S – Sages – information for hire. Libraries, archives, etc.
How was information for hire handled, what signs of it are left in the ruined city?
Some things we know about the ancient Greeks and Romans, for example, are from their monuments. Will books, scrolls, and so forth with knowledge and information survive? How specific will this information be?
Other types of knowledge might be ruins of an astronomical observatory. This might be an important plot hook for determining the next eclipse, comet, or other astronomical event that is either a portent of how long until the bad, ominous thing happens, or allows the right person to calculate how long until the bad, ominous thing happens. Ancient observatories could have the simplicity of a massive monument like Stonehenge, or a tower like the Mayans.
Did the ancients have fancy astrolabes, globes, telescopes, and perhaps something like the Antikythera mechanism? Would a sage pay for such devices or trade what he knows about something the players are interested in for a trade?
I tend to run sages as collectors of information and devices in their area of interest. I throw in a few personality quirks so that they are not just walking encyclopedias.
Did the ancient writing system utilize clay tablets like the cuneiform tablets of our long gone civilizations? Did they use wax writing tablets like the Romans? Was some form of information inscribed into metal plates? Is the metal resistant to corrosion and damage? What sort of information will survive in whole or in part?
Statuary, monuments, markers, obelisks, and temple decorations will all hold some form of information. The hitch is finding someone who knows what it all means.
What kind of scenes are seen in tapestries, arches, obelisks, and frescoes?
- Mythological – Stories of the gods and religious heroes.
- Historical – Events in the kingdom or city. Including victories, famous people, kings, rulers, etc.
I was researching books for something else and found that the library at Celsus could hold about 12,000 scrolls. The Royal Library of Alexandria is estimated to have held 400,000 texts. Here is a list of some ancient libraries. Hattusa had about 30,000 cuneiform tablets.