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!
NO END OF SESSION MOVE.