Chasing the Sunset & Fight Club

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

Party: Orichalcum the Construct, Fafnir the Dragon, Melvin the Rain

Ori is searching for his master along the Mighty River, and sees smoke rising above the trees.  Too much smoke for a campfire. Ori flies in to investigate. Perhaps giants are literally smoking trees.  Alas, reality is much less fun. A group of robed figures are tearing up a wagon, throwing the cargo into a fire. They yell about removing temptation from the youth.  The wagon owner, tied to a nearby tree, urges them to “Please be chill!” but they don’t listen. Ori swoops in, grabs the robed figure who appears to be the leader, and carries him aloft for a chat.  Ori demands to know what’s going on. The leader says that they have an annual ritual of removing contraband from the area.  The wagon was carrying an intoxicant that is unacceptable according to the laws of this group.  The leader agrees to let the wagon owner away safely, but when Ori returns him to the ground, the robed figures takes a swing at the Construct! Ori crosses his arms and blocks the blow.

Melvin has noticed this commotion and approaches unseen, still in the form of the late Allan a Zham.  He summons rain to douse the fire and unties the wagon owner during the confusion. Melvin and the owner slip away, and Ori also disengages once he sees that the owner is safe.

Ori and Melvin rendezvous and make camp. During the night, Melvin has a strange nightmare, and when he awakens, there’s a small statue of a monster holding a pearl next to his head. he examines the statue.  It’s a mountain troll, Trolls are rumored to be clever, but there are no stories about trolls and pearls. Weird.  Melvin chucks the statue in the river. As the statue moves away from him, he gets a bad headache. He groggily walks through the river to retrieve the statue. He wears a big trenchcoat and stores the statue in an inside pocket.

There are tracks leading away from the camp. Ori floats up to see where they lead.  He finds a campsite with two people sleeping. One seems like a normal traveler, curled up in a bedroll under the stars. The other is in a very fancy, very neat tent. The traveler is exhausted, but the occupant of the tent is busy with his morning routine. It’s the Brianiac who was recently exiled from Thaumatown!  Ori asks if he could have a word with the Brianiac. The Brainiac says he has a vocabulary of over 45,000 words. Which one does he want?  Melvin approaches, and Brainiac recognizes him from the trouble in Thaumatown! He wakes up the other traveler in a panic!  The man apologizes to Melvin.  He is the previous owner of the statue, and it wouldn’t let him sleep. Now that he has passed it to Melvin, he can sleep again.  He’s scared that Melvin will retaliate, so Melvin takes a calming posture, keeping his hands in view and staying a distance away from the man.  Melvin wants to know how the man acquired the statue. He just woke up one morning and found it. He couldn’t get rid of it, and he couldn’t sleep.  The statue told the man to give it to Melvin. It wants Melvin more, somehow. The man carried it for weeks, and he can finally sleep now that it’s gone.  Melvin asks what the man will do now, and he shrugs.

Brianiac always knows what to do next! He has retreated to his tent and emerges with a strange metal capsule. He fires it at past the tired man, knocking him to the ground, and capturing Melvin!  Nonporous containers are the only things that Rain can’t just ooze through. Ori flips out his claws and slashes the capsule to burst it, but it’s charged with electricity! Ori’s own energy is disrupted, making it difficult for him to control his physical components.  Brainiac gloats. Ori may have more physical power, but that power is subject to the laws of science, so Brianiac always has the advantage! Brain over brawn!  Ori recovers during the monologue and snatches Brainiac up for a forced chat.  “We’re less trouble for you if we leave,” says Ori, “so it’s better if you just release Melvin.”  Brainiac is impressed by Ori’s logic. From his many belts and pouches he produces two tools. One will turn off the electricity, and the other will open the capsule. Ori lets Brainiac down and he flees.

Ori releases Melvin and they continue on their journey towards the two volcanoes on the southern horizon.  Melvin warns Ori that the cursed statue may make him a bad master.

At the foot of the two volcanoes, Ori and Melvin meet Fafnir and her Kobold servant Coco as they search for a route up to the peaks.  Smoke rises from the eastern peak, but the western peak is dormant, so they head for the dormant volcano, since that seems safer.  They recognize each other as fellow adventurers, kindred spirits.  Fafnir says, “Since we aren’t fighting, we can be friends.” Ori thinks that’s a good idea, and does not anticipate violence. “Yeah, if there was, I would win!” says Fafnir.  Introductions all around. Fafnir is amazing when Melvin demonstrates his shapeshifting.  Coco is the brains, and Fafnir is social muscle.  Ori asks Coco to be his master. Coco objects, saying “Fafnir is my master!”  Ori realizes his mistake and addresses Fafnir, “You’re not hired social muscle. She’s hired brain muscle.”  Ori asks Coco about her experience serving Fafnir. Coco does a lot of damage control.  Ori decides to try serving Fafnir for a while.

Melvin says “This is my first time meeting a dragon. Do you like treasure?” He shows Fafnir the cursed statue, and she immediately jams it in her mouth.  Melvin gets an awful headache, so Fafnir spits the statue out. it’s not so easy to be rid of the curse.

Fafnir flies up above the two volcanoes to look around.  The smoke from the eastern peak smells like wood and garbage, not molten rock. The caldera of the western peak contains staircases spiraling down. Around the caldera are signs of an old camp.  It’s a war camp. Decades old. It was abandoned, not destroyed. Its defenses point in towards the caldera, not out towards a threat coming from the mountain slopes. Very strange. Fafnir points out a route to her earthbound companions, and they all join her at the top and look around.  There’s a memorial: 40 spear points stuck in the ground in neat rows, and a chunk of volcanic stone engraved with the name “Crusher”.

GM note: I apologized for delaying the game by flipping through pages of notes at this point, but my players were thrilled to learn that they were seeing the aftermath of a one-shot played by a group on the other side of the country.

The group wonders about sending Ori down the caldera to investigate further. Ori asks Fafnir, “Is that an order?” Ori is never in Despair when following orders.  “Yes!” says Fafnir, and Ori goes.  The two spiral staircases in the calera are old and haven’t been used for a long time. one of them is broken near the top. The bottom of the caldera is a thin layer of dirt and rubble over a perfectly smooth sphere of hard rock. The sphere is so big that it extends past the edges of the caldera.  Fafnir and Melvin join Ori at the bottom to look around.  This rock is not natural.  Melvin figures it was created by magic, in a ritual that would have taken minutes or hours. Hard to do while besieged by an enemy army.

Coco has a couple of plans. Fafnir could dive bomb the rock sphere and try to break it, or they could investigate the other volcano. Ori worries that whatever they find might be hostile.  Fafnir thinks getting in a fight would be fun.  Ori worries that they might be powerful, but Fafnir would welcome powerful allies. Ori tries one more time to make her understand “OK, combine the two.”

Ori looks inside the caldera of the eastern peak.

The inner wall is covered with metal chimneys, pipes, and hatches. The smoke comes from these and from a smouldering pile of trash at the bottom. This is clearly artificial!  Ori brings Melvin down into the caldera and they float into one of the large pipes. It slopes upward as it goes into the mountain, and at the top is a dumbwaiter. Apparently trash is loaded into the dumbwaiter, then sent up the shaft. At the top, the dumbwaiter tips over, and the trash slides down the chute and falls into the smouldering heap at the bottom of the caldera.

Ori and Melvin take the dumbwaiter down and emerge in a bustling industrial facility. There’s a whole city hidden underground! The inhabitants are Goblins: short, green-skinned humanoids.  Those who spot the intruders are surprised, but not panicked. Outsiders aren’t unheard of.  Ori and Melvin go back outside and tell the others.  They take a different route inside. Melvin unlocks a maintenance hatch, so they can enter the city by a route intended for people.  The tunnels are winding and branching, but the crew eventually reaches that same facility. It’s a waste management facility.  Loads are brought in, valuables are sorted out, then the rest is either burned, dumped, or poured into a large stone pipe.

Ori floats out into the bustling street and says “Take me to your leader!” which causes quite a commotion!  There’s an official-looking Goblin directing traffic who offers to navigate Goblin bureaucracy for the right price, if you know what I mean.  A shady Goblin slips a card to Ori and says, “This is the real power!” The card has an address for a place called “Cloorick’s”  Ori consults with the team to see which option to choose.  Coco recommends bribing the official, but no one has much money, so they go find Cloorick’s.  It’s an unfriendly looking building with no windows. The main entrance is a heavy metal door with one of those sliding slots like a speakeasy.  Fafnir knocks, the slit opens, and a pair of bored, dismissive eyes peers out at her.  Fafnir asks for access, but the doorman couldn’t be less impressed, and tells Fafnir how she’s uninteresting, weak, and unworthy.  fafnir immediately smashes the door in!

A big metal hand reaches out from under the door and tosses it aside. The doorman is a Goblin wearing robotic arms attached to his real arms and a harness on his chest. he congratulates Fafnir on figuring out the test so quickly. Kicking in the door is the way to prove that you deserve to enter Cloorick’s Fight Club!  The doorman’s name is Rabbish.

Players: The doorman is rabid? No, he’s rubbish. Rabbit?  Radish? Not quite rad, only rad-ish.

GM note: Say your characters’ names out loud a few times before revealing them to players.

Rabbish explains that Cloorick teaches martial arts as a means of self-improvement. The crew wants to join and learn, but they have to earn their way in.  Ori suggests that the crew has styles that the fight club hasn’t seen, and letting them join would give the club access to these new techniques. Rabbish is impressed enough to let them meet Cloorick.  Cloorick is a Spider, not one of the giant arachnids, but the intelligent humanoid kind.  He wears a Goblin Power Suit, modified for his multi-armed physique. He hears the crew’s pitch, and says that in order to join, they have to win one-on-one fights with some of his students. All FOUR of them have to win to be admitted.  Coco has to fight too!  Thinking quickly, Ori asks if Coco can wear her armored suit, like Cloorick. You see, Ori IS power armor.

GM note: For time, we had one four-on-four battle instead.

The circular arena has a raised platform in the middle, with half-walls to give some cover.  The crew enters from the doors on one side, while Cloorick, Rabbish, and two Goblins with rifles enter from the other side.  Cloorick leaps to the center platform. Ori engages Rabbish, parrying his big metal fist with his own metal blade-arms. The impact damages Ori’s blades, and Rabbish grabs him with his other hand and throws the robot across the arena. A gunner takes advantage and shoots Ori where he lands.  Fafnir flies up and smashes into Cloorick, destroying part of the platform with the  fury of their battle.  Melvin rushes a gunner, transforming into Cloorick on the way. The gunner is shocked, and Melvin slams him into the wall, terrifying him out of the fight.  Rabbish hits Ori again, and Melvin comes to his aid, distracting the enhanced goblin.  Fafnir disengages from Cloorick, giving the remaining gunner a clear shot at her. Blammo!  Ori rushes  Rabbish, getting too close for Rabbish’s big metal arms to swing, and pummeling him all the way out of the arena into his own locker room.  Cloorick leaps in and strikes Ori. Ori’s taking a real beating in this fight.  Fafnir takes off and drops onto Cloorick, striking a lethal blow!  The last gunner makes a show of throwing his gun aside and forfeiting the match.

The crew has prevailed!  Rabbish is very impressed!  Since Fafnir defeated Cloorick, she is the new leader of Fight Club! Cloorick had many apprentices, but none ever managed to defeat him. The crew stays to train at the Fight Club for a while and get much tougher. They all gain the Iron stat at +1.

Chasing The Sunset & Thaumatown

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

Party: Agnes the Harbinger, Lumen the Lantern, Melvin the Rain, Rook the Remnant

GM note: In the original West Marches, it was easy to have new characters team up, because everyone went back to a single home base. In Chasing the Sunset, characters can be in different places, and we players must contrive ways for them to meet in a single place.

Lumen (last seen on a racing yacht docked at Port Fennrick) has a problem projecting herself into reality and uses Melvin as a beacon to pull herself back into this dimension.  Melvin, fresh from busting up mafia headquarters, still wears the form of one of the gangsters, and Wallace, Agnes’ new dog, recognizes him and runs back to him. Agnes and Rook run in after Wallace a short time after. Lumen asks Agnes “Do you know this dog?” Agnes asks Wallace, “Do you know this being?” But they make introductions and realize that they are follow adventurers and should go on adventures together.  Melvin tries to shake Rook’s hand, but the shapeshifter and the ghost can’t touch each other.  But what adventure should they seek? Lumen swore to protect Jensen from the shady people that she was smuggling contraband for, but the mafia is already destroyed. Agnes and Melvin saw to that. They decide to head upriver, and try to get a ride from Jensen. She would help, since she owes them for saving her from the mafia, but her boat is wrecked, so she can’t.

Our crew heads for the mouth of the river to look for a boat that could give them passage. There’s a raft piloted by a giant, and a longboat with a crew of humans. Agnes gets a doomy sense from the longboat, so they choose that one, and exchange work for passage. Melvin uses his Rain powers to clean the boat, while Rook floats above and keeps watch.

Agnes checks in on Johnny, the mobster who has been fleeing upriver for some time. There’s interference in her vision, like the interference when two Harbingers are close to each other. Through the interference, she sees a crowded city with narrow streets.  That’s Thaumatown, and the longboat is headed there.  Agnes doesn’t want to go to a town with another Harbinger, but she’ll go anyways. Anything could happen.

Thaumatown is a crowded, bustling city. There are clockwork robots everywhere. Automatic cranes load and unload boats at the docks. Flying surveillance drones watch everywhere, and police robots expertly direct traffic to keep the crowded streets moving. The streets are narrow and the buildings loom over them, so they sky is barely visible.  Two towers are visible over the roofs of the other buildings: a large clock tower on the civic center, and a wizard’s tower on the far side of town.

Melvin drops into the water to look around while the rest of the crew disembarks like normal people. The police robots direct them like they direct everyone, but it seems the robots are taking a special interesting the crew. Melvin finds some big pipes taking in water from the river, and dumping water into the river, He swims up the pipes into a water treatment center. His formless body can squeeze through the filters, but it will take some time. As he’s squeezing through, he sets of water quality alarms, and someone is coming to investigate, so he abandons his search of the water treatment plant and flows through other pipes under the city.

Some police robots approach Agnes and tell her to follow them. They clear crowds out of their path, quickly leading Agnes, and Lumen to the civic center. In the central chamber of the civic center, there’s a piston rising all the way up the clock tower. This piston retracts, and on the end is a fancy chair, and in that chair, Brainiac, who controls all of the robots, and thus the entire town, from this central location.

GM note: Not the comic book character. A very smart man.

Brainiac explains that he works for a wizard, an amazing man who can see the future! He foresaw that one day another Harbinger might come and threaten his rule, so Brainiac devised a plan to ensure the stability of the town.  Brainiac gestures, and a police robot brings a weird hinged cage, like a tea strainer, but two feet long, up to Agnes. It’s like a Faraday cage for magical powers, and will block the interference that Anges is causing the wizard, and vice versa.  Brainiac demands that Agnes wear the helmet!

The crew decides to go loud instead of accepting captivity! Lumen’s light flashes ,temporarily blinding the police robots and surveillance drones, but Brainiac was prepared and sends the surveillance drones crashing into Lumen’s last known location. She didn’t move, so she’s hit.  Melvin arrives at the civic center and lets Rook in.  Rook floats in and whispers spookily in Brainiac’s ear.  Lumen starts fighting the police robots with her knife and light. In the melee she drops her knife and smashes her bare hand into the unyielding armor of a police robot.  Brianiac raises his chair to escape to the clock tower, and Rook floats up after him, but Brainiac is prepared and activates an electric grid beneath his chair, zapping Rook & stopping his advance. Brainiac arrives at the top of the tower, where huge control panels and screens are arrayed before him, letting him control everything in the city. He’s sure to call in reinforcements.  Agnes uses the ley lines to reach out from Brainiac’s position, flipping switches and yanking wires. Traffic goes haywire as the police bots malfunction and direct people into impossible patterns.

At this point, the wizard decides to step in. A beam of energy from the top of his tower cuts across the twon and into the side of the civic center, burning a spiral pattern through the wall and into the floor, widening and widening until Agnes is hit! The harbingers interfere with each other’s vision, so Allan a Zham had to fire blindly towards the densest static in his vision.

The tactical situation changes in an instant. The crew needs to close the distance since they can’t match Allan’s power at range. Lumen’s light moves to shield Agnes. Melvin causes a fog to appear, hampering Allan’s vision. Agnes puts on the Faraday cage helmet, so she disappears from Allan’s view.  Lumen, Melvin, Rook, and Agnes all fly, float, or clamber over rooftops and across alleyways towards the wizard’s tower and Allan continues to fire on them.

Rook is floating straight in, confident in his incorporeality, when a flask of holy water teleports right on top of him and bursts! Agnes is flying on Snek, Allan’s attacks force them down below the roofline, towards police droids!  Melvin and Lumen are running over rooftops together and a fireball explodes under them just as they leap from a barbershop!  Barbers are thrown through the air with a perfect four-part harmony of screams! Clients stagger out of the rubble, haircuts burned away.  Melvin and Lumen are singed, but escape further fire and confront Allan a Zham in his sanctum at the top of his tower!  Windows look out over the city. Screens show camera feeds from surveillance droids. Maps, scrolls, and books are stuffed into shelves and piled on tables all over the room.  Allan is furious! HE knew that someday someone would come to overthrow him, and now these adventurers have come even to his inner sanctum. He will tolerate no threat to his power!  Melvin causes rain inside, soaking reams of irreplaceable magical research. Allan is momentarily distracted by the destruction, and Lumen seizes her chance!  She uses her survival knife as a focus for her Light, and fires it with laser precision into Allan’s head, killing him instantly!

Down on the streets, Anges is receiving conflicting instructions from two malfunctioning police robots. One orders her to take a path blocked by the second, which tells her to turn around. They will get rough if she doesn’t obey, so she stalls for time and starts a fire inside the second robot. When it is too damaged to insist, she obeys the first robot and just walks away.

The whole drew assembles in the wizard’s upper room. Most of the papers are ruined, but there is one note about twin volcanoes. Sure enough ,the two peaks are visible to the south.  Rook speaks with the spirit of the slain wizard, asking why he attacked them. Allan wanted order above all, and proactively removed anything that could cause upheaval or disruption.

Melvin shape-shifts into the exact likeness of the wizard and leads the crew back to the Civic Center. Allan a Zham had a “I can do what I want” badge, and flashing that to the police robots allows Melvin to ignore their senseless, contradictory orders. The citizens of Thaumatown are not so lucky.  One group is being sent in a never-ending circle by a few police robots, and an automated crane on the docks just shoved and entire shipment off the deck of a boat and into the water.  Brainiac has put the Civic Center in panic mode. Big metal shutters cover all the doors and windows, and a Stone Sentry has been activated inside to eject any trespassers.  The crew gets onto the roof and climbs up catwalks to the outside of the clock tower.

The clock faces are transparent, and they can see Brainiac desperately trying to regain control of the city.  Brainiac is suprised to see the wizard with some of the troublemakers, but Melvin assures him that it’s fine. Brainiac opens the window and lets them in. He gives a situation report to Melvin, who he thinks is his boss.  The damage is severe, but in another six hours he cna have the robots back to 65% efficiency. Brainiac requests that Allan a Zham lend his magical aid, since the situation is so dire.  Melvin says, “Are you implying you’re not up to the task?” Brainiac is cowed and promises to work even harder. Lumen whispers “You should fire him” to Melvin. Melvin agrees and tells Brainiac he’s be reassigned because he’s handling this crisis so badly.  Melvin hands over the paper with the twin volcanoes on it and tells Brainiac to go take care of it.  Brainiac pushes back a little. It’s such a long and dangerous journey that he’s going to take a surveillance drone. That way, he can call for help if he needs it. Melvin agrees to these terms, having no intention of actually helping if Brainiac gets in trouble.

Finally, Melvin appears to all the people on the docks. He says that the people are strong and capable. They no longer need rulers over them. He tells them to elect representatives, then walks out onto the water and sinks in. The rest of the crew also slip out of town, which has no king, no overseer, and whose overcrowded streets are jammed with malfunctioning police robots.

Chasing The Sunset & aquarium

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

Party: Orichalcum the Construct, Melvin the Rain

Looking west at Port Fennrick on the delta of the Mighty River.

Melvin just arrived in Port Fennrick on de Rolo’s one-of-a-kind racing yacht. de Rolo rescued him and his crew when they were shipwrecked. They jettisoned some cargo that their captain, Jensen, agreed to deliver to some shady people here in Port Fennrick, and promised to keep her safe from their retaliation.  They pull up to the dock where Jensen agreed to deliver the cargo, but no one is there to meet them.  Sebastina, the navigator who did not know about Jensen’s illicit cargo, is very unhappy.  She says, “Jensen, you paid me half upfront, and you usually pay me the rest of my fee after you get paid for delivering your cargo. That’s not going to happen, so how about you give me all the cash you have on you, and I never see you again?” Jensen has to agree, since she dragged Sebastina through a shipwreck and got her in trouble with the mob. After receiving the cash, Sebastina (a mermaid) makes a rude gesture, falls backwards off the yacht, and swims away.

Melvin inspects the dock where Jensen was supposed to deliver her contraband to her underworld contacts.  Strange that there’s no one here.  He digs through some crates and finds disguise kits, and a ring that indicates membership in the mafia.

Orichalcum (Ori for short) appears! Ori is an artificial life form made of aether and energy. Most of his vaguely humanoid form is a shifting purple energy. His hands, shoulder pauldrons, and faceplate are made of golden metal.

He approaches Melvin a bit sheepishly, because he has an odd request.  He wants Melvin to be his master.  Melvin is dedicated to the freedom of all things, so he hates that idea.  “You should be your own master!” he says. Ori explains that he’s been sent out into the world by his creators to find someone.  His creators weren’t exactly clear on who he was supposed to find, but based on how they made him, he thinks that he’s supposed to find a great leader, and he can do that by following various leaders so he knows what good leadership is. Melvin still thinks that’s weird and dumb.

Ori and Melvin have been hanging about on an empty dock for a long time now, long enough to draw the attention of Bork, the Ogre who keeps order on the busy docks. She approaches and demands to know what they are doing.  She’s dressed like a bouncer, but is clearly uncomfortable in the role. She says that if he’s going to be on the docks, he should board a boat, because that’s what people do on docks.  She picks Melvin up and takes him to the nearest ship and deposits him on board. The ship’s first mate is very confused by this, but he doesn’t want to cross Bork, so he thanks her for her good work.  Bork is very pleased and leaves convinced that she’s made the world a better place.  Melvin & Ori apologize to the boat’s crew and quickly leave the docks.

Melvin wants to see the river, so Ori demonstrates his usefulness by taking him there. Ori’s shoulder pauldrons move in to grab Melvin’s shoulders and pick him up, and Ori flies to the checkpoint at the back of the town. There’s a line of complaining boats and carts being inspected before they are allowed to enter or leave the city.  They notice Johnny, a mafia member who had a very bad night last night, in line to leave the city. Ori chats him up.  Johnny says that he used to work for Louie. He checks the time and adds that Louie is sleeping with the fishes now.  Johnny’s responsibilities used to include smuggling things and snatching people, but that’s all over and he’s leaving now.  Ori is still curious, but Johnny wants a favor for more information.  Ori flies Johnny past the checkpoint, so the officials don’t ask him any inconvenient questions. Ori asks who killed Louie, and Johnny is confused. Louie is a merman . He’s sleeping with the fishes in the fancy aquarium back at base. He always takes a nap at this time. Ori is flabbergasted by his misunderstanding.  Melvin sinks into the river delta in town and emerges on the riverbank next to Johnny and Ori. He urges Johnny to make good choices and not to enslave creatures anymore.  Johnny has heard several encouraging yet threatening speeches recently. He hastily agrees and rushes off, heading upriver towards a new life.

Ori flies Melvin back into Port Fennrick. What should they do now? Melvin wonders how to get an audience with the Baron, head of the legitimate government of Port Fennrick. Ori doesn’t think that established leaders are fruitful inquiry for his quest. Ori asks Melvin about his dedication to freedom for all living things.  Melvin wants to free the creatures and people held by the mafia.  Ori wil help, if Melvin will be Ori’s master.  Since it’s not permanent, and it would be nice to have some help, Melvin agrees to be Ori’s master, just for now.  Ori hands over a repair kit and a talisman of calling, which can instantly teleport Ori to Melvin’s side. Melvin absorbs them into his body, like the collection of knives he already has inside.

They go to the location Johnny told them about. It appears to be an aquarium, but there are secret back rooms inaccessible to the public where shady deals go down, and prize animals are kept.  They do the ol’ Chewbacca routine. Melvin shapeshifts into Johnny and says that he’s captured Ori, who is a rare and valuable lifeform. Joey, the mobster on duty, leads them to a secret hall with cells along one side. The cells contain a variety of creatures: a chrome songbird, a little light like the Lanterns have, two animated skeletons, exotic pets including a magenta Pomeranian, and a Halfling. Joey goes back to his post and Ori and Melvin wonder how to unlock all the cells. Melvin can ooze between the door and the frame, and Ori can teleport in, but how can they get everyone out?

GM note: We decided that spending a Rain point was a sufficient expense for the effect of unlocking a door, although that’s not on the list of things that Rain points can be spent for.

Melvin blast the Halfling’s cell open with a burst of water.  The Halfling starts opening the other cells.  When the chrome songbird is released, it uses Power Word Spring to create a large metal spring that knocks the door to the hallway open.  The loud noise attracts attention.  A few more cell doors are opened before two mobsters arrive and block the hall. Our party will have to fight their way out of this.  Ori asks if lethal force is authorized. Melvin says no, and Ori’s eyes switch to glowing blue.  The two mobsters are keeping the animals from getting down the hall. The skeletal boar charges, pushing the mobsters back.  The Halfling herds the animals further down the hall, running over Melvin. His amorphous fluid body is not damaged by being trampled.  Louie, the boss, arrives to help his underlings hold the line right where the secret hall opens to the room with his apartment-sized fishtank.  Louie’s a merman, so to move on land he straps his tail into something that looks like a mechanical Segway.  Melvin blasts the assistive device out from under Louie with a jet of water, sending Louie flopping to the ground. Ori rushes forward, grabs Louie by the shoulders, slams him into the wall of the fishtank and slides him up, until Louie’s tail is entirely off the ground.  Terrified by this show of power, Louie grabs the top edge of the fishtank and scrambles out of Ori’s grip, flipping over into the relative safety of the fishtank.

The two remaining mobsters can’t hold back the animals alone. As the animals rush out of the aquarium, Melvin, who still looks like their co-worker Johnny, tries to rally the mobsters under his leadership. They are frightened by Johnny’s sudden change in personality and his violent take-over, so they flee.

Ori and Melvin are mostly alone in the building now, and eye all the fancy fish in the giant fishtank with Louie.  Ori wonders if they should free the fish as well by smashing the bottom and letting them swim into the river delta.  Melvin isn’t sure if they would survive outside. Do they need salt water or fresh? Freedom isn’t more important than life, so Melvin leaves the fish where they are safe.

The mafia is in shambles, and Ori and Melvin leave the aquarium. Ori asks why Melvin seeks freedom so strongly. Melvin says that the Rain were contained in the past and they hated it. He doesn’t want that to happen to anyone else.  Ori asks if Melvin thinks he is a fool for seeking a master. Melvin says, “If that’s your way, that’s what you have to do.”

GM note: There’s a great line in my notes, but I can’t remember the context, so here it is without context: “Sometimes it is necessary to be someone else in order to learn who you are.”

Chasing The Sunset & shipwreck

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

Melvin the Rain

He a slime person who can’t be hurt by normal weapons, and in fact keeps several normal weapons inside his gooey, malleable form to produce and weild when the need arises.  The Rain (singular and plural) arrived on this world as fragments of an ice comet. Rain tends to live with other Rain and not in the cosmopolitian, multi-species cities that are common across the world.  They all answer to the Ice King, and Melvin is exploring new lands partially because of some unpleasantness back at the royal court.  Rumor has it that the Rainwant to create a great Ice City.

Lumen the Lantern

She appears to be a female humanoid accompanied by a small floating light, but really she’s an extradimensional traveller, and the light is closer to the “real” her than the humanoid form it projects.  Maintaining the humanoid form is tiring, but makes interacting with others in this world much easier.  There are not many Lanterns in this world.  She’s exploring to right wrongs, enforce justice, and protect the innocent, and she’s focused all her skill into making her Little Light as versatile and dangerous as possible.  Woe to the wicked! Rumor has it that Lanterns can possess other creatures, kind of like they ‘possess’ their humanoid projections.

Grokch the Goblin Tinker

He’s a little Goblin in a big suit of power armor, equipped with a blaster gun and giant drill.  Goblins are somewhat shy and stay in their technologically advanced underground cities, never venturing to the surface.  Grockch (be sure to to pronounce the guttural ‘ch’ after the hard ‘k’!) was voluntold to explore topside for new materials or power sources to help advance Goblin civilization. In addition to seeking scientific progress, he also wants the chance to show off his cool toys!  Rumor has it that Goblins are redirecting underground streams.

Bungo Trotter the Squire

He’s not the champion of humanity. He’s just a guy who’s good at making friends and is a little over his head. He wants to see the sights and maybe discover more about who he is, deep inside.  Rumor has it that humans are brainwashing the Goblin scouts that are sent to the surface, so they will go back and infiltrate the Goblin underground cities.


  • There’s a new material that enables a new form of energy
  • A swamp monster lurks inside a lake
  • A mystical shrine that lets one recover from grief
  • Drinking from a certain natural spring brings euphoric feelings

Let’s Begin

Bungo, Grokch, Lumen, and Melvin did not take a ferry like the previous party.  They took a charter vessel that was already carrying some cargo to Port Fennrick.  It’s a small boat, with barely enough room for the six passengers and crew, plus the carefully wrapped, couch-sized cargo.  The boat is pulled by two manatees, commanded by Jensen (a platyperson) and guided through an unconventional route by Sebastina (a mermaid). During the journey, some vast undersea creature passed by. A fast-moving hill of water, pushed up by the unseen monster, overtook the boat and threw it off-course.  The manatees broke loose and fled in panic. Sebastina barely held on to the hull, and the boat and its six occupants washed up on an unfamiliar shore.

Our heroes take stock of the situation. No one is injured, and the boat’s hull seems intact, but their propulsion is gone, and they don’t know where they are relative to their destination.  Lumen surveys the scene. They are on a sandy beach.  The water is shallow, dotted with many islands of strange, unnatural shapes: a hemisphere, a cube twisted at an odd angle, curlicues, and other shapes which wind, water, and time would never create.  Inland, there’s dense jungle, and hills rising far beyond.  Lumen’s sharp eyes detect giant spiders lurking in the jungle, hunting birds looking for stragglers overhead, and the tops of masts far away to the south.  So the main shipping lane is to the south, but how can they get there?

Melvin walks into the sea and shapeshifts into a manatee.  He calls out, hoping to find the lost manatees.  Instead, he finds strange fishes, as misshapen and twisted as the islands they swim among.  They head towards him, and they don’t look friendly!  Fortunately for Melvin. he’s hard to see when he’s immersed in water, and normal weapons like fish teeth can’t hurt him anyways. Bungo still throws rocks to distract the fish and pulls Melvin to shore.

Just then, from behind a perfectly cylindrical island, a small racing yacht appears.  It’s zooming dangerously close to the island, it’s lone occupant leaning so far off the side that the pontoon on the opposite side is out of the water.  It’s do Rolo, the millionaire thrill-seeker!  Bungo knows him!  Bungo helped de Rolo select the perfect tree to turn into that yacht’s mast.  Bungo hails the yacht and de Rolo swiftly heaves to.  The castaways explain their predicament, hoping for a ride on the yacht, or for de Rolo to build a mast for their boat so they can finish their journey under wind power.  de Rolo is excited by the strange, large creature that got them into this mess. He’s a thrill-seeker, so of course he wants to pursue the creature immediately. Of course he won’t leave them stranded.  They can all accompany him on this grand chase, and then he’ll take them to Port Fennrick.  The castaways are not interested in heading into danger, especially Captain Jensen, who really wants to deliver her cargo on time.  It’s very important.  They convince de Rolo to make a mast for them so that he can go chase monsters and they can go to Port Fennrick.

de Rolo is now fixed on his new mission and marches boldly into the jungle to select a proper tree.  He doesn’t see that he’s walking right towards a couple of giant spiders!  The spiders’ attention is all on de Rolo, so Melvin and Lumen blast one with their respective ranged weapons.  The second Spider pounces on top of de Rolo, but Lumen drops that one with a single,well-aimed shot!  Our heroes move forward to secure the area, and de Rolo finds a good tree.  He and Grokch attempt to fashion a mast from it, but Grokch has only a blaster and a drill, tools better suited to other uses.  He destroys the tree.

de Rolo is frustrated and won’t try again.  If the party wants to leave, they had better accompnay him on his yacht.  They all return to the beach, but the yacht isn’t there!  Neither are Jensen or Sebastina. They’ve stolen the yacht and stranded our heroes! Melvin can move through bodies of water at incredible speed, so he catches up with the yacht and pleads for Jensen to return and pick up the others.  She reluctantly agrees, and Melvin owes her a favor.  When everyone is onboard, their destination is hotly debated. Jensen wants to deliver the package to Port Fennrick immediately, but de Rolo wants to pursue the creature.  During the commotion, Lumen sneaks a peek at the mysterious cargo.  It’s a large wooden box, maybe 2m x 1m x 1m, wrapped in canvas and secured by rope.  Lumen unites a few knots and lifts the lid. Inside, there’s a creature that has been reshaped so much that no original shape is left.  Eyes, limbs, teeth at all angles.  It lies perfectly still, because on the inside of the lid is a glowing Symbol of Sleep!  Lumen manages to cover it with her hand just before it knocks her unconscious.  Now she remembers Jensen’s mannerisms and her insistence on delivering the package.  She’s smuggling this beast for some unsavory folks, and if it’s not delivered as promised, Jensen is in serious trouble.

Just as Grokch is convincing Jensen to go on de Rolo’s adventure first and deliver the cargo later, Jensen spots Lumen messing with the cargo!  Lumen reveals the secret of the cargo. She doesn’t uncover the Symbol of Sleep, of course, but explains the situation.  She gives an inspiring speech about slaying this foul creature and fighting the mobsters who put Jensen and everyone else in danger with it.  Most are convinced, but Melvin is dedicated to the freedom of all things, and sees the Chaos Beast as a prisoner. Everyone starts arguing as mutant fish start circling the boat, drawn to the Chaos Beast.

Melvin prevails. They will release the Chaos Beast from its enchanted slumber, but they don’t want to deal with an active Chaos Beast on the crowded yacht.  Grokch rigs some floats and a time-release spring so they can set the Chaos Beast adrift, and dump it into the water when the yacht is a safe distance away.  Unfortunately, the spring goes off immediately, throwing the box high into the air. The lid opens, throwing the Chaos Beast clear, but also flashing the entire crew with the Symbol of Sleep!  Jensen, Sebastina, de Rolo, and Bungo all collapse, but Grokch no-scopes the lid right out of the air with his blaster, destroying the symbol.

With all immediate threats dealt with, the racing yacht heads for Port Fennrick.