The party: Buckle the Beast/Heart of Earth, Stella the Halfling/Hunter
Last time, Stella recovered from a combat-induced food coma, and the Fellowship found a mountain with a slot cut through it.
The Fellowship sails upstream on the Miranda to approach the mountain. There are buildings on the mountain, connected by walkways. They appear damaged, but it’s hard to tell from this distance.
Buckle: Huh, that’s weird.
Stella: Is that a gun?
Buckle: Is that Spider technology? Hate for them to shoot turtles.
They sail up to a dock that connects to a warehouse at the base of the mountain. The warehouse is surrounded by grass and brush which Buckle could ignite with a touch, so he has to be careful.
Buckle Look Closely 7-9 3 questions, 1 answer the hard way
- What do my senses tell me?
- The warehouse has big double doors that face the dock. The doors have a latch but no lock, but they don’t open when Buckle pulls on them. Something that’s not immediately obvious is keeping them shut. The warehouse has windows high up along the walls, but they have all been covered from the inside, so they can’t look inside.
- What will happen if we go up to the turret?
- A road leads up from behind the warehouse to a tunnel entrance that probably goes inside the slot. This is the route that large items must take to reach the facility. A walkway branches off from the road and leads up to ther buildings on the surface.
- What is hidden or out of place?
- Buckle doesn’t sense any life with his Electro-Sense, but he does hear movement inside the building.
Stella kicks the door to get the occupant’s attention. The metal doors ring, but there’s no response from inside. Buckle tries to look through the crack between the doors, but cloth has been jammed into the crack to block it. He pushes his fingers in between the doors, lighting the cloth on fire! There’s a cry and a commotion inside. When the cloth burns away, Buckle can see a chain through the crack. The doors won’t open because the chain is wrapped around the handles on the inside.
Buckle: Sorry! Are you alright in there?
Voice: Are you with the Baron?
Buckle: Bearing? There’s no bear out here. Stella, do you think there’s a bear in there?
Stella: Sorry my friend set your stuff on fire. We’re not with the Baron. Can we help you?
No response from inside.
Stella: Must be lonely. If you’re lonely, we’ll be out here having a picnic.
Stella lays out a cloth and eats a snack. She tosses some food at Buckle. Buckle leans on the warehouse door, slowly heating it until it glows.
After a while, there’s a noise at the back of the warehouse. From around the building, they can see a pile of cloth, robes, and blankets running up the road to the tunnel entrance. The wearer is completely concealed under the layers of clothing.
Buckle Overcome the warehouse doors 7-9 pay a price: webbed hands
Buckle’s leaning on the door, which has heated up and become soft. The door shifts under his weight and he flails and falls, injuring his hands. The door is bent enough that people can duck under it and enter the warehouse. It’s built for human-sized creatures, so it’s too big for everyone in the Fellowship. Clearly, someone barricaded themself inside this buildings, blocking the windows and doors.
Buckle Look Closely 6- one question, find out the hard way
- What do my senses tell me.
- Half of the boxes are full of explosives! Buckle could blow the whole place sky-high if he’s not careful!
- There’s a corner that seems to be where the mysterious occupant lived. Blankets and tarps are hung from a rack to make a small space, but there’s no bed inside. There’s some meat, but it’s raw, not salted or jerky.
GM note: There was a debate about whether Buckle could steal some explosives, or if he would detonate the entire building if he tried. He’s hot and ignotes flammable objects with a touch, but he can also plant explosives whereever he wants. I thought that the explosives came from his body, but the text of the Heart Of Earth destiny (which I wrote by copying sections of other playbooks) mentions powder, oil, tinder, and other equipment. Editing is important!
Gus can’t stand the smell of the raw meat, which is not fresh. He tries not to vomit as he retreats out of the warehouse. Buckle sniffs the meat. There’s no blood in it.
Buckle: Who drinks the blood and leaves the meat?
Stella checks the rafters for bats!
The Fellowship didn’t see where the figure ran to, but they no doubt left through the back door, which is open. Buckle wanders up the road behind the warehouse. Gus refuses to go back into the warehouse, so Silk carries him through. They turn from the road that leads to the collapsed and take the covered stairs towards the mountain’s summit. A section of the walkway has fallen into the ravine below! Half of the bridge dangles from the far side of the ravine, but the near half of the bridge has fallen away completely and rests a ways down the slope.
Buckle Overcome 7-9 pay a price (suffer setback)
Buckle climbs down the steep rocks slope and up the other side. He pulls hijmself up on the dangling bridge section, which groans and gives way as he scrambles to safety on the far side! Now the gap that Stella and her companions must cross is even wider! One of Stella’s favorite things in the world is to be on the ground, but that’s not possible right now.
Stella: Buckle, come back!
Buckle: I can’t now.
Silk can’t throw a line to Buckle, because spider silk is flammable.
Stella: Well, Buckle, you’ve gotten yourself in a pickle.
Buckle: I like pickles.
Silk uses Creepy to spin a length of silk rope
Stella Lived In A Shoe: shrink to the size of an apple
Rose uses Get Right In There to throw Stella (tied to the rope) across the gap
Stella Get Away 6-
Stella damages a stat
The rope is too short! Stella jerks to a stop, then swings back and hits the ravine hard.
Buckle: Stella are you OK?
Stella: What do you think?
Rose pulls Stella up, which is very easy because at this size she barely weighs anything. Stella rubs her face. Looking down the mountain, they see another route. If they backtrack a while, there’s a less steep area where they can walk across to another ridge, which meets the trail further up. It will probably take the rest of the day to go that distance, so they’d reach the summit around sunset. Stella considers turning back, but Rose encourages her.
Rose: I promised we’d go on adventures, so let’s adventure!
Stella yells across the gap to Buckle.
Stella: Meet you at the top! Don’t set anything on fire!
Buckle barely waited for them to make their decision before walking up the stairs. Stella and the others slowly take the long way around, and get a good look at the surrounding locations. To the north of this mountain, mountains rise higher and higher into an intimidating snowy range. To the northwest: an old forest with huge trees. To the west, another forest, but it looks sick or dead.
Around sunset, Stella and the companions reach the summit. Buckle has been there for a while. This building is semi-circular, built into the side of the mountain with panoramic windows looking to the north. Suitable for a James Bond supervillain lair. Stella barges in to look around. She’s grumpy from the long hike.
Stella Look Closely 10+
- What do my senses tell me?
- Most of the building is one huge launge with fancy chairs and couches facing the windows, but the windows are smashed! The glass from the windows is embedded in the back wall. There’s a jagged burned hole in the back wall that leads into a kitchen. This abandoned building hasn’t fallen into disrepair. There was violence here!
- What will happen if we spend the night?
- The area seems isolated and abandoned, but staying in this lounge would be quite exposed.
- What is hidden or out of place?
- Stella sits in an overstuffed leather chair and absent-mindedly taps the big buttons that secure the leather cover to the body of the chair. That was the secret sequence! The sectino of wall behind Stella rotates 10 degrees and she’s suddenly in a small, dark room! It’s the private office of whoever runs this facilty.
GM note: Despite the roll of 10+, I had Stella find out what’s hidden the hard way. That’s a mistake, but it was cool and we had fun, so it’s OK.
Stella grips the armrests tightly. What just happened? Once she realizes that she’s in another room, she looks around.
GM note: I put a lot of plot hooks in this room after this session, assuming the characters would stick around and investigate, but they fled immediately. Finally, I get to use my prep from almost a year ago!
- A box labelled “DO NOT RESPOND” containing hastily disassembled messenger robots.
- Writing on a chalkboard: “Castellum. Lightning?”
- A old piece of paper that says “Check on Alex”
- A note in different handwriting: “L & L dropped by. Von Till wants a progress report.”
- Schematics and notes on the facility itself.
GM note: Instead of rolling a Knowledge test, I asked Stella’s player what Stella knew about astronomy, chemistry, and mechancial things. An opportunity for backstory and characterization!
Stella’s a former refugee. When her people scattered during the Giant War, she learned five stars that would lead her back home. Here on this new continent, all the stars are unfamiliar. She can’t read the astronomical charts. Food is very important in Halfling culture, so Stella knows the simple, applied chemistry of cooking and baking. She recognizes that many of the materials delivered ot this facility will burn or explode. She’s no mechanic, but she’s a fan of machines, so she knows more about them than the average creature. That’s why she loved the Seige Tank so much. She can tell that the motor that drives the 300m long tube at the heart of the facility is not only very powerful, but very precise. The tube can be rotated to target angels with surprising precision. None of this helps her understand the facility, so she looks for the big picture. The blueprint showing a cross-section of the mountain is labeled at the top: “ANTI-MOON WEAPON”
Back out in the lounge, Buckle and the others are shocked by Stella’s disappearance! They open doors and call out for her.
Buckle Look Closely at the rest of the building 10+
- What is out of place or suspicious?
- Some of the bedrooms don’t have beds. They have sturdy poles mounted horizontally about 2m above the floor. One of the doors in the hallway is locked. (That’s the door to the study)
- What do my senses tell me?
- Behind the kitchen is a hallway, with doors that open into guest rooms and servants’ quarters. The kitchen is well-stocked, but the refrigeration isn’t working, so all the perishable food is ruined. The pantry is fine. There is plenty of dry and durable food to eat. Gus is impressed by the facilities.
- Tell me about the house? How could it hurt or help me?
- There’s food to eat. Even with the big panoramic windows, the sun never shines into the building. The window faces north, and the roof overhangs enough to block morning nad evening sun. Why would it be built like this?
Stella hears someone jiggle the doorknob, which is worrisome, until Buckle calls out. She throws open the door, goes to hugs Buckle, and instnatly recoils from the intense heat of his body. She shows everyone what she found in the study, plans for an Anti-Moon Weapon and the other strange objects and notes.
Buckle: Messenger Robots, like we have back home.
Everyone looks shocked.
GM note: Even the GM. Buckle’s player Commands Lore about the Platypeople.
Platypeople have lots of technology, but they don’t really care about it. most Platypeople just use the technology and aren’t engineers. Some of the scientific lore is turning into legend, and myths get mixed in sometimes. Perhaps the “equal and opposite reaction” from Newton’s Third Law is caused by tiny fairies arguing.
Buckle: We have lots of colonies. We have to keep in touch somehow.
Stella: Can you fix them?
Buckle: The box says “Do not respond”
Buckle reconnects enough wires to replay the messages. They are from Allan a Zham (former leader of Thaumatown) Since he and Dr. MacLeod both operate advanced technology, he suggests they get otgether, purely as professional collegues, of course. He’s trying to hide it, but he’s definitely flirting. Stella smashes the robot with her sword. All viewers of this message are creeped out.
Stella shows Buckle the blueprints for the Anti-Moon Weapon. Buckle recognizes that the slot in the mountain lines up with the ecliptic, which it must so the tube (actually the barrel of an enormous gun) can follow the Moon across the sky. He’s able to decipher technical jargon that says aiming and propulsion are OK. A test shot hit the Moon but did not destroy it.
Buckle: Bizarre. How could they destroy the moon with something this small? Maybe they are trying to kill Moon Fairies.
Buckle: They are like the Fairies here, but on the Moon. They make it glow.
Stella & Buckle Fill Your Belly (food from Dr. MacLeod’s pantry) each heal 1 stat
The Fellowship eats supper from the pantry and prepares to spend the night. Buckle adventures to keep people safe, but inside him, the Heart Of Earth is influencing that mission. It says Buckle should seek power. Power to keep other safe, of course. Power.
END OF SESSION MOVE:
- Did we thoroughly explore a new location? YES
- Did we learn something new about he world or its people? YES?
- Did anyone find what they are looking for? YES!
- level up, heal, restore gear