The wizard Norabon was one of the most powerful and famous researchers in the land. He was a lover of knowledge and would scour the planes for information of any kind. Once he found something he didn’t know Norabon would write it down for preservation in his library. Soon all the accumulated knowledge became too much for a single building to hold. In order to continue gathering wisdom, Norabon created an entire demiplane to act as his library. He found beings as dedicated to knowledge as he was to run this library plane while he was away. Eventually, Norabon did let all the information he had gathered go to his head.
What ultimately led to his undoing was his pride. He claimed that with his library he knew more than the gods themselves. The gods did not take kindly to his challenge and cursed Norabon for his arrogance. First, he was struck blind so he would no longer be able to read any of the information he had acquired over the years. Second, his body was wracked and twisted into a spidery shape. This was intended to reflect his hunger and greed for knowledge. Last he and his librarian staff were bound forever to the library demiplane. If they attempted to leave, they would crumble to dust. Despite the divine curse, Norabon’s library is as popular as ever. Many people still make pilgrimages there seeking out esoteric knowledge.
Over time Norabon adapted to his new circumstances. Though he is blind, his eidetic memory remains as sharp as ever. He may no longer able to read the books in his library, but he can recall anything a book contains just by touching it. In his new drider form, he can quickly navigate the maze of bookshelves by climbing across them. In defiance of the gods that cursed him Norabon continues to horde knowledge of all kinds. He can be found in dark corners of his library making corrections to his books. Norabon shows no mercy to thieves or those who would deface his books. He unleashed the full might of his magical powers to bring them down. He will then display their web cocooned remains as a warning to others.
The Library of the Blind Spider is staffed by minotaur librarians. Their natural cunning makes them ideal for navigating the labyrinth of shelves. The minotaurs of the library are lawful evil rather than chaotic evil. They also favor their gore attack over weapons to avoid damaging the library. The minotaurs are divided into three castes that each serve a different function. The pages are the lowest caste. They are sent out onto the shelves to gather requested manuscripts. The middle caste, the scribes interact the most with outsiders. They copy books for Norabon and also attempt to answer questions from outsiders. The highest caste of librarians are the custodians. They hold the important task of defending the library and its materials from attacks.
The Library of the Blind Spider developed a pest problem despite the efforts of the custodians. Long ago a colony of extraplanar formians settled in and began to expand into the library. They tunneled throughout the demiplane destroying many valuable books in the process. After diplomacy failed to oust the creatures, Norabon led the librarians in a crusade to eradicate them. Countless formians died in the onslaught but the colony endured. Since the location of the hive queen was never discovered, she was able to continue breeding more formians. The conflict has cooled somewhat with smaller raids by the custodians replacing massive battles. The formians themselves continue on much as they always have but on a smaller scale. They ignore outsiders for the most part unless directly attacked.
At great personal cost, Norabon was able to procure The Codex of Infinite Planes for the library. It sits in a place of high honor at the major intersection of several of the largest bookshelves. Norabon and the librarians view the codex with a mixture of terror and awe. They know of its immense powers and the deadly coast attached to them. Despite these dangers, there is no outright ban on reading the codex. Several librarians and curious outsiders have studied the book. All that is left of them are small piles of ash surrounding the codex.
Not everyone agrees with Norabon’s mission to collect all knowledge. Some knowledge is considered too dangerous to be widely shared with everyone. An exscinder archon has been spotted throughout the library. They have been seen stealing, destroying or altering certain texts. The scribes have been working around the clock attempting to restore the lost works. There is no pattern to what texts the archon goes after so there is no way to entrap them. Norabon has set a bounty on the exscinder’s head. He would prefer the archon alive so it can be interrogated, but he will settle for it dead. As a reward for this service Norabon will pay in secret knowledge rather than gold.
The formians have remained a threat despite the many attempts to drive them away. In the end, it might be knowledge rather than violence that finally stamps them out. A group of royal guards somehow stumbled on a book of political ideologies. After reading through it they have begun to question their place in the colony’s hierarchy. They are also questioning why they must expend their entire existence for the good of the hive. These radical free-thinking formians have split away from the established colony. This split in the colony is something Norabon hopes to exploit and turn into a full-fledged civil war.
Drag & Drop Encounter (CR 9)
You are walking down a long hallway created between two bookshelves. They stretch as far as you can see in either direction. The only light comes from everburning torches set every fifteen feet. The light from the torches shines off the books nearest to you revealing them to be tomes of dwarven poetry. Out of the dim light ahead of you a burly humanoid emerges carrying a stack of scrolls. “What are you doing back here?” The bull-headed figure demands. “Where is your authorization paperwork?” The minotaur gestures and a wall of stone appear behind you to block your way. “Speak quickly or you will never leave this place alive.” The minotaur places its scrolls on a nearby shelf and glowers at you.