The Library Atop the World

The Library Atop the World, PIC: Turtle with a tower on its back and books on the tower….

A library founded by the most ancient arcane traditions, built around three towers on the peak of the highest mountain in the world, a peak so high it is said to be within an arrow’s shot of heaven. In different eras it has been a school, a sealed archive, a lich’s fortress while undead ravaged the world.

(NOTE: I’d build those three towers around the main spellcasting classes: Sorcerer, WIzard and Warlock. Maybe there are clerics of bookish, arcane deities here to offer support.)

Library Type

Closed Archive. A near-complete collection of the world’s knowledge, librarians are frantically finishing up the collection before the inevitable end of the world.

Public Library. A living and breathing collection that goes out into the world so that wizards and sorcerers and warlocks can make their communities stronger and more informed and new items can be added to reflect the world’s wisdom.

Recovering Academy. Once a thriving wizard’s academy that was destroyed in a brutal battle and closed. Only now the arcane world is ready to open its shelves once again.

Dragon’s Hoard. The dragon that hoarded this information was recently killed and now the purpose of this knowledge is being decided.

Royal Library. A triumvirate of the mightiest monarchs founded this library when the first cities were founded and now the library provides information to the mighty.

New Collection. In the Lich Wars, the liches and almost every Arch-Mage died but their private towers were never penetrated. Their collections are being transported to a site near heaven, ordained by the Gods, to make sure that this kind of arcane war never happens again.

NOTE: This need not be a single choice. One could be where the organization started and where it is headed. Don’t feel like you have to choose just one. Another could be a rival library.

Library Perks

It isn’t often I’d say that I’d use something right out of the book but yeah, the perks on page 85 of Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything are excellent. Compensation, Documentation, Research, Resources and Training are nifty.

Library Contact

Tome Ranger. (jaded, worldly, uncompromising) A scarred library champion who has been keeping these collections from falling apart by their own sweat and blood for most of their lives and now manages your team, doing their best to keep you shielded from the politics going on in the towers.

Tower Magic-User. (ambitious, unrealistic, distracted) One of the three on the library’s Arcane Council (Sorcerer, Wizard or Warlock), who due to some odd trick of the org chart is in charge of the ragtag adventuring crew who goes out and does the dirty work.

Ghost. (wise, unmerciful, cunning) With a spirit bound to the library, this ghost is your contact to the senior arcane leadership, having guided teams just like you for decades, maybe centuries.

Clerical Official. (professional, empathic, driven) A member of a holy order from a deity concerning magic, information, books or knowledge, they take on this task that none of the Arcane Council want to deal with – managing adventurers.

Construct. (naive, well-read, supportive) When the three most powerful arcane practitioners in the world had a task they did not want, they did what any powerful mage would do – they built someone to take care of it. Your contact is a construct who was built to protect the library’s collections and oversee its teams.

Young Mage. (squeamish, earnest, egotistical) Full of hope and ambitions for this library, the young mage sees this group’s success as an important part of rising up in the library’s ranks. They took this job so they could do research regarding their obscure side-projects with no real idea what it means to go out and take a book from a necromancer.

Library Staff

Collections | Acolyte, Criminal, Far Traveller, Investigator, Sage

Outreach | Charlatan, Entertainer, Folk Hero, Knight, Noble

Tower Loans | Acolyte, Criminal, Far Traveller, Knight, Soldier

Research Aide | Acolyte, Anthropologist, Archeologist, Courtier, Sage

Rare Manuscript | CLASSIFIED

Library Quests

Item Return. When a manor knight has to return a book on local grains this might be a milk run but when an emperor is nearing the end of their life and a book is late on necromancy – this might get nasty.

Library Delving. New parts of the collection are being unearthed all of the time. When that occurs, your team is the first to deal with any security left behind.

Item Exchange. Sometimes trading copies of scrolls can be as fraught as a peace treaty between warring nations. Pack your knives.

Research Guard. Sometimes sages have to go into dangerous places to get information – from tomb rubbings to drawings of rare creatures. Keep them safe so that others might grow from their expertise.

Apocalypse Response Team. When several tomes come to similar prophecies this team is activated to make sure the world lives another day. Thwart the prophecy and keep the world spinning.

Tower Breaking. When a wizard passes and leaves their collection to the library, you go in first before any other two-bit tomb raiders can get in there and rob the place clean to sell to private collections.

If you liked this or will use it, please consider giving a small donation to your local library. Drop me an email and let me know if you don’t mind.

I had the honor of working for NYPL for six years and watch my friends and colleagues in libraries of all kinds support their communities. The folks who work in those libraries and keep the lights on are super-heroes.

If you want to click and link and give right now, here are a few libraries that are near and dear to my heart.


Tompkins County Library

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s