Free Module: Library of Flying Books

Crowds are gathered around the gleaming new library, but there's something odd and animated about the new books. It needs be under control before the ribbon cutting ceremony. An adventure for 4th-level adventurers.

Library of Flying Books

We begin in the city of Donmox. A relatively large city of 7000 people that is home to a majority of elves, though there is also a fair amount of the other races living there as well. It's become something of a cosmopolitan city, situated along a major land trade route as well as a popular sea connection. A vibrant community of artists and artisans, it's gained a reputation around the country as THE destination for magical artworks. There's a central boulevard where artworks are showcased, and there seems to be an excited buzz in the air as everyone in the city is chatting excitedly about something.

Everyone is excited about a new library that's opening, there's word that it's a magical library full of flying books that also clean up and sort themselves. People have been coming from all around the country to see the library of flying glass and book maids.

If the party goes to check out the library: you see a massive cathedral-like tower with strips of colored glass inlaid into it, giving little peeks at the interior. In one such window a book can be seen flying by. A crowd has started to gather, kept at bay by a large ribbon that's been pulled out to close off the area. Up near the doors are two people that seem to be arguing and upset about something. One of them is holding a pair of comically oversized scissors. The one with the scissors seems to be getting more irate as she waves them around.

Mayor NPC: Myathethil Amastacia, Female Elf
Description: She wears loose pants and a collared shirt complete with sweater beneath her coat. Her hair is always cut to a buzz. Her brown eyes lackadaisically let the world flow into them.
Personality: She is someone who is used to having a large amount of sex appeal. She also lacks a concept of privacy and shares just about everything. She moves from fascination to fascination almost instantaneously. If something can keep her interest for a month it is impressive.

Assistant NPC: Virra Bafflestone, Female Gnome
Description: She wears well tailored gowns and hats with beautiful decoration. She is almost always dressed for an outing in high society. She keeps her auburn hair in a flapper bob. Her ears are large.
Personality: She is inclined to make off color jokes and interpret anything that could be construed as such as innuendo.

The mayor is in a panic, the books have been animating and attacking people and she doesn't know why. She needs someone to put a fix to it before the ribbon cutting ceremony. She offers the party a big reward (300 gold) to get the books under control and gives them the personality crystal that contains the original logic spell that was used to give the books their current directive.

The original architect of the library is late to the opening ceremony, if asked about him the mayor and assistant only know that he's a bit of a book-loving recluse named Dabbledob Nopenstallen, a male Gnome who Virra knew of for his great spellcasting and mastery of constructs and enchantments.

The Library

Library Interior

Enter the library, a magical place full of colorful stained glass. The inside has been enchanted with silence, causing all sounds to be no more than a whisper. Books fly between the shelves sorting themselves and keeping the library tidy. The glass artwork hangs from the ceiling on large colorful ribbons that are as durable as chain. This causes them to slowly spin and sway, reflecting their light all across the walls.

Library Map

Books attack and harass the party, dropping things onto them from above, thoroughly cleaning the floors so they're slick, and sliding bookshelves in the way. As they make their way through the library cups, plates, backpacks, and garbage start to rain down on their heads. Books flying in the air drop junk on them, which they need to dodge and take shelter from. As they do they find slippery floor that shines as if it's just been cleaned, a small “floor slippery when wet” sign has been knocked over. Passages will be blocked off by sliding bookshelves as they try to go down them, trying to stymie their progress. Have the players make skill checks to get through, while also needing to dodge falling debris that the books will throw at them, each dealing 1d6 damage on a hit.

They will eventually be able to find shelter in a meeting room full of blueprints and plans as well as schedules and material lists. Upon examination this seems to be the temporary office used to organize the project while the library was being constructed.

The wizard that built this place is a book-loving recluse who enchanted the books to keep the library neat and tidy. However he failed to test how the books reacted to people that littered or left books lying out (since he would never be so disrespectful to books), and it resulted in the books reacting violently to offenders. Once people defended themselves the books saw them as a threat to the order of the library and rebelled.

If the party spends some time examining the plans, they'll eventually be able to deduce the problem with the book's programming. The books are designed to seek out and get rid of messes and in the most recent notes prior to the library's opening there are reports of the books getting violent with people who fail to clean up after themselves. Defending themselves only made the books act out more.

From the blueprints they can see a number of drawings of leylines, and see that there's a spot where the leylines converge at the top of the library. Notes will mark this as a spot where Dabbledob did his original spell, since it amplified the magic throughout the entire library and is able to enchant all the books at once. The leylines are so powerful at that spot that even those untrained in the arcane are able to channel it as long as they follow the guidelines in the original spell writings.

The party needs to travel to the top of the library to the central leyline and channel a spell that will reprogram the books and have them stop cleaning. The crystal given to them by the mayor will allow them to focus the spell and override the current enchantment on the books.

Four large spiral staircases flank the central area. A safety rail spirals up the sides of the stairs, but they're otherwise exposed. The books really don't want the party to reach the top and will actively attack as they climb the stairs.

Flying Book

Flying Book
Small construct, lawful neutral
Armor Class 13 (natural armor)
Hit Points 7 (2d6)
Speed Fly 30 ft.
STR 8 (-1) | DEX 13 (+1) | CON 10 (+0) | INT 14 (+2) | WIS 12 (+1) | CHA 8 (-1)
Skills History +4, Investigation +4
Damage Immunities poison
Condition Immunities charmed, poisoned
Senses blindsight 60 ft., truesight 10 ft., Passive Perception 11
Challenge 1/2 (100 XP)
Gaze of Confusion. The flying book chooses one creature it can see within 40 feet. The target must succeed on a DC 12 Intelligence saving throw or take 9 (3d4 + 2) psychic damage and have disadvantage on Intelligence-based checks, saving throws, and attacks until the end of its next turn. If the saving throw succeeds, then the target takes half damage and suffers no other effect.
Bibliotelekinesis. This ability functions as the cantrip mage hand but can be used only on books, scrolls, maps, and other printed or written materials.

(When I ran the module I had the books open to a random page for their attack, assaulting the character's mind with words from a confusing passage. I just looked up a list of random book passages and read them out, the less context and more confusing the better.)

The top of the staircases leads to a large central dais floating at the top of the library. The large colorful ribbons holding the stained glass are bolted to the ceiling and hang down around the dais swining ever so slightly. There are a few other floating platforms in the air around the central dais, but there's no sort of bridge between them.

Floating Dais

At least one party member needs to stay within a magical circle and spend their move action to help the reprogramming spell to complete. The rest of the party has to fight waves of flying books that come try to stop them. The characters can swing from the huge ribbons to fly through the air and between platforms and bookshelves in the library. Swinging on the ribbons also gives them a +1 to damage on their attacks, the arcing momentum empowering their attacks.

The Caretaker

Eventually The Caretaker can appear, a golem that uses the Helmed Horror statblock (Monster Manual pg 183). The party will need to hold him at bay long enough for the spell to complete. The Caretaker will target whoever is in the circle. If the golem is pushed from the dais it will fall a short distance before grabbing onto one of the staircases. It will then re-emerge next turn and continue moving towards the central circle, attacking anyone in its way.

When the spell completes (your call for best dramatic timing), a pulse of magical energy shoots out in a wave across the entire library. As it passes by books, they stop their cleaning rampage and go neatly sort themselves back into their respective bookshelves. If The Caretaker is still alive it stops attacking and shuts down.

The mayor is grateful to the party for solving the problem. Depending on how much damage the party has done, that can affect how the opening ceremony goes. Ultimately everyone decides that it's better if everyone just cleans up after themselves instead of expecting the books to do it.

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