Chasing the Sunset & Campfire Chats

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

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

Last time, Edna met Vestri and Yuri and they ran afoul of O’Later, the chief of Port Fennrick who is also an evil Vampire!

GM note: We ran out of time in the last session, so we’re doing the end of session move from that session at the beginning of this session.

END OF SESSION MOVE

  • Did we thoroughly explore a new location?
    • YES. the Robotic Facility
  • Did anyone find what they were seeking?
    • YES, Yuri found an item related to his magical sword, and he discovered that Lucy is exactly the sort of person he’s looking for.
    • GM note: I complained about Xanadu, the best roller-skating musical of the 1980s. A muse helps some dude realize his dream of making a roller rink and he thinks she’s the coolest girl ever and falls in love. Makes sense from his perspective, but she’s been helping the greatest artists in the world or centuries. Why should she be impressed by him enough to defy the gods to stay with him? Similarly, Yuri may be smitten with Lucy, but what can he offer her? Yuri plans to save this world and offer her access to a new world that she can exploit through capitalism. Yuri’s homeless now and has a medical degree, so he might as well emigrate to America.
  • Did we discover something new about the world and its people?
    • Nah

Two Boons

  • Yuri and Edna level up
    • Yuri learns Mighty Leap from Edna
    • Edna increases Courage to +3
  • Heal
    • Yuri heals himself, Vestri heals himself, Edna heals Vestri

Edna, Vestri, and Yuri run through the hole in the warehouse wall, pursued by O’Later and his minions: the Shadows and the Ogre Bork.

Edna. My goodness, you’re injured! Look what happens when I’m not taking care of you!

Edna forms a bond: “I must protect Vestri”

Edna forms a bond: “I must protect Yuri”

Vestri forms a bond: “Edna is a mighty friend”

Yuri forms a bond: “Edna is the mother I never had.”

GM note: My attempt to disrespect my fellow adventurers by implying they could not hold their own in fights backfired in the best way.

Edna: Are we going? Are we leaving town or should we go back and stomp that guy?

Vestri: I assumed run? I assumed run.

Yuri: We should leave and come back with a plan to beat O’Later at a later time.

Edna: Good thinking. Where’s that other Dwarf fellow. We mustn’t leave him behind.

Hundrin was near the exit, tinkering with Gurtin. Vestri points the way. Edna leans down and places her giant hand, palm up, in front of Vestri.

Vestri: All right, that seems faster.

Edna Toss Aside: an ally can ride you

Vestri climbs into Edna’s hand. Edna sees that Yuri is keeping up with her and does some small jumps to demonstrate her technique. He picks it up quickly, and is soon able to jump over a building.

Edna: Yeah, yeah, you’ve got it!

Yuri & Edna Mighty Leap: leap to anywhere you can see.

Yuri & Edna leap directly to Hundrin & Gurtin near the town gate.  Edna puts Vestri down. Unknown to the Fellowship, O’Later flies into the sky and uses the ultra-sonic voice of his bat form to signal Shadows all over the town. A group of Shadows that was guarding the gate springs into action to attack the Fellowship.

  • Group of Shadows
    • Group: able to affect 2 characters at once. When a group is destroyed, replace it with 2 Shadows.
    • Death From Above: Shadows can climb along walls and ceilings as quickly as they can run, and as silently as a ghost. When the Shadow drops down on an enemy from above, they can either kidnap them or deal damage to them as a Hard Cut, their choice.
    • Patience: The Shadow is Secret until they make a Cut. When they escape or hide, they become Secret again until they make a Cut.

Vestri Clear The Path: 7-9 leave a path, but get in trouble

Vestri charges through the Shadows to reach the gate, which is closed at night. One of the Shadows flies into Gurtin and damages the Drill Tank.

Hundrin: My baby! I just fixed her!

Edna Uncontrollable Strength: lift almost anything

Edna Overcome 10+

Edna kicks the Shadow aside, picks up the Drill Tank and runs to the gate. O’Lateris flying from the warehouse to the gate. He’s not on the scene yet, but he’ll arrive soon. Everyone runs to the gate, but they need to get it open. The door is a series of logs tied together. It hinges at the top and swings outward, so it’s inceonvenient to open from outside. Ropes and pulleys let a group of people inside the walls raise the heavy gate.  Yuri considers cutting the ropes, but the gate is designed to fail safely.  The weight of the gate naturally keeps it closed. Destroying the ropes and pulleys prevents it from being opened.

Edna: Use what you’ve learned. Just jump to the top!  Y’all get out. I’ll leave last.

Yuri Mighty Leap: jump to anywhere you can see

Yuri leaps to the top of the wall, where the gate controls are. He pulls on the ropes and Edna puts her shoulder into the gate to push it open. The Shadows are recovering. Can they get the gate open before the Shadows attack again?

Yuri Overcome (+hope, Edna’s aid) 6-

Yuri Fool Me Once 10+

The gate rises enough to let Vestri & Hundrin scoot under. Edna plans to jump to the top of the wall to escape, but the Shadows are upon her!

Edna Get Away 6-

The Shadows climb all over Edna, stabbing her with their knives!

Edna Wobbles: no damage from normal weapons, just distraction

Edna can’t get proper form for a Mighty Leap until she deals with these Shadows. She stops, drops and rolls. She’s the size of a mini-van, so they’re about to get in a car wreck!

GM note: To estimate Edna’s size, I looked up specifications for a minivan: 16 feet long (Edna’s height) and 5000 pounds. I also looked up rhinos, which are 12 feet long and 5,000-6,000 pounds. Edna’s uncontrollable strength makes her body unusually dense, so she’d be even heavier than a rhinoceros.  5,000 pounds is a low estimate.

Edna Finish Them (+Courage, force them to retreat) 10+ TAKEN OUT

Edna holds the Drill Tank over her head, so she doesn’t crush it as she rolls on the ground. The nimble Shadows scramble the opposite direction, like log rollers, trying to not end up under her.  Most of the Shadows scatter. Edna gets up and pushes the gate open to escape.

Edna Overcome 10+

She ducks under the gate and now the entire Fellowship is outside of Port Fennrick. Will O’Later and his minions pursue them, or be satified with driving them off?

GM note: We get distracted by comparing the situation to various movies, and remember that Yuri can Command Lore about the world he came from, so he really could start talking about Marvel movies in-character.

The Fellowship looks around to decide where to go next. To the south is a marshy area. The Mighty River (which the Fellowship just sailed down) is to the west. To the north is a forest. Yuri considers the Fellowship’s long-term goals.

Yuri: Where do you think this dagger could be?

Vestri: I have no idea where the dagger could be, otherwise I wouldn’t be looking for it everywhere.

Yuri: I feel like Forest is good place for lost things. Maybe there is sword in stone — dagger in stone, or maybe door that needs sword-key.

Vestri: Edna, have you seen a dagger that looks like this?

Edna: Most daggers look like that. Is there something special?

Vestri: If you look at these stones and see this deep red one right in the middle of the hilt, If you look closely — I will hand it to you in one moment — look very closely, just tilt it around until it’s blood red, you’lll notice there is a symbol inside, It is my family crest. The Redrocks. Here you are. Take a look.

Edna: Oh, charming. I haven’t seen this particular one.

The Fellowship decides to go into the forest to look for magical folk, who may know things. Yuri presumes that magical folk learn these things in schools, but he’s not sure how education works in this world, so he asks.

Dwarves have an apprentice system. Each craftsdwarf teaches younger Dwarves about their trade. Librarians and scholars are taught in an academic context that is closest to a school in real life. There’s no value judgment on which profession a Dwarf chooses. A blacksmith may not know how to read, but that doesn’t mean they are stupid and less worthy than a scholar who studies books all the time. Everyone has a place in society, and each Dwarf picks what they want their place to be.  Choosing a parent’s profession is common, but not required. Dwarves have social mobility.

Edna’s family was rich, so her time was not taken up by working to survive. She had a tutor and can read several languages. She also learned to play tennis and ride horses, but obviously she can’t ride horses anymore.

Edna: I had a tutor. There are experts who have specialized knowledge. There are libraries. I heard there’s a great wizard who lives in the town up the river.

Vestri: Did we meet a wizard?

Yuri: I do not think so. We met an Eel, and a Vampire, and a water-man.

Vestri: And a Demon.

Yuri: And Dinosaurs. And people who corral dinosaurs.

The Fellowship decides to seek out this wizard, but to take a circuitous route through the forest, so they can search more area.

GM note: My various notes disagree about what’s in the forest to the north. We use my Horizon Location Generator to come up with something.

The unnatural-looking forest is a rough hike. Yuri and Edna can only jump to places they can see, and they can’t see far in the forest. Yuri looks around for clues on which direction to head. What’s interesting in this forest?

Yuri Look Closely 6-

Yuri Fool Me Once 6- ask one question, find out the hard way

Yuri Fresh Eyes: When you Look Closely, ask a player a question from the Speak Softly list

  • Is something hidden or out of place?
    • The two Shadows from the gate followed the Fellowship!
  • What do the Shadows want and how can we help them get it?
    • O’Later wants to capture Yuri specifically because he likes rare foods. Steven the housecat is also very rare, but O’Later doesn’t like eating hairy things. Vampires bite people on the shoulders because

Shadow Death From Above: appear from hiding and kidnap someone

Edna attempts diplomacy in a loud and violent manner. Since one Shadow has grabbed Yuri, Edna picks up the other Shadow.

Edna Keep Them Busy 10+ Their attention is all on you

Edna: Let’s trade.

Edna Talk Sense (+Wisdom, appeal to desire to not be crushed) 7-9 owe them a favor

Edna Toss Aside 10+ they go where I want & land how I like: safely on their feet

Edna carefully tosses the Shadow to his comrade. The Shadow is good to his word and releases Yuri. Their kidnapping mission has failed, so the two Shadows leap backwards into the underbrush like ninjas. Yuri calls after them.

Yuri: If you tell him I’m dead, neither of us will be in trouble!

Yuri: Maybe we should press forward.

Vestri. Yes, let’s go! You ahead of us so we can keep an eye on you.

Edna: i could carry you.

Vestri takes off his helmet and wraps it in the braids of his beard so he has both hands free. He collects berries in the helmet as the Fellowship hikes through the woods.

The Fellowship stops for the night and chats around the campfire. Edna’s very athletic and loves to learn about the sports of different cultures. Yuri asks is she knows baseball. She doesn’t, but she tells him about the sport the platypeople play called “Fluming“. They stack logs on one side of a flooded field. You bring a log to your goal. Some teammates hold the log upright, and the other teammate climbs to the top to score a point, with a bonus point for doing a flip on the dismount.

Yuri: I know these Platypeople. I have the Fellowship of the Platypeople. I wish I had known this previously. Next time we are in area we can do this.

Edna: I’m taller than a regulation log. Do I have to put my feet on top of the log to score, or could I just put a hand on it?

Yuri: Maybe next time we bring huge log to Platypeople, so this is even competition.

Edna likes to customize games because it’s hard for her to fit in with other people. She wants to play Fluming with an enormous log. Scaling it up to make it a challenge sounds fun.

Vestri also has a favorite sport. Any number of people can play. Each person has a pile of rock and the object is to get to the center as fast as possible. It would be easy to adjust for Edna by giving her a larger rock. Dwarves already have a handicap system for scaling the rock based on the mass of the player. Sometimes humans want to play.  Dwarves look smaller than humans but are often more massive.

Yuri wants to explain baseball, but doesn’t think it would translate well. A game that everyone could play is darts.

Yuri: A dart is almost like a dagger, but an arrow at the same time.  And you throw it at a board that has rings and segmented numbers and you try to hit specific spots to get points.

Vestri:  Ah, like throwing axes.

Yuri: Yes, yes, like throwing small, fine-tuned axes.

Vestri: Like a lance, but very small?

Yuri: Since you like throwing axes, and you enjoy throwing everything, I think this would be a good sport for us. I would have to make a board.

Yuri learned how to appreciate eating plants from the Platypeople, so Vestri gathers various plants and brings them to Yuri to see if they are edible. Edna checks the tree branches for fruits and seeds.

Vestri: What do you eat?

Yuri: I am herbivore, so I’m vegetarian.

Vestri: I understood “herbivore.” What do you eat, Edna?

Edna: The unusual thing that most people notice about my diet is that it includes a lot of clay, and some sand.

Yuri: Interesting. What is the nutritional benefit of sand for you?

Edna: Strong bones and teeth.

Vestri: Yes, I understand. We eat some rocks as well. Only sedimentary rocks.

Yuri: Elementary.

Vestri: Sedimentary. I don’t know what elementary rocks are.

Edna: Gizzard stones are alimentary rocks!

Edna explains how she had to start eating sand and clay when she hit puberty, but it got a lot easier when her third set of teeth came in.

Yuri: Is it like shark with several rows where they kind of replace each other?

Edna: No. There’s baby teeth, then those fall out when I’m a child and the adult human teeth come in.  Those are permanent for most people. When I got Ogrism, they got replaced with stone teeth. That made eating clay a lot easier.

Yuri: So you wanted to eat more sand and clay after having these stone teeth?

Vestri: No it’s easier to eat with the stone teeth, but she already wanted to eat rocks, right?

Edna: Yeah, I had to get the minerals into my body to produce the stone teeth and stronger bones.

Yuri: Was the desire to eat clay always present? I’m interested in biology of Ogres.

GM note: After writing my fun monstergirl’s backstory, I looked back and found: teeth falling out, bizarre puberty, and unnatural desires. This is a horror story!

Edna: When I was 11 or 12. my mom said “Now, Eddie” — she calls me Eddie — “your body’s going to go through some changes soon, and based on our family history, maybe some other changes too.” I hit a growth spurt and didn’t stop. I kept growing and growing, eating a lot, then I wanted to eat clay and sand. Calcium bones stop working at a certain size. I need stronger bones.

Yuri: I’m afraid this is a sensitive subject but I’m curious. Are there natural Ogres, like Bork, or is everyone possible Ogre? What is the nature of Ogres? Are you half-human, half-Ogre?

Edna: I’m what’s called a “first-generation Ogre” so my parents are both human and I just got Ogrism. It runs in my family every few generations. That’s why we got the “Crusher” name, after the first Ogre in the family.

Yuri: If you were to have children with another Ogre, would your children definitely be Ogres?

Edna: Yes, there are some Ogre communities with their own culture. Some first-generation Ogres will join Ogre communities. Children of Ogres are always Ogres. We call them “native Ogres”.

Yuri: Is there a cultural divide between between these types?

Edna: It is cultural. I didn’t grow up as an Ogre. Mom tried to prepare me as best she could with stories passed down, but it’s always different living through it myself. I would have liked to get to know Bork better, but circumstances have come between us.

Yuri finds some wood that he can whittle into a dartboard. How can he make darts? He wonders if Vestri has some metal bits that could be made into darts, but Vestri doesn’t travel with a forge. He has the skill, but that doesn’t mean he can make precise tools at a moment’s notice in any situation.  Yuri tries whittling points onto twigs and throwing them, but they have no stability and never go straight. He tries pebbles, but they bounce off the board, so scoring is impossible. Finally, he figures it out.

Yuri: This is not exactly how darts would go, but we’ll make due. This will be fun.

He takes excess berries from the meal and sticks them on twigs, so they are vaguely like tiny axes. Where the berry splats shows how many points its worth. It wont be as precise as actual axes or darts.  The outer ring is worth one, then two, and the innermost ring is worth five. During supper, they throw berries at the board.

Normal Forest increases Response Level to 1

Normal Forest gains move Wild Animal: a Beast tries to eat the next character who goes out in the open.

In the morning, Edna looks for a stream to gather water. She stumbles on a Varg that was also drinking at the stream.

  • Varg: These massive wolves are large enough for a full grown ogre to ride, and surly enough to make an ogre think twice about doing it.
    • Cruel Beast: A Varg is wild and malicious, and cannot be tamed easily. Anyone trying to ride it must Pay a Price.
    • Go For The Jugular: A Varg that gets up on top of somebody instantly deals damage to them.

Edna has heard that Vargs can serve as mounts for Ogres so she tries to approach it calmly, but it leaps at her! Edna tries to grab it in mid-air.

Edna Overcome 6-

She misses and the huge Varg knocks her to the ground.

Varg Go For The Jugular: A Varg that gets up on top of somebody instantly deals damage to them.

Edna Wobbles: Normal weapons can’t damage you, only distract and slow you down

Edna’s teeth and bones aren’t the only parts reinforced with minerals. Her skin is also very tough, so the Varg’s teeth can’t tear through. The two huge creatures wrestle on the ground.  Vestri and Yuri hear the commotion and come running. Yuri feels bad about stabbing a dog, but it is trying to kill his friend. It’sa big mena monster, but it still deserves scritches. He leaps and comes down on the Varg with his magic sword.

Yuri Mighty Leap: jump to anywhere you can see

Yuri Finish Them (+Sense, knock out) 10+ TAKEN OUT

Yuri comes down with the pommel of the sword and knocks the Varg unconscious. It slumps over Edna. She pushes it off her, revealing Yuri.  Vestri emerges from the treeline huffing and puffing.

Vestri: Oh, I see you took care of it. Doing alright, Edna?

Yuri pets the unconscious Varg.

Harming Local Wildlife increases Normal Forest’s Response Level to 2

Normal Forest gains Stalker: someone starts following the Fellowship

The Fellowship realizes the woods aren’t a safe place to hang around, so they decide to head west to that Wizard’s tower.

Yuri: Da, fine with me. I’m not married to the woods

Vestri: What a strange expression. Why would you be married to the woods?

Yuri: Exactly. I’m not married to them so we to not need to stick around.

Vestri: That doesn’t mean anything. I’m not around my husbands and wives right now, but we are still married.

Yuri:  Cultural differences.

A Long Journey: each players sets a scene on the journey through the Normal Forest, the Mighty River, to Thaumatown.

As the Fellowship hikes through the forest, an eight-foot tall Platyperson with white fur steps out of camouflage and tells them they are being followed.

  • Marko he/him, giant albino Platyperson: The strongest of the Horde, they stand out from the Troopers. Elites make up for the weakness of their allies by taking hits for them.
    • Protect The Little Ones: Horde Elites are twice the height of other horde troopers and commanders. This makes them big, visible targets, which they use to protect the horde. This stat must be damaged twice. When an ally within reach of the Horde Elite would take damage, damage this stat instead.

Yuri: are you following us? Do you hail from Bogden?

Marko: What? No! Quick, stand aside. There’s an ambush.

Vestri: Are we the ones being ambushed, or are you ambushing animals?

Marko: You are the bait! How do you not — babes in the woods.

Edna: That doesn’t seem sporting!

Indeed a Varg has been quietly stalking the Fellowship. The archers under Marko’s command (normal-sized Platypeople) move to engage it.

  • Swarm of Arrows: A contingent of archers. The ammo they use is crude and ineffective, but there is a lot of it.
    • Covering Fire: Anyone being targeted by a Swarm of Arrows cannot take action out in the open without Paying a Price. The archers can only target one person at a time, or two if they are right next to each other.

Vestri: If you guys want the Varg, you can have it. Let me help you.

Vestri walks out in the open to be as loud and distracting as possible.

Vestri Keep Them Busy 10+ their attention is all on you

The Archers strike from the trees and the Varg never sees it coming. The ambush is successful. Yuri asks Marko about the hunting party.

Yuri Speak Softly 6-

Yuri Fool Me Once 6- ask three questions. One unhelpful answer, one wrong answer.

  • What are they doing, and what will they do next?
    • Marko: There’s only one reason anyone would come into this forest. Don’t play dumb. You’re after the treature too!
    • Yuri: Ah, I had no idea. I’m not from this world.
    • Marko: An outrageous, transparent lie!
    • Vestri: Oh, I wonder if we’re in the forest of Fulheim, because I’ve heard that a Giant Spider gairds a grove of flowers that grow only here, that can heal almost any poison. Is there someone sick that you’re trying to aid?
    • Yuri: Is Bogden OK?
    • Marko: Who’s Bogden?
    • Vestri: There are more Platypeople than just Bogden, you know.
    • Yuri: I’m not from this world. It seems like people live in sections. There are Dwarves over here…
    • Vestri: There are Dwarves in every mountain range!

Marko is confused by these strangers, who are obviously trying to steal the treasure from under him, but also seem too foolish to live.

Yuri: We could just leave. What if two of your archers follow us out so you see us leave.

Yuri Talk Sense (+Sense, explain plan) 7-9 owe Marko a favor

Yuri shows the Archers how to play darts. He shows them his makeshift dartboard.

Yuri: You can make a larger version of this, but this is a gift to you for letting us leave without being shot by arrows. There are three rings. Outside the ring is inaccurate. you do not make points. You have acrhers at set distance a they shoot at this and try to make the highest number of points with all arrows in scabbard.

Vestri: It’s like throwing axes.

Marko thinks archery is completely different from throwing axes. As the Fellowship leaves, every archer takes a shot at the dartboard simultaneously. The dartboard and the tree it’s leaning against are covered with arrows! This group goes for volume, not precision.

The Fellowship exits the forest and reaches the banks of the Mighty River. They secure transport on a boat going upriver to Thaumatown. There’s a mystery onboard. A wealthy passenger stored his backup crown in a lockbox in the hold, but the crown jewel has been stolen. The suspect is Jane, a Marilyn Monroe-type, but the crown jewel is not in her position. Vestri interviews the nobleman who lost the jewel.

Vestri Speak Softly 7-9 three questions, one unhelpful answer

  • How did he discover the jewel was missing?
    • The assistant to the nobleman, a thin timid Human, would attend the nobleman, then periodically check on the lockbox in the hold, since there was no guard in the hold. Halfway through the voyage, he checked and found the lockbox open, the crown inside, but the jewel was missing. This is a backup crown that still has sentimental and financial value.
  • What was he doing? What will he do next?
    • He’s very fat, and sit in a bathtub full of gravy. Sometimes he dips fried chicken into the gravy and eats it. So unsanitary! Vestri is disgusted.
  • What would he has us do?
    • The nobleman assumes that Vestri works on the ship. “I would like you to figure it out and get out of my cabin, so I can continue bathing in gravy.”

Vestri shares information with the rest of the Fellowship on the deck and recommends examining the crown. Yuri hopes that he is not suspected of the crime.

Edna: I’m very interested in jewelry, but you’ll have to bring the crown back up to the deck. I don’t think I can fit down there in the hold.

Vestri lets the timid servant know that he’s taking the crown from the hold and brings it back to the deck to examine it.

Vestri Let Me See That: ask 2 questions about an item

  • What’s wrong with it and how can I fix it?
    • There’s a big setting for a gem that’s empty. If the gem is placed in the setting, the setting can rotate and activate some gears.
  • Who made it and why should I care about them?
    • The crown was made by The Remnant, servants of the Dragons who were wiped out 100 years ago along with their masters. Yuri’s sword and scabbard were also made by the Remnant.

Edna chats with Jane.

Edna Speak Softly 10+ ask 3 questions

  • What does she want & how can we help her get it?
    • She wants to be absolved of the crime. Make sure that you catch the actual culprits.
  • What should I be wary of when dealing with her?
    • She’s so commited to appearing innocent that she’d throw Edna or anyone else under the bus.
  • What can she tell me about the crown?
    • She saw the noblemen do a trick with the gems to make stars spin around, but he showed everyone on the boat. Anyone could have done it. He thinks it was me because he placed it on my head for the party a couple nights ago.

Edna considers Jane’s hairstyle. It’s not big enough to conceal the gem. Yuri talks to the timid servant, who is named Viktor.

Yuri Speak Softly 10+ ask 3 questions

  • What was he doing? What will he do next?
    • Viktor obeyed every random whim of the nobleman.  He checked on the crown, then the nobleman sent him to the kitchen with specific instructions to get a meal that took half and hour to prepare, and to stay in the kitchen until it was ready. When he returned with the meal, there were splatters of gravy on the floor of the cabin.
    • What can he tell us about the storeroom?
      • He was absent from the storeroom for the half hour needed to prepare the food. The lockbox was opened, and only he and the nobleman have keys. There was gravy in the storeroom.
    • What does he want? How can we help him get it?
      • He wants a new job. Not only is the nobleman messy and disgusting, he hasn’t been paying Viktor correctly.

Yuri inquires about Viktor’s interests. Viktor likes travelling , but although this boat travels up and down the river, it does not have any open positions. Edna offers Viktor a job as her attendant. She’s not replacing Ol’ Jardinier. She still palns to link up with him.

Edna: If it was practical, I’d just dump that man out of his gravy bath and look for the gem at the bottom.

Since Edna can’t fit below deck or inside the nobleman’s cabin, Yuri and Vestri go to confront him.  Viktor offers to help. He’ll probably be fired anyways if his testimony reveals his employer as a liar. Vestri brings a sailor along as a witness. Yuri and Vestri march in and try to dump the tub over. It’s heavy!

Yuri Overcome (+hope, Vestri’s assistance) 6-

Fool Me Once 7-9 pay a price for a permanent solution

Yuri damages Blood

Yuri strains himself, but the tub does fall over, spilling gravy all over the deck. The nobleman was hiding the gem in the tub! Yuri wonders why he’d steal his own property. Vestri suspects insurance fraud. Yuri’s amazed to discover this world has insurance. The nobleman is disgraced, Jane is pleased, and Edna hires Viktor.

Edna forms bond: I am a good employer to Viktor

The boat continues on, but just before reaches Thaumatown, it has to stop. The bridge over the river was damaged by a recent storm, and the river is blocked by debris.

Edna: Perfect!

Edna Uncontrollable Strength: lift almost anything

Edna wades into the river, tossing debris onto the shore. She finds a long beam among the debris and uses it to dislodge debris in deeper water that she can’t reach. Her body is so dense that she can’t swim, and sinks to the bottom of any body of water.

Edna Overcome 10+

Edna clears a path for the ship to path. The boat reaches Thaumatown on time. The captain is very grateful for the Fellowship’s assistance with the crime and the debris.

Two towers dominate the skyline of Thaumatown: the clock tower on the Civic Center, and weird a magical-looking tower at the back of town.  Vestri confidently heads for the magical tower.

Citizen: Oh, no, you don’t need to go there. The Wizard’s gone. We have a self-appointed government now.  It’s the new hotness.

Vestri: Where has the Wizard gone?

Citizen: I was there! He was on the docks. He walked out onto the water and told us that he’d taken care of us for so long, but we were ready to rule ourselves. Then he disappeared into the water and we never saw him again.

Vestri: Nice of him, but unfortunate for us.

Yuri: Maybe he went invisible and then went back to his tower. Has there been any lights on?

Edna Mighty Leap: jump to anywhere you can see

Edna leaps to the balcony at the top of the tower.

Edna: Uhhh, there’s a dead guy here?

Yuri: Is he wearing wizarding clothes? That’s not good. Did you guys kill him?

The townfolk are shocked!  Vestri runs up the tower stairs to investigate. Hundrin says outside and tinkers with the Drill Tank. He’s not much for these mysteries and adventures. He likes traveling and Vestri is his cousin, so he’s traveling with him. He usually explores towns and sees the sights while the rest of the Fellowship gets into trouble. Yuri just leaps to the balcony.

Yuri Mighty Leap: jump to anywhere you can see

Vestri Look Closely (+hope, Edna’s assistance) 10+

  • What is going on? what do my senses tell me?
    • A Wizard’s study with books and scrolls piled on shelves and tables. They all have water damage. The pages are wavy. There’s a skeleton wearing Wizard’s robes with a knife stuck in it.  Edna notices a spiral carved in the railing of the balcony that matches a faint spiral of fresh roof tiles on the Civic Center. A beam weapon was fired from here to there.
  • What is hidden or out of place?
    • A hidden switch causes a bookcase to slide aside, revealing a secret room!
  • How could the electric knife hurt me or help me?
    • The knife is unusual. Squeezing the handle makes electricity crackle along the blade, so the physical threat it poses is obvious. The indirect harm of revealing that the Wizard (who supposedly left when the people were ready to rule themselves) was actually murdered would cause an uproar in the town.

Vestri wonders if the Wizard really did abdicate, then came back and was murdered, or if he was murdered first, and an impostor abdicated. Maybe the dead body is also an illusion, so no one will ever go looking for him  Whatever happened, Vestri thinks self-determination is good. Maybe they should hide the Wizard’s body in the secret room they uncovered. He’s not going anywhere, so the Fellowship looks for useful items and information before deciding what to do about him.

Going through his papers reveals that he was paranoid about other magicians. He used Divination to foresee future threats and remove them preemptively. Yuri’s magical sword also seems to possess Divination magic. On a table is a Faraday-cage collar. It splits in two at a hinge to go over someone’s head, then closes and is locked from the outside. This is not a self-defense item. It’s something put on someone else by force. Yuri worries it was used to test experimental magic on prisoners.  Would a Faraday cage block the electricity from the electric knife? The room is disorganized enough that it’s hard to tell if anything has been taken. Vestri looks through some books but can’t read the script. Edna reads a note that says there’s something to find under the two volcanoes to the south. Yuri looks for anything with the symbol of the Remnant. The Remnants served Dragons, so their symbol is the shape of a poker head, because they tend the fire. Yuri finds a book with that symbol inlaid on the spine, but none no one can read the words inside.

Vestri takes Electric Knife (melee)

Yuri takes Mysterious Remnant Book

Edna takes Magical Trinkets

With their investigation of the tower finished, the Fellowship must now decide what to tell the townsfolk.

Chasing the Sunset & Omens

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

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

Last time, the Fellowship explored a decommisioned Robotics Facility, but that was just a distraction from their mission to take the ashes of a sword made from the horn of a Unicorn and cast it into the sea. Very bad energy to make a weapon by killing a creature so peaceful and good.

Vestri and Yuri book passage on a ship traveling from Thaumatown to Port Fennrick, which is on the ocean. Vestri anticipates spending the whole voyage very seasick. He does not like boats. Yuri looks through his Medkit but doesn’t have anything to help a Dwarf.

Yuri: I’m sorry that I am not equipped for this.

Vestri: I’m just not equipped to be on water.

Yuri books passage on a large Platyperson raft. Each side has rows of poles sticking out over the water, so Platypeople can hold on and swim to propel the raft.  There’s a cabin at the back and the rest of the raft is a big open space for passengers and cargo.

Yuri: Are you alright with this choice of boat?

Vestri: I already told you: I don’t like it but it’s fast.

Yuri sits in the cabin and Vestri sits in the head (a ship’s toilet).

GM note: I told my fellow players can Edna could appear at any time (since she left the previous group via teleporter accident) Now was the time to make a big entrance!

As the raft floats down the river, a horizontal window in the sky flickers open above it. The windows opens and shuts rapidly, and a woman the size of a minivan falls out of the window, hits the raft, and cracks three of the huge logs that form the raft’s deck! it’s Edna Crusher-Harcourt, 16 feet tall and 5,000 pounds.

Vestri feels the ship shake and rolls out of the head to the deck. He lies on his back and looks up at Edna, who also landed on her back. Edna gets up and looks around in confusion.

Edna: Where are the Unicorns? What are you people?

Yuri: Are you OK, ma’am? I am a doctor. You seem to have taken quite a fall.

Edna: Oh, I’m fine. I’m just worried about this boat. Oh, I’ve done it again.

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

  • What’s going on with the window in the sky?
    • The window in the sky is different from the teleportation effect that brought Yuri to this world. It’s stationary relative to the world, so the raft moves past it. It flickers for a while, then disappears.
  • Tell me about the crack in the boat?
    • Raeph, the captain of this raft, is an older Platyperson with greying fur and a tooth on a necklace as a badge of office. He comes out of the cabin to examine the damage to his boat.  It’s very hard to sink a raft, but the damage is significant enough that he wants to stop and make repairs immediately. He’s quite upset at Edna.
  • Tell me about the Platypeople. What are they doing?
    • Some of the passengers panic when Edna arrives and jump into the river to swim away.. They attract the attention of Hunting Birds, who won’t attack a group, but will go after stragglers.

Mighty River response level increases because Edna causes collateral damage

Mighty River uses Wild Animal: a Beast Threat attempts to eat the next person who goes out in the open

  • Hunting Bird: Birds of a feather hunt together.
    • Go For The Eyes: Hunting birds can only harm the stat Sense. If they would deal damage to someone whose Sense is damaged, the hunting bird Keeps Them Busy instead.
    • Eagle Eye: Hunting birds can see you coming a mile away, and will never attack the whole group at once. They go after stragglers, or those cut off from the group.

Yuri: Look at those birds. Look at how they are circling like vultures. Go not go out in the water.

Yuri Talk Sense (+sense, explain plan) 6-

Yuri Fool Me Once reroll to 7-9 they do as he asks, but he owes them a favor

Yuri: The boat can only sink, in which case you will be swimming. If you stay with the group, you will not be picked off by Vulture-birds. This is good plan, yes? Do not swim. Alone.

Some kids think Yuri is safe and clever, so they crowd around him, making it difficult for him to take physical actions. An acceptable trade-off for providing security, Yuri thinks.

Vestri jumps up and down and shouts at the birds to distract them from the swimming Platypeople.

Vestri Keep Them Busy 6-

Alas, a tiny Dwarf making noise is not an effective distraction. The Hunting Birds swoop down and injure a swimmer.

GM note: I hate injuring civilians! I’m so soft!

Edna looks at the Hunting Birds in the air and the Platypeople in the water. She’s not good at either element. If only this happened on stable ground!

Edna: Quick, is the water less than 20 feet deep? Fortune favors the bold!

Edna Mighty Leap: jump to anywhere you can see

Edna leaps into the water near the swimmers. Her departure rocks the whole raft, and her impact kicks up a huge splash, knocking Platypeople around. She immediately sinks because she’s dense, and the water is more than 20 feet deep, so she can’t reach the Platypeople on the surface. So much for grabbing them and leaping back to the boat. Yuri holds on to the children to keep them from falling.

Hunting Birds aren’t that dangerous, but Edna has no ranged weapons, Vestri hates the water, and Yuri is protecting children, so no one has a good answer for them. Edna slow-motion runs underwater to the bank of the river, then rips up chunks of turf and rocks and throws them at the Hunting Birds.

God of War: when you fight them by yourself, you can always Keep Them Busy.

Edna Keep Them Busy 6-

The Hunting Birds dive-bomb Edna

Edna Wobbles: normal weapons don’t damage her, only inconvenience her

Yuri: She is a very sturdy woman.

Vestri: I know! I was thinking the same thing.

The swimmers have stopped propelling the raft, so it’s just drifting downstream. Yuri wants to steer the raft away from the fight with the Hunting Birds and asks the Platyperson children to help him find the rudder. Raeph steps in and reminds Yuri that he is in charge of the raft. Yuri will have to convince him of his plan.

Yuri Talk Sense (+sense, explain plan) 6-

Raeph says that moving the raft is too dangerous. He drops anchor and gets his crew to work repairing the damage Edna caused. The Hunting Birds are still attacking people in the water. The Fellowship has barely made a difference.

Vestri Look Closely 10+

  • What are the Hunting Birds doing?
    • The Hunting Birds quickly realize that they aren’t hurting Edna and return to the easy prey in the river.
  • What do my senses tell me?
    • The river is near the ocean, so it’s flat and calm, good for big boats.
  • Tell me about the vegetation lining the river. How could it hurt or help me?
    • The bushes on the shore would hide the Platypeople from the Hunting Birds, but expose them to the Wild Boars that also live along the Mighty River.
  • Wild Boar: These wild beasts are popular among both halfling war riders
    and halfling chefs.

    • Pig-Headed: Boars are ferocious and territorial beasts. When you gain a Boar’s ire, it will chase you until this stat is damaged. They will follow you into a new scene if ignored.
    • Wild Charge: When a wild boar charges, it keeps going until it hits something. The first thing in their way that has a damaged Sense stat or is distracted takes 1 damage and is knocked aside by its wild charge. Anyone who is not distracted and has undamaged Senses can easily avoid the charge. If the boar hits nobody, it damages this stat instead.

Vestri: Dive underwater and come back to the ship! Be underwater as much as you can, Platypeople!

Vestri Talk Sense (+sense, explain plan) 10+

Platypeople can hold their breath for a long time and Hunting Birds can’t swim, so Vestri’s plan works well! All the stragglers disappear underwater and after about a minute they appear next to the raft. People on the raft pull them aboard and tend to the injured.

Vestri: Large lady, stamp your feet! There are Boars. Scare them and they’ll distract the Birds. I hear Boars are good eating.

Edna: Ugh, I can’t abide bores.

She crouches to leap, then stands back up.

Edna: I’ll walk alongside until you’re able to pull over.

Now that the passengers are out of danger.

Yuri: Children, go back to your mothers. Or fathers. Guardians. Jobs?

Raeph can concentrate on repairing the raft. The crew lashes the broken logs together with boards so they don’t shift and no-one can fall through the cracks. When that is complete, the raft resumes moving downriver towards Port Fennrick. Raeph does not pull over to let Edna board the raft, so she jogs along the shore.

Edna: I can pay for the damages!

GM note: A wonderful introduction. Edna shows up, uses most of her moves, makes a big impression, but actually ruins everything and doesn’t help. I love it!

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

Soon the raft reaches the checkpoint at the entrace of the Port Fennrick, where the river splits into a delta.  Each ship enters a chamber with doors in front and behind and sits there for several minutes before a town official waves it through. Gossip on the raft indicates that travel on the Mighty River is usually safe now that the Crocodile is gone, and that the inspection at Port Fennrick is faster than the previous method. Weird that no one seems to inspect the boats, though.

Yuri wonders if they use X-Rays, but has trouble explaining what he means.  Vestri interrupts to suggest talking to the giant woman, since she suddenly teleported in, just like Yuri did. Yuri explains his involuntary teleportion was very different.

Yuri: It was very vicious and aggressive, and that was more of a beautiful opening in the space-time.

Port Fennrick also has a checkpoint for people entering the town on foot. Edna approaches the gatehouse and crouchs down to address the guard inside.The guard gives her a bit of trouble for saying she’s with the raft when she’s not on the raft, but when he realizes that she’s rich (she wears a lot of jewelry) he changes his tone and welcomes her to Port Fennrick.  After thanking him, Edna considers ducking under the guardhouse, then backs up and carefully jumps over it.

Back on the raft, Yuri is curious about this inspection with no inspectors.  He asks the passengers about it.

Yuri Speak Softly 7-9 three questions, one unhelpful answer

  • What can they tell me about this new inspection policy?
    • A new mayor came in to clean up the town and make everything run smoothly.  People who try to bring in contraband get caught, so they somehow know what’s onboard, even though no-one comes aboard.
  • What should I be wary of when dealing with the people in charge?
    • If you keep your nose clean, you’ll be fine, but they don’t like troublemakers. Socially-acceptable people have a good time here.
  • What do they want from stopping each ship?
    • It’s a mystery. No one knows what they’re doing.

Yuri still rambles about radiation hitting bones and seeing people without their clothes, but Vestri does not get it. The official in charge of the locks tells Reaph that his raft is damaged, but lets the raft through. When the raft docks, Edna approaches apologetically.

Edna: I’m so sorry for the trouble. I just gotta make it right. Let me pay for the damages. You’ll need some big logs to replace the ones I broke (I’m sorry about that. There are some trees around here. I could bring some likely-looking ones to you, if that would help.

Edna spends a Precious item.

Edna removes one of her bracelets, which is actually a ceremonial armor belt made of gold and set with jewels. It was built for a human’s waist, but it fits on her wrist. Raeph accepts the belt, weighs it in his webbed hands, and realizes that it will easily pay for the repairs,

Raeph:  That would be super-helpful. That would make up for the discrepency between this and the cost of the repairs. Thank you so, so much. You can leave them outside the city. We will send a team to pick them up. You don’t need to come near our boat again. Thank you.

Edna leaves thinking that went well. Raeph is terrified of her and wants her as far away as possible. Yuri and Vestri figure such a strong person could throw the ashes of the Unicorn Sword into the sea from where she stands.

Vestri: Ma’am! Before you go off to chop down trees or whatever, I was wondering if you could do us a favor.

Edna: I suppose I owe you for all the trouble I caused on the raft. I am Edna Crusher-Harcourt. What’s your name?

She offers one finger for a handshake.

Yuri: You can just call me Yuri. It’s wonderful to meet you, Edna.  I’m just curious about — I’m not from this plane of existence. How did — do you teleport?

Edna: Not usually. We were in the forest. Had some trouble with the Fairies. These Unicorns were going to take us to their meadow. I could see it through the portal. I go to walk through the portal and I fell out on the boat. Are there Unicorns around here? Maybe they are nearby.

Yuri: No, only Platypeople.

Vestri: I don’t know about any Unicorns, but if you could take this bag and chuck it into the ocean, that would be wonderful.

Edna: OK, what’s in it?

Yuri and Vestri stumble over each other to say “cremated ashes” but avoid saying exactly what was cremated. Edna recognizes a solemn ocassion and wants to say a few words, but doesn’t know which words.

Edna: It’s so tragic. To the earth we must all return one day. Most people, at least.

She turns and throws the bag across town and into the ocean.

Yuri: Do you have to train for that? How do you? Do you play baseball? Sports of any kind?

Edna: You know, sports training is appropriate for a young lady’s upbringing, but I quickly outgrew the competition at home.

Yuri: I see. You’re very talented. Gifted!

Edna: I guess you could call Ogrism a gift. That’s what my momma called it.

Yuri: Life is just chaos and you gotta accept the cards you’re dealt.

Edna: I suppose I do alright.

GM note: The Boss’s Agenda is Gracious Host, so the Fellowship will be invited to a banquet. My co-GM and I define the details necessary to meet the Boss face-to-face.

Suddenly a man in uniform is standing right behind Yuri. He hands an invitation to each of the three.

Official: O’Later the town chieftain is throwing a banquet for exceptional people and he’d like you to attend.

Yuri: Do you have an invitation for Steven, or is he my plus-one?

The official is very impressed by Steven, the only housecat in the world. Yuri shows the official how to properly pet Steven, who purrs. Once the Fellowship agrees to attend, the official disappears as suddenly as he appeared.

The banquet is after sunset in the town hall, easily visible because of the tall clock tower above it. The Fellowship has some time to explore and prepare before attending. Edna wears well-made traveling clothes, but has fancy clothes in her pack.

Edna: Come, Jardiner, we must prepare!

She looks around, under her jacket, inside her pack. Jardiner is not with her! He did not come through the portal. Edna hopes that he and the others are well. Yuri is concerned that she is separated from her companion. Edna does want to link up with him again, but he was with people who seemed nice, so she’s not too worried.

Yuri: Where in the world were you before, just out of curiosity?

Edna describes some landmarks and Yuri figures out she was far to the west, near Cloudhold. but definitely on this plane, unlike himself.

Yuri: It will be easy to reconnect you with your friends. Your French friend.

No one else knows about “French”. Edna looks for a large structure to get changed and leaves the scene.  Yuri gets the impression that he should dress up for this meeting with the town chieftain. The invitations are quite nice. he considers buying new clothes. Vestri plans to freshen up with a nice dirt scrub.

Yuri: I am confused how you wash yourself. You scrub youself with dirt. To be clean?

Vestri: Yes, you see, you use especially dry dirt, a high content of stone. It’s a scrub, so you loosen up all of the dirt and dead skin and then we have a scraper, so you can scrape off all that stuff.

Yuri: No water.

Yuri wonders about stinky pits. Each Dwarven mine has a stinky pit where they throw the garbage. Vestri goes off to prepare and Yuri ponders his magical sword.

GM note: Yuri’s player can Command Lore about the sword, so it’s up to them to say what powers the sword has and how Yuri interacts with it. The player is amazed to have such narrative power. The sword gives Yuri nightmares of some vague catalysm. Would the sword lead him to someone who knows about the disaster, or would it lead to the weapon that could cause the calamity. Is this like Halo, or Mass Effect, or The Witcher, or even Dr. Strangelove?

The players suggest that universes are colliding, starting with buildlings leaking through into the City Junkyard, and the sword points the way to stop all universes of smashing into each other! Yet another amazing explanation for the City Junkyard that isn’t the explanation I established. Alas!

Yuri doesn’t know much about dowsing, but he vaguely remembers a story, so he gives it a try. He balances the sword on a finger, just past the hilt. The blade starts turning to point at something and Yuri follows it. He finds himself at a secure warehouse. The building is surrounded by a fence with a sign that says “DO NOT ENTER – by order of Chief O’Later” Yuri doesn’t see guards patrolling. Security is suspiciously light all over the town. He decides to ask O’Later about it instead of breaking in.

After sunset, Edna, Vestri, and Yuri arrive at the town hall.

Edna: Oh! Happy to see y’all again! While I was gettin’ ready, these littel floatin’ eyeballs appeared, but they had little bifocals on ’em, so I knew it was Jardiner using his magical powers to check on me.

Vestri: I’m glad your friend’s doing well.

Yuri: that’s interesting and cool.

Edna: Yeah, yeah. Little bifocals. They’re amazing. They help him read real good and see far away with the other half.

The entrance and main chamber of the Town Hall are big enough to accomodate Edna. There are two tables set up: another Ogre sits at a large table, while O’Later (a Human man) sits at a human-sized table.

O’Later: Ah, esteemed travellers! Come, sit, sit!

Vestri sits on a human chair with his elbows up on the table, looking a bit like a child and digging into platters of food immediately.

O’Later: Apologies. We’ll get you a more suitable chair.

He snaps his fingers and a servant appears next to Vestri with a high chair suitable for a Dwarf sitting at a human table. Vestri struggles a bit to climb the rungs because he is still holding a plate full of meat.

At the big table, Edna introduces herself to the other Ogre, a woman named Bork.  Edna offers a handshake, but Bork uses a different greeting gesture.

Edna: Oh, I’m sorry, darling. I’m first-gen, not a native Ogre.

Vestri: Not a native Ogre? I thought Ogres were just born from other Ogres, no?

Edna: Yeah, when Ogres have children, they’re Ogres, but – you’re a doctor, you know about this – sometimes a human kid just keeps growing. Ogreism. It’s rare.

Yuri: Of course! Of course that’s how it happens. Sometimes.

Vestri: I thought it was like, you know a Dwarf is always a Dwarf. Sometimes a Dwarf comes from rock and sometimes a Dwarf comes from another Dwarf. Ogres can come from humans sometimes. That’s very interesting.

Yuri: Yes, a doctor has confirmed it.

O’Later: Ho, ho. Yes, it’s fascinating the many different way that different cultures have of propagating themselves. But now, tell me news of the outside world. I’m so busy here keeping Port Fennrick in tip-top shape.

Vestri: Just upriver, unfortunately Platypalooza had to end early this year, because of Werewolves, but don’t worry! The Werewolves have been –

Yuri: They are nowhere-wolves! They are no Werewolves.

O’Later: Ha! But seriously, Werewolves are a horrible plague upon the land. I hate them.

Yuri: Yes, the killing must stop!

Vestri: Yes, I agree also that the killing must stop.

O’Later thinks that an oddly specific phrase, but lets it pass.

Vestri: And I’m looking for the twin of this dagger! Perhaps you know something of its twin?

Vestri pulls out the Redrock dagger to show just the people at the table, not the whole room.  Edna is impressed. She likes pretty, expensive things.

O’Later: I’ve not seen precisely one of these, but we have many fine goods travelling through the port. Perhaps we could keep an eye out for it. I am not a weapon expert, but if you could tell this man the specific marks by which we could recognize it?

Vestri: As you can tell there’s a gem there with my family crest on it, and the other would have the same. It would look pretty much exactly like this one. It’s Dwarven make from the third century. I don’t know if you have something in your library about it being lost in a Dragon hoard or…

Everyone seems pretty unhappy when Dragons are mentioned.

O’Later: Fortunately those arrogant and ruthless lizards were wiped out some time ago. The world is much safer for it.

Yuri changes the subject by asking about O’Later’s recent rise to power. O’Later explained that he’s stopped unsavory dealing and contraband, makiing the city much safer for the good people of Port Fennrick. Yuri wonders how the city is so secure with no visible enforcement. No one boarded the boat, yet it was inspected.  Yuri’s wonder encourages O’Later to brag.

GM note: Me “Is anyone’s Blood stat damaged?” Players: “That’s ominous.”

Yuri Speak Softly 10+ ask 3 questions

  • What were the security officials doing?
    • O’Later says, “If people don’t know where you are, they act like you’re everywhere. It’s self-regulating. People won’t act out because they don’t know when they can be caught. But we back it up by being able to catch them. Look behind you!” An official appears behind Yuri, then steps back into the shadows and vanishes from view. Inspectors do board the ships, but no one sees them!
      • O’Later’s Shadows.
        • Death From Above: Shadows can climb along walls and ceilings as quickly as they can run, and as silently as a ghost. When the Shadow drops down on an enemy from above, they can either kidnap them or deal damage to them as a Hard Cut, their choice.
        • Patience: The Shadow is Secret until they make a Cut. When they escape or hide, they become Secret again until they make a Cut.
  • What can he tell us about what’s in the secure warehouse?
    • If my Shadows find contraband on a ship, or someone brings it in from Finsea, they confiscate it and store it in several secure buildings.
  • What does O’Later want? Why take over Port Fennrick?
    • O’Later doesn’t say it outright, but gives the impression that he serves some higher master, and has been sent out to expand their influence.

Yuri wonders what counts as contraband, and O’Later gives the non-answer of “things that aren’t conducive to the well-being of Port Fennrick.”

Yuri: Is it possibly getting very packed with all the contraband? Maybe you need assistance removing some? I feel a strong magical connection to one and I need to see it.

Edna: Yuri, do you want to throw all that stuff out in the ocean like I did with your other package?

Vestri: That wasn’t contraband. That was cursed.

Yuri: Cursed cremation. What the person wished for. Where they wanted to be. At peace.

O’Later: Someone with a curse wanted their ashes thrown into Finsea? Did they consult the mermaids?

O’Later tells an attendant to check with the mermaids who live in Finsea to see if the curse is afflicting them.

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

O’Later is intrigued by Yuri’s directness and says that after dessert, they will go to the warehouse and see this item that calls to Yuri. No promises that he can take it. Yuri is quite grateful and shows off Steven, the only housecat in the world.

O’Later: Those reflective eyes! Those fangs! Clearly a child of the night.

Yuri: Yes, he is up all hours of the nights. Sleeps most of the day though.

O’Later: Relatable.

Vestri hasn’t been paying much attention. He’s eating everything and storing some to take back to Hundrin. Yuri leans over and discreetly asks if calling O’Later a vampire would be rude. Vestri’s shocked reaction tells Yuri that he should definitely not mention it ever.

At the big table, Edna chats with Bork, the Ogre in charge of O’Later’s forces. She’s uncomfortable in the role of enforcer, and extra uncomfortable at formal events. Her suit doesn’t fit quite right.  She half-shouts everything in a monotone.

Bork: I, you’re very pretty. Your clothes look nice.

Edna: Thank you very much. I think that suit would look really great with a little tailoring.

Bork: I definitely want more room in the shoulders. It’s very tight. I don’t like it. But I don’t know where to find Ogre clothes. It’s hard in small village.

Edna: If Ol’ Jardiner was here, I’d have him fix you up, but he’s off somewhere.  When I see some fabric that speaks to me, I buy it. When I get enough together, I have Ol’ Jardiner whip something up. There’s nothing like wearing custom-tailored clothes. You’ll feel like 10 Precious objects!

Bork sees a disturbance and gets up to deal with it, but as soon as the big Ogre gets up, the troublemakers settle down.

After dessert, O’Later and Bork lead the Fellowship to the secure warehouse. Bork slides open the massive double doors to the warehouse. O’Later pats Yuri on the shoulder and gives him a little shove forward, encouraging him to demonstrate his magical connection. Yuri clears his throat, takes a power stance, nd draws his sword and balances it on his finger. It turns and directs him to a certain box on a certain shelf.

GM note: I don’t really know what Yuri’s sword does, and neither does Yuri’s player, so we brainstormed a bit to invent what Yuri found in that box. A big magical crystal? Part of a machine?

Yuri finds a narrow cylinder about three feet long with a slot on one end and various bumps and projections along its length. Vestri scurries over to inspect the item before Yuri can pick it up. Artifacts and crafting are Vestri’s specialization!

Vestri Let Me See That

  • What was this made to do? How do I use it or break it?
    • It turns the sword into a key, but where is the lock? The sword blade fits in the slot on the end, so the cylinder is almsot like a scabbard, but twisting the sword inside the cylinder rearranges the projections on the outside.
  • Who made this and why should I care about them?
    • GM note: Would it be cool if the people who made this are now all ghosts? Players: Yes!
    • The makers are now known as The Remnant. They used to serve the Dragons, but they were all wiped out around the same time that the Dragons disappeared.

Vestri: Your sword fits inside it. It’s made to open something. it’s very interesting.  It was made by – you don’t know much about our world – there was a group of people known to worship the Dragons. The Dragons disappeared about a hundred years ago and so did they, so I’m afraid there’s no one we can ask.

Yuri: We have magic. Ghosts seem magic. Why not talk to ghosts with magic? Is that possible?

Vestri: Dwarves come from the stone and we return to the stone, but other creatures can leave behind spirits, as far as I know.

O’Later gives a signal and Bork slams the doors of the warehouse.  Shadows drop from the ceiling on Yuri and Vestri!

Shadow Death From Above: appear and kidnap Yuri

Shadow Death From Above: appear and kidnap Vestri

Yuri I Need To Know: Speak Softly no matter the situation

Yuri Speak Softly 10+

  • Tell me about the Remnant?
    • O’Later hates the Remnant, servants of his eternal enemies. He thought they were all wiped out, and had seen to many of them himself. He won’t let Yuri take thier artifact and continue their work.
    • Yuri: I have no intention of continuing any work. I would like to get home. I apologize for what the Remnants did. i am not Remnant.
  • What does O’Later want and how can I help him get it without dying?
    • He hates Dragons and all their allies and wants them all wiped out.
    • Yuri: Obviously there are stil some remnants of the Remnants. What if I am your spy and get all the information about the Remnants, and then boing bing bang boom! You can get them off your plane of existence.
  • What is O’Later going to do next?
    • GM note: How much will O’Later belive Yuri’s implausible but completely-true story? Edna could cause trouble. On a player level, what do you think about Edna starting a fight? Players: “Do whatever you’re going to do. Whatever’s true to her character, do it. The the thing! We’re always here to cause chaos.” I’m so used to being a GM and being careful not to force the players’ hands, because I have unlimited power and can take unilateral action. But now I’m also a player, and expressing my character through the mechanics available is something I’m allowed to do. I don’t need to ask permission!
    • O’Later’s plans evaporate when Edna gets involved!

Edna: This is how you treat guests? How dare you? Get off of them!

Edna grabs the Shadow menacing Yuri and throws him!

Edna Toss Aside 6- tossee’s choice

Edna tries to throw him into the wall on the far side of the warehouse. In mid-air, the Shadow uses his dual daggers in icepick grip to catch the row of boxes Edna threw him past and slow down safely. O’Later tranforms! He’s a Vampire Lord!

  • O’Later is Melee and Piercing, and he heals whenever he deals damage to a Blood stat. Sunlight and holy symbols deal damage to him.
    • Blood Frenzy: Your weakness is a vampire’s power. When your Blood is damaged, you are in Despair against O’Later.
    • Lord of the Night: Beasts and monsters will do as O’Later tells them to. Beast and Scourge threats cannot harm O’Later, and they always follow O’Later’s orders to the letter. O’Later can drink the blood of any Beast to heal. This kills the Beast.
    • Sunburns: When this stat has been damaged by sunlight or holy symbols, O’Later is filled with Despair and must try to flee the scene.
    • Threat To The World: Anyone acting against him must Pay A Price.
  • Bork: This massive creature is smarter than she looks and eager to prove her worth.
    • Big And Scary: Anyone trying to act against Bork is in Despair.
    • Caught One!: When Bork deals damage, she also picks up and grabs the person she damaged. If she is not stopped, she’ll walk off with them.
    • Eager To Please: Bork is trying her best and just wants to be loved. Anyone who is nice to Bork immediately forms a Bond with her. When Bork is harmed, erase all Bonds the fellowship has with her. Bork will not join the fellowship as a Companion unless someone can form three Bonds with her.

Vestri Clear The Path 7-9

Vestri uses his low center of gravity and superior density to force his way out of the Shadow’s grip. He knocks the Shadow aside and charages forward, smashing into a stack of crates, which collapses on top of him.

Vestri damages Wisdom

Yuri has a path to escape, but he wants to talk to O’Later and get more information. He runs while calling back

Yuri Speak Softly 7-9 three questions, one unhelpful answer

  • What can O’Later tell me about vampirism?
    • O’Later: You will join the winning team. you will not die, in fact, you will live forever!
    • Yuri: Well, in sunlight I might die.
    • Vestri: Who wants to live forever?
    • Yuri: I could learn a lot of medicine and be with Lucy for a long time. How long do Devils live?
  • What is O’Later’s boss doing, and what will they do next?
    • O’Later refuses to answer.
  • If Yuri agrees to become a Vampire, can he trust O’Later not to kill him?
    • O’Later is fine with turning Yuri, since that would prevent him from helping his enemies. As a Thrall, Yuri would not be able to harm other Vampires.
    • GM note: I have ideas for a Vampire Destiny Playbook. Players could not embrace Vampirism, because all player have the agenda “Improve the world around you” and becoming an evil monster violates that. So they would start as a Thral and could advance to be cured, or to become a Daywalker. If Yuri gets bitten, I’ll have to write that up before next session.

Yuri: This is an interesting propostion. I’d like to mull this over. I don’t want to be evil. Do I have to be evil? Do you guys know that you’re evil? I don’t know the morality of this plan. You don’t have to eat people. You could start a blood bank. You don’t have to eat the people you rule from that shadows. Politics is like that anyways. Blood-sucking politicians.

Edna grabs O’Later and throws him into the warehouse doors.

Edna Pay A Price to act against Threat To The World

Enda Uncontrollable Strength: can always Pay A Price by causing collateral damage

Edna Toss Aside 6- tossee’s choice

Bork is in the way and O’Later strikes her instead of the doors!

Bork damages Eager To Please

Bork erases all Bonds with Edna

Vestri: What are you doing Yuri, we have to get out! Vampires and Dragons are mortal enemies because they’re both far to strong for any of us little folk to deal with.

Yuri: Dragons are dead and this vampire man could make us into Vampires…

Vestri: I don’t want to be a Vampire! Dwarves are made of stone and we return to the stone. I don’t want any of this living forever.

In all the confusion, the Shadow that Edna Tossed Aside slipped away and now drops down on Yuri!

Shadow Death From Above: appear and damages Yuri’s Grace

Vestri jumps on the Shadow to bowl him over, but fails.

Vestri Keep Them Busy 6-

Shadow damages Vestri’s Grace.

Meanwhile in the main aisle, the two Ogres clash. Edna still has some goodwill for Bork that she doesn’t have for her employer.

Edna Overcome 7-9 Pay a Price for permanent solution.

GM note: The warehouse is full of valuable items, so technically Edna could keep chooseing collateral damage, but the player characters don’t care about any of those items, so breaking them is not an interesting penalty. I need to choose something else.

Edna damages Armor

Edna shrugs off Bork’s blows and steps past her to engage O’Later. O’Later’s not scared, since Edna’s failed a bunch of moves.

The Shadow points one dagger at Yuri and the other at Vestri. Yuri lunges in to disarm him.

Yuri Overcome 10+

Yuri I Know Something You Don’t: gain an Advantage when overcoming an enemy’s attack

Yuri Finish Them( +Sense, knock out. +hope, Vestri’s aid) 10+

The Shadow is surprised that his dagger is no longer in his hand, and is unprepared for being pummeled unconscious by Yuri and Vestri. Vestri immediately turns and charges the other Shadow.

Vestri Keep Them Busy 10+

Vestri tangles up the Shadow’s legs and he collapses.

Yuri Finish Them (+Sense, knock out)

Yuri Fool Me Once: reroll Finish Them 7-9

Yuri damages Shadow’s Patience

Yuri strikes a blow, but the Shadow is back on his feet, still able to fight.

Meanwhile, Edna faces a Threat To The World by herself. She doesn’t respect O’Later as a threat, so she just grabs him.

Edna Toss Aside O’Later 10+ smash something and take damage

Edna damages O’Later’s Lord Of The Night

Edna throws O’Later through the wall of the warehouse near Yuri and Vestri so they can escape.

Port Fennrick Show Some Respect: increase Response Level for causing collateral damage

Port Fennrick Show Some Respect: increase Response Level for insulting the person in charge

O’Later Big Fish: Increase Response Level for angering the Boss

Port Fennrick gains Show of Force: Boss gains one free Hard Cut

Port Fennrick gains Famine: Pay A Price to Fill Your Belly

Port Fennrick gains Guardian: activate a Machine Threat

The crates Edna knocked over earlier scattered various items around the floor. One of those items is moving on its own!

  • Hidden Turret: A gun disguised as a prop of some kind, like a potted plant or a lamp post. It walks around on hidden tripod legs when no one is looking.
    • Ordinary Object: This threat is Secret while it remains immobile.
    • Open Fire: The hidden turret is a Ranged weapon.

A bubble blower uses compressed air and a series of hoops that dip into soap solution, but it clicks over to a different resrvoir and the little hoops now scoop up bullets and drop them into the tube of compressed air! The pressure increases and it starts firing at Yuri!

Vestri charges through the hole in the wall, knocking O’Later aside!

Vestri Pays a Price to act against a Threat To The World: damage Blood

Vestri Clear The Path 10+

Yuri remembers watching Jackie Chan movies and times a dive roll by listening to sound of the bubble blowerbuilding pressure to lethal levels before firing.

Yuri Overcome 10+

He gets around the corner and has a clear path to the hole in the wall.

Edna also runs for the exit

Edna Get Away 7-9 avoid harm.

Edna, Yuri, and Vestri all flee through the hole in the wall before O’Later can recover and stop them. Next time we’ll start with a chase scene!

END OF SESSION MOVE

Yes, but it’s late, so we will do it at the start of next session.

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 & depression

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

Party: Fafnir the Dragon, Stella the Halfling, Agnes the Harbinger, Buckle the Platyperson, and Rook the Remnant.

Fafnir spent the night sleeping under a porch after chasing a lanky black cat. The next morning, she happens upon the rest of the party as they are walking through the streets.  “Good to see you, Dad,” she says to Buckle.  She doesn’t know anything about the trouble last night, and just wants breakfast.  The black cat is walking along with them and Agnes has a vision that this cat will save the world. A magenta Pomeranian appears and chases the black cat.  As the party chases the two animals, a mobster named Billy appears to grab the Pomeranian.  That’s not OK! These are our pets now! Agnes tries to wrest the dog away from Billy and he tosses her aside.  Fafnir flies past at high speed and grabs the dog, but Billy punches her as she passes.  Billy sees that it’s five against one and flees.  Rook floats silently after him, hoping that he’ll go somewhere dark. If he does, Rook will make sure he never emerges.  Since it’s morning, even the narrow alleys aren’t dark. Billy returns to the aquarium and goes inside. It’s dark in there, but Rook can’t enter without an invitation, so they returns to the rest of the party.

The magenta Pomeranian that the mobster was after is named Wallace.  Agnes wants to know who owns this brightly colored pooch, so she holds its collar aloft.  She sees through the eyes of the owner, swimming over kelp fields towards and underwater city, holding a large bag.

GM note: We had a lengthy discussion about the definition of ownership. Is Wallace a possession of its owner? What happens if Agnes holds a mobster aloft? Do pets own their toys and collars? We decided that living creatures are not possessions, but objects given to pets belong to their owners.

Agnes holds Wallace up to Buckle, who can speak to any beast and asks questions through her interpreter.  Wallace lives in a house with other animals. He can’t read and is colorblind, so he can’t give an address or describe the place satisfactorily. Agnes asks if she is his favorite, and Wallace heartily agrees, licking her hands for emphasis.  Agnes tries to overcome her grim demeanor and smile, but it’s hard. Wallace does remember the way home, so he leads the group there: an aquarium

Agnes uses sight beyond sight to look through the wall of the building and sees two figures: a human and a Platyperson. The team prepares to breach the building. Fafnir and Stella are on the roof, reaching it through flight and wall-crawling spider mount, respectively.  Agnes, Buckle, and Wallace the magenta Pomeranian form up at the back door.  Stella’s companions, Gus and Rose, cover the front door. Rook is ready to float to whichever area needs help.

Paulie, the Platyperson, bursts out of the back door.  Fafnir leaps from the roof, grabs Paulie’s head on the way down, and smashes it into the boardwalk with all her weight behind it. Paulie’s still conscious. She gathers herself and lifts her head despite Fafnir’s efforts to keep her down. Paulie draws a nasty weapon, the limb bone of some large creature, with one end snapped off into splinters. She flails about, endangering everyone nearby. Rook approaches and uses his hypnotic voice to calm her so Buckle and Fafnir can get clear. Stella puts a pit trap in the boardwalk between Paulie and her friends.

Billy, the human mobster that fought the crew earlier today, makes a break for the front door. Gus and Rose try to hold him back. Gus is a cook, and forcibly Cinnamon Challenges Billy. While Billy is busy sputtering and coughing, Stella runs over to talk him down. Billy went after Wallace so aggressively because his whole life had been disrupted when the mob was betrayed by one of their own, their leader exiled, and their prized animals scattered. Billy was trying to reclaim the animals (like Wallace) to reclaim a semblance of the order his life used to have. Stella is sympathetic, but says that holding onto the past doesn’t work, and that Billy needs to act on what’s happening now, not what he wishes was still happening. Billy is really encouraged by these wise words.

Paulie is still mad and goes after Buckle, but falls into the pit trap, which drops her into the river. This just lets her escape, since Platypeople are excellent swimmers. Buckle dives in to pursue her, and has a heart to heart talk with her.  She and Billy were trying to hold on to the mobster way of life after their headquarters was smashed up and their people scattered. Paulie (mechanically a “Beast Loner”) realizes that she doesn’t need to cling to this structure that doesn’t even exist anymore. She’s capable on her own. She swims off to make her own way in the world.

Things seem handled here in Port Fennrick, so the crew decides to head up the Mighty River. As they walk upriver, they meet a boat coming down river. It was attacked and is on river. Buckle uses Tail Slap to splash water over the burning boat and put it out.  They ask how the boat caught fire, and the captain says that it certainly wasn’t a fire-breathing lizard. Those have been extinct for a hundred years!  Fafnir fumes, literally.  Agnes tells her to behave, or she’ll withhold Fafnir’s snacks. Fafnir’s Kobold companion Coco will feed Fafnir, so Agnes’ threat is blunted.

Further upriver, Stella’s riding spider (named Silk) bolts off the path after a bird. It’s the chrome songbird that Ori and Melvin released a while back. The chrome bird, (a Crow-m, perhaps?) sings a piercing note that resonates at the frequency of reality itself, and manifests a coiled spring underneath Silk, sending Silk flying into the air. Silk and Stella decide not to mess with this bird and return to the path. Rook is happy, because Songbirds were considered extinct. Nice to know a few are still around.

Further upriver, mysterious music floats through the air. “Do you hear that?” Agnes retorts, “I’m blind, not deaf!”  Fafnir flies ahead to investigate and finds Slick (ex-pirate) playing a harmonica next to a campfire, with a traveller’s bindle nearby.  This is what people do when they are sad and they have nowhere to go, right?  Fafnir likes his music and asks to hear more. Slick is pleased and plays very fast.  Fafnir is impressed. People would like to hear this music. You could be in show business.  Slick is encouraged to hear this. He’s got a goal to aim for now.  He thanks Fafnir and runs towards Port Fennrick at incredible speed to start a new life as an entertainer!

Further upriver, Agnes notices something sparkling on the riverbed. Fafnir hates water and won’t investigate. Agnes sends Wallace, but Wallace is unable to dislodge it from the riverbed. Agnes cuddles him and tells him he’s a good boy and tried his best.  Agnes sends Snek down to investigate and discovers that it’s a hatch, mostly buried under mud. Snek has no hands and can’t open it.  Agnes tells Buckle to go open it, but he puts his foot down and demands that he use his proper name. In the last day she’s called him “Beagle”, “Bickley”, and “Buckley”. His name is Buckle!  With that settled, Buckle swims down to grab the valve. With remote assistance from Agnes, he pulls the valve open, revealing a tunnel beneath the river! Rook floats down into it and finds a hidden tunnel network. There’s a station nearby with a stairway concealed by a false rock. Fafnir pushes the rock aside from the top, and the crew heads down into the mysterious depths.

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 & mobsters

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

The party: Buckle the Platyperson, Agnes Nutter the Harbinger, Stella the Halfling, Rook the Remnant.

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

Buckle, Agnes, and Rook have just limped into Port Fennrick on a damaged fairy-ferry that was attacked by a Kraken.  Fafnir the Dragon was also onboard, but is nowhere to be found now.

GM Note: Fafnir’s player wasn’t here for this session. One of the concepts for West Marches is being able to mix and match characters into different groups, so I didn’t want to make a big deal of a character’s absence, but that’s what the players wanted to role-play, so we did it.

Rook is especially worried by Fafnir’s absence, since they was dedicated to caring for dragons in their former life.  Agnes magically senses that Fafnir is fine, and says not to worry.  Rook isn’t happy about this and drags their feet as they floats down the road after her. The party doesn’t know what’s going on in town and looks around for excitement. There’s a commotion at the back of town, where the Mighty River enters. They get closer and see a Giant yelling about pirates upriver.  As people listen to the Giant’s story, a damaged longboat arrives with its own story about a battle with pirates.  People waiting at the checkpoint to go upriver start complaining to the inspectors.  “You say these inspections and regulations are for our safety, but you can’t keep us safe from these pirates! Why are you even here? Get out of our way!” The party decides not to get involved.

It’s evening, so they go to a tavern for food and a room for the night.  Stella, the newest player character, has some space at her table in an otherwise crowded tavern and invites the party over.  Rook sort of floating through a chair, but can’t really sit in it.  Introductions all around. Stella is a halfling. She’s traveling with two friends and a giant riding spider which is out back in the stables.  At another table, Sebastina (navigator of an ill-fated charter boat) tells of her brush with the Kraken.  She never saw the beast, but our party knows exactly what she’s talking about, because they fought and killed it. Buckle interrupts to tell his story, but he’s not good at public speaking, and the crowd shouts him down.  He buys a round of milk, which also does not endear him to the hard-drinking crowd.  He does get a big reaction when he says he was traveling with a dragon, since dragons have been extinct for about 100 years.  The rest of the party decides that Buckle shouldn’t talk anymore and drags him away.  They pile into Stella’s crowded room upstairs for the night.

In the middle of the night, two figures slide open the window and creep into the room where everyone is sleeping. Rook isn’t sleeping, because Rook doesn’t sleep. They screams, waking everyone up.  Stella is near the window and grabs one of the figures clambering through. She pulls him into the room, but he rolls with the movement and throws her to the ground.  Agnes shoves the second figure out of the window. He stumbles off the roof of the porch and falls to the street below.  The one still in the room grabs Stella, but Buckle makes him drop her with a tail-swipe.  The invader turns his attention to Buckle and jams a canvas sack over his head.  The invader is human-sized, and Platypeople are only four feet tall, so the invader has a big weight advantage. As he struggles to fit Buckle completely in the bag, Rook floats through the window after the second figure. Rook is alone in the dark with an enemy, and, using their terrifying ghostly powers, silently rips the life out the would-be kidnapper. Back in the room, the kidnapper has Buckle in the bag and tries to toss the bag out the open window. Agnes steps in a blasts the kidnapper’s leg, wrenching it into a very unnatural position. Snek (Agnes’ pet flying snake) enlarges and coils around the disabled kidnapper, flicking its tongue in his ear.  The kidnapper is unmasked and must explain himself.  Outside, Rook casts Speak With Dead on the other kidnapper ot gather mostly the same information.

the kidnappers were sent to grab Buckle and bring him to the boss, because Buckle knew about a dragon, a rare and valuable prize. The boss is Louie, and he runs the underworld here in Fennrick. Anything that’s not above-board belongs to Louie. The live kidnapper that’s being constricted by Snek is Johnny. The other one that fell out fo the window is Jimmy. Agnes takes Johnny’s ring that marks him as a member of Louie’s gang.  She says that if Johnny crosses them again, she’ll find him, and she won’t be so kind.  She heals his leg. The ruined flesh grows back brand new, pale as a Seattlite, soft as a baby, and hairless.  Snek releases him and they send him out the window. Rook returns at the same time and passes through Johnny, an unpleasant cold sensation.  Johnny finds Jimmy’s dead body, and, keeping to secret gang traditions, disposes of the body. Only Johnny and Rook know that Rook killed Jimmy. No one else saw anything.  Stella’s friends keep watch for the rest of the night, but there are no further disturbances.

In the morning, Stella shares her Halfling food with her new friends. Buckle wants fresh game, so he swims under the city to catch some fish. Port Fennrick is built on a river delta, so most buildings are built on stilts over water.  As he pursues fish, he realizes he is being pursued by a Mermaid with a trident and net. A mermaid mermydon. A mermaidon! he outswims the Mermaid and reaches land, where the mermaid can’t follow. He rejoins the party without fish.  Agnes holds Johnny’s ring aloft to see through is eyes. He’s on a road, holding a bag. He looks over his shoulder, and Port Fennrick is receding in the distance. Johnny skipped town.  Agnes wants a possession from every party member so she can see through their eyes. Buckle doesn’t have many possessions. He won’t give up his hat, and doens’t like the idea of cutting off a lock of fur. He offers a treasure that he took from the Kraken, but Agnes just whips out her runeblade and takes a tuft of fur. Stella refuses to give her a possession.  (These new friends of hers are a lot!)  They linger and ponder their next step until the innkeeper knocks on the door. The inn is busy and need to either pay for another night or make way, because other people want the room.  They leave, and decide to track down the mob boss that keeps sending goon after them.

Chasing the Sunset & pirates

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

Rod the Exile

He’s a Halfling, but knows nothing of Halfling culture, because he was raised in an evil lab and experimented on. This lab, funded by a mysterious and nefarious organization, kidnaps children and brainwashes them to become spies.  Rod lost the use of his legs, but can harness the power of electricity, which he channels through the shock collar still locked around his neck.  He’s been out for about 1.5 years, dumpster-diving and stealing to survive. Tobit the dog is his faithful steed and closest friend.

Sapphira the Spider

She is almost humanoid. She walks upright on two legs ,but has many arms, web spinners, and can spit poisoned needles from her mouth.  Spiders live in fear of each other because they are power-hungry and often resort to cannibalism to consolidate power. Strange electrical current shimmers across their exoskeletons, like that glass sphere toy that sends harmless bolts of lightning to your fingers when you touch it. Spiders can sense each other and communicate via a special electrical frequency. Sapphira carries her babies along with her, which is unusual,since most Spider parents would eat them. She avoids killing if she can help it.

Let’s Begin

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

Sapphira, Rod, and Tobit are in Port Fennrick, which is built on the delta of a mighty river. They plan to head up-river to and search for a legendary subterranean Dwarven highway that Rod is sure actually exists.  Sapphira uses her spider silk to make a harness that holds Rod more securely on Tobit’s back.  As they approach the back of town, where the river splits into a delta, they see a gate where all travelers are being stopped by officials.  traffic is backed up and people are grumbling.  Rod doesn’t want to deal with that at all! he hasn’t had good experiences with authority figures or law enforcement.  Our party slips down a sidestreet to hop a fence out of town. It’s trivial for Sapphira, since she was walk on walls, branches, and ceilings.  Tobit is not so agile, so she drops a silk line and pulls him and Rod over.

Outside of town is a jungle. Hunting birds circle overhead, looking through the canopy for weak and isolated prey to pick off. Staring into the dense foliage, Sapphira spots tripwires laid by giant spiders. Lowercase S. These are dumb beasts, used as mounts by smaller humanoids.  Disturbing these tripwires will alert spiders lying in hiding to rush out and attack.  Rod manuvers around the tripwires as best he can, but is forced to push through a sticker bush & takes damage.  Sapphira was made for this challenge. She can easily climb into the trees to avoid the tripwires. If no branches are available, she can use a line of her own silk. She also an expert on webs, so she knows where the tripwires are even before she sees them.  She leaves her mark for the other spiders to find, so they know who they were dealing with.

Our party emerges from the jungle next to the mighty river.  How will they travel upriver? For now, they walk.  After a while, they see a raft coming downriver.  It’s 40 feet on a side, but piloted by a single Giant using a tree trunk as a pole. The raft is damaged. If it carried cargo, there’s none onboard now, and the Giant looks scared and a bit hurt.  Our party hails him to ask what happened and ask for a ride, but he yells something about pirates and doesn’t slow down.  Our party decides to wait for the next upriver boat.

They wait a bit longer, and the next boat that appears looks like a Viking longboat, but without the shields along the side: long, narrow hull that rises at the prow and the stern, one mast, and one row of oars on each side.  Sapphira sneakily attaches two lines to the stern and she and Rod let the boat drag them along as if they were inner-tubing, just with no inner tubes.  The boat’s high stern blocks them from the view of the boat’s crew.  they overhear some chatter from onboard. the crew is worried about pirates. One man goes aloft to the crow’s nest to look about and spots the Rod & Sapphira tagging along.  The lookout calls out, but just then the boat hits something! Its forward progress is stopped immediately and the bow is pushed up out of the water!  The lookout falls from his perch to the deck. From their position behind the boat, our party can only see something large, armored, and spiky rising out of the water under the boat.

It’s a giant crocodile, covered in metal armor, with an armored platform built on its back. It pulls back from under the boat and faces it, nose to nose.  Nose to tail, this fearsome creature must be 40 feet long.  A small man emerges from the armored compartment and dashes in a loop around the boat, leaving a roostertail spray behind him as he runs across the surface of the river!  He definitely spots our party as he passes by.  He returns to stand on the crocodile’s snout and shout to the boat’s crew, demanding that they hand over their valuable cargo.

Rod and Sapphira don’t want any of this mess, so they disconnect their tow lines and discreetly start swimming to shore.  The small speedy man, who calls himself Slick, notices and zooms to cut them off before they reach the shore.  “Not so fast!” he says, “Stay fight there and I’ll get to you once I finish my business with the boat.” Poof, he’s back on the crocodile’s snout.

Sapphira and Rod consider their options.  Sapphira takes a bear trap from her gear and sets it in the water at their feet.  Rod calls out to Slick, saying he’s willing to surrender all the cash and jewels he’s carrying.  This is music to Slick’s ears, and he already has his hands in Rod’s pockets by the time the trap snaps shut on his legs.  Slick howls in pain and tries to flee, but the bear trap has his leg stuck.  The armored crocodile hears and responds to its master’s cry, charging straight for Rod, which means going under the boat! The hull groans and cracks, crew members are sent flying as the armored crocodile rushes forward in uncontrolled fury. Sapphira flees to shore, but Rod and Slick and the bear trap are all damaged by the attack.  With the trap broken, Slick flees as fast as his legs can carry him, which is incredibly fast. He’s out of sight in no time.

Rod ends up on top of the crocodile’s armored platform, and squares up to fight the rest of Slick’s crew, but the platform is empty. Slick was the only passenger.  Sapphira spits needles at the crocodile’s face and eyes to distract it from her vulnerable colleague.  Rod uses the opportunity to charge up and unleash a blast of electricity from his shock collar. Confused and hurt, the crocodile panics and starts swims away, upriver.  This presents a dilemma for Rod who is still aboard. He and Sapphira have been looking for a ride upriver all day, but the crocodile is a dangerous vessel, and Sapphira isn’t with him.  He bails out and stays with Sapphira and the damaged boat.

Calm settles over the scene as our party ponders their next steps and the crew of the damaged boat try to recover.  The captain intends to cancel the trip and return to Port Fennrick. Sapphira offers to protect the ship if it will bear her and Rod upriver. She hopes their swift defeat of the pirate crocodile will reassure the crew.  the captain refuses. The boat is too damaged to continue. Half of the oars snapped and many of the crew are injured.  The able-bodied will be bailing water the whole time that the current bears the boat back to Port Fennrick.  During this recovery period, Rod shares a meal with a sailor named Cooper and forges a bond with him.  Cooper says that if Rod ever needs anything, he’ll be in Port Fennrick, ready to help.

Eventually the boat departs and Rod and Sapphira once more start walking upriver.  Rod is looking for evidence of a secret underground transportation network that he heard was built by the Dwarves long ago.  After hiking upriver for miles, he spots something odd.  A rock on the riverbed shifts up for a moment and air bubbles out from beneath it.  Observing it for a while indicates that the rock conceals a valve that is regulating the air in something hidden below.  Rod looks around and finds a large rock on the riverbank that conceals a spiral staircase leading down into darkness!

Chasing The Sunset & party prep

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

Rod the Exile, riding Tobit the dog, is walking around Port Fennrick with Pikano, who appears to be a human child. The sidewalks in Port Fennrick are boardwalks around buildings up on stilts over the river. They look over the edge of the boardwalk and see mermaids swimming around.

Pikano is a good swimmer, so she jumps in and talks to a mermaid. This mermaid just spent weeks swimming up the river and back down, collecting local delicacies. She offers a blue flower with thick, salty petals. Pikano eats a petal and doesn’t like it. The mermaid has a treat for Tobit: fish that only live in a frigid mountain lake far above. They are two inches long and bright red. The mermaid needs to go. She has been away from her family for a long time and wants to get back. Pikano asks about the mermaid. The mermaid says to head to Finsea: follow the river out to the sea, past the seaweed farms, and that’s Finsea. Ask for Allura, who runs a shop of exotic treats. People know her. She’s be happy to receive you.

The mermaid swims away, and a boat passes. It’s drawn by two manatees, and piloted by a platyperson. Someone on the boardwalk calls out to her, and she quacks back. They throw out lines and tie up the boat. There are humans walking on the boardwalk above, and fairies flying everywhere. They don’t need to respect waterways or sidewalks.

There’s a fairy struggling with a heavy load. Pikano climbs out of the water to assist the fairy. She leaves wet footprints on the boardwalk as she approaches. Rod and Tobit climb out of the water and Tobit shakes himself off, getting water everywhere. The Fairy is named Marigold, and her package is too heavy for her. Fairies are only 11 inches tall, so they aren’t physically strong. Marigold says that Pikano looks big and strong, and will she please help her carry this heavy package? Pikano agrees, and can easily carry the package. It’s not that heavy.

Marigold says that her house is just over this way, and flies off, over a house! Rod and Pikano can’t fly! What will they do? Pikano can turn into a spider, so she climbs up the waterspout. She drops a silk line so Rod can tie it to Tobit and pull the dog up. Once all three are on the roof, they see a big tree growing in the back yard, with branches extending over the roof. Marigold’s house in in the branches. The door to her house is very small and Pikano can’t fit inside. She turns back into a human and knocks on the door. Marigold answers the door and is so happy that Rod and Pikano carried her heavy package for her. She was throwing a party soon, and the package contains all her supplies. Now the party is saved! Marigold digs in the package, looking for something she can give to thanks her helpers. She throws flowers and loops of ribbons around until she finds what she’s looking for: a delicious oatmeal chocolate chip cookie! Pikano thanks Marigold and devours the cookie.

GM note: In real life, Pikano’s player received a real oatmeal chocolate chip cookie at this time.

Rod sticks around to watch the party. The party is in Marigold’s “back yard”, the upper branches of the large tree. Fairies of many colors arrive and dance to music played by songbirds. The dance moves are small, quick, and precise. The fairies find seats all over the branches at many different levels. There’s no dance floor or flat table. The whole party is very three-dimensional.

Chasing the sunset & the Kraken

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

Fafnir the dragon.

She just hatched yesterday, from an ancient egg that Buckle found and incubated. She’s has four legs, wings, and is about the size of a Golden Retriever.  She likes to strike from above with her sharp talons, but doesn’t always control her great power.  Perhaps other eggs or dragons have survived. She’s traveling to find them.  She heard that somewhere out there is a city made of gold.

Long ago, dragons ruled the world, but they were brought down by trickery and almost wiped out. They are vengeful, although not many survive to enact vengeance.  Rumor has it that they are also very greedy.

Buckle the beast.

He’s a Platyperson who has electrical senses to detect living creatures, venomous spurs, and the ability to breath underwater. Incubating eggs is normal for platypi, but it’s quite unusual for dragons to emerge from those eggs. He’s traveling for a reason that he has not shared with his companions.  He heard about a underwater crystalline cathedral.

Platypeople keep to themselves & don’t interact with outsiders much.  Their ‘cities’ (small compared to the cities of Elves or Orcs) can be underwater, on land, or both.  There’s a great festival called Platypalooza scheduled for the next full moon. Platypeople have a reputation of being ignorant, backwater folk.

Rook the remnant.

They is an incorporeal ghost, unable to touch or be touched by anything.  They died near the end of the war against the dragons, but they remains.  They remembers.  They heard that somewhere out there is a temple with the power to restore the dragons.

Long ago, their people served the dragons, but they were all killed in the same war that killed the dragons. Rumor has it that dragon sympathizers like Rook remain because they were cursed by witches!

Agnes Nutter the harbinger.

She’s a blind prophet, who has sight beyond sight. She riding a flying snake named Snek, who can shrink and coil around her neck like a scarf when flying is not needed. Agnes has a ring that lets her see through Snek’s eyes. She also has a vague sixth sense of things near her, so she won’t run into things, even without Snek’s help. She travels to find a legendary library of powerful magical tomes.

The blind prophets are nomads, and avoid each other, since multiple prophets close together cause magical interference, distorting the prophesies.  When prophets dream, they are possessed by some magical force and recite or write prophesies. These prophesies come from several different sources.  Rumor has it that the prophets are just high all the time, and their visions are drug-induced hallucinations.

The “new to them” world

This is not like Europe 500 years ago declaring that lands were unknown and uninhabited just because Europeans didn’t know about or didn’t live there.  Our characters know that the world is bigger than what they’ve traveled or heard about. They are going past the limits of their experience, not to some undiscovered country.  There will be people and nations out there.  Our characters’ ignorance of those people does not invalidate them.

Let’s begin

Agnes found a Fairy Ferry that runs across the sea to the land they will explore. This ferry is made of two enormous leaves. One forms the hull and another forms the deck.  The stem of the hull curves up, providing an elevated platform like the bridge of a human ship. The ship is driven by two propeller shafts, one on each side of the ship. The propeller blades are shaped like giant maple seeds. The shafts run inside the hull and are connected to basically bicycles. Teams of fairies take shifts pedaling to propel the ship.  Fairies are about a foot tall, extremely skinny and delicate humanoids. They fly on transparent insect wings. Their skin can be any pastel shade, and they favor flower names.  They are nude, except for accessories, like Captain Periwinkle’s impressive tricorne hat.  They have a constant glamour that makes it impossible for one to get a clear view of their bodies. They always seem obscured, un-detailed, PG-rated.

Buckle stands at the prow. He’d rather swim.  Boats seem like big-city nonsense to him.  Rook lurks at the entrance to the lower deck.  They can’t enter without permission. Agnes & Fafnir are below. Fafnir is hungry and licks a bench.  Maybe it’s salad.  Fairies powering the screws change shifts. A fairy named Crocus notices Fafnir and yells at her, Agnes gets a glimpse of something strange in Crocus’s locker that he’s trying to conceal. Agnes convinces him to give Fafnir candy in exchange for taking a shift on the bicycle. He gets fruit & candy from the locker, revealing an evil charm. A large splinter of wood with a dried tentacle wrapped around it, secured with twine.  Agnes takes a piece of fruit & uses it to look through Crocus’s eyes. He’s looking at he evil charm, muttering about “soon, close!”

Agnes goes above to gather the team & tell of the danger. Only now do Fafnir and Agnes notice that poor Rook was left outside in the rain.  Rook sinks through the deck to stick their head into Crocus’s locker, but is spotted.  Buckle’s electrical sense & Agnes’ ley lines detect something approaching from starboard, connected to the charm. They go to warn the captain. Periwinkle sends Rose, the burly first mate, to check on Crocus, who is running up to the deck to complain about Rook.

Just as Rose & Crocus meet, the Kraken emerges! Tentacles threaten the ship!  Rook tries to distract a crushing tentacle. It works! The tentacle attacks them, but passes through them and smashes through the deck of the ship. Another tentacle grabs Rose.  Fafnir runs to pin Crocus & hopefully take his charm.  She was thinking of just killing him, but restrained herself.  Crocus dodges & blasts her with fairy dust, damaging her Sense.  Also, the charm is still in Crocus’s locker, not on his person.  Since no one helped her, Rose is yanked overboard.

Agnes goes overboard somehow. Snek flies out to look for her.  Buckle jumps into the water and asks the Kraken to please let them pass.  The Kraken is surprised to hear someone speak to it, so it emerges to look at the situation more closely.

The Kraken’s squishy, bulbous head and giant yellow eye tower over the ship.  One tentacle is still wrapped around one of the propellers.  Snek picks up Agnes & Rose & carries them back to the ship. Fafnir flies up, drops onto the Kraken’s eye, and tears at it without restraint. Chunks of squid-flesh rain down on Buckle, who dives under the ship to safety. The ship can’t dodge & takes more damage.  The Kraken submerges, leaving Fafnir in the water.

Under the boat in relative peace, Buckle notices farms and buildings on the sea floor. He swims down to seek help.

Agnes sends Snek to retrieve Fafnir from the water.  Rook pretends to have Crocus’s charm. Crocus approaches, trying to get it back.  Rook backs up to the edge of the ship, hoping that Crocus will fall overboard, but Crocus can also fly, so they both float past the edge of the ship.

The binding tentacle that no one dealt with snaps off the starboard propeller shaft.

The Kraken re-emerges on the port side of the boat.  Fafnir does the same trick to score another hit, disabling the Kraken’s tentacles. She restrains herself and does not inflict collateral damage.  The Kraken submerges & Fafnir is left in the water again.

Buckle swims into a cave in the sea floor from which light is shining. Inside, there’s a mer-person working metal over a volcanic vent.  Buckle asks for help, but the smith demands something precious first. Buckle hands over a crocodile tooth, a trophy of a previous hunt. The smith starts planning how to turn it into an impressive necklace, but then remembers the business at hand and swims up to engage with his smithing hammer.

Fafnir swims over to the ferry and tries to climb aboard. Coco, Fafnir’s scheming Kobold minion, has planned for just such an occasion and helps Fafnir aboard.

Under the ferry, the mer-smith charges in, striking mighty blows with his hammer. Buckle is going to use the distraction to strike with his venomous spurs, but the Kraken attacks with its beak. The smith is caught in the terrible jaws and drops his hammer.

Agnes manipulates the ley lines to open a path to a closed space: the inside of Crocus’ locker. She grabs the charm and destroys it with her runeblade. The Kraken convulses as the blow is struck, and sinks limply to the sea floor below.

Buckle takes a trophy from the Kraken as it sinks. The smith claims the carcass as salvage, since it fell on his fields.  Even with half its propellers gone, the ferry is able to limp to port under the expert guidance of Captain Periwinkle.

Port Intrepid is built on stilts in a marshy river delta. Folks move around in town either by boat or on boardwalks. A platform overlooking the bustling dock has three important features:

  • Crew bosses shouting orders to workers below
  • A clock tower
  • A big Ogre, who is making a show of being menacing, but seems a bit uncomfortable with the role.

The party heals. Fafnir and Buckle level up. Fafnir teaches Agnes the “Dragoon” move that was so effective against the Kraken. Buckle gains another animal trait and teaches Fafnir how to use electro-sense.

Thus ends the first session of Chasing the Sunset. Next time, a different group of characters will have different adventures.