Chasing The Sunset & Magical Barrier

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

The party: Lucia the Brave the Heir, Dryden of Conwall the Collector

The party is looking for an old library that’s hidden inside one of two volcanoes, but their directions did not indicate which volcano contained the library. Smoke pours from the caldera of one volcano, so they head for that one, looking for an entrance around the slopes of the mountain. A huge drill, 15 feet across, bursts from the ground at their feet, towering over them, and then starting to fall in their direction. Lucia and Dryden leap aside and see that the drilll is the front end of a large earth-moving vehicle that has emerged from an underground tunnel.  Several Goblins (short, green-skinned people) emerge from the machine and are surprised to see Lucia & Dryden.  Introductions are exchanged, and the goblins say they are making a public entrance to their underground city.  Dryden asks to use it, and the Goblin asks if he has come to fight the boss. A dragon named Fafnir just took over the city and is looking for challengers. Another Goblin grumbles that his grandfather helped build this canopy to keep the town of Swallet hidden, and here they are punching holes in it and encouraging outsiders to come in. Fafnir wants fighters from all over to come to Swallet to challenge her, but Goblins are used to secrecy and don’t know how to encourage people to come into their towns.  Dryden suggests building a road to this entrance they are building.  A Goblin exclaims, “This is all backwards! Let’s just head right towards the No Go zones on the maps!” The Goblins need to get back to work on the entrance, but Dryden asks if their town has a library.  Goblins collect technical manuals and such, but there’s no great library in Swallet.  Dryden promises to spread the word about Swallet and its new dragon ruler.

Dryden overcharges his flying stone and flies himself and Lucia over the other volcano. Around the caldera they find signs of an old war camp.  The camp was pointed in, like it was besieging the volcano, not defending it. The bottom of the volcano’s crater is an unnaturally smooth and regular surface, like the top section of a sphere. Two spiral staircases go down the inside of the caldera, but one staircase is broken.  They explore the war camp and find a graveyard: 40 or so spear points stuck in the ground, and a volcanic stone with the name “crusher” carved into it. They walk down the intact staircase to the dome at the bottom. There’s a light layer of gravel and hardy plants, but it’s easy to sweep that aside and see a smooth, non-porous, extremely hard ceramic surface.  A perfect barrier.  Dryden has a Dwarf-made weapon, so hard that it’s almost indestructible. He gangs on the dome a few times, chipping it, but he needs more force to get through.  He climbs to the rim of the caldera and drops the weapon from that great height. The impact cracks the dome with a deafening sound!

Lucia approaches the crack and calls out. From inside she hears a faint, spooky voice: “Do not remoooove booooks without a library caard.” and other such announcement.  Lucia identifies herself as the queen of the Forgotten Lands, and sees an eye glinting through the crack. She shows her symbol of royalty through the crack. A ghost floats up through the crack! A sheet with empty eye-holes is all that’s left of the librarian. This is indeed the library founded by the librarians who left the Forgotten Lands when they decided to withdraw from the world. They did not want their knowledge to be lost, and thus they sailed far away and founded this library. She is honored that the queen is visiting and wishes she could let Lucia in. She explains that about a hundred years ago, an evil warlord besieged the library, intent on stealing its secrets. Two heroes stood against a horde of invaders and gave the librarians time enough to cast the spell that sealed the library in this protective shell. She is the last one left, and the spell, cast by many magicians, cannot be broken my just one.  If Dryden and Lucia want to get in, they will have to find some way to enlarge this crack. The ghostly librarian can slip through the narrow crack. but people with solid bodies can’t fit.

Dryden, the gadgeteer, has another weapon to try. An unwieldy, devastating weapons. A long stick with explosives at the end that will launch rocks on impact.  Using it here, next to the inner wall of the caldera, will probably cause a rockslide.  Dryden prepares to use his rope launcher to pull himself up as soon as the explosion goes off! It mostly works! He swings the giant weapon. He deploys the rope launcher! He rises over the resulting rockslide! He loses his grip on the rope launcher and falls on the sharp rocks! He decides to rest overnight and dig deep into his cloak for a more appropriate tool.

During the night, the party sees tiny flashing lights near the moon. No doubt aftermath of Dr. MacLeod’s attempt to destroy the moon. Dryden finds a curiously carved wooden monkey. Back at the palace, where he grew up with Lucia, he got good at picking locks, and then the locks got replaced by better locks. The next step in this arms race was to invent this little device in the shape of monkey with its hands together. He slipped the hands between the door and doorframe, then activate the monkey, which would forcefully spread its hands and pop the door off its hinges!  Will it work on this cracked protective shell? Yes! The monkey widens the crack enough for Dryden and Lucia to slip through. They find themselves on the roof of a building. There are double doors that lead inside. the library is lit by spooky blue flames in sconces along the walls on on the ends of shelves.  The shelves have signs “Do Not Remove Books Without A LIbrary Card” Shelves piled with books seem to extend forever. Sometimes there is no shelf, just a stack of books and scrolls up to the ceiling.  The ghostly librarian moves to the counter. There’s a shimmery blue barrier between the counter and the rest of the library. She explains that the library lost contact when the barrier was erected. They used to send messenger birds across the sea to the Forgotten Lands. They could send messages or even small books, wrapped in water-proof paper.  The librarian issues Lucia a library card. Of course the Queen can check out any book she likes.

This is great. Our heroes need some information, and they’ve found a center of learning, a place to store and retrieve information. They ask the ghostly librarian for all the information she has on werewolves. She’s never heard of a werewolf. They explain that it’s a person who transforms into a fierce beast under a full moon. The librarian doesn’t know what a full moon is. They realize that this librarian has been isolated since before the moon appeared! They try to explain that there’s an object in the sky that causes these transformations, and they were sent by this woman, only they aren’t really working for this woman, but she’s been trying for 60 years to destroy the moon, which is an unreasonable amount of time. The librarian asks if this woman looks too young to be as old as she is, like a middle-aged woman who takes a lot of care in her appearance. the party confirms, surprised by the accuracy of the description.  The librarian says she is probably a vampire. Vampires are starting to infiltrate and cause some trouble, but the Dragons won’t stand it! they run a tight ship and will no doubt run those trouble makers off.

Or party realizes that this librarian has been out of touch for a long time, and that world was a very different place back in her day.