(di — this entry is backdated, and was written around 1:30)
The original idea of the encounter cluster was to allow the characters to choose the path they took through the university, and depending on how worn down they were after a few encounters, the interludes would be dropped in and the story would advance. It occurred to me, once the party defeated Ragnotti, that they might have been able to go another encounter, but they had reached, dramatically, a good stopping point.
The library was the first such interlude, designed to give the players a few more key pieces of information, reinforce themes for the next few encounters, and give them a chance to get to know some of the students — whom they’ll be working with for the next few experience levels. There’s also the opportunity to learn some more about the school and the faculty, and start working on the mystery of why things are happening.
Though I obviously haven’t had the opportunity to test it, I imagine the feeling of the arrival at the library would have a different feel if the characters had approached the previous encounters differently — our party went through the fights with a more “reactive” approach, whereas a more “proactive” party would probably see the interlude quite differently. It’s just a hypothesis of mine — maybe I’ll have the opportunity to test it out at some point, when I run the adventure again.