Saturday, July 20, 2019

D&D Class: The Librarian

Librarian by Sergey Dulin ©2017-2019 Sergey Dulin
With all the libraries existing in #Calidar’s Magiocracy of Caldwen, there ought to be a specialized magic-user sub-class to oversee them. My general approach is to reduce the number of spells the specialist librarian has available (as well as the top spell level attainable), in exchange for a good number of special powers related to the profession. Although not best suited as player characters, librarians should excel as NPCs in their intended environment. This description provides versions for D&D BECMI and later game versions. This hasn't been playtested, so your comments are welcome, in particular as regards game balance. Thanks!

The Oath of Custody: Before going further, librarians must belong to a guild of librarians, from which they can learn their trades. The guild ensures the integrity of their business. Therefore, all aspiring librarians must pronounce the Oath of Custody before guild masters and peer witnesses, and forever honor it. This oath demands that "all books, regardless of their natures, must never be allowed to be damaged; furthermore librarians witnessing such acts must act to protect books and seek swift retribution against their defilers, starting with a sound thrashing for defacing books up to and including death for destroying works of magic." Failure to honor the oath results in fines, expulsion from the guild, and/or death for the worst of violations. Librarians are also required to pay 10% of their earnings to their guilds.

Terminology: Books are defined as any form of written material that could be found in a library, including scrolls, leaflets, maps, and objects with inscriptions of a relevant nature (carved bone, wood, ivory, clay tablets, tattoos featuring text or maps, etc.) A known book is one that was held in hand and read or studied at some point in the librarian’s past. Notable works are those librarians have heard of, but never personally read or studied.

Experience Progression: The three columns on the left of the Advancement Table (see below) show experience levels for different RPGs. They all range from Level 1 to the level at which conventional magic-users become able to cast a 9th level spell in all three game versions (printed in red in the table). Scale A is for BECMI (9th level spells are available to 21st level magic-users), Scale B is for AD&D 1st and 2nd Editions, and Scale C is for D&D 5e and Pathfinder. Experience points at each level are those listed for magic-users in the chosen RPG. This ensures that this character class compares roughly equitably in all game versions, based on what spells they are able to cast (not so much on experience points themselves or the ease at which levels can be earned).

Librarian Advancement Table
Experience Levels
Librarian Abilities
Librarian Spell Progression
Scale A
Scale B
Scale C
I
II
III
IV
V
VI
VII
1
1
1
A, B, C
1
2
2
2
D, E
2
3
3
-
F, G
2
1
4
-
3
2
2
5
4
4
H
3
2
6
5
5
I
3
2
1
7
6
6
J
4
2
1
8
7
-
K
4
2
2
9
8
7
4
2
2
1
10
9
8
L
4
3
2
1
11
-
9
M
4
3
2
2
12
10
10
4
3
2
2
1
13
11
-
N
4
3
3
2
1
14
12
11
4
3
3
2
2
15
13
12
O
4
4
3
2
2
16
14
13
P
4
4
3
2
2
1
17
-
14
Q
4
4
3
3
2
1
18
15
-
4
4
3
3
2
2
19
16
15
R
4
4
4
3
2
2
20
17
16
4
4
4
3
2
2
1
21
18
17
S
4
4
4
3
3
2
1
22
19
18
4
4
4
4
3
2
1
23
20
-
T
4
4
4
4
3
2
2
24
-
19
4
4
4
4
3
3
2
25
21
20
4
4
4
4
4
3
2

Librarian Abilities

Librarians acquire special powers as they progress in their careers. In some cases, multiple abilities may be acquired, early on and when a gap occurs between two experience levels. For example: under Scale C, a gap separates levels 2 and 3, therefore both F and G abilities are earned when reaching the 3rd level. Librarians tap into the mystical force of books to pool the residual auras of their authors, and conjure it into special magic.

[[This space is reserved for readers’ giggles.]]

Unless indicated otherwise, basic success odds (bso) for many of these abilities are 60% +5 per spell level available to the librarian. For example, a neophyte (Level 1 spellcasting) has a 65% chance of success (60+5), while a librarian able to cast Level 7 spells would enjoy 95% odds (60+35). At the referee’s discretion, players only get to roll dice once when using an ability; if the attempt fails on a specific target, the librarian must earn another experience level before trying again. A roll of 00 always fails; a roll of 01 always succeeds.

Language Competences: Librarians earn the ability to decipher (read only) a new foreign language at each new experience level. Roll 1d12. A score of 1-6 yields a non-monstrous language commonly spoken in the region; a score of 7-9 concerns a monstrous language spoken by a species living in the region; 10-11 indicates an single ancient, exotic, or monstrous language existing in the librarian’s world; a 12 is an outer-world, thoroughly alien language. This ability is separate from normal skills in the chosen game system.

A.  Appraisal: Librarians can estimate the value of books (see bso listed above). Subtract 3d6 from the score needed if a book is enchanted, 6d6 if a relic; the referee rolls the dice. If the roll fails, the extent of error is as follows: roll 1d4 or at the referee’s discretion—with a 1, it is thought to be half its true worth; with a 2, twice its actual value; with a 3, a worthless fake; with a 4, a priceless and unique work well beyond its actual value. The librarian must be able to examine the contents closely for at least several minutes. Add +1d6 to the score needed if the librarian spends more than an hour with the book. Add another 1d6 if the book is a notable work.
B.  Detect Missing Book: When examining a shelf they stocked, librarians can always tell if a book has gone missing or was disturbed in some fashion, and which one specifically. No die roll is needed for this ability.
C.  Book Lore: Librarian can identify the true authors and other pertinent details about non-magical books held in hand (where and when they were written, under what circumstances, and for what purposes). See bso earlier for enchanted tomes, spellbooks, or notable works—referee rolls the dice. No lore is recalled if the roll fails (a critical failure may result in wrong information).
D.  Codebreaking: With a successful roll (see bso earlier), librarians may decipher text written in code, whether it is magical or not, provided the original text was written in a language librarians can read. The attempt takes 3d8 hours if the text isn’t magical, or 3d8 days if magical.
E.  Locate Book: Librarians may sense the exact location within a library (theirs or someone else's) of one or more books matching either a title, an author, or a specific topic, with no chance of error if the targeted books are known (otherwise, see bso earlier).
F.  Detect Books: Librarians may sense the approximate distance and direction to the closest repository of books. This ability’s basic range in feet is equal to the librarians’ bso. Increase detection range +1 ft. for each book in close proximity to each other. However, decrease success odds –1 for each 20 ft. past the basic range. The referee performs the roll at the player’s request. Involuntary detection is possible, with a –50 penalty to both range and success odds.
G.  Memory Recall: Librarians can recall any non-magical script previously read without error, as well as when and where it was read. Spells or any other magical script require a roll (see bso earlier). For each spell level above the first, decrease success odds –12. Spells cast in this manner do not count against the librarians’ daily spellcasting limits. This ability cannot be used for the rest of the day if its roll fails.
H.  Dispel Vermin: Non-enchanted life forms are removed from non-magical books (including bookworms, bugs, molds, etc.) lying within a 30’ radius. This effect lasts six months. Apply the librarian’s bso if resident creatures are of an enchanted nature (including possibly undead spirits bound to books) or if the books are magical. Pests with less than the librarian’s HD do not receive saving throws and are expelled immediately if the attempt succeeds.
I.  Mend books: This ability enables non-magical books to be repaired within an hour, and any missing pages to be restored. Apply the librarian’s bso listed earlier for magical tomes, provided no magic in the book’s enchantments or missing spells exceed the librarian’s spellcasting skills. Relics cannot be repaired (provided they could ever be damaged).
J.  Sense Wards: The librarian immediately senses whether a book held in hand possesses protections, special powers, or curses. Apply the librarian’s bso to identify the types of features involved (poisoned pages, mechanical devices, or magical dweomers and their schools of magic), and how many of them. The librarian’s bso incurs a –50 penalty when examining relics.
K.  Librarian’s Gaze: This special form of attack affects all individuals within a cone-shaped area equivalent to a small white dragon’s breath attack (no die roll needed). This action requires librarians to glare angrily, bring up their index fingers in front of their lips, and whisper "Shhhh." Victims may not speak loudly, shout, sing, or take any course of action that would provoke loud noises until the end of the encounter (either the librarian or the potential troublemakers all leave). If any of them do, they all suffer the same chilling effects as that of a white dragon’s breath (save for half damage) plus 1d6+2 rounds of paralysis (a second saving throw is permitted to victims with more HD than the librarian). This attack form can only be used up to three times a day.
L.  Bookmark: Librarians can magically bookmark a number of books equal to the number of spell levels they are able to cast (therefore from 4 to 7 books at most). Permanent until dispelled or dismissed, bookmarks are invisible but can be sensed with a detect magic spell. They enable librarians to know the exact position these books regardless of distance. Though conjuring bookmarks always succeeds, locating targeted items requires dice rolls; see bso earlier with the following modifiers: +10 within 60’ radius, no modifier if in the same building, –10 if outside the building, –20 out of town, –30 outside the realm, –40 on another world, –50 on another plane. The location ability only lasts an hour; a new roll is always allowed on the following day.
M.  Unseen Shelves: This ability links any existing magic item (ring, medallion, brooch, or other) to a tiny pocket plane able to contain 5-7 books (no die roll needed). Touching a book and speaking its title while holding/wearing the magic item causes the book to be stored in the pocket plane. The book appears in the librarian’s hands when speaking its title once more. Stored books return to the librarian’s library (or wherever they were originally taken from if not the librarian’s own library) if the magic item is destroyed.
N.  Reader’s Aura: With a successful roll, the librarian may probe residual auras imbued in a book’s pages and identify its previous reader, other than the librarian. This ability conjures in the librarian’s mind a mental image of the reader’s physical appearance at the time the book was last consulted. Subtract the score rolled from the bso; the result divided by ten (rounded up) is the number of past readers who can be revealed.
O.  Animate Books: Books that aren’t fastened to anything and within 90’ radius from the librarian can be made to fly or levitate. They move individually up to 120’ per round as long as they remain within range. The librarian may move at half speed while using this ability. Subtract the score rolled from the bso; the result is the number of individual books under the librarian’s control. Books flung at a target inflict 1d4 points of blunt damage each (1d6 if oversized); roll a single attack using the librarian’s hit rolls for each separate target. Up to six books can be flung at the same target. Books can also be made to form levitating stairs strong enough to support the librarian. Beware: unless repaired promptly, damaging books could violate the librarian’s Oath of Custody.
P.  Scrying Pages: Bookmarked works (see Bookmarks earlier) can be used as scrying devices while open. This ability requires a successful roll (see bso earlier). The librarian using this ability can look through the eyes of various illuminations adorning the pages, which might be spotted by an observant reader (eyes or faces of the illustrations surreptitiously tracking the reader’s movements). Scrying is performed from any other bookmarked item.
Q.  Meld with Book: With a successful roll (see bso earlier), the librarian can touch a book and blend into its pages, along with all carried equipment and familiar, if any. For each additional companion taken along, decrease success odds –10. The score rolled indicates how many individuals are actually melded. Example: the librarian’s bso is 90%; with three companions, it drops to 60%; the score rolled was 70, which is good enough for the librarian and two random individuals, leaving the third one out. Melded individuals appear among the book’s internal illustrations. While inside, everyone can see out if book is left open (see Scrying Pages above). The librarian can dismiss this effect in whole or in part at any time, restoring melded companions or leaving them trapped inside. A successful dispel magic will force everyone out.
R.  Transcendental Link: With a successful roll (see bso earlier), the librarian can touch a marked book (see Bookmarks earlier), vanish, and reappear at the side of another bookmarked tome of the librarian’s choice, regardless of the latter’s location. Companions can be taken along, as described in Meld with Books, above. If successful with a –50 penalty on the die roll, the librarian may take along the original volume.
S.  Summon Protagonist: The main character in a book can be summoned to life, with a successful die roll. This character is permanent until dispelled, dismissed, or defeated (the subject is killed, knocked out, surrenders, or flees). The librarian can only control one such being at a time, and never call one more than once per book. The protagonist has the same HD as the librarian, but otherwise fights and behaves as described in the book. If it represented a real-life personality, it only has the memories described in the book (not those of the real person).
T.  Fictional Universe: With a successful roll (see bso earlier), the librarian can trap one or more foes with all their equipment in a world described in a book (see success odds in Meld with Book). This ability requires the librarian to hold the book and call out the world’s name, whereupon every being within a 30’ radius is transported. Those with more HD than the librarian get a saving throw. Although fictitious, the setting remains real in all ways to those trapped within. All such universes possess a feature at the referee’s discretion that enables visitors to escape to their world of origin, usually requiring a quest on their part. Spells enabling travel to outer planes only work with respect to that universe’s cosmology. The librarian is able to enter and leave that world at will, and may use it to store valuables. Whatever happens to these valuables and visitors can be read in the book’s text, which changes according to events happening within.

6 comments:

  1. There's a slight graphic glitch in the advancement table, where the top of some cells don't show their border lines. That's the cells in rows where the character class gets a new spell level. There's no way that I know to fix this, as the original chart in edit more looks correct. Annoying.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HTML can do some annoying things sometimes.

      Have you tried putting something invisible in the cells (like the code for a non-breaking space)?

      That sort of thing has helped me sometimes. But HTML does like to strip out blank spaces, so it might not help.

      Delete
    2. The solution would be to correct the HTML code for each of those cells. The problem is the **HUGE** amount of coding related to that chart. Good luck finding the tiny bits pertaining to the incorrect cells.

      Delete
  2. Sorry but what is "magical dweomers" for J, in abilities?

    My delighted reading so far suggests that I will be able to increment my world of this class.
    But I must continue and I stumble on this term that I do not know how to translate.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A "dweomer" is an enchantment or the aura of such. =)

      https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/dweomer

      Delete
  3. If you enjoyed this character class, have a look at the next one. Check here: https://bruce-heard.blogspot.com/2019/08/CustodianI.html

    ReplyDelete