We had a shorter session this week for the Librarian game – partly because we’ve all had long days today – but we did manage to take a peek into the lives of our new heroes with some down time, and their preparations for a charity ball that they had been invited to.
Pan hit the aisles and shelves of the libraries in search of lore that they weren’t prepared to share with their new companions. Despite many days surrounded by maps and shipping manifests, they found no new information of any consequence. Wilhelm spent a week lecturing and working at his day job, enjoying the routine of both informing and torturing the students attending this talks. He also began planning for the ball.
Xander, still woozy with amnesia, found himself worrying more and more about what to wear to the ball and so threw himself into tinkering in his makeshift workshop. He brewed a potion of healing, and educated himself with fashion magazines and reports of society balls. Lila went back to the Cogs and spent more time with the gang they’d made friends with, and frequenting a number of low dives in search of new gambling dens. Much to her own surprise, she ended up with more money that she’d started, and decided to invest it in some fine clothing.
Catriona spent a lot of time worrying about the ball – as much because she came from a monastic tradition in her faith – and so research was the order of the day for her too. As events would soon show, she perhaps had better sources in her research than Xander did/
All through the week, the group kept in touch with what they were looking to wear – and they got together before the ball to compare their outfits. Xander, in particular stood out – with a suit composed of elements that were of fine quality individually, but when put together were somewhat distressing to the eye. Pinstripe trousers in grey were matched with a black plaid jacket, and a blue polka-dot shirt and brown shoes. All of this was topped with a neon green bow tie. Each of the items was lightly glamered to shimmer and shine from time to time as it caught the light. He was certainly an arresting sight, and not easily overlooked. Wilhelm’s tailored suit was a vision of purple and red accompanied with a corset and frilled shirt – impeccable in construction and poise. Lila went for simplicity and practicality in her elegant dress, while Catriona affected a classic purple dress that looked old and yet classically new at the same time.
Having assembled in one of the university bars, all eyes turned to Pan as they made their entrance…
It’s been a hectic week but we did get the Wednesday Librarian game in – picking up from where we left them in a grimy hole in the wall bar with their new friends.
The gang didn’t have a name or anything like that, but drinks were consumed before they headed off out. The two kenku accompanying them were a great source of interest as the players worked out how to communicate with creatures who could only mimic other sounds.
They did at least confirm that the apprentices they were looking for worked in The Mortuary which was next door. There seemed to be some mirth around this that wasn’t explained. Half the party were by now drunk – specifically those specialising in lock picking – and so attempts to gain entry took a little longer. This provided a great deal of entertainment for the locals, who seemed unconcerned by all this activity.
Eventually, by various means, they broke in to the locked up building to find that it was in fact a book depository full of jumbled shelves and stacks of old newspapers. A cursed book of tongue twisters left Xander the artificer literally tongue tied until Wilhem lifted the enchantment. It was carefully stowed away as the group found a trapdoor.
This in turn led to a deeper cellar carved into the bedrock that featured a wide set of magical runes, the two apprentices, and the animated objects that they had just been about to make fight. On spotting the group, they directed their creations to attack and tried to make a run for it. The potted shrub was slow but moved to block the group, while the broom flew quickly and aggressively.
And this will be the one where I suddenly remember five minutes in that i haven’t actually exported the expected map and uploaded and configured it and proceed to do this in the background.
Its also the session where the simple “go here, hit this person, and return with the stolen item” mission became a huge and convoluted conspiracy theory necessitating the on-the-fly generation of a dozen semi-fleshed out NPCs, including four high levels wizards and a street gang who the group talked into not trying to mug them and instead took them down the pub.
It’s also the game that was utterly derailed by a wizard with the name Thunderstaff, how he was a big noise in the community, and frankly everyone was desperate to get their hands on him. That’s about as PG as I can make that conversation.
Welcome to a new Eberron campaign where the players are mostly librarians, with a rogue teacher, and a couple of the polycule for good measure. There are two rogues, two gothic elf death priests, and an artificer with amnesia who’s a little bit bemused by it all.
We had great fun. I have no idea where we’re going to end up.
I’ve just finished part two of a Session Zero D&D game with some colleagues from work and it looks like it’s going to be a very different style of game. Everyone has played to some degree before but not all in an online way so there’s a familiar enough learning curve – but I think it’s going to be an interesting counterpoint to the Sunday game.
In this game the players work for Morgrave University Library. Yep, you guessed it – Librarian-based shenanigans involving the retrieval and acquisition of rare books and the punishment of those stealing or damaging stock are incoming…
We’re calling the adventure: Don’t Annoy The Librarians
We realised that myself and the other managers haven’t really had much opportunity to meet and catch up with everything going on this year, so yesterday we arranged to meet in a library that was closed to the public.
It was equal parts socialising with peers and brainstorming how to move the service forward out of lockdown. As we won’t know until later today what tiers we’ll be placed in it had to be largely contingency planning in very broad strokes.
And then we put on Christmas jumpers and recorded songs for the library YouTube channel. There was a lot of silliness, flubbed lines, and shuffling to maintain social distancing but it was worth it. We now await judgement as to whether we’ve made the grade, quality wise, and I’ll post links if they become available.
Do you ever get those gut feeling days where getting out of bed doesn’t appeal? That was me this morning, and while it wasn’t horrific in any sense it was busy.
It was also filled with Sod’s Law moments: like having to reset the fuses for the lights when i walked in to work, or having to change libraries to support someone when bank staff didn’t turn up for work, or a colleague telling me she was having such a stressful day that her period had started as soon as I walked through the door – with her eyes doing the flickering dance of someone whose brain is catching up with the words just after they’ve left their mouth and is considering digging a deep hole in the floor.
So we got on with the day, as the only sensible way to move on from the moment, because there was a lot to do.
So, as an antidote to that, here’s the film clip I recorded for Libraries Week on Saturday:
Psst, there’s an advantage to being a library manager during lockdown. I get to go in there when no one else is around and sit and read and look after the books.
The libraries, I am sure of it, get upset if left alone too long. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve had systems play up, or books slip from shelves when they’ve been alone for too long.
One of my libraries is due to be decorated this week, so I joined a couple of other managers to do some preparations ahead of the workmen arriving. Vulnerable books have been relocated, outdated paperwork shredded, and access points cleared so things can be quietly and efficiently completed with a minimum of annoyance to the library itself.
I could swear that the library is all aquiver about the attention its getting after weeks of quiet – its certainly been good to see colleagues again and to do something practical while maintaining our distances.
One or two books may have been perused in the process…
It’s been ages since the libatious librarians got together. All plans for celebrating birthdays and Christmas and New Year got scuppered by people’s holidays, or being ill, or just plain bad timing. The end of January (at last!) was the perfect excuse therefore to catch up, and to celebrate various people’s career moves and successes.
There was a lot of drinking. A fair amount of eating. Nachos were sent back and refunded for being pitifully small for a so-called sharing plate. Silliness, commiserations, and teasing happened in equal measure – and yes there were even tears and hair holding in the toilets.
And everyone has checked in this morning on the group chat in fine spirits and with reasonably clear heads. A successful mission I feel.
Is it worse to have no working IT systems, or to have most of a working IT system? After today, my vote is for the latter as we could work around most issues with alternatives, but then feel frustrated on our customers’ behalf at the inability to wholly resolve one or two types of interaction.
It also meant that it took longer and more convoluted routes to answer certain queries – which was somewhat irking as we’re all about providing or at least pointing the way to information.
What today did prove, reassuringly, was how well we know our stock. A great number of book enquiries were resolved by being able to walk to the exact section with the customers – and in some instances to reach for the exact thing they had asked for.
That was deeply satisfying. I may have appeared to be almost supernaturally knowledgeable – especially with my growing beard and tendency to silently appear beside people just as they started looking lost.
Okay, I may enjoy making people jump. I am a sadist, after all.
We get asked for all sorts of things in the library: popular books, tie-ins to TV shows, tourist information, bus passes, how to print documents, and of course whether we have toilets. Many of these we can answer not just standing on our heads, but with a smile, a request for ID, and often while serving several customers at once, giving a sticker to a grumpy child, and ignoring the man drinking out of a thermos while recharging his phone.
What I do love though are the odd enquiries. The more unusual the better, especially if it means getting creative with catalogues, websites, and inside knowledge. It usually involves trying to interpret a sometimes quite vague query, and refining it as we go in a mini journey of discovery.
Sometimes I can find a direct answer, or I can at least identify an individual or organisation who does hold the answer, and a means of communicating with them that matches the capacity and preference of the person in front of me.
Recent examples, by way of illustration, include:
How to buy Premium Bonds without using a website?
Where do UK travelling circuses store their vehicles during the winter?
What’s the largest prime number so far identified and what did they use to calculate it?
Where are the stone road distance markers that still exist in Staines?
Where was the original Saint Saviour’s Church in Sunbury?
How can I find out what my national insurance number is?
Where can I find a list of Grand Prix drivers from 1945-1968?
Who holds the records of common land in the Heathrow area and any outstanding covenants on them?
What is the speed of an unladen swallow?
Did I see you at (venue name) last Sunday?
And if you’re more curious about that last one, then the answers to that are: yes I have stalkers, yes more than one, no it’s not unusual for library staff, and no they hadn’t.