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The City of Bleached Ivory

Initial Brief

Adventurers are recruited by the Acryn City Council to investigate a mysterious rift in space which has appeared on the coast to the South of Caul. They offer 60 Riel per head for satisfactory resolution of the issues it is causing. Candidates are to report to the Council offices at the specified time.


Adventure Summary

The party go to the Council offices where they are briefed by a woman they don't recognise calling herself Historia Sarmandastra (with a slight emphasis on the “stori” part). Apparently a strange rift in space has opened up on the coast South of Caul, which is disrupting trade ships coming from the island of Concerto, much to the annoyance of the island's Mage-Queen who has requested that adventurers go and deal with it somehow.

Despite a Clawfiend attack on the way, the party fairly trivially arrive down at the coast and find the strange rift. After some deliberation and various attempts to interact with it, they all through some means wind up going into it. They find themselves somewhere dark, with stone walls, like some sort of basement. Some of the party also feel strange, and find themselves different in some way: the connections to the Splintered Man that Batts and Nobody had now feel different and they find themselves able to command strange new powers. Tabitha similarly feels a change in the nature of her connection to the gods, and likewise has access to some strange form of magic. Octavian undergoes the most significant change, becoming bulkier, stronger, more heavily-armoured and seemingly made out of ash.

Once they have got over the fact that some members of the party suddenly look and feel different, they cast some light to the area to discover that they are surrounded by glass statues. These come to life and attack, and when dropped seem to form themselves together again. The party flee, and find that they were in some sort of basement in some sort of port town. With the Glass Sentinels giving chase things get sort of hectic, one thing leads to another and a Glass Tower is summoned, but eventually they make it out of there.

Heading away from the town they are met by a couple of people who claim to be servants of the Burned Lords. One of the priests claims to be a scholar of ancient lore and shows the party the images of some of the Burned Lords and tells they they may recognise some of the ancient names: The Lord of the Faithful, once known as The Shepherd, the Lord of the Isle of Souls, once known as The Well of Meaning, the Lord of Letters, once known as The Arbiter, the Lord of the House of the Gods, once known as The Guardian of Stanchions and the Lord of the Gardens, once known as The Gardener of Revolutions. The priests say that visions from the Burned Lords have told them that the party must head North, into the mountains and beyond into Dream, to find something of Glass which does not belong there and send it to the Burned Realm by Commending it to Ash.

Their chat is interrupted by the arrival of a woman with the likeness of Historia, who identifies herself as the Princess of Stories. Ruby, deciding that she is clearly the villain for having sent the party here without much explanation, attacks her, only to get a rather casual Lightning bolt to the face, which oddly seems to win her approval. Her arrival is shortly followed by some wolves who attack the party, at which point at the Princess' suggestion the Ash priest hastily attempts to explain the rules of Ordained Ash magic to Tabitha: Don't Commend to Ash living things unless it is explicitly the will of the Burned Lords, and don't use Forestall the Pyre to heal any damage caused by natural things.

As they fight, the Princess attempts to relay her own message to the party: that long, long ago the old world was destroyed in a magical catastrophe, its charred remains becoming the Burned Realm. The younger gods of this realm who were better able to adapt became the Burned Lords, taking that world as an afterlife for those who live in the new world. And in the old days, her father was a god who foresaw his own downfall as well as the impending magical apocalypse, and decided to take measures to ensure that his essence would continue to exist in some form even far into the future. He planted a seed across space and time, which would one day grow into the pantheon of Wind in the new world. The Princess tells them that she used what remains of the rift through which that was done to pull the party through time to deal with a problem that dates back to the old world, as it seemed fitting that a party of adventurers from that world should be the ones to fix it. Apparently the First Sleeper, also somebody from that time, has stolen an important part of the King in Fragments, or Master Complete, or Splintered Man as he was originally known, and is keeping it sealed in Dream. In contrast to the Ash priest's requests to Commend it, she has her own request - that they should instead place it inside a mirror, which she gives to Batts, so that it can go “back where it belongs”. She warns the party not to look in the mirror.

The Princess departs and the wolves stop attacking, and one of the Ash priests opens a Burned Gate and leaves. His acolyte remains with the party, escorting them until they arrive at the White City, where he leaves them with a whopping 30 Hexa each to spend, as well as a warning that they should probably make sure they have some Purification Potions to hand. They rest up there and cause a bit of a fuss by claiming to be from the distant past, the locals largely assuming that they're crazy. Batts speaks to a seer of some sort who attemts to divine his future, though offering no answer to his dilemma over whether they should Commend the fragment or put it in the mirror. The seer seems rather perturbed when something seems to notice their divination, and they warn Batts that “he knows you are coming now”. A potion seller provides them with a range of potions, including a Travel Potion which Ruby promptly drinks, falling unconscious as her soul floats off.

Ruby's spirit finds itself being carried along, seemingly by a wind. She heads North out of the city with the intention of scouting ahead, seeing the mountains to the North, and eventually finding what seems to be a large shard of Glass, which is what they are looking for, behind which stands a man flanked by ghostly images of some people with glowing purple eyes. The man seems to reach out towards her and she feels herself being torn apart, until she is pulled away and dragged back towards the mountains. Her saviour appears to be a somewhat ethereal-looking, heavily-armoured woman who calls herself Devotion, who leaves her wayward soul at the edge of Dream and warns her not to go into dangerous territory whilst inexperienced and unprepared. Ruby thanks her and makes her way back to her body.

Meanwhile, the party have been arguing over what to do with the mirror, with Batts wanting to taste it. Thinking that he has gone crazy given that he now uses the powers of Glass, the others disagree and think that the mirror should just be Commended to Ash as it is clearly dangerous and maddening. A small fight kicks off when they try to get the mirror from him, during which Rodrigo accidentally looks in the mirror. The Looking-Glass Hunter within makes short work of his soul, and takes over his body. It barely has time to act, however, before Batts attempts to use the full extent of his new power to call one of the Vitriarchs themselves into his body. Thanks to the unpredictable nature of Glass, this causes the maddened King in Fragments to descend into Rodrigo's body, which runs amok, exposing all who gaze into his eyes to his madness and causing vitrification to spread all around him. The people flee and a mass panic erupts across the city. He continues to rampage, causing large amounts of destruction, until meeting the Knights of the Shining Order, who en masse destroy the body he is inhabiting with Refinement.

Whilst this is happening, Batts is bleeding out having been stabbed by the rest of the party. As his life fades, he hears a voice whispering on the wind, saying that this sort of thing has been known to happen too, where adventurers are concerned, but that he still has a job to do. A bolt of lightning strikes him, but instead of harming him it seems to invigorate and heal him. The rest of the party, minus Rodrigo, just about waking up from the horrible nightmarish visions of Glass, gather and Batts convinces them not to kill him, since they'll need his help. The mirror is Commended to Ash, and they evacuate from the city. There is some argument, whereupon the Princess of Stories shows up again. The party complain that they want to go home, though she just claims that they still have work to do and implies that she doesn't actually have a way for them to go back to their time. Without much else to go on, and the prospects of just sticking around and opening up an all-night guitar shop ruined by the sudden arrival of a Vitriarch, the party dejectedly continue to head North, towards the Wistful City and the mountains and ultimately into Dream.

Along the way, they are caught up by a Glass mage and some Splinter-Men, sent by an annoyed Duke of the Port of Glass to chase them down. They make short work of the creatures, thankful for those Purification Potions, at which point what appears to be a dragon swoops overhead and lands in front of them. As Nobody quietly complains about it not being a real dragon, the large lizard introducts itself as Inskuldres. He warns them to keep away from his mother, the Mother of All Serpents, once known as the Mother Drake, or Apep, for she was helped out by the First Sleeper and owes him a favour. Inskuldres then flies off.

The party continue North to a village where a disease seems to be spreading and the villages want an offering of blood to appease the local spirit to stop the disease from spreading. Thanks to some culture shock, the party are not immediately forthcoming with offerings of blood, and whilst some is offered ultimately a fight breaks out. The party drop most of the villagers and throw them in the well for the Blood power to feast upon, and eventually it emerges from the well in the form of a giant snake to ask the party what they think they're doing given that if all the villagers are dead then nobody will be around to offer blood in future. The party flee, receiving a large number of Blood Curses as they go.

They reach the mountains, where Fears of Falling assail their minds. Ruby is possessed, but the rest of the party manage to stop her before she jumps off. They attempt to help a lost, upset-looking woman half-way up the mountain, but she turns out to be a Rosemary Maid and they dispatch her too. They head further north into Dream, where they encounter various loved ones of theirs. These people attempt to relay in their own ways that the party are dreaming, and that they are in danger in the real world and must find a way to wake up soon or they will die. Tabitha tells dream-Hugh and dream-Dan that she loves them. Batts discusses the current predicament with dream-Dammerung. Ruby engages in discussions with dream-Ruby, attempts to take a Veil potion and winds up as her own disembodied spirit with her body unconscious. Spirit-Ruby attempts to take a Dream-Veil potion and winds up as her sprit's own disembodied spirit with her spirit body unconscious. Nobody takes the appearance of Dream-Splintered Man, completely messing up control over his Glass magic, whilst Octavian attacks the Glassy abomination.

Eventually they leave, with half of the remaining party unconscious through various Glass shenanigans. The Ruby who nobody carries off is neither the original nor the most recently conscious one, but that doesn't seem to matter. The party reach an area of Dream with Glass hanging in the air and the world seemingly fractured, where they face manifestations of the nightmares of the Splintered Man. These include a younger Xavier looking for Leaf, duplicates of various peoples' identities, a monstrous paper golem that severs limbs, someone bleeding out before the party can get to them, and a large beast. When the Xavier dream is cut down, the Princess of Stories briefly shows up again, claiming that this one is hers, and telling Nobody that she never actually knew her father, and even if it's just a dream representation perhaps some father/daughter bonding time would be good, and flies away with the body.

Finally the party arrive at what seems to be a large Glass fragment sealed by the ancient magics by being bound in rope and branded with symbols. Dreamy cat-like creatures and large armour golems attack the party, whilst the ground around the fragment seems to be vitrifying slowly. After dealing with the defences the party eventually manage to free the fragment and despite some close calls, avoid getting vitrified themselves.

Before they can make away with their prize, they are interrupted by the arrival of the First Sleeper, none other than Frederick Dines himself. He seems to Name into existence some Dreams of the Bound Ones He Who Walks Wilderness and the Ravenous Renunciation of the Self, who appear to be those who for some reason wound up siding with him as the old world burned, and is joined by more of the cat-like creatures and golems from before. After a long and close fight they eventually succeed in defeating Dines and his minions, as Tabitha opens a Burned Gate and attempts to call through for the Burned Lords to finish things.

As Dines falls the world around the party seems to blur and melt away, and they find themselves (Rodrigo included) waking up, lying in a ritual circle. The mages surrounding them are surprised and try to put them back down, but are swiftly dealt with.

As the last mage falls the world around the party seems to blur and melt away, and they find themselves (Rodrigo included) waking up, in a forest and surrounded by large mushrooms. The air is thick with spores, and some people with covered faces are trying to pull them free. They insist that the party go with them but something doesn't seem quite right, and they occasionally get words wrong, and it turns out that they just have vines beneath their face coverings. Nobody goes full-Dragonborn to get the truth out of one of the creatures, that they are servants of Tuireann. The party take them down.

As the last creature falls, the world around the party seems to blur and melt away…


All of the party wake up, separately, in a variety of different situations.

  • Tabitha wakes up on the Crimson Mother, her drool congealed against her cheek. There are empty bottles all around and she has a massive headache. Some of the pirates are nearby, snoring loudly. She doesn't remember a thing about the previous night.
  • Batts wakes up in his own bed, with an empty potion bottle of some sort on his night stand. He doesn't remember what it may have been or how it got there.
  • Octavian wakes up in his own bed with some odd-smelling smoke filling the room. There are some teenagers smoking something outside his open window. He promptly files complaints with the Company and has security remove them.
  • Ruby wakes up in an alley. Her head hurts and seems to be covered in blood. Her boots are missing. She grabs a passer-by and hassles them, but for all the shaking down they can't explain what was happening except suggesting that maybe she was mugged.
  • Nobody wakes up in a room covered in comfortable pillows and with walls draped in coloured silks, and a heavy smoke in the air. There are other people nearby, some sleeping, others laughing. Using the Dreaming Ocean he learns of the memories of the people nearby, discovering that this is a den of iniquity used by some of the criminal underworld as a combined safe-house and place to indulge. He leaves.
  • Samuel wakes up in his own bed, with a half-eaten cheese sandwich on his night stand. The cheese is noticeably mouldy.
  • Rodrigo wakes up in a bed. It seems to be in some sort of small shrine-come-surgery of the Tender. He is informed that he was found injured out in the streets and seemed to have taken a blow to the head somehow.
  • Chaos wakes up in her own bed, with a spinning top on her night stand, constantly spinning. She has a vague feeling that she has unleashed some beyond-cosmic horror upon the world. She's still not sorry.

Those who go to the Council offices find that there is no record of anybody called Historia Sarmandastra, nor of the mission they were sent on, and conclude that all of this too was probably just part of the dream. Some time after waking up, or over the next few days, each of the party whilst going about their business catch sight of somebody who looks very much like the Princess of Stories. She seems to wink at them before turning and disappearing into a crowd, or into an alleyway, or round a corner, seemingly without trace.


All party members

  • Literally nothing but fading memories of some really weird dreams.

All Players

  • Access to the Poor Life Choices Epic Tree up to level 4
  • Confusion
  • Unlock the “Bragging Rights - April 2017” Achievement

All Monsters

  • Access to the Poor Life Choices Epic Tree up to level 3
  • Confusion
  • Unlock the “Bragging Rights - April 2017” Achievement
  • 329 points

Chaos and Dan

  • Access to the Poor Life Choices Epic Tree up to level 5
  • Gain Rank 4 of the ****poster Class
  • Gain the “Insufferable” Quirk
  • Regret
  • Unlock the “Bragging Rights - April 2017” Achievement
  • Still aren't sorry

New Epic Trees

Poor Life Choices

Through whatever means, whether magical, spiritual, ****posting or flipping a coin, you are a terrible person capable of making some poor life choices.

This is an out-of-character Epic Tree, so skills must be bought with OoC XP. Regular character XP won't cut it.

Level 2

Bad Decisions

You are capable of making bad decisions, which only cause there to be more sadness in the world. Once per encounter you may decide to do something inadvisable.

Level 3

Did Not Think This Through

You are capable of carrying out actions which you later come to regret, such as agreeing to monster or play a ridiculous April Fools LARP which forcefully mashes two different systems together in a ridiculous time travel plot. Once per encounter you may take an action which you shortly afterwards realise was a terrible idea, and promptly regret your hubris.

Level 4

Why Would You Do That?

You are capable of such making such ill-advised choices that you cause those around you despair over your foolish attitude, as players have been known to do, such as actually summoning a Vitriarch. Once per adventure you may perform such an ill-advised action that those around you may then call WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT? at you. You must brief this additional call at the start of adventures. (N.B.: Please don't.)

Level 5

I Regret Nothing

You have fully embraced your nature as one of makes poor life choices, and become something truly terrible, and unapologetic at that. You revel in the sadness that is spread by your terrible decisions. Once per LARP system you may create something truly terrible that causes those around you to respect you less as a person, like a narrartive that explains how the current system is a prequel to the previous one. You may attempt to do this more often, but this may fail due to the joke getting old, at GM, player, monster or any decent human being-discretion.

resources/fic/adventure/the_city_of_bleached_ivory.txt · Last modified: 2017/04/09 16:51 by chaos