The Joint Acryn Magical Investigation Division, a newly founded endeavour, seek aspiring adventurers to aid with the recovery of a dangerous individual for the City Watch in order to aid their investigations. Interested individuals should report to “The Magpie Emporium” in the Merchant’s district and seek out Mage Swallow.
The party assembled in the night to meet with Mage Swallow, a representative of the Joint Acryn Magical Investigation Division (JAMID), who asked for their assistance with acquiring a component for an artefact to potentially provide indefinite stabilisation to areas of Flux: the body of a Wayfinder. The Wayfinder in mind was a wanted murderer by the Watch, and the agreement that JAMID could do this instead of the multiple death penalties had been signed off on by the Watch and rubber stamped by the Council. Walker asked whether the Wayfinder’s Guild was involved, and was irritated to discover they had been deliberately left out. Astraeus raised objections to the morality of the endeavour, but the party agreed that what they were being hired to do was simply catch a wanted murderer: the ethics could be resolved later.
Under the cover of darkness, the party entered the woods where their quarry, one Jordan Weaver, had fled. They entered the Flux and fought off woodland spirits before encountering an injured associate of Weaver who alleged she’d been stabbed in the back for trying to take some money on the side. The party healed her, and brought her along to the camp where they found a wolf savaging some more of Weaver’s associates. Quickly they realised that a lycanthropic Flux curse had afflicted the bandits, and soon they were beset upon by werewolves under the full moon bright in the sky. Ambrosia was bitten, but the effects were stunted by quick action by Walker and Tabitha.
They left Antonia, the associate of Weaver, in the camp to pick up later (herself not wanting to go on, with Walker making it clear he didn’t care much for her and the party should not either). The party moved on to a tower, inhabited by Leader Priests who seemed to have been deafened by constant exposure to incredibly loud bells at the top (as well as another cult of Leader Priests who they claimed took it upon themselves to make as much noise as possible). They extorted 40R of tribute out of the party as they ascended, believing Weaver to be at the top of the tower.
Indeed, Weaver was there, who ran into a Flux-shaped fortress of his own device while another associate - Lookout Pete - bombarded the party as they ascended until he submitted, still stalling for time. With Walker concentrating on land-shaping against the world-shaping Weaver, the castle was stable enough to enter and find Weaver beset upon by flux vultures. Between the party and the vultures, Weaver was bested, knocked unconscious and brought back to the city (along with Antonia, who was swiftly handed over to the watch, despite Tabitha’s protestations). Walker removes the stolen contents from Weaver without any of the others noticing.
Returning to Mage Swallow, the party handed over Weaver, were paid 18R each (Tabitha reimbursed the toll the Leader Priests had exacted) and invited to a conference of JAMID that was still running late into the evening.
At the conference, mages from the College of the Stars and the People’s College are both present, explaining their forays into investigating fascinating areas of magic. It’s not long, however, before they are openly criticised by Astraeus, Walker, Tabitha, and Alexander for their plans to essentially hold the captured Wayfinder in a state of permanent imprisonment inside his own body, despite the assurances of Mage Swallow and Arch Dean Rath of the College of the Stars.
Walker expresses considerably more annoyance the JAMID did not consult the Wayfinders' Guild on a Flux-related matter, citing violations of city law. Tabitha and Alexander express amazement that this is the case and begin investigating further how much control the Wayfinders’ Guild has over Flux-related matters, with the general word being “all matters related to the Flux are the jurisdiction of the Wayfinders’ Guild”.
Alfie attracts a lot of attention as a talking dog, and particularly the intrigue of Xavier Sarmandastra, who himself becomes petitioned to do something about the JAMID plans for a Wayfinder. He and Tabitha attempt to contact Vincta Terrec who brushes the pair of them away given it’s the middle of the night.
Astraeus, concerned that the Council approved these matters, contacts Armand who can only vaguely recall seeing something like this, but vows to look into it further.
Mage Swallow and Arch Dean Rath attempt to do damage control by discussing their other endeavours, but a lot of the damage is already done, though they do detail the rumours of terrible experimentation going on in the Wayfinders’ Guild to Alexander Everett, who is most concerned, before wrapping up the official evening, leaving the guests to leave whenever they liked.
Madam Angelica Baker, chief representative of the Merchant’s District of Acryn, seeks aid from Adventurers in locating her missing daughter, Rebecca, whom she has not seen for over a week. Pay is to be 27R for the safe return of the young Rebecca. Interested parties should meet Madam Baker at her offices in the Merchant’s District for further instruction.
The party meet with Madam Baker who explains that her daughter, Rebecca, good as gold, 18 years old, wouldn’t hurt a fly, has gone missing. She has no idea who could have taken her or why, and the party are sympathetic (with Hardy providing comfort food). They promise to go and find her and bring her back, and are given a rolled up portrait of her from a few years ago, and the idea that she might be at the King’s Head tavern.
The party arrives at the King’s Head to find a confrontation between several gangs and the barman, who it arises has been trying to set the gangs against each other. They attack the barman who is defended by the party, but not before his arm is removed. Simon stops one of the gang members trying to make off with the barman’s cash, pocketing 18R, while Simone runs to a Tender Church for assistance. A Tender Priest attends the scene and reattaches the barman’s arm in exchange for an implied ongoing donation to the Tender Church. Back in one piece, the barman suggests the party investigate the docks, where the young Rebecca has apparently been getting along with the sailors.
At the docks, a fracas breaks out between Captain Jenkins of the Horrid Eel and a crew of Cargan-employed sailors over the apparent disappearance of the Horrid Eel. Things break out, and the Watch are called by Simone, while Vermillion watches from afar. The Watch decide to arrest all of the arguing sailors who try to flee in both directions. The private sailors are arrested, and Amanda holds one of the Cargan sailors at sword point to get them to cooperate. Amanda is warned against taking matters into her own hand, but the Cargan sailor is duly arrested. During the fracas, the party pick up a lead to check a Wizard Duelling Club on Chase Street.
At the club, the party bribe, argue and sneak their way in to find a duel underway. Things get heated, and one of the wizards starts summoning the undead. Simone gives in to the hungering inside her undead body and claws into the unconscious body of one of the competitors, proving far too beastly for Vermillion who makes a hole in the wall and a swift exit. The others pick up a lead to the College of the Stars, and after a short duel between Simon and Lionel they head on their way (through the hole in the wall) toward the College.
Through a busy Founders’ Square, the party makes their way to the College (a few minutes behind an impatient Amanda). They find the wizard they were following is actually one Professor Natasha Duval who eventually accepts her relation to Rebecca, but is interrupted by angry students in her quarters who claim Rebecca killed Duval’s husband and absconded with his quill out the window. The party don’t lose a moment and chase down out of the window to find a trail of blood into the sewers. Vermillion blank refuses to lower himself to that level and so follows the party along the surface, carrying their valuables.
A short rat battle later, Vermillion hops down into the nicer part of the sewer, where the party discover a Wayfinder, and hear the sobs of Rebecca. One flux maze later, involving copious amounts of food, the Wayfinder is reunited with his friends, and they head further into the sewer while the party return with Rebecca to the surface, clean up and head back (via an altercation with a street gang).
Upon returning, though, they are greeted not with Madam Baker but with Mage Swallow who explains that Rebecca is one of many people who have been reported missing. Given the party’s involvement with matters, they are asked to assist at a JAMID emergency conference in working out what to do. Madam Baker is reunited with Rebecca, and pays the party 27R each as promised.
The JAMID meets over lunch to discuss increased reports of people going missing across the city. Mage Swallow confesses to those present that this may be a result of an expedition to investigate the Stasis effect at the Peak of the World, though insists, along with Arch Dean Rath, that this was not their fault: their mages were instructed to investigate, not to do any sort of ritual.
A team is already preparing to go along to investigate further, so those present at the meeting bring together a group to escort them, made up of some present, and others who are contacted through flyers and word throughout the city.
Swallow also expresses a theory of connection to a figure in a red hood. Those who rescued Rebecca noted they had seen a figure in a red hood out and about in Founders’ Square, and this correlated with reports that the JAMID had had of people going missing. Locating this red-hooded individual is made a task that the escorts are encouraged to achieve as well.
Simone, concerned by her beastly attack on a wizard, petitions Arch Dean Rath of the Department of Curious Investigation at the College of the Stars for help with her Undeath problems. The Arch Dean explains that this could be possible, though the cost of the mana and the labour should be covered.
The Joint Acryn Magical Investigation Division urgently seeks escorts for a group of investigators to the Peak of the World. Highly skilled adventurers are required, for the success of this investigation may be imperative to the recovery of many missing people.
The party convenes to find a number of mages preparing to head off to the Peak of the World to investigate what happened to a group of mages who were meant to be investigating the Stasis. Mage Swallow asks the party to escort the mages, and if it becomes relevant to bring in an individual sighted wearing a red hood who may be relevant to the investigation.
The party head out, dealing with a protesting group who are angered by the mages who they hold responsible for the disappearances across the city. The escort the mages past the rebuilt wall and end up at the bottom of the Peak of the World where the mages begin their ritual. Not long into the task, though, they report whispering, and become on edge while the Rosemile trio prepare afternoon tea. The tea is nearly gone though, when suddenly there’s a terrifying SKREE and bursts of magical energy appear in the world, and an enormous and terrifying draconic creature emerging from thin air, battering down everyone who attempts to stop it, heading off toward the city.
Shaken, the mages try to restart the ritual and as it nears completion, the party spot the red-hooded person making a run for it into the city. They catch up, and eventually persuade her to calm down. She takes them to a nearby warehouse and they talk, but as they do she becomes on edge. She explains that she and the other mages slipped through into another reality: another world like Acryn but not, and this has caused cracks to fracture out through the world, throughout Acryn, and it’s these that people must have been falling into. The Red Hooded woman also says that there are dangerous horrors getting through, and soon they start appearing: draconic bursts of magic - wisps, tendrils… the sound of the monster they saw comes along and the party urge the woman to open a crack and bring them through. She refuses, believing it too dangerous, but instead opens up a crack for them to shift along and come out on on elsewhere in Acryn. The process is painful: the party feel something clawing at their very existence, and out the other end, Astraeus cannot mentally associate with his rank, and Unit-01 cannot associate itself with its name.
The party come under an onslaught from more draconic wisps, but the dust settles and gives them time to escape from an underground dungeon which begins collapsing around them. Luckily, they make it into the Flux and Lady Rosemile worldshapes away the danger until they reach the Consensus, where they find the facility they’re in falling apart around them. They head forward and find themselves in the Rampant’s Party Dungeon underneath Founder’s Square. The Builder-blessed pillars are starting to come down, and with the wait on the square up top, the whole place is set to collapse. As they try to help, there’s a terrifying SKREE and the monster from before appears once more, wailing into the party. The party bravely fight it off, but the square comes down, just as Lady Rosemile shakes reality’s fetters, dropping the place into flux before she begins worldshaping her and the Weatherses out, up to the surface and shapes the square back into form, but with a large Rosemile crest in the ground, and purple adorning the square.
The sounds of the monster remain below the square, but with it trapped and the red hooded woman safely in hand, they head back to the JAMID, whereupon they are thanked for their help, and paid 50R a head.
At JAMID, the state of emergency is made quite clear. Concerns ramp up not only about the state of the city and the Otherside, but about the influence JAMID has had. Matters become more gravely concerning when it is confirmed that the Builder and the Rampant have both slipped through to the Otherside, and soon it is decided that a group should go through to investigate.
Opinions are split over whether such a group should be tasked with bringing back both the Builder and the Rampant, or whether they should go for just a look, and over food it’s eventually decided that Amelia Stone (the Red Hooded woman who can’t form an association with her own name, appearance, or rank) will take through a group to investigate this dark, mysterious place.
A call is made, a group assembles, and Stone warns them that this journey is going to be dangerous, perilous, and that they may not make it back.
The Joint Acryn Magical Investigation Division seeks incredibly capable individuals to travel to this alternate realm and determine whether a rescue operation for the Rampant and the Builder is possible.
Having had the risks explained to them, Stone locates a crack in reality not too far from the JAMID conference, and completes the ritual to open it up. The party fall through, reality clawing at their very souls once more, but survive through unscathed. Upon arriving in the Otherside they find a place cold, harsh, dark, with a howling wind that cannot be felt. The divine influence of all but the Builder, the Rampant, and Armand the Rightful feels distant and weak, particularly that of the Warrior to Armand and Senta. The streets look like a fuzzy shadow of Acryn’s own, but there’s little time for sightseeing as they attract the attention of assorted shadows: some benign, others trying to claw some sense of self from the adventurers.
The waves continue, but the party fend them back long enough to start hearing the voices of some of the other shadows: words that sound familiar. They initially brush them off as tricks, but upon realising they were getting information they couldn’t possibly know realise they can hear back through into the real world.
The longer the party stay, though, the more attention they attract, and soon a horde of draconic creatures confront them: Turieann’s presence is very much there, and the dragon’s minions begin beating down the party. The valiant adventurers manage to fend them off, but plans to track down the Builder and the Rampant become more problematic the longer they spend waiting. Brother Tarkus creates two compasses: one to point to the Builder, one to the Rampant, coming of the source of divine power for himself and Toli, but it realises that the Builder will be several days’ travel.
Stone urges them to head to see the Keeper of this place, rather than hunt for the Rampant, whom she cares little for, and they agree, but along the way get attacked by draconic hordes in greater and greater numbers. They find the Keeper – an amalgamation god of a Unification Mage and a Wayfinder – fending off dragons. The Keeper is infuriated by their presence, explaining that the more powerful entities in the Otherside, the more dangerous it becomes. The Keeper also tries to explain that the Rampant is refusing to leave, and the Builder can’t be pushed back through from this side, but under the unrelenting tides of draconic aggression the words become muddied.
The party hold the line, and start pushing forward, but the world is weakened, with draconic aggressors continuing to flow in: Stone makes the decision and pulls the party out, caring for her own neck more than that of the Rampant.
Back in Real Acryn, the party insist they head to find the Rampant. Stone is hesitant, but the party is insistent and so they head to follow Brother Tarkus’s compass which leads them toward Founders’ Square and then away as the Rampant is on the move. Stone makes her distaste for this evil god quite known, and says she’ll only give them 5 minutes of time in the Otherside to persuade him out, otherwise she’ll pull them all out: Rampant or no Rampant.
They head through again, finding it easier a second time, and find the Rampant who has decided the place shall be his own god-realm, having befriended some draconic entities. The party try to reason with him, and he demands to be made legitimate, and to have his own festival day in the city. An agreement is in the process, but time is ticking and the Man of Many Means tires of the talking and initiates an attack. While they try to beat down the Rampant, Brother Tarkus fashions a prison box using the Builder’s divine power to speed his work, and between the lot of them they trap the Rampant in the box and travel back to Acryn via Stone.
Brother Tarkus stores the Rampant in his box at the Cult of the Machine, and the lot head back to JAMID in the morning.
The Joint Acryn Magical Investigation Division seeks one final group of adventurers to bring together a plan to return the Builder to the correct reality and make a step to resolving the immediate crisis of the cracks through to the Otherside. Highly capable individuals should assemble at the JAMID conference at first light.
The party are briefed by Mage Swallow that with the help of Brother Tarkus’s compass, and with the Rampant recovered, they have a brief window of time in which to retrieve the Builder from the Otherside. Swallow suggests that they go to the final resting place of the Builder: his Greatest Work, a few days’ travel out of the city and there find a way through to the Otherside to pull him back. Swallow also tasks this party with making a final verdict on how to deal with the Otherside crisis, given they will be the last ones they intend to send through.
The party make some clarifications about the situation, before heading out to the Builder’s Greatest Work. The place is falling rapidly to disrepair, and local wildlife is disturbed. The wall Brother Tarkus previously built is falling down, and he expresses great concern for the safety of the prison holding in the Destroyer.
The party advance into the Builder’s Greatest Work and find there 5 rebuilt statues of the Founders. The party attempt to bow to them, but the statues assault them. Eventually, they are taken apart, but Brother Tarkus renews the statues just before the ground gives way and the party plummet through falling debris, floes of molten steel, and sharp beams, crashing down eventually outside the final resting place of the Builder, recognised by Brother Tarkus. Inside, stone guardians of the Builder declare Brother Tarkus to be “defiler” and assault the party. Senta, Lucian, Brother Tarkus and Stone identify a line throughout the middle of the room and Stone opens it up to transport the party to the Otherside.
The journey across is painful on the party, but particularly on Prim and Vulcan, who lose their ability to associate with their name and rank respectively. On the Otherside, there’s no time to stop and repair in the Flux: the Builder’s body is there as expected, but guarded by nasty draconic entities representing all of the Dragons. The party fights through and drags the large coffin of the Builder back and Stone transports them all back to the Real World.
The fighting isn’t over, however, as the guardians of the Builder’s body continue to assault the “defiling” Brother Tarkus who looks for Divine Inspiration to find a way to transfer the divine title of “The Builder”. Looking for a way out and a solution, Marlo calls down the divine miraculous resurrecting power of the Tender to bring life to the body of Tarkus, the Builder, so that he can repair the city. With a vessel to channel through miraculous divine power, the Builder instructs the party to keep the Defiler away, and empowers the party to assist in the construction of a mighty staircase out of the mausoleum.
Tarkus’s body leads the way to Acryn, to the source of the cracks at the Peak of the World, and there decrees that a great gateway should be built through which the energy and cracks could be channeled: putting the pressure on one spot to prevent people slipping through elsewhere. The party assist, while keeping a close eye on “Brother Tarkus”, as the portal goes up, but soon there’s a burst of draconic anger, and draconic entities attempt to rip the party and the portal down: the Acrynites see wings, claws, teeth, tails, with Senta seeing dark hooded figures. With the Builder’s injuries still too great, and Unit-03 trying to steal his power, and the Builder begins to falter, his hands failing him, but Marlo continues to channel the healing power of the Tender. His eyes start to shine a bright vibrant blue and his hair glows a golden blonde as healing power is channeled through him as the party heroicly fend off the assailing dragons. The portal is complete, and the Builder collapses to the ground, looking into the eyes of Marlo, and whispers “Allyssa, thank you.”
The portal complete, the cracks stop shining (the whole party can see them by now), but there’s a sudden earth-shaking KABOOM, and the Flux around them starts rippling, with tears through to the Otherside that the party beat back down, the Wayfinders in particular being able to close them up with their innate abilities, until the hole is closed, and an eerie silence falls. The cracks are dealt with, the Flux disappearing around the portal, and then all eyes fall to Brother Tarkus. Prim, having consulted with the Traitor during the melee, attacks the moving statue, to the confusion of the party who ask why. She cries “He’s going to do something terrible to the Builder”, and there’s a pause, followed by the words “I mean, he probably is”, before the party take down Unit-03, as Marlo picks up the body of the Builder and withdraws it to a safe distance.
Armand presents this to the Council for endorsement, along with a recommendation that an independent court is elected to determine what constitutes a violation of these rights, and to settle between two competing sets of rights. The news of this spreads across the city, and Armand’s position and connections prevents the Council from simply writing this off from discussion. Corlo Graves, out of respect for Francesco’s wishes, throws his weight behind this one last time (though makes it clear that Armand is now on his own in the Council), and the Cargans (including Viciona) throw their weight behind it. The Council members note that this is a huge decision and declare it requires time to consider and discuss. It is added to the growing list of matters for the Council to discuss. Opposition and support is mixed, with different guilds not making their positions on the bill and its clauses public.
In the aftermath, the following matters are on the Council’s list for discussion:
You have journeyed through the cracks that separate this reality from what lies on the Otherside and survived. You are able to see the energy pouring through active cracks, but will be unable to locate them if dormant (as all except the Portal to the Otherside is at the end of Dissonance.
If you have access to this Epic Tree, you will be able to get through to the Otherside (given a method through) without risking seriously ill effects on yourself.
Your experiences have allowed you to see faint cracks in Consensus where the world has been reforged. Once per adventure, you may spend 5 minutes of roleplaying to search for these cracks and can use them to find your way back to any connected section of Consensus by following them.
For those who are not Wayfinders, this ability may allow you to attempt to discern whether or not you are in Consensus. Be aware: the information you are given is at GM discretion: cracks are more common in built up areas such as cities, and less frequent in the countryside.
Once per adventure, you will be able to take 10 minutes to listen to the whisperings of the souls stuck in the Otherside. Listening to them carefully, you will be able to glean some information of importance that someone who has been observing the situation for a while longer than you might be aware of. What you overhear is at GM discretion.
Once per adventure, in the Consensus, having found a crack, you will be able to ritually break it open to transport yourself and up to 9 other people with you along the cracks. You will be able to choose where (in a connected section of Consensus, within 1 mile) you are aiming to come out, and will be transported in that direction (likely, out of the current encounter).
Alternatively, you may use this ability to retire by penetrating through a crack directly into the Otherside, forming a permanent connection between this world and the Otherside, through which Draconic entities may flow and anyone may attempt to travel.
This retirement ability will not re-open all the cracks across the city by itself, but will create a large point of connection between the two worlds.
You have begun hungering for that which makes mages tick: mana. You have a constant roleplaying effect to hunger for mana (crystalline, channeled through spells, or any other). For one encounter per adventure with mana present, at GM discretion, this hunger will become insatiable until you can sate your hunger for mana through either trying to consume mana crystals, mana stored in an implement, or by being the subject of a ritual. For that encounter, you are also able to detect mana like a mage.
You have been afflicted with a curse of the wolf, though your affliction is not as great as it could be. By day, you have no ill effects. By night, you will feel more canine: your voice will begin to growl, you feel a need to attack other animals of your size or smaller, but you also have a better sense of smell because of it. Once per adventure you may (at night) follow a trail with your nose, but whenever you do this, your connection with the wolf within you will be stronger: mild effects may occur at GM discretion.
Your name is missing. It will feel like something from a distant dream, or something someone told you that you can’t quite believe. Others can recall your name, and will be able to explain it to you, but neither they nor you will not be able to maintain an association of your name with your current self while you are not being reminded of it.
Any effects that require you to know your own name will not work unless you are being reminded of your name. Any mundane effects will still work as normal.
Your name may be restored by some metaphysical means. Consult a GM if you are attempting to restore it.
Your rank is missing. It will feel like something from a distant dream, or something someone told you that you can’t quite believe. Others can recall your rank, and will be able to explain it to you, but neither they nor you will not be able to maintain an association of your rank with your current self while you are not being reminded of it.
Any metaphysical effects that require your own rank will not work unless you are being reminded of your name and will count as you having the same rank as an average Acryn citizen. Any mundane effects (e.g. Noble Connections, Guild Councillor) will still work as normal.
Your rank may be restored by some metaphysical means. Consult a GM if you are attempting to restore it.
You are the centre of a wound that penetrates reality. Through you, Draconic entities can more easily find their influence in the world. Until told otherwise you gain the following effects and should inform GMs at the start of any adventure.