|Mission: Xavier's Library
This mission began life as my entry into uncadonego's No Pressure (Un)Contest from 2009. I've missed the 'Christmas 2009' deadline by just a little - first I made the mistake of exceeding the suggested size, then I decided to go for complicated details, and then Life Happened. What should have been a couple of months is now a couple of years...
The mission is a 'mansion-like' affair, providing multiple entry and exit points and a few twists. Architecturally, the main building in the mission is based around a real structure in my home town (which actually contains a real library!), and a number of textures used in building the mission come from photographs I have taken of the building. Externally the structures are very similar, internally they are completely different (partly as a concession to the Dark engine's limitations, partly out of gameplay necessity).
I should also note that the easily scared may want to avoid this mission. The mission does not involve undead enemies, but it does involve some features designed to be scary.
"There are those that lead, and those that follow. The casual observer
only sees a distorted picture, a twisted image of reality, and never sees
that those who would wish to be one are often the other. It takes a truly
singular mind to lead, and not to follow."
-- Notes on the City.
Ever since his mysterious arrival, Master Nightfall has been the centre of much attention and rumour. The opening of the Circle of Stone and Shadow merely added to this, but it appears to have had an interesting side-effect on the city. Housing Nightfall's collection of impressive (if dubiously-sourced) exhibits, boldly and publicly displayed amidst the grandiosely-decorated edifice, it has been turning heads throughout the City for nearly a year now. While Nightfall is facing numerous real dangers from the City Wardens, the local nobles - never content to allow an outsider to upstage them, especially so dramatically - appear to have taken to making increasingly flagrant attempts at gaudy imitation in order to combat Nightfall's increasing influence in their own special way.
One of the first to attempt an "emulation" of the Circle - Gervais Xavier, a rich, young braggart of old High Towne money - decided to convert one of his family halls into a library and gallery for the "public" (which, to Xavier, means that only those deemed well-bred enough by the overzealous gate guards ever get in). In keeping with the expected clientele, Xavier has stocked the shelves, walls, and display cases with as many expensive and rare items as his greasy palms could appropriate from his family's estate and the houses of others loyal to him. On its own, this would make the library an interesting target, but rumour has it that Xavier, worried by recent big acquisitions by the Circle, has managed to secure several extremely rare pieces on loan from a little-known collector in Arkford.
The pieces were delivered to the library two days ago, and my fences already have a small queue of people interested in obtaining them. The first, a bizarre statuette called Gillman's Bane, allegedly formed from a completely unknown metal, is claimed by the Arkford collector to be older than mankind. It is apparently held somewhere in the exhibition room on the top floor of the library. Somewhere nearby should be a curious box containing a gemstone called the Whisperer's Stone - and I've been told that I can't just lift the stone, I need to retrieve it in the box. In the reading room on the first floor, a metal-clasped, sealed book should be on display. This is allegedly the Tome of Al-Azif, and on its own it is worth a high price... but somewhere in the library, perhaps in Xavier's personal office on the second floor, there should be an ornate key that can open the seal, and getting that as well would help loosen some purse-strings...
The last of the "public" patrons has just left, and the night shift guards have been doing their rounds long enough to be thoroughly bored. I've managed to come by a map from someone who claimed to have worked on converting the place, and everything should be set... Time to find a way in...