Meet the Factions: Scale and Compass

The Drafting Room, aka the room where it happens

You sort of knew about Scale and Compass even before your Awakening into this magical underworld. The iconography is familiar: drafting tools arranged with a pointy symmetry, suggesting the kind of old boys’ club whose symbol you’ve seen on building foundations. Naturally, at the time you didn’t think there was anything more mystical about them than an arcane handshake.

Vanessa Haverhill, by Mandy Jürgens

Now, of course, you’re seeing mystical things everywhere. Scale and Compass is no different: another secret society, this one packaged in cigar paper and leather and vellum, a crystal brandy snifter full of magic. When Vanessa Haverhill, the branch manager of the People’s Bank, approaches you with a recruitment offer, it may be hard to resist: the meeting is in Chez Nous, one of the fancier restaurants in the city, and the wine is rather excellent. And her pitch is compelling, too. Don’t you want to experiment with creating exactly the kinds of spaces you want to live in, with exactly the sorts of people you want to be around? Why keep struggling to make the your world a better place when you can make your own world?

Inter-dimensional technology is the key to that world. Scale and Compass, or the Society, as it is sometimes simply called by its members (who also call themselves Architects, if they’re being pretentious or careless) is on the cusp of it, fashioning pocket-dimensions where alternate realities can be sustained. The ultimate in gated communities.

Professor Charles Reddinger, by Marty Kulma

They’ve got fingers in every pot: government, business, military, and of course, the academy. The boss of your local chapter is one Professor Charles Reddinger, chair of the philosophy department at Stratton University. To call the institution “elite” would be understating the truth somewhat. And what Scale and Compass considers “elite” has some definitions that you might find uncomfortable. No worries, though: apparently Reddinger and the rest have decided that you’re the right sort of person for the job.

Christopher Prentice, by Duncan Eagleson

Though you have your doubts about your companion, Christopher Prentice. The younger scion of the illustrious Prentice family, Christopher is rather disappointing in this – and most other – respects, and has been assigned to you as your companion in the Society. But if he’s intended to show you the ropes, it’s not been a particularly successful venture. So far, he mostly seems to alternate between goofing off, bitching and moaning, and begging for your help when he screws up. He seems to have gotten to where he is in spite of it, being carried along by his rich white boy privilege. Yet his hangdog, semi-pathetic ways are balanced by his desire to try hard and do better; he’s starting to chafe under the idea that he’s little more than dead weight in the Society. With encouragement, and maybe a bit of hard-assed-ness, he might even prove useful.

So. Now that you’ve lost the world you thought was real, do you want to be part of building a new one? Think carefully before you answer. But not too carefully. Rome wasn’t built in a day by people who worried about whom they crushed in the process.


Play with Scale and Compass, one of ten factions in Susurrus: Season of Tides. Read about the other 9 factions here.

Meet the Factions: Vanguard Sol

What airfield? I don’t see any airfield.

Vampires, werewolves, and mages – check. Faeries, check. Mystically-inclined secret societies vying for control of a supernatural underworld – check. You’ve gotten used to this reality pretty quickly. You’ve had to.

So why not aliens?

Vanguard Sol, perhaps the most secretive of the organizations you can join in Susurrus: Season of Tides, is dedicated to tracking the activities of the extraterrestrial life already on our planet. More importantly, they are dedicated to keeping this knowledge hidden from the general public.

Maybe you were a “the truth is out there” type even before your transformation, before the world, which always seemed topsy-turvy, turned definitively upside-down for you personally. Or maybe you were a skeptic, believing that however wacky things on Earth got, there were only other Earthlings to blame.

But now that you’ve seen the magical underbelly of everything…what’s one more conspiracy theory among friends?

Imani Leveque, by Marty Kulma

Not that Vanguard Sol’s mission doesn’t seem completely legit. Their leader is a liberal US Senator, Imani Leveque, whose scientific background and capable, grounded presence lend immense credibility to the organization. The recovered alien technology you’ve seen so far – holographic shields that disguise black sites as construction pits, hoverboots like something out of a scifi epic – convinces you of yet a different brand of magic sweeping the world you thought you knew. It’s all rather exciting, frankly, and doesn’t even feel like you’re doing anything wrong.

Except the secrecy part. It’s hard, for more reasons than one. Hard to keep quiet about something so spectacular, hard to not shout from the rooftops that truly, literally, there are aliens, people!!

Hard too, though, to know that if most people knew what you were working on, they’d think you were out of your mind.

Adam Brown, by Marty Kulma

Also…well, you’re not entirely sure you’re not. For all the incredible artifacts Vanguard Sol has collected, for all the coverups they’ve staged, for all the fear-driven faith you’ve seen in your short time with them…they’ve never had unambiguous, actual alien contact. You’ve seen Senator Leveque and other high-level people express worry that the aliens have already infiltrated us. But given what else you’ve seen so far…it could be anything, couldn’t it?

On the other hand, it’s hard to believe that the man who recruited you, Adam Brown, is anything other than an alien. (If he were, would Vanguard Sol tell you?) He’s more generic than any human should be, so bland and unremarkable that you forget what he looks like every time he leaves the room. He seems harmless enough, you guess, but with a group that keeps such huge secrets as part of its SOP, it’s hard to say.

Skyler Jarrett, by Duncan Eagleson

The most normal-seeming part of all this is your partner in the organization, Skyler Jarrett. She’s a bundle of nerves, a sweet, over-enthusiastic hacker geek who fell into Vanguard Sol by accident. Seems she was investigating a little too hard with her group of conspiracy theorist friends, and they offered her a deal: join and keep quiet, or. She doesn’t talk much about the Or.

She does talk, though – an awful lot – about nearly everything else. And it’s this, perhaps more than anything else, that endears her to you: unlike the whole rest of the organization, Skyler is anything but tight-lipped. And for that reason alone, you have a feeling you’re going to have to protect her before too long.


Do you want to believe? Play in Vanguard Sol and any of nine other factions in Susurrus: Season of Tides, free on any web browser.

Meet the Factions: Rhytec

One of the inner sancta of Rhytec Labs

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.

The famous Rhytec lanyard (also available in real life!)

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.

Mrs. Grey, by Duncan Eagleson

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…

Zenith, by Marty Kulma

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.

Bethany Steele, by Duncan Eagleson

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… 

 

Meet the Factions: Phaedron Labs

The lobby of Phaedron Labs

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.

Dr. Wing Li, by Duncan Eagleson

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.

Captain Troy Aston, by Jon Hunt

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.

Melinda Corazon, by Marty Kulma

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?

 


Join Phaedron Labs or one of ten other factions when you play Susurrus: Season of Tides for free on any browser. Join us. The weird is waiting.

Get your T-shirts and other swag at our new Merch Shop!

A Surprise Guest, by Duncan Eagleson
A Surprise Guest, by Duncan Eagleson

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!

Guru Dan, from the Church of Eternal Life
We all want to live forever, don’t we?

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!

 


Play the newest content at Susurrus: Season of Tides. And find your next fabulous t-shirt at our new Evil Shop!

Meet the Factions: The Gandolfinis

Nice mansion. Be a shame if anything happened to it

You knew about them almost before you knew anything else about this magical world you’ve found yourself swimming in: The Gandolfinis, the most influential crime family in the city. They’ve been around for generations, keeping a quiet handle on things: influencing the government, doing “business,” and, you figured, getting rid of people they didn’t like. But you never fully understood the extent of that last one until you walked out onto your street that morning, the morning before you changed, before everything changed. There was a face in the sidewalk, moving in slow agony, that you hadn’t been able to see before. “Poor guy pissed off the Gandolfinis,” a passer-by told you. Now, you can’t un-see it.

Mr. Ferri, by Duncan Eagleson

Since you’ve become a part of this magical underworld, the choices you’re making have been attracting attention. There are powerful forces at work, and they are looking for fresh recruits. Depending on your actions, you might receive a visit from Mr. Ferri.

He’s neat and unassuming in appearance, well-dressed but his suits are old, starting to go out at the elbows. He speaks in a way you know is designed to make you trust him.

You don’t trust him.

But if life on the inside of a major crime syndicate appeals to you, you can go to work for them.

Priscilla Gandolfini, by Jon Hunt

They have a rather strange setup at the moment. Outwardly, they’re an Italian crime family like any other you might have heard of. Inwardly, they’re torn by a fundamental division: between the old and the new, the cautious and the aggressive, and – strangest of all – the mythical and the real.

The house patriarch, Giancarlo Gandolfini, has a peculiar delusion, you see. Or else, a peculiar plot that looks a lot like a delusion. He has decided – and Mr. Ferri is determined to promote the idea – that he is the literal god Pluto, of Greco-Roman Underworld fame. Which makes Priscilla Gandolfini – his niece, and current face of the organization – Persephone.

Cheryl Gandolfini, by Duncan Eagleson

But in spite of Mr. Ferri’s own insistence in the matter – after all, his name and position both lend themselves well to the role of Charon – Priscilla is not pleased with the development. When you are called to the mansion to meet the rather grand lady, you can see that she is caught in something larger than herself – something she is trying hard to steer back toward sanity.

And then there’s the family’s three-headed hound, the 20-something siblings who haven’t quite decided what side they’re on. You know little so far except that they’re dangerous, but maybe the thing to do is get on their good side. Help them out, and maybe they’ll help you out.

The one thing you know for sure is that the only thing you want less than a pair of concrete shoes…is an entire concrete life.


Play with the Gandolfini faction, or one of 9 others, in Susurrus: Season of Tides.

Meet Red, the “young” vampire

Red, by Duncan Eagleson

Nice kid, that one who calls himself “Red.” Not something you ever thought you’d be saying about a vampire, but then, a few weeks ago you didn’t know you’d ever say anything about a vampire in real life. It’s just another sign of how strange things have gotten lately, that this toothy teenager with the eponymous shock of hair ignites a protective streak in you, fangs and immortality notwithstanding.

You met him in the close and quiet aisles of Conliffe, the antiques shop you’ve come to frequent when you’re looking for magical artifacts, or another clue from Rhys’ notebook of anomalies. While the proprietor eirself is a bit off-putting, Red is the opposite: sweet and welcoming and a little too open.

He tells you, if you ask, about how he was changed at the young age he now finds himself at for eternity. Some kind of joke, apparently: something an older, crueler man thought it would be cute to do the kid he was supposed to have taken under his wing. Red tells it without a trace of anger; it was a long time ago, but you feel it, just a bit, on his behalf. It’s the way he looks down when telling it, smiling slightly in that way that tells you it hurt him, but he doesn’t yet know you well enough to show how much.

You can’t help but wonder, too, whether one can ever truly get over something that happened to them at a young age, when they never get to leave that age.

In spite of all this, Red’s sunny disposition seems entirely genuine. He loves his work, loves his boss, and makes the best of every situation. Maybe, you think, getting to be a sweet young thing forever isn’t the worst thing that could happen to a person.

Definitely not the worst thing. You’ve seen many worse things in the past while.

But still you wonder. Who he was before. Where else he might have ended up. What he’ll do if Rhys decides to move on, what he might get mixed up in.  Whether wisdom comes with age even for those who don’t age. Whether his pluckiness and cheer are truly evergreen.

Whether he’ll survive what’s coming.


Learn more about Red, Rhys, and countless others when you play Susurrus: Season of Tides!

Susurrus at GaymerX East! November 4-5 in NYC

GaymerX East logoThe Evil Overlords are on the march again, showing Susurrus at GaymerX East the first weekend in November. This first-ever queer-focused gaming convention is now in its fifth year, and will explode its glitter-bombs into the Microsoft Technology Center in Times Square, Manhattan on November 4-5!

Portrait of Miguel De Soto

We’re a-quiver to be a part of all this, not least because it gives us a chance to highlight some aspects of Susurrus that we’re proud of, but don’t promote as often as other aspects. That is: our game is full of queer characters, and that’s on purpose.

We talk a lot about our deep and involving narrative, our unique system by which individual player actions shift the world subtly for others, our evocative and beautiful art. But we don’t talk a lot about our nonbinary-gender characters, or about our bisexual characters, or our gay characters – mostly because the world we’re creating gives space to all kinds of expressions of gender and sexuality, without making a big deal about it.

Portrait of Melinda Corazon

While the world of Susurrus is messed up in countless ways, it’s fun to imagine that gender/sexuality policing and homophobia aren’t among them. This is idealized, of course: in real life, that is nowhere near the reality. And in some supernatural fictions, exploring the consequences of those oppressions is a big part of the point. But we also feel, as gender- and sexuality-diverse developers, that being able to spend time in a world that’s more relaxed about those things is a refreshing change, and a chance to feel safe for a while, to feel centered in a fictive world that doesn’t often center us. In Susurrus, after all, someone might hack your mind and send one of your own nightmares after you in physical form, a megacorp might track your movements until your life is not your own, or a vampire might try to eat you.

Portrait of Red

But nobody is going to make you feel like less of a human for how you present or for whom you love.

We’re looking forward to bringing this world to GaymerX and letting the attendees play around in it. And if you like the idea, too, then you can play around, too.

Join us in the game and on the forums, and of course, at GaymerX East!

As requested: More of ‘L’ in Susurrus

Last week’s game update included, per player feedback, another quest to go on with ‘L,’ the mysterious vigilante who shows up to kick fifteen shades of ass shortly after your character’s awakening in Susurrus: Season of Tides. We like her, too.

For us, L is one of many examples in our game of characters who break certain molds for video game heroes. She’s female, for one thing; while female protagonists and supporting characters are on the rise in video games, it’s still somewhat rare to see a woman character show up in-game who is there to give beat-downs to bad guys without also being a skintight-clad sex object. (Not that we have anything against skintight outfits, but really, other outfits truly are possible!)

It’s also less than common for such a character to appear who doesn’t make some kind of move on the player character. While we plan, in the near future, to make certain NPCs romance-able, we also find it tiresome that the assumption for female characters continues to be that they show up to be the love interest.

So it’s not all that surprising that our player feedback tells us they love L: female, fiercely competent, combat-equipped, straightforward, and interested in how you can help her in the work she’s already doing. Granted, this shouldn’t be a rare thing, but at present, it still is.

There are more mysteries that are apt to unfold about this somewhat epic fighter; get to know her a bit better, and you’ll learn some interesting things about why she dresses as she does, and how she got so powerful. Find her in the latest update, and stay tuned for more character development, more story arc, more quests, and, well, more as we continue to add content to the Early Edition, every two weeks!

Play for free, now:

Play Susurrus: Season of Tides

Susurrus: Season of Tides keeps getting better on a 2-week cycle

As we shake out the aftermath of Gen Con and the mad development cycle that led up to the first public release, we’ve established a new set of protocols for our team to follow as we keep on making Susurrus: Season of Tides better and prepare to move it out of Early Edition. The first update since Gen Con was released on Friday, September 8: play it now to see some of the new nifty things!

We’ve improved the chat interface and done some other tweaks, bug fixes, and feature additions that’ll make the game a smoother experience, of course. Below, though, are the fun things we’ve added this release:

Nyx the bartender. If you’re stuck and could use some direction, or just want to know what interesting things are going on, head to the Giant’s Dance and talk to Nyx, the friendly neighborhood bartender there. She knows a little bit about just about everything that’s going on right now.

News Tab. As the city cycles turn, new quests and things to do emerge across the city. Click on the News tab to see reports of what locations have new adventures available to play.

New companion. There’s some thorny business with some local psychics that could net you a new companion. Explore old ground with your Mind and Heart temperaments very open and see what comes of it…

Ask for the Secret Menu. Cosmic Coffee’s secret menu is now available, offering a variety of stat-enhancing and healing artisan coffee blends specifically crafted for the magical community!

More from The Harbinger. They’ve reappeared in a few extra places, leaving behind a handful of Glimmer and cryptic clues. Characters who diligently pursue anomalies will have a new conversation and a few hints toward upcoming plot.

Check it out now, and explore our world as it continues to emerge!