Chasing the Sunset & Dragon Skull

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

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 (kinda?)

Last time, the Fellowship met Edna and tried to follow Wild Unicorns into their secret meadow, but an adverse reaction with Infinite WIndows teleported Edna away and closed the portal, leaving Averiela, Dryden, and Lucia behind in the Fairy Forest.

GM note: A player called Edna “Etna” and I said that Etna would fit the naming scheme of Helen and Shasta (NPCs and acquiantances of Edna) The players laughed, then after a long pause asked “How?” I thought they were in on the joke, but apparently not. Helen and Shasta are named after volcanoes.

Dryden: Oh no, Edna’s gone! We just met her. Jardiner, do you know how to find her?

GM note: I get to play a character this session, just not my main character.

Ol’ Jardiner (Edna’s weird little Halfing servant) remained when his mistress was teleported away. He gets out a mirror, polishes it, and says magic words over it, casting Greater Scrying to see Edna where ever she might be.

Ol’ Jardiner damages Overwhelming Power

He sees Edna on the edge of the water with big ships going past.

Ol’ Jardiner: East. Far east. Different river.

Dryden takes a pepple from the unicorn’s cave, so he can return here later with Infinite Windows. He’s collecting items so he can return to anywhere he has been. Lucia surveys the scene. A stone ring on the back wall of the cave should contain a portal to the Wild Unicorns’ secret meadow.  The Wild Unicorns activate the portal by touching the stone ring with their horns.  White Sands is not a member of the Wild Unicorns’ herd, so she doesn’t know the secret to activate it.  The only entrance to the cave is covered by the waterfall, which is why faires can’t enter. Outside the cave, the Fairies could be anywhere in the dense forest. Averiela can conceal the Fellowship as they travel through woodlands, so neither group will detect the other.

Lucia retrieved a book from a burning cave shortly before the business with the Fairies and the Wild Unicorns. She examines it in the safety of the cave. It’s a large book bound in white scaly leather, called “Operations Manual, Volume 4”. The edges of the pages are singed, but the cover is undamaged. A few pages are torn out. It is a dry technical manual with procedures of maintaining and operating a complicated machine. The Fellowship tries to remember what this machine might be. It teleported Seeker somewhere. They should stop it to save the Dragons from the Vampires. They recall that Buckle posted on the message board that he blew up a teleporter to the Moon. That’s probably what happened in that cave, so the manual probably goes to the teleporter.

Lucia Look Closely 10+

  • How could the book hurt me or help me?
    • The book explains how to operate a teleporter. A pile of red stone inside the burning cave matches a diagram in the book. This teleporter can’t teleport to arbitrary locations, only to specially built terminals: pyramids of red stone.  It requires a huge amount of energy to run, probably an Artifact of Power. The Fellowship has already had bad experiences with teleporter mishaps.
  • What does the book tell me about the Kobolds? What are they doing?
    • The book was written for Kobolds, who are the proper operators of the teleporter. This book is not the original. It’s a very careful copy. The operation of these machines is something that Kobolds have been doing for a while and they want to keep doing it exactly.
  • What is hidden or out of place?
    • Context indicates that the missing pages revealed the locations of the terminals. The location of the near terminal is “immediately south of the Command Center” and the remote terminal is “below”

The Fellowship is pretty sure the other terminal is on the Moon.

Drdyen: Some thoughts. One, we know the Fairies are evil, so we could see what other mischief we could cause them. Two, we know the Fairies are evil, so we should wholeheartedly avoid them.

The Fellowship rests for the night in the the cave. Averiela collects berries and mushrooms and Lucia adds them to the rations they brought with them.

Fill your Belly spend Food to heal 1 Stat. When friends share a meal, one person heals an extra Stat.

Lucia Wonder Chef: Lucia does not spend Food to heal. Everyone who eats with her heals 1 extra Stat

Dryden Workaholic: Spend Food to heal a Stat belonging to Dryden or an ally

GM note: As a player said “We should have more feasts!”  Now for the hardest math in the game: figuring out how all these food-related abilities interact. We ruled that Dryden can allocate the 2 Healing he gets from Lucia’s power to 2 different characters.

Lucia spends 1 Food to heals Roddy’s 2 damaged stats

Dryden spends 1 Food to heal Will and heal Mara

Averiela spends 1 Food to heal Ol’ Jardiner

Ol’ Jardiner wonders what to do about Edna.

Dryden: We head east at the break of dawn!

Averiela: She’s on a different river, but all rivers have to go somewhere, so we could follow the river.

Dryden: We could build a boat! I’ve always wanted a boat. We’ll have to commandeer one.

Building a boat is a laborious process, so they walk along the river hoping to find one or find a village where they can buy or hire one. Stealing a boat from the Fairies would be fun, but Fairy boats are probably too small, and using Fairy equipment might negate Averiela’s concealment. Walking east along the river bank brings them to the Dragon skull suspended over the river. The skull is missing its lower jaw. The upper jaw is lined with flat triangular teeth, like shark teeth. Fake needle-like fangs have been attached to the skull, and an old sign above the skull reads “SO MUCH FOR THE POWER OF DRAGONS”

Dryden wants to cut it down, but Averiela thinks it should be left alone.  Ol’ Jardiner is already climbing the poles to cut the ropes. He opens his waistcoat, revealing an array of strange tools, and ponders which one to use.

Ol’ Jardiner: Flip it over. Fill the eye sockets with mud. It could float.

Dryden and Lucia think this is a great way to deny the Fairies an ominous threat and gain a boat.

Averiela: I will not ride in a desecrated skull! I will run along the river and because I’m fast enough, strong enough, resilient enough, I will keep up with you.

Dryden: We’ll give it a proper burial!

Averiela: After you ride in its head. Where the brains were, and the eyes saw, and the nose breathed. There you would sit.

Lucia: We are letting it free, instead of being a warning.

Ol’ Jardiner cuts through the ropes on one side and swings down with the skull to splash in the river. Converting this skull to a boat requires the Fellowship to stay in one place and make noise for a while. Averiela can conceal them while they travel, but not while they build a boat. Someone in the forest could find them. Maybe not the Group of Fairies they sent running at the cave. Maybe the reinforcements those Fairies were going to find.

Dryden has experience plastering artifacts that he found in his youth.  He did all sorts of exploring in all sorts of areas in the Forgotten Lands. He finds clay on the riverbank that can be mixed with leaves with create a strong plaster.  Ol’ Jardiner points Dryden to a slightly different patch of clay.

Ol’ Jardiner: Might as well use the stuff that doesn’t taste good. No sense wasting food.

Defacing a place of power increases Response Level to 4.

Fairy Forest gains Separation.

Averiela is annoyed by the others and decides to go scout around. She feels it is a great desecration of nature, and biology, and life to use something so precious as someone’s head to raft down the river.  She does not understand whatever morals these people seem to have.

GM note: I love how Averiela refuses to be friends with the rest of the Fellowship!

Dryden makes sure to plaster over the dragon’s teeth, so boat’s gunwale will be safe to touch. Lucia says converting the skull into a boat lets the Dragon continue to be valiant and resist the Fairies even in death! Sure enough, the Fellowship’s activity is noticed. A Fairy with pale blue skin pops out of the foilage and sounds an alarm. A group of Fairies fly in and transform into hideous Vampire Bats!

  • Fairy
    • Arboreal: Lemurs can climb faster than most can run. Anyone trying to
      catch or harm a lemur in the trees is in Despair.
    • Tricksters: Lemurs like to play tricks, and will taunt and prank anyone
      who spends time in their territory.
  • Group of Vampiric Fairies. Vampires are Melee, Piercing, and they heal when damaging a Blood stat. Sunlight and holy symbols deal damage to them.
    • Blood Frenzy: Vampires use your weakness to their advantage. If your Blood is damaged, you are in Despair when dealing with a vampire.
    • Dangerously Sexy: A Vampire’s beauty is beyond compare. If your Sense is damaged, you can not willingly cause harm to a Vampire, no matter what they try to do to you. You can still do as you like, as long as your actions do not cause harm to the Vampire.
    • Group: Can affect two characters at once. When this stat is damaged, all other stats are damaged, or this threat is destroyed, replace this threat with two Vampiric Fairies

The dense canopy of the forest blocks the sunlight and protects the Vampiric Fairies, but a sunbeam does shine down the center of the river, where no trees can grow. The Skull-boat is ready to go, so Dryden and Lucia pile everyone in and shove off, aiming for the sunlit center of the river.

Lucia Get Away (+hope, Dryden’s aid) 10+ avoid harm, bring someone along

The Vampiric Fairies fly after the boat, but can’t approach because of the sunlight. The little blue Fairy grabs a branch from a tree and flies above the boat to cast a shadow and allow the Vampiric Fairies to attack. Lucia wonders if she can hide the party with “Quiet! Don’t Move” but there’s really nowhere to hide in a small boat in the middle of a river.  Instead, she flips the boat, so everyone hides under the boat with their heads in the air pocket formed by the hull. The Vampiric Fairies can’t attack through the thick skull, but that protective hull is also casting a shadow under the water. The Vampiric Fairies dive into the water to swim after their foes, but their big wings make them slow.  Dryden notices that Averiela isn’t with them, but he can’t deal with that now. He needs a plan to deal with the Vampiric Fairies. The Fellowship will have an Advantage in melee combat underwater

Ol Jardiner: Hmm, if we let them eat one of us, the others could probably get away. It’ll take ’em some time.

Lucia: Thank you for that suggestion. If we get real, real desparate, we can try that.

Dryden sets a Dart Trap on the bow of the boat.

The Fellowship flips the boat right-side up again.

Dryden Overcome (+hope, Lucia’s aid) 7-9 pay a price for permanent solution

Pay a Price: not everyone gets into the boat.

Roddy didn’t make it into the boat with the rest of the Fellowship. Poor guy.  Being crammed under the boat already triggered his social anxiety something fierce! He’s menaced by the Vampiric Fairies.

Dryden Dart Trap: venom makes target sluggish, giving opponents Hope

As the boat is righted, the Dart Trap on the bow goes off, striking the blue Fairy, who had descended to mess with the hull. The Fairy struggles to stay aloft. Lucia strikes it with the pommel of her sword.

Lucia Finish Them (+Sense, knock out) Advantage: slow, just a little guy 10+ TAKEN OUT

The Fairy falls unconscious into the water. The Vampiric Fairies are chewing on Roddy, but one floats up to save their stricken comrade. They’re not monsters! OK, technically they are Monsters, but they have empathy for each other.

Vampiric Fairies damage Roddy’s Trick Shot

Dryden sends his Ranged Rope to pull Roddy into the boat.

Dryden spends one Ammo from Ranged Rope

Dryden Get Away 7-9 avoid harm

The whole Fellowship (minus Averiela and her Companions) is in the boat, which is in the sunlight, so the Vampiric Fairies can’t attack them directly. They dive to attack the boat itself. The Dragon’s armored skull is impervious to their fangs, but they can find and tear through the plaster sections. Dryden uses his two-handed Dwarven hammer to play wack-a-mole with the Vampiric Fairies when they surface to take a breath. Since they assist stricken comrades, each hit will remove two Vampiric Fairies from the attack. Dryden strikes with the broad side of the hammer to send waves through the water and further disrupt the Vampiric Fairies.

Dryden Finish Them (+sense, knock out) Advantage: clumsy underwater, coming up for air. 10+ TAKEN OUT

Dryden knocks out enough Vampiric Fairies to force the group to retreat. They pull unconscious Vampiric Fairies to the shore and do bat-CPR with their little wings. Two Vampiric Fairies are still able to fight, but after multiple failed attacks and with most of their comrades disabled, they retreat. The Dragon-skull boat floats downriver unimpeded, and the Vampiric Fairies fly upriver…

Far upriver, Averiela hasn’t noticed that the others have left. She was looking for her favorite berries but found an ancient nesting ground for Dragons. She hasn’t seen one for hundreds of years!

Averiela Look Closely 7-9 three questions, one answer the hard way

  • Tell me about the Dragon nesting grounds.
    • Dragons lay their eggs, then cover them in clay and bake it with Dragonfire, creating a tough shell that protects the eggs, but over the centuries that ceramic dome has collapsed, allowing access to the chamber inside. A certain type of glow-in-the-dark mushroom has been placed around the egg chamber. They were placed intentionally. They didn’t grow there.
  • Is something hidden or out-of-place?
    • Under the ceramic shell is a hidden chamber. Pieces of dragon eggshells litter the ground.
  • What will happen if I dig into this rock formation?
    • Averiela enters the chamber and digs into a formation. She finds smaller eggs that are different from the dragon eggshells elsewhere in the chamber. These are Mega Mantis eggs! A few have already hatched. They are relatively small, but still dog-sized!
  • Baby Mega Mantis: A giant insectoid predator that is always on the hunt for
    new prey.

    • Hopper: The Mega Mantis can jump to any surface it can see. When it jumps on top of someone smaller than the Mantis, they are pinned.
    • Scythes: The Mega Mantis has the tags Melee, and Piercing. When the Mantis pins someone, they take damage.

Averiela is disappointed. She was looking forward to an afternoon of exploring, not fighting bugs. One Mantis is right in her face, and another one is on the other end of the chamber.

Averiela Elder Arts: Sense Magic there is a Dragon Egg under the pile of Mega Mantis eggs.

GM note: Should Averiela be able to find an intact Dragon Egg after all this time? Buckle found one, so it’s not unprecedented. Plus I’m nice.

Averiela sends White Sands to dig out the Dragon egg. Knows-Too-Much distracts one Mantis and Averiela distracts the other.

Knows-Too-Much damages Loyal

Averiela Keep Them Busy 10+

White Sands is able to dig out the Dragon egg, but can’t pick it up with her hooves. Averiela draws her sword to force the Mantis back so she can run in and scoop up the Dragon Egg.

Averiela Overcome 7-9 pay a price for a permanent solution

Averiela damages a stat

Averiela pushes the Mantis back with elegant maneuvers (with the titanium sword from Thaumatown’s Robotics Facility) and gets over-confident because it’s just a bug. She goes to slide under the Mantis to reach the egg, but the Mantis slices her arm, leaving an unpleasant cut. She picks up the egg, but not as elegantly as she hoped.

Averiela acquires a Dragon egg

Averiela Get Away 7-9 avoid harm

Averiela Poetry in Motion: pick another option from the Get Away list. Bring someone along

Averiela and her companions leave the egg chamber and plunge into the underbrush.

Averiela Wood Elf: Cannot be followed by enemies when travelling through woodlands

Averiela can see the Mantises leaping out of the chamber and to different vantage points, but they don’t see her. She’s worried that one got a taste of her blood and might use that to follow her.  She returns to the river but her friends and the Dragon skull are gone. Two Vampiric Faries are flying up the river towards her. Will the Vampiric Fairies sense her blood? No! Averiela moves downriver, since that’s the direction Ol’ Jardiner said to go. She stays in the underbrush beside the river and the Vampiric Fairies pass by without noticing her. She washes her wound in the river and wraps it with a spare shirt from her pack. At least it’s not dripping.

GM note: The Fairy Forest’s Maze stat means that Averiela should have gotten lost in the forest and had trouble returning to the riverbank, but I forgot.

Averiela’s group meets up with the group in the Dragon-skull boat. Averiela recounts her adventure. She’s exasperated with Dryden and Lucia for leaving on their ill-founded vehicle.  Dryden noticed a rippling in the waters. It’s a Flying River Ray! Flying River Rays are nearly mythical. At night they live in water, but in the day they rise up into the air. They can be kind to travelers, because they themselves are travelers from water to air.  Dryden explains this to the Felllowship, but Ol’Jardiner just wants to know if they are good to eat.  Dryden asks Averiela if she has ever met a Flying River Ray in her long experience. Averiela avoided this forest because the Elves knew it was dangerous, so she never met a Flying River Ray, and she never found the Dragon egg, even though she spent a hundred years searching most of the world for a Dragon egg.

Averiela does know the River Dance. It’s well-known among those who deal with the people of the water. The River Dance must be performed on the water, which Averiela can do because she Touches The World Lightly. She can show Dryden and Lucia the steps, but they will have to stand on the shore. This way they can show respect to the Flying River Ray.  The dance alternates between earth and water the way the Rays alternate between water and sky. Since Dryden is so impressed by the Ray, Averiela will to the full 12-step dance, not the shorter 7-step version. She collects 12 rounded stones, dips her toe in the water, bows a courtly bow, throws a stone ahead of her, and alternates between the water and the stones, triwling and leaping and ending with one foot in the water and one foot on the shore.

Lucia: I know this dance! I learned it in the Forgotten Lands as a child! At the Festival of Brooks. As the snow melts in the spring and the brooks rise, they did that dance. I didn’t realize, because we have a different name for it.

Lucia does the dance as well as she can in the boat. Dryden holds her hand so she can dip one foot in the water without falling in. The Flying River Rays are impressed by the Fellowship’s perfromance. They show their pleasure by waving their tails between the water and the air. The Rays circle the boat to indicate that they’ll guide the Fellowship on their journey for a time.

Dryden: Jar-din-ay? Is this the right river?

Ol’ Jardiner: Mmm, no. It’s a different one.

Dryden wishes he could have captured a Fairy to ask about the Dragon, but during the fight there was so much going on he didn’t have a chance.

Averiela: Do you want to lay a trap for one?

Dryden: Oh, I can do that! This is why Averiela and I venture together.

It’s night-time, so the Fellowship goes ashore to rest for the night. The Vampires have the advantage at night, but Averiela and Lucia can keep the Fellowship hidden.

Dryden uses Immobilization Trap

Dryden lays a Bear Trap some distance from the camp. He reaches into his cloak and pulls out one of Roddy’s supersonic knitting needles (the projectiles from his pneumatic gun). Dryden figures something shiny and unfamiliar will lure a Fairy.  He considers putting it where the Moon will shine on it, but Lucia reminds him that Vampires hate the Moon, so he puts the trap in a deep shadow instead. Why do Vampires hate the Moon? Doctor MacLeod said something about destroyign the Werewolves. So why did the Dragons build the Moon? Maybe they wanted a mirror to shine sunlight on the Vampires at night, but it didn’t work. But Doctor MacLeod was damaged by sunlight from a mirror from the Moon. Lucia realizes she’s gotten wrapped around the axle and they don’t need to solve the mysteries of the world to set the trap.

In the middle of the night, the Fellowship hears a loud crash from the directio nof Dryden’s trap. Averiela wakes up Dryden, who slept through the noise.

Dryden: Averiela, how kind of you. Could you escort me covertly to my trap?

Averiela and Dryden run quckly through the forest. Averiela has to hold back when she realizes Dryden can’t keep up. The Trap has been crushed by a big log!

Averiela Look Closely 7-9 three questions, one answer the hard way

  • What do my senses tell me?
    • It’s dark. It got quiet after the crash.  Leaves shift in the breeze, so it’s easy to imagine shapes and figures. Some of the shapes are real. A Group of Fairies sits in some high branches.
  • Who dropped the log? How could the hurt or help me?
    • They Fairies complain about the wicked refined metal left out where it could injure someone. Refined metal represents industry, the opposite of Faries and their natural magic, so they hate it. They got together and dropped a log on it. They spot Dryden!
  • Is something hidden or out of place?
    • A panther was bothered by the noise and came to investigate. She’s annoyed by Fairies, and now there’s something moving through her territory that she can’t see, and a log is blocking her favorite walking path.

Dryden Queen of the Wild: Dryden’s player can Command Lore about the beasts in the area. Every Beast Dryden meets is a Companion

GM note: That move is so powerful!

  • Panther
    • Pounce
    • Stalk from the Shadows

Dryden reached behind me and grabs his Prank Weapon, a mirage with substance. Now it looks like a metal sun, the things that Vampiric Fairies hate the most! Averiela emerges from camouflage and darts across the clearing to gather whatever pieces of Dryden’s trap aren’t buried under the log. The Fairies now have several things to pay attention to that aren’t a silent Panther creeping up the branch behind them!

Dryden Prank Weapon: automatic 10+ result on Keep Them Busy

Panther damages Pounce to capture a Fairy

The Panther swats a Fairy and catches it in her mouth. She knows it doesn’t taste good and that Dryden wants it alive. She’s happy to mess with Fairies and teach them a lesson. She leaps down, flicking other Fairies with her tail as she leaves, and runs over to Dryden.

Dryden Get Away 10+ avoid harm, bring Averiela along

Averiela Wood Elf: Cannot be followed by enemies when travelling through woodlands

Once they dart into the underbrush, the other Fairies can’t follow them, and they return to camp safely. The Panther spits the Fairy out and pins it under its big paws.

Dryden Speak Softly 6- three questions, one false answer, one unhelpful answer

  • What can you tell us about the Dragon Skull?
    • One of the last great battles before our ultimate victory. That Dragon strayed into our territory and our brave leader Marigold fought him, and the other weiroes he brought: a guy on a motorcycle and a Spider. Marigold, with the help of a passign Mermaid, managed to kill this intruder and we put up the skull as a warning to other Dragons.
  • What can you tell us about the war with the Dragons?
    • But that warning wasn’t necessary. The Dragons are fearsome but stupid, so they didn’t see our allies infiltrating everywhere. When we struck, they were destroyed immediately. Vampires are totally the best!
  • What can you tell us about the Moon?
    • The Dragon’s last desparate super-weapon. It’s a giant rock that they planned to crash into Von Till’s castle.

Dryden: Well, small creature, we’ll leave you with your life. Many that die… What is it?

Lucia: Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them?

The Fairy doesn’t realize it’s a rhetorical question and doesn’t read Tolkein.

Fairy: Well, we kinda give people life when we kill them. It’s undeath.

The Panther swats the Fairy out of the scene. The Panther also leaves, with a knowing nod to the Elf, who taught the big cats many things long ago. Some say that cats learned their grooming habits from the Elves, who always look pristine.

In the morning, the Fellowship continues down river. Averiela runs alongside the Dragon-skull boat. When the river emerges from the Fairy Forest, another river joins it. This river is sluggish and covered with moss and goop. This river flows from an icky marsh full of drowned trees overed in black moss. Averiela hates this unhealthy forest.  Dryden rode the Flying River Rays, but they stopped at the border of the Fairy Forest and put him back down on the boat. To the east, they see Doctor MacLeod’s Anti-Moon Weapon: the mountain with a slit cut in it. To the north, big snowy mountains: The Treacherous Mountains that Lucia and Dryden have crossed once before.


  • Did we thoroughly explore a new location?
    • Yes! The Fairy Forest.
  • Did anyone find what they were searching for?
    • Yes! Averiela got a Dragon Egg and learned truth about the Moon and the Dragon War.
  • Did we learn something new about the world and its people?
    • Yes! Ogres joined the world.

Three boons:

  1. Edna and Averiela level up
  2. Restore gear
  3. Restore gear