Welcome to Rhytec Life Sciences, home of the most sophisticated life-changing medical interventions available today. Through advanced research and highly safe and regulated human testing, Rhytec seeks nothing less than peace in our time.
So the ad copy goes, in any case. A cursory Google search will also reveal Rhytec’s affiliation with Cosmic Beverages, purveyors of fine caffeinated products available on every street corner. What other molecules said beverages might contain, you’ve only begun to surmise. The samples you tried that day in Hamilton Square had some decidedly anomalous results.
Sure, their methods seem a bit extreme at times: you still have nightmares about the experiments you volunteered for. You were fine afterwards. Whatever they shot you up with, they had an antidote for. And later…well, you don’t remember how, but you were clean and healed. Still, most nights you again see the blood exploding out of your skin.
Nonetheless, you’re intrigued by what the recruiter, Mrs. Grey, tells you when she calls you in. They’re trying to do good work, important work, she says, and you believe at least that she believes that. She’s a brisk, efficient woman, and if she’s not entirely forthcoming, she at least has an eagle-eyed clarity and get-things-done-ness that you can’t help but admire. She tells you that the glassy makeup of Rhytec’s main building is meant to represent their “commitment to transparency.” Of all the things she says in that first meeting, this one is the hardest to believe. The easiest to believe, if the hardest to swallow, is that one of Rhytec’s main focuses is finding a “cure” for people like you: Awakened vampires, werewolves, and mages.
No wonder those experiments were so painful…
It’s with this thought in mind that you are introduced to the person who will be your companion in this faction, Zenith. Already a flashy dresser, Zenith’s look is further enhanced by the network of lines you can see under the skin of their hands, and the apparent tech implant, called a Cheval, that they wear on their glasses. Zenith, too, has a condition of some kind that is helped by medications that Rhytec provides. They’re vague about it, but you don’t think it’s the same kind of condition you have. You wonder what happens if they don’t get the drugs. You wonder what happens if Rhytec succeeds in making the magic-suppressing drugs, and whether you’ll have a choice in the matter.
Which brings you to the boss: Bethany Steele, an imposing woman who, like Mrs. Grey, seems to have everything under control. More so, in fact: her passionate backing of Rhytec’s work in the world is unquestionable. And in particular, she makes a great case for what they’re doing to cure the disease of magic. In fact, she’s almost too convincing. But that’s only because she’s right, after all: your relationship to everything changed literally overnight when you Awakened. Your appetites and needs now rule nearly everything you do. Is it any wonder that so many vampires, werewolves, and mages that you’ve met are involved in shady dealings?
Is it any wonder your life is no longer your own?
Join Rhytec, just one of ten factions in Susurrus: Season of Tides, which you can play for free on any browser. Go ahead: curl up with a cup of Cosmic Coffee and let the hours slide by…
There are a lot of factions out there – 10, in fact – fighting for dominance over the magical underworld of the city. Most of them are pretty creepy, in your experience. Since you’ve Awakened to your new life, you’ve been courted from all directions, most of them unsavory. There’s organized crime, mass surveillance, questionable genetic experiments, and who knows what-all. But the Church of Eternal Life? Oh it smells like a cult, sure, even more than it smells like patchouli. Sometimes its members seem just a little too happy. But you reserve judgment. For the most part, the place feels like a mostly-innocent haven for lost souls seeking the truth. You haven’t bought all the way in, yet, but no harm in working for a bunch of hippies trying to reach a higher plane, right?
The Church’s leader, Guru Dan, is an odd one. He wants everyone to see him as this loving spiritual advisor, who wants you to get to a point of “greater peace with yourself.” You can’t see anything wrong with that, exactly, though you always feel just a little unsure of things when you leave Dan’s presence. Plus, he has some strange ideas about life and death that are…questionable. Long story short, you don’t know if you can trust him or not, but as these things go, he doesn’t seem particularly dangerous. Honestly, he just isn’t the type of guy to have a world domination plan. (You don’t know what he hides in his dreads, but you’re pretty sure it isn’t a doomsday weapon.) Sure, maybe he’s a little too charismatic, even with the slightly orange spray-tan. But you don’t let it affect you. To your mind, the Church is a great place to be who you (now) are, get steady work, and not worry about doing a lot of harm. Nobody was ever killed by a leaflet, and you haven’t seen any Kool-Aid at the office parties. Maybe Dan has some minorly evil plans? You can’t bring yourself to worry about it that much.
Shalini, though – she’s the one who recruited you – she’s a true-believer. She’s so touchy-feely and new-agey that it’s hard to take at times, but she’s just so earnest. If anyone knows the good that the Church of Eternal Life can do, it’s Shalini Vipattiwala. She’s gotten real hope and guidance from this place, and holds together a community of others in the Church who have found the same thing. Her every utterance may be florid and rife with platitudes, but it’s clear that she believes it all. It’s hard not to love her a little, even when she’s saccharine enough to make you puke. And it’s hard to believe that someone like Shalini could be involved in anything truly bad.
Then again, perhaps she just doesn’t know. You don’t, after all.
Once you join the Church you are given a partner in crime – uh, in missions – named Leaf. His initial appearance shakes you: his face is half burn-scars, half cold and dour expression. He does not speak, but instead communicates in a seemingly personal sign language, which further throws you until you realize he is translating directly into your mind.
Curiouser and curiouser.
Another true-believer, he was brought in by Shalini as well, and has found great peace and comfort in what the Church provides. He probably won’t be thrilled to discover that there’s anything wrong in this storefront sanctuary, though as a vampire, his life and death problem has already been solved.
What will you do about yours?
Play in the Church of Eternal Life or two of ten other factions in Susurrus: Season of Tides – free on any browser. Join us; together we will live forever.
Back in August, we did our first run of the Susurrus puzzle, a light alternate reality game which led players into the interlocked conspiracies that characterize the world of Susurrus: Season of Tides. (Above are two proud puzzle-solvers.)
This weekend, at Intercon, we’ll be running it as a kind of light hallway larp. However, we’re also inviting folks to play along at home.
Want to join us? Go to each of the three links below to begin. Find the clues that lead you deeper into the puzzle, and the game itself will guide you to the next steps.
Have fun, and let us know what you find!
In the world you’ve Awakened into, you’re rarely surprised anymore to discover wonders and horrors burgeoning in the shadows of the City. Yet Phaedron Labs is still an odd one. Combining research into the human genome, advanced cybernetics, and the occasional mystical meddling, Phaedron is essentially a superhero factory.
Or at least, that’s the goal. Unlocking hidden human potential, is how Dr. Wing Li, the brilliant geneticist leading the department, would put it. And for a good cause! Countless subjects have come to Phaedron with little hope of life left. That is, of life without constant pain, or severe disability, or an early death. Dr. Li and her team work with these desperate souls, using bleeding-edge technologies. The selection process is highly competitive, of course. And it carries significant cost. But those who volunteer trade life as a broken person for life with profoundly enhanced abilities, beyond any ordinary human.
Naturally, the subjects must detach from their old lives. If you’re dying of a rare genetic disorder, it’s likely your family will be made to believe you have died. They were expecting it, anyway. It’s better this way.
After all, once Phaedron agrees to work with you, you are contracted to them. These treatments are very costly, unimaginable, and those who pass the selection process pay for them with service to the agency. It’s worth it. You’re not just getting healed. You’re being pushed a little closer to godhood.
Of course, the missions and work these operatives undertake is highly classified. But what could a genomics and cybernetics laboratory require of highly-enhanced powered individuals that calls for so much secrecy?
Perhaps, if you join their ranks, you’ll find out. When you first encounter Troy Aston, captain of their security team, you have a chance to help him out with a tricky takedown mission. “The enhanced,” as they are euphemistically called, sometimes step out of line, and it’s Aston’s job to discipline them. It’s likely that he’ll take notice, and you may find yourself courted.
If you do choose to join, you’ll be working with a partner: Melinda Corazon. She’s been brought on as a handler of enhanced operatives, and her tough-minded, pragmatic approach gives you grounding and confidence. She’s hoping to earn enough credit through her work to get some enhancement procedures of her own. And from what you can tell, she doesn’t seem to mind the risks. Somehow, Melinda wanting it makes Phaedron Labs seem a little less sinister.
Still…how far into the enhancement business are you willing to go?
We at Evil Overlord Games have been working hard to assemble a brilliant selection of Evil Swag for your enjoyment! To that end, we are proud to introduce our new Threadless Artist Shop!
Through the shop, you can order fine art prints of Duncan Eagleson’s fantastic concept art for Susurrus: Season of Tides. Or, get T-shirts with our logo, the Susurrus logo, or a reproduction of Guru Dan’s shirt from the Church of Eternal Life. (Patchouli sold separately.)
Grab a mug of your favorite hot beverage and cozy up with Cody, or any of the companions or elders from the game. Sport the Evil Logo on your phone, journal, or water bottle. Or let your fellow beach-goers know that you’re evil with an Evil Overlord beach towel. (Yes, really.)
As we build out the shop, we’ll be adding more products, so you can get your favorite character portraits on a T-shirt, or get a print of That One Piece of Art that you love from the game.
Meanwhile, check it out and have a click around. We think you’ll find something you like!
“You’re quiet, but it’s a loud kind of quiet.”
The Directorate for Special Investigations (DSI) is hardly the flashiest of the factions floating around this city. An obscure branch of the government, they were originally founded as an elite unit of a larger intelligence agency, targeting top-tier organized crime figures who were hard to pin down using conventional means. A few high-profile successes put DSI firmly on the map. Their activities thereafter prioritized a return to more uncharted corners.
Which is not to say that they didn’t get the job done. On the contrary. Their success continued, for a time, but the nature of the quarry requires hunters who can hide in plain sight. There’s a reason DSI personnel generally wear blue suits. Standing out in a crowd is not in their interest.
Their obscurity, along with high power and low accountability, made corruption nigh-inevitable. It started with simple collusion: some members started working with crime figures in exchange for cash. Soon, this became a strategy for controlling organized crime in the city: after all, it’s easier to control criminality with blackmail material than to arrest and remove crimelords, only to see them replaced with more powerful ones. If you step in and control their business…well, you’re preventing the worst abuses altogether, right? It’s just a matter of making some compromises.
Things got a bit hazier when a powerful psychic took an interest and swooped in. Soon, the DSI was as involved with vampire lords and powerful mages as it was in bringing mafia figures to heel. (Plus, it’s not as if the worlds are all that far apart, anymore.) It was a short hop from there to exploiting the agency’s existing corruption – blackmailing Directorate leaders with their own blackmailing activities – and the DSI was quickly under new control.
Now, the place is crawling with psychics. Now, they’re interested in you.
It’s pretty creepy the first time you see an unassuming woman in a blue suit on a park bench, only to realize that she’s talking to you inside your head. But if you follow the trail, then by the time you get to the place they call The Laundry, it’s almost charming when your new colleague, Carolina, starts making snarky remarks at you without moving her mouth.
If you choose to work with DSI, you’ll learn all kinds of fascinating things: how to project an emotion onto someone, and how to defend against someone doing it to you; how to hack into people’s heads; and of course, how to use the intel you find there to make their lives difficult, and the DSI’s job easier. Neutralizing criminal threats to the city, including supernatural threats. Simple, right?
Maybe. As you go deeper, you start to think there’s something more going on. There’s tension in the ranks, and it’s getting hard to tell, sometimes, exactly whom you’re meant to be working for. It’s hard to imagine a government agency full of psychics doing double- and triple-agent espionage work not having more internal strife and infighting than it lets on. But you’ll need to stick around to find out exactly what that means…
Play with the DSI faction or one of 9 others in Susurrus: Season of Tides.
Friends, fans, countrypeople. Lend us your ears. (We promise to give them back. Probably.) Next weekend, January 12-14, 2018, your Evil Overlords and Susurrus will be at Arisia, New England’s largest science fiction and fantasy convention!
We will have two main presences at the con, and we hope you’ll stop by and visit both!
First, Evil Overlords will be at the Indie*Expo, an expansion of last year’s Indie Game Expo to include the Artists and Authors Alley along with game creators! We’ll be there to demo the game, give out some convention-only swag, and say hi.
Second, our art director Duncan Eagleson will be showing his work for Susurrus at the Arisia Art Show. Gawk, get prints, and meet the man behind our spectacular art team at Arisia’s most anticipated yearly offering!
We hope to see you there, at the Boston Westin Waterfront Hotel, from Friday, January 12 to Sunday, January 14! Tickets here!