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How the Bookstore Came to Be
In the very early years of Mystara a philosopher, dreamer, and aging mage envisioned a place of peace where he could retire with his precious library to further develop his skills and to scribe his knowledge onto scrolls. A talented traveller between planes, he gathered up his scrolls and focused his will on the place that once was Mystara. Arriving safely but exhausted, he began to build with both his hands and his magic, a simple home. But one with a large library attached to contain all the books he brought with him. Sadly, hardly had he finished when the war of Gorgaronn began. Exhausted by his labours, he had no strength left to join in the fight. With the last of his ebbing life he invested his library with all the magic left within him and buried the books and himself beneath the crumbling place he once called “his”.
For centuries the books remained buried, but like all magical knowledge it thirsted to be used and understood. Slowly, the scrolls formed themselves into books and began a long rise up to the surface where some were found and taken up by both holy and unholy individuals. These were lost forever to the lands - a mystery never explained. Imbued by both the magic of the now dead mage and doubly empowered by the swirling mysts of the realm itself, the remaining books waited patiently for the moment when they would find their new home.
No longer were the books pliable articles to be held by any hands and read at will. Long exposure to the combined primal magic of the early mage and the later strange workings of the myst, the books took on their own characters and learned how to protect themselves. Grasping hands would find empty pages, a book that suddenly disappeared, or a collection of books that attacked, bit, beat, or buried greedy and unwary hands of those who grasped for power or had evil intent.
During the Exodus of Mystara, the book shop owner guided with her the entirety of the library to the new lands. It is here that they rest and wait for patrons to seek them out and pay a boon of tribute in order to gain the knowledge that is hidden within them.
History of the Boons
Conspiring together, they began to inscribe the front pages of their books with quests that later were come to be known as “boons”. Before anyone could call one of these precious books their own, they had to prove themselves worthy to the books themselves by completing whatever task the books demanded of them. Anyone finding one of these books, and ignoring the quest required, will not be able to gain the knowledge they seek and may even become untrustworthy to the books as a whole.
As a story once said: when Stromness, the human city of Mystara, was first built, a wise King of long ago built up a library for himself and his family inside of their castle. At the time there were very few shelves filled, but the Queen had a dream that foretold that legendary books would come. Courtiers laughed and dismissed her as crazy until one day the King entered the library and found it completely full. He reached to take down one of the new scriptures and found his hand slapped away and a book snapping in his face. Startled, the King fled backwards only to discover the book had opened its front page to reveal an inscription:
“We are not yours to own
Build us a home.
We are not for the craven
So build us a haven.”
Both puzzled and annoyed, the King tried once more to take down a book, this time one of a different nature. But before he was successful, books began to fly off the shelves - hundreds of them - and pinned the King to the floor. He could not move, only his eyes visible beneath the pile. Book after book opened their front covers. Every one of them displayed the same boon. When it was clear that he understood, the books calmly lifted away in an orderly fashion and stacked themselves back on the shelves according to subject and importance.
Both ego and body bruised the King as he stomped off to his throne room. Later that year, a library was opened to the public where the magical texts were able to be quested for and taken by the citizens of the land. Thus began the start of a new era for the books. No longer had they needed to wait for the earth to erode for them to find freedom and for people to gain their knowledge and wisdom.
This practice was carried over to the land of Eyr where they wait patiently for new people to conquer them and claim the prize of knowledge.
About the Island Bookshop
Still powered by the ancient magic they developed from the mage and the mysts, the books retain their demands for boons. Each boon is related to the book desired. Magic books in particular may demand very specific quests before an aspiring mage can rank up in their field. At no time can these myst-touched books be bought with coin, stolen, subject to magic (no matter how powerful), or subdued and controlled.
The Bookshop sets atop a hill in a quaint little shack. A lot smaller than their last home, the books still fly and graze around the hut waiting for customers and adventurers. Many books were lost during the Exodus but some have found their way back by chance.
The nature of a boon will drive your character to get in contact with many different people. Furthermore, it gives the player the option to roleplay situations their character wouldn’t normally experience. Depending on the power of the book, the boons may be easy or complex in their nature. A book on stain removal, for example, might ask you to cause a huge stain in the tavern and watch how the wenches would get rid of it. A book on necromancy might ask you to dig up a dead body, bring it to the tavern, and convince a patron that the body is in fact, still alive - by non magical means. Other books, those that reach deeper, have more power and can teach more but might be protected with a cantrip (spell) that requires certain items before it can be opened. The bookshop may also be used by faction leads and business owners as well, to send their members and workers on quests in order to make them climb through the ranks of the business or faction. If the member must learn a certain skill or gain knowledge about a specific topic in order to reach the next rank, the bookshop has the means to help with that.
There are a few items though that require no boon. Materials like parchments and ink, card games, and the like can be purchased for coin. The bookshop also offers lessons for those that wish to learn not only from books, but from a teacher. Classes can vary from reading and writing to more advanced topics like star gazing and philosophy. Each bookseller has an individual area of expertise and a teacher will be assigned according to the topic of the lessons. Lessons are free, however they might require boons if a book is involved.
The purpose of boons is two-fold. First, we do not wish the bookstore, especially when it is unstaffed, to be raided for information that can be abused by the player base trying to know everything about everything. The staff control what information leaves the bookstore and in-turn can control what is a reasonable amount of information for the character to obtain. Secondly, we want to utilize boons in a way that is fun - such as a quest! The boon is meant to encourage roleplay with other races, exploration to unknown areas, challenges that are fun and unusual, and to provide entertainment and delight. A bookseller can roleplay the boon in riddle format, which can definitely be fun and different as well.
Theft in the Bookstore
First, thieves must have OOC permission from the owner before attempting a robbery of their business. If you don’t have OOC permission you are not allowed to steal and the roleplay will be considered voided if you go through with it. If you are attempting a theft with full intent of failing, please tell the shop employee or owner who is working and hopefully they will, of course, play along!
Secondly, since the books will not allow themselves to be stolen, any of the following may occur:
The book’s impossible to catch as it will soar through the air out of reach.
The book will start biting, beating, and doing other unspeakable things to gid rid of the thief.
The other books will come to help! Have you ever been trapped under a huge pile of books that bite at you? Well, if you attempt to steal you may just get to know what that feels like!
The options are basically endless and up to your creativity!
If you have OOC consent and manage to steal the book from the shop the book won’t give you what you want. The books do not display information to thieves and will either be completely empty or contain useless information. Sorry!
Mind of the Books!
The best part about working in or visiting the bookshop is roleplaying with the books.The books aren’t just sitting in their shelves, they do pretty much anything - and you can use that in your RP! They might cuddle up to your bosom in the middle of conversation, hit you on the head when you say something stupid or poke the customer repeatedly, trying to convince him to take another book; again, this is up to your creativity. You can use it any way possible!
Staff Information: Delivering Boons
• The size of the boon depends on the topic and of course the level of knowledge presented. Example: Someone comes in for a simple book about love stories - their boon could be to write a love song or poem. Someone else comes in for a book about extensive magic - their boon must be much bigger because so much more can be gained from the book, and they must prove themselves worthy to read it.
• Make sure the boon you give involves RP and isn’t too complicated to complete. Whether they need to buy certain things, go on an adventure with another person or try to steal a dragon’s scale - as long as the customer can enjoy it and get to know more people/RP with others, our job is done!
• Be creative with your boons! Your boons can be anything, really. They can be hilarious and they can be dead serious, they can make the other person do the chicken dance in the square and they can make them fight a demon. As long as they’re interesting, people will come back for more and you can think up even greater boons!
• If you’re not sure what kind of boon to give - take a look at the Bound to Please section of the forum. There’s a list of ALL the boons that have ever been given and you can get a lot of inspiration there.
• Please save the books and their boons with the date and name of the player in the Bound to Please forum in the thread made for it. This way we can ensure that everyone can get the book they wanted, even if there's a different person in the store when they come to collect itA boon is defined as “Something that is asked, a favor sought”. Booksellers will roleplay the books’ thoughts, actions, and will RP a book asking the customer for a boon before revealing its’ contents. Simply; a boon is a favor the book asks, before giving knowledge in return.