Chasing The Sunset & Exterminator

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 Sea Viper (ruler of Vieport) assumed Stella would turn in Buckle for a bounty, but the team violently demonstrated that they value friendship over money.

The rooftop terrace of the Sea Viper’s palace.

No enemies remain on the burning rooftop terrace.  Theona is barely standing, and is no longer a Companion. Stella and Buckle have a damaged Siege Tank, but the rest of their Companions…

The Sea Viper’s Palace. A Group of Naga Guards are inside, and another Group of Naga Guards stand under the pillars. The companions Ugg, Gus, Rose, and Silk are trapped on top of the pillars.
The Sea Viper’s Palace

…are still climbing the pillars outside the palace, trying to reach their leaders on the roof. A group of Eel Naga guards are below them, threatening them. The group of Eel Naga guards that Buckle left inside the palace are about to come out and join their comrades.

Neither Stella nor Buckle can swim. The Sea King escaped, and surely the entire city will soon be after them for attempted regicide. They need an escape route right now. Buckle considers driving the Siege Tank off the roof, but the drop will damage its only remaining stat. Stella considers getting help from the beluga whales that carry cargo at the docks, but the Siege Tank is as big as a beluga whale. Just one whale won’t be able to carry the tank.

Stella Queen of the Wild: every beast she meets is a Compantion

Stella Speak Softly “whales, carry our tank away!” 7-9

GM note: Stella doesn’t have to convince the whales to help. The roll determines how much trouble the whales have getting in position to help.

A team of Beluga whales is pulling a raft nearby, and when they hear Stella’s call, they turn towards the palace. Their Merfolk drivers try to steer them back on coruse, but the whales buck to throw them off. The raft can hold the Siege Tank, but the whales need a little time to get to the palace. On the other side of the palace, Naga Eel guards wrap themselves around the pillars and spiral upwards to attack the companions stnading on top.  Buckle can’t use his Dragonfire at long range, so he takes a running leap from the roof of the palace…

Buckle Get Away 7-9 avoid harm

…and lands in the shallow water at the base of the pilars, right among the Naga Eel guards. His superheated body causes a burst of steam, which he empowered with Dragonfire..

Buckle Dragonfire: vaporize Group of Naga Eels

When a Group is destroyed, replace it with two members

…into a burning mushroom cloud! When the cloud clears, only two Naga Eels guards are left, who ignore the pillars and turn to attack Buckle. Stella watches from the roof. She can’t bring the tank to bear, but her Companions are right there.

Stella: Gus, release the garlic powder!

Gus uses Special Ingredients to create advantage against Naga Eel.

Gus retrieves a satchel of garlic powder and shakes it out over one of the Naga Eel guards. Garlic irritates snakes, so the guard starts spitting and coughing. Buckle attacks the distracted guard with his venomous spurs.

Buckle Finish Them (advantage: distraction from Gus) 10+

The guard only feels a pinprink, but that’s enough to deliver the venom, and he’s Taken Out. The other guard bites Buckle with his horrible needle-sharp teeth.

Naga Eel Needlepoint Teeth: necrotic damage to Buckle’s Courage

Buckle was feeling invincible up to now, having killed over twenty people in the last few minutes. He realizes that he can still be hurt!

On the other side fo the palace, the team of Belugas have thrown their drivers in the water and lined up so Stella can drive the tank off the edge and onto the raft. Theona sees an opportunity to escape and pushes herself towards the edge! Stella throws both throttles forward and races Theona.

Stella Get Away 6-

Don’t forget, Theona is a 16-foot-tall Ogre. As she and the tank reach the burning guardrail at the edge of the terrace, she shoves the tank asides and leaps through the flames! It looks like she’ll land on the raft with an action roll to break her fall, but instead she crumples and faceplants. The exertion and the flames were too much for her. Stella finds herself in the water in a very metallic, very heavy vehicle designed for land! She’ll soon sink! She quickly looks around the tank’s control panel and hits a tiny yellow button on the left side that she had not noticed before.

Siege Tank Secret Weapon: amphibious mode.

The bottom of the tank forms into a waterproof hull, and it’s able to slowly motor through the water.  Stella is away!

Buckle panics and runs parallel to shore through shallow water, leaving a trail of steam. Stella yells for everyone to go to the Adventurers’ Club. The crowd of Companions drop down from the pillars and everyone flees towards the Adventurer’s Club, with only one Naga Eel guard trying to stop them.

GM note: Fleeing the scene with enemies nearby gave me a great excuse to start the next scene with a problem. I asked the players to pick which of their Companions were missing at the beginning of the next scene.

Stella drives the Siege Tank onto shore next to the Adventurers’ Club. Buckle is hiding under the porch, but the smoke rising from him reveals his position. A headcount of their numerous companions reveals that Hamfast is missing! Two figures appear on the roof of the buidling opposite the Adventurers’ Club. Hamfast as been captured by The Exterminator!

  • The Exterminator
    • Deadly Poison
    • Fumigator
    • Patient

The Exterminator beckons to Stella and Buckle, then drags Hamfast back out of sight. They will have to breach the building and face The Exterminator’s traps to extract their new companion.

GM note: We brainstormed what building The Exterminator used as their lair. Often adventurers gather in shady taverns, narrow alleys, or warehouses, but the Adventurers’ Club is a legitimate, reputable organization, so it’s in a nice part of town. It’s next to a the club house of a golf course. Specificity helps creativity!

Golf Clubhouse, AKA Exterminator’s deathtrap

Buckle is still in shock from the previous battle. Stella considers a multi-pronged attack agains The Exterminator, but needs to scout the area to know how to proceed. She walks around the building looking for entrances. There’s a service entrance on the side, and an employee is leaning against the wall taking a smoke break.

  • Caddie
    • Talk for Days
    • Loose Lips

Stella: Buckle, are you back with us? Are you ready to do something? Go in the front and see what’s there.

Buckle shuffles off and Stella approaches the Chatty Caddie.  Her plan is to set a pit trap at the rear entrance to catch The Exterminator if they flee that way, but she doesn’t want actual golfers to be caught and injured. She asks the Caddie if she can slip in through the service entrance.

Stella Talk Sense (+sense) 7-9 owe a favor

Caddie: OK, but tell me a secret.

Stella: Any secret?

Caddie: A juicy secret! If you sleep with a teddy bear, I don’t care.

Stella: I can’t swim!

Caddie stifles a laugh as he lets her in the service entrance. He’s totally going to leak that secret.

Buckle walks in the front door and enters a nice lounge with high ceilings, big windows, and tables and chairs spread around. In the corner, there’s a woman in chrome armor with long, curly, bubblegum pink hair. She’s deep into her third bottle, and slowly turns to look at Buckle with a look of exhaustion and despair.

Lady Elizabeth Eleanor Eadwynn: I can’t deal with this right now.

She turns away and leans her head on her hand, blocking Buckle from her view. Buckle ignores her and walks up to the counter, which is staffed by a bored-looking teenage girl who clearly thinks that golf and people who like golf are exceedingly boring and uncool.

  • Surly Worker
    • Biting Sarcasm
    • Conveniently Off-Duty

Buckle asks if she’s seen The Exterminator today. She can’t be bothered to remember the losers who come in here, so she pushes the sign-in book across the counter to him. He picks it up and it bursts into flames! Before the pages blacken compeltely he does see “The Exterminator” but the other columns, no doubt filled with useful information, are illegible. He drops the book and stomps on it to put out the flames, but his super-heated feet only burn the book faster!  Surly Worker’s eyes, emphasized by enthusiasticly but unexpertedly applied eyeliner, go wide. She reaches over the counter and dumps her drink on the remains of the book. She goes into the back room to get another book.

Unsupervised, Buckle slips past the counter and explores the back of the clubhouse. There are locker rooms, showers, and a sauna. He surprises a few golfers. Stella is also inside the building. She finds an “out of order” sign and posts it on the back door, then places a pit trap outside of it.

They’re explored the ground storey, so they move on to the upper storey. Buckle brings Ugg (a Goblin with robotic arms) to the elevator. It’s a fully enclosed box, and just has a lever to select ground storey or upper storey. Buckle flips the lever up, and poison gas floods the elevator! The Exterminator anticipated this move and set a trap!  Buckle pulls the lever back down, but the gas doesn’t stop. They need to get out of the elevator.

Buckle Get Away 10+ avoid harm, bring Ugg along

Ugg boosts Buckle up and Buckle opens the service hatch that’s in the roof of all elevator cars. He climbs on top of the elevator, then reaches down to pull Ugg up after him. At the top of the shaft, the doors to the upper storey are slightly open and The Exterminator is looking down. They grunt and pulls back, closing the doors. Impressed but not surprised.

Meanwhile, Stella has ridden Silk (her Riding Spider) up to the roof. There are three skylights, one open. She opens the other two (to maximize the dispersion of any poison gas that may be released soon) and quietly drops down into the storage room.

Stella Get Away 10+ avoid notice, avoid harm

The Exterminator is on one end of the room, looking at the elevator doors. On the other side of the room, sitting on a big bin of galf balls, Hamfast is concentrating on a strange device that he’s holding in both hands. Buckle and Ugg climb the emergency ladder inside the elevator shaft, and Buckle starts heating the elevator door to break through. Exterminator prepares their poison gas dispenser. Big tanks of poison gas on their back are connected through a hose to nozzle shaped like old-timey bug spray dispensers: a cone-tipped cylinder with a short cylinder mounted perpendicular under the main cylinder. They will ambush Buckle as soon as he emerges.

Stella Queen of the Wild: Command Lore about the wild beast in a location

The storage room is an attic, so there are bats nesting in the rafters. Buckle tells Ugg to go back down the ladder, then he bursts through the elevator door

Stella Queen of the Wild: all Beast are her companions

Bats harry and distract The Exterminator

Stella sends her bat minions to swarm The Exterminator, preventing them from executing their ambush.  Stella and Buckle rush at The Exterminator from both sides!

Buckle Finish Them (+sense, knock out) advantage: bat distraction (+hope, assistance from Stella) 10+

Buckle jumps up on The Exterminator and jams his flippers into the gap between their helmet and armor. He levers the helmet off, revealing The Exterminator’s face! Stella disconnects the hose from the back of the nozzle and jams the loose end, which is spewing poison gas, into The Exterminator’s face. They quickly succumb to the noxious gases and collapse. Buckle reaches out to the end of the hose and ignites the gas as it sprays out. The gas burns as soon as it exits the hose, so the room isn’t filled with poison gas. Disposing of the gas this way is safer than igniting backpacks full of pressurized gas, which would probably blow up the whole room.

Hamfast: Help! It’s going to go off! I can’t keep holding it!

They rush to their captured friend. The device he is holding is actually two pieces that must be held in precise alignment, or it will go off, flooding the room with poison gas. (The Exterminator has a THEME, and they stick to it.) They consider throwing it out of the open skylights, but throwing will set it off. They decide to use the elevator shaft. Buckle does remember to bring Ugg out first. He carries the device to the hole in the door, drops it in, then Stella and Buckle shove a golf cart to block the hole and keep the gas out fo the room.

Buckle Overcome (+hope assistance from Stella) 10+

It works! They shove the golf cart forward, then sink to the floor in relief. Tiny harmless wisps of gas leak through gaps around the golf cart. Buckle looks over and sees The Exterminator’s gas-proof helmet lying on the floor and realizes he could have stuck the device under that. It would have been a lot simpler.

GM note: We wrapped up the session here and the players asked if they could just say that they left the city after this. I denied their request. They almost killed the king, and all the exits from the city are dangerous. Water on one side, electric barriers and angry ghosts on the other. Getting out will be an adventure!

GM note: The party went to the Adventurer’s Club to be safe because they are members & can get food and shelter here. But the Adventurers’ Club is full of powerful mercenaries doing whatever jobs are posted. Of course there’s a bounty out on them now that they attacked the Sea Viper and burned his palace! They were already attacked by an Adventurer on their first visit. Yet they didn’t expect The Exterminator (the other Adventurer in town) to attack them this time.

Chasing The Sunset & Civic Center

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

The party: Dryden of Conwall the Collector/Hunter, Averiela the Elf, Lucia the Brave the Heir

Last time, the party found the city of Thaumatown in chaos. The streets were choked with hapless citizens, trying to follow impossible commands from hordes of Enforcer Droids. The Droids led the party to the leader of the city, who is long dead!

Knows Too Much, White Sand, and Roddy stayed outside the city, since they don’t like crowds or cities. Dryden, Averiela, Lucia, Will, and Mara are in the study at the top of the wizard’s tower.

Averiela looks around the wizard’s study.  The books and scrolls on shelves and tables all over the room are destroyed by water damage. The body of the wizard has been dead for some time, and the knife that apparenlty killed him has a strange design unfamiliar to all present. There’s a wall of screens, half blank, half showing aerial views of crowded city streets. No doubt this is footage from the Flying Eye robots that flit about everywhere. A balcony overlooks the city, facing the Civic Center, a large building in the middle of the city. The doors and windows of the Civic Center are closed with metal shutters. There’s a spiral hole in the roof of the Civic Center, and by walking back and forth on the balcony, Averiela can determine that the spiral hole is aimed at the balcony she’s standing on. Something large moves inside the Civic Center, only visible in glimpses through the spiral hole. Averiela also notices a short, rotund man trying to sneak through the crowds. He’s carrying a ladder and is trying to reach the Civic Center, but Enforcers Droids keep getting in his way.

Map of Thaumatown. Wizard's Tower in southwest corner. Water treatment plant in northwest corner. Mighty River flows west to east o nthe north edge of town. Civic Center in the center of town.
Map of Thaumatown

The group wonders how to reach the Civic Center with the streets in such disarray. Dryden has a harpoon gun, but it can’t reach from the wizard’s tower to the Civic Center. Lucia’s royal brooch convinced the Enforcer Droids to lead her to the city’s leader (sadly deceased) but she can’t order them to lead her anywhere else.  Averiela wonders about becoming the leader of the town. Then the Enforcer Droids would have to let her pass.

Averiela Elder Art: Camouflage: she and her friends turn invisible

Averiela camouflages the group and they start moving towards the Civic Center. The Enforcer Droids don’t notice them, and thus don’t order them around, but they have to push through crowds of harried townsfolk who can’t see them to avoid them. It’s no fun!

Dryden Ranged Rope to rooftops

Dryden fires his ranged rope to the rooftops and everyone climbs up. The streets are narrow and the buildings lean out over them, so the group can hop from roof to roof almost to the Civic Center. The Civic Center is in the middle of a plaza, so no roofs overhand it. Most Enforcer Droids are giving nonsense orders, but a few Enforcer Droids close to the Civic Center seem to be cooperating and working towards a goal of keeping everyone away from the building.

Walter, the short, rotund man that Averiela spotted from the balcony, is trying to infiltrate the building. He runs across the plaza and ducks behind a stack of crates to hide while a pair of Enforcer Droids pass. They don’t notice the ladder sticking up above the crates. When they are gone, Walter leans the ladder against the wall and climbs up to fiddle with a window. The metal shutter gives him some trouble, and the next pair of patrolling Enforcer Droids spot him.

Enforcer Droid: Citizen, you have violated Civil Codes by entering a restricted area and littering. Leave at once.

One Enforcer Droid picks up the ladder and carries it away from the Civic Center. Walter wobbles and clings to the top rung. The Enforcer Droid puts the ladder down right on the line where the tiles of the plaza change to the cobblestones of a street, turns around, and resumes its patrol. Its jurisdiction covers the Civic Center plaza and not an inch beyond. Walter flails and tries to keep his balance on top of the precariously balanced ladder! Lucia reaches down from the edge of the roof to grab Walter

Lucia Overcome 7-9 temporary solution

She does grab his hand, but he unintentionally drags her mostly off the roof. Her feet hook on the gutter right at the edge. Lucia, Walter, and the ladder are now three links in an unstable chain.  Dryden leaps into action. He aims his harpoon gun between two rungs of the ladder. The taut harpoon line should prevent the ladder from falling, so Lucia and Walter can climb down.

Dryden Overcome 6-

Dryden’s aim is off! The harpoon hits the ladder, knocking it out from under Walter. Walter and Lucia tumble to the ground!

Lucia damage Armor

Instead of thanking his rescuers (did they actually rescue him?) Walter immediately starts telling them how they should have done it.

Lucia Speak Softly 7-9 3 questions, 1 answer the hard way

Walter explains that the Civic Center went into Lockown on the day of the Wizard Battle, a little over a month ago. He’s trying to enter and regain control of the city’s Droids. It’s his duty, since he was elected according to Allan a Zham’s instructions, when the wizard left the city after winning the Wizard Battle. Allan a Zham said that the people were qualified to lead themselves and should elect representatives, and Walter was duly elected leader of the Council! (He’s very proud of this position)  Lucia offers to help him, and he recommends that she & her friends run interference for him. If he had more time, he could pick the lock on the window and get inside. He shows the tools he’s gathered for the task: a railroad nail, a fork, and bit of metal filigree. He picks up the ladder, and sees that the harpoon has broken one of the side rails. The other side rail is already patched with a section of 2×4.  Walter grumbles. He’ll have to get another one from Ruby. Goods are so expensive now, since transport is thoroughly disrupted by the Enforcer Droids. He wanders off with the broken ladder.

Lucia climbs up the harpoon rope to rejoin the others on the roof. Now it’s clear that two pairs of Enforcer Droids are circling the plaza to find and remove anyone geting close to the Civic Center. Dryden winds up the harpoon cable, then fires his ranged rope from the roof to the roof of the Civic Center. The end of the rope ties itself around the railing on the catwalk spiraling up the clock tower that rising above the Civic Center.

Thaumatown's Clock Tower

Averiela easily walks across the rope, but the others climb hand over hand with their knees hooked over the rope.  Dryden peers through the spiral hole in the roof. Inside there’s a large open area. The roof is about 20 feet above the floor. Slowly stomping around inside is a 10-foot tall robot, roughly humanoid, but covered in thick armor plates.

  • Sentry Droid:
    • Begone
    • Mostly Immobile
    • Tough As Nails
    • Threat To The World

Averiela: Do we want to destroy it or rewire it?

Lucia: I’m worried about having robots in charge! If we fix them now, will they go bad again later?

They’re not even sure how to make the robots behave properly, or turn them off, or whatever it is they are trying to accomplish. The Civic Center is the most likely place to find a control center. Maybe the control center is inside that Guardian Robot! So they need to get inside the building. Dryden approaches the shutter covering a skylight.

Dryden: Back in the day, I had lockpicks, but they melted! Or I read about someone’s lockpicks melting. I have pen pals.

Lucia: That was Gleador!

Dryden: You know Gleador?

Lucia: He was with me when you linked up with me! We had a touching farewell ceremony!

Dryden needed lockpicks for various activities in his youth, so he trained worms of the forest. He pulls a small box from behind his cloak. The box is full of dirt, but worms emerge and slither into the lock. It unlocks with a click, and the worms return to their box. Dryden rewards them with rare basalt from a small pouch of treats.  He heaves the skylight open. The Sentry Robot hears the noise, sees the light pouring in, and slowly turns its bulky frame to to look up at the skylight.

Sentry Droid: Warning: unauthorized activity. This is a restricted area.

Exploring the Civic Center quietly is no longer an option, but the Sentry Droid can’t easily reach them up here in the roof. They consider their options.

Dryden: I have an arm signal for Roddy.

Dryden demonstrates the signal.  In the plaza below, the nearest Enforcer Droid explodes! One second later, the sound of a giant cork reaches them. The signal works! Roddy is watching! A few Flying Eye turn and fly towards the sound.

GM note: While discussing how to handle the Sentry Droid with teamwork, the players realized they forgot to add bonds when Averiela joined the party. They wrote some bonds right now based on past interactions.

Drdyen is ready to zoom in with his Flying Device to create an opening for Averiela, but she’s invisible. The Sentry Droid won’t see her attack coming.

Averiela Pay a Price to face a Threat To The World: spend extra ammo

Averiela Enemy At The Gates: can Finish Them with Grace when hidden

Averiela Finish Them +Grace 10+

Averiela Enemy At The Gates: on a 10+ remain hidden

Moving with the superhuman speed of the Elves, Averiela leans into the skylight and fires three arrows that all hit the Sentry Droid in the neck, weakening it. She fires a final, bigger arrow right between the chest armor and the ‘helmet’ cutting the Sentry Droid’s head off! The Sentry Droid slows and collapses, making a low buzzing noise.  Averiela, Lucia and Dryden, crowding together to peer in the skylight, erupt in celebration! Dryden gives the arm signal again!  Another Enforcer Droid explodes!

Sentry Droid Big Fish: When the Boss is angered, increase the Response Level

Thaumatown Response Level 3: Show Of Force. Boss gets one Hard Cut to spend at any time.

The buzz from the Sentry Droid rises in pitch and volume to become a hum, then a voice!

Sentry Droid Tough As Nails: first time this creature would be damaged or destroyed, damage this stat instead

Sentry Droid: Critical Damage. Switching to backup systems.

The armor plates on the chest move forward, then slide apart, revealing a hidden glowing eye. The Sentry Droid stands up, grabs a desk, and hurls it at the skylight!

GM note: I told them what Tough As Nails did before they engaged, but I still let them describe their victory and celebrate before snatching it back. Two great moments in a row.

Lucia Get Away (+hope Averiela’a aid) 7-9 avoid harm

Lucia and Averiela dive into the skylight, rolling on impact to avoid injury. Dryden jumps first, then goes for his flying disk to avoid hitting the floor.

Dryden Curious Curios Overcharge Flying Disk: fly for the whole scene

Dryden Get Away 10+ avoid harm, avoid notice

The only intruder the Sentry Droid can see is Lucia, so it turns on her. One of its arm is articulated like a human’s, so it can pick up and throw objects like a desk. The other arm is a piston forged in the shape of an outstretched hand making a “stop” gesture.

GM note: Like Cherno Alpha from Pacific Rim. The piston addsto the punching action. You haven’t seen Pacific Rim? Oh.

Lucia identifies this powerful creature as the Boss of the Location, so she attempts to receive Royal Treatment by showing her Symbol Of Royalty.

Lucia Keep Them Busy 6-

Unfortunately, the Sentry Droid’s programming is not sophisticated enough to include hospitality, so it steps in and fires its piston arm at Lucia.

Sentry Droid Begone: attempt to eject enemy when dealing damage

Will Look Out! Take harm in Lucia’s place

Lucia’s loyal bodyguard interposes himself and takes the blow meant for Lucia! He’s knocked across the room and would  have tumbled into the hall, except for the metal shutter blocking the door. He’s still conscious, but disoriented.

Dryden thinks about Hoth. Perhaps a small flying creature could wrap a rope about a big armrored machine to disable it.  Averiela throws a water bottle to Dryden and tells him to dump it into the exposed circuits in the Sentry Droid’s neck. That should short-circuit the giant robot. He does so, and Averiela fires again, but misses.

GM note: My notes are a bit messy here. Dryden probably used Keep Them Busy, so Averiela’s Finish Them attempt Triggered both Pack Hunter and Enemy At The Gates, but still rolled 6-. That breaks her camouflage.

While the Sentry Droid is distracted, Lucia ducks behind a bench and draws her throwing knives.

Lucia Quiet! Don’t Move: duck aside, stay still, stay hidden

She throws two knives in quick succession!

Lucia Pay a Price to act against Threat To The World: +1 ammo

Lucia Finish Them (+sense) advantage: strike from hiding. 7-9

Sentry Droid’s Begone! is damaged

Lucia’s knives strike true! In response, the Sentry Droid disables safety protocols and engages Desperation Mode! It doesn’t want to remove them from its area. It wants to kill them!

Sentry Droid Show Of Force: Deal Damage

The Sentry Droid’s piston arm slaps Averiela into a wall and it rushes upon her with a sudden burst of speed!

Averiela spends 1 use of Armor

Averiela uses all her Elven agility to avoid the Sentry Droid’s powerful blows, nimbly leaping on its hands and arms as it pummels the wall and floor into rubble.

Averiela Touch The World Lightly: you can safely walk on top of held weaponry.

Averiela Keep Them Busy 7-9

Lucia throws Dryden a water bottle so he can try to short circuit the Sentry Droid again.

Lucia spends 1 use of Food

Dryden Finish Them (+sense) advantage: Averiela Keeps Them Busy. +despair 7-9

Sentry Droid’s Mostly Immobile is damaged

Sentry Droid: Systems failing. Return to maintenance facility for urgent repair.

It turns away from Averiela, walks to a door, lifts the heavy metal roller door with one arm and leaves the lobby. Lucia dives under the door as it falls back into place, pursuing the Sentry Droid.

Lucia Get Away (+despair) 7-9

GM note: Lucia’s Strike True move lets her inflict Pinned Down on an enemy so it can’t move for the rest of the scene. But the scene is about to end, since the fight is over. We decided that a ficitionally similar benefit would be to delay the Sentry Droid’s repairs, giving the team plenty of time in the Civic Center to find how the robots are controlled.

The Sentry Droid moves through the halls and tunnels of the Civic Center, single-mindedly trying to reach the repair facility somewhere deep below. Lucia follows, striking with her beautiful blade. She probes for anywhere her blade can get past the Sentry Droid’s thick armor. The eye. The knee. Finally, the Snetry Droid shudders to a halt.

Sentry Droid: Mobility 0% Deploying emergency beacon.

This juggernaut has backup systems on backup systems.  A panel opens on its shoulder, revealing a a small alunch tube. A Flying Eye launches out, straight into the ceiling! The tunnels are scarcely bigger than the Sentry Droid. The Flying Eye clatters to the floor, broken. Elsewhere on the Sentry Droid, a bright red light starts pulsing. Back in the lobby of the Civic Center, Dryden hears a faint repeating alarm tone far above him.

Dryden Workaholic: spend 1 food to heal

Dryden restores his Courage by drinking a special bottle of water. The trick is to gather the water from the top of a waterfall, after it has gone over the edge. Drinking the water reminds Dryden that he had the courage to collect this special drink, so he can be courageous again. Now that he has some time to think, he recalls that Walter said the wizard who used to rule Thaumatown was named Allan a Zham. That’s not the first time Dryden has heard the name. Brainiac, riding a Giant Alligator in the forgotten Dwarven tunnels, said he was sent on a quest by Allan A Zham.

Drdyen prepares to fly up into the clocktower, since the beeping seems to come from the top. The clocktower isn’t built on the roof of the Civic Center. There’s a gap in the ceiling, and the six pillars of the clocktower extend down into the lobby. There’s a also a piston extending from the floor of the lobby right up the center of the clocktower. Unfortunately for Dryden, there’s also a grid of electricity across the clocktower halfway up. Flying straight through that seems bad, so he looks for another way. He uses his third and final Ranged Rope to connect a line from the looby floor to the open skylight. He and Averiela return to the roof and walk up the spiral staircase wrapping around the clock tower. They open a clock face and find the control center! The piston from the floor connects to a fancy chair, allowing it to move from the lobby to this secret control center. The chair is surrounded by panels of status lights, levers and buttons with walls of screens rising above them. Half the screens are blank, but the screens that work show aerial views of Thaumatown beamed back from the Flying Eyes.  The control panels have been damaged and repairs. Some wires are ripped loose, and other wires are patched and bypassed. Figuring out how to operate this control system would be difficult even if it was undamaged, but now it’s a huge mess.

Averiela:  We could fetch Walter to operate this.

Dryden: I don’t think he knows. We should probably disable the robots.

Averiela Keen Senses: Ask a question about your surroundings

Averiela: How do we turn off the robots from this control panel?

Averiela doesn’t have much experience with electronics, but as she sits in the chair and looks at the mess of wires as a whole, she starts to understand it like the roots of a forest. She connects a wire here, cuts a few there, asks Dryden to translate a few magical runes, then connects a jumper cable to an antenna and presses a button! The screens go black one after the other, and looks out over the city, they can see Flying Eyes fall out of the sky. One drops onto the roof of the clock tower with a surprising thud!  Enforcer Droids in the street stop moving. She did it!

Lucia finds her way out of the tunnels below the Civic Center by following the trail of parts from her running battle with the Sentry Droid. She bangs on the heavy metal roller door blocking the door to the lobby. It’s not locked, but it’s just really big and heavy. She has a horse and Averiela has a Unicorn. Maybe the two of them could pull the door open. Maybe Dryden’s Dwarven hammer could smash through the door. Eventually they figure out that none of them are in the lobby, and there’s nothing they need in the tower. Lucia walks out the front door. Averiela and Dryden climb down from the roof. They all meet in the plaza.


Walter arrives with a brand new ladder!

Walter: Great luck! No Enforcer Droids about. Looks like you cleared the way for me!

Lucia’s not sure if he’s actually the elected leader of the town, but she knows how to find out. She presents her Symbol Of Royalty.

Walter: Oh my! You deserve Royal Treatment!

Lucia Royal Treatment: the ruler of a place will offer a meal and a night’s rest

Walter leads them through the streets (much easier without Enforcer Droids giving random orders at every corner) while explaining that monarchy is an outdated form of government, and Lucia should relinquish her rule. She’s not even present to rule her people!  He brings them to a temporary headquarters and proudly presents them to the rest of the elected council!

Walter: Behold, our government’s influence grows! Already with have diplomatic relations with foreign officials!

Everyone chats over dinner

Fill Your Belly: everyone heals one stat

Lucia Speak Softly 10+ ask 3 questions

  • Tell me about the robots: The robots were created to ensure order and increase efficiency. The great Allan a Zham commissioned a brilliant inventor to create the perfect servants for the people.  They started malfunctioning on the day of the wizard battle.
  • What are you doing next? The provisional government will move into the Civic Center and take power. They are sure they can figure out the robot problem and get them back to helping the city. How hard could it be?
  • What should I be wary of? Lucia gets the impression that these council members don’t actually know how to govern. They were present when Allan a Zham announced his abdication and told the people that they should rule themselves. What greater endorsement could they hope for?

Dryden Speak Softly 6- ask 3 questions. 1 answer the hard way, 1 answer unhelpful\

  • Tell me about Allan a Zham. Allan a Zham was a brilliant Wizard who used his powers of foresight to plan ahead and think of everything!
  • Tell me about the other wizard. Different members of the council tell different stories. Some say there were two troublemakers. Some say four. One was definitely a wizard. Was there a ghost with them? Two women, one with a strange light hovering over her shoulder. No matter who were accomplices were, another Wizard came to cause trouble, just as Allan a Zham predicted. Oh, they had a pink dog.
  • What would you have us do: You can go. We’re fine. We have everything under control.

GM note: Despite my innacurate description of the events of the wizard battle, the players figured out that another group of player characters came to town and killed Allan a Zham.

The party retires for the night and talks among themselves. Dryden knows that the man he met in the tunnels is the Brianiac who designed and controlled Thaumatown’s robots. Maybe they could go find him. He told them where he was going last time they met. But is he a good guy? Should he have all that power?  Lucia wonders if the council would accept Brianiac if he returned. The new government is a bit of a mess. How long do the current representatives serve/ Will they have more elections?

Whether Brianiac returns or if the council figures out the control panel, eventually they could get the robots working again. The party decides that the robots are no good and must be shut down forever. Somewhere below the Civic Center, an Artifact of Power distributes power to all the robots. They resolve to delve into those unknown tunnels and take that Artifact of Power!

End of Session move.

  • Did you thoroughly explore a new location? Yes
  • Did you learn more about the world and its people? Yes
  • Did anyone find what they are looking for? Yes

Restore Gear, Restore Gear, Averiela and Lucia level up.

Chasing The Sunset & Ancient Wisdom

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

The party: Dryden of Conwall the Collector/Hunter, Averiela the Elf, Lucia the Brave the Heir

Last time, the party saved the town of Bogden from werewolves. They spent the next week recovering in Bogden

Dryden gains Destiny: Hunter

Party Recovers: remove all marks from health, gear, and spells

The grateful citizens of Bogden offer the party several boons to choose from:

  • Two Platypeople will join the party as companions
  • Anter (the vilage elder) will share her wisdom
  • Shady individuals with certain useful skills will owe them a favor

The party have trouble choosing between these enticing options.  Perhaps they should bring Sallet and Sally (the lycanthropes) along with them, so they can deal with their transformation on the next full moon. The Champ thinks the lycanthropes should be killed to protect the rest of the town.  Eventually they decide that the greatest treasure is knowledge!

Fellowship move: The Elder. Each character asks one question and receives a truthful answer

Lucia: Who built the Moon?

Anter is 85 years old, so she was not born when the Moon appeared 100 years ago, but she memorized the stories passed down from the Elder before her. The Moon was the Dragons’ greatest weapon, but it didn’t work. Shortly after the Moon appeared, the Dragons disappeared.

Dryden: How can I ensure the two werewolves and the whole community are safe.

Anter: The Champ wants to kill them to protect the community, but they are part of the community, so that will not keep the whole community safe. We could exile them so they don’t attack their fellow townspeople, but since they are part of the community, that does not protect the whole community. We could build cages and contain them on the night of the full moon. The best, but most difficult option, is to cure their lycanthropy.

Averiela: How do we stop the greatest threat to the world?

Anter: That’s the Moon’s purpose. Make the Moon work the way it’s supposed to.

Averiela: We should find the Dragons.

Dryden & Lucia: We know where one is.

Dryden explains the method he uses to cure the werewolves last week. He gives Anter two Healing Potions, but the Unicorn Sword (the other half of the ritual) is spent.

GM note: The Unicorn Sword is not part of Dryden’s gear, so it is not affected by the Recover move.

White Sand uses Holy Horn: restore one charge to Unicorn Sword

White Sand uses Infinite Compassion: restore one charge to Unicorn Sword

Averiela’s live Unicorn shares her power with the Unicorn Sword so that Anter can use it on the next full moon. Anter thanks them for their help, then quickly wraps the Unicorn Sword in a cloth and puts it away. Using the horn of a peaceful creature like a Unicorn as a weapon is an atrocity, and Anter’s really uncomfortable looking at it.

Dryden gains location bond with Bogden: I cured the werewolves in Bogden

Bogden Minimum Response Level increases to 1

Bogden Response Move: Bad Weather: rainstorm

Clouds and rain move in as the party finishes Recovering. The clouds and thick sheets of rain reduce visibility, and the ground turns to mud. The Platypeople love this weather, but it’s inconvenient for adventurers used to dry land. Tammeas the giant turtle loves the rain, but Knows Too Much is cranky.

Before they leave, they write on the Bogden Message board.

Lucia: Anter can be an ally. Watch out for Champ. The mayor will talk you to death (metaphorically) Also Sally and Sallet are werewolves (maybe)

Averiela: Whoa, that might cause prejudice!

Lucia crosses out Also Sally and Sallet are werewolves (maybe)

Dryden: If the full moon possess
And healing occurred,
Seek Anter.
Your worth she’ll assess,
If you be not deterred.
I have six words to spare!

Averiela: Do Sally and Sallet have Lycanthropy? Help them.

Lucia and Dryden want to find the Dragon in the Goblin city mentioned by Brianiac.

Averiela: Is that really the last Dragon?

Lucia & Dryden (in unison): It’s the only Dragon we know of.

Dryden: We head for Dragons or the edge of the map, where the water flows up! I’m going to insult that Dragon and bait it into fighting me!

Anter gives directions to the twin volcanoes: take the river that flows out of Bogden south until it connects to the Mighty River. From there, walk overland towards the twin volcanoes visible on the southern horizon. The party prefers the secret tunnels, but worries that the rainstorm has flooded them. The tunnel to Bogden has enough water in it to flow toward the main tunnel, as it did before it collapsed.

Dryden & Averiela Fill Their Bellies & assign the extra healing to White Sand

Just before they leave, they remember that Roddy is still in a cell!  He does not recognize Lucia’s authority, so she can’t order him to do anything.  Dryden tries the diplomatic approach

Dryden Finish Them (Wisdom) Advantage: can’t avoid conversation while imprisoned 10+

Dryden points to White Sand, a live unicorn, and says that Unicorns are noble beasts, but EEE, who adopts the aesthetic of Unicorns by killing them, is evil. Roddy should join the authentic good team. He could be an asset!

Roddy forms bond with Dryden and joins as a Companion

Now they head out for real! They enter the secret underground tunnels and continue south. They approach a fork in the tunnel. Both sides go roughly the same direction, but one has water, and the other does not. Averiela scouts up the dry tunnel and finds a station. These tunnels were a transportation network long ago, and this was a large station with plenty of seating, and a counter that used to provide some amentities, maybe food and drink. All that was long ago, and the stone benches are covered in dust, and all the shelves are empty.  Averiela’s keen Elven vision detects a slip of paper dovered in Dwarven runes: a winning ticket for a lottery that hasn’t operated in centuries. She also finds a secret compartment containing an ornate locked box.

Dryden investigates the box: picking it up, spinning it in his hands, knocking on it. The mechanisms remind him of ancient trap techniques he learned from The Trapper.  Dryden was a student of The Trapper, but never saw his face. Dryden would go to a certain place for a lesson, trigger a trap, then figure out how to get out of it. The last time he went for a lesson, he didn’t get trapped. Instead of a trap, The Trapper left his scrolls explaining his techniques. That’s how Dryden found out that he had graduated.

Averiela: So can you unlock it?

Dryden: Yes and no. I’ll hold all the moving parts in the correct positions, and you should be able to remove the contents. We don’t want to be in a subterranean position to try thing. The trap collapses in like a vaccuum, and wears off in 6-12 hours.

This station has a spiral stone staircase leading to the surface, like the other stations the party has seen in these tunnels. They push back the covering at the top of the stairs, which turns out to be a curtain of flase grass, hiding the entrance in a meadow. They are just south of the Mighty River, which flows west to east. To the east, rapids coming down from huge white mountains, the Treacherous Mountains that Dryden and Lucia crossed not long ago. To the west, the Mighty River flows on for a long way. To the south, twin volcanoes are visible: one smoking, one dormant. On the north bank of the Mighty River is a town.

Averiela: Let’s open this box far from the entrance, so we don’t affect travel. Also far from the town.

Dryden: The radius of a trap this size is only 50 yards.

Drdyen will operate the puzzle box and put just the right pressure on the hidden mechanism on the bottom. Lucia will open the lid and grab what’s inside. Both must be ready to get ot a safe distance at any moment. Dryden has final instructions for Averiela, who is standing well clear.

Dryden: If we get stuck, wait it out. Throw stuff into the effect to use up its energy faster.

Lucia (+Hope w/Dryden assist) Get Away 10+

Everything goes as well as it could, which means Lucia and Dryden dive aside as the box and nearby landscape collapse into a tiny ball, but Lucia holds the prize in her hand!

DM note: Clearly this treasure of the Dwarves would be Dwarf-Made and Precious, but I had the players roll 2 d6s to select more item tags

It’s a Ceremonial Throwing Axe, used to show authority in Dwarven culture. It’s definitely still a weapon, but aesthetics were more important than efficiency. The handle is made of gold and the axe blade is deep blue crystal, sliced from a geode.

New item: Ceremonial Throwing Axe. Dwarf-Made, Precious, Thrown, Clumsy

The party heads to the nearby town of Thaumatown. Its narrow streets are crowded by tall narrow buildings. It seems claustrophobic, and looking closer only intensifies that impression. The streets are packed full of people rushing every which way. Enforcer Droids bark orders and direct traffic, but each Droid gives contradictory orders, pushing people into endless loops and traffic jams. In the air above, metal eys with buzzing wings watch over everyone.

Roddy, Knows Too Much, and White Sand stay at the edge of town. They don’t like crowds. Dryden shows a secret arm signal that indicates trouble. Roddy can watch for it with the scope of his pneumatic gun. Dryden identifies the Enforcer Droids as a public menace, and wants to figure out how to fix them. Maybe there’s a cool reward! As they try to enter the town, an Enforcer Droid warns that they are violating traffic regulations.

Lucia Symbol Of Royalty: grant an audience with anyone

Lucia demands to meet the ruler of this town. The Enforcer Droid recognizes her royal symbol and starts leading her towards a tower at hte back of town, ordering everyone out of it way. Before long, another Enforcer Droid directs Lucia’s Droid into a dead-end alley, then a third Droid closes the main road so they aren’t allowed to leave the alley.

Lucia Symbol Of Royalty: grant an audience with anyone

Lucia sees how this works and orders every Enforcer Droid that gets near her to take her to its leader. Soon an entire formation of Enforcer Droids are leading her to the tower, leaving a sector of town free from their nonsense orders. Living townsfolk cheer in relief. The Enforcer Droids open the doors at the base fo the tower, and Lucia and Dryden go inside. They climb the stairs and reach a study at the top. A balcony provides a great view of the city below.  Bookselves line the walls, and tables are covered in scrolls and parchment. Everything is wrinkled and water-damaged. Most importantly, and most unfortunately, they find the dead body of a Wizard and the knife that must have killed him. This town has no ruler. Hasn’t had one for while, judging by the state of the body.

Chasing The Sunset & Sea Viper

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/Pack Leader

Last time, Stella and Buckle found the owners of the mine from which Buckle got his special powers. Those powers almost got him kidnapped, but instead Stella impressed the giant kidnapper into joining the team.  Theona is an Ogre, the same type of giant that Stella’s people fought (and surrendered to/defeated) in The Giant War back in her homeland.  That gave Stella some confidence when facing Theona, since she had defeated Ogres before.

Stella has a to-do list: find the Halfling that lives in Vieport and tell them they can go home, then find Opal Oolite and tell her she can go home, then find out about this Dragon that supposedly lives up north.  There aren’t many Halflings in Vieport.

Stella Address Book: find a friend in any town

Her address book indicates that a Halfling lives by the docks.  Vieport is an amphibious city, so the shores and the docks are actually in the center of town.  There are normal-looking docks for surface-dwellers and their boats, as well as underwater facilities for Merfolk.

Stella Queen Of The Wild: Command Lore about local wildlife

Merfolk use beluga whales to haul cargo. Sometimes bigger whales stop hear, and the shallow bay has  canals carved into the sea floor to allow those large whales room to swim. Thesurface docks block the light from the whale facilities, so the whales use echolocation to navigate.  Other interesting wildlife near the docks: sea turtles and eels. The eels move in dense schools, head-down to eat small creatures from the sea bed, so they look like mobile clumps of seaweed. The sea turtles are migratory, and when they lay eggs, one egg in every clutch is blue and Precious.

A side view of the port in Vieport. Above the water, a wooden dock for ships on the surface. Below the water, coral grows on the walls of the bay. A large shelf coral has artifical walls under it, trapping a pocket of air. On the bottom of the bay, more dock structures for submerged whales.
Vieport’s docks

As soon as the group approaches the docks, Buckle dives into the water to catch and eat an eel. The water explodes into steam as soon as his superheated body touches it! He can’t swim because his webbed hands evaporate the water instead of pushing against it. Stella appraises the situation. An Elven ship is moored nearby. The Elves walk back and forth on the surface of the water, unloading packages. At hte bottom of the bay, Merfolk swarm around several Beluga whales.  Stella has a plan. If all three Beluga whales swim underneath Buckle and blow from their blowholes, the air pressure will push him back to the surface. But how can show communicate to the Merfolk far below?  She asks the Elves how they co-ordinate with their underwater counterparts. The Elves sing beuatiful songs which carry through the water, and agree to relay Stella’s message

Stella Talk Sense (please blow Buckle back to the surface) 6-

The constant steam explosion is so loud underwater that the Merfolk cannot hear the Elven song!  Buckle lashes out with his flat tail, paddling faster than the water can evaporate.

Buckle Animal Traits: damage tail to gain Hope

Buckle Overcome (+hope) 10+

Buckle rockets to the surface and collapses on the wooden dock, which starts sizzling. It’s treated wood, and it’s wet, so it won’t burst into flame immediately. The Elves are glad to see that he’s safe, but urge him to get off the dock. Buckle is stunned by his experience.

Only now can Stella start looking for the Halfling, named Hamfast. Hamfast is a Halfling term for vegetarian, since the Halfling fasts from ham. Outsiders often confuse it with Hamfest, a celebration when Halflings eat a lot of ham. A small Halfling face pops up from the water. Hamfast has arrived to see about the commotion.

Stella: Hamfast? What are you doing under the water?

Hamfast (a refugee from the Giant War) sees an Ogre standing right behind his fellow Halfling, yelps in fear, and dives under the water.

Stella: Theona, you need to leave. Don’t go far, just don’t be here.

Stella tells Hamfast that the Ogre is gone and it’s safe, but he’s still hesitant. He invites Stella to his underwater home (the air pocket in the map above) Stella confesses that she never learned to swim.

GM note: We’re in a city that’s half underwater and neither of the characters can go in the water? Incredible! Hilarious!

Hamfast talks her through it and encourages her. She only has to hold her breath a short time. Once inside Hamfast’s home, she doesn’t need to swim anymore.

Hamfast Natural Charm (advantage: talk Stella through swimming)

Stella Get Away (+hope) 6-

Stella is mustering her courage, and has waded in up to her knees, when an Eel Merfolk wearing the uniform of the Sea Viper’s soldiers swims up. He reads from a clay tablet in a loud, formal voice. It’s a summons from the Sea Viper, ruler of this city! Stella and her companion are to go immediately to the palace. Stella has a lot of friends and wonders which ones the Sea Viper wishes to meet. The Herald isn’t sure about the rest, but Buckle definitely. Buckle’s not paying attention. He’s slumped on the floor, heartbroken because he can’t go in the water.

Stella: Did you see the commotion? My friend can’t go underwater, so we can’t meet the Sea Viper in his palace.

Stella Talk Sense (+sense) above-water audience? 7-9

Herald: OK, come with me to the palace entrance and I’ll ask about making accommodations.

Buckle is in a stupor of despair, and doesn’t move. Stella puts on leather gloves and drags Buckle after her by the scruff of his neck. The rest of the party (Theona the Ogre, Ugg the Goblin, Rose & Gus the Halflings, Silk The Riding Spider, and the Siege Tank) follow at a distance.

A side view of the Sea Viper's Palace in Vieport. A row col columns lead down the short towards a building that's partially submerged.
The Sea Viper’s Palace

The rows of columns that lead to the entrance of the Sea Viper’s palace are made of several different materials, made at different times. An old palace stood on land, and the oldest columns on land led towards it. The Sea Viper destroyed the old palace, put his new palace in the water, and reversed the direction of the entryway. The Herald goes inside to make arrangements, leaving Stella and Buckle at the shore.

Stella: Buckle, snap out of it. I need your help.

Buckle: I can’t … I’ll never fish again.

Stella: That’s a lack of creativity. You could get a metal fishing pole.

Buckle: I can never go in water.

Stella: But there’s so much you can do now. Look to the future! You can control fire!

Buckle: Seems more a curse than a blessing.

GM note: The Sea Viper wants to harness Buckle’s Heart Of Earth for his own purposes. Will Buckle just give it to him?

Stella: I promise it will get better with practice.

Buckle. I just wanted to eat. How will I eat?

Stella drags Buckle to the edge of the water.

Stella: Buckle, I need you to trust me. Put your hand in the water when I say.

Buckle: It’ll bubble up again.

Stella: Now!

Stella Queen Of The Wild. All beasts (including Eels) are her companions & follow her orders

Buckle sticks his hand in the water and it closes around an Eel! The Eel is instantly cooked in his super-heated grasp.  Buckle stares, then scarfs it down.

Buckle forges a bond with Stella

A strange person pops his head above the water. He’s Human, lanky, and bald. He’s wearing a wetsuit made of shiny scales, so it shimmers and flashes like a fish as he moves. He’s got a clear full-face mask that lets him breathe underwater, and propellers mounted on his shoulders for speed. He’s fascinated by what he just witnessed. Before they can interact much, the Herald emerges from the palace. The Sea Viper, in his great wisdom benevolence, will allow Stella to meet him on the rooftop terrace.  A woman appears on the edge of the roof, a glowing light hovering over her shoulder. She disappears and the glowing light stretches into a bridge from the roof to the ground which Stella, Buckle, the Herald, and the strange bald fellow can walk on.

The rooftop terrace of the Sea Viper's palace. The Sea viper sits on the throne, flanked by Emmett and Robin. Stella and Buckle stand before them. At the back of the terrace stand the Herald and a Group of Eel soldiers.
The rooftop terrace of the Sea Viper’s palace.
  • Sea Viper, boss of Vieport:
    • Threat To The World
    • Hardened Scales
    • Iron Grip
  • Robin, Lantern, Lead Engineer
    • Building Bridges
    • Reveal The Way
  • Emmett, Ghost Expert
    • Master Plan
    • Backup Plan
  • Herald
    • Zealous Fanaticism
    • Reinforcements
    • Blind Faith
  • Naga Guards x12
    • Group
    • Needlepoint Teeth
    • Slippery

The Sea Viper sits on a throne, flanked by advisors. He is an especially large Naga. He keeps growing and nothing has managed to kill him yet, so he’s huge.  Two of his advisors are Robin, the Lantern who created the light bridge, and Emmett, the strange man in the wetsuit. He pulled up his flippers and clipped them to his knees so he can walk on land.  About a dozen guards line the perimeter.

Stella can change size, up to the size of a good chair, and the Sea Viper’s throne is much bigger than that. Buckle walks around, admiring the plants, tapestries, and woven carpets, careful not to actually touch any of the flammable objects on the terrace.  Buckle asks for the bald man’s name.

Emmett: I am Emmett, and I am the Sea Viper’s advisor in matters metaphysical and ectoplasmic.

Sea Viper: Adventurer Stella Muddyfoot, I welcome you to my city of Vieport, and thank you for the service you have rendered to my people. However, I am disappointed that you tarry in turning in the bounty.

Robin: It has so much power! Truly, a boon to the city!

Buckle asks Stella what they are talking about.  Stella sees where this is going and needs a moment to think.

Stella Talk Nonsense (lie with a straight face) 10+

Stella: I recognize the power my friend has, but he fused with it because it’s saving his live. We can’t remove it without killing him. I can’t part with him.

Buckle’s eyes get big as he figures out that the Sea Viper expects Stella to claim the bounty on him! He is the Source Of Power that the Sea Viper Wants!

Stella: If I continue adventuring with Buckle, imagine the other Sources Of Power that we could acquire for the Sea Viper!

Stella Talk Nonsense on a 10+, Sting Like A Bee: Steal Useful item

Robin Reveal The Way: when someone Talks Sense, give advice

Robin: Of course we don’t want to harm him. He should stay here and become the heart of a new powerplant. With the extra power, we could push back the Deathlands and double the size of the city!

Buckle: What’s a powerplant?

Robin starts explains how water is heated to create steam, which turns turbines, but Buckle isn’t listening.

Buckle: Is it heavy?

Robin: Oh, no, you don’t carry it. We’ll build a new building and put you inside it.

Buckle: How long will that take?

Robin: We’ll not to turn the powerplant off! This is a permanent position.

Buckle: You’re putting me in prison?!

Stella’s getting angry. Her Hunter Destiny has made her body a bit more bestial, so her ears flatten a little to show her displeasure.

Emmett: This creature’s power is not only heat, but life! I’m sure I could conduct a ritual to cancel the Deathlands’ curse.

Buckle: Banishing death sounds good.

Stella: I’m not convinced that ghosts aren’t people. Maybe they experience life in a bizarre way I don’t understand.

Robin: But that ritual would surely kill him!

Buckle: Can I bring people back to life?

Emmett: I predict that your Life Energy will balance the Death Energy of the Deathlands, returning it a normal state. Undeath to Death.

Buckle: So the ghosts will die?

Emmett: They’re already dead.

Sea Viper: I will consider the options presented in this council and make a decree later. Herald, the bounty!

The Sea Viper is ending the meeting. He expects Stella to leave, and Buckle to stay. Stella has murder in her eyes. Buckle is so important to her, and these people don’t understand, even though she tried to explain. She remains clam on the outside. Herald approaches Stella with a small pirate chest full of gold. Buckle looks at Stella with big sad eyes.

Stella: I won’t let them take you.

Buckle: Want me to set the roof on fire?

Stella is furious that they don’t respect a living being, She feels cold now.

Stella: Burn it to the ground.

Buckle Firestarter: Anything that you had a chance to plant fuel on bursts into flame

Buckle’s glowing eyes stare into the distance. His body glows brighter, white hot. He raises his arms, and every flammable thing on the terrace roof: tapestries, plants, rugs, explodes in flame! (The whole time he was examining the roof earlier, he was secreting flammable venom from his venomous spurs)

Location Reponse Level increases (collateral damage): Vieport gains Separation move

Location Response Level increases (insult someone in charge): Vieport gains Show Of Force move

Buckle Finish Them (+Blood) vs. Naga guards. advantage: fire everywhere! 7-9

Group of Naga Guards disbanded, replaced with 2 Naga Guards

Emmett quickly hits a series of angular poses, and a blue sphere of energy surrounds him.

Emmett Backup Plan: Magical Barrier against heat & flame

Outside the palace, Theona sees the smoke rising from the palace and urges the companions to come and help.

Most of the guards are consumed in the explosion or flee. One Naga Guard and Herald rush Buckle. Herald throws the chest of gold at him. The other Naga Guard moves to attack Stella.

Buckle Overcome 6-

Buckle catches the chest, but it’s really heavy. he’s knocked to the ground and pinned. A foolish attempt!

Buckle’s Wisdom is damaged

Stella draw her halfing sword for the first time. She’s not sure if she should fight the Naga Guard, or help Buckle. She worried for him and doesn’t know his power. She decides to rush to his side.

Stella Get Away 6-

The Naga Guard darts out with its strange Eel-like body and clamps its jaws onto Stella, stopping her in place.

 Stella’s Wisdom is damaged (necrotic)

Buckle grabs the chest of gold and it catches fire. The gold inside starts to melt. Buckle stands up and projects a blast of intense fire from his chest, blasting molten gold at the Herald like a claymore mine. The Herald is just gone!

Buckle Dragonfire: vaporize anyone or anything except a Threat To The World

The Sea Viper rises up from his throne. He can’t believe the disrespect these adventurers are showing. How dare they behave this way, when he invited them to his home, gave them special accommodations? They could have been heroes of the city, but they betrayed his trust!

Sea Viper Separation: one member of the Fellowship is separated from the others

He pulls a lever hidden in the arm of his throne and a trapdoor opens under Buckle, dropping him into the water-filled chamber below! Another Group of Naga Guards awaits. But he’s still super-heated, so the water explodes into steam and the Naga Guards can’t approach him. He sinks to the bottom and starts walking towards the big doors at the front of the palace.

Outside the palace, the companions have arrived!

Theona Tossed Aside: throw something.

Theona grabs the Siege Tank and throws it up to the roof!

Stella Get Away 10+ avoid harm, avoid notice

Stella uses the confusion to escape the Naga Guard and get inside the Siege Tank. She starts the engine and drives full speed at the Sea Viper!

Sea Viper Show Of Force: damage Siege Tank’s Heavily Armored

Stella Pack Leader: allies’ actions give Hope to Finish Them

Stella Finish Them (+Blood) +Hope, advantage: Siege Tank Spikes and Steel 6-

The Sea Viper bravely faces the onrushing Seige Tank, then slithers aside at the last moent, slashing the treads as he passes. The Siege Tank grinds to a halt, barely holding together. The Sea Viper starts beating on its armored shell, prying plates off to get at Stella!

Down below, Buckle reaches the door and heats it until he can bend a corner and slip through.

Buckle Overcome 7-9

Stella is depsarately looking through her gear as the Sea Viper tears through the wall of the Siege Tank.

Stella useful item: Lantern

When the Sea Viper comes in, she dazzles him by igniting a bright lantern that she stole from Robin earlier. She decides to fight, not flee, and attacks with her sword.

Stella Finish Them (+Courage) advantage: dazzled 7-9

Sea Viper’s Hardened Scales are damaged

She slashes across his chest, breaking through a layer of scales, but his flesh is untouched!  He reaches out a powerful hand. Stella tries to duck under it and exit the Siege Tank.

Stella Get Away: 6-

No good! She’s grabbed.

Down on the surface, Buckle meets the companions.

Buckle: Did Stella make it? We have to go get her!

Buckle Overcome 10+

He climbs the columns and leaps from column to column to reach the roof. Theona is big enough to follow easily, but the Goblin and Halfings will need more time.

Back on the roof, the Sea Viper drags Stella out of the tank. The two remaining Naga Guards approach.

Sea Viper: How dare you attack me in my own home. Look at the damage you’ve caused! You are not the first to attack me. All of them failed, just as you have!

He throws her to the ground between the Naga Guards. Meanwhile, Buckle applies War Paint and orders Theona into the fray.

Buckle War Paint Rampage: toss aside enemies within reach

Theona Stronger Than Is Reasonable: pin Sea Viper

Theona pays a price to act against Threat To The World: damage Larger Than Life

Theona Bonds That Break Us: erase a bond with Buckle, since she took damage from his order

Buckle rushes in and tosses the Naga Guards away from Stella. Theona grabs the Sea Viper’s shoulder and tail and spreads her arms wide, stretching the Sea Viper out in a vulnerable and uncomfortable manner!

Buckle Pay A Price to act against Threat To The World: damage Venomous Spurs

Buckle secretes flammable venom on his hands and strikes the Sea Viper. A moment after the impact, the Buckle’s hands explode in flame!

Buckle Finish Them +Blood (advantage: pinned by Theona) 7-9

Sea Viper’s Iron Grip is damaged

GM note: I had to read the rules very carefully, because the Sea Viper, Siege Tank, and Theona all had all stats damaged. Were they Taken Out, or barely standing?  Taken Out triggers when all stats are damaged and the character takes damage again, so I ruled that they are barely standing.

GM note: The Taken Out move only applies to player characters. The section on “Threatening the Fellowship” says “An enemy that has had all its stats damaged is destroyed” Oops!

Stella was flat on her back, and heard Buckle rampage past her. She rises and grips her sword.

Buckle: I’ll grab. You stab!

The little Platyperson grapples the much larger but injured Sea Viper. The Sea Viper feels the heat from Buckle’s grip and tries to get away.

Buckle Pay A Price to act against a Threat To The World: damage Webbed Hands

Buckle Keep Them Busy: 10+

Stella: This ends now!

Stella Finish Them (+Blood) 6-

As Stella charges, the Sea Viper slaps her sword aside with the tip of his tail. He wrenches free from Buckle’s grip and dives from the roof to the water below. At some point in the battle, Robin formed a bridge to retreat from the roof. Emmett is still maintaining his Magic Barrier.

Emmett: You can’t hurt me, you monster!

Buckle: You work for that thing, and you call me a monster?

Emmett reconsiders the situation, drops his Magic Barrier, turns on the fans at his shoulders and hips, and dives backwards off the roof into the water below.

The battle is over!  Stella and Buckle stand on the burning roof of the palace, in the center of Vieport. The Siege Tank is barely in one piece, and Theona’s badly hurt and has lost faith in their mission. She won’t take orders from them anymore. Fleeing the city seems prudent, but on one side is the ocean, and on the other, electrical fences and beyond that, hordes of ravenous ghosts. How are they going to get out of this one?



Did we explore a new location: YES, Vieport

Did we learn about the world & its people: YES, Adventurer Club, ghost curse, generators

Did anyone reach their goal: YES Stella is bringing the Oolites home like she wants to bring halfing refugees home.

Restore Gear, Heal, Heal

Chasing The Sunset & The Cure

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

The party: Dryden of Conwall the Collector, Averiela the Elf, Lucia the Brave the Heir

Last time, Averiela joined Dryden and Lucia and they found a secret underground tunnel and talked their way past an armored crocodile. Now that the crocodile has left, they can either go back the way they came from or press on. Of course they go forward into the unknown!  Dydren, Lucia, and their companions ride on the back of a giant pod turtle. Averiela is walking on the surface of the water (a perk of being an Elf) and carrying her wolf (Knows too Much) across her shoulders. Her unicorn (White Sand) is on the surface, awaiting magical communication from Averiela to know where to go. They travel quite way down the dark tunnel, following the current caused by the slight slope in the tunnel.

They come upon another tunnel that joins theirs from the right. The water in that tunnel is stagnant. It slopes up away from them, but there’s no more water coming down. Eventually, the slope of the tunnel will rise above the water level. There’s light at the end of the tunnel, but too far away to make out what it is.

GM note: False choices are bad, but I ended up giving the party two in a row. Do you want to see a new thing that might be fun, or not have fun?

Lucia wants to investigate the side tunnel, so Dryden has to come along, because they are on the same turtle. As soon as they enter the side tunnel, Lucia is struck by metal spike, and half a second later, they hear an echoing “thunk” like a giant bottle of wine being opened, and some scrambling and clattering of stone.

Roddy (Sharpshooter) Eagle Eye: damages Lucia’s Wisdom

Lucia sighs, because she should have expected that. Dryden picks up the “supersonic knitting needle” and puts it in his cloak next to the other one. Averiela (who didn’t see Roddy in action) is shocked and concerned for Lucia.

Lucia: Hello, Roddy! I’m so happy to see you again. Hoping to come find you. Do you want some tea?

Roddy (Sharpshooter) Social Anxiety: retreat from people talking to him

Averiela sends Knows Too Much down the tunnel to scout and report back

Knows Too Much (Wolf) Pack Hunter: advantage, gather information from afar

Averiela Look Closely 7-9

Knows Too Much swims to the end of the water, and walks up the tunnel. The ceiling has collapsed, so there’s a pile of rubble and a hole open to the sky above. Knows Too Much climbs up and sees a flat plain with a few trees and bushes scattered around. One of the nearby bushes smells like meat and has a long metal tube sticking out of it. Roddy retreated from the tunnel, but is covering the entrance, so if a person sticks their head up, Roddy will shoot them. A good distance away, a group of Platypeople spot Knows Too Much and move aggressively towards him. They are specifically hunting wolves! Unlucky! Knows Too Much runs back down the tunnel and tells Averiela what he’s seen, but those Platypeople won’t be far behind.

Dryden tells Tammeas, his giant turtle, to come out of the water and take a nap. Everyone is on the dry floor of the collapsed tunnel.  Dryden readies the wands they are using for light for their alternate use as one-time flashbangs!  He got this idea from New Year’s party supplies and used it to escape detection back in the palace. The key is that the the projectile makes a ‘pop’ sound that makes people look shortly before exploding in a blinding flash. Dryden gets close to the tunnel exit and fires the wand up to blind Roddy.

Dryden Keep Them Busy 6-

The wand goes off prematurely and Dryden blinds himself!  Two Platypeople climb down into the tunnel, close enough to menace Dryden with a torch and pitchfork.

Meanwhile, Averiela has sent Knows Too Much far down the tunnel to avoid the hunters.

Averiela Elder Arts Camouflage: become invisible

She walks invisibly past the Platypeople coming down into the tunnel. She knows where Roddy is hiding and sees him turning to aim at the other two Platypeople still above ground. He wasn’t expecting people to approach from that direction!

Averiela Finish Them (Grace) Advantage: invisible 10+ Taken Out

She takes a moment to determine the location of Roddy’s neck through his ghillie suit, then gives him a nerve pinch that knocks him out instantly!

Back in the tunnel, Lucia hails the Platypeople.

Lucia: Hello, Platypeople! We are friends! I am Lucia the Brave of the Forgotten Lands, and I’m exploring these lands with my companions.

Lucia Symbol Of Royalty: grants an audience with anyone

Platyperson hunter: You must go to the Mayor. And quickly. Night will be here soon, and with night, the Werewolves!

Averiela: Werewolves? You two drag me into the worst situations!

Two of the hunters will escort the party to the nearby town of Bogden, and the other two will continue to hunt for the wolf they saw earlier. Dryden fears for the safety of the other animal companions.

Dryden: How do you feel about giant turtles?

Platyperson hunter: I hear some grow so large they can fit a castle on their backs!

The party continues to be shifty and try to prevent the hunters from going down the tunnel and finding Knows Too Much.

Averiela: Can’t we just come clean?

Dryden: There is a wolf on my turtle’s back.

Averiela: Wolf, not Werewolf.

Dryden: I have never known a Werewolf to ride a turtle

Dryden Talk Sense (+hope for Averiela’s assistance) “Don’t kill our wolf” 7-9

The Platypeople won’t kill him, but they will place Knows Too Much in custody for the night, just to be sure. That’s what they are doing to the other suspected Werewolves. As they all walk towards the town, Dryden and Averiela provide glowing character references for Knows Too Much. Averiela carries the unconscious Roddy and signals White Sand to come to her.

Averiala Elder Arts: Whisper On The Wind. Send a short message

The town of Bogden

Fairmeadow is a town that contains a fairground, but Bogden is a fairground that contains a town. Platypalooza is a huge event for Platypeople everywhere and the population quadruples during the yearly celebration.

When they reach town, the hunters put Knows Too Much in one of six cells that are set up outside the stadium. One contains a Platyperson, one contains a Human with two other Humans visiting. Roddy and Knows Too Much are placed in the next two, and two more are empty. Each cell is about 2 meters on a side, made of bamboo jammed into the ground, and covered with a roof.  Each cell stands alone, several meters from the next cell, so if any of the occupants do turn into Werewolves, they won’t be able to grab and bite their neighbors.

Mayor Belvo greets Queen Lucia The Brave and her companions, and prepares a banquet for them. Alas, Platypalooza last month was disrupted by Werewolf attacks (the reason for the increased vigilance tonight) and all the vendors fled prematurely. Usually Platypalooza buys all the leftover food, but now they are regretably a bit short.

Bogden location stat: Famine. When the party Fills Their Belly, one character must pay a price

Dryden Pay A Price: 1 food

Dryden contributes some of his food so that everyone has enough. He also works on his magical collections a bit

Dryden Workaholic: spend 1 food to restore or switch gear

Bogden location stat: Famine. When the party Fills Their Belly, one character must pay a price

Dryden Pay A Price: 1 food

He sees a small Platyperson child looking at his extra portion with big sad eyes, and he can’t resist.  Using his knowledge of traditional Platyperson food, he selects a Fried Giant Spider Leg On A Stick to give to the child. Dryden insists that the Giant Spider Leg is still “squeaming” and his companions insist that “squeaming” is not a word at all, and it’s certainly not the action that makes people “squeamish”

Belvo explains that Platypalooza is the biggest Platyperson cultural celebration around, and last month it was disrupted by Werewolves! The Werewolves were all slain, but three people were bitten, and all the festival-goers fled in a panic. Two of the bite victims were locked up in the cells outside, and the third victim is missing. Maybe they were one of the vistors and fled in the confusion.

After this useful story, Belvo won’t shut up, but Lucia corners him in conversation, matching each of his stories with a story about her travels.

Belvo Mixed-Metaphor-a-Minute: will damage Sense by talking

Lucia Keep Them Busy 7-9

GM note: I ruled that, instead of distracting Belvo temporarily, Lucia was able to limit the damage to herself, which is more like the 7-9 result of Overcome (pay a price to take the 10+ result) It made sense in the fiction.

Averliela wants to know more about the Werewolf situation and seeks out a wise Platyperson. She finds Anter, a village elder. She tells Averiela that when the full moon rises at sunset, which is quite soon now, normal people who have been bitten will transform into Werewolves and rampage. The webs on their hands pull back, revealing big claws!  Their bills thicken and spout horrible fangs!  A bite will cause a victim to turn into a Werewolf on the next full moon, if they survive. Not everyone survives a Werewolf attack.  She also points out that Belvo is excusing himself from the dinner party, supposedly on official business, but really to hide in his home from the werewovles. Belvo’s a coward.

Dryden ponders how to cure a Werewolf. He does have a unicorn sword with healing powers. Unicorns are creatures of healing, opposed to Werewolves, creatures of destruction. A Werewolf’s bite pierces and injects a contaminant unwillingly. If a victim willingly took a healing potion, then was pierced by a unicorn’s healing horn, the healing in the horn could combine with the healing in the victim’s system and overcome the curse!

GM note: It’s clever and costs a lot of resources, including both charges of the Unicorn Sword, which are not easily regained, plus Dryden has to fight Werewolves to administer the cure, so I was convinced that this was an appropriate solution.

While Dryden explains his plan and gives his healing potions to the two prisoners, Lucia looks around for sources of evil.

Lucia The Forgotten Lands unique feature: Detect Evil

The prisoners seem kind of evil, but not really, like the evil is hidden or overlapping with something. She detects evil clearly from a large Platyperson pacing back and forth at the entrance of the town, spoiling for a fight. Also at the entrace of the city, White Sand arrives.

The sun sets and the two prisoners in the cells turn into Werewolves! The human prisoner’s friends are close to the cage one is grabbed by the Werewolf!

Lucia Get Away 7-9 bring someone along

Lucia grabs the human and pulls her free, but the Werewolf slashes Lucia with its claws.

Werewolf damages Lucia’s Blood

Averiela Elder Art Stardust

Averiela blows a puff of stardust from her fingertips into the Werewolf’s face, and it collapses in magical slumber.  Dryden asks the humans were their friend was bitten, and stabs he sleeping Werewolf in that same spot with the Unicorn Sword.

Dryden Finish Them Sense (advantage: asleep) 10+Taken Out!

When the healing energy of the Unicorn sword enters the Werewolf and meets the healing energy inside, there’s a flash of brilliant light that momentariloy makes the entire circulatory system glow through the Werewolf’s fur.  It’s hruts for a moment, then the monster’s body shrinks into its normal human form.

The group moves to the next cell, where the Werewolf is tearing at the bars.  Dryden sets up a dart trap pointed at the cell, and Averiela tries to interfere with the Werewolf’s escape.

Averiela Keep Them Busy 6-

She gets too close and the Werewolf’s claws catch her and pull her against the bars. Lucia rushes in and together they overpower the wolf and pull free

Averiela Get Away (+aid Lucia) hope 10+ avoid harm

Dryden fires the dart trap. Inside the small cage, the were wolf can’t really dodge

Dart Trap poison: Werewolf is sluggish, giving Hope to deal with it.

Dryden Finish Them (sense) advantage: poisoned in a cage. hope 10+ Taken Out!

Dryden steps in and stabs the Werewolf with the Unicorn Sword. Again, the two healing energies meet, mix, and dispel the curse. As the last of the healing energy in the Unicorn Sword is spent, it releases a pulse that smells like warm spring grass.  Both Werewolves in the cells have been cured.

The group hears screams from elsewhere in the village.  The third Werewolf victim was hiding here all along!  Averiela wants Knows Too Much released, so Lucia gives the order, and it is done!

Lucia Yes, My Liege: those of lower rank obey Lucia without question

They run towards the source of the sound, and see an injured Platyperson stagger out of a house. The Champ, the large and evil Platyperson Lucia noticed earlier, is also running towards the house.

GM note: I linked the floor plan of a house in the teleconference

Dryden and Champ enter the Great Room via the south door.  Lucia enters the Great Room from the east door. Averiela enters the Studio Bedroom, also from the east porch. Averiela geussed correctly, and sees a bed with broken restraints, a Werewolf, and Sally (a Platyperson) in imminent danger!  Stardust is no good, since Sally is panicing and her screams would wake the werewolf as soon as Averiela put it to sleep.

Averiela Keep Them Busy 6-

Averiela whips out her bow and fires several arrows to deter the Werewolf. One nicks the creature, but not enough to distract it from grabbing and biting poor Sally.  Lucia is next to arrive, running in through the bedroom door, reversing her grip on her longsword and aiming a knock-out blow with the pommel towards the Werewolf’s skull

Lucia Finish Them (Sense) +despair 7-9

Werewolf damages Tough As Nails

The Werewolf staggers and drops Sally, then stands up and turns to attack Lucia. The Champ enters the room at high speed and delivers a vicious tail slap to knock the Werewolf away.

Dryden’s knockout bolas (Melee, Dangerous, Clumsy) + Magical Collection (+Ranged tag) + Curious Curios: Fast (-Clumsy tag)

Dryden prepares his space-warping knockout-gas bolas for a quick strike from outside the room.

Dryden Finish Them (Sense) advantage: kicked by The Champ 10+ Taken Out!

The bolas entangle the Werewolf and spew debilitating gas, knocking the Werewolf unconscious. The cloud of gas spreads, threatening everyone in the Studio Bedroom: Averiela, The Champ, Lucia, and Sallet. Lucia warns Averliela and they dive out the door together onto the porch.

Averiela Get Away (+aid Lucia) hope 10+ avoid harm

The Champ and Sallet both collapse.  Quiet settles over the village. The Werewolf attack is over. Dryden leaves the bolas out for the rest of the night, until the Werewolf turns back into Sallet: the son of Sally and Froob (the injured Platyperson who fled the house)

Averiela wants to find Patient Zero and figure out this Werewolf curse. She tries to get information out of Froob, who was clearly hiding a bite victim and put himself and the whole town at great risk.

Averiela: We need you to be honest. We’re not trying to get you in trouble.

Averiela: Speak Softly 6- Ask 3 questions. 1 untrue answer, 1 unhelpful answer

Averiela will not be able to gather any clues from the Werewolf that bit Sallet. It was killed by a high-speed flaming log, which completely destroyed the body.  Froob is only thinking about his son and finding a cure.  Averiela notices potions and chemistry equipment in the house. Perhaps Froob is turning to dark magic in his obsessive quest.

GM note: The players intend to stay in Bogden to Recover, and foiling the Werewolf attack gives them the Fellowship of the Platypeople, which will grant everyone a fellowship move, and unlock a few Destiny Playbooks. Too much to deal with at the late hour. We agreed to handle this at the beginning of next session and said good night.

GM note: This session could have been a lot more interesting! Stuff I missed, or which was overcome by accident

  1. Dryden’s Unicorn Sword is an atrocity. People should have reacted to it.
  2. Didn’t push the personalities of the Werewolf prisoners
  3. No investigation for the missing third Werewolf victim
  4. Werewolves are easy to defeat when locked in small cages
  5. Champ was going to kill all the infected, but Dryden unintentionally knocked him out before he could try.

Chasing The Sunset & Adventurers’ Club

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/Pack Leader

Last time, Buckle & Stella flew into Vieport on the back of a giant turtle. A whole city to explore! The river meets the ocean in the center of the city, which extends past the shore onto the seafloor. The land portion of the city is surrounded by tall towers with lightning flashing between them. The underwater portion of the city is mostly populated by Mer-Folk, and the dry portions have a mix of terrestrial species. The palace of the Sea Viper, ruler of the city, starts on an island in the middle of the city and extends down into the water.

A map of Vieport, showing the lightning barrier, palace, Adventurer's Club, and Bertha.
A map of Vieport, showing the lightning barrier, palace, Adventurer’s Club, and Bertha.

Buckle isn’t sure about Mer-Folk. He remembers being hunted by one in another city. Stella is curious about the lightning barriers.

Stella Look Closely 6-

The towers are an effective barrier around the city. Anything trying to cross the lightning barrier would be electrocuted. The towers are 40 feet tall, higher than the buildings, which are mostly 3 storeys tall. Cables from the top of each tower go over the buildings toward some central point, probably a power plant.  Stella notices that a brick chimney on a nearby building is leaning on a power cable, straining it. A broken cable would open a gap in the barrier around the city and threaten everything near the live end of the broken cable!  Stella wants Buckle to fix the wire, but the upper storeys of the building are wood, so Buckle would set the building on fire if he climbed to the roof.

Stella knocks on the door of the building. An Elf opens the door and is amazed by Buckle, who glows. Buckle shrugs. They warn him that his chimney is threatening a power cable. He’s worried that he’s be an appetizer for ghosts, and runs to get help, following the cable deeper into the city.  Neighbors hear the commotion and start looking out of windows to see what’s going on.  Buckle examines the building to see what their options are.

Buckle Look Closely 10+

It’s a three-storey building. The ground storey is made of stone, but the upper storeys are wooden. The top storey has double doors and a stout post with a pulley. If they had rope, they could access the third storey directly from the street.  The chimney is crumbling from disrepair. Trying to push it away from the cable or prop it up might make it collapse entirely. Getting close to the power cable risks electrocution.

Stella: So what am I supposed to do? I’m not electricity-proof.

They consider waiting for the Elf to come back with help. This is a major infrastructure project. Surely the city has engineers that are trained to make repairs. On the other hand, their brand new Siege Tank has many experimental one-time-use weapons, and one is a big grappling hook that could pull the chimney down from the relative safety of the street.  Stella takes the controls!

Stella Overcome 7-9 (pay a price for 10+)

The Siege Tank’s grappling hook hits the chimney and retracts, pulling the chimney down away from the cable. Bricks fall from the roof into the street, causing some collateral damage, but the power cable is intact!

Stella: Buckle, did you see that! Did you see that?

Buckle: Well done. That was a little scary.

Three Engineers arrive from the direction that the Elf homeowner fled in.  One is a Lantern, an inter-dimensional creature that projects a humanoid hologram to interact with the material world.  Her name is Lucy, and she transforms into a rainbow bridge from the street to the roof for her two colleagues to access the roof.  They see that the threat has been dealt with, and Lucy bridges down to talk to Buckle and Stella. She thanks them for protecting the city, and says there is an Adventurers’ Club that welcomes reckless but mostly effective do-gooders like themselves.  They ask if she has done any adventuring herself, but Lucy says that keeping the Ghostlands out is more important than fist-fighting a dragon or whatever.  Buckle suspects that this creature of light with an artificial body is somehow involved with all the robots and giant mirrors they have encountered recently. Stella is split between finding the Dwarves who used to own the mine they just saved, and investigating the Adventurers’ Club. She asks Lucy some more questions.

Stella Speak Softly 7-9

Lucy doesn’t know about metal dwarves, but a giant mirror did just arrive in town, floating down the river from Sugar’s Crossing. After Lucy wraps up safety checks her, she’s going to get down before sunset to avoid the werewolves.

Buckle: More werewolves?

Lucy: More?

Buckle: We had to throw a log through one at Platypalooza. It was on fire.

Stella and Buckle take their leave. Stella wants to find the Oolite Dwarves, but Buckle convinces her to go to the Adventurers’ Club for food and a place to stay. The Adventurers’ Club is on the west side of the river. They cross a bridge and are sassed by a Naga guard. The guards in Sugar’s Crossing on the night of the jailbreak were guards from Vieport, so Stella and Buckle know what to expect.

The Adventurers’ Club is a large stone building with a grand entrance. Inside, there are canals running alongside the hallways, because this is an amphibian building for both terrestrial and aquatic creatures. The person who greets them when the enter is a Mer-Folk names Fred. His fish half is like a Betta fish, so his scales shift from deep red to purple, and he has long showy fins and hair.  He asks if Stella has captured Buckle. He’s embarrassed to learn of his error, that Buckle is a fellow adventurer. He impresses on them the elite status of the adventurers, and says they must complete a great and difficult quest to join.

Buckle: We’ve released the prisoners of a Sorceress, captured a changeling who was ruling a town in disguise, killed a Kraken, deactivated an army of metal dwarves, and just destroyed a superlaser.

Fred is very impressed, but he needs proof of their accomplishment.  Buckle offers the Kraken beak that he collected as a trophy of the battle.

GM note: that’s from the very first session. He’s been carrying that the entire time!

Fred adds the Kraken beak to the wall of trophies and welcomes Stella and Buckle to the Adventurers’ Club. There’s a new member’s handbook, supper is being served in the cafeteria, and they can claim a room to stay overnight. There’s even valet parking for the Siege Tank.

Prominently displayed in the middle of the Adventurers’ Club is the Bounty Board, which lists difficult tasks worthy of mighty adventurers.

  • A Dragon to the north is challenging all comers to single combat.
  • Far to the Northeast, a dinosaur is troubling a town.
  • Scout the Dead Forest, from which none have returned
  • Uncover the mystery of the lights by the moon
  • Standing reward for any source of power

Stella starts to comment on the Source Of Power job, but Buckle shushes her.

Buckle: I’ll be tossed in a bag again!

They go to the cafeteria to eat and to meet the other Adventurers. Only two are at the Club tonight. Most are out doing great deeds for glory. The Exterminator is human-sized, but completely covered in armor made from the exo-skeletons of large insects. They wears a gas mask and helmet, and are drinking a smoothie through a port in the mask.  The other adventurer is Theona the Giant, standing outside the second-storey window and reaching inside through a large open window to the table on which her large platters of food rest.

Buckle: Should we call you Termie or Nater?

Buckle Speak Softly 6-

The Exterminator is not amused, but Theona has some information for Buckle. Tonight Theona and The Exterminator will go out at night to hunt the werewolves that plague the town. As far as they know, there are about four werewolves, although that can change, since lycanthropy is contagious.  Theona recommends that Stella and Buckle come out and fight with her tonight. No need to worry, the Adventurers’ Code forbids acting against other members of the Club. Buckle checks the Handbook, and sees rules against poaches quests, and other rules to keep Adventurers from clashing.  Dinner is over and the sun is setting.

Buckle: Should we hole up or go wreak havoc?

Stella: The werewolves at Platypalooza were an unpleasant encounter. How bad is the werewolf situation in Vieport?

Theona: There are only a handful of the creatures. More glory for us if you don’t fight. Sleep wlth with your night light.

She points to Buckle, who constantly glows with volcanic heat.  Theona and The Exterminator gear up for battle and head out to patrol the streets, while Buckle and Stella retire to a room. The divide the night into five watches: Buckle, Stella, Gus, Rose, and Ugg. Near dawn, during Ugg’s watch, Theona’s giant hand crashes through the window!  Ugg leaps into action!

Ugg’s Bigger ‘n’ You pins Theona’s arm for a moment

This gives the rest of the team time to wake up and react.

Buckle Get Away 7-9 (avoid harm)

Buckle flees out the door and hides in the corridor, but he glows, so his position is obvious.  Stella wishes she had more time to pick a tactic, but she has to act now before Theona gets free.  She jumps on Silk’s back…

Silk Wall Crawler

…and crawls up the arm that Ugg has pinned to get in Theona’s face.

Stella’s Pack Leader: hope to Finish Them when advantage comes from allies

Stella Finish Them (Wisdom, show error of their ways) Advantage: Theona can’t get away and must listen. 10+

Stella: Stop! We’ve already saved you and the city from ghosts. We let you have the glory from hunting werewolves. We don’t want to use more force.

Theona has a very hierarchical worldview based on power. The strong overpower the weak, like she thought she was doing to these tiny newcomers. Restraint is almost alien to her. If Ugg (a goblin who comes up to Theona’s knees) is able to pin her arm, and the Stella thinks she doesn’t need to prove her superiority with violence, these people must be unthinkably powerful! Theona is glad she wasn’t immediately killed.

Stella forms a bond with Theona. Theona becomes Stella’s companion

GM note: Oh wow, Finish Them with Wisdom is very powerful. Stella earned it, though!

Stella: Why did you attack us?

Theona: The Sea Viper offers a bounty for any Source of Power, and Buckle is clearly a Source of Power.

Buckle slinks back into the room, still glowing, not subtle. Theona apologizes profusely.

Buckle: You’re not the first. you won’t be the last. At least you didn’t put me in a bag.

Theona replaces the window she smashes with a section of fence. The groundskeeper is not going to be happy about this. Ugg’s watch was the last watch before dawn, so everyone just stays awake until dawn.  Now they can work on their reason for coming to this town: finding the Oolite Dwarves.

Stella: Point me to some dwarves!

Theona: Do you want me to bring you some dwarves?

Stella: No! No kidnapping! Just tell me where they hang out in this city.

Vieport is cosmopolitan so there are communities of most of the species in the city, but there’s now Dwarf ghetto where all the Dwarves live together.  However, there is a Dwarf Cultural Center, which is a good place to start.  Theona leads the team to a field cows and sheep grazing on it. The Dwarf Cultural Center is underground, of course.  Once inside they meet Klaus, an old Dwarf with a long white beard. He tells them about the history of Dwarves in Vieport and how they dug the foundations of the lightning towers that surround the city.  The Lightning Barrier is necessary to keep out the Deadlands. Anything that dies out there turns into a ghost that attacks the living. it’s a problem that exacerbates itself, and there’s not much left alive in the Ghostlands now.  Ghosts can’t pass through the Lightning Barrier, and they can’t swim, so the river is safe for traffic.

Stella: Is everyone from around here?

Klaus: I don’t know what you mean.

Stella: We’re looking for a family of Dwarves called Oolite.

Klaus: I can’t just give out addresses to strangers, but I can pass a message along.

Stella: Tell them, “We stumbled across your mine. Metal Dwarves had become aggressive and taken over. That situation has been remedied.” They can find us by looking for Theona.  Also, do you know that Halfing that lives in Vieport?

Klaus does not know a Halfling, and does not understand the message, but will relay it.

Stella’s foreign coins (Precious)

Buckle buys a Dwarven Dictionary with Stella’s money and they leave the Dwarven Cultural Center. They see the sights for a while, then another Dwarf rushes up to Theona. It’s Flint Oolite!

Flint: Is it true? Is the mine safe?

Buckle: It’s true, and my glowing eyes are the proof!

Flint is very confused. They explain their adventures in the Oolite Mine.

Flint: If only Opal were here. This was her dream.

Flint explains that Opal was ambitious and made it her life’s mission to restore the clan’s former glory, when the rest of the Oolites were resigned to living in obscurity. The last Flint knew, Opal was in Fairmeadow, north of here and east of Sugar’s Crossing. Stella, a completionist, doens’t know which quest to pursue. Her mission is to find all the Halflings, but she also wants to find Opal. Opal needs to know she can go home, just like the Halflings need to know they can return home.

Chasing The Sunset & Averiela

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

The party: Dryden of Conwall the Collector, Averiela the Elf, Lucia the Brave the Heir

GM note: A player had been recounting stories from our adventures to a relative for a while, so I invited that relative to join.

Introducing Averiela the Elf. Her name means “Truth Seeker”.  She’s 1,300 years old and lives in an ancient realm hidden in the deep forest.  She’s 5’10” and has deep eyes, like looking into time itself.  Those eyes, and her braided hair, are hidden under the hood of her color-changing cloak. Usually the change in color is decorative, but she can empower it with her Elven magic to perfectly match the surroundings and make her invisible. She travels with a pet wolf, Nose-Too-Much, and a unicorn whose true name is untranslatable, so she calls it Whitesand. She and her people only venture from the forest rarely, but on a previous outing, Whitesand met Dryden when he was coming to this continent and searching for Lucia. Dryden took a mold of Whitesand’s hoofprint in the clay of a riverbank, and Whitesand touched the hoofprint with its horn, adding a sparkling star-shape to it.

GM note: 1,300 years old? I don’t have notes that go that far back, but I have to reveal the obvious things that happened 100 years ago that even a secluded Elf would notice, like the disappearance of the Dragons, and the appearance of the Moon.

Last time, Lucia and Dryden stumbled into a hunting expedition which spread into a confused melee, but everyone retreated and they were left alone on the battlefield. Dryden and Lucia search for the pieces of Dryden’s flying disc, which was destroyed with a flick of Haku’s powerful tail.

Lucia Look Closely 6-

Lucia sees a piece near the lake that Roddy retreated into, but she kicks it down the hill in front of her and chases it until it falls in the water and disappears. Out in the middle of the lake, she sees bubbles rise to the surface. The bubbles stop, but reappear after a few seconds. Their timing is regular. Suspicious.  Now that she’s down by the shore, she’s on the other side of a chest-high boulder and sees a hole in this side of the rock that leads down into the ground.

Averiela is over the next hill. She sensed a deep evil and set out to make it right. Nose-Too-Much indicates that familiar people are nearby! She and her pets come over the hill and see Dryden and Lucia. Averiela greets them from afar. Dryden returns the traditional hunter’s greeting. (It’s the Vulcan salute)

GM note: Seeking a deep evil? I have several to choose from! Please integrate your personal quest into my lore!

Lucia explains that they were just in an interesting battle. Averiela heard that battle from across the Singing Hills.  Unfortunately, the pieces of the flying disk are lost. Dryden will have to start from scratch to build a new one.

Lucia: That flying disk has gotten us out of many a sticky situation.

The three humanoids have gathered at the mysterious boulder.

Dryden: There’s a poorly misguided but very talented sniper down this hole.

Dryden explains the battle, and the unicorn sword he recovered from Lady Elizabeth Eleanor Eadwynn. Making a weapon from the healing horn of a peaceful creature is an atrocity, so Dryden has to be careful about how he shows it to people. Whitesand is right there! Dryden explains that he unlocked the healing potential in the horn, so it can be used for good now.

Dryden: In order to heal the wrongs of the world you must pierce something!

The hole in the boulder leads to a stone spiral staircase that goes down into darkness. The humanoids and the wolf can fit easily, but it would be a tight squeeze for Whitesand. Averiela tells Whitesand to wait in a nearby forest. She can Whisper On The Wind to tell Whitesand where to meet up with her later.

Dryden Strange Curios (useful) – light sources

None of them can see in the dark, so Dryden reaches back into his cloak and pulls out some simple items that he made when he was a young boy. Wands were popular back then, so he made several different kinds of luminous wand: a narrow spotlight, an all-around glow, even some that flash or change color. Now they can see their surroundings. A room cut out of the rock. Ten by twenty feet, and six feet high. Low stone benches. The wall opposite the staircase is open to the side of a round tunnel that’s as wide as a two-lane road, and half full of water. Pointing the wand one direction down the tunnel, they see water flow in from above at the same interval as the bubbles in the lake above. Pointing the other way, the tunnel stretches a long way into the darkness.  This looks like a bus stop, but everything seems old and disused. It’s mostly stone, so decay is very subtle and slow.

Averiela Look Closely 10+

Averiela Touch The World Lightly

Averiela takes a wand and walks on the surface of the water down the tunnel a ways. She feels the motion of a large underwater creature through her feet. It does not notice her, and she returns to report to her companions. Despite the threat of the large hidden creature, they all want to continue down the tunnel.

Averiela: Is there anything for you mortals to float on?

Dryden is excited. He’s just figured out a problem that he’s been working on for three and a half months! When he reaches back into his cloak, he’s not pulling objects out of hidden pockets. He’s actually teleporting items from his collection back home. So far he’s only been able to bring magical items through, but he’s cracked the puzzle of safely bringing living creatures through his cloak.

Dryden Strange Curios (useful) – flotation device

Dryden reaches into his cloak and pulls out a giant pond turtle! In the turtle’s language, his name is “Ancient One” Dryden and Acnient One have developed a system over the years. Dryden stands on ancient One’s back and skips a stone in the direction he wants Ancient One to go. Ancient One will go to the stone and retrieve it. Dryden can tap on Ancient One’s shell to signal him to continue in that same direction, or he can skip the stone somewhere else.  Lucia and Dryden ride on Ancient One’s shell. Averiela walks on the surface of the water, carrying Nose-Too-Much across her shoulders, because he doesn’t like getting wet.

As they travel down the tunnel, the underwater creature reveals itself, rising up and blocking the whole width of the tunnel. It’s a huge armored crocodile. It’s helmet comes to a sharp point at the end of its snout, perfect for ramming ships,

Armored Crocodile, Boss of Underground Waterways

  • Teeth and Screaming
  • Armored Platform
  • Threat To The World

Dryden: There’s not much meat on me!

A man emerges from an armor-plated howdah on the Crocodile’s back to challenge them.

Brainiac, exiled Vizier of Thaumatown

  • Chess Pieces: allies take hits for them
  • Part Of The Plan: When something goes wrong, damage this stat to make a Hard Cut
  • Too Clever For Their Own Good: while monologue when things go well

Brainiac: I am the ruler of this subterranean labyrinth!

Dryden counters by hyping up Lucia’s royal status.

Lucia Royal Treatment: rulers will offer a room and a meal

Brainiac bows formally and asks them to come aboard. The Armored Crocodile lowers its head so they can step up to it. Lucia and Dryden go to the armored howdah, but Averiela prefers to stay outside with Nose-Too-Much and Ancient One. The Armored Crocodile sniffs Ancient One in an uncomfortable, but not immediately threatening manner.

Brainaic’s quarters inside the howdah are simple, but high-tech. It’s lit by softly glowing cylinders. Brainiac knows protocol, and treats Lucia how royalty should be treated.

Lucia Speak Softly 7-9

In the conversation, Brainiac reveals that the underground tunnels are a secret transportation network. He is not from here originally, but is on a quest to regain his former position.  He must claim a Source Of Power.  From the way he talks about his quest, and his determination to fulfill it, Lucia gets the sense that Brainiac is ruthless, and if he determines that they have something that is useful to him, he’ll take it by force! Dryden tries to make friends.

Dryden: You know, I’m trying to collect magical artifacts as well!

Brainiac is very interested in what Dryden has found. Dryden backpedals, saying he hasn’t had much success. Dryden wants more information from this guy.

Dryden Talk Sense (+Grace, dazzle) 10+

Dryden asks for more information about the quest Brainiac was sent on, and commiserates about difficult quests. Dryden himself was sent on a difficult by a vampire! Brainiac reveals that he was sent out as punishment for not handling a crisis to his master’s satisfaction. His master is the great Wizard Allan A Zham! That name doesn’t mean anything Lucia or Dryden. He was sent to find a Source of Power under a volcano, but there are two volcanoes! Lucia and Dryden share a worried glance. They found a lost library from the Forgotten Lands inside an extinct volcano. They don’t want this ruthless, intelligent person to get his hands on all that knowledge.

Dryden Finish Them (+Wisdom) advantage, relating to his experiences 7-9

Dryden commiserates. The vampire that sent him on a quest also didn’t give good information, so he wasn’t able to find what the vampire wanted. He can only tell Brainiac where not to go.  Brainiac wants to do something nice for his guests, so he prepares milkshakes. He opens a small metal box that releases fog like it’s very cold, and puts the ingredients in a little electric blender. He flavors the milkshakes with fruit from crates that show signs of violence. The machines are no doubt his, but he stole all this food from other people.  Brainiac asks if they know about the two volcanoes. Lucia says there’s a dragon living under the smoking volcano.

Brainiac: Aha! Great! Useful!

He makes ready to set out, and grants the group free passage through his realm for their help. Lucia and Dryden return to Ancient One, and the Armored Crocodile sinks under the water and disappears. They recount their conversation to Averiela.

Averiela: I’m a little concerned about the information you youngins passed along.

Lucia: We didn’t tell him about the library.

GM note: No end of session move. I checked in with Averiela’s player to make sure they didn’t feel left out, since most of the action was a conversation that Averiela was not present for. They assured me that they are an observer, so low participation is OK. I’ll continue to check in, since they are such a new player. I want them to have a good experience!

Chasing The Sunset & EEE

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

The party: Dryden of Conwall the Collector, Lucia the Brave the Heir

Last time, the party came over a mountain pass into the Singing Hills, and were formally but violently told to get lost by a note delivered via high-speed projectile. This just makes them curious.

Dryden takes the projectile, a long metal spike like a thick knitting needles, and hides it back in his cloak.  They know roughly where the shot came from, since they heard a sound like a giant cork popping a few seconds after Lucia was hit. Lucia waves a white flag and they head towards the sound.  They don’t see anyone in that direction. They go down into a valley, and when they come up the next hill, they see a shining figure ahead of them on top of the next hill, near one of the singing stones. It’s a knight in shining armor standing proudly and waiting for them to approach. As they get closer they get a better look at the knight. Her armor shines like chrome, and is unicorn themed. The visor above her face is shaped like a unicorn’s snout, there’s a unicorn horn on her forehead, and a bubblegum-pink mane on the back of the helmet. Her helmet leaves her face uncovered, and it looks like those artists’ references for ideal proportions. She’s as conventionally attractive as possible.

Lady Elizabeth Eleanor Eadwynn: Oh, you are bold!

Lucia detects that she is evil.  Dryden & Lucia introduce themselves. The knight introduces herself as Lady Elizabeth Eleanor Eadwynn. And also Roddy. She points over her shoulder at one of the scrubby bushes on the hilltop. A different bush shifts and gets taller. It’s a person wearing a ghillie suit to disguise his shape. He’s holding a long tube connected to his back with a pipe, probably the weapon that fired the metal spike.

Dryden: You stand in the presence of a queen!

Lucia: Are you the ruler of this place?

Lady Elizabeth Eleanor Eadwynn: No, that is!

She points to the white line in the sky that has been visible since the party came down the mountain, twisting and wandering across the sky.  Taking a closer look, Dryden and Lucia can tell that it’s a flying snake: a Sky Serpent. EEE explains that she is here for the glory of hunting and killing that Sky Serpent. She’s cut the Singing Stone next to them to change its pitch and confuse the Sky Serpent.  Dryden says he doesn’t see much glory is killing such a little thing.  Roddy hesitantly speaks up, avoiding eye contact even though his wide-brimmed hat has a mesh veil that makes his eyes hard to see at the best of times.

Roddy: It’s, uh, actually quite large but it looks small because, uh, it’s, it’s so far away.

Dryden thanks him for the explanation and congratulates him on his excellent shot to deliver EEE’s message.

Roddy’s Social Anxiety make him flee people who talk to him

This makes Roddy very uncomfortable and he shrinks away. The Sky Serpent does seem to be swerving more than usual. Snakes curve back and forth all the time while they move, but these turns look less regular and intentional.

EEE’s Arrogant stat lets people Keep Her Busy by praising her.

Dryden tells EEE that she’s thought up an ingenious plot! A brilliant plot! Surely the bards will sing songs of this day for generations! EEE eats up the attention and starts explaining more details about her plan when a knife lands in the ground between them! It’s clearly a throwing knife, with its hollow hilt and pinky loop, but it’s three feet long!

Lady Elizabeth Eleanor Eadwynn: Such trinkets won’t work on me!

EEE looks up and draws her sword. It’s a rapier, but the blade is a unicorn horn!  Unicorns are known to be peaceful creatures with healing powers, so turning one’s horn into a weapon is perverse! No time for that right now! Look up! Somoene has jumped from the back of the Sky Serpent overhead and hurls another throwing knife while plummeting downward.

EEE’s Counter Spell makes her immune to ranged and magical damage

EEE strikes the second throwing knife with her sword, and the knife explodes into pink feathers. The figure lands in a shockwave of debris, because she’s a 20-foot-tall giant!

Fee, giant

  • Crushing Blows: deals 2 damage
  • Like Flies: anyone who fails a roll or pays a price while on a Giant is flung off, in addition to usual consequences
  • Proper Weapons: She carries throwing knives (ranged) in wrist holsters, like Mai from Avatar: the Last Airbender

Dryden Get Away 10+ (avoid harm, bring Lucia along)

Dryden tackles Lucia out of the way, so they avoid being injured by Fee’s dynamic entry.

Fee: How dare you tamper with Haku’s Singing Stones?!

Fee flings more throwing knives at EEE, who turns them into feathers, dust, glitter, with flicks of her wrist. Dryden gets out the mirror shard (most recently used to kill some vampires) and holds it up so EE can see herself in it.  He yells about how glorious this battle is, and how tales will be told.

Lucia goes over to Roddy, who is preparing to fire on Fee, and starts asking a bunch of questions.

Lucia: Why does Triple-E want to hunt this snake anyways? So you’re a marksman, huh? What’s in this for you? What are you getting paid?

Roddy flees.

GM note: At this point, I thought I’d made it too easy. EEE is a jerk and obviously evil from using a unicorn sword, even without Lucia’s special power. Of course the party will fight her. Also the Sky Serpent’s forces will fight against her too. And both EEE and Roddy has easily exploitable weaknesses, which my party is exploiting! This will be so one-sided.

EEE is only half paying attention to Fee’s attacks. She looks over to watch herself in the Dryden’s mirror, striking proper fencing poses as they magically deflects each of Fee’s attacks. Dryden keeps up a running commentary of EEE’s greatness.  Lucia sneaks up from the other side, hoping to disable EEE, but at the same time, Fee realizes that the throwing knifes won’t work, and she is 64x EEE’s size, and charges in to grab her. by focussing too much on avoiding EEE’s notice, Lucia has unknowingly put herself in Fee’s path!

EEE’s Mage Knight forces those who get close to her to pay a price (put on the spot)

Lucia Finish Them (sense, knock her out) 7-9 damage Arrogant

Lucia lands a solid blow, and EEE realizes the folly of listening to flatterers. Dryden activates his Flying Disk to rise up to Fee’s eye level

Dryden Talk Sense (wisdom, emotion) 10+

Dryden: Fair giantess! We don’t wish to fight you! Someone so evil as to use a unicorn sword must face justice!

Fee is convinced that Lucia and Dryden are not threats. She shifts her weight as she runs, stepping over Lucia (instead of trampling her) and snatching EEE up in one giant fist. EEE reverses her grip on her unicorn sword and brings it down with both hands into Fee’s wrist!

EEE damages Fee’s Proper Weapons

Fee screams in pain and flings EEE away, down the hill.

Fee damages EEE’s Counter Spell

Lucia has lost track fo Roddy and sends Will, her bodyguard to look for him.

Dryden Scooby Snacks to Overchage Flying Disk, even though Overcharge is marked

Dryden flies after EEE and throws his gravity-warping knockout-gas bolas!

Dryden Finish Them (sense, knock out) advantage: thrown down a hill 6-

Roddy fires his weapon just as Dryden is about to throw. The sudden noise disrupts Dryden’s aim, and the bolas land beyond EEE. Roddy does not miss. He just shot Haku!

Haku, Sky Serpent, Boss of The Singing Hills

  • Threat to the World
  • Drop-Off: Haku can deploy Giants into the battlefield
  • Mostly Peaceful: Although Haku is huge and powerful, he avoids attacking little folk directly.

Roddy damages Haku’s Mostly Peaceful

Haku bellows with rage and dives towards the ground.

Lucia’s Symbol Of Royalty grants her an audience with whoever she shows it to.

Lucia holds aloft the brooch in the shape of a silver flower that proves she is Queen of the Forgotten Lands. She starts to formally great Haku.

Fee: You fool! He’s blind!

Haku can’t recognize the Symbol of Royalty, so Lucia can’t claim Royal Treatment! 

Fee blows a whistle around her neck and runs away from Haku’s projected impact point. EEE recovers and targets Dryden for tricking her. He mocks her for thinking she can fight a great Sky Serpent when she got tossed like a piece of trash by a Giant. Haku crashes to the ground, knocking over the Singing Stone at the top of the hill. He’s 100 feet long, and his coils are so thick that Dryden and Lucia can’t see over them.

Dryden Get Away 10+ avoid harm, bring Lucia along

Dryden swoops in and carries Lucia away from the shackwave.  A second giant dismounts and heads towards Roddy. This giant wields two ship anchors, and has ship chains wrapped in a an X over both shoulders.  EEE switches to fight Haku, now that he is within reach.

Lucia: We could leave.

Dryden: We need to take out Triple-E.

They turn to Fee. Dryden floats at her eye level.

Dryden: We want to stop the crazy pink knight and not die.

Lucia: We are but peaceful-ish travelers. We have no ill will towards you. We have no desire to fight and bring violence.

Fee explains that Haku is blind and uses the sounds of the Singing Stones to navigate. This Singing Stone was altered to sing the wrong note and disorient Haku. Now he’s furious, and you little people should stay out of reach.

Dryden: Keep to the air, right.

GM note: I need to make sure that Dryden’s player knows his spells and gadgets are limited-use resources. He sure uses that Flying Disk often.

Dryden flies over the fight between Haku and EEE and fires his Ranged Rope at EEE’s left ankle

Dryden Finish Them (sense, disable) advantage: fighting a giant Sky Serpent 7+

The rope grabs EEE’s leg and trips her up. She faceplants and drops her sword.  Dryden attaches the rope to the Flying Disk and tells the Flying Disk to drag EEE into the gas cloud from the bolas. Since the Flying Disk can only carry one person, he drops to the ground near Haku, who has not calmed down.

GM note: See? Can the Flying Disk be Overcharged and Autonomous at the same time?

The Flying Disk drags EEE across the ground in a most undignified manner, one leg up in the air, head dragging on the ground. Her helmet comes off, revealing that only half of the pink mane was built into the helmet. EEE has long, beautiful bubblegum-pink hair, which is now full of dirt and grass.

Roddy’s Trick Shot causes a Finish Them roll to fail

Roddy shoots the rope holding EEE to the Flying Disk, so she stops short of the knock-out gas.  She had to think hard about her situation. All stats damaged. Her Sharpshooter is still active, but harried by a giant. Her quarry is on the ground and injured, but Fee, Lucia, and Dryden are all between her and him. She flees.

Lucia sees that Dryden is in danger from Haku’s lashing and writhing.  She thinks about reasoning with Haku, but he’s just been disoriented, led into a trap, and shot. Seems like a bad time to talk.  She scoops up EEE’s helmet instead of helping Dryden. Dryden is slammed to the ground by one of Haku’s coils.  He lands on EEE’s Unicorn Sword, but his innate magic and good character activate a bit of the healing magic within the sword.  He gets up and pulls the sword out and the Unicorn Sword heals his wound as it leaves.

Fee tries to calm Haku, and Dryden does too. Since Haku can’t see, he’ll use other senses.  He holds the Unicorn Sword and tries to imitate the nuzzling motion that Unicorns use when healing with their horns. Long ago, when testing out his Flying Disk, Dryden broke both is legs, but he met a Unicorn foal. The foal used this motion and both Dryden’s femur and tibia healed perfectly.

Pay a price to roll against Threat To The World: Flying Disk

Finish Them (Wisdom, show error of fighting) advantage: assistance from Fee 6-

Haku is unconvinced. He lashes out with his tail and hits Dryden’s Flying Disk. Dryden hears a crunching sound, and his soul crunches within him. Haku bellows a signal, and Fee jumps on his back.  Fum is across the valley swinging her anchors on the end of chains at poor Roddy. She hears the signal and blows a whistle in response.

Lucia wants to call out to Fee before she leaves, but doesn’t want to yell because that’s anxiety-inducing, and she wants Haku to be calm.

Lucia: Fee, I hope we meet again under better circumstances!

Haku flies towards Fum and she also jumps aboard.  Haku flies into the sky to disengage. Roddy, abandoned by EEE, doesn’t continue the fight and runs down the hill and disappears into a lake in the valley. Suddenly the only sounds are the constant humming of the Singing Stones. Did they win? EEE did not achieve her goal of killing Haku, but she got away. Haku survives, but has no good memories of them. they do have EEE’s sword and helmet.  The three-foot horn used for the sword was clearly from a full-grown Unicorn. The smaller horn on EEE’s helmet is not he tip of a larger horn, but the full horn of a young Unicorn. What a terrible person. The Unicorn Sword has turned the healing horn into a weapon of destruction, but the healing powers are still present, just suppressed.  Dryden uses the vials of Living Water and Living Ice he collected from the mountain spring to bring these powers forth.

Unicorn sword: melee, piercing, healing (2 uses) Good people who know about unicorns will hate anyone who carries it.

GM note: End of Session move. Heal, restore Gear (food, for more healing), level up. The characters reached level 5. I explained Destinies, but the players chose to advance in their Playbooks instead of taking Destinies, at least this time.

When the battle heated up I thought it would be a one-sided stomp, but no side definitively won. No one was Taken Out.

Chasing The Sunset & Bertha

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/Pack Leader

Last time, Buckle absorbed the Heart of Earth, a source of power that caused a mine full of mining robots to go rampant. He accepted the Heart of Earth in a desperate moment: pinned under the red-hot body of the Robot King and the Heart of Earth dangerously unstable without containment.  When Stella shoved the Heart of Earth down his throat, a burst of energy rippled through his body, empowering him to shove the giant metal husk aside. He stands up and opens eyes that glow like fire, no pupils or irises. He looks down at his burning hands, then up at Stella.

Stella: Buckle, are you OK? You’re on fire.

Buckle. That was a rush. I feel fine though.

GM note: Heart of Earth is a custom Destiny that replaces Buckle’s Apex Destiny. It’s mostly the Firebrand Destiny, but with advantages & disadvantages like the Remnant, and a few life-related moves, since the heat of the earth brings life as well as fire.

Buckle’s body is hot enough to ignite flammable objects with a touch, and he shines like a campfire. Stella considers carrying a “Buckle Bucket” around to douse anything he accidentally torches.  Buckle considers getting a non-flammable leather coat to hide his brightness. Such a coat would allow him to literally flash people.  Camping out discreetly in the wilderness will also be difficult. Stella considers throwing a chain over a tree branch and hoisting Buckle aloft to pretend that he is the moon. That’s too similar to hanging for Buckle’s comfort.

OK, but what’s going on here in the mine? After the destruction of the King Robot, the group of mining robots that were guarding it and attacking the party have turned to collect ore.  They don’t speak or respond to speech.  The robots are finely crafted to look like metal dwarves, but without the influence of the Heart of Earth, they seem capable of only simple actions. Stella and Buckle explore the mine to figure out what happened here. The tunnels twist and branch, but Buckle’s excellent sense of direction prevents them from getting lost.

Stella Look Closely 7-9

Stella can see two distinct styles of excavation. Up to the chamber where they found the King Robot, the tunnels seem like a normal mine for metal ore, but after the Heart of Earth awakened the King Robot, the robots started mining in different patterns, ignoring the directions of the living Dwarves, who apparently fled. There are no signs of recent living Dwarf activity. The only control or interface to the mining robots is a dial on the robots’ back, under the backpack/hopper in which they collect ore.

The hidden switch on the mining robot.

Buckle reaches for the dial on a robot. Stella thinks smacking his hand away would be insufficient, and tackles him out of the way. Stella thinks they should talk about it before messing with anything.

Stella: Which glyph is your favorite?

Neither of them can read Dwarvish, so they have to guess at the glyphs’ meanings. Buckle likes the arrows. Maybe the robots pass each other.

Stella: OK, smarty-pants. What do the other glyphs do?

Buckle thinks the left glyph might make the robot put everything down. Stella decides to try it out on an isolated robot. She tells Buckle to stand some distance away in case of trouble. She reaches out to turn the dial to the left, and the robot, sensing her approach, reaches back to swat her away!

Stella Overcome 7-9

After knocking Stella a few paces back, the robot returns to its task. She decides to leave it alone.

Stella: Buckle, wanna give it a try?

Buckle: Maybe it’s good I didn’t touch it.

They look for the living quarters of the missing view of the Oolite mine. A shallow funnel with three spiraling paths leading to a flat bottom. Entrances to mine tunnels along each of the three paths.

Dwarves prefer to live underground. The depth of one’s dwelling is a sign of privilege.  The living quarters of the working class Dwarves who used to operate this mine are right below the flat bottom of the shallow-funnel-shaped mine. The furniture and items in these barracks look quite old. The mining robots did not go rampant recently. New tunnels cut through the barracks, not with intent to deface or destroy them, just because that was the most efficient route. The rampant robots drove the Dwarves away, but did not seem to have any particular antipathy towards them.  Buckle finds a manual and picks it up. It bursts into flames from his super-heated touch. He drops it and stomps on it, but that only makes more flames! He decides not to touch any more books. Stella looks around at the books and posters that survive, but she can’t read Dwarvish.  Ugg’s a technical fellow. he has to maintain his robotic arms.  But Goblins don’t usually mingle with other cultures, so he doesn’t read Dwarvish either. Also, he almost died in a fight just a few minutes ago. He squints at some diagrams through a swollen eye, but he’s in no shape to help.

Buckle Look Closely 6-

Buckle tries to find some kind of command center, and falls through a weak patch of floor!  Stella assumes that he burned through, but that area had been undermined by a rogue tunnel. He did land in some sort of command center, and when the party joins him, they discover a log book (in Dwarvish, of course) and a regional map! They can’t read the place names, but they recognize places they’ve been recently.

An old map of the area surrounding the Oolite mine.

The X represents the mine. The circle due north must be Templeton, and the square to the west of Templeton must be Sugar’s Crossing because it’s on a road (grey line) and river (blue line) There’s a road leading from the mine to this port city that they haven’t visited. Maybe the Dwarves fled there, and they can go find them.

They prepare to leave the mine, and check in with the giant Dung Beetles before they go. The Beetles don’t recognize Buckle. He’s changed so much!  The Beetles are grateful that the robots will no longer break through and threaten the Beetles’ caverns, and offer the party the choice of several gifts:

Fellowship of the Beetles earned!

  • a big pile of nutritious mushrooms
  • knowledge of other Dwarven tunnels that lead to new places
  • An old Siege Tank, found in an abandoned tunnel

Besides the obvious benefits of armor and weapons, an enclosed vehicle can conceal Buckle’s bright glow.  The party accepts the Siege Tank from the beetles, and they all pile in and set out for the port city.

New companion: Siege Tank

  • Spikes And Steel
  • Heavily Armored
  • Secret Weapon

The road to the port has not been used in a longtime and has fallen into disrepair.  Parts are washed out. Bushes grow in the path. Tree roots distort what pavement remains. The Siege Tank rolls over all of it easily. It’s not much faster than walking.

Near sunset, as Stella drives the tank toward the pink and yellow horizon, Dark shapes appear on the road, silhouetted by the setting sun. There are about five of them, but they are backlit and hard to see.  They demand the vehicle halt, although their bearing doesn’t quite match their authoritative demand. Stella tries to think of a plan and the tank slowly approaches the dark figures. Silk is too weak from the last fight to help now.  Buckle opens the top hatch and climbs on top of the tank. With burning eyes, from the top of a war machine, he tells the figures on the road to move.

Buckle Talk Sense (impress with Grace) (Stella gives Hope by not stopping) 7-9

The figures shrink back into the brush on either side of the road.

Figure: We were only trying to warn you. Stay low!

The tank proceeds unhindered. Sometimes the next day, the tank crawls through a pleasant landscape.The sun is shining. The birds are not singing. There are no birds. Weird.  Up ahead, one of the hills is missing its top.There’s a flat scorched area where the rounded apex should be.

Buckle: Look at that former mountain.

Stella: It had a bad day. Or a bad haircut.

Stella drives the tank towards the hill to investigate, with Buckle on top as a lookout

Stella Look Closely (+Hope from Buckle) 7-9

Clearly whatever sliced through the hill was very powerful and very hot. Buckle’s immune to heat, so he’d be fine, but everyone else would avoid it, whatever it is. As they drive around the damaged hill, they see a castle made of ice! Getting closer still, they see the castle rests on the back of a giant turtle, flippers spread out across hundreds of feet, eyes closed.  A turtle’s chest won’t rise and fall with its breathing. Their ribs are fused solid to form their shell, but the party can tell its breathing by looking at its nostrils. This enormous creature is asleep.

A giant turtle carrying an ice castle, hiding behind a burned hill.

Buckle: Do you think the king is home?

Stella: That’s presumptuous. I’m sure the queen has it under control.

Buckle: Wanna find out what burned the mountain?

Stella: It’s not the craziest thing we’ve done recently.

They leave the tank and their companions a polite distance away and walk up to the castle. They are greeted at the gate by Gertrude, a beautiful woman made of clear, sharp crystal. With her every movement, little rainbows shimmer and dance around. Stella elbows Buckle.

Stella: Told you. Queen.

Gertrude is happy to see them. They ask about the hill. Gertrude says it’s fortunate that the hill is there, since it provides for Bertha (the turtle) so she can sleep in safety. Gertrude is trying to put a cheery spin on everything, but it becomes clear that Bertha and Bernard’s castle were forced down by a powerful beam weapon fired from nearby. Buckle elbows Stella.

Buckle: Bernard’s castle.

Gertrude invites them in for an audience with Bernard. When buckle steps onto the castle, he starts melting the icy flagstones, leaving webbed-foot-shaped puddles. Gertrude gasps and fires a high-pressure jet of water from her body, pushing Buckle back outside in a cloud of steam. She’s embarrassed by her outburst and very apologetic, but Buckle’s fine. Stella will go meet Bernard, and Buckle will wait outside.  The other inhabitants of the castle are also humanoid-shaped, but seem to be made of ice or snow. Bernard is a large man, all polished facets of ice, with a crown of ice crystals (probably part of his body) on his head. He is formal but direct, a strong contrast to Gertrude’s customer service voice.  He explains that they were flying over the land (It’s always nice to explore new lands) when they saw a glint or shimmer from the ground, It was bright, almost a second sun. That’s the source of the beam weapon that hit Bertha, and forced them to take shelter behind this hill. Stella agrees to check it out.

Stella: Anything else?  Are you urgently leaving the planet?

Bernard: Ha, we only arrived a generation ago!

Also, Bertha is taking a nap, and won’t wake up for a day or two, so the castle can’t move before then.  Stella asks for a token of goodwill to give to whoever owns the beam weapon, to show that Bernard & his people are not a threat. Bernard thinks for a while, then produces a gem. It’s smooth and clear, like Gertrude, and rainbows shine on his hand as he holds it. There’s a slight enchantment on it. When Bernard opens his hand, the gem rises slightly and floats an inch over his palm, but it’s easy to hold. Stella takes the gem and goes back out to Buckle.

GM note: Bernard isn’t as friendly and helpless as he appears. He sent stealthy assassins out with orders to kill whoever Stella gives the gem to, since she’s going to give it to the person who shot down the castle. I didn’t the players about the assassins.

Stella asks Buckle to go look over the top of the hill, since he probably won’t get burned. Buckle pokes his head over the crispy edge of the hill. Nothing happens. He stands on top of the hill. Nothing. He jumps around, but still does not draw the ire of whatever is out there. he does see a shimmer about a mile to the north, roughly where Bernard described the beam weapon firing from. Since it’s apparently safe, Stella joins Buckle at the top of the hill and also sees the shining light.  She explains the plan she and Bernard discussed, and shows Buckle the gem. Buckle reaches out to grab it, but Stella snatches it away.

GM note: That was close!

Buckle and Stella return to the Siege Tank and drive it over towards the site of the beam weapon. As they approach, they see an huge hexagonal mirror, 100 feet across, suspended between two giant crabs, each the size of a house. On the ground behind them, a humanoid Spider (segmented exoskeleton, walks upright on two legs, six arms) pulls on reins for the crabs, and a series of wires connected to metal girders on the underside of the mirror.  Stella and Buckle leave the tank a polite distance and approach on foot. If this does not go well, blasting things with the Seige Tank’s secret weapons is a fallback plan.

They are about to introduce themselves when the Spider (his name is Agate, pronounced uh-GAH-tay) spots a bird and excitedly motions them to watch. With the reins, he directs the crabs to aim the mirror towards the bird, then pulls the wires attached to the mirror to focus the reflected sunlight into a deadly beam. Poof!  The poor bird is destroyed.

Stella: Impressive.

Agate: Thanks, I’m great.

Stella clenches her fist in frustration. They ask about his contraption. He’s been practicing with it ever since he found it. As far as he knows, this mirror fell out of the sky. They mention that they saw a similar mirror on their travels.

Agate: There’s another? You left it? You gotta take whatever you can get!

Stella: Why do you attack flying things?

Agate: Because I can’t reflect sunlight down. Sun shines down, beam bounces up. But if I had two mirrors… Where did you see that other mirror?

Stella: We’ll get to that later. But first, do you hate Bernard?

Agate doesn’t know what she’s talking about. She starts to talk about the flying castle and he interrupts. Shooting the castle was so cool. He cut off a whole tower before it dropped below the horizon. It’s not every day a target like that presents itself, so he jumped at the opportunity.

Stella: You like reflecting the sun. What about refraction?

Agate: It’s all good. Whatever works.

Stella shows him the gem. It’s beautiful! Agate fires a webline to snatch it away from her.

Stella Overcome 6-

She tries to close her hand, but he’s too quick!

Buckle Overcome 10+

Buckle grabs the webline, which burns instantly. The gem falls to the ground.

Buckle: First you have to promise not to shoot down the castle. You’ve heard of a deal, right?

Agate: Yeah, yeah. A deal is for people who aren’t strong enough to get what they want, so they have to trick people into getting what they want.

Buckle: Well, here’s how you trick us into giving you the gem. Promise you won’t shoot down the castle.

Buckle Talk Sense (sense, a plan) 10+

Agate promises. Stella picks up the gem.

Buckle: You get the gem after they fly away.

Agate: Fine. Hurry up!

Stella and Buckle return to the castle, where Gertrude and Bernard await them.

GM note: The assassins were so very close to attacking, but no one ever took the gem except Stella. True to their orders, they stayed hidden.

Stella explains the giant mirror weapon to Gertrude and Bernard, and how Agate doesn’t even care them. He just wants things to shoot at, but the gem has enticed him to promise safe passage. Buckle suggests that the castle could produce a lens of ice to counter Agate’s beam weapon. Gertrude is offended by the suggestion that the principle that makes her sparkle and brings joy and hope to all around her, should be harnessed as a weapon of destruction! Buckle reassures her that it doesn’t have to be a weapon. It could be used defensively to disperse or refract Agate’s beam weapon.  Stella is impressed by Buckle’s vocabulary and knowledge of optics. He shrugs. They have science class in the Platyperson village. Bernard assigns some people to work on a lens. He is surprised that Stella did not give Agate the gem.

GM note: You know, so his assassins could kill him.

Stella says that Agate is untrustworthy, and perhaps Bernard should drop the gem as the castle flies away.

Stella and Buckle return to the Siege Tank

Stella: How do you feel about that Spider having access to mirros? Maybe we play a prank on him.

Buckle: Pranks are fun.

Stella: maybe more serious than a prank.

They are still half-dead from fighting squads of invulnerable robots earlier, so Stella serves a feast to heal herself and her companions, while Buckle goes fishing to get food for himself and Ugg. They wait until nightfall before making their move.

Stella: It concerns me that a being so careless and egotistical could have so much power.

They will destroy the mirror! But how? It’s a huge structure of metal and glass. Buckle can scorch the reflective surface, or heat it until it warps, but he can’t blow it up. The tank could blow it up. They could try to steal it, but they’d have to steal the giant crabs as well. It’s too big to carry otherwise. Buckle can talk to any beast. Maybe they talk to the crabs and set them free. They’re not sure where Agate will be when they arrive, but Buckle’s electro-sense will be able to find him at close range. To use electro-sense, Buckle will have to exit the tank, so he’ll light up the area, alerting Agate.

Stella: We need a plan. When Buckle sticks his head out, We’ll have to go quick.

Stella drives the tank to within shouting distance of the giant crabs. Buckle pokes his head out of the hatch, shining bright light all around. He senses agate in a hammock on the underside of the mirror. He’s stirring, but he won’t be able to act for a moment. Buckle tells Stella that the Spider is in a hammock, then tells the crabs that he’s come to set them free and return them to the ocean.

Buckle Talk Sense (sense, desires) 10+

The crabs like that idea, and start cutting the webbing that secures the mirror to their backs.

Agate: No, no, no!

Agate runs upside-down on the underside of the mirror firing webs to replace the ones being cut by the crabs.

Stella Keep Them Busy 7-9

Stella rides Silk up the leg of a crab and barrels into Agate, knocking him down to the ground.  Buckle climbs up onto the mirror, throwing black powder around, setting fires, and trying to warp the mirror with his burning footsteps

Buckle Finish Them (sense, disable) 7-9

The mirror flexes and warps, but it’s basically still in one piece. Agate sneaks up on Stella, running on the underside of the crab’s shell and appearing behind her with a flurry of blows from his six fists!

Stella Overcome 7-9

She grabs one of his arms and uses his momentum to throw his past her, but it was a scary attack, so her Courage is damaged. Agate tumbles forward, then throws a webline and swings to the other crab. The crab that Stella is on finishes freeing itself from the mirror and shoves the mirror off its back, threatening everyone in the area! Stella and Silk flee back to the Siege tank

Stella Get Away 7-9 avoid harm

Buckle is on top of the mirror and rides it down, jumping off at the last moment, rolling through a cloud of debris, and running back to the tank.

Buckle Overcome 7-9 -> Survivor -> Get Away 7-9 avoid harm

The mirror is bent out of shape, and the other crab is close to freeing itself. Agate can feel his glorious beam weapon slipping away. But there’s still a precious gem, and that glowing Platyperson has got to be important. But these enemies have destroyed his great weapon and he’s barely touched them. He can’t win this fight, not now. He grabs a hidden webline prepared for just such an occasion and is whisked quickly away. The other crab throws its side of the mirro down, completing its destruction!

The Siege Tank leads the two giant crabs back to Bertha and Bernard’s castle in a triumphant procession. Bernard thinks Stella was very shrewd to break the deal and attack Agate at night.  He asks for the gem back, since they don’t need to give it to Agate anymore.Stella wants to keep the gem to commemorate the achievement.

Stella: Isn’t it good to do things for the greater good?

Bernard: Ah, an altruist! How generous and unselfish!

Stella: I mean, it’s so beautiful. It would make me happy to look at it.

Stella Talk Sense (wisdom, emotions) 6-

Bernard keeps the gem. The party plans to continue on to the port. Bernard says Bertha can carry them, if they are willing to wait for her to walk up. That sounds like a good plan.

Several days later an amazing sight appears over the rooftops of the port city. A huge flying turtle looms overhead, gleaming spires of ice on its back. It lands, and the gates of a castle open up. Out come two huge crabs, flanking a secret war machine of the Dwarves. Atop this war machine, a mighty beast, eyes glowing, flaming with the heat of the Earth’s core!

Buckle is sitting down like a dog, unaware of how cool he looks, and asks amazed onlookers where to find a tavern.

GM note: End of session move.  Three boons. Level up. Heal. Heal. Buckle takes Dragonfire, which lets him kill or destroy anything that’s not a Threat To The World. Stella takes Queen Of The Wild, so all Beasts are her Companions. These are very powerful abilities!

Chasing The Sunset & Mountain Pass

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

The party: Dryden of Conwall the Collector, Lucia the Heir

Last time, Lucia & Dryden fought Doctor Diana MacLeod, the mad scientist vampire who spent 60 years turning a mountain into an anti-moon weapon. It was the first time that Lucia & Dryden ever killed a person.  They fled after striking her down to avoid fighting every single person employed on the mountain.

GM note: Lucia’s bloodline ability “Make people forget the past five minutes” proved too powerful and useful. Lucia’s player suggested adding some limitation, like limited uses or a cooldown, but I demanded a completely different ability. Lucia’s player decided on reinstating an ability that Lucia lost in the transition from Dungeon World to Fellowship. She can pause for a moment and ask, “What here is evil?” 

Now they catch their breath and wonder what they are trying to do. Stopping MacLeod’s schemes was good, but how did they get mixed up in all this? Long ago they found evidence of a werewolf attack in a small farming village, and one thing led to another. They aren’t welcome back in that village, and they didn’t figure out how to stop werewolves either.  They really don’t have anything to follow up on.  The world is open to them. Dryden quotes a famous adventurer who said, “Adventure is out there!” He wants to strike out in a direction and see what they find.  From their high vantage point they look around.

To the north, the foothills that MacLeod’s mountain rises above grow steeper and higher, becoming an imposing snowy mountain range. To the east, Lady Evelynn’s estate. To the south, the village that was attacked by a werewolf, and the hot springs inhabited by “trickster demons” who just don’t realize that not everyone is immune to heat.  To the west, two forests. The northwest forest is huge and old. The southwest forest looks sickly. After some consideration, they decide to head north and cross the treacherous mountains.

Travelers know that mountain ranges usually have high passes and low tunnels. Dryden figures that a river’s path up a mountain will be easy to follow, and uses his flying disk to scout for such a river.

Dryden Look Closely (+hope for good plan) 12

He finds the river that eventually flows through Sugar’s Crossing. It’s much smaller up here in the mountains, of course.  The finds a path for them to follow. The mountains are very high, reaching into the clouds. It gets cold and snowy. The path will be dangerous, with steep drop-offs on one side and unstable snow everywhere. Dryden also spots some beast dens, although he doesn’t see the beasts that live there. They may face hungry predators along the path.

  • Treacherous Mountain Set Piece: The Mountain Pass
  • The Narrow Pass
  • The Creatures Above
  • The Long Road

With the path ahead scouted, Dryden, Lucia, and their companions start walking. Eventually they reach the headwaters of the river. A spring burst from the mountain into a dish-shaped depression, so it forms a small pool. One side of the depression has a spout shape to it, releasing the river to flow down the mountain, join with rainwater and other streams, and eventually become the mighty river that carries so many people and goods through Sugar’s Crossing.  The spring is so high and cold that most of the circular pool is frozen over, but the motion of the spring keeps the center of the pool melted, so there’s a ring of ice with a hole in the middle where water bubbles up.  Such a location is special, perhaps magical.  Dryden reaches back into his cloak and pulls out two vials: one for water, one for ice. He can’t walk out on the ice to reach the liquid center of the pool. The ice gets thinner and thinner towards the center, so he’d break through before reaching the open water. He gets a long branch from a nearby tree and secures the vials to the end, using the branch to extend his reach. He scoops up some spring water, then waits for a piece of ice to break off and flow towards the pool’s spout so he can grab that too. He won’t disturb this sacred place by breaking a piece of ice off.

Lucia: You’ve learned much in your travels.

When they were growing up together in the palace together, Dryden was more impulsive and less respectful.  They stop to eat a meal and rest before moving on. Dryden bends the branch that he used to grab the water into a circle, applies some secret material, steps back with a flourish, and the branch bursts into flame. It provides all the heat & light of a campfire from only one branch.

They continue uphill. This was a trail at one point, but it hasn’t been maintained in a long time. Here a log props up a dangerous overhanging rock. There a few flat stones are placed to form a stable road surface. These signs of civilization are few and far between ,and most have succumbed to the assaults of the elements.  Lucia & Dryden are walking on a narrow path on the side of a mountain: steep rocky slope rising above on their left. On the right, a steep descent with occasional trees. If they fell off this path, instead of plummeting hundreds of feet to a sudden rocky stop, they’d slide and tumble over rocks and gravel, and perhaps manage to stop themselves on a tree. Ahead, the path turns a sharp corner around a ridge. A chunk of the ridge is missing and the path goes through the gap. Two logs should hold up the overhanging rock, but one had fallen down, and the other is weakened: chewed and scratched by sharp teeth and claws. Lucia & Dryden check their gear for items that might help in this situation. Lucia has piles of cash, but the mountain does not accept money.  Dryden defers to “your Highness.” It’s a chance for her to build her leadership skills.

Lucia approaches the overhang to get a better look, very wary of falling rocks.

Lucia Look Closely 7-9

She notices a traveler’s pack on the far side of the fallen log, but a section of trail gives way under her feet and she starts to slide off the edge!

Lucia Get Away 6-

She grabs for something to catch herself and grabs the remaining support log! It falls over and now the overhang begins to come loose. Lucia is still sliding off the path, but now Dryden is also in danger!  Dryden reaches into his cloak and retrieves his Dwarf-made hammer, a two-handed weapon with a long, unbreakable handle. He moves in to the base of the crumbling overhang to prop it up with the unbreakable hammer.

Dryden Overcome 2

Most of the overhang is still unsupported & continues to collapse. A smaller rock strikes and injures Dryden, and a rock the size of couch completely flattens the traveler’s bag.  Lucia pulls herself up and runs through the overhang to the far side.

Lucia Get Away 6

She isn’t struck by falling rocks, but a rock that rolls down onto the path trips her and she falls again.  But she’s around the corner, and on the path ahead she sees about 15 hungry wolves.

  • Group Of Wolves:
  • Group
  • Pack Hunter
  • Loyal

The wolves notice her and start to approach. They are a fair distance away, so there’s still time for the party to be crushed flat or thrown down the mountain before the wolves have a chance to eat them.

Dryden Get Away 12

Dryden uses his flying disk to grab Lucia and zoom out away from the slope as the overhang totally collapses. He must return to the path quickly, since the flying disk only works for a short time. They have escaped the danger of the collapsing overhang, but now it’s a wall behind them and the pack of wolves approaches from the front!

GM note: Dryden’s player selected the option “bring someone else with you” for Get Away. Dryden’s Flying Thing gear option allows him to fly, and can be Overcharged to double the effect. Did Dryden need to Overcharge the Flying Thing to Get Away with Lucia? I ruled that the Get Away move let Dryden carry Lucia and Overcharge wasn’t needed.

Treacherous Mountain: The Narrow Path defeated.

Dryden sets a bear trap on the path in front of himself. The wolves see him do it, so they know where the trap is, but it’s still area denial, and on this narrow path, that’s important. Lucia throws rocks at the wolves, which just angers them, so they target her.

Lucia Keep Them Busy. automatic failure against Group

Some approach on the path, some clamber on the slope above.  Dryden uses the harpoon gun he stole from Lady Evelynn to grapple some rocks on the slope above and pull them down on the wolves.

Finish Them with Courage (advantage: unexpected rockslide) 7-9 damage Pack Hunter

The small landslide disrupts their formation and knocks a few down the slope, but the remaining wolves don’t flee. A large rock lands on the path, and Lucia climbs it so the wolves will have trouble reaching her. She succeeds in making herself a hard target, so the wolves switch to Dryden. He tries to evade them, but is grabbed and dragged to the ground.

Dryden Get Away 5

Lucia leaps off the rock with a battle cry!

Lucia Finish Them with Courage (advantage: Plunge Attack) 10+

Her plunge attack kills one wolf and sends most of the pack fleeing!  Two wolves stop and return, determined to get a kill.  As individuals, they are easier to fight.  Dryden remembers some literature he once read and places something on the path in front of him.  A wolf carefully steps over the bear trap and lunges at Dryden. Just as Dryden expected. The object he placed just in front of himself is a “mirage” prank weapon, which appears to burst into sudden flames! The wolf stumbles back in shock, right into the bear trap. Snap! The wolf is immobilized.

GM Note: The Distraction spell let Dryden Get Away or Keep Them Busy with 10+ Given the fictional situation, I offered Dryden’s player another option: the wolf steps in the trap. That damages the wolf and gives the characters advantage over it (it can’t move) so it’s more powerful than the options in the rules, but Dryden planned & spent resources to create the opportunity, so it seemed appropriate.

Meanwhile, Lucia keeps the other wolf at bay with her sword.

Lucia Keep Them Busy 7-9

Dryden looks around to see how he can assist Lucia. His prank weapon is spent and his Dwarven hammer is buried in a landslide, but Dryden is Fully Armed and carries an entire arsenal. He selects his multi-cursed gladius. Why carry lots of cursed weapons when one weapon can contain several curses?  The gladius has a flat disk built into the crossguard. Dryden rubs his thumb across the disk in a counter-clockwise motion, then taps the symbol on the left side of the disk to select the Curse of Bees.  Collecting the Curse of Bees is a painful memory.)  He strikes the wolf fighting Lucia with the sensation of a thousand stings and the wolf flees in panic, sliding down the steep gravely slope with all four legs pushed forward to try to keep its speed down to a survivable level.

Dryden Finish Them with Courage (advantage: Lucia Keeping Them Busy) 7-9

All the wolves have been vanquished, except the one caught in the bear trap.  Dryden approaches with soothing words, but the wolf snaps and growls at him.  Dryden offers it some food from his pack.  He remembers the wisdom of several people he met on his journeys who were good with animals. The Druid Gleador, and expert on animals because he had become so many of them, said to look the wolf in the eye and tell it it’s a good boy.  Mr London says that the deep desire of all dogs is fire, so Dryden reaches in to his cloak and pulls out a heat ball. This is another way to quickly make a camp fire. He ignites it and tells the wolf that if it sticks with them, it will never be cold again.  Dryden carefully pulls the jaws of bear trap open, releasing the wolf in a third show of good will.

Dryden Finish Them with Wisdom (advantage: spend food, spend Useful item, wolf is immobilized & must listen) 7-9

Alas, the wolf flees as soon as it’s free.  Lucia & Dryden sit down for another meal before moving on.

Treacherous Mountain: The Creatures Above defeated.

Now they are past the highest mountains and can look out over the location they are approaching. The mountains flatten out into rolling hills.  When the wind blows up from the hills they can hear faint constant tones, like musical notes.  There’s also a tiny white line curving around on the hills. As they continue to walk down out of the mountain range, the musical tones get more constant and louder. Different tones seem to come from different directions.  The hills are grassy, with no trees because of the constant winds. There are some scrubby bushes, and rocks protruding from the grassy hills. Now that they are lower, they realize that the white line is moving through the air, but they were so high earlier that they were looking down on it. They stop for another meal.

Treacherous Mountain: The Long Road defeated.
Treacherous Mountain Setpiece defeated.

Lucia investigates the source of these constant musical tones.

Lucia Look Closely 6-

Standing stones on top of some hills have slits carved through them, and the wind whistling through the slits produces the different notes. Lucia walks up to one such stone, which is about 12 feet tall.  The stone was placed and carved intentionally. Up close some decorative  engraving around the slit is visible. Yet care was taken by the unknown creator to keep most of the stone’s natural shape, and to place the stone so it fits with its surrounding. While pondering this, Lucia is knocked to the ground and injured! Two seconds later, they hear something like an enormous bottle being uncorked, far away across the valley.  There’s something stuck in Lucia’s metal armor: a metal spike about a foot long, like a thick knitting needle. There’s a piece of paper wrapped around the projectile. Lucia opens and reads the note.

Stay away. This hunt and its glory are mine.

GM note: We end with the introduction of a new location and a new threat. The Singing Hills are actually one of the first locations I created when I started Chasing The Sunset in July of 2019, and I’ve been hoping for my players to find it for over a year. I’m excited for them to meet EEE and the other characters that live here.