and lets you lead the fight. While you fight in the battle with the aid of your party and about 30 knights against 40 rebels. How is the sword going to instruct you in fighting in this fight? I dont mean any harm, so please do'nt take any offense to what I'm saying, but if you you could give me a solution to this battle I would accept your idea fully. Until then I give it a 3/5.
I think it might be instructive to consider the larger implications of this item, as well as the other Orb items. (Feel free to dig through the linked posts, shouldn't take more than a few hours.)
These items have been powerful at their creation and were made a bit too well. Since then, they only grew in power and experience. Give them a millennium or so and you can be sure they have learned how to manipulate those monkeys for their own ends.
While this item (or should I say NPC?) can be used on its own, it really should appear together with its other colleagues. If you don't take it as an adventure-defining item, but as a world-defining item, you will know what its impact will be.