Rhys, your (mostly) friendly neighborhood fae

Rhys, Evil Overlord GamesYou’re pretty sure you’ve never seen anyone quite like the taciturn clerk at the antique shop you’ve happened into.

It’s not so much the uncertain gender of the person; that’s something you’ve got enough experience with at this point in your life. It’s something else, something you might not have noticed before you were Awakened. Something in the odd fashion choices, the casual hoodie with the ornate choker necklace beneath. But most of all, something in the way their copper-colored eyes – practically golden, like a cat’s – look right into you.

Then, you introduce yourself.

“Well hello there,” says the clerk, with a voice similarly golden. “I’m Rhys. I use Elverson pronouns, I’m fae, and I own this place.”

The “fae” descriptor being slipped into the middle of the sentence doesn’t mean you miss it. Fae. You were still getting used to there being vampires, werewolves, mages…and of course, psychics. Now it seems there are faeries, too. There’s little to do at this point but shrug and move on.

Still, you’re curious. But Rhys – whose pronouns, by the way, are ey, em, eir, eirs, emself, like “they” with the “th” cut off, look it up, won’t you, it’s not all that difficult – isn’t as interested in talking about eir roots in Faerie. Nor whether there even is such a place. It’s where all the stories come from, is the most you can get out of em. Faerie, you know, just the source of most of human myth, no big.

But you sense that Rhys, who seems to run Conliffe Antiques as a kind of front for magical activities, has more to offer you than stories and a heavy dose of the uncanny. There are mysteries afoot, strange activity all over the city, and of course, people are awakening in droves. Rhys has definitely noticed, and is keeping track of anomalous occurrences around town. Perhaps there’s some way you can help.

Take care how you ask, though. As Rhys’ assistant Red tells you, Rhys is “amazing” and super-friendly, “as long as you don’t ask eir name, don’t pry into eir history, and stay away when ey’s in a bad mood.”

Super-friendly, in other words, for a faerie.

Meet Rhys and start unraveling the mysteries when you play Susurrus: Season of Tides and visit Conliffe Antiques! Play the early edition starting on August 17 at susurrusgame.com.

Jared, the poet magician

Jared, by Duncan Eagleson

He’s the second thing you see when you open your eyes.

The first is a welter of scribbling on the wall beside you, a visual cacophony of symbols, hashes and curves. You try not to look at it for too long, as it starts to move and shape itself into new meanings if you stare for more than a few seconds.

You don’t remember doing that, but you’re fairly sure you did that.

You shut your eyes for a moment, then open them in a different direction. Your eyes fall on a young man, mostly gangles, slouched into a too-small school desk. He sits up, eyes widening behind chunky glasses, the thick tome he was holding in one slender hand lowering to the desk with a soft *plomp*.

“You’re awake,” he says, eyebrows peaked in concern. The word seems to reverberate, meanings breathing in and out.

“Yes,” you manage, “I think I am.”

He’s young, just college-age, and a student here at the University, where you’ve been brought for safekeeping after your “episode” last night. Turns out his transformation into a mage wasn’t much different from yours: sudden, destabilizing. But his was accidental: he already knew about mages and magic when a student’s work in the Alphabet got transmitted to him through uncareful, curious eyes. Yours was unexpected, for sure…but you’re fairly certain it was intentional. The question of “why” will have to wait.

Jared might not be the first person you imagine when you think “mage” or “wizard,” but given all that’s happened lately, it’s not all that surprising that a young poet, obsessed with language and understanding the deep nature of things, would find joy in being a mage. It helps him write, he says, and he shows you how a certain kind of focus can reveal every detail about a situation in a fraction of a second. Counting grains of sand may be a waste of time, but with this power, you don’t have to: the total understanding of how many grains there are, what colors and shapes, what they’re made of, where they were born – it all comes to you at once like a wave hitting your mind. The sensation – a kind of purity of knowledge that flares white behind your eyes – is something like erotic.

It’s all a bit much, frankly. But Jared, at least for now, will be your guide. It will have to do.

Meet Jared and countless other characters when you play a Mage in Susurrus: Season of TidesSign up now to play the game early.

Gen Con Characters: Jack, the Minstrel

Minstrel Jack - Evil Overlord Games
Jack, by Duncan Eagleson

You’ve noticed him, and not just for the obvious reasons, like the pointy ears and the cool but slightly-off mode of dress. The old you would have shrugged and figured you were just behind on the body-mods curve, but now that you’ve been touched, everything and everyone magical seems to glow slightly, or buzz in your chest, or give off a certain category of scent.

Not to mention that he’s in front of you in line at the customer counter where you’re just trying to pay your overdue electric bill, and he will Not. Stop. Talking. Really, the nice lady behind the counter should just let him upstairs. His cousin works there, you see. Did he mention he’s in a band? Did he mention how cool the band is? The line he’s paying out is so obviously a line that it’s outright comic, but the lady is starting to smile and you’re finding yourself reeled in despite yourself.

Later, you’ll see him more clearly for what he is: a trickster, a space-shifter, a creature who can turn the corner of a street you’ve known your whole life and somehow transport himself – and everyone with him – to the other side of town. Also, was that guitar in his hand a minute ago? You’re not sure why he brought a guitar to a firefight, but nonetheless, there it is. In spite of only a few days’ acquaintance, you’re absolutely sure that he’ll figure out what to do with it.

Jack, the minstrel of the party of classic heroes you’ve stumbled into, is just one of the five extraordinary beings you’ll meet in Susurrus: Season of Tides – but only during the week of Gen Con 50. Gen Con’s iconic characters – The Ranger, Dwarf, Paladin, Mage, and Minstrel – have all been updated and transmogrified into characters in our modern urban fantasy landscape. Come play with us and see where their adventure leads – before they’re gone with the eclipse on August 21!

The Lady of Unforgettable Forgetting, or, Who Wants to be a Vampire?

Mara, by Duncan Eagleson.


Her name follows you through your day, like a song you can’t get out of your head.

You first see her playing in the middle of the city square, her lute and lilting voice somehow the only things you hear in spite of the noise and bustle. Her eyes meet yours for a moment, and that brief look plays in your head over and over, a lightning-like jolt that whites over your vision for a second, warming your scalp, then spreading through your body like warm honey.

It is profoundly distracting, if not entirely disagreeable.

You see her again in the Cosmic Coffee, a surprisingly tiny figure with black hair swept away from her striking, pale-brown face, showcasing those hypnotic eyes which, you realized even from afar in Hamilton Square, are purple.

She sees you, recognizes you. She speaks with you for a while, drinks a coffee redolent with cinnamon. Her voice reaches up inside you, and you fear it might pull something out onto the coffeehouse floor.

But before you can get to know her further, she is called away, her phone as much a tether to her as to ordinarily mortals like yourself. She’s made no secret, either in her manner or her conversation, of the fact that she is no such creature.

When next you see her, it will be too close. When next you see her, she will change you. And once you’ve changed, once she links you, forever, to the long chain of blood that leads back further than you can even comprehend, everything will have changed.

Including your ever having met her.

When you awake, weak and starving for something you’ve never before craved, your memory of how you got there will dissipate. Perhaps there was a woman…but no. Gone.

Her name escapes you, the syllables fading like a song you can’t quite place.

Meet Mara and other intriguing companions when you play as a vampire in the upcoming Susurrus: Season of Tides. Our Early Edition game arrives on August 17, at Gen Con 50. Play with us early by joining here.

Meet Cody, your first werewolf companion

When you awaken, bone-tired and bone-deep sore in every muscle, the first person you see is comfortingly normal-looking. Well, mostly: you notice the subtle predatory length of her teeth, incongruous inside her warm and easy grin. A few minutes of being conscious and you realize: of course, the wolf you saw, the touched noses and the running in the sweet night. You wonder, vaguely, what your own wolf form looks like.

The young woman is tall and imposing-looking, yet her pastel farm clothes and tousled blond hair and round, open face all put you at ease. This is someone who probably wears flower crowns and runs aesthetic Tumblrs and volunteers at animal shelters, but also someone you wouldn’t mind having on your side in a fight. Not that you’re looking for a fight, but it seems a little late for that, now.

She smiles at you, those teeth showing again, but nothing menacing in them. “Hey,” she says. “You’re awake. I’m Cody. Welcome to, um, the family, I guess.”

The family.

She tells you, then: about how werewolves come about. About how many of them seem to be cropping up, these days. About how she helps take care of the new ones, here at the Farm outside the city, where now, as she says, it feels like “puppy season all the time.” Also how being a werewolf can be inherited. Her whole family is weres, she says, from way back. She seems pretty proud of that fact. A tiny wolf pup, cute as an entire internet of dogs, bounds around her feet until she leans over and scritches the squirmy little thing between the ears. It falls over for belly rubs, squeaking in ecstasy.

You try not to faint back into the oblivion you just emerged from. It’s all rather a lot to take in.  But by the time you’re ready to head home and digest some of this information, you know you’ve gained an ally.

Choose the Werewolf path in Susurrus: Season of Tides to learn more about Cody Szarka and a host of fascinating NPCs. Sign up to join the pack!