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An Engine of Souls

Initial Brief

Around Acryn and its outlying towns, retainers of Lady Esmeralda Graves, widely considered the most wealthy dowager in the city, have been placing the following notice.

'Missing: one small margushian water spaniel.

Answers to the name of Poopsie-kins.

Large reward offered for return. Volunteers of the utmost arcane and martial puissance required.

Expenses will be paid. No riffraff.'

Meanwhile, the observant in the city will have noticed groups of mages from the colleges making the rounds of the sigil inscribed obelisks that stand on the city's walls. The very observant will notice the occasional worried look on their faces.



The party are hired to extricate a small dog from a tree but events take a turn for the dramatic when the sky erupts into flames and series of arcane calamities slam into the city. Acryn's arcane defences hold firm until the last spell shatters them and a Magisterium sky fortress descends from the clouds in an attack of the College of the Stars.

Rushing to the college’s aid the party find a Magisterium raid have stolen an ancient artefact from the vaults beneath the college, a mysterious brass cylinder that Harlon identifies as of Primal origin. After some strong words with Captain Hopkins the party give chase to the Magisterium, tracking them high into the Bluepeaks.

There they find an ancient necropolis, built in ancient in times in which a long dead priest of a forgotten god demands of the party their solemn oath that they will prevent any threat to what lies below and ensure nothing leaves the place they find. They make the oath upon their very bones, so there is some consternation when the rest of the party realise Harlon has snuck past unseen.

Deeper still the party delve and find that the ancient burial grounds conceal a greater mystery: the ancient primal city of Chuull. A vast city of brass within which are contained ancient wonders of the Primals and the civilisation built by the first of their descendants. More worrisome however is the army of Dragonborn that stand motionless in the city's streets, frozen in mid-combat. At the heart of the city stands a great machine, an engine within which burns green fire and which seems to be keeping the Dragonborn frozen.

The party meet the guardian of the city, a construct which calls itself the Living Flame and which leads them to respite within an ancient palace. There they find an ancient Dragonborn that calls itself Bhramavastra the Betrayer, unlike its fellows its conscious and claims to have been captured by the Primals before its kind invaded the city. It offers to help the party if they make it three promises, which seem to be keys to the mystic chains that contain it within the palace. Rowan, without consulting the rest of the party, makes the promises and frees the being in return for dark knowledge. Before it leaves it tells the party how to forge a second brass cylinder to allow them access to the heart of the engine.

The party move toward the engine and to their horror find the ancient Dragonborn army awakening as the engine screams. There is no doubt this is the work of the Magisterium. In the fight Rowan is slain, but his soul is captured by Gidner and bound to his bones by Harlon, suspending him between life and death.

Reaching the engine, the party make their way within and find the strange energies that empower it to be souls of nine Primals who sacrificed their lives to save the city and their children from the Dragonborn army, suspending the invaders forever within a dream. However, now the Magisterium, who the Primals claim are agents of an ancient foe, are attempting to destroy the engine and awaken the army.

Into the dream the party go, and there confront the Mistress of the spire of flesh, one of the arch-mages who rules the Magisterium, stopping the arcane ritual that threatens the engine. However, the day is not yet won and as the party leave the dream the Primals call to them, for the enemy of old comes and they need time to gather their strength to defend the city. As they speak the air fractures and the six-armed form of the Demiurge emerges from the rift, with hundreds of the Magisterium sentinels pouring after it. Strangely cowering behind it are men women and children, bowing in abeyance and each bearing the golden mark of the the Magisterium.

The party fight off the army, as Harlon leaps through the portal in an attempt to reach the throne of mana he spots beyond, and for a moment he sits upon it and is empowered as never before, but it is fleeting as the Demiurge causes the throne to dissolve into a vast cyclone of mana crystals. As Harlon battles the ancient sorcerer within the vortex, Jarred lays into it with his sword. To their horror they see that every blow that lands upon the creature is transferred to the cowering supplicants and as their attempts to strike it down fail it mocks them. It is then somewhat taken aback when Harlon teleports it and himself to his tower, while at same moment the Primals gather their power and convey the city and the party away.

As the Primals thank the party and offer to bestow a boon on each Rowan alone asks to go to Harlon's aid. He finds himself high atop Harlon's tower with the Demiurge and Harlon locked in an arcane standoff: an ancient Sorcerer of dark and terrible power and the greatest archmage of Acryn laying waste to the summit of Harlon's tower. Fighting his way through the maelstrom of fire and inky energy unleashed as the two Dragonborn attempt to annihilate each other with calamitous symbols of power Rowan drives Jarred's soul sword into the golden disc that floats behind the demiurge breaking the deadlock. The titanic explosion blasts the creature back and Harlon, out of mana, kicks the being off the tower. As it plummets it opens a portal to elsewhere, but Rowan lashes out with an arcane wound and with a scream the Dragonborn loses its concentration closing the portal before the last of its arms passes through, severing it.

Back in the brass city Jarred and Gidner are thanked by the Primals who, in return for their aid, heal the wounds in Gidner's soul and teach Jarred the secret of their strange constructs. Gidner spends some time studying the great engine and determines that he might be able to free the primal souls within from their toil if he could replace it with the power of the Dreaming Ocean, but it would require a focus linked powerfully to the ocean to do so.

The pair leave to find the entire city has relocated to the south to a small island in the eastern ocean. As they leave they find their memories of its location fading, though with the understanding they could find their way back there if the need was great. They are picked up by a passing ship and pass by Thys, which appears to be overrun with Serradic forces.

In Harlon's tower, Rowan and Harlon recuperate. One night, Harlon is disturbed in his meditations by the sound of movement and finds that Rowan's bones have torn themselves free of their fleshy covering and are trying to escape the tower. It's not clear what they are trying to do and in the morning they return to their skin-prison. Rowan has no memory of the event…that can't be good.

Snackies & Wibble


  • In return for freeing Bhramavastra the Betrayer Rowan has been taught the Dragonborn/lost rite of Dominion (OOC: remanded from Primacy to avoid confusion), the dark power to crush the wills of others.
  • In return for dying and exposure to powerful alchemical and magical tinkering he is now a skeleton infused with a soul. This gives him the 'Undeath' quirk. Though he maintains a fleshy sheath.
  • Gave up his 'Darrishness' to the strange ward protecting the city of Chuul. The effect is gradual but his family slowly begin to mistrust him until they ostracise him completely. Most will consider him a traitor on sight, though they're never quite sure why. Oddly, this results in a strange ability, once per adventure when using his Darrish name he can make a group of people forget it was he they were talking to, they'll remember talking to an actual Darrish, normally the one that makes most sense in context.
  • For breaking his vow to the Veiled Prince his bones are forfeit. Whenever he is unconscious the ancient god can, though no always, seize control of his skeleton turning it into a divine servitor as it steps free of his flesh. The Veiled Prince is a god with dominion over the transition between life and death and, while not necessarily evil, will tend to do things that bring life and death closer together.
  • 200 riel from Lady Darrish


  • His boon for protecting the Engine of Chull is having his shredded soul infused with fragments of the primal souls bound within the engine, curing his progressive disintegration. He remembers flashes of their lives which may give him useful sparks of insight at GM discretion and counts as Journeyman Knowledge (Primals). He has also changed, becoming more like them: GMs to provide an epic tree.
  • Should he wish to return someday and combine the power of the dreaming ocean with the engine of Chull he will be able to find his way there.
  • 200 riel and he sells the Mastercrafted rapier for another 100


  • The heart of the strange Dragonborn construct. It acts as a repository of mana and can have as much as desired transferred into it, storing it as pulsing blue fire. More usefully it also distils a single unit of mana within itself between adventures.
  • For removing the threat of the Demiurge from Chull the ancient spirits of the Primals reach out to him across the leagues and bestow upon him an understanding of their history and their power to manipulate the world.
  • At the base of his tower he finds the arm of the Demiurge, perfectly excised by the rift in reality. Unnervingly it still appears alive, just separated by countless leagues from its original owner. He is able to bind it up but should he choose to unbind it, once per adventure it can unleash a Maelstrom of Scars Renewed as it tries to randomly kill all about it.
  • 6 mana crystals in pay


  • For his aid the Primals bestow upon him their ancient lore of animation. Although the precise workings of the technique are unclear and it's obviously not alchemy as it's normally understood using their knowledge he is able to distil an elixir that provides mechanisms with 'motion'. They are not alive and do not have intelligence but can perform the task they were designed to do. He can produce enough of the strange glowing elixir to animate one creation per adventure at a cost of 41 riels worth of esoteric components.
  • Surrendered his sense of self-preservation to the strange ward surrounding the city of Chuul. He gains one RESIST FEAR per encounter, however successful FEAR calls will instead drive him into a berserk fury and for the duration of the effect he will fight madly, unable to use any Calls or defensive skills and not thinking to use alchemy or artefacts.
  • The wyrd device in his basement grows as does its aura of malevolence.
  • 200 riel

Erpic Trees and Quirks

Quirk: Undeath

For whatever reason -normally Wizards- your soul's connection to your body is no longer dependent on your body actually being alive, this eliminates the need for things like breathing, sleeping and eating. You can be reduced to 0 hits as normal and will fall over, but will not bleed out and will regenerate 1 hit at the end of the encounter. You can be executed as normal (this representing the the destruction of your body to the point where it is simply no longer functional, leaving your soul tied to a lump of useless flesh…a horrible fate). On the down side, being no longer alive, your flesh will begin to rot unless you take steps to prevent it doing so and normal people will not respond well to you.

Rite of Dominion

Special Calls

DOMINATE - the target must obey the command you give them directly after using this call. It must be short and must have a definite success criteria (i.e. 'walk in a circle' will work, not 'walk in circles'), and must not be directly suicidal (i.e. Telling them to kneel down before you is fine, telling them to cut their own throat or not defend themselves is not). They must attempt to complete this task to the best of their ability until they succeed or until 30 seconds have passed, at which point the effect ends. If you attempt to call damage at them the effect also ends.

ENRAGE - the target must attack the nearest thing to them until they take damage.


Shroud of Passions

With 10 seconds of concentration you reach inside yourself and excise one of your own emotions hurling it out into surrounding area like an infectious miasma. Every sentient being in the encounter begins to feel that emotion with incredible intensity. Conversely, you cease to feel that emotion for the rest of adventure (meaning you can only use this spell once per emotion per adventure).

This never has an effect in combat when the need to survive dampens emotions but out of combat may affect the way people behave, though the spell is not precise enough to predict how the effect manifests, or to dictate who or what the emotion is directed at(ie its a roleplay effect). Only once the effect ends at the end of the encounter will its victims become aware that they were subject to some sort of unnatural effect.

Spark of Hate

With a moments concentration you may take a fraction of your hatred for the victim of this spell and hurl it into their mind. This allows you call ENRAGE (they will attack the nearest person to them until they take damage) on them. Having given up some of your hatred for them you count as WEAKENED if you chose to attack them after this.


Supreme Command

You focus your will and utter a single irresistible command to a victim allowing you to call DOMINATE at them. Doing so takes a heavy toll on your own strength of will however and every time you use this spell FEAR and REND calls affect you for 2 seconds longer for the rest of the adventure, you can reset this penalty by not using this spell for an entire encounter.

Unbound Will

Once per adventure you may, with 60 seconds of uninterrupted concentration, transfer your mind into a vessel capable of holding a consciousness. If that vessel already has a consciousness within the spell will fail (I.e. transferring your mind into a dead body is fine but doing so into someone still bleeding out is not possible) but if not, your own mind leaps into the new vessel permanently, leaving your old body a mindless husk. Your physical abilities may be altered by your new form but GMs should always balance any with benefit with some downside, so that the overall effect is positive but with drawbacks.

resources/adventure/an_engine_of_souls.txt · Last modified: 2015/05/14 21:08 (external edit)