Originally Published at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2012/03/05/tabletop-review-toys-for-the-sandbox-5-the-secret-library-of-ethos/
The Secret Library of Ethos is #5 in the Toys for the Sandbox series, a short supplement about, as you may have guessed, a secret library located in a town. Unlike later modules in this series, this booklet only has 5 pages instead of 7. The site where you can purchase the PDF lists the document at 4 pages, but it is actually 5.
The booklet consists of a title page, a page of general setting information and a map depicting the various floors of the library, a page-and-a-half of plot hooks, one page of characters, and a half-page consisting of a table for random rumors to be heard and one for book titles one might find in the stacks.
The basic story goes like this: A scholar named Ethos fled the oppression of an elf who had appointed himself as a divine ruler over a human kingdom. The elf was bent on destroying books of any kind that might go counter to his claim of being a god. After he fled, Ethos founded a secret library in a town where himself and other battle-trained scholars could keep precious books away from any who might seek to harm them.
The secret nature of the library allows for some nice plot hooks: one involves thieves entering the library through a book, another about keeping the “God King” from finding and taking powerful books from the library that he needs. A strange one implies that there are several heads that the library keeps (one of them being the head of the founder, Ethos) and they are calling for the party. Characters include the head of Ethos, the master librarian, the divine tyrant, and the typical scholar.
What Do I Think?
I appreciate the self-contained nature of this module; it would be easy to drop this into a city, town, a mountain, or anywhere that might be good for a group of secretive scholars to go unnoticed. The plot hooks are great, you’ve got anything from assassinating a powerful ruler to trying to help the librarians steal back books from other places. There are several hooks dealing with the acquisition or defense of books, and others where the librarians themselves may be in grave danger. The production suffers from a few grammatical errors here and there, including one spelling error, but nothing that distracts from the reading. As with the other Toys for the Sandbox modules, this can be as narrow or as expansive as the GM desires. I would suggest it for basing at least an entire session around, because the plot hooks tend to be somewhat involved. Spend one dollar, get some nice adventure seeds and ideas.