Chatham House 6: The Reader

The Chatham House articles discuss people that may be inserted into campaigns as ready made NPCs to add flavor or detail to your world. The character’s discussed in the Chatham House often have ties to various organizations, Baronies, Corporations, Governments, but operate outside the normal protocols.

Books, three century old antiquated media. Who has time for books; you can get all the data online and compressed. It is faster and more efficient. Digital media is also easy to update. So what if for thirty years after the purge schools taught that Led Zeppelin was the flagship of the Nazi dirigible fleet? Eventually data that is more accurate was recovered, and we know now that they were part of the USO.

Schools cannot afford traditional books. Instead, teachers use educational pages, pulling them up on subsidized monitors between info-breaks. Few people can afford or appreciate the older media but books; both fiction and non-fiction continue to circulate for the discerning buyer.

One such buyer, Shelly Adder, or the Reader, is one such buyer. Maintaining a discrete store simply titled Ends on the edge of the art district Shelly trades in pre-war books. Not the manuals or technical guides that most corporate types like to snap up, they have too much of an obvious value. Anything else though is fair game including an extensive library of new age work.

While she manages to stay open, Ends is never busy, in fact it is rare to see more than one or two people in the store at the same time. This may be from the price tag assigned to some of books she keeps. Occasionally scavengers try to pawn off books they may have found in the Wastes but it is rare for Adder to buy from anyone off the streets. How she procures her texts remains an unknown.

Story Seeds
How does she get those books? Characters may find themselves on either side of this mystery. The Reader has several sources and does not rely on any one supplier. Instead, she keeps them all at a distance to prevent any one person from knowing too much about Ends and her collection.

The Reader has been compiling documents for years. While still incomplete, the Reader has a very different understanding of the events leading up to the Great War as well as other subjects. Adder is not the type to prevent people from browsing the shop for hours. There are very few people with access to her private library though.

An occult understanding? Because so many books pass through Ends and the Reader’s hands there are few subjects she does not know something about. While few might think to turn to her, she may be one of the best sources for more esoteric works in Tiergarten.