Chasing The Sunset & aquarium

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

Party: Orichalcum the Construct, Melvin the Rain

Looking west at Port Fennrick on the delta of the Mighty River.

Melvin just arrived in Port Fennrick on de Rolo’s one-of-a-kind racing yacht. de Rolo rescued him and his crew when they were shipwrecked. They jettisoned some cargo that their captain, Jensen, agreed to deliver to some shady people here in Port Fennrick, and promised to keep her safe from their retaliation.  They pull up to the dock where Jensen agreed to deliver the cargo, but no one is there to meet them.  Sebastina, the navigator who did not know about Jensen’s illicit cargo, is very unhappy.  She says, “Jensen, you paid me half upfront, and you usually pay me the rest of my fee after you get paid for delivering your cargo. That’s not going to happen, so how about you give me all the cash you have on you, and I never see you again?” Jensen has to agree, since she dragged Sebastina through a shipwreck and got her in trouble with the mob. After receiving the cash, Sebastina (a mermaid) makes a rude gesture, falls backwards off the yacht, and swims away.

Melvin inspects the dock where Jensen was supposed to deliver her contraband to her underworld contacts.  Strange that there’s no one here.  He digs through some crates and finds disguise kits, and a ring that indicates membership in the mafia.

Orichalcum (Ori for short) appears! Ori is an artificial life form made of aether and energy. Most of his vaguely humanoid form is a shifting purple energy. His hands, shoulder pauldrons, and faceplate are made of golden metal.

He approaches Melvin a bit sheepishly, because he has an odd request.  He wants Melvin to be his master.  Melvin is dedicated to the freedom of all things, so he hates that idea.  “You should be your own master!” he says. Ori explains that he’s been sent out into the world by his creators to find someone.  His creators weren’t exactly clear on who he was supposed to find, but based on how they made him, he thinks that he’s supposed to find a great leader, and he can do that by following various leaders so he knows what good leadership is. Melvin still thinks that’s weird and dumb.

Ori and Melvin have been hanging about on an empty dock for a long time now, long enough to draw the attention of Bork, the Ogre who keeps order on the busy docks. She approaches and demands to know what they are doing.  She’s dressed like a bouncer, but is clearly uncomfortable in the role. She says that if he’s going to be on the docks, he should board a boat, because that’s what people do on docks.  She picks Melvin up and takes him to the nearest ship and deposits him on board. The ship’s first mate is very confused by this, but he doesn’t want to cross Bork, so he thanks her for her good work.  Bork is very pleased and leaves convinced that she’s made the world a better place.  Melvin & Ori apologize to the boat’s crew and quickly leave the docks.

Melvin wants to see the river, so Ori demonstrates his usefulness by taking him there. Ori’s shoulder pauldrons move in to grab Melvin’s shoulders and pick him up, and Ori flies to the checkpoint at the back of the town. There’s a line of complaining boats and carts being inspected before they are allowed to enter or leave the city.  They notice Johnny, a mafia member who had a very bad night last night, in line to leave the city. Ori chats him up.  Johnny says that he used to work for Louie. He checks the time and adds that Louie is sleeping with the fishes now.  Johnny’s responsibilities used to include smuggling things and snatching people, but that’s all over and he’s leaving now.  Ori is still curious, but Johnny wants a favor for more information.  Ori flies Johnny past the checkpoint, so the officials don’t ask him any inconvenient questions. Ori asks who killed Louie, and Johnny is confused. Louie is a merman . He’s sleeping with the fishes in the fancy aquarium back at base. He always takes a nap at this time. Ori is flabbergasted by his misunderstanding.  Melvin sinks into the river delta in town and emerges on the riverbank next to Johnny and Ori. He urges Johnny to make good choices and not to enslave creatures anymore.  Johnny has heard several encouraging yet threatening speeches recently. He hastily agrees and rushes off, heading upriver towards a new life.

Ori flies Melvin back into Port Fennrick. What should they do now? Melvin wonders how to get an audience with the Baron, head of the legitimate government of Port Fennrick. Ori doesn’t think that established leaders are fruitful inquiry for his quest. Ori asks Melvin about his dedication to freedom for all living things.  Melvin wants to free the creatures and people held by the mafia.  Ori wil help, if Melvin will be Ori’s master.  Since it’s not permanent, and it would be nice to have some help, Melvin agrees to be Ori’s master, just for now.  Ori hands over a repair kit and a talisman of calling, which can instantly teleport Ori to Melvin’s side. Melvin absorbs them into his body, like the collection of knives he already has inside.

They go to the location Johnny told them about. It appears to be an aquarium, but there are secret back rooms inaccessible to the public where shady deals go down, and prize animals are kept.  They do the ol’ Chewbacca routine. Melvin shapeshifts into Johnny and says that he’s captured Ori, who is a rare and valuable lifeform. Joey, the mobster on duty, leads them to a secret hall with cells along one side. The cells contain a variety of creatures: a chrome songbird, a little light like the Lanterns have, two animated skeletons, exotic pets including a magenta Pomeranian, and a Halfling. Joey goes back to his post and Ori and Melvin wonder how to unlock all the cells. Melvin can ooze between the door and the frame, and Ori can teleport in, but how can they get everyone out?

GM note: We decided that spending a Rain point was a sufficient expense for the effect of unlocking a door, although that’s not on the list of things that Rain points can be spent for.

Melvin blast the Halfling’s cell open with a burst of water.  The Halfling starts opening the other cells.  When the chrome songbird is released, it uses Power Word Spring to create a large metal spring that knocks the door to the hallway open.  The loud noise attracts attention.  A few more cell doors are opened before two mobsters arrive and block the hall. Our party will have to fight their way out of this.  Ori asks if lethal force is authorized. Melvin says no, and Ori’s eyes switch to glowing blue.  The two mobsters are keeping the animals from getting down the hall. The skeletal boar charges, pushing the mobsters back.  The Halfling herds the animals further down the hall, running over Melvin. His amorphous fluid body is not damaged by being trampled.  Louie, the boss, arrives to help his underlings hold the line right where the secret hall opens to the room with his apartment-sized fishtank.  Louie’s a merman, so to move on land he straps his tail into something that looks like a mechanical Segway.  Melvin blasts the assistive device out from under Louie with a jet of water, sending Louie flopping to the ground. Ori rushes forward, grabs Louie by the shoulders, slams him into the wall of the fishtank and slides him up, until Louie’s tail is entirely off the ground.  Terrified by this show of power, Louie grabs the top edge of the fishtank and scrambles out of Ori’s grip, flipping over into the relative safety of the fishtank.

The two remaining mobsters can’t hold back the animals alone. As the animals rush out of the aquarium, Melvin, who still looks like their co-worker Johnny, tries to rally the mobsters under his leadership. They are frightened by Johnny’s sudden change in personality and his violent take-over, so they flee.

Ori and Melvin are mostly alone in the building now, and eye all the fancy fish in the giant fishtank with Louie.  Ori wonders if they should free the fish as well by smashing the bottom and letting them swim into the river delta.  Melvin isn’t sure if they would survive outside. Do they need salt water or fresh? Freedom isn’t more important than life, so Melvin leaves the fish where they are safe.

The mafia is in shambles, and Ori and Melvin leave the aquarium. Ori asks why Melvin seeks freedom so strongly. Melvin says that the Rain were contained in the past and they hated it. He doesn’t want that to happen to anyone else.  Ori asks if Melvin thinks he is a fool for seeking a master. Melvin says, “If that’s your way, that’s what you have to do.”

GM note: There’s a great line in my notes, but I can’t remember the context, so here it is without context: “Sometimes it is necessary to be someone else in order to learn who you are.”