Chasing the Sunset & invitations

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

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

Last time, the Fellowship learned about Dragon birth and death from the Hidden Library.

It’s unprecedented for one of her rank to call for a one, but Averiela feels she must call a Conclave of the Elves to determine what to do with the Dragon egg she found.  It’s been 700 years since all the families of the Elves last gathered.  Some families have since retreated deep into the high mountains, disappointed with the rest of the world. Finding and alerting all of them could take quite some time, and the Conclave may not happen for a year after the invitations go out.

Edna: Can we pop through Infinite Windows, give the message, then return? Do we have to spend the whole year there? I know Elven ceremonies can be quite long.

Dryden: Elves can take their time because they have a lot of time to take.

Averiela: Friends, I’m so honored that you want to help me. Do you want to spend a whole year on this quest?

GM note: “Friends”!? Averiela has always kept her traveling companions at a distance. This is the first time she calls them “friends”

Edna: We’ll have free time in the middle, right?

Averiela’s first destination is her home forest. Her Elf-stone brooch connects her to her home, so Infinite Windows can use it to open a portal to her home, but she doesn’t want to risk losing the brooch.

Lucia: I’m honored to be invited to your home. I remember my tutor told me about the Elven forests near the Forgotten Lands.

Dryden: That tutor didn’t like me. I couldn’t sit still.

Edna: I’m not familiar with either of your countries.

Averiela: We keep a low profile.

Infinite WIndows needs an object from the destination to open a portal, but the item may be lost if the spell does not go well.  Lucia recommands pulling a single thread from Averiela’s Elven cloak, but Infinite Windows requires a significant item, not just a scrap. Averiela offers her Ring of Eternal Flame. The ring contains a tiny flame taken from the Eternal Flame at home. The Eternal Flame is a light burning for all the Elves out adventuring. Part of it will go out if Averiela dies.

Ol’ Jardinier damages Overwhelming Power to assist: pick another option from Open A Window

Averiela Opens A Window 6- the window cracks & something dangerous comes out + keep the item

Dryden pulls Infinite Windows out of his physical backpack. It can’t go through portals, so he can’t keep it under his cloak. Averiela puts her ring into one of the shifting mirror fragments. Nothing happens. She pulls the ring back out, and large glowing fingers are holding on to it from the other side! A Fire Elemental comes through!

  • Fire Elemental: A 10 foot tall being of molten rock, perpetually on fire.
    • Burning Aura: Anyone who is not immune to fire cannot get close without paying a price.
    • Wildfire: The Fire Elemental is Burning and Dangerous.
    • Tough As Nails: The first time a Fire Elemental would be damaged or
      destroyed, damage this stat instead.

Lucia strikes quickly, hoping to sever the Fire Elemental’s arm before the whole creature comes through!

Fire Elemental Burning Aura: Lucia spends Armor to Pay A Price

Lucia Finish Them (+Courage, force retreat) 10+

Fire Elemental: Tough As Nails gets damaged first

It’s a powerful strike, but the Fire Elemental pulls itself through Infinite Windows and stands on the slope of the volcano, towering over most of the Fellowship.  Edna recognizes the danger it’s Burning Aura presents to all her friends, so she grabs the creature and throws it down the slope about 100 yards.

Fire Elemental Burning Aura: Edna takes damage to Pay A Price

Edna Toss Aside 7-9 Fire Elemental lands safely where Edna wants

The Fire Elemental is enraged and starts climbs back up the slope. Edna steps in front of the Fellowship. The Fire Elemental will have to get through her to get to anyone else, but for now, the Fellowship cna used ranged weapons without retaliation. Dryden pulls out his unbreakable two-handed Dwarven hammer and swings it in big vertical circles. He lets it go and it soars over Edna’s head and down the slope, falling head-first on the Fire Elemental.

Dryden Finish Them (+Sense, knock out) 6-

The hammer sinks all the way into the Fire Elemental’s body, a rough approximation of a humanoid, but made of molten lava. It stumbles, but recovers and keeps moving up the slops.

Drdyen signals Roddy by dabbing, but adds that Roddy should aim where his hammer entered.

Roddy damages Trick Shot to give Dryden an Advantage

Dryden Finish Them (+Blood, kill) 7-9 Fire Elemental damages Burning Aura

Roddy strikes true with his pneumatic rifle. The burning heat glowing through the cracks as the Fire Elemental moves fades, and most of its skin cools to black. Edna approaches to recover Dryden’s hammer.

Edna Overcome 10+

Edna grabs the Fire Elemental’s shoulder to keep it in place, then jams her other hand down through its head, up to her elbow. She pulls her hand free, splashing lava through the air, gripping Dryden’s hammer. The Fire Elemental turns its fury on Edna, and Lucia throws some rocks to distract it.

Lucia Keep Them Busy 6-

Edna is twice the size of the Fire Elemental, so it’s hard to get a clear shot. Lucia hits Enda with the pebbles instead. Edna’s momentarily distracted, and the Fire Elemental strikes with a superheated punch!

Lava Elemental damages Edna

Averiela pelts the Fire Elemental with arrows.

Averiela Keep Them Busy 6-

The arrows are ineffective, and the Fire Elemental lands another blow.

Lava Elemental damages Edna

Lucia draws her sword and runs in.

Lucia Keep Them Busy 6-

Lava Elemental damages Edna

The Fire Elemental kicks her aside. Edna sees that she and her friends are in real danger. She needs to end the fight now!

Edna Toss Aside 10+ land where Edna wants & take damage

Fire Elemental damages Wildfire. TAKEN OUT

Edna lifts the Fire Elemental over her head and smashes it straight down into the ground. The lava that forms its body splatters and rapidly cools, leaving a shock-wave shaped sculpture of ingeous rock.

Edna: Phew! Let’s rest a bit before we open any more portals!

Viktor lays out one of Edna’s Giant Lunches, big enough to feed three people.  Lucia assists him with her special culinary expertise, stretching the food even further.

Lucia Wonder Chef: Fill Your Belly without spending food. People who share a meal with you heal an extra stat.

Lucia spends 0 Food to heal.

Edna spends 2 Food to heal 3 stats

Edna spends 1 Food to heal Ol’ Jardinier

Dryden spends 1 Food to heal Roddy twice

Averiela spends 1 Food to restore Elder Arts

Edna: Maybe this Artifact is more trouble than it’s worth.

Dryden: It’s very complicated magic.

Edna: I’m new, but I’ve never seen it work properly.

Lucia: Maybe we should go physically.

The Fellowship agrees to head south by the nearby river to the port, then try to cross the ocean to Averiela’s homeland.

As they walk down the mountain, they meet three people walking up. Lofar (the Dwarf miner that Dryden sent fleeing a while earlier) leads two Goblins in Power Suits equipped for mining up from Swallet. The Fellowship hails him and he says he’s back to mine the precious minerals from this mountain, like Moon Dust that falls on the peak.

Averiela: There’s no gold here. I’ve studied the land for many years. Try the other mountain.

The Goblins burst out laughing. What an obvious lie! The other volcano is part of Swallet’s infrastructure and has been extensively explored already.

Lucia: We buried a Dragon up there. You mustn’t disturb his eternal rest.

Lofar: There’s no eternity. You’ve hidden the gold under the Dragon!

GM note: Indeed, Dwarves have no afterlife. They come from the stone and return to the stone.

Lofar is the size of doll to Edna, and she picks him in one hand to bring him face to face.

Edna: If you won’t respect the dead, respect the living. I’m telling you there is nothing for you up there.

Edna: Talk Sense (+Wisdom, appeal to desire to not get squashed) 10+

Lofar: Lucky for you these Goblins aren’t muscle.

He backs off and kicks pebbles towards Edna. She spreads her arms wide in a show of readiness.

Edna: Anytime!

Lofar and the Goblins retreat towards Swallet and the Fellowship make their way to Sugar’s Crossing.  A few months ago, Lucia and Dryden rescued some people when a huge metal mirror fell from the sky and destroyed the bridge across the river.  This started the legend of Star-Rider, the mysterious flying man who fell from the Moon. The story goes that he wears a long cloak to dim his celestial brightness. As the Fellowship wonders how to get passage downriver, a fan of Star-Rider recognizes Dryden!

  • Bingo, he/him Halfling youth. Someone has noticed what the fellowship is up to, and has grown to adore you and all you do.
    • Cheerleader: The fan can damage this stat to give someone Hope.
    • Danger Magnet: The fan loves to watch their heroes in action. When a Dangerous attack happens near them, the fan is always among the collateral.

Bingo: Wow, it’s Star-Rider! What brings you here? Did you help with that fire in Vieport?

Dryden: I didn’t fight the fire in Vieport, but I did fight Fire Elementals. I was also teleported into the forest of Vampire Fairies. Of course, the Unicorns helped us with them.

Bingo: Wow, that’s so cool! Can I come along on your next adventure?

Lucia: Ask your mother. Actually, we need your help right now. We need safe passage to the sea. Which of these ships should we take?

Bingo is thrilled to have quest from his hero Star-Rider, and his friends. He tries to run home and to the docks at the same time, and eventually picks a direction. After a short time, Bingo returns, pushing an elderly Halfling woman in a wheelchair.

Bingo: My mom wasn’t home, but I asked my Uncle, and my Uncle, and my Gramma!

Wilma: What’s this I hear? You’re taking Bingo away to fight Unicorns?

Dryden: Ah, good of you to come. How’s young Bingo’s schooling? Especially reading?

Bingo rattles off a list of relatives and their professions and what they teach him. His aunt at the theater is teaching him The Stories. His other aunt, his dad’s sister, lets him help with the cooking. Everything is a communal effort in Halfling culture.

Dryden: Excellent. I’l give you this scroll of basic magical techniques. You need to stay her to study this (and all your other subjects) so you can start on your own adventures!

Dryden Talk Sense (+Wis, appeal to desire to have adventures like his hero) 7-9 owe a favor

Bingo makes Dryden promise to come back when Bingo has studied this scroll to teach him other things. He also poitns the Fellowship towards a boat going downriver. He runs off, pushing his Gramma Wilma with the scroll stretched between the handles, trying to read and walk at the same time. Her scolding fades into the distance.

The Fellowship goes to the boat, which is a huge raft, propelled by a Giant with a long pole. His name is Wilhelm, he’s 24 feet tall, and he’s a true Giant. Ogres are much larger than most people, but calling them Giants is only colloquial. True Giants get much bigger than Ogres, and are completely unrelated to Humans.

Lucia spends 1 Precious Item for passage to the sea

Wilhelm poles down the river until the raft reaches a swampy area with spooky willow trees, and crows that seem to be keeping watch. They are keeping watch! This is the swamp of Samantha the Witch, so hates trespassers. The crows squawk and fly into the swamp, and a short time later, a bull runs out to the shore and transforms into Ferdinand, an Elf well-known to Lucia.  Wilhelm pushes the raft ashore so they can talk.

Lucia: Ferdinand, this is Dryden, a lifelong friend from the Forgotten Lands. He has come with news that I am now queen.  And this is Averiela. We met on our long journey, and the bonds between our people go back for generations.  Together we journey far and right wrongs.

Edna: And I’m Edna Crusher-Harcourt. Very pleased to meet you.

Averiela: How fortuitous! I thought the Shapeshifting Elves disappeared centuries ago! We are calling a conclave, for we carry a Dragon’s egg. I suspect my Queen of Whispering Winds in the Hidden Mist would welcome a representative of the Shapeshifting Elves.

Ferdinand: I’m the only Shapeshifting Elf I know. It’s just me and Samantha, and she’s Human. I will do my best to attend!

Ferdinand is a lot more confident than he used to be. Averiela is angry that she didn’t know about Ferdinand. She doesn’t accept any weakness in herself!

Dryden: Lucia has told me stories fo her adventures before I arrived here. What can you tell me about the Black Beast?

Ferdinand puts his hands over his mouth and giggles loudly.

Ferdinand: OK, OK! Lucia’s other friend, Gleador, could also transform, but into anything he liked. He was actually the Black Beast! There were two, but they were both him! He convenced everyone that one of them killed the other and they never suspected him! It’s so funny! He outsmarted them all and made fools of those awful people that stole our wine recipe.

Wilhelm inquires about the special wine. Perhaps people in Vieport would pay a high price for such luxury items. Ferdinand agrees to meet Wilhelm when on his return trip and set up a deal. Before Wilhelm pushes off, Dryden plucks a leaf from Samantha’s Swamp and adds it to his collection.

Wilhelm: I’m glad to meet your friend Ferdinand, but we’ve been delayed, and now we’ll have to traverse the Ghostlands at night! truly a frightening sight! All those red glowing eyes and vague transparent bodies lining the banks of the rivers, waiting for the living to wander in reach so they can devour them!

Lucia: Why don’t we camp overnight before we reach the Ghostlands and make the journey in daylight?

Wilhelm agrees to her very reasonable suggestion, and they wait until dawn to continue past the Ghostlands (less scary in daylight) and to the checkpoint at the northern edge of Vieport. Tall pylons surround the city, with lightning crackling between them. This Lightning Barrier separates the living from the hungry undead of the Ghostlands.

The guards in Vieport are Mer-Eels, with long reptilian faces, humanoid arms and torsoes, and long eel-like tails. They swim quickly through the water and board Wilhelm’s raft to check for anything suspicious or illegal.

Eel Guard: Welcome back, Theona. Headed to the Adventurers’ Club?

Edna: You must have mistaken me for someone else. I’m Edna Crusher-Harcourt. Very pleased to meet you.

Everything is in order, so the Eel Guards allow Wilhelm’s raft into the city. The Fellowship disembarks and seeks out the Adventurer’s Club the guards mentioned.

A map of Vieport, showing the lightning barrier, palace, Adventurer's Club, and Bertha.
A map of Vieport, showing the lightning barrier, palace, Adventurer’s Club.

The Adventurer’s Club is a grand building next to a golf course, with high ceilings and canals in the floors to accomodate both terrestrial and aquatic adventurers. The clerk at the front desk is a Mer-Man whose fish half is a Betta fish, so his fins are luxurious and fade from red to purple.

  • Fred, he/him, Merfolk. A colorful tropical fish person, friendly but skittish.
    • Cowardice: After he takes damage, Fred will attempt to run away from the scene.
    • Friendly: The first person in the fellowship to Forge a Bond with Fred may write up to three Bonds with him, instead of just one.

The Adventurer’s Club is for members only, so each member of the Fellowship must either present a membership card, or some proof that they should be allowed to join.

Lucia Symbol of Royalty: Grant an audience with anyone.

Fred is very impressed by Lucia’s Symbol of Royalty, but the others struggle to prove that they are also great adventurers.

Dryden: Let me speak for my humble friends. This is Edna, who I have seen jam her mighty fist into the heart of a Fire Elemental. Averiela can strike a perfect shot from the shadows, and has single-handedly defeated a giant Sentry Droid. Perhaps you have heard the legend of Star-Rider, who saved people from the Shard of the Moon?

Drdyen starts pulling out all the treasures he’s collected and laying them out on the table. After a while, Fred tells him to stop.

Dryden Talk Sense (+Grace, dazzle) 6-

Fred says that they don’t have trophies or proof of their great deeds, so he can’t offer them membership. If they can produce trophies, or if they complete any of the bounties on the Bounty Board, then they will be allowed in, but for now, only Queen Lucia may enter. Lucia refuses to enter without her friends!

Edna is very interested in one of the daggers that Dryden pulled out of his cloak: a jeweled Dwarf-Made dagger. She asks to examine it, and holds the red gem in the hilt up to the light, but is disappointed. She knows someone looking for a dagger quite like this, but this isn’t the one.  Drdyen explains where he found it, and gives Edna a Dwarven lottery ticket that he found nearby. Maybe that clue will help her friend find what they were looking for.

GM note: Edna tried to use Infinite WIndows to go back to the other party at the very end of the session, but rolled 6- and we didn’t have time to fight whatever came through the portal. The timeline with the other party is all messed up. Hopefully Edna will soon be able to move back and forth between parties using Infinite Windows in a way that mostly makes diagetic sense.

END OF SESSION MOVE:

  • Did we thoroughly explore a new location: NO
  • Did anyone find what they were looking for: YES, Averiela is working on the Conclave, her long-term goal
  • Did we discover something new about the world and its people: YES, Dragon birth and death rituals.

Two boons:

  • Level up: Edna & Averiela
  • Restore Gear.

 

Chasing The Sunset & Reunion

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

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

Last time, the Fellowship lost a member to a teleportation accident, and in searching for her, made a boat out of a Dragon skull mounted as a trophy by evil Vampire Fairies.

The Fellowship paddles east toward Doctor MacLeod’s Anti-Moon Weapon and away from the creepy Dead Forest to the west because Ol’ Jardinier’s magic says that Edna is to the east. They read the messages left by previous adventurers about the Vampires and the Anti-Moon Weapons’ destruction.

Lucia: These are very helpful messages!

The Anti-Moon Weapon is a mountain with a mile-long gun through the center, and huge slit cut into it to allow the gun to rotate. As the Dragon-skull boat floats past this mountain, pieces of the huge gun break off and start tumbling down the slope, causing an avalanche! No, that’s snow. A rock-a-lanche! The Fellowship has enough warning to avoid being buried in the debris, but the river is choked and starts overflowing its banks upstream from the debris.  Dryde nand Lucia survey the scene

Dryden Look Closely (+hope, Lucia’s aid) 10+

  • What is hidden or out of place?
    • Most of the debris is rock and dirt from the mountain slope, but there are plenty of metal pieces too. Most of the metal pieces were broken by physical force: twisted or snapped. Some of the fragments have melted edges.
  • Tell me about the river’s path. What is it doing? What will it do next?
    • With the main riverbed blocked, the water is rising until it spreads and finds another path to take. Walking around the area and carefully noting the slope indicates the river can take a path further south.
  • What will happen if we leave the debris in place?
    • The river used to turn south a few miles ahead. This new path will cut of the “elbow” of the river, and whatever is in that area will lose access to the river.

People often depend on rivers to live, so the Fellowhsip wants to minimize disruption and restore the river’s path.  Lucia wonders how they can move al lthat heavy debris. Edna could do it, but she’s gone. Dryden has a solution, as usual.

Dryden considers the debris and wonders which gadget to use this time. Most of the debris is rock, but the metal pieces are almost pure iron. Back when Dryden was a child, his parents tried manay strategies to keep him out of places he wasn’t supposed to be, including securing those places with iron doors. Iron rusts, of course, so Dryden wondered how to speed up time to rust through the doors faster. He coudln’t figure it out himself, but he knew people who knew people. He met an alchemist who thought she was a failure because in all her research, she never produced gold, but she did find a way to turn an iron nail into rust almost instantly. Dryden used her technology to develop the itme which he now draws from beneath his cloak. A long tube inside another tube. he uses his unbreakable Dwarven hammer to make a dent in the piece of debris he’s going to destroy, and places the tube in the divot. He warns everyone to be ready to move.

Knows-Too-Much and White Sands escort Lucia to a safe distance. Averiela stands near Dryden in case something goes wrong.

Dryden Queen of the Wild: Command Lore about the local wildlife. Every Beast is a Companion to you.

Dryden notices Giant Eels in the river.

Dryden: Oh, we have to warn the fishfolk!

Dryden puts his head underwater and gargles out a warning, which the Eels appreciate. He activates the trap!

Drdyen Explosive Trap: open or block an entrance

Averiela Get Away 10+ Avoid harm, avoid notice

Averiela Poetry in Motion: pick another Get Away option: bring Dryden along

Averiela runs on the surface of the water and the Giant Eels pull Dryden to a safe distance underwater. After twenty seconds, the tube explodes in a cloud of rust! The metal piece crumbles and water is able to push through. Much of the debris crumbles aside. Some of the water will continue in the original channel, and some will flow to the south.

The Fellowship carries the Dragon-Skull boat past the debris and continues downriver in the original channel. To the surprise of Lucia and Dryden, this river flows just to the north of Lady Evelynn’s estate. Last time they visited Lady Evelynn, they left on bad terms and are surely not welcome back. They hope that since the water level is so low, they can hide the boat under the river bank. Averiela’s keen Elven eyes spot a woman in the observation dome on the roof of Lady Evelynn’s mansion, looking out towards the river. The boat has been spotted! A figure leaves the mansion and comes down the hill towards the river.

Lucia Quiet! Don’t Move. Hide allies as long as they don’t move.

Lucia hides everyone so the Dragon-Skull boat appears empty.

Lucia: Lady Evelynn is a pragmatic business woman. She won’t attack us without reason. She doesn’t know you, Averiela. You could get hosptiality and tell her what happened to the river.

Averiela sits up in the boat to greet the person approaching. It’s Kali, the sullen Tiefling servant, who works outdoors so she has less opportunity to be rude to Lady Evelynn’s guests. She’s five-foot-nothing, petite, red skin, with short vertical horns on her forehead.

Kali: Keep moving. Travelers are not welcome here. Don’t make trouble!

Averiela eloquently introduces herself and assures Kali of her pure intentions. Kali is unimpressed, spits out “Good!” and turns on her heel to return to the estate.

The Dragon-skull boat floats down the river, which bends from east to south and heads towards Sugar’s Crossing. Lady Evelynn’s sugar mill is only getting half the water it usually gets, and the new river channel is washing out the road from her estate to the town. Surely this will change the balance of power between the three millers in the town. Lucia and Dryden notice that the bridge over the river has been repaired. Two volcanoes tower over the east side of the river.

Roddy Eagle Eye

Roddy the Sharpshooter is usually very quiet and his ghillie suit makes him look like a bush, so it’s easy to forget that he’s here. A hand emerges from the shapeless bush that follows the Fellowship and points up towards the mountain peaks.

Roddy: Edna!

A few seconds later, Edna falls out of the sky and lands on the east riverbank, her feet skidding and digging huge gouges in the dirt!  Ol’ Jardinier runs to her and she scoops him us and tosses him in the air. She’s so happy to see everyone again. She sets down a very thin Human man and introduces Victor, her new butler. She’s introducing the rest of the Fellowship and realizes she doesn’t know Averiela’s full name. Averiela explains that she is “Averiela Star-Radiance, Last Child of the Westerwinds” and that Averiela means “Seeker of Truth” She has more titles, of course, but these will do for now.

Edna is excited to show Ol’ Jardinier some jewelry pieces she picked up in Thaumatown. Alas, the wizard who owned them won’t be needing them anymore. Perhaps Ol’ Jardinier could assemble them into some Ogre-sized jewelry for Edna to wear. Ol’ Jardinier sets to work with a combination of tools in his waist-coat and magic spells. He taps his bifocals and they turn dark. He touches his thumb and forefinger together and generates a spark, which he uses to weld the jewelry pieces together. Averiela wants to know the name of the jewelry that Ol’ Jardinier is making, since all powerful jewelry must have a name.

GM note: Edna needs a way to travel between the two Fellowships that I play with, so this jewelry will give Edna a way to interact with Infinite WIndows and teleport back and forth reliably, like a “Best Friends” necklace that can be split into two pieces. The piecee that stays with Dryden is “from” the other piece that Edna wears, so Dryden can offer that piece to Infinite Windows and find Edna whereever she is.

Drdyen wants to dispose of the Dragon skull properly.

Edna: Is this cursed? The other people wanted me to dispose of some remains and those remains were cursed. We might have cursed a whole town. I’m not sure. We left town quickly due to some unrelated unplesantness.

Lucia: We could let the Dragon skull float out to sea.

Edna: No! Mermaids live in the sea. You can’t just dump things in the sea!

Averiela remembers lore from her people that Dragons were either buried on the mountain where they annointed the King, or somewhere close to the sky. That mountain might be out east, but the legends are old and vague.

Lucia: How will we transport this huge skull all that way?

Edna reaches down and picks up the Dragon skull boat with one hand.

Lucia: Maybe the volcano that the Secret Library is inside is a Dragon mountain.

Dryden: The librarians aren’t fond of me.

Lucia: I’m queen, so I’ll go in. Averiela can join me. Her people are welcome from times of old.

The Fellowship starts hiking up the slopes of the volcano. Enda holds the Dragon Skull over her head and gets a running start, then thinks better of leaping directly to the peak and walks alongside her friends.

Dryden: What happened to you when you disappeared?

Edna: I was following the Wild Unicorns into the portal, ready to see the enchanted meadow, and next thing I knew, I fell onto a raft full of Platypeople!

Lucia: How are the Platypeople? We know they were having trouble with werewolves.

Edna: I don’t know about that. There were a few injuries, but I paid for the damage to the raft. Oh no! I said I’d replace the broken logs, but we left town so quickly I didn’t remember to fell any trees.

Dryden explains that the top of the volcano is home to many marmot varmints. He wonders if that treasure-seeking Dwarf that he scared off will be back. When the Fellowship reaches the summit, they see the marmot varmints, but no Dwarf.

Edna: Should we put the Dragon skull next to the graveyard up here?

Edna sets the Dragon skull boat  down near the rows of spear points from the ancient battles, and clears off the clay so the boat is a clean skull again.  Averiela places a ring of rocks around the skull. She carries sand from her homeland, and sprinkles some of it on the ring of stones while reciting sacred Elvish words. Lucia draws her sword, salutes the skull, and draws a circle in the ground around the skull, outside the circle of stones. Dryden is a commoner, so he does not have the proper lineage to do the rituals that he knows. He withdraws a respectful distance and makes a cairn.

After the provisional funeral, Lucia walks to the staircase down the inside of the caldera.

Edna: Y’all already know about the secret?

Edna leaps down from the rim and her force of her landing makes the ceramic dome covering the Secret Library ring!

Edna: I can’t fit inside, but I hear it’s really something to see!

Dryden: How do you know?

Edna: The entrance is only this big. I obviously won’t fit through.The other folks told me about it, though. Y’all just missed them.

Lucia and Averiela go through the crack in the ceramic dome to the Secret Library for the Forgotten Lands. The interior is lit by magical blue torches. The librarian, is a sheet ghost with glasses hovering in front of the eye holes in its sheet. Rows of shelves and stacks of books, scrolls, and maps stretch out into the distance.

Lucia: I and my comanions have come to learn about Dragons!

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

  • What can you tell me about hatching Dragon eggs?
    • Dragon Eggs must be kept hot for 49 days. On the 50th day, the eggs hatch. The parent Dragons use their claws to help the baby Dragons break through the hard eggshells. Averiela jumps in. The Elves know that the parents are actually tapping on the eggshells to signal the babies that its’ safe to come out. After hatching, the parents and babies do a bonding ritual. No one has seen it up-close, but Dragon roars echo through the land, and Dragon magic ripples outwards. Averiela’s lore says that tapping on the eggshell helps with the bonding ritual.
  • What can you tell me about the Dragons’ enemies?
    • The Librarian says there are no serious contenders to the Dragon’s rule of the world. Clearly a lot has happened since this library was sealed away, since Dragons are now extinct.
  • What can you tell me about how Dragons crowned their kings?
    • According to legend, the Dragons gather to crown a new king on the hottest day of the year, on the highest mountain in the world, far to the north.

Averiela wants to consult with her kin to see if she’s worthy of hatching the Dragon Egg she found. Alas, her homeland is across the sea, near the Forgotten Lands, a very long journey. The Sapphire Islands (home of Gleador) are closer, just south of this continent. She could also call a conclave and gahter representatives of the various Elf peoples to her.

Chasing The Sunset & The Power of Friendship

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stella: And my boat?

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

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

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

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

Buckle: Do you like fish?

Kitty: Are they made of meat?

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

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

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

Buckle: Fishing! Yay!

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

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

Buckle: It’s coming straight for us!

Stella: Light up the sky!

Buckle Firestarter: always able to produce fire

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

Stella: Buckle, this thing likes fire!

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

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

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

Kitty uses Crushing Jaws

Buckle uses Firestarter

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

Buckle Get Away 6-

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

Buckle damages Courage

Kitty damages Gigantic

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

Buckle: Let it what?

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

Buckle Overcome 7-9 temporary solution

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

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

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

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

Buckle Heart Of Earth: immune to heat

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

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

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

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

Buckle heals Courage

Kitty heals Gigantic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Samantha: Ferdinand is stuck as a bull.

Buckle: I don’t understand.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buckle: A shapeshifter? From Templeton?

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

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

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

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

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

Buckle: The Crack-Tooth Wastes.

Samantha: Seems dangerous.

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

Samantha: I can only teleport within this swamp.

Buckle: What about his folks?

Samantha makes an ugly face.

Buckle: I’ve been through that.

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

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

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

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

Buckle Overcome 7-9 temporary solution

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

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

Stella spends speed to leap over Ferdinand

Stella Keep Them Busy 7-9

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

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

Buckle: Ferdinand, stop!

Ferdinand damages Shapeshifter

Ferdinand is shocked back into his Elf form!

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

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

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

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

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

Buckle Talk Sense (+Wisdom) 10+

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

Fellowship of Samantha’s Swamp gained!

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

NO END OF SESSION MOVE

Chasing The Sunset & recovery

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 barely escaped Vieport, after beating up almost every named character in the entire city! Stella fell in battle, and now the Fellowship but find a way to revive her.

GM note: Since Stella is unconscious, her player role-played as Stella’s companions. A fun switch, and a good way to keep a player engaged even when their player is Taken Out.

Stella has a Halfing form of diabetes: when she doesn’t maintain her blood sugar, she literally falls into a food coma. She was knocked unconscious long enough that she didn’t eat, so the coma set in and she never woke up.  He companions Gus, Rose, and Hamfast are all Halfings and are familiar with the disorder, so they explain it to Buckle. She needs special Halfling food, and a lot of it!

Buckle: Of course it involves food. Not even normal-people food.

Buckle consults a map and determines that Sugar’s Crossing is north, up this river.  They’ve been there before, and many Halfings live there. It’s a good place to find help.  They left Vieport in the evening, sailing Miranda (the racing catamaran) up the river through the Deadlands. They don’t dare drift to shore, lest the bloodthirsty ghosts attack them, so they take shifts at the helm through the night.  Buckle looks out into the darkness and sees hundreds of red dots: eyes looking back!  Far to the east, he sees flashes of purple light and hears rumbling.  Spooky! He wakes Hamfast and asks about the strange phenomena. When Hamfast lived in Vieport, he could walk up to the electric barriers at the edge of town, put his hands up like blinders to block the glare, and faintly see that same purple flashing. He parents told him it was a fireworks factory. He barely notices the red eyes. They remind him of his youth in Vieport, where they were always visible just outside the lightning barriers. Buckle doesn’t like being watched. Hamfast pat his shoulder reassuringly, but very quickly, so Buckle’s superheated skin does not burn him. Then he goes back to bed.

The next morning, the Miranda approaches a branch in the river. To the west, a clear, deep channel, suitable for large ships. To the east, a marsh. At the perimeter of the swamp, crows sit on trees, evenly spaced, looking out. Rose has the helm and drifts a bit towards the marsh. Silk is scared of birds and tries to stop Rose.  Buckle comes on deck to see what’s the commotion. He notices the suspicious crows.

Buckle Wild Speaker: always able to Speak Softly when meeting a beast

Buckle: Hey! What’s the fastest way to Sugar’s Crossing?

Crow 1: He’s polite!

Crow 2: It doesn’t matter. Take the channel like civilized folk. Avoid Smantha’s domain!

Buckle Speak Softly 6- Ask 3 questions. 1 false answer. 1 unhelpful answer.

  • What can you tell me about Samantha?
    • Samantha is the greatest witch! Her power is unrivaled!
  • What are you doing?
    • The crows are sentries, insuring that only those who are worthy enter Samantha’s swamp.
  • What should I be wary of when dealing with the crows?
    • Crow 1 starts to let Buckle in on a secret, but Crow 2 cuts it off.

Crow 2: No, don’t tell him! He’s exactly who we don’t tell!

Buckle wishes them a pleasant day. Rose wants adventure, so she still wants to go into the marsh. Reviving Stella must come first, so they take the channel to Sugar’s Crossing.

A map of the city of Sugar’s Crossing showing the river flowing south the the center, three mills, docks, and other landmarks.

The bridge in the center of Sugar’s Crossing is covered in scaffolding! The center span is broken. On each side of the bridge (upstream and downstream) a Giant on a raft ferries road travellers around the bridge. River traffic is slow, weaving past the ferries and scaffolding.  This month, the city’s garrison is Elves. Some Elven guards stand on the surface of the river directing traffic, and direct the Miranda to an empty berth. Buckle ties Stella to Silk’s back and sets out to find food. Stella’s companions don’t know anyone in Sugar’s Crossing, but count on Halfling hospitality.

Buckle Talk Sense (+Wisdom, emotions) 10+

Buckle: Excuse me, I need to find food for my knocked out friend

The Halfling that Buckle made eye contact with is Mr. Bracegirdle, an actor. He pulls out a snack and wafts it under Stella’s nose. No reaction. He recognizes the symptoms of Halfling diabetes. Quite serious, but he knows what to do! He leads the Fellowship towards the theater, yelling in a surprisingly loud voice to for bystanders to clear the way.  He leads them into the back of the theater, where the actors and orators are preparing for lunch.

To wake someone suffering the food coma from halfling diabetes, they must be fed a lot of fruit and carbs. A lot!  The cooks divert half of the food they were about to serve to Stella.  Gus 7 Rose almost prank Buckle into feeding Stella a baby bird. After being fed lots of food, Stella wakes up as Buckle jams a big piece of fruit in her mouth. (Payback for her jamming the Heart of Earth into his mouth)

Buckle: This is awkward, but you’re awaaaaake!

Stella: What are you doing?

Stella takes the fruit and throws it at Buckle, who eats it. Stella hasn’t passed out in her adult life, so this is a weird experience. Mr. Bracegirdle introduces himself to Stella and explains where she is. Buckle comes up and shakes Mr. Bracegirdles hand.

Buckle: Thank you, Mister Grey Squirrel. What can we do to repay you?

GM note: This joke took me out! Amazing!

Mr. Bracegirdle explains that virtue is its own reward, but the cooks say that half of lunch is gone and the whole theater troupe is hungry. The cooks press the four Halflings (Stella, Gus, Rose, and Hamfast) into service chopping vegetables and kneading dough.  Buckle picks up a pot with his burnign hands and boils it immediately.  When a cook hands Gus an old nicked cleaver, Gus refuses, and pulls out his personal, well-cared for cooking knives. The cooks are impressed! Lunch is late, but with talented help, the food is better than usual. Now everyone in the theater likes the Fellowship.

GM note: The Fellowship needs to recover. After checking a few sections of a several rule books, I determined that Fellowship with a community was not required to Recover, just a week of peace and safety. Thus the Fellowship recovered here in Sugar’s Crossing instead of going far east to Templeton or Bogden.

Fellowship Recovers: All stats healed. All gear refreshed.

For the next week ,the Fellowship stays at the theater and rests. Gus teaches the theater cooks some of his ways. Not all, but some. Buckle asks about the bridge. It was broken by a huge mirror falling from the sky. Buckle asks if a Spider took it. Mr. Bracegirdle didn’t see a Spider, but a lady knight and a flying man with a big cloak did rescue some people from the broken bridge.

Stella Forges a Bond with Rupert the Chef

They sit in on the free shows about the history of the town and are reminded of hte feud between the Miller and le Grind families. Stella took the le Grind mill tour, but the Miller’s don’t offer tours of their mill. Old Mister Miller odens’t come out of MIller Manor anymore.  Lady Evelynn’s arrival shook up the power balance in the town. Her estate and mill are intentionally outside the city limits, so the Mayor can’t tell her what to do.

After a week, everyone feels healthy, and the bridge reparis are almost done. The bridge is open to foot traffic today, and if there are no mishaps, carts can start crossing tomorrow.  Stella’s ears itch. She needs adventure!They consider going south to Samantha’s swamp to talk to those crows again, but decide to go further upriver. Lady Evelynn’s estate is visible from the river. After recent events, she no longer offers hospitality to travellers. Guards come to the fence to watch the Miranda pass.

To the north, the rivers goes up into high snowy mountains. To the east, two volcanoes. To the west, a mountain with a slot cut through it. They decide to investigate that mountain, and look for a tributary that will take them near it.

Buckle Look Closely 6- One question, find out the hard way

  • What will happen if I take this tributary right here?
    • Buckle steers the Miranda up a tributary which does lead to the slot mountian, but it also gets quite close to Lady Evelynn’s estate, and her guards start firing arrows down towards the boat!

Buckle (+hope, Stella’s assistance) Get away 7-9 avoid harm

All hands on deck! Buckle steers the boat away from the barrage safely.  Further along, they reach the mountain.  There’s a slot cut all the way through from east to west!  There are buildings at various points around the slopes with paths connecting them, but the buildings are clearly smashed! Whatever facility used to stand on this mountain has been sacked!

GM note: A nice relaxing session. Mostly montages. A big departure from the previous three sessions of combat! Even in the same game with the same players, there are many ways to play.

Chasing The Sunset & Broken Bridge

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

The party: Lucia the Brave the Heir, Dryden of Conwall the Collector

Last time, Dryden & Lucia left Lady Evelynn in an elaborate death trap and slipped away without alerting her staff with the convincing and true excuse that something just fell out of the sky and hit the nearby town of Sugar’s Crossing.  They’ll go investigate, but if they don’t want Lady Evelynn to die, they’ll have to get back soonish.

The highway crosses the river at Sugar’s Crossing, and the great bridge, guarded by soldiers from around the region, over which so much commerce and travel crosses, has been split in half by a giant hexagonal mirror, probably 100 feet across! The mirror fell perpendicular to the highway and went right through, wedging itself in the river bed.  The whole town is in an uproar! People are bustling around on the bridge and on boats and rafts in the river.

Some workers on the bridge are trying to clear the rubble around the mirror so it can be moved away from the bridge (somehow!) but the rubble shifts and three of the workers fall into perilous positions!  Dryden fires a rope from his rope launcher to anchor to the supports under the bridge. He’s ready to swing into action, and his chance comes immediately, as one of the imperiled workers slips off the bridge and plummets towards the water!  Dryden swings in like Spider-Man, snatching the worker out of the air and landing safely on the shore.

Meanwhile, Lucia is running up to the bridge. One worker is hanging over the water and the other is trapped in a small space between the bridge and the hexagon.  If the mirror shifts again, the second worker could be crushed!  Lucia heads for the most immediate danger and lays down at the broken edge of the bridge and reaches a hand down for the trapped worker to grab. The cobblestones under her crumble, and Lucia tumbles into the narrow space as well! Dryden wolfs down a snack to regain the energy he needs to overcharge his flying disk, grabs his rope, and flies up to assist Lucia & the trapped worker.

GM note: Overcharge allows Dryden to either carry another person or fly for the entire scene, but he used both options simultaneously.

Dryden drops the rope for Lucia and lifts the worker out of the crevice. The worker clings to her crowbar, wedged between the mirror and the bridge, and as she pulls it free it scrapes across the surface of the mirror, showering Lucia with shards of glass! Lucia grabs the rope and hauls herself out of the crevice.

One more worker is in danger, hanging by his hands over the river.  Dryden puts down the worker he’s carrying and flies in to snatch up this worker.  The worker panics as Dryden tries to pick him up in passing and doesn’t let go of his handhold, so Dryden is yanked to a sudden stop, loses control, and they both fall into the river!  Lucia has run to the end of the bridge and down to the shore, and she jumps in and swims to the floundering worker.  She drags him to one of the many rafts and boats either trying to provide relief or caught in the traffic jam.  The owner of the raft isn’t happy about two unexpected passenger. He diverts to shore to let them off, but cusses Lucia out the whole way.

No one is in immediate danger anymore, so our heroes can take a deep breath.  Dryden recovers his rope launcher and a shard of mirror.  Naga guards shoo people away from the bridge and try to enforce some sort of order.  Dryden is relieved that the the mirror landed parallel to the flow of the river and not across it.  The mirror is big enough it might have blocked the river and flooded the town!  Is this giant mirror what MacLeod launched at the moon?  Lucia applies a healing poultice to her shrapnel wounds. She notices that someone scrawled “Buckle was here” on the hem of her sleeve.  Dryden realizes that the snack he ate in a hurry was a Halfling snack:  nuts and small fruits. Who has been messing with their stuff?

Lucia & Dryden return to  Evelynn’s Manor. Callie, the sullen Oni woman, opens the gate.

Callie: Guess it wasn’t a big deal.

Lucia: Actually a giant metal mirror fell from the sky and blocked the river.

Callie blinks a few times in actual amazement before she can restore her uncaring facade. She opens the front door for them, but does not follow them inside. What do they do now?  It seems their earlier indiscretions have gone unnoticed thus far.  Lady Evelynn has been in the sleeping gas for about nine hours. If she stays there for three more hours, she’ll die. She’s definitely a bad person, but she hasn’t done anything against Lucia & Dryden personally. Can they just let her die? Not doing anything isn’t technically killing, right? They decide to look around the mansion a bit before deciding.

There’s a trophy room at the center of the upper floor: tables full of strange, sharp, unpleasant-looking items; Tapestries, paintings, and shields hung on the walls; a pedestal in the center of the room.  Dryden looks around and discovers a secret passage by moving one of the paintings on the north wall.  There are also locked double doors on the north wall.  Dryden investigates the pedestal in the middle of the room and unintentionally hits a secret switch, causing the pedestal to lower into the floor!  Dryden teeters on the edge of a pit!  Lucia pulls him back to safety.  (That secret switch is not in a good position.)  They hear footsteps approaching and dive into the secret passage to avoid notice.  Two servants enter the room and look around.  One presses another hidden switch and brings the pedestal back up. The servants wonder who moved it, and if anything is missing from the trophy room.  Lucia uses her secret bloodline power to make the servants forget the past few minutes.  They find themselves standing in the trophy room, which looks perfectly normal. Confused, they leave and return to their duties.

Lucia and Dryden explore the secret passage. There’s a ladder leading down, and access to the guest rooms on the second floor, including their room. There’s no access from the secret passage to the room behind the big locked doors, which they assume is Evelynn’s master bedroom.  Oh, right, Evelynn. They go back to the observatory to check on her. Dryden disables the trap on the door before entering. Evelynn and Jayce are still lying unmoving in the pulsating gas cloud.  The sun has risen, so Evelynn is casting a shadow. The lashers she used in the fight last night are nowhere to be found.  Dryden pokes the shadow cautiously, but it does not move.  He reaches into the gas cloud and picks up the bolas in the proper way, so the gravity waves suck all the sleeping gas back inside the bolas.  Evelynn and Jayce have been in the gas for about nine hours, so they will wake up in another nine hours.  She’s sure to warn MacLeod that Dryden & Lucia want to stop her when she awakes.

They are determined to get into Lady Evelynn’s room, so they return to the trophy room.  Dryden steals a harpoon gun, and collects the Ever-Burning Brand that he donated to Lady Evelynn’s collection earlier. It’s actually a bomb. The light is a side-effect.  He blows the doors off and they enter Lady Evelynn’s suite. It’s a huge room with a desk on one side.  The other side is dominated by a circular bed ten feet across covered in dozens of pillows. Another set of double doors are on the far wall. Lucia wants to read the documents on Evelynn’s desk, but the explosion has attracted attention!  Lucia hides in the bed. Dryden wants to hide under the bed, but this bed is directly on the ground. So weird!  He hides in a pile of pillows.  Three maids and cook burst through the smoking doorway and look around in a panic.  Two maids and the cook rush off to get water or warn people, so there’s only one maid left in the room. Lucia and Dryden run from the bed to the doors in the far wall, which lead to a swimming pool. The maid starts to chase them, but Lucia makes her forget & shuts the doors.  The maid re-discovers the explosion and runs off to alert people!

For a moment, Lucia & Dryden have the place to themselves. They look around the pool room. This is where Lucia and Gleador first met Lady Evelynn long ago. The pool is surrounded by big windows. They consider escaping through the windows, but looking out, they see Callie patrolling the yard with a Hell Hound. Lucia grabs some papers from Lady Evelynn’s desk which confirm that the Mayor of Templeton did NOT leave before breakfast, but was thrown into a secret dungeon in the basement. There’s also a work order for reinforcing security of the secret dungeon, after a recent jail-break freed all the prisoners.

Lucia & Dryden are sure they will never be welcome here again, and need to leave soon. How violent and spiteful should their exit be? They can’t bring themselves to execute a helpless enemy, so they will let Lady Evelynn live. They will, however, destroy her secret dungeon.  Dryden looks through the trophy room and finds an explosive device. She keeps a lot of nasty stuff in her trophy room! Not a nice lady!  The cook from earlier returns and sees them up to no good.  He comes at them with his cleaver and Lucia draws her sword to keep him back.  Dryden pulls out a terrifying, cursed weapon.  It’s basically a gladius, but the crossguard is a reflective globe. Looking into the reflective reveals a great fear.  The cook looks at the cursed sword and sees a long banquet table of sick, thin people. No matter what he serves them, they can’t eat it. He can’t please them. He can’t nourish them.  The cook breaks down in tears.

Lucia and Dryden have no time to comfort him. They run back to the pool. Dryden sets the charge and detonates it! The building shakes and the bottom of the pool collapses. Thousands of gallons of water crash down through the ground floor and into the basement, completely ruining them.  They smash open a window, Lucia holds on to Dryden, and he overcharges his flying stone to fly them both away!  A spectacular exit!

Chasing The Sunset & Jail-break

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

The party: Buckle the Platyperson, Stella the Halfling

Buckle & Stella & the Mayor of Templeton float down the river on the belly of Pomplamoose, a giant albino Platyperson, who is recovering from the thrashing she took during her rescue from Lady Evelynn’s dungeon. About a mile downstream from Lady Evelenn’s estate, they find a bustling city built on either side of the river, with a large bridge in the middle. This is Sugar’s Crossing.

A map of the city of Sugar’s Crossing showing the river flowing south the the center, three mills, docks, and other landmarks.

Two figures with reptilian heads approach swiftly through the river. These are Naga, amphibious humanoid snakes, closely related to mermaids. They are in charge and they know it. They belittle the team as they order them ashore, telling them that they’re a danger to navigation, and even a child would know not to float down the middle of a busy river.  Buckle hesitates, but agrees to go ashore.  The Naga guards swim away. The Mayor recognizes this city as Sugar’s Crossing. Now she knows where she is.  Templeton is five days’ travel to the east, and she expects everyone to set off immediately to escort her there.  Stella asks what’s in it for them. The Mayor offers civic duty, then money, and thinks Stella is very strange for not being motivated by either.

Stella: Mayor, you are on our schedule

Stella takes every opportunity to remind the Mayor that, out here, she is not in charge.

Where does Pomplamoose want to go? Her home town of Willow’s Landing is further eat, past Templeton, so going to Templeton is on the way home for her. Pomplamoose was hurt in the escape from Lady Evelynn’s estate, so Buckle gives her some food to recover her strength. Pomplamoose is disappointed by the food she’s been getting. It’s all flavor and no sustenance. She feels herself getting weak. Sure, this is the food that sustains Buckle, but he’s so small. He’s like a child. Buckle thinks he’s normal, not an unusual size compared to the Platypeople he grew up with.

GM note: Sugar’s Crossing was created and fleshed out in the Fairmeadow Fair campaign, and added to Chasing The Sunset later. When Sugar’s Crossing was made, Stella’s quest to find Halfling refugees from the Giant War had not yet been invented, so Sugar’s Crossing was a town full of Halflings, outnumbering all other species. The Halfling player doesn’t just control Stella, the Halfling hero, but Halfling culture and history in general.  I asked Stella’s player: should we change the lore of Sugar’s Crossing, or was Stella wrong about her people? Stella’s player decided that Stella was wrong, and there are large, old, stable populations of Halflings outside her homeland, not just scattered refugees.

The team starts to explore the town and Stella realizes that most people here are Halflings. Many of the buildings–old buildings!– are built at Halfing size, although there are plenty of multi-scale or large-scale buildings to accommodate taller species.  This is no refugee camp.  Halflings have lived on this continent for generations.  Stella thought that all Halflings lived in her homeland across the sea.  She has to sit down. She’s been telling every Halfling she met to go back home. Were they already home? Was she pushing people out of their homes? Buckle tries to comfort her.

Buckle: I learned about giants. You’ll be OK.

They explore the town and find the theater, which has public shows morning and evening about the history of the town. Stella wants to watch the shows. Room and board is easy to come by in Sugar’s Crossing. Large homes for extended families, apartment buildings, and hotels, aren’t very distinct from each other, so the team will be able to find a home with a few extra beds and some seats at a large table for supper.  The Mayor is impatient. If these people won’t help her, she’ll go to the garrison at the bridge. Surely the Dwarven guards there will know their duty and escort her back home.

Stella: Feel free to come back if they think you’re too much of a handful!

Stella watches the morning show about Miller, le Grind, and the star-crossed lovers. She meets a food vendor named Pan at the show & they hit it off. After the show, the Mayor is back. The Dwarven garrison went off-duty and was replaced by a Naga garrison in the time that the Mayor was in the dungeon. The Naga, famous for domineering rudeness, did not react well to Mayor’s orders.

Mayor: You’ll have to take me to Templeton.

Stella: If you are too much trouble, we will throw you back in the river!

Buckle asks Pan if anything exciting happens around here.  Pan says that the most exciting thing is the harvest festival across the river at Fairmeadow, but the missed that by about a month. Oh, there was excitement at the most recent Fairmeadow Fair. A Black Beast threatened the town, but was slain by an invisible gorilla! Buckle wonders how anyone knows about an invisible gorilla. Pan says that this wimpy Elf man survived an attack by the Black Beast and witnessed the gorilla’s attack. That Elf was nothing special, not like the great knight Lucia, hero of many battles! Now that you mention it, there was also a commotion at the le Grind mill, and those thieves that drove a cart right off the docks into the river! Lots of adventures going on recently. Stella asks if the thieves were caught. Pan says they are being held in the garrison here in town. Stella also asks about Lady Evelynn. Pan has no reason to think she’s a troublemaker.

Plan view of the le Grind estate: 3 mills, a museum, mansion, and docks.

Stella and Buckle continue sightseeing by taking the tour at le Grind Mill. Buckle looks at the historical displays and sees a picture of the three mil owners, which confirms that the woman they saw talking to Anton in Lady Evelynn’s estate was indeed Evelynn herself. The tour guide cheerfully explains the mill’s features, and le Grind’s superiority to the other mills in town.

Tour guide:  We treat our workers like family, because 18% of them are!”

Stella asks about the mill’s safety record, and the tour guide only has unsatisfying pre-approved corporate statements.  Stella looks around and sees a false wall section that opens into Mill A, which is being used for real sugar production. She slips through the door and is immediately noticed by a worker.  She uses a bold-faced lie to get in close and bamboozle the worker.

Stella: I was looking for the little Halfling’s room!

She steals a coin purse from the hapless worker, and offers him a Halfling Packed Lunch to not get her in trouble. He ushers her through the secret door, shielding her from the eyes of other workers. She finds Buckle in the gift shop, with a Ring Pop on each of his webbed fingers.

Next they go check out the garrison, base of “those unreasonable snakes.” the Mayor hangs back. Her last experience with the Naga was unpleasant.  The crew looks around. The garrison is a small fortified building that houses the troops that guard the town. Its fortifications look different from fortifications in the real world, since it has to defend against creatures who can fly, teleport, and squeeze through porous surfaces. The dungeon in the basement has windows that are high on the dungeon walls, but just above ground level. The team peers in and sees three captives: a Halfling, a Human, and a Dwarf. These are the bandits that Gleador & Lucia met long ago, and captured in an exciting chase on the docks.

While the team is looking around, trying not to draw the ire of the Naga guards at the main door, four people approach the garrison. Three are nondescript humans in traveling gear, but their leader is an impressive human man in armor. Coils of chain are wrapped from his wrists to his elbows, and as he strides purposefully towards the guard at the entrance of the garrison, the team can hear his followers talking to him.

Follower:  Really? Again?

Paladin: It’s necessary.

The Paladin asks the Naga guards at the door about the garrison. The Naga is as unhelpful and dismissive as possible.

Naga: Clearly it’s a garrison. See all the guards and the big walls?  Yeah, we have prisoners here. Do you think we just let scum walk around? Are you stupid?

The Paladin rears back and punches the Naga in the face! All the Naga guards converge on him. Two of his followers also wade into the melee, but one backs away.

Javelon: Not again. I’m done. I’m out!

The Paladin and his two followers are overcome by the Naga guards and dragged into the garrison.  Buckle and Stella are stunned by the sudden unprovoked aggression.  They follow the follower who abandoned his associates, asking for an explanation. Javelon walks towards the docks and explains. He and the other two humans were in prison in Castellum, as town far to the northeast. They were bandits, the scourge of the area, but had finally been caught. The Paladin ended up in prison alongside them, then broke out and gave them all a chance to follow him.  Better than staying in jail!  They’ve been following him as he travels from town to town. He just really hates jails and gets arrested in every town that he has one so he can break out all the prisoners.

Buckle & Stella let the dangerous criminal board a ferry and sail down the river. They decide to get a room for the night that overlooks the garrison but is on the other side of the river, since they’re sure something exciting will happen during the night.

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They rent rooms at a Halfling hotel. Dinner is included. There’s a big wooden table in the main room and everyone, staff and guests, sits around it and shares food. It’s a big room with 10-foot ceilings, so Pomplamoose can fit, but she sits on the floor.  Halfling style dinners have piles of food dumped directly on the table: chicken legs, ribs, grapes, nuts, and so on.  Each person grabs food with their hands form the main piles and makes a personal pile in front of themself.

After dinner, the team goes to their room and looks out the window, across the bridge at the garrison. It’s a clear night, and they can see the moon and four twinkling lights near it. Those are new and unusual!

Buckle. Maybe those are rogue stars. Whatever happened to Ori?

Stella: That’s unresolved. Maybe these flashing lights are some kind of sky lighthouse.

Buckle: Maybe we’re getting more moons. Maybe those new lights will get bigger over time.

While they discuss cosmology, there’s a whistle from the garrison! Figures on the walls run around. Smoke starts pouring from one corner of the building.  The big wooden doors of the garrison burst off their hinges and fly across the street.  Figures rush out of the garrison and across the bridge.  There’s the paladin, his two followers,and the three prisoners who were locked up there before.  There’s a checkpoint at the far side of the gate, and the Naga guarding it drop barriers across the road. The Paladin hits the barriers with a palm strike and they fly into splinters! He certainly didn’t display this strength when he provoked the Naga into arresting him. That guard would not have a head anymore!  Buckle and Stella rush out of the hotel towards the commotion.  The Paladin doesn’t need any help escaping his pursuers, so Stella & Buckle ignore the band of fugitives and approach the garrison.

Most of the Naga are pursuing the fugitives, but some stayed behind to take care of the garrison building. The front doors are lying on the other side of the road. The hinges are gone. There’s a fire in a back corner of the building. Naga are running back and forth from the river with buckets of water to put out the flame. Buckle opens a hidden path into the garrison but burns his hands in the process. The team is inside the garrison and has a bit of time before the naga return with full buckets. They look around to see what happened. There’s a metal barred door that leads down to the prison cells that is crumpled and shoved aside. Downstairs there are broken manacles on the floor, and the locks of each cell have been wrenched out of the doors. Everything that restrains or blocks people from moving freely has been destroyed with overwhelming force. The Naga return and find strangers inside their formerly secure base! Buckle quickly convinces them that they are there to help, and organizes a more effective bucket brigade that quickly puts out the fire.

After a short time, the pursuing Naga return with no prisoners. The bucket brigade Naga mock them for failing to capture the fugitives, and the pursuing Naga mock the bucket brigade for staying back like cowards.  Stella and Buckle return to their hotel and sleep for the rest of the night.

The next morning, they set off for Templeton to deliver the Mayor back to her people. It’s about a five day journey to the east. Across the river, through grain fields, past Fairmeadow. The road runs just south of a forest for much of the way.  On the second night, they camp near the edge of the forest.  During the night they feel small tremors coming from the forest. They get stronger, then stop.  They hear scratching and rustling about 100 yards away and can see the trees swaying a bit.  None of them see very well in the darkness.  Stella remembers the invisible monster that threatened (or saved?) the Fairmeadow Fair.  The team sets out timidly to look for the source of the rustling. They find a clearing, but can’t see anything in it because of the darkness.  Stella sends Silk up a tree to see if he can see anything from there. They all see another spider on the opposite side of the clear. Buckle thinks it might be a reflection. He steps forward into the clearing and sees another Platyperson opposite him.  His electro-sense does not register this Platyperson as a living being.  He approaches and finds a giant mirror across the entire clearing!  The side facing them is reflective, and the other side is a metal framework. The ground around it indicates that this huge object fell out of the sky. They notice that the four twinkling lights near the moon are gone.

Buckle: Apparently the sky is falling.

On the fourth day, a crowd of people traveling the opposite direction on the road rush upon the group.

Mob: Where did they go? Where are the prisoners?

Buckle: With the Paladin?

Stella: Do you work for him?

The mob are actually opposed to the Paladin and have been pursuing him for some time.  Team team tell them that he has a week’s head start on them, and he was last seen in Sugar’s Crossing, thataway. The mob runs on.

So ends the long journey from Sugar’s Crossing to Templeton.  A volcano looms in the distance and the Mayor excitedly says that this is her city! Next time, the team will enter the city.

End of session move. The team earns 3 boons: heal, heal, gear.

GM note: The team watched a lot of events happen this session. I’d prefer them to be more active. They had quests to do: getting Pomplamoose and the Mayor home, so one way to look at it is I threw more plot hooks then they can deal with, and they prioritized.