The party: Buckle the Beast/Heart of Earth, Stella the Halfling/Hunter
Last time, the Fellowship uncovered a plot by Vampires to teleport to the Moon and wipe out the last remnants of the Dragons. Buckle destroyed the teleporter for the sake of his old friend Fafnir, causing wide-ranging side-effects.
The Fellowship returns to their boat, the Miranda. They’d like to bring Kitty (the T-Rex) along, but Stella’s Queen of the Wild power doesn’t allow her to bring animals outside of their territory. Buckle has a chat with Kitty
Buckle Speak Softly 7-9 ask three questions, one unwelcome answer
- What does Kitty want?
- Kitty longs to return to her home in the Cracktooth Wastes, far to the east. She wandered west in search of food and found a place teeming with Brontosaurs to eat, but she was driven away by little folk and got lost.
- Tell me about the Fairy vampires.
- The Fairies found her and fed her, as long as she did what they asked of her.
- What should I be wary of when dealing with Kitty?
- Kitty needs to eat a lot. She doesn’t have much brain, and hunger fills it up and pushes out any other thoughts, like friendship and long-term goals. Failing to keep Kitty well-fed will be very dangerous.
Buckle wants to help the big dragon-thing, who reminds him of Fafnir. He has never been to the Cracktooth Wastes, but what he does know of the world suggests that they will have to travel over land. When Stella hears this, her eyes narrow and her pupils dilate.
Stella: And my boat?
Stella is only willing to travel over land if they find some place that will take care of Miranda while they are gone. Their understanding of this continent’s geography is limited. They could follow this river all the way to the sea and go east along the coast, but that would take them through Vieport, and they are not welcome there. They decide to go downriver at least as far as Sugar’s Crossing, then reconsider. Maybe they take the highway east from there.
Buckle Forges A Bond: “I promise to bring Kitty home”
- New Companion: Kitty the T-Rex
- Crushing Jaws
As they sail downriver through the Fairy Forest towards the former Anti-Moon Weapon, Buckle’s hears a low growling from Kitty. She’s not angry. it’s her stomach! She needs food.
Buckle: Do you like fish?
Kitty: Are they made of meat?
Buckle: Absolutely. It’s been a long time since I caught some, but they are all around the boat. To catch them, jump into the water and wiggle all around. they’ll swim all around you. Just take a bite of water, then squeeze the water out without letting the fish out of your mouth.
Buckle Talk Sense (+Sense, explain plan) 10+
Kitty leaps off the side of Miranda, causing the boat to rock violently. Stella is soaked by the huge splash Kitty makes entering the water.
Buckle: Fishing! Yay!
Buckle stands near Stella so his body heat dries her off. Kitty thrashes around in the water and comes up with a mouthful of fish. Buckle’s instructions were effective. Kitty can’t climb, so she walks onto the riverbank, and Miranda comes ashore so Kitty can walk aboard.
The Anti-Moon Weapon slides by on the starboard side. The sun sets, and Miranda approaches Lady Evelynn’s estate. The Fellowship watches the Moon rise through the broken clouds. A beam of moonlight shines onto Lady Evelynn’s manor, high on the hill. Birdlike shapes fly away from a frightening silhouette on the roof. Stella shudders. One of the shadowy winged shapes is coming towards Miranda. It’s a Corrupted Phoenix, a smoky, skeletal bird that was unable to properly burn and complete its life-cycle. Normal fire can’t hurt it, so now it seeks fire powerful enough to ignite it.
Buckle: It’s coming straight for us!
Stella: Light up the sky!
Buckle Firestarter: always able to produce fire
Buckle launches flares, which light up the terrible bird of smoke and bones. The Corrupted Phoenix eats the flares and coughs up thick clouds of black smoke.
Stella: Buckle, this thing likes fire!
Buckle: Me too. Maybe we can be friends. I give people fire all the time.
The Phoenix is clearly targeting Buckle. Stella has a plan, but needs her scarier friends to execute it. She steers Miranda to the river bank.
Stella: Kitty, get off the boat! Buckle, light this tree on fire after Kitty rips the tree up.
Kitty uses Crushing Jaws
Buckle uses Firestarter
Kitty runs ashore and uproots a tree growing along the bank. Buckle lights the top of the tree on fire. Hopefully the Corrupted Phoenix will focus on this new fire and Kitty can smack it, using the tree as a club. Buckle scampers for safety behind the Kitty’s bulk.
Buckle Get Away 6-
The Corrupted Phoenix is as big as Kitty and just lands on both of them, talons first! A huge cloud of black smoke envelops the area.
Buckle damages Courage
Kitty damages Gigantic
Stella: Will Buckle be OK if the Phoenix eats him? Buckle! You’re going to let it eat you!
Buckle: Let it what?
Before Stella can clarify, the Corrupted Phoenix’s huge beak strikes down, enveloping Buckle.
Buckle Overcome 7-9 temporary solution
Buckle misses the sharp edges of the beak and goes straight down its throat into the gizzard. Sure, he may soon be crushed by giant rocks, but for now, he’s unharmed. Stella sees some of the black, crispy feathers on the Corrupted Phoenix’s neck soften and turn reddish-orange. She gets Kitty back on the boat.
Buckle: I want to share the fire with this bird!
Buckle uses Dragonfire: vaporize anything except a Threat To The World
Buckle aims his Dragonfire where he thinks the creature’s heart is, and it burns as purely, cleanly, and lovingly as he can muster. The Phoenix bursts into huge, wing- and feather-shaped flames. The glow is visible all the way to Lady Evelynn’s estate. All the trees and vegetation on the riverbank also ignite from the intense heat. Stella steers the Miranda away. After about 30 seconds, the Phoenix burns out. The secondary fires keep burning, but the huge skeletal bird is reduced to ashes. In the middle of the ashes stands Buckle, filled with hope and holding a huge glowing Phoenix egg.
Buckle Heart Of Earth: immune to heat
Buckle Pyromania: when everything around is fire, you have Hope
Buckle is a new parent again! (This is the second time he’s incubated an egg that’s not his. The first was Fafnir the Dragon) Stella is concerned, but Buckle is happy, so she doesn’t say anything. Buckle comes aboard carrying the egg in both arms, and the Miranda sails away before Lady Evelynn’s forces can arrive.
They sail down to Sugar’s Crossing without further incident. Sugar’s Corssing is back to normal. The bridge over the river has re-opened. The garrison is back to normal after the fire. This month, the garrison is staffed by Elves. Some Elvish guards stand out on the river directing boat traffic. The Miranda is guided into a berth. The crew rests and shares a meal.
Fill Your Belly: When you share a meal with friends, heal one extra stat
Buckle heals Courage
Kitty heals Gigantic
A Customs agent comes over to check their cargo. Kasca is a tall, slim, Elven woman. She’s 6’2″ with straight blonde hair down to her hips. She sees Kitty on the deck and pulls out stacks of papers. She says the Miranda will have to stay in town for weeks to Kitty to be quarantined and to get all the proper licenses and approvals to transport such an animal.
Buckle: What if we leave the dinosaur with you and go on without her?
Kasca: The boarding fees are significant, and you’d be liable for the cost of the food your animal eats. It can add up quickly!
Stella: Kitty gets really hungry and will eat anything. Are you sure you want to deal with that?
Stella Talk Sense (+hope, Buckle’s aid. +Wisdom, appeal to desire for smooth operations) 10+
Kasca decides that Kitty and the Miranda are more trouble than they are worth. She lays a document on top of a blank piece of parchment and casts a minor spell to copy the document. She explains how Buckle and Stella can sign here, show this form to that official, and quickly be on their way.
The Fellowship still hasn’t decided which way to go from Sugar’s Crossing. Buckle shudders at the thought of facing the Sea Viper again, but it’s better than customs. They decide to continue downriver and get through Vieport somehow.
When the Miranda reaches the fork in the river that leads into the swamp, the crows that keep watch recognize Buckle.
Crows: Wait, come here! Samantha needs your help!
Buckle: What’s your game? I don’t believe you.
Crows: You better help. If Samantha’s not happy, no one’s happy!
Buckle and the crows bicker for a bit, then one rises into the air, surrounded by magical energy. Poof! The crow is replaced by a short Human woman with pale skin and chin-length black hair.
Samantha: These crows are so inefficient! Please come with me and I’ll epxlain everything.
Buckle wants to be teleported, but Samantha’s magic doesn’t work like that. She guides the Miranda through her swamp. The Fellowship eye the moss and gunk in the swamp suspiciously. Buckle wonders if this goop will climb onto the boat and attack, like that swamp in the north. Samantha hides a pained expression.
Samantha leads them to a ring of willow trees. They disembark and duck under the drooping branches. Inside is a shallow round pool, a secret space, Samantha’s home. There’s a big black bull lying on some cushions under on of the willow trees.
Samantha: Ferdinand is stuck as a bull.
Buckle: I don’t understand.
Samantha: There’s nothing to understnad. He can transform, but he won’t. Since you can talk to beasts, I need you to talk to him and find out what’s wrong.
Buckle: Oh, my friend can transform into an apple and a chair.
Buckle Speak Softly to Ferdinand 7-9 Ask 3 questions, one answer is unhelpful
- What can you tell me about refusing to transform?
- Being a bull is easier than being a person, so Ferdinand will stay a bull.
- What do you want?
- Ferdinand wants life to be simple
- What should I be wary of?
- Dealing iwth Fairmeadow is so complicated now. It used to be that the only people who came into our swamp were thieves and we just chased them out, but now we’ve been into town and some people like us, but they don’t know us, so maybe we shouldn’t let them spring the traps, but the people who don’t like us don’t like us even more, and I don’t want to deal with any of it!
Buckle: Ferdinand needs a vacation. He’s overwhelmed and needs to get away for a bit.
Samantha: Yes, that wacky shapeshifter really stirred things up.
Buckle: A shapeshifter? From Templeton?
Samantha: I’m not sure. He and his friend the knight came into town for the fair and disappeared afterwards.
Buckle: Do you have a place Ferdinand can go to get away? A cottage in the woods?
Samantha: This is my isolated getaway. I’m connected to the land. I don’t travel. I don’t want to send Ferdinand off by himself. I just worry about him. People might take advantage of him, especially if he’s a bull.
Buckle: Perhaps we could add another to our rag-tag band.
Samantha: We can’t impose! Where are you going?
Buckle: The Crack-Tooth Wastes.
Samantha: Seems dangerous.
Buckle: Maybe there’s some way we could keep in contact, like that teleport tirck you did earlier.
Samantha: I can only teleport within this swamp.
Buckle: What about his folks?
Samantha makes an ugly face.
Buckle: I’ve been through that.
Buckle gets quiet and stares into the distance. Stella jumps in to lighten the mood.
Stella: We should play a game! Ask Ferdinand an Elven childhood game. Something simple and fun!
GM note: Do not add a traumatic childhood to your light-hearted adventure game. DO NOT add a traumatic childhood to your light-hearted adventure game. Aha! Minoan Bull-Leaping!
Buckle asks Ferdinand what games he played as a child, and Ferdinand excitedly tell him how he’d run at his friends and they would leap away with specatular Elven grace. He gets so excited remembering this fun game that he demonstrates, charging at Buckle!
Buckle Overcome 7-9 temporary solution
Buckle evades Ferdinand’s charge, but Ferdinand comes around for another pass.
Stella On a Mirror’s Edge: start free-running and gain 2 Speed points
Stella spends speed to leap over Ferdinand
Stella Keep Them Busy 7-9
Stella runs at Ferdinand and leaps over him, placing one hand on his head for a little boost. She’s good at this! Ferdinand is so happy and turns to follow Stella.
Buckle Finish Them (+Wisdom, show them the error of their ways) 7-9
Buckle: Ferdinand, stop!
Ferdinand damages Shapeshifter
Ferdinand is shocked back into his Elf form!
Buckle: You gotta face life. This is isn’t childhood anymore. Things are bad, and complicated. I understand. I just fought Vampires that were trying to teleport to the Moon, which is full of Dragons. The Viper King wants to kill me. As long as you have people who love you, you can face these things. But not if they can’t hear you. If you retreat into bull form, you can’t stand together.
Ferdinand: You’re right. Samantha is always there for me. It was selfish for me to withdraw.
Samantha: Ferdinand, I’ll always take care of you.
Buckle senses that Samantha does not see Ferdinand as a peer. She thinks her cunning and her magic make her superior to him.
Buckle: You gotta let him show you the power he has inside. You cna always take care of him, but let him take care of you too.
Buckle Talk Sense (+Wisdom) 10+
Samantha: It’s not often that I learn from an outsider, especially about my own family. Thank you!
Fellowship of Samantha’s Swamp gained!
Samantha offers to share some of her magic with the Fellowship. Buckle and Stella learn the Wizardry move. “Touch, push, or grab as if you were somewhere else you can see.” Buckle can ignite flammable items with a touch, and now he doesn’t even need to get close to do that.
NO END OF SESSION MOVE