The following posters are seen around the city of Acryn:
The Adventurer’s Guild of Acryn seeks cunning, brave and capable adventurers to hunt down a wanted criminal who has fled the city, bring them to justice and retrieve stolen goods.
Mission provided in conjunction with both the City Watch and the houses Cargan, Darrish and Terrec. Travel involved. Logistical support provided.
Expected danger: 4/9. Pay: 27R ea.
Those interested should gather at the Adventurer’s Guild, Mosia Lane, Merchant Quarter, at Noon of the twenty sixth day of the month.
The party meet at the ever-expanding headquarters of the Adventurer's Guild on Mosia Lane. Guild receptionist Elias Parr meets them and explains the mission, recounting some of the events of Crawl and describing the Jester, their target. He tells them that after an attempt to escape through the Dragon Gate was blocked, he is believed to have fled by boat to Caul. He warns them of the Jester's hallucinogenic tricks, and provides them each with a potion which should allow their minds to resist the effects of them for a while should they believe themselves to be affected.
Elias is part way through the briefing when he receives a note which mentions a “Code A”, which he informs the party means that the mission's estimated difficulty has increased to 7/9. Offering them the initial 27 Riel as an advance and promising additional payment based on additional difficulties which may be encountered, he tells them that they should beware as a powerful entity may be involved, and that they should not engage and be subtle to avoid leading it back to Acryn should they meet it. He is unable to provide any insight as to what this entity may be, however.
The party head to Caul, dealing with some bears on the way. Whilst they sleep on the road, Nobody calls on the Dreaming Ocean to connect their dreams. They find themselves in a darkened tent with a laughing jester's face floating there. The face then seems to melt away, leaving only the hat floating there for a moment, until from the darkness steps a shady figure, seemingly a man. He gives them a critical glance before throwing the hat to the ground and walking away, and then they wake.
At Caul, the party head to the docks and attempt to investigate, talking to the dockmaster, the captain of the boat the Jester was on, a trader he dealt with and a Wayfinder he hired. They learn that he was heading to Flowstone, a village at the base of the mountains, but became increasingly agitated when the Wayfinder wouldn't share a drink, before seeming to flip out and just stab them. They Lashed Out and ran, leaving him stranded in the Flux.
Whilst discussing all of this, the party get the distinct impression that someone is watching them, though there doesn't seem to be anybody there when they look. The Wayfinders in particular feel as though their very souls are being scrutinised. Meanwhile there is some kerfuffle and aggression following a disagreement with a dockworker and his golems, Xavier has deep philosophical discussions about someone's twin brother and some local urchins con Paradai out of a hat by trading it for information about some magical symbol which they actually just made up on the spot.
Heading through the mountains in the direction of Flowstone, the party encounter a man being attacked by some golems who claim that they were “taken”. They stop and watch for a little while as the man is repeatedly beaten by the constructs, until Heather actually decides to step in and help and a fight breaks out. After disabling the golems the party spend some time attempting to get useful information out of the man, suspecting that this little bit of Caulish business had something to do with the Jester. After turning him to goo, turning him back again, attempting surgery with Sleep of Death as an anaesthetic, somehow waking him up again and not getting very far, they decide to just take him with them.
Passing through the Flux without finding any sign of the Jester, but getting a distinct sense of being watched, they eventually reach Flowstone. Before they can do much, the entire village drops into Flux, a sweet scent fills the air, the skies darken and a tent forms in its centre. The Jester's voice invites them to his carnival as clowns dance out from the tent and attack. The party cut them down and seal up and set fire to the tent. It then just sits there, on fire, not really going anywhere. There's no sign of any of the people from the village.
Eventually trying to enter, they find that it is like another world inside, and actually outdoors. The sun is setting. A short way in, it sets and they find themselves in darkness, only orbs of light in front of them. Touching the orbs allows them to see for a brief period, but this means they can also see the Lightmares there, like twisted creatures of shadow and nightmare, but of light instead, at which point they are attacked. Ket shapes some glowing powder and uses it to identify where some of them are, even in darkness. Weirdly, torches are visible, but don't seem to cast out any light, and the other party members besides Ket can't see the creatures he makes glow.
After a long and somewhat tense struggle, the last of the creatures is defeated. The orbs are immobile, so Karlos celebrates by performing a Consumption ritual to eat and absorb one of them. This causes his skin to erupt into light which brightens their surroundings, revealing them to be on a desert island. There are various creatures here, some of them lying, some of them truthful, who attempt to guide the party to a key that opens a trapdoor in the middle of the island. Unable to find the key, the scene descends into madness somewhat as Xavier shapes a staircase upwards, Ket attempts to shape a key which appears to open the trapdoor, but heads downwards only to find himself descending down stairs which end up connecting to the stairs Xavier has just created, and many of the party take their anti-hallucinogenic potion to find themselves unable to see any of the creatures, or the trapdoor, and indeed just in the middle of a tent, but quite convinced that it is surrounded by water.
Xavier attempts to resort to “psychology” (Rampant aura) and through the ever increasing protection afforded to his mind sees the creatures fade away, and then the notion of the sea, and so on, until just as the illusion is fully stripped away the connection to the god is strong enough to allow the god to just possess him. The Rampant decides to play along with the Jester's little game, but have what fun of his own he can in the process, and ultimately kill him for straying too far into his territory.
The potions eventually wear off and the party find themselves back in the illusion where they are descending into a large banquet hall, where they find the Jester. They largely don't trust the food that he offers, and instead attempt to get at him in various ways. Nobody gives him his blessed item of the Splintered Man, a coin which contains his sense that the Jester should be brought to justice, and attempts Belief Enhancement to convince him that the worst possible thing in the world is to keep someone trapped against their will. Unfortunately doing the worst thing because it's funny is one of the Jester's hobbies, and his idea of justice is more than a little skewed, so whilst this slightly changes his approach it doesn't do much for their immediate cause. No longer really knowing what he's doing there, Nobody wanders off.
Some of the others attempt to blow up the Jester with a grenade, only he seems to teleport away, and attacking him directly seems to cut him down, only to reveal him to just be a generic clown, with one of the other clowns present suddenly appearing to be the Jester.
Whilst the Jester is busy trolling most of the party, Karlos has become suspicious of Rampant!Xavier, suspecting that he is not his usual self. Knocking him out and investigating by swallowing him whole and casting Taste of Knowledge, he gets a strong sense of something divine. He also attempts a ritual to enhance the effects of the anti-hallucination potion and make them longer-lasting, which generally helps him going forwards.
The meal concluded, the clowns themselves disappear but their clothes rise up, along with the tablecloth, and attack. Whilst they defend themselves, Karlos falls to the floor in pain as Rampant!Xavier bursts out of his stomach. The clothes defeated, the party continue on and reach a door beyond which they meet up with Nobody again. There they find themselves on a stage with some child Jesters, angsty teen Jesters and adult Jesters are waiting, except the adults are small but close, the children are huge but far away, and the teen Jesters are somewhere in between.
These defeated, the stage opens beneath them and they find themselves falling, until they land on the surface of a giant clock. Various types of clocks attack them as the giant razor-sharp hands spin around. Jeremy leaks through to the inner mechanisms, whilst those who are not affected by the illusion that the hands are actually dangerous work to stop them above, until the mechanism falls apart and the clock explodes in a huge shower of cogs. The party are left falling again. A sudden sensation of wanting to find the truth of the man behind the hat they saw in their dreams overcoming them, they land at the feet of the Jester himself and his clowns. Not just an illusion this time, a fight ensues, and they beat him into the ground and kill him.
The illusions fade and the party are left in a Flux-shaped tent, the dead body of the Jester lying at their feet. The area seems to be slowly stabilising. Around them lie the local villagers, badly injured from where the party just beat them, thinking that they were clowns. They, however, also believed that they were fighting off violent clowns, and so the party tell them that they have dealt with the clowns and that they have nothing to worry about now, and tend to their wounds. Xavier is no longer possessed. Andrea and Jeremy share a celebratory Gleam-high-five, which ends unexpectedly as Jeremy gets sucked into Andrea.
The party find a sack with the remaining stolen goods from Crawl which they take and head back to Acryn. On the way Heather attempts to feed Xavier Sleep of Death and take him to the watch. In response to Xavier now being unable to have a say in things, Ket attempts to even things out by trapping Andrea, having indicated possible involvement in this plan, Jeremy still inside, in a jar. He then buries the jar somewhere in the nearby Flux. Nobody, now quite certain that imprisoning someone against their will is the worst thing, loudly objects to this. An awkward impasse is reached, until Heather eventually backs down, the Gleams are released and Xavier is eventually allowed to wake up.
Whilst they sleep, all of the party except for Nobody and Xavier dream of the shady figure they saw previously, who expresses some interest in seeing them, looks at them critically, states that they “have potential, but are not yet suitable”, and claims that Acryn and this Adventurer's Guild sounds interesting, and that they will have to investigate.
Though concerned by this, the party do not pass on this information to the Guild, instead returning the stolen goods, playing up what happened and trying to get what pay they can out of Elias. His more mercantile shows as he holds quite firmly at 54 Riel, providing them their extra pay. He tells Heather he will look forward to seeing her report.
The party go their separate ways. Xavier introduces Karlos to the Rampant in person, and after a weirdly tense-yet-simultaneously-sultry first meeting, Karlos gets to know the god quite well, if you know what I mean.
You have come to know the Rampant much more intimately than most. Which is harder than it sounds.
Your particular insight into the true nature of the Rampant allows you to draw more strongly on his power. You may pick one of your Divine Favour Miracles and use them an additional time per an encounter.
Once per adventure you may call upon the name “Sigvald”, gaining the gaze of the Rampant. This allows unlimited use of his miracles for an encounter, although the concoction must be drunk for at least 5 seconds each time. As a result, excessive use of miracles may lead to lasting intoxication or other effects at GM discretion.
You know how to throw the most wild and debauched parties, capable of drawing out the desires of even the most stoic individuals. Once per adventure with 5 minutes of extolling your desires, you may call the Rampant’s attention upon a place (about the size of a building, basically encounter range) to host such a party as the God himself is known to throw. This can be used one of two ways, the first of which is to host an actual party which becomes enhanced with the Rampant’s power and nature. If you can invite people along to your party and convince them to show up, they are likely to reveal their innermost secrets and desires during the proceedings. This may be handled between encounters or during the debrief if relevant, but of course sufficient time must be available IC for the party to occur. Preferably overnight.
Alternatively, the power can be channeled more directly to (metaphorically) transform the current encounter into a festival of desire, in which people cave to their desires and you, as the host, are the centre of attention, capable of having them eating from your hand one moment and giving into their deepest desires the next. In this case, you gain one use of each of the following calls for the duration of the encounter:
These “EVERYONE” calls affect all characters within encounter range, including yourself (unless specified), your party, and at GM discretion possibly additional monsters/NPCs in the area that are not currently being phys-repped. You should brief these additional rules including the condition on the MESMERISE before adventures in which you have this skill.
Having ritually consumed and absorbed a powerful Flux-based source of light, it has become a part of you and your nature. Whilst you are in the Flux, those with Know the Flux’s Touch will be able to tell that whilst mostly Consensus, you are in some way touched by the Flux. Your appearance normally remains unchanged, but twice per adventure, within the Flux, you may bring the light within you to the surface, causing your skin to briefly glow brightly. This can be spread over the course of an encounter, in which case you will provide enough light to see by for yourself and those around you. Alternatively, you can instantaneously shine brighter than the sun, allowing you to call MASS BLIND 10 (unarcable). Releasing it all in one burst like this is not pleasant, however, and doing so will cause you to take a REND as your entire body feels like it is burning.