Chasing the Sunset & Edna

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

GM note:The “story” won’t start for a while. We talked as players (not as characters) about the game and made some changes to the structure.

Year in review

It’s the beginning of the year, so I checked in with my players about how the game was going, what they liked, what they disliked, what they wanted more of.

Lucia’s player started playing TTRPGs with Fairmeadow Fair in 2018 and said that this past year was the most fun they’ve had. At the start, they didn’t really know how to pretend to be an imaginary person based on some rules, so engaging with the fiction was a challenge, but a good challenge. It’s like driving a car. Once they have the experience to reach for the proper controls by habit, they can easily make the car do what they want. Similarly, this past year has been the most fun because they can concentrate on what Lucia wants to do, instead of on how to make Lucia do things.

The players really enjoyed “dungeons” — complicated self-contained areas that the characters can’t easily escape, like the science labs back in Fairmeadow Fair, or the Robotics Facility under Thaumatown.

Challenge is not a strong motivator. The players don’t need to feel like efficient tactics and good rolls are required to avoid total defeat. The fight against Doctor MacLeod at the Anti-Moon Weapon was the perfect level of challenge.

The players don’t draw strong borders between negotiations, fights, and investigations. Their preferred style of interaction is scrambling, or shenanigans.

All players, not just the GM, are authorized to add to the world.  Dryden’s player obviously loves that, and has a story for every gadget. Lucia’s player doesn’t do it much, but doesn’t feel excluded. Averiela’s player worries about being quick enough to think of things to add when the situation arises.

Averiela’s player loves mysteries, but Lucia’s player prefers a small, self-contained puzzle, like the elevator in Thaumatown’s Robotics Facility.

The party is satisfied with the companions they have accumulated. Meeting new people is nice, but adopting new friends and pets is not a priority.

Everyone, but especially Dryden’s player, like surprises: going new places and seeing new sights.

I said that I like Chasing the Sunset so much that I wish I could play a character myself. In fact I already knew which playbook I’d use, and what the character’s personality and style would be. I’d need another person to help referee if I joined as a player. Dryden’s player, who did a great job running Lasers & Feelings a while back, offered to step up to co-GM. I’m so happy! I worried that changing the structure of the party like that would be too much of a disruption, but my players — my fellow players — were supportive. I printed out a character sheet and created:

Edna Crusher-Harcourt, the Ogre

Meme references for Edna: Lady Dimitrescu, Dolly Parton, “How to Talk to Short People”, Big J from Worthikid’s “Wire

Edna, like all Ogres, is much taller than any human. I think somewhere between 15 (3x a 5′ woman) and 19 feet (2x Lady D’s height of 9’6″) tall, but I haven’t nailed it down. If she’s too big, she won’t even be able to crawl through Halfling, Dwarf, Goblin, or Platyperson buildings. She’s entering middle age and has lines on her face, especially laugh lines, because she laughs and smiles a lot. She wears an expensive but practical dress and fancy jewelry. She has broad shoulders and a powerful build, but is soft, not ‘cut’ like a bodybuilder.

She wanders where she likes because she’s so strong she does not think that she could be in danger. Enemies do not deserve her full strength, and she prefers to bully them into retreating. If they earn her respect or hurt her loved ones, she’ll draw a weapon and fight to kill! She can lift almost anything, throw anyone, jump anywhere, normal weapons only inconvenience her, and she’ll break things if she doesn’t move carefully.

She is a “mom friend”: affectionate and loyal to the “little ones” that she takes in. Receiving a gift is always very special to her, even though she’s rich, and she can heal a loved one that she holds in her arms. She travels with Ol’ Jardiner, a weird little Halfling man who was always puttering around her family estate on some vague duty. Turns out he’s a wizard!

Let’s begin

The fellowship: Dryden of Conwall the Collector/Hunter, Averiela the Elf/Elven Elite, Lucia the Brave the Heir/Halfling Sheriff, Edna Crusher-Harcourt the Ogre

Last time, the Fellowship said farewell to a companion and found the aftermath of an important battle.

Averiela has camouflaged the whole party, so they will not be harrassed by evil Fairies as they investigating the smoking cave. Averiela wants to retrieve the book visible withing the wreckage, since it’s probably involved in the Vampire’s plot to destroy the Moon as part oftheir ancient war with the Dragons. Lucia wonders if there ever really was a dragon. Averiela recalls the Swallet Fight Club, but Lucia says that “dragon” was really a giant Alligator. Dryden says the Alligator was a fake, pretending to be the real dragon that used to run the Fight Club.  Dryden reminds them that he just called to a herd of Wild Unicorns, and the ground will shake to signal their arrival.

GM note: Thanks, buddy, that’s a great segue to introducing my character!

The ground does shake, and into the clearing bursts not a herd of Wild Unicorns, but an extremely large woman! It’s Edna Crusher-Harcourt, the Ogre.

GM note: We started our introductions, then remembered that everyone except Edna was invisible! Oh no! As players, we know that these characters will meet and be friends, but the fiction is set up to prevent that! Lucia’s player thinks quickly.

Lucia is allergic to the tree that grows over the entrance to the tree and sneezes, breaking her camouflage. Edna stops short before stepping on her.

Edna: Hello, I didn’t see you there. Wait, you’re Lucian!  No, Lucky!

Lucia; I am Lucia, Heir of the Forgotten Lands.

Edna: Yes, Lucia!  Helen mentioned meeting you a while back.

Dryden appears and offers make make tea for Edna. She’s delighted.

Edna Loves Friendship: forge three Bonds when someone gives you a gift

Dryden uses the flask of scalding hot water that he took from Helen’s geothermal pit to prepare the tea. Edna travels with teacups, so she gets out her cup, made of fine china and the size of a serving bowl. Dryden sees the huge cup and uses more water.  Edna also pulls back her travelling cloak and puts down a small Halfling man that she was carrying. This strange man, wearing grubby clothes and beat-up pointed hat with a wide brim, is Ol’ Jardiner. He has his own plain ceramic mug. Dryden introduces the Fellowship over tea. Averiela stays camouflaged, since she’s not sure about Edna. Roddy isn’t using Averiela’s magical camouflage, but his ghillie suit still makes him hard to pick out from the other bushes around.

Lucia wants to retrieve the book form inside the smoky cave, but the rough terrain and thick smoke make that dangerous. She uses her cloak to fan the smoke out of the cavern. Edna assists with a hand fan that’s not much smaller than Lucia’s cloak.

Lucia Overcome (+hope, Enda’s assistance) 6-

They fan the smouldering embers back to life and flame rushes out of the cave’s mouth!

Edna Protect The Little Ones: take harm for allies within arm’s reach

Edna quckly pushes Lucia behind her and takes the brunt of the flames

Edna damages special Armor

GM note: Actually, two characters work together with Hope only if they have Bonds with each other. Since Edna and Lucia just met, they should get in each other’s way and roll with Despair.

The evil Fairies notice the commotion and move in to menace the Fellowship. Lucia dashes into the cave to retrieve the mysterious book.

Lucia Overcome 10+

She grabs it and gets back out safely.  The Fairies and taunt her and throw leaves and twigs.

Fairies: If you like dead trees so much, here’s some more wood!

Lucia Symbol of Royalty: grant an audience with whomever you show it to

Lucia displays her symbol of royalty and the Fairies are very impressed! Edna is also impressed. The Fairies emerge from hiding in the branches and crowd in to meet Lucia. It seems like half the leaves in the forest were actually Fairies. More sunlight reaches the clearing now. The Fairies assemble themselves into a group in the shape of Lucia.

Lucia Speak Softly 6- Ask three questions, one answer is false, another is unhelpful

  • Tell me about the book.
    • It’s an outdated volume. A failed wizard tried to use it and blew up the cave
  • What are the Fairies doing? What will they do next?
    • The Fairies came to see who made all the noise. Soon they will enjoy some entertainment
  • What would you have us do? How can we help?
    • You will be the entertainment!

Finally, the Wild Unicorns arrive! White Sands (Averiela’s tame Unicorn) is suspicious and stands aloof. The Wild Unicorns are terrifying and beautiful. They have twigs caught in their flowing manes, but each twig is perfectly placed. They are hesitant to trust outsiders, so they eye the strange collection of people in the clearing with suspicion. The evil Fairies don’t hesitate. They hate the Wild Unicorns and swarm to attack them. Edna whips her travelling cloak off her shoulders and interposes, waving the cloak around to block the group of Fairies.

GM note: Actually, two people are required to deal with a Group. If Edna used equipment with the Giant tag, she could keep a Group busy, but she herself does not have the Giant tag.

Edna Keep Them Busy: 10+ their attention is all on you

The Fairies see Enda approaching and reform into a rude word just before getting tangled in the cape.

White Sands recognizes the grand-mare of the Wild Unicorns, an ancient creature whose name in Elvish is “Her Majesty”. Long ago Averiela traveld with Her Majesty for a time, even saving her from a swamp. Averiela took a foal from Her Majesty (with permission, of course) and founded the herd of Unicorns of which White Sands is a member. White Sands rushes to meet her ancestor and they touch horns in the traditional Unicorn greeting. Her Majesty bestows a blessing on White Sands so her horn can shine with light.

Edna: I’m a little busy here!

Lucia draws her sword and shouts to the fairies, telling them that they are fools to fight these wonderful. pure creatures.

Lucia Finish Them +Wisdom 7-9

Group of Fairies damages Trickster

The Fairies are convinced that the Wild Unicorns are magnificent creatures, but not that they should join the forces of Good. They retreat to find reinforcements.

Lucia What Here Is Evil: the Fairies are evil

GM note: I thought it would be funny if Ol’ Jardiner was evil, but a player pointed out that one of his stats is “No Sense of Right and Wrong” so he must be amoral, not evil.

Edna: Do we have any further business here? Let’s adjourn before those Fairies return.

Lucia recognizes her Majesty as royalty and wants to cement friendship between their peoples.  She offers Her Majesty a lock of her hair. Her Majesty (translated by White Sands and Dryden) suggests they rendezvous in a secret place ofthe Wild Unicorns, where the Fairies cannot bother them. Her Majesty leaves directions, and the herd of Wild Unicorns gallops away. The Fellowship follows along. The path reaches a river, and they walk along the bank. They see a horrid trophy suspended above the river: a Dragon’s Skull with a sign reading “So much for the power of dragons”

The Unicorn’s special place is hidden behind a waterfall. The small Fairies can’t fly through the waterfall without being knocked down by the force of the water. Looking through the waterfall, the Fellowship sees not a cave, but tall grass in a sunny meadow. The Unicorns’ magic created a portal to another place. Dryden is not surprised. He adapted his transporter cape from unicorn magic. Dryden doesn’t actually hold all his gadgets under his cloak. The underside of the cloak is a portal to his workshop back in the Forgotten Lands. That’s how he can carry so many things and alway pull the right item quickly from under his cloak.

As the Fellowship walks through the waterfall, Infinite Windows reacts to the portal! Dryden must keep Infinite Windows in his backpack because it can’t travel through his transporter cape. The Unicorn’s portal dissapates and the Fellowship is in a small dark cave behind the waterfall. Most of them anyways. Edna was walking just ahead of Dryden and she’s gone!


GM note: Nobody knew that about the Unicorns’ portal until we got there, but it and the established interaction with Infinite Windows provided a great diagetic reason for Edna to show up somewhere else, so I can play with another group and co-GM. I’m so happy that my fellow players are taking more responsibility so that I have space to play this character, who I really enjoy. I’m reather embarrassed that I rolled twice in this session and broke the rules both times. I’m supposed to be the expert!