The Five Glow Lights of the Great Library
The Glow Lights of the Great Library. This set of five unbreakable crystal balls provide bright magikal light so people can read among the rare books and scrolls in the Great Library without risking candles. These innocuous items are often overlooked. They would not be, if anyone knew their origins were with Corvus the Mad.
The Glow Lights of the Great Library. This set of five magikal crystal balls has been with the library since the earliest archived records. Each ball is one handspan in diameter and perfectly round. They give off a bright, white light, suitable for reading. If removed from the library, (or from the other balls), the balls cease to glow, making it pointless to steal a ball for your own use.
The balls are quite popular as they allow people to safely research late into the night.
These balls were created by Corvus to light his own library. Like all orbs of his creation, the balls are intelligent. The balls can "read"(or see) anything that is being read by someone near them. They can then discuss this information amongst themselves. Over the centuries, the balls have become brillian scholars, philosphers, and scientists, having read every written word in the libarary and inspired many of them. They use their ability to manipulate people, (innate to all of Corvus's Orbs), to push scholars and researchers in directions they wish to explore. They also sometimes help young scholars get started by nudging them to the right books. More than one scholar has had a "eureaka moment" in the presence of a light sphere. They also know where every book is in the library, so they aid the staff in putting the books back in exactly the right place quickly and efficiently.
Sometimes, the nudge researches to quest for certain pieces of knowledge that they wish to know. If they think you will be good at something (like getting some rare item), you would be suprised at what you become inspired to do in the library.
Long ago, Corvus created a vast number of magikal crystal orbs of various sizes, most of which were incorporated into other items. These orbs housed magikally created intelligences with the following powers:
1) The ability to influence and manipulate the minds of those around it to some degree.
2) The ability to communicate with any other Orb at any range, if it desires. Actually more orbs speak with the scholar orbs than with any other. They frequently "ask" what their "siblings" are doing, just to keep abreast of what is really going on in the world.
3) The ability to block or diffuse the power of another orb, 100% magik resistance against orb magik. It can sometimes grant that ability to others or use the power at range.
4) The ability to be nearly unbreakable (they are crystal after all)
5) 1-5 Magikal abilities to fufill its original purpose as a tool for Corvus. They were originally made as assistants and aides for Corvus. Since they have outlasted him and anyone who knew much about them, they are now free to follow their own agendas.
The items are immortal. Mortals are their playthings, their chess pieces, their hands.
The ability to glow brightly or softly. Also the Orb's innate abilities.
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? Responses (10)
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
The University of Linnarson is a good example of the kind of Home these spheres will have. Adapt the University to your world or install your own.
I wasn't ever a huge fan of the Orbs of Corvus, but these are decently interesting in their own right, without the other Orbs or the frame story for them as a whole.
A nice twist on the old crystal-ball, behind the scenes these seemingly simple lightbulbs are master-manipulators and seekers of secrets. If the PCs ever figure out their sentience....
I like these - can be very subtle but could end up playing a very big role in the big picture.
A useful thing in most worlds.