The Library, Portland Branch
The Library is an ancient organization dedicated to the preservation, protection, and control of mystical knowledge. First formed to protect and collect all knowledge, past tragedies caused the organization to narrow its focus. Library agents now work to collect arcane texts, study magical artifacts and, when necessary, monitor individuals with mystical powers. They are both a great source of aid and a great source of frustration for mystic-themed heroes—sometimes both simultaneously. The organization’s stated mission is historical research, information preservation, and self-defense. The truth is somewhat more complex.
The Library’s origin begins in a fabled underground city-state known as Agartha. Located in a vast hidden cavern in the Himalayas, the Scholar-Kings of Agartha and their advisors devised a grand plan: they would create a vast repository of knowledge, encompassing all topics and open to any who desired education and enlightenment. Their agents traveled the globe looking for texts, artifacts, and even rare creatures to bring to Agartha for study. The Great Library of Agartha was to lead humanity into a golden age that would last thousands of years - an era of magic, super-science, peace, and enlightenment.
The dream ended when Agartha was attacked by a veritable army of supernatural threats. These adversaries saw an enlightened humanity as a threat and the Library’s archives as a treasure trove for looting. They attacked without warning, aided from within by Agarthan agents converted to their cause. The great city-state burned; texts and artifacts were destroyed, damaged, or stolen; great scholars died at the hands of unspeakable things. The dream of a golden age was broken, but it was not destroyed.
This attack caused a shift in the surviving Agarthans’ focus. Unable to protect all human knowledge, and now acutely aware of the threat malevolent supernatural forces posed, they devoted themselves to the accumulation and reclamation of mystical knowledge. They reasoned that if they could keep dangerous arcane lore locked safely away, humankind would have a chance to create an enlightened civilization on their own; moreover, should evil supernatural forces again gather, they would stand ready to aid in humanity’s defense.
Newly motivated, the survivors left their ruined home and scattered. They recruited new agents and settled near places of mystical and academic significance, creating local headquarters known as Branches. They gathered, studied, cataloged, and protected various arcane texts and items. They monitored individuals and items of great magic power in case they ever become a threat. They provided information to heroic occultists and mystics in need, though they did not always agree with those seeking aid as to what constituted necessity. Over time, the branches linked together into a worldwide network. And so the Library was born.
The Library is run by the Librarians. These individuals are usually powerful mystics or mythological beings with a talent for both academics and organizational logistics. Librarians run the various branches, determine research focus, and oversee most of the important operations. They are organized into Head, Senior, and Associate ranks. The most powerful and influential of the Head Librarians form the Library Council, which meets periodically to make decisions that affect the organization as a whole.