Chasing the Sunset & Dragon Skull

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

The fellowship: Dryden of Conwall the Collector/Hunter, Averiela the Elf/Elven Elite, Lucia the Brave the Heir/Halfling Sheriff, Edna Crusher-Harcourt the Ogre (kinda?)

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

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

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

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

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

Ol’ Jardiner damages Overwhelming Power

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

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

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

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

Lucia Look Closely 10+

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dryden spends 1 Food to heal Will and heal Mara

Averiela spends 1 Food to heal Ol’ Jardiner

Ol’ Jardiner wonders what to do about Edna.

Dryden: We head east at the break of dawn!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dryden: We’ll give it a proper burial!

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

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

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

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

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

Defacing a place of power increases Response Level to 4.

Fairy Forest gains Separation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Fellowship flips the boat right-side up again.

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

Pay a Price: not everyone gets into the boat.

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

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

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

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

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

Vampiric Fairies damage Roddy’s Trick Shot

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

Dryden spends one Ammo from Ranged Rope

Dryden Get Away 7-9 avoid harm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Knows-Too-Much damages Loyal

Averiela Keep Them Busy 10+

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

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

Averiela damages a stat

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

Averiela acquires a Dragon egg

Averiela Get Away 7-9 avoid harm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dryden uses Immobilization Trap

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GM note: That move is so powerful!

  • Panther
    • Pounce
    • Stalk from the Shadows

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

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

Panther damages Pounce to capture a Fairy

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

Dryden Get Away 10+ avoid harm, bring Averiela along

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

END OF SESSION MOVE

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

Three boons:

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

Chasing the Sunset & Edna

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

GM note:The “story” won’t start for a while. We talked as players (not as characters) about the game and made some changes to the structure.

Year in review

It’s the beginning of the year, so I checked in with my players about how the game was going, what they liked, what they disliked, what they wanted more of.

Lucia’s player started playing TTRPGs with Fairmeadow Fair in 2018 and said that this past year was the most fun they’ve had. At the start, they didn’t really know how to pretend to be an imaginary person based on some rules, so engaging with the fiction was a challenge, but a good challenge. It’s like driving a car. Once they have the experience to reach for the proper controls by habit, they can easily make the car do what they want. Similarly, this past year has been the most fun because they can concentrate on what Lucia wants to do, instead of on how to make Lucia do things.

The players really enjoyed “dungeons” — complicated self-contained areas that the characters can’t easily escape, like the science labs back in Fairmeadow Fair, or the Robotics Facility under Thaumatown.

Challenge is not a strong motivator. The players don’t need to feel like efficient tactics and good rolls are required to avoid total defeat. The fight against Doctor MacLeod at the Anti-Moon Weapon was the perfect level of challenge.

The players don’t draw strong borders between negotiations, fights, and investigations. Their preferred style of interaction is scrambling, or shenanigans.

All players, not just the GM, are authorized to add to the world.  Dryden’s player obviously loves that, and has a story for every gadget. Lucia’s player doesn’t do it much, but doesn’t feel excluded. Averiela’s player worries about being quick enough to think of things to add when the situation arises.

Averiela’s player loves mysteries, but Lucia’s player prefers a small, self-contained puzzle, like the elevator in Thaumatown’s Robotics Facility.

The party is satisfied with the companions they have accumulated. Meeting new people is nice, but adopting new friends and pets is not a priority.

Everyone, but especially Dryden’s player, like surprises: going new places and seeing new sights.

I said that I like Chasing the Sunset so much that I wish I could play a character myself. In fact I already knew which playbook I’d use, and what the character’s personality and style would be. I’d need another person to help referee if I joined as a player. Dryden’s player, who did a great job running Lasers & Feelings a while back, offered to step up to co-GM. I’m so happy! I worried that changing the structure of the party like that would be too much of a disruption, but my players — my fellow players — were supportive. I printed out a character sheet and created:

Edna Crusher-Harcourt, the Ogre

Meme references for Edna: Lady Dimitrescu, Dolly Parton, “How to Talk to Short People”, Big J from Worthikid’s “Wire

Edna, like all Ogres, is much taller than any human. I think somewhere between 15 (3x a 5′ woman) and 19 feet (2x Lady D’s height of 9’6″) tall, but I haven’t nailed it down. If she’s too big, she won’t even be able to crawl through Halfling, Dwarf, Goblin, or Platyperson buildings. She’s entering middle age and has lines on her face, especially laugh lines, because she laughs and smiles a lot. She wears an expensive but practical dress and fancy jewelry. She has broad shoulders and a powerful build, but is soft, not ‘cut’ like a bodybuilder.

She wanders where she likes because she’s so strong she does not think that she could be in danger. Enemies do not deserve her full strength, and she prefers to bully them into retreating. If they earn her respect or hurt her loved ones, she’ll draw a weapon and fight to kill! She can lift almost anything, throw anyone, jump anywhere, normal weapons only inconvenience her, and she’ll break things if she doesn’t move carefully.

She is a “mom friend”: affectionate and loyal to the “little ones” that she takes in. Receiving a gift is always very special to her, even though she’s rich, and she can heal a loved one that she holds in her arms. She travels with Ol’ Jardiner, a weird little Halfling man who was always puttering around her family estate on some vague duty. Turns out he’s a wizard!

Let’s begin

The fellowship: Dryden of Conwall the Collector/Hunter, Averiela the Elf/Elven Elite, Lucia the Brave the Heir/Halfling Sheriff, Edna Crusher-Harcourt the Ogre

Last time, the Fellowship said farewell to a companion and found the aftermath of an important battle.

Averiela has camouflaged the whole party, so they will not be harrassed by evil Fairies as they investigating the smoking cave. Averiela wants to retrieve the book visible withing the wreckage, since it’s probably involved in the Vampire’s plot to destroy the Moon as part oftheir ancient war with the Dragons. Lucia wonders if there ever really was a dragon. Averiela recalls the Swallet Fight Club, but Lucia says that “dragon” was really a giant Alligator. Dryden says the Alligator was a fake, pretending to be the real dragon that used to run the Fight Club.  Dryden reminds them that he just called to a herd of Wild Unicorns, and the ground will shake to signal their arrival.

GM note: Thanks, buddy, that’s a great segue to introducing my character!

The ground does shake, and into the clearing bursts not a herd of Wild Unicorns, but an extremely large woman! It’s Edna Crusher-Harcourt, the Ogre.

GM note: We started our introductions, then remembered that everyone except Edna was invisible! Oh no! As players, we know that these characters will meet and be friends, but the fiction is set up to prevent that! Lucia’s player thinks quickly.

Lucia is allergic to the tree that grows over the entrance to the tree and sneezes, breaking her camouflage. Edna stops short before stepping on her.

Edna: Hello, I didn’t see you there. Wait, you’re Lucian!  No, Lucky!

Lucia; I am Lucia, Heir of the Forgotten Lands.

Edna: Yes, Lucia!  Helen mentioned meeting you a while back.

Dryden appears and offers make make tea for Edna. She’s delighted.

Edna Loves Friendship: forge three Bonds when someone gives you a gift

Dryden uses the flask of scalding hot water that he took from Helen’s geothermal pit to prepare the tea. Edna travels with teacups, so she gets out her cup, made of fine china and the size of a serving bowl. Dryden sees the huge cup and uses more water.  Edna also pulls back her travelling cloak and puts down a small Halfling man that she was carrying. This strange man, wearing grubby clothes and beat-up pointed hat with a wide brim, is Ol’ Jardiner. He has his own plain ceramic mug. Dryden introduces the Fellowship over tea. Averiela stays camouflaged, since she’s not sure about Edna. Roddy isn’t using Averiela’s magical camouflage, but his ghillie suit still makes him hard to pick out from the other bushes around.

Lucia wants to retrieve the book form inside the smoky cave, but the rough terrain and thick smoke make that dangerous. She uses her cloak to fan the smoke out of the cavern. Edna assists with a hand fan that’s not much smaller than Lucia’s cloak.

Lucia Overcome (+hope, Enda’s assistance) 6-

They fan the smouldering embers back to life and flame rushes out of the cave’s mouth!

Edna Protect The Little Ones: take harm for allies within arm’s reach

Edna quckly pushes Lucia behind her and takes the brunt of the flames

Edna damages special Armor

GM note: Actually, two characters work together with Hope only if they have Bonds with each other. Since Edna and Lucia just met, they should get in each other’s way and roll with Despair.

The evil Fairies notice the commotion and move in to menace the Fellowship. Lucia dashes into the cave to retrieve the mysterious book.

Lucia Overcome 10+

She grabs it and gets back out safely.  The Fairies and taunt her and throw leaves and twigs.

Fairies: If you like dead trees so much, here’s some more wood!

Lucia Symbol of Royalty: grant an audience with whomever you show it to

Lucia displays her symbol of royalty and the Fairies are very impressed! Edna is also impressed. The Fairies emerge from hiding in the branches and crowd in to meet Lucia. It seems like half the leaves in the forest were actually Fairies. More sunlight reaches the clearing now. The Fairies assemble themselves into a group in the shape of Lucia.

Lucia Speak Softly 6- Ask three questions, one answer is false, another is unhelpful

  • Tell me about the book.
    • It’s an outdated volume. A failed wizard tried to use it and blew up the cave
  • What are the Fairies doing? What will they do next?
    • The Fairies came to see who made all the noise. Soon they will enjoy some entertainment
  • What would you have us do? How can we help?
    • You will be the entertainment!

Finally, the Wild Unicorns arrive! White Sands (Averiela’s tame Unicorn) is suspicious and stands aloof. The Wild Unicorns are terrifying and beautiful. They have twigs caught in their flowing manes, but each twig is perfectly placed. They are hesitant to trust outsiders, so they eye the strange collection of people in the clearing with suspicion. The evil Fairies don’t hesitate. They hate the Wild Unicorns and swarm to attack them. Edna whips her travelling cloak off her shoulders and interposes, waving the cloak around to block the group of Fairies.

GM note: Actually, two people are required to deal with a Group. If Edna used equipment with the Giant tag, she could keep a Group busy, but she herself does not have the Giant tag.

Edna Keep Them Busy: 10+ their attention is all on you

The Fairies see Enda approaching and reform into a rude word just before getting tangled in the cape.

White Sands recognizes the grand-mare of the Wild Unicorns, an ancient creature whose name in Elvish is “Her Majesty”. Long ago Averiela traveld with Her Majesty for a time, even saving her from a swamp. Averiela took a foal from Her Majesty (with permission, of course) and founded the herd of Unicorns of which White Sands is a member. White Sands rushes to meet her ancestor and they touch horns in the traditional Unicorn greeting. Her Majesty bestows a blessing on White Sands so her horn can shine with light.

Edna: I’m a little busy here!

Lucia draws her sword and shouts to the fairies, telling them that they are fools to fight these wonderful. pure creatures.

Lucia Finish Them +Wisdom 7-9

Group of Fairies damages Trickster

The Fairies are convinced that the Wild Unicorns are magnificent creatures, but not that they should join the forces of Good. They retreat to find reinforcements.

Lucia What Here Is Evil: the Fairies are evil

GM note: I thought it would be funny if Ol’ Jardiner was evil, but a player pointed out that one of his stats is “No Sense of Right and Wrong” so he must be amoral, not evil.

Edna: Do we have any further business here? Let’s adjourn before those Fairies return.

Lucia recognizes her Majesty as royalty and wants to cement friendship between their peoples.  She offers Her Majesty a lock of her hair. Her Majesty (translated by White Sands and Dryden) suggests they rendezvous in a secret place ofthe Wild Unicorns, where the Fairies cannot bother them. Her Majesty leaves directions, and the herd of Wild Unicorns gallops away. The Fellowship follows along. The path reaches a river, and they walk along the bank. They see a horrid trophy suspended above the river: a Dragon’s Skull with a sign reading “So much for the power of dragons”

The Unicorn’s special place is hidden behind a waterfall. The small Fairies can’t fly through the waterfall without being knocked down by the force of the water. Looking through the waterfall, the Fellowship sees not a cave, but tall grass in a sunny meadow. The Unicorns’ magic created a portal to another place. Dryden is not surprised. He adapted his transporter cape from unicorn magic. Dryden doesn’t actually hold all his gadgets under his cloak. The underside of the cloak is a portal to his workshop back in the Forgotten Lands. That’s how he can carry so many things and alway pull the right item quickly from under his cloak.

As the Fellowship walks through the waterfall, Infinite Windows reacts to the portal! Dryden must keep Infinite Windows in his backpack because it can’t travel through his transporter cape. The Unicorn’s portal dissapates and the Fellowship is in a small dark cave behind the waterfall. Most of them anyways. Edna was walking just ahead of Dryden and she’s gone!

NO END OF SESSION MOVE

GM note: Nobody knew that about the Unicorns’ portal until we got there, but it and the established interaction with Infinite Windows provided a great diagetic reason for Edna to show up somewhere else, so I can play with another group and co-GM. I’m so happy that my fellow players are taking more responsibility so that I have space to play this character, who I really enjoy. I’m reather embarrassed that I rolled twice in this session and broke the rules both times. I’m supposed to be the expert!

Chasing the Sunset & Letting Go

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

The fellowship: Dryden of Conwall the Collector/Hunter, Averiela the Elf, Lucia the Brave the Heir/Halfling Sheriff

Last time, the Fellowship was teleported across the world. They determined that the Artifact of Power they carry is Infinite Windows, which can open portals to other places.

The City Junkyard

The Fellowship stands on top of the tower (which used to be the side of the tower) and surveys the area. A few humanoid figures shamble around the ruins, intent on whatever they are doing, ignoring the Fellowship.

Dryden investigates the coral fortress. The fortress has a few small windows, two feet across, but there’s also a big hole, seven feet across, recently drilled through the thick walls. The Fellowship walks through the drilled hole.  Inside, sunbeams from the portholes on top of the fortress make warm, inviting patches of light on the floor. Furniture and equipment has been re-arranged to form a huge table and chair, implying that the giant mentioned on the message board stayed here. As the Fellowship looks around, one of the humanoids from outside crawls through a porthole and approaches the huge table. This humanoid is a Ghoul!

  • Ghoul
    • Tough as Nails
    • Hungry

The Ghoul brings a handful of wilted vegetables to the huge table. Having accomplished its task, it reverts to its usual “Walk, walk, hungry” thought pattern.  Dryden was close by, trying to figure out what the Ghoul was doing, and thus is the Ghoul’s first target. The Ghoul clumsily tries to grab Dryden.

Dryden Get Away 10+ avoid harm, bring Averiela along

Dryden retreats through the porthole that the Ghoul used to enter the fortress. The Ghoul walks past the rest of the Fellowship in its single-minded pursuit.

Averiela Look Closely (+hope, Dryden assistance) 10+ ask three questions

  • What do my senses tell me?
    • Averiela already got a good look at the scans the horizon. To the south, tall trees from an ancient forest. To the east, giant snowcapped mountains. A big storm covers the northernmost mountain. To the north, sharp, steep hills. To the west, shrubby hills and something floating over them.
  • Is something hidden or out of place?
    • Two more Ghouls emerge from the Halfling villa. They have sad plants and tubers, and are approaching the coral fortress, which will take them past Averiela and Dryden. Also, Giant footprints lead southwest from the coral fortress.
  • What will happen if I attack the Ghoul?
    • The other Ghouls will notice and come to the its aid.

Averiela wonders if there are more Ghouls hidden inside the buildings. Dryden was going to attack the Ghoul chasing him, but Averiela figures the Ghouls are delivering food to the Giant, and she doesn’t want to disrupt that. Lucia and Dryden shout through the walls of the fortress to discuss plans. Lucia thinks they could just leave the area.

Dryden: There is a giant. The story of Odysseus tells us he’s not friendly and will probably try to eat us, but I kinda want to meet him.

Averiela: The ancient trees are calling to me. I would love to run south.

Dryden: Hey, are these Ghouls evil?

Lucia: Oh yeah!

Lucia Heir of the Forgotten Lands: What here is evil? Undead Ghouls are evil.

Lucia: If they’re keeping the Giant fed, seems like a nice symbiotic theng they’ve got going on. Why mess with a good thing? It’s not like the Goblin city, where we needed to right a wrong, which is my goal always.

GM note: Is Swallet actually better off then when the Fellowship arrived?

The Ghoul is slow, but the Fellowship has been standing around chatting for a while. It finally reaches the porthole and starts crawling through to attack Dryden. Dryden strikes with the flat side of his axe while it is constrained by the narrow porthole.

Dryden Finish Them (+sense, knock out) 7-9 damage one stat

Ghoul damages Tough as Nails

The Ghoul shrugs off the blows and keeps coming. Dryden hops on his Flying Device because he loves his Flying Device.

Dryden Get Away 6-

The Ghoul grabs the Flying Device to keep it down and bites Dryden on the leg!

Dryden damages Blood

Lucia runs out to join the battle. Averiela pulls out her bow and fires at the Ghoul, which is pretty immobile because it’s holding Dryden.  Averiela wants to scare the Ghoul away, but its too dumb to get scared. She doesn’t want to kill it because she doesn’t understand the socio-economic sytem it’s part of.

Averiela Finish Them (+Sense, knock out) 7-9 damage one stat

Ghoul damages Hungry

Ghoul TAKEN OUT

The Ghoul lets go of Dryden and falls to the ground. The other two Ghouls drop the sad produce they had gathered and prepare to fight. Lucia runs around the corner and whips out her throwing knives.

GM note: Lucia’s player argues that Lucia is fast enough to throw both knives and have the element of surprise to Finish both Ghouls. I have been quite generous already, but that seems like too much. I’ll allow a surprise attack on one.

Lucia Finish Them (+sense, knock out) 7-9 damage one stat

Ghoul damages Tough As Nails

Averiela is in danger from both Ghouls. Dryden flies up and swoops down with his Dwarven Hammer to smash one of the Ghouls. Averiela rolls away from the approaching Ghouls towards Lucia.

Averiela Get Away 10+ avoid harm, avoid notice

Averiela Poetry in Motion: pick another option from Get Away: bring the plants the Ghouls dropped

Averiela and Lucia duck back around the corner so the Ghouls can’t spot them. Dryden flies up to look around for Beasts that he can control.

Dryden Look Closely 6- Ask one question, find out the hard way

  • Tell me about nearby animals. What are they doing. What will they do next?

GM note: Dryden’s Queen of the Wild move allows Dryden’s player to Command Lore about animals in the area, so I thought I didn’t have to answer this question. Dryden’s player wanted to know more about the location so they could fill in animals that made sense.

  • The eastern section of the City Junkyard is swampy. To the west, there are lots of bugs, including Giant Spiders. (Not the Spiders that are people, the Giant Spiders that are spiders, but really big)

Dryden makes some animal calls and regroups with the others inside the coral fortress. They share a meal and heal.

Fill Your Belly: Spend Food to heal a stat

Averiela Elder Arts Camouflage: any number of allies become invisible

Averiela conceals the Fellowhsip and they follow the giant’s footsteps to the southwest. The Ghouls can’t see them. They can see the Giant before he sees them, just in case he’s dangerous. Most of the City Junkyard is unstable, but the Giant only walked where the ground could support his weight, so the Fellowsip are able to follow without fear. Sometimes there’s a building in the way, and it has been bashed open and thrown aside so the Giant could pass.

As they travel, they see a big mosquito, really big, too big! Several feet long.

Dryden Queen of the Wild: all Beasts serve him

Out of the sky, two Green-Backed Razorbill Herons swoop down to stab the Mosquito with its famous razorbill. The Green-Backed Razorbill Herons were almost hunted to extinction because their bills were prized as weapons. They’re seven feet tall. They stand in the water and wait, then stab fish with their razorbill. They are mossy green on their backs and light blue below for camouflage. They are easily offended.

  • Green-Backed Razorbill Heron
    • Eagle Eye
    • Go for the Eyes

GM note: I clarify that the Memory Mosquito is an Abberation, not a Beast, but Dryden’s player heard “Apparition” and thought the Heron could go right through an insubstantial illusion.

Green-Backed Razorbill Heron damages Go For The Eyes to give Fellowship an Advantage over Memory Mosquito

The Heron tangles with the memory Mosquito. Averiela could take a shot with her bow, but doesn’t want to kill something for no good reason. She nudges Lucia.

Lucia Heir of the Forgotten Lands: What here is evil? Memory Mosquito is just weird

  • Memory Mosquito
    • Memory Munch: eats and steals Bonds from nearby creatures

Memory Mosquito steals bond “I serve Dryden as long as he is in my territory” from Green-Backed Razorbill Heron

Averiela wants to protect her collegues, so she pulls out her bow and arrow and fires at the Memory Mosquito.

Averiela Enemy At The Gates: Finish Them with Grace from hiding.

Averiela Finish Them (+Grace) 10+ kill

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

Memory Mosquito TAKEN OUT

Splat! The arrow destroys the Memory Mosquito!

Memory Mosquito gives bond “I serve Dryden as long as he is in my territory” to Averiela

The Herons fly away, since they no longer have a bond to serve Dryden.  The Fellowship moves on and reaches the border of the City Junkyard and the Fairy Forest. The Fairy Forest is creepy and dense, with vegetation from the canopy all the way down to the ground. Any number of watching eyes could be hidden in those leaves, except the Fellowship is camouflaged, so watching eyes cannot perceive them. Getting lost is very easy in this dense forest, so travelers would be wise to stay on the path. Even the Giant’s footsteps get lost in the forest. The Fellowship finds a trail and a magical mesageboard at the trailhead.

Fairy Forest Message Board:

Stella: Fairies are trying to blow up Moon. Don’t help them. If you find Seeker, off to take him with you please!

Buckle: The Dragons made the Moon to kill Vampires. Didn’t work. I blew up the teleporter to stop them killing Dragons and Kobolds.

Lucia figures that the teleporter they carry (Infinite Windows) reacted with the other teleporter being blown up, and that’s why they ended up in the City Junkyard. They did find Seeker! It’s with them right now! It does not want to go back into the Fairy Forest.

Seeker: I just came from here. The awful Fairies are here. They’re so mean to me. I’ll have to find my own way. I’ll go to the West, through these hills.

Dryden considers sending Seeker through Infinite Windows to friends that the Fellowship made elsewhere. What artifacts do they have that can open a portal to an appropriate place? Dryden collects a stick from the Fairy Forest and some rubble from City Junkyard. Dryden suggests Shasta and Helen. Seeker doesn’t know those people, and isn’t sure it will enjoy staying with them. Dryden remembers that Helen made sure he ate when he was working. Dryden feels that the answer to so much of what he’s been seeking is inside the Fairy Forest: the Moon, the Fairies, and so on. He’s determined to explore it. But he doesn’t want Seeker to go off on its own and get eaten by a Giant or a Ghoul.

Dryden Speak Softly (+hope, Lucia’s assistance) 7-9 ask three questions, one unhelpful answer

  • What can you tell us about the Fairy Forest?
    • I don’t remember much before that robot gave me a name and told me to be my own person, but since then the Fairies were very mean to me, tricking me, getting me lost in the forest. They would say, “Here it is! I have your identity!” but it’s a stinging insect or something.
  • What do you want and how can we help you get it?
    • Whenever I tell people what I want, they tell me how to do it, and it ends up helping them instead of me. I’m done telling people what I want.
  • If you leave us, what will you do next?
    • I think I’ll go west. (There are scrubby hills covered in brush to the west) That’s seems like a good way for me to go.

Lucia: A part of your journey of learning who you are is learning who you can and cannot trust, and you know you cannot trust the fairies. This is an opportunity to put into practice what you have learned, and gain some self-confidence. We will be there to help you.

Lucia Talk Sense (+WIsdom, appeal to emotions) 6-

Seeker: People keep tryingto tell me what to do, but I’m pretty sure that making my decision is making a decision that’s mine, and not someone else’s. So, I’m leaving.

Lucia: Go in peace!

Dryden reaches behind his cloak and pulls out a parchment and quill. On one side, he draws a map of the world, and on the other side he writes “Seeker is my friend. -Dryden” He gives the parchment to Seeker. Seeker squishes the parchment into its body and leaves.

GM note: Can Dryden tear off a scrap of parchment and feed that to Infinite Windows to open a portal to Seeker and the rest of the parchment? Is the scrap “from” the larger piece, or is is “from” Dryden’s cloak, or is it “from” the place that made the parchment? I’m reminded of an earlier quandary about who owns pets and their items.

Averiela wonders if they should go to the Fairy Forest or follow Seeker. Lucia says that Seeker chose to leave and they should respect that. Averiela also wonders if it’s wise to bring a teleporter into the Fairy Forest, since another Adventurer blew up a teleporter that the Fairies were using for evil. They write on the City Junkyard’s message board, then head into the Fairy Forest.

City Junkyard Message Board.

Averiela: Boo! Beware the undead of you might lose your head!

Dryden: Unstable ground is easily found. Tread in the step of the Giant because he is reliant upon stable ground. Seeker went west.

Lucia: Watch out for the Shadowmaws. And keep the balance in the symbiotic relationship between the Giant and the Ghouls. Don’t get in their way.

Averiela Elder Arts Camouflage: the Fellowship is still invisible

Averiela Wood Elf: cannot be followed while in woodlands.

The Fellowship travels through the Fairy Forest undetected. Leaves and branches move all around them. Maybe the wind. Maybe hidden creatures. High-pitched voices complain about the explosion, plans being ruined, a bad situation. the trail leads to a clearing. A tree grows over a large rock, and under that rock is a hole with smoke pouring out. It looks like there used to be a lot of activity in this clearing, but no one is there now. The Fellowship recognizes this as the cave visible through one of Infinite Window’s portals.  Averiela and Lucia look around.

Averiela Look Closely (+hope, Lucia’s assistance) 10+ ask three questions

  • What is going on here? What do my senses tell me?
    • The area smells like fire. Inside the cave, the rock surface is glitchy and spiky, as if every particle of rock was teleported one foot, but not all in the same direction.
  • Is something hidden or out of place?
    • A large book with a white cover is deep inside the cave.
  • Tell me about the Fairies? How could they hurt or help me?
    • Fairies are cruel pranksters and will get the Fellowship lost if possible. They are working with the Vampires to blow up the Moon. The Fellowship isn’t sure if they are pro-Moon or anti-Moon. Fairies know the secret paths through the woods and never get lost.

Dryden wonders if the book is worth breaking camouflage or risking the dangers of the smoky, spiky cave. Dryden feels something that he hasn’t felt in a logn time. It’s almost like a song that moves through the ground and fills the air silently. It’s the hoofbeats of a Unicorn. White Sands recognizes that these hoofbeats are from a different herd. She sniffs the air cautiously.

GM note: A herd of horses in a forest? I get all my information about fairy tales from the movie Legend, starring Tom Cruise and Tim Curry, and that definitely had unicorns running through a forest, so I’ll allow it.

These aren’t the pure white, immaculately-groomed Unicorns like White Sands. These are wild Unicorns. They are free, not subject to the Fairies. This was their land since before the Fairies came. Dryden reaches back and pulls out a long strand from a Unicorn’s tale. He blows on the taut strand and produces a note that calls the unicorns.

Lucia Heir of the Forgotten Lands: What here is evil? Small evil signatures all over in the surrounding trees and brush!

GM note: We had to end there because of time constraints. We’ll pick up next time with the Wild Unicorns arriving.

NO END OF SESSION MOVE

Chasing The Sunset & The Power of Friendship

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

The party: Buckle the Beast/Heart of Earth, Stella the Halfling/Hunter

Last time, the Fellowship uncovered a plot by Vampires to teleport to the Moon and wipe out the last remnants of the Dragons. Buckle destroyed the teleporter for the sake of his old friend Fafnir, causing wide-ranging side-effects.

The Fellowship returns to their boat, the Miranda. They’d like to bring Kitty (the T-Rex) along, but Stella’s Queen of the Wild power doesn’t allow her to bring animals outside of their territory. Buckle has a chat with Kitty

Buckle Speak Softly 7-9 ask three questions, one unwelcome answer

  • What does Kitty want?
    • Kitty longs to return to her home in the Cracktooth Wastes, far to the east.  She wandered west in search of food and found a place teeming with Brontosaurs to eat, but she was driven away by little folk and got lost.
  • Tell me about the Fairy vampires.
    • The Fairies found her and fed her, as long as she did what they asked of her.
  • What should I be wary of when dealing with Kitty?
    • Kitty needs to eat a lot. She doesn’t have much brain, and hunger fills it up and pushes out any other thoughts, like friendship and long-term goals. Failing to keep Kitty well-fed will be very dangerous.

Buckle wants to help the big dragon-thing, who reminds him of Fafnir. He has never been to the Cracktooth Wastes, but what he does know of the world suggests that they will have to travel over land. When Stella hears this, her eyes narrow and her pupils dilate.

Stella: And my boat?

Stella is only willing to travel over land if they find some place that will take care of Miranda while they are gone. Their understanding of this continent’s geography is limited. They could follow this river all the way to the sea and go east along the coast, but that would take them through Vieport, and they are not welcome there. They decide to go downriver at least as far as Sugar’s Crossing, then reconsider. Maybe they take the highway east from there.

Buckle Forges A Bond: “I promise to bring Kitty home”

  • New Companion: Kitty the T-Rex
    • Crushing Jaws
    • Gigantic

As they sail downriver through the Fairy Forest towards the former Anti-Moon Weapon, Buckle’s hears a low growling from Kitty. She’s not angry. it’s her stomach! She needs food.

Buckle: Do you like fish?

Kitty: Are they made of meat?

Buckle: Absolutely. It’s been a long time since I caught some, but they are all around the boat. To catch them, jump into the water and wiggle all around. they’ll swim all around you. Just take a bite of water, then squeeze the water out without letting the fish out of your mouth.

Buckle Talk Sense (+Sense, explain plan) 10+

Kitty leaps off the side of Miranda, causing the boat to rock violently. Stella is soaked by the huge splash Kitty makes entering the water.

Buckle: Fishing! Yay!

Buckle stands near Stella so his body heat dries her off. Kitty thrashes around in the water and comes up with a mouthful of fish. Buckle’s instructions were effective. Kitty can’t climb, so she walks onto the riverbank, and Miranda comes ashore so Kitty can walk aboard.

The Anti-Moon Weapon slides by on the starboard side. The sun sets, and Miranda approaches Lady Evelynn’s estate. The Fellowship watches the Moon rise through the broken clouds. A beam of moonlight shines onto Lady Evelynn’s manor, high on the hill. Birdlike shapes fly away from a frightening silhouette on the roof. Stella shudders. One of the shadowy winged shapes is coming towards Miranda. It’s a Corrupted Phoenix, a smoky, skeletal bird that was unable to properly burn and complete its life-cycle. Normal fire can’t hurt it, so now it seeks fire powerful enough to ignite it.

Buckle: It’s coming straight for us!

Stella: Light up the sky!

Buckle Firestarter: always able to produce fire

Buckle launches flares, which light up the terrible bird of smoke and bones. The Corrupted Phoenix eats the flares and coughs up thick clouds of black smoke.

Stella: Buckle, this thing likes fire!

Buckle: Me too. Maybe we can be friends. I give people fire all the time.

The Phoenix is clearly targeting Buckle. Stella has a plan, but needs her scarier friends to execute it. She steers Miranda to the river bank.

Stella: Kitty, get off the boat! Buckle, light this tree on fire after Kitty rips the tree up.

Kitty uses Crushing Jaws

Buckle uses Firestarter

Kitty runs ashore and uproots a tree growing along the bank. Buckle lights the top of the tree on fire. Hopefully the Corrupted Phoenix will focus on this new fire and Kitty can smack it, using the tree as a club. Buckle scampers for safety behind the Kitty’s bulk.

Buckle Get Away 6-

The Corrupted Phoenix is as big as Kitty and just lands on both of them, talons first! A huge cloud of black smoke envelops the area.

Buckle damages Courage

Kitty damages Gigantic

Stella: Will Buckle be OK if the Phoenix eats him? Buckle! You’re going to let it eat you!

Buckle: Let it what?

Before Stella can clarify, the Corrupted Phoenix’s huge beak strikes down, enveloping Buckle.

Buckle Overcome 7-9 temporary solution

Buckle misses the sharp edges of the beak and goes straight down its throat into the gizzard. Sure, he may soon be crushed by giant rocks, but for now, he’s unharmed. Stella sees some of the black, crispy feathers on the Corrupted Phoenix’s neck soften and turn reddish-orange. She gets Kitty back on the boat.

Buckle: I want to share the fire with this bird!

Buckle uses Dragonfire: vaporize anything except a Threat To The World

Buckle aims his Dragonfire where he thinks the creature’s heart is, and it burns as purely, cleanly, and lovingly as he can muster. The Phoenix bursts into huge, wing- and feather-shaped flames. The glow is visible all the way to Lady Evelynn’s estate. All the trees and vegetation on the riverbank also ignite from the intense heat. Stella steers the Miranda away. After about 30 seconds, the Phoenix burns out. The secondary fires keep burning, but the huge skeletal bird is reduced to ashes. In the middle of the ashes stands Buckle, filled with hope and holding a huge glowing Phoenix egg.

Buckle Heart Of Earth: immune to heat

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

Buckle is a new parent again! (This is the second time he’s incubated an egg that’s not his. The first was Fafnir the Dragon) Stella is concerned, but Buckle is happy, so she doesn’t say anything. Buckle comes aboard carrying the egg in both arms, and the Miranda sails away before Lady Evelynn’s forces can arrive.

They sail down to Sugar’s Crossing without further incident. Sugar’s Corssing is back to normal. The bridge over the river has re-opened. The garrison is back to normal after the fire.  This month, the garrison is staffed by Elves. Some Elvish guards stand out on the river directing boat traffic. The Miranda is guided into a berth.  The crew rests and shares a meal.

Fill Your Belly: When you share a meal with friends, heal one extra stat

Buckle heals Courage

Kitty heals Gigantic

A Customs agent comes over to check their cargo. Kasca is a tall, slim, Elven woman. She’s 6’2″ with straight blonde hair down to her hips. She sees Kitty on the deck and pulls out stacks of papers. She says the Miranda will have to stay in town for weeks to Kitty to be quarantined and to get all the proper licenses and approvals to transport such an animal.

Buckle: What if we leave the dinosaur with you and go on without her?

Kasca: The boarding fees are significant, and you’d be liable for the cost of the food your animal eats. It can add up quickly!

Stella: Kitty gets really hungry and will eat anything. Are you sure you want to deal with that?

Stella Talk Sense (+hope, Buckle’s aid. +Wisdom, appeal to desire for smooth operations) 10+

Kasca decides that Kitty and the Miranda are more trouble than they are worth. She lays a document on top of a blank piece of parchment and casts a minor spell to copy the document. She explains how Buckle and Stella can sign here, show this form to that official, and quickly be on their way.

The Fellowship still hasn’t decided which way to go from Sugar’s Crossing. Buckle shudders at the thought of facing the Sea Viper again, but it’s better than customs. They decide to continue downriver and get through Vieport somehow.

When the Miranda reaches the fork in the river that leads into the swamp, the crows that keep watch recognize Buckle.

Crows: Wait, come here! Samantha needs your help!

Buckle: What’s your game? I don’t believe you.

Crows: You better help. If Samantha’s not happy, no one’s happy!

Buckle and the crows bicker for a bit, then one rises into the air, surrounded by magical energy. Poof! The crow is replaced by a short Human woman with pale skin and chin-length black hair.

Samantha: These crows are so inefficient! Please come with me and I’ll epxlain everything.

Buckle wants to be teleported, but Samantha’s magic doesn’t work like that. She guides the Miranda through her swamp. The Fellowship eye the moss and gunk in the swamp suspiciously. Buckle wonders if this goop will climb onto the boat and attack, like that swamp in the north. Samantha hides a pained expression.

Samantha leads them to a ring of willow trees. They disembark and duck under the drooping branches. Inside is a shallow round pool, a secret space, Samantha’s home. There’s a big black bull lying on some cushions under on of the willow trees.

Samantha: Ferdinand is stuck as a bull.

Buckle: I don’t understand.

Samantha: There’s nothing to understnad. He can transform, but he won’t. Since you can talk to beasts, I need you to talk to him and find out what’s wrong.

Buckle: Oh, my friend can transform into an apple and a chair.

Buckle Speak Softly to Ferdinand 7-9 Ask 3 questions, one answer is unhelpful

  • What can you tell me about refusing to transform?
    • Being a bull is easier than being a person, so Ferdinand will stay a bull.
  • What do you want?
    • Ferdinand wants life to be simple
  • What should I be wary of?
    • Dealing iwth Fairmeadow is so complicated now. It used to be that the only people who came into our swamp were thieves and we just chased them out, but now  we’ve been into town and some people like us, but they don’t know us, so maybe we shouldn’t let them spring the traps, but the people who don’t like us don’t like us even more, and I don’t want to deal with any of it!

Buckle: Ferdinand needs a vacation. He’s overwhelmed and needs to get away for a bit.

Samantha: Yes, that wacky shapeshifter really stirred things up.

Buckle: A shapeshifter? From Templeton?

Samantha: I’m not sure. He and his friend the knight came into town for the fair and disappeared afterwards.

Buckle: Do you have a place Ferdinand can go to get away? A cottage in the woods?

Samantha: This is my isolated getaway. I’m connected to the land. I don’t travel. I don’t want to send Ferdinand off by himself. I just worry about him. People might take advantage of him, especially if he’s a bull.

Buckle: Perhaps we could add another to our rag-tag band.

Samantha: We can’t impose! Where are you going?

Buckle: The Crack-Tooth Wastes.

Samantha: Seems dangerous.

Buckle: Maybe there’s some way we could keep in contact, like that teleport tirck you did earlier.

Samantha: I can only teleport within this swamp.

Buckle: What about his folks?

Samantha makes an ugly face.

Buckle: I’ve been through that.

Buckle gets quiet and stares into the distance. Stella jumps in to lighten the mood.

Stella: We should play a game! Ask Ferdinand an Elven childhood game. Something simple and fun!

GM note: Do not add a traumatic childhood to your light-hearted adventure game. DO NOT add a traumatic childhood to your light-hearted adventure game.  Aha! Minoan Bull-Leaping!

Buckle asks Ferdinand what games he played as a child, and Ferdinand excitedly tell him how he’d run at his friends and they would leap away with specatular Elven grace. He gets so excited remembering this fun game that he demonstrates, charging at Buckle!

Buckle Overcome 7-9 temporary solution

Buckle evades Ferdinand’s charge, but Ferdinand comes around for another pass.

Stella On a Mirror’s Edge: start free-running and gain 2 Speed points

Stella spends speed to leap over Ferdinand

Stella Keep Them Busy 7-9

Stella runs at Ferdinand and leaps over him, placing one hand on his head for a little boost. She’s good at this! Ferdinand is so happy and turns to follow Stella.

Buckle Finish Them (+Wisdom, show them the error of their ways) 7-9

Buckle: Ferdinand, stop!

Ferdinand damages Shapeshifter

Ferdinand is shocked back into his Elf form!

Buckle: You gotta face life. This is isn’t childhood anymore. Things are bad, and complicated. I understand. I just fought Vampires that were trying to teleport to the Moon, which is full of Dragons. The Viper King wants to kill me. As long as you have people who love you, you can face these things. But not if they can’t hear you. If you retreat into bull form, you can’t stand together.

Ferdinand: You’re right. Samantha is always there for me. It was selfish for me to withdraw.

Samantha: Ferdinand, I’ll always take care of you.

Buckle senses that Samantha does not see Ferdinand as a peer. She thinks her cunning and her magic make her superior to him.

Buckle: You gotta let him show you the power he has inside. You cna always take care of him, but let him take care of you too.

Buckle Talk Sense (+Wisdom) 10+

Samantha: It’s not often that I learn from an outsider, especially about my own family. Thank you!

Fellowship of Samantha’s Swamp gained!

Samantha offers to share some of her magic with the Fellowship. Buckle and Stella learn the Wizardry move. “Touch, push, or grab as if you were somewhere else you can see.” Buckle can ignite flammable items with a touch, and now he doesn’t even need to get close to do that.

NO END OF SESSION MOVE

Chasing The Sunset & Revenge

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

The party: Buckle the Beast/Heart of Earth, Stella the Halfling/Hunter

Last time, the Fellowship acquired part of an instruction manual for a teleporter, and discovered a plot by Vampires to blow up the Moon! now they follow the Vampire that got away, hoping to find more answers.

As they sail the Miranda around Doctor’s MacLeod’s Anti-Moon Weapon and on to the north-west, they reach a branch in the river. Stella pauses to investigate their options. The water from the west branch is slow and covered with moss and gunk. It’s draining a forest that was flooded and drowned. All the trees are dead and covered with dark, creeping moss. An awful place, but the silence and lack of foilage would any ambush easy to spot.

While Stella peers into the distance, some moss from that forest drifts near the Miranda. It grab the side of he hull and starts climbing. It’s not just a film of moss on the surface, but a moss-covered Blighted Ghoul! It’s very touch corrodes the hull!  Stella calls to buckle, who comes running over holding the flaming leg of deck chair!

Buckle: Stella, keep them busy!

Stella: Gus, throw me the sour!

Gus the Halfling cook throws Stella a jar, and she pours a semi-circle of vinegar around the ghoul as it climbs through the railing at the edge of the ship’s deck. Vinegar will kill the moss and hopefully contain the creature. Buckle brings the flaming stick down on the ghoul’s head! The ghoul is smashed prone and slides off the deck in to the river. A bit of mossy goop sticks to Buckle’s weapon and crawls towards his hand. He drops the flaming stick into the river.

Buckle: What if we go to the live forest?

Buckle looks closely at the other branch of the river. This channel runs swift and clear from the north-west through a dense and vibrant forest. The big trees in the canopy don’t starve smaller plants beneath them. There are dense leaves from 200 feet up to the ground. The only clear path is the river, which is plenty wide enough for boat traffic. Any number of creatures could be watching from the branches of the forest. Something extends over the river, but it’s too far away to make out from here.

Buckle: Spooky, but less spooky than the other way. Let’s go before anything else shows up.

The Miranda goes up the north-west branch into the dense forest. The thing over the river turns out to be a dragon skull suspended on ropes over the middle of the river. The skull is huge, ten feet long and six feet tall!  Its jaw is full of flat, triangular, shark-like teeth. Two wooden spikes have been lashed to the jaws like fangs. Above the skull, in runsted metal letters, is a sign reading “SO MUCH FOR THE POWER OF DRAGONS”

INSERT DRAWING HERE

Buckle worries about Fafnir, the Dragon he hatched from an egg, but this skull is far too large to be Fafnir’s. There’s a small dock at the river’s edge near the skull. They dock the Miranda there and set off to search for Marigold, the teleporter, and maybe some news about Dragons, which have been extinct for a century.  Hamfast and Ugg stay with the boat. Buckle, Stella, Silk, Gus, and Rose take the trail into the dense forest. It’s very easy to get lost here. The trail often takes blind corners, and around one of the turns the Fellowship almost collides with a strange creature. at six feet tall it towers over everyone in the Fellowship. It looks like a sculptor hastily made a human out of clay. head, arms, legs, but all indistinct, all the same brown color. Even the face only has suggestions of eyes and mouth. The figure moves and speaks!

Seeker: I am Seeker. Who are you?

Stella: We are travalers. We just got here. What are you?

Seeker: That’s what I’m trying to figure out. I was only recently given a name and told to make my own decisions, but I don’t know what that means.

Buckle: A name is what you call yourself. A decision is what you do with yourself.

Seeker turns to Buckle.

Seeker: What is your name? I have met Travelers.

Buckle: I am Buckle and this is Stella. Travelers is our decision.

Seeker looks at Stella and repeats her name. As he does, he gets a bit shorter. He looks at Buckle and repeats his name, extending his face into a bill like Buckle’s. Seeker is a shapeshifter! They ask him about other creatures in the forest. He explains that the main hazards are troublesome fairies.

Seeker: They used to tell me what to do. Now they call my name and try to lead me astray from the path.

Stella: Could you lead us to where the fairies live? As you make decisions, one decision will lead do another. You could decide to have adventures like us!

Stella’s appeal to Seeker’s desires backfires.

Seeker: No! I don’t want to. I don’t have to.

Seeker wants to get out of the forest. Buckle asks if he has a plan. Making plans is hard, especially for Seeker, who only learned about making decisions recently. He walks to the river and the Fellowship follows. He sees the water flowing downstream.

Seeker: Even the river has a way it wants me to go.

Stella: You don’t have to follow the river. Some decisions are easy and some are hard. Help us and choose the hard way. Don’t go with the flow like the river wants you to.

Seeker: Choose the hard way to prove that I made a choice. Yes! I’ll do it.

Seeker agrees to lead them to the fairies. He shapeshifts to mimic Rose in order to confuse the fairies, which he is sure are already watching them. As they go deeper into the forest, carefully keeping to the trail, they hear voices calling out from the trees, offering shortcuts or food.  Buckle can’t resist and runs into the underbrush, instantly setting it alight with his super-heated body.

Fairies: No, no! Please go back!

Buckle: I was promised food. Give me food!

The fairies emerge with fruit and lead Buckle back to the trail. He gobbles up the treats while Stella asks the fairies what’s going on. They say the were trying to lead the Fellowship out of the forest because there’s a Water Elemental up-river that’s causing destruction. Stella asks about Marigold and the fairies’ demeanor changes.

Fairies: They know! They can’t leave.

Stella demands an answer, or she’ll send Buckle into the forest again. The fairies have disappeared into the forest and don’t respond.

Stella: Buckle, did they answer our question? Go take a walk.

Buckle goes into the brush again, starting another fire, when he’s confronted by a Tyrannosaur! It’s controlled by a fairy sitting on a tiny saddle on the creature’s nose.

GM note: The players ask if the Tyrannosaur is a Beast. Buckle can talk to Beasts, and Stella’s Hunter Destiny lets her control Beasts. It sort of is, because it’s a non-magical, non-intelligent animal, but also it’s not, because it’s listed under Titans in the book. I said yes, and it’s funny that the Fairies brought exactly the wrong weapon to the fight and had it turn on them instantly.

Buckle speaks to the T-rex in its own language and asks about the Water Elemental. The T-Rex hasn’t heard about any Water Elemental. The Fairy pilot kicks and snaps her reins and yells at the T-Rex to eat them, but the T-Rex won’t attack Stella or her friends. Buckle asks if it knows where Marigold is, and the T-Rex is willing to lead him. Stella asks for a ride for the rest of the Fellowship, and the T-Rex crouches so they can climb aboard. The fairy pilot gives up and flies away. The T-Rex sets off through the forest. Buckle follows through the path it clears.

Seeker: This creature is making confusing decisions.

The fairies pelt the T-Rex and its riders with stones from the trees. Buckle catches a rock and throws it back, then sprints ahead to get away. He bursts into at a clearing in the forest. There’s a large rock at one side of the clearing with a tree’s roots growing over it. The roots have been chopped away on one side, revealing a passage under the rock into some underground chamber. A camp has been set up here. Marigold the Vampire Fairy is here, as well as two small reptilian humanoids called Kobolds. Marigold sees Buckle (he’s hard to miss, constantly glowing) and attacks with lightning speed! He’s hit before he can react.

Back to Stella and the others in the forest, getting pelted with rocks. Stella stands up and wields her longsword like a bat to hit rocks back at her attackers.  She over-commits to a mighty swing, loses her balance, and falls from the T-Rex’s back all the way to the ground. Ouch! A fairy swoops in to steal her gear, but she sees it coming and interposes her fist. The fairy can’t dodge and bonks her nose real good! She retreats. Stella sprints down the burning path that Buckle left when he escaped. She enters the clearing, leaps over a Kobold that tries to intercept her, and vaults into the roots of the great tree on the rock, vanishing from view.

Buckle tries to placate Marigold and says that he has brought the manual back to her. She’s not buying it. The T-Rex and the rest of the companions burst into the clearing, ready to fight. Buckle wants to prevent a brawl.

Buckle: Everything’s fine! Maybe I can figure out the teleporter by looking at it. If I figure out the teleporter, you tell me what’s us with the Moon.

Marigold likes this deal. She won’t have to report her failure to “him” if Buckle gets the teleporter working. She takes Buckle down to the underground passage. Inside in a large cavern and inside that is a pyramid made of red stone, which Buckle recognizes from the schematics. This is the teleporter terminal! Buckle asks what Marigold has tried already. She turned a couple of the Kobolds into Vampire Thralls to force them to help her, but they are uncreative and don’t know anything that’s not written in the manual. Buckle walks around and examines the teleporter. It has four big terminals which should probably hold batteries, but are empty. It needs power. A lot of power. A level of power equivalent to Buckle’s Heart of Earth, or some other Artifact of Power.

Marigold explains that the Moon is weapon built by the Vampires’ ancient enemy, the Dragons. It sought to deny the Vampires the safety of the night by bringing the Sun’s light to the other side fo the planet. It didn’t work, but these Kobolds, servants of the enemy, just came through the teleporter, so the weapon is still active and may yet become a threat. Buckle asks why the Dragons hated the Vampires so.

Marigold: They are glory. We are shadow. We competed for control of this world, but, as you can see by my trophy over the river, we won.

Buckle says he saw a Dragon the other day, and Marigold is worried until he says it was at the Fight Club. The Vampires know about that one and have plans to deal with it. Buckle says the teleporter doesn’t have enough oomph to operate. Perhaps a nuclear reactor is necessary. He’s stalling and doesn’t actually want to help Marigold get the teleporter working.

Outside in the clearing, Stella tells the T-Rex to stop anyone who tries to hurt her friends. The T-Rex snaps its mighty jaws in acknowledgement. Stella shrinks to the size of an apple and sneaks down into the chamber. She’s so inconspicious that Marigold drops the heavy manual right on top of her as she tries to sneak closer.

Seeker: Mr Buckle Travelers, you seem to be avoiding making a decision.

Buckle: I’ve made my decision. I’m choosing when to act.

A power terminal on the far side of the teleporter explodes! Buckle hid explosives there while inspecting the machine! Fire starts spreading through the chamber. The teleporter malfunctions and teleports every particle in the chambe by one foot, but not all in the same direction. The smooth rocky surface is how warped and spiky. Seeker is just gone!

Marigold: You! Somehow!

Buckle: I’ve been accused before. This is the first time it’s true!

Marigold swoops at him, but he evades her attack.  Stella yells for Gus to pelt Marigold with garlic, distracting her. Stella has to get through spikes and flames to reach Marigold, so she smears a helaing poultice on her face and charges, growing suddenly to her maximum size right in Marigold’s face! Marigold is terrified and flees.

Buckle: C’mon, let’s get out of here.

Together, the Fellowship escapes the spreading flames and spiky rocks. As they emerge from the mouth of the cave, more explosions shake the ground. The teleporter is destroyed, the Kobolds from the Moon are dead, and Marigold has fled into the forest.

Stella: For Fafnir?

Buckle: For Fafnir.

Stella calls for Seeker, but there is no answer. She calls out some final advice, just in case.

Stella: Seeker, remember that you always have choices!

The T-Rex carries the Fellowship back through the scorched path that Buckle burned through the forest to the Miranda.

END OF SESSION MOVE

Three boons: heal, restore gear, level up.

Chasing The Sunset & Anti Anti Moon Weapon Strike Team

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

The party: Ori the Construct, Rod the Exile

Rod emerged from secret waterways under the mountains and is wandering through a spooky forest of huge, ancient trees, riding on the bad of his trusty dog Tobit. One particular tree grows on the edge of a small hill, its roots spilling over the edge like a wooden waterfall.  The roots start shuddering and splintering. As the roots break, a cavern behind them is revealed, and a strange group emerges:

  • 12 Kobold Pokers with shields and spears.
  • 12 Kobold Slingers armed with slings.
  • A Kobold carrying a stack of large books on a frame backpack.
  • A robot made of purple crackling energy and gold metal.

Ori: Hello, we recently arrived.  Where are we? Which continent?

Rod: Were you in the waterways?

Ori: I was on the moon. It’s more inhabited than you might think.

Kobolds: We are the Anti Anti Moon Weapon Strike Team!

This lengthy name causes some confusion. See, there’s the Moon. Someone wants to destroy it with some kind of weapon, an Anti-Moon Weapon. The Kobolds won’t stand for that, so they are Anti-Anti-Moon Weapon. The double negative is completely justified!  Other explanations and introductions follow.  Rod just came through the secret tunnels under the mountains to the East. Those mountains aren’t visible because of the huge, dense forest. Ori and the Kobolds have been sent from the Moon to stop attacks against the Moon, but they don’t know where the attacks are coming from, and they don’t know where they are now.  Ori figures that an astronomer or a library with a map would help him on his quest.

While everyone is standing around talking, a fairy flies out of the foliage and steals a ration from Rod’s bag.  She zooms up to about ten feet above the ground and taunts Rod as he tries to get the food back. She pulls items out fo the bag, taking a bite and throwing them away in disgust.  She flies into the forest and Rod follows, quickly getting lost in the maze of branches and undergrowth. Ori’s half-dead from powering the teleporter, so he has to stay put and use a repair kit instead of assisting Rod.

Rod despairs of regaining his lunch as the fairy makes a show of eating it on a high branch in sight but out of reach.  He walks off, not sure where he’s going, and as he walks around a massive tree trunk, he sees someone from his past, poking at something under a bush! Rod grew up in some kind of evil laboratory, and here, in the middle of a forest, far from that awful place, he sees Brigid. Brigid was Rod’s handled, sort of a caretaker, although that word is a euphemism. She was mean and antagonistic, and enjoyed ruining Rod’s day for no reason. Here she is, same clothes, same tightly-braided hair. Rod immediately releases a lethal blast from his shock collar at his bitter enemy! The electricity makes Brigid’s body rapidly jerk into odd positions, but also into different shapes!  When the bolt of lightning dissipates, the figure in front of Rod is no longer Brigid, but a suggestion of a humanoid, like something hastily formed from clay. It looks into the trees as if for confirmation, then forms brows to furrow angrily, turns its fists into hammers, and rushes at Rod. Rod dodges out of the way.

Ori and the Kobolds hear the thunderclap and rush to investigate!  Ori urges calm and wants to talk about the clay person’s grievances. The clay figure pauses, but a voice from the trees shouts, “No, fool! Don’t listen to him!” Rod looks up and sees an orange-yellow fairy hiding in the branches. This is the one giving orders to the clay figure.  More fairies emerge from the forest to join the fight and try to remove Rod’s shock collar. Ori appeals to this newly-reveled leader to end the fight.

Ori: Maybe you could be my master.

The fairy leader, named Marigold, orders the fairies and the clay figure to stop fighting. She and Ori introduce themselves.

Marigold: I’m always ready to accept reverence and obedience. Anyone else want to bow?

Ori clarifies that he hasn’t pledged his service to Marigold yet, but it’s on the table as a start to negotiations. He turns to Rod and tries to pledge to him very quickly, pushing a Talisman of Calling into his hands.  Rod is ready to play along.

Rod: How dare you betray me, servant!

Ori: I’m trying to save your life!

Rod leaves.  Marigold demands that the Kobolds leave as well, but the Kobolds don’t answer to Ori or Marigold. They won’t be dissuaded from their mission to protect the Moon on behalf of the Dragons! Marigold’s eyes widen. She had forgotten Kobolds, but she remembers Dragons, because she’s one of the Vampires the Dragons built the Moon to fight! She transforms into a large bat and orders her fairies and clay figure to attack the Kobolds!

Rod hears the sounds of combat from afar and activates the Talisman of Calling, teleporting Ori to his side, away from the fighting.  Ori doesn’t want to leave the Kobolds to die, so Ori and Rod run back towards the sounds of combat to help.  Marigold and the clay figure are fighting the Kobold Pokers, while fairies harry the Kobold Slingers.  Rod engages Marigold with his sling and she turns on him.  Ori wants to talk the clay figure down, and demonstrates his commitment to de-escalation by diving in between the battling parties, putting himself at great risk.  He tells he clay figure that he has served a lot of masters, both good and bad, and that the figure deserves a better master.  The figure is convinced and switches sides. Marigold is enraged and swoops in to attack Ori. Ori uses the clay figure’s “Aimless” stat to have it accidentally step in front of Marigold and block her attack. Ori’s still almost dead from powering the teleporter, and he’s between an enraged vampire and a phalanx of spear-wielding Kobolds. It’s too hot! He teleports straight up into the tree canopy.

The fairies steal the Kobold’s manuals and start yelling out instructions at random, throwing the rule-oriented Kobolds into confusion.  These volumes are quite large, and Fairies are only 11 inches tall, so each volume is carried between two Fairies. Marigold moves in to attack the scattered Kobolds. Using his advanced sensors, Ori foresees her next move and tells Rod, who intercepts her with a sling bullet.  Marigold calls for retreat!  The fairies are slow because they are holding heavy books.  Rod runs over and grabs the books back from them. They pummel him ineffectively with their tiny fists.

The vampire forces have been repelled! The Kobolds celebrate!  Ori glides down from the tree branches now that it’s safe.

Ori: I didn’t expect resistance from Vampires so soon!  Where to now, master?

Rod: I thought that was a joke.

Now that there’s time, Ori explains the Anti-Moon Weapon. Someone fired an energy projectile from the Earth to the Moon. Very accurate, but not powerful enough to threaten the whole moon. But that was only the first shot. Who knows what’s coming next? Ori and the Anti-Anti-Moon Weapon Strike Team want to destroy the Anti-Moon Weapon before it becomes a bigger threat. Rod wonders which way they should go. It’s hard to tell from inside the forest. They can’t even see the sky.

Ori: Is there a pressing reason for us not to go back through the tunnels you used?

Rod: I worked hard to get here. So you’re from the Moon?

Ori: Not quite.

Rod: Why don’t you know where you are? Didn’t you aim?

Ori: No, we took a teleporter and the other terminal was in this forest.

The Kobolds are impatient and set off to find and destroy Vampires. They don’t work for Ori, and he doesn’t work for them, so they aren’t concerned about sticking together. Ori and Rod let them go, and wonder how to choose thier own path. Rod enters Ori’s riding pod, and Ori starts climbing trees. If he slips, he glides safely down until he can catch another branch. Eventually, he reaches the canopy and can look around.

  • In the distance to the north: a tangle of urban building. Hard to tell from this distance, but they don’t look organized into neat rows.
  • To the east: high, steep, scary, snow-covered mountains.  These are the mountains that Rod tunneled under to get to this forest.
  • To the south: a dead forest. The trees look diseased.
  • To the southeast: a mountain with a crack running through it.

Ori: Do you favor caution or swiftness?

Rod: Live your best life. Do what makes you happy.

Ori realizes that he can’t bring the clay figure along with him. Ori forged a Bond with the figure by talking about their shared experience of serving various masters. As long as it has a bond with Ori, it is Ori’s companion and will join the fellowship. If Ori directly causes the figure harm, damaging one of its stats, he will also break a bond. Breaking its only bond will remove it from the fellowship. The figure’s only remaining stat is Nameless, so Ori sends it away by giving it a name!

Ori: Farewell my earthen friend. I name you Seeker. May you know what you are looking for when you find it.

GM note: That’s . . . that’s perfect!

Ori and Rod teleport north to the tangled city. They arrive on top of a tower. An upside down clocktower rising out from the windows of a factory set on it’s side. Buildings of all functions, sizes and styles are piled around them as far as the eye can see at every possible angle.

End of session move: The party restores gear and health.