The League of Scrolls
by Andy Collins, Dragon #296
The League of Scrolls is a semi-secretive order of sages, librarians, talespinners, and loremasters. Based in the metropolis of Blackmere City, this loose network is dedicated to the gathering and protecting of knowledge and learning of all kinds, regardless of its origin or application. The members, commonly called Scrollkeepers, are as likely to prize a necromancer's journal or history of draconic lore as a tome of holy scripture or a ragged account of a centuries-old climate anomaly.
Some say the League has lost sight of the value of knowledge (that is, its applicability in the world). If she deigned to reply to such critics, a Scrollkeeper might ask how anyone can know what value a piece of knowledge might have in ten generations. Better safe than sorry, or so the League believes.
League of Scrolls (minor): AL NG; 25,000 gp resource limit; Membership 70; Integrated (human 37, dwarf 20, halfling 18, elf 10, half-elf 7, gnome 5, half-orc 3).
Authority Figures: Megali Nomikos, female human Wiz10/Lor6.
Important Characters: Beckert, male dwarf Exp10 (sage); Alasdair Greene, male half-elf Brd15; Sahure, male human Mnk13; Niculescu, male halfling Wiz7/Lor1; Ana the Half-Wit, female halfling Brd7 (court jester); Corrina Attis, female human Clr4 of Boccob; Helmut Rieger, male dwarf Clr2 of Moradin; Bouchard, male elf Rog4; Mancinus Sarcula, male half-elf Ari3; Delia Sarcula, female human Ari1; Aria Sarcula, female half-elf Ari1.
Others: Mixed; Wiz4 (2), Wiz2 (4), Brd3 (2), Brd1 (g), Clr1 (5), Rog2, Rog1 (3).
Notes: League members gain a +2 circumstance bonus to Knowledge and Gather Information checks when they have access to League resources.
Organization Size and Resources
The loosely structured League of Scrolls has members scattered through many towns and cities across the continent. It numbers a mere 70 members in Blackmere City - its largest concentration anywhere - qualifying it as a minor organization.
The League has typical resources for its size and location, thanks to good connections between its members and the wealthy and powerful of the city. The organization has a 25,000 gp limit on purchases or endeavors.
Organization Alignment and Leadership
In general, the League holds itself above local politics and prefers to stay aloof of conflicts between good and evil. Despite their loose structure, the League of Scrolls tends a bit toward bureaucracy (particularly in Blackmere City), and thus their overall alignment is lawful neutral. However, they welcome members of any alignment or background, as long as that member is willing to abide by the League's policies and contribute toward its stores of knowledge.
The League of Scrolls prides itself on not relying on central leadership for its direction. However, in such situations as might arise when a ranking arbiter is needed to resolve a conflict, most members would turn to the organization's leader, Megali Nomikos, or a proxy appointed by her.
Organization Membership and Demographics
The League's open membership policies make it a more integrated organization than the community at large. Just over one-third (37%, to be precise) of the membership of the League of Scrolls is human, with 20% dwarf, 18% halfling, 10% elf, 7% half-elf, 5% gnome, and 3% half-orc. This integrated membership is common in other cities where the League has a presence, though such groups are typically very small (sometimes as few as a single individual).
As with racial demographics, the class makeup of the League of Scrolls is well integrated, including members from many walks of life.
Wizards make up a plurality of the League's membership, with 37%. As noted above, the League looks to Megali Nomikos (female human, Wiz10/Lor6) for leadership when needed. Other wizards in the organization include Niculescu (male halfling, Wiz7/Lor1), two 4th-level wizards, four 2nd-level wizards, and 18 1st-level wizards.
Twenty percent of the Scrollkeepers are experts (including sages, scribes, bookbinders, librarians, and a smattering of merchants), and among those, Beckert the sage (male dwarf, Exp10) is known across the city as perhaps the most learned individual in the region, commanding great respect from the other Scrollkeepers. The organization also has one 5th-level expert, two 2nd-level experts, and 10 1st-level experts.
Bards comprise 18% of the Scrollkeepers, and Megali's chief rival for leadership among the League is Alasdair Greene (male half-elf, Brd15), whose wry demeanor makes him popular among the younger members of the group. Ana the Half-Wit (female halfling, Brd7) poses as a fool in the king's court. Other bards in the organization include two 3rd-level bards and nine 1st-level bards.
The Scrollkeepers number a few clerics (10%) among their membership, though none are of very significant status in the local clergy. Corrina Attis (female human, Clr4) is a minor functionary of the temple of Boccob, while Helmut Rieger (male dwarf, Clr2) oversees evening ceremonies in the temple of Moradin. Five 1st-level clerics of various faiths round out the rest of this group.
When the League's activities call for discretion, they turn to Bouchard (male elf, Rog4) and his team of retrieval experts, which makes up 7% of the group's membership and includes a 2nd-level rogue and three 1st-level rogues.
The group has a few contacts in high places (5%), including Mancinus Sarcula (male half-elf, Ari3), his wife Delia (female human, Ari1), and their grown daughter Aria (female half-elf, Ari1).
The last member of the League of Scrolls in Blackmere City is a mysterious newcomer to the city. Hailing from the Monastery of Light high in the Shard Mountains, Sahure (male human, Mnk13) professes an abiding desire for gathering and protecting knowledge of all kinds. Megali doesn't fully trust him, though, wondering if his presence in Blackmere City is the precursor to a power struggle between the League of Scrolls and the Monastery.
Joining the League of Scrolls
Characters who wish to join the League of Scrolls must demonstrate their devotion to gaining and protecting knowledge - not just for their own purposes, but for the selfless goal of maintaining such treasures for the future. Wizards must open their spellbooks to other Scrollkeepers, and characters of all types must vow never to keep secrets from other members. Any member caught hoarding knowledge without the League's consent faces censure or even expulsion.
In return, such characters have access to the League's storehouse of information and network of contacts. This is reflected in a +2 circumstance bonus to all Knowledge and Gather Information checks made while the character is in a position to use the League's resources. Wizards can readily learn any commonly known spell by using contacts within the League.
In the Campaign
The League of Scrolls represents a powerful tool for the DM to use in kicking off adventures. Perhaps Beckert needs the PCs to deliver a tome of knowledge to an associate, sending them on a cross-country trek through the wilderness. Or maybe Ana overhears disaffected courtiers discussing a plot to assassinate a local noble. Megali could even entrust the characters with a quest to discover a lost wizard's library deep in the desert or high in the mountains.
Alternatively, the League could become a secretive organization, preferring to use their stores of knowledge to influence events behind the scenes. In this case, the Scrollkeepers might become the foes of the PCs - perhaps without the characters even suspecting the group's existence!