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.
It’s a strange, sparking ball, full of the kind of darkness that feels like it has light just inside it. It’s warm in your hand, alive with an electric energy.
The UmbraSpheres are strange little artifacts, and none of the species leadership seem to know where they came from. But you can fill them with Glimmer, and when you have enough, you will have in your hands a rare type of currency indeed.
Between the recent total solar eclipse – when it seems these things were created by some rogue Mage or other – and the coming Autumnal Equinox on September 22, you can visit Estzi at the Farm if you’re a werewolf, Philippa at the University if you’re a mage, or Narendra at Choudary and Bloodworth if you’re a vampire. Each of them will tell you about these strange orbs, and the friendly competition that has arisen among the three species: whoever collects the most Glimmer-filled orbs will be able to build a new place of power for their kind.
Should you accept the challenge, you will take one of the Spheres with you – and join others of your kind to secure that Well for the future.
Glimmer – in case you forgot the old lady’s lesson from the beginning of the game – is a kind of magical currency, a luminescent essence that clings to all things and beings who are threaded through with magic. Collect it by going about your business in the city – exploring, taking on quests, furthering your story. Add the Glimmer you find to your Sphere until you have 126 inside it; then, return it to your leadership.
If you haven’t started playing yet, don’t worry! Simply create an account and begin! Once you have gone through your transformation and gotten acquainted with how your species operates, return to Your Home, where you’ll find a message waiting that will kick off the competition.
We’ll see you on September 22, when we’ll find out who will take the prize!
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.”
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!
The fallout shelter sign is old, and those who don’t know better aren’t even sure it’s pointing to anything real. The clarification, “IN BASEMENT,” was clearly pasted on after the fact, and doesn’t help much with the sign’s credibility. What would we need it for anyway, most modern city-dwellers think, and some are too young to even remember a time when such signs hung over the populous like the distant, flashbulb promise of a mushroom cloud.
But the Awakened Ones remember.
Nobody walking the world with awakened senses can pass by this sort of sign, rare as they are nowadays, without at least a frisson. Of hunger, of hate. Of knowledge deeper than anyone should have. Many of the vampires have been around for long enough that the signs represent just one tick in a long list of historic human crises: war, famine, plague, death, the Ice Age, the fall of Rome. Oceans rise, empires fall, as the modern poet says. The Cold War provided unique opportunities, though, for feeding: paranoia has a piquant flavor, though too much leads to indigestion of the worst sort. The madness of crowds, stuffed scared into a shelter, made for easy meals, if bitter ones.
The newly awakened ones, for the most part, have shared enough memories that they, too, feel the shadow of the bomb, taste the tinny onrush of fear, and shudder, heading quickly away toward their bars and brothels and amusement parks, seeking brighter, non-canned food. Contrary to the popular mythology, most vampires get a lot more enjoyment – and nourishment – out of people who are not facing down their own deaths.
As for the werewolves, they have no use for the places. Underground bunkers, walls thick enough to keep out radiation, no sunlight or green growing things or even rocks that might once have been kissed by rain? No thanks. To the wolf-kin, these places are as close as things get to anathema: symbols of the human capacity to rampantly destroy the natural world. Passing these signs, they sniff the horror of it all, high and old and sweat-stained, and hurry on.
The mages, though. These places carry a resonance, a potent reminder, a truth that must not go unstudied. The Truth of Survival informs a great many mystical organizations, and underlies, in some way, every human endeavor from the creation of fire to the creation of the Internet. And the iconography? Five seconds’ thought will show it’s impossible mages didn’t develop it, encoding it with specialized wards and equally specialized lures, imbuing the symbol with all the terror – and associated promise of safety – that it still holds.
Only now…nobody’s sure what they’re using the shelters for. We #followthesigns, and we wait.