Chasing the Sunset & deserters

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

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

Last time, the Fellowship found a no-longer-secret Library in a volcano, but the Ghost Librarian won’t let Buckle enter because he might set the books on fire.

Buckle: Do you have any fire-retardant equipment for patrons of a flame-like persuasion? I expect a fine establishment like this to be accessible.

Ghost Librarian: Ah, is that expected nowadays? The Library only recently opened its doors to visitors. I’m still getting used to it.

Stella: What about that suit?

Stella indicates the Goblin Power Suit displayed in a glass case in the library’s lobby.

Ghost LIbrarian: That’s a historical artifact! Snort Gorldfarb piloted that in his heroic defense of the library long ago, against a warlord intent on using the knowledge within for evil and conquest!

Buckle: So it’s a suit that protects knowledge?

Ghost Librarian: By keeping dangerous things out.

Buckle: Or in!

Ghost Librarian: Either way, it’s been shut down for over a hundred years. There’s no power

Power is no problem for Buckle, who wears the Medallion of Cleft Sky. He and Stella explain his plan to activate the Power Suit with the Medallion’s lightning power.

Buckle Talk Sense (+Sense, +hope, Stella’s aid) 7-9 owe a favor

The Ghost Librarian agrees to let him use the Power Suit this one time, but in return, he must acquire fire-retardant clothing for himself and other patrons of a flame-like pursuasion. The Ghost Librarian opens the display case.

Buckle: Maybe I shouldn’t activate it inside.

Ghost Librarian: Good idea. Better safe than sorry.

Ugg spends Bigger ‘n’ You

Ugg picks up the Power Suit in his big robot arms and carries it outside, onto the ceramic shell that covers the Hidden Library.

Buckle spends a charge from Medallion of Cleft Sky to activate the Power Suit

The Power Suit’s torso splits open, revealing a small seat inside. Luckily, Buckle is roughly the same size as Snort, the Goblin who built this Power Suit for himself. The old cloth covering the seat bursts into flame, and smoke curls out of the Power’s Suits vents, but it mostly works.

Goblin Power Suit: Only the creator can operate the battle suit smoothly. In the hands of anyone else, it is Clumsy, Slow, and Dangerous.

Buckle carefully gets used to the controls, moving each robot limb individually. Once he has the hang of it, he runs a few laps around the perimeter of the caldera.

Ghost Librarian: No running inside the library!

Buckle carefully and slowly walks inside.

Ghost Librarian: Perhaps it would be best for you to stay in the reading room. I can collect any books you require. What do you wish to learn?

Buckle Speeak Softly 10+ ask 3 questions

  • Does the library have a basement?
    • The library was built on the volcano’s magma plug, so there’s nothing below it but solid stone. Well, the ceramic shell created by our defenders long ago completely surrounds the library, so that’s under the library as well.
  • What can you tell me about ghosts?
    • The library specializes in creatures of darkness. I will collect some books for you.
  • What can you tell us about a Source of Power nearby?
    • Knowledge is power. This library is the treasure under the mountain.

The Ghost Librarian floats away into crowded and messy stacks to pull some books. Buckle and Stella stay in the reading room.

Buckle: The Library itself is a Source of Power? How can I put the library in my pocket?

Stella: Why are you so interested in ghosts?

Buckle: On the river north of Vieport we were chased by hordes of hungry ghosts. The ghost running the library didn’t try to kill us, so she’s a different kind. Rook is a Remnant, which is yet another kind of ghost.

The other patron in the reading room, a Human man surrounded by tall stacks of books, turns around to scold them.

Brianiac: Please don’t disturb my studies!

GM note: The characters have met before. Brainiac wouldn’t recognize Buckle, who is now a flame monster, and I didn’t know if the character or the player would recognize this NPC that they met two years ago in real life. I gave the players a vague description and they found him in their notes!

Buckle and Stella whisper to each other.

Buckle: Do you recognize him? He seems familiar.

Stella: I feel like we chased him before.

Satisfied that they have lowered their volume, Brainiac returns to his studies. Stella sneaks up to see what he’s reading.

Stella Look Closely 6- ask 1 question, find out the hard way

  • What is hidden or out of place
    • Brianiac is paranoid, and has a hidden trap ready for people who get too close for him.

Brianiac: Part of the Plan: When something goes wrong, the brainiac can damage this stat to make a Hard Cut immediately.

Some kind of energy field surrounds Stella and she’s unable to move!

GM note: I should have given Stella the cartoon standard “total paralysis” which allows characters to look around and speak. That’s more fun for the player than not being able to play until someone frees their character.

Brianiac: Spies! Backstabbers!

Buckle is startled. The commotion attracts the attention of the Ghost Librarian.

Buckle: What did you do to my friend?

Brianiac Too Clever For Their Own Good: The Brainiac will always pause to gloat and monologue when things go their way.

Brianiac: You simpletons! I’m used to fools like you trying to steal my brilliant research, but you’re not even good thieves! I can’t trust anyone. Even my former employer took advantage of my genius and took all the credit for systems that I built and operated! That’s why I’m independent now.

The Ghost Librarian floats into the reading area.

Ghost Librarian: Please be quiet, like the young lady, to avoid disturbing those around you.

There are no other patrons in the library besides Buckle, Brainiac, and Stella.

Buckle: I’m sorry, what’s your name?

Ghost Librarian: Uhh, Librarian?

Buckle: Librarian, tell him to release my friend!

Ghost Librarian: We do have a zero-tolerance policy for fighting in the library. I’ll have to ask you to leave.

Brianiac: I’ll return later when I can conduct my research in peace.

Brainiac gets up and pushes Stella towards the entrance. The energy field supports as well as binds her, so it’s like pushing something across ice. Buckle follows. When he reaches the historical display in the lobby, he gets out of Snort’s Power Suit and orders it to return to the display case

Buckle Overcome 6-

The Power Suit walks straight into the display case, not going around to the open door. The glass case shatters. The Ghost Librarian rises into the air, and a wind that no one else can feel whips her shroud around her. All the book carts in the library form a line and rush forward, pushing Buckle outside. The hole carved in the library’s ceramic shell has no door to close it, but the row of carts and the angry Ghost Librarian make it clear that the library is not open for visitors!

Buckle: Sorry. I’ll bring two sets of fire equipment!

Buckle turns angrily on Brainiac.

Brainiac: Not to worry. The energy field has a proximity component. It will wear off when I leave!

He hustles up the stairs, and soon the energy field around Stella disappears. She stands up and tests her limbs, moving each finger one at a time. When she’s good to go, the Fellowship climbs the stairs to the volcano’s rim.

Stella: Lesson learned. Don’t snoop around paranoid smart people.

Buckle: We meet lots of paranoid people.

Stella: Where can we find fire-proof suits?

Buckle: A blacksmith in Bogden should have some. We can ask for his supplier.

Stella: We’re not obligated to do it immediately, right?

Buckle: Yeah, let’s give Librarian some time. People just don’t like strangers.

They look around from their elevated position, and consult Buckle’s map. Sugar’s Crossing is to the southwest, but the Mighty River (where they left the Miranda) doesn’t connect to that river. There are high, forbidding mountains to the north. The Fellowship returns to the Miranda and heads upriver, towards the mountains. Eventually they reach rapids that the Miranda can’t navigate and tie the boat up at the river’s edge. A strange vehicle approaches, coming down the rapids.

The boat’s hull is completely above the water. Six stout posts, like three pairs of legs, raise and lower, moving back and forth on a frame to push the boat forward above the rapids.

Buckle: Do you think there are Spiders on that spider-boat?

Stella: Spiders have eight legs. How do you not know that? Silk has been here this whole time!

Buckle: Ah  I never counted.

It was originally a human boat, but after conversion to a walking boat it’s used by Halflings. The mechanism for the legs is mounted just above the gunwales, but Halflings are short enough to walk under it.  Stella recognizes this kind of ship from the Giant War, back in her homeland. They have a reputation for being unstoppable, and were used to transport critical supplies for the war effort.

The lookout on the ship’s prow hails them.

Seasit: You must be new here! Your boat won’t make it up the rapids.

Stella: Yes, that’s why we’re docked. I need help finding my brothers and sisters!

Halflings call each other “brother” and “sister” regardless of ancestry, so Seasit (also a Halfling) understands. He slides down from the look-out post to ask the captain. The boat halts, and stands firmly on all six legs. The Fellowship boards the boat and greets the captain.

Captain: I’m Ore Rockbottom.

Buckle: Or what?

Captain: Rockbottom. How can I help you, sister?

Stella: I bring important news. The Giant War is over! You can come home, if you like. If you are enjoying life on this continent, please continue.

The crew of the Stalwart Rockbottom does include some refugees, so a celebration is in order. It’s customary to provide a feast to Halflings that have done great deeds for the community, so Stella and her Halfling Companions (Gus, Rose, and Hamfast) go over to the Stalwart Rockbottom and start cooking. Gus takes charge of the galley because he’s a trained chef.

Stella spends Halfling Packed Lunch

Gus spends Snacks

Buckle acts as the bonfire on the deck, and the crew and the Fellowship gather around to eat the hearty stew that Gus prepared and to swap stories. Stella puts a corn-cob on the end of her sword and holds it out to Buckle. The heat from his fiery body makes the kernels pop!  The refugees among the crew don’t talk about what they did during the war. They’re actually deserters! Plenty of Halflings fled the war, which is fine, but these Halflings fled with critical military equipment! They ask why Stella was heading upriver.

Stella: I’m on a mission to tell everyone to come home. The war is over. They don’t have to prepare to fight anymore.

The refugees get really emotional at this, but don’t say why. Other members of the ship’s crew talk about their job. At the top of the rapids, between two waterfalls that fall from the Treacherous Mountains above, is an isolated village. They produce crafts from the local resources that can’t be found anywhere else, and they trade with the Stalwart Rockbottom for goods they can’t produce. The plush, pastel sweaters that many of the crew wear are from that village, knitted from the moss that grows by the waterfalls. The crew says that no Halflings live in that village, and not to try to take the Miranda over to rapids to reach it. Stella and Buckle think that’s suspicious. They’re trying to keep them away from the village! The celebration concludes, and the Stalwart Rockbottom moves on, but the Fellowship plans to reach that mysterious village!


Chasing the Sunset & Misdirection

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

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

Last time, Stella was pulled into interdimensional shenanigans by a mad scientist Lantern piloting a scarecrow. Buckle and the rest of the world were insulated from the effects by another Lantern named Mira.

Mira offers Stella a gift for helping contain the dimensional portals.  She offers the location of a secret library, a sword made of light, and a Wire Port.  Stella chooses the Wire Port and adds it to her Gear.

  • Wire port. With the press of a button, this grappling wire teleports the wielder to whatever the end of the wire is attached to, instantly moving them along the wire’s length (2 Uses).

GM note: The players had to remind themselves what they were doing before the bottle episode. One player has been keeping a map of their travels, and used that to chart their course. In general, I don’t keep secrets from the players, but in an exploration game, not knowing what’s over the next hill is part of the fun, so I don’t give them access to my map.

The Fellowship just fled Port Fennrick are are sailing up the Mighty River on the Miranda, their racing yacht. Long ago, they heard some great power was hidden under one of two volcanoes, and they were only able to explore one. They’re going back to explore the other.  They see two volcanoes to the south of the river, roughly across from the tributary that leads north to Bogden.  The peak to the east is smoking. The peak to the west is not.  The smoking peak conceals Swallet, a goblin city where Buckle met Ugg in a Fight Club. The Fellowship left hasily during a police raid on the facility. Buckle specifically remembers throwing food at cops.

Stella: I don’t want to go back there.

The Fellowship disembarks and walks inland. On the plain in between the two volcanoes, four Goblins are planting sod around a patch of disturbed earth. Buckle sends Ugg to investigate, since he’s a former resident and can blend in. He approaches and starts helping to move heavy rolls of sod with his robot arms, acting like he’s part of the work crew. He strikes up a conversation with one of the workers.

  • Gaubeau Goblin she/her. She wears an eye patch on her left eye, with a small periscope that goes across her nose so her right eye can see from her left eye’s position.

GM note: we thought it appropriate to roll this move with Buckle’s stats, even though his Companion is the one doing the action diagetically.

Buckle Speak Softly 10+ ask 3 questions

  • What can they tell us about this project?
    • “Now that Swallet is back in Goblin hands, we’re correcting the mistakes of the previous administration and returning to secrecy.”
  • What can they tell us about the previous administration?
    • “Ugg! It’s me, Gaubeau. We were in Fight Club together, but I had both eyes back then. When the cops raided Fight Club, Fafnir fought them all the way back to City Hall and took over. She had us install a ramp to the surface and big sign so that she could attract worthy opponents to fight.  After the second battle of Fight Club, Nub-Nub regained control of the city and she’s taking it back to its orginal purpose: to avoid notice by outsiders.”
  • What should I be wary of when dealing with Nub-Nub?
    • “Any visitors to this area can go to the library. There’s a library in the other mountain. All this time and we never knew it was there.” There’s a saying among Goblins, “The invention I can’t complete”, which means something that a person just can’t do, no matter how hard they try. “The invention Nub-Nub will never complete is a machine to make her tolerate adventurers!”

Ugg stays to finish laying the sod. Gaubeau invites him to visit her, since he’s back in the area. Nub-Nub returns to the Fellowship, who stayed hidden a distance away, and recounts what he learned.

Ugg: Y’all aren’t welcome. You know how they are.

Buckle: The library in the volcano PEAKED your interest, eh?

Stella: Let’s go to the library!

Buckle: Yeah, I like books.

Stella worries about the ever-burning Buckle destroying precious tomes by touching them. The Fellowship heads up the western peak. There’s a faint trail leading up. Further up the mountain, there’s a rocky area where they need to scramble. There’s a Dwarf cutting steps into the rocks to make the trail easier. Stella compliments his craftsmanship.

  • Lofar Dwarf he/him

Stella: I haven’t seen stairs like these in 28 moon-cycles!

Buckle: Does the Moon have cycles?

Lofar: Don’t have much use for the Moon, but I can look it up in the library. I hoped to find treasure under this mountain, but I found knowledge. It changed my life.  Go right ahead! The library is at the top.

Buckle: Let’s go. Every time we stop to talk, someone tries to steal from us.

The Fellowship climbs to the top of the volcano. Two staircases spiral down the caldera to a smooth dome of ceramic at the bottom. One of the staircases has been repaired. The staircases are mostly carved out of the volcano, but the repaired steps are stone from elsewhere.  The Fellowship descends and finds a large entryway in the cermaic shell.

Stella: Stay out here. I’m not sure how much room there is inside.

Buckle agrees, although he doesn’t see much reason to fear his burning heat. It’s not doing anything to the ceramic he’s walking on.

Stella enters the ceramic dome through a large, square opening. Immediately inside are two display cases. One contains a Goblin Power Suit. The other contains four horseshoes. The Librarian approaches and greets Stella. The Librarian is a ghost: a sheet with two holes for eyes and glasses hovering in front of those holes. This is a different kind of undeath from the Remnant, and from the hungry dead in the Deathlands outside Vieport. Truly, this world has many ways to not completely die. Past the display cases are shelves full of books, and desks and chairs for reading. There are two other patrons: a Human man facing away, his desk piled high with books; and a Platyperson with a lot of gear. Stella recognizes him, but takes a moment to remember where. It’s Perry Ogre-Bane, whom they met when they stopped to repair the Miranda on that small island.

  • Perry Ogre-Bane Platyperson he/him. A cautious and highly skilled bounty hunter. They never move in unprepared.
    • Weakness Exploit: The hunter knows the weaknesses of their prey, and brings appropriate weapons and armor. Their weapons can damage anyone in the fellowship through any defenses they have, ignoring them entirely.
    • Tailored Resistance: The hunter has Protection. For each player in the fellowship, they choose one Move or Gear option to be immune to. That Move always fails against them, and that Gear doesn’t do anything to them. The hunter chooses their resistances at the start of each scene they appear in.
    • Equipment Reliant: The hunter is nothing without their tools. Their strength and speed are unremarkable, and they rely and gear to keep up. The hunter is in Despair if they are ever without their equipment.

Perry is engrossed in studying a map, and has a few books spread out on the table. Stella tries to make a cool entrance by pointing our Evelynn’s estate.

Stella: Hey, it’s not there! How old is this map?

Perry looks up, startled, and stares at Stella for a moment.

Perry: You! With the boat. You fought the Half-Ogre.

The Librarian shooshes him. He continues in a low voice.

Perry: It’s at least 150 years old.

Stella Speak Softly 7-9 Ask 3 questions. 1 unhelpful answer

  • What is Perry doing? What will he do next?
    • Perry has a new quarry that promises sizable rewards. He’s researching Dragons.
  • What should I be wary of when dealing with Perry?
    • Perry’s a professional. He’s polite and avoids burning bridges, but he’s ultimately after glory and money. He’ll kill you if he has a reason.
  • What can you tell me about the hunt?
    • There are reports of Dragon attacks out west. He’s checking old maps because Dragons have been gone for 100 years. He hopes to find how they used to move. He has not moved on to the stage of gathering equipment to counter Dragons specifically.

Stella’s not happy. Surely Perry is hunting Fafnir, a former member of the Fellowship! Fortunately he’s still doing research and isn’t close to attacking her.  Attacks out west? There are vampires out west. They hate Dragons for creating the Moon, right? Stella keeps a calm exterior, but is panicking internally.

Stella: Wow, what a cool adventure. Mind if I tell my team? They’d be impressed.

Perry: Are you going after it yourself? You’ve already taken one trophy from me.

Stella: I’m not interested in money.

Perry: You’ll understand if I don’t share my research with you.

Stella gets the hint that she should leave, and returns to Buckle at the entrance of the library.

Buckle: Well,what kind of books are in there?

Stella: More important than books. Fafnir! Perry is in there researching how to hunt Dragons!

Buckle has emotions! He hatched Fafnir from an egg! She’s out there alone. Can she fend for herself? Buckle starts to march into the library to talk to Perry.

Stella: No, you might put her in danger! He doesn’t know who she is, but we do.

Buckle: So should be do nothing?

Stella: We’re going to try to stop him. Maybe he needs travel companions. It’s a long journey out west, and Dragons are dangerous.

Buckle: Fafnir’s not that dangerous.

Stella gestures towards Swallet.

Buckle: Maybe she can take care of herself. Maybe she doesn’t need me!

Buckle sadly plops down and sits on his flat tail.

Stella: She needs you in this moment more than ever! Do you think you can talk him down?

Buckle: He seemed reasonable.

Stella: He’d stab you in the back for money.

Buckle: We can sort this out, Platyperson to Platyperson.

Buckle walks into the library and the Librarian stops him. His burnign presence is an unacceptable risk to the collection. She agrees to page Perry. Everyone hears a ghostly whisper right in their ears.

Librarian: Perry Ogre-Bane, please meet your party at the front entrance.

The Human with the piles of books almost jumps out of his chair at the sound. Perry is also uncomfortable, but comes to meet Buckle at the entrance.

Perry: I remember you. What’s the deal?

Buckle: Perry, I hear you’re hunting a Dragon. She’s my daughter, Fafnir, and Platyperson to Platyperson, I must ask you to stop.

Perry: Ah, it’s name is Fafnir–your daughter?

GM note: Platypeople incubate eggs, and Dragons hatch from eggs, so Buckle’s claim isn’t as outlandish as a Human claiming to have a Dragon daughter, but it’s still really weird! Dragons are extinct, after all.

Perry feigns concern to try to get Buckle to overshare and reveal some weakness he can use against Fafnir. Buckle senses the danger.

Buckle Overcome 10+

He doesn’t overshare, and even get Perry to reveal some information. Buckle says that he hatched Fafnir from an egg and took her on the Fairy Ferry because she wanted to ride it. Fafnir is very important to Buckle. She’s his responsibility!

Buckle Speak Softly 10+

  • What can Perry tell us about Dragons?
    • Dragons were powerful enough to rule the world. They can fly and breathe fire, and are generally great physical specimens. They are so rare that most people think they are extinct.
  • What does Perry want, and how can we help him get it?
    • Perry wants to test his skills and be recognized for them. If the Fellowship wants to help with those goals, two obvious roles are heralds and opponents.
  • What is Perry doing? What will he do next?
    • After he learns about Dragon’s weaknesses, he will go west and meet the Count who issued the bounty. Perry produces a wanted poster with Fafnir’s name and a vague silhouette of a winged reptile.

Buckle: My baby is wanted by the law?!

Buckle forgets that he’s also wanted by the law.

Buckle: I’m certainly not telling people how awseome you are if you kill my daughter!

Stella: He’ll tarnish your name!

Buckle: I’ll tarnish more than that!

Perry doesn’t want to deal with this anymore and tries to walk away. Buckle keeps engaging him in conversation.

Buckle Keep Them Busy 6-

Buckle: You could hunt other targets. There are Dinosaurs! A Spider with a laser cannon! Werewolves in Bogden!

Perry reaches into one of his many pouches and pulls out a case containing a number of Werewolf teeth. He walks past Buckle, but Stella is leaning on the edge of the entrance to the library.

Stella Talk Nonsense: Talk Sense by telling grandiose lies with a straight face 10+

Stella: I guess you’re not interested in Cerberus. Surely you’ve heard of the one and only Cerberus?

Stella Talk Nonsense: On a 10+ you may Sting Like A Bee

Stella Sting Like A Bee: You can only Sting Like A Bee against those who are
larger than you.

GM note: Stella and Perry are the same size, so she can’t Sring Like A Bee.

Dragons are rare, but a completely unique monster is too good for Perry to pass up.

Perry: I’ll tell the Librarian that I’m done with my research and we’ll get underway immediately.

When Perry goes inside, Buckle leans in to Stella:

Buckle: What Cerberus?

Stella: It’s a big dog with three heads

Buckle imagines Wallace, the magenta pomeranian he met in Port Fennrick.

Perry returns, ready to set out a journey.

Stella: You’re under the imporession I’m going with you. I have a mandate to find Halfings in this continent. Deviating from my mission with have severe consequences. I’ll pay you great riches to hunt this creature for me.

Perry: Half up front is standard.

Stella: I’m not carrying that much cash on me, but I can give you collateral.

Stella offers King’s Blades, a pair of oversized swords once wielded by a fierce Half-Ogre.

Perry: I won’t fake accomplishments and accept trophies from a battle I didn’t fight. I can go get cash from your stronghold.

Stella: I’ll mark it on your map. Take the river east to the sea, then head north along the coast. When you reach Castellum, ask how to find the dinosaurs. They’re my friends, and will show you my stronghold hidden in the jungle.

Perry produces a scroll with a template contract for hunting. He fills in a large sum for the reward, and Stella signs it.

Stella: Remember, tell Castellum that you’re with the dinosaurs.

Perry sets off, hoping for glory and a big payday, unaware that Castellum hates dinosaurs, and anyone friendly to them.


  • Did we thoroughly explore a new location: YES, the pocket dimension
  • Did anyone find what they were seeking? YES, Buckle is protecting his loved ones (Fafnir)
  • Did we discover something new about the world or its people? NO

Two boons: healing, gear

Chasing the Sunset & Professor Gummidge

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

The party: Professor Gummidge the Lantern/Mad Genius, Stella the Halfling/Hunter

Last time, the Fellowship hastily left Port Fennrick and sailed up the Mighty River on Miranda, their racing catamaran.

GM note: Buckle’s player stepped up to run this session. It’s a bottle episode with Buckle out of the picture, and a new character for the usual GM to play.

Without warning, a shimmering blue wall of energy surrounds Stella and her companions. She’s in a space that’s much larger than the deck of the Miranda. The boards of the deck underfoot expand and repeat to create a floor over what used to be water. In the center of the bubble is a crystalline building. It’s Lantern construction. Lanterns are creatures from another dimension who appear as floating bals of light. To blend in with the creatures in this dimension, they usually project holograms of humanoid forms. Buildings for Lanterns are solid transparent crystals, which Lanterns can pass through like most creatures pass through air. The bottom floor of this structure has traditional air-filled rooms, which Lanterns use to store physical objects in interact with other species.

Silouetted against the glow of the crystalline building is a lanky, eight-foot-tall figure with baggy clothes and a single glowing light in the center of its head. With startling speed it rushes across the bubble to stand right next to Stella!

  • Professor Gummidge. he/him. Lantern in Power Suit
    • The Power Suit (named Gallybagger) looks like a scarecrow made from an old wrought-iron lamp post, wearing worn and baggy clothes. Gallybagger’s head is the lamp enclosure, and Professor Gummidge (a floating ball of light) hovers inside, acting as the lamp.
    • Full arsenal: Dangerous, Ranged, or Piercing tags, but one at a time. Gallybagger’s arms end in multiple tools and weapons, covered by overlong sleeves
    • Rockets: Gallybagger can dash along the ground & take long horizontal leaps
    • Deployable Drones:  Two robotic Crows sit on Gallybagger’s head and shoulder. They are named Huginn & Muninn after Odin’s crows, because they bring information to a one-eyed person who seeks wisdom.

Stella: What are you doing here?

Gummidge: That’s a hard question. Where is here? Is here here? Here may not exist, and if it does, it may soon cease.

Gummidge was working with an artifact of power, hoping for interdimensional travel, but some unexpected interaction sent him here, and the artifact is shearing and twisting reality.

Gummidge Look Closely 7-9

  • Tell me about the shimmering wall around the space. How could it hurt or help me?
    • The shimmering wall is made of Lantern energy, so it was made by a Lantern
  • What is hidden or out of place?
    • The Lantern who made the barrier is here!
  • What will happen if I try to break through the shimmering wall?
    • The barrier contains the artifact’s effects. If the barrier is removed, the reality-warping effect could spread to the rest of the world in a plague of interdimensional monsters!

A portal opens and a Wild Boar runs through. It charges at Gummidge.

Gummidge Bend Light Flash: blind everyone near by except you

Gummidge Overcome 10+

The lamp atop Gallybagger flares with intense light and the Wild Boar (as well and Stella and her companions) is blinded. Gummidge easily side-steps the boar, which continues straight forward until it hits the barrier with a reverberating thunk!

Wild Boar Wild Charge: When a wild boar charges, it keeps going until it hits something…. If the boar hits nobody, it damages this stat instead.

Wild Boar damages Wild Charge

Stella rubs her eyes. This situation is too chaotic for her comfort.

Stella: Everyone stop!

Stella Queen of the Wild: All Beasts are your Companions while you are in their territory

The Boar politely sits down next to Stella and she pats it on the head.

Gummidge approaches the portal the Wild Boar came through, but it closes. He returns to Stella and the newly-tamed Boar.

Gummidge Reveal The Way + Mind Trick: 7-9 Tell people what to do, even if you don’t mean it. Players can choose to follow advice or spite you (gain Hope on one roll either way)

Gummidge: You have a powerful way with words! Let’s work together. Don’t breach the barrier, lest the danger spread.  If your people can handle such monsters, maybe we’ll be alright in here.

Stella: That’s a me thing.

Gus, Stella’s cook, is claustrophobic, and doesn’t like being trapped in this strange space.

Gus: If we don’t do something, I’ll . . . I’ll cook that pig!

Gummidge Reveal The Way + Mind Trick: 7-9 Tell people what to do, even if you don’t mean it.They’ll do it in the way they think best, or only if you help.

Gummidge: Young man, be resolute! Don’t antagonize the monster.

Gus: OK, but we have to go somewhere. We can’t stay in this place.

Two portals open. One seems to lead to a hallway inside the crystalline structure. The other shows a bright, large expanse.

Gummidge: How important is it to you that you return to where you came from?

Stella: Extremely!

Gummidge suspects that these portals quickly close, like the one the Boar came through, so he looks for something that can jam them open.

Gummidge Eureka: Everything is Useful in your hands. When use use something Useful to help with a move, roll with Hope

Gummidge Jury Rig: Spend 1 use of something to make something out of existing materials. (+hope) 10+ It works!

Cutting tools emerge from Gallybagger’s sleeves and cut some planks from the floor. Gummidge nails them together and jams them into the portal to the large expanse, holding it open. Gummidge looks carefully at what’s visible through the portal before stepping through himself

Gummidge Eyes of Fire: Your eyes are unnaturally good, and you can see fine detail even through the darkest night or densest fog. When you Look Closely, you may study any location you can see, no matter how distant, as if you were standing right there.

Gummidge Look Closely 7-9 ask 3 questions, find 1 the hard way

  • What do my senses tell me?
    • It’s a large, bright room that stretches off into the darkness (irrelevant to Gummidge’s keen eyes) and infinity. The floor is bisected by a dark gap. There’s a rainbow bridge (which Lanterns often make) across the gap, but it’s flickering. This room may be inside the crystalline structure at the center of the bubble, but it’s been warped.
  • Tell me about the Lantern who made the bridge. What are they doing? What will they do next?
    • This bridge is powered by the structure itself, not projected from a Lantern.
  • What is hidden or out of place?
    • The darkness in the gap gets larger and starts spreading across the floor of the bright room and comes out of the portal!

Stella is displeased by this strange and hostile phenomenon. She retrieves a package of vegetable stew from her kit and throws it at the shadow, hoping to reveal the invisible creature that casts the shadow. The stew falls to the floor without hitting any creature. The shadow is under the soup and still advancing.

Stella: Where is that shadow coming from?

Gummidge: This is not the right place for young Gus. Not a calming atmosphere!

Gummidge moves to remove the device that’s keeping the portal open, and the shadow flows up and over Gallybagger, covering it in darkness!

GM note: Gummidge has a move that instantly destroys shadows, but he used it already to disorient a Wild Boar. Poor tactical decision. If only he had predicted the future!

Lingering Shadows Armor of Darkness: Anyone pulled into the shadows becomes engulfed by them. When they step out, the darkness is controlling them, acting as both armor and puppeteer. They become a Shadow Warrior until the armor is removed from them.

Gummidge ejects from Gallybagger, which becomes a Shadow Warrior!

  • Shadow Warrior: They would be an ally, if the darkness wrapped all around them weren’t forcing them to swing their sword at you. They can still speak and think as normal, but have no control over their movements.
    • Forced Movement: The shadow warrior was a friend, but they have been possessed by dark power. They have all of their normal physical abilities, except they are also Clumsy.
    • Entangled In Shadow: If you expose the shadow warrior to light or fire, the shadows are destroyed. They person inside the shadows still suffers whatever affects that light or fire would deal to them, but then they are free from the shadow’s control and this threat is destroyed.

Gummidge: Look out, Ol’ Gallybagger isn’t following my orders!

Gummidge Knight: Your little light can be used as a firestarter.

Gummidge tries to set the deck on fire to create a light bright enough to dispel the shadow, but the deck has been treated to resist fire. That’s the only way Buckle can stay aboard the Miranda without burning it. Gallybagger advances on Gummidge, flipping through the various tools and weapons hidden under its sleeves.  Stella knows that the treatment makes the deck slippery when wet, so she pours the barrel of potent alcohol (from O’Later’s contraband warehouse) on the deck underneath Gallybagger.

Stella Keep Them Busy 7-9 their attention is on you & they will retaliate.

The booze causes Gallybagger to stumble, and lets Gummidge start a fire.

Gummidge Finish Them (+Blood) 7-9 damage Gallybagger’s Advanced Weapons

Shadow Warror Entangled In Shadow: exposed to light? TAKEN OUT!

The Shadow dissapates from Gallybagger from the bottom up. Gallybagger stops moving, and Gummidge inspects it carefully before returning to his normal position inside Gallybagger’s head. Now that he has arms again, Gummidge pulls out the bars across the portal. The portal unexpectedly remains open. Gus freaks out and runs for the other portal, the one that shows a hallway.

Gummidge: The lad has a point. Go to the source to solve the trouble!

Stella: What’s going on? What’s causing all this?

Gummidge: Well, certainly not my machine. But the trouble is around it.

Everyone runs after Gus through the portal, even Grunt the Pig. (Stella asked its name) The hallway twists axially, and gravity twists with it. Eventually the Fellowship emerges into a bright featureless room. There’s a barrier across the room, made of the same hard light as the bridge in the other portal, although this barrier isn’t flickering. Gummidge walks up to tap on the barrier and his hand goes right through.

Gummidge: It’s fake!

Gummidge walks through the barrier. Gus runs full speed and hits the barrier hard! He stumbles back, a banana falls out of his pack, and he slips on it, falling on his back.

Gus damages Rations

Stella: Hey, Gummy!

Gummidge: It’s Professor Gummidge!

Stella: What do you mean it’s not real? Gus ran right into it.

Gummidge puts his hand through the barrier. Stella pounds her fist on the barrier. Gummidge remembers that the barrier around the bubble was created by a Lantern, and presumes this same Lantern is frustrating the Fellowship now.

Gummidge: Come now, we Lanterns are creatures of science, not trickery. Reveal and explain yourself!

Gummidge Reveal The Way fails because there’s no one here.

Gummidge is surprised that his speech was ignored. A small portal opens nearby. Three lanterns are visible on the other side. They rush towards the portal.

Mysterious Lanterns: Gummidge, you fool!

The portal closes before they reach it. After waiting to make sure they are gone, Gummidge looks around the far side of the room. It’s featureless, except for a doorway that leads to a hallway that curves to the side, so Gummidge can’t see the other end. As he moves around to look at it, the curvature changes. If he goes down that hallway, he might not find a way back.  Gummidge deploys his robotic crows to extend his sight. Huginn flies down the hall until it can barely see Gummidge. Muninn flies past until it can barely see Huginn. They relay data back to gummidge: the hall continues to bend out of sight. To explore any further means losing contact with the others on the other side of the barrier, possibly forever. Gummidge recalls the crows and returns to the barrier in the middle of the room.

The Fellowship is stumped. Through the barrier seems like the only way to go, but the Halflings can’t pass through it. After a while, a Little Light (a Lantern that’s not projecting a holographic body) floats into the room aimlessly.

  • Little Light: If a Lantern Reveals The Way to a little light, they take the 10+ result without rolling.

    • Blindingly Bright: You cannot look directly at a little light. Anyone trying to Keep Them Busy or Overcome their attacks is in Despair. Anyone trying to Look Closely at them fails to do so.
    • Aimless: Little lights act arbitrarily, and there is no way to predict what they will do next.

The Little Light wanders through the barrier.

Gummidge: Of course! It’s a barrier to keep out!

Stella: Outsiders? We’re technically still on my boat.

Gummidge: Hmmm, you’ve got me there.

Stumped again, the Fellowship watches the Little Light wander around, then pick up a mouse and carry it through the barrier.

Gummidge Hook Shot: pull yourself to anything heavy. Pull anything light to you.

Gummidge emits a beam of light that attaches to Stella and pulls her through the barrier!

Gummidge: A triumph of observation and deductive reasoning! Form a queue and I shall pull you through!

Before he can fulfill his promise, the Little Light fires on Gummidge!

Gummidge Light Shield: protect from any damage you can see

Gummidge blocks the attack, and the Little Light wanders over to Stella and bumps into her. Stella’s not sure how to react to this unpredictable creature. Fight, flight, or freeze? She chooses flight.

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

Stella parkours off the walls to distract and confuse the Little Light.

Little Light Blindingly Bright: Despair to Keep Them Busy

Stella The Courage Of Halflings: Never in Despair when rolling with Courage

Stella Keep Them Busy 10+

Gummidge: Look here, these shenanigans are unbecoming of a Lantern. Think of our reputation! What example are you setting for these visitors?

Gummidge Finish Them (+Wisdom, show the error of their ways) 7-9 damage a stat

Little Light damages Aimless

Gummidge: Thanks, much better. Let’s press on.

Stella: How? We can barely see with all the glare.

Gummidge: You should go away, back through the barrier

Gummidge Mind Trick: you can Reveal The Way without believing it’s in their best interest

If a Lantern Reveals The Way to a little light, they take the 10+ result without rolling.

The Little Light obediently leaves the scene. Gummidge pulls the rest of the Fellowship through the barrier. Now they face the curving hallway.

Gummidge: Stick close. I don’t trust these curving hallways.

Stella: Physical contact, everyone.

The Fellowship links hands and Gummidge leads the way down the curving hallway. As soon as the last person steps out of the room and into the hallway, the hallway straightens out and they easily walk into the next room.

This room is a control chamber. Instead of dials, switches, buttons, and levers, the controls here are all fiber optics. Lanterns send commands by shining different lights through different fibers. This is the maintenance area of a large Lantern building.  Such buildings have emergency generators, but emergencies are rare, so Gummidge thought could use the generator to power his experiment. No one would notice, so he didn’t ask permission. That was just before the mishap that created the bubble.  Back at the site of his experiment, Gummidge is inspired once more. Turning the machine off would be admitting defeat. any malfunction was surely the result of interference, perhaps from those three Lanterns they glimpsed briefly in the previous room.

Gummidge: I need to keep going to finish my experiment. I can reroute power from non-essential systems. We’re stuck halfway. I want to get us all the way through to the other side.

Stella: Back to my boat, right?

Stella is getting sick of all the hassle Gummidge has put her through.

Gummidge: My projections, based on the available evidence, suggest the boat.

Gummidge Jury Rig 6-

Gummidge pulls out and reconnects bundles of fiber, and the great machines hum and roar. Gummidge asks too much of the machines and circuit breakers kick in,  locking out the controls!

A portal opens, revealing an idyllic landscape, and those same three Lanterns from earlier. Now Gummidge recognizes them. They’re Lantern Peacekeepers that enforce the ban on interdimensional travel that was created after the Lanterns were trapped on this world. Gummidge wasn’t content to stay in this world. He didn’t want to go back. He wanted to go onwards! Anyways, now these squares are coming to arrest Gummidge for his illegal experiments!

Gummidge Rockets: run very fast

Gummidge Bend Light Wall: block a passageway with hard light

Gummidge dashes to the portal and puts a wall across it so the Peacekeepers can’t enter the control chamber.

Gummidge Keep Them Busy 6-

The Peacekeepers smash through Gummidge’s wall and enter the control chamber!

  • Group of Lantern Peacekeepers
    • Little Light: Gauntlet Form: When the peacekeeper hits you with their gauntlet, you become immobilized in a cage of light.
    • Civic Duty: The peacekeeper has proper protocol to follow. They will not act without reason, and will act to disable all aggressors when possible.
  • Lantern Priest: A lantern who guides the lost.
    • Lead The Flock: The priest has control over The Innocents, and can command them to do anything.
    • Reveal The Way: Anyone who tries to Speak Softly or Talk Sense with the
      priest will receive the priest’s advice. Acting on this advice gives you Hope;
      acting against it gives you Despair.

Stella is still undecided on Gummidge, but she doesn’t want to be arrested, so she smashes the control panels with the King Of The Hill‘s sword! More portals open and the room warps and twists. The floor turns into a portal and everyone falls into a spooky temple. Gummidge has been here before. He recognizes the dias in the center of the room, and the artifact that hovers above it. This artifact looks like a jagged red fragment of glass, and acts somewhat like Infinite Windows, but for interdimensional travel. This is what Gummidge used in his experiments.

Stella: Time for Operation Apple Toss!

Stella Lived In A Shoe: You can shrink to the size of an apple

Stella shrinks to the size of an apple and Rose, her bodyguard, throws her at the artifact! Stella enlarges as she approaches the artifact and grabs it on the run. She’s yanked to a stop. The hovering artifact refuses to budge.

Gummidge Rockets: run very fast

Gummidge dashes to put the artifact between himself and the Peacekeepers. He sees Stella struggling with the artifact and tries to help.

Gummidge Hook Shot: pull yourself to anything heavy. Pull anything light to you.

The artifact is immovable, so Gummidge unintentionally pulls himself to it. It can’t move while any portals are open. Instead of trying to close all the portals, Gummidge opens another!

Gummidge Open Infinite Windows: 10+ stable portal to a safe place

Gummidge loses item Jewlery (Precious)

Gummidge uses a piece of Drawven jewelry to open a portal to Templeton, on the observation deck for the sundial. He jumps through.

Gummidge: Get through or get clear!

Stella would rather talk her way of trouble.

Stella: This is all a big misunderstanding.  I don’t even know how I got here. Gummidge isn’t at fault. There are other Lanterns making walls and trapping us here. it’s not fair. I just wanna go home!

Stella Talk Nonsense 7-9

Lantern Priest Reveal The Way: Anyone who tries to Speak Softly or Talk Sense with the priest will receive the priest’s advice. Acting on this advice gives you Hope; acting against it gives you Despair.

Preist: If you want to go home, help us catch this fugitive.

Gummidge Eureka: Everything is Useful in your hands. When use use something Useful to help with a move, roll with Hope

Gummidge Jury Rig 10+ it works!

Gummidge redirects the lens that focuses sunlight onto the sundial far below so it shines through the portal as a beam weapon! Not a very powerful beam weapon. The lens focus distance is quite far, so the beam is rather wide when it enters the spooky temple.

Stella Overcome 10+

Stella Lived In A Shoe: You can shrink to the size of an apple

Stella Jams King’s huge sword into the ground and shrinks to hide behind it. The sword’s shadow protects Stella’s companions, but the Peacekeepers are hit!

Peacekeepers damage Gauntlet Form

Stella: Strobe the beam!

Gummidge Eureka: Everything is Useful in your hands. When use use something Useful to help with a move, roll with Hope

Gummidge Jury Rig 7-9 only works once

Gummidge: This will only work once. Give me a sign!

Stella Lived In A Shoe: Change size within limits

Stella walks backwards in the shadow of the sword, drops off the dias, and returns to normal size safely below the beam of light. The Preist orders the remaining Peacekeeper to seize Stella.

Stella: Now is the time!

Gummidge blocks the beam.

Stella Lived In A Shoe: Change size within limits

Stella runs around the Peacekeeper, rapidly changing size to confuse him.

Lantern Priest Reveal The Way: Despair for ignoring his advice

Stella The Courage Of Halflings: Never in Despair when rolling with Courage.

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

Gummidge comes back through the portal and bonks the Peacekeeper on the head.

Gummidge Finish Them (+Sense) 6-

The Priest moves in to close the portal.

Priest Close a Window 7-9 portal moves to somewhere else

The portal to Templeton closes, but where the sunlight from Templeton hit the far wall of the temple, a new portal opens, back to the bubble where Stella found herself at the beginning of this adventure. Stella runs for the portal.

Stella on A Mirror’s Edge: gain 2 Speed

Stella spend 1 Speed to leap over an enemy in your path

Stella Get Away 10+ avoid harm, bring Silk along

Gummidge, left alone with his enemies, flails with Gallybagger’s damaged arms

Gummidge Keep Them Busy 6-

Lantern Priest damages Gummidge’s Armor

Lantern Peacekeeper damages Gummidge’s Iron

GM note: My notes get messy here, so I don’t have any exact sequence of moves. Just narrative.

Stella returns riding Silk, which makes her a threat to the world! While the Lanterns beat poor non-combat-focused Gummidge, Stella draws her other sword and cleaves their Little Lights. Their holographic bodies flicker and disappear. Stella turns back to the portal.

Stella: I’m going with or without you.

Gummidge: Go through, I’ll close it behind you.

As he gestures to the portal, smashed pieces fall out of Gallybagger’s sleeves. The Power Suits hands were destroyed trying to fend of the Latern Peacekeepers.

Stella: Fine, I ‘ll do it myself

Stella and her companions go through the portal and Stella pulls it closed.

Stella Close a Window: 7-9 leave something on the far side.

Stella: Nice working with you, Grunt! Goodbye!

Gummidge and the Wild Boar are left in the temple with the artifact, presumably to continue his dangerous experiments. All the portals are closed. The shimmering barrier around Stella collapses into a humanoid form, another Lantern. They’re all back on the deck of the Miranda with Buckle and the rest of the Fellowship.

  • Mira, she/her, Lantern

Mira: Thank goodness! It took all my strength to keep the barrier up.

Stella examines the deck. The damage they did to the floor inside the bubble is nowhere to be seen. Mira explains that she formed the barrier to contain Gummidge’s experiments and alerted the Lantern Peacekeepers, but she doesn’t blame Stella, who was caught up quite accidentally. For helping to prevent an interdimensional disaster, Mira offers to teach a Lantern secret.

The Fellowship gains the fellowship of the Lanterns.


Chasing The Sunset & mutual retreat

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

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

Last time, the Fellowship was exiled from Castellum, but they were leaving anyways. They head towards a volcano that Buckle heard about long ago, but when they are waylaid in Port Fennrick!

The Miranda (the Fellowship’s racing catamaran) stopped at the edge of Port Frennrick’s docks, following instructions from Bork, an Ogre who seems to be in charge of the docks.

  • Bork, she/her, Ogre. This 18-foot-tall woman 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.

A man appears behind Buckle and snatches the Medallion of Cleft Sky from his neck. The Medallion isn’t on a normal chain. It emits a crackling cord of electricity that expands to fit its wearer. Where did that man come from/ The Fellowship didn’t see anyone board the ship.

  • Agent, he/him, Human
    • Death From Above: Agents can climb along walls and ceilings as quickly as they can run, and as silently as a ghost. When an Agent 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 Agent is Secret until they make a Cut. When they escape or hide, they become Secret again until they make a Cut.

Agent: O’Later will want to know about this!

Buckle: That’s mine! Who’s O’Later?

Bork: O’Later’s the boss!

Buckle: I don’t remember him.

Bork: The town is under new management.

Another Agent emerges from the cabin holding the Pheonix Egg. Buckle’s eyes surge with flames.

Buckle: That’s my baby! What are you doing with it?

Bork: Don’t interfere. This is standard procedure.

Buckle: What procedure?

Bork is taken aback. This is more resistance than she’s used to.

Bork: I don’t have all the procedures and clauses memorized, but O’Later can explain it to you.

Bork indicates that the Fellowship can follow her, and the Agents prepare to take the Phoenix Egg and the Medallion of Cleft Sky. Buckle’s close to lashing out.

Stella: We want safe passage through here in the future, so let’s talk. Hey, Bork, where are you taking our stuff?

Bork: Contraband warehouses. There’s one there, and there’s another over–

An Agent frantically motions for Bork not to reveal such sensitive information. Bork stops talking, grabs a rope tossed by an Agent and pulls the Miranda in to the dock. Buckle starts walking up the ship’s ramps and the Agents realize that Buckle is on fire and most of Port Fennrick is wooden boardwalks. They scramble to fetch barrels of water and pour them in Buckle’s path. Buckle carefuly steps only on the wettests portions to avoid setting the town on fire.

Buckle Overcome 10+

The strange procession passes the Port Fennrick message board. Buckle and Stella sneak a peek in passing.

GM note: The messages board is a way for players to send messages to other players that they don’t meet in real life. NPCs don’t read or censor the messages.

  • Port Fennrick Message Board
    • Edna: O’Later is a poor host and a Vampire. Please get Bork some properly tailored clothes!
    • Vestri: O’Later is a Vampire and Bork is his subordinate. Don’t hang out with them at night. They have contraband in a warehouse.
    • Yuri: Soldiers lurk in the shadows and there is a great wealth of confiscated goods.

Stella looks at Bork’s bouncer outfit, which seems a bit too small and bunches in certain spots. Buckle leans in to whisper to Stella.

Buckle: Did you read the message board/ We’ve fought Vampires before. Does our reputation precede us?

The procession reaches the town hall, a large stone building which Buckle won’t destory on contact. Bork opens the large double doors, and an Agent rolls up the red carpet so Buckle won’t set it on fire. Buckle thinks Bork seems nice-ish, so he offers to buy her some custom-tailored clothes. He has Ugg take measurements and gets permission to leave the party and find a tailor.

Bork forms a Bond: Buckle offered me a gift.

After a few minutes, O’Later arrives, He apologizes for the modest reception, since he was not expecting them. Another Agent offers a plate of Halfling and Platyperson snacks. There seems to be no distinction between O’Later’s servants and his secret police. They wear the same uniforms. Buckle makes conversation.

Buckle Speak Softly 6- 3 questions, 1 unhelpful answer, 1 false answer

  • What can O’Later tell us about contraband?
    • Contraband must be confiscated to preserve order and safety in the town. It’s for your own good, of course! Thus, the contraband will not be returned when you leave town.
  • What was O’Later doing? What will they do next? (Particularly how did he come to rule Port Fennrick?)
    • O’Later found the town leaderless and in chaos, so it was his responsibility to bring order.
  • What should we be wary of when dealing with O’Later?
    • Buckle mentioned the Moon, and immediately O’Later gets mad.
    • O’Later: The Moon has been trouble ever since it appeared. It’s to blame for werewolves! Something should be done about it!
    • Buckle: Yes, we had to kill some Platypalooza.

While Buckle talks with O’Later, Stella pulls Bork aside.

Stella: Are you hungry? Seems like you’ve been on the clock for a while.

Bork: Thanks. Sometimes we find good food to confiscate, but not tonight.

Stella spends Halfing Lunch

Bork forms a Bond “Stella fed me.”

Stella overhears O’Later ranting about the Moon.

Stella Talk Nonsense 10+

Stella: We can take care of that! We were on our way to a big cannon in a mountain. We need the Medallion to power it.

Buckle: Yeah! The azimuth is slightly off.

Stella Sting Like A Bee steal a small item

Stella steals a large key from O’Later. The key’s teeth are shaped like fangs.

O’Later: A cannon in a mountain? When did you see this ? Tell me about it.

Stella: We’ve been travelling for a long time. The facility was abandoned when we found it, but we read some notes that indicated this facility was important. Maybe all the bad things happening these days would stop if the Moon was gone.

O’Later: A noble goal! We will return your Medallion and escort you to the mountain. Bork will make all the arrangements, and we will leave tomorrow at sunset!

Bork escorts the Fellowship towards the contraband warehouse (the one she pointed out earlier) with Agents pouring water in front of Buckle. Stella chats with Bork along the way.

Stella Speak Softly 7-9 ask 3 questions, 1 unhelpful answer

  • What can you tell me about your past?
    • Bork doesn’t want to talk about it.
  • What do you want? How can we help you get it?
    • She wants job satisfaction: the sense that she’s doing good in the world. Guarding the city is indirect and boring. She’s not fulfilled.
  • What should I be wary of when dealing with Bork?
    • Bork’s physical power is obvious, but she’s also easily manipulated, which makes her dangerous.

Buckle: What would make the world a better place?

Bork: Hmmm, maybe fighting werewolves? We rarely get any here in town. O’Later says the Moon is to blame, so I’ve tried throwing things at the Moon before.

Stella: When we get the cannon working, we’ll throw something that will hit the Moon.

They reach the contraband warehouse. Bork easily lifts the bar holding the gate closed and the Fellowship enters.  The warehouse is dimly lit, because Agents like the dark.  There’s a pile of knifes, coins, and other metal objects near the entrance. Most of the warehouse is orderly stacks of boxes, but some boxes have been pushed aside to make a clear space for the Medallion of Cleft Sky. The Agents assigned to the warehouse are standing a respectful distance away, pondering this strange and dangerous item that forced them to discard all their metal equipment. Buckle goes to pick up his Medallion and the Agents move to intervene until Bork calls out.

Bork: We’ve got a special mission. This comes straight from the top.

Buckle: Where’s the egg? Its’s important to me. It must be protected and I can’t trust these buffoons to do it.

Buckle isn’t sure what “buffoon” means, but hostile people have used that word against them.

Buckle Talk Sense (+Wisdom, appeal to emotions) 10+

Bork: Give him the egg too.

Buckle reclaims his items. He wants to look around for more cool items in the warehouse, but the Agents don’t want him to set anything on fire or strike anything with lightning.

Buckle: I need to find materials for the mission to the Anti-Moon Weapon. I could get something to upgrade the payload, or use messenger robots to communite back to Port Fennrick.

Buckle Talk Sense (+Grace, trick them) 7-9 owe them a favor

The Agents are impressed by the mission. They’ll let Buckle look through their stuff, so long as he takes them along to the anti-Moon Weapon.

GM note: This is just Buckle’s player asking for trouble. Show me something cool, and show me how it can go wrong.

The first item that catches Buckle’s interest is a cask of exotic liquor. It was confiscated because it kept starting fires and fights. Not a safe object for someone who sets things on fire with a touch.

Buckle Overcome 10+

The Agents open the cask and as Buckle approaches to inspect it, the vapor coming off the cask starts to ignite! The Agents slam the cask shut quickly, and Buckle backs away.

Next Buckle sees some kind of robotic weapon. He sees a space where  a battery should go and zaps it with the Medallion of Cleft Sky. The robot starts powering up. It’s a Killbot! It looks around to select a target!

  • Killbot: They have a kill limit, but it is quite high. Killbots are targeted assassins – they have someone (or a list of someones) to kill, and anything that gets in their way is collateral damage.
    • Exterminate: Killbots are Melee, Ranged, and Piercing. If they are trying
      to kill you specifically, you need to pay a price whenever you go near a Killbot.

Buckle Overcome 7-9 temporary solution

Buckle fumbles for an access panel as the Killbot stands up, spikes protruding in all directions. Buckle pulls a wire and the killbot collapses. A panel opens and reveals a countdown!

Buckle: I think it’s off, but it’s counting down. We might need to leave.

The Agents freak out. An explosion in this warehouse, full of valuable and dangerous items, would be catastrophic. Stella confirms that the KIllbot can’t stab her, then works to protect the warehouse.

 Stella spends 1 Pit Trap

Stella Wizardry: Push, pull, or grab as if you were somewhere you can see.

Stella sets a Pit Trap, retreats to a safe distance, and remotely pushes the Killbot into the pit.

Stella Overcome 7-9 pay a price

Stella spends a bag of coins (Precious)

The Killbot slumps into the pit, but the spikes sticking out prevent it from falling all the way in. Stella throws a heavy bag of coins at the Killbot, which knocks it the rest of the way into the pit. A moment later, an explosion shoots striaght up from the pit, blowing a hole in the roof of the warehouse, but sparing the stacks and stacks of boxes all around.

Buckle: Stella, maybe you should look through the crates.

Collateral damage increases Port Fennrick’s Response Level to 2.

Port Fennrick gains Response Move: Sheriff – someone will arrest a member of the Fellowship.

Bork: I’ve made a mistake letting you in here. You’re dangerous.

She moves in to scoop Buckle up in her giant hands.

Buckle: It was just an accident. We need these supplies for the mission to make O’Later happy!

Buckle Talk Sense (+Wisdom, appeal to desires) 6-

Bork damages Buckle

Bork Caught One!: When Bork deals damage, she also picks up and grab the person they damaged. If she are not stopped, she’ll walk off with them.

Bork grabs Buckle, who is about the size of a stuffed animal to her, and starts walking out of the warehouse. Stella runs after them.

Stella On A Mirror’s Edge: gain 2 Speed

Bork stops suddenly and kicks back with a giant boot!

Stella spends 1 Speed to avoid an enemy attack and keep going

Stella Get Away 7-9 take Buckle along

Stella damages Courage

Stella leaps up on Bork’s foot, climbs her body, and snatches Buckle from her hand. Channeling the power of her loyal mount, Silk, Stella leaps striaght up to the roof of the warehouse!

Stella Animal Trait: Jumping Spider

Buckle: The egg!

Buckle rushes to the hole in the roof and looks in to see if the PHoenix Egg survived.

Agents Death From Above: Agents can climb along walls and ceilings as quickly as they can run, and as silently as a ghost. When an Agent drops down on an enemy from above, they can either kidnap them or deal damage to them as a Hard Cut, their choice.

The two Agents inside the warehouse are waiting for Buckle, standing upside-down on either side of the hole!

Buckle Medallion of Cleft Sky St. Elmo’s Fire: surround someone with a dazzling aura to make an attack miss.

St. Elmo’s Fire crackles around Buckle’s body, dazzling one Agent, but the other strikes true!

Agent damages Buckle.

Buckle goes for the Medallion again!

GM note: The Medallion is a custom item. Buckle’s player made some suggestions for potential powers, and the Framework was supposed to write up an official version, but didn’t, so we are just winging its powers in this session.

Buckle Medallion of Cleft Sky Aurora: impress and distract spectators, Keeping Them Busy with a 10+

Bork can’t climb the warehouse, can’t reach the figures on the roof, and this is one building she’s unwiling to tear down. She looks around for a big rock or a long pole that she can use to reach Stella and Buckle.

Stella: You’ll never get us with logs! We are Fluming champions!

Stella Keep Them Busy 10+

It’s a standoff. Stella and Buckle are keeping all their opponents from advancing or attacking, but if they stop, their opponents will strike! The tense moment is interrupted by the slow arrivals of new adversaries. The uniforms they wear are smiliar to the Agents, but fancier, so they’re probably higher rank. Unlike the slippery, agile Agents, these Enforcers stomp heavily and stiffly towards the warehouse.

  • Ghoulish Enforcers, it/its, undead humanoids.  Preserved corpses, sustained by an ancient curse.
    • Cursed Strength: Enforcers are incredibly strong, and can toss aside anyone trying to Keep Them Busy. If your Blood is damaged, you must pay a price to attack an Enforcer in melee combat.
    • Tough As Nails: The first time an Enforcer would be damaged or destroyed, damage this stat instead.

Buckle drops the Aurora and goes to the edge of the roof to appeal to Bork.

Buckle: We’re all on the same side, working towards the same goal!  There’s just dangerous stuff around.

Buckle FInish Them (+Widsom, show the error of their ways) 7-9

Buckle damages Bork’s Big And Scary

Bork Eager To Please: When Bork is damaged, she erases all Bonds with the Fellowship.

Bork: You tricked me! I thought you were my friend!

Bork throws the Phoenix Egg at Buckle as the Agents emerge onto the roof! Buckle must catch the precious and fragile egg!

Buckle Overcome 7-9 pay a price

Buckle damages Webbed Hands

The impact of the huge egg (nearly as tall as Buckle) injures his hands and the momentum pushes him backwards towards the edge of the roof! He rolls with it.

Buckle Get Away 7-9 take Stella along

Buckle grabs Stella and they both slide past hte shocked agents and fall to the ground! Buckle lands on his back with the egg on top of him!

Buckle damages a stat

Buckle Firestarter: declare a fire starts if you had a chance to plant material before hand.

Buckle won’t start a fight, but he’ll finish one! He snaps his fingers and the warehouse bursts into flames! He was secreting explosive goo all over the items he was examining.  The exotic liquor explodes, turning the front of the warehouse into a hail of debris! The Agents on the roof are sent flying, their capes on fire. The Enforcers don’t look at the fire, continuing to walk straight towards Buckle until a pile of debris collapses on them. Bork kneels and braces herself, keeping her balance as the shockwave passes her. She slowly gets to her feet, sweeping splinters and flaming bits from her arms. The pile of flaming debris is thurst aside and the Enforcers stand up and continue walking forward.

Bork, Enforcers, and Agents all take damage

Buckle & Stella took full advantage of the distraction to flee the scene!

Buckle (+hope, Stella’s aid) Get Away 10+ avoid harm, bring Ugg along

They run for the Miranda as fast as their short legs will carry them, but they remember to swing by the tailor’s shop to get Ugg before fleeing town. There’s no disguising their trail. Buckle is setting fire to the boardwalks as he flees.  Buckle throws a coin purse in to the tailor, Ugg gathers up the huge suti in his big robot hands, and the whole Fellowship reaches the Miranda.

Port Fennrick: Upset someone in Charge: increase Response Level

There’s commotion all over town as the crew of the Miranda casts off and sails upriver. They have to go all the way across town to reach the river! Bork appears ahead on the boardwalk, with a flaming beam from the warehouse weilded as a club. Even her impressive reach isn’t enough to engage the Miranda in melee combat. She picks up a Ghoulish Enforcer and throws it towards the Miranda. It explodes in mid-air!

Buckle Anarchy Reigns: create an explosion, even if you could not have planted the bomb beforehand.

O’Later’s security forces are taken aback. Can they even approach these criminals? The confusion continues as Stella calls out and ugg throws a bundle from his post atop the mainmast.

Stella: Bork, catch!

It’s a custom-tailored suit. In all her time with O’Later, he never gave her such an expensive gift. She stares at the clothes for a moment, then drops them and grips her flaming club. Bork and the Agents follow the Mirnada upstream, but try to stay behind cover. They dont care approach openly.  O’Later appears in the sky, confirming his vampiric nature by flying in as a bat!

Buckle: We’re leaving! Dont worry about it!

Stella: Gus, garlic him!

Gus, Stella’s cook climbs the other mast and throws cloves of garlic, forcing O’Later to keep his distance

Gus spends Special Ingredients

Stella Get Away 10+ avoid harm

Stella pilots the Miranda upstream, out of Port Fennrick, and onto the Mighty River. The checkpoint that used to stop boats at the edge of the city has been dismantled, so they have no trouble escaping.  O’Later’s invisible inspections are effective 99% of the time, but fail in this exact scenario. The Fellowship is frustrated, even though they reclaimed their items, put the town’s forces to flight, and were able to continue their journey. Why do things keep goign badly? Why can’t the kings and chieftains they meet just be reasonable? They didn’t want to fight. They tried to talk it out so everyone could be happy.


Chasing the Sunset & new direction

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

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

Last time, the Fellowship brought a companion home, fought a hostile, empowered dinosaur, and claimed another Artifact of Power.

After recovering in the hostile wasteland, protected by Stella and Buckle’s special powers, the Fellowship remembers that Snapjaw sent a group of creatures to attack the nearby town of Castellum before it fought Buckle. That was a week ago. Is Castellum OK?  They barely got out of Castellum without a fight last time, so they consider their approach carefully. Kitty (a dinosaur) and Buckle (set some stuff on fire) will stay back, along with Hamfast. Stella and her companions (Silk, Gus, and Rose) will go check on Castellum.

As the Halflings approach, they are spotted by a Sentry on the town’s walls.

Sentry: Are you being pursued? To the gates, quickly!

Castellum sees itself as a bastion of civilization against a dangerous wilderness, so it has a responsibility to offer sanctuary to any people who wander into the Cracktooth Wastes.  As the Fellowship gets closer, the Gatekeeper recognizes Stella as one of the people who caused so much trouble last week and doesn’t want to let her in. The Sentry and the Gatekeeper argue. Surely their responsibility to save people from monsters is the highest priority, but these particular people did break some of the town’s defenses and left on bad terms, so letting them come back would be foolish.

Stella: Please let me in. I have important tactical information for your leader!

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

The Sentry is convinced, and comes down to activate the gate mechanism. The Gate slowly rises, and Stella and her Companions enter. The Gatekeeper quickly shuts the gate behind them. The interior of Castellum is budy, with many people rushing around reparing damage from last week’s attack. Mega Mantis’s can jump over any walls and attack from above, so Priscilla, commander of Castellum, is overseeing repairs to the roofs of some buildings.

Priscilla: You were lucky we let you leave in peace last time. Why do you return?

Stella: My crew & I went into the wastes to figure out what terrorized the town. We found Snapjaw was sending dinosaurs to attack you. He’s dead now.

Priscilla: Good news, if it is true. Do you bring a trophy as proof?

Stella must pause to remember if any of Snapjaw’s remains survived. The fight and resulting forest fire was quite destructive, and the Fellowship focused on the Artifact of Power when Snapjaw died.

Stella: My companions and I are small of stature, so we carry no trophy, but Snapjaw’s skeletal remains can be found at the edge of the forest.

Priscilla calls up to the Sentry to confirm, but the forest is too far, and the Sentry can’t see from his tower.  People rarely venture from Castellum to the Cracktooth Wastes, but confirming Snapjaw’s death is so important that Priscilla will send an expedition. Of course she’ll lead the expedition. She won’t ask anyone to take a risk that she wouldn’t take herself. Cam the Halfing will pilot the War Wagon, and Priscilla and the Sentry will ride it.

Back at the edge of the forest, Buckle sees the War Wagon approaching. He and Kitty scramble to hide. Kitty lies down in some underbrush, and Buckle hides behind her. Alas, Kitty is a huge tyrannosaur, and Buckle’s body shines brightly.

Sentry: I see a glowing Tyrannosaur!

That fits Snapjaw’s description, and it’s not skeletal remains like Stella promised. Priscilla must determine if this fearsome creature is dead, but it’s so dangerous!

Priscilla: Cam, send our cheapest scout.

War Wagon Rock Ballista: Ranged, Dangerous, Reload weapon

Electric Artifact St. Elmo’s Fire: deflect an attack

Cam fires a rock from the War Wagon’s roof-mounted Ballista.  Buckle sees the rock flying in and freaks out. Blinding electricity crackles around Kitty and the rock is shunted aside! Buckle jumps up and yells at the people who attacked him unprovoked.

Buckle: What do you think you’re doing?

Priscilla: That electric dinosaur’s not dead! Back to town!

Cam turns the War Wagon around and heads back to Castellum at full steam! As he stokes the furnace, he tosses in a bundle of dried branches, so the smoke from theWar Wagon’s engine turns yellow. The War Wagon carries several bundles of different branches, leaves, or moss to send different signals back to town. This color of yellow means “We are in danger!”Buckle follows them, but at a distance.

The Sentries call out to the Gatekeepers, who spring into action.  Stella can tell that everyone is worried. The Gatekeepers look at markers some distance from the wall, and when the War Wagon passes a certain marker, they start opening the gate.  The War Wagon drives straight for the gate without slowing down! The gate raises just enough for the War Wagon to drive underneath, then the Gatekeepers lower the gate again. The War Wagon skids to a stop and the expedition exits. Priscilla is furious.

Priscilla: Snapjaw is not dead!

Stella: Really? You saw a T-Rex? With skin?

Cam: We saw a shape in the brush. I fired at it, and sparks surrounded it.

Sentry: There’s a glowing person approaching!

Stella: How could this happen? We burned Snapjaw a lot, down to his bones. You must have seen something else. Maybe my friends taking a nap.

Priscilla: You’re friends with dinosaurs?!

Buckle walks up to the walls of Castellum, furious, shouting about their treachery, their impoliteness, their recknessless, in attacking people who are just minding thier own business, not hurting everyone. Castellum is in an uproar. Strange travellers. Their greatest enemy slain, but not. Priscilla invokes the cruelest punishment known to the fortress city: Banishment! Stella and her companions must go out into the Cracktooth Wastes and will never enjoy the protection of Castellum again! The crowd murmers with shock. The Gatekeepers open the gates a little, and Stella and her Companions exit the city and meet Buckle just outside.

Stella: At least the dinosaurs are nicer than you! Buckle, we’re leaving.

The Fellowship heads back to the Miranda, docked a little north of Castellum on the shore of the Cracktooth Wastes.

Buckle: That went well, I think. What happened?

Stella: Priscilla needed proof of Snapjaw’s death. I told her to find his remains.

Buckle: They shot us with a rock!

Stella: I need to be more specific.

Castellum Message Board:

Stella: Friendship is magic and there is nothing magical about these people!

Buckle: This fortress is full of dinosaur bigots who throw rocks at you. One star.

Buckle has been making a map of his travels and sees that long ago, he heard about two volcanos near Bogden, but he never investigated. The Fellowship sets out to explore these mountains, which means heading south along to coast, then inland at Port Fennrick, where Buckle and Stella first arrived on this continent long ago.

As they sail south, a larger ship approaches. it’s the Hibernia, which helped them run the blockade at Vieport. They went different directions after leaving Vieport, so seeing the Hibernia this far north is unexpected.  Buckle hails the larger ship.

Buckle: Ahoy! How did the Tinker like my gift of Dragon Fire?

Tinker liked the gift very much! She’s thrilled to see Buckle and the crew of the Miranda again. The Hibernia slows down to rendezvous with the Miranda, but Tinker can’t wait for a rowboat. She launches herself off the deck with an experimental jetpack! She heads in the general direction of the Miranda, but she’s going to overshoot and land in the water!

Buckle: Do we have, maybe, some nets?

Tinker hurtles overhead and crashes into the water. Buckle remembers what emergency equipment the Miranda has, and throws a life preserver to Tinker. It’s an inflated animal skin on a rope.

Buckle Overcome 7-9 temporary solution

Tinker grabs the life preserver, but Buckle’s super-heated hands caused a leak, and the jetpack is quite heavy. Tinker is still sinking and Buckle can’t haul in the rope because he’d set it on fire! Stella smacks Buckle with the corner of her cloak.

Stella: Just ask Kitty!

Buckle: Kitty, help!

Kitty uses Crushing Jaws

Kitty carefully takes the rope in her powerful jaws and pulls Tinker onto the Miranda’s deck. Tinker seems unphased by her near-death experience.

Tinker: Buckle! So great to meet you! Thought we wouldn’t see you again. We’re on a new route for new customers. The control vanes don’t have enough yaw. I’ll replace them It’s so good to see you!

Tinker pulls heavy welding gloves from her belt, puts them on, and shakes Buckles’ hand. The Hibernia pulls up alongside and Captain Frost calls out.

Frost: Come on, Tinker, this is a rush delivery! We had to take some bad terms for this journey, so we can’t afford to be late! But stay there! We’ll send a launch to get you.

Buckle: If you’re in a hurry, this’ll help you get more power.

Buckle spends 1 Use of Dragonfire

Tinker is thrilled to receive a second vial of Dragonfire. The launch arrives and Tinker boards it.

Buckle: Wait, you never told me your name!

Tinker: It’s Tanja. Tanja the Tinker!

Buckle gains a Bond with Tanja. Spend the Bond and Tanja will appear with some contraption to bail Buckle out of a jam.

The Miranda continues south while the Hibernia sails north. It’s night when the Miranda approaches the river delta of Port Fennrick, with its boardwalks and buildings on stilts. An Ogre stands at the edge of the dock, holding a huge torch. It’s an entire sapling, wrapped in cloth and set alight. The Ogre waves to indicate the Miranda should stop before entering the city. The Fellowship complies, and the Ogre just waits there, staring at them. Very odd. Then a man appears right next to Buckle and grabs his Lightning Artifact!

Mysterious figure: The chief will be very interested in this trinket!


Did we learn something new about the world or its people: YES, Castellum’s war against Snapjaw

Did someone find what they were looking for: YES, Buckle collects Artifacts of Power

Did we thoroughly explore a new location: YES, Castellum

Three boons: Level up, restore gear, heal.

Chasing The Sunset & Snapjaw

Chasing The Sunset & Snapjaw

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

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

Last time, the Fellowship neared Kitty the Tyrannosaur’s home, but approached Castellum, a human town fortified against frequent dinosaur attacks. They were not welcome, but withdrew without too much damage.

On the shores of the Cracktooth Wastes, the Felowship wonders what to do. Surely they don’t just kick Kitty off the boat and sail away. Perhaps they could return to her family. The humanoids doin’t realize it, but that’s insulting!  “Leaving the nest” is an important step in a Tyrannosaur’s life. An adult Tyrannosaur retirning to its parents means that it has failed as an adult, and its parents failed to raise it properly. That’s right out!

Buckle: What about your flock? Not who raised you. People you hang out with.

Kitty approves and leads the Fellowship from the shore towards the cracks in the north of the region.  This big cracks in the ground create narrow paths that a Tyrannosaur can block, and if its prey tries to flee, it will probably fall. Mega-Mantises live down in the cracks. Their powerful leaps let the move bakc and forth from the surface with ease. As the Fellowship approaches the cracks, a Mega-Mantis emerges from a crack and leaps at the nearest victim available: Buckle!

  • Mega Mantis: A giant insectoid predator that is always on the hunt for
    new prey.

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

Mega Mantis Hopper: Buckle is pinned!

Mega-Mantis Scythes: Buckle is damaged!

Buckle: Kitty, help!

Kitty shoves the huge insect away from Buckle and growls, forcing it to retreat.

Kitty damages Gigantic to give Buckle the advantage “not pinned”

Buckle Mammalian Adaptation: Protection from Location Stat “Deadly”

GM note: Buckle’s Protection means that not everything should be out to kill him, so I refunded the damage from the Mega-Mantis, since it should have chosen someone else ot pounce on.

Stella; Did it think we were from Castellum?

Beyond the cracks, there’s a crater sunk into the ground, and a small thundercloud hovers over that crater, with an almost constantarc of lightning going straight down. There’s not much vegetation in the Cracktooth Wastes, except for the forest to the south. The Felowship wonders if Kitty really likes living in such a desolate place. She prefers the long sight lines. Mischievous fairies can’t sneak up on her here, like they did in the Fairy Forest. Buckle wonders about the strnage thundercloud, and when the Fellowship reaches the rim of the crater, they see Snapjaw, the Boss of the Cracktooth Wastes, at the bottom! The thundercloud hovers about Snapjaw, and lighting constnatly arcs between them. Lighting also arcs across Snapjaw’s skin as it moves.

  • Snapjaw: it/its. This is a tyrannosaur with lightning coursing through its body, making it even more dangerous than its deadly cousin.
    • Crushing Jaws: Anything Snapjaw bites is destroyed. Companions are immediately Taken Out and players take 3 damage from being bitten.
    • Lightning Veins: Snapjaw can spit bolts of lightning (Ranged, Piercing, Reload). When this stat becomes damaged, Snapjaw lets out an explosive blast of lightning in every direction. Everyone hit by this blast takes damage and drops everything they are holding.
    • Gigantic: Snapjaw and its attacks are Giant.

Snapjaw appears to give orders to a couple of Mega-Mantises and Komodo Dragons, who set off with purpose. They are not heading towards the Fellowship, but towards Castellum.

Stella: They weren’t very nice. Should we help?

Buckle: Let’s stay out of it. Hey, Snapjaw!

Buckle Wildspeaker: Speak the language of Beasts. Always have a chance to Speak Softly

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

  • What are you doing? What will you do next?
    • Pushing the humans into the sea!
  • What do you want?
    • Snapjaw is a Champion and Bully, so he wants to fight anyone who is a threat ot his strength, and that’s Buckle!
  • What would you have us do next?
    • Stay there, so I can come up and formally challenge you

Buckle: Kitty, is this challenge some kidn of dinosaur ritual?

Snapjaw Lightning Veins: spit lightning bolt!

Lighting strikes from the thundercloud, moving up its tail to its head, then it spits lightning at the unsuspecting Buckle! Buckle scampers up Kitty’s leg!

Buckle Get Away 6-

Snapjaw damages Buckle

But he’s struck by the lighting bolt before he can reach her! Stella mounts Kitty, taking a powerful stance to prepare for potential battle. Snapjaw follows his lightning attack by charging up the slope of the crater towards the Fellowship!

Stella Queen of the Wild: Become a Threat to the World when riding an ally

Stella: Should we retreat, or fight here?

Buckle: Run! Save yourself!

Buckle Get Away 10+ avoid harm

The Fellowship runs towards the forest, pursued by Snapjaw. When Buckle enters the underbrush, his superheated body sets it on fire! Will that prevent Snapjaw from following?

Buckle Keep Them Busy 6-

No! Snapjaw bursts through the flames! Buckle stumbles back into some dangerous plants!

  • Entangling Web: A briar grove that just won’t let you go.
    • Sticky Feet: Anyone who falls into the web becomes entangled, unable to leave unless they Overcome this trap, or an ally rescues them. Trying to Get Away through this place is impossible, and the move cannot be made.
    • Shifting Walls: The web shifts and changes, both in response to damage and at the whims of the creature that controls it. Whenever the web is damaged, and whenever a monster here has the spotlight, open a new path and block off an old one through the web.
    • Highly Flammable: If fire or a Burning weapon are used in this place, the whole area lights up. The entire region becomes Dangerous and Burning. Anyone who gains the spotlight within the web will take damage if they are still in the web when the spotlight moves on from them.

Entangling Web Highly Flammable: the area bursts into flames!

Buckle Heart of Earth: Immune to fire

Stella switches to Silk (a much smaller mount) and runs into the flames to disrupt Snapjaw by running around and between its giant, clawed feet.

Stella Queen of the Wild: Become a Threat to the World when riding an ally

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

Entangling Web Highly Flammable: Stella takes damage

Buckle is cowering and whimpering, but he finds peace in the flames surrounding him. He opens his eyes and sees his friends fighting this huge monster in the flames, and he’s filled with rage and lets out a gutteral scream

Buckle: Leave my friends alone!

Buckle Pyromania: Gain Hope when surrounded by flames and chaos

Buckle Pay a Price to act against a Threat To The World: spend 1 Dragonfire

Buckle Finish Them (+Blood, Kill) 10+ TAKEN OUT

Buckle spits fire from his mouth, like his opponent recently shot lightning, but Dragonfire is more powerful and strikes Snapjaw down! The lighting tether from the thundercloud snaps, but the little thundercloud remains, hovering above the trees.

GM note: This is exactly how they killed the previous Boss they fought: Start a forest fire, then Silk & Stella run underfoot, distracting the Boss so Buckle can land a fatal blow with Dragonfire.

Stella cloak is singed. The dinosaur is dead, but she’s still in a forest fire and needs to get out!

Stella Overcome 6-

Stella tries to escape, but a buring tree falls and blocks her path!

Stella takes damage

Buckle sees that the thundercloud is its own thing, not part of Snapjaw. Maybe the lighting came from the cloud, not Snapjaw itself. Maybe Snapjaw was not in control of itself when it was so aggressive. But his friend is in danger. Should Buckle help his friend, or a potentially innocent dinosaur? Of course he helps his friend! He crashes through the burning log!

Buckle Overcome 6-

The burning log holds! Lightning flashes from the thundercloud, striking Buckle and a non-burning tree, which falls into the fire that Stella and Buckle are stuck in. Perhaps they could balance on that tree to reach safety.

Buckle damages Sense

Stella tries to push through the flaming debris again.

Stella Overcome 6-

Stella pipeleaf catches fire, spreading an intoxicating cloud. Usually that’s fun, but it will make quick action more difficult if they breathe too much of it!  Buckle tries running along the non-burning tree that just fell.

Buckle Get Away 10+ avoid harm, bring Stella along

Once clear of the fire, Stella stops, drops, and rolls to make sure she didn’t bring any flame along, then looks up at the little thundercloud floating above the forest.

Stella: What do you think that is?

Buckle: I don’t know, but I think it’s painful. How could anyone control lightning?

Stella: How do you control fire?

Buckle: Maybe we can put it in a bottle.

Eventually the cloud drifts over some trees that aren’t burning. Stella climbs a tree to get a better look at it.

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

  • What will happen if I hold these metal swords above my head?
    • Stella holds the two wicked blades formerly wielded by the Half-Ogre who called himself King. Lightning strikes from the thundercloud! Stella holds on, not willing to lose these trophies in the forest below!

Stella takes damage

Anyone carrying metal Gear cannot hold this Artifact of Power without being hurt

Stella carries many metal items: these two swords. Her Halfling sword. Money. She won’t give all that up for an unknown artifact. Buckle doesn’t carry much, but he does have a bag of silver coins.

Buckle: Stella, hold my silver!

Buckle Get Away 7-9 bring artifact along

Buckle runs up the tree as fast as he can, outrunning the flames his footsteps leave behind. At the top of the tree he leaps and grabs at the cloud! The cloud collapses into a small, solid object that fits in Buckle’s webbed fist. hangs in the air for a moment, realizing that he has nothing holding him up, then falls to the forest floor!

Buckle takes damage

GM note: I knew Snapjaw was empowered by an Artifact of Power, but I intentionally did not completely define its powers. My players and I brainstormed for a while. This Artifact of Power is Gear with a number of uses and a number of powers. Surely those powers include ranged attacks, like Snapjaw used, but I didn’t want it to be only a weapon. Thinking about other forms of lighting an electrical phenomena led to the following powers:

  • lightning bolts: Ranged, Piercing, Reload
  • some kind of dash move
  • St Elmo’s fire: a bright glow around an ally that causes an attack to fail
  • Aurora Borealis: a dazzling performance that can make friends

The commotion leads the other Companions to Buckle, Stella, and Silk, after they were dispersed in the chase. Buckle holds the Artifact of Power aloft and an aurora surrounds him, making the rest of the world dim.

Buckle Enchanting Performance 7-9 form a Bond with one observer

Buckle forms Bond with Kitty

Kitty is amazed that Buckle defeated Snapjaw, and is also amazed by this new display of power.  She traveled across the world to return home, but she was with the right people all alone. She decides to stay with the Fellowship where ever they go! But they won’t go right now.

Buckle Mammalian adaptation: immune to Deadly stat

Stella Queen of the Wild: all Beasts are Companions

Between Buckle and Stella’s powers, the Fellowship can rest safely in the Cracktooth Wastes.

Fellowship Recovers: restore all Gear and Stats


Chasing The Sunset & Ocean Cruise

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

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

Last time, the Fellowship escaped Vieport and reached the sea, so they can finally sail up the coast and find Kitty’s home: the Cracktooth Wastes.

Stella spends Halfing Packed Lunch to heal Gus, Kitty, Buckle

As they sail along the coast they see an island with stone structures being slowly washed away by the tide. no sign of life. They sail on.

The shore of the mainland becomes marshy, and they see a Platyperson on a raft in that marsh. A giant, albino Platyperson!

Stella: Look, it’s Pomplamoose!

Buckle: Please, that’s offensive.

They steer the Miranda towards the raft and ail the occupant. His name is Divot, and he’s a completely different giant albino Platyperson, not Pomplamoose at all. Buckle is like no Platyperson Divot has seen before: glowing orange fur with piercing white eyes.

Divot: What are they feeding you?

Buckle: Fish. What about you?

Divot gives Buckle an odd look and doesn’t answer. The Fellowship explains that they met Pomplamoose once and would like to see her again. Divot sends out a signal by slapping his flat tail against the water, and after a while, Pomplamoose arrives. She recognizes Stella, but not Buckle, who has changed greatly since their last meeting.

Pomplamoose: You finally arrived! Good thing I went on ahead.

Stella: Things came up. We had to take some detours.

Buckle: Now we’re taking another friend home.

He points to Kitty, the Tyrannosaur. Pomplamoose warns Kitty that the Fellowship might get distracted and leave her to find her own way home.

Stella: We didn’t leave you!

Divot: Wow, this is awkward. I thought since y’all were old friends with my kin, I’d invite you to tonight’s barbecue, but I see it’s not like that.

Buckle: Would you show us around for old times’ sake?

Pomplamoose: I don’t really want to.

Deflated, the Fellowship sails away and continues north along the coast. They pass a port city built on a river delta and enter the Straits of Trransmutation. The islands in the the straits are unnatural geometric shapes: cubes, spirals, spheres. The rocks are somehow smooth and shiny, perfectly shaped in a way that erosion or chisels couldn’t match.

Buckle is fascinated and leans over the railing to look closer, then falls overboard! The sea explodes in steam when his superheated body touches it and he starts sinking. Stella wants Kitty to help, but doesn’t speak Kitty’s language. She mimes fishing Buckle out of the water with a long tail. Kitty stares blankly at Stella, then nudges her with her tail. Stella yells at the companions who can understand her to form a chain and grab Buckle.

Stella Overcome 6-

Stella also falls in the water. As Buckle sinks, he sees weird twisted fishes swimming in the depths. Some have upside-down heads, extra fins, spiral bodies.

Buckle Wildspeaker: Beast understand you. Can Talk Sense to them.

Buckle asks the strange fish to carry him up to the surface.

Buckle Talk Sense 7-9

The fish can’t touch his super-heated body, but he’s attracted the attention of the Wizard who rules these islands: Mer-Lynn (she/her, mermaid) Mer-Lynn summons a spiral column of stone from the seabed that quickly rises under Buckle to carry him to the surface!

Buckle Get Away 7-9

The ride is so fast that Buckle is disoriented.

Buckle damages Grace

Once Buckle is safely back on board the Miranda, Mer-Lynn says she’s very impressed how far he’s transformed from a normal Platyperson. Mer-Lynn is obsessed with transmutation, turning things into other things. Buckle asks about her favorite creations, which is nice, because she lovesto talk about her work. She says she’s reached the limit of transmuting rocks and fish, and wants to take her work further, to transmute something’s nature, not just it’s shape. She offers to transmute the Fellowship, swapping one Stat or Move for something else, something unpredictable. There’s a small chance of being completely transmuted, losing all form and becoming a Chaos Beast, but only a small chance. She also wants to move to a location with more interesting subjects.

Buckle obliviously mentions that they’re going to a cool place with lots of dinosaurs. Stella doesn’t want Mer-Lynn to follow them and recommends the excitement of Vieport! So many people! Ghosts! Electric barriers! Hard light bridges!  Stella is more convincing, so Mer-Lynn decides to head south to Vieport.

Stella: I’ll call you a ride!

Stella Queen of the Wild: All Beasts are Companions

Stella calls up a “limo” fish that is extra long and has two sets of every kind of fin and orders it to carry Mer-Lynn to Vieport. The Miranda continues to sail north.

Next, the Miranda approaches a fortress built on the coast of a wasteland. Kitty recognizes this wasteland as home, so the Miranda sails towards the fortress.

Castellum lookout: They’re coming by sea now! Battle stations!

  • Castellum Lookouts, human
    • Powder keg: If this stat is damaged, the gunner explodes, causing
      collateral damage.
    • Sturdy Rifle: When the gunner has an open shot, they may damage this stat to immediately deal damage to anybody. If they can get some time and safety, they heal this stat.

The two lookouts on the eastern towers aim their guns at the Miranda, and there’s a commotion in the fortress.

Buckle: I’ll go talk to them.

Buckle jumps into the water, sinks to the bottom in a column of steam, and walks along the bottom to the fortress and climbs up on the dock. An intimidating display!

Buckle Finish Them (+Courage) 6-

Castellum Lookout damages Buckle’s Courage

The lookout isn’t frightened and fires at Buckle! Buckle is only knocked down. The bullet struck a book in Buckle’s vest pocket: Bleckenridge’s “You too can speak Dwarven!” Buckle takes out the book,which bursts into flame in his hand, and throws it towards the gunner and his explosive stash of gunpowder!

Buckle Finish Them (+Blood) 7-9

Buckle Damages Castellum Lookout’s Sturdy Rifle

The lookout on the other tower takes his shot!

Castellum Lookout #2 damages Sturdy Rifle to damage Buckle

Stella uses her telekinetic powers to push the Lookout’s gun away from Buckle and towards the other Lookout.

Stella Keep Them Busy 7-9 draw attention, face retaliation later

Buckle scales the fortress’s wall.

Buckle Overcome 7-9

Buckle Survivor: when you Overcome 7-9, you also Get Away 7-9

Buckle reaches the top of the wall without further harm. Now he can look down into the fortress. It’s not just a keep. There’s an entire town inside these heavy walls. Many soldiers are runnig out of buildings and mustering in the town square.  The towers on the landward side have ballistae (huge crossbows) mounted on top, and those ballistae and turning towards him.

Buckle: “Wait, this is all a misunderstanding!”

Buckle Finish Them (+Wisdom) 6-

The soldiers are not convinced! Stella drives the Miranda to the dock.

Stella: Blow it up!

Buckle runs towards the nearest ballista, leaving a trail of flammable oil.

Buckle Keep Them Busy 6-

The ballista fires at the Miranda!

Stella Get Away 7-9 avoid harm

Stella reaches the docks, where the walls of the fortress block line of sight from the ballista at the far side. The ballista bolt sails overhead. A War Wagon emerges, ready to join the battle. Alarms are ringing. People talk of invasion!

  • Halfling War Wagon: The War Wagon is a halfling carriage converted to war. Covered in spikes, it is mounted with a rock ballistae and a kitchen, for that extra taste of home.
    • Rock Ballistae: The War Wagon is Ranged, Dangerous, Reload.
    • Built For War: The War Wagon is Melee, Piercing.
    • Spiked Armor: Anyone trying to board the War Wagon or attack it with
      melee weaponry takes damage.

The door from the dock into the fortress is closed and barred, so Stella rides Silk up the wall.

Silk spends Wall Crawler

Buckle: You started this! Why?

Stella Address Book: Find a friend in any town & gain 1 Bond

Stella recognizes the machanic attending the War Wagon: a Halfling named Cam. During the Giant War, Cam was trapped inside a War Wagon that was flipped over, and Stella pulled him free.

Stella: Cam, it’s me, Stella! This is a big misunderstanding!

Stella Talk Sense (+Wisdom, appeal to emotion) 10+

Cam convinces the soldiers in the fortress to stop attacking, at least for a little while. Buckle hides under the Ballista, setting it on fire.

The commander of the fortress emerges and confronts Stella. Priscilla is a human woman in armor, resembling a Roman Centurion.

Priscilla: How can you justify yourself? Bringing a dinosaur here! Setting fire to our defenses!

Stella: Let’s be clear. You attacked us. You wouldn’t listen.

Buckle: (from under the ballista) We tried to tell you.

Stella: Why are you so afraid of dinosaurs?

Everyone within earshot laughs bitterly. Only a fool wouldn’t be afraid of dinosaurs. Priscilla explains that the dinosaurs in the Cracktooth Wastes constantly attack her fortress of Castellum, and their military might is necessary to prevent the town from being wiped out.

Stella: Have you asked them why? This sounds crazy. No beast attacks for nothing.

Buckle: (still hiding) You didn’t even talk to them?

Priscilla: Get out of my fortress! Go talk to the dinosaurs yourself, since you’re such good friends with beasts!

Stella agrees to leave and calls to Buckle, who scampers away.  They take the Miranda and land on the shore some distance away from Castellum.

Stella: Buckle, ask Kitty what all that was about.

Buckle Wildspeaker: Speak the language of beasts & monsters

Buckle does. Kitty explains that Snapjaw, a powerful Tyrannosaur, stirs up the dinosaurs against the humans.


  1. Did we thoroughly explore a new location? YES, Castellum
  2. Did anyone find what they were looking for? YES
  3. Did we learn something new about the world and its people? YES, transmutation magic

Three boons:

  • Heal: Buckle’s Courage, Buckle’s Grace
  • Heal: Buckle’s Wisdom, Buckle’s venomous spurs
  • Gear: Buckle’s Dragonfire, Stella’s Halfling Lunches

Chasing the Sunset & blockade running

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

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

Last time, the Fellowship entered Vieport without detection by disguising their dinosaur companion as a giant confection. Their catamaran was recognized by its previous owner, millionaire thrill-seeker de Rolo, who was unhappy with the bargain and demanded his vehicle returned.

The Miranda is towing the Hibernia, a cargo ship that can’t use its main drive (a steam jet) in town. Aboard the Hibernia are Kitty (disguised as a giant confection) and Buckle (hiding under a metal bucket to hide his glow.) Stella and Hamfast are hiding in the Miranda’s cabin because they are wanted. Gus, Ugg, and Rose are on the Miranda’s deck, as is de Rolo, his car, and his hired mercenaries (a group of killer clowns)  de Rolo orders the clowns to throw everyone overboard, and Gus and Rose are first to be threatened.

GM note: how do NPCs do things when player characters aren’t around? Not clear, because player characters are supposed to lead the way. But the players characters are trying to stay out of sight.

Rose: Hey, we need something shiny up here!

Stella throws her purse of coins through the hatch from the cabin up to Rose on the deck. Rose flaunts the purse to the clowns. The clowns don’t speak, but make big eyes and grabby hands at the purse. Rose wants them to throw de Rolo’s car overboard. The clowns clap and make muscle poses before turning towards the car.

de Rolo: Wait, wait, you idiots! I’ll pay you more to not do that! Stick to the plan.

The clowns hold out their hands for payment.

de Rolo: I don’t have it on me. I’ll pay you upon completion. You know I’m good for it.

The clowns have been promised future money both for throwing the car overboard and not throwing the car overboard. How can they decide? Rose breaks the deadlock with cash up front. She tosses the coin purse to the nearest clown. He catches it and dances around, holding it aloft. The rest of the clowns quickly surround de Rolo’s car. One clown swings him arms to mark a rhythm, and the rest heave the car and toss it off the side of the Miranda! The car is water-logged, but gets caught on the Miranda’s outrigger.  Ugg has trouble keeping the Miranda steady with the sudden drag.

Rose (using Stella’s stats) Overcome 10+

Rose manages to avoid running into any other ships in the crowded channel. Captain Frost of the Hibernia feels his ship stagger as the Hibernia maneuvers.

Frost: Hold her steady!

Now de Rolo’s car and his yacht are in danger of being wrecked. He is an expert pilot and rushes to the helm to push Rose away and take over. He’s sure he can do a better job than she can. Ugg grabs de Rolo with his robotic arms and puts him in a full nelson. Rose calls down into the cabin for Stella’s second bag of coins. Rose threatens de Rolo with the coin purse.

Rose: Come near me and any of my crew, and I’ll have the clowns throw you off next!

Rose Finish Them (+Courage, force retreat) 7-9 damage one stat

de Rolo’s Sea Patrol is damaged. TAKEN OUT!

de Rolo admits defeat. Ugg releases de Rolo and he leaps overboard. He’s wearing an air tank with a propellor on the bottom, so he zooms away through the water and leaves the scene. The Group of Killer Clowns are now leaderless. They look back and forth and shrug at each other.

Suddenly a mighty Tyrannosaur, ridden by a flaming Platyperson, soars from the deck of the Hibernia into the Miranda!

Buckle Get Away 6- failure

Kitty trips on the railing and falls face-first into the water.

Kitty’s Gigantic is damaged.

Buckle causes a steam explosion as his superheated body touches the water! The whole area smells of caramel.

Vieport’s Public Enemy 1, 2, And 3 summons guards when Buckle is noticed.

Guards will soon arrive! Stella looks out a porthole to see how far they are from escaping the city. The only thing between the Miranda and freedom is the palace. It’s covered in scaffolding, repairs from Stella & Buckle’s previous visit.  There’s a giant hexagonal mirror mounted on a yoke on top of the palace. Buckle holds on to Kitty (which singes her feathers) as Kitty swims towards the Miranda. The Killer Clowns thought this was hilarious! They point and roll on the floor, pounding their fists and kicking their feet. It was funny when de Rolo jumped in the water. It was funny when the dinosaur fell in in the water. It will be funny if other people go in the water too! The Killer Clowns approach Gus and Rose to throw them overboard. Rose gives them the second coin purse for protection from the approaching guards. The clowns salute and turn outward to form a defensive wall, brandishing their knives. Stella comes on deck since secrecy is no longer an option.

Buckle and Kitty swim around the Miranda and try to dislodge the car from its pontoon.

Buckle Overcome 7-9 pay a price

Buckle damages Tail Slam

Kitty grabs the car with her giant jaws and yanks, rocking the Miranda. The car is teetering on the edge and Buckle lines up and unleashes a mighty tail slam to knock it over, clear of the Miranda. The car sinks into the river and the Miranda can sail free.

Buckle Overcome 10+

Kitty and Buckle heave themselves up onto the Miranda’s pontoon. A squad of Naga Eel guards swim upstream from the palace towards the Miranda. Buckle prepares with a Platyperson ritual.

Buckle War Paint: gain 2 Power to spend on abilities later

  • Group of Naga Eels
    • Needlepoint Teeth: An eel’s bite leaves multiple wounds that bleed
      profusely, making healing difficult. Their bite is Necrotic.
    • Slippery: Eel merfolk aren’t shaped like anybody else in the world. They
      may damage this stat to escape, at any time and from any situation.
    • Group: can threaten two characters at once
  • Brutal Commander: This tenacious old battleaxe never surrenders, and
    will sacrifice every last one of their minions to make sure they don’t either.

    • Defiant Command: All nearby Horde threats, including this one, deal
      damage back to anyone who deals damage to them. This counter-attack
      damage happens simultaneously to the damage it is responding to.

The Naga Eels surround the boat to board from all direction simultaneously, but the Killer Clowns jump on the Naga Eels while they are still in the water!

Killer Clowns damage Naga Eels’ Slippery

Defiant Command: Naga Eels damage Killer Clowns I Bet I Can

Naga Eels Needlepoint Teeth: damge to Killer Clowns is Necrotic

Killer Clowns are in Despair from Necrotic damage and cannot help

The Killer Clowns freak out when the Eels bite them and swim away, using their oversized shoes as flippers. The Eels now board the Miranda, where the whole Fellowship is on deck.

Rose damages Get Right In There to help keep a Group busy

Stella Keep Them Busy 7-9 face retaliation

Buckle Rampage: spend 1 Power to toss aside every enemy you can reach

Buckle rides Kitty into the mass of Eels and throws them all overboard! Buckle leaps off Kitty’s back to engage the Brutal Commander. (His rank is obvious from the large fin on his helmet)

Buckle Keep Them Busy 6-

The Brutal Commander has seen many battles and sees through Buckle offense. He dodges Buckle’s venomous spurs and headbutts Buckle with his spiked helmet!

Brutal Commander damages Buckle

Buckle Unflinching: spend 1 Power to damage an enemy that damages you

Buckle damages Brutal Commander’s Defiant Command TAKEN OUT

Brutal Commander Defiant Command: simultaneously damage anyone who damages you

Brutal Commander damages Buckle

The Brutal Commander’s headbutt slams Buckle into the deck, but Buckle’s super-heated body burned the Brutal Commander through his helmet. The Brutal Commander stands for a moment, then collapses.

The Naga Eels disappear beneath the waves and attack the Miranda from underneath, trying to sink it! The Fellowship hears scratching and banging on the hull, then the sound of a big underwater explosion. The Naga have stumbled into the defensive mines that Buckle placed around the Miranda.

Buckle Anarchy Reigns: place explosive devices anywhere.

Buckle Finish Them (+Blood, lethal mines) 10+ TAKEN OUT

The explosions kill most of the Naga Eels. Only two survive, and they’re unwilling to continue the assault.

Sea Viper Big Fish: when the Boss is angered, increase the Location’s Response Level.

Vieport gains Guardian: activate the Archimedes Mirror: Ranged, Area, Burning, Reload.

Agate the Spider has shown the Sea Viper how to turn the huge mirror into a beam weapon that focuses the rays of the sun. The Archimedes Mirror pivots to aim at the Miranda! If the Fellowship doesn’t do anything, the Miranda wil lbe cut in half and everyone on board will take damage! Stella sees that they are so close to the ocean. If they get past this, they will reach open waters. She calls back to Captain Frost, telling him to fire up the Hibernia’s engine and push the Miranda to safety. Captain Frost is is a very  precarious situation. He signed up for a smuggling job, no trouble, and while there have been two big battles on the boat towing his ship through the city, technically his ship and crew have done nothing hostile to Vieport yet.  Will that satisfy the Sea Viper?

Stella Talk Sense (+Wisdom, appeal to desire to avoid beam weapon) 10+

Hibernia’s assistance gives Hope to a Get Away attempt

Stella Get Away 6- failure

Tinker turns on the Hibernia’s steam jet. The big ship surges ahead and hits the Miranda, but they don’t move fast enough. The beam of focused sunlight sweeps across the Miranda. Buckle heroically dives in front of . . . the boat’s hull!

Buckle Heart of Earth: Immune to heat and fire

Archimedes Mirror damages Stella, Ugg, Hamfast, Gus, Rose, Kitty, Miranda

Buckle blocked enough of the beam that the Miranda can still float, but it’s in bad shape. The Hibernia and the Miranda clear the palace and are out in open water.

Captain Frost: Your reward for this is your life! be grateful you survived.

Tinker: We’re still going to integrate Buckle into the steam engine, right?

Captain Frost: No! Back below deck!

Captain Frost Leadership: crew members obey without question

Buckle Anarchy Reigns: place explosive devices anywhere.

Tinker goes below deck and finds a vial of Stabilized Dragonfire with a little note attached “From Buckle, with love!” The Hibernia sails away.

Stella spends Halfling Packed Lunch to heal Ugg, Kitty, and Rose

Now the Fellowship wants to sail around the coast to the east and north to find Kitty’s homeland, but the Miranda is in no shape for such a long journey. The Fellowship limps along looking for a settlement where they could get the Miranda repaired.

GM note: Now I make up a location using my Fellowship Horizon Location Generator, because most of the coast along the route is undefined.

The Fellowship finds a partially sunken island. A small mountain peak rises above the water, and the island is surrounded by trees that grew on land when the island was higher. A signal fire on top of the bare peak. Two people are visible near the water’s edge. There’s no beach. The grassy slope just plunges into the water. The ecosystem has not had time to adjust to the new water level. Stella directs the Miranda to pull in near the people.

One person is a translucent humanoid whose gelatinous body is stuffed full of metal bits and strange devices. Baess is a Mad Scientist and her species is Rain.  The other person is completely covered in armor and gear. The long beaked helmet indicates that this Careful Hunter is a platyperson. He introduces himself as Perry Ogre-Bane.

Baess: Wow, your ship is pretty messed up. Kind of an unfortunate place to pull in for repairs. You see…

A loud voice booms from the peak of the island.

Voice: Who dares enter my territory? None are worthy to stand before me!

Perry: This guy is king of the hill and this is his hill. He’s not going to be happy about you being here. I think I can take him. I just need a little time to prepare.

The Boss of the island, standing at the peak by the signal fire, answers only to King.

  • King, he/him, Ogre/human.
    • Agenda; Champion: prove your might. Isolationist: Keep outsiders away.
    • Ambitions Unbidden: The crown taker is never satisfied. They always
      want more success, better victories, and the total defeat of all in their path.
      Anything less than perfect results only enrages them further. While the crown
      taker is in a rage, they do not have Hope, and cannot surrender or retreat.
    • Ruthless: The crown taker is Dangerous and Piercing.
    • Terrifying Competence: The crown taker never falters. They have Hope,
      and everyone acting against them has Despair.

Perry Ogre-Bane seems to have a tool for every occasion, and Baess loves fixing things, so if the Fellowship can avoid getting thrashed by King, there’s a good chance they can get their ship fixed.

Stella hates people who think they are more important than they are. She wants to take such people done a peg. She invites Buckle, Kitty, and Silk to take a hike with her. gus and Hamfast stay back to take care of Buckle’s Phoenix Egg. Going up the mountain is seen as a challenge!

Baess: You’re welcome to take a crack at him. We’re down here taking a break. Good luck. he’s pretty tough!

Stella: Wait, you’re here to fight him?

Perry believes that training and preparation can overcome anything, and this fight is the latest trophy that he’s seeking. Perry nods to Buckle. Seeking trophies is an important part of Platyperson culture.

Baess: This is a great place to try out new inventions. I have the deconfabulator over here. It didn’t work. Quite.  It will get through any armor. I just need the guy to stand still for 44 seconds!

Stella wants to make a deal with Baess to fix the Miranda, but repairs require time and safety, which they don’t have while the King is around.

Stella Talk Sense (+Wisdom, appeal to desire) 10+

Baess: Ah, look at these mundane materials. Even a droplet could do it. I’ll have it fixed up easily.

Baess pulls some tools from inside her arm and chest and starts disassembling nearby trees.

King Big Fish: when the Boss is angered, raise the Response Level.

King Of The Hill Island Response Level increases to 1

King gains Show of Force: one free Hard Cut

The King approaches. He’s eight feet tall, shaped like a lanky Human, and carrying two nasty-looking blades. The ground is sloped, and the only cover is the trunks of the pine trees. Their branches are too high to conceal any of the combatants. Stella prepares to ride Silk into battle.

Stella Pack Hunter: become Threat to the World when working with allies

Buckle Pays a Price to act against a Threat To The World: Dragonfire

Buckle Anarchy Reigns: place explosives anywhere

Buckle Keep Them Busy 6-

As the King approaches Stella and Silk, the forest around him explodes into flame! The trees burn hotter than should be possible, empowered by Buckle’s concoctions. King dashes to Buckle and attacks. He’s fast!

King damages Buckle’s Blood

Stella The Courage of Halflings: never in Despair when rolling Courage

Stella Keep Them Busy 10+

Stella and Silk are much smaller than King, so they dash around between his legs, keeping him off balance.

King Show of Force

King connects with a kick and knocks Silk out from under Stella!

King damages Silk’s Creepy

Stella is no longer a Threat To The World

Buckle doesn’t like this guy. He just hurt Stella. Buckle’s eyes glow bright white. Dragonfire bursts from his hands and shoots towards King.

Buckle Pays a Price to act against a Threat To The World: Dragonfire

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

Pyromania’s Hope cancels the Despair from King’s Terrifying Competence and from Buckle’s damaged Blood.

Buckle Finish Them (+Blood, kill!) 10+ TAKEN OUT

There’s a blinding light, and all that’s left of King are his twin blades! Stella collects the blades. Perry is impressed. Baess is scrambling to deactivate her Deconfabulator.

Baess: Rats! Twenty more seconds! I would have been able to use it.

Buckle: What does your machine do, Baess?

Baess: It scans from multiple locations and gets a 3D image of the terrain and picks out things that are moving, then fires at everything that moves. You pick nd area and scan for a while, so you get an idea of what is supposed to be there and what is moving, and then you shoot all the moving things. Also. that forest fire is getting close to one of the trees I’d like to use to fix your boat. Can we do something about that? This isn’t something that I can shoot with spikes.

Buckle: I can start it, but I can’t stop it.

Kitty spends Gigantic to make a firebreak

The rest of the island will have to deal with the fire, but the area near the Miranda will be safe.  Perry had already pulled a thin silvery cloak from his pack, but puts it away when he realizes how the firebreak works. Buckle offers Perry one of the King’s blades.

Buckle: I know it’s not really a trophy, but hey! It’s a cool blade!

Buckle Talk Sense (+Wisdom, appeal to emotions) 6-

Perry: Oh, I couldn’t. I gotta earn my own victories. This is yours.

Perry does share some information that he learned about King in his research for this fight.

Perry: So he’s a pretty tall dude. Turns out he’s one of those rare Humans who has Ogrism. When he was . . . whenever Humans transition to adulthood, he started growing, but he stopped. He stopped really early. I’d call him a half-Ogre. He felt he needed to prove that he was a good as any other Ogre. Look what it got him. Set on fire on a sinking island in the middle of nowhere.

Baess finishes the repairs on the Miranda, walks up to the peak just to say she’s been there, comes back to he shore, sticks the deconfabulator into her chest, says farewell, and walks into the ocean.  She sinks in and is absorbed by the water, disappearing completely. Perry bids farewell by showing Buckle the respect due a mighty hunter, then takes his own boat and sets off.

Buckle: Mighty hunter? That’s weird.


Chasing the Sunset & Caramel

Chasing The Sunset & Caramel

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

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

Yearly Check-In

I asked if my players preferred “dungeons” with dense maps that the characters were stuck in, or loose verbal descriptions. My players said some very nice things:

  • They’ve all worked really well because they’ve been at the level of detail that’s appropriate for the narrative.
  • I like the ability to create long-term companions, but also focusing on a guest character for a time. There’s enough depth that it feels like they could come along with us. It’s a loss when the NPC is removed, or it’s time for them to go. It’s that much more powerful when someone does decide to come along with us.
  • I appreciate the diveristy of characters, getting to know what beings exist and having the world continue to expand as we go to different parts of the maps.

Stella was Taken Out after fighting for three sessions straight.  Do the players find excitement in the possibility of losing? Do they rise to a challenge, knowing that they need to leverage all their Moves effictively to avoid defeat? The players said:

  • I enjoy the possibility of not winning.
  • It’s nice to have some tough battles sometimes, but not all the time because that would be stressful.
  • Buckle’s player relates being a very powerful character to Doctor Who. The Doctor gets in situations that are stressful. He’s such a powerful being that success is different for him. The conflict they likes most isn’t when they’re not sure if they can overpower their opponent, but where the best outcome is a tricky narrative to wander through. We’re going to have a chat, but then Buckle decides he’s going to burn the world down. Buckle has Dragonfire which can vaporize an enemy with no roll. It’s interesting to have conflicts that need to be resolved differently than violence. When you could just burn the world down it’s much more interesting to resolve conflicts in a way that’s productive.
  • Finish Them with Wisdom is always a possibility. Try to lead with that. Like when Theona tried to kidnap Buckle and Stella intimidated her into joining up.

i asked about plots and quests. Did they like the plots that they found? Did they feel comfortable setting their own goals? I intentionally don’t include world-ending threats, athougt the Moon could have gone very badly. A sandbox can’t have any world-ending plots because then the players must do that, or they don’t get to play. The players said:

  • Buckle’s player is missing an over-arching goal. They are going where the wind takes them.
  • The Moon was a compelling narrative arc, but now it feels like we’re not involved anymore. We played a part, but it’s not part of our over-arching goals.
  • Why is Buckle doing anything instead of just going home? There’s not a specific thing we have to accomplish for the good of the world.
  • A long-term goal and a goal with high stakes aren’t the same. Buckle’s player likes high-stakes goals that are episodic, but the long-term arcs being personal.
  • Buckle might seek out more Artifacts of Power.

I want his player to feel empowered to pursue that, instead of only responding to plot hooks that I throw out. I don’t think Fellowship has a good move for figuring out mysteries. The Dwarf has a move that’s close: it allows them to understand a artifact they handle. The players rely on me to scatter enough pieces of information for them to put together into something cohesive. That’s a challenge, because mental image to verbal description to hearing and understanding to mental image is lossy at every step.

Does Stella need a goal to strive for? Her player said:

  • Stella’s initial goal (calling the Halfling refugees back home) is out the window because there are populations of Halflings here who are not refugees and don’t need rescuing.
  • Stella’s player is letting Stella stumble on a new goal based on what happens in the world. Right now Stella is making sure Buckle doesn’t die, which should be easy because Buckle is very powerful.

Buckle’s player enjoyed being part of a larger narrative, but not the main character. Another distinction, the scale of a narrative is not the same as the amount of time we spend on it in-game. The Vampire Plot against the Moon is interplanetary in scale (very large), but we only spent a few sessions on it (not that large).  I’ve made a point to show the effect that other Fellowships have had on the world, but I didn’t think of showing a Fellowship what effect they have had on the world.

Mixing big world-shaking events and local squabbles is fun. Both players agree they like side-quests, like last session was just three short vignettes of the Fellowship passing through and helping out with the power of friendship.

I keep the tone pretty light, like a PG-rated family adventure movie, but have a I overlooked any phobias or triggers? Do the players have arachnophobia? No! There’s been a Giant Spider in the Fellowship this whole time. It’s fun for characters to be in trouble and worried, but players should be safe and comfortable. The players do not report any discomfort.

I’m very happy that the players have said so many nice things. It’s important that we line up our expectations so we direct our efforts to make sure everyone has a good time.

Let’s start creating fiction in a dense, linear fashion.

Back to the story

Last time, the Fellowship set out on a continent-spanning quest to return Kitty the T-Rex to her home in the Cracktooth Wastes. They are approaching their first big challenge, getting through Vieport, where they are Public Enemy #1, 2, and 3.

Buckle, Stella are Most Wanted for attacking the Sea Viper personally. Hamfast, who used to live in Vieport, will be recognized as a collaborator. if any of these three are spotted in Vieport, the guards will be summoned. The other Companions aren’t recognizable. To avoid trouble, the Miranda shouldn’t do anything suspicious. Also, the river gets more crowded with ships as they approach the city. The Fellowship wonders how to avoid suspicion. Kitty is a huge dinosaur, Buckle glows, and several people are fugitives.

The Miranda has a cabin that fits human-sized characters, but Kitty is 40 long, most of the length of the boat, so she won’t fit. Buckle conceals himself in the shower, curled up around the Phoenix egg.  The shower won’t burst into flames from Buckle’s touch because it’s covered in tile and if it overheats, he can turn on the water. The Companions will operate the boat.

A trireme (a Roman-era ship propelled by three rows of oars) comes upstream and will pass the Miranda.

Lookout: There’s a dinosaur on that boat! Ahoy! Are you OK? It doesn’t seem to be eating you.

Buckle opens the porthole in the shower and looks out with blazing white eyes.

Buckle: Yup, we’re all fine.

Stella shakes her head. The boat has a schedule to keep, so it keeps going, but anyone who isn’t busy comes to the side to stare. Stella calls out, asking where they are going. This ship is delivering pearls, coral, and fish to Sugar’s Crossing. Stella notices that this ship is much bigger than the Miranda, and wonders if they could conceal the dinosaur and the fugitives. The ship is going up to Sugar’s Crossing, so the Miranda would have to follow them and wait for them to turn around.  Buckle doesn’t want take Kitty back to Sugar’s Crossing, since they already had trouble with the local bureaucracy. Perhaps Stella could hail a large ship heading downriver. Lots of traffic on this river. The trireme moves on.

GM note: I don’t know how ships work, so I opened Wikipedia in another tab to find other types of ships that might be on the river. Some Roman ships had 300 oars in five rows! Very interesting, but I need to concentrate on the game.

Buckle remembers that Emmett (the Sea Viper’s metaphysical advisor) said that the Heart of Earth has the power of life, and might be able to cancel the power of death in the Deathlands. They are passing through the Deathlands now, so maybe buckle should investigate that “power of death”. He looks to the shores and sees the ghosts that fill the Deathlands: vague transparent outlines with glowing eyes. They line the shores, unable to enter the water, hoping a boat will come ashore so they can consume the crew. The river is slow and calm this close to the ocean, so it’s not cutting a sharp channel through the land.  Pulling a small boat up on the shore would be easy. Off to the east there’s a weird purple glow.

The Miranda overtakes a ship that resembles a galleon (those ships from Pirates of the Caribbean) but with a steam engine for propulsion when the wind isn’t favorable. The steam engine doesn’t turn a screw, it just blasts a steam jet out the stern, so other ships are following far behind it. Buckle is staring at the ghosts on the shore and the purple glow in the distance. He thought ghosts only came out at night. He doesn’t notice the steam-powered ship.

Stella steers the Miranda alongside this galleon, named the Hibernia. The ships lookout is a Goblin named Okk.

Okk: Ahoy! Stay clear of the steam jet!

Stella: Thank you for that advice!

She doesn’t want to be snarky, but the steam jet is obviously dangerous. She asks about their cargo and destination.  The Hibernia is carrying fresh fruit (from the orchards near the Fire Pits) and sugar (from the mills in Sugar’s Crossing).

Okk: Are you some kind of circus? Are you selling exotic animals to collectors?

Stella: You could say we like to put on a show where ever we go.

Stella wonders if the Hibernia could carry Kitty through Vieport and rendezvous with the Miranda in the ocean. Okk can’t make those kids of decisions, so he calls for the captain. The captain is an older human man, a bit chubby, with a big hat and a handlbar mustache. He orders the first mate to throw a line over so Stella can come aboard and discuss business arrangements. Stella mounts Silk (the Giant Spider) and Silk climbs the rope, hoping to show she’s not someone to be trifled with. If Captain Frost is intimidated, he doesn’t show it. He gestures towards the ship’s cabin with his right hand, which is a prosthetic with two metal hooks for gripping.  The hooks stick a bit when he opens the cabin door.

Frost; Hmm, I need to get this adjusted. Now we can talk business. What is your proposal?

Stella was going to pay for Kitty’s passage with her purse of foreign coins, but now she wonders if Buckle’s engineering background could help Frost fix his artificial hand.

Stella: I see that we both have things to be done and we are both busy people. I have a large friend who needs safe passage through Vieport and you have a hand that would serve you better if it were more easy to control.

Frost: Yes, once we’re out on the sea and don’t need the steam jet, the Tinker can take a look at it. Right now she needs to operate the engine.

Stella: How confident are you that she can fix it?

Frost: She built it. Who would be better to maintain it? So you want to transport this creature that looks a bit dangerous and avoid attention from the Vieport authorities. Why? That’s your business, but I wouldn’t assume a risk to my ship and my cargo for personal gain. Getting my hand fixed would be selfish.  A captain must think of his ship first.

Stella: What does the ship need? How can we help you?

Frost: Goods that are valuable for trading. Money is always welcome.

The steam jet burns a lot of coal and sounds like a huge, angry jacuzzi.  Vieport doesn’t allow the steam jet in town because it’s a danger to other ships, so the Hibernia usually hires a tug to get through Vieport. Stella offers two solutions to the Hibernia’s propulsion problem. First, the Miranda can tow the Hibernia through Vieport so they don’t have to hire a tug. Second, Kitty has a big tail, so maybe they can rig it so she can paddle with her tail from the stern of the Hibernia and propel it.

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

Frost accepts the bargain. He leads Stella out to the deck and orders the first mate to take Kitty aboard with the cargo crane. The first mate attaches the cargo net because one loop of rope around Kitty would be painful. Stella snaps Buckle out of his reverie so hecan explain to Kitty that these nice peoplee are goingto conceal and she should not eat any of them. Fortunately

Frost calls the Tinker up from below deck to see about using Kitty’s tail for propulsion. Tinker is a Goblin covered in coal dust. She pulls up her goggles, revealing two green circles around her eyes. She excitedly bustles around Kitty.

Tinker: Oh, yes, yes. The tail has a round cross section. We could attach a fin. Increase power output 40. 40? 70% Oh yes, very interesting!

The first mate is not excited and concerned only with practical matters. He orders deckhands to re-arrange boxes to make room for Kitty below decks.

Buckle volunteers to stay on the Hibernia with Kitty. He looks Stella straight in the eyes, very serious.

Buckle: Take care of my egg.

Stella had forgotten about the egg.

Kitty sees something on the ghost-infested shore and bolts after it. Perhaps the strange purple glow is calling to her.

Frost Leadership: give orders to crew members and characters with damaged Courage

Frost orders Kitty to stop, but she doesn’t listen and jumps off the Hibernia and splashes to shore. Buckle goes after her. Stella runs back to the Miranda to protect the egg. If she forgot about it, maybe her Companions forgot about it, and Gus (the food-loving chef) might cook it! She figures Buckle and Kitty are going overland and calls out to Buckle to meet her on the eastern edge of the city.

GM note: Kitty should follow Buckle’s orders since she is his Companion, but that’s not narratively interesting, so something is overriding their Bond. Story first!

When Buckle jumps off the ship to follow Kitty, he tries to land on her back.

Buckle Get Away 7-9 avoid harm

Kitty and Buckle enter The Deathlands, an unnatural wasteland, where everything is out to kill you! Kitty is immediately confronted by a Specter, a strange ball of blue energy with tendrils that pick up rocks and bits of debris and hurl them at Kitty.

  • Specter: These ghostly spirits like to cause trouble, but they are mostly
    harmless. They’d rather scare you than kill you.

    • Spooky: Specters want you gone. If your Courage is damaged while you face a Specter, temporarily replace all of your Agendas with Run Away.
    • Poltergeist Powers: Specters can lift and throw anything they can see, no matter how heavy it is. Specters can float, and move through walls. Specters do not take damage from weapons of any kind.

GM note: I described the Deathlands’ ghosts as hungry for the living and unable to pass water, then picked a Threat that can float and forces enemies to flee. Completely wrong!

Buckle uses his new magical powers to grab the rocks out of the air and throw them back at the Specter!

Buckle Wizardry: Touch, push, or grab as if you were somewhere else
that you can see.

Buckle Keep Them Busy 7-9

Buckle keeps the Specter at bay for a moment and tries to convince Kitty to retreat. A group of transparent, red-eyes ghosts slowly approach!

  • Group of Deathlands Ghosts: This undead is endlessly hungry, always looking for its next meal.
    • Hungry: Ghouls are always hungry and will eat anything they can catch. If your Grace is damaged, a ghoul’s Cuts against you are Hard Cuts.
    • Tough As Nails: The first time a ghoul would be damaged or destroyed, damage this stat instead.
    • Group: Can affect two characters at once. If this stat is damaged or the Ghosts are destroyed, replace these Ghosts with two Deathalnds Ghosts

Buckle Talk Sense (+Wisdom, appeal to emotions) 7-9 owe a favor

Buckle implores Kitty to return to the boat. She was transfixed by something, but snaps out of it.

Kitty: I heard a familiar voice. I heard a family member that I hadn’t heard in years, that I though was gone. I heard them!

Now she notices all the undead surrounding her and turns back to the river. The Specter changes tactics and lifts Buckle himself! The Specter throws Buckle in the river, creating a steam explosion! Buckle hits the bottom and starts walking towards the Hibernia with a column of steam above him.

Tinker:  Ahhh! An unprecedented source of steam power! The most amazing thing I’ve ever seen!

The first mate attaches a metal bucket (used for loading bulk sugar) to the cargo crane and scoops Buckle out of the water. When Buckle is aboard, the bucket is replaced with a cargo net for Kitty. This takes a while, and passing ships stare at the spectacle. Tinker is very excited to examine Buckle. She puts on big welding gloves.

Tinker: OK, I’ve got the bar of brass and I’ll hold it to you and time how long it takes to start glowing, hen reverse-engineer your surface temperature times surface area … total joules per second, no! watts!

Buckle recommends using a thermometer.

Frost: Our opportunity for subtlety is gone! We are surely the talk of all the ships that have passed us.

Stella: Ugh.

Ugg: Yes, ma’am?

Stella thinks Kitty will cause less trouble than Buckle, so her priority is hiding Buckle. Tinker wants to put Buckle in the engine, boosting their top speed to unheard of levels! She gest a piece of slate and starts writing figures. Buckle looks over her shoulder and corrects some arithmetic errors.  Buckle calculates that if he’s in the engine, the Hibernia could outrun any ship in Vieport even with the added weight of the Miranda. Alas, a boat towed behind a ship driven by a powerful steam jet would be shredded by the steam jet.  Maybe the Hibernia could push the Miranda by putting its prow between the Miranda’s twin hulls. Buckle calculates where Kitty should stand to adjust the center of gravity for maximum efficiency. Buckle and Tinker were to excited to notice, but Captain Frost points out that their new plan is very dangerous and illegal, much worse than the smuggling he agreed to.

Reducing travel time on the river is one thing, but running a checkpoint and incurring the Sea Viper’s wrath will prevent them from making the reliable, safe money that keeps the ship going. Stella catches on “running checkpoints is bad” and not “safety and reliability are good” and suggests re-configuring he sails to act as wings. They won’t have to go through the checkpoint if they fly over the city!

Frost: Fly? Like some kind of giant turtle? That’s ridiculous! We have a hold full of cargo and we can’t heave to to retrofit without being eaten by ghosts. This is the worst time.

Buckle wonders about using ground effect to make Hibernia hover just above the water, thereby not technically being a boat, and avoidng the requirement to stop at the checkpoint. Frost thinks it’s much simpler and safer for his ship, cargo, and reputation, to not smuggle Kitty.

Buckle: The cargo is not a dinosaur. The cargo is a giant piece of candy shaped like a dinosaur. There was an accident with steam jet and the candy fell overboard, but you managed to save it.

Frost: How will we convince the guards of this story?

Buckle: We’ll let them see the dinosaur, which is covered in caramelized sugar.

GM note: This reminded me of the scene from The Iron Giant when the Army shows up at the junkyard and the Iron Giant is disguised as a sculpture. Buckle’s player somehow has not seen The Iron Giant but confirms “We’re totally Iron-Gianting this.”

Frost agrees, but Stella pays her purse of foreign coins for the sugar that will be used in this scheme. Kitty goes below deck and lets Buckle cover her with caramelized sugar, melted by his hot touch. Buckle then hides on the Hibernia under the metal bucket that scooped him out of the water. Stella goes below deck on the Miranda and hides behind the Phoenix Egg. Gus, Hamfast, and Silk are also below deck. Rose is on deck, acting as captain while Ugg operates the helm.

The Miranda and Hibernia reach the checkpoint to enter Vieport. They have to wait for a few ship in front of them.

  • Vieport
    • Most Wanted: If Buckle, Stella, or Hamfast are spotted, the guards will be called.
    • Papers Please: Convince the guards there’s no contraband aboard, or they will search the ship.
    • Heavy Traffic: Whenever the Fellowship maneuvers their boat, they must Overcome the risk of a collision with other boats.
    • That’s My Boat: Secret: de Rolo realizes he was swindled and wants the reclaim the Miranda.

The Miranda pulls into the checkpoint first. Rose has papers for the ship, so they go through without being challenged. The guards have already decided to search the Hibernia, since previous ships told them about the trouble it got into upriver.\

GM note: What is the “hide in plain sight and have NPCs tell convincing lies for you” move? We decide that Buckle will roll Talk Sense. in the fiction, Captain Frost is lying to the Naga Guards, but he’s repeating the plan that Buckle invented.

Buckle Talk Sense (+Grace, trick them) 7-9 owe them a favor

Naga Guards: How do we know that it’s really candy?

Frost: You can lick it if you want.

Kitty doesn’t flinch at the Nagas’ forked tongue, but Buckle owes her for making her do this.

Now the Miranda will tow the Hibernia through the crowded channel.

GM note: Buckle’s player is a poet: “Here in the ship, with all she’s got, here comes Stella pulling a yacht!”

Stella Overcome 10+

Ugg and Rose safely move through the traffic, but de Rolo spots his yacht. He runs down the dock alongside the Miranda.

  • de Rolo, he/him. human.  Millionaire Daredevil
    • Sea Patrol: He can fill in for any role on a ship’s crew. He also has a pressurized air tank on his back with a propeller on the bottom, so he can propel himself through the water and breath underwater.
    • Risk Taker: The Daredevil can never have Despair. At any time, they can
      damage this stat to succeed at an impossible, high flying stunt, in spite of all
      odds against them.

de Rolo: Hey! You cheated me! That’s my ship! Give it back!

Rose: Which ship? What does it look like? We can help you look.

de Rolo fumes and storms away.  A few minutes later, there’s a commotion from the dock. Tires squeal, bystanders yell and jump out of the way. de Rolo weaves between stacks of cargo, does a cool jump off a ramp, between two masts of a docked ship, and lands this car on the deck of the Miranda!

de Rolo damages Risk Taker.

de Rolo: You sold me a piece of junk and I’m coming back to claim what’s mine. And I’ve brought people to make sure!

de Rolo’s not good at speeches. He’s a man of action! His people pile out of the car. How did so many fit inside a sedan?

  • Killer Klown Gang: Mercenaries who dress like clowns, but scary clowns!
    • Ruthless: Mercenaries have the Dangerous tag.
    • Bet You Five Coins I Can: When you offer them something Precious if
      they do something stupid, a Mercenary will always take you up on it.
    • Group: can act against two people at once

GM note: It was gettign late, so we ended on a cliff-hanger. Next time, millionaire Jackie Chan and his team of slasher villains will fight a candy-covered dinsaur!


  1. Did we thoroughly explore a new location? They explored the emotional landscape of Samantha’s swamp. YES.
  2. Did anyone find what they were seeking? Buckle found an egg to care for. YES.
  3. Did we discover something new about the world and its people? NO

Two boons:

  1. Restore Gear
  2. Heal companions

Chasing The Sunset & The Power of Friendship

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stella: And my boat?

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

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

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

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

Buckle: Do you like fish?

Kitty: Are they made of meat?

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

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

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

Buckle: Fishing! Yay!

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

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

Buckle: It’s coming straight for us!

Stella: Light up the sky!

Buckle Firestarter: always able to produce fire

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

Stella: Buckle, this thing likes fire!

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

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

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

Kitty uses Crushing Jaws

Buckle uses Firestarter

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

Buckle Get Away 6-

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

Buckle damages Courage

Kitty damages Gigantic

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

Buckle: Let it what?

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

Buckle Overcome 7-9 temporary solution

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

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

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

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

Buckle Heart Of Earth: immune to heat

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

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

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

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

Buckle heals Courage

Kitty heals Gigantic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Samantha: Ferdinand is stuck as a bull.

Buckle: I don’t understand.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buckle: A shapeshifter? From Templeton?

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

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

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

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

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

Buckle: The Crack-Tooth Wastes.

Samantha: Seems dangerous.

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

Samantha: I can only teleport within this swamp.

Buckle: What about his folks?

Samantha makes an ugly face.

Buckle: I’ve been through that.

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

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

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

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

Buckle Overcome 7-9 temporary solution

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

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

Stella spends speed to leap over Ferdinand

Stella Keep Them Busy 7-9

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

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

Buckle: Ferdinand, stop!

Ferdinand damages Shapeshifter

Ferdinand is shocked back into his Elf form!

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

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

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

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

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

Buckle Talk Sense (+Wisdom) 10+

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

Fellowship of Samantha’s Swamp gained!

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