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… 

 

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!

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.