Chasing The Sunset & Attrition

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 regrouped at Vieport’s Adventurer’s club, but had to rescue a friend from the Exterminator’s traps in the golf clubhouse across the street.

A map of the city of Vieport. A golf course next to the Adventurers' Club. An intersection where the Fellowship gets in a fight. A fortress at the north edge fo the city where the river enters from the Deathlands. A yacht at the docks on the east side of the city.
The city of Vieport

Stella and Buckle are in the attic of the club house with Hamfast (the rescued hostage) and companions Silk and Ugg. The elevator is out of commision. Several gas bombs have gone off inside it, and they smashed a golf cart into the doors on this level. Buckle considers driving a golf cart out a window, but the attic only has skylights in the ceiling, too high to reach.  Finally, they notice a staircase that they overlooked before.  They walk down the stairs and go towards the back of the clubhouse where Stella laid a Pit Trap in case Exterminator fled that way. She placed a warning sign, but only on the inside, so a golf cart returning to the club house has fallen into the pit, and golfers and employees are standing around gawking.

Stella Keep Them Busy 10+

Stella runs up to the pit and acts very upset to draw everyone’s attention while Buckle steals another golf cart.

Stella: What have you done! Such sensless destruction. What are we going to do?”

The golf carts have four seats and internal combustion engines. Buckle is able to take one and Gus, Rose, Ugg ride along. Hamfast rides on Silk. That’s almost everyone. Using Stella’s distraction, they sneak off and get the Siege Tank from the Adventurers’ Club.

  • Shirley the Surly Co-worker
    • Biting Sarcasm
    • Conveniently Off-Duty

Stella has everyone very concerned about the golf cart in the pit, but Shirley’s a disaffected teenager who can’t be bothered by anything.

Shirley: Why do you care? Bury it so we can drive the other carts over it.

Stella: Burying it is the worst possible thing. It will take a lot of time. You know, I’ll take care of it. You go home.

Stella Talk Nonsense (Talk Sense by telling lies)

Shirley Biting Sarcasm: cannot Talk Sense to Shirley

Shirley just rolls her eyeliner-caked eyes. Stella wants to take a golf cart and have fun like Buckle. How can she get rid of Shirley? She reaches into her rations and starts pelting Shirley with tomatoes and other veggies!

Stella spends 1 Food

Shirley Conveniently Off-Duty: will flee when things get too intense

Shirley does not get paid enough to deal with this, so she goes back inside. Buckle rumbles up in  the Siege Tank, towing the golf cart.

Buckle: Get in losers, we’re going boating!

One of the rich golfers is impressed by the Siege Tank and wants to buy it. He’s de Rolo, the millionaire thrill-seeker! Buckle wants a boat in exchange. de Rolo offers his smallest yacht.  The Siege Tank is barely operational, with all stats damaged, so they’ll have to convince de Rolo that it’s worth a yacht.

  • Siege Tank
    • Spikes and Steel (damaged)
    • Heavily Armored (damaged)
    • Secret Weapon (damaged)

Stella makes the sales pitch. When she lies, her face turns purple, so she puts up her hood so it’s harder to notice.  She only lies to people who can handle it, and this guy’s rich enough that he won’t miss his smallest yacht.  The armor plates may look out of place, but that’s for aerodynamics. The spikes are all bent, because it’s safer for bystanders to have them out of the way. She just doesn’t mention the secret weapons.

Stella Talk Sense (+Wis, de Rolo’s desire to own an exotic vehicle) 10+

Stella Talk Nonsense: When you Talk Sense and get a 10+, you may also Sting Like A Bee.

Stella Sting LIke A Bee: steal a small object without being noticed

Stella and de Rolo shake hands to seal the deal and she slips a ring off his finger. It’s a signet ring with a mysterious symbol. Buckle hands over the keys to the Siege Tank, and de Rolo hands over the deed to the yacht and tells them where it’s moored.  de Rolo is about to leave, but Buckle has another offer for him.

Buckle: Why golf when you could adventure with us?

de Rolo laughs and brags about his adventures: setting the speed record through the Straits of Transmutation, rescuing cast-aways, and so on.

Buckle: OK, your loss. Thanks for the boat.

The Fellowship zooms away in two golf carts, like in The Italian Job. Buckle’s in front with Ugg and Hamfast. Stella is behind with Gus and Rose, and Silk riding on the roof. Ahead of them, a group of guards blocks the road. The Fellowship are public enemy #1 in Vieport for mauling the Sea King and burning his palace!

A amp of the alley where the Fellowship fights the Peacekeeper. Fellowship comes from the west. Peacekeeper and guards come from east. Buckle turns north and does down stairs. Fire blocks path between Stella and alley.
Alley fight
  • Lantern Peacekeeper
    • Gauntlet Form: Immobilizes enemy
    • Civic Duty: Follow protocol. Disable all aggressors.
  • Group of Naga Eel Guards
    • Group
    • Needlepoint Teeth: Necrotic damage
    • Slippery: can escape at any time

Buckle screams “Hang on” and swerves around hard!

Buckle Overcome 7-9 Pay a price: separated

Buckle’s golf cart swerves into an alley and rumbles down a flight of stairs!

GM note: Buckle is separated, so he can’t participate in the scene for a while.  Buckle’s player said they will find the point of dramatic tension, then return with an interesting diversion.

Stella thinks for half a second, then floors it! (Golf cart top speed in 10MPH) Seven yards from the Naga Guards, she slams on the brakes, launches Silk forward off the roof.

Stella Get Away 7-9 avoid harm

Silk flies over the heads of the Naga and Lantern. The Peacekeeper keeps his troops focused on thier primary target: Stella. Silk escapes the scene. The Naga advance to surround the golf cart. Peacekeeper sends out his gauntlet to immobilize Stella. Stella and friends are in a tight spot. The Group of Naga can threaten two people at once, so it will take all three fo them to fend off the combined assault of the Naga and Peacekeeper. Stella’s top concern is for her companions. She’s responsible for keeping them safe. She plans a team attack to keep the guards back.

Stella: “Gus, give me the seeds!”

Gus damages Rations

Stella: “Rose, do the trick, like at the Carnival!”

Rose damages Get Right In There

Gus gives Stella a bag of sunflower seeds, still in in the shell. Rose grabs Stella’s feet and spins her around so seeds fly out in all directions like bullets, pelting the guards!

Stella Keep Them Busy 10+

The guards can’t advance, but no one can escape because they are all involved in keeping the Naga back. What can break this stalemate?

Buckle Firestarter: set anything on fire

Stella’s golf cart suddenly bursts into flames! Buckle climbed back up the stairs and ignited a small trail of leaking gasoline from Stella’s cart that no one noticed before. He peeks out from the corner of the alley and tells the group to run!

Buckle Keep Them Busy (despair, damaged Grace) 6-

Alas, the trail of fire that created the distraction cuts Stella off from Buckle, trapping her with the gaurds!

Peacekeeper: No escape. No one has to get hurt. Surrender!

Stella: Where will you keep us? The palace is in shambles!

Peacekeeper: We don’t put dangerous criminals in the palace. We have a fortress!

The Peacekeeper points north towards the fortress at the edge of town, where the river enters Vieport from the Deathlands. Buckle walks through the wall of flames to join the conversation.

Buckle Heart Of Earth: immune to fire

Buckle: Does the fortress have a boat dock?

This casual show of power is quite intimidating!

Buckle Finish Them  Group of Naga Eels (+Grace, terrify) 7-9

Group of Naga Eels damages Needlepoint Teeth

The Naga Guards slither back a bit, afraid to attack such a powerful foe. (While setting up for the golf cart trick, Buckle sent Ugg & Hamfast ahead to get the yacht. They met up with Silk)

Peacekeeper: In the dungeon, you’ll never see boats again!

Buckle: A dungeon? With no fresh air? I’ll suffocate!

Peacekeeper: Justice is swift! You’ll be tried before you suffocate.

Peacekeeper motions the Naga Eels to move in again. The Fellowship is in a bad spot! Stella is scared of losing her friends!

GM note: My notes get a bit fuzzy here, but I think this is how it went. Rose gives Buckle an advantage to attack Peacekeeper, while Stella & Gus hold off the Naga Eels.

Stella and Gus hold the Naga Eels back with clouds of garlic powder. It only works for long enough to Buckle & Rose to make their move, then the Naga Eels advance and retaliate against Stella

Gus damages Special Ingredients

Stella Keep Them Busy 7-9

Group of Naga Eels requires 2 characters to Keep Them Busy

Naga Guards damage Stella

Rose crouches and raises her shield over her head. Buckle gets a running start and jumps on her shield. Rose heaves upward and Buckle jumps again, flying towards Peacekeeper! (Just like in Wonder Woman)

Rose damages Loyal Beyond All Reason

Buckle Finish Them (+sense, knock out) 7-9

Buckle damages Peacekeeper’s Protocol

Buckle lands a solid hit and now Peacekeeper is mad! Forget de-escalation. He’s going to kill these dangerous criminals! The Little Light on Peacekeeper’s shoulder is shaped like a fist. Peacekeeper expands it into a cage and tries to engulf and capture Buckle. Buckle grabs the Little Light and tries to keep it closed.

Buckle Overcome 6-

He fails and is surrounded by the glowing cage. He freaks out and trashes like a caged animal!

Stella: There’s only one way out and that’s getting out of here!

Stella Get Away 7-9 bring Gus along

Stella grabs Gus by the collar and runs through the flames and down the stairs to Buckle’s golf cart.

Flames damage Stella

The Naga Eels arrest Rose. Peacekeeper orders them to take Rose to the fortress and return with reinforcements. Peacekeeper has Buckle Immobilized, but can’t move him, and wants overwhelming force present when he releases Buckle. The Naga Eels hustle Rose away and Buckle is left alone with Peacekeeper.

Elsewhere, Stella sees the yacht coming upriver, operated by Ugg and Hamfast. It’s a fast boat, a sleek catamaran. It can overtake the Naga before they reach the fortress. Stella drives the golf cart off a ramp to jump across the river and onto the yacht.

Stella Overcome 6-

The Golf Cart isn’t fast enough and falls into the water short of of the yacht. It’s sinking quickly and Stella can’t swim!

Meanwhile, Buckle has nothing to do but talk to his captor.

Buckle. So you’re pretty strong, right? Why serve a snake who can’t even deal with ghosts?

Ah, we’re getting to know this Peacekeeper. His name is Hopek, and he settled in Vieport because he followed Robin, the Lantern who designed the electro-barriers around the city.

Buckle: Y’all keep the city safe by yourselves. Why serve the Sea Viper?

Buckle Finish Them (+Wis, show error of their ways) Advantage: Making some good points +Dispair. 6-

Hopek is angry and won’t listen to reason. He expands the cage to about 2m by 2m and steps inside. The ‘real’ part of a Lantern is the Little Light, and the humanoid figure that most people interact with is a holographic projection that Lanterns use to fit in with a mostly humanoid society. Hopek’s projection walks up and punches Buckle in the nose to let him know that this hologram is backed by forcefields. It’s a cage match!

Hopek damages Buckles’ Electrolocation

Back to Stella. Gus can swim. Stella climbs on top of the sinking gold cart. Hamfast frantically gets her attention.

Hamfast; You have to swim!

Stella: I can’t! I literally can’t!

Hamfast: What about the Waterskippers back home? They don’t swim, but they don’t sink.

Stella remembers watching little bugs move across the surface of the water in her home country far away. She realizes that even if she can’t swim, she can still float.  She lies on her back and Gus drags her to the yacht. Once she’s safely aboard, she looks back and sees smoke rising from the burning golf cart. That’s where Buckle is. Rose is upstream in the other direction. Stella’s conflicted. Buckle is part of the team. She won’t say it out loud, but she considers him part of the family. She thinks of all the times that Buckle has almost died. Then she remembers how much he’s grown, and that’s he basically a fire god now. It’s a hard choice, but she goes after Rose.

Back to Buckle, squaring off against Hopek in a cramped glowing energy cage. Buckle rushes forward, then jumps to the side and bounces off the wall of the cage like a Luchadore before tackling Hopek, hoping ot disrupt his forcefield projections.

Buckle Overcome 10+

It works! The cage flickers and disappears and Buckle is free. Hopek tries to cage Buckle again, but Buckle dives into a storm drain.

Buckle Get Away 7-9 avoid harm

Buckle kicks up clouds of steam as he runs down the wet tunnels into the sewer system, leaving Hopek far behind.

On the yacht, Stella takes stock of the situation. There are five of them on the boat: Stella, Hamfast, Ugg, Gus, and Silk. Three of them are prety beat up.  She examines her surroundings.

Stella Look Closely 7-9 3 questions. 1 answer the hard way

  • What is hidden or out of place?
    • Buildings run up right to the edge of the river on one side. There are lots of little alleys, doorways, and docks to hide in, or from which surprises may emerge.
  • What do my senses tell me?
    • Buildings on one side, a sidewalk on the other. A big ship is coming towards them, taking up almost the whole width of the river. If they wait for it to pass, the gaurds will secure Rose in the fortress! The ship is carrying a huge hexagonal mirror, like the one she saw Agate use as a weapon.
  • What will happen if I bribe the Naga Eels?
    • She figures that two Precious items would be enough to make the guards release Rose.
Vieport canal. Sidewalk on the left side. A group of Naga guards leads Rose towards the fortress. Buildings, docks, and doorways on the right side of the canal. The Fellowship's yacht comes up the canal behind the guards.
Vieport canal

She steers the yacht (it’s named Miranda, because it’s a cata-Miranda with an outrigger) to the side of the channel, behind a small dock. She climbs Miranda’s mast, swings back and forth to gather momentum, then jumps towards the deck of the large ship.

Stella Overcome 6-

Her foot is tangled in a rope, so instead of springing onto the large ship, she’s snatched back and swung into a wall!

Wall damages Stella

Stella is Taken Out!

GM note: At the beginning of the session, I checked in with my players to make sure they felt appropriately challenged, since they win all the time, and no character in all of Chasing The Sunset had ever been Taken Out. They assured me that the level of challenge was fine, and now, after what I thought was a smaller fight than the Sea King or an elite mercenary like The Exerminator, a character is finally Taken Out! Amazing! Now we get to find out what that means for Stella.

Buckle emerges from a nearby sewer and Gus explains the situation. Buckle tries to board the large ship.

Buckle Get Away 7-9 avoid harm

Bucle reaches the deck of the ship safely, but the Naga guards see him glowing and reflected in the mirror.

A pencil drawing of a ship carrying a huge hexagonal mirror. The ship has a crane at the front and the back. The mirror is carried vertically and held by straps.
A ship carrying a large mirror

Naga Eels: There’s two of him!

Buckle: I’ve got a proposition for you. My friend and I want all this to go away.

Buckle shows a coin purse, and in the mirror, his reflection shows a second coin purse.

Talk Sense (+Grace, trick) 6- they demand something expensive

The Naga Eels notice the deception! There’s only one Buckle, and one coin purse.  Buckle adds a pile of silver coins (won at Platypalooza) to the coin purse, and the Naga Eels release Rose. The big ship passes. Buckle and Rose board the yacht and they sail north to the border of the city. The most wanted crewmembers stay inside, and do Rolo’s yacht is waved through the checkpoint.

GM note: It was getting late, the party had been fighting to get out of the city for three sessions, one player character was Taken Out and the rest of the Fellowship was beat up and low on resources. Further complications were unnecessary. Let’s move on and figure out how to restore Stella next time.

Stella has a lot of food in her Gear because she has a Halfling condition that’s similar to diabetes and she needs to eat regularly.  her wounds knocked her out long enough that she slips into a coma! Special Halfling food is needed to restore her blood sugar to proper levels and re-awaken her.  Where will the Fellowship go next? The yacht certainly helps them move about. Finding a Halfling will make finding the special food easier. Rumor says a Halfling named Sam lives north of the Singing Hills.  Recovering is also a priority. They need a community that has gratned them fellowship for that, like Bogden.

GM note: End of session move.  One boon. Level up.