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Disaster in the Stacks

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I decided to give Event writing a shot; the result is a pretty mundane and short event that's fairly similar to some already in game, but I don't think that the core concept has been used yet. Also, I managed to include Mastery in an event fairly believably, which was my original goal. I left out specific numbers for the rolls as I'm not 100% sure what falls into easy/medium/hard/etc. for everything yet.

 

 

Disaster in the Stacks

 

 

You were just studying for @class@ in the library, not bothering anyone, when @random low relationship student@ decided to ruin your day.

 

Okay, so not everyone considers a messy book pile to be a disaster, but the Academagia librarians usually do, and He/She used some sort of spell to make a huge mess on the desk next to yours! There’s no one there, and if a librarian comes along, they’ll probably assume you made the mess. You can’t really leave the library or you’ll probably fail the next quiz in @class@. What do you do?

 

EXIT 1: No skill, autosuccess. Leave the library; a low grade is better than having to clean all that up.

 

EXIT 1 Success: You scurry away, adding the book you were looking at to the pile on your way out. A librarian looks at you suspiciously, but doesn’t do anything to stop you. You hear a loud gasp from the direction of your desk as you walk out the door; it was a good thing you left when you did!

 

+1 SS Listen, -1 SS Courage

 

EXIT 2: Fitness/Mastery Methods, medium-hard. Suggest that @random low relationship student@ clean up their own mess.

 

EXIT 2 Success: You quietly and carefully form the forbidden phemes of the Minor Suggestion spell, aiming it directly at @random low relationship student@. Their eyes glaze over and they begin mechanically picking up the mess; they barely even notice when a librarian gives them detention for making the mess in the first place. You feel a twinge of power rush through you as you witness the effects of your skill at Mastery.

 

+1 SS Mastery Methods, +1 SS Manipulation, -2 SS Ethics, -1 Stress

 

EXIT 2 Failure: @Random low relationship student@’s eyes glaze over for a second before returning to normal. While it’s very fortunate that they didn’t notice your clumsy attempt at control, it’s not so fortunate that the librarian found you still at the desk. You spend hours putting the books back in the right sections.

 

+1 SS Library Knowledge, +2 Stress

 

EXIT 3: Fitness/Negation, medium. Dispel the spell that created the mess and allow the books to return to their proper places as usual.

 

EXIT 3 Success: The books fly off the desk and into the shelves, gently reinserting themselves where they should be. In fact, you’ve undone years’ worth of mess-inducing enchantments on these books; they’re probably neater than they were a decade ago. The librarians, noticing the neatness, give you an appreciative nod as when they pass by – though you doubt that they would approve of the magic you used on the books.

 

+1 SS Library Knowledge, +1 SS Negation Spells, -2% Chance of Discovery in Library locations (if possible in the engine)

 

EXIT 3 Failure: The books fly off the desk and directly at the nearest librarian. She is not very amused by your failed attempt at cleaning up. You spend hours putting the books back in the right sections and gain a demerit for @college@.

 

+1 SS Library Knowledge, -3 Merit, +2 Stress

 

INVESTIGATE 1: Intelligence/Library Knowledge, medium. Order the books by section using your extensive understanding of the library’s ordering system.

INVESTIGATE 1 Success: You carefully arrange the books into some semblance of order. This will probably help you with any attempt at reshelving, though the time you would need to do it by hand is still more than you are willing to devote.

 

EXIT 3 becomes significantly easier

 

INVESTIGATE 1 Failure: You thought you knew the system that the library uses pretty well, but it turns out that you don’t. At all. At least, not for this part of the library! You haven’t really managed to do anything except waste a few minutes.

 

No effect.

 

INVESTIGATE 2: Charm/Character Study, medium. Size up your antagonist and look for any cracks in his/her façade.

 

INVESTIGATE 2 Success: You notice that @random low relationship student@ is looking kind of stressed and unfocused. You get the impression that this prank was meant to give them a cheap laugh, but since you haven’t been caught yet, they’re still looking pretty antsy.

 

EXIT 2 becomes significantly easier, though still impossible without some Mastery skill.

 

INVESTIGATE 2 Failure: You can’t really tell anything about @random low relationship student@. They seem pretty normal.

 

No effect.

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Negation isn't really the skill of organizing books. If you didn't realize that they had years of messy enchantments on them, it'd be an unreasonable thing to attempt. May I recommend that exit be made significantly more difficult and/or be made into a Luck/Negation check?

Instead of the investigation exit being Library Knowledge, may I also suggest that it be made into a Magical Appraisal check? Or some other 'study the magics on the books' type of check. If successful it can reveal that they are a mess of messy enchantments, and better justify a bonus on Exit 3.

 

 

A cleaning charm would otherwise seem more like Incantations, as it's a showy kind of spell. Wave your wand and big stuff happens - I'm pretty sure that's Incantations.

 

 

Edit: Also, I don't see a 'clean it up without complaining' answer, which is what I'd do personally if something like this happened in the real world (which it has). Of course, the real world doesn't have magic spells to complicate such a prank, so maybe it's not as straightforward as that. If it is that straightforward then maybe that can be another autosuccess, with a gain on temperance but an expansion of stress.

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Negation isn't really the skill of organizing books. If you didn't realize that they had years of messy enchantments on them, it'd be an unreasonable thing to attempt. May I recommend that exit be made significantly more difficult and/or be made into a Luck/Negation check?

Instead of the investigation exit being Library Knowledge, may I also suggest that it be made into a Magical Appraisal check? Or some other 'study the magics on the books' type of check. If successful it can reveal that they are a mess of messy enchantments, and better justify a bonus on Exit 3.

 

 

A cleaning charm would otherwise seem more like Incantations, as it's a showy kind of spell. Wave your wand and big stuff happens - I'm pretty sure that's Incantations.

 

 

Edit: Also, I don't see a 'clean it up without complaining' answer, which is what I'd do personally if something like this happened in the real world (which it has). Of course, the real world doesn't have magic spells to complicate such a prank, so maybe it's not as straightforward as that. If it is that straightforward then maybe that can be another autosuccess, with a gain on temperance but an expansion of stress.

 

The random low-level student used a fairly mild mess-inducing spell in the first place to put them on the desk next to you, instead of on the shelves. You notice this at the beginning of the event, so Negation is a perfectly reasonable response. It just so happens that these books have been made messy many times before, so the Negation is medium rather than easy unless you take the time to manually sort them so that your spell will not have to do as much work. I meant for this to be a fairly benign early event to run into, as most characters have some skill in Negation; however, it will still be interesting to run into later if you have some inclination toward Mastery.

 

The mess-inducing spell is going to resist any attempt to clean up the mess, and even the Library Knowledge investigate is kind of hard to perform without the books resisting. Cleaning it up manually would take absolutely forever and, given the frequency of librarian patrols, would result in always being caught; this happens to the other student in the Mastery exit.

 

You're right - Incantation is the showy spell school. However, it's not the Negation spell that makes the books move; library books are naturally attracted to the shelves unless they're in someone's possession or unless they are being held away from the shelves. When you succeed at the Negation exit, you've undone all of the mess spells without touching the enchantments that the librarians put on the books. When you fail, you've instead tampered with the library's enchantments and caused them to be attracted to the nearest librarian.

 

If you would like to write additional exits to my event, feel free! And if you think I should go back and clarify some of the details in the event itself, I will.

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Cleaning it up manually is not going to arouse the ire of the librarians, though, so meeting the patrols is irrelevant at that point. I've never met a librarian who would punish or even stress a student who was cleaning up a mess of books, save possibly asking how they got that way if the mess is especially bad. The very act of putting the books back in order is going to wipe away most of the ire you'll get.

 

I want to stress again, this 'prank' can be done in real life by picking up an armful of books from various points in the library and then dumping them on a table next to someone while the librarians aren't nearby to see. If you're really subtle and the person is a serious bookworm, they might not even notice until a librarian catches them with a messy pile of books, which may be just what you intend.

 

Which brings to mind the fact that the person who suffers the Mastery hit is more likely to concern the Librarian for being unresponsive, than to get detention.

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You would think so, but there are several events already that depict the librarians as...less than reasonable people, for the most part; this is following in a grand tradition of boarding school stories with unreasonable librarians, and I've chosen to adhere to that custom in this event. For that matter, most adults are very suspicious of the motives of First Years in general, judging by pre-existing events.

 

I agree, in real life a librarian would help or at least not interfere with a cleanup effort, but genre conventions run contrary to that for the most part. I do think that a Pure Luck exit involving a kind librarian would be appropriate, though.

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Then perhaps the option of just quietly cleaning it up should be a Pure Luck option? I don't think the player always has to understand why a specific skill would come up in a specific location before actually doing it, as long as it's clear afterwards what impact that skill would have had.

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