The party: Buckle the Beast/Heart of Earth, Stella the Halfling/Hunter
Last time, the Fellowship barely escaped Vieport, after beating up almost every named character in the entire city! Stella fell in battle, and now the Fellowship but find a way to revive her.
GM note: Since Stella is unconscious, her player role-played as Stella’s companions. A fun switch, and a good way to keep a player engaged even when their player is Taken Out.
Stella has a Halfing form of diabetes: when she doesn’t maintain her blood sugar, she literally falls into a food coma. She was knocked unconscious long enough that she didn’t eat, so the coma set in and she never woke up. He companions Gus, Rose, and Hamfast are all Halfings and are familiar with the disorder, so they explain it to Buckle. She needs special Halfling food, and a lot of it!
Buckle: Of course it involves food. Not even normal-people food.
Buckle consults a map and determines that Sugar’s Crossing is north, up this river. They’ve been there before, and many Halfings live there. It’s a good place to find help. They left Vieport in the evening, sailing Miranda (the racing catamaran) up the river through the Deadlands. They don’t dare drift to shore, lest the bloodthirsty ghosts attack them, so they take shifts at the helm through the night. Buckle looks out into the darkness and sees hundreds of red dots: eyes looking back! Far to the east, he sees flashes of purple light and hears rumbling. Spooky! He wakes Hamfast and asks about the strange phenomena. When Hamfast lived in Vieport, he could walk up to the electric barriers at the edge of town, put his hands up like blinders to block the glare, and faintly see that same purple flashing. He parents told him it was a fireworks factory. He barely notices the red eyes. They remind him of his youth in Vieport, where they were always visible just outside the lightning barriers. Buckle doesn’t like being watched. Hamfast pat his shoulder reassuringly, but very quickly, so Buckle’s superheated skin does not burn him. Then he goes back to bed.
The next morning, the Miranda approaches a branch in the river. To the west, a clear, deep channel, suitable for large ships. To the east, a marsh. At the perimeter of the swamp, crows sit on trees, evenly spaced, looking out. Rose has the helm and drifts a bit towards the marsh. Silk is scared of birds and tries to stop Rose. Buckle comes on deck to see what’s the commotion. He notices the suspicious crows.
Buckle Wild Speaker: always able to Speak Softly when meeting a beast
Buckle: Hey! What’s the fastest way to Sugar’s Crossing?
Crow 1: He’s polite!
Crow 2: It doesn’t matter. Take the channel like civilized folk. Avoid Smantha’s domain!
Samantha is the greatest witch! Her power is unrivaled!
What are you doing?
The crows are sentries, insuring that only those who are worthy enter Samantha’s swamp.
What should I be wary of when dealing with the crows?
Crow 1 starts to let Buckle in on a secret, but Crow 2 cuts it off.
Crow 2: No, don’t tell him! He’s exactly who we don’t tell!
Buckle wishes them a pleasant day. Rose wants adventure, so she still wants to go into the marsh. Reviving Stella must come first, so they take the channel to Sugar’s Crossing.
The bridge in the center of Sugar’s Crossing is covered in scaffolding! The center span is broken. On each side of the bridge (upstream and downstream) a Giant on a raft ferries road travellers around the bridge. River traffic is slow, weaving past the ferries and scaffolding. This month, the city’s garrison is Elves. Some Elven guards stand on the surface of the river directing traffic, and direct the Miranda to an empty berth. Buckle ties Stella to Silk’s back and sets out to find food. Stella’s companions don’t know anyone in Sugar’s Crossing, but count on Halfling hospitality.
Buckle Talk Sense (+Wisdom, emotions) 10+
Buckle: Excuse me, I need to find food for my knocked out friend
The Halfling that Buckle made eye contact with is Mr. Bracegirdle, an actor. He pulls out a snack and wafts it under Stella’s nose. No reaction. He recognizes the symptoms of Halfling diabetes. Quite serious, but he knows what to do! He leads the Fellowship towards the theater, yelling in a surprisingly loud voice to for bystanders to clear the way. He leads them into the back of the theater, where the actors and orators are preparing for lunch.
To wake someone suffering the food coma from halfling diabetes, they must be fed a lot of fruit and carbs. A lot! The cooks divert half of the food they were about to serve to Stella. Gus 7 Rose almost prank Buckle into feeding Stella a baby bird. After being fed lots of food, Stella wakes up as Buckle jams a big piece of fruit in her mouth. (Payback for her jamming the Heart of Earth into his mouth)
Buckle: This is awkward, but you’re awaaaaake!
Stella: What are you doing?
Stella takes the fruit and throws it at Buckle, who eats it. Stella hasn’t passed out in her adult life, so this is a weird experience. Mr. Bracegirdle introduces himself to Stella and explains where she is. Buckle comes up and shakes Mr. Bracegirdles hand.
Buckle: Thank you, Mister Grey Squirrel. What can we do to repay you?
GM note: This joke took me out! Amazing!
Mr. Bracegirdle explains that virtue is its own reward, but the cooks say that half of lunch is gone and the whole theater troupe is hungry. The cooks press the four Halflings (Stella, Gus, Rose, and Hamfast) into service chopping vegetables and kneading dough. Buckle picks up a pot with his burnign hands and boils it immediately. When a cook hands Gus an old nicked cleaver, Gus refuses, and pulls out his personal, well-cared for cooking knives. The cooks are impressed! Lunch is late, but with talented help, the food is better than usual. Now everyone in the theater likes the Fellowship.
GM note: The Fellowship needs to recover. After checking a few sections of a several rule books, I determined that Fellowship with a community was not required to Recover, just a week of peace and safety. Thus the Fellowship recovered here in Sugar’s Crossing instead of going far east to Templeton or Bogden.
Fellowship Recovers: All stats healed. All gear refreshed.
For the next week ,the Fellowship stays at the theater and rests. Gus teaches the theater cooks some of his ways. Not all, but some. Buckle asks about the bridge. It was broken by a huge mirror falling from the sky. Buckle asks if a Spider took it. Mr. Bracegirdle didn’t see a Spider, but a lady knight and a flying man with a big cloak did rescue some people from the broken bridge.
Stella Forges a Bond with Rupert the Chef
They sit in on the free shows about the history of the town and are reminded of hte feud between the Miller and le Grind families. Stella took the le Grind mill tour, but the Miller’s don’t offer tours of their mill. Old Mister Miller odens’t come out of MIller Manor anymore. Lady Evelynn’s arrival shook up the power balance in the town. Her estate and mill are intentionally outside the city limits, so the Mayor can’t tell her what to do.
After a week, everyone feels healthy, and the bridge reparis are almost done. The bridge is open to foot traffic today, and if there are no mishaps, carts can start crossing tomorrow. Stella’s ears itch. She needs adventure!They consider going south to Samantha’s swamp to talk to those crows again, but decide to go further upriver. Lady Evelynn’s estate is visible from the river. After recentevents, she no longer offers hospitality to travellers. Guards come to the fence to watch the Miranda pass.
To the north, the rivers goes up into high snowy mountains. To the east, two volcanoes. To the west, a mountain with a slot cut through it. They decide to investigate that mountain, and look for a tributary that will take them near it.
Buckle Look Closely 6- One question, find out the hard way
What will happen if I take this tributary right here?
Buckle steers the Miranda up a tributary which does lead to the slot mountian, but it also gets quite close to Lady Evelynn’s estate, and her guards start firing arrows down towards the boat!
Buckle (+hope, Stella’s assistance) Get away 7-9 avoid harm
All hands on deck! Buckle steers the boat away from the barrage safely. Further along, they reach the mountain. There’s a slot cut all the way through from east to west! There are buildings at various points around the slopes with paths connecting them, but the buildings are clearly smashed! Whatever facility used to stand on this mountain has been sacked!
GM note: A nice relaxing session. Mostly montages. A big departure from the previous three sessions of combat! Even in the same game with the same players, there are many ways to play.
The party: Dryden of Conwall the Collector/Hunter, Averiela the Elf, Lucia the Brave the Heir/Halfling Sheriff
Last time, the Fellowship finished up in Thaumatown and finally arrived at the underground Goblin town where a Dragon might be able to tell them something about the Moon.
The secret underground tunnel they used to travel suddenly ends in a waterfall, 100 feet above the floor of a large underground cavern. There’s an entire Goblin city down here! At the base of the waterfall, there’s a lake and park, where many Goblins frolic. In the middle of town, a big ramp leads down from the surface to a building at the south edge of town, with big signs advertising Fafnir’s Fight Club and urging all comers to challenge the dragon. At the west wall of the cavern is a large building with lots of pipes coming out of it. Some kind of industrial facility. Most of the party was riding on Ancient One, Dryden’s giant turtle friend. Averiela just walks on top of the water. They need a way to safely drop 100 feet to the ground below. The end of the tunnel is broken, not finished. This isn’t a planned feature of the town, so there are no maintenance ladders or elevators. The Goblins just found this tunnel and built a park around it.
Averiela Looks Closely (+hope from Dryden’s assistance) 7-9
What do my senses tell me?
Goblins have lots of vehicles and machines, all unique and custom-made. It’s very hot down here. The roof of the cavern is artificial, and conceals the cavern from the surface. The ramp and entrance from the surface is very new, and is built over existing buildings.
What are the Goblins in the park doing?
The Goblins are playing in the water, which helps them keep cool in the city’s sweltering heat.
What is hidden or out of place?
Averiela’s keen Elven eyes see through the windows of the facility on the far side of town. There’s something large and glowing moving around inside.
Swallet Location Stat Inferno: heat protection required.
Dryden remembers his spelunking phase when he tried to reach the magma. this was extra-difficult in the Forgotten Lands, which don’t have volcanoes. Also, his family was unhappy when he returned from his expeditions covered in soot. Far beneath the surface he finally found Fire Fish, which look like jellyfish and float up and down in super-heated vents. Time to call on these old friends.
Dryden: By the way, you’ll get wet!
Dryden throws a Shadow Ball out ahead of the Fellowship. Ancient One swims into it and disappears. Dryden reaches into the Shadow Ball and pulls out a Fire Fish. He plans to float down to the park, then fire the Harpoon back up so the rest of the party can rappel down. Lucia’s not happy about having the harpoon aimed at her. Dryden considers his Ranged Rope, then summons two more Fire Fish so Averiela and Lucia can float down too.
Dryden Curious Curios: 3x Useful Item + Living Collection
Roddy doesn’t like crowds, so he stays up in the tunnel. Dryden sets up another signal: when he dabs, Roddy will shoot what he’s pointing at. The Fellowship floats down to the lake and wades to shore. There’s a metal cauldron nearby: a hemiphere of metal on four long legs. It’s full of water and a Goblin is bathing inside.
Gabber: Outsiders are coming out of the walls now! The giant ramp isn’t enough? I suppose you’ll want to go to the Fight Club.
Lucia: Greetings, we are humble explorers!
Gabber: Explorers? Weird. Most foreigners come here to fight.
Lucia: What happens at Fight Club?
Gabber: I don’t go there. It’s all dangerous foreigners.
Lucia tries to continue the conversation, but Gabber has had enough and presses some buttons inside his cauldron. Panels on the underside of the cauldron open, dumping out the water. A canopy snaps closed over Gabber, and the cauldron walks off on its jerky mechanical legs.
Averiela: Do we go to Fight Club or to the industrial facility?
More importantly, how will they deal with this heat? For short-term relief, they soak themselves in the lake. They go into the city and find a market set up under the ramp to Fight Club. Goblins hawk all sorts of wares, including innovative cooling vests. Tubes run through the vests, distributing cold fluid. The fluid comes in a flexible tube. Bending and ‘cracking’ the tube (like a glowstick) releases two different liquids which become very cold when mixed. The tubes goes into a slot on one side of the chest. Cranking a flywheel on the other side sends the fluid through the tubes, cooling the whole body.
Lucia trades Piles of Cash (1x Precious item) for 3 Cooling Vests
Cooling Vest provides Protection against Heat
Lucia pays with coins from the Forgotten Lands. The Goblin merchant puts his drink down and eagerly accepts the pile of coins. He’s never seen these particular coins before. He dips a coin into his drink and the liquid turns green. That means the metal is genuine! Dryden strikes up a conversation.
Dryden Speak Softly 7-9
Tell me about the city?
This is the most exciting Goblin city. All these new people coming in for Fight Club. Plenty of opportunities for ambitious Goblins like me!
What should I beware of when dealing with the people in control
Fafnir is an invincible dragon! No one has defeated her yet!
What would you have me do next?
Buy more of my wares! I have Swallet memorabilia, and an automatic luggage carrier! This claw on the top holds the luggage, and the legs underneath will walk towards this keyfob, which you put in your pocket.
Lucia trades 1x Food for Automatic Luggage Carrier
Lucia offers some traditional traveling food from the Forgotten Lands, tasty meat wrapped in leaves, like dolmadakia from Greece.The merhcant has never seen such food! So exciting!
The Fellowship heads to the industrial facility on the western wall. On the way, they see trash piled up in alleys and sometimes in the middle of intersections. The industrial facility is blocked off by two layers of barricades: first wooden sawhorses, painted in warning colors, then a layer of cement barricades. A Goblin rushes out from a nearby building, tosses a bag of trash over the barricades, and starts to retreat.
Dryden: Is this your cool trash disposal facility?
Goblin: It used to be!
The Goblin flees back inside. Averiela and Lucia look around.
Big roller doors reveal bins, vats, and conveyor belts for sorting. There are no Goblins inside, only a 12-foot-tall Fire Elemental! A vaguely-humanoid blob of molten rock, covered in flames!
Tell me about the Fire Elemental? How could it help or hurt me?
Burning Aura; Pay A Price to get close
Wildfire: Burning & Dangerous
Tough As Nails: insta-kill protection
Obviously, it burns everything that gets close. Perhaps it is the source of the city’s uncomfortable heat.
What is the Fire Elemental doing? What will it do next?
The Fire Elemental detects the bag of trash thrown by the Goblin and comes out of the facility towards it.
The Fellowship back up to avoid the Fire Elemental’s Burning Aura. Lucia conceals them.
Lucia Quiet, Don’t Move: Conceal self and nearby allies
The Fire Elemental creates an arm from its amorphous body and engulfs the bag of trash like a snake, pulling it up through the arm into the body. The Fellowship wonders how to deal with this creature. Maybe its heat would be valuable to a Dwarven forge. Perhaps this is how the city got rid of its trash and it just got too big. Could the Fire Elemental and the Dragon fight? Dryden considers leaving trash like a trail of candy to lure the Fire Elemental to the Fight Club. Averiela finds a bag of trash and puts it just outside the barricades to see how far the Fire Elemental will venture from its lair. It doesn’t react to the trash. Dryden and Lucia investigate the feasibility of leading the Fire Elemental to the Fight Club.
Dryden Look Closely (+ hope from Lucia’s assistance) 10+
What will happen if I lead the Fire Elemental through the streets?
The main streets are wide enough that the Fire Elemental’s Burning Aura won’t affect the buildings on each side, but side streets and alleys are unsafe.
What do my senses tell me?
There’s flammable material everywhere, and not just trash. Goblins build their own experimental gadgets, often powered by flammable liquids or powders. There are wires running above the streets, but they aren’t phone lines. Little rocket-powered capsules zoom along these wires.
What is hidden of out of place?
Inside the trash sorting facility there’s an oxygen-replacement bomb: an emergency fire-fighting tool. Triggering the bomb will replace all the oxygen in the building with an inert gas, which is bad for anyone inside the building who needs to breath oxygen!
Lucia Forgotten Lands Trait: Detect Evil on Fire Elemental
Lucia does not detect Evil from the Fire Elemental, but creatures don’t have to be evil to cause trouble. While the Fellowship discusses how to handle the Fire Elemental and the Dragon, a Goblin appraoches wearing a power suit. This humanoid vehicle makes the three-foot Goblin seven feet tall! The powersuit has a sharp-looking black & white paint scheme, but some markings have been sanded off.
Averiela: Greetings, clever one! You must be very clever to own such a suit!
The Goblin’s face falls. The Power Suit is a sore spot for her.
Goblin: You’re here for the Fight Club, right? Just go get beat up and leave.
Lucia Symbol of Royalty: get an audience with anyone
Lucia: I am Lucia of the Forgotten Lands. I am traveling to learn about other cultures and reconnect with other nations.
Nub-Nub: I am Nub-Nub, formerly of the Swallet Police Department.
Formerly? That’s why she’s not proud of the suit, and why its markings are sanded off. Lucia asks some more questions.
Lucia Speak Softly 10+
Tell me about the Fire Elemental
That used to be our trash disposal facility. The Fire Elemental appeared about the same time the weather turned hot.
What would you have us do?
Get rid of the Fire Elemental so the city isn’t full of trash!
Tell me about the dragon
This was the worst day of my life! We tracked some trouble-makers to Cloorick’s Fight Club, so we raided the place. Fafnir was in there and she fought us al the way back to headquarters, defeated everyone and took over! She’s small, about the size of that wolf there, but so strong! Fire breath! Wings! Scales! Fast!
Dryden: The Dragon is that small? We can take him!
Nub-Nub: Good luck with that.
Nub-Nub leaps from the street to the roof of a nearby building and leaves.
Dryden: I gotta get one of those!
Back to the matter at hand. The oxygen-replacement bomb seems like a good way to kill the Fire Elemental, but they no one wants to walk past the Fire Elemental to press the button and have all their oxygen replaced. (Y’all remember how Godzilla ended, right?) Maybe Roddy could shoot the button from his perch in the tunnel. He can see all the way across the city, but how can they signal him? The dab only works for nearby people. Averiela doesn’t have a Bond with Roddy, so she can’t Whisper on The Wind to him. Dryden digs through the trash until he finds a piece of cardboard and something that makes marks. He writes “Red bomb button when dab” and holds it up facing the tunnel. He smiles and waves, then dabs!
Roddy uses Eagle Eye
Dryden Finish Them (Sense, disable) advantage: oxygen-replacement bomb 7-9
Roddy damages Fire Elemental’s Tough As Nails
Roddy did have line-of-sight to the button! The oxygen-replacement bomb explodes! The flame surrounding the Fire Elemental is immediately extinguished, and the surface of its lava body turns black. It’s still for a moment, the nglowing cracks form in the black surface and it roars in rage. There is no obvious target for its anger, no opponent who caused its pain. It finds the column that supported the oxygen-replacement bomb, grabs it, and super-heats its hands, melting through the column! Dryden runs into the facility and readies his gravity-warping knockout-gas bolas. Will the gas affect an elemental? Is the gas flammable? He throws the bolas and immediately runs away!
Dryden Finish Them (Sense, disable) advantage: range, distracted 6-
The gas is flammable! The bolas explode! The building shakes and one of the many chimneys and pipes coming out of the building shakes loose and falls towards Averiela!
Averiela Get Away 6-
Averiela spends Armor
Averiela dives away (into the trash. Ew!) but not far enough. The edge of the chimney clips her, damaging her armor.
Dryden Get Away 7-9 avoid harm
Dryden runs out of the facility with the Fire Elemental pursuing, but it’s slow. The Fellowship flees towards the Fight Club, using main roads so the Fire Elemental’s aura won’t damage anything. Dryden leaves trash in the center of the roads to keep the Fire Elemental in track. The first trash he leaves as bait is the sign for Roddy, destroying the evidence that he angered the Fire Elemental!
Nub-Nub leaps in, firing a Rocket Fist into the Fire Elemental.
Nub-Nub: Outsiders! Always causing trouble and running away! You have no respect for this city!
Lucia Talk Sense (+Wisdom, desire to defeat Fafnir) 7-9 owe a favor
Lucia: We’ll let the Dragon and the Fire Elemental take each other out.
Nub-Nub: Ok, but you have to guarantee the safety of the civilians
Averiela runs ahead, shoving civilians out of the Fire Elemental’s path. Dryden stays ahead of the Fire Elemental and yells.
Dryden: Flee! Elemental is coming! If only the mayor was strong enough to protect us!
A old female human in a dark hooded robe, hunched over, carrying many heavy bundles.
The front door of the fight club is like the door of a speakeasy, with a slot at eye level for a bouncer to peer through. A Goblin is currently peering through and telling the assembled fighters that they are unworthy to face Fafnir. The fighters are arguing their case when a crowd of new dangerous people arrive: Averiela, Dryden, Lucia, Nub-Nub, and the Fire Elemental! A confusing scene! The bouncer closes the slot in the door, then appears at a hidden door off to the side.
Goblin Bouncer: Whoever takes out that Fire Elemental gets a match with Fafnir!
The Bouncer quickly steps back inside and closes the door before anyone can approach, But the small man with the mustache is gone! Theona moves to engage the Fire Elemental. Dryden doesn’t want a big fight out in public. The Fire Elemental is supposed to fight the Dragon, not these randos. They plants an Exploding Trap on the Fight Club’s door and warns the old woman to step away.
Dryden Exploding Trap: open a door
The Exploding Trap blows the metal door off its hinges. Inside, Goblins are running back and forth in confusion, yelling “Stop him!” Over here!” and “He’s too fast!”
Theona the Ogre
Larger Than Life: can’t be hurt by little folk
Stronger Than Is Reasonable: Melee, Giant, Dangerous.
Toss Aside: sends enemies flying
Theona runs up to the Fire Elemental, which doesn’t even come up to her shoulders, and initiates with a superman punch! The top quarter of the Fire Elemental (which would be a head on most creatures) splatters all over the intersection, setting fire to nearby buildings. (One is a black market and the other is a legit warehouse)
Nub-Nub: You promised! This isn’t safe!
Dryden: Call the Fire Department. We’ll lure it inside.
Nub-Nub: We had a deal!
Dryden has a fire suppression item from his pyromaniac youth: a series of black ice crystals. They suck in heat and transfer it to the forge of an old friend. Dryden pulls them out and raises his hand to throw, but the crystals are yanked out of his hand and sucked into the bag that holds the Artifact of Power! How does this work? He opens the bag and points it at the fire on one of the buildings. Nothing happens. The Artifact Of Power doesn’t just absorb any source of energy. What is the pattern?
The old lady makes her move. She throws her bundles to the ground. They burst open, revealing human bones! The bones assemble into a Group of eight Skeletons! She sends them to ambush Theona, whose attention is completely on the Fire Elemental.
Ozzy the Necromancer
Flanking Command: minions have Piercing
Group of Skeletons
Group: can attack two characters at once
Just Bones: immune to some weapons
Weapon Training: Armor x1
Lucia Forgotten Lands Trait: Detect Evil
Unsurprisingly, the Necromancer and her Skeletons are evil. The Skeletons ineffectively bash against Theona’s massive boots. She barely takes her attention off the Fire Elemental and kicks backwards, smashing a couple Skeletons.
Lucia runs inside the Fight Club and comes face to face with Grinkle, a Goblin with a spiked helmet and chainsaw rollerblades!
Grinkle the Berserker
Blind Rage: can’t defend if Grace damaged
Reckless Valor: can damage this stat to damage opponent
Grinkle: Intruder! Charge!
Lucia Overcome 6-
Will Watch Out!!! prevent damage to an ally
Grinkle revs up his chainsaw skates, puts his head down and rushes at Lucia. Will pushes her out fo the way and takes the hit in her place!
Dryden: Theona, why fight the Fire Elemental instead of walking in and fighting the dragon?
Dryden Talk Sense (+Wisdom, desire to fight Fafnir) 10+
Everyone turns to enter the Fight Club!
GM note: We were out of time, so we have to leave on a cliffhanger. What a mess! The Fellowship met every single NPC I had prepared, plus two more I made up on the spot. I thought there might be a few duels with the other fighters, but no, everyone fights all at once. Hard to keep track, but it’s fun!
GM note:This is the first session for two new players, which means two new characters and two new cultures. I intended to have them arrive on the continent by boat like most of the other players (Kraken, shipwreck) but Yuri’s player told a story that fit an existing location on the other side of the map, so I placed the session there. That’s collaborative world-building!
Yuri the Outlander (he/him): Yuri was a medical doctor living in 2020 Moscow, Russia, until his entire fourth-floor apartment was teleported to another world! The apartment crushed someone on arrival, leaving only an arm holding a glowing sword. When Yuri picked up the sword, it downloaded confusing, terrifying visions of the future into his mind. Yuri is 6’2, shaved head, Dave Bautista head shape, but not huge like Bautista, more Jason Statham’s build. Yuri’s cat, Steven, was teleported to the new world like everything else in Yuri’s room. Yuri inherited Steven from a child who apparently died. Steven rides in Yuri’s backpack and sticks his head out of the unzipped flap. There are no small domesticated cats in this world, so Steven stands out.
Outlander culture: Modern Russian culture from Earth.
Lore about the Glowing Sword:
The sword showed Yuri visions of a cataclysm. He sees lush forests, deep caverns. Mermaids fighting. Fire. Dwarves. The visions don’t match his world, so they must show this new world.
The sword throbs when pointed in certain directions, so Yuri can hold the sword out and decide which way to go.
Rumor about Outlanders: Yuri was made by Faeries.
Vestri Redrock the Dwarf (he/him): The Redrock family gets its name from the rich red rock from its ancestral mountain. A few Redrocks have red hair or beards, but the trait is recessive and rare. Long ago, the Redrocks were driven from thier mountain home by a dragon. They lost one of a pair of ornate jeweled daggers, made by Vestri’s great-great-grandfather. Now that the dragons are gone, Vestri carries the remaining dagger and hopes to find its counterpart. He is accompanied by Hundrin (a blacksmith) and Gurtin (a Tunneler) Hundrin is Vestri’s cousin from a lesser branch of the family, who built and operates Gurtin. Gurtin is a small one-seat vehicle with a giant drill on the front. The family’s recessive red-head trait is expressed in Vestri, and he’s very proud of his resplendent ginger beard. He braids it every morning and puts oil in it.
Clans are determined by which mountain they come from. “Our stone” as it were. “Redrock” is the common translation of a Dwarf word that includes color, texture, and density. Dwarves have many words for different types of rocks, metals, and alloys. The words for alloys are formed by concatenating the names of their components, like in German.
Dwarves marry to cement family bonds and to bond different clans. Dwarves can have multiple spouses and relationships will ebb and flow, begin and end, over a Dwarf’s long lifetime. Spouses may live far from each other, especially if the marriage is to make a connection between far-off clans, and may not see each other for years.
Oral tradition and storytelling are important. Certain stories and specific story elements have certain musical instruments assigned to them, like “Peter and the Wolf”
Rumor about Dwarves: Dwarves are greedy & love to hoard wealth.
Rumors about the continent:
Vestri’s other dagger is out there somewhere
There’s a place to put the glowing sword that sends out a ripple of magical energy.
Yuri’s room is in the City Junkyard, an endless dungeon. Chunks of cities and buildings are piled up here from all different sizes and cultures. Vestri was passing through and ran into Yuri.
Yuri: Hello. Where is this place that I am?
Vestri: You’re in the junkyard obviously? This is from an Elvish city.This is probably Halflings. They’re the only ones with the round doors. I’ve never seen this kind of construction.
Yuri: It’s Terran.
Vestri: Are you from beyond the sea?
Yuri: Do not know precisely where I am from, in relation to where we are.
Vestri: I’m Vestri Redrock, and this man over here is Hundrin.
Yuri: I am Yuri Ivanov.
Vestri has trouble pronouncing Yuri.
Yuri: From pop culture in my world, I know Dwarves are greedy. Are we going to the mountain to get some lost treasure?
Vestri: Actually, yes.
Yuri: OOOOOO! Ha ha ha!
Vestri: It’s a family heirloom!
Yuri: I have seen Lord Of Rings. I know what is happening.
Vestri: What kind of rings? We usually wear them in our beard and in our hair. You need to grow out your beard so you can braid some warrior rings into it.
Yuri: I have no interest in that. I have not had beard for a long time
Vestri: You should grow it out. Beards look great on everyone
Yuri: Not my mother
Vestri: Beards look great on everyone
Yuri holds up the glowing sword.
Yuri: Do you know what this is? I would not touch it! When I did, it made me cry. I saw terrible things.
GM note: The players need to get used to the moves available in this new system. Vestri wants to learn more about the sword, so Vestri’s player wants to Look Closely. I suggest using a custom Dwarf move. Vestri’s player picks Deepdelve, but I was thinking of Let Me See That. There’s more than one way to accomplish a goal!
Vestri DeepDelve (ask a Look Closely Question)
What is hidden or out-of-place about the sword?
Which culture made this sword is not clear. The sword is gaudy, with an ornate gold hilt and a glowing blue blade. Three colored stones on the hilt are found in three faraway places, and gathering them together is a feat.
Vestri: It’s not Dwarven make, so it could be better. Isn’t that right, Hundrin? It’s probably not Elven or it would burn to the touch. I haven’t met a lot of Elves, but one of my husbands is well-acquainted with them.
Yuri: That is an interesting fact about your family. I am glad to have known it.
Vestri: I have two husbands and three wives, at current.
Yuri: That is not the thing that confuses me. It is the world that confuses me.
Vestri: What does your world usually look like?
Yuri: There is one humanoid race, not several. No mermaids. No pixies. No faeries. No Orcs. Just people like me.
Vestri: That seems very boring.
Yuri: We fill it with lots of wars and violence. It’s fine. It’s not fine, but it’s not boring. Not boring, just different. Very different.
Vestri: The sword showed you your death?
Yuri: Not my death. It showed death of the planet maybe? Lots of dying. Lots of crying. Anything you know that might do this?
Vestri: There are all sorts of things in the world. Very powerful things. Not so powerful things. There are Angels always. They can make or unmake worlds. Maybe an Angel sent you! I have never seen Angel blacksmithing. Maybe it could be Angel blacksmithing. What do you think, Hundrin?
Hundrin nods and grunts.
Yuri: This Hundrin fellow is not very helpful.
Vestri: He’s very helpful, just not very talkative. He’ll keep your sword sharp, even if it’s not Dwarf-made.
Yuri: He’s a sharp fellow.
Vestri: Also if you want a Dwarven sword I’m sure we can make one for you. They are much better.
Vestri: I think I will use the crying sword.
GM note:Would you like prompting from the environment, or are you having fun with your interactions?
Generate random building: Dragon Greenhouse Ruins.
Near Yuri’s apartment is a big metal framework with ribs going up 80 feet in the air. Some bits of glass still cling to the ribs, but over the years most of the glass has broken and fallen, forming a big field of glass shards several feet thick. A ghoul emerges from under the glass dragging a pile of sad, wilted vegetables. It spots the fellowship, looks confused, then scuttles off and jumps through a window into another building.
Hungry (hard cuts against characters with damaged Grace)
Tough As Nails (insta-kill protection)
Vestri: That shouldn’t be wandering about. We should go take care of him before he hurts anyone else.
Yuri: He looks very ill.
Vestri: Yes, he’s already dead. Does this not happen to you?
Yuri: No, when you get dead you stay dead.
Vestri: Really? No ghosts? No revenants? No poltergeists? No ghouls? No vampires?
Yuri: No. No. No. No. No. We could do this all day. When dead, you stay dead.
Vestri: No mummies?
Yuri: We have mummies, but they stay dead. We wrap them. It’s a cultural thing.
Generate random building: sideways Human tower
They decide to follow, but there’s a big field of broken glass between them and the ghoul, who hops into a fallen tower and starts running towards the “top”
Yuri Fool Me Once (reroll one die)
Yuri Look Closely 6- one question, find the answer the hard way
What will happen if Yuri pushes over the wall of his apartment?
Yuri actually does it! The wall falls over and takes him with it. He slides over the field of glass, which is slanted away from him. He’s near the tower that the Ghoul ran into, but he’s separated from Vestri and he made a lot of noise, alerting anything else in the area.
Vestri Look Closely 7-9 three questions, one answer the hard way
What is hidden or out of place?
Some shadows are moving. There are Nightmaws nearby! One is on the wall of the apartment and menaces Vestri.
What will happen if Hundrin drives Gurtin under the glass and come out the other side?
The City Junkyard is three-dimensional. Buildings are stacked on top of buildings. If Gurtin goes down, it will enter a new level of unknown buildings with unknown hazards.
What do my senses tell me?
Generate random building: intact Halfing dwelling
Look at the map below. A tower lies on its side at the far side fo the field of glass. The ghoul went east, towards the “top” of the tower. Vestri could go around the glass by going through a Halfling villa. Lots of shadows in the villa.
Shadow (Emerges from shadows. Harmed by fire & sunlight)
Hunger (Gains armor when dealing damage)
Vestri Clear The Path 7-9 exposed to danger
Vestri charges through the glass, throwing shards aside. He reaches the tower, but his foot goes through the “floor” into whatever building is below the greenhouse. Yuri pulls on Vestri, confident that he can easily lift the Dwarf that is half his size. Vestri is 3’7″ but weighs 300lbs! Dwarves really are born of stone!
Yuri Fool Me Once (reroll one die)
Yuri Overcome 7-9 temporary solution
Yuri leans down and grabs Vestri. Vestri’s not sinking anymore, but Yuri can’t pull him free.
Yuri: Heavier than I thought! I’m going to need assistance very soon.
Hundrin uses Strong Arm to assist Vestri
Hundrin runs through the path cleared by Vestri and uses his strong arms and knowledge of Dwarves’ unusually high density to help Yuri pull Vestri clear of the hole he was trapped in. All three enter the tower and follow the Ghoul.
Vestri: You should be careful. Take a look at those shadows. Look, there’s teeth in there. Trying to bite you. They’re called Shadowmaws! I haven’t seen one before. They’re very interesting.
Yuri: I also have not seen them before. I would call them interesting in a bad way.
The Ghoul leaves the tower through a hatch to the roof (now the side) of the tower. The Fellowship approaches and peeks through the hatch instead of charging recklessly into a new space. They see a large chamber made of smooth stones with coral decorations. In the middle of this chamber is a Giant. He’s about 20 feet tall with a big beard, but looks a bit gaunt. He has stacked a few bookshelves to serve as a table. The ghoul puts the wilted veggies on the table.
Giant: Ah! Well, you did your best, little one!
The Giant pats the Ghoul on the head and dismisses it and starts eating entire vegetables like finger food.
GM note: Yuri’s player (logically and incorrectly) thought the Speak Softly move was necessary for Yuri to whisper to Vestri
Yuri and Vestri consult quietly before revealing themselves to the Giant.
Yuri: Do we want to feed this Giant, or what is the deal with Giants?
Vestri: Like anybody else, Giants sometimes are great, sometimes terrible news. It depends . . . he seems OK!
Yuri: I have four squares of food. I have them as part of my inventory because this is like a role-playing game. Have you never heard of role-playing? You can be anyone. A Mermaid. A Dwarf.
Vestri: I am a Dwarf!
Yuri produces a bag of potato chips and Vestri tries to eat the bag.
Yuri: No, no, you open the bag. Inside are fried potatoes. So yes, we should bring to giant. Why not? Make friend of large man.
Vestri walks into a sunbeam, using it like a spotlight to draw attention to himself.
Vestri: Oh great giant! We come bearing fried potatoes!
Honeypot: feels nice, but slowly damages those within. Despair to Get Away.
Vestri: The sunlight is very comforting. It’s warm. It’s nice.
Yuri: Your skin is turning very red. It looks like it is burning your skin.
Giant: Oh hello, little ones! It’s so good to have visitors. My name is Heinrich.
Yuri: You look gaunt, sir. I have brought you fried potatoes.
Yuri gives 1 Food to Heinrich
Heinrich comes over to accept the food from Yuri. Vestri and Yuri continue to argue about the benefits or dangers of the sunbeam.
Heinrich: As you can see, I have found myself in a structure where I am larger than all the exits.
Vestri: That seems very difficult, but I have with me my friend Hundrin and Gurtin! Maybe we can build a way out for you.
Yuri: That digging machine digs holes. That wouldn’t be building, would it?
Sunbeam damages Vestri’s Wisdom
Heinrich is delighted by this suggestion, since he can’t stretch out or move freely inside this Mermaid fortification. He doesn’t know how he got here. He just woke up in this courtyard one morning. (Mermaid fortifications must defend in all three dimensions, so the courtyard is completely enclosed) Heinrich has some smaller creatures to go out and collect things for him, but that’s a poor substitute for freedom.
Yuri: I have extreme empathy with your situation. Will you get out of the sunlight?! We need to build the thing. Now. Can I tug on you? Reach to my hand which is not in the sunlight, and I will pull.
Vestri reaches out to take Yuri’s hand and Yuri pulls him out of the Sunbeam. Now Vestri reconsiders. Perhaps that did sting. He orders Hundrin to pilot Gurtin and drill out one of the Mermaid-sized holes in the walls.
Gutrin uses Drill Tank to bore a big hole in the Mermaid fortification
The drilling takes quite some time. The walls are thick and hard, but Gurtin does what Gurtin was built to do. Heinrich crawls through the hole, stands up to his full 21.5ft. height and stretches his arms. He reaches down one finger to shake Vestri’s hand, as one does with a baby.
Vestri forms a bond with Heinrich for freeing him.
Heinrich lifts the Fellowship up to high buildings so they can see their surroundings and plan their next move. To the south, big tall trees, an ancient forest. To the east, tall rocky mountains whose peaks are hidden by storm clouds. To the southeast, high snowy mountains. They set out for the stormy mountain.
GM note: City Junkyard is on the edge of the map. There’s nothing to the west or north. I’d have to generate new locations if they went that way.
Vestri: Warning! Shadow maws. Watch your toes!
Yuri: Giant seems nice. Make sure he is fed.
End of Session Move:
Thoroughly explore a new location? NO
Find what you were looking for? NO
Learn something new about the world & its people? YES
The party: Dryden of Conwall the Collector/Hunter, Averiela the Elf, Lucia the Brave the Heir/Halfling Sheriff
Last time, the Fellowship explored a dangerous robotics facilty. At the bottom they found an Artifact of Power and its guardian.
This is Redstone, a being unlike all the other robots they have seen thus far. He was not built here, and is not powered by the powerplant like the rest. He’s a person, even though he’s artificial. The other robots just obey their programming. He also doesn’t attack mindlessly, but challenges the intruders, explaining why he’s about to fight them.
Redstone: Intruders! I won’t let you defile this facility, built by my master, the great Allan a Zham!
Lucia: Allan a Zham is gone.
Redstone: Nonsense. He would have told me if he was leaving.
Dryden: There’s a distinct possibility he’s dead. Not by us!
Redstone is even more upset, so Lucia quickly tries to calm him.
Lucia Talk Sense (+Wis, desires) 10+
Lucia: We’re trying to figure out what’s going on, and how to fulfill Allan a Zham’s will for this place.
Redstone: I’ve been serving Allan a Zham for a long time, even past his lifetime, apparently. Finding his will and continuing his legacy sounds good.
He flips his claws around to be hands. There will be no combat for now. Lucia asks him a few questions.
Lucia Speak Softly 6- three questions, one false answer, one unhelpful answer
What were you doing?
Redstone points out three grooves in the stone wall of the chamber, and one groove in the floor. He’s been patrolling around the room for a long time
Tell us about this facility.
Redstone took a long elevator ride to get to the artifact chamber, so this powerplant must be far underground, probably under a volcano, based on the constnat jet of flame that comes through the hole in the ceiling.
Tell us about the artifact.
That’s top secret.
The Fellowship wonders if this facility is so old that it used to be powered by a volcano, before switching to the furnance that they saw and disabled last time. No, Thaumatown is on a river. There are mountains to the west and south, but certainly no volcano near town. Redstone must be wrong about that.
Dryden: We heard rumors that Allan a Zham may have left, but maybe that was an impostor.
Redstone: I’ve discussed theory of leadership and just use of power with Allan a Zham for many hours. If there is an impostor, I will find him out and destroy him!
Redstone opens the elevator door and sees an empty shaft. He looks in and sees the elevator car one storey above. The Fellowship discusses how much to tell Redstone about the situation outside.
Dryden: Was Brainiac dismissed by the real Allan a Zham or by the false one?
Averiela: Do we care?
Averiela turns to address Redstone.
Averiela: Wait, you should know more! Brainiac is on a quest to find a dragon!
Redstone: Neither Allan a Zham nor Brianiac are helping the town. This is dire indeed.
Redstone starts climbing the rope that Dryden and Lucia used to access the chamber from the furnace above. Dryden wants to delay him.
Dryden: Any leadership tips?
Redstone: Proiritize the good of the people and don’t get distracted!
He continues up the rope and out of view. The Fellowship notices that he’s left the Artifact of Power unguarded! Averiela takes the opportunity to look around.
Averiela Look Closely 6- one question. one answer the hard way
What is hidden or out-of-place?
The chamber is carved out of stone. The artifact hovers in a ceramic bowl in the center of the room. The only other feature in the room is the open door to the elevator shaft. Averiela peeks inside and sees the elevator car going up! Redstone took the elevator and left them behind!
Now the Fellowship must figure out how to get out of the chamber. The furnace above has a Magical Barrier that only lets robots through, and Redstone destroyed Averiela’s robot disguise. Lucia and Drdyen are inside the shells of Enforcer Droids. Lucia wonders if she and Averiela could cram into her robot disguise, but Enforcer Droids are only the size of a refrigerator, so there’s not enough room for two. They also need to get the Artifact of Power out. It’s 2 feet on a side, all shifting panes of glass, like endless layers of windows.
Lucia: Will this facility collapse if we grab it?
The furnace might have destroyed the facility if it was left on without the artifact to absorb all the energy it produced, but they carefully shut that down to get in here. Averiela wonders if the Magical Barrier turns off when the furnace turns on. It would hurt for her to run through the furnace, but maybe that’s the only way. But they remember that when they saw the furnace in action from the control room, the magical barrier seemed to be active.
Dryden carefully examines the Artifact of Power. He has a lot of experience investigating magical artifacts, especially artifacts he’s not supposed to examine. He has some little marbles that he can throw at things he’s not allowed to touch, to see how they react.
Dryden Strange Curios Useful
One marble is rectangular and magnetic. It adds magical energy. He tosses it at the Artifact of Power and it disappears into one of the shifting panes of glass. Part of Averiela’s robot disguise sparks and what servos are left move for a short time.
Dryden Strange Curios Useful
Dryden has another marble that disconnects. He built it when investigating an trapped orb. Whenever he touched the orb, the room would start to implode. for a while he’s touch it, the room would shrink, then he’d put it back. Using the marble to disconnect the orb from the trap made it much easier. Dryden throws the marble at the Artifact of Power and a signle pane of glass pops out of the shifting mass. Averiela dives to catch it before it hits the hard ground.
Averiela Overcome 6-
It slips through her fingers and breaks. The fragments have differnet colors, like stained glass. Perhaps when it was whole, it formed a image.
Lucia: Do we pull it apart pane by pane, wrap them in paper, and stack them for transport?
Dryden Strange Curios Useful
Dryden pulls out a magical knapsack. It stretches to fit whatever it needs to, and it’s unbrekaable from the inside, impervious even to swords and fire. A certain dagger did pierce it once. The repair is dodgy, so there’s a risk of rupture. It smells a bit funny, but it’s out of the hands of trolls, so Dryden is proud of it.
GM note: This knapsack comes from a story written by Dryden’s player
Dryden stretches the knapsack over the hovering Artifact of Power.
The knapsack’s drawstring pulls tight!
Dryden: Now no one can get to it. Oh, Knapsack! Listen to Averiela and, uh, Lucia.
All this time together and Dryden forgets Lucia’s name? Rude! Dryden considers flying the others up the shaft to a higher floor, but the overcharged Flying Device can only carry two people. Also, they can’t enter the elevator car from the shaft because there’s no door on the bottom of the car.
Dryden Modification: Flying Device is always Overcharged
Dryden flies up the elevator shaft. There are two doors on the third level and four doors on the second level. The elevator car blocks the first level. Dryden opens the North door on the second level. Inside, a Group of Warrior Droids and a Diamond Commander lie inert, deactivated because the powerplant is turned off. Dryden pushes two Warrior Droids down the elevator shaft. Averiela and Lucia start fashioning another disguise for Averiela.
Drdyen examines the deactivated robots.
Dryden Look Closely 7-9 three questions, one answer the hard way
What are the robots doing?
The robots are completely inactive. They have no power.
What is hidden or out of place?
Dryden flips the turtle-shaped Diamond Commander over carefully so as not to break its glass shell. He digs around inside the robot and finds a pane of glass that looks like one from the Artifact of Power. When he tries to touch it, his finger goes right into the window, and he feels a tap on his shoudler from inside the knapsack!
What happens if I try to take the commander’s parts?
Dryden salvages enough parts for a one-time use item that will momentarily make him Dwarf-made to negate a hit.His hands get pinched in the complex machinery
Robot Shield (Armor, 1 Use)
Dryden’s Blood is damaged
Meanwhile, Averiela’s new Warrior Droid disguise is complete. Averiela and Lucia climb the rope from the chamber ot the inside of the furnace. It has cooled and is no longer dangerously hot. They pass through the Magical Barrier and wait by the elevator door.
Dryden leaves the room with the Warrior Droids and opens the door to the Recycling Swarms. He flies near the top of the door and the Recycling Swarms can’t reach him. They spill out of the room and fall down the shaft. He investigates the chute by which trash is delivered from above. It’s spring-loaded and only opens with weight from above. He flies back to the elevator shaft and opens the door to the factory. The conveyor belts, cutters, and crushers are all inactive. They were also powered by the powerplant below. He could look down through the conveyor belts and see Averiela and Lucia in the furnace room below. Looking up there’s no access to the first level.
Dryden flies back down the shaft to the third level to confer with Lucia and Averiela on how he might reach the first level and regain control of the elevator. He has the keycard that will let him bring it back to the third level, but he needs to get inside the car to do that.
GM note:This is when I told the players that Dryden could have just given his robot disguise to Averiela. He exited through the elevator shaft, not the Magical Barrier.
Lucia: Go break that chute yourself. Don’t you have an explosive trap?
Dryden Explosive Trap: opens or seals a door
Drdyen flies back up to the Recyclinsg Swarm room and blows open the chute. He emerges into the Repair Bay. He opens the door to the elevator and finds a wall. The elevator car is rotated away. He walks through the broken door from the Repair Bay to the Entrance. Knows Too Much, Averiela’s pet wolf, is there! He’s not happy to see Dryden because Averiela is not with him. Dryden enters the elevator from the Entrance, inserts the keycard, and brings the elevator down to the third floor to pick up Averiela and Lucia, and they all ride the elevator up and exit the facilty! They escaped! The robots are shut down forever and they have the Artifact of Power!
Averiela: Walter is overeager and underqualified. Do we leave him to his own devices?
GM note: Walter can’t use Allan a Zham’s devices anymore!
Lucia looks for a pane of glass inside her robot disguise and uses it to poke Dryden through the Artifact of Power.
Lucia: The town probably won’t die and there’s no robot army. That’s good.
GM note: I checked in with the players to see if they were interested in forming a new goverment in Thaumatown, or teaching the residents how to operate a government. They were not interested, so we’ll just leave. They are leaving the town in pretty much the same state as a normal village, so they’ll be mostly fine. They are certainly in better shape than when the first Fellowship came through!
Redstone found Walter in the Civic Center. The Construct grabs the small man and lifts him off his feet.
Redstone: Where is Allan a Zham?
Walter explains that Allan a Zham abdicated, leaving him (Walter) in charge as a duly elected representative, then disappeared into the river. Walter points and Redstone drops him and moves aggressively in the direction Walter indicated.
The Fellowship approaches Walter, who dusts himself off.
Walter: I’ve never seen one like that. I’ve never been treated so unkindly!
Dryden: Good thing we went down there. He was lurking down there,along with a bunch of robots. How many did you destroy, Lucia? A dozen? Twenty?
Lucia: Warrior Droids were about to come out and enslave you!
Walter: No, the robots don’t enslave us. They serve us.
Drdyen brings out the collapsable bo staff he took from a Warrior Droid and extends it.
Dryden: WIll they serve you with weapons like this?
Walter: As long as it’s pointed away from me, it’s fine.
Lucia: We are leaving. Good luck with democracy.
Walter: Good luck with adventuring or whatever you do.
The Fellowship leaves Thaumatown and collect White Sand and Roddy from the edge of town where they were waiting. They set out towards Swallet, where a Dragon apparently challenges all comers.
GM note: usually this calls for a Dangerous Journey scene, but we were running out of time, so we just arrived at Swallet and I described the town as a tease for next session.
The Fellowship returns to the secret tunnels and goes south with the current. They ignore a branch in the tunnel that goes west. The underground tunnel comes out as a waterfall in a big underground chamber! An entire steampunk city fills the chamber. The waterfall falls into a park. The ceiling of the chamber is artifical, held up with girders, with crystals bringing sunlight from above into the city. To the south, a big ramp comes down from the surface. It’s well-made, not unstable, but it seems hastily built with little concern for aesthetics or fitting in with surroundign architecture. Signs on the ramp say “Test your might!” and “Challenge the Dragon” The ramp leads to a large building labeled “Fafnir’s Fight Club”
END OF SESSION MOVE:
Did we explore a new location?
Yes, the Robotics Facility
Did anyone find what they were looking for?
Yes, Drdyen gained magical power with the Artifact of Power
The party: Buckle the Beast/Heart of Earth, Stella the Halfling/Hunter
Last time, the Fellowship regrouped at Vieport’s Adventurer’s club, but had to rescue a friend from the Exterminator’s traps in the golf clubhouse across the street.
Stella and Buckle are in the attic of the club house with Hamfast (the rescued hostage) and companions Silk and Ugg. The elevator is out of commision. Several gas bombs have gone off inside it, and they smashed a golf cart into the doors on this level. Buckle considers driving a golf cart out a window, but the attic only has skylights in the ceiling, too high to reach. Finally, they notice a staircase that they overlooked before. They walk down the stairs and go towards the back of the clubhouse where Stella laid a Pit Trap in case Exterminator fled that way. She placed a warning sign, but only on the inside, so a golf cart returning to the club house has fallen into the pit, and golfers and employees are standing around gawking.
Stella Keep Them Busy 10+
Stella runs up to the pit and acts very upset to draw everyone’s attention while Buckle steals another golf cart.
Stella: What have you done! Such sensless destruction. What are we going to do?”
The golf carts have four seats and internal combustion engines. Buckle is able to take one and Gus, Rose, Ugg ride along. Hamfast rides on Silk. That’s almost everyone. Using Stella’s distraction, they sneak off and get the Siege Tank from the Adventurers’ Club.
Shirley the Surly Co-worker
Stella has everyone very concerned about the golf cart in the pit, but Shirley’s a disaffected teenager who can’t be bothered by anything.
Shirley: Why do you care? Bury it so we can drive the other carts over it.
Stella: Burying it is the worst possible thing. It will take a lot of time. You know, I’ll take care of it. You go home.
Stella Talk Nonsense (Talk Sense by telling lies)
Shirley Biting Sarcasm: cannot Talk Sense to Shirley
Shirley just rolls her eyeliner-caked eyes. Stella wants to take a golf cart and have fun like Buckle. How can she get rid of Shirley? She reaches into her rations and starts pelting Shirley with tomatoes and other veggies!
Stella spends 1 Food
Shirley Conveniently Off-Duty: will flee when things get too intense
Shirley does not get paid enough to deal with this, so she goes back inside. Buckle rumbles up in the Siege Tank, towing the golf cart.
Buckle: Get in losers, we’re going boating!
One of the rich golfers is impressed by the Siege Tank and wants to buy it. He’s de Rolo, the millionaire thrill-seeker! Buckle wants a boat in exchange. de Rolo offers his smallest yacht. The Siege Tank is barely operational, with all stats damaged, so they’ll have to convince de Rolo that it’s worth a yacht.
Spikes and Steel (damaged)
Heavily Armored (damaged)
Secret Weapon (damaged)
Stella makes the sales pitch. When she lies, her face turns purple, so she puts up her hood so it’s harder to notice. She only lies to people who can handle it, and this guy’s rich enough that he won’t miss his smallest yacht. The armor plates may look out of place, but that’s for aerodynamics. The spikes are all bent, because it’s safer for bystanders to have them out of the way. She just doesn’t mention the secret weapons.
Stella Talk Sense (+Wis, de Rolo’s desire to own an exotic vehicle) 10+
Stella Talk Nonsense: When you Talk Sense and get a 10+, you may also Sting Like A Bee.
Stella Sting LIke A Bee: steal a small object without being noticed
Stella and de Rolo shake hands to seal the deal and she slips a ring off his finger. It’s a signet ring with a mysterious symbol. Buckle hands over the keys to the Siege Tank, and de Rolo hands over the deed to the yacht and tells them where it’s moored. de Rolo is about to leave, but Buckle has another offer for him.
Buckle: Why golf when you could adventure with us?
de Rolo laughs and brags about his adventures: setting the speed record through the Straits of Transmutation, rescuing cast-aways, and so on.
Buckle: OK, your loss. Thanks for the boat.
The Fellowship zooms away in two golf carts, like in The Italian Job. Buckle’s in front with Ugg and Hamfast. Stella is behind with Gus and Rose, and Silk riding on the roof. Ahead of them, a group of guards blocks the road. The Fellowship are public enemy #1 in Vieport for mauling the Sea King and burning his palace!
Gauntlet Form: Immobilizes enemy
Civic Duty: Follow protocol. Disable all aggressors.
Group of Naga Eel Guards
Needlepoint Teeth: Necrotic damage
Slippery: can escape at any time
Buckle screams “Hang on” and swerves around hard!
Buckle Overcome 7-9 Pay a price: separated
Buckle’s golf cart swerves into an alley and rumbles down a flight of stairs!
GM note:Buckle is separated, so he can’t participate in the scene for a while. Buckle’s player said they will find the point of dramatic tension, then return with an interesting diversion.
Stella thinks for half a second, then floors it! (Golf cart top speed in 10MPH) Seven yards from the Naga Guards, she slams on the brakes, launches Silk forward off the roof.
Stella Get Away 7-9 avoid harm
Silk flies over the heads of the Naga and Lantern. The Peacekeeper keeps his troops focused on thier primary target: Stella. Silk escapes the scene. The Naga advance to surround the golf cart. Peacekeeper sends out his gauntlet to immobilize Stella. Stella and friends are in a tight spot. The Group of Naga can threaten two people at once, so it will take all three fo them to fend off the combined assault of the Naga and Peacekeeper. Stella’s top concern is for her companions. She’s responsible for keeping them safe. She plans a team attack to keep the guards back.
Stella: “Gus, give me the seeds!”
Gus damages Rations
Stella: “Rose, do the trick, like at the Carnival!”
Rose damages Get Right In There
Gus gives Stella a bag of sunflower seeds, still in in the shell. Rose grabs Stella’s feet and spins her around so seeds fly out in all directions like bullets, pelting the guards!
Stella Keep Them Busy 10+
The guards can’t advance, but no one can escape because they are all involved in keeping the Naga back. What can break this stalemate?
Buckle Firestarter: set anything on fire
Stella’s golf cart suddenly bursts into flames! Buckle climbed back up the stairs and ignited a small trail of leaking gasoline from Stella’s cart that no one noticed before. He peeks out from the corner of the alley and tells the group to run!
Buckle Keep Them Busy (despair, damaged Grace) 6-
Alas, the trail of fire that created the distraction cuts Stella off from Buckle, trapping her with the gaurds!
Peacekeeper: No escape. No one has to get hurt. Surrender!
Stella: Where will you keep us? The palace is in shambles!
Peacekeeper: We don’t put dangerous criminals in the palace. We have a fortress!
The Peacekeeper points north towards the fortress at the edge of town, where the river enters Vieport from the Deathlands. Buckle walks through the wall of flames to join the conversation.
Buckle Heart Of Earth: immune to fire
Buckle: Does the fortress have a boat dock?
This casual show of power is quite intimidating!
Buckle Finish Them Group of Naga Eels (+Grace, terrify) 7-9
Group of Naga Eels damages Needlepoint Teeth
The Naga Guards slither back a bit, afraid to attack such a powerful foe. (While setting up for the golf cart trick, Buckle sent Ugg & Hamfast ahead to get the yacht. They met up with Silk)
Peacekeeper: In the dungeon, you’ll never see boats again!
Buckle: A dungeon? With no fresh air? I’ll suffocate!
Peacekeeper: Justice is swift! You’ll be tried before you suffocate.
Peacekeeper motions the Naga Eels to move in again. The Fellowship is in a bad spot! Stella is scared of losing her friends!
GM note:My notes get a bit fuzzy here, but I think this is how it went. Rose gives Buckle an advantage to attack Peacekeeper, while Stella & Gus hold off the Naga Eels.
Stella and Gus hold the Naga Eels back with clouds of garlic powder. It only works for long enough to Buckle & Rose to make their move, then the Naga Eels advance and retaliate against Stella
Gus damages Special Ingredients
Stella Keep Them Busy 7-9
Group of Naga Eels requires 2 characters to Keep Them Busy
Naga Guards damage Stella
Rose crouches and raises her shield over her head. Buckle gets a running start and jumps on her shield. Rose heaves upward and Buckle jumps again, flying towards Peacekeeper! (Just like in Wonder Woman)
Rose damages Loyal Beyond All Reason
Buckle Finish Them (+sense, knock out) 7-9
Buckle damages Peacekeeper’s Protocol
Buckle lands a solid hit and now Peacekeeper is mad! Forget de-escalation. He’s going to kill these dangerous criminals! The Little Light on Peacekeeper’s shoulder is shaped like a fist. Peacekeeper expands it into a cage and tries to engulf and capture Buckle. Buckle grabs the Little Light and tries to keep it closed.
Buckle Overcome 6-
He fails and is surrounded by the glowing cage. He freaks out and trashes like a caged animal!
Stella: There’s only one way out and that’s getting out of here!
Stella Get Away 7-9 bring Gus along
Stella grabs Gus by the collar and runs through the flames and down the stairs to Buckle’s golf cart.
Flames damage Stella
The Naga Eels arrest Rose. Peacekeeper orders them to take Rose to the fortress and return with reinforcements. Peacekeeper has Buckle Immobilized, but can’t move him, and wants overwhelming force present when he releases Buckle. The Naga Eels hustle Rose away and Buckle is left alone with Peacekeeper.
Elsewhere, Stella sees the yacht coming upriver, operated by Ugg and Hamfast. It’s a fast boat, a sleek catamaran. It can overtake the Naga before they reach the fortress. Stella drives the golf cart off a ramp to jump across the river and onto the yacht.
Stella Overcome 6-
The Golf Cart isn’t fast enough and falls into the water short of of the yacht. It’s sinking quickly and Stella can’t swim!
Meanwhile, Buckle has nothing to do but talk to his captor.
Buckle. So you’re pretty strong, right? Why serve a snake who can’t even deal with ghosts?
Ah, we’re getting to know this Peacekeeper. His name is Hopek, and he settled in Vieport because he followed Robin, the Lantern who designed the electro-barriers around the city.
Buckle: Y’all keep the city safe by yourselves. Why serve the Sea Viper?
Buckle Finish Them (+Wis, show error of their ways) Advantage: Making some good points +Dispair. 6-
Hopek is angry and won’t listen to reason. He expands the cage to about 2m by 2m and steps inside. The ‘real’ part of a Lantern is the Little Light, and the humanoid figure that most people interact with is a holographic projection that Lanterns use to fit in with a mostly humanoid society. Hopek’s projection walks up and punches Buckle in the nose to let him know that this hologram is backed by forcefields. It’s a cage match!
Hopek damages Buckles’ Electrolocation
Back to Stella. Gus can swim. Stella climbs on top of the sinking gold cart. Hamfast frantically gets her attention.
Hamfast; You have to swim!
Stella: I can’t! I literally can’t!
Hamfast: What about the Waterskippers back home? They don’t swim, but they don’t sink.
Stella remembers watching little bugs move across the surface of the water in her home country far away. She realizes that even if she can’t swim, she can still float. She lies on her back and Gus drags her to the yacht. Once she’s safely aboard, she looks back and sees smoke rising from the burning golf cart. That’s where Buckle is. Rose is upstream in the other direction. Stella’s conflicted. Buckle is part of the team. She won’t say it out loud, but she considers him part of the family. She thinks of all the times that Buckle has almost died. Then she remembers how much he’s grown, and that’s he basically a fire god now. It’s a hard choice, but she goes after Rose.
Back to Buckle, squaring off against Hopek in a cramped glowing energy cage. Buckle rushes forward, then jumps to the side and bounces off the wall of the cage like a Luchadore before tackling Hopek, hoping ot disrupt his forcefield projections.
Buckle Overcome 10+
It works! The cage flickers and disappears and Buckle is free. Hopek tries to cage Buckle again, but Buckle dives into a storm drain.
Buckle Get Away 7-9 avoid harm
Buckle kicks up clouds of steam as he runs down the wet tunnels into the sewer system, leaving Hopek far behind.
On the yacht, Stella takes stock of the situation. There are five of them on the boat: Stella, Hamfast, Ugg, Gus, and Silk. Three of them are prety beat up. She examines her surroundings.
Stella Look Closely 7-9 3 questions. 1 answer the hard way
What is hidden or out of place?
Buildings run up right to the edge of the river on one side. There are lots of little alleys, doorways, and docks to hide in, or from which surprises may emerge.
What do my senses tell me?
Buildings on one side, a sidewalk on the other. A big ship is coming towards them, taking up almost the whole width of the river. If they wait for it to pass, the gaurds will secure Rose in the fortress! The ship is carrying a huge hexagonal mirror, like the one she saw Agate use as a weapon.
What will happen if I bribe the Naga Eels?
She figures that two Precious items would be enough to make the guards release Rose.
She steers the yacht (it’s named Miranda, because it’s a cata-Miranda with an outrigger) to the side of the channel, behind a small dock. She climbs Miranda’s mast, swings back and forth to gather momentum, then jumps towards the deck of the large ship.
Stella Overcome 6-
Her foot is tangled in a rope, so instead of springing onto the large ship, she’s snatched back and swung into a wall!
Wall damages Stella
Stella is Taken Out!
GM note: At the beginning of the session, I checked in with my players to make sure they felt appropriately challenged, since they win all the time, and no character in all of Chasing The Sunset had ever been Taken Out. They assured me that the level of challenge was fine, and now, after what I thought was a smaller fight than the Sea King or an elite mercenary like The Exerminator, a character is finally Taken Out! Amazing! Now we get to find out what that means for Stella.
Buckle emerges from a nearby sewer and Gus explains the situation. Buckle tries to board the large ship.
Buckle Get Away 7-9 avoid harm
Bucle reaches the deck of the ship safely, but the Naga guards see him glowing and reflected in the mirror.
Naga Eels: There’s two of him!
Buckle: I’ve got a proposition for you. My friend and I want all this to go away.
Buckle shows a coin purse, and in the mirror, his reflection shows a second coin purse.
Talk Sense (+Grace, trick) 6- they demand something expensive
The Naga Eels notice the deception! There’s only one Buckle, and one coin purse. Buckle adds a pile of silver coins (won at Platypalooza) to the coin purse, and the Naga Eels release Rose. The big ship passes. Buckle and Rose board the yacht and they sail north to the border of the city. The most wanted crewmembers stay inside, and do Rolo’s yacht is waved through the checkpoint.
GM note: It was getting late, the party had been fighting to get out of the city for three sessions, one player character was Taken Out and the rest of the Fellowship was beat up and low on resources. Further complications were unnecessary. Let’s move on and figure out how to restore Stella next time.
Stella has a lot of food in her Gear because she has a Halfling condition that’s similar to diabetes and she needs to eat regularly. her wounds knocked her out long enough that she slips into a coma! Special Halfling food is needed to restore her blood sugar to proper levels and re-awaken her. Where will the Fellowship go next? The yacht certainly helps them move about. Finding a Halfling will make finding the special food easier. Rumor says a Halfling named Sam lives north of the Singing Hills. Recovering is also a priority. They need a community that has gratned them fellowship for that, like Bogden.
The party: Dryden of Conwall the Collector/Hunter, Averiela the Elf, Lucia the Brave the Heir/Halfling Sheriff
Last time, the Fellowship sent a shutdown command to all the robots causing trouble in Thaumatown. Concerned that the robots may be reactivated and cause more trouble in the future, they want to disable them permanently. The robots don’t have fuel or batteries. Their power comes from some remote source, so the Fellowship looks beneath the Civic Center for this powerplant.
GM note: Lucia gained a level last time, and her player chose the Halfling Sheriff Destiny.
The robotics facility is indoors and likely crowded, so WhiteSand, Lucia’s horse, and Roddy all stay behind. Averiela, Dryden, and Lucia are accompanied by Knows Too Much, Will, and Mara. Lucia leads them along the path of her running battle with the Sentry Droid. They squeeze past the disabled behemoth, and find an wedge-shaped entrance hall with doors on the north, east, and south walls. The south door is labeled “Employees Only” They try that door and it’s locked.
GM note: We played this session online. I sketched the map with each room on a separate layer, so I could reveal only the rooms the characters had discovered. I’ll post complete images for each floor, but remember that the players didnt know what was in each room, or even which rooms existed, until they found and opened doors.
Dryden already used his worm lockpicks. There’s a lock on the door, with a wide horizontal slot, like a hotel room in our world.
Dryden: I haven’t just smashed anything for a while.
Averiela: I bet the dead wizard had the key.
GM note: She’s right! Searching Allan a Zham’s study would reveal a keycard that grants access to all levels of the facility!
Dryden uses his two-handed Dwarven hammer to smash the door open! Pow! Bam! Boom! The door swings open with a sad creak. Dryden smirks. Inside is a control center, with status lights, dials and levers. There’s also a keycard, inscribed with a picture of a cube. There’s no door on the east side of the room. They try the door on the north wall. It’s a pocket door that slides aside, matching the curve of the wall. Just inside that door is a curved metal wall.
Lucia examines the room.
Lucia Look Closely 6- 1 question, get the answer the hard way
What here is hidden or out of place?
She determines that this is the control center for a repair bay that fixes robots. Obvious enough, since the Sentry Droid said it was headed for the repair bay when she disabled it. The unpleasant discovery is the nature of the robots being repaired. The Enforcer Droids causing chaos on the streets above were mostly non-violent, but the robots in this repair bay seem more militant. She sees repair manifests mentioning napalm and other sorts of weapons. The robots in this facility are more dangerous than any the fellowship have faced so far.
The Fellowship returns to the entrance hall and tries the large door to the north. It’s unlocked, and opens into a robotic repair bay. The walls are divided into stalls. Each stall contains a robot in some state of repair or disassembly. The door on the east wall is in the middle of the wall, like a laundry chute, not on the floor like a normal door. Robotic arms move along tracks on the ceiling, adding and removing parts from the robots in the bays. As soon as the Fellowship enters, the arms move towards them, ready to remove any damaged parts and place them into repair bays.
Dryden Mysterious Marvelous Thing: does exactly what you need
Dryden Keep Them Busy 10+
The Fellowship don’t want any parts snatched off of them! Dryden leaps into acton to distract the robotic arms. He has a egg-shaped magnet on the end of a large metal tube. The magnetic egg is from a meteor, probably. He found it in a crater back in the Forgotten Lands. The magnet lets him deflect the metal robotic arms reaching for him. He runs around the room, bashing the arms and yelling at them. This gives Lucia and Averiela space to examine the room.
Averiela Look Closely (+hope from Lucia’s aid) 10+
What will happen if I go through the East door?
It’s a one-way trip, and any misstep near it will send an unlucky character through!
Can’t Turn Back Now
Tell me about the dangerous robots?
Some Enforcer Droids have been refitted into Warrior Droids, with extra armor plates and arms wielding melee weapons. One robot has big tanks on its back, with broken hoses extending from them. Its hull is scorched.
What here is hidden or out of place?
GM note: I couldn’t think of anything, so I asked my players what they might find in a robotic repair bay. They suggested weapons from the combat robots and schematics for the robots, hidden in a small compartment. I let them choose either 3 melee weapons or plans for a robot, which could be built if they found materials and someone will the proper skills. They chose the weapons.
They grab a few weapons and prepare to leave, but worry about leaving the repari bay operational. They don’t want to go further into the facility and have killer robots behind them.
Lucia Finish Them (+sense disable) advantage: Dryden’s distraction 10+
Lucia takes a scrap of armor from one of the damaged robots and jams it into a track on the ceiling. Dryden runs past Lucia and all the robot arms pile up on the blocked track!
They return to the entrance hall and examine the weapons they found. Averiela takes a very sharp sword made of atitanium alloy. Lucia has nunchuku. Dryden has a telescoping staff that starts as a foot-long rod then expanding into a two-handed weapon. They try the door on the East wall. The door slides away to reveal another door, which slides away to reveal a round room with a door on the far side and a control panel.
There’s a slot under the red button that’s the same size as the slot on the door to the control center and the same size as the keycard. Dryden puts the keycard in the slot. It fits! He presses the blue button, which makes a sad beep. They open the door on the other side of the room. The floor of this room slopes down to a rectangular hole in the floor. This is the other side of the one-way door in the repair bay! As they look, a heap of trash falls from a hatch in the ceiling and slides down the slope into the hole. Press the green button. Angry beep. Press the red button. Angry beep. Dryden closes the doors and examines the control panel.
GM note: It’s an elevator, and it won’t move with the door open.
Dryden Look Closely 7-9 3 questions, one answer the hard way
What here is hidden or out of place?
Nothing. It’s an empty room with two doors and a control panel.
How can the buttons hurt me or help me?
This room lets them access other parts of the facility, which is their goal, but will also expose them to more danger!
What happens if I press the buttons without the keycard in the slot?
Dryden pulls the keycard out and just presses the buttons. Red button. Angry beep. Blue button. Sad beep. Green button. Happy beep and the room shakes.
They open the doors and see the control center and repair bay. The green button rotated the room 90 degrees. That’s why some doors opened to blank walls. Dryden inserts the keycard and presses the red button. Happy beep, and the room goes down. It’s an elevator!
They open the south door. This room is a factory. Raw materials come from east wall and travel along conveyor belts, where they are forged, stamped, and assembled into components which exit through the west wall. The room is full of heavy machinery, the conveyor belts will push anyone on them into those smashign and cutting hazards, and there’s not really a floor. Too dangerous. They close the south door and open the north door.
20x Warrior Drones
Diamond Command (nearby allies are Dwarf-made)
Protect The Little Ones (takes hits for adjacent allies)
2x Phalanx Drone
Energy Shield (takes a hit for the ally it’s riding)
Most of the robots in this room are Warrior Drones (Enforcer Droids upgraded with armor and weapons). The Shield Commander is a squat robot with four legs and a glass dome that makes it look a bit like a turtle. The Warrior Elite looks like a Warrior Drone but it’s ten feet tall and has four arms instead of two. When the Fellowship opens the door, the Warrior Drones turn to look at them. The Shield Commander lights up its dome, putting an aura on all the other robots that makes them very hard to damage. The Warrior Elite steps in front of the Shield Commander to defend it, and the Phalanx Drones riding the Shield Commander and Warrior Elite power up their energy shields. This squad of robots has three layers of invulnerability, and they are not happy to see the Fellowship! Also, there’s a keycard on the Shield Commander. The Warrior Drones see the Fellowship as intruders and rush the elevator!
Dryden’s two-handed Dwarven hammer is Melee, Dwarf-Made, Armor (1 use)
Dryden Keep Them Busy 10+
Dryden’s Dwarven hammer is just as tough as the shielded Warrior Droids, so he swings it wildly to keep them at bay as Lucia shuts the door and Averiela hits the blue button. The elevator rises and the sounds of the Warrior Drones pounding on the door fades. Lucia opens the north door to the repair bay, and Averiela opens the south door to go into the control center. Lucia and Dryden say they should al stick together, so they also go into the control center.
Dryden Bear Trap (Trap, 1 Use, immobilizes an enemy)
Drdyen sets a bear trap that the threshold between the elevator and the control center, in case any killer robots try to sneak up behind them. Averiela and Lucia examine the controls to see if there’s anything they can use against the killer robots.
Averiela Look Closely (+hope, Lucia aid) 7-9 3 questions, 1 answer the hard way
GM note:I just told them all about the controls in the room. I have trouble inventing “the hard way” and hidden things in areas that are safe.
They see controls for repair bay, but not for any other levels of the facility. There are controls for each bay. Robots in them can be scrapped, marked as ready for service, or powered down. They power down the whole repair bay. All the status lights go out. Dryden retrieves his bear trap and the Fellowship returns to the elevator. Green button. The eleveator rotates. Red button. The elevator moves. Red button again. Angry beep. (The keycard only grants access to levels 1 and 2)
They open the est door, but just a crack, since the toher rooms on this floor were so dangerous. This room is full of swarms of tiny robot bugs. They are crawling over the pile of trash that fell into the chute a while ago, tearing it into tiny pieces.
Consume (eats food first)
Fragile Swarm (immune to normal weapons, Despair to anyone covered by a swarm)
Consistent with the poor safety standards of the rest fo the facility, there’s no barrier between the swarms of bugs and the elevator, and bugs start pouring through the crack in the door into the elevator!
Lucia Overcome 10+
Lucia quickly slams the door before many bugs make it inside, then stomps on the few that did enter. Averiela peeks through the west door. In this room, components come through the east wall and are assembled into complete robots. Three robots arefully assembled and operational.
Exterminate (Melee, Ranged, Piercing)
Flamethrower (Ranged, Dangerous, Burning)
Fireproof (immune to heat & fire)
A Killbot shines a laser beam on Averiela’s face and says “Target acquired!” It quickly hurls throwing knives at her!
Averiela Get Away 10+ (avoid harm, avoid notice)
With inhuman Elven speed, Averiela draws the titanium alloy sword she took from the Repair Bay and cuts the throwing knives as they come through the doorway! She dodges the knife shards and kicks the door closed in the same motion.
Averiela: Dryden! Blue button!
Dryden presses the blue button and the elevator rises to the first level. Lucia thinks there may be levels above the Repair Bay. Dryden presses the blue button again. Sad beep. Looks liek the only way forward is through some variation of killer robots. Averiela has a plan.
Averiela: Here’s the thing, friends. Dear friends. I’ll call you friends for the moment. I can use camouflage to camouflage all of us like super Super Ninja Wood Elves. Or we could hollow out robots and use them as disguises.
The Fellowship decides to disguise themselves as robots using the damaged robots in the Repair Bay. It takes a while to rip out al lthe internal machinery, but soon enough Averiela is inside the shell of a Fire Droid, while the others (Dryden, Lucia, Will, and Mara) are inside Warrior Droids.
GM note:I think Knows Too Much stays in the Entrance Hall. He’s not mentioned in the rest of the session.
Back into the elevator. Green button. Elevator rotates. Insert keycard. Red button. Elevator descends to level 2. They open the north door to the room with the squad of shielded robots. The robots within don’t immediately attack, since the Fellowship looks like robots at a glance. The Fellowship enters the room. The Warrior Elite stops Averiela, since she’s the wrong kind of robot.
Averiela: Fire Droid 455678 reporting for duty as commanded. I need to know our future plans so that my fellow fire droids can fall in line.
Averiela Talk Sense (+grace, trick) (+despair, shaky disguise) 7-9
Elite Warrior: The mission is to protect the facility. Recently six unauthorized organic creatures were spotted in the elevator. Since you have access to the elevator, you must help me and my Warriors find and eliminate these intruders.
The Elite Warrior (with Phalanx Drone) and two Warrior Droids head into the elevator. The Fellowship plays along and goes into the elevator with them. They press the green button, rotating the elevator, then open the door to the room full of Recycling Swarms. The Recycling Swarms try to enter the elevator.
Dryden Talk Sense (+sense, trick) (+despair shaky disguise) 7-9
The Elite Warrior and real Warrior Droids are willing to fight this new threat, but expect Dryden to come with them. He does, and they all wade into the amorphous pile of tiny robots. Dryden notices that the Recycling Swarms are puling material that they disassemble in two directions: towards holes in the south wall, and down. If there is a floor in this room, it’s completely hidden by the Recycling Swarms. The Warrior Droids swing, but their weapons are ineffective against the Recycling Swarm. The Recycling Swarms climb on the intruders and try to disassemble them. The Phalanx Droid is destroyed trying to protect the Warrior Elite.
Recycling Swarm Fragile Swarm: Despair to anyone covered by a swarm
Dryden Overcome +despair 7-9 pay a price
The Recycling Swarm doesn’t get Dryden, but they get his disguise. The Warrior Droid’s exterior starts to crumble, and the Elite Warrior sees Dryden inside! The Warrior Elite attacks the intruder.
Dryden Get Away +despair 7-9 avoid harm
Dryden peels the crumbling robot shell off of himself, pushing the pieces towards the Recycling Swarms and the Warrior Elite, using it as a temporary shield as he rushes for the elevator. He gets inside safely. Averiela jumps out of her robot disguise, closes the door, and presses the green button, rotating the elevator. The Warrior Elite and Warrior Droids are cut off, but a Recycling Swarm has squirmed into the elevator while the door was open.
Averiela Elder Arts Camouflage: Become invisible until you attack or make yourself known
Averiela Wood Elf: hide any number of allies with you.
Averiela camouflages herself and Dryden. Lucia tries to keep the Recycling Swarm at bay.
Lucia Keep Them Busy +despair 6-
Lucia spends 1 Food
The Recycling Swarm crawls over Lucia’s robot shell and inside, snatching a ration from her pack. The Fellowship opens the door to the shielded squad and Lucia goes in. The Warrior Droids see the Recycling Swarm afflicting Lucia and try to help, but their weapons are still ineffective. Lucia moves forward to report to the Shield Commander.
Lucia: Commander, the Warrior Elite was taken out. Orders?
Lucia’s robot disguise is Clumsy: -1 to Keep Them Busy, Get Away, and Finish Them
Lucia Keep Them Busy +depair +clumsy 7-9
Lucia Sting Like A Bee: steal something small without being noticed.
Lucia steals the keycard from the Shield Commander! The Recycling Swarm breaks through her robot disguise.
Lucia Quiet! Don’t Move: duck aside and avoid notice
Lucia drops to the ground and the pieces of the robot shell fall on top of her, shielding her from the eyes of the robots. She’s undetected, but unable to retreat! Dryden pulls another gadget from behind his cloak: a mirage with substance. Back in the Forgotten Lands, he found a certain kind of pond scum. When he rubs it on his fingers and then throws it, it takes the shape of what it touched last, like a simulacram.
Dryden Prank Weapon: Keep Them Busy 10+ distract Warrior Droids
The Warrrior Droids see a figure like Dryden appear at the far side of the room and rush to attack it. Lucia considers carrying the remains of her robot shell on her back as she flees ot the elevator, to use it as a shield. That would make her Clumsy, and the shell still has a Recycling Swarm eating it, so she’d have Despair as well. She ditches the robot shell and runs for the elevator.
Lucia Get Away 10+ avoid harm, avoid attention
She reaches the elevator and jumps into the Fire Droid shell that Averiela vacated. The Shield Commander sees and attempts to rally its troops, but the Fellowship closes the elevator door and presses the blue button. They are on the first floor and no enemies are pursuing them right now. Dryden and Lucia have lost their robot disguises. The keycard that Lucia stole is inscribed with a picture of an octohedron, more complicated than a cube, so probably better access. They go back to the Repair Bay for more disguises. There are no more Warrior Droids in the Repair Bay, so Lucia and Dryden take Enforcer Droid shells. Dryden also grabs two Flying Eyes. They are about he size of baseballs with their wings folded.
Back in the elevator, the Fellowship pluts the octohedron keycard into the slot. Blue button. Sad beep. Red button. Happy beep. Red button. Happy beep. Red button Angry beep. They have access to a third level.
They open the north door and enter another control room. Windows on the east wall overlook a large circular room. In the center of the room, a ceramic pillar rises from floor to ceiling. The pillar is surrounded by six large tanks, with pipes coming from the ceiling into the tanks, then from the tanks into the pillar. An opening in the pillar at floor level glows brightly. Averiela and Lucia inspect the controls.
Averiela Look Closely (+hope, Lucia aid) 10+
What do my senses tell me?
Pipes leading from the room with the Recycling Swarms feed these tanks, probably with fuel, and the tanks feed into the ceramic pillar. Since this is a powerplant, and there’s a bright glow from the opening in the pillar, the pillar is probably a combustion chamber, turning that fuel into energy.
Tell me about the controls.
There are levers to shut off the flow of fuel into the tanks, shut off the flow from the tanks to the combustion chamber, and to shut off the flow of energy from the combustion chamber.
What is hidden or out of place?
Clearly there’s a combustion chamber in the next room being fed by a lot of fuel, making a very hot fire. But most powerplants will spin turbines to generate electricity, or have driveshafts, or some other way of taking all the energy released and harnessing it. There’s no sign of such a mechanism here.
The Fellowship discuss their options. They could deactivate the powerplant. That might turn off all the killer robots above. They could also check all the other exits from the elevator. They don’t want to split up to check the other rooms because they don’t have long-range comms to stay informed.
Averiela: Dryden, work on that.
Dryden: I’ve made some progress with a system of very long strings. See, if you hold this up to your ear…
They decide to work with what they have and all pile into the elevator. There’s a wall to the south and to the west. They know the powerplant is to the east, and that seems dangerous. They return to the control center and carefully shut down the powerplant. First they shut off the flow of fuel into the tanks. Status lights update, but looking through the window does not reveal any immediate change from the powerplant. Next they shut off the flow from the tanks to the combustion chamber. The glow from the opening in the pillar fades and disappears. Finally they shut off the flow of energy from the combustion chamber. Again, no obvious change in the powerplant.
They etner the elevator, press the green button to rotate the doors, then enter the powerplant. The air is cool. The opening in the ceramic pillar is covered by a Magical Barrier.
Impenetrable (can’t be damaged)
Some Shall Pass (certain things/people are allowed through)
Dryden test the barrier by throwing a Flying Eye at it. The Flying Eye goes right through the Magical Barrier. Averiela in the Fire Droid disguise tries to enter. She passes through the Magical Barrier into the ceramic cylinder.
Fireproof (immune to heat & fire)
High Radiation (extreme heat. Pay a Price to enter or make a move)
Averiela doesn’t notice the heat. She looks around inside the pilalr and sees the pipes from the tanks leading into this chamber. There’s a floor for her to walk on, and a ceiling at the top of the pillar. Only entrances. No exits. She kicks a pile of unburned sludge and finds a piece of Lucia’s lunch. The Recycling Swarms separate fuel from the garbage (and droids) they disassemble and send it to this powerplant. Dryden enters the combustion chamber in his Enforcer Droid disguise. It’s so hot in here! He drops his second Flying Eye and retreats.
Lucia doesn’t understand how this powerplant works, and examines everything one more time.
Lucia Look Closely 10+
GM note: This was just a problem of me not describing the situation properly. There was indeed a path for the energy to exit the combustion chamber. It went down, but, the lever that shut off the flow of energy closed that exit. The floor of the combustion chamber was a moveable piece of machinery.
Now that the Fellowship understands how the room works, they return to the control center and open the exit from the combustion chamber. They return to the powerplant and Averiela enters the chamber again. There’s a big hole through the floor to the ceiling of a room below. That room is about 20 feet tall, and there’s a large ceramic bowl on the floor of that room. The diameter of the bowl matches the diameter of the hole above. In the center of that bowl floats a strange artifact: the Artifact of Power that the Fellowship seeks! It looks like unnumerable windows, overlapping and shifting. There’s also a creature in the lower room, leaning over the edge of the bowl and looking up at Averiela.
The Robot (does not eat, sleep, or breathe)
Just Like You (copies the Construct player character)
Wrist blades (Melee, Piercing)
Talisman of Calling
Teleportation (1 use)
Iron Heart (damage as Hard Cuts)
GM note:Fortunately for you, he has no ranged weapons. Oh, wait, he can teleport.
The Rogue Construct teleports up next to Averiela and demands to know why she is there and why the powerplant is turned off.
Averiela: Command came down from above. Fudnign has been reallocated. We’re relocating this entire facility. Can you help us prepare the energy source for transport?
GM note:Usually Averiela would trigger Talk Sense, but Rogue Construct already knows she’s lying. First, it’s not like the other robots. It’s smarter, so Averiela’s disguise isn’t as convincing. More importantly, with the power plant offline, no robot in Thaumatown has power! Any robot still moving must be a fake!
Rogue Construct: How are you still moving when the power’s off?
Rogue Construct tears the Fire Droid shell open, revealing Averiela within. She’s exposed to the intense heat of the combustion chamber!
Averiela damages Wisdom
Averiela tries to flee, but the Magical Barrier stops her! Only robots are allowed to pass through.
GM note:Twice in a row that I didn’t let Averiela’s player roll. Ouch!
Averiela quickly changes direction and dives through the hole to the chamber below. The Rogue Construct follows her down. Lucia and Dryden rush to her aid, braving the intense heat in the combustion chamber.
Dryden pays a price by spending 1 Food
Lucia pays a price by damaging her Forgotten Lands power to detect evil
To avoid the big drop, Dryden fires his Ranged Rope from one side fo the hole to he other side of the bowl, so they can slide down at an angle.
Rogue Construct, Averiela, Dryden (in Enforcer Droid disguise), and Lucia (in Enforcer Droid disguise) are all in the final room of the facility with the Artifact of Power that is everyone’s goal!
GM note:We ran out of time and had to stop here! So close to the end! I designed this facility to be really dangerous. Someone could have fallen through the chute from the repair bay into the Recycling Swarms, then again into the power plant fuel tanks. The facility is full of dangerous robots that are hard to kill. More are being built. The Fellowship didn’t directly attack any of the robots, and turned off most of the dangerous machines. Leaving the powerplant operational and taking the Artifact, or shutting down the powerplant incorrectly, could have blown up the whole facility. But my players took the safe and clever option at every step and are near their goal after taking only 1 point of damage!
The party: Buckle the Beast/Heart of Earth, Stella the Halfling/Hunter
Last time, the Sea Viper (ruler of Vieport) assumed Stella would turn in Buckle for a bounty, but the team violently demonstrated that they value friendship over money.
No enemies remain on the burning rooftop terrace. Theona is barely standing, and is no longer a Companion. Stella and Buckle have a damaged Siege Tank, but the rest of their Companions…
…are still climbing the pillars outside the palace, trying to reach their leaders on the roof. A group of Eel Naga guards are below them, threatening them. The group of Eel Naga guards that Buckle left inside the palace are about to come out and join their comrades.
Neither Stella nor Buckle can swim. The Sea King escaped, and surely the entire city will soon be after them for attempted regicide. They need an escape route right now. Buckle considers driving the Siege Tank off the roof, but the drop will damage its only remaining stat. Stella considers getting help from the beluga whales that carry cargo at the docks, but the Siege Tank is as big as a beluga whale. Just one whale won’t be able to carry the tank.
Stella Queen of the Wild: every beast she meets is a Compantion
Stella Speak Softly “whales, carry our tank away!” 7-9
GM note: Stella doesn’t have to convince the whales to help. The roll determines how much trouble the whales have getting in position to help.
A team of Beluga whales is pulling a raft nearby, and when they hear Stella’s call, they turn towards the palace. Their Merfolk drivers try to steer them back on coruse, but the whales buck to throw them off. The raft can hold the Siege Tank, but the whales need a little time to get to the palace. On the other side of the palace, Naga Eel guards wrap themselves around the pillars and spiral upwards to attack the companions stnading on top. Buckle can’t use his Dragonfire at long range, so he takes a running leap from the roof of the palace…
Buckle Get Away 7-9 avoid harm
…and lands in the shallow water at the base of the pilars, right among the Naga Eel guards. His superheated body causes a burst of steam, which he empowered with Dragonfire..
Buckle Dragonfire: vaporize Group of Naga Eels
When a Group is destroyed, replace it with two members
…into a burning mushroom cloud! When the cloud clears, only two Naga Eels guards are left, who ignore the pillars and turn to attack Buckle. Stella watches from the roof. She can’t bring the tank to bear, but her Companions are right there.
Stella: Gus, release the garlic powder!
Gus uses Special Ingredients to create advantage against Naga Eel.
Gus retrieves a satchel of garlic powder and shakes it out over one of the Naga Eel guards. Garlic irritates snakes, so the guard starts spitting and coughing. Buckle attacks the distracted guard with his venomous spurs.
Buckle Finish Them (advantage: distraction from Gus) 10+
The guard only feels a pinprink, but that’s enough to deliver the venom, and he’s Taken Out. The other guard bites Buckle with his horrible needle-sharp teeth.
Naga Eel Needlepoint Teeth: necrotic damage to Buckle’s Courage
Buckle was feeling invincible up to now, having killed over twenty people in the last few minutes. He realizes that he can still be hurt!
On the other side fo the palace, the team of Belugas have thrown their drivers in the water and lined up so Stella can drive the tank off the edge and onto the raft. Theona sees an opportunity to escape and pushes herself towards the edge! Stella throws both throttles forward and races Theona.
Stella Get Away 6-
Don’t forget, Theona is a 16-foot-tall Ogre. As she and the tank reach the burning guardrail at the edge of the terrace, she shoves the tank asides and leaps through the flames! It looks like she’ll land on the raft with an action roll to break her fall, but instead she crumples and faceplants. The exertion and the flames were too much for her. Stella finds herself in the water in a very metallic, very heavy vehicle designed for land! She’ll soon sink! She quickly looks around the tank’s control panel and hits a tiny yellow button on the left side that she had not noticed before.
Siege Tank Secret Weapon: amphibious mode.
The bottom of the tank forms into a waterproof hull, and it’s able to slowly motor through the water. Stella is away!
Buckle panics and runs parallel to shore through shallow water, leaving a trail of steam. Stella yells for everyone to go to the Adventurers’ Club. The crowd of Companions drop down from the pillars and everyone flees towards the Adventurer’s Club, with only one Naga Eel guard trying to stop them.
GM note:Fleeing the scene with enemies nearby gave me a great excuse to start the next scene with a problem. I asked the players to pick which of their Companions were missing at the beginning of the next scene.
Stella drives the Siege Tank onto shore next to the Adventurers’ Club. Buckle is hiding under the porch, but the smoke rising from him reveals his position. A headcount of their numerous companions reveals that Hamfast is missing! Two figures appear on the roof of the buidling opposite the Adventurers’ Club. Hamfast as been captured by The Exterminator!
The Exterminator beckons to Stella and Buckle, then drags Hamfast back out of sight. They will have to breach the building and face The Exterminator’s traps to extract their new companion.
GM note:We brainstormed what building The Exterminator used as their lair. Often adventurers gather in shady taverns, narrow alleys, or warehouses, but the Adventurers’ Club is a legitimate, reputable organization, so it’s in a nice part of town. It’s next to a the club house of a golf course. Specificity helps creativity!
Buckle is still in shock from the previous battle. Stella considers a multi-pronged attack agains The Exterminator, but needs to scout the area to know how to proceed. She walks around the building looking for entrances. There’s a service entrance on the side, and an employee is leaning against the wall taking a smoke break.
Talk for Days
Stella: Buckle, are you back with us? Are you ready to do something? Go in the front and see what’s there.
Buckle shuffles off and Stella approaches the Chatty Caddie. Her plan is to set a pit trap at the rear entrance to catch The Exterminator if they flee that way, but she doesn’t want actual golfers to be caught and injured. She asks the Caddie if she can slip in through the service entrance.
Stella Talk Sense (+sense) 7-9 owe a favor
Caddie: OK, but tell me a secret.
Stella: Any secret?
Caddie: A juicy secret! If you sleep with a teddy bear, I don’t care.
Stella: I can’t swim!
Caddie stifles a laugh as he lets her in the service entrance. He’s totally going to leak that secret.
Buckle walks in the front door and enters a nice lounge with high ceilings, big windows, and tables and chairs spread around. In the corner, there’s a woman in chrome armor with long, curly, bubblegum pink hair. She’s deep into her third bottle, and slowly turns to look at Buckle with a look of exhaustion and despair.
Lady Elizabeth Eleanor Eadwynn: I can’t deal with this right now.
She turns away and leans her head on her hand, blocking Buckle from her view. Buckle ignores her and walks up to the counter, which is staffed by a bored-looking teenage girl who clearly thinks that golf and people who like golf are exceedingly boring and uncool.
Buckle asks if she’s seen The Exterminator today. She can’t be bothered to remember the losers who come in here, so she pushes the sign-in book across the counter to him. He picks it up and it bursts into flames! Before the pages blacken compeltely he does see “The Exterminator” but the other columns, no doubt filled with useful information, are illegible. He drops the book and stomps on it to put out the flames, but his super-heated feet only burn the book faster! Surly Worker’s eyes, emphasized by enthusiasticly but unexpertedly applied eyeliner, go wide. She reaches over the counter and dumps her drink on the remains of the book. She goes into the back room to get another book.
Unsupervised, Buckle slips past the counter and explores the back of the clubhouse. There are locker rooms, showers, and a sauna. He surprises a few golfers. Stella is also inside the building. She finds an “out of order” sign and posts it on the back door, then places a pit trap outside of it.
They’re explored the ground storey, so they move on to the upper storey. Buckle brings Ugg (a Goblin with robotic arms) to the elevator. It’s a fully enclosed box, and just has a lever to select ground storey or upper storey. Buckle flips the lever up, and poison gas floods the elevator! The Exterminator anticipated this move and set a trap! Buckle pulls the lever back down, but the gas doesn’t stop. They need to get out of the elevator.
Buckle Get Away 10+ avoid harm, bring Ugg along
Ugg boosts Buckle up and Buckle opens the service hatch that’s in the roof of all elevator cars. He climbs on top of the elevator, then reaches down to pull Ugg up after him. At the top of the shaft, the doors to the upper storey are slightly open and The Exterminator is looking down. They grunt and pulls back, closing the doors. Impressed but not surprised.
Meanwhile, Stella has ridden Silk (her Riding Spider) up to the roof. There are three skylights, one open. She opens the other two (to maximize the dispersion of any poison gas that may be released soon) and quietly drops down into the storage room.
Stella Get Away 10+ avoid notice, avoid harm
The Exterminator is on one end of the room, looking at the elevator doors. On the other side of the room, sitting on a big bin of galf balls, Hamfast is concentrating on a strange device that he’s holding in both hands. Buckle and Ugg climb the emergency ladder inside the elevator shaft, and Buckle starts heating the elevator door to break through. Exterminator prepares their poison gas dispenser. Big tanks of poison gas on their back are connected through a hose to nozzle shaped like old-timey bug spray dispensers: a cone-tipped cylinder with a short cylinder mounted perpendicular under the main cylinder. They will ambush Buckle as soon as he emerges.
Stella Queen of the Wild: Command Lore about the wild beast in a location
The storage room is an attic, so there are bats nesting in the rafters. Buckle tells Ugg to go back down the ladder, then he bursts through the elevator door
Stella Queen of the Wild: all Beast are her companions
Bats harry and distract The Exterminator
Stella sends her bat minions to swarm The Exterminator, preventing them from executing their ambush. Stella and Buckle rush at The Exterminator from both sides!
Buckle Finish Them (+sense, knock out) advantage: bat distraction (+hope, assistance from Stella) 10+
Buckle jumps up on The Exterminator and jams his flippers into the gap between their helmet and armor. He levers the helmet off, revealing The Exterminator’s face! Stella disconnects the hose from the back of the nozzle and jams the loose end, which is spewing poison gas, into The Exterminator’s face. They quickly succumb to the noxious gases and collapse. Buckle reaches out to the end of the hose and ignites the gas as it sprays out. The gas burns as soon as it exits the hose, so the room isn’t filled with poison gas. Disposing of the gas this way is safer than igniting backpacks full of pressurized gas, which would probably blow up the whole room.
Hamfast: Help! It’s going to go off! I can’t keep holding it!
They rush to their captured friend. The device he is holding is actually two pieces that must be held in precise alignment, or it will go off, flooding the room with poison gas. (The Exterminator has a THEME, and they stick to it.) They consider throwing it out of the open skylights, but throwing will set it off. They decide to use the elevator shaft. Buckle does remember to bring Ugg out first. He carries the device to the hole in the door, drops it in, then Stella and Buckle shove a golf cart to block the hole and keep the gas out fo the room.
Buckle Overcome (+hope assistance from Stella)10+
It works! They shove the golf cart forward, then sink to the floor in relief. Tiny harmless wisps of gas leak through gaps around the golf cart. Buckle looks over and sees The Exterminator’s gas-proof helmet lying on the floor and realizes he could have stuck the device under that. It would have been a lot simpler.
GM note:We wrapped up the session here and the players asked if they could just say that they left the city after this. I denied their request. They almost killed the king, and all the exits from the city are dangerous. Water on one side, electric barriers and angry ghosts on the other. Getting out will be an adventure!
GM note:The party went to the Adventurer’s Club to be safe because they are members & can get food and shelter here. But the Adventurers’ Club is full of powerful mercenaries doing whatever jobs are posted. Of course there’s a bounty out on them now that they attacked the Sea Viper and burned his palace! They were already attacked by an Adventurer on their first visit. Yet they didn’t expect The Exterminator (the other Adventurer in town) to attack them this time.
The party: Dryden of Conwall the Collector/Hunter, Averiela the Elf, Lucia the Brave the Heir
Last time, the party found the city of Thaumatown in chaos. The streets were choked with hapless citizens, trying to follow impossible commands from hordes of Enforcer Droids. The Droids led the party to the leader of the city, who is long dead!
Knows Too Much, White Sand, and Roddy stayed outside the city, since they don’t like crowds or cities. Dryden, Averiela, Lucia, Will, and Mara are in the study at the top of the wizard’s tower.
Averiela looks around the wizard’s study. The books and scrolls on shelves and tables all over the room are destroyed by water damage. The body of the wizard has been dead for some time, and the knife that apparenlty killed him has a strange design unfamiliar to all present. There’s a wall of screens, half blank, half showing aerial views of crowded city streets. No doubt this is footage from the Flying Eye robots that flit about everywhere. A balcony overlooks the city, facing the Civic Center, a large building in the middle of the city. The doors and windows of the Civic Center are closed with metal shutters. There’s a spiral hole in the roof of the Civic Center, and by walking back and forth on the balcony, Averiela can determine that the spiral hole is aimed at the balcony she’s standing on. Something large moves inside the Civic Center, only visible in glimpses through the spiral hole. Averiela also notices a short, rotund man trying to sneak through the crowds. He’s carrying a ladder and is trying to reach the Civic Center, but Enforcers Droids keep getting in his way.
The group wonders how to reach the Civic Center with the streets in such disarray. Dryden has a harpoon gun, but it can’t reach from the wizard’s tower to the Civic Center. Lucia’s royal brooch convinced the Enforcer Droids to lead her to the city’s leader (sadly deceased) but she can’t order them to lead her anywhere else. Averiela wonders about becoming the leader of the town. Then the Enforcer Droids would have to let her pass.
Averiela Elder Art: Camouflage: she and her friends turn invisible
Averiela camouflages the group and they start moving towards the Civic Center. The Enforcer Droids don’t notice them, and thus don’t order them around, but they have to push through crowds of harried townsfolk who can’t see them to avoid them. It’s no fun!
Dryden Ranged Rope to rooftops
Dryden fires his ranged rope to the rooftops and everyone climbs up. The streets are narrow and the buildings lean out over them, so the group can hop from roof to roof almost to the Civic Center. The Civic Center is in the middle of a plaza, so no roofs overhand it. Most Enforcer Droids are giving nonsense orders, but a few Enforcer Droids close to the Civic Center seem to be cooperating and working towards a goal of keeping everyone away from the building.
Walter, the short, rotund man that Averiela spotted from the balcony, is trying to infiltrate the building. He runs across the plaza and ducks behind a stack of crates to hide while a pair of Enforcer Droids pass. They don’t notice the ladder sticking up above the crates. When they are gone, Walter leans the ladder against the wall and climbs up to fiddle with a window. The metal shutter gives him some trouble, and the next pair of patrolling Enforcer Droids spot him.
Enforcer Droid: Citizen, you have violated Civil Codes by entering a restricted area and littering. Leave at once.
One Enforcer Droid picks up the ladder and carries it away from the Civic Center. Walter wobbles and clings to the top rung. The Enforcer Droid puts the ladder down right on the line where the tiles of the plaza change to the cobblestones of a street, turns around, and resumes its patrol. Its jurisdiction covers the Civic Center plaza and not an inch beyond. Walter flails and tries to keep his balance on top of the precariously balanced ladder! Lucia reaches down from the edge of the roof to grab Walter
Lucia Overcome 7-9 temporary solution
She does grab his hand, but he unintentionally drags her mostly off the roof. Her feet hook on the gutter right at the edge. Lucia, Walter, and the ladder are now three links in an unstable chain. Dryden leaps into action. He aims his harpoon gun between two rungs of the ladder. The taut harpoon line should prevent the ladder from falling, so Lucia and Walter can climb down.
Dryden Overcome 6-
Dryden’s aim is off! The harpoon hits the ladder, knocking it out from under Walter. Walter and Lucia tumble to the ground!
Lucia damage Armor
Instead of thanking his rescuers (did they actually rescue him?) Walter immediately starts telling them how they should have done it.
Lucia Speak Softly 7-9 3 questions, 1 answer the hard way
Walter explains that the Civic Center went into Lockown on the day of the Wizard Battle, a little over a month ago. He’s trying to enter and regain control of the city’s Droids. It’s his duty, since he was elected according to Allan a Zham’s instructions, when the wizard left the city after winning the Wizard Battle. Allan a Zham said that the people were qualified to lead themselves and should elect representatives, and Walter was duly elected leader of the Council! (He’s very proud of this position) Lucia offers to help him, and he recommends that she & her friends run interference for him. If he had more time, he could pick the lock on the window and get inside. He shows the tools he’s gathered for the task: a railroad nail, a fork, and bit of metal filigree. He picks up the ladder, and sees that the harpoon has broken one of the side rails. The other side rail is already patched with a section of 2×4. Walter grumbles. He’ll have to get another one from Ruby. Goods are so expensive now, since transport is thoroughly disrupted by the Enforcer Droids. He wanders off with the broken ladder.
Lucia climbs up the harpoon rope to rejoin the others on the roof. Now it’s clear that two pairs of Enforcer Droids are circling the plaza to find and remove anyone geting close to the Civic Center. Dryden winds up the harpoon cable, then fires his ranged rope from the roof to the roof of the Civic Center. The end of the rope ties itself around the railing on the catwalk spiraling up the clock tower that rising above the Civic Center.
Averiela easily walks across the rope, but the others climb hand over hand with their knees hooked over the rope. Dryden peers through the spiral hole in the roof. Inside there’s a large open area. The roof is about 20 feet above the floor. Slowly stomping around inside is a 10-foot tall robot, roughly humanoid, but covered in thick armor plates.
Tough As Nails
Threat To The World
Averiela: Do we want to destroy it or rewire it?
Lucia: I’m worried about having robots in charge! If we fix them now, will they go bad again later?
They’re not even sure how to make the robots behave properly, or turn them off, or whatever it is they are trying to accomplish. The Civic Center is the most likely place to find a control center. Maybe the control center is inside that Guardian Robot! So they need to get inside the building. Dryden approaches the shutter covering a skylight.
Dryden: Back in the day, I had lockpicks, but they melted! Or I read about someone’s lockpicks melting. I have pen pals.
Dryden needed lockpicks for various activities in his youth, so he trained worms of the forest. He pulls a small box from behind his cloak. The box is full of dirt, but worms emerge and slither into the lock. It unlocks with a click, and the worms return to their box. Dryden rewards them with rare basalt from a small pouch of treats. He heaves the skylight open. The Sentry Robot hears the noise, sees the light pouring in, and slowly turns its bulky frame to to look up at the skylight.
Sentry Droid: Warning: unauthorized activity. This is a restricted area.
Exploring the Civic Center quietly is no longer an option, but the Sentry Droid can’t easily reach them up here in the roof. They consider their options.
Dryden: I have an arm signal for Roddy.
Dryden demonstrates the signal. In the plaza below, the nearest Enforcer Droid explodes! One second later, the sound of a giant cork reaches them. The signal works! Roddy is watching! A few Flying Eye turn and fly towards the sound.
GM note: While discussing how to handle the Sentry Droid with teamwork, the players realized they forgot to add bonds when Averiela joined the party. They wrote some bonds right now based on past interactions.
Drdyen is ready to zoom in with his Flying Device to create an opening for Averiela, but she’s invisible. The Sentry Droid won’t see her attack coming.
Averiela Pay a Price to face a Threat To The World: spend extra ammo
Averiela Enemy At The Gates: can Finish Them with Grace when hidden
Averiela Finish Them +Grace 10+
Averiela Enemy At The Gates: on a 10+ remain hidden
Moving with the superhuman speed of the Elves, Averiela leans into the skylight and fires three arrows that all hit the Sentry Droid in the neck, weakening it. She fires a final, bigger arrow right between the chest armor and the ‘helmet’ cutting the Sentry Droid’s head off! The Sentry Droid slows and collapses, making a low buzzing noise. Averiela, Lucia and Dryden, crowding together to peer in the skylight, erupt in celebration! Dryden gives the arm signal again! Another Enforcer Droid explodes!
Sentry Droid Big Fish: When the Boss is angered, increase the Response Level
Thaumatown Response Level 3: Show Of Force. Boss gets one Hard Cut to spend at any time.
The buzz from the Sentry Droid rises in pitch and volume to become a hum, then a voice!
Sentry Droid Tough As Nails: first time this creature would be damaged or destroyed, damage this stat instead
Sentry Droid: Critical Damage. Switching to backup systems.
The armor plates on the chest move forward, then slide apart, revealing a hidden glowing eye. The Sentry Droid stands up, grabs a desk, and hurls it at the skylight!
GM note: I told them what Tough As Nails did before they engaged, but I still let them describe their victory and celebrate before snatching it back. Two great moments in a row.
Lucia Get Away (+hope Averiela’a aid) 7-9 avoid harm
Lucia and Averiela dive into the skylight, rolling on impact to avoid injury. Dryden jumps first, then goes for his flying disk to avoid hitting the floor.
Dryden Curious Curios Overcharge Flying Disk: fly for the whole scene
Dryden Get Away 10+ avoid harm, avoid notice
The only intruder the Sentry Droid can see is Lucia, so it turns on her. One of its arm is articulated like a human’s, so it can pick up and throw objects like a desk. The other arm is a piston forged in the shape of an outstretched hand making a “stop” gesture.
GM note:Like Cherno Alpha from Pacific Rim. The piston addsto the punching action. You haven’t seen Pacific Rim? Oh.
Lucia identifies this powerful creature as the Boss of the Location, so she attempts to receive Royal Treatment by showing her Symbol Of Royalty.
Lucia Keep Them Busy 6-
Unfortunately, the Sentry Droid’s programming is not sophisticated enough to include hospitality, so it steps in and fires its piston arm at Lucia.
Sentry Droid Begone: attempt to eject enemy when dealing damage
Will Look Out! Take harm in Lucia’s place
Lucia’s loyal bodyguard interposes himself and takes the blow meant for Lucia! He’s knocked across the room and would have tumbled into the hall, except for the metal shutter blocking the door. He’s still conscious, but disoriented.
Dryden thinks about Hoth. Perhaps a small flying creature could wrap a rope about a big armrored machine to disable it. Averiela throws a water bottle to Dryden and tells him to dump it into the exposed circuits in the Sentry Droid’s neck. That should short-circuit the giant robot. He does so, and Averiela fires again, but misses.
GM note:My notes are a bit messy here. Dryden probably used Keep Them Busy, so Averiela’s Finish Them attempt Triggered both Pack Hunter and Enemy At The Gates, but still rolled 6-. That breaks her camouflage.
While the Sentry Droid is distracted, Lucia ducks behind a bench and draws her throwing knives.
Lucia Pay a Price to act against Threat To The World: +1 ammo
Lucia Finish Them (+sense) advantage: strike from hiding. 7-9
Sentry Droid’s Begone! is damaged
Lucia’s knives strike true! In response, the Sentry Droid disables safety protocols and engages Desperation Mode! It doesn’t want to remove them from its area. It wants to kill them!
Sentry Droid Show Of Force: Deal Damage
The Sentry Droid’s piston arm slaps Averiela into a wall and it rushes upon her with a sudden burst of speed!
Averiela spends 1 use of Armor
Averiela uses all her Elven agility to avoid the Sentry Droid’s powerful blows, nimbly leaping on its hands and arms as it pummels the wall and floor into rubble.
Averiela Touch The World Lightly: you can safely walk on top of held weaponry.
Averiela Keep Them Busy 7-9
Lucia throws Dryden a water bottle so he can try to short circuit the Sentry Droid again.
Lucia spends 1 use of Food
Dryden Finish Them (+sense) advantage: Averiela Keeps Them Busy. +despair 7-9
Sentry Droid’s Mostly Immobile is damaged
Sentry Droid: Systems failing. Return to maintenance facility for urgent repair.
It turns away from Averiela, walks to a door, lifts the heavy metal roller door with one arm and leaves the lobby. Lucia dives under the door as it falls back into place, pursuing the Sentry Droid.
Lucia Get Away (+despair) 7-9
GM note:Lucia’s Strike True move lets her inflict Pinned Down on an enemy so it can’t move for the rest of the scene. But the scene is about to end, since the fight is over. We decided that a ficitionally similar benefit would be to delay the Sentry Droid’s repairs, giving the team plenty of time in the Civic Center to find how the robots are controlled.
The Sentry Droid moves through the halls and tunnels of the Civic Center, single-mindedly trying to reach the repair facility somewhere deep below. Lucia follows, striking with her beautiful blade. She probes for anywhere her blade can get past the Sentry Droid’s thick armor. The eye. The knee. Finally, the Snetry Droid shudders to a halt.
This juggernaut has backup systems on backup systems. A panel opens on its shoulder, revealing a a small alunch tube. A Flying Eye launches out, straight into the ceiling! The tunnels are scarcely bigger than the Sentry Droid. The Flying Eye clatters to the floor, broken. Elsewhere on the Sentry Droid, a bright red light starts pulsing. Back in the lobby of the Civic Center, Dryden hears a faint repeating alarm tone far above him.
Dryden Workaholic: spend 1 food to heal
Dryden restores his Courage by drinking a special bottle of water. The trick is to gather the water from the top of a waterfall, after it has gone over the edge. Drinking the water reminds Dryden that he had the courage to collect this special drink, so he can be courageous again. Now that he has some time to think, he recalls that Walter said the wizard who used to rule Thaumatown was named Allan a Zham. That’s not the first time Dryden has heard the name. Brainiac, riding a Giant Alligator in the forgotten Dwarven tunnels, said he was sent on a quest by Allan A Zham.
Drdyen prepares to fly up into the clocktower, since the beeping seems to come from the top. The clocktower isn’t built on the roof of the Civic Center. There’s a gap in the ceiling, and the six pillars of the clocktower extend down into the lobby. There’s a also a piston extending from the floor of the lobby right up the center of the clocktower. Unfortunately for Dryden, there’s also a grid of electricity across the clocktower halfway up. Flying straight through that seems bad, so he looks for another way. He uses his third and final Ranged Rope to connect a line from the looby floor to the open skylight. He and Averiela return to the roof and walk up the spiral staircase wrapping around the clock tower. They open a clock face and find the control center! The piston from the floor connects to a fancy chair, allowing it to move from the lobby to this secret control center. The chair is surrounded by panels of status lights, levers and buttons with walls of screens rising above them. Half the screens are blank, but the screens that work show aerial views of Thaumatown beamed back from the Flying Eyes. The control panels have been damaged and repairs. Some wires are ripped loose, and other wires are patched and bypassed. Figuring out how to operate this control system would be difficult even if it was undamaged, but now it’s a huge mess.
Averiela: We could fetch Walter to operate this.
Dryden: I don’t think he knows. We should probably disable the robots.
Averiela Keen Senses: Ask a question about your surroundings
Averiela: How do we turn off the robots from this control panel?
Averiela doesn’t have much experience with electronics, but as she sits in the chair and looks at the mess of wires as a whole, she starts to understand it like the roots of a forest. She connects a wire here, cuts a few there, asks Dryden to translate a few magical runes, then connects a jumper cable to an antenna and presses a button! The screens go black one after the other, and looks out over the city, they can see Flying Eyes fall out of the sky. One drops onto the roof of the clock tower with a surprising thud! Enforcer Droids in the street stop moving. She did it!
Lucia finds her way out of the tunnels below the Civic Center by following the trail of parts from her running battle with the Sentry Droid. She bangs on the heavy metal roller door blocking the door to the lobby. It’s not locked, but it’s just really big and heavy. She has a horse and Averiela has a Unicorn. Maybe the two of them could pull the door open. Maybe Dryden’s Dwarven hammer could smash through the door. Eventually they figure out that none of them are in the lobby, and there’s nothing they need in the tower. Lucia walks out the front door. Averiela and Dryden climb down from the roof. They all meet in the plaza.
Walter arrives with a brand new ladder!
Walter: Great luck! No Enforcer Droids about. Looks like you cleared the way for me!
Lucia’s not sure if he’s actually the elected leader of the town, but she knows how to find out. She presents her Symbol Of Royalty.
Walter: Oh my! You deserve Royal Treatment!
Lucia Royal Treatment: the ruler of a place will offer a meal and a night’s rest
Walter leads them through the streets (much easier without Enforcer Droids giving random orders at every corner) while explaining that monarchy is an outdated form of government, and Lucia should relinquish her rule. She’s not even present to rule her people! He brings them to a temporary headquarters and proudly presents them to the rest of the elected council!
Walter: Behold, our government’s influence grows! Already with have diplomatic relations with foreign officials!
Everyone chats over dinner
Fill Your Belly: everyone heals one stat
Lucia Speak Softly 10+ ask 3 questions
Tell me about the robots: The robots were created to ensure order and increase efficiency. The great Allan a Zham commissioned a brilliant inventor to create the perfect servants for the people. They started malfunctioning on the day of the wizard battle.
What are you doing next? The provisional government will move into the Civic Center and take power. They are sure they can figure out the robot problem and get them back to helping the city. How hard could it be?
What should I be wary of? Lucia gets the impression that these council members don’t actually know how to govern. They were present when Allan a Zham announced his abdication and told the people that they should rule themselves. What greater endorsement could they hope for?
Dryden Speak Softly 6- ask 3 questions. 1 answer the hard way, 1 answer unhelpful\
Tell me about Allan a Zham. Allan a Zham was a brilliant Wizard who used his powers of foresight to plan ahead and think of everything!
Tell me about the other wizard. Different members of the council tell different stories. Some say there were two troublemakers. Some say four. One was definitely a wizard. Was there a ghost with them? Two women, one with a strange light hovering over her shoulder. No matter who were accomplices were, another Wizard came to cause trouble, just as Allan a Zham predicted. Oh, they had a pink dog.
What would you have us do: You can go. We’re fine. We have everything under control.
GM note: Despite my innacurate description of the events of the wizard battle, the players figured out that another group of player characters came to town and killed Allan a Zham.
The party retires for the night and talks among themselves. Dryden knows that the man he met in the tunnels is the Brianiac who designed and controlled Thaumatown’s robots. Maybe they could go find him. He told them where he was going last time they met. But is he a good guy? Should he have all that power? Lucia wonders if the council would accept Brianiac if he returned. The new government is a bit of a mess. How long do the current representatives serve/ Will they have more elections?
Whether Brianiac returns or if the council figures out the control panel, eventually they could get the robots working again. The party decides that the robots are no good and must be shut down forever. Somewhere below the Civic Center, an Artifact of Power distributes power to all the robots. They resolve to delve into those unknown tunnels and take that Artifact of Power!
End of Session move.
Did you thoroughly explore a new location? Yes
Did you learn more about the world and its people? Yes
Did anyone find what they are looking for? Yes
Restore Gear, Restore Gear, Averiela and Lucia level up.
The party: Dryden of Conwall the Collector/Hunter, Averiela the Elf, Lucia the Brave the Heir
Last time, the party saved the town of Bogden from werewolves. They spent the next week recovering in Bogden
Dryden gains Destiny: Hunter
Party Recovers: remove all marks from health, gear, and spells
The grateful citizens of Bogden offer the party several boons to choose from:
Two Platypeople will join the party as companions
Anter (the vilage elder) will share her wisdom
Shady individuals with certain useful skills will owe them a favor
The party have trouble choosing between these enticing options. Perhaps they should bring Sallet and Sally (the lycanthropes) along with them, so they can deal with their transformation on the next full moon. The Champ thinks the lycanthropes should be killed to protect the rest of the town. Eventually they decide that the greatest treasure is knowledge!
Fellowship move: The Elder. Each character asks one question and receives a truthful answer
Lucia: Who built the Moon?
Anter is 85 years old, so she was not born when the Moon appeared 100 years ago, but she memorized the stories passed down from the Elder before her. The Moon was the Dragons’ greatest weapon, but it didn’t work. Shortly after the Moon appeared, the Dragons disappeared.
Dryden: How can I ensure the two werewolves and the whole community are safe.
Anter: The Champ wants to kill them to protect the community, but they are part of the community, so that will not keep the whole community safe. We could exile them so they don’t attack their fellow townspeople, but since they are part of the community, that does not protect the whole community. We could build cages and contain them on the night of the full moon. The best, but most difficult option, is to cure their lycanthropy.
Averiela: How do we stop the greatest threat to the world?
Anter: That’s the Moon’s purpose. Make the Moon work the way it’s supposed to.
Averiela: We should find the Dragons.
Dryden & Lucia: We know where one is.
Dryden explains the method he uses to cure the werewolves last week. He gives Anter two Healing Potions, but the Unicorn Sword (the other half of the ritual) is spent.
GM note: The Unicorn Sword is not part of Dryden’s gear, so it is not affected by the Recover move.
White Sand uses Holy Horn: restore one charge to Unicorn Sword
White Sand uses Infinite Compassion: restore one charge to Unicorn Sword
Averiela’s live Unicorn shares her power with the Unicorn Sword so that Anter can use it on the next full moon. Anter thanks them for their help, then quickly wraps the Unicorn Sword in a cloth and puts it away. Using the horn of a peaceful creature like a Unicorn as a weapon is an atrocity, and Anter’s really uncomfortable looking at it.
Dryden gains location bond with Bogden: I cured the werewolves in Bogden
Bogden Minimum Response Level increases to 1
Bogden Response Move: Bad Weather: rainstorm
Clouds and rain move in as the party finishes Recovering. The clouds and thick sheets of rain reduce visibility, and the ground turns to mud. The Platypeople love this weather, but it’s inconvenient for adventurers used to dry land. Tammeas the giant turtle loves the rain, but Knows Too Much is cranky.
Before they leave, they write on the Bogden Message board.
Lucia: Anter can be an ally. Watch out for Champ. The mayor will talk you to death (metaphorically) Also Sally and Sallet are werewolves (maybe)
Averiela: Whoa, that might cause prejudice!
Lucia crosses out Also Sally and Sallet are werewolves (maybe)
Dryden: If the full moon possess
And healing occurred,
Your worth she’ll assess,
If you be not deterred.
I have six words to spare!
Averiela: Do Sally and Sallet have Lycanthropy? Help them.
Lucia and Dryden want to find the Dragon in the Goblin city mentioned by Brianiac.
Averiela: Is that really the last Dragon?
Lucia & Dryden (in unison): It’s the only Dragon we know of.
Dryden: We head for Dragons or the edge of the map, where the water flows up! I’m going to insult that Dragon and bait it into fighting me!
Anter gives directions to the twin volcanoes: take the river that flows out of Bogden south until it connects to the Mighty River. From there, walk overland towards the twin volcanoes visible on the southern horizon. The party prefers the secret tunnels, but worries that the rainstorm has flooded them. The tunnel to Bogden has enough water in it to flow toward the main tunnel, as it did before it collapsed.
Dryden & Averiela Fill Their Bellies & assign the extra healing to White Sand
Just before they leave, they remember that Roddy is still in a cell! He does not recognize Lucia’s authority, so she can’t order him to do anything. Dryden tries the diplomatic approach
Dryden Finish Them (Wisdom) Advantage: can’t avoid conversation while imprisoned 10+
Dryden points to White Sand, a live unicorn, and says that Unicorns are noble beasts, but EEE, who adopts the aesthetic of Unicorns by killing them, is evil. Roddy should join the authentic good team. He could be an asset!
Roddy forms bond with Dryden and joins as a Companion
Now they head out for real! They enter the secret underground tunnels and continue south. They approach a fork in the tunnel. Both sides go roughly the same direction, but one has water, and the other does not. Averiela scouts up the dry tunnel and finds a station. These tunnels were a transportation network long ago, and this was a large station with plenty of seating, and a counter that used to provide some amentities, maybe food and drink. All that was long ago, and the stone benches are covered in dust, and all the shelves are empty. Averiela’s keen Elven vision detects a slip of paper dovered in Dwarven runes: a winning ticket for a lottery that hasn’t operated in centuries. She also finds a secret compartment containing an ornate locked box.
Dryden investigates the box: picking it up, spinning it in his hands, knocking on it. The mechanisms remind him of ancient trap techniques he learned from The Trapper. Dryden was a student of The Trapper, but never saw his face. Dryden would go to a certain place for a lesson, trigger a trap, then figure out how to get out of it. The last time he went for a lesson, he didn’t get trapped. Instead of a trap, The Trapper left his scrolls explaining his techniques. That’s how Dryden found out that he had graduated.
Averiela: So can you unlock it?
Dryden: Yes and no. I’ll hold all the moving parts in the correct positions, and you should be able to remove the contents. We don’t want to be in a subterranean position to try thing. The trap collapses in like a vaccuum, and wears off in 6-12 hours.
This station has a spiral stone staircase leading to the surface, like the other stations the party has seen in these tunnels. They push back the covering at the top of the stairs, which turns out to be a curtain of flase grass, hiding the entrance in a meadow. They are just south of the Mighty River, which flows west to east. To the east, rapids coming down from huge white mountains, the Treacherous Mountains that Dryden and Lucia crossed not long ago. To the west, the Mighty River flows on for a long way. To the south, twin volcanoes are visible: one smoking, one dormant. On the north bank of the Mighty River is a town.
Averiela: Let’s open this box far from the entrance, so we don’t affect travel. Also far from the town.
Dryden: The radius of a trap this size is only 50 yards.
Drdyen will operate the puzzle box and put just the right pressure on the hidden mechanism on the bottom. Lucia will open the lid and grab what’s inside. Both must be ready to get ot a safe distance at any moment. Dryden has final instructions for Averiela, who is standing well clear.
Dryden: If we get stuck, wait it out. Throw stuff into the effect to use up its energy faster.
Lucia (+Hope w/Dryden assist) Get Away 10+
Everything goes as well as it could, which means Lucia and Dryden dive aside as the box and nearby landscape collapse into a tiny ball, but Lucia holds the prize in her hand!
DM note:Clearly this treasure of the Dwarves would be Dwarf-Made and Precious, but I had the players roll 2 d6s to select more item tags
It’s a Ceremonial Throwing Axe, used to show authority in Dwarven culture. It’s definitely still a weapon, but aesthetics were more important than efficiency. The handle is made of gold and the axe blade is deep blue crystal, sliced from a geode.
New item: Ceremonial Throwing Axe. Dwarf-Made, Precious, Thrown, Clumsy
The party heads to the nearby town of Thaumatown. Its narrow streets are crowded by tall narrow buildings. It seems claustrophobic, and looking closer only intensifies that impression. The streets are packed full of people rushing every which way. Enforcer Droids bark orders and direct traffic, but each Droid gives contradictory orders, pushing people into endless loops and traffic jams. In the air above, metal eys with buzzing wings watch over everyone.
Roddy, Knows Too Much, and White Sand stay at the edge of town. They don’t like crowds. Dryden shows a secret arm signal that indicates trouble. Roddy can watch for it with the scope of his pneumatic gun. Dryden identifies the Enforcer Droids as a public menace, and wants to figure out how to fix them. Maybe there’s a cool reward! As they try to enter the town, an Enforcer Droid warns that they are violating traffic regulations.
Lucia Symbol Of Royalty: grant an audience with anyone
Lucia demands to meet the ruler of this town. The Enforcer Droid recognizes her royal symbol and starts leading her towards a tower at hte back of town, ordering everyone out of it way. Before long, another Enforcer Droid directs Lucia’s Droid into a dead-end alley, then a third Droid closes the main road so they aren’t allowed to leave the alley.
Lucia Symbol Of Royalty: grant an audience with anyone
Lucia sees how this works and orders every Enforcer Droid that gets near her to take her to its leader. Soon an entire formation of Enforcer Droids are leading her to the tower, leaving a sector of town free from their nonsense orders. Living townsfolk cheer in relief. The Enforcer Droids open the doors at the base fo the tower, and Lucia and Dryden go inside. They climb the stairs and reach a study at the top. A balcony provides a great view of the city below. Bookselves line the walls, and tables are covered in scrolls and parchment. Everything is wrinkled and water-damaged. Most importantly, and most unfortunately, they find the dead body of a Wizard and the knife that must have killed him. This town has no ruler. Hasn’t had one for while, judging by the state of the body.
The party: Buckle the Beast/Heart of Earth, Stella the Halfling/Pack Leader
Last time, Stella and Buckle found the owners of the mine from which Buckle got his special powers. Those powers almost got him kidnapped, but instead Stella impressed the giant kidnapper into joining the team. Theona is an Ogre, the same type of giant that Stella’s people fought (and surrendered to/defeated) in The Giant War back in her homeland. That gave Stella some confidence when facing Theona, since she had defeated Ogres before.
Stella has a to-do list: find the Halfling that lives in Vieport and tell them they can go home, then find Opal Oolite and tell her she can go home, then find out about this Dragon that supposedly lives up north. There aren’t many Halflings in Vieport.
Stella Address Book: find a friend in any town
Her address book indicates that a Halfling lives by the docks. Vieport is an amphibious city, so the shores and the docks are actually in the center of town. There are normal-looking docks for surface-dwellers and their boats, as well as underwater facilities for Merfolk.
Stella Queen Of The Wild: Command Lore about local wildlife
Merfolk use beluga whales to haul cargo. Sometimes bigger whales stop hear, and the shallow bay has canals carved into the sea floor to allow those large whales room to swim. Thesurface docks block the light from the whale facilities, so the whales use echolocation to navigate. Other interesting wildlife near the docks: sea turtles and eels. The eels move in dense schools, head-down to eat small creatures from the sea bed, so they look like mobile clumps of seaweed. The sea turtles are migratory, and when they lay eggs, one egg in every clutch is blue and Precious.
As soon as the group approaches the docks, Buckle dives into the water to catch and eat an eel. The water explodes into steam as soon as his superheated body touches it! He can’t swim because his webbed hands evaporate the water instead of pushing against it. Stella appraises the situation. An Elven ship is moored nearby. The Elves walk back and forth on the surface of the water, unloading packages. At hte bottom of the bay, Merfolk swarm around several Beluga whales. Stella has a plan. If all three Beluga whales swim underneath Buckle and blow from their blowholes, the air pressure will push him back to the surface. But how can show communicate to the Merfolk far below? She asks the Elves how they co-ordinate with their underwater counterparts. The Elves sing beuatiful songs which carry through the water, and agree to relay Stella’s message
Stella Talk Sense (please blow Buckle back to the surface) 6-
The constant steam explosion is so loud underwater that the Merfolk cannot hear the Elven song! Buckle lashes out with his flat tail, paddling faster than the water can evaporate.
Buckle Animal Traits: damage tail to gain Hope
Buckle Overcome (+hope) 10+
Buckle rockets to the surface and collapses on the wooden dock, which starts sizzling. It’s treated wood, and it’s wet, so it won’t burst into flame immediately. The Elves are glad to see that he’s safe, but urge him to get off the dock. Buckle is stunned by his experience.
Only now can Stella start looking for the Halfling, named Hamfast. Hamfast is a Halfling term for vegetarian, since the Halfling fasts from ham. Outsiders often confuse it with Hamfest, a celebration when Halflings eat a lot of ham. A small Halfling face pops up from the water. Hamfast has arrived to see about the commotion.
Stella: Hamfast? What are you doing under the water?
Hamfast (a refugee from the Giant War) sees an Ogre standing right behind his fellow Halfling, yelps in fear, and dives under the water.
Stella: Theona, you need to leave. Don’t go far, just don’t be here.
Stella tells Hamfast that the Ogre is gone and it’s safe, but he’s still hesitant. He invites Stella to his underwater home (the air pocket in the map above) Stella confesses that she never learned to swim.
GM note:We’re in a city that’s half underwater and neither of the characters can go in the water? Incredible! Hilarious!
Hamfast talks her through it and encourages her. She only has to hold her breath a short time. Once inside Hamfast’s home, she doesn’t need to swim anymore.
Hamfast Natural Charm (advantage: talk Stella through swimming)
Stella Get Away (+hope) 6-
Stella is mustering her courage, and has waded in up to her knees, when an Eel Merfolk wearing the uniform of the Sea Viper’s soldiers swims up. He reads from a clay tablet in a loud, formal voice. It’s a summons from the Sea Viper, ruler of this city! Stella and her companion are to go immediately to the palace. Stella has a lot of friends and wonders which ones the Sea Viper wishes to meet. The Herald isn’t sure about the rest, but Buckle definitely. Buckle’s not paying attention. He’s slumped on the floor, heartbroken because he can’t go in the water.
Stella: Did you see the commotion? My friend can’t go underwater, so we can’t meet the Sea Viper in his palace.
Stella Talk Sense (+sense) above-water audience? 7-9
Herald: OK, come with me to the palace entrance and I’ll ask about making accommodations.
Buckle is in a stupor of despair, and doesn’t move. Stella puts on leather gloves and drags Buckle after her by the scruff of his neck. The rest of the party (Theona the Ogre, Ugg the Goblin, Rose & Gus the Halflings, Silk The Riding Spider, and the Siege Tank) follow at a distance.
The rows of columns that lead to the entrance of the Sea Viper’s palace are made of several different materials, made at different times. An old palace stood on land, and the oldest columns on land led towards it. The Sea Viper destroyed the old palace, put his new palace in the water, and reversed the direction of the entryway. The Herald goes inside to make arrangements, leaving Stella and Buckle at the shore.
Stella: Buckle, snap out of it. I need your help.
Buckle: I can’t … I’ll never fish again.
Stella: That’s a lack of creativity. You could get a metal fishing pole.
Buckle: I can never go in water.
Stella: But there’s so much you can do now. Look to the future! You can control fire!
Buckle: Seems more a curse than a blessing.
GM note:The Sea Viper wants to harness Buckle’s Heart Of Earth for his own purposes. Will Buckle just give it to him?
Stella: I promise it will get better with practice.
Buckle. I just wanted to eat. How will I eat?
Stella drags Buckle to the edge of the water.
Stella: Buckle, I need you to trust me. Put your hand in the water when I say.
Buckle: It’ll bubble up again.
Stella Queen Of The Wild. All beasts (including Eels) are her companions & follow her orders
Buckle sticks his hand in the water and it closes around an Eel! The Eel is instantly cooked in his super-heated grasp. Buckle stares, then scarfs it down.
Buckle forges a bond with Stella
A strange person pops his head above the water. He’s Human, lanky, and bald. He’s wearing a wetsuit made of shiny scales, so it shimmers and flashes like a fish as he moves. He’s got a clear full-face mask that lets him breathe underwater, and propellers mounted on his shoulders for speed. He’s fascinated by what he just witnessed. Before they can interact much, the Herald emerges from the palace. The Sea Viper, in his great wisdom benevolence, will allow Stella to meet him on the rooftop terrace. A woman appears on the edge of the roof, a glowing light hovering over her shoulder. She disappears and the glowing light stretches into a bridge from the roof to the ground which Stella, Buckle, the Herald, and the strange bald fellow can walk on.
Sea Viper, boss of Vieport:
Threat To The World
Robin, Lantern, Lead Engineer
Reveal The Way
Emmett, Ghost Expert
Naga Guards x12
The Sea Viper sits on a throne, flanked by advisors. He is an especially large Naga. He keeps growing and nothing has managed to kill him yet, so he’s huge. Two of his advisors are Robin, the Lantern who created the light bridge, and Emmett, the strange man in the wetsuit. He pulled up his flippers and clipped them to his knees so he can walk on land. About a dozen guards line the perimeter.
Stella can change size, up to the size of a good chair, and the Sea Viper’s throne is much bigger than that. Buckle walks around, admiring the plants, tapestries, and woven carpets, careful not to actually touch any of the flammable objects on the terrace. Buckle asks for the bald man’s name.
Emmett: I am Emmett, and I am the Sea Viper’s advisor in matters metaphysical and ectoplasmic.
Sea Viper: Adventurer Stella Muddyfoot, I welcome you to my city of Vieport, and thank you for the service you have rendered to my people. However, I am disappointed that you tarry in turning in the bounty.
Robin: It has so much power! Truly, a boon to the city!
Buckle asks Stella what they are talking about. Stella sees where this is going and needs a moment to think.
Stella Talk Nonsense (lie with a straight face) 10+
Stella: I recognize the power my friend has, but he fused with it because it’s saving his live. We can’t remove it without killing him. I can’t part with him.
Buckle’s eyes get big as he figures out that the Sea Viper expects Stella to claim the bounty on him! He is the Source Of Power that the Sea Viper Wants!
Stella: If I continue adventuring with Buckle, imagine the other Sources Of Power that we could acquire for the Sea Viper!
Stella Talk Nonsense on a 10+, Sting Like A Bee: Steal Useful item
Robin Reveal The Way: when someone Talks Sense, give advice
Robin: Of course we don’t want to harm him. He should stay here and become the heart of a new powerplant. With the extra power, we could push back the Deathlands and double the size of the city!
Buckle: What’s a powerplant?
Robin starts explains how water is heated to create steam, which turns turbines, but Buckle isn’t listening.
Buckle: Is it heavy?
Robin: Oh, no, you don’t carry it. We’ll build a new building and put you inside it.
Buckle: How long will that take?
Robin: We’ll not to turn the powerplant off! This is a permanent position.
Buckle: You’re putting me in prison?!
Stella’s getting angry. Her Hunter Destiny has made her body a bit more bestial, so her ears flatten a little to show her displeasure.
Emmett: This creature’s power is not only heat, but life! I’m sure I could conduct a ritual to cancel the Deathlands’ curse.
Buckle: Banishing death sounds good.
Stella: I’m not convinced that ghosts aren’t people. Maybe they experience life in a bizarre way I don’t understand.
Robin: But that ritual would surely kill him!
Buckle: Can I bring people back to life?
Emmett: I predict that your Life Energy will balance the Death Energy of the Deathlands, returning it a normal state. Undeath to Death.
Buckle: So the ghosts will die?
Emmett: They’re already dead.
Sea Viper: I will consider the options presented in this council and make a decree later. Herald, the bounty!
The Sea Viper is ending the meeting. He expects Stella to leave, and Buckle to stay. Stella has murder in her eyes. Buckle is so important to her, and these people don’t understand, even though she tried to explain. She remains clam on the outside. Herald approaches Stella with a small pirate chest full of gold. Buckle looks at Stella with big sad eyes.
Stella: I won’t let them take you.
Buckle: Want me to set the roof on fire?
Stella is furious that they don’t respect a living being, She feels cold now.
Stella: Burn it to the ground.
Buckle Firestarter: Anything that you had a chance to plant fuel on bursts into flame
Buckle’s glowing eyes stare into the distance. His body glows brighter, white hot. He raises his arms, and every flammable thing on the terrace roof: tapestries, plants, rugs, explodes in flame! (The whole time he was examining the roof earlier, he was secreting flammable venom from his venomous spurs)
Location Response Level increases (insult someone in charge): Vieport gains Show Of Force move
Buckle Finish Them (+Blood) vs. Naga guards. advantage: fire everywhere! 7-9
Group of Naga Guards disbanded, replaced with 2 Naga Guards
Emmett quickly hits a series of angular poses, and a blue sphere of energy surrounds him.
Emmett Backup Plan: Magical Barrier against heat & flame
Outside the palace, Theona sees the smoke rising from the palace and urges the companions to come and help.
Most of the guards are consumed in the explosion or flee. One Naga Guard and Herald rush Buckle. Herald throws the chest of gold at him. The other Naga Guard moves to attack Stella.
Buckle Overcome 6-
Buckle catches the chest, but it’s really heavy. he’s knocked to the ground and pinned. A foolish attempt!
Buckle’s Wisdom is damaged
Stella draw her halfing sword for the first time. She’s not sure if she should fight the Naga Guard, or help Buckle. She worried for him and doesn’t know his power. She decides to rush to his side.
Stella Get Away 6-
The Naga Guard darts out with its strange Eel-like body and clamps its jaws onto Stella, stopping her in place.
Stella’s Wisdom is damaged (necrotic)
Buckle grabs the chest of gold and it catches fire. The gold inside starts to melt. Buckle stands up and projects a blast of intense fire from his chest, blasting molten gold at the Herald like a claymore mine. The Herald is just gone!
Buckle Dragonfire: vaporize anyone or anything except a Threat To The World
The Sea Viper rises up from his throne. He can’t believe the disrespect these adventurers are showing. How dare they behave this way, when he invited them to his home, gave them special accommodations? They could have been heroes of the city, but they betrayed his trust!
Sea Viper Separation: one member of the Fellowship is separated from the others
He pulls a lever hidden in the arm of his throne and a trapdoor opens under Buckle, dropping him into the water-filled chamber below! Another Group of Naga Guards awaits. But he’s still super-heated, so the water explodes into steam and the Naga Guards can’t approach him. He sinks to the bottom and starts walking towards the big doors at the front of the palace.
Outside the palace, the companions have arrived!
Theona Tossed Aside: throw something.
Theona grabs the Siege Tank and throws it up to the roof!
Stella Get Away 10+ avoid harm, avoid notice
Stella uses the confusion to escape the Naga Guard and get inside the Siege Tank. She starts the engine and drives full speed at the Sea Viper!
Sea Viper Show Of Force: damage Siege Tank’s Heavily Armored
Stella Pack Leader: allies’ actions give Hope to Finish Them
Stella Finish Them (+Blood) +Hope, advantage: Siege Tank Spikes and Steel 6-
The Sea Viper bravely faces the onrushing Seige Tank, then slithers aside at the last moent, slashing the treads as he passes. The Siege Tank grinds to a halt, barely holding together. The Sea Viper starts beating on its armored shell, prying plates off to get at Stella!
Down below, Buckle reaches the door and heats it until he can bend a corner and slip through.
Buckle Overcome 7-9
Stella is depsarately looking through her gear as the Sea Viper tears through the wall of the Siege Tank.
Stella useful item: Lantern
When the Sea Viper comes in, she dazzles him by igniting a bright lantern that she stole from Robin earlier. She decides to fight, not flee, and attacks with her sword.
Stella Finish Them (+Courage) advantage: dazzled 7-9
Sea Viper’s Hardened Scales are damaged
She slashes across his chest, breaking through a layer of scales, but his flesh is untouched! He reaches out a powerful hand. Stella tries to duck under it and exit the Siege Tank.
Stella Get Away: 6-
No good! She’s grabbed.
Down on the surface, Buckle meets the companions.
Buckle: Did Stella make it? We have to go get her!
Buckle Overcome 10+
He climbs the columns and leaps from column to column to reach the roof. Theona is big enough to follow easily, but the Goblin and Halfings will need more time.
Back on the roof, the Sea Viper drags Stella out of the tank. The two remaining Naga Guards approach.
Sea Viper: How dare you attack me in my own home. Look at the damage you’ve caused! You are not the first to attack me. All of them failed, just as you have!
He throws her to the ground between the Naga Guards. Meanwhile, Buckle applies War Paint and orders Theona into the fray.
Buckle War Paint Rampage: toss aside enemies within reach
Theona Stronger Than Is Reasonable: pin Sea Viper
Theona pays a price to act against Threat To The World: damage Larger Than Life
Theona Bonds That Break Us: erase a bond with Buckle, since she took damage from his order
Buckle rushes in and tosses the Naga Guards away from Stella. Theona grabs the Sea Viper’s shoulder and tail and spreads her arms wide, stretching the Sea Viper out in a vulnerable and uncomfortable manner!
Buckle Pay A Price to act against Threat To The World: damage Venomous Spurs
Buckle secretes flammable venom on his hands and strikes the Sea Viper. A moment after the impact, the Buckle’s hands explode in flame!
Buckle Finish Them +Blood (advantage: pinned by Theona) 7-9
Sea Viper’s Iron Grip is damaged
GM note: I had to read the rules very carefully, because the Sea Viper, Siege Tank, and Theona all had all stats damaged. Were they Taken Out, or barely standing? Taken Out triggers when all stats are damaged and the character takes damage again, so I ruled that they are barely standing.
GM note: The Taken Out move only applies to player characters. The section on “Threatening the Fellowship” says “An enemy that has had all its stats damaged is destroyed” Oops!
Stella was flat on her back, and heard Buckle rampage past her. She rises and grips her sword.
Buckle: I’ll grab. You stab!
The little Platyperson grapples the much larger but injured Sea Viper. The Sea Viper feels the heat from Buckle’s grip and tries to get away.
Buckle Pay A Price to act against a Threat To The World: damage Webbed Hands
Buckle Keep Them Busy: 10+
Stella: This ends now!
Stella Finish Them (+Blood) 6-
As Stella charges, the Sea Viper slaps her sword aside with the tip of his tail. He wrenches free from Buckle’s grip and dives from the roof to the water below. At some point in the battle, Robin formed a bridge to retreat from the roof. Emmett is still maintaining his Magic Barrier.
Emmett: You can’t hurt me, you monster!
Buckle: You work for that thing, and you call me a monster?
Emmett reconsiders the situation, drops his Magic Barrier, turns on the fans at his shoulders and hips, and dives backwards off the roof into the water below.
The battle is over! Stella and Buckle stand on the burning roof of the palace, in the center of Vieport. The Siege Tank is barely in one piece, and Theona’s badly hurt and has lost faith in their mission. She won’t take orders from them anymore. Fleeing the city seems prudent, but on one side is the ocean, and on the other, electrical fences and beyond that, hordes of ravenous ghosts. How are they going to get out of this one?
END OF SESSION MOVE:
Did we explore a new location: YES, Vieport
Did we learn about the world & its people: YES, Adventurer Club, ghost curse, generators
Did anyone reach their goal: YES Stella is bringing the Oolites home like she wants to bring halfing refugees home.