Chasing the Sunset & Clay

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

The fellowship: Edna Crusher-Harcourt the Ogre, Vestri the Dwarf, Yuri the Outlander

Last time, the Fellowship found the trail of Vestri’s missing dagger. Another Fellowship found an imitation of the dagger, and following their clues led to the ledger of Tomay and Soday, Dwarven scammers who stole and copied valuable items.

The ledger contains a list of customers. They have fake items, not the originals, but maybe they know how to get in touch with the forgers, or will want to find them when they learn they have been scammed.

Yuri tries to explain the concept of police, but gets caught trying to explain “red herrings.” Vestri and Edna can’t understand why a fish would appear, but not be important. Edna remembers that the boss in Swallet was police. She doesn’t like police.

Customers in the ledger:

  • Lady Evelynn from Lady Evelynn’s Manor. She’s a collector.
  • Beth from Templeton. An Orc living in a Dwarf town who wanted a weapon for everyday use.
  • O’Later from Port Fennrick. He has several weapons in his warehouse
  • Pepe from Fairmeadow. The Sheriff confiscated a weapon from the auction at Fairmeadow Fair.
  • Merfolk blacksmith in Finsea.

Edna remembers Lady Evelynn attended a gala at the Harcourt estate years ago. Edna remembers shaking her hand because of the amazing gold jewelry Lady Evelynn wore on her hands, but that was the extent of their interaction.  Yuri figures a wealthy person like Lady Evelynn would have the resources to go after the forgers. Edna points the way towards Lady Evelynn’s Manor, which involves crossing the rapids of the Mighty River. Vestri prefers an underground route.  The Fellowship walks along the river until they see the rapids and the mountains above.

Treacherous Mountain’s The Tunnels Below; The Dwarf can find the tunnel entrance for free

Vestri realizes that one of the tunnels in the Dwarven Waterways led under this mountain. Vestri says that going through the mountain is much better than going over the mountain. The Fellowship returns to the tunnels. Edna carries Gurtin so it doesn’t have to drive through several feet of water.

The raft encounters punji sticks pointing the other way.

The first challenge is getting past the metal spikes.

Yuri: Maybe they are for keeping giant monster out. Or in?

Edna: Given enough time, I can bend the spikes flat, but if they are important in Dwarf culture I don’t want to deface them.

Vestri: Obviously each house has its own rules, but nothing that I know of. Destroy them if you want to.

Edna Overcome 6-

Edna Uncontrollable Strength: incautious activity causes collateral damage

Edna grabs the spikes on the ceiling and yanks and twists. The spikes come free, along with most of the bricks forming the ceiling! A big pile of debris falls, partially blocking the tunnel. The water level starts rising, endangering the shorter members of the Fellowship!

Vestri Earth Friend: When you Speak Softly to the earth, you may ask it to move.

Vestri Speak Softly 7-9 ask 3 questions, 1 unhelpful answer

  • Can you make enough room so that the water can continue to flow?
    • Yes. The earth squishes itself to the sides of the tunnel, letting the water flow through the center
  • What footprints has it been feeling?
    • No footprints for a short time, but a moment ago, someone floated past.
  • Where is it going? Where does this path lead?
    • A place of new growth.

Vestri prefers old growth to new growth. Old growth is established, but new growth is unstable and full of competition. Vestri is sure that he is older growth than Yuri, because he’s 102 years old.  Yuri wonders about Dwarfen lifespan and lifecycle. Dwarves come from stone and return to stone. Yuri wonders if that stone can become a Dwarf again. like reincarnation, but stone forgets, so Vestri can’t confirm or deny that.

Yuri: Is all stone Dwarves? Are we standing on Dwarves?

Edna: No, these are bricks.

Vestri: There is more stone than there are Dwarves.

Yuri: This is like square and rectangle. All Dwarves have been stone, but not all stone has been Dwarves.

Edna: You told me about this before. It’s Moose and Square-l.

Yuri: That is from cartoon show. It is Rocky and . . . moose.

Edna: So the square is like the rock and the rectangle is like the Dwarf. It’s Square-l and Rocky. I’ve got this figured out!

Yuri: Do you eat? As a physician — how does the biological component… do you poop rocks?

Edna: I’m concerned that I may have eaten some Dwarves without knowing. Do they stay Dwarf-shaped?

Vestri: Once they return to stone they are no different than stone. We live in stone ourselves.

Yuri: Is that cannibalism? Houseism? I am confused about Dwarven culture.

Vestri: You are confused because you are seeing it through the lens of your strange man-shaped body. The only lens I can look through is the Dwarven one, so I think your way is very strange.

The collapsed dirt and rocks have moved aside, allowing the water to flow again, but the spikes still block the path.

Vestri: Let’s see if I can use my brute strength. I’m not quite your height, but I’m quite dense!

Vestri Clear The Path 7-9 leave a path for your allies, but damage something important

Vestri smashes the spikes aside and the tunnel starts collapsing! The Fellowship must move quickly to end up on the right side of the debris.

Yuri Mighty Leap jump to anywhere you can see

Yuri Get Away 7-9 avoid harm

Yuri leaps through the falling debris, over Vestri’s head, and lands safely.

Edna Get Away 10+ avoid harm

Edna charges through. The whole Fellowship is through, and there’s no going back. The water in the tunnel flows down into the mountain and the debris prevents new water from replacing it, so the water level slowly drops.

Two alcoves

Just past the punji sticks are two alcoves on the side of the tunnel. Their floors were just above the old water level, about half-way up the tunnel. Edna can look in, but Yuri can to walk up the curved side of the tunnel to peek over. Each alcove is about 3 meters on a side and has a dry floor.  Yuri enters the near alcove. There’s a door at the back fo the alcove that leads to a spiral staircase that goes up. The wall between the alcoves is in disrepair. The second alcove has some equipment on the back wall, and broken crystal pieces on the floor. Yuri thinks heath might know something about crystals and lets him out of his lightproof box.

Yuri Look Closely 10+

  • Is something hidden or out of place?
    • Vestri recognizes a rare moss: pale sage green with flecks of yellow pollen.
  • Tell me about the equipment. How could it hurt or help me?
    • It’s a machine with an empty receptable. The crystal probably went there, but it was removed and broken. The machine was another barrier to prevent people from getting through the tunnel.
  • What will happen if I ask Heath to inhabit the equipment?
    • Heath: Something closer to my old form is more comfortable for me to inhabit.
    • Yuri: That is fair. We will find something for you.

The Fellowship continues down the tunnel. This section is better preserved than the other tunnels they have explored. There are sections of conveyor belts powered by paddlewheels that can carry things against the current. Some platforms on the side of the tunnel look like bus stops, but seem long-abandoned. There are burned and melted trails across the platforms, probably caused by lava.

There’s a glow and hiss ahead.  The tunnel has been breached by a lava flow. The water is flowing into the lava and evaporating, causing the hissing sounds and a cloud of steam. Heath shrinks away because bright light will destroy him. Yuri recommends Heath returns to his box, and Heath agrees. Steven, the only housecat in the world, finds a spot on a tram station bench that is warmed by the lava and curls up for a nap.

Yuri: Can you ask the lava to stop? Lava is stone.

Vestri: I never tried speaking to melted stone before, but why not?

Vestri Speak Softly 10+

  • Could you harden and make a path for us to cross?
    • Yuri: Make sure it will support the weight of a Dwarf.
    • Vestri: The earth is my friend. Of course it will support the weight of a Dwarf
    • GM note: Vestri weighs about 300 pounds. Edna weighs about 8,000 pounds.
    • The surface of the lava hardens leading from the tunnel at the bottom left to the large room at upper right. (The other end of the tunnel is full of lava.)
  • What can it tell me about its course?
    • The chamber is tall and the lava only fills the bottom. So the flow of lava used to be much more and it’s slowly waning. The lava comes from the most energetic part of the earth where new things arise.
  • What should I be wary of when dealing with the lake of lava?
    • Some of the lava has youthful energy, and has a will of its own.

The Fellowship walks out on the path across the hardened lava. When they are all in the middle of the lake of lava, the surface rises and takes shape!

Treacherous Mountains – The Demons Below: A Titan appears to threaten the Fellowship!

  • Fire Elemental: A 10 foot tall being of molten rock, perpetually on fire.
    • Burning Aura: Anyone who is not immune to fire cannot get close without
      paying a price.
    • Wildfire: The Fire Elemental is Burning and Dangerous.
    • Tough As Nails: The first time a Fire Elemental would be damaged or
      destroyed, damage this stat instead.

Yuri wonders if they can sneak past this fearsome creature, or call in an ally to fight it. Edna does not pause to think and rushes to protect her puny friends.

Edna God Of War: you can try to keep them busy now matter who they are or how poor your position is.

Edna Keep Them Busy 10+

Edna stands at the edge of the hardened path over the lake of lava. She’s almost twice as tall as the Fire Elemental and spreads her arms wide to block its approach.

Vestri: What a dame!

Vestri forms a Bond: Edna’s extremely impressive and she makes me feel even braver.

The Fellowship hustles past her to enter the large room on the far side of the lake of lava. Yuri wastes no time and leaps to safety.

Yuri Mighty Leap: jump to anywhere you can see.

The whole side of the large room has been melted away by lava in the past, leaving it open to the chamber. Vestri looks around for some stones to throw, but this city was built by the Clay Dwarves, and they use bricks, not stone. He won’t be able to kill the Fire Elemental with bricks, but it may give Edna a chance to disengage.

Vestri Keep Them Busy 6-

The Fire Elemental turns toward Vestri and makes a throwing motion with one arm. Everything past its elbow disconnects and flies towards Vestri (and anyone standing nearby) in a splattery mess!

Vestri Get Away 10+ avoid harm, bring Yuri along

Vestri dives back into the room, tackling Yuri along the way. The lava hits and sizles on the floor where they were standing moments ago. The Lava Elemental lurches towards the room. Edna reaches out her arm from the edge of the hardened path to stop it.

Edna Overcome 6-

The Fire Elemental just keeps going. Its liquid body flows around Edna’s outstretched arm, burning it. Maybe that was not a smart move.

Edna damages Sense

The large room, site of the imminent battle, is where the Clay Dwarves fired their bricks long ago.  Two huge beehive-shaped kilns dominate the center of the room. Shelves along the side walls store bricks and clay, which dried out long ago. Shovels, carts, and pallets are trewn about.

Vestri: Can we trap it in one of the kilns?

Edna: I can’t fit in the kiln to bait it, and I can’t push on it to force it in.

Yuri: Steven’s small enough to fit and probably quick enough to escape, but I won’t risk him!

Yuri tries to discern the Fire Elemental’s motives. What does a rock want? It seems to be territorial. Yuri thinks of tempting it with something in the chamber, but it could have accessed that chamber at any time. Edna has no time to think of good ideas. She must remove threats to her friends!

Edna Toss Aside 7-9 it lands safely on the far side of the lava chamber

Yuri forms a Bond: Edna has the strength of a god!

Edna: I suggest we leave!

Lucky for Edna, the corridor leading out of this chamber is large to allow carts of raw materials to access the kilns. She has no chance of fitting through a Dwarf-sized hallway. Most of the Fellowship runs down the corridor and out of the kiln room. Edna crawls out, and Ol’ Jardiner crawls under her the other way

Ol’ Jardiner spends Overwhelming Power

He tele-kinetically lifts all the bricks from the shelves and lays them over the doorway, several bricks deep. The Fellowship is plunged into total darkness since the only light was from the lava.

Vestri: I did not know he could do that! Impressive.

Yuri: Very impressive. We should probably go. Molten lava can get through brick very fast.

Edna cranes her neck to see Ol’ Jardiner’s trick and realizes her clothes are on fire!

Fire Elemental Wildfire: The Fire Elemental is Burning and Dangerous.

GM note: Edna should also have paid some prices because of the Fire Elemental’s Burning Aura. Ah well, the party still fled in fear, so it’s not like it failed to present a challenge.

Yuri: Stop, Drop, and Roll!

Edna Uncontrollable Strength: uncontrolled actions cause collateral damage

Edna flails and rolls around in the cramped tunnel. The flames disappear and smoke fills the tunnel. Steven, who was hiding on Edna’s clothes, dashes out of the smoke and climbs up Yuri’s legs.

Edna damages Steven’s Purr-fect Rest

Edna’s Bonds That Break Us: Edna caused Steven to be hurt, so Edna erases a Bond with Steven

GM note: The danger is past.  The Fellowship has overcome every challenge of the Treacherous Mountains. Instead of skipping to the exit, each player describes an area of the abandoned Clay Dwarven city that the Fellowship passes through on their journey.

The Fellowship takes the large corridor, since that’s easiest for Edna to pass through. This is the path that the carts took, so it leads to a prepping space. There’s a mill for crushing chunks of soft rock. There’s a powder-sifting area where different kinds of dust are sorted by grit. Last, the dust is mixed with water in a big drum to reach the perfect consistency. The clay then went on conveyor belts where Dwarves shaped lumps of clay into bricks, which were loaded onto carts and taken to the kiln room. Edna is amazed. She looks into the drum, hoping for wet clay, but everything here is dried out and centuries old.

Edna: If only I was here when this was working!

Vestri: The Clay Dwarves were the most interested in experimenting with colors. Usually we just let the stone speak for itself.

Vestri points out some dye packets. Edna takes the dye and gives it to Ol’ Jardiner to add to his cooking supplies.

Next the Fellowship moves into a residental area between some apartment blocks. Edna can crawl through the main paths, but can’t enter any of the apartments. These aren’t like surface-dwellers’ buildings, where the path is at the bottom and the buildings rise above it. Dwarven apartments are centered on the path, half of the storeys above and half below. Small hallways branch from the central path, then ramps lead up and down to each floor.

Despite coming from stone, Dwarves eat mostly the same things that other living creatures eat, but more for fun than sustenance. Thus salt is as valuable to them as it is to the surface dwellers. There is a salt mine here, a vast chamber with salt sparkling in the walls, criss-crossed by skinny stone bridges. Across the chamber, the flow of daylight is visible. The Fellowship is almost out! Yuri grabs a chunk of salt off the wall as a treat for Steven.

Edna: I think ya’ll should go find the exit and I’ll jump there. I’m sure these bridges were built to code, but that was a long time ago and for much smaller people.

Edna watches the other members of the Fellowship scurry from bridge to bridge, higher and higher until they reach the exit.

Vestri: I think you’re clear now!

Edna Mighty Leap: jump to anywhere you can see.

Edna leaps to the exit and and joins everyone on the surface. They are now on the south side of the Treacherous Mountains. To the south there is a river, and across that river, a large estate. There’s a fence, then topiary gardens, and a large mansion rising over all of it. This appears to be the back of the estate. There’s no large gate on the north side of the fence.  The river is very low in its banks, about half full. The river flows from west to east, then turns to the south. No bridges are visible. To cross, they’d have to drop down a precipice, then get through water that’s over everyone’s heads, then climb the other side. Edna could ferry everyone across by jumping back and forth many times.

Yuri: Edna, what is protocol for rich person entrances?

Edna: We must make an offical call at the front gate. Jumping over the fence or using a service entrance would be uncivilized.

The party looks for a river crossing and chooses to walk west by chance. On the horizon, they see a mountain with a slot cut through it.

A mountain with a slot cut all the way through, with some kind of machine inside. A few buildings are connected by stairs around the mountain.
The mountain with a slot through it.

A landslide from that mountain has filled the river with debris: rocks and fallen trees. This landslide caused the river to split. The Fellowship is walking upstream along the northern branch, and another branch of the river flows southeast. Vestri is very interested in the sliced mountain.  There’s no lore about this. None of the great Dwarven houses did this. Yuri recommends visiting Lady Evelynn first and comign back to this mountain. Vestri agrees. The Fellowship considers how to safely cross the rubble blocking the river, which is the closest thing they have found to a bridge or ford.

Yuri Mighty Leap: jump to anywhere you can see.

Edna Mighty Leap: jump to anywhere you can see.

Edna Toss Aside: You are strong enough to lift anyone, and an ally can ride
on top of you if you let them.

Yuri jumps across, and Edna ferries the Companions across. once the rest of the Fellowship is safe on the southern bank, Vestri runs through the rubble! This landslide looks like a recent disruption, and he wants to return the river to its normal channel.

Vestri Clear The Path 10+

Vestri gets through to the far bank and the rubble shifts and collapses behind him. The water returns to the northern channel.

Yuri: I wonder what consequences that might have on the mill.

Vestri: I feel like it would be useful, diplomatically, to let this lady know that we fixed her river.

Yuri: Da, da. We should check the consequences first to make sure they are good consequences.

The Fellowship walks around and finds the front gate. A path leads south from the gate and has been washed out by the southern fork of the river. A hastily-built wodden bridge crosses it, allowing the estate to reach a town further south.

Vestri: See? She didn’t want this river here.

The main gate is wrought iron with “EVELYNN” across the top. Inside are rows of topiary, all carved into predatory animals.

Yuri: That is ominous. I don’t like this.

Yuri worries that Lady Evelynn turns her enemies into plants, but these topiaries are not life-size, so he discards that worry. The person at the gatehouse looks a bit like Lucy. She’s five-foot-nothing, petite, red skin, and small pointed horns emerging vertically from her forehead. She wears a leather jacket against the weather and a cap with cutouts in the brim to fit around her horns. She saw the Fellowship coming up the path, but doesn’t react until the Fellowship reaches the gate and Edna greets her politely.

  • Kallie, she/her, Tiefling

Kallie: Lady Evelynn no longer offers hospitality to travellers. You are more trouble than you’re worth.

Yuri: I feel like we are worth quite a lot.

Vestri: We have already fixed a problem for Lady Evelynn!

Edna: Oh yes, I can vouch these are quite helpful folks, and we are not just travellers. See, I have an inviation here from Lady Evelynn that says if I ever drop by she would meet with me, because of her friendship with the Harcourt family. I am Edna Crusher-Harcourt.

Kallie takes the invitation and examines it. It’s legit, which means work for her. How annoying. She leaves the Fellowship outside the gate and walks back to the mansion. Soon she returns with a Human man. Clearly this is the butler. He wears a fancy coat and white gloves. His hair is going grey at the temples and his posture is perfect.

  • Jayce, he/him. Human

While Kallie opens the gate, Jayce welcomes the Fellowship and escorts them inside.


  • Did we thoroughly explore a new location? YES, the Dwarven waterways and the abandoned city of the Clay Dwarves.
  • Did anyone find what they were seeking? YES, we’re on the trail of Vestri’s missing dagger
  • Did we learn something new about the world or its people? YES, the Clay Dwarves

Three boons

GM note: is the end-of-session healing magical

  1. Heal: Steven, Gurtin, Edna
  2. Heal: Ol’ Jardiner, Viktor, Heath
  3. Level up: Vestri gains Uncontrollable Strength from Edna, Yuri takes Apex Destiny

GM note: Some lore that doesn’t fit anywhere else. Dwarves created themselves when stone saw living beings having fun and wanted to join in. So the whole world is potentially Dwarves. Maybe the world could turn into one huge Dwarf, like Unicron!  Yuri plans to return to his own world when his quest is done, and is willing to bring the others with him. Would Vestri turn into a statue of a Dwarf when he leaves his world and enters ours? Would that kill Vestri, or would he wake up when returning to his world?