Passages of the Great Library
Welcome to Passages of the Great Library
We are playing in the Passages setting – but with some home brew changes. The MAIN departure from the core setting is that we are setting our ‘earth prime’ world in the modern day instead of Victorian England. The second departure is the addition of book diving and the Great Library……
The world is a fascinating place – even more fascinating than most humans know. For it is but a single realm in the mysterious multiverse known to a few as the Book Without End. While the Book Without End might always have existed, it was not until the glorious time known as the Victorian Era that humans of this world first came to plumb its infinite pages on a more regular basis.
Most people of Earth believe that their world is unique, that their planet is the only inhabited place in the universe, and that their reality is the one true existence. While it is a fundamental fact that Earth as they know it is a unique world, it is far from the only one out there. Likewise, while their existence might be as singular as the life of any other person, a vast number of alternate realities – each offering a countless number of possibilities – also exist. Simply put, Earth is but one of a multitude of planes. Among those of greater insight, this multitude is referred to as the Book Without End.
The common man is unaware that other worlds in other planes of existence, are just as real as his own little universe. Those privileged individuals familiar with the Book Without End appreciate that there are an infinite number of alternate worlds out there. And only a handful among this already select group has uncovered the way to journey between these mysterious and alien realms. These few bear the name “Passenger.” Even fewer of the ranks of Passengers learn the deeper truths to become “Book Divers” – but we’ll come to that in a moment.
Scholars and explorers of the Book Without End, Passengers possess a more profound understanding of the nature of reality. They have accumulated a vast amount of information over the course of several centuries. While many dispute the theories they advance, they know that Earth is at the center of a boundless multiverse. While it is impossible to draw a map of these different planes of existence – indeed, none can say for sure how many different worlds exist or how they all connect – experts believe that they closer a plane of existence is to Earth, the more similar it is as well. The farther one travels through the multi-layered pages of the Book Without End, the more alien and unreal the world seems.
While Passengers of a scholarly bent have heard of the Witch Elizabeth Sawyer and her 1621 chronicle, most Passengers accept that regular travel through the portals to other “pages” in the Book Without End did not start until the “Shelly Portal” was discovered in Germany. Named after the Passenger who discovered it and became the famous author of her adventure log, the portal of Mary Shelly was the first naturally occurring permanent portal in our world and it was not until the discovery of that portal that Passengers learned the secrets of mastering keeping portals open for controlled amounts of time.
As more long term portals were opened, and left open, our world became more and more effected by the worlds on the other sides of those portals – and none of those portals were one way. After all, not all Passengers were born here on THIS earth. Long term portals meant that more and more Passengers from other worlds came here and effected this earth and non-Passengers had to be protected from the strange Passengers and the tales and news that came from their actions here. As such, in 1894 Alfred Harmsworth, 1st Viscount of Northcliffe created a secret agency to protect the people of the Empire called TAB known outside the agency as The Evening News, and later as the Daily Mail. In 1926 the American version opened – best known now by two names – The Globe and the National Enquirer.
Yes, while most of the world sees tabloids as nothing but gossip rags, they are really a series of portal policing agencies united under the umbrella of the World Book Encyclopedia agency – founded in 1916.
Most Passengers think that the World Book Association is a lot like the UN, mostly policing the policing agencies and fostering international communication. This is not the full truth. The World Book agency has a more important and more secret function – they oversee book stability and maintain the Great Library.
It’s not known exactly when it was that agents discovered that our world can be effected by changes in First Edition books, nor when the first recorded Book Jumper was discovered/caught (book jumper is slang for a fictional character who has managed to escape their book), but the World Book association is still the only agency to have discovered these secrets. This is possibly because they do such a good job of collecting First Editions to be kept in the Great Library – to help police changes and fix them before the damage becomes irreparable and to manage immigration of “textys” (a slang for fictionals who have developed sentience.)
In this campaign, we will be playing World Book agents – known as “Book Divers”. These agents are not only Passengers who travel to other worlds, but have also developed the ability, or have an inherited ability to travel through portals that go into fiction as well.