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Ghost in the Machine

Initial Brief

A crime spree is sweeping Acryn. All over the city things have been going missing with no obvious link between them; the lightning rod from the summit of the Leader's temple, the mechanism from the clock atop the council building, mana crystals from the Peoples College and the sign from the guild of Bakers among other things. The continued spate of thefts is starting to attract public attention but the City Watch seems to be baffled as to either the motive or identify of the thief, with rumours of a strange creature being seen by witnesses. The Temple of the Builder (from which all the leaden pipes were stolen 3 days ago) has put out its own request for investigators to be paid for through church funds.



The party set off to find the thief who has been stealing material from all over Acryn. To their surprise they find the culprit to be the strange clockwork device awoken by Alastair and Carl the previous year; the Engimatic Engine. The engine has been using the stolen materials to create a great portal in the belfry of the Builder's Temple. After the party corner the engine it activates the portal and the party and the engine and drawn into it…destroying the summit of the temple as the portal reacts poorly to a binding ritual cast by Harlon and Carl.

The party find themselves within the Labyrinth, a otherworldly realm that seems to trap madness and insanity within it, and seems to be a favourite place for Mages to banish their enemies to. To solve the labyrinth the party help the engine find its centre and the spirit of Egreg, who created the engine, to allow him to escape the Labyrinth. As they journey through the twisted Maze the party encounter the crazed Arch-Mage Oooberous who they unite with his long time live, the sorceress Madam Mimzeron. In doing so, Alastair masters the power of the Killing Sphere and comes to understand its tragic fate. They also meet the ghost of the infamous King of Acryn Rodderick III, and the horse he famously married. More disturbing are the ancient City the party find, it's architecture reminiscent of that of the Magisterium that contains a creature that calls itself a Dragon-born; 'Chedravartin the Unmaker', that whiles away the ages forging perfection. It claims to be ancient enemy of the primordials, its race the true children of the Dragons. The party recover the concept of Love for the being, after refusing to find it Evil, but then anger it when they attempt to steal its work. They escape when they defeat the being but find themselves unable to destroy it. Still, they succeed in stealing its magical hammer upon which is inscribed the workings of the lost magical rite of Refinement.

At last the party reach the heart of Labyrinth and rescue the spirit of Egreg from his madness. However, they refuse his request to allow him to possess the Enigmatic Engine, deciding that the engine has a will of its own, and Harlon traps Egreg's spirit within a magical scroll. As the party free the spirit they awaken a guardian of the Labyrinth and in the fight fracture one of the great bonds that hold the Labyrinth's first prisoner. As the labyrinth quakes a Titan made of fractured reality frees itself from the bonds of the labyrinth, tearing open rents to the world as it does so. Most of the party jump through to safety but Carl stands in the face of the oncoming maelstrom and the being collides with him, fracturing his very essence as it frees itself from the Labyrinth.

The party find themselves falling into one of the smaller lakes near Margush, only for it to be boiled away as the being freed from the Labyrinth strikes into it, leaving Carl lying in the middle of a fractured plane of Obsidian.

With the Engine the party return to Acryn only to be arrested for the destruction at the Builder's Temple. After some explanation the Watchmaker's guild agrees to pay for the damage in return for the engine. Alastair attempts to return the device to receive his payday but Harlon and Jarred convince it to flee. Carl is probulated and discovered to have a rift into elsewhere in his chest, Prof. Blacks prognosis is eventual but not immediate doom.

(OOC: I've decided to implement a retcon as, on reflection, I decided that a floating city slightly jumped the shark.)

Hiring a boat Harlon sails into the centre of Acryn's bay and invokes two of the great Draconic Dowemers that he knows. With the 18th Rune of Atrivium he moves the stars themselves within the heavens and earth and sky are connected by an impossibly tall, elegant tower upon whose papery surface is written a story about Alastair. It stretches from the sea into the sky, its summit invisible beyond the clouds. Casting forth the Crimson Key of Vulstragorn Harlon then binds several miles of Acryn's Bay (including the very space that once contained it) within a blue pearl. At this point he is arrested by the city watch for unspecified crimes against magic and theft of sovereign territory of Acryn. During the search of his possessions the scroll containing Egreg is found and one of the guard's rips it, releasing the angry spirit of Egreg, who swearing revenge on Harlon floats away.

After explanation and some appeals from the College of Stars (who would hate to see him killed before he could be dissected) Harlon is released under the strictures that he is forbidden from purchasing mana crystals within Acryn Territory and that any further 'crazy wizardry' that endangers the city will result in the death penalty. Within a few days the new tower is being called 'Harlon's Folly' and although the city has claimed ownership of it no one has yet found a way to enter it…Harlon will know however that a certain symbol drawn upon it will allow him entry.

Mages, fracturing mages in particular, will notice a subtle change in the flows and ebbs of mana throughout the world. Something once contained has been set free.

Party Snackies


New magic staff embued with a power of fracturing - At the cost of an extra protomana when fault of footing is cast the staff explodes into a whirling storm of Ruby Shards (and does not lose any mana stored within). The Mass Strikedown is converted into a MASS REND. For the duration of the encounter the wielder may every five seconds call a REND to anyone in the original area of effect as the storm of shards continues to boil around them. If the wielder moves at all the effect ends.

'Geometries of Death' ancient tome written by the Arch-Mage Oooberous describing the darker secrets of fracturing magic, the learning within allows fracturing rituals to be cast with one less mana.


A ruby heart that burns with bloody flames. When held close it conjures a feeling of overwhelming love, maddening In its intensity. Although described by Chedravartin as the perfection of the concept of love its exact nature is unclear.


A sample of the blue fire from the forge of Unmaking.
The unique mastercrafted hammer of Chedravartin.
His very own, seemingly infinitely tall, wizard tower, 'Harlon's Folly', sitting in the middle of the bay of Acryn…ownership disputed.
A blue pearl containing several miles of Acryn's Bay. If magically fractured it will act as a spectacularly dangerous grenade.


The Hammer from the Forge of Unmaking that details the lost rite of Refinement.
An enchanted Dagger inscribed with the image of the Oblivi-ant - once per adventure the dagger will animate with a life of its own to aid the wielder, as surprisingly deadly as the Oblivi-ant (essentially summons an animated mastercrafted dagger as an ally, it does SINGLES, 3 RENDS, has one hit & 15 dodges, but can be de-animated with a SHATTER).
The False Mimir - a silver skull. When struck like a bell it intones ridiculous lies such as; 'Dragons are allergic to pineapples' or 'Acryn was founded by five angry dwarfs', that sort of thing.

Metaphysical Wibble


Having reached the heart of Killing of Sphere he has won its friendship. In times of peril the Killing Sphere will come forth to aid him (Epic tree: Favour transcending death) However, being the Killing Sphere this is likely to result in consequences and mass casualties.


Has learned the lost rite of Refinement (Epic tree: Lost magic)


Fractures now cover him so he looks like a cracked porcelain doll. In his chest Is a black fissure that seems bottomless (OC: anything hurled within can be assumed to come under control of the Dragon Valknut…this is not the same as it being destroyed). In some way a shard of the fractured Titan's power has become lodged within him. It spells his doom but he may call upon its energies. (Epic tree: Arcane Curse)

Rite of Refinement


Master's Touch
You bind protomana into an object and in doing so perfect it. This takes an hour or so to do as you 'craft' the object. The object becomes indefinably more like a perfect ideal of itself and, though it will not change in appearance, all who see it will be struck by the way it seems to grate on the mundane world. Mechanically, as long as the protomana remains bound in the object it has the appropriate set of master crafted properties added to it (so a master crafted weapon would gain double its normal bonus). If the object is Shattered the effect ends with an blast of arcane power (the wielder should call a mass single strikedown). While the protomana is so bound it cannot be used by the Mage who must touch the object to remove the effect. If the Mage bleeds out the effect ends. If done with raw Mana the effect lasts for one encounter.

Light before Shadows
Once per encounter you may refine your visage by bringing your empty hands to your face for 10 seconds as you craft it, becoming an ideal of beauty in an imperfect world. Mortals and all but the most powerful of supernatural entities will be awed by your presence; struck dumb and unable to speak before a being who transcends the crude imperfections of reality. Firstly, you can call a Mass blind 10 as the eyes of all around you are blighted by your majesty. Secondly, you may use the call 'Despair Thine Eyes'; as long as you take no action that would harm another, and move slowly and purposefully, none will dare strike you lest they mar your glory for the rest of the encounter. The moment you take any violent action, wield a weapon, or move rapidly the effect ends.


Avatar of Form
At the cost of a protomana you may refine the very nature of an individual, making them more than they are or could ever be; an ideal of themselves in form and ability. This takes a minute of crafting them. Mechanically, this doubles the recipient's class bonus for the duration of the encounter the spell is used in:

  • Warriors get an extra use of determination
  • Skirmishers get an extra use of agility
  • Mages gain one extra protomana
  • Priests double the strength of their divine aura
  • Journeymen double the uses of their skill focus

Oddly wayfinders are not affected by this spell. The effect is unnerving for the recipient of the spell and they will feel as if they are residing in an alien body and the world around them will seem repellent, almost contemptible. If someone is subject to repeated uses of this spell during an adventure the GM may start making them addicted to its effects.

The Shortest Path

With five minutes meditation you may craft your own thoughts into an ideal plan, a perfect strategy, the most parsimonious way to solve a problem with the resources at hand. At the climax of the spell you receive a flash of impossible inspiration as every probability and variation falls seamlessly into place. To comprehend such perfection is literally mind-blowing and for the next encounter you will not have the strength of will to use magic in combat (though may do so out of combat if not distracted). To do this more than once an adventure will irrevocably destroy your mind.

Mechanically you may state a single aim, which must be no longer than a sentence, to the GM. The response is always at GM discretion but should tell you the most direct way to achieve your objective with the resources at hand. E.g. A Mage could use this spell with the aim 'to win the battle of Bosworth field' they could then describe to a General the ideal strategy to use…though if victory is actually impossible this spell can't change that.

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