Chasing the Sunset & Infinite Windows

Chasing the Sunset is a West Marches-style exploration game using Fellowship 2nd Edition‘s Horizon rules.

The fellowship: Dryden of Conwall the Collector/Hunter, Averiela the Elf, Lucia the Brave the Heir/Halfling Sheriff

Last time, the Fellowship left Swallet in arguably better shape than they found it, and sought out the Hidden Library to learn about the Artifact of Power they took from Thaumatown.

GM note: Whenever the teleporter terminal under the Fairy Forest is activated, something unrelated is teleported to the City Junkyard. In action movie tradition, blowing up a high-tech device counts as activating it.  I asked the players if they were willing to be completely derailed by events triggered by other players. For my players, that’s the purest expression of adventuring in an unknown world with other characters, so they agreed.

Averiela, Dryden, and Lucia finish their meal at the rim of the volcano that conceals the Hidden Library. They hear a cracking noise and see puffs of dust on the ground around them. Suddenly, they and a section of the volcano are inside a large dark chamber! The chamber is formed by many buildings of different types and construction all packed together. Even the roof is formed from the walls of two buildings on their sides. It’s quite unstable. These buildings are not meant to be here. Rubble litters the floor. The Artifact of Power hovers in midair in the center of the chamber, and since it’s in Dryden’s backpack, he’s also suspended in midair! Two portals flank the Artifact of Power. One shows a sunny sky, and light from that sky illuminates the chamber. The other portal shows fire and darkness.

Dryden is content to wiggle around in his backpack straps and look around at their new surroundings. Averiela also investigates with her keen Elven senses.

Dryden Look Closely (+hope, Averiela’s assistance) 10+ ask three questions

  • What do my senses tell me?
    • The chamber is definitely unstable. These buildings are all damaged and sections may collapse at the slightest disturbance.  They see movement in the dark corners where the light from the portal does not reach. These are Shadowmaws, creatures who move through shadows, cannot exist in bright light, and eat the living. They also hear a voice from inside one of the buildings, “Travelers? Where are you, Travelers?”
  • Tell me about the portal with fire. How could it hurt or help me?
    • The portal will let them escape this dangerous chamber immediately, but they don’t know where it leads. The danger on the other side may be worse.
  • Tell me about the speaker. What are they doing? What will they do next?
    • A door in the wall of the chamber opens, swinging downwards, because that building is on its side. A figure emerges that looks like a humanoid hastily sculpted from clay. Yet it lives and moves and speaks. It sees the Fellowship and waves, but a Shadowmaw approaches along the outside wall, where the figure can’t see it!

Lucia calls out a warning, and Dryden pulls out the Mirror Shard and bounces sunlight from the portal onto the Shadowmaw.

Dryden Keep Them Busy 10+

The Shadowmaw must flee before the sunlight, allowing the clay figure to run over to the Fellowship and introduces itself as Seeker.

Lucia introduces herself and shows her Symbol of Royalty. She has many questions. Where are we? How did you get here?

Seeker explains that it met Mr. Buckles Traveler (Seeker shrinks and changes shape into a Platyperson) and Stella Traveler (Seeker transforms into a Halfling woman) and they were in Fairy Forest looking for a teleporter, but when they found it, it exploded, and Seeker found itself here.

Lucia Speak Softly 10+

  • What should I be wary of when dealing with Seeker?
    • Seeker seems incredibly naive, so it could easily be tricked, or do something foolish out of ignorance. It can also shapeshift to perfectly imitate anyone it sees! First it forms a basic shape, then fine details, then it changes color to match tthe original.
  • Tell me about the Teleporter.
    • Seeker doesn’t understand how it works, but Marigold and Mr. Buckle Travelers thought it was very important. It was a big red stone pyramid.
  • Tell me about the other side of the door you came through.
    • It has a bunch of metal sticks, like that (Seeker points at Lucia’s sword) and there’s a cozy little ceramic room on one side.

Dryden calls down from from where he hangs in mid-air, asking of Seeker knows anything about Artifacts of Power?

Seeker: Who are you?

Dryden: I’m Dryden of Cornwall, the Mirror-Wielder.

Seeker: Pleased to meet you, Dryden the Mirror-Wielder.

Dryden: The second name is concrete and temporary. The first is more abstract. It was given to me, then I inhabited it myself.

Averiela runs over to the door that Seeker came from to investigate its odd description. Dryden used the Mirror Shard to shine sunlight on her so that Shadowmaws avoid her. She looks in and sees a Blacksmith’s shop on its side. the metal sticks are brooms, hammers, poles, various mundane rools, and not a trove of magical weapons. The ceramic room is a forge, long-cold. The back wall of the shop is stone, not the bricks that form the rest of the shop.  The stone is unnaturally jagged. If Averiela knew about computers, she might think the surface of the stone looks like videocompression glitches.  Averiela ducks into the dark blacksmith shop long enough to grab a lantern so she can create her own light. She considers also grabbing a broom to clean up after Dryden, but decides against it and returns to the Fellowship.

Dryden is trying to figure out how the Artifact of Power works.

Averiela: Remember in the robot factory? Your hand went through the Artifact into another robot, that had a pane of glass from the Artifact. It’s a teleporter.

GM note: The party figured out that the Artifact (named Infinite Windows) connects one place to other places through windows, so I revealed the custom moves to operate Infinite Windows.

Ideas and conjecture flow quickly. Lucia realizes that they can’t use Infinite Windows to escape and take it with them, because it won’t move while any windows are open. Dryden wonders about sending most people through and leaving someone behind to close the window. Averiela can Whisper On The Wind to tell that person where to rendezvous. But who knows how long and dangerous the path would be? Averiela thinks the Teleporter that Seeker saw may have had a pane from Infinite Windows in it. How many other panes are out there, linking them to know knows what bizarre devices? Dryden wonders if the uncontrolled teleportation could happen again.

Dryden: A very useful thing, now that we know what it is!

Averiela: Can we prove we’re on the same planet right now?

Lucia: Seeker is from our world. He knew Platypeople.

Lucia calls Dryden “Light-Wielder” and Seeker is amazed.

Seeker: You can change his name?

The Fellowship decides that they should get out of this chamber through mundane means and see where they are. Averiela wonders if she should get Dryden down, but decides to scout ahead and find a route first. She leaves the safety of the sunshine from the portal and ventures into the tangled of smashed buildings to find the surface, armed with a lantern. She’ll have to deal with Shadowmaws, but the unstable surfaces won’t bother one who is light enough to walk on water.

Averiela Overcome Shadowmaws 7-9

Averiela Pay A Price: Lose Lantern

Averiela Look Closely 10+ ask three questions

  • Tell me about the route to the surface? How could it hurt me or help me?
    • Averiela ducks through doors and windows, from one partial building to another, stepping lightly over unstable rubble and remembering where the safe paths are for the others. Eventually, she opens some shutters on the “ceiling” and light streams through. She’s reached the surface. She sees more buildings strewn about, including a fortress made of coral. A big hole has been drilled through one of the fortress’s walls. From the position of the sun, Averiela determines that she is far to the northwest of the Hidden Library.
  • What is hidden or out of place?
    • One of the structures on the surface is half of a Russian apartment, from Earth, probably built in the 1970s. Of course, Averiela doesn’t know what Russia is.
  • What are the Shadowmaws doing?
    • The Shadowmaws tried to attack Averiela as she moved through the dark interior. She evaded them all, but she did draw them to the route that she intends to lead the Fellowship through, so they will threaten the slower members.

Averiela returns swiftly along the same route, parkouring over obstacles. Around a corner, a Shadowmaw startles her. She rolls away from its jaws but drops her lantern. She keeps running, angry at her self. Imperfection is unacceptable!

Averiela: Should practice more.

She reports to her friends. Are they her friends? She reports to her traveling companions that she found a route through the buildings, and they are on the same planet. Ever cautious, she warns that if dimensional travel is possible, time travel is also possible, so they maybe in a different time. When warning about hte monsters on the way she has trouble remembering their names. Sloth monsters? Night? Stalkers?  “Shadowmaw” does not translate well into Elvish. Dryden wonders how tough these Shadowmaws are. Some still lurk around the edges of the chamber, but htey can’t approach the Fellowship in the beam of sunlight from the portal. Dryden dabs at one of the Shadowmaws and Roddy blasts it with his pneumatic cannon. They aren’t that tough, although in the dark where they can fight back may be a different story.

The two portals must be closed before Infinite Windows can be moved, and that will make the chamber dark, allowing the hungry Shadowmaws to move in. Averiela returns to the blacksmith’s shop to get some coal, so she can make a glowing path for people to follow. She does not have her lantern, and Dryden can’t bounce sunlight inside the shop, so she’ll have to go into darkness and risk the Shadowmaws.

Averiela Overcome 10+

She pauses at the doorway and senses a creature within, She takes a deep breath, then steps into the darkness. She senses the Shadowmaw’s attack and strikes with her Titanium Sword. The Shadowmaw makes a high-pitched scream and retreats. She quickly stuffs some coals from the forge into a bag. She feels horrible breath on the back of her neck and dives away before the second Shadowmaw can strike. She runs back into the chamber and out of danger.

Dryden ponders how he will close the portals, and what he’ll do when Infinite Windows comes loose and they both fall. Perhaps he could land on White Sand, Averiela’s Unicorn. Instead, he ties his Ranged Rope around himself, then orders it to connect to a wooden beam projecting from the ceiling of the chamber. When Infinite Windows drops, he’ll swing on the rope, order the Ranged Rope to release him at the right time, and zoom straight into the path to the surface. If all his calculations are correct.

Averiela lights the coals and lays out a path to the door that leads to the surface. Lucia makes sure each companion has a traveling buddy so no one is left behind. What will Seeker do? Averiela suggests sending it back through the fiery portal where it came from. The Fellowship realizes that Seeker must choose for itself.

Averiela; It’s an important part of your identity to know what you want.

Dryden: We could send you to a lonely volcano. There’s a libr . . . uhh, no one is there. You might enjoy the climate better.

Averiela: Identity is more than a home. It’s a true sense of self.

Dryden: You can journey with us as long as you like.

Seeker decides to come with them.

Dryden is ready go! He grabs the sides of the fiery portal and pulls them together.

Dryden Close Window 10+ window is closing on him!

He quickly moves from one portal to the other.

Dryden Close Window 10+ window is closing on him!

Drdyen Ranged Rope Autonomous: respond to simple verbal commands

Dryden Get Away 7-9 avoid harm

With all portals closed, Infinite Windows is no longer fixed in place. It and Dryden drop, then swing on the rope. Dryden orders the rope to release and he flies forward, rolls through the door and stands up with a flourish!

GM note: In hindsight, Dryden shouldn’t have escaped the closing portal by falling away from it. The portal has to finish closing before Infinite Windows is free to move. Oh well, it was a really cool moment!

Drdyen realizes he’s in a dark room with two Shadowmaws! He spins his bo staff to give himself a bit of space. Drdyen Ranged Rope Autonomous: respond to simple verbal commands

Dryden Get Away 10+ avoid harm

The Ranged Rope is still tied around his waist. He orders it to attach to sometime in the main chamber and it flies to obey, yanking him out of the room as a side-effect. He lands on top of White Sand.

Dryden: The glow of the unicorn’s horn led me to safety!

Now it’s time to move out. Averiela explains the route to everyone. First there’s a room with Shadowmaws, then a tight squeeze that should be fine for most of them, but tough for White Sand, then a chamber of unstable rubble. The lgiht from the line of coals provides some safety in the main chamber, but as soon as they go through the first door, Shadowmaws are waiting, as Dryden discovered. Lucia goes first, sword ready for battle. The Shadowmaws engage, and Lucia runs through, swinging wildly.

Lucia Get Away 10+ avoid harm, bring Dryden along

Dryden follows, swinging his 2-handed Dwarven hammer.

Averiela Camouflage: make an number of allies invisible

Averiela turns everyone else invisible: Seeker, White Sand, Knows Too Much, Roddy, Will, and Mara. They quietly slip past the Shadowmaws. They regroup at the small window. Lucia leads Seeker, Knows too Much, Roddy, Will, and Mara through the window to the next chamber. Averiela and White Sand stay on the near side of the window, and Dryden stays on the far side.  Dryden and Averiela use their weapons to smash the wall around the window so White Sands can fit through.

Dryden Overcome (+hope, Averiela’s aid) 6-

Falling Block Trap: Hidden Trap. When someone must Pay A Price, trigger this trap instead

Falling Block Trap: Pile of Rubble: Nearby characters take 2 damage and are trapped

Dryden sees the wall start to collapse and dives towards it, not away!

Dryden Get Away 10+ avoid harm, bring White Sand along

Drdyen slides along the floor, sticking his Dwarven hammer up vertically to slow the falling debris just a bit. As he comes out on the near side, he kicks White Sand in the nose so he rears back, out of the way fo the falling debris.

Averiela Get Away 7-9 avoid harm

Averiela leaps away elegantly. Now Averiela, Dryden, and White Sand are separated from the rest by a pile of rubble. Lucia and Mara run and start to clear rubble away to dig out their trapped friends. Dryden taps on the rocks.

Dryden: Lucia, I have a trap. Just stand back! Averiela, you and White Sand need to back up pretty far away.

They trust his wacky schemes, so they all move away from the rubble. Dryden pulls out a small black pellet. Dryden acquired this from an old friend who has a telescope that captures small pieces of distant objects. He places the pellet on the rubble and backs up.

Dryden: Don’t get caught. It took quite a while to recover my friend.

In 30 seconds, the pellet melts and reveals a tiny black grain of sand. The entire pile of rubble is sucked into the grain of sand and disappears!

Dryden Explosive Trap: clear or block a doorway

Dryden, Averiela, and White Sand join the rest of the Fellowship in the next room. Lucia recommends collecting objects from every location, so they can use Infinite Windows to return. Dryden scoops up some dirt and considers all the objects he has collected from various locations already. He is a Collector after all.

Now the Fellowship must cross an unstable room to reach the surface. Lucia and Dryden run ahead, leaving their companions behind again. The companions are still camouflaged, but that won’t prevent them from falling through the floor.

Lucia Get Away (+hope, Dryden’s assistance) 7-9 avoid harm

They reach the exit safely. Averiela advises Seeker to spread out into a flat sheet to distribute pressure and avoid collapsing any weak sections in the floor. That will allow the others to step safely over on Seeker and avoid injury. Seeker will save everyone and be a hero!

Averiela Talk Sense (+wisdom, appeal to desire) 6-

Seeker: I think Buckle said something about not letting people walk all over me.

Seeker does spread itself into a thin sheet, but slides over the ground on its own, escaping the dangerous room.

Lucia looks around the surface for ways to help her companions escape

Lucia Look Closely 10+ ask three questions

  • What do my senses tell me?
    • On the surface, she sees piles of buildings smashed together carelessly. The coral fort is the largest building in view, with the hole drilled through the thick wall.
  • Tell me about stuff that could hurt or help me escape the unstable room?
    • Lucia identifies some long boards in nearby buildings that could be laid down to provide stable footing
  • Is anything hidden or out-of-place?
    • That weird half-apartment of unknown construction

Lucia and Dryden get to work extracting the boards and building a bridge for their companions. Lucia is the brains and Dryden does the grunt work.

Lucia Overcome (+hope Dryden’s assistance) 7-9 Pay a Price for 10+ result

Dryden spends Ranged Rope to tie the boards together

With a secure bridge to walk over, everyone is able to cross the dangerous room and reach the surface!  Lucia ponders the strange landscape. Maybe this place used to be underwater! The coral fort was certainly built underwater. Buildings might have been built in all directions, ignoring gravity’s demands, then the sea drained and all the buildings fell like this.The appearance of the Moon may have changed the tides. If the Moon goes away again, this city may be restored.

Lucia: We have a piece of the Moon!

GM note: Wow, That’s even better than the real explanation!

Others note that the buildings are all different styles and sizes, not built by one civilization. They were teleported here, like the chunk of mountain that they were standing on when they were teleported. Why would Infinite Windows teleport everything here. Is this Infinite Windows’ home?  They ponder thier place in the world, and their ability to travel around it.

END OF SESSION MOVE

  • Did we thoroughly explore a new location? YES, the City Junkyard
  • Did anyone find what they were seeking? YES, Dryden seeks progress and magical artifacts, and he now has control of Infinite Windows, an Artifact of Power
  • Did we learn something new about the world and it’s people? YES, we understand Infinite Windows and met Seeker.

Three boons

  1. Restore Gear
  2. Level Up Lucia & Dryden
  3. Level Up Averiela (Elven Elite destiny)

Chasing the Sunset & Family Medicine

Chasing the Sunset is a West Marches-style exploration game using Fellowship 2nd Edition‘s Horizon rules.

The fellowship: Vestri the Dwarf, Yuri the Outlander

Last time, the Fellowship saved a dinosaur ranch from a disaster that they caused, and were not greeted as heroes. They set out via old Dwarven tunnels, accidentally flooded the tunnel they were in, and took refuge in the nearby town of Bogden to recover.

They read the many messages on the Bogden Adventurer Message Board. Lots of stuff about werewolves! Vestri looks to the moon. It’s a half-moon waxing. Vestri relaxes, sure they have two weeks before the full moon brings out any werewolves. They actually have about eight days, still enough time for them to Recover and leave.

GM note: I asked the players some questions to let them fill in some lore about the world.

Yuri remembers the moment he was teleported from his world to this world. It was very sudden. He heard a cracking sound and saw cracks appear in his apartment walls, then he and half of his apartment were instantly in the City Junkyard. Fortunately Steven the cat came along with him.

Vestri looks at his family’s prize dagger, whose twin is the object of his quest. The hilt and blade are one piece, made in a style specific to the Redrock family. Some gems are mounted to the hilt with runes carved in the undersides. The runes are hard to notice unless one is specifically looking for them and shines a light on the gems at the right angle. The runes give luck for battle. The pommel bears the crest of the Redrock family, a very specific shape of rock. Anyone who really knows their rocks would know what mountain it came from! Yuri does not know rocks that well. He is not from this world.

Bogden is a party city built on an artifical marsh.  The river has been dammed and the area behind the dam is level and saturated with water, especially now that it’s raining so hard. Platypeople like marshes, so they built one for their town  Much of the area within Bogden’s palisade walls is festival grounds for Platypalooza, the yearly Platyperson festival. There’s a Fluming stadium, various stages, and many boothes, all packed up and empty. During Platypalooza, the town’s population triples! The permanent residents and their permanent dwellings only take up a corner.

Every morning, Vestri walks outside and circles the town, looking in the river and what washed ashore. All sorts of interesting stuff wash up. On Vestri’s daily walks, he runs into The Champ, a large Platyperson so seems unfriendly.

The Champ: Are you looking for something? My eyes are the keenest in town. I bet I’ll spot it before you do.

Vestri: Probably. I am very short you see and I can’t see very far. I’m a curious fellow and I’m waiting for my friends to wash ashore.

The Champ: You are quite a curious fellow.

Recover: all stats and gear (including lost Companions) restored

One day, Vestri sees Gurtin (the Drill Tank) floating past with Hundrin sitting on top. Vestri runs over and drags Gurtin ashore. Vestri shares the breakfast he was eating with Hundrin and they start fixing Gurtin.

Each day, after Vestri finishes his walks, The Champ comes over to show off what he found washed up on shore that Vestri missed.  Vestri is impressed, which makes The Champ very happy.

Vestri: Have you ever heard stories told of a dagger? A lost dagger?

Vestri Speak Softly 10+ ask three questions

  • Tell me about lost daggers
    • Folklore and ancient stories are boring. Probably something Anter knows about. He doesn’t need a magic dagger to fight his battles! He uses his muscles and mighty tail!
  • What does he want. How can we help them get it?
    • People have been looking nervously at the moon. Speaking of ridiculous stories, some guy gave Anter a ‘cure” for werewolves, but it won’t work. We should just go kill them before they turn into werewolves. That’s the way to keep the town safe.
  • What should I be wary about when dealing with him.
    • He’s egotistical. If he thinks you will outdo him, he will absolutely sabotage you.

Vestri wants to be amiable and keep The Champ happy, so he asks if he won big at the recent festival. The Champ gets angry. The Fluming Finals were disrupted by a werewolf attack. The Champ points out that he slew one of the Werewovles himself. Vestri reassures him that he would have won.

Vestri meets Anter, the Elder who knows all the stories. She’s an old grey-furred Platyperson with a cane. She’s a little deaf and Vestri has to repeat his greeting.

Vestri: I travel, searching for stories in every region. Perhaps if I offered you a biscuit, you’d like to sit and tell me any stories you may know about a certain subject.

Anter likes telling and hearing stories. She wants to trade. Yuri has a great story to tell.

Yuri: Once upon time, there was Russian man from greatest country on Earth. He was having nice day off…

Anter: Why was he in a hurry?

Yuri: Oh, he was not. He was from Russia. Mother Russia. His country? On Earth. Planet I am from. Best country.

Anter: Oh, his mother is Russia. OK.

Yuri: Da, we’ll go with that. Taking day off from hospital becuase he is doctor. Very very nice man. Sitting, reading, petting cat. Cat is in lap. Very nice. Very cozy. Then roof starts cracking! Dust starts falling! Cat starts sneezing and *snaps* he is in field with half his apartment, two baseball cards, and cat.

Vestri realizes that he knows this story!

Yuri: He was only person. He, not I. He sees sword standing, sitting, whatever swords do, and he touches it and he is assaulted by visions of a future where this world will die or everyone on it will die or something very terrible.

Vestri: I did not know that bit.

Yuri: It is very dramatic! And now I, he holds sword close because he does not know when world will crumble, and that is the story of Yuri.

Anter is very pleased with this story and asks which story he wants to hear from her. Vestri pulls out his dagger (he didn’t want to show The Champ) and asks Anter if it reminds her of any stories.

Anter: You visitors all have such strange weapons. Here in Bogden we just have simple weapons.

The weapons in Bogden are all one piece, a corrosion-resistant alloy that’s quite hard and stays sharp well, which seems odd because the Platypeople live in wooden huts in the mud. Yuri wonders where they get such nice tools, and how they are built.

Yuri Speak Softly 10+ ask three questions

  • What can you tell me about the alloy?
    • Anter doesn’t think it’s very interesting, but she takes them to the blacksmith. Seems like the Platypeople have good tech, but don’t really care about it. They aren’t obsessed with progress. A durable hunting knife is good because one can whittle a bunch of sticks without having to sharpen it. The blacksmith uses the recipe passed down to him. The atomic weight of the constituent elements have a 3:5 ratio, which is a lucky number, so the resulting alloy is strong. The tools don’t require much maintenance, so the blacksmith isn’t researching any improvements.
  • What can you tell me about my sword?
    • Anter knows stories about the past, not the future. Yuri saw buildings on fire, but couldn’t say what caused the destruction. Anter has heard of dragons burning down entire towns, but all the dragons disappeared before her time, around the time the Moon showed up. Yuri wonders if the Dragons left for the Moon.
    • GM note: I forgot that Anter saw Fafnir, a young Dragon, at Platypalooza, just two months ago.
  • What can you tell me about Vestri’s dagger?
    • Anter is pretty sure it’s Dwarven. She thinks the collapsed tunnel outside of town is Dwarven as well. She really doesn’t know much.

GM note: the players decide not to forge a Bond with Anter because they don’t want to take an old lady on their dangerous journeys.

Yuri: I am very honored you would like to come with us, but I am afraid your body is very weak and I do not want you to be hurt. We have had fights with giant Eels that fly in the sky.

Vestri: He went inside its stomach!

Yuri: Yes, I did. I would not recommend it.

Anter: Well, Our town has problems of its own.

Yuri: Is it that Champion? He is very loud.

Anter explains that two months ago, werewolves attacked and Platypalooza ended in a panic. Last month, three more people turned into werewolves, and some travelers managed to subdue them all with weird magic stuff. They left some items that they said would cure the werewolves, but the werewolves have to transform in order to use the cure. Hopefully the infected Platypeople will voluntarily allow themselves to be restrained before transforming, but it’s a scary situation and Anter doesn’t want to administer the cure herself. She hopes that Yuri and Vestri, who have experience dealing with scary situations, will stay and help. Vestri enthusiastically offers Yuri’s assistance.

Anter opens a cabinet which contain two potions and something wrapped in cloth. She explains that the infected are supposed to drink the healing potions before transforming. She hesitates, upset by the next part. She unwrapps the cloth and reveals a fancy rapier with a blade made from a unicorn horn. Someone killed a peaceful, magical creature and turned its horn, symbol of healing, into a weapon. A disgusting artifact! An atrocity! Anter is very embarrassed. The traveler used it last month and it seemed to work. They are desparate enough to try using it, but it’s awful and Anter hates having it around. Yuri recommends burying the sword after the ritual.

Vestri: Don’t bury it. We don’t want it in the earth either

Yuri: What do we do? Shoot it into outer space? Give it to dragon?

Vestri: Cleanse it and burn it.

Yuri: Put it in a boat.

Vestri: Burn it. It can be the ocean’s problem.

Anter: Send it down the river?  To Port Fennrick?

Yuri: I do not know where that it. Will that have negative ramifications?

Anter: It’s downriver. It’s easy to get to.

Yuri: We will cross that bridge when we finish with the Unicorn blade.

Anter: No, the bridges cross the river. So if you take the river, bridges cross you.

GM note: Eh? Eh? Because he’s from Soviet Russia?

The plan: before the infected people turn into Werewolves, the drink a Healing Potion, so there’s healing energy inside them. Then after they turn into Werewolves, stab them with the Unicorn Sword, so the Unicorn’s healing magic from the outside hits the Potions healing from inside and heals them of lycanthropy.  Healing Potions are colorless and hard to distinguish from water, except for subtle differences in viscosity.

Yuri thinks this method is suspicious and not peer-reviewed. He’s excited to be the second trial and confirm or disprove the results of the first trial.  They agree to wait until the full moon and attempt the cure. In the mean time, they go meet the infected Playtpeople. Sallet (infected) is the teenage son of Sally (infected) and Froob (not infected) They live together in a house. Sallet’s room has been repainted recently. Froob has a bunch of chemistry equipment in the lving room. He’s been looking for a cure on his own. Yuri is happy to meet another man of science.

Yuri: Hello, Sallet, Sally, and father. We are here to help with the Werewolfism.

Froob: Lycanthropy.

Yuri: Lycanthropy, yes.

Vestri: He’s a doctor!

Froob is happy to meet a fellow doctor, and explains the solution he’s invented. Of course, the solution can only be tested once a month, and the test is extremely dangerous! He has two tubs set up. He’ll pour in a special solution, and as long as Sally and Sallet are submerged in the tubs, the lycanthropy will be restrained. Yuri is worried that they will drown, but Platypeople are amphibious. They are used to being underwater and holding their breath for a long time. Yuri asks if the solution will interact with Healing Potions.

Froob: Anter has this idea that she’s going to stab my family with that horrible sword. It should have been cursed and thrown out as soon as we got it.

Vestri: Burn it and throw it in the ocean.

Yuri: Yes, da, this is what we will do. But, we should have it as a backup, just in case your one little plan does not work, so we can finish it all in one go.

Sally and Sallet do not want to be finished in one go! Yuri assures them that he wants to heal them, not maim them, like a scalpel incision during surgery. Yuri assures them there’s a 90% chance of success. He’s only lost one patient ever, who was in a car accident, and on the way to the hospital, the ambulance also crashed.

GM note: I remind the players that besides these two methods, there’s also The Champ’s idea to kill Sally and Sallet before the full moon. They reject that plan and would rather use the war crime sword.

Most of the village expects to use Dryden’s plan and chain up the infected Platypeople so they can’t avoid being stabbed once they transform.  Yuri asks Sally and Sallet to wear the big chains that the village has prepared while in Froob’s tubs, just in case, for the safety of the doctors.

Yuri Talk Sense (+Sense, explain plan) 10+

Sally and Sallet convince themselves that they aren’t going anywhere anyways, so it’s not that much of an imposition. Yuri assures them he’ll be right there with the key.

Just before sunset on the night of the full Moon, Yuri and Froob prepare their medical station, laying out the manacles, the key, the Unicorn Sword, a hand-washing station, gloves. Froob’s gloves are for webbed Platyperson hands and don’t fit Yuri’s human hands. Yuri thanks him anyways. The goop reacts to the person in it, so only Sally should touch the goop in Sally’s tub, and so on. Yuri must wear gloves around the tubs.

Vestri: We should wipe down the sword between hits.

Yuri: That is only if the goop is not working and if the goop is not working then it doesn’t matter if the one is in the other’s tub.

Sally and Sallet drink the Healing Potions, sit in the tubs, put the manacles on their legs, let Froob put the manacles on their hands, then lie down and submerge in the anti-Lycanthropy goop. Worried townsfolk surround the house, and Yuri tells them they should not hang around in case the werewolves break loose. Several Platypeople are convinced to leave.

Suddenly, an arrow (made of that nice platyperson alloy) comes through the window, striking Sallet’s tub and starting a leak. Champ is making good on his threat to kill the infected before they transform!

Yuri: Champ! You are just in time. We are needing you for the third phase of our plan.

Champ: I only need the one plan!

He’s going to continue firing!

Yuri yells to the crowd that the werewolves are loose!

Yuri Keep Them Busy 7-9

The crowd panics and runs, ruining Champ’s aim and revealing his hiding spot. The Champ is furious at Yuri now and fires his next arrow at him instead of the infected patients. Vestri runs to shoulder-tackle Yuri out of the way, but because of height differences, hits him in the legs.

Yuri Overcome 7-9 temporary solution

Champ is aiming through a small window from outside, so he needs to re-position to target Yuri from his new position, giving the people inside a small reprieve. Froob is lying down next to Sallet’s tub to avoid the arrows, and pressing a towel to the hole to keep the goop from leaking. He tells Yuri to get the metal bonder from his alchemy supplies to seal the hole. Green bottle with a square cap. He reachs up and points at the shelf and as he does, another arrow flies through the window, breaking a bottle. Yuri tucks and rolls past the window to get near the alchemy shelf.

Yuri Get Away 6-

Yuri damages Grace

As Yuri approaches, an arrow strikes a bottle of corrosive clear liquid, which explodes and splatters on Yuri’s pants. He’s got to move gingerly now! Vestri sees that Yuri doesn’t have this completely handled, so he bursts (through the door, not the wall) outside to find The Champ and distract him.

Vestri Keep Them Busy 7-9

It works, giving Yuri time to retrieve the correct bottle and seal the leak in the tub. Yuri wants to prevent future attacks from outside, so he grabs a bed (Froob directs him to the least expensive one) and props it up over the window.

Yuri Overcome 10+

Yuri is over six feet tall, so the size and weight of the bed aren’t a problem. The main challenge is maneuvering himself in a room built for much smaller creatures. he can’t even stand up straight in here. He manages, and secures the room against outside assault.

Outside, The Champ really wants to turn this into a contest, which is what he’s good at. He sees that Vestri is a fellow man of action. There are two werewolves to kill and two of them. The Champ thinks he can kill one before Vestri can kill the other.

Vestri: I need to hype myself up before I kill any werewolves, make sure I’m fast and strong enough, so why don’t you race me around the building so we can get our hearts pumping?!

The Champ A Challenger Approaches: never turn down a challenge.

The Champ immediately agrees and sets the start and finish lines. Vestri figures The Champ has to wait until he finishes to gloat, so he jogs instead of running, allowing The Champ to win easily. The Champ pops off so hard that he hurts Vestri’s feelings. The Champ laps Vestri and runs alongside, insulting him, and Vestri is deflated. He’s usually cheery even in ridiculous situations, but The Champ is really getting to him.

Back inside, Sally and Sallet are completely submerged in the goop. They only need to stick their noses out to breath every ten minutes. When they do, their noses start to grow black fur, but the fur goes away when they go back into the goop.

Yuri: You made a permament solution for this without having to stab them. That is very good. We can just yell at this angry man and tell him we have solved the problem.

Froob: You can do that. I will stay in here will my family. Keep him out of here.

Yuri: Sure. Make sure you have the sword handy in case something happens. I would like you to stay safe and alive.

Froob: I’m not going to stab my family!

Yuri: Not stabbing. you are a pricise incision, cutting away the lycanthropy. I believe in you.

Yuri leaves, sure that Froob will not wield the Unicorn Sword. He sees Vestri and The Champ jogging around the house.

Yuri: Well, they died already. We killed them. Werewolves are gone. You can all go home. Sorry Champion, I have beaten you to it. You can take the credit though! It was that one dagger that came through. Got them both in one fell swoop!

Yuri Talk Sense (+Grace, a trick) 10+

The Champ is convinced. He goes off, cheering himself.

Yuri: I can’t believe that worked.

Yuri and Vestri stay the rest of the night to make sure nothing happens. Vestri sits in the corner and pouts. Each time one of the infected people sticks their nose out to take a breath, black fur grows on it, then disappears when the nose goes back under the goop, In the morning they carefully sit up and they remain Platypeople. They made it through the night without transforming!

Froob: I’m a genius! It worked! Give me the key. Let’s get them out of these chains.

Yuri wants to make sure that there’s a plan to produce more of these goop and there’s a strict schedule because missng even one treatment would be disasterous.

Froob: Don’t worry, there is nothing more important to me than making sure this works.

Anter arrives to pay respects and is surprised to see them alive and unharmed. The Champ told everyone that they’re dead. She was ready to make the funeral arrangements. She’s pleased and will hug anyone who will accept. Yuri and Vestri accept! Vestri needs a hug after The Champ’s abuse. Next, Anter wants to get rid of the Unicorn Sword.

Yuri: Da, wash your hands of this.

Vestri: Literally, wash your hands!

Yuri gets the recipe for the Lycanthropy-suppressing bath from Froob, but it will be a challenge to gather the ingredients and replicate it. Yuri talks about science and biology with Froob, happy to find a collegue. Yuri asks if any diseases have been troubling the community. The Platypeople have a nasty-tasting syrup that is a traditional remedy for what ails you, but is actually a broad-spectrum vaccine. It required a research lab to invent, but the Platypeople thought research was boring and tore down the lab to build a Fluming stadium.

Anter takes the Unicorn Sword to the blacksmith for disposal. The Unicorn Sword is not common knowledge. Anter didn’t want to show it off. When she reveals it, the blacksmith heats the furnace extra hot to make sure the sword is definitely destroyed. He switches out the tray underneath the furnace and puts heavy foil down, so after the sword is destroyed, he wraps up the ashes and slag into a package. The Platypeople don’t want to throw it in the marsh or the river, so they ask the Fellowship to take it to the ocean to dispose of. Yuri agrees once he’s sure that passers-by won’t immediately think he’s a war criminal for holding the package.

In his mind, not with his ears, Yuri thinks he hears a cracking noise, like the noise that signaled his teleportation to this world. Something has happened, somewhere.

News of Sally and Swallet’s cure spreads throughout the town. They carry Sally and Swallet around the fairgrounds on their shoulders in celebration.  The Champ is shocked, but what can he do? He’s not going to charge into a parade and attack the guests of honor in borad daylight. Yuri suggests that a story about how The Champ won a race that night might make him feel better, but he wonders if Vestri will be alright with being immortalized as the loser. Vestri agrees, but Yuri must give him a mug of ale every time the story is told. Yuri asks Anter to cook up a fake story for The Champ. People are used to placating The Champ’s ego. It comes up a lot.  Anter will tell the story of The Champ fighting the werewolves at Platypalooza. He walked up under a werewolf’s wild swing, clocked it in the jaw, made it look a fool, and emboldened those around him to fight on, because the werewolves were not invincible. He loves that story.

Yuri: That poor person could have been submerged in a tub! If only we were here a month sooner!

Vestri wants to get rid of the Unicorn slag as soon as possible, so the Fellowship plans to head downriver to the ocean. Along the way, Vestri will look for mountaintops that reminds him of stories of old.

BOGDEN MESSAGE BOARD:

Yuri: Champ is a chump, pacify with contests. Werewolves need a bath so talk to Froob. Help these folks get supplies.

Vestri: -Werewolf Problem Solved -Froob is a really clever alchemist! -Anter knows all tales, trade stories -Champion obsessed with competing, sore loser, sore winner -Food Shortage

Stardew Valley does a lot with a little, and a lot with a lot

One of the reasons that Stardew Valley is so endlessly replayable is that each element has many different uses, so I don’t get bored using the same thing over and over. This multi-use philosophy applies to the maps, the tools, the villagers, and many other elements, but I want to focus on Forage.

 screenshot of Stardew Valley. A woman finds a Wild Horseradish frowing in the wild.

Forage are plants that grow wild and can be found and collected just by walking around. Crops require costly seeds, and must be watered each day, expending the farmer’s limited energy. Forage requires neither money nor Energy.

But once I collect some forage, what do I do with it? Many things, and they are all important!

 screenshot of Stardew Valley. A Leek can be sold for 60 gold.

Forage can be sold for Gold. Forage requires no upfront investment of Gold, unlike Crops, so this is basically free money! Early on the farmer has little money and needs many expensive upgrades, like more inventory space, or farm buildings like a barn or upgraded house with a kitchen.

 screenshot of Stardew Valley. A Leek provides 40 Energy and 17 Health when eaten.

Most Forage can be eaten to restore Health and Energy. (Some forage is poisonous, so read the tooltip carefully before chowing down!) Forage requires no energy to collect, unlike Fish or Crops, so again, it’s basically free Energy! Before the Farmer gets rolling with upgrades, it’s easy to run out of energy and be unable to complete the day’s chores and errands. Eating is doubly beneficial in the Mines, because it restores Energy spent mining as well as Health lost fighting monsters.

 screenshot of Stardew Valley. A woman offers Shane a Leek as a gift.

Forage, like almost every item, can be given to villagers as a gift. Gifts improve the ViIlager’s relationship with the farmer, which can have mechanical benefits as well as the intrinsic benefit of being kind and making friends. Different villagers have different opinions of different Forage, so I watch their reactions closely (or read the wiki) to match the villager with the ideal gift.

A screenshot of Stardew Valley. The recipe for Wild Seeds (Spring) requires one of each type of Spring forage.

Forage can be turned into more Forage! I can turn a set of four Forage into a packet of ten seeds. The seeds take a week to grow and require watering, but if I can spare the time and energy, I get 250% of what you put it! The resulting Forage can be turned into more seeds, so each week my garden can expand dramatically.

So even with this free resource that I collect just by walking around, there are many factors to consider. In-game days, daily energy limits, Villager preferences, cash flow, my short-term and long-terms goals all collide in the simple question of “What should I do with this thing I found on the ground?”

But Stardew Valley isn’t content to have a few densely-useful items. It has hundreds of densely-useful items! Similar decisions can be made about the 30+ villagers, dozens of fish, scores of crops, 90+ artifacts, ores, gems, recipes, the list seems endless. Combining such breadth and depth in the same game is truly impressive!

Chasing The Sunset & Revenge

Chasing the Sunset is a West Marches-style exploration game using Fellowship 2nd Edition‘s Horizon rules.

The party: Buckle the Beast/Heart of Earth, Stella the Halfling/Hunter

Last time, the Fellowship acquired part of an instruction manual for a teleporter, and discovered a plot by Vampires to blow up the Moon! now they follow the Vampire that got away, hoping to find more answers.

As they sail the Miranda around Doctor’s MacLeod’s Anti-Moon Weapon and on to the north-west, they reach a branch in the river. Stella pauses to investigate their options. The water from the west branch is slow and covered with moss and gunk. It’s draining a forest that was flooded and drowned. All the trees are dead and covered with dark, creeping moss. An awful place, but the silence and lack of foilage would any ambush easy to spot.

While Stella peers into the distance, some moss from that forest drifts near the Miranda. It grab the side of he hull and starts climbing. It’s not just a film of moss on the surface, but a moss-covered Blighted Ghoul! It’s very touch corrodes the hull!  Stella calls to buckle, who comes running over holding the flaming leg of deck chair!

Buckle: Stella, keep them busy!

Stella: Gus, throw me the sour!

Gus the Halfling cook throws Stella a jar, and she pours a semi-circle of vinegar around the ghoul as it climbs through the railing at the edge of the ship’s deck. Vinegar will kill the moss and hopefully contain the creature. Buckle brings the flaming stick down on the ghoul’s head! The ghoul is smashed prone and slides off the deck in to the river. A bit of mossy goop sticks to Buckle’s weapon and crawls towards his hand. He drops the flaming stick into the river.

Buckle: What if we go to the live forest?

Buckle looks closely at the other branch of the river. This channel runs swift and clear from the north-west through a dense and vibrant forest. The big trees in the canopy don’t starve smaller plants beneath them. There are dense leaves from 200 feet up to the ground. The only clear path is the river, which is plenty wide enough for boat traffic. Any number of creatures could be watching from the branches of the forest. Something extends over the river, but it’s too far away to make out from here.

Buckle: Spooky, but less spooky than the other way. Let’s go before anything else shows up.

The Miranda goes up the north-west branch into the dense forest. The thing over the river turns out to be a dragon skull suspended on ropes over the middle of the river. The skull is huge, ten feet long and six feet tall!  Its jaw is full of flat, triangular, shark-like teeth. Two wooden spikes have been lashed to the jaws like fangs. Above the skull, in runsted metal letters, is a sign reading “SO MUCH FOR THE POWER OF DRAGONS”

INSERT DRAWING HERE

Buckle worries about Fafnir, the Dragon he hatched from an egg, but this skull is far too large to be Fafnir’s. There’s a small dock at the river’s edge near the skull. They dock the Miranda there and set off to search for Marigold, the teleporter, and maybe some news about Dragons, which have been extinct for a century.  Hamfast and Ugg stay with the boat. Buckle, Stella, Silk, Gus, and Rose take the trail into the dense forest. It’s very easy to get lost here. The trail often takes blind corners, and around one of the turns the Fellowship almost collides with a strange creature. at six feet tall it towers over everyone in the Fellowship. It looks like a sculptor hastily made a human out of clay. head, arms, legs, but all indistinct, all the same brown color. Even the face only has suggestions of eyes and mouth. The figure moves and speaks!

Seeker: I am Seeker. Who are you?

Stella: We are travalers. We just got here. What are you?

Seeker: That’s what I’m trying to figure out. I was only recently given a name and told to make my own decisions, but I don’t know what that means.

Buckle: A name is what you call yourself. A decision is what you do with yourself.

Seeker turns to Buckle.

Seeker: What is your name? I have met Travelers.

Buckle: I am Buckle and this is Stella. Travelers is our decision.

Seeker looks at Stella and repeats her name. As he does, he gets a bit shorter. He looks at Buckle and repeats his name, extending his face into a bill like Buckle’s. Seeker is a shapeshifter! They ask him about other creatures in the forest. He explains that the main hazards are troublesome fairies.

Seeker: They used to tell me what to do. Now they call my name and try to lead me astray from the path.

Stella: Could you lead us to where the fairies live? As you make decisions, one decision will lead do another. You could decide to have adventures like us!

Stella’s appeal to Seeker’s desires backfires.

Seeker: No! I don’t want to. I don’t have to.

Seeker wants to get out of the forest. Buckle asks if he has a plan. Making plans is hard, especially for Seeker, who only learned about making decisions recently. He walks to the river and the Fellowship follows. He sees the water flowing downstream.

Seeker: Even the river has a way it wants me to go.

Stella: You don’t have to follow the river. Some decisions are easy and some are hard. Help us and choose the hard way. Don’t go with the flow like the river wants you to.

Seeker: Choose the hard way to prove that I made a choice. Yes! I’ll do it.

Seeker agrees to lead them to the fairies. He shapeshifts to mimic Rose in order to confuse the fairies, which he is sure are already watching them. As they go deeper into the forest, carefully keeping to the trail, they hear voices calling out from the trees, offering shortcuts or food.  Buckle can’t resist and runs into the underbrush, instantly setting it alight with his super-heated body.

Fairies: No, no! Please go back!

Buckle: I was promised food. Give me food!

The fairies emerge with fruit and lead Buckle back to the trail. He gobbles up the treats while Stella asks the fairies what’s going on. They say the were trying to lead the Fellowship out of the forest because there’s a Water Elemental up-river that’s causing destruction. Stella asks about Marigold and the fairies’ demeanor changes.

Fairies: They know! They can’t leave.

Stella demands an answer, or she’ll send Buckle into the forest again. The fairies have disappeared into the forest and don’t respond.

Stella: Buckle, did they answer our question? Go take a walk.

Buckle goes into the brush again, starting another fire, when he’s confronted by a Tyrannosaur! It’s controlled by a fairy sitting on a tiny saddle on the creature’s nose.

GM note: The players ask if the Tyrannosaur is a Beast. Buckle can talk to Beasts, and Stella’s Hunter Destiny lets her control Beasts. It sort of is, because it’s a non-magical, non-intelligent animal, but also it’s not, because it’s listed under Titans in the book. I said yes, and it’s funny that the Fairies brought exactly the wrong weapon to the fight and had it turn on them instantly.

Buckle speaks to the T-rex in its own language and asks about the Water Elemental. The T-Rex hasn’t heard about any Water Elemental. The Fairy pilot kicks and snaps her reins and yells at the T-Rex to eat them, but the T-Rex won’t attack Stella or her friends. Buckle asks if it knows where Marigold is, and the T-Rex is willing to lead him. Stella asks for a ride for the rest of the Fellowship, and the T-Rex crouches so they can climb aboard. The fairy pilot gives up and flies away. The T-Rex sets off through the forest. Buckle follows through the path it clears.

Seeker: This creature is making confusing decisions.

The fairies pelt the T-Rex and its riders with stones from the trees. Buckle catches a rock and throws it back, then sprints ahead to get away. He bursts into at a clearing in the forest. There’s a large rock at one side of the clearing with a tree’s roots growing over it. The roots have been chopped away on one side, revealing a passage under the rock into some underground chamber. A camp has been set up here. Marigold the Vampire Fairy is here, as well as two small reptilian humanoids called Kobolds. Marigold sees Buckle (he’s hard to miss, constantly glowing) and attacks with lightning speed! He’s hit before he can react.

Back to Stella and the others in the forest, getting pelted with rocks. Stella stands up and wields her longsword like a bat to hit rocks back at her attackers.  She over-commits to a mighty swing, loses her balance, and falls from the T-Rex’s back all the way to the ground. Ouch! A fairy swoops in to steal her gear, but she sees it coming and interposes her fist. The fairy can’t dodge and bonks her nose real good! She retreats. Stella sprints down the burning path that Buckle left when he escaped. She enters the clearing, leaps over a Kobold that tries to intercept her, and vaults into the roots of the great tree on the rock, vanishing from view.

Buckle tries to placate Marigold and says that he has brought the manual back to her. She’s not buying it. The T-Rex and the rest of the companions burst into the clearing, ready to fight. Buckle wants to prevent a brawl.

Buckle: Everything’s fine! Maybe I can figure out the teleporter by looking at it. If I figure out the teleporter, you tell me what’s us with the Moon.

Marigold likes this deal. She won’t have to report her failure to “him” if Buckle gets the teleporter working. She takes Buckle down to the underground passage. Inside in a large cavern and inside that is a pyramid made of red stone, which Buckle recognizes from the schematics. This is the teleporter terminal! Buckle asks what Marigold has tried already. She turned a couple of the Kobolds into Vampire Thralls to force them to help her, but they are uncreative and don’t know anything that’s not written in the manual. Buckle walks around and examines the teleporter. It has four big terminals which should probably hold batteries, but are empty. It needs power. A lot of power. A level of power equivalent to Buckle’s Heart of Earth, or some other Artifact of Power.

Marigold explains that the Moon is weapon built by the Vampires’ ancient enemy, the Dragons. It sought to deny the Vampires the safety of the night by bringing the Sun’s light to the other side fo the planet. It didn’t work, but these Kobolds, servants of the enemy, just came through the teleporter, so the weapon is still active and may yet become a threat. Buckle asks why the Dragons hated the Vampires so.

Marigold: They are glory. We are shadow. We competed for control of this world, but, as you can see by my trophy over the river, we won.

Buckle says he saw a Dragon the other day, and Marigold is worried until he says it was at the Fight Club. The Vampires know about that one and have plans to deal with it. Buckle says the teleporter doesn’t have enough oomph to operate. Perhaps a nuclear reactor is necessary. He’s stalling and doesn’t actually want to help Marigold get the teleporter working.

Outside in the clearing, Stella tells the T-Rex to stop anyone who tries to hurt her friends. The T-Rex snaps its mighty jaws in acknowledgement. Stella shrinks to the size of an apple and sneaks down into the chamber. She’s so inconspicious that Marigold drops the heavy manual right on top of her as she tries to sneak closer.

Seeker: Mr Buckle Travelers, you seem to be avoiding making a decision.

Buckle: I’ve made my decision. I’m choosing when to act.

A power terminal on the far side of the teleporter explodes! Buckle hid explosives there while inspecting the machine! Fire starts spreading through the chamber. The teleporter malfunctions and teleports every particle in the chambe by one foot, but not all in the same direction. The smooth rocky surface is how warped and spiky. Seeker is just gone!

Marigold: You! Somehow!

Buckle: I’ve been accused before. This is the first time it’s true!

Marigold swoops at him, but he evades her attack.  Stella yells for Gus to pelt Marigold with garlic, distracting her. Stella has to get through spikes and flames to reach Marigold, so she smears a helaing poultice on her face and charges, growing suddenly to her maximum size right in Marigold’s face! Marigold is terrified and flees.

Buckle: C’mon, let’s get out of here.

Together, the Fellowship escapes the spreading flames and spiky rocks. As they emerge from the mouth of the cave, more explosions shake the ground. The teleporter is destroyed, the Kobolds from the Moon are dead, and Marigold has fled into the forest.

Stella: For Fafnir?

Buckle: For Fafnir.

Stella calls for Seeker, but there is no answer. She calls out some final advice, just in case.

Stella: Seeker, remember that you always have choices!

The T-Rex carries the Fellowship back through the scorched path that Buckle burned through the forest to the Miranda.

END OF SESSION MOVE

Three boons: heal, restore gear, level up.

Chasing The Sunset & Interrogation

Chasing the Sunset is a West Marches-style exploration game using Fellowship 2nd Edition‘s Horizon rules.

The fellowship: Dryden of Conwall the Collector/Hunter, Averiela the Elf, Lucia the Brave the Heir/Halfling Sheriff

Last time, the Fellowship started a huge brawl in Swallet’s Fight Club and released the “Dragon” which turned out to be a giant Armored Crocodile. Not quite a Dragon, but still terrifying.

Now everyone is running in the same direction.

  • In the front, Speedy leads the Armored Crocodile towards the waste disposal facility on the west side of town.
  • Dryden and Lucia follow them.
  • Behind them is the Gobblin’ Goblins, a roller derby team and Fight Club members, trying to re-capture the Armored Crocodile on Brainiac’s orders.
  • Brainiac is right behind them, stuffed into a punching bag, and wheeled along in a laundry cart Averiela.
  • Averiela is pursued by a group of Goblins with giant robotic arms, also members of the Fight Club.
  • The Fight Club itself and neighboring warehouses are in flames, and a volunteer fire bridage is trying to control the blaze.

GM note: the audio recording has problems, so I have to reconstruct this from memory, brief notes, and a one-sided conversation.

An Angry Mob has formed in the wake of the Fire Elemental, and the Armored Crocodile is running back the same way, right into the Angry Mob.

Dryden activates his flying Device and flies ahead of the Armored Crocodile and calls out to Angry Mob, telling them that what’s really wrong with the city, what they really should be mad at, isn’t the Armored Crocodile, but the Fight Club, that strange intrusion on their way of life!

Dryden Rage Against The Machine 7-9 GM chooses the new target of the Angry Mob

The Angry Mob is convinced, but is also distractable. They pass the Armored Crocodile and the roller derby team, but they spot Averiela, an outsider, and think maybe she’s the one they should hate for disrupting their way of life. Now Averiela is in danger!  Normally Averiela could easily dodge these Goblins with her Elven grace and speed, but she’s got a captive in a cart, so she’s much slower. Camouflage won’t help either, because she can only Camouflage her allies, and Brainiac is not an ally.

Averiela Rage Against The Machine 10+ redirect Angry Mob’s wrath

Averiela inspires the mob to be angry at the destruction that the fire is causing, so now they are all very intent on putting out the fire. Who knows how effective they will be at assisting the fire brigade. The fire brigade wasn’t that organized to begin with (Goblins are very independent) and the addition of rowdy assistants who want to punch the fire may be a net loss.  In the time Averiela took to make her case to the Angry Mob, the group of Goblins pursuing her has caught up, so she’s in danger again! They don’t know that she has Brainiac in the bag, but she was one of the trespassers in Fight Club when everything went wrong, so they’re still angry at her.

Averiela Keen Senses ask one question about your surroundings

  • “Where can I hide?”
    • There’s a catapult shop nearby. Goblins love building devices, and the Goblin who owns this shop loves catapults. There are bags of ballast for counterweights, baskets for payloads, some baskets are even on wheels, so there are objects that look similar to the laundry cart and punching bag that Averiela is pushing.

Averiela Get Away 10+ Avoid notice, bring Brainiac along

Averiela spends Light Armor

As the Angry Mob rushes past to assist the Fire Bregade, Averiela pushes through them to get inside the catapult shop. The pursuing Goblins lose track of her in the hubbub, but she collides with a few mob members and gets banged up. From inside the catapult shop, she sees the Goblins looking around in confusion. They’ve lost track of her, so she has a moment of safety.

Back at the head fo the procession, the Armored Crocodile has no obstructions between it and its goal: the Waste Disposal Facility. Lucia and Dryden are following it, and they are all pursued by the roller derby team. It looks like they could escape the city along iwth the Armored Crocodile, but they’d leave Averiela and Roddy behind, with no plans to rendezvous. Roddy’s probably watching them from his perch above the City Park, but that’s on the other side of town. Dryden has a signal for “shoot this thing” but no signal for “Meet up outside the town at this location.” Speedy, Armored Crocodile, Lucia, and Dryden run into the Waste Disposal Facility. There are conveyor belts and bins and pipes all over this large facility. Waste was sorted, then burned, recycled, or dumped, as appropriate. Speedy directs the Armored Crocodile to a large stone pipe that matches the pipe on the other side of town that forms the waterfall into the City Park. This pipe is at the bottom of the chamber that Swallet is built inside, and leads down and away from the city. The Armored Crocodile and Speedy go inside the pipe and leave Swallet. Around the same time, the roller derby enters the facility.

Lucia Quiet, Don’t Move: enemies won’t see her until she moves

The Gobblin’ Goblins decide that the Armored Crocodile is too far gone to pursue, and they can’t find Lucia, so they turn on Dryden. The facility would make a good Tony Hawk level, and the Gobblin’ Goblins use this to their advantage. Two of the big ones skate up a ramp and slingshot a smaller Goblin into the air to intercept Dryden (still flying with his Flying Device)

Dryden Get Away 10+ avoid harm

Dryden evades and taunts the Gobblin Goblins.

Gobblin’ Goblin Reckless Valor: damage this stat to damage an enemy

The airborne Gobblin’ Goblin sees that Dryden has moved away from her trajectory, so she removes one of her chainsaw skates and throws it at Dryden! She totally wipes out landing with only one skate

Dryden damages Sense

Gobblin’ Goblin: Worth it!

The Gobblin’ Goblins have no targets they can immediately attack, so they skate around threaneningly for a while.

Back in the Catapult Shop, the shopkeeper Krem greets Averiela. Even with a fire and a mob outside, she is still open because she’s just that dedicated to catapults! She can tell that Averiela’s basket and ballast didn’t come from her shop. No doubt it came from a competitor’s shop and wasn’t suitable. Krem can fix her up with good equipment no problem! She’ll just take the old junk off her hands. She notices that Averiela’s bag of ballast is moving and making noise. There’s a person inside! Averiela says that she’s captured a very dangerous person and needs to interrogate him.

Averiela Talk Sense (+Sense, explain plan +Despair for awful request) 7-9

Krem: Everybody’s got rights here in Swallet, There has to be an observer in any interrogation. You can talk to this guy in the back room, but I have to be there to make sure everything is OK.

GM note: This is the part where I stay in character to prevent the player from torturing an NPC. I should have broken character and said “Torture is evil and heroes don’t do it. Try something else.”

Averiela Whisper On The Wind

Averiela sends a message to Lucia telling her where she and Brianiac are. Krem puts Brainiac in a chair in the back room and keeps an eye on Averiela as she asks him questions.

Averiela Speak Softly 6- three questions, one unhelpful answer, one false answer

  • Tell me about taking over Fight Club
    • Brianiac was running the Fight Club because he’s smart and he’s good at being in charge. The meat-headed fighters were easy for him to manipulate. He got the power and respect he didn’t have in his previous job.
  • What was Brainiac doing and what will he do next?
  • What should I be wary of when dealing with Brainiac?
    • He’s smarter than the people of Swallet, smarter than the adventurers who come to Fight Club, and smarter than you because you didn’t anticipate the layers of plans and traps he has laid. Every minute she spends talking to him is a minute his forces are closing in.

Lucia wants to link up with Averiela, but needs to get past the Gobblin’ Goblins patrolling the facility. Dryden causes a distraction for her and she’s able to slip away.

Dryden Keep Them Busy 7-9

The Gobblin’ Goblins find tools and pieces of trash around the facility and hurl them at Dryden. Dryden dabs and Roddy fires from across the city, detonating an oil drum. The shock and commotion allows Dryden to escape the facility unnoticed.

Dryden Get Away 10+ avoid harm, avoid notice.

Lucia reaches the catapult shop and knocks at the door. Krem requires Averiela to come with her to answer the door, since she won’t leave Averiela alone with the prisoner. Lucia shows her Symbol of Royalty. Krem thinks it’s odd that so many foreign officials are in Swallet fighting crime.

GM note: What exactly is the state of law and order in Swallet? There was a system, but Fafnir took over and thrashed anyone who doubted her authority. Fafnir doesn’t care about day-to-day operations of city government, and she’s not even in Swallet anymore. Maybe the civil servant of the old system just kept doing their jobs, since Fafnir wouldn’t care enough to stop them.

Krem thinks that charges of corruption involving a foreign diplomat are over her head, and more serious people should be called in. She sees the Goblins outside. Fight Club keeps people in line. She thinks they should take custody of the prisoner, and Averiela and Lucia can coordinate their investigation with them. Obviously the Fellowship doesn’t want to involve the Fight Club. Lucia wonders about getting Nub-Nub (the ex-cop) instead, but the Fellowship has done a lot to anger Nub-Nub today. Lucia keeps Krem busy with confusing legal jargon while Averiela sneaks back to Brainiac.

Lucia Keep Them Busy 7-9

Averiela Talk Sense (+Sense, explain plan) 7-9

Averiela really wants to know where the real dragon went. Brianiac will tell her, but only if she releases him.

Brainiac: Vampires from a forest in the west sent an assassin after Fafnir. After she defeated the assassin, she went after the vampires.

Averiela tells Brianiac that Allan a Zham is dead and Brainiac thinks he had it comes. Averiela unties him. He walks out to where Lucia and Krem are talking and gloats that he has been cleared of all charges. He implles that his innocence is unquestionable but also that he outsmarted his interrogators, because it’s important that everyone knows he is the smartest person in the room. He leaves, and decides not to risk further conflict by sending the Goblins outside into the catapult shop to attack Averiela and Lucia. His building is on fire. His fake dragon is gone. Lots of his minions are beat up. The challengers that were going to join aren’t anymore. Sparky, his Ogre Champion, has had an epiphany about his life and might not fight anymore. Brainiac cuts his losses and is happy to survive.

Krem: That’s great. I’m so glad that justice has been served!

Dryden flies over to Nub-Nub, a Goblin in a Powersuit that’s tangled in overhead wires by Dryden’s Ranged Rope. Nub-Nub has opened the Powersuit’s hatch and climbed out to cut the wires and free her Powersuit. Dryden says he’s here to get his rope back, and Nub-Nub switches to cut it first! She’s angry! Dryden calls the rope back. It unties itself and returns, dropping Nub-Nub and her Powersuit to the street below. Dryden zooms away to pick up Roddy and leave town. Nub-Nub has had a terrible day.

GM note: Break time. Stretch and get a snack.

The Fellowship leaves Swallet via the big ramp built at Fafnir’s command. It’s at the foot of a volcano. There’s another volcano just to the north. Lucia recognizes it as the location of the hidden library, founded by the sect from the Forgotten Lands.  Averiela puts some clues together.

Averiela: Maybe the Vampires are trying to kill the last Dragon so the last Dragon doesn’t activate the Moon device!

The Fellowship wants to go west to find the Vampires that Fafnir was chasing. Lady Evelynn’s Estate is that way. Dryden and Lucia explain how they wrecked her house, but specifically saved her life. From a death trap that they put her in. She’s an evil supernatural woman, but she’s not a Vampire. The Vampire Lucia killed was Lady Evelynn’s friend. They won’t be welcome there. Averiela suggests visiting the library, since it’s just one mountain over.

Dryden: I’m pretty sure we got chased out because he didn’t have our library cards.

Lucia: But I’m the Heir of the Forgotten Lands! I can bring Averiela because I trust her to not touch things.

Dryden: We have left our mark where ever we’ve been. Swallet is decidedly different now.

Lucia: They can choose their destiny now!

Lucia remembers that Dryden has an unidentified Artifact of Power. The library could explain how it works. Dryden sets off towards the library.

As the Fellowship climbs the volcano, they meet a Dwarf huffing and puffing up the mountain. He’s heard that there’s gold in the volcano. He’s going to claim this vein of gold to show that he’s a legit Dwarf and establish himself back home, where an ambitious uncle has taken over from his father, putting his branch of the family to shame. He’s worried that the Fellowship is also trying to find the gold, but reassured that they don’t seem to carry mining equipments.  Lucia greets him.

Lucia Symbol of Royalty.

Lucia: We are seeking knowledge. What are you seeking on this mountain?

Lofar: Some people go the mountaintops to reach enlightenment or whatever. If you want to do that, that’s fine. But it’s really about what’s under the mountain! That’s the key, That’s what I’m here for. The riches of the earth!

Dryden: Good Dwarven sir, I don’t know how you feel about ghosts. I can guarantee you (because I’ve been to this mountain before) that there are ghosts at the bottom, and I’ve personally been banned. But I also know there was once an army encampment around the rim. While my friends venture the spirits below, I would help you search for forgetten gold from the army above.

Lofar: Tricks! You’re trying to get to the gold before me. Despite my short legs, you shouldn’t underestimate the speed of the Dwarves!

Lofar runs to reach the peak before them. Dryden wants to keep the library a secret. Maybe he can get a ghost librarian to emerge and scare Lofer away. Lucia thinks the library won’t get plundered, since the librarians were able to eject Dryden, a powerful magician.

Dryden Queen of the Wild: All Beasts serve him

Dryden: Varmints of the mountain! Someone’s going to dig up your homes! Rise up!

From the rocks and nooks and crannies come angry chirping sounds.

Dryden Pack Leader: when advantage comes from Allies, roll with Hope to Finish Them

Dryden Finish Them (+courage, scare Lofar away) advantage: varmint minions 10+

Lofar is driven from the mountain by marmots, weasels and other ground rodents. The Fellowship has a peaceful and scenic picnic on the mountain.

Fill Your Belly: spend Food to heal stats

Dryden workaholic: restore uses to Gear

No end-of-session move.

Chasing the Sunset & Ranch

Chasing the Sunset is a West Marches-style exploration game using Fellowship 2nd Edition‘s Horizon rules.

The party: Vestri the Dwarf, Yuri the Outlander

Last time, the Fellowship climbed a mountain, were almost eaten by Stoss the great Cloud Eel, and sent Stoss rampaging down the mountain to threaten people below. Now they must work with Stoss’ guardians (who tried to feed them to it) to contain it.

They need to get down the mountain quickly to get ahead of Stoss. Vestri considers surfing downhill on his shield, but his Dwarf-sized shield will only fit himself not Yuri and his companions. Yuri asks Yrta to carry him down.

Yrta: You’re a bit thicker than I am. What are you? Seventy? Eighty pounds?

Yuri: Uhhh. No. Maybe double that?

Yrta’s a birdman with hollow bones, so even though he can carry his own weight, he can’t carry Yuri. Vestri, Yuri, and Yrta all have very different densities.

Yrui explains that he usually takes a car to get places quickly, but Vestri doesn’t know what that is.

Yuri: Is like your drill, but faster, with no drill.

Vestri: Like a cart? Did you mean to say cart?

Yuri: This is electric horse. Or gas-powered horse. Coal-powered horse. Whatever fuel you would like to use.

Yrta fed a horse to Stoss 12 days ago, but there are no horses to ride. Yrta can fly, and Doeb can flow downhill, so they don’t have vehicles that the Fellowship can use.

It takes Yrta a while to get a whole idea together, but now he has it.  Yrta’s Flying Command makes his Mountain Lions fly. It only works on his followers, so maybe some kind of bonding or team-building activity could make Yrta and the Fellowship close enough that he could make them fly down the mountain. Yuri offers to heal any injured Mountain Lions, and Vestri wants to play dice. Vestri doesn’t carry dice. Hundrin carries the dice. Yuri wonders if there are enough dice to play Yahtzee.

Vestri: Well, we have seven pig bones. And two sheep hooves. Pig bones have five sides and the sheep hooves have two.

Yuri thinks dice made out of bones are weird.

Yrta: I have some bones in my nest! I could go get them!

Yrta sends a few Mountain Lions to fetch the bones, which are the remains of some animal. They are not dice at all. Yuri gets a scalpel from his medkit to whittle the bones into dice. Perhaps Vestri has experience doing this? No, Vestri’s dice are gifts from his mother. One of the Mountain Lions approaches and sniffs at Steven, Yuri’s pet house cat.

Yuri: No. Bad. Can you tell your larger cat to get away from my smaller cat, Mr. Birdman?

Vestri suggest a meal while they play dice. They need something to eat that isn’t Yuri’s pet cat.  The Mountain Lions weren’t trying to eat Steven, they are curious about the tiny cat. Yuri lets them sniff at each other.  Yrta supplies half a deer carcass and some native herbs as seasoning.

Doeb: This isn’t any of my business or whatever, but doesn’t cooking meat take a while? How long does it take to fly down a mountain?

Yuri: I do not know. I have never had wings, but I can tell you as soon as I have them!

Cooking the meat is how Yuri will befriend Yrta and gain the ability to fly. Doeb shrugs, drops into a puddle, and flows downhill, away from the dinner party and towards Stoss’ rampage. Vestri and Yuri bicker about cooking. Yuri cooks the venison medium-rare to hasten the meal. Yrta takes a while to learn the rules of the dice, and he does have a hand with a palm to hold the die, just his big grapsing feet. Vestri gathers up the dice for him and Yrta grabs them and tosses them in the air to roll them.

Fill Your Belly. Vestri heals 1. Yuri heals 2. Form a Bond with Yrta.

Yrta spends Flying Command to fly the Fellowship down the mountain

Vestri is nervous because Dwarves prefer to be underground, not in the air. Yrta flies lower, just over the trees, hoping to make Vestri more comfortable. The Fellowship comes down out fo the clouds. The land below is hilly with stands of trees separated by big spaces of grass. Areas of the land are marked off by big rows of brambles and thornbushes. The Fellowship’s meal gave Stoss plenty of time to get down the mountain and start wrecking havoc. Several Brontosaurs (huge long-necked dinosaurs) are running towards the Fellowship. One Brontosaur has a one-room shack on its back. also in the stampede are Megacerops: a type of furry rhinoceros with a blunt Y-shaped horn on its nose.

Yuri: Hello, do you need assistance?

The Brontosaur with the shack runs past and a voice from inside the shack calls out.

Voice: Yeeeeeeessssss!

Vestri and Yuri try to land on the fleeing Brontosaur.

Yuri Overcome danger of falling from Brontosaur 10+

Vestri Overcome danger of falling from Brontosaur (despair) 6-

Brontosaur uses Tail Whip to damage Vestri

Yuri lands safely by the shack but Vestri comes in at the wrong angle and Brontosaur’s sweeping tail smacks him aside into a tree. From the sky to a tree. Both bad places for a Dwarf.

Vestri: I am not enoying this! Don’t you worry! I’m going to get down myself, somehow.

Yuri is on the back of the Brontosaur, next to the shack. An Elf woman sticks her head out of the door of the shack. She’s wearing a cowboy hat with little slits on the side so her pointed ears can stick up. She also has a Southern accent.

Yuri: How did your house happen to get on this dinosaur?

Elf: Jake carries me around the ranch, but he’s been spooked! Better get inside so you don’t fall off!

Yuri: Is there a possiblity of unspooking Jacob?

He comes into the shack, which is not the Elf’s house. It’s where she keeps her work stuff as she travels around the dinosaur ranch. Jake’s reins should come in through the front window, but they’re dangling below its very long neck.

Vestri Get Away 7-9 avoid harm

Vestri falls out of the tree, but lands on some underbrush and is uninjured. He stumbles out of the brush with his pickaxe ready, but Yuri is nowhere to be seen. Yrta points out the fleeing Brontosaur carrying Yuri. Vestri starts pursuing it, but realizes his tiny legs are no match for a panicked dinosaur’s speed, and toher dinosaurs are stampeding around. He retreats to the edge of the brush to consider his next move.

Back on Jake’s back, Yuri gets a length of rope and uses it to steady himself as he walks/climbs up Jake’s neck towards the reins. He throws the loop of rope around Jake’s neck and pulls

Yuri Overcome 7-9 temporary solution

Yuri gets up to Jake’s head and hangs on for dear life.  How will he grab the reins without falling off? Yuri yells back to the rancher and asks her to call Jake, so he might turn his head and move the reins closer to Yuri. She does, and Yuri makes his move!

Yuri Overcome 7-9

Yuri Fool Me Twice reroll one die 10+

Yuri hums the Indiana Jones theme as he lets go of the rope, swings around Jake’s neck and grabs the reins. He pulls the reins to bring Jake to a stop.

Vestri: I saw that! Very impressive!

Yuri returns to the shack and is properly introduced to Charlene, the Elf rancher. He’s very impressed that she’s raising animals that are extinct in his world.

Charlene: A lady can’t say exactly how old she is, but we’ve had this here herd for the last 300 years at least.

Yuri: An impressive herd you’ve amassed over such a short amount of time!

Charlene: Yeah, but it will be scattered or killed by that horrible sky monster.

Yuri: We have a way of securing Eel up on the mountain, but it needs to be up on the mountain. Can we use Jacob as bait?

A terrible request! How could she let Jake come to harm? This Brontosaur isn’t quite a pet, but it’s hers. Yuri could buy a different Brontosaur, then do whatever he wants with it.

Yuri: I have no money but I have this amazing trading baseball card. Super-famous. You know Ken Griffey Jr.? What about a pawn shop situation. You hold on to this and if I lose your animal, you keep it. And if I bring it back, it is like, no harm, no faul.

Charlene: All sales are final!

Yuri spends Trading Card (Precious) for a Brontosaur

Charlene directs Jake to find another Brontosaur. They have run far enough away that the animals have calmed down. Yuri can have this one. Charlene asks what mark Yuri will brand on the Brontosaur so people will know it is his and not stolen.

Yuri: Do I have to brand it, so it will be hurt? What about I adorn it with some sort of necklace?

Charlene: The skin is like three inches think, and aren’t you going to get this eaten by a monster?

Charlene has branding equipment in her shack, but the branding iron is for the Lazy I Ranch. Of course she doesn’t have any other brands. That would be cheating. Yuri heats up a hammer and sickle and uses them to brand the Brontosaur with the mark of his homeland. Charlene prepares to ride Jake around to do a neck-count on her herd and see what’s left.

Yuri: Does this one come with reins? I know nothing of controlling dinosaurs.

Yuri is going to command Yrta to command the Mountain Lions to chase the Brontosaur toward Stoss the Cloud Eel. Yuri yells at the Brontosaur and smacks it on the leg to get it to move. It moseys a little, but it will require much more convincing to move towards the Cloud Eel. Yuri gathers some leaves from the trees that the dinosaurs graze from and gives it to Yrta, so he can lead the Brontosaur like a carrot on a stick.

Yuri Talks Sense (+Wisdom, appeal to desire for food) 10+

The Brontosaur follows the food towards the commotion.  Megacerops run in the opposite direction. Stoss is no longer camouflaged by clouds, so its huge grey body is visible close to the ground. It’s trying to attack yet another Brontosaur.  Vestri has been trying to catch up with Yuri all this time, but everything has such long legs and move so much faster than him.

Vestri Look Closely 7-9 three questions, find one answer the hard way

  • What is Stoss doing. What will it do next?
    • Stoss is trying to corral the Brontosaur by blocking its path with its tail. When the Brontosaur can’t run anymore, Stoss will kill and eat
  • Is something hidden or out of place?
    • A patch of water flows unnaturally through the water. It’s Doeb!
  • What happens if I jump up and down and yell to draw attention?
    • A male Elf comes out of camouflage right next to Vestri and tries to tackle him to the ground, but fails because Vestri is very dense and stable.

Wayne: It’s dangerous here! I don’t know how y’all wandered into this.

Vestri explains that he and Yuri are here to get the Could Eel under control.

Wayne: Y’all seem intent on runnin’ right into danger, but I’m getting out. I’m getting into the Baron’s underground manor. I reckon that’s the safest place. I recommend you come with me.

Vestri:  Underground is definitely the safest place to be. I should help my friend over here. He’s not from our world.

Wayne: Well, I ain’t kidnapping you. You’re free as you wish, but I ain’t stopping!

Vestri moves towards Yuri and Wayne uses Camouflage to disappear into the tall grass.

Stoss has corraled a Brontosaur, but Yuri runs in to attack that Brontosaur’s legs, hoping it will rear up or bolt away.

Yuri Keep Them Busy vs. Stoss 7-9

Yuri Fool Me Once 10+

The Brontosaur rears and flails its mighty tail, preventing Stoss of getting a good bute, but threatening Yuri.

Yuri Overcome 10+

Yuri tucks and rolls under the sweeping tail, avoiding harm. He tells Yrta to send the Mountain Lions to drive the Brontosaur up the mountain.

Mountain Lions use Pounce

Vestri chases down Doeb

Vestri: Listen. Here is a very reasonable plan. You were going to keep Stoss at the top with a storm. Why don’t we chase it up to the top with a storm? If you use your power of the storm, I will use my power of whispering to rocks.

Doeb Divine Purpose: all Talk Sense attempts have Despair

Vestri Talks Sense (+sense, explain plan) 7-9 owe Doeb a favor

Doeb: Hmm, insteresting. I could use an expanded dwelling. I am expecting . . . guests. Yes. This is good. I will do this for you.

Doeb Rain’s Master: create thunderstorm

With the Brontosaur in front and the storm behind, Stoss heads up the mountain. Vestri tries to catch up by riding a Megacerops. He sits on the beast’s nose and steers by holding the Y-shaped horn.

Vestri Get Away (+despair) 7-9

Vestri barely keeps the beast on course. There’s lots of screaming. Sometimes Vestri ducks behind the horn as the Megacerops crashes through brush.

The Brontosaur can’t climb all the way up the mountain. It gets stuck in deep snow partway up the mountain, at the edge of the clouds. Yuri wants the Mountain Lions to lurk in the mist and form a shadow that looks bigger than the Brontosaur, so Stoss will switch to target them. Surely they are fast enough to get away. That’s a hard sell for Yrta! On one wing, he’s dedicated to caring for Stoss, but on the other wing, these are his cats! Yuri offers the Brontosaur to replace any losses.

Yuri: It’s your life’s work, Yrta. You need to break few eggs to make omelet.

GM note: not a good metaphor for a bird!

Yuri Talk Sense (+Wisdom, desire to care for Stoss) 6-

Yuri Fool Me Twice 10+

Mountain Lions Stalk From Shadows

GM note: The players are spending resources and making good rolls. I think this is enough.

Stoss chases the Mountain Lions past the trapped Brontosaur and up to the peak of the mountain, where Doeb is able to surround him with storms and keep him there.

Yuri: You hear that Doeb? We have saved your eel pet.

Doeb: Yeah, I know. I’m the one chasing it. The storm? Behind you? That’s me.

Vestri’s Megacerops gallops up the slope, pushing a mound of snow in front of it. It skids to a stop and Vestri, encrusted in snow, emerges from the ditch behind the Megacerops.

Vestri: It worked, lad!

Yuri: But at a cost.

Vestri: At cost? What’s the cost?

Yuri: My mental health! And also my baseball card.

GM note: They didn’t save the day, they just un-ruined it back to the status quo, except some Mountain Lions got eaten.

Vestri fulfills his promise to expand Doeb’s house. It’s all tubes and round rooms, very good for fluids. Doeb is pleased to have space for more Rain.

GM note: There’s no drama in expanding the house, so I didn’t call for the Speak Softly roll that it technically requires.

The Fellowship goes down the mountain, taking the slow way so that Gurtin can drive down. Yrta comes along to take delivery of Yuri’s Brontosaur. Along the way, Vestri explains his family to Yuri, who is mixed up. Gurtin is the vehicle. Hundrin is the Dwarf. Neither are married to Vestri. None of Vestri’s wives or husbands accompany him on this adventure. They are all back in the mountain, except the one husband who is a trader. Vestri’s wife is a silversmith, and Vestri’s husband’s wife is a goldsmith, so Vestri’s husband sells the gold and silver jewelry.

When they return to the Lazy I Ranch, Charlene is upset. Yuri took a Brontosaur that he didn’t pay for, and he left his Brontosaur at the ranch to graze on their land. She demands that he return the stolen Brontosaur and take his Brontosaur away.

Yuri: That one was about to be eaten, so I needed to get it off the land to get rid of the thing that was terrorizing your town. Kind of a wash, really? Would you rather I left the eel? I can go back and get it!

Charlene: Well, I never! C’mon Jake, we’re going to tell the Baron about this!

Threatening the ranch with a giant monster was a bad move! Charlene rides away in her giant steed. Yuri tries to find the Brontosaur with his hammer and sickle brand.

Yuri Looks Closely 6-

Yuri Fool Me Once 7-9 ask three questions, find one answer the hard way

  • Is something hidden or out of place?
    • The big house where the boss lives is mostly underground. The only part above ground is a lobby, so it’s smaller than the houses for the ranch workers.
  • Tell me about the Brontosaurs. What are they doing?
    • The have recovered from their panic and are acting normally. They move in a loose formation instead of all descending on one stand of trees and stripping it bare. Yuri is able to figure out how they move and finds his Brontosaur.
  • How could the Baron hurt or help me?
    • The Baron is the boss of this location. If they anger him, and they won’t be welcome here, but please him and he can use his power and influence to help them.

Vestri wonders if the Baron is a Dwarf. Yuri assumes its a relative. Charlene emerges from the Baron’s house with a finely-dressed Elf. Davey is dressed like Colonel Sanders.

Yuri: No! No threatening! Showing the intelectual conundrum. The status quo was a horrible eel. I feel like I did a good thing here, is what I’m trying to say. I have no intention of destroying your town.

Davey: How about we trade your Brontosaur for the one you took?

Yuri: I have since traded the Brontosaur, so you would have to talk to my bird friend here.  We know exactly where it is. It is just a little stuck.

The Fellowship realizes that they abandoned that Brontosaur in a snowdrift and it surely froze to death.

Davey: Where is it? Describe it to me.

Yuri: Is very tall piece of ground that sticks up and there is a little bit snow at the top. That is the mountain.

Davey turns to the Dwarf, hoping for a useful description of the Brontosaur’s location. Vestri gives a detailed explaination of how to reach the Brontosaur. Davey closes his eyes, mumbles, and makes some hand signs.

Davey uses Mystic Power

Bam! Davey teleports the Brontosaur back from the mountain. It’s dead.

Charlene: We’re taking that Brontosaur back.

Yuri: Can I have my baseball card back?

Charlene: No!

Yrta isn’t sure if the dead Brontosaur is the same one that Yuri promised to him. Both Yrta and Yuri think all Brontosaurs look alike.

Charlene: First of all, they’re all individuals. Second, we branded the one that you bought. This isn’t it.

So the Lazy I Ranch takes back the Brontosaur that Yuri bought. Yuri owns the carcass of the other Brontosaur, which he gives to Yrta as a source of food for his Mountain Lions. The Mountain Lions descend and carry off all the meat back to their home in the mountain. There is no Eel terrorizing the town. The Fellowship think they’ve done a fine job.

Yuri: So for the heroes of the town, do you mind if we have a little place to sleep for the night, or…

Davey: Are you referring to yourselves?

Yuri: Maybe I can assist medically, if anyone was injured in the Great Eel Attack of Whatever Year This Is?

Vestri: We typically count in Ages.

Davey: I think it’s time for y’all to mosey along.

Vestri: Do you need a new cave?

Davey: What have you heard about our cave?

Yuri: The way you ask makes me curious. What haven’t I heard about your cave?

Davey: Baron Ivanova’s dwelling is Baron Ivanova’s business. I’m not going to tell it to outsiders.

Yuri: Could be insiders if we knew.

GM note: Ivanova is pronounced “Eye vuh NO vuh” because it’s an Elven name, not a Russian name. Russia doesn’t exist on this planet. Also, the Fellowship will not leave well enough alone! They’ve squandered all their good will.

It’s getting dark. The Fellowship wants a place to stay. Maybe they can do some unskilled labor to earn a bed? maybe Yuri can use his medkit to…

Davey: Y’all should definitely move along. You should not be here after dark.

Yuri: Why not? Is there a problem after dark that we can help you with?

Vestri convinces Yuri to leave the ranch, and even then he’s still explaining how he’s a good helpful person and the Elves should be happy to have him. Vestri makes a cave for the Fellowship to sleep in for the night.

Vestri Earth Whisperer

GM note: Oh right, Response Moves. The Fellowship has certainly caused trouble in Lazy Eye Ranch

Response move: Guardian. A powerful Threat activates to defend a location

Response move: Stalker: A Threat watches the Fellowship and reports to the Boss

GM note: Even thought it provides interesting insight to early Dwarven culture, I will omit the lengthy discussion of how Dwarves poop.

The Fellowship considers what to do next. Yuri consults the sword to see if it points him towards the site of a future disaster. He gets the impression that to the south there is a mountian with a huge gash in it. Yuri asks Vestri if he knows such a mountain.

Vestri: There are many mountains with gashes. Do you mean the Split Mountain? Or the Twin Mountain? Or the Dragon-Split Mountain? Perhaps you mean the Hammer-Cleft Mountain? The Hammer-Cleft mountain is mentioned in the tale of the dagger.

They set off to the south toward Hammer-Cleft Mountains. First they pass through the Singing Hills. Various adventuring parties have traveled through the SInging Hills over the years. So the Dwarves have a song about it that they heard from the Humans, and the Humans heard it from the Elves. It’s a place of note.

GM note: Ha ha. Like a musical note.

The Singing Hills are rolling hills with long grass that blows in the wind as big puffy clouds float overhead. Different tones  carry on the wind, different notes from different directions. Far away in the sky, a whie line snakes back and forth. It looks a bit like a Cloud Eel. The Fellowship decides to give it a wide berth. As they walk along, Vestri recognizes a false stone, used by Dwarves to conceal things.

Vestri: See that? There’s one rock that has a strange milky shine. See how that one the reflection seems a little blurry? It’s not a real rock!

Vestri wedges his pick between the false rock and the real rocks and pulls. The false rock smoothly rotates away to reveal Dwarven stairs going down. Yuri worries that Gurtin will not fit, but Gurtin was built for Dwarven mines, so it fits through standard Dwarven passages. Yuri can’t stand up straight inside, so he goes down the stairs on his hands and knees, but first. The stairs go down to an old Dwarven bus stop. The chamber adjoins a round tunnel about the width of a two-lane road. It’s about 30% full of water flowing south. If this was maintained and active, rafts would transport Dwarves downriver, and conveyor belts powered by waterwheels would transport Dwarves upriver. This tunnel has been abandoned for a long time. The conveyor belts are gone, the lights are out. No rafts, no Dwarves, just a dark tunnel with water flowing through it. Vestri babbles about how cool this is, about vague stories that he wasn’t sure were true. This explains how those two groups had a trade route across the lands of the Red Tyrant. Very exciting.

Yuri: Thank you for the history lesson. That is actually very interesting. What do we do?

Vestri wants to make Gurtin the Tunneler float, but Yuri thinks that’s unlikely because it’s so heavy. He proposes leaving Gurtin behind, but Vestri rejects that.

Vestri Earth Whisperer Speak Softly 10+

  • What can you tell me about getting out safely?
    • There are stations like this one along the tunnel that go up to the surface.
  • What should I be wary of when traveling through the tunnel?

    • Recently there were strange and dangerous creatures in here: a unicorn, a giant crocidile, some adventurers, a giant spider.
  • Please collapse the tunnel upstream of us, so the water will drain out.
    • The earth complies.

The water can’t flow down the tunnel and builds up behind the blockage. Maybe the blockage will hold, but maybe the tunnel will suddenly flood at an unpredicatable time in the future. The Fellowship waits for the water to flow away and then walks/rolls down the tunnel on solid ground.

Vestri: OK, we’re going to go left then right then right then left then right then left-left.

Yuri: I trust your Dwarven instincts because you have talked to the earth.

Vestri and Hundrin can see in the dark tunnel, but Yuri holds on to Vestri’s shoulder for guidance. After walking for some time, they reach a branch in the tunnel, going right and sloping up. Vestri decides to go right, which probably leads to an exit, so Yuri can see.  There is a light at the end of the tunnel. As they approach it, they see that the ceiling of the tunnel has collapsed, so light is coming in from the sky. Water drips in from the hole in the ceiling onto a ramp of rubble. Vestri wants to punch through the rubble to the tunnel beyond.

Vestri Clear The Path 6-

Falling Block Trap: Pile of Rubble threatens to bury Vestri

Vestri Overcome 10+

Vestri charges into the rubble, hits it with his shoulders and the whole ceiling collapses! Then nothing. Dust settles.

Hundrin: Don’t worry about it.

The first time Hundrin speaks to Yuri! The rubble trembles a bit, then Vestri’s head pops up out of the rubble, like a human might emerge from a swimming pool.

Vestri: I’m stuck over here. Hold on, it’s going to take me a minute.

Yuri: Maybe it is better if you request the earth to move

Vestri Earth Whisperer Speak Softly 10+

  • Hello could you please move out of our way? Thank you.
    • The pile of rubble moves aside.

Now some very obvious consequences happen which surprise everyone. The Fellowship walked up the slope of a blocked tunnel in a system of underground waterways. Water should be flowing downhill, against their path, but it’s not because the tunnel is blocked by a pile of rubble. A pile of rubble that Vestri just moved out of the way. Behind that rubble is a wall of water two storeys tall filling the entire tunnel, which is now free to rush down the tunnel that everyone is standing in! Yuri grabs for some rubble to avoid being swept away. Vestri sinks in water, so he jumps to get a breath of air, sinks, then grabs for a big rock, hoping to stay in place underwater until the water level subsides.

Yuri Overcome 6-

Yuri Fool Me Once 6-

Vestri Overcome 10+

Vestri and his rock don’t move very far, but Yuri, Hundrin and Gurtin are swept away.

GM note: Hundrin and Gurtin have no unmarked stats, so this damage goes to their bonds. They only have one Bond with Vestri, so they lose their last Bond are no longer Vestri’s companions! Oh no, is Vestri’s friend dead?! I remind Vestri’s player that Gear (including companions) return when Recovering, so they aren’t permanently gone.

Gurtin is bashed against the side of the tunnel and wrecked, and Hundrin disappears in the water.  The water gets lower and slower as it goes down the tunnel, and eventually Yuri is able to pull himself out of the water. Yuri and Vestri yell for each other. Vestri finds Yuri and guides him back up the tunnel to the light, making wet squishy footfalls. They climb out of tunnel to the surface. They are no longer in the Singing Hills. They are in a marshy region. It’s raining and muddy and hard to see. A ways in the distance is the palisade wall of a settlement. They approach the settlement, hoping to dry off. The enter the town of Bogden, which is primarily settled by Platypeople. There’s no immediately hostility or disaster here, so they plan to stay here and Recover.

END OF SESSION MOVE

  • Did we thoroughly explore a new location? Yes, Cloudhold.
  • Did we discover something new about he world and its people: Yes, there are Platypeople and dinosaurs and lost Dwarven tunnels.
  • Did anyone find what they were looking for? No

Two Boons.

Level up and they’re going to Recover and get all Gear and Stats back, so the other boon is irrelevant.

Chasing The Sunset & Aftermath

Chasing the Sunset is a West Marches-style exploration game using Fellowship 2nd Edition‘s Horizon rules.

The party: Buckle the Beast/Heart of Earth, Stella the Halfling/Hunter

Last time, the Fellowship found a mysterious mountain, climbed to the top, and found an empty villain’s lair with notes that revealed this entire mountain is an Anti-Moon Weapon.

It’s sunset and the Fellowship gets ready to sleep. Buckle must take special care to avoid burning down the building during the night.

GM note: I asked Buckle’s player how Buckle avoid setting things on fire, and we negotiated further details about the settings to come up with an answer.

The hallways and guest rooms are carpeted, but the lounge has a tile floor. Buckle picks a leather chair to lie on. MacLeod’s furniture is built to high safety standards, so it does not burst into flames.  Stella has trouble going to sleep around Buckle because he always glows brightly. The lounge is one bug room, so Buckle lights up the whole area. Stella and her friends go back into the hallways and settle into guest rooms. Half of the guest rooms and the servants’ quarters don’t have beds. Instead stout metal bars are mounted between six and seven feet above the floor.

The lounge’s huge windows and prominent location make Buckle a beacon, visible for miles. Everyone settles in to sleep for the night.

Buckle is awoken in the middle of the night by a high-pitched voice, breathing heavily.

Voice: A little help here?

Buckle bolts upright and sees a fairy hovering outside the panoramic windows. Fairies are the size and build of a Barbie doll, with insect wings that let them fly. They glow slightly and their skin color ranges through pastel and floral shades. This fairy is orange/gold and carrying a book that’s bigger than she is. She holds it by a strap running along the book’s spine. She’s having difficulty flying with it.

Marigold: Oh man, I had to fly through the night to get here to you guys.

Buckle: Who are you? Are we expecting you?

Marigold: No, no, this is rush-rush hush-hush. I have to meet Doctor MacLeod as soon as possible.

She flies into the room, puts the book on the floor, and sits on top of it. Buckle sits down across from her.

Buckle: We just got here and the owner of the house doesn’t seem to be around. What do you know about the technology here?

Marigold: No, that’s what you’re supposed to tell me. What happened here? You don’t work here? This is suspicious!

The fairy notices the shattered glass and other signs of combat. That’s suspicious!  She picks up the book and retreats to hover outside of the room.

Buckle: We found it in a bizarre state. There was some weird due down at the hanger at the bottom of the hill who seemed to like the dark a lot.

Marigold: Ho ho, likes the dark, huh? We have this in common.

Wait, this is serious.

Marigold: This is not a safe place for the manual. Our plans could be jeopardized.

Marigold starts to laboriously fly away.

Buckle: Wait, are you a Moon Fairy?

Marigold: How dare you associate me with that horrible thing?

Buckle wonders about the moon and the payload and Marigold’s arrival. Marigold just leaves. She’s so heavy that she needs to stay close to the ground, so she flies down the slope of the mountain.

Buckle: Calm down, we can talk this over and help you. You just have to trust us.

Buckle Talk Sense (+Wisdom, appeal to emotion) 10+

Marigold floats back and says that it’s really important that she find Doctor MacLeod so that Doctor MacLeod can go over this manual. Buckle says that together with his smart friends, they will find Doctor MacLeod. They wake Stella and the companions. Stella is upset to be awakened by Buckle’s blazing light. She tells him to go back to sleep. She opens her eyes and sees another light, much dimmer than Buckle, coming from a fairy floating over Buckle’s head.

Stella: Either this is a really weird dream, or this is actually happening.

Buckle and Marigold explain that Marigold has vital work for Doctor MacLeod, but can’t find her.

Buckle: I have learned that she’s not a Moon Fairy.

Marigold winces at the word “moon”

Stella: Buckle, why would you say that?

Stella hasn’t seen Dr. MacLeod, but she has seen the Doctor’s notes in the study. She asks Marigold about the project, but Marigold has instructions to give the manual only to Dr. MacLeod.

Stella: We don’t know when she’s coming back. Is this an urgent matter?

Marigold: Very urgent! I had to fly here directly with this heavy thing. We had no time to wait for more suitable messengers.

Buckle offers to carry the book and follow Marigold as she searches. Marigold isn’t sure about someone else carrying the book, especially not Buckle! She flies off to put the book somewhere safe. After a short time, she returns, ready to look around. The Fellowship has already searched this building, so they go to the elevator. Stella presses the call button. There’s a deep thrumming sound of big cables under tension, mechanical grinding noises, and after a minute, no elevator arrives.

GM note: A player decided that the elevator was the old style with the grille doors, so the characters can look down the shaft. Tha’ts cool. Let’s go with that.

Stella can see that the shaft goes down only. Not surprising, since this building is at the top of the mountain. There is an elevator car visible a ways down the shaft, but it’s not moving. Marigold doesn’t need a car to move through a vertical shaft, so she squeezes through the grillework and starts flying down the elevator shaft. Buckle asks where she’s going to look.

Marigold. I don’t know. I haven’t been here in person.

Stella: Buckle, I think we need to do some spelunking.

Buckle: What’s that?

Stella: It’s when you go into a dark cave and you don’t know if you’re going to come back.

Buckle is in if there are fish in the cave. Stella disables the safety interlock on the door and pulls them open so they can access the elevator shaft. Now they have to jump to the cables and slide down.

Buckle Overcome (danger of falling down the shaft) (+hope, aid from Stella) 7-9

Buckle pays a price (damage Webbed Hands) for the 10+ result

The Fellowship rappels down the cables and land on the top of the elevator car. Marigold is flitting around looking for a way past the car, which completely blocks the shaft, preventing her from continuing down. Stella opens the trap door on the roof of the car and sticks her head into the car. She sees a wooden pole (4 inches across and several feet long) going through the back wall of the elevator car and presumably into the wall of the elevator shaft. That’s why the car can’t move. There’s a pile of ash on the floor, but no other scorch marks or evidence of fire. The door of the elevator is also a grille, and beyond the door is the wall of the elevator shaft. The car did not stop at a floor. Stella calls Buckle over and pushes him into the elevator. He falls in, raising a cloud of ash.

Stella: Buckle, see that wooden pole thing? Think you can burn it up?

Buckle grabs the pole and yanks it out of the wall!

Buckle Overcome (friction) 6-

GM note: Usually a 6- means that the character does not succeed, but in this case, it’s more fun if the character does success, but that success leads to trouble!

The pole comes free and the elevator car groans and shifts slightly. The pole was holding the elevator in place, and it could drop at any moment! Buckle realizes that the terrible danger he’s in is entirely his own fault! (Also, the end of the pole that was in the wall is sharpened to a point.)

Stella tells Buckle to lean the pole in a corner so he can climb out of the elevator car. Buckle looks and calculates the distances. The pole is three feet long. He’s three feet tall. The ceiling in this human-sized elevator is seven feet high. He jams the pole back into the hole in the wall.

Buckle Overcome (elevator falling) 10+

With the pole back in place, the elevator car can’t fall. The fellowship is out of immediate danger. The pole is on fire since Buckle touched it, but it wil take a while to burn through. Buckle looks for the elevator controls. There’s a lever that moves the car up or down. Buckle pulls the lever and hears the cables moving. When the cables pull taut, he pulls the pole back out. Now the elevator car is safely suspended on the cables and can move up and down as he wishes.

GM note: I didn’t call for any more rolls because it would be repeating rolls the players already did, and they figured out a solution to get the elevator working again. Just let them have their success.

Buckle: I got it working! Everything’s fine!

Buckle sends the elevator up.

GM note: As Buckle’s player said: “That’s funnier and more precarious for the people on top of the elevator.”

In about a hundred feet, the roof of the elevatar car is going to meet the ceiling of the elevator shaft, which is bad news for Stella, Marigold, and all the companions on the roof of the car! Stella and the companions try to scramble out of the open elevator door as the car moves past!

Stella Get Away 6-

Ugg is tallest and puts his powerful robotic arms up to stop the ceiling from crushing the rest of the Fellowship! He also yells down to Buckle to stop the elevator.

Ugg damages Bigger ‘n You

Buckle stops the elevator and lets everyone off. Now everyone is on the top floor and Buckle brings the elevator car up to match the door. Marigold enters the elevator, sees the pile of ash and the (flaming) wooden spike, and panics!

Marigold: Nope, I’m cancelling my misison. I gotta go tell the Baron. This is bad!

She flies down the hallway towards the open windows in the lounge. Stella and Buckle try to stop her so they can understand what’s wrong.

Stella Keep Them Busy (+ hope, aid from Buckle) 10+

They run ahead and block the hallway. She darts around looking for a way through and they put their hands up to keep her contained.

Buckle: Wait, wait. What did you see? What is with the ash?

Marigold: Everyone’s dead! This place can been attacked. The broken windows. Why didn’t I see this before?

Stella wants to know who attacked, but Marigold doesn’t want to stick around and find out.

Buckle: Wait, is that pile of ash Doctor MacLeod?

Stella remembers throwing flaming logs during Platypalooza, but that’s very far away. The chances of a stray log flying across the map and pinning someone to the wall in the middle of an elevator shaft are miniscule. The Fellowship wants to ask more questions, but Marigold is trying to flee for her life. She’s not in the mood to answer questions.

Buckle: Calm down. We’re right here. Nothing’s going to hurt you.

Buckle Finish Them (+Wisdom, show error of their ways) 7-9

Marigold damages Dangerously Sexy

GM note: I had not tell the players Marigold’s stats yet. She’s a Vampire! We’ve been dancing around says the word for a month.

Marigold is disheveled, but not in a sexy way. She transforms into a big vampire bat and with her new form she slips past Stella and Buckle! Stella follows her to see if she forgets to retrieve the book. Marigold flies straight out of the broken windows and does not go for the book. She flies northwest into the distance.

Buckle: Did you ever see a fairy turn into a bat before? Moon Fairies are rude.

Stella: Hey, Silk. We’re going book-hunting.

Stella tries to remember from which direction Marigold returned after hiding the book, but it was ambiguous. She and Silk go outside and climb around the penthouse looking for the book.

Silk damages Wall Crawler

Stella Look Closely 6- Ask 1 question, find out the hard way

  • Is something hidden or out of place?
    • Stella finds the book balanced on the edge of the roof. When she tries to pick it up, it tips off the edge! She grabs for it and rips out a few pages, but the book falls over the edge towards the mountain below.

Buckle is in the lounge and sees the book fall past the panoramic windows. He dives to grab it by the strap that Marigold used to carry it.

Buckle Overcome risk of book falling 7-9

Buckle grabs the strap, and it catches fire!

Pay a price for 10+ result: Buckle damages Electro-Sense

Buckle’s so surprised by the strap catching fire that he falls out the window! He lands on his head near the book.

GM note: Electro-sense! Platypeople’s electro-sense wouldn’t trigger on Marigold because she’s not a living being. She’s undead. I should have let Buckle know something was weird about her immediately, but I forgot about his ability.

Stella peers over the edge of the roof, a few pages grasped in her hand.

Stella: Buckle, are you OK?

Buckle: Iiiiiiii’m fiiiiine.

After a little hiking and scrambling, Stella retrieves Buckle and the book and they all go back to Dr. MacLeod’s study. The title of the book is:

OPERATIONS MANUAL VOL. IV

It’s a dry technical manual with procedures for mantaining and operating some complicated machine. An engineer who could turn a mountain into a weapon could understand these diagrams and procedures, but to a lay-person, they are meaningless. Stella looks around the study for similar books, perhaps other volumes, but this book is different from all the books in Dr. MacLeod’s study. The binding is a tough, fire-proof material, so Buckle can actually hold it safely, as long as he doesn’t touch the pages within.  Ugg helps him to turn the pages, but his robot hands are big and he tears a page or two. Platypeople have a surprising graps of technology, so Buckle is able to figure out a bit.

GM note: There’s not really a basic move for figuring out books or riddles. I decides on Look Closely.

Buckle Look Closely at the manual 7-9

  • What is going on here? What do my senses tell me?
    • This is a manual for a teleporter. It’s a room that swaps its contents with the contents of another room far away.
  • Is something hidden or out of place?
    • Buckle sees a fascinating passage and points excitedly, igniting a page! Ugg slams the books to put out the flames. Now they’ll never know what that page said. Context indicates it was about the location of the terminals. The location of the near terminal is “immediately south of the Command Center” and the remote terminal is “below”
  • Tell me about the machine this manual goes to. How could it hurt or help me?
    • It requires a huge amount of power to operate. (Like an Artifact of Power, like the one inside Buckle) Operating it improperly can be deadly.

GM note: A player theorizes that this means the Moon is staffed by werewolves, but can werewolves be werewolves on the moon? When is it a full Moon on the moon?

Buckle: So there’s two rooms, right? And you go to one room and the other room comes to you, but you’re not there anymore. Does that make sense?

Stella stares.

Stella: No?

They talk around each other for a while. It’s confusing! Stella wants to take the elevator to explore the rest of the facilty. Ugg carries the book and they all go to the elevator. The whole party can fit inside the car.

Stella: Take us down!

Buckle: Maybe someone else should touch the llever. I almost skooshed y’all.

Ugg operates the lever with one over-sized robotic finger.

At the bottom, the elevator opens onto a big mechanical area, full of scorched machines and split fuel tanks. There was a fire here! Buckle looks longingly at the fuel tanks, wishing he could have seen them burn. The lights that usually illuminate this space are broken, but there’s always light when Buckle is around. Buckle examines the area.

Buckle Look Closely at machine room. 7-9 Ask 3 questions, find 1 the hard way.

  • What is going on here? What do my senses tell me?
    • It’s a large room with a high ceiling. This is the base of the turret in the slot in the mountain. There are giant motors to move the turret, which were supplied by large fuel tanks. Those tanks ruptured and burned everything.
  • Is something hidden or out of place? What looks suspicious.

    • A huge axle supports the 1000-foot-long barrel of the Anti-Moon Weapon. A feat of engineering, capable of holding enormous weight and mvoign it precisely. A one-foot diameter hole has been burned all the way through this huge piece of hardened metal at an odd angle, permanently ruining it. Buckle recognizes the melted slag around the edges. This is the sort of heat that’s generated when he goes all out and vaporizes someone! There’s something else out there with that kind of power.
  • Tell me about the machines in this room. What are they doing? What will they do next?

    • In addition to the motors, axle, and fuel tanks, there’s a crane that loads the payload into the turret. It was also damaged and is now about to topple and crush anything underneath.

The Fellowship has several directions to flee.  Back to the elevator, a big door leading outside, or a door that goes further into the facility. They run inwards. Stella wants to work together, but Buckle is already gone!

GM note: Stella’s player was going to set up a roll with Bonds That Bind Us, but Buckle’s player had already rolled, so that roll will stand and the two characters will flee separately.

Buckle Get Away further into the facility 7-9 avoid harm

Stella Get Away further into the facility 7-9 avoid harm

Everyone runs inside as the crane collapses behind them, sealing off their route to the elevator.  They find themselves in living quarters for a few dozen people. These are working-class accomodations, not fancy rooms like at the summit.  Furniture is flipped over, some things are burned. There are wooden stakes in piles of ashes.

Stella: You don’t suppose somebody came here and found a bunch of vampires, do you?

Buckle: Vampires? Ooooooooh. Oh! Vampires!

Stella: Or as you like to call them, Moon Fairies.

Buckle: I don’t think Vampires are Moon Fairies.

Stella facepalms. She investigates the space they find themselves in.

Stella Look Closely at living quarters 7-9 Ask 3 questions, find 1 the hard way.

  • What is going on here? What do my senses tell me?
    • Washrooms, bedrooms with metal bars for 4 people (Vampires sleep hanging upside down) The cafeteria has only meat and blood. The well-stocked cafeteria at the summit was for guests, but all this food is for Vampires.
  • Tell me about the beings that resided here.
    • Vampires are usually in hiding, but here Vampires lived openly. They operated this Anti-Moon Weapon, but were attacked, and many were killed.
  • Is something hidden or out of place? What looks suspicious.
    • While the Fellowship looks through the kitchen, something leaps out from behind a crate!

It’s the person covered in blankets and cloth that they saw when they approached the mountain, and she’s trying to bite Stella!

Stella Overcome Vampire’s attack 6-

Stella damages a stat

Addison smashes Stella to the floor, pins her, and prepares to bite and turn Stella! Buckle runs in and swings with his tail!

GM note: Buckle’s player let me pick whether Buckle uses Sense or Blood, since the bonus is the same. Deciding that a player has killed someone seems like overstepping my authority, but the player said I could choose, so I have permission. I choose Blood!

Buckle Finish Them +Blood (advantage: vampire focused on turning Stella) 10+

Vampire is killed! TAKEN OUT

Buckle strikes with such force that the vampire bounces into the wall and does not move or get up.

Buckle: Stella, are you OK?

Stella: What was that thing?

Buckle: I never thought I’d say this, but I think that’s a Vampire.

GM note: Do Vampires collapse into ash from any cause of death, or only from being staked? Let the players decide. To let the characters be paranoid and confirm the kill, only staking turns Vampires to ash.

Buckle goes to retrieve one of the wooden stakes used by the mysterious attackers. He returns with a smouldering stake as long as his body, sharpened to a wicked point, and Stella is holding a chopstick.

Stella: This is all I could find.

Buckle: Try it. Sure.

Stella tries to stab the chopstick into the Vampire’s heart, but the chopstick breaks. Buckle follows up with the huge flaming stake. Success! The layers of clothes and blankets settle to the floor as ash leaks out all the edges. It is once again quiet in the destroyed facility. Stella wants to find an exit.

A mountain with a slot cut all the way through, with some kind of machine inside. A few buildings are connected by stairs around the mountain.
The mountain with a slot through it.

Stella finds a door that leads outside. They are in the trapezoidal building just below the axle at the base of the turret. Stella looks down and sees the Mirandda docked at the warehouse.

Stella: Miranda, I missed you so!

Buckle looks through the Vampire’s robes. The innermost layer of cloth is a dirty uniform with a nametag that says “Addison”

Stella: Buckle, see that building way down the hill? Wanna see what it is?

The Fellowship leaves the barracks and walks down a covered staircase to a gatehouse. The awnings over the staircase have been torn down.

A pencil sketch of stairs on the side of Macleod's mountain with metal railings and an awning.
A section of stairs.

The gates have been smashed inwards. Stella rummages through the gatehouse and finds lockers with uniforms that match Addison’s uniform.

Buckle: It’s pretty clear that somebody stormed in, killed a bunch of Vampires, and we just finished off the last of them.

Another path from the gatehouse leads to an observatory. It’s still night time. The mountain is covered with grass and brush at this elevation, so Buckle must stay on the path to avoid causing a fire.

The telescope in the observatory is aimed at the Moon, of course. A motor keeps the telescope aimed at the moon at all times. The telescope is mounted on a tilted axle, just like the turret.  Buckle looks through the telescope and the image goes out of focus as the heat from his body distorts the glass.  Buckle backs off and lets Stella use the delicate instrument. The glass cools off and the image returns to clarity. The disk of the Moon fills Stella’s view. The Moon is mostly featureless, with vague geometric features. No craters and mountains like on Earth’s Moon. There’s a small black spot near the center. It’s not a full moon. Part of the disk is in shadow. A few points of light are visible on the dark side of the Moon.

GM note: I’m forced into a lot of cosmology and physics that I didn’t expect. How big is the Moon? What magnification is the telescope? How fast would something have to move to be visibily moving through a telescope? What’s the name of this planet? What’s the distance from the planet to the Moon?

Stella describes what she sees to Buckle.

Buckle: I think we might be seeing the Moon Fairy cities.

Stella: You and your Moon Fairies.

Buckle: What? they’re real. Vampires are real. How can you doubt Moon Fairies. There are Vampire Faireis but not Moon Fairies? Come on!

Stella looks for records. A logbook indicates that the black spot is from a test shot that impacted the Moon. The logbook tracks four pieces of debris from from that impact that hit this planet. The effect of the test shot was very disappointing.

Buckle: There are vampires. They’re trying to blow up the Moon. Somebody stopped them.

The Fellowship ponders their next move. There’s one place on the mountain they haven’t investigated: the caved-in tunnel behind the warehouse.  Buckle’s hand still hurt from

Stella Overcome blockage 10+

Stella pulls out some small rocks and finds a space between larger rocks that she can fit through. This was the entrance for heavy machinery. The path from the warehouse to this entrance is a ramp, not stairs. Inside, it connects to the living quarters and the machine room.

GM note: A player hoped for Addison to leave a survival-horror-style diary explaining the horrible things that happened. The players didn’t know how to connect all the clues from this session, so I encouraged them to talk through it and try to make connections.

  • Why hate the Moon? Night is the only time Vampires can move freely.
  • Maybe they hate what people are doing to the Moon, possibly with the teleporter
  • The Moon is reflective metal, since we’ve found the pieces that fell.
  • Someone used the mirror from the Moon to focus the Sun into a laser
  • Vampires don’t like the people who made the Moon appear, so they must be good.
  • Baron von Till is involved in the Anti-Moon conspiracy.
  • Alex
  • L&L
  • Castellum

They survey the neighboring regions that they have not visited.

  • South: a village, and smoke rising over the hills
  • West: a dead forest
  • Northwest: an ancient (living) forest
  • North: big scary snowy mountains

The Fellowship returns to Miranda and go upriver, to the northwest, the direction that Marigold fled.

ANTI-MOON WEAPON MESSAGE BOARD.

Buckle: Vampires are real, they lived here, but they all got murdered. They tried blowing up the moon. Left to find McLeod and Marigold

Stella: Vampires! Anti-moon turret. Everything is falling apart so watch your step and always look up.

NO END OF SESSION MOVE

Chasing The Sunset & Hidden Things

Chasing the Sunset is a West Marches-style exploration game using Fellowship 2nd Edition‘s Horizon rules.

The party: Vestri the Dwarf, Yuri the Outlander

Last time, Yuri was transported from Russia to another world, where he met Vestri and helped a Giant out of a jam.

Heinrich the Giant is grateful to the small people who helped him escape the cramped room he was trapped in. He offers to teach the signals he uses to direct the poor undead creatures that live here to bring him food. If that does not appeal, there’s another option. He’s been cooped up for a while, unable to stretch out or move. Once he gets some proper food and exercise, he’d like to go all out and see what he can do! If there’s something that the Fellowship really needs broken, they can call him.

  • Heinrich’s Fellowship Moves (choose 1)
    • Zombie House: Each character gets 2 Zombie companions
    • The Hurricane: The Fellowship may direct Heinrich’s wrath, just once.

Vestri: I like being owed a favor by a Giant. That’s fantastic!

Yuri: We will go with the favor, sir.

Yuri wonders exactly how to call Heinrich and how long Heinrich will take to respond.  Heinrich produces a stone about the size and shape of an ostrich egg. It’s a geode from the stone he was born from. When it’s smashed, he wil feel it where ever he is and will come running.

Yuri: Is this going to hurt, or is just like “Oh, my Spider-senses tingle”?

Heinrich: You know, I haven’t had much experience with the Spiders. They’re a strange lot. But, no, it won’t hurt. Just like this. It’s nothing.

Heinrich tears a handful of bricks from a nearby building and drops them on his foot. He stands up and strides away. He’s over the horizon faster than seems reasonable.

Yuri: Where are we . . .we are going to mountain of some sort? If I remember…

Vestri: Yes, that did seem like a place where I would likely find the family heirloom I am on a search for!

They set out for Cloudhold, a high snowy mountain whose peak is shrouded in clouds. Yuri’s pet cat Stephen walks alongside. This planet has only large wildcats, so Stephen is unique. He depends on Yuri for socialization, which is fine with Yuri because Stephen is cuddly. Thus begins a Long Journey.

Long Journey: Each player introduces a situation or problem that the Fellowship encounters on the way and chooses a character who takes the lead in solving it.

The edges of the City Junkyard are swampy. The ruins and buildings here sink into the muck, and traveling is difficult, especially for a vehicle like Gurtin, the Tunneler.

Yuri: Can you drill under swamp? I imagine wet ground is easier to drill through.

Vestri: Easier to drill through, but not to move through. Are we drilling straight down? We’re not! We’re trying to cross this thing.

Vestri Look Closely at the swamp 6- Ask 1 question, find out the hard way

  • What do my senses tell me?
    • Swampy, mixtures of different building types. A corner of masonry over here. Over there, a wooden door floating. Long water plants, like kelp, grow in the swamp.

GM note: I commiserated with another player who also runs games about wanting an unreasonable level of realism in my descriptions, even though that’s not important for running a fun game.

Vestri wants to harvest the kelp and lay it over some muddy sections to spread Gurtin’s weight and let it pass without sinking.

GM note: Sounds reasonable to me because they did something similar in Mad Max: Fury Road.

As Vestri tries to harvest kelp at the indistinct border of wet mud and muddy water, his arm gets wrapped up and he is pulled into the muck!

Vestri Overcome being caught by kelp 7-9 pay a price for a permanent solution

Vestri loses Tunneler’s Gear

Vestri’s bulky tools get caught and he takes off his belt and leaves it behind as he climbs out onto relatively solid ground. Yuri and Vestri lay out kelp in front of Gurtin.

Vestri Get Away from swamp (+hope, aid from Yuri) 10+

GM note: I just ended the scene instead of letting the players pick two options, like the text of the rule says to do. I don’t think it really matters. They overcame the challenge.

Gurtin is able to travel over the road of kelp without sinking into the mud.  They reach the mountain. They are going through a valley, a path with high walls on either side, a former riverbed. The exit is webbed with very strong spider web. Yuri remembers classic D&D lore: spiderwebs are extremely flammable. Alas, he has no source of fire. Surely Hundrin, the blacksmith can make fire. He did not bring a forge with him. He’s much more useful in town, but he keeps the Tunneler running out here.

Yuri Look Closely at the valley 10+ Ask three questions.

  • Tell me about the wildlife. What are they doing?
    • Animal tracks run along the riverbed. Vultures soar on the updrafts caused by the mountain and circle over this ravine specifically.
  • Is there something hidden or out of place?
    • It takes a while to notice details in nature. So even though there’s no motion to draw his eye, Yuri suddenly notices something after looking around for a while. A boulder sticking out of one wall of the ravine anchors the top corner of the web. Yuri notices a spider-like head peeking out from behind this boulder. This head is on a neck with shoulders, not the standard two-section spider body.

Yuri: I have never seen Spider-Woman. Only Spider-Man movie.

  • Tell me about that Spider? What are they doing? What will they do next?
    • This is a Spider, a humanoid intelligent species native to this land. This one has set this web as a trap across a game trail to capture food. They are surprised to see people and a vehicle coming through. Not ambushing the Fellowship, but not coming out to greet them either.

As Yuri considers how to react, Vestri says something about “typical human” and Yuri protests that he doesn’t know anything about humans, and that he (Yuri) is the first one that he (Vestri) has met. Yuri insists that he met another human 40 years ago! Vestri is seventy-twelve years old, by the way. Yuri considers driling through the web with Gurtin, but Vestri worries that Gurtin’s drill will get gunked up. Yuri also considers talking to the hunter, man to Spider-Woman. Vestri picks up a rock and throws it into the web.

Vestri: Hey, Hundrin? Do you think we can tunnel through this with Gurtin?

Hundrin grunts and nods.

Strangers barging in and plotting to destroy her web? That’s pretty scary!

Vestri Finish Them +Courage (scare them away) 6-

But the Spider isn’t scared at all.  She’s a hunter, used to attacking one unaware target at a time, so she won’t risk a frontal assault on this group of people. She sneaks through the tree branches to an advantageous angle and shoots webs to jam up the Tunneler’s wheels. Yuri slices at the webbing with his magical sword.

Yuri Overcome webbing 7-9

Yuri Fool Me Twice reroll one die

Yuri Overcome webbing 7-9 temporary solution

The webbing sticks to the sword and Yuri yanks to pull the Spider out of hiding. They are connected by the strand of webbing.

Yuri: Um, excuse me, miss. I would prefer if you would not do this. Maybe we could reach some sort of impasse?

Vestri: Compromise! That’s the word.

Yuri: We have hit some sort of impasse. I think we should compromise.

Spider: Don’t wreck my stuff and I won’t wreck yours.

Yuri Speak Softly 7-9 Ask 3 questions. One answer is unhelpful

  • What do they want? How can we help them get it?
    • She likes her setup and doesn’t want people tromping through, breaking her web, and scaring the game away.
  • What should I be wary of when dealing with them?
    • She looks very shady. She has an alien, bug-like face, so Yuri can’t get a read on her.
  • What would they have us do next?
    • She wants them to go back down the ravine to a cave that goes through a spur of the mountain and leads to another path up the mountain.

Yuri: Da, but this does not solve your problem of people coming through and ruining your spiderweb. Unless you want them to come through and possibly eat them. Maybe “Do Not Enter” on a sign?

Spider: It hasn’t been a problem until now. I don’t know where you people came from.

Yuri: Well, industrialization is upon us, my friend. There will be cars.

Vestri: What?

Yuri: You have magic but you do not have cars? What is . . . I do not understand this.

Vestri: Maybe it’s just a name for a thing I don’t know.

Yuri gestures and makes noises and Vestri realizes that “car” means something like Gurtin the Tunneler.

Vestri: Those are called cars?

Yuri: Da. It does not matter what the vernacular is, but they are abundant!

Spider: Oh, right. I should have something that lets other people know that I’m here, that this is not abandoned. I could put out some decorations! I do some crafts.

Vestri:  I find a great deterrent is to put a pile of bones at the entrance of your lair. that usually keeps people out. Unless they’re adventurers.

Yuri: Da, and it is very spooky like at Halloween time, maybe a pumpkin? Pile of bones, pumpkin, web.

Vestri: Halloween? I’ve never heard of that.

They wander off toward the alternate path, still arguing. Yuri yells back to ask the Spider’s name. She is Shadow Under Cloud. She wanted to put up some cute decorations to make her ravine seem inhabited, but her crafts are little sculptures made of the bones of her prey, like the Blair Witch figures. These wanderers said that bones were intimidating and scary. Does that means she is weird and scary? Now she’s insecure.

The Fellowship finds the cave that Shadow Under Cloud described. Dwarves see perfectly in the dark, but Yuri can’t see anything past the mouth of the cave.

Vestri: Plenty of men from the race of Men don’t know how to look in the dark. How about you? Can you see in the dark?

Yuri: I have no, uh, no. I am just standard human.

Vestri: Would you like me to hold your hand?

Yuri: Da?

Yuri has to lean down a bit to hold Vestri’s raised hand. It’s a bit like holding a child’s hand, except the hand is hard and strong, like a child who works construction. Also, this cave is easy to navigate for a Spider that can walk on walls and spin lines of silk. For creatures limited to the floor, it’s treacherous: unstable footing and pits everywhere.

Vestri: This will be a problem for my machine. We can’t leave the Tunneler behind. I already left all my Tunneling Gear behind. What if we make a new tunnel by tunneling into the side, then turning. We make our own path.

Gurtin damages Drill Tank

The Tunneler needs to run parallel to the existing cave, not into the heart of the mountain or into a pit.  Yuri wants to help the Dwarves dig accurately, but he can’t even see the cave when he’s in it, much less in a different tunnel.

Vestri Get Away to the other side of the spur 7-9 bring Yuri along

Pit Trap uses HIdden Trap to send Yuri into the pit

The Tunneler tunnels accurately and bursts to the surface right next to the cave exit. Along the way it grazed another cavern, leaving a hole that Vestri easily avoids, but Yuri falls into.

Pit Trap uses Long Way Down to damage Yuri

Yuri damages Wisdom

GM note: This is a good time to tell the new players that there’s no separate Health to track, and that only they decide if their characters die if they are Taken Out. I cannot kill them.

Yuri rolls down a steep slope several times and lands in a few inches of cold water.

Vestri: Are you well, Man?

Yuri: Fine, I think. No broken bones. But I have no idea where I am relative to you.

Vestri: Why didn’t you hug the wall?

Yuri: You were suposed to guide me. I have no sight in this place.

Vestri Speak Softly to the earth 7-9 Ask 3 questions, 1 unhelpful answer

Vestri Earth Friend ask the earth to move

  • Can you raise my friend to my level?
    • The earth raises Yuri on a pillar of stone
  • Can you make a bridge for him to cross?
    • A bridge connects the pillar to where Vestri stands
  • Maybe a staircase?
    • A staircase forms on the ceiling.

Vestri guides Yuri back into the tunnel, where Yuri is able to put his hand on the wall and follow it out of the tunnel. They exit the tunnels into the clouds on the upper half of the mountain! The air is very cold.

Cloudhold Frozen: Cold protection required

Yuri is protected from Cold by being from Mother Russia

Vestri is protected from Cold by living in cold caves deep underground.

GM note: I said that I’d make them roll with Despair to Get Away because of the deep snow, then forgot and never did it!

The snow is up to Yuri’s hips, which means it’s up to Vestri’s nose, and is far too deep for Steven, who retreats into Yuri’s lab coat. Yuri walks ahead and the Dwarves walk in the path that he clears in the snow.

GM note: Big mis-step here. I don’t want to pressure players down a certain path, so I like to describe a scene and let them decide what to interact with. Unfortunately, the scene I presented was trackless snow hidden in clouds, so they had nowhere to go. When I realize my mistake and quickly push one of the area’s residents into the scene, it’s the one that’s immune to Look Closely, so they still have nothing to go on.

Past 100 yards, everything fades to the grey of clouds and the terrain disappears. In one direction something bright moves and shifts. Yuri walks towards the glow.

Vestri: I’m coming with you. After all, you are our path-creator. Following! Man from another world.

Yuri: You could just call me Yuri, by my name.

Vestri: OK, Yuri From Another World.

They approach the glow, which is a group of bright floating lights, too bright to look at directly. The lights move through the air, forming shifting patterns. Vestri has heard at angels are difficult to look upon, much like these lights. The lights zoom away, briefly silhouetting something else in the clouds: a winged humanoid.

Yuri: Hello, sir or madam! Are you alright? You seem to be incredibly bright, and I’m assuming that is hot.

Vestri: Hundrin, Hundrin, look! Hundrin, look! A winged creature that is difficult to look upon. Do you know what this means?

The figure approaches and emerges from the fog. It’s a humanoid bird about five feet tall with a twelve foot wingspan. His upper limbs are wings and his lower limbs have grasping feet like a hawk. He does not glow. The light moved behind him but did not come from him. He lands and folds his huge wings. He’s surprised to see them and inspects them by quickly tilting his head this way and that, like birds do.

Yrta: Oh, treasure hunters, huh?

Vestri: I am looking for the twin of this dagger. Have you seen it?

Yrta: It can be dangerous up in these mountains. Are you sure it’s up here?

Vestri: I am not sure, but the stories of my people speak of a cloud-covered mountain where it was last seen. So maybe it’s this one!

Ytra: Your people? How many of them are there?

Vestri: I left them back in my home town, but several thousand.

Yrta is concerned to hear “several thousand” but relaxes when he realizes they are not all here on the mountain.

Yrta: Perfect. Attack!

Ytra Uplifting Command: all nearby minions can fly

Mountain Lion Swarm Stalk From The Shadows: Secret until they make a move

A dozen Mountain Lions pounce straight down out of the foggy sky! Vestri is offended that this bird-man appeared to be an angel and then ambushed him.

Vestri Charge Through 7-9 clear a path for allies, but leave himself open to danger

Vestri charged forward, knocking mountain lions aside with his pickaxe. He finds the mouth of a big cave, and the mountain lions won’t follow him inside.

Yrta: I couldn’t have done it better myself.

Yrta and the Mountain Lions zoom upwards and disappear into the fog. Vestri assumes they only operate in open skies and hate enclosed spaces.

Yuri: I am gravely concerned for the way the Sky Commander worded that. I think they were trying to usher us into this cave. Out of frying pan, into fire.

Vestri: I’m actually better inside caves than outside caves. You’re safe with me, Yuri!

They are at the entrance to the cave. The mouth of the cave is 30 feet tall and 50 feet wide, so there’s plenty of light for Yuri near the entrance, but the back of the cave is pitch black.

Vestri Look Closely at cave 7-9 Ask 3 questions, find 1 the hard way

  • What do my senses tell me?
    • The inside of the cave is smooth. The edges of the cave mouth are smooth. There are no piles of bones or remnants of campfires on the floor. It’s quite clean.
  • Is something hidden or out of place?
    • Vestri’s eyes adjust to the darkness and on the roof of the cavern, he sees a sleeping Cloud Eel coiled around the stalactites!
      • Stoss the Cloud Eel (it/it) Boss of Cloudhold
        • Threat to the World
        • Cloudhome: secret when hiding in clouds
        • Ravenous: Hungry, Necrotic damage, Swallow whole
        • Tough as Nails: first time Stoss is damaged or destroyed, damage this stat instead.
  • Tell me about the darkness. How could it hurt or help me?
    • The darkness conceals Stoss!

Stoss is sleeping now, but will be very hungry when it awakens.  Vestri tells Yuri to be quiet and explains the danger. Yuri recommends sealing the entrance with Vestri’s Earth Friend, but first, they should hide, in case Earth Friend does not work.

Yuri: Squat down and talk to the earth.

Vestri: There’s Mountain Lions out there!

Yuri: Mountain Lions worse than flying eel?  No? Then we choose Mountain Lions.

They quietly back out of the cave and lie down.

Yuri Get Away (+hope, assistance from Vestri) 6-

Yuri Fool Me Once reroll one die 6-

They are not quiet enough, and Stoss wakes up. Cloud Eels pursue the biggest, easiest source of food, and Yuri is twice the size of his companions. Since Yuri can’t see in the dark, he sees Stoss’ huge head emarge from the shadows, mouth open with several rows of needle-like teeth, charging straight for him.

GM note: This is the first time these players fought anything in Fellowship, so I paused to explain that there’s no way to trade blows and chip away HP. Combat in Fellowship is about getting an Advantage over one’s opponents (by fictional positioning or via moves that specifically grant Advantage) and using that to Finish Them.

Yuri grabs some dirt from the cave floor and throws it at Stoss’ eyes.

Yuri Pay A Price to face Threat To The World: damage Courage

Yuri Overcome 6-

Yuri Fool Me Once reroll one die 6-

Stoss crashes mouth-first into the ground where Yuri stands, and when it rises into the air again, Yuri (and Steven, riding in his jacket) are gone, swallowed whole! Vestri believes in his Man From The Other World (and his cat). They can survive this! Vestri leaps out from his hiding place (and falls back into the snow that is as high as he is) and yells threats at Stoss.

Vestri Pay A Price to face Threat To The World: damage Grace

Vestri Keep Them Busy  6-

Stoss ignores Vestri and flies away, disappearing into the clouds.

Stoss Cloudhome: Secret while flying in clouds

Yuri stabs his magic sword into Stoss’ throat to stop himself from sliding down into Stoss’ acidic stomach. A baseball card slips out of his pocket and falls into Stoss’ stomach.

Yuri Pay A Price to face Threat To The World: lose baseball Card

Yuri Overcome 10+

Yuri I Know Something You Don’t: gain Advantage when Overcoming an enemy

The blade bites and catches, so Yuri stops sliding down the throat. He drives the blade deeper into Stoss’ vulnerable innards, hoping to slay the beast.

Yuri Pay A Price to face Threat To The World: damage Grace

Yuri Finish Them (+Blood) 10+

Stoss damages Tough As Nails

Yuri cuts a hole to the outside. Stoss is airborne, but there’s soft deep snow below, so Yuri jumps! Stoss makes a horrible noise, alerting Vestri to its location. Vestri runs up and throws his pickaxe at Stoss,

Vestri Pay A Price to face Threat To The World: lose pickaxe

Vestri Keep Them Busy 6-

The pickaxe glances off Stoss’ hide. Stoss wriggles and lashes its tail to take off. The tail catches Vestri and throws him aside. Once again, Stoss disappears into the clouds.

Vestri damages Sense

Vestri: How are you? Where is your cat?

Yuri: In my coat. Claws are currently in my skin. It is fine. We don’t have time for this conversation!

Yuri wonders how to defend themselves if Stoss returns.  Yuri’s magical sword and Vestri’s ceremonial dagger aren’t much good against a creature big enough to swallow them whole.

Vestri The Secrets: ask a question from Look Closely or Speak Softly lists

  • Tell me about the Cloud Eel. How could it hurt or help me?

Vestri: The thing about Cloud Eels. There’s a couple things. One, they’re very scary. Two, once they’re awake they just eat everything they see. But three! If we do kill it, it’s very useful. It will have a bunch of weapons in it from other people it’s eaten, and we need new weapons. At least I do. And also! The scales are really helpful for making protective armor that camouflages you.

Yuri: I’m sure that is very nice, but that does not help us in this moment.

Yrta flies near enough to be seen, but stays out of reach.

Yrta: You idiots! We were providing it food. It was staying up here. It was safe. Now it’s heading down the mountain, and everyone down there is in danger.

Vestri: You chased us into that cave!

Yuri: You tried to kill us! That sounds like it is your fault and you are blaming me.

Yrta: It’s been working out.

Yuri: Murder has been working out? I feel like you do not have the moral high ground here. It’s mostly dead. Let’s go kill it. Will you help us? And then you will finish the problem and you won’t sic Mountain Lions on us?

Yuri: I want you, with your big wings and terrible bird claws, to carry me into a place where I could drop down on to the Eel and stab it with my sword. I need you to do this without murdering me, of course, so I need a fair amount of trust.

Yrta doesn’t want to hurt Stoss, and he tried to feed Yuri to Stoss a little while ago, so this plan just sounds like Yrta feeding Yuri to Stoss more directly. Yuri tries another plan.

Yuri: What if you bring Eel back to cave and we close up the entrance, so you make sure it stays.

Yrta: To cage such a magnificent creature might be worse than killing it. Wait, you want to kill it. Wait, no! These are bad options.

Vestri wants new weapons, and neither of them wants to be killed or fed to a Cloud Eel.

Yrta: This is hurting my head. I don’t think I’m smart enough for this. We need to talk to Doeb.

Yrta lands and hops along on the ground to escort the ground-based Fellowship to Doeb. He leads them to a small alpine lake

Yrta: Doeb, it’s Yrta. Stoss got out. There’s some people here. They have plans. It’s all very confusing.

GM note: At this point I realized that my players had not heard the names Stoss, Yrta, or Doeb. I try to keep a natural flow of conversation, and they hadn’t made introductions, but I really just need to tell my players the names of the characters they are interacting with.

Part of the water rises up, separates from the lake, and comes on shore. Doeb is a member of the Rain, a race of amorpheous goo people. He scolds Yrta for letting Stoss escape. Yrta tries to recap the plans that the Fellowship came up with, but he only remembers half, and that half he explains badly.

  • Rain Lord Doeb (they/them)
    • Rain’s Master (weather control)
    • Divine Purpose (does not serve Boss, Talk Sense w/ Despair)
    • Sun’s touch (Piercing or Healing)

Yuri: What does this Eel mean to you and why are you keeping just a dangerous creature?

Yrta: I don’t own it. Who could own such a magnificent creature?

Yrta loves Stoss as much as Yuri loves Steven. Steven fascinates Yrta, who commands a pack of large cats but has never seen such a small cat before. Yuri gets very protective as Yrta gets close to inspect Steven, and starts to understand how Yrta feels when they talk about killing or trapping Stoss.

Vestri: Oh, I get the point you were making now! We’re sorry we stabbed Stoss.

Yuri: It was going to eat me!

Yuri: What about a leash? You put Eel on leash so it does not leave mountain. Large chain wrapped around neck – in a comfortable way!

Doeb: You seem to have forgotten the shape of an Eel. Put a collar on it, it will slip right out.

Doeb demonstrates by tying a slipknot in a rope, putting the loop over his ‘head’ and putting the rope tight. The loop goes right through Doeb’s body.

Yuri: Sidenote: I am very interested in how your body works. I am a medical professional. How is? Do you have medicine in your species? Is there, like, rain cancer?

They need to decide on a plan. Yuri theorizes how to restrain Eel without hurting it, perhaps with a mask instead of a collar. Stoss hates lightning, so maybe Doeb could control the weather to corral Stoss with thunderstorms.

Yuri: It is like electric fence.

Doeb Divine Purpose: Talk Sense with Despair

Yuri Talk Sense (explain plan +sense) 10+

A convincing argument. When the others return Stoss to the mountaintop, Doeb will cage it with lightning. They just have to get it back up the mountain.

Vestri: Sorry we hurt your Eel.

Yuri: I’m really not! It swallowed me whole. It’s a vicious beast.

Vestri: It’s a magnificent beast.

Yrta: You have to respect its ways.

NO END OF SESSION MOVE

Response level: 2

  1. Bad Weather: lightning
  2. ???

Chasing the Sunset & Blueprints

Chasing the Sunset is a West Marches-style exploration game using Fellowship 2nd Edition‘s Horizon rules.

The party: Buckle the Beast/Heart of Earth, Stella the Halfling/Hunter

Last time, Stella recovered from a combat-induced food coma, and the Fellowship found a mountain with a slot cut through it.

A mountain with a slot cut all the way through, with some kind of machine inside. A few buildings are connected by stairs around the mountain.
The mountain with a slot through it.

The Fellowship sails upstream on the Miranda to approach the mountain. There are buildings on the mountain, connected by walkways. They appear damaged, but it’s hard to tell from this distance.

Buckle: Huh, that’s weird.

Stella: Is that a gun?

Buckle: Is that Spider technology? Hate for them to shoot turtles.

They sail up to a dock that connects to a warehouse at the base of the mountain. The warehouse is surrounded by grass and brush which Buckle could ignite with a touch, so he has to be careful.

Buckle Look Closely 7-9 3 questions, 1 answer the hard way

  • What do my senses tell me?
    • The warehouse has big double doors that face the dock. The doors have a latch but no lock, but they don’t open when Buckle pulls on them. Something that’s not immediately obvious is keeping them shut. The warehouse has windows high up along the walls, but they have all been covered from the inside, so they can’t look inside.
  • What will happen if we go up to the turret?
    • A road leads up from behind the warehouse to a tunnel entrance that probably goes inside the slot. This is the route that large items must take to reach the facility. A walkway branches off from the road and leads up to ther buildings on the surface.
  • What is hidden or out of place?
    • Buckle doesn’t sense any life with his Electro-Sense, but he does hear movement inside the building.

Stella kicks the door to get the occupant’s attention. The metal doors ring, but there’s no response from inside. Buckle tries to look through the crack between the doors, but cloth has been jammed into the crack to block it. He pushes his fingers in between the doors, lighting the cloth on fire!  There’s a cry and a commotion inside. When the cloth burns away, Buckle can see a chain through the crack. The doors won’t open because the chain is wrapped around the handles on the inside.

Buckle: Sorry! Are you alright in there?

Voice: Are you with the Baron?

Buckle: Bearing? There’s no bear out here.  Stella, do you think there’s a bear in there?

Stella: Sorry my friend set your stuff on fire. We’re not with the Baron. Can we help you?

No response from inside.

Stella: Must be lonely. If you’re lonely, we’ll be out here having a picnic.

Stella lays out a cloth and eats a snack. She tosses some food at Buckle. Buckle leans on the warehouse door, slowly heating it until it glows.

After a while, there’s a noise at the back of the warehouse. From around the building, they can see a pile of cloth, robes, and blankets running up the road to the tunnel entrance. The wearer is completely concealed under the layers of clothing.

Buckle Overcome the warehouse doors 7-9 pay a price: webbed hands

Buckle’s leaning on the door, which has heated up and become soft. The door shifts under his weight and he flails and falls, injuring his hands. The door is bent enough that people can duck under it and enter the warehouse. It’s built for human-sized creatures, so it’s too big for everyone in the Fellowship. Clearly, someone barricaded themself inside this buildings, blocking the windows and doors.

Buckle Look Closely 6- one question, find out the hard way

  • What do my senses tell me.
    • Half of the boxes are full of explosives! Buckle could blow the whole place sky-high if he’s not careful!
    • There’s a corner that seems to be where the mysterious occupant lived.  Blankets and tarps are hung from a rack to make a small space, but there’s no bed inside. There’s some meat, but it’s raw, not salted or jerky.

GM note: There was a debate about whether Buckle could steal some explosives, or if he would detonate the entire building if he tried. He’s hot and ignotes flammable objects with a touch, but he can also plant explosives whereever he wants. I thought that the explosives came from his body, but the text of the Heart Of Earth destiny (which I wrote by copying sections of other playbooks) mentions powder, oil, tinder, and other equipment. Editing is important!

Gus can’t stand the smell of the raw meat, which is not fresh. He tries not to vomit as he retreats out of the warehouse. Buckle sniffs the meat. There’s no blood in it.

Buckle: Who drinks the blood and leaves the meat?

Stella checks the rafters for bats!

The Fellowship didn’t see where the figure ran to, but they no doubt left through the back door, which is open. Buckle wanders up the road behind the warehouse. Gus refuses to go back into the warehouse, so Silk carries him through. They turn from the road that leads to the collapsed and take the covered stairs towards the mountain’s summit. A section of the walkway has fallen into the ravine below! Half of the bridge dangles from the far side of the ravine, but the near half of the bridge has fallen away completely and rests a ways down the slope.

A broken bridge. One side is sagging over the edge. The other half has fallen into the ravine.
The broken bridge.

Buckle Overcome 7-9 pay a price (suffer setback)

Buckle climbs down the steep rocks slope and up the other side. He pulls hijmself up on the dangling bridge section, which groans and gives way as he scrambles to safety on the far side! Now the gap that Stella and her companions must cross is even wider! One of Stella’s favorite things in the world is to be on the ground, but that’s not possible right now.

Stella: Buckle, come back!

Buckle: I can’t now.

Silk can’t throw a line to Buckle, because spider silk is flammable.

Stella: Well, Buckle, you’ve gotten yourself in a pickle.

Buckle: I like pickles.

Silk uses Creepy to spin a length of silk rope

Stella Lived In A Shoe: shrink to the size of an apple

Rose uses Get Right In There to throw Stella (tied to the rope) across the gap

Stella Get Away 6-

Stella damages a stat

The rope is too short! Stella jerks to a stop, then swings back and hits the ravine hard.

Buckle: Stella are you OK?

Stella: What do you think?

Rose pulls Stella up, which is very easy because at this size she barely weighs anything. Stella rubs her face. Looking down the mountain, they see another route. If they backtrack a while, there’s a less steep area where they can walk across to another ridge, which meets the trail further up. It will probably take the rest of the day to go that distance, so they’d reach the summit around sunset. Stella considers turning back, but Rose encourages her.

Rose: I promised we’d go on adventures, so let’s adventure!

Stella yells across the gap to Buckle.

Stella: Meet you at the top! Don’t set anything on fire!

Buckle barely waited for them to make their decision before walking up the stairs. Stella and the others slowly take the long way around, and get a good look at the surrounding locations. To the north of this mountain, mountains rise higher and higher into an intimidating snowy range. To the northwest: an old forest with huge trees. To the west, another forest, but it looks sick or dead.

Around sunset, Stella and the companions reach the summit. Buckle has been there for a while. This building is semi-circular, built into the side of the mountain with panoramic windows looking to the north. Suitable for a James Bond supervillain lair.  Stella barges in to look around. She’s grumpy from the long hike.

Stella Look Closely 10+

  • What do my senses tell me?
    • Most of the building is one huge launge with fancy chairs and couches facing the windows, but the windows are smashed! The glass from the windows is embedded in the back wall. There’s a jagged burned hole in the back wall that leads into a kitchen.  This abandoned building hasn’t fallen into disrepair. There was violence here!
  • What will happen if we spend the night?
    • The area seems isolated and abandoned, but staying in this lounge would be quite exposed.
  • What is hidden or out of place?
    • Stella sits in an overstuffed leather chair and absent-mindedly taps the big buttons that secure the leather cover to the body of the chair. That was the secret sequence! The sectino of wall behind Stella rotates 10 degrees and she’s suddenly in a small, dark room!  It’s the private office of whoever runs this facilty.

GM note: Despite the roll of 10+, I had Stella find out what’s hidden the hard way. That’s a mistake, but it was cool and we had fun, so it’s OK.

Stella grips the armrests tightly. What just happened? Once she realizes that she’s in another room, she looks around.

GM note: I put a lot of plot hooks in this room after this session, assuming the characters would stick around and investigate, but they fled immediately. Finally, I get to use my prep from almost a year ago!

  • A box labelled “DO NOT RESPOND” containing hastily disassembled messenger robots.
  • Writing on a chalkboard: “Castellum. Lightning?”
  • A old piece of paper that says “Check on Alex”
  • A note in different handwriting: “L & L dropped by. Von Till wants a progress report.”
  • Schematics and notes on the facility itself.

GM note: Instead of rolling a Knowledge test, I asked Stella’s player what Stella knew about astronomy, chemistry, and mechancial things. An opportunity for backstory and characterization!

Stella’s a former refugee. When her people scattered during the Giant War, she learned five stars that would lead her back home. Here on this new continent, all the stars are unfamiliar. She can’t read the astronomical charts. Food is very important in Halfling culture, so Stella knows the simple, applied chemistry of cooking and baking. She recognizes that many of the materials delivered ot this facility will burn or explode. She’s no mechanic, but she’s a fan of machines, so she knows more about them than the average creature. That’s why she loved the Seige Tank so much.  She can tell that the motor that drives the 300m long tube at the heart of the facility is not only very powerful, but very precise. The tube can be rotated to target angels with surprising precision. None of this helps her understand the facility, so she looks for the big picture. The blueprint showing a cross-section of the mountain is labeled at the top: “ANTI-MOON WEAPON”

Back out in the lounge, Buckle and the others are shocked by Stella’s disappearance! They open doors and call out for her.

Buckle Look Closely at the rest of the building 10+

  • What is out of place or suspicious?
    • Some of the bedrooms don’t have beds. They have sturdy poles mounted horizontally about 2m above the floor. One of the doors in the hallway is locked. (That’s the door to the study)
  • What do my senses tell me?
    • Behind the kitchen is a hallway, with doors that open into guest rooms and servants’ quarters. The kitchen is well-stocked, but the refrigeration isn’t working, so all the perishable food is ruined. The pantry is fine. There is plenty of dry and durable food to eat. Gus is impressed by the facilities.
  • Tell me about the house? How could it hurt or help me?
    • There’s food to eat. Even with the big panoramic windows, the sun never shines into the building. The window faces north, and the roof overhangs enough to block morning nad evening sun. Why would it be built like this?

Stella hears someone jiggle the doorknob, which is worrisome, until Buckle calls out. She throws open the door, goes to hugs Buckle, and instnatly recoils from the intense heat of his body. She shows everyone what she found in the study, plans for an Anti-Moon Weapon and the other strange objects and notes.

Buckle: Messenger Robots, like we have back home.

Everyone looks shocked.

GM note: Even the GM. Buckle’s player Commands Lore about the Platypeople.

Platypeople have lots of technology, but they don’t really care about it. most Platypeople just use the technology and aren’t engineers. Some of the scientific lore is turning into legend, and myths get mixed in sometimes. Perhaps the “equal and opposite reaction” from Newton’s Third Law is caused by tiny fairies arguing.

Buckle: We have lots of colonies. We have to keep in touch somehow.

Stella: Can you fix them?

Buckle: The box says “Do not respond”

Buckle reconnects enough wires to replay the messages. They are from Allan a Zham (former leader of Thaumatown) Since he and Dr. MacLeod both operate advanced technology, he suggests they get otgether, purely as professional collegues, of course. He’s trying to hide it, but he’s definitely flirting. Stella smashes the robot with her sword. All viewers of this message are creeped out.

Stella shows Buckle the blueprints for the Anti-Moon Weapon. Buckle recognizes that the slot in the mountain lines up with the ecliptic, which it must so the tube (actually the barrel of an enormous gun) can follow the Moon across the sky. He’s able to decipher technical jargon that says aiming and propulsion are OK. A test shot hit the Moon but did not destroy it.

Buckle: Bizarre. How could they destroy the moon with something this small? Maybe they are trying to kill Moon Fairies.

Stella: What?

Buckle: They are like the Fairies here, but on the Moon. They make it glow.

Stella & Buckle Fill Your Belly (food from Dr. MacLeod’s pantry) each heal 1 stat

The Fellowship eats supper from the pantry and prepares to spend the night. Buckle adventures to keep people safe, but inside him, the Heart Of Earth is influencing that mission. It says Buckle should seek power. Power to keep other safe, of course. Power.

END OF SESSION MOVE:

  • Did we thoroughly explore a new location? YES
  • Did we learn something new about he world or its people? YES?
  • Did anyone find what they are looking for? YES!
  • level up, heal, restore gear

Chasing The Sunset & Imposters

Chasing the Sunset is a West Marches-style exploration game using Fellowship 2nd Edition‘s Horizon rules.

The fellowship: Dryden of Conwall the Collector/Hunter, Averiela the Elf, Lucia the Brave the Heir/Halfling Sheriff

Last time, the Fellowship tried to solve two of Swallet’s problems by smashing them into each other: lead the Fire Elemental from the trash processing plant into the Fight Club so it can fight the Dragon.

Oh boy, let’s re-cap. The Fellowship arrives as several challengers are trying to gain entrance.

  • Theona: a 16-foot-tall Ogre who fights with huge metal-plated fists
  • Ozzy: a kindly-looking old woman who is actually a Necromancer and just deployed a Group of Skeletons
  • Speedy: a short man with a mustache who disappeared inside the Fight Club.

The Fight Club is an armored warehouse determined to keep the unworthy out. After Dryden blew the door in, that task falls to:

  • Bouncer: a Goblin with big robot arms boosting his power
  • Grinkle: a Goblin with a spiked helmet riding chainsaw rollerstakes
  • Unknown other members of Fight Club further inside the building
  • Fafnir, the legendary dragon, ruler of Fight Club and Swallet, must be in there somewhere.

The Fellowship arrive on the scene pursued by:

  • Fire Elemental: formerly preventing access to the trash processing facility, lured out by the Fellowship and starting fires in nearby buildings
  • Nub-Nub: Former Swallet police. She still pilots her powersuit, trying to prevent damage to the city.

Dryden just blew the door open, so the Fellowship and all the challengers are trying to get in, as the Fight Club members try to keep them out. Nub-Nub tries to evacuate the burnign buildings. Averiela uses her supernatural Elven grace to scale a building via ledges, clotheslines, and drainpipes. She yells into the high windows to warn the occupants to evacuate.

Averiela Overcome (the threat of fire injuring civilians) 6-

She sees two Goblins in a room, but the door is on fire. They are trapped inside!  She enters through the window and draws her titanium sword to cut a hole through the exterior wall, creating an escape route.

Averiela Get Away 7-9 bring someone along

Averiela damages Courage

She pushes one Goblin through the hole before the rest of the wall collapses! She’s hit by the falling debris and partially buried, but pulls herself free. Nub-Nub approaches and Averiela jumps up and brushes herself off. No one likes dust.  Averiela starts to explain how they can work together to free the remaining Goblin.

Averiela Talk Sense (+sense, explain plan) 6-

Nub-Nub: Enough of your “help”!

Nub-Nub grabs the free Goblin and leaps to the roof across the street. The Fellowship already broke its promise to keep the city safe from the Fire Elemental, so she won’t trust them or work with them anymore. Averiela wedges her sword under a big piece of debris, using it as a lever, and calls to the trapped Goblin to push when she pushes.

Averiela Get Away 10+ avoid harm, bring someone along

The piece of debris pops loose, and the second Goblin scurries through the hole before it collapses! Averiela carries the Goblin up to the roof and the two Goblin brothers, Yobb, and Wobb, have a tearful reunion.


Lucia is inside the Fight Club. Just past the smashed exterior door is a lobby with two doors on the far wall. On the left, a five-foot-tall door and a placard bearing a humanoid pictorgram. On the right, a much larger door, whose placard shows and exaggratedly large and long-limbed humanoid.  The walls are lined with trophies and news clippings about various fights and fighters. Lucia walks through the small door, sword at the ready.

She enters a Goblin-sized locker room. Inside, the Bouncer is talking to a whole Group of spiky, armored chainsaw-skate-wearing Goblins. They’re a roller derby team!  The Gobblin’ Goblins. Grinkle is theri Team Captain.

Grinkle: Intruder! Get her!

A dozen rowdy Goblins rev up their skates and zoom towards Lucia!

Lucia Symbol Of Royalty: grants an audience with anyone I show it to

Lucia holds up her Symbol of Royalty. The Gobblin’ Goblins put their skates in reverse and stop short!

Gobblin’ Goblin: Wow, a VIP!

Lucia: There’s a Fire Elemental outside that’s going to destroy this building! We need the dragon to fight it! It will be an epic battle like no one has ever seen!

Lucia Talk Sense (+Wisdom, appeal to emotions) 10+

The Gobblin’ Goblins think that is the coolest thing they have ever heard! They turn to the Captain and the Bouncer expectantly, hoping for permission. The Captain and the Bouncer are almost convinced, but need to get approval.


Back outside, Theona faces the Fire Elemental. Ozzy is trying to defeat Theona with a surprise attack with her Skeletons, but they are too small to be effective. Dryden ponders his next move. He considers experimenting with the Artifact Of Power in his backpack, but perhaps this is not the best time. Averiela sees him consider the backpack and shakes her head.

Dryden: Theona, let’s co-operate. The door is open, let’s go inside and fight the dragon!

Dryden Talk Sense (+sense, explain plan) 7-9

Theona agrees that the Dragon is the better target, but she’s too big to fit through the door. She jumps and grabs the edge of Fight Club’s roof, 20 feet above the street, and starts climbing up. Ozzy takes the opportunity to go inside Fight Club through the door. The Fire Elemental is still enraged and moves in to attack Theona.

Dryden Modifications: Flying Device is always Overcharged and flies for a whole scene

Dryden Get Away 7-9 avoid harm

Dryden flies inside, out of the Fire Elemental’s reach. The Fire Elemental attacks Theona as she’s dangling from the side of the building. Dryden hears her yell, more in anger and betrayal than pain or fear. This is the second deal Dryden has made and immediately broken today! Averiela sees this from the rooftop, but she does not want to get involved.

Ozzy, her Skeletons, and Dryden are in the lobby with the two differently-marked doors, but now there’s a team of bouncers to kick them out!

  • Goblin Bouncer: a three-foot tall Goblin with big robot arms amplifying the actions of their own fleshy arms
    • Bigger ‘n’ You: can throw enemies around
    • Tough As Can Be: This stat must be damaged twice
    • Group: Can affect two characters at once

Dryden Get Away 10+ avoid harm, bring someone along

Dryden flies up, out of reach of the melee on the ground. A certain Bouncer named Yiddle is grabbed by a Skeleton. Dryden swoops in to the rescue, smashing through the Skeleton, picking up Yiddle, and zooming through the big door marked with the lanky pictogram.

They enter a much larger locker room, built for fighters who are bigger than Goblins. Inside there’s an Ogre (same species as Theona) in the middle of attaching his mechanical left arm. It straps on like Furiosa’s arm in Mad Max: Fury Road, except his arm is missing from the shoulder, and his prosthesis is powered. It ends in four pairs of big, spring-loaded scissors. An intimidating figure!

  • Sparky: Ogre Champion
    • Crushing Grasp: destroys objects, Takes Out companions, 3 damage to players
    • Gigantic: Sparky and his attacks are Giant

Yiddle: You better put me down! Me and Sparky will mess you up!

Dryden: Hey, Sparky. Do you know Theona?

GM note: I wrote some secret backstory between Theona and Sparky, unsure if it would every come up, or if the two would meet, and Dryden instantly unlocks it with “All Ogres know each other”  Amazing!

Sparky: Theona? She’s here? We had a deal!

Sparky looks very upset, and he storms out of the room. Yiddle’s bravado seems pretty foolish now. Is it enough to scare her into submission?

Dryden Finish Them (courage, advantage: ally left) 7-9

Yiddle damages Tough As Can Be once

No, she’s a Fight Club Initiate! She’s fought flying opponents before. Her usual strategy is to disable the opponent’s wings to bring the fight to the ground, but Dryden doesn’t have wings. He does have a neck, so Yiddle clamps her robot hands around it to choke him out. Dryden can’t speak, so he makes a “Sorry about this, but what can I do?” face and flies towards the locker room’s far door.

GM note: I think there was a Get Away move here.

Dryden twists in mid-air so that he goes through the door and Yiddle hits the doorframe. She loses her grip on him and gets tangled in a towel rack next to the door. Everything in this room is oversized, so she’s suspended off the floor. As he flies into the next room, Dryden calls back:

Dryden: I would have helped you! Join me when you get down!

Dryden Workaholic; Spend Food in between scenes to regain gear


Back inside the Fight Club, the Bouncer and Grinkle escort Lucia through service tunnels to talk to the person in charge about her plan. Bouncer knocks on a certain door and a small panel opens. Bouncer explains to someone inside Lucia’s plan to have Fafnir fight the Fire Elemental

Mysterious Voice: Surely you can handle it. Fafnir can’t be bothered with such trivial matters.

Lucia holds her Symbol Of Royalty up to the panel and demands an audience.

Lucia Symbol Of Royalty: grants an audience with anyone I show it to

The door springs open. The mysterious voice belongs to Brainiac! He remembers Lucia from their meeting in the underground tunnels, and greets her formally by her full title, as protocol demands.

Lucia Detect Evil: Brainiac is evil

Brainiac: This is a surprise! What are you doing here? Did you bring the Fire Elemental?

Lucia: We are traveling and discovered the Fire Elemental and it chased us here.

Brainiac Part of the Plan: take damage to make a Hard Cut

Brainiac Chess Pieces: nearby allies take damage in my place

Brainiac Too Clever For Their Own Good: monologues when things go well.

Brainaic pulls levers on his control panel and drops emergency doors between every room in the Fight Club. He goes on about how the Goblins are incompetent minions and he has to plan for everything himself. This hurts Bouncer’s feelings.

Bouncer damages Tough As Can Be once

Lucia asks what she and her friends should do. Brainiac hands her a sign-up sheet. She can try her luck in Fight Club once this little matter is wrapped up. Now that the intruders can’t move about, Brainiac orders Bouncers and Grinkle to take their forces and clear the building room by room. Brianiac politely shuffles Lucia out into the service hallway, since he will need all his concentraion in the control room to make sure this goes smoothly.


Averiela is outside Fight Club with Wobb and Yobb, the two Golbins she rescued from a burning building.  She asks them if there is some way to summon help, perhaps a neighborhood watch or a fire brigade. There are poles along most of the streets with wires running between them. Yobb runs over to one pole and opens a metal box beside it. This isn’t a telephone. Goblins don’t have telephones. Inside is a small metal canister, like old drive-up windows at banks use to transfer physical items. Yobb puts a quickly-written note inside the canister, then selects a number of small metal bits from a rack. He mumbles directions to himself as he stacks the metal bits on top of the canister. Finally he puts the canister on to wire coming down from the pole and lights it! It’s a small rocket! The canister zooms along the wires. Each time it reaches an intersection, the leading metal piece selects which branch to take, then is discarded. Goblins use this system to quickly send messages across the city. Yobb has summoned the fire brigade.

Nub-Nub finishes her sweep of the burning buildings and determines that no other civilians are in danger. The Fire Elemental is going after the Fight Club now, and Nub-Nub hopes it burns to the ground.  She jumps away.

An emergency door slams down over the damaged front door of the Fight Club. Theona is up on the roof now, and the Fire Elemental is trying to reach her. Averiela wonders if it’s so bad to let the Fight Club burn. She’s done all she can to help the civilians, so she turns invisible and waits for an opportunity.

Averiela Elder Arts: Camouflage

The emergency door shatters into five vertical strips! Sparky’s arm reaches out, then a shoulder, then the Goblin-sized doorframe bursts apart as Sparky forces his huge body through.

Sparky: THEONA! We talked about this! We had a deal!

Theona is shocked and apologetic.

Theona: I didn’t know you were here! I’m just here for the dragon!

The Fire Elemental turns on the new arrival, but Sparky is busy with Theona and can’t be interrupted. He lashes out and cuts the Fire Elemental into several pieces of lifeless rock, which fall to the ground and start to cool. Theona and Sparky start an intense, hushed conversation. There’s some history here, but Averiela doesn’t want to hear it. She sneaks in the front door and into the lobby.

Ozzy’s Skeletons are still fighting the Bouncers. The entrance to the small locker room is sealed, but the door sealing the large locker room lies in slices on the floor. Just then, a hidden door from the service tunnels open and the Gobblin’ Goblins pour into the room to reinforce the Bouncers! Averiela dodges throw the melee, leaping on chairs and shelves to reach the secret door.

Averiela Get Away 7-9 avoid harm (also avoid notice because of camouflage)

Averiela enters the service tunnel and sees Lucia, who followed the Gobblin’ Goblins but is not joining the fight.


Back to Dryden, who fled the large locker room without knowing where he’d end up. He finds himself in a big gym, with all sorts of workout equipment. At the far end is a big door made of frosted glass, reinforced with wire mesh. Through the frosted glass, he gets the impression of a large creature in the next room: big jaws, long tail, a humped back, larger than a carraige!  Also in the room is Speedy, the small mustached man who disappeared earlier. He runs at incredible speed to the far door, then to some piece of equipment, then back again. He’s trying to use barbells, jump-ropes, spare cyborg parts, anything to break through the frosted glass door, but he’s too weak to carry the heavy equipment.

Dryden: What brings you to fight Fafnir?

Speedy: That’s not Fafnir! That’s my boy!

According to Speedy, the creature in the room beyond is not Fafnir the dragon, but another creature that used to rule the Mighty River with Speedy. Speedy desperately wants to reunite with his friend. Speedy has already explored the entire facility with his amazing speed, but he’s too weak to open the locked doors between them and freedom.

Dryden: I think we have a common goal. Let’s get your boy out of here without eating any Goblins. I’ll clear the way and defend him.

Dryden Talk Sense (+sense, explain plan) 10+

Speedy agrees, but says his friend does not need any defending.  Speedy takes Dryden through a hidden door into the service tunnels, then to a servie entrance to the arena where the mysterious creature is kept. Dryden reaches behind his cloak and pulls out a spiral glass jar. The lid is also lined in the glass, so the entire inner surface of of the jar is airtight glass. Inside the jar is movement and metal flakes. The jar is full of metal mites, a dangerous invasive species that eat metal! The eat any metal, but love the flakes best. The metal flakes can be used to direct them. Dryden spins the jar to move the flakes to the middle of the jar, then pours the mites on the hinges of the massive door.

Dryden Explosive Trap: open or seal an entrance

The door falls in, revealing an arena, and a giant Armored Crocodile! Dryden saw this very beast in the underground tunnels not long ago! Speedy rushes in to greet his old friend. Armored Crocodile seems very happy, but an excited crocodile is dangerous to be near, especially one forty feet long and covered in metal armor! Speedy easily avoids all the flailing limbs. Dryden cautiously waits at the doorway.

Brainiac Part Of The Plan: damage this stat to make a Hard Cut

All the arena hazards rumble to life! Pits! Saw blades! Pneumatic spikes! A voice crackles over the PA system.

Brainiac: You found my secret. Now you can’t leave!

HR

Back in the lobby, Ozzy retreats with her few remaining Skeletons before the overwhelming Goblin forces.  Lucia knows that Dryden would be reckless and be trapped in the building. She explores the service tunnels, hoping to find him before the Goblins do.

Lucia Look Closely 10+

  • What do my senses tell me?
    • She peeks through hidden doors in various room, including the large locker room, where Yiddle has gotten out of her exo-skeleton harness and is climbing down her robot arm to reach the ground. She also sees the Armored Crocodile in the arena.
  • What is Brainiac doing and what will he do next?
    • A door reveals the power supplies for Magical Barriers, which are even harder to get through than the emergency doors. Brainiac hasn’t activated them yet.
  • What is hidden or out of place?
    • The layout of the building and the way the Bouncer and Brainiac are acting gives the impression that ltos of effort is going into making sure very few people actually see the “dragon” in the arena.

Lucia pulls the batteries from the Magical Barriers to prevent Brainiac from activating them.

HR

Back in the arena, Armored Crocodile is in danger from all the arena hazards, and the way out is open. It charges through the door, and through Dryden!

Armored Crocodile Rampage: charge & damage anyone in my path

Dryden Robot Shield: 1 Armor

Dryden activates the fragment of the Shield Commander robot just before the Armored Crocodile runs him over. His body sparkles like diamond as he’s thrown against a wall and ragdolls to the floor. He’s completely unharmed. It wasn’t even painful, but the Robot Shield is no good anymore.  Speedy guides the Armored Crocodile to the service entrance and they try to bash the door down. Dryden follows behind. Lucia saw all this from the far side of the arena. If she wants to catch them, she must go straight through the arena! Taking the corridors around will be too slow.

Lucia Get Away 6-

Lucia charges through, but a Pit Trap opens under her feet!

Lucia Overcome 10+

She catches the edge as she falls and scrambles up.

Brianiac: Service Tunnel E!

Over the PA system, Brainiac summons his forces to intercept the Armored Crocodile. They need to get past this door quickly. Dryden pulls out his unbreakable Dwarven hammer, but he’s not strong enough to smash down such a big door.

Dryden: Don’t let him eat me, please! I’ll brace the butt of the hammer against the lock, and the big guy can hit it with all his might.

Dryden Talk Sense (+sense, explain plan) 10+

Speedy relays the plan. The Armored Crocodile’s helmet has a big steel cap at the point of its nose that can go through boat hulls (useful in their previous line of work) and Dryden is holding his hammer between that and a padlock on a massive metal door. The Armored Crocodile rears back and strikes forward with a deafening crash! The Armored Crocodile’s nose stopped inches from the door, just enough room for Dryden’s hands. The unbreakable shaft of the hammer was driven clean through the lock and the door behind it. Dryden extracts the hammer, pulls the pieces of the lock away, and opens the door to the outside. Speedy and Armored Crocodile are free! Lucia runs to catch up with them, and the Gobblin’ Goblins are right behind her!

They all run out into the street. Speedy has a plan to escape the city, and he leads the Armored Crocodile around the Fight Club and to the west, towards the trash processing plant.

Nub-Nub: What is that thing?

Lucia: Brianiac tricked you! It’s not a dragon!

Dryden: No dragon, just a croc. Sorry!

Nub-Nub: That’s not what I fought! That’s just some animal!

GM note: Nub-Nub previously described Fafnir as about the size of a wolf, with wings.

Nub-Nub pursues and readies her Rocket Fist to attack the Armored Crocodile.

Dryden: Bind!

Dryden Modification: Ranged Rope Autonomous, reponds to simple commands

Dryden Keep Them Busy 10+

Dryden’s Ranged Rope shoots out from his cloak and wraps itself around Nub-Nub’s Power Suit and the communication wires along the road, so she’s dangling in the air.  Lucia wants to talk to the Gobblin’ Goblins, but they are on a mission and won’t listen. She switches to violence and hurls throwing knives at them

Lucia Keep Them Busy 7-9

The Gobblin’ Goblins are forced to dodge and the Armored Crocodile pulls ahead. They reach the front of the building, where Swallet’s volunteer fire brigade has gathered. Goblins are civic-minded, so there are lots of Goblins ready to fight fires, but they are also independant inventors, so all their equipment is custom and doesn’t work well together. There’s one machine that produces expanding foam, and several with high-pressure hoses. One Goblin has a powerful machine that could do the whole job by itself. He just needs a hose long enough to reach the waterfall on the east side of town. The Armored Crocodile and its pursuers barrel through this crowd, causing complete pandemonium.

HR

All this time, Averiela has been sneaking invisibly through the service tunnels of the Fight Club. She knocks on Brainiac’s door and doesn’t answer his call.  She waits a while and knocks again. Brainiac opens the panel in the door and looks, but doesn’t see anyone. Maybe it’s an especially short Goblin. Brainiac installed the panel at his eye level. After a few knocks nad no answers, Brainiac opens the door and steps out to look upand down the hall. Averiela appears, blowing a pinch of Stardust in his face.

Averiela Elder Arts: Stardust puts one person to sleep.

She catches him as he falls and ties him to his own chair in his control room.

Averiela Look Closely 7-9 three questions, one answer the hard way

  • What do my senses tell me?
    • The control room has clearly labeled switches for many functions and indicator lights showing the status of every room in the building.
  • What is hidden or out of place?
  • What is Brainiac doing? What will he do next?
    • GM note: The answers to these questions are revealed by Brainiac’s notes, kept neatly in a safe under the desk. Opening the safe is the hard part

When Averiela opens the safe, she triggers a Poison Dart Trap!

Averiela Overcome 7-9 pay a price to get good result: 1 Ammo

Averiela twists away with impossible Elven Grace and the poison dart strikes the quiver on her back, breaking some arrows, but not reaching her flesh.

The notes in the safe are well-organized, complete, and written in a very neat hand, so Averiela is able to reconstruct what happened. Brainiac got a tip that a Dragon was in Swallet, and when he arrived Fafnir was running the town and fighting all challengers. One challengers turned out to be a Vampire assassin! Fafnir defeated the assassin, then immediately left the city to find who sent the assassin after her. Brainiac was frustrated with Allan a Zham, who was so dismissive and unappreciative when he sent him out on his mission. Brainiac decided not to be a follower any more. Allan a Zham didn’t deserve all the expertise Brainiach offered. He’ll do his own thing! He’ll be the boss this time!  Brainiac swooped in and took over the Fight Club, turning it into a secret society, making access to “Fafnir” a precious thing reserved for only the inner circle.

Averiela uses Brianiac’s control panel to open all the doors, then smashes the panel. The noise wakesBrainiac, who struggles against his bonds. He doesn’t have Chess Peices or Part Of The Plan available. He’s stuck! He starts crying. Averiela intends to kidnap Brainiac. She pushes him on his wheely chair into the gym. She cuts open a punching bag, dumps the stuffing out, and jams Brainiac inside. She puts the punching bag in a laundry cart and is ready to leave.

Averiela Overcome (risk of being discovered) 6-

Just then, a group of Goblin Bouncers enters the gym. They recognize her as an intruder!

Averiela: Hey, guys. I captured Speedy. He’s here in this bag, so I’m just going to take him out now.

Averiela Talk Sense (+Grace, trick) 6-

The Bouncers don’t buy it and move to grab her with their big robot hands!

Averiela Get Away 10+ avoid harm, bring someone along

Averiela charges through with the cart, knocking the Bouncers out of the way! She flees through the locker room, through the lobby, and out the front door. Theona and Sparky are sitting close to each other a short distance away. They seem to have reached an understanding. They shake hands solemnly. Averiela definitely does not have time to find out what’s up, so she keeps running.

So everyone’s running for the Trash Processing Facility! Speedy and Armored Crocodile are in the lead, then Lucia and Dryden, then the Gobblin’ Goblins. Behind them are Averiela, pushing Brainiac in a cart, and the Bouncers. The Fire Brigade will probably save the Fight Club building from burning, but in most other senses, the Fight Club has been destroyed!

END OF SESSION MOVE

  • Did we thoroughly explore a new location?
    • Swallet & Fight Club YES
  • Did anyone find what they were looking for
    • Averiela seeks to protect the world from dangerous people like Brianiac YES
  • Did we learn something new about the world and its people?
    • NO

Two boons: Averiela and Lucia level up. Everyone heals 1 stat.