Thursday, April 30, 2015

"What Is 'Library'?"

The second location that players visited in Friday night's Fate Strange Stars scenario at JonCon was the Library of Atoz-Theln, a library-world in the Zuran Expanse. As +trey causey's Strange Stars Game Setting Book relates, the Library was built before the Great Collapse. It has virtual records dating back to the era Archaic Oikumene - and even before that time. Not only does the Library contain virtual records; it also possesses physical records and artifacts from countless worlds. The Library therefore contains a vast store of otherwise lost knowledge.

The players in my "Rescue on Tenebrae" scenario had two reasons for going to the Library of Atoz-Theln.  Their ostensible purpose was to gain more information about their ultimate target, the world of Tenebrae.  However our ne'er-do-well Captain-and-Star-Lord's most important motivation for going there was to find a cache of ancient eight track tapes. Where else in the Strange Stars would one look for such antique and priceless cultural artifacts?

So they landed, under guidance from Library flight control. In my version of the Library, information is organized topographically, and one of the players declared the narrative detail that since the players did not pay special inducements, they had been assigned landing rights over the limnology section of the Library. I went with that.

The Library of Atoz-Theln has very strong Metascape virtualities, and almost as soon as their ship, the Kill-Wagon landed, the players found that they were on a lakeside beach. They felt lake breezes, even inside their ship as the Library's Metascape systems began to overwrite shipboard systems. The players exited the ship and heard the calls of shorebirds. They also spied an immense pterosaur soaring overhead. The Collections are eclectic. What can I say?

The players descended far below the surface of the world using high speed elevators accessible from the beach.  The found themselves in a corridor that was in fact a tube within a gigantic aquarium stocked with all sorts of aquatic life. If you have been to Biosphere 2 you've been in a miniature version of this.

Soon they encountered one of the numerous humanoid librarians dwelling within the Library. The player of the Star-Hawk-ey PC, who belonged to the bird-like Hyehoon clade, decided it would be fun to spend 1 FP and make a narrative declaration that the librarian recognized Gamorine, the party's Gamora-like character, as a wanted-on-all-worlds assassin. (I don't normally see PVP play in Fate games, but I went with it since it was an interesting complication. Really, I should have given a FP to Gamorine...).

The assassin teleported the librarian into one of the aquaria and let him drown.

Nasty stuff.

Next the players took a subterranean tubecar to one of the workshops where restorative work was being done on ancient artifacts. Eight tracks were stolen! The players were somewhat surprised that they were completely ignored by the librarian-restorationists in the workshops. Everyone was very focused on their own work. Kind of like the special neurological state of focus in Vernor Vinge's A Deepness in the Sky.

Finally, the players located a deep library section dedicated to the world of Tenebrae. This was a virtual reality as well. Things got creepy when the labyrinth's masked Skulkers appeared, and one took on the mien of Gamorine's father, Lord Death. Virtualities can be tricky that way, and sometimes a daughter can carry along a bit of her father without even realizing it...

Needless to say, the players soon high-tailed it out of that labyrinth and got back to their ship.

Next stop, the dead world of Tenebrae.

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