Chasing the Sunset & blockade running

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 entered Vieport without detection by disguising their dinosaur companion as a giant confection. Their catamaran was recognized by its previous owner, millionaire thrill-seeker de Rolo, who was unhappy with the bargain and demanded his vehicle returned.

The Miranda is towing the Hibernia, a cargo ship that can’t use its main drive (a steam jet) in town. Aboard the Hibernia are Kitty (disguised as a giant confection) and Buckle (hiding under a metal bucket to hide his glow.) Stella and Hamfast are hiding in the Miranda’s cabin because they are wanted. Gus, Ugg, and Rose are on the Miranda’s deck, as is de Rolo, his car, and his hired mercenaries (a group of killer clowns)  de Rolo orders the clowns to throw everyone overboard, and Gus and Rose are first to be threatened.

GM note: how do NPCs do things when player characters aren’t around? Not clear, because player characters are supposed to lead the way. But the players characters are trying to stay out of sight.

Rose: Hey, we need something shiny up here!

Stella throws her purse of coins through the hatch from the cabin up to Rose on the deck. Rose flaunts the purse to the clowns. The clowns don’t speak, but make big eyes and grabby hands at the purse. Rose wants them to throw de Rolo’s car overboard. The clowns clap and make muscle poses before turning towards the car.

de Rolo: Wait, wait, you idiots! I’ll pay you more to not do that! Stick to the plan.

The clowns hold out their hands for payment.

de Rolo: I don’t have it on me. I’ll pay you upon completion. You know I’m good for it.

The clowns have been promised future money both for throwing the car overboard and not throwing the car overboard. How can they decide? Rose breaks the deadlock with cash up front. She tosses the coin purse to the nearest clown. He catches it and dances around, holding it aloft. The rest of the clowns quickly surround de Rolo’s car. One clown swings him arms to mark a rhythm, and the rest heave the car and toss it off the side of the Miranda! The car is water-logged, but gets caught on the Miranda’s outrigger.  Ugg has trouble keeping the Miranda steady with the sudden drag.

Rose (using Stella’s stats) Overcome 10+

Rose manages to avoid running into any other ships in the crowded channel. Captain Frost of the Hibernia feels his ship stagger as the Hibernia maneuvers.

Frost: Hold her steady!

Now de Rolo’s car and his yacht are in danger of being wrecked. He is an expert pilot and rushes to the helm to push Rose away and take over. He’s sure he can do a better job than she can. Ugg grabs de Rolo with his robotic arms and puts him in a full nelson. Rose calls down into the cabin for Stella’s second bag of coins. Rose threatens de Rolo with the coin purse.

Rose: Come near me and any of my crew, and I’ll have the clowns throw you off next!

Rose Finish Them (+Courage, force retreat) 7-9 damage one stat

de Rolo’s Sea Patrol is damaged. TAKEN OUT!

de Rolo admits defeat. Ugg releases de Rolo and he leaps overboard. He’s wearing an air tank with a propellor on the bottom, so he zooms away through the water and leaves the scene. The Group of Killer Clowns are now leaderless. They look back and forth and shrug at each other.

Suddenly a mighty Tyrannosaur, ridden by a flaming Platyperson, soars from the deck of the Hibernia into the Miranda!

Buckle Get Away 6- failure

Kitty trips on the railing and falls face-first into the water.

Kitty’s Gigantic is damaged.

Buckle causes a steam explosion as his superheated body touches the water! The whole area smells of caramel.

Vieport’s Public Enemy 1, 2, And 3 summons guards when Buckle is noticed.

Guards will soon arrive! Stella looks out a porthole to see how far they are from escaping the city. The only thing between the Miranda and freedom is the palace. It’s covered in scaffolding, repairs from Stella & Buckle’s previous visit.  There’s a giant hexagonal mirror mounted on a yoke on top of the palace. Buckle holds on to Kitty (which singes her feathers) as Kitty swims towards the Miranda. The Killer Clowns thought this was hilarious! They point and roll on the floor, pounding their fists and kicking their feet. It was funny when de Rolo jumped in the water. It was funny when the dinosaur fell in in the water. It will be funny if other people go in the water too! The Killer Clowns approach Gus and Rose to throw them overboard. Rose gives them the second coin purse for protection from the approaching guards. The clowns salute and turn outward to form a defensive wall, brandishing their knives. Stella comes on deck since secrecy is no longer an option.

Buckle and Kitty swim around the Miranda and try to dislodge the car from its pontoon.

Buckle Overcome 7-9 pay a price

Buckle damages Tail Slam

Kitty grabs the car with her giant jaws and yanks, rocking the Miranda. The car is teetering on the edge and Buckle lines up and unleashes a mighty tail slam to knock it over, clear of the Miranda. The car sinks into the river and the Miranda can sail free.

Buckle Overcome 10+

Kitty and Buckle heave themselves up onto the Miranda’s pontoon. A squad of Naga Eel guards swim upstream from the palace towards the Miranda. Buckle prepares with a Platyperson ritual.

Buckle War Paint: gain 2 Power to spend on abilities later

  • Group of Naga Eels
    • Needlepoint Teeth: An eel’s bite leaves multiple wounds that bleed
      profusely, making healing difficult. Their bite is Necrotic.
    • Slippery: Eel merfolk aren’t shaped like anybody else in the world. They
      may damage this stat to escape, at any time and from any situation.
    • Group: can threaten two characters at once
  • Brutal Commander: This tenacious old battleaxe never surrenders, and
    will sacrifice every last one of their minions to make sure they don’t either.

    • Defiant Command: All nearby Horde threats, including this one, deal
      damage back to anyone who deals damage to them. This counter-attack
      damage happens simultaneously to the damage it is responding to.

The Naga Eels surround the boat to board from all direction simultaneously, but the Killer Clowns jump on the Naga Eels while they are still in the water!

Killer Clowns damage Naga Eels’ Slippery

Defiant Command: Naga Eels damage Killer Clowns I Bet I Can

Naga Eels Needlepoint Teeth: damge to Killer Clowns is Necrotic

Killer Clowns are in Despair from Necrotic damage and cannot help

The Killer Clowns freak out when the Eels bite them and swim away, using their oversized shoes as flippers. The Eels now board the Miranda, where the whole Fellowship is on deck.

Rose damages Get Right In There to help keep a Group busy

Stella Keep Them Busy 7-9 face retaliation

Buckle Rampage: spend 1 Power to toss aside every enemy you can reach

Buckle rides Kitty into the mass of Eels and throws them all overboard! Buckle leaps off Kitty’s back to engage the Brutal Commander. (His rank is obvious from the large fin on his helmet)

Buckle Keep Them Busy 6-

The Brutal Commander has seen many battles and sees through Buckle offense. He dodges Buckle’s venomous spurs and headbutts Buckle with his spiked helmet!

Brutal Commander damages Buckle

Buckle Unflinching: spend 1 Power to damage an enemy that damages you

Buckle damages Brutal Commander’s Defiant Command TAKEN OUT

Brutal Commander Defiant Command: simultaneously damage anyone who damages you

Brutal Commander damages Buckle

The Brutal Commander’s headbutt slams Buckle into the deck, but Buckle’s super-heated body burned the Brutal Commander through his helmet. The Brutal Commander stands for a moment, then collapses.

The Naga Eels disappear beneath the waves and attack the Miranda from underneath, trying to sink it! The Fellowship hears scratching and banging on the hull, then the sound of a big underwater explosion. The Naga have stumbled into the defensive mines that Buckle placed around the Miranda.

Buckle Anarchy Reigns: place explosive devices anywhere.

Buckle Finish Them (+Blood, lethal mines) 10+ TAKEN OUT

The explosions kill most of the Naga Eels. Only two survive, and they’re unwilling to continue the assault.

Sea Viper Big Fish: when the Boss is angered, increase the Location’s Response Level.

Vieport gains Guardian: activate the Archimedes Mirror: Ranged, Area, Burning, Reload.

Agate the Spider has shown the Sea Viper how to turn the huge mirror into a beam weapon that focuses the rays of the sun. The Archimedes Mirror pivots to aim at the Miranda! If the Fellowship doesn’t do anything, the Miranda wil lbe cut in half and everyone on board will take damage! Stella sees that they are so close to the ocean. If they get past this, they will reach open waters. She calls back to Captain Frost, telling him to fire up the Hibernia’s engine and push the Miranda to safety. Captain Frost is is a very  precarious situation. He signed up for a smuggling job, no trouble, and while there have been two big battles on the boat towing his ship through the city, technically his ship and crew have done nothing hostile to Vieport yet.  Will that satisfy the Sea Viper?

Stella Talk Sense (+Wisdom, appeal to desire to avoid beam weapon) 10+

Hibernia’s assistance gives Hope to a Get Away attempt

Stella Get Away 6- failure

Tinker turns on the Hibernia’s steam jet. The big ship surges ahead and hits the Miranda, but they don’t move fast enough. The beam of focused sunlight sweeps across the Miranda. Buckle heroically dives in front of . . . the boat’s hull!

Buckle Heart of Earth: Immune to heat and fire

Archimedes Mirror damages Stella, Ugg, Hamfast, Gus, Rose, Kitty, Miranda

Buckle blocked enough of the beam that the Miranda can still float, but it’s in bad shape. The Hibernia and the Miranda clear the palace and are out in open water.

Captain Frost: Your reward for this is your life! be grateful you survived.

Tinker: We’re still going to integrate Buckle into the steam engine, right?

Captain Frost: No! Back below deck!

Captain Frost Leadership: crew members obey without question

Buckle Anarchy Reigns: place explosive devices anywhere.

Tinker goes below deck and finds a vial of Stabilized Dragonfire with a little note attached “From Buckle, with love!” The Hibernia sails away.

Stella spends Halfling Packed Lunch to heal Ugg, Kitty, and Rose

Now the Fellowship wants to sail around the coast to the east and north to find Kitty’s homeland, but the Miranda is in no shape for such a long journey. The Fellowship limps along looking for a settlement where they could get the Miranda repaired.

GM note: Now I make up a location using my Fellowship Horizon Location Generator, because most of the coast along the route is undefined.

The Fellowship finds a partially sunken island. A small mountain peak rises above the water, and the island is surrounded by trees that grew on land when the island was higher. A signal fire on top of the bare peak. Two people are visible near the water’s edge. There’s no beach. The grassy slope just plunges into the water. The ecosystem has not had time to adjust to the new water level. Stella directs the Miranda to pull in near the people.

One person is a translucent humanoid whose gelatinous body is stuffed full of metal bits and strange devices. Baess is a Mad Scientist and her species is Rain.  The other person is completely covered in armor and gear. The long beaked helmet indicates that this Careful Hunter is a platyperson. He introduces himself as Perry Ogre-Bane.

Baess: Wow, your ship is pretty messed up. Kind of an unfortunate place to pull in for repairs. You see…

A loud voice booms from the peak of the island.

Voice: Who dares enter my territory? None are worthy to stand before me!

Perry: This guy is king of the hill and this is his hill. He’s not going to be happy about you being here. I think I can take him. I just need a little time to prepare.

The Boss of the island, standing at the peak by the signal fire, answers only to King.

  • King, he/him, Ogre/human.
    • Agenda; Champion: prove your might. Isolationist: Keep outsiders away.
    • Ambitions Unbidden: The crown taker is never satisfied. They always
      want more success, better victories, and the total defeat of all in their path.
      Anything less than perfect results only enrages them further. While the crown
      taker is in a rage, they do not have Hope, and cannot surrender or retreat.
    • Ruthless: The crown taker is Dangerous and Piercing.
    • Terrifying Competence: The crown taker never falters. They have Hope,
      and everyone acting against them has Despair.

Perry Ogre-Bane seems to have a tool for every occasion, and Baess loves fixing things, so if the Fellowship can avoid getting thrashed by King, there’s a good chance they can get their ship fixed.

Stella hates people who think they are more important than they are. She wants to take such people done a peg. She invites Buckle, Kitty, and Silk to take a hike with her. gus and Hamfast stay back to take care of Buckle’s Phoenix Egg. Going up the mountain is seen as a challenge!

Baess: You’re welcome to take a crack at him. We’re down here taking a break. Good luck. he’s pretty tough!

Stella: Wait, you’re here to fight him?

Perry believes that training and preparation can overcome anything, and this fight is the latest trophy that he’s seeking. Perry nods to Buckle. Seeking trophies is an important part of Platyperson culture.

Baess: This is a great place to try out new inventions. I have the deconfabulator over here. It didn’t work. Quite.  It will get through any armor. I just need the guy to stand still for 44 seconds!

Stella wants to make a deal with Baess to fix the Miranda, but repairs require time and safety, which they don’t have while the King is around.

Stella Talk Sense (+Wisdom, appeal to desire) 10+

Baess: Ah, look at these mundane materials. Even a droplet could do it. I’ll have it fixed up easily.

Baess pulls some tools from inside her arm and chest and starts disassembling nearby trees.

King Big Fish: when the Boss is angered, raise the Response Level.

King Of The Hill Island Response Level increases to 1

King gains Show of Force: one free Hard Cut

The King approaches. He’s eight feet tall, shaped like a lanky Human, and carrying two nasty-looking blades. The ground is sloped, and the only cover is the trunks of the pine trees. Their branches are too high to conceal any of the combatants. Stella prepares to ride Silk into battle.

Stella Pack Hunter: become Threat to the World when working with allies

Buckle Pays a Price to act against a Threat To The World: Dragonfire

Buckle Anarchy Reigns: place explosives anywhere

Buckle Keep Them Busy 6-

As the King approaches Stella and Silk, the forest around him explodes into flame! The trees burn hotter than should be possible, empowered by Buckle’s concoctions. King dashes to Buckle and attacks. He’s fast!

King damages Buckle’s Blood

Stella The Courage of Halflings: never in Despair when rolling Courage

Stella Keep Them Busy 10+

Stella and Silk are much smaller than King, so they dash around between his legs, keeping him off balance.

King Show of Force

King connects with a kick and knocks Silk out from under Stella!

King damages Silk’s Creepy

Stella is no longer a Threat To The World

Buckle doesn’t like this guy. He just hurt Stella. Buckle’s eyes glow bright white. Dragonfire bursts from his hands and shoots towards King.

Buckle Pays a Price to act against a Threat To The World: Dragonfire

Buckle Pyromania: when everything around you is fire, you have Hope

Pyromania’s Hope cancels the Despair from King’s Terrifying Competence and from Buckle’s damaged Blood.

Buckle Finish Them (+Blood, kill!) 10+ TAKEN OUT

There’s a blinding light, and all that’s left of King are his twin blades! Stella collects the blades. Perry is impressed. Baess is scrambling to deactivate her Deconfabulator.

Baess: Rats! Twenty more seconds! I would have been able to use it.

Buckle: What does your machine do, Baess?

Baess: It scans from multiple locations and gets a 3D image of the terrain and picks out things that are moving, then fires at everything that moves. You pick nd area and scan for a while, so you get an idea of what is supposed to be there and what is moving, and then you shoot all the moving things. Also. that forest fire is getting close to one of the trees I’d like to use to fix your boat. Can we do something about that? This isn’t something that I can shoot with spikes.

Buckle: I can start it, but I can’t stop it.

Kitty spends Gigantic to make a firebreak

The rest of the island will have to deal with the fire, but the area near the Miranda will be safe.  Perry had already pulled a thin silvery cloak from his pack, but puts it away when he realizes how the firebreak works. Buckle offers Perry one of the King’s blades.

Buckle: I know it’s not really a trophy, but hey! It’s a cool blade!

Buckle Talk Sense (+Wisdom, appeal to emotions) 6-

Perry: Oh, I couldn’t. I gotta earn my own victories. This is yours.

Perry does share some information that he learned about King in his research for this fight.

Perry: So he’s a pretty tall dude. Turns out he’s one of those rare Humans who has Ogrism. When he was . . . whenever Humans transition to adulthood, he started growing, but he stopped. He stopped really early. I’d call him a half-Ogre. He felt he needed to prove that he was a good as any other Ogre. Look what it got him. Set on fire on a sinking island in the middle of nowhere.

Baess finishes the repairs on the Miranda, walks up to the peak just to say she’s been there, comes back to he shore, sticks the deconfabulator into her chest, says farewell, and walks into the ocean.  She sinks in and is absorbed by the water, disappearing completely. Perry bids farewell by showing Buckle the respect due a mighty hunter, then takes his own boat and sets off.

Buckle: Mighty hunter? That’s weird.