Chasing The Sunset & Dung Beetles

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

The party: Buckle the Beast/Apex, Stella the Halfling/Pack Leader

Last time, Buckle & Stella “saved” Templeton by returning the rightful Mayor (annoying as she is) to her seat of power and capturing the shape-shifting impostor in her place. For this, the Mayor grants them the Fellowship of Templeton, and offers several boons.  They choose to learn the location of a Source of Power, a legendary artifact of potentially earth-shaking power. They also get a room in a nice hotel in the tourist district to rest up for a week.

While they recover their health & gear, Buckle is excited to play tourist. He buys a fake hard hat with a plushie light on top. He’s a cute platypus wearing a cute hat with ear flaps.  Pomplamoose doesn’t want to wait a week to return home. Her home is just a little further to the east, so she announces that she’s heading out.  Stella and Buckle need the rest, so they don’t go with her.  Buckle is heartsick, but tries to hide it. Pomplamoose pats him on the head as she leaves.

After a week, Stella, Buckle, and their permanent companions: Silk, Gus, Rose, and Ugg head south towards the Oolite Mine, rumored site of a Source of Power.

GM note: The Oolite mine first affected this world before this world existed, back in the Fairmeadow Fair campaign. Despite searching for it for a long time, and even learning its location, the players in Feairmeadow Fair never visited it.

As the party walks down dusty paths between rolling hills, a giant spider suddenly appears. It’s about the size of Silk, a riding spider for Halflings.  It’s interested in Gus, who had a bad experience with spiders in the past. It took him a long time to trust Silk, and he doesn’t trust this spider. He runs in circles until Stella slaps him! She sends Silk to talk to his fellow spider.  Silk and the wild spider mirror each other in a dance with their many legs. This spider isn’t hostile, just curious.  It approaches Gus in a gesture of goodwill, then steals a snack from his pack and runs away.

Later, the party walks under the edge of a rock face and boulders start falling from the cliff above!  The party runs from the rolling boulders, and Buckle falls into a hole in the ground! There are lots of holes, and the remaining party members have to dodge the holes while outrunning the boulders!  Down in the hole, Buckle is surrounded by darkness. The ground he landed on wasn’t as hard as he expected.  His electro-sense detects someone down here with him! He calls out, and the creatures show themselves. Giant Dung Beetles!  Each Dung Beetle is the size of a hatchback car.  Buckle says he’s lost and confused, and they’re happy to explain. They collect the boulders for their young. The boulders are too big to fit down their tunnels, which is why one hasn’t landed on Buckle’s head. He asks the Dung Beetles to help his climb out of the tunnels and to assist his friends being chased by the boulders. They agree, but he must do something for them as well.  The Dung Beetles grow nutritious mushrooms in certain caverns, but some of those caverns have collapsed. Buckle is small enough to fit inside and retrieve the food. Buckle agrees to help.

Back on the surface. Buckle rises out of a hole in front of his teammates. He keeps rising, and the Dung Beetle he’s standing on also emerges from the tunnel. Other Dung Beetles emerge from other holes and stop the rolling boulders.  Stella and the companions can’t understand the Dung Beetles’ speech, but Buckle explains the situation. They all go into the tunnels to the stricken mushroom cavern.

A side view of a cavern blocked off form a natural tunnel by a fallen rock. On the far side, a perfect square tunnel connects to the cavern. The cavern's floor is covered in purple mushrooms.
The mushroom cavern where the Dung Beetles grow food for their young

A large boulder has fallen through the Dung Beetle’s tunnel, mostly blocking the entrance to the Mushroom Cavern. There is a tiny gap on one side: tiny for a car-sized Dung Beetle. Buckle is able to shimmy through without a problem. Inside, he finds the whole caverns has shifted. The ‘floor’ on which the mushrooms grow used to be horizontal, but now tilts sharply. There’s a square hole in the far side of the cavern that glows with an orange light.  Buckle cautious sneaks down the perfect square tunnel to investigate. The tunnel is six feet on a side, too small for the Dung Beetles, and too precise for their methods too. Buckle approaches a junction with another tunnel and carefully peers around the corner. A ways down the next tunnel are three metal statues, carved to look like Dwarves. These statues move on their own! They are pulling ore out of the tunnel walls and and putting it in hoppers on their backs, carved to look like backpacks. This is a mine operated by robots!

Buckle puts his weight on the wrong bit of stone and it collapses, making a loud noise.  The robots’ head quickly swivel towards the source of the noise, and one rings a bell. Another statue approaches. This one is also shaped like a Dwarf, but it carried a large shield, carved out of one giant crystal. As it approaches, a glittering aura appears on each statue within a certain distance. These four robots are advancing on Buckle’s position.  Buckle flees back through the mushroom cavern and pushes through the gap in the giant boulder. It shifts again, and Buckle slides out just in time!  He tells the party and the Dung Beetles about being chased by metal statues.

Stella: Buckle, are you sure you’re OK?

Buckle: I did get hit in the head, but I’m pretty sure it was all real.

Stella pats Buckle on the head.

These mining robots might be connected to the Oolite mine. The party investigates above ground. The terrain is pretty barren: low gravelly hills one after the other. As they crest one hill, the next hill is gone! There’s a hole where the hills should be: a strip mine.

top view of the Oolite mine. A shallow funnel with three spiraling paths leading to a flat bottom. Entrances to mine tunnels along each of the three paths.

The mine is shaped like a shallow funnel with a flat bottom. Three paths spiral down the sides fo the funnel, with square tunnel entrances along their length. Dwarf statues bustle about, moving ore.

Buckle: See?

Stella is embarrassed.  They observe the robots for a while. Most look like miners, but there are a few holding big crystal shields. The shield-bearers provide a glittering aura to nearby robots, but they themselves do not have the aura.  Buckle looks around for a boss or foreman. When one emerges, Buckle wishes he hadn’t seen it! This used to be a mining robot, or maybe several. Now it’s much bigger, stretched out, with parts of other robots bolted to it. Its chest bulges and its whole body glows with heat. Surely that is the Source of Power!

Buckle: It’s bulging. Will it lay eggs?

Stella: Do Dwarves lay eggs?

Buckle: Doesn’t everyone lay eggs?

Stella: Square holes. Anything is possible.

The robots don’t speak, but they are clearly responding to motions from the King Robot. It spots them and sends a group of 50 worker Robots and several Shield Robots after them! They retreat, and the Robots do not pursue past a certain point. They have well-defined territory. Buckle jumps down a Dung Beetle hole. The Dung Beetles are surprised to see him back so soon. He asks some questions about the situation. The Dung Beetles don’t know much about the King Robot, but it’s scary. For all they know, it wants to dig down and flood the world with fire. The Dung Beetles want to secure their mushrooms for their young, but are evasive about the benefits of the mushrooms and where they keep their young. The Dung Beetles want Buckle and friends to secure the mushroom caverns from these invading Robots. Buckle asks for the Dung Beetles’ assistance. These Robots are a threat to their young, so it’s in their best interest to fight them. If the Robots are driven out, the Dung Beetles can use the mine tunnels to access the mushroom caverns instead of the collapsed tunnel.  The Dung Beetles are fired up by this speech, but Buckle and friends have to help too. The Dung Beetles will roll boulders down on the Robots, but the party must be the vanguard and ensure the Dung Beetles’ safety.

Buckle rises from the tunnel entrance on the back of Dung Beetle, as other Dung Beetles emerge from holes all around Stella and the companions.

Buckle: I’m raising an army!

Together they form a War Council and plan their assault on the Robot mine.

GM note: End of Session move. Heal, Heal, Level up.

Chasing The Sunset & Shape-Shifter

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

The party: Buckle the Beast, Stella the Halfling

Finally, the city of Templeton is in sight: a cinder cone volcano rising high above the low hills of the surrounding countryside.  Returning the Mayor to her city will make her someone else’s problem. The Mayor is delighted to return to her city and get the respect and treatment she deserves after the indignity of captivity in Lady Evelynn’s dungeon, and the sass Stella has been giving her.

A map of the city of Templeton, built into a cinder cone volcano.

As they approach the entrance of the city, the Mayor runs up to the two guards, expecting a hero’s welcome.  Instead, they look surprised, even scared, and demand the password.  The Mayor doesn’t know what they are talking about. She’s the mayor who has been missing for so long. Everyone should be thrilled by her return.  The guards exchange worried glances. This is exactly what they worried would happen. One runs to get help while the other keeps an eye on the Mayor.  Buckle wonders at this strange behavior.

Buckle: We’re trying to be rid of her.

The Mayor realizes what’s happening. Shortly before she was kidnapped, an unstoppable shape-shifting creature was released from a secure faciilty. No doubt it has impersonated her in her absence!  The Mayor and the remaining guard accuse each other of being the creature.  Buckle asks how to tell if someone is really the shape-shifter, but the guard won’t reveal state secrets.  As Buckle argues with the guard, an Orc woman who was definitely not there a moment ago suddenly has the Mayor in her clutches!  Stella leaps towards Buckle and shrinks to the size of an apple. Buckle catches her and hurls her at the mysterious assailant. Stella enlarges in mid-air and tackles the Orc off of the Mayor.  The Orc is knocked to the ground, but flings a throwing knife at the Mayor. The knife only grazes her, but the Mayor howls and cries as blood flows from the wound. Seeing this, both the guard and Beth (the Orc commando) rush to assist her. They’re sure this is the real mayor.  Buckle tail-slaps Beth as she rushes past him, knocking her out.  The guard helps the Mayor up, but if the Mayor is here, just returned from a long absence, who has been in the mayor’s office all this time?

Buckle, Stella, their companions, Pomplamoose (the giant albino Platyperson), the Mayor, the guard (his name is Alebringer), and the unconscious Beth all seek medical attention.  Since official channels seem to be compromised, Alebringer leads them to the medical school at Fortinbras Collage Of Mines. He brings them to Doctor Regina Strongarm and tells her to keep their visit hush-hush. Dr. Strongarm will see to the Mayor personally and won’t tell her students.

Stella and Buckle ask Alebringer what’s gong on. There have been strange murders in town, and the Mayor (apparently an impostor) blamed it on the shape-shifter and has all the town officials paranoid and suspicious.  Alebringer recommends they leave town. It’s dangerous. No one can be trusted. As far as Alebringer knows, stabbing people isn’t official policy, but Beth is pretty high-up in the org chart. Maybe she has access to policies that Alebringer does not. Stella and Buckle want to stay and figure this out. Buckle appeals to Alebringer.

Buckle: We took a lot of effort getting the Mayor here. Let us help you. Trust us, because we didn’t know about the impostor. We can hold our own.

Stella snickers at that last part.  Alebringer is convinced.  Stoutarm reports that the Mayor will be fine with just a bandage, but Beth needs to stay overnight. They really did a number on her!

Buckle: Are there more commandos like her?

Alebringer: Yes. They will be on high alert since Beth didn’t report back.

Alebringer wants to bring the Mayor to City Hall, but Buckle recommends tact. They don’t know who they would be delivering the Mayor to.  Alebringer, Stella, and Rose head for City Hall with the news, while Buckle and the others will stay at the hospital with the Mayor. Alebringer & Stella can also find the rest of the comandos.  Stella and Buckle arrange a secret password to confirm their identities.

GM note: The players kept the password a secret from me.

As Alebringer and Stella walk through the spiraling city streets, Gimel, a Human woman in the same black armor as Beth, appears from a shadow and demands to know what’s happened to Beth. Alebringer reports that Beth is in the hospital, and the real Mayor has returned! Gimel thanks them and rushes off.

Back at the hospital, a med student enters with a tray of snacks for the Mayor, but she drops the tray, jams her hands into her own chest, and pulls out knives! She’s attacking the Mayor! Buckle tries to interpose, but the assailant slips past him and stabs the Mayor.  Buckle tells Ugg to grab the assailant. Buckle giant metal exo-skeletal hands close around the assailant’s body, squeeze, and go right through! The assailant’s body squishes through his fingers like clay! Clearly this is the shape-shifter, and it can’t be grabbed or held.  Buckle looks around the room for specimen jars.

Buckle: We need to can this thing!

Pomplamoose and Buckle each grab a specimen jar and charge at the shape-shifting assassin. Buckle scoops a chunk out of the assassin and slams the lid on the jar.

Assassin: I’m not going back in a box!

The assassin tries to smash Buckle’s specimen jar.  Buckle throws the jar to Ugg, who isn’t expecting it.  Slow-motion reaction shot of Ugg as the jar flies past and he dives to catch it.  The assassin gives up on imitating humanoid form and pours towards the Mayor, all knives and pulsing flesh.  Silk zooms in and Buckle leaps aboard as they race the assassin. They arrive at the same time! Buckle scoops up the Mayor and takes the Assassin’s blow in her place.  Silk runs away with Buckle and the Mayor on its back and the Assassin pursues. Silk passes Pomplamoose & Buckle swaps the Mayor for Pomplamoose’s specimen jar. he turns around on Silk’s back and leaps off, straight at the Assassin, forcing it into the specimen jar! The Assassin is now contained in two separate jars, and the fight is over.

As Alebringer and Stella walk through the spiraling city streets, Gimel, a Human woman in the same black armor as Beth, appears from a shadow and demands to know what’s happened to Beth.

Stella: She’s with the Mayor. How many of you are there?

Alebringer: We already talked to you.

Gimel realizes that the Shapeshifter impersonated her and got information from these credulous chumps.

Gimel: Which way did I go?

Gimel, Alebringer, and Stella all rush towards the hospital.  Stella outruns Gimel and reunites with Buckle.

Stella: Isn’t Lady Evelynn so nice?

Buckle: She casts a long shadow.

Stella explains that they met the same person twice, and that Alebringer told one of them where the Mayor was, so the shapeshifter may try to attack. Buckle points to the specimen jars full of shape-shifting assassin.  Gimel arrives to take control of the situation. Ugg tries to grab her to make sure she’s not squishy and she judo throws him across the room.  She wants to take the assassin back to its secure facility. The party says that facility is clearly not secure enough. They want to inspect and evaluate the facility. Dr Strongarm arrives to make sure everyone is OK, and the Mayor recovers from her panic.  Despite the facility being top secret, the party convinces the Mayor and her commandos to let them inspect it and maybe suggest some improvements, so this shape-shifter doesn’t get out again. They are taken to a sub-basement in a science lab in the Fortinbras School of Mines,

Science building, lower storey

The door to the room has an impressive lock. One half of the room looks like a normal lab, with a table and chairs, but there’s a metal band separating the two halves of the room, and the other half is smooth, bare, and seamless. the metal band is the border of a Wall of Force, and the specimen jars are placed in the seamless section, behind the Wall of Force. The controls for the door lock and the Wall of Force are inaccessible from inside the Wall of Force, so the Dwarves don’t know how the shape-shifter managed to disable both of them. Buckle and Stella examine the room and find a big air vent under the table. People could use this vent to enter or exit the room. They recommend putting another Wall of Force across this vent, with a password that allows air to pass through.  The scientists will get on that right away.

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.