- Plane Weaver
Shaper Abram Romero seeks resourceful individuals willing to investigate the sudden and mysterious disappearance of his fiancée. In exchange for her safe return, he would extend his particular gratitude.
The party meet Shaper Abram Romero on the outskirts of Rom where he explains that his fiancée Margo went missing yesterday. He is positive that she would not have left him of her own volition–apparently, she was just as excited as Abram over their upcoming marriage. The party travels further into Rom to speak to an acquaintance of Abram's who experienced a similarly mysterious disappearance several weeks ago, but on the way, they encounter a small Connection incursion in the form of clinging, weed-like entities. They easily deal with the obstacle and using Alessia's understanding of Connection combined with Thess's knowledge of Rom geography, they manage to reach their contact without running into further incursions.
Arriving at a well-kept house, the party meets an amnesiac woman named Paige who is hosting a small gathering with a number of her acquaintances. Paige reveals that she recently became Forest Touched, but the subtlety of her condition and her former status as a respected Connection Weaver means that she can still live in relative comfort. Paige informs the party that her brother Lyle went missing just under a month ago but is unwilling to share more at present since she is too preoccupied with unravelling the truth behind her condition.
While some party members indulge in the simple delights of pushing Master Commissioner Draconis down a hill on a rickety apple cart, the rest of the party attempts to get to the bottom of Paige's amnesia. Their conclusion is as follows: Paige had been collaborating with her former best friend Eden, an Erosion Weaver, on an experimental ritual that they believed could offer protection against mental Forest influences. Unfortunately, a mistake made by Eden during the experiment caused the ritual to backfire, and a panicked Eden had erased the now-afflicted Paige's memories of the incident then burned her research notes to avoid being implicated.
Paige is shocked by this, but thanks the party for providing her with an answer. She explains that she had noticed a distinctive pull of Connection around the time that Lyle disappeared, and suggests that this recent Connection incursion may be linked to Margo's disappearance. The party decides to follow Lyle's final movements and head to a nearby market. On the way, they encounter a swarm of wispy creatures that whisper ominous but vague questions about each party member's future; some take harder hits to their confidence than others as the party fights their way through the swarm.
Once safely in the market, Alessia follows her sense for Connection to a nondescript tent in a quieter area. Sitting outside is a fortune teller who informs the party that they know where Margo and Lyle are and that the party can find the information they seek inside the tent… information about the disappearances and information about their own futures. More whispering creatures continue to plague the more reluctant party members with comments about “shaping their ideal future,” and with few options available to them, the group steps into the tent.
The group arrives in a long corridor and pass through several sets of three doors that all open into the same continuous hallway. At one set, each door is engraved with an image of a weapon: a shining sword and shield, a bloodstained axe, and an old staff. At the next set, they see a corpse lying in front of each door: a smug bandit, a Forest monstrosity, and a heretic surrounded by broken and defaced Icons. At the final two sets, each door shows the party a vision of a minor change to their life and inspires a particular emotion in them.
After passing through each set of doors, the party arrives in an open area, surrounded by enemies that resemble the corpses that they saw in the long corridor. In addition, each party member is now wielding a weapon and driven by an emotion corresponding to the doors that they walked through. A difficult fight follows as the party drives back a combination of bandits, heretics and Forest creatures using unfamiliar weapons, but the party eventually triumphs.
They soon realise that they are no longer in the open space, however, nor are they back at the Rom market. Instead, they are in a pleasant space somewhere in Connection with two faceless Connection entitities welcoming them. These entities introduce themselves as assistants of “the Supervisor,” which appears to be able to speak through the assistants. The party is welcomed to the Supervisor's home and promised that here, they will find their happiest possible future with their “soulmates”. It emerges that the Supervisor is abducting humans and assigning them to whatever it deems the most optimal pairing… and that the party will experience this as soon as their “test results” have been processed.
Ushered out of the welcoming space into what will apparently be a bright, happy eternity, the party arrives at a picnic scene. It's beautiful… too beautiful. Other humans are present, most of whom wear fixed smiles and talk animatedly about how wonderful life is here, and how thankful they are to the Supervisor for helping them find their true loves. However, once away from the watchful (figurative) eyes of the Supervisor's faceless assistants, most of the guests beg the party to free them. Many of the humans here have lost track of how long they have spent in the Supervisor's domain and live in terror of the painful challenges that their captor frequently sets for them under the guise of being “trust-building activities”. Margo and Lyle are both here, each with their own “soulmate,” and both are eager to return home. Margo in particular is vocal about her desire to escape, much to the despair of her assigned partner who insists that the Supervisor will surely let them go home if Margo just plays along.
Speaking through its assistants, the Supervisor interrupts the picnic with an announcement: the pairings have been chosen! Quinn and Gemini are assigned to each other, as are Alessia and Thess. Harken, sadly left without a partner, is assigned to one of the Supervisor's assistants who is poorly imitating Harken's very recent ex. The couples quickly discover that they are hurt if they spend too much time away from their partner, and the Supervisor kindly demonstrates the difficulty of this condition by forcing the party to defeat a horde of faceless assistants with the ability to knock couples apart.
As the party is guided onwards towards a series of challenges designed to test their compatibility, it emerges that the Supervisor's true name is Experimentation and that the purpose of its abductions and tests is so that it can investigate the truly bizarre human experience of romantic love. Harken invites Experimentation to witness her memories of her recently failed relationship; this evidence is extremely useful to Experimentation, who concludes that love is in fact painful and destructive.
Alessia uses a minor Connection ritual to move the party elsewhere. They arrive in a flower garden, but the scene is soon ruined by the appearance of another assistant which acts as a mouthpiece for a more than slightly put-out Experimentation. It seems that this domain is not only larger than expected, but really is under constant surveillance by Experimentation.
The entity complains that the party can't just leave, especially not now that its understanding of love has shifted so drastically! There's so much more testing to do! As an expression of Experimentation's new attitude towards love, several Unhealthy Obsessions emerge from the garden, accompanied by a couple of confused and infuriatingly talkative Oversharers. Destroying the Obsessions and discovering that they sadly cannot destroy the Oversharers, the party realises that they can use the creatures to distract Experimentation while they attempt to find a way out.
After proceeding to an experiment where the groups are separated and presented with a test of communication, Harken offers Experimentation a more interesting research topic to romance. She takes part of Experimentation into her mind, hoping that she can help to divert Experimentation's curiosity to other subjects so the party can go free. This has interesting effects on the domain the party is currently trapped in, which begins to shift wildly in appearance.
Experimentation agrees that love is no longer a satisfying experiment: it's simply too broad to study effectively. It agrees to let the party go, but only after they help it to settle on a new subject for their research – perhaps fear this time? Or what about joy? The party fends off waves of Experimentation's assistants as Experimentation indecisively alters the appearance of their domain to suit these new potential projects, and Alessia is killed in the fight. Despite Harken's protestations, Gemini avenges her sister by destroying the body that Experimentation is currently housed in, and the landscape falls apart as Experimentation loses control.
Coming to, the party finds themselves back in Rom with the other human captives and Alessia's body, which soon has life return to it. Margo and Lyle thank the party, both excited to return home to their families.
The party agrees that they need a drink. Completely by accident, Alessia almost guilt trips Gemini into returning home and visiting their parents, but the two agree to save that meeting for another day.
Returning to Paige first, the party members receive her gratitude for the safe return of her brother. They enquire about the Erosion Weaver, Eden, but Paige insists that she cannot remember anything about their experiment, how it backfired, or what it was supposed to achieve in the first place. Eden is the only person who knows the full truth, and she has not been seen since the gathering at Paige's home.
Shaper Abram Romero is thrilled to have his fiancee back and pays the party as agreed. He also agrees to enhance the shaping of some of their items and invites them to his and Margo's wedding, which they have decided to hold earlier than they had previously planned. Quinn attends this wedding and gives an impassioned speech about love while standing on a chair. Everybody is impressed.
Reporting back to the Foresters' Guild, Gemini makes sure she does her good deed of the day by curing a bodily affliction. The Guild seem relieved that there have been no negative reports about Gemini and tell her to keep up the good work.
Alessia reports to Grand Magister Isabella about the existence of Experimentation, and is thanked for the information.
Thess arranges a meeting with Master Commissioner Draconis so that she can continue pushing him down a hill on a cart. She expects this meeting to end as soon as he gets bored. He does not get bored. The two spend significantly longer than Thess intended playing with an apple cart. Thess draws up some plans for a large water tank on wheels but is unable to construct one herself.
Harken meets with Siddell Whiske, a Perfection Weaver who had been present at Paige's gathering. The two discuss collaborative planar rituals and Harken offers her gratitude for Whiske's help with some preliminary experiments into the combination of Perfection and Erosion. Whiske seems unconvinced that this will work, but is willing to conduct research for Harken.
Gemini and Quinn go on a midnight date to the Circle of the Enlightened Mind. (More info to come)