Chasing The Sunset & renovations

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

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

Last time, the Fellowship explored the tower of the wizard Allan A Zham, who recently left Thaumatown to rule itself, and discovered that Allan a Zham is actually dead!

The Fellowship considers the impact to the town from revealing this news. The town seems to be doing OK with their new self-government. Vestri suggests telling the authorities privately.

Edna: Is this a common thing, that y’all find remains that y’all gotta lay to rest? This seems to happen a lot.

Yuri: It does. It does. We have very morbid luck.

Vestri: I think he should be laid to rest, but Humans have very specific rituals. We just put people back in the stone. We should tell someone, specifically the person who takes care of the dead.

They’ve seen all there is to see in the Wizard’s tower, so it’s time to leave. Edna prepares to jump from the balcony into the crowded streets, because she can’t fit in the tower’s stairs.

Edna: Look out below!

Edna Mighty Leap: jump to anywhere you can see

Edna Overcome 10+

The crowd scatters and Enda lands on pavement, not people. A passing businessman barely breaks stride as Enda lands in front of him and scoffs as he passes.

Edna: Oh, you seem unafraid of death, good sir. Are you, perchance, the one who handles the dead in this town?

Businessman: Nah. I work 80 hours a week. I don’t care if I live or die. I have a meeting to get to. Get out of my way.

He walks between Edna’s legs and continues on his way. Vestri slowly takes the stairs, and Yuri prepares to jump down with his newly-learned leaping powers.

Yuri: Can you catch me? I am about to jump down.

Yuri Mighty Leap: jump to anywhere you can see

Edna Overcome 7-9 temporary solution

Edna bobbles the catch and Yuri is bounced around above the crowd!

Yuri: Like Daniel Craig Bond movie with parkour, I will do tucks and rolls!

Yuri Overcome 6-

Yuri fall onto a Spider carrying a package in each of his six arms. The packages are scattered across the street.

  • Ruby, he/him, Spider.  He can connect you to people who have what you need. He can mediate games of chance, auction proceedings, and bargaining tables equally.
    • Third Party: Ruby likes to stay neutral in his dealings, and avoids causing harm to anyone he deals with. He likes to keep things fair. You can always trust a dealer to do whatever hurts everyone else the least.
    • Five Aces: This stat is Secret. The entirety of Third Party is a lie, and Ruby will help whoever gives him the biggest cut. The person with the best offer for Ruby is their Patron. Ruby can cheat once per deal, tilting things either in his favor or in the favor of his current Patron. He has no desire to keep things fair, only to keep the appearance of being fair, and will justify any abnormality by citing the various rules and practices of their dealing.
    • Wall Walker: Ruby can walk across any solid surface with ease, no
      matter the surface’s orientation. He can also spin webs to cross gaps or
      create bridges or build homes.

Yuri damages Ruby’s Wall Walker

Yuri: How are you sir? I am so sorry I am falling from the sky and hitting you.

Ruby scoops up the packages within arm’s reach, and tries to shoot webs to retrieve packages further away, but his spinnerets don’t work.

Ruby: Ah, no. Don’t mess with my packages. Ow! You really messed me up.

Yuri: I am a doctor. I am not 100% on my non-Human anatomy, but I think I can help. Do you mind if I take a look.

Ruby: How much is this going to cost me?

Yuri: I hit you from the sky. I feel bad. I will do it pro bono.

Ruby extends a non-injured hand to shake on the deal. Yuri is interested to learn about Spider anatomy. Yuri chats with Ruby while examines his wounds.

Yuri Speak Softly 10+ ask three questions

  • What can he tell us about his species’ physiology?
    • Spiders have a jointed exoskeleton. Two of their limbs are legs and the rest are arms. They stand upright like humans. An electrical field surrounds them, not strong enough to be harmful to others. It looks like a plasma globe all over his exoskeleton that arcs harmless to Yuri’s hands and tools. It’s a non-visual sense that’s especially good at sensing other Spiders.
  • What should I be wary of when dealing with him?
    • Ruby says all the right things about being a fair dealer, but he’s trying too hard to be seen as trustworthy.
  • How could I help him get healed?
    • Ruby’s exoskeleton will support a lot of weight, but is weak to folding. Breaking an arm is more serious for Spiders than for Humans. Yuri’s medkit will be effective.

Yuri spends Medkit to heal Ruby’s Wall Walker

Yuri: I see that you are a man–or Spider–who has connections, and I have two possible business propositions for you in a very vague way.  Have you seen anything related to this?

Yuri points at Vestri.

Ruby: I’ve seen Dwarves. I see lots of Dwarves.

Vestri reveals his jeweled dagger.

Vestri: Have you seen something exactly–almost exactly like this? Or do you know someone who specializes in such objects?

Ruby: I can’t say I have that in inventory, but I’m very good at finding things. I could go through channels to acquire it for you, but I’d need some money upfront, because this take significant effort to find this very specific item.

Vestri: Hmm, I don’t have coin for that right now, but I could pay for info about someone to talk to, so you don’t have to go through all that work.

Ruby: There’s no one better in town for getting rare items. You see the docks are a mess right now, delays! I can get through all that ineffeciency. What was the other item?

Yuri: This is more vague. No specific item. We were wondering if you have any knowledge or items that have to do with the Remnant?

Ruby: Yes, I do have a Remnant contact. Will any Remnant artifact do?

Yuri: The person that you know who is steeped in Remnant culture. They would be an excellent resource for me.

Ruby: Setting up a meeting for cultural exchange. Yes, very good!

Ruby wants a Precious item to set up the meeting. Yuri wonders if maybe he can do some work that is not illegal as payment.

Edna; Is this important for you, Yuri?

Yuri: This is how I believe I will be getting home, or stop the ending of this world.

Edna takes out her earrings (brooches for Human-sized creatures that she re-purposed) and gives them to Ruby as payment.

Yuri: That is incredible kindness. I feel like i should give you something.

Edna: I do love gifts!

Yuri: I know you like to Protect The Little Ones, and I have a little one. Would you like to have shared custody of Steven with me?

Edna: Wow, shared custody! That’s a big commitment!

Yuri: He is of sound mind and very independent. He just needs cuddles from time to time.

Edna: I am always up for cuddles.

Ruby accepts the jewelry and tells Yuri to meet him at a certain place after dark. Yuri worries that this contact is another Vampire, like O’Later in Port Fennrick. The Fellowship returns the to matter of Allan a Zham’s remains. How does this town deal with the dead? A morgue, Necromancers, a House Of The Dead? They start heading for the Civic Center in the middle of town, when suddenly…

Collateral Damage increases Thaumatown’s Response Level

Thaumatown gains Sheriff: someone will try to arrest a member of the Fellowship

  • Cowboy Sheriff: Lawman specialized in capturing outlaws and gun fighting.
    • Lasso: The cowboy can wield rope in unusual ways. They’re able to grab foes from a short distance away, tying them up to pull off of their mounts, or keeping them still for easy target practice.
    • Quick Draw: The cowboy has a six shooter (Ranged, Piercing, Reload). They always win in a contest of sharpshooting.
    • Rodeo: The cowboy can ride any animal big enough to hold it, and tame it for riding within a minute.

Sheriiff: Halt! Where do you think you’re going? And you, lady! Watch where you’re stepping. I heard somebody calling out about a dead Wizard. Is that you?

Edna: No, sir! I ain’t a dead Wizard. I’m quite alive. I don’t know any magic.

Sheriff: Yelling about dead Wizards could start a panic. We look up to Wizards in this here town. One was guarding us and only just decided we were ready to live on our own. We venerate Wizards around here. Are you going to tell me what’s going on?

Yuri: There’s a dead Wizard in the tower. Of at least a dead body. Maybe dead Wizard’s servant? An acolyte?

Sheriff: You’re coming with me and you’re going to show me!

The Fellowship takes the Sheriff back to the Wizard’s tower. Vestri leads the Sheriff up the stairs while Edna and Yuri jump to the balcony. The Sheriff bursts into tears at the sight of the bones in Allan a Zham’s distinctive robes.

Sheriff: But how? He showed himself to everyone! He told us he was leaving.

Yuri: He is a Wizard. He has magic. Or another Wizard also had magic.

Edna: It seems like you need to make a lot of arrangements to deal with this unfortunate circumstance, so we could just get out of you way, so you can hadle that.

Edna Talk Sense (+Wisdom, +hope from Yuri’s assistance) 7-9 owe a favor

Sheriff: Oh, I owe you an apology for stirring up trouble. You were just trying share the truth with me *sob* I gotta get all the town’s government in on this, Since you’re much faster than I, you gotta make your way to the clock tower and ring it out for all to hear. You gotta ring the bell four times. They’ll know what it means. A ring, a ring, a ring, wait, one, two, three, and then a ring! You got that?

Yuri: Fourth ring on four.

Edna: Ring, ring, ring. One, two, three. Then one, two, three, and then ring.

Sheriff: No you only do “one, two, three” once.

Edna: OK, so you ring one, two, three, and then you ring again.

Sheriff: No, it’s ring, ring, ring, one, two, three, and ring. I hope you got it, because if you do it wrong it’ll mean something totally different!

Edna Mighty Leap: jump to anywhere you can see

Edna leaps to the roof of the Civic Center.

Thaumatown's Clock Tower. A haxagonal tower with a catwalk spiraling up to six clock faces.
Thaumatown’s Clock Tower

She climbs the tower like King Kong and grabs the minute hand on the clock. She moves it back and forth past 12 to make the bell ring. Ring! Ring! Ring! . . . . . . Ring! The new goverment knows the code, but not the general public. Unknown to the Fellowship, Redstone hears this signal, but he’s a ways out of town and will take a while to return. Edna climbs down the tower and dangles her feet off the roof of the Civic Center, waiting for her friends to catch up with her. Once the Fellowship is reuinited, their next task is to meet Ruby’s contact at night.

Ruby meets the Fellowship in a dark alley after dark. Edna stands at the corner and leans in. Ruby appears to be alone.  His Remnant expert is nowhere to be seen. As a passer-by walks past the mouth of the alley, the shadow in the alley reaches out and engulfs them! The shadow-covered figure stops, jerks around, and walks shakily over to the Fellowship.

  • Lingering Shadow: A place where darkness rests, no matter how bright the light around it may become. Exposing the lingering shadow to bright intense light or fire destroys it, removing this threat.
    • Shadow Trap: This threat is Secret. When someone enters the shadow or steps too close to it, they are pulled in, then damage this stat.
    • Armor of Darkness: Anyone pulled into the shadows becomes engulfed by them. When they step out, the darkness is controlling them, acting as both armor and puppeteer. They become a Shadow Warrior until the armor is removed from them.

Shadow: Whaaaat is your business with the Remnant?

Yuri: Do you know Remnant language. If it was written down, would you be able to read it?

The Shadow nods and says a few incomprehensible words as evidence.

Shadow: Of course I speak the old tongue.

Yuri offers the Shadow the book he found in Allan A Zham’s study. Edna squints and wonders if her servant Viktor should fetch a lantern to make reading easier. The Shadow hisses in displeasure.

Yuri:  You are an actual Remnant! How? Not to be distracting from my own point, but I am so intrigued by your physiology! You used to be a person and are now a living shadow. How did that come to be?

Shadow: Thissss one makes mmmany demands.

Yuri: I don’t mean to be offensive. Feel free to ignore my words. You seem very nice.

Shadow is pleased to find someone interested in Remnants, since they are mostly forgotten. The book contains recipes of various remedies, but mostly for Dragons, not Humans.

Yuri: What if your culture could be celebrated again?

Shadow: Pleasing, but unnnnlikely.

Yuri: There is a cataclysm that is going to happen–I am sure of it–I’ve seen visions from a magical item. Your people are speaking to me through this sword. I believe that the Remnants, through me and the sword and this book, can end the cataclysm and so bring back the world’s knowledge of your culture.

Shadow: I would do thisssssss, but I am restricted to the sssshadows. I cannot leave this town or trrrravel in daylight.

Yuri wonders about how to transport the Shadow. In a light-proof box? Can the Shadow shrink to any size? Does it need a body to interact with the world? There is the dead Wizard up in the tower.

Ruby: I could get you a high-quality light-proof box so you can transport Shadow in the sunlight. No leaks, guaranteed! It will cost you.

Yuri: I have excellent knowledge–intel if you will–on several hoards of very expensive and uncommon items.

Knowledge and uncommon items are Ruby’s favorite things! Ruby accepts the trade. Yuri draws a map of the contraband warehouse in Port Fennrick. Ruby scuttles over the roof and returns a few minutes later with the box. The Shadow flows from the person into the box.

Passer-by: That is the worst thing that has ever happened to me!

Yuri forms a Bond with Heath.

He flees.  The Shadow, whose name is Heath, remembers a library inside a volcano to the south that could have more information about Yuri’s quest. Two volcanoes are visible from Thaumatown, just across the river. Edna offers to throw everyone across the river.

Vestri: I’ll agree to be thrown only if Gurtin is carried!

Yuri Mighty Leap: Jump to anywhere you can see

Edna Toss Aside Ol’ Jardinier, Viktor, Vestri, and Hundrin

GM note: the consequences for “Toss Aside” on a 6- are: the thrown person can decide where and how to land. If Edna throws a friend, she and they agree on where and how to land, so I don’t see any bad outcomes from throwing a friend. Edna’s player didn’t even roll.

Edna Uncontrollable Strength: life Gurtin the Drill Tank

Edna Mighty Leap: Jump to anywhere you can see

There are two volcanoes here. The eastern one smokes, and the western one does not.  On the plain between them, a ramp leads down into the earth. There’s a sign over the entrance that says “COME TO SWALLET AND” but the bottom half has been broken off. Yuri doesn’t think the Hidden Library would be in a city. He looks for roads, but there are none. There’s not even a road leading from the underground ramp. It reaches the surface and just stops.

Yuri: Do you, sir, have any idea which of the volcanoes has the library?

Heath: Nnnever been there myself. Nnnnever heard of Swallet.

Yuri: OK, thanks. Are you comfortable in there?

Heath: Darkness comforts me.

Yuri:  Very nice. Do you require treats?

Heath: I no longer eat … or breathe … or sleeeeep.

Yuri: I will find something to put in your box that is also dark and slightly malicious in nature.

The Fellowship heads down into Swallet to ask for directions. The ramp is plenty big enough to accomodate Edna.

A map of the Goblin city of Swallet. The city is at the bottom of an underground carvern. On the eastern wall, a waterfall falls into lake with a park around it. In the middle of town, a big ramp leads down from the surface to a building at the south edge of town, with big signs advertising Fafnir's Fight Club and urging all comers to challenge the dragon. At the west wall of the cavern is a large building with lots of pipes coming out of it. Some kind of industrial facility.
A map of Swallet

Swallet is a bustling steampunk city built in an underground chamber. The ground the Fellowship was walking on is an artifical ceiling. The inhabitants here are mostly Goblins. The building at the bottom of the ramp is a burned-out shell.  The strange group of outsiders immediately draw attention.

Goblin:  There’s nothing for you fighters here. Fight Club is over, Just go away.

Yuri: Not interested in fighting. Interested in libraries. Is this where the library is?

Goblin: You should leave. We’ve had enough of outsiders coming in and trying to fix things. There was a fire. Trash service was down for weeks. A Dragon beat up City Hall.

Yuri: Dragon?

Goblin: She’s gone, thankfully. Most of the other troublesome outsiders are too.

Yuri: I’m very interested in Dragons. Did they leave any artifacts? Think of us as a Dragon clean-up crew.

Goblin: Oh, no! None of that! We’ve had people devoted to Dragons before! Look what happened. *points at burned building*

Yuri: We are not devoted to Dragons, just to cleaning. Oh, that’s not realistic. What did this Dragon look like?

Heath was, in fact, devoted to serving Dragons before his untimely death, so there’s a displeased rattling from his box.

Goblin: I didn’t see it myself, but my buddy saw it. He says it was 40 feet long, metal scales, big spikes. Very scary.

Yuri: Maybe it was a machine?

Goblin: We Goblins know machines. It was not a machine!

Yuri wonders how to get to the other volcano, since the library is not here. He remembers Gurtin, a Drill Tank specialized in digging through rock and earth.

Yuri: Do you mind if we dig–no structural damage–just bore a hole straight…

Goblin: Troublemaking outsiders! I’d better get Nub-Nub!

She runs off, with the Fellowship half-heartedly following trying to be friendly. They let her go, then wonder if they should even be in this town. Maybe they should climb the volcanoes. Why doesn’t anyone remember the library? Edna is disappointed that she missed Fight Club.

  • Nub-Nub, she/her Goblin wearing a Powersuit: This mechanized suit is more  vehicle than armor. Anyone wearing it is significantly more dangerous than they would otherwise be.
    • Powered Movement: The powersuit has rocket-powered boosters, and can leap to anywhere its wearer can see.
    • Rocket Fist: The powersuit is Melee, Ranged, and Piercing.
    • Heavy Armor: The first time the powersuit or the person wearing it would
      be damaged or destroyed, damage this stat instead.
    • Threat to the World

Nub-Nub leaps over a building and lands next to the Fellowship. Her seven-foot-tall Powersuit lets her tower over Goblins and most of the Fellowship.

Nub-Nub: Halt, outsiders! We’ve had enough disruption to our town. You should leave!

Vestri: I’m very good at fixing structural damage, ma’am!

Nub-Nub: No way! The last adventurous outsiders who promised to keep the town safe set half of it on fire. Anything you do on the surface, I don’t care. Just get out.

Yuri: Did you make that power armor?

Nub-Nub: Yes, do you want a demonstration?

Edna: If you try to hurt him, I’ll pry you out of that tin can and show you what hurting people means.

Insulting Someone In Charge raises Swallets Response Level

Edna Talk Sense (+Wisdom, emotions) 7-9 owe Nub-Nub a favor

Nub-Nub is willing to not attack Yuri if the Fellowship leaves immediately, which is agreeable. Edna walks up the ramp backwards, staring at Nub-Nub.

Back on the surface, the Fellowship discusses which volcano to drill through, and where, and what earth-moving equipment and skills they have. Edna suggests going to the top and looking down the big hole in each mountain to see what’s inside. The Goblins didn’t say which mountain their secret town was under.

Vestri: Let’s go the one that’s smoking the least.

Edna Mighty Leap: Jump to anywhere you can see

Edna leaps to the rim of the eastern volcano and looks around.

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

Edna damages Sense

Edna teeters on the edge of the caldera,then falls in! A few seconds later, the rest of the Fellowship, thousands of feet down the slope, hear a loud, low-frequency ringing, like the biggest gong in the world. Yuri jumps up to investigate

Vestri: Wait, don’t leave– Well, Hundrin, they’re gone agian.

Yuri Mighty Leap: Jump to anywhere you can see

Yuri looks down inside the caldera. The walls drop almost vertically quite a ways, but there’s a plug at the bottom. Edna fell on that, not into magma.

Edna: There’s a perfectly spherical ceramic shell down here. It’s not rock. Also there are stairs. Maybe I should have taken the stairs.

Indeed, two spiral staircases twist down opposite sides of the caldera. One staircase is broken near the top, requiring a scary jump, but the other is intact.  There’s a chunk missing from the rim of the caldera as well. Yuri motions to Vestri, then walks down the intact staircase. The ceramic shell is covered by a layer of debris that fell over the years. Edna’s impact knocked the debris aside, revealing the smooth white shell, but elsewhere, a casual glance might not notice the regular shape under the pebbles and scrubby plants.

Yuri Look Closely 10+ ask three questions

  • Is something hidden or out of place?
    • There’s a crack in the ceramic shell (not where Edna fell) big enough for a human to slip through. It’s definitely too small for Edna. There’s a faint glow inside the crack.
  • Tell me about the architecture inside the caldera. How could it hurt or help me?
    • The shell is the result of a powerful magic spell. It wasn’t built or carved, like the two staircases, it was conjured into existence.
  • Tell me about the crack. How could it hurt or help me?
    • The library is inside the shell, and the crack is how to access it. Yuri approaches the crack and hears a ghostly voice: “Dooooo not reshelve boooooks!”

Yuri considers ways to enlarge the hole so Edna can fit into the library, but Edna wants to make a good impression by not opening with property damage. Yuri will go inside and see what’s up, while Edna waits at the rim for the Dwarves.

Edna Mighty Leap: Jump to anywhere you can see

Yuri slips through the crack and finds an unpleasant and creepy library.  Rows of shelves hold hundreds of books. Books are piled up in some areas. There are tables for reading, and everything is lit by unnatrual blue torches. A large desk in the back is clearly the librarian’s desk, and at the desk hovers the ghostly librarian! She’s a classic sheet ghost, with glasses floating in front of the eye holes.

Librarian: Welcome to the Library. Do you have a library card?

Yuri: Does it cost anything to sign up? I am a recent resident.

Since it’s dark inside, Yuri opens the box and releases Heath.

Librarian: Ah, Lingering Shadows. We have several specimens in the back. Do you wish to add to our collection of knowledge of creatures of darkness?

The Librarian actually hasn’t issued any library cards in a long time. She floats into the back section, past a sign that says “STAFF ONLY”. Papers and booklets hover around her and she tries to figure out what to do with Yuri.

Librarian: The Library’s reopening was recent and unexpected. The bylaws have not been updated. It’s says here you must demonstrate fealty to the ruler of the Forgotten Lands to get a library card.

Yuri: The Forgotten Lands, those are of the Remnant?

The Librarian is unfamiliar with the term “Remnant”. The Forgotten Lands are across the sea.  Their plan to remove themselves from the entanglements of the wider world must have been successful, since they are unknown.

Yuri: I am a champion of all lands because there is a cataclysm and I am going to stop it. I am championing not-death for everyone, including the Forgotten Lands.

Librarian: The last Champion who came here tried to take the knowledge of this Library to become a cataclysm.

Yuri: I would like to leave everyone alive, and also go home, so I have no reason to cataclysm.

Librarian: Life and home: two desires no longer available to me.

Anyone can use the reference section under the supervision of a librarian, so Yuri picks out a table and the Librarian collects some books.

Outside, Vestri and the Companions walk up the mountain to join Edna at the rim.  Vestri and Enda look around, perhaps for another entrance.

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

  • What is hidden or out of place?
    • There is no second entrance.  The shell is a sphere that completely encloses the library.
  • What will happen if Gurtin tries to drill through the ceramic shell?
    • Dwarf-made items are almost unbreakable. A Dwarf-made item did make the initial crack, so Gurtin could slowly drill through the ceramic shell.
  • What do my senses tell me?
    • There’s evidence of an old, overgrown war-camp. There’s a graveyard with forty spearpoints stuck into the ground in rows, and a chunk of volcanic rock with the word “CRUSHER” carved into it.

Edna: Another Crusher, a few generations back, went out to prove himself.  He would sign up for any fight that he could find. The family lost touch with him. I think this is where he died.

Edna sits down and stares at the grave marker of a family member that he never knew. Vestri sits beside her in silence. Steven the housecat curls up in Edna’s lap.

Edna forms a Bond: Vestri mourned with me

Vestri forms a Bond: Edna was vulnerable before me.

Vestri sits in silence with Edna for a while, but his brain starts working on the engineering problem before him. He waits until the mood feels a little less heavy before speaking.

Vestri:  I think I can make a crack that we can all fit in. It will take a while.

Edna: I appreciate you thinking of me, but you should get permission from the librarians. It’s their place, not ours.

Vestri walks down the stairs to talk to the Librarian.

Inside the library, Yuri wants to finagle a library card, so he can trade it for something else later. Heath assists Yuri with his research, asking the right questions that lead the Librarian to relevant books.

Heath damages Armor of Darkness

Yuri Look Closely (+hope, Heath’s assistance) 10+ ask three questions

  • What can they tell us about the location of the door to which Yuri’s sword and scabbard are the key?
    • It is north past the Singing Hills.
  • What can they tell us about Remnant magic?
    • The Remnant had no need for magic that Dragons were good at.  Dragons are very direct, so the Remnant used subtle support magic. Their schools were Divination (seeing things), Abjuration (protection), and Enchantment (subtlely affecting other people)
  • What can they tell us about Redrock daggers?
    • Nothing about daggers specifically, but Redrock did help construct the underground tunnels in the area. (There’s an underground tunnel on the east wall of Swallet. A waterfall empties from that tunnel into a park.)

Heath compliments the Librarian on the powerful Abjuration that created the ceramic shell around the library. The Librarian didn’t personally cast the spell, and leads Heath and Yuri to the display dedicated to the attack on the library that required the creation of the shell.  A memorial to the Legends of the Past! Two heroes fought an entire army trying to come down and seize the library’s knowledge for an evil warlord. Snort Goldfarb, a Goblin in a mighty Powersuit, and Gwideon Greenhanded, the blind Wizard riding a magical horse, saved the day by delaying the army long enough for the magicians within to complete the powerful spell of protection.

GM note: The history of the library was established by a one-shot game I played with some friends. Snort Goldfarb and Gwideon Greenhanded are player characters.

Vestri: Hello, are you in charge of this place? You seem like it. I was just wondering, how would you feel about enlarging the crack?

Librarian: It is time to share this library’s knowledge with the world again, and most people won’t crawl through a crack for it. A larger entrance would be good.

Vestri: Hundrin will take Gurtin and start immediately. While I’m here, I was wondering if you have any books about Redrock daggers that look like this?

The Librarian pushes a couple of books that are already on Yuri’s table towards Vestri, because Yuri already asked this question. Hundrin and the Librarian co-ordinate for the best place and size for an entrance to the library.

Yuri: I hate to keep harping on this, but since we made an entrance for the library, does that show that we care enough about the library and the Forgotten Lands to get a library card?

The Librarian is convinced and issues Yuri a library card.

END OF SESSION MOVE

  • Did we thoroughly explore a new location? YES, Hidden Library
  • Did anyone find what they are looking for? YES, progress on Yuri’s quest
  • Did we learn something new about the world and its people? YES, the Remnant

Three boons:

  • Level up:
    • Vestri
    • Edna: learn Yuri’s “I know something you don’t” move.
      • Yuri: I learned this from a therapist. Is very much paying attention to non-verbal cues of the person you are dealing with, so you can tell exactly what their next move is. It never fails.
      • Edna: These therapists must be powerful and wise fighters!
      • Yuri: They are wise and powerful in their own way, but very non-confrontational if you get a good one.
      • Edna: Yes, I have found wandering sages, rumored to be legendary fighters, but they refused to fight me. Weirdly frustrating.
  • Heal
  • Restore Gear
    • Edna opens her jewelry case and puts on new Precious items
    • Polish Gurtin, sharpen drill-bits, and so on.
    • Yuri’s gear is irreplacable, but his Medkit was spent, not lost, so he can restore its use.

Chasing the Sunset & Campfire Chats

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

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

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

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

END OF SESSION MOVE

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

Two Boons

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

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

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

Edna forms a bond: “I must protect Vestri”

Edna forms a bond: “I must protect Yuri”

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

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

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

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

Vestri: I assumed run? I assumed run.

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

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

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

Vestri: All right, that seems faster.

Edna Toss Aside: an ally can ride you

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

Edna: Yeah, yeah, you’ve got it!

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

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

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

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

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

Hundrin: My baby! I just fixed her!

Edna Uncontrollable Strength: lift almost anything

Edna Overcome 10+

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

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

Yuri Mighty Leap: jump to anywhere you can see

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

Yuri Overcome (+hope, Edna’s aid) 6-

Yuri Fool Me Once 10+

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

Edna Get Away 6-

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

Edna Wobbles: no damage from normal weapons, just distraction

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

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

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

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

Edna Overcome 10+

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

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

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

Yuri: Where do you think this dagger could be?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vestri: Did we meet a wizard?

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

Vestri: And a Demon.

Yuri: And Dinosaurs. And people who corral dinosaurs.

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

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

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

Yuri Look Closely 6-

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

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

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

Shadow Death From Above: appear from hiding and kidnap someone

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

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

Edna: Let’s trade.

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

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

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

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

Yuri: Maybe we should press forward.

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

Edna: i could carry you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vestri:  Ah, like throwing axes.

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

Vestri: Like a lance, but very small?

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

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

Vestri: What do you eat?

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

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

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

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

Edna: Strong bones and teeth.

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

Yuri: Elementary.

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

Edna: Gizzard stones are alimentary rocks!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Normal Forest increases Response Level to 1

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

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

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

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

Edna Overcome 6-

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

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

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

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

Yuri Mighty Leap: jump to anywhere you can see

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

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

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

Yuri pets the unconscious Varg.

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

Normal Forest gains Stalker: someone starts following the Fellowship

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

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

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

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

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

Yuri:  Cultural differences.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Edna: That doesn’t seem sporting!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yuri Speak Softly 6-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vestri: It’s like throwing axes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Edna chats with Jane.

Edna Speak Softly 10+ ask 3 questions

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

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

Yuri Speak Softly 10+ ask 3 questions

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yuri damages Blood

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

Edna forms bond: I am a good employer to Viktor

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

Edna: Perfect!

Edna Uncontrollable Strength: lift almost anything

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

Edna Overcome 10+

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

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

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

Vestri: Where has the Wizard gone?

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

Vestri: Nice of him, but unfortunate for us.

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

Edna Mighty Leap: jump to anywhere you can see

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

Edna: Uhhh, there’s a dead guy here?

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

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

Yuri Mighty Leap: jump to anywhere you can see

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

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

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

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

Vestri takes Electric Knife (melee)

Yuri takes Mysterious Remnant Book

Edna takes Magical Trinkets

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

Chasing the Sunset & Lucy

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

The fellowship: Vestri the Dwarf, Yuri the Outlander

Last time, the Fellowship dealt with a lycanthropy outbreak in the Platyperson town of Bogden. They destroyed a horrible weapon and intend to throw its ashes into the ocean.

Vestri wonders how fellow adventurers came into possession of a sword made from the horn of a peaceful Unicorn. Truly an evil weapon. Now the Fellowship must travel to the sea. A river flows out of Bogden and joins the Mighty River which enters the sea at Port Fennrick. Another option is the ancient Dwarven tunnels that the Fellowship used to reach Bogden. Yuri does not trust those tunnels, since they all nearly drowned down there. Hundrin specifically does not want to go down there. He’s mostly recovered from being swept away, but he’s a little bit mad.

GM note: I was really hoping that Vestri the Dwarf would go down the Dwarven tunnels and find some important Dwarven things, but the players chose something else! I’ll respect their decision, and not move the interesting thing into their path. I’ll make exceptions for tone and player comfort, but mostly I want to let consequences play out believably. Not realistically, because this is a fantasy world, but I want it to feel believable.

Vestri suggests walking along the river until they find a town, then buying a boat. Yuri wonders how much money Vestri has. Maybe renting a ferry or working for passage is more practical. They walk to the Mighty River and see a town upstream, to the west, and a port downstream, to the east. A cargo ship approaces, heading downriver. Vestri figures they won’t be able to get Gurtin (the Dwarven Drill Tank) onto a ship if they aren’t at a port, so they let the ship past and hike upriver to Thaumatown.

Map of Thaumatown. Wizard's Tower in southwest corner. Water treatment plant in northwest corner. Mighty River flows west to east o nthe north edge of town. Civic Center in the center of town.
Map of Thaumatown

Thaumatown is a creepy, crowded, and ramshackle city with narrow streets and tall buildings looming over them. There’s a port here. The cranes for loading cargo are sleek, metal structures, but they are surroundede by wooden scaffolding and ropes connected to teams of oxen and donkeys. The cranes have recently been converted to animal power.

Yuri: This reminds me of Moscow. I like it.

Vestri checks the Adventurers’ Message Board immediately.

THAUMATOWN MESSAGE BOARD

  • Lucia: There may be complications if Brianiac or Redstone return.
  • Dryden: FYI there is a maze below with recycling bugs
  • Averiela: Allan a Zham is dead. Walter is a friendly fool. Let the people believe.

Both Yuri and Vestri want to see the maze. Gurtin and Hundrin really want to see the maze as well.

Yuri: We should requisition a boat first, before we go spelunking.

Vestri: We don’t know how long we’ll be down there, so we should do that first, then get a boat.

Yuri: I would like to get rid of this *looks around* Unicorn Sword.

Vestri reassures him that it’s a bundle of ashes, so people won’t immediately recognize it. He also plans to leave the bundle at the mouth of the maze, so it won’t get lost in the maze. But where is the maze? It’s not an obvious tourist attraction. Yuri goes to the docks to ask for directions.

Vestri: Just be sure to secure everything before you go to the docks. What if it breaks under you and you fall into the water?

Yuri: What if the ground fell out from under our feet and fell into, um, space?

Vestri: Stop! You know these humans. Sometimes they build right over the water and then you just fall.

Yuri: You know these dwarves. Sometimes they build right under the ground and you could just fall.

Vestri: Yes, but I hate water!

Yuri: I hate falling deep into the earth.

Vestri: Well I can’t breathe underwater and I can’t swim. I’m quite massive.

Yuri:Then you should stay on hard ground.

Thaumatown is crowded. The docks are full of people and cargo and the cranes with teams of animals. No one has fallen through into the water. Foremen shout and teams of workers get in each others way. Vestri can’t see over the crowd. Yuri considers putting Vestri on his shoulders, but Vestri weighs 350 pounds, so that won’t work!

Vestri: I’m depending on you to do the navigation!

Yuri looks for someone with nice clothing who is not bustling around. He spots a fancy-looking blonde human woman named Lucy. She wears a suit, not a dress. She’s waiting for her luggage to be unloaded. Yuri walks up to intoduce himself, followed by Vestri, then the Drill Tank, then Hundrin in a little line so they don’t get separated in the crowd.

Yuri: Hello, my name is Yuri. It is wonderful to meet you. What is your name? We we wondering if — two things. If you knew a way of travel that might be work for, some kind of work that we could do on the ship, and also if you knew about mazes somewhere in this place. But with the luggage I am seeing I realize you might not be from this place.

Lucy: Oh, I travel a lot. I’m been a lot of places. I can tell you about this town. There’s quite a complex under the Civic Center. Look at the clock tower. It’s under there.

Two towers dwarf the other buildings in Thaumatown. A hexagonal clock tower in the center of town, and another tower in the southwest corner of town, far from the docks.

Yuri: Are you in need of employees? You seem very important with your suit and all.

Lucy: I am very important. Are you going very far? I’m always ready to make a deal.

Yuri: It’s very opportune meeting you. How far are we going?

Vestri: We are planning on going all the way to the eastern sea.

GM note: I realize that I never named the sea on the eastern edge of this continent. The players and I brainstorm names.

Lucy: The Joterkuvain Ocean? That’s just straight down the river. You can just get on any of these boats.

Yuri: Is it that simple? Can I work for those boats? Do you own those boats?

Lucy: No, I don’t want to get tied down to that. That would be boring.

Lucy was expecting a cooler and more difficult request, and now she’s disappointed by these boring people with their common problem.

Vestri:  If you’ve traveled a lot. Perhaps. You know a story. About a dagger. That looks like this.

Vestri opens his coat a little to reveal the Redrock Dagger, whose twin he is questing to recover. He doesn’t pull the dagger out, because he doesn’t trust the crowds of humans with this artifact. Lucy is intrigued!

Lucy: Oh, a rare and valuable item! This is very important to you? You seek to gain this item?

Yes! Obviously. It has its twin, therefore they belong together. It has my family crest on it.

Lucy: Yes. Yes! This is very important. I can help you with that. We should talk in a more private place. These goons are delivering my stuff to the best hotel in town. Come with me.

Vestri: I just had a thought. You are very interesting and you clearly like strange places, from observing you in these last moments.  We wish to visit the labyrinth. Perhaps we could speak in the labyrinth. Would you join us in this maze?

Lucy gets really excited when Vestri says “wish”. She agrees, yells at the dock workers to take her bags directly to the hotel, and gives them a few extra coins for the trouble.

Lucy leads the Fellowship to the Civic Center. It’s a hexagonal building with entrances on each side. The entrances have metal roller doors propped up by wooden frames. The interior is being remodeled. Signs boast about “democracy’ and “the council” There’s an informational poster: “What do you do when the all-powerful wizard who solves all of your problems decides to leave? We’re going to step up and do it ourselves!” Lucy scoffs at the poster, leads the Fellowship through a service entrance, down some tunnels, and into a wedge-shaped room.

Lucy: OK, let’s make a deal! Let’s talk business.

Lucy drops her human disguise. Her skin turns reddish and she runs her hand through her hair, revealing small horns on her forehead that curve back along her skull.

  • Lucy: Business Devil
    • Strictly business. Only forges Bonds that are promises. Will never break a deal first.
    • Sell your Soul. Will take a Move or Stat in exchange for your heart’s desire.

There are Dwarf fairy tales about contract demons. You could do it, but it’s not a good idea. It’ll go badly. It doesn’t stop most people, but the stories are there. In Vestri’s family, there’s a story about a great-uncle that was entombed alive because he made a deal with a demon. Yuri figures this is just a weird thing that happens in this weird new world. Vestri conceals his discomfort, but Hundrin is shaken and turns around to pretned to fix something.

Vestri: Hold on one second!

Vestri brings Yuri into a huddle. Yuri crouches very low.

Vestri: Come here. Ok. Come talk. This young lady belongs to a species of Demon-kind.

Yuri: Da, Is this bad here, or?

Vestri: They like to make deals with you. They will cost a lot more than you think and will probably end badly for you. But they can do some really cool stuff, I hear.

Yuri: So we want to be friends with them, but not make deals with them.

Vestri: I’m not sure you can be friends with them.

Yuri: Let’s find out.  So why are we making deal with you again?

Lucy: Vestri here seeks the other dagger, and I can get it for him.

GM notes: I omit a tangent about Dwarf gender, reproduction, and poop.

Lucy: I can get this for you. I can take it from the person who stole it from its hiding place.

Vestri: No, no! It’s fine! It have time to find it. I want it to be an epic journey I can tell my great-grandchildren.

Yuri: How do you have all these powers? I am — curiousity mostly.  How would you grab dagger? How do you know where it is?

Lucy: I have friends everywhere and I can call in favors. It gets complicated sometimes, but that’s my specialty.

Yuri: I’m incredibly impressed.

Lucy: You should be.

Yuri: It’s not just the suit. You’ve got something there. Luci Fur. I like it.

GM note: The players guessed where the name came from! Quick, pivot!

Lucy: Actually, my last name is Van Pelt.

GM note: The players thought that a pelt was made of fur. I guess newspaper comics from the 1950s aren’t as popular as they used to be.

Yuri: I have no real use for — well actually, could you take me back home?

Lucy: Yeah, yeah, let’s see where you’re from.

Lucy puts a hand on Yuri’s shoulder and stares at him. Yuri is fine with this.

GM note: Does Yuri have a crush on Lucy? I only notice this now, when I’m typing up my notes. Also, it is within this character’s power to remove Yuri from the campaign, which Yuri would like, but none of the players want.

Lucy: Oh. OH. You do need my help to get home.

Yuri: Da, da, da! OK, Luci. There is some things that I am in desparate need of doing on this plane. But I would really like to keep your contact information. I think that we really have something here and I would definitely like to make a deal with you at a later date.

Luci’s always ready to make a deal. The payment for travel home woudl be a part of Yuri, as normal, but she’d also really like Yuri’s sword. It’s very interesting to her.

Yuri: When finished with my quest, I will bring the sword and I can almost guarantee that I have no idea what will happen, but I maybe will have the sword, so I will give it to you if I have it.

Vestri: What’s your quest again?

Yuri: To save the world? I saw so much pain when I touched the sword. Lots of pain.

Lucy: Oh, don’t worry about visions. You can’t trust these items.

Yuri: I feel it in my bones that I need to do this. I will definitely get back to you. This is a hard yes, but we need to put it on hold for a few months until I have righted this place. Then you know, whatever you want, we can do it.

Lucy: Is that a promise?

She offers a handshake to confirm the deal.

Yuri: I think we can just have a gentlemen’s agreement. A lady’s agreement? Being a medical professional I’m very into clenliness. Also I’m from a different plane. I don’t want to give you smallpox.

Lucy: Ugh. if you’re in a big city, look for the best hotel and I’ll probably be there. Come find me when you’re ready to deal.

Lucy walks off, annoyed that Vestri and Yuri both obviously need her services, but refuse to actually employ her.

Yuri: I am sorry, Lucy! Thank you for bringing us down here though.

Vestri is glad to be rid of her, worried that she would steal his dagger. Yuri makes the important distinction that she’s a swindler, not a thief. This is the entrance to the maze they read about on the message board, so Vestri looks for a place to stash the ashes of the Unicorn Sword. He can’t speak to the earth to make a hidey-hole because this facilty has metal walls. There are some chairs along the wall, so Vestri puts the bundle under a chair.

Vestri: I was hoping for something more earthy, but are you ready?

Yuri: Would you like to make a deal on it? Ha, ha, ha, I hope she’s not behind us.

A map of Thaumatown robotics facility, level 1. Four rooms around a central elevator. North: repair bay. West: entrance hall. South: control center. East slick chute going down.
Thaumatown robotics facility, level 1.

Gurtin the Drill Tank is too big to fit through the doors in this room, so Vestri leaves it in the lobby and puts the ashes inside the Drill Tank cabin. Yuri is worried about Gurtin being stolen, but Vestri isn’t concerned. An adult human could not fit in the cabin, which barely fits a Dwarf.

They open the double doors at the point of the wedge-shaped room and find a curved metal wall right behind them. No way through. Yuri bangs on the wall. It sounds hollow, but sturdy enough to that going through the wall would be a pain.  Gurtin could go through this wall, but Vestri considers that cheating at the maze.

Yuri tries the door to the right. There’s a room with chairs and metal desks. Cut wires and wear marks indicate that these desks used to hold equipment, but that equipment has been removed.  This room is also pie-shaped, with a door at the point. They open that door and find a small round room with another set of doors opposite the doors they just opened. There’s a control panel on the wall of the round room. There’s a card in the slot under the red button.

Cryptic controls. Red button (with slot beneath), green button, and blue button.
Cryptic controls.

Yuri wonders which button to press. Vestri presses the blue button. The control panel makes a sad beep. Yuri looks through the open doors and sees the room with desks is still there. The elevator hasn’t moved. Yuri presses the green button. Sad beep. Vestri removes the card and presses the green button. Angry beep. Yuri inserts the card and presses the red button. Sad beep. Vestri presses all three buttons at the same time.  Angry beep. Yuri presses green, blue, red sequentially. Three sequential sad beeps.  Yuri wonders if taking the stairs would be easier. Vestri removes the card, then inserts the card and presses the red button at the same time. Sad beep.

Yuri Look Closely 10+ ask 3 questions

  • Tell me about this elevator? How could it hurt or help me?
    • An elevator gives access to other levels of the facility. It would be quite dangerous for the elevator to move with the door open.

GM note: The players only needed one question to realize why the elevator didn’t work.

Yuri, Vestri, and Hundrin enter the elevator, close the door, insert the card, and press the green button. The room shakes! The elevator did something. No stomach-dropping feeling like moving up and down. They open a door and see the entrance hall and Gurtin the drill. The elevator has rotated 90 degrees. Yuri wants to rotate as much as possible before trying the other buttons. They close the door, press the green button to rotate again, and open the doors again. The elevator has doors on opposite sides, so the Fellowship can check two rooms per rotation.

The room to the north has stalls along all the walls and rails on the ceiling where machinery used to go. Like the room with desks, this room has been stripped. There’s a square opening on the east wall that’s covered in caution tape. That’s a trash chute that leads to the eastern room, a slick funnel leading down.

The Fellowship returns to the elevator, closes the doors, and presses the blue button. Sad beep. Red button. The elevator moves. Yuri opens the north door.

A map of Thaumatown robotics facility, level 1. North room, shielded robots. East room: swarms of recycling bug robots. South room: factory. West room: robot assembly room.
Thaumatown robotics facility, level 2.

In this room are a stack of robots that have fallen on each other. They are refrigerator sized with armro plates and weapon arms bolted on, like they’ve been retrofitted.

Vestri: Well, I’m glad we didn’t have to fight those!

Yuri wants to examine one, but Vestri wants to close the door. A compromise: Yuri will drag one robot into the elevator, then they will close the door. The robot weighs several hundred pounds, so Yuri can’t move it. Yuri looks for access panels, hard drives, something that he can take and research later.

Yuri: Earth is not this advanced to make robots that move like humans. I think this would be a boon for Terrans.

Vestri: For Mother Russia?

Yuri: Mostly for Mother Russia. Yeah, thank you! You are learning!

GM note: After we finish Chasing The Sunset, we could play a D20 Modern game where Russia rolls out with fantasy tech and the players are Western Europeans who have to survive. It’s all Yuri’s fault!

Yuri Look Closely 6-

Yuri Fool Me Once reroll one die 7-9

GM note: We weren’t sure what roll was appropriate here. Yuri only had one question he wanted answered. I fell back on basic Powered by the Apocalyspe design: a 7-9 means a success with complications. So we didn’t really play the Fellowship move “Look Closely” but the fudging was done in the open with agreement form the players. Consequences were also tricky. The elevator can’t be called away, because the door is open. The robots can’t re-activate, because the power source is gone.

Yuri pulls open access panels and finds something useful, but something bangs on the roof of the elevator! There’s someone up there! The Fellowship’s first instinct is to take the evelator to the top floor, but they don’t wnat ot harm the person on top of the car.

Yuri: Get out of — we need to be succinct. Move! Please.

Vestri: Move. Or. Get. Squished.

Voice: Don’t tell me about safety regs. You’re the ones violating them. Bring the car up.

Vestri: I’ve never ridden a car. Usually I use a lift.

Yuri: What is car? We will talk when — move or we will squish you. We will be right up.

Yuri conceals the hard drive he took from the robot in his Medkit. They close the elevator door and press the blue button, which does move the elevator up. There’s a team of six Humans with backpacks and heavy tools.

Shift Leader: Who are you?

Yuri: We are looking for Labyrinth. This is what we were told.

Shift Leader: This isn’t a tourist destination. I thought we, didn’t we lock the service doors? You’re supposed to be upstairs in the Civic Center.

Yuri: We saw no signs. Wonderful woman led us down here. Thank you for the rescue? I’m confused as you are.

Vestri realizes that Lucy leads them down here was quite suspicious. Several of the salavagers approach the Drill Tank.

Salvager: I haven’t seen this model of robot, but I guess we tear it down like the rest of them?

Yuri: No, no, no! Do not touch.

Vestri: That’s mine. That’s mine!

Yuri: It is a car. It has a name.

Vestri: It’s a drill. It’s Gurtin.

Shift Leader: Are you trying to take stuff out of here? We have an exclusive contract for salvaging this.

Vestri: We just wanted to explore the labyrinth. We heard there was a labryinth. We thought it would be fun to explore.

Yuri: Would you need extra hands, so we can explore the labyrinth and help you salvage things? Kinda of win-win? I am not taking day wage, I am just looking.

This salvage team is unionized, so they find people trying to work for free very suspicious. The Fellowship doesn’t want to meticulously strip a room of all resources. They want to explore. Maybe they can go ahead and find something valuable that the salvage team can have.

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

Vestri gets to run the elevator and Yuri will carry loads with the rest of the salvage team. Yuri wants more opportunities to take robot parts so he can figure out how to build his own.

GM note: We’ll follow Vestri for a while, but he has a time limit to bring up the load of salvage. Then we’ll go back to Yuri and see how he’s able to work with the team and sneak some pieces for himself.

The salvage team is working on the room rull of deactivated robots. They show Yuri how to pull of the armor plates and put them in one bin, then mechanical parts go in another bin. The weapons are dangerous. The union has trained and certified two team members, and they’re the only ones allowed to touch the weapons. Yuri is happy to avoid the weapons.

Vestri takes the elevator and presses the red button until the elevator stops going down. It goes down one more time, to level 3.

A map of Thaumatown robotics facility, level 1. East of the elevator, a powerplant. Six fuel tanks, fed from above by pipes, feed into a ceramic pillar. A window in the ceramic pillar glows from the fire inside. North of the elevator, a control center with windows overlooking the powerplant.
Thaumatown robotics facility, level 3.

Vestri opens the north door and finds a control room. This room has not been salvaged. The tables have instruments with gauges, and all guages read zero. There’s a thick glass window looking to the east into a large circular chamber. There’s a ceramic pillar in the center of the chamber. Six metal tanks (for holding fluid) surround the pillar. pipes run from the ceiling into the tanks and from the tanks into the pillar. There’s a door into the ceramic pillar which is dark.

Vestri shuts the north door and opens the south door, revealing a wall. Vestri presses the green button and rotates the elevator. He saw what was in the east chamber already, so he opens the west door, also revealing a wall. He goes up one floor and opens the door to the west. This room has tracks in the ceiling that moves things from the south room into this room. Three robots lie one the floor. Two are all spikes and knives. The third has a tank on its back and nozzles under its arms.

Vestri rotates the elevator and looks in the south room.  Conveyor belts, not much of a floor. A dangerous assembly line with crushers and saws, but everything is turned off and nothing is moving. If this room were active, parts would come in from the east, get  assembled into components here, then be sent to the west room.

Vestri rotates the elevator and looks in the east room. The door opens and the room is full to hip-level (for Vestri) with thousands of tiny robots, no bigger than a fist. Like everything in this facility, they are deactivated.  They flow into the elevator like the side of a ball pit was split open. Vestri tries to close the door, but it’s partially blocked by a pile of little robots.

Vestri Overcome 6-

GM note: Wait, what is the threat Vestri is overcoming? The consequence of “the door doesn’t shut” does not chance the situation. The players admit that they are just messing around and poking things, and are lucky that all the robots and dangerous machines were turned off by another party. I brag a bit about how dangerous the facility used to be.

Vestri gets the door closed, but there’s a pile of little robots inside the elevator and the Shift Leader pounds on the door. It’s time to pick up a load of salvage. Vestri presses the green button to rotate the door to the north, opens it, and some littel robots fall out of the elevator in front of the whole Salvage Crew. Embarrassing!  There’s Vestri shin-deep in little robots. The Shift Leader is disgusted.

Salvager: See? This is why we need union workers with training. What a mess!

Yuri: In his defense, the elevator has three buttons. It is a little confusing. Especially when you are a colorblind Dwarf. Colorblind!

The Salvage Team isn’t going to accuse someone of faking a disability! That would be so rude!

While Vestri was exploring, Yuri tried to sneak out some more robot components.

Yuri Overcome 10+

Yuri knows he’s going to steal some parts. Not steal! OK, it’s stealing. He feels a little bad about stealing from union workers, but it’s not his world, so he gets over it. He puts his medical bag in the bin that he thinks will contain the important bits: not armor plates or servos, but computer bits. Each time he delivers a pile of parts, he dumps them into the bin, but half fall into his bag instead. At the end of the shift, he grabs his bag and just walks out. Smooth.

The union won’t stiff them on their wages and won’t force them to work overtime, but they’re upset at the Fellowship for making a mess. Vestri cleans up his mess by scooping up the little robots and throwing them down the trash chute, which actualyl leads to where they came from. As they all leave, the salvage team talks about increasing security on the Robotic Facility.

Vestri: It wasn’t that interesting actually. We could have done something cooler today.

Yuri: You were the one who wanted to come down here! We can buy ship fare now, because we have done an honest day’s work.

Vestri: I thought it would be more exciting.

Yuri: There was so much! There was a whole science laboratory down there where they manufactured robots. Is this not exciting to you?

Vestri: I mean it’s fine, but nothing beats a good old pickaxe against rock.

Yuri goes to the best hotel in town and asks for Lucy. Vestri follows Yuri, but waits at the end of the hall. He doens’t like Lucy and wants to make sure Yuri is OK. Lucy opens her door and Vestri thanks her and puts a silver coin in her hand. She puts it in her coin purse, making sure that Vestri can see she has a lot of more valuable coins inside so he knows that his gift is a pittance.

Yuri: You are very still impressive woman each time I meet you. All right, talk to you later.

GM note: Yuri’s player has decided what Yuri will do at the end of the campaign when he finally makes a deal with Lucy. Their excitement is contagious!

Yuri and Vestri buy passage on a ship and set off for Port Fennrick.

END OF SESSION MOVE

  • Did we thoroughly explore a new location?
    • Yes, the robotics facility
  • Did anyone find what they were seeking?
    • No, they both had the opportunity but declined.
  • Did we discover something new about the world and it’s people?
    • Yes, Yuri didn’t know about demons or advanced robots. Also unions.

Two boons: Level up. No gear or stats to heal because they recovered in Bogden recently.

  • Vestri gains All That Glitters
  • Yuri shares Fool Me Once with Vestri
  • new bond: Vestri feels protective of Yuri
  • new bond: Yuri feels he must parent Vestri
  • new bond: Yuri is weirded out by Hundrin

Chasing The Sunset & Redstone

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

The party: Dryden of Conwall the Collector/Hunter, Averiela the Elf, Lucia the Brave the Heir/Halfling Sheriff

Last time, the Fellowship explored a dangerous robotics facilty. At the bottom they found an Artifact of Power and its guardian.

A map of Thaumatown robotics facility, level 1. A ceramic bowl in the middle of an empty room. An elevator door to the west. A hole in the ceiling from the furnace.
Thaumatown robotics facility, level 1.
A Rogue Construct, an artifical creature of aether and energy. Most of its body is crackling puple energy ,but it has a golden mask for a face, hands that turn into sharp claws, and a ssingle metal spike instead of feet.
The Rogue Construct

This is Redstone, a being unlike all the other robots they have seen thus far. He was not built here, and is not powered by the powerplant like the rest. He’s a person, even though he’s artificial. The other robots just obey their programming. He also doesn’t attack mindlessly, but challenges the intruders, explaining why he’s about to fight them.

Redstone: Intruders! I won’t let you defile this facility, built by my master, the great Allan a Zham!

Lucia: Allan a Zham is gone.

Redstone: Nonsense. He would have told me if he was leaving.

Dryden: There’s a distinct possibility he’s dead. Not by us!

Redstone is even more upset, so Lucia quickly tries to calm him.

Lucia Talk Sense (+Wis, desires) 10+

Lucia: We’re trying to figure out what’s going on, and how to fulfill Allan a Zham’s will for this place.

Redstone: I’ve been serving Allan a Zham for a long time, even past his lifetime, apparently. Finding his will and continuing his legacy sounds good.

He flips his claws around to be hands. There will be no combat for now.  Lucia asks him a few questions.

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

  • What were you doing?
    • Redstone points out three grooves in the stone wall of the chamber, and one groove in the floor. He’s been patrolling around the room for a long time
  • Tell us about this facility.
    • Redstone took a long elevator ride to get to the artifact chamber, so this powerplant must be far underground, probably under a volcano, based on the constnat jet of flame that comes through the hole in the ceiling.
  • Tell us about the artifact.
    • That’s top secret.

The Fellowship wonders if this facility is so old that it used to be powered by a volcano, before switching to the furnance that they saw and disabled last time. No, Thaumatown is on a river. There are mountains to the west and south, but certainly no volcano near town. Redstone must be wrong about that.

Dryden: We heard rumors that Allan a Zham may have left, but maybe that was an impostor.

Redstone: I’ve discussed theory of leadership and just use of power with Allan a Zham for many hours. If there is an impostor, I will find him out and destroy him!

Redstone opens the elevator door and sees an empty shaft. He looks in and sees the elevator car one storey above.  The Fellowship discusses how much to tell Redstone about the situation outside.

Dryden: Was Brainiac dismissed by the real Allan a Zham or by the false one?

Averiela: Do we care?

Averiela turns to address Redstone.

Averiela: Wait, you should know more! Brainiac is on a quest to find a dragon!

Redstone: Neither Allan a Zham nor Brianiac are helping the town. This is dire indeed.

Redstone starts climbing the rope that Dryden and Lucia used to access the chamber from the furnace above. Dryden wants to delay him.

Dryden: Any leadership tips?

Redstone: Proiritize the good of the people and don’t get distracted!

He continues up the rope and out of view. The Fellowship notices that he’s left the Artifact of Power unguarded! Averiela takes the opportunity to look around.

Averiela Look Closely 6- one question. one answer the hard way

  • What is hidden or out-of-place?
    • The chamber is carved out of stone. The artifact hovers in a ceramic bowl in the center of the room. The only other feature in the room is the open door to the elevator shaft. Averiela peeks inside and sees the elevator car  going up! Redstone took the elevator and left them behind!

Now the Fellowship must figure out how to get out of the chamber. The furnace above has a Magical Barrier that only lets robots through, and Redstone destroyed Averiela’s robot disguise. Lucia and Drdyen are inside the shells of Enforcer Droids.  Lucia wonders if she and Averiela could cram into her robot disguise, but Enforcer Droids are only the size of a refrigerator, so there’s not enough room for two. They also need to get the Artifact of Power out. It’s 2 feet on a side, all shifting panes of glass, like endless layers of windows.

Lucia: Will this facility collapse if we grab it?

The furnace might have destroyed the facility if it was left on without the artifact to absorb all the energy it produced, but they carefully shut that down to get in here. Averiela wonders if the Magical Barrier turns off when the furnace turns on. It would hurt for her to run through the furnace, but maybe that’s the only way. But they remember that when they saw the furnace in action from the control room, the magical barrier seemed to be active.

Dryden carefully examines the Artifact of Power. He has a lot of experience investigating magical artifacts, especially artifacts he’s not supposed to examine.  He has some little marbles that he can throw at things he’s not allowed to touch, to see how they react.

Dryden Strange Curios Useful

One marble is rectangular and magnetic. It adds magical energy. He tosses it at the Artifact of Power and it disappears into one of the shifting panes of glass. Part of Averiela’s robot disguise sparks and what servos are left move for a short time.

Dryden Strange Curios Useful

Dryden has another marble that disconnects. He built it when investigating an trapped orb. Whenever he touched the orb, the room would start to implode. for a while he’s touch it, the room would shrink, then he’d put it back. Using the marble to disconnect the orb from the trap made it much easier. Dryden throws the marble at the Artifact of Power and a signle pane of glass pops out of the shifting mass. Averiela dives to catch it before it hits the hard ground.

Averiela Overcome 6-

It slips through her fingers and breaks. The fragments have differnet colors, like stained glass. Perhaps when it was whole, it formed a image.

Lucia: Do we pull it apart pane by pane, wrap them in paper, and stack them for transport?

Dryden Strange Curios Useful

Dryden pulls out a magical knapsack. It stretches to fit whatever it needs to, and it’s unbrekaable from the inside, impervious even to swords and fire. A certain dagger did pierce it once. The repair is dodgy, so there’s a risk of rupture. It smells a bit funny, but it’s out of the hands of trolls, so Dryden is proud of it.

GM note: This knapsack comes from a story written by Dryden’s player

Dryden stretches the knapsack over the hovering Artifact of Power.

Dryden: Close!

The knapsack’s drawstring pulls tight!

Dryden: Now no one can get to it. Oh, Knapsack! Listen to Averiela and, uh, Lucia.

All this time together and Dryden forgets Lucia’s name? Rude! Dryden considers flying the others up the shaft to a higher floor, but the overcharged Flying Device can only carry two people. Also, they can’t enter the elevator car from the shaft  because there’s no door on the bottom of the car.

Dryden Modification: Flying Device is always Overcharged

Dryden flies up the elevator shaft. There are two doors on the third level and four doors on the second level. The elevator car blocks the first level. Dryden opens the North door on the second level. Inside, a Group of Warrior Droids and a Diamond Commander lie inert, deactivated because the powerplant is turned off. Dryden pushes two Warrior Droids down the elevator shaft. Averiela and Lucia start fashioning another disguise for Averiela.

Drdyen examines the deactivated robots.

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

  • What are the robots doing?
    • The robots are completely inactive. They have no power.
  • What is hidden or out of place?
    • Dryden flips the turtle-shaped Diamond Commander over carefully so as not to break its glass shell.  He digs around inside the robot and finds a pane of glass that looks like one from the Artifact of Power. When he tries to touch it, his finger goes right into the window, and he feels a tap on his shoudler from inside the knapsack!
  • What happens if I try to take the commander’s parts?
    • Dryden salvages enough parts for a one-time use item that will momentarily make him Dwarf-made to negate a hit.His hands get pinched in the complex machinery
      • Robot Shield (Armor, 1 Use)
      • Dryden’s Blood is damaged

Meanwhile, Averiela’s new Warrior Droid disguise is complete. Averiela and Lucia climb the rope from the chamber ot the inside of the furnace. It has cooled and is no longer dangerously hot. They pass through the Magical Barrier and wait by the elevator door.

Dryden leaves the room with the Warrior Droids and opens the door to the Recycling Swarms. He flies near the top of the door and the Recycling Swarms can’t reach him. They spill out of the room and fall down the shaft. He investigates the chute by which trash is delivered from above. It’s spring-loaded and only opens with weight from above. He flies back to the elevator shaft and opens the door to the factory. The conveyor belts, cutters, and crushers are all inactive. They were also powered by the powerplant below. He could look down through the conveyor belts and see Averiela and Lucia in the furnace room below. Looking up there’s no access to the first level.

Dryden flies back down the shaft to the third level to confer with Lucia and Averiela on how he might reach the first level and regain control of the elevator. He has the keycard that will let him bring it back to the third level, but he needs to get inside the car to do that.

GM note: This is when I told the players that Dryden could have just given his robot disguise to Averiela. He exited through the elevator shaft, not the Magical Barrier.

Lucia: Go break that chute yourself. Don’t you have an explosive trap?

Dryden Explosive Trap: opens or seals a door

Drdyen flies back up to the Recyclinsg Swarm room and blows open the chute. He emerges into the Repair Bay. He opens the door to the elevator and finds a wall. The elevator car is rotated away. He walks through the broken door from the Repair Bay to the Entrance. Knows Too Much, Averiela’s pet wolf, is there! He’s not happy to see Dryden because Averiela is not with him. Dryden enters the elevator from the Entrance, inserts the keycard, and brings the elevator down to the third floor to pick up Averiela and Lucia, and they all ride the elevator up and exit the facilty! They escaped! The robots are shut down forever and they have the Artifact of Power!

Averiela: Walter is overeager and underqualified. Do we leave him to his own devices?

GM note: Walter can’t use Allan a Zham’s devices anymore!

Lucia looks for a pane of glass inside her robot disguise and uses it to poke Dryden through the Artifact of Power.

Lucia: The town probably won’t die and there’s no robot army. That’s good.

GM note: I checked in with the players to see if they were interested in forming a new goverment in Thaumatown, or teaching the residents how to operate a government. They were not interested, so we’ll just leave. They are leaving the town in pretty much the same state as a normal village, so they’ll be mostly fine. They are certainly in better shape than when the first Fellowship came through!

Redstone found Walter in the Civic Center. The Construct grabs the small man and lifts him off his feet.

Redstone: Where is Allan a Zham?

Walter explains that Allan a Zham abdicated, leaving him (Walter) in charge as a duly elected representative, then disappeared into the river. Walter points and Redstone drops him and moves aggressively in the direction Walter indicated.

The Fellowship approaches Walter, who dusts himself off.

Walter: I’ve never seen one like that. I’ve never been treated so unkindly!

Dryden: Good thing we went down there. He was lurking down there,along with a bunch of robots. How many did you destroy, Lucia? A dozen? Twenty?

Lucia: Warrior Droids were about to come out and enslave you!

Walter: No, the robots don’t enslave us. They serve us.

Drdyen brings out the collapsable bo staff he took from a Warrior Droid and extends it.

Dryden: WIll they serve you with weapons like this?

Walter: As long as it’s pointed away from me, it’s fine.

Lucia: We are leaving. Good luck with democracy.

Walter: Good luck with adventuring or whatever you do.

The Fellowship leaves Thaumatown and collect White Sand and Roddy from the edge of town where they were waiting. They set out towards Swallet, where a Dragon apparently challenges all comers.

GM note: usually this calls for a Dangerous Journey scene, but we were running out of time, so we just arrived at Swallet and I described the town as a tease for next session.

The Fellowship returns to the secret tunnels and goes south with the current. They ignore a branch in the tunnel that goes west. The underground tunnel comes out as a waterfall in a big underground chamber! An entire steampunk city fills the chamber. The waterfall falls into a park. The ceiling of the chamber is artifical, held up with girders, with crystals bringing sunlight from above into the city. To the south, a big ramp comes down from the surface. It’s well-made, not unstable, but it seems hastily built with little concern for aesthetics or fitting in with surroundign architecture. Signs on the ramp say “Test your might!” and “Challenge the Dragon” The ramp leads to a large building labeled “Fafnir’s Fight Club”

END OF SESSION MOVE:

  • Did we explore a new location?
    • Yes, the Robotics Facility
  • Did anyone find what they were looking for?
    • Yes, Drdyen gained magical power with the Artifact of Power
  • Did we learn more about the world & its people?
    • Yes, Redstone and the Artifact of Power

Three boons:

  • heal
  • level up Averiela and Lucia
  • gear

Chasing The Sunset & Robotics Facility

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

The party: Dryden of Conwall the Collector/Hunter, Averiela the Elf, Lucia the Brave the Heir/Halfling Sheriff

Last time, the Fellowship sent a shutdown command to all the robots causing trouble in Thaumatown. Concerned that the robots may be reactivated and cause more trouble in the future, they want to disable them permanently. The robots don’t have fuel or batteries. Their power comes from some remote source, so the Fellowship looks beneath the Civic Center for this powerplant.

GM note: Lucia gained a level last time, and her player chose the Halfling Sheriff Destiny.

The robotics facility is indoors and likely crowded, so WhiteSand, Lucia’s horse, and Roddy all stay behind.  Averiela, Dryden, and Lucia are accompanied by Knows Too Much, Will, and Mara.  Lucia leads them along the path of her running battle with the Sentry Droid. They squeeze past the disabled behemoth, and find an wedge-shaped entrance hall with doors on the north, east, and south walls. The south door is labeled “Employees Only” They try that door and it’s locked.

GM note: We played this session online. I sketched the map with each room on a separate layer, so I could reveal only the rooms the characters had discovered. I’ll post complete images for each floor, but remember that the players didnt know what was in each room, or even which rooms existed, until they found and opened doors.

A map of Thaumatown robotics facility, level 1. Four rooms around a central elevator. North: repair bay. West: entrance hall. South: control center. East slick chute going down.
Thaumatown robotics facility, level 1.

Dryden already used his worm lockpicks. There’s a lock on the door, with a wide horizontal slot, like a hotel room in our world.

Dryden: I haven’t just smashed anything for a while.

Averiela: I bet the dead wizard had the key.

GM note: She’s right! Searching Allan a Zham’s study would reveal a keycard that grants access to all levels of the facility!

Dryden uses his two-handed Dwarven hammer to smash the door open! Pow! Bam! Boom! The door swings open with a sad creak. Dryden smirks. Inside is a control center, with status lights, dials and levers. There’s also a keycard, inscribed with a picture of a cube. There’s no door on the east side of the room. They try the door on the north wall. It’s a pocket door that slides aside, matching the curve of the wall.  Just inside that door is a curved metal wall.

Lucia examines the room.

Lucia Look Closely 6- 1 question, get the answer the hard way

  • What here is hidden or out of place?
    • She determines that this is the control center for a repair bay that fixes robots. Obvious enough, since the Sentry Droid said it was headed for the repair bay when she disabled it. The unpleasant discovery is the nature of the robots being repaired. The Enforcer Droids causing chaos on the streets above were mostly non-violent, but the robots in this repair bay seem more militant. She sees repair manifests mentioning napalm and other sorts of weapons. The robots in this facility are more dangerous than any the fellowship have faced so far.

The Fellowship returns to the entrance hall and tries the large door to the north. It’s unlocked, and opens into a robotic repair bay. The walls are divided into stalls. Each stall contains a robot in some state of repair or disassembly. The door on the east wall is in the middle of the wall, like a laundry chute, not on the floor like a normal door.  Robotic arms move along tracks on the ceiling, adding and removing parts from the robots in the bays. As soon as the Fellowship enters, the arms move towards them, ready to remove any damaged parts and place them into repair bays.

Dryden Mysterious Marvelous Thing: does exactly what you need

Dryden Keep Them Busy 10+

The Fellowship don’t want any parts snatched off of them! Dryden leaps into acton to distract the robotic arms. He has a egg-shaped magnet on the end of a large metal tube. The magnetic egg is from a meteor, probably. He found it in a crater back in the Forgotten Lands. The magnet lets him deflect the metal robotic arms reaching for him. He runs around the room, bashing the arms and yelling at them. This gives Lucia and Averiela space to examine the room.

Averiela Look Closely (+hope from Lucia’s aid) 10+

  • What will happen if I go through the East door?
    • It’s a one-way trip, and any misstep near it will send an unlucky character through!
    • Can’t Turn Back Now
      • The Threshold
      • Sudden Separation
  • Tell me about the dangerous robots?
    • Some Enforcer Droids have been refitted into Warrior Droids, with extra armor plates and arms wielding melee weapons. One robot has big tanks on its back, with broken hoses extending from them. Its hull is scorched.
  • What here is hidden or out of place?

GM note: I couldn’t think of anything, so I asked my players what they might find in a robotic repair bay. They suggested weapons from the combat robots and schematics for the robots, hidden in a small compartment. I let them choose either 3 melee weapons or plans for a robot, which could be built if they found materials and someone will the proper skills. They chose the weapons.

They grab a few weapons and prepare to leave, but worry about leaving the repari bay operational. They don’t want to go further into the facility and have killer robots behind them.

Lucia Finish Them (+sense disable) advantage: Dryden’s distraction 10+

Lucia takes a scrap of armor from one of the damaged robots and jams it into a track on the ceiling. Dryden runs past Lucia and all the robot arms pile up on the blocked track!

They return to the entrance hall and examine the weapons they found.  Averiela takes a very sharp sword made of atitanium alloy. Lucia has nunchuku. Dryden has a telescoping staff that starts as a foot-long rod then expanding into a two-handed weapon. They try the door on the East wall. The door slides away to reveal another door, which slides away to reveal a round room with a door on the far side and a control panel.

Cryptic controls. Red button (with slot beneath), green button, and blue button.
Cryptic controls.

There’s a slot under the red button that’s the same size as the slot on the door to the control center and the same size as the keycard.  Dryden puts the keycard in the slot. It fits! He presses the blue button, which makes a sad beep.  They open the door on the other side of the room. The floor of this room slopes down to a rectangular hole in the floor. This is the other side of the one-way door in the repair bay!  As they look, a heap of trash falls from a hatch in the ceiling and slides down the slope into the hole. Press the green button. Angry beep. Press the red button. Angry beep. Dryden closes the doors and examines the control panel.

GM note: It’s an elevator, and it won’t move with the door open.

Dryden Look Closely 7-9 3 questions, one answer the hard way

  • What here is hidden or out of place?
    • Nothing. It’s an empty room with two doors and a control panel.
  • How can the buttons hurt me or help me?
    • This room lets them access other parts of the facility, which is their goal, but will also expose them to more danger!
  • What happens if I press the buttons without the keycard in the slot?
    • Dryden pulls the keycard out and just presses the buttons. Red button. Angry beep. Blue button. Sad beep. Green button. Happy beep and the room shakes.

They open the doors and see the control center and repair bay. The green button rotated the room 90 degrees. That’s why some doors opened to blank walls. Dryden inserts the keycard and presses the red button. Happy beep, and the room goes down. It’s an elevator!

A map of Thaumatown robotics facility, level 1. North room, shielded robots. East room: swarms of recycling bug robots. South room: factory. West room: robot assembly room.
Thaumatown robotics facility, level 1.

They open the south door. This room is a factory. Raw materials come from east wall and travel along conveyor belts, where they are forged, stamped, and assembled into components which exit through the west wall. The room is full of heavy machinery, the conveyor belts will push anyone on them into those smashign and cutting hazards, and there’s not really a floor.  Too dangerous. They close the south door and open the north door.

  • 20x Warrior Drones
    • Overpowering
    • Group
  • Shield Commander
    • Diamond Command (nearby allies are Dwarf-made)
  • Warrior Elite
    • Protect The Little Ones (takes hits for adjacent allies)
  • 2x Phalanx Drone
    • Energy Shield (takes a hit for the ally it’s riding)

Most of the robots in this room are Warrior Drones (Enforcer Droids upgraded with armor and weapons). The Shield Commander is a squat robot with four legs and a glass dome that makes it look a bit like a turtle. The Warrior Elite looks like a Warrior Drone but it’s ten feet tall and has four arms instead of two. When the Fellowship opens the door, the Warrior Drones turn to look at them. The Shield Commander lights up its dome, putting an aura on all the other robots that makes them very hard to damage. The Warrior Elite steps in front of the Shield Commander to defend it, and the Phalanx Drones riding the Shield Commander and Warrior Elite power up their energy shields. This squad of robots has three layers of invulnerability, and they are not happy to see the Fellowship! Also, there’s a keycard on the Shield Commander. The Warrior Drones see the Fellowship as intruders and rush the elevator!

Dryden’s two-handed Dwarven hammer is Melee, Dwarf-Made, Armor (1 use)

Dryden Keep Them Busy 10+

Dryden’s Dwarven hammer is just as tough as the shielded Warrior Droids, so he swings it wildly to keep them at bay as Lucia shuts the door and Averiela hits the blue button. The elevator rises and the sounds of the Warrior Drones pounding on the door fades. Lucia opens the north door to the repair bay, and Averiela opens the south door to go into the control center. Lucia and Dryden say they should al stick together, so they also go into the control center.

Dryden Bear Trap (Trap, 1 Use, immobilizes an enemy)

Drdyen sets a bear trap that the threshold between the elevator and the control center, in case any killer robots try to sneak up behind them.  Averiela and Lucia examine the controls to see if there’s anything they can use against the killer robots.

Averiela Look Closely (+hope, Lucia aid) 7-9 3 questions, 1 answer the hard way

GM note: I just told them all about the controls in the room. I have trouble inventing “the hard way” and hidden things in areas that are safe.

They see controls for repair bay, but not for any other levels of the facility. There are controls for each bay. Robots in them can be scrapped, marked as ready for service, or powered down.  They power down the whole repair bay. All the status lights go out. Dryden retrieves his bear trap and the Fellowship returns to the elevator. Green button. The eleveator rotates. Red button. The elevator moves. Red button again. Angry beep. (The keycard only grants access to levels 1 and 2)

They open the est door, but just a crack, since the toher rooms on this floor were so dangerous. This room is full of swarms of tiny robot bugs. They are crawling over the pile of trash that fell into the chute a while ago, tearing it into tiny pieces.

  • Recycling Swarm
    • Consume (eats food first)
    • Fragile Swarm (immune to normal weapons, Despair to anyone covered by a swarm)
    • Group

Consistent with the poor safety standards of the rest fo the facility, there’s no barrier between the swarms of bugs and the elevator, and bugs start pouring through the crack in the door into the elevator!

Lucia Overcome 10+

Lucia quickly slams the door before many bugs make it inside, then stomps on the few that did enter. Averiela peeks through the west door. In this room, components come through the east wall and are assembled into complete robots. Three robots arefully assembled and operational.

  • 2x Killbot
    • Exterminate (Melee, Ranged, Piercing)
  • Fire Droid
    • Flamethrower (Ranged, Dangerous, Burning)
    • Fireproof (immune to heat & fire)

A Killbot shines a laser beam on Averiela’s face and says “Target acquired!” It quickly hurls throwing knives at her!

Averiela Get Away 10+ (avoid harm, avoid notice)

With inhuman Elven speed, Averiela draws the titanium alloy sword she took from the Repair Bay and cuts the throwing knives as they come through the doorway! She dodges the knife shards and kicks the door closed in the same motion.

Averiela: Dryden! Blue button!

Dryden presses the blue button and the elevator rises to the first level. Lucia thinks there may be levels above the Repair Bay. Dryden presses the blue button again. Sad beep. Looks liek the only way forward is through some variation of killer robots. Averiela has a plan.

Averiela: Here’s the thing, friends. Dear friends. I’ll call you friends for the moment. I can use camouflage to camouflage all of us like super Super Ninja Wood Elves. Or we could hollow out robots and use them as disguises.

The Fellowship decides to disguise themselves as robots using the damaged robots in the Repair Bay. It takes a while to rip out al lthe internal machinery, but soon enough Averiela is inside the shell of a Fire Droid, while the others (Dryden, Lucia, Will, and Mara) are inside Warrior Droids.

GM note: I think Knows Too Much stays in the Entrance Hall. He’s not mentioned in the rest of the session.

Back into the elevator. Green button. Elevator rotates. Insert keycard. Red button. Elevator descends to level 2. They open the north door to the room with the squad of shielded robots. The robots within don’t immediately attack, since the Fellowship looks like robots at a glance. The Fellowship enters the room. The Warrior Elite stops Averiela, since she’s the wrong kind of robot.

Averiela: Fire Droid 455678 reporting for duty as commanded. I need to know our future plans so that my fellow fire droids can fall in line.

Averiela Talk Sense (+grace, trick) (+despair, shaky disguise) 7-9

Elite Warrior: The mission is to protect the facility. Recently six unauthorized organic creatures were spotted in the elevator. Since you have access to the elevator, you must help me and my Warriors find and eliminate these intruders.

The Elite Warrior (with Phalanx Drone) and two Warrior Droids head into the elevator. The Fellowship plays along and goes into the elevator with them. They press the green button, rotating the elevator, then open the door to the room full of Recycling Swarms. The Recycling Swarms try to enter the elevator.

Drdyen: Charge!

Dryden Talk Sense (+sense, trick) (+despair shaky disguise) 7-9

The Elite Warrior and real Warrior Droids are willing to fight this new threat, but expect Dryden to come with them. He does, and they all wade into the amorphous pile of tiny robots. Dryden notices that the Recycling Swarms are puling material that they disassemble in two directions: towards holes in the south wall, and down. If there is a floor in this room, it’s completely hidden by the Recycling Swarms.  The Warrior Droids swing, but their weapons are ineffective against the Recycling Swarm. The Recycling Swarms climb on the intruders and try to disassemble them. The Phalanx Droid is destroyed trying to protect the Warrior Elite.

Recycling Swarm Fragile Swarm: Despair to anyone covered by a swarm

Dryden Overcome +despair 7-9 pay a price

The Recycling Swarm doesn’t get Dryden, but they get his disguise. The Warrior Droid’s exterior starts to crumble, and the Elite Warrior sees Dryden inside! The Warrior Elite attacks the intruder.

Dryden Get Away +despair 7-9 avoid harm

Dryden peels the crumbling robot shell off of himself, pushing the pieces towards the Recycling Swarms and the Warrior Elite, using it as a temporary shield as he rushes for the elevator. He gets inside safely. Averiela jumps out of her robot disguise, closes the door, and presses the green button, rotating the elevator. The Warrior Elite and Warrior Droids are cut off, but a Recycling Swarm has squirmed into the elevator while the door was open.

Averiela Elder Arts Camouflage: Become invisible until you attack or make yourself known

Averiela Wood Elf: hide any number of allies with you.

Averiela camouflages herself and Dryden. Lucia tries to keep the Recycling Swarm at bay.

Lucia Keep Them Busy +despair 6-

Lucia spends 1 Food

The Recycling Swarm crawls over Lucia’s robot shell and inside, snatching a ration from her pack. The Fellowship opens the door to the shielded squad and Lucia goes in. The Warrior Droids see the Recycling Swarm afflicting Lucia and try to help, but their weapons are still ineffective. Lucia moves forward to report to the Shield Commander.

Lucia: Commander, the Warrior Elite was taken out. Orders?

Lucia’s robot disguise is Clumsy: -1 to Keep Them Busy, Get Away, and Finish Them

Lucia Keep Them Busy +depair +clumsy 7-9

Lucia Sting Like A Bee: steal something small without being noticed.

Lucia steals the keycard from the Shield Commander! The Recycling Swarm breaks through her robot disguise.

Lucia Quiet! Don’t Move: duck aside and avoid notice

Lucia drops to the ground and the pieces of the robot shell fall on top of her, shielding her from the eyes of the robots. She’s undetected, but unable to retreat! Dryden pulls another gadget from behind his cloak: a mirage with substance. Back in the Forgotten Lands, he found a certain kind of pond scum. When he rubs it on his fingers and then throws it, it takes the shape of what it touched last, like a simulacram.

Dryden Prank Weapon: Keep Them Busy 10+ distract Warrior Droids

The Warrrior Droids see a figure like Dryden appear at the far side of the room and rush to attack it. Lucia considers carrying the remains of her robot shell on her back as she flees ot the elevator, to use it as a shield. That would make her Clumsy, and the shell still has a Recycling Swarm eating it, so she’d have Despair as well. She ditches the robot shell and runs for the elevator.

Lucia Get Away 10+ avoid harm, avoid attention

She reaches the elevator and jumps into the Fire Droid shell that Averiela vacated. The Shield Commander sees and attempts to rally its troops, but the Fellowship closes the elevator door and presses the blue button. They are on the first floor and no enemies are pursuing them right now. Dryden and Lucia have lost their robot disguises. The keycard that Lucia stole is inscribed with a picture of an octohedron, more complicated than a cube, so probably better access. They go back to the Repair Bay for more disguises. There are no more Warrior Droids in the Repair Bay, so Lucia and Dryden take Enforcer Droid shells. Dryden also grabs two Flying Eyes. They are about he size of baseballs with their wings folded.

Back in the elevator, the Fellowship pluts the octohedron keycard into the slot. Blue button. Sad beep. Red button. Happy beep. Red button. Happy beep. Red button Angry beep. They have access to a third level.

A map of Thaumatown robotics facility, level 1. East of the elevator, a powerplant. Six fuel tanks, fed from above by pipes, feed into a ceramic pillar. A window in the ceramic pillar glows from the fire inside. North of the elevator, a control center with windows overlooking the powerplant.
Thaumatown robotics facility, level 3.

They open the north door and enter another control room. Windows on the east wall overlook a large circular room. In the center of the room, a ceramic pillar rises from floor to ceiling. The pillar is surrounded by six large tanks, with pipes coming from the ceiling into the tanks, then from the tanks into the pillar. An opening in the pillar at floor level glows brightly. Averiela and Lucia inspect the controls.

Averiela Look Closely (+hope, Lucia aid) 10+

  • What do my senses tell me?
    • Pipes leading from the room with the Recycling Swarms feed these tanks, probably with fuel, and the tanks feed into the ceramic pillar. Since this is a powerplant, and there’s a bright glow from the opening in the pillar, the pillar is probably a combustion chamber, turning that fuel into energy.
  • Tell me about the controls.
    • There are levers to shut off the flow of fuel into the tanks, shut off the flow from the tanks to the combustion chamber, and to shut off the flow of energy from the combustion chamber.
  • What is hidden or out of place?
    • Clearly there’s a combustion chamber in the next room being fed by a lot of fuel, making a very hot fire. But most powerplants will spin turbines to generate electricity, or have driveshafts, or some other way of taking all the energy released and harnessing it. There’s no sign of such a mechanism here.

The Fellowship discuss their options. They could deactivate the powerplant. That might turn off all the killer robots above. They could also check all the other exits from the elevator. They don’t want to split up to check the other rooms because they don’t have long-range comms to stay informed.

Averiela: Dryden, work on that.

Dryden: I’ve made some progress with a system of very long strings. See, if you hold this up to your ear…

They decide to work with what they have and all pile into the elevator. There’s a wall to the south and to the west. They know the powerplant is to the east, and that seems dangerous. They return to the control center and carefully shut down the powerplant. First they shut off the flow of fuel into the tanks. Status lights update, but looking through the window does not reveal any immediate change from the powerplant. Next they shut off the flow from the tanks to the combustion chamber. The glow from the opening in the pillar fades and disappears. Finally they shut off the flow of energy from the combustion chamber. Again, no obvious change in the powerplant.

They etner the elevator, press the green button to rotate the doors, then enter the powerplant. The air is cool. The opening in the ceramic pillar is covered by a Magical Barrier.

  • Magical Barrier
    • Impenetrable (can’t be damaged)
    • Some Shall Pass (certain things/people are allowed through)

Dryden test the barrier by throwing a Flying Eye at it. The Flying Eye goes right through the Magical Barrier. Averiela in the Fire Droid disguise tries to enter. She passes through the Magical Barrier into the ceramic cylinder.

  • Fire Droid
    • Fireproof (immune to heat & fire)
  • Combustion Chamber
    • High Radiation (extreme heat. Pay a Price to enter or make a move)

Averiela doesn’t notice the heat. She looks around inside the pilalr and sees the pipes from the tanks leading into this chamber. There’s a floor for her to walk on, and a ceiling at the top of the pillar. Only entrances. No exits. She kicks a pile of unburned sludge and finds a piece of Lucia’s lunch.  The Recycling Swarms separate fuel from the garbage (and droids) they disassemble and send it to this powerplant.  Dryden enters the combustion chamber in his Enforcer Droid disguise. It’s so hot in here!  He drops his second Flying Eye and retreats.

Lucia doesn’t understand how this powerplant works, and examines everything one more time.

Lucia Look Closely 10+

GM note: This was just a problem of me not describing the situation properly.  There was indeed a path for the energy to exit the combustion chamber. It went down, but, the lever that shut off the flow of energy closed that exit. The floor of the combustion chamber was a moveable piece of machinery.

Now that the Fellowship understands how the room works, they return to the control center and open the exit from the combustion chamber. They return to the powerplant and Averiela enters the chamber again. There’s a big hole through the floor to the ceiling of a room below. That room is about 20 feet tall, and there’s a large ceramic bowl on the floor of that room. The diameter of the bowl matches the diameter of the hole above. In the center of that bowl floats a strange artifact: the Artifact of Power that the Fellowship seeks! It looks like unnumerable windows, overlapping and shifting. There’s also a creature in the lower room, leaning over the edge of the bowl and looking up at Averiela.

A Rogue Construct, an artifical creature of aether and energy. Most of its body is crackling puple energy ,but it has a golden mask for a face, hands that turn into sharp claws, and a ssingle metal spike instead of feet.
The Rogue Construct
  • Rogue Construct
    • The Robot (does not eat, sleep, or breathe)
    • Just Like You (copies the Construct player character)
      • Wrist blades (Melee, Piercing)
      • Glide
      • Riding Pod
      • Talisman of Calling
      • Teleportation (1 use)
    • Iron Heart (damage as Hard Cuts)

GM note: Fortunately for you, he has no ranged weapons. Oh, wait, he can teleport.

The Rogue Construct teleports up next to Averiela and demands to know why she is there and why the powerplant is turned off.

Averiela: Command came down from above. Fudnign has been reallocated. We’re relocating this entire facility. Can you help us prepare the energy source for transport?

GM note: Usually Averiela would trigger Talk Sense, but Rogue Construct already knows she’s lying. First, it’s not like the other robots. It’s smarter, so Averiela’s disguise isn’t as convincing. More importantly, with the power plant offline, no robot in Thaumatown has power! Any robot still moving must be a fake!

Rogue Construct: How are you still moving when the power’s off?

Rogue Construct tears the Fire Droid shell open, revealing Averiela within. She’s exposed to the intense heat of the combustion chamber!

Averiela damages Wisdom

Averiela tries to flee, but the Magical Barrier stops her! Only robots are allowed to pass through.

GM note: Twice in a row that I didn’t let Averiela’s player roll. Ouch!

Averiela quickly changes direction and dives through the hole to the chamber below. The Rogue Construct follows her down. Lucia and Dryden rush to her aid, braving the intense heat in the combustion chamber.

Dryden pays a price by spending 1 Food

Lucia pays a price by damaging her Forgotten Lands power to detect evil

To avoid the big drop, Dryden fires his Ranged Rope from one side fo the hole to he other side of the bowl, so they can slide down at an angle.

Rogue Construct, Averiela, Dryden (in Enforcer Droid disguise), and Lucia (in Enforcer Droid disguise) are all in the final room of the facility with the Artifact of Power that is everyone’s goal!

GM note: We ran out of time and had to stop here! So close to the end! I designed this facility to be really dangerous. Someone could have fallen through the chute from the repair bay into the Recycling Swarms, then again into the power plant fuel tanks. The facility is full of dangerous robots that are hard to kill. More are being built.  The Fellowship didn’t directly attack any of the robots, and turned off most of the dangerous machines. Leaving the powerplant operational and taking the Artifact, or shutting down the powerplant incorrectly, could have blown up the whole facility. But my players took the safe and clever option at every step and are near their goal after taking only 1 point of damage!

Chasing The Sunset & Civic Center

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

The party: Dryden of Conwall the Collector/Hunter, Averiela the Elf, Lucia the Brave the Heir

Last time, the party found the city of Thaumatown in chaos. The streets were choked with hapless citizens, trying to follow impossible commands from hordes of Enforcer Droids. The Droids led the party to the leader of the city, who is long dead!

Knows Too Much, White Sand, and Roddy stayed outside the city, since they don’t like crowds or cities. Dryden, Averiela, Lucia, Will, and Mara are in the study at the top of the wizard’s tower.

Averiela looks around the wizard’s study.  The books and scrolls on shelves and tables all over the room are destroyed by water damage. The body of the wizard has been dead for some time, and the knife that apparenlty killed him has a strange design unfamiliar to all present. There’s a wall of screens, half blank, half showing aerial views of crowded city streets. No doubt this is footage from the Flying Eye robots that flit about everywhere. A balcony overlooks the city, facing the Civic Center, a large building in the middle of the city. The doors and windows of the Civic Center are closed with metal shutters. There’s a spiral hole in the roof of the Civic Center, and by walking back and forth on the balcony, Averiela can determine that the spiral hole is aimed at the balcony she’s standing on. Something large moves inside the Civic Center, only visible in glimpses through the spiral hole. Averiela also notices a short, rotund man trying to sneak through the crowds. He’s carrying a ladder and is trying to reach the Civic Center, but Enforcers Droids keep getting in his way.

Map of Thaumatown. Wizard's Tower in southwest corner. Water treatment plant in northwest corner. Mighty River flows west to east o nthe north edge of town. Civic Center in the center of town.
Map of Thaumatown

The group wonders how to reach the Civic Center with the streets in such disarray. Dryden has a harpoon gun, but it can’t reach from the wizard’s tower to the Civic Center. Lucia’s royal brooch convinced the Enforcer Droids to lead her to the city’s leader (sadly deceased) but she can’t order them to lead her anywhere else.  Averiela wonders about becoming the leader of the town. Then the Enforcer Droids would have to let her pass.

Averiela Elder Art: Camouflage: she and her friends turn invisible

Averiela camouflages the group and they start moving towards the Civic Center. The Enforcer Droids don’t notice them, and thus don’t order them around, but they have to push through crowds of harried townsfolk who can’t see them to avoid them. It’s no fun!

Dryden Ranged Rope to rooftops

Dryden fires his ranged rope to the rooftops and everyone climbs up. The streets are narrow and the buildings lean out over them, so the group can hop from roof to roof almost to the Civic Center. The Civic Center is in the middle of a plaza, so no roofs overhand it. Most Enforcer Droids are giving nonsense orders, but a few Enforcer Droids close to the Civic Center seem to be cooperating and working towards a goal of keeping everyone away from the building.

Walter, the short, rotund man that Averiela spotted from the balcony, is trying to infiltrate the building. He runs across the plaza and ducks behind a stack of crates to hide while a pair of Enforcer Droids pass. They don’t notice the ladder sticking up above the crates. When they are gone, Walter leans the ladder against the wall and climbs up to fiddle with a window. The metal shutter gives him some trouble, and the next pair of patrolling Enforcer Droids spot him.

Enforcer Droid: Citizen, you have violated Civil Codes by entering a restricted area and littering. Leave at once.

One Enforcer Droid picks up the ladder and carries it away from the Civic Center. Walter wobbles and clings to the top rung. The Enforcer Droid puts the ladder down right on the line where the tiles of the plaza change to the cobblestones of a street, turns around, and resumes its patrol. Its jurisdiction covers the Civic Center plaza and not an inch beyond. Walter flails and tries to keep his balance on top of the precariously balanced ladder! Lucia reaches down from the edge of the roof to grab Walter

Lucia Overcome 7-9 temporary solution

She does grab his hand, but he unintentionally drags her mostly off the roof. Her feet hook on the gutter right at the edge. Lucia, Walter, and the ladder are now three links in an unstable chain.  Dryden leaps into action. He aims his harpoon gun between two rungs of the ladder. The taut harpoon line should prevent the ladder from falling, so Lucia and Walter can climb down.

Dryden Overcome 6-

Dryden’s aim is off! The harpoon hits the ladder, knocking it out from under Walter. Walter and Lucia tumble to the ground!

Lucia damage Armor

Instead of thanking his rescuers (did they actually rescue him?) Walter immediately starts telling them how they should have done it.

Lucia Speak Softly 7-9 3 questions, 1 answer the hard way

Walter explains that the Civic Center went into Lockown on the day of the Wizard Battle, a little over a month ago. He’s trying to enter and regain control of the city’s Droids. It’s his duty, since he was elected according to Allan a Zham’s instructions, when the wizard left the city after winning the Wizard Battle. Allan a Zham said that the people were qualified to lead themselves and should elect representatives, and Walter was duly elected leader of the Council! (He’s very proud of this position)  Lucia offers to help him, and he recommends that she & her friends run interference for him. If he had more time, he could pick the lock on the window and get inside. He shows the tools he’s gathered for the task: a railroad nail, a fork, and bit of metal filigree. He picks up the ladder, and sees that the harpoon has broken one of the side rails. The other side rail is already patched with a section of 2×4.  Walter grumbles. He’ll have to get another one from Ruby. Goods are so expensive now, since transport is thoroughly disrupted by the Enforcer Droids. He wanders off with the broken ladder.

Lucia climbs up the harpoon rope to rejoin the others on the roof. Now it’s clear that two pairs of Enforcer Droids are circling the plaza to find and remove anyone geting close to the Civic Center. Dryden winds up the harpoon cable, then fires his ranged rope from the roof to the roof of the Civic Center. The end of the rope ties itself around the railing on the catwalk spiraling up the clock tower that rising above the Civic Center.

Thaumatown's Clock Tower

Averiela easily walks across the rope, but the others climb hand over hand with their knees hooked over the rope.  Dryden peers through the spiral hole in the roof. Inside there’s a large open area. The roof is about 20 feet above the floor. Slowly stomping around inside is a 10-foot tall robot, roughly humanoid, but covered in thick armor plates.

  • Sentry Droid:
    • Begone
    • Mostly Immobile
    • Tough As Nails
    • Threat To The World

Averiela: Do we want to destroy it or rewire it?

Lucia: I’m worried about having robots in charge! If we fix them now, will they go bad again later?

They’re not even sure how to make the robots behave properly, or turn them off, or whatever it is they are trying to accomplish. The Civic Center is the most likely place to find a control center. Maybe the control center is inside that Guardian Robot! So they need to get inside the building. Dryden approaches the shutter covering a skylight.

Dryden: Back in the day, I had lockpicks, but they melted! Or I read about someone’s lockpicks melting. I have pen pals.

Lucia: That was Gleador!

Dryden: You know Gleador?

Lucia: He was with me when you linked up with me! We had a touching farewell ceremony!

Dryden needed lockpicks for various activities in his youth, so he trained worms of the forest. He pulls a small box from behind his cloak. The box is full of dirt, but worms emerge and slither into the lock. It unlocks with a click, and the worms return to their box. Dryden rewards them with rare basalt from a small pouch of treats.  He heaves the skylight open. The Sentry Robot hears the noise, sees the light pouring in, and slowly turns its bulky frame to to look up at the skylight.

Sentry Droid: Warning: unauthorized activity. This is a restricted area.

Exploring the Civic Center quietly is no longer an option, but the Sentry Droid can’t easily reach them up here in the roof. They consider their options.

Dryden: I have an arm signal for Roddy.

Dryden demonstrates the signal.  In the plaza below, the nearest Enforcer Droid explodes! One second later, the sound of a giant cork reaches them. The signal works! Roddy is watching! A few Flying Eye turn and fly towards the sound.

GM note: While discussing how to handle the Sentry Droid with teamwork, the players realized they forgot to add bonds when Averiela joined the party. They wrote some bonds right now based on past interactions.

Drdyen is ready to zoom in with his Flying Device to create an opening for Averiela, but she’s invisible. The Sentry Droid won’t see her attack coming.

Averiela Pay a Price to face a Threat To The World: spend extra ammo

Averiela Enemy At The Gates: can Finish Them with Grace when hidden

Averiela Finish Them +Grace 10+

Averiela Enemy At The Gates: on a 10+ remain hidden

Moving with the superhuman speed of the Elves, Averiela leans into the skylight and fires three arrows that all hit the Sentry Droid in the neck, weakening it. She fires a final, bigger arrow right between the chest armor and the ‘helmet’ cutting the Sentry Droid’s head off! The Sentry Droid slows and collapses, making a low buzzing noise.  Averiela, Lucia and Dryden, crowding together to peer in the skylight, erupt in celebration! Dryden gives the arm signal again!  Another Enforcer Droid explodes!

Sentry Droid Big Fish: When the Boss is angered, increase the Response Level

Thaumatown Response Level 3: Show Of Force. Boss gets one Hard Cut to spend at any time.

The buzz from the Sentry Droid rises in pitch and volume to become a hum, then a voice!

Sentry Droid Tough As Nails: first time this creature would be damaged or destroyed, damage this stat instead

Sentry Droid: Critical Damage. Switching to backup systems.

The armor plates on the chest move forward, then slide apart, revealing a hidden glowing eye. The Sentry Droid stands up, grabs a desk, and hurls it at the skylight!

GM note: I told them what Tough As Nails did before they engaged, but I still let them describe their victory and celebrate before snatching it back. Two great moments in a row.

Lucia Get Away (+hope Averiela’a aid) 7-9 avoid harm

Lucia and Averiela dive into the skylight, rolling on impact to avoid injury. Dryden jumps first, then goes for his flying disk to avoid hitting the floor.

Dryden Curious Curios Overcharge Flying Disk: fly for the whole scene

Dryden Get Away 10+ avoid harm, avoid notice

The only intruder the Sentry Droid can see is Lucia, so it turns on her. One of its arm is articulated like a human’s, so it can pick up and throw objects like a desk. The other arm is a piston forged in the shape of an outstretched hand making a “stop” gesture.

GM note: Like Cherno Alpha from Pacific Rim. The piston addsto the punching action. You haven’t seen Pacific Rim? Oh.

Lucia identifies this powerful creature as the Boss of the Location, so she attempts to receive Royal Treatment by showing her Symbol Of Royalty.

Lucia Keep Them Busy 6-

Unfortunately, the Sentry Droid’s programming is not sophisticated enough to include hospitality, so it steps in and fires its piston arm at Lucia.

Sentry Droid Begone: attempt to eject enemy when dealing damage

Will Look Out! Take harm in Lucia’s place

Lucia’s loyal bodyguard interposes himself and takes the blow meant for Lucia! He’s knocked across the room and would  have tumbled into the hall, except for the metal shutter blocking the door. He’s still conscious, but disoriented.

Dryden thinks about Hoth. Perhaps a small flying creature could wrap a rope about a big armrored machine to disable it.  Averiela throws a water bottle to Dryden and tells him to dump it into the exposed circuits in the Sentry Droid’s neck. That should short-circuit the giant robot. He does so, and Averiela fires again, but misses.

GM note: My notes are a bit messy here. Dryden probably used Keep Them Busy, so Averiela’s Finish Them attempt Triggered both Pack Hunter and Enemy At The Gates, but still rolled 6-. That breaks her camouflage.

While the Sentry Droid is distracted, Lucia ducks behind a bench and draws her throwing knives.

Lucia Quiet! Don’t Move: duck aside, stay still, stay hidden

She throws two knives in quick succession!

Lucia Pay a Price to act against Threat To The World: +1 ammo

Lucia Finish Them (+sense) advantage: strike from hiding. 7-9

Sentry Droid’s Begone! is damaged

Lucia’s knives strike true! In response, the Sentry Droid disables safety protocols and engages Desperation Mode! It doesn’t want to remove them from its area. It wants to kill them!

Sentry Droid Show Of Force: Deal Damage

The Sentry Droid’s piston arm slaps Averiela into a wall and it rushes upon her with a sudden burst of speed!

Averiela spends 1 use of Armor

Averiela uses all her Elven agility to avoid the Sentry Droid’s powerful blows, nimbly leaping on its hands and arms as it pummels the wall and floor into rubble.

Averiela Touch The World Lightly: you can safely walk on top of held weaponry.

Averiela Keep Them Busy 7-9

Lucia throws Dryden a water bottle so he can try to short circuit the Sentry Droid again.

Lucia spends 1 use of Food

Dryden Finish Them (+sense) advantage: Averiela Keeps Them Busy. +despair 7-9

Sentry Droid’s Mostly Immobile is damaged

Sentry Droid: Systems failing. Return to maintenance facility for urgent repair.

It turns away from Averiela, walks to a door, lifts the heavy metal roller door with one arm and leaves the lobby. Lucia dives under the door as it falls back into place, pursuing the Sentry Droid.

Lucia Get Away (+despair) 7-9

GM note: Lucia’s Strike True move lets her inflict Pinned Down on an enemy so it can’t move for the rest of the scene. But the scene is about to end, since the fight is over. We decided that a ficitionally similar benefit would be to delay the Sentry Droid’s repairs, giving the team plenty of time in the Civic Center to find how the robots are controlled.

The Sentry Droid moves through the halls and tunnels of the Civic Center, single-mindedly trying to reach the repair facility somewhere deep below. Lucia follows, striking with her beautiful blade. She probes for anywhere her blade can get past the Sentry Droid’s thick armor. The eye. The knee. Finally, the Snetry Droid shudders to a halt.

Sentry Droid: Mobility 0% Deploying emergency beacon.

This juggernaut has backup systems on backup systems.  A panel opens on its shoulder, revealing a a small alunch tube. A Flying Eye launches out, straight into the ceiling! The tunnels are scarcely bigger than the Sentry Droid. The Flying Eye clatters to the floor, broken. Elsewhere on the Sentry Droid, a bright red light starts pulsing. Back in the lobby of the Civic Center, Dryden hears a faint repeating alarm tone far above him.

Dryden Workaholic: spend 1 food to heal

Dryden restores his Courage by drinking a special bottle of water. The trick is to gather the water from the top of a waterfall, after it has gone over the edge. Drinking the water reminds Dryden that he had the courage to collect this special drink, so he can be courageous again. Now that he has some time to think, he recalls that Walter said the wizard who used to rule Thaumatown was named Allan a Zham. That’s not the first time Dryden has heard the name. Brainiac, riding a Giant Alligator in the forgotten Dwarven tunnels, said he was sent on a quest by Allan A Zham.

Drdyen prepares to fly up into the clocktower, since the beeping seems to come from the top. The clocktower isn’t built on the roof of the Civic Center. There’s a gap in the ceiling, and the six pillars of the clocktower extend down into the lobby. There’s a also a piston extending from the floor of the lobby right up the center of the clocktower. Unfortunately for Dryden, there’s also a grid of electricity across the clocktower halfway up. Flying straight through that seems bad, so he looks for another way. He uses his third and final Ranged Rope to connect a line from the looby floor to the open skylight. He and Averiela return to the roof and walk up the spiral staircase wrapping around the clock tower. They open a clock face and find the control center! The piston from the floor connects to a fancy chair, allowing it to move from the lobby to this secret control center. The chair is surrounded by panels of status lights, levers and buttons with walls of screens rising above them. Half the screens are blank, but the screens that work show aerial views of Thaumatown beamed back from the Flying Eyes.  The control panels have been damaged and repairs. Some wires are ripped loose, and other wires are patched and bypassed. Figuring out how to operate this control system would be difficult even if it was undamaged, but now it’s a huge mess.

Averiela:  We could fetch Walter to operate this.

Dryden: I don’t think he knows. We should probably disable the robots.

Averiela Keen Senses: Ask a question about your surroundings

Averiela: How do we turn off the robots from this control panel?

Averiela doesn’t have much experience with electronics, but as she sits in the chair and looks at the mess of wires as a whole, she starts to understand it like the roots of a forest. She connects a wire here, cuts a few there, asks Dryden to translate a few magical runes, then connects a jumper cable to an antenna and presses a button! The screens go black one after the other, and looks out over the city, they can see Flying Eyes fall out of the sky. One drops onto the roof of the clock tower with a surprising thud!  Enforcer Droids in the street stop moving. She did it!

Lucia finds her way out of the tunnels below the Civic Center by following the trail of parts from her running battle with the Sentry Droid. She bangs on the heavy metal roller door blocking the door to the lobby. It’s not locked, but it’s just really big and heavy. She has a horse and Averiela has a Unicorn. Maybe the two of them could pull the door open. Maybe Dryden’s Dwarven hammer could smash through the door. Eventually they figure out that none of them are in the lobby, and there’s nothing they need in the tower. Lucia walks out the front door. Averiela and Dryden climb down from the roof. They all meet in the plaza.

 

Walter arrives with a brand new ladder!

Walter: Great luck! No Enforcer Droids about. Looks like you cleared the way for me!

Lucia’s not sure if he’s actually the elected leader of the town, but she knows how to find out. She presents her Symbol Of Royalty.

Walter: Oh my! You deserve Royal Treatment!

Lucia Royal Treatment: the ruler of a place will offer a meal and a night’s rest

Walter leads them through the streets (much easier without Enforcer Droids giving random orders at every corner) while explaining that monarchy is an outdated form of government, and Lucia should relinquish her rule. She’s not even present to rule her people!  He brings them to a temporary headquarters and proudly presents them to the rest of the elected council!

Walter: Behold, our government’s influence grows! Already with have diplomatic relations with foreign officials!

Everyone chats over dinner

Fill Your Belly: everyone heals one stat

Lucia Speak Softly 10+ ask 3 questions

  • Tell me about the robots: The robots were created to ensure order and increase efficiency. The great Allan a Zham commissioned a brilliant inventor to create the perfect servants for the people.  They started malfunctioning on the day of the wizard battle.
  • What are you doing next? The provisional government will move into the Civic Center and take power. They are sure they can figure out the robot problem and get them back to helping the city. How hard could it be?
  • What should I be wary of? Lucia gets the impression that these council members don’t actually know how to govern. They were present when Allan a Zham announced his abdication and told the people that they should rule themselves. What greater endorsement could they hope for?

Dryden Speak Softly 6- ask 3 questions. 1 answer the hard way, 1 answer unhelpful\

  • Tell me about Allan a Zham. Allan a Zham was a brilliant Wizard who used his powers of foresight to plan ahead and think of everything!
  • Tell me about the other wizard. Different members of the council tell different stories. Some say there were two troublemakers. Some say four. One was definitely a wizard. Was there a ghost with them? Two women, one with a strange light hovering over her shoulder. No matter who were accomplices were, another Wizard came to cause trouble, just as Allan a Zham predicted. Oh, they had a pink dog.
  • What would you have us do: You can go. We’re fine. We have everything under control.

GM note: Despite my innacurate description of the events of the wizard battle, the players figured out that another group of player characters came to town and killed Allan a Zham.

The party retires for the night and talks among themselves. Dryden knows that the man he met in the tunnels is the Brianiac who designed and controlled Thaumatown’s robots. Maybe they could go find him. He told them where he was going last time they met. But is he a good guy? Should he have all that power?  Lucia wonders if the council would accept Brianiac if he returned. The new government is a bit of a mess. How long do the current representatives serve/ Will they have more elections?

Whether Brianiac returns or if the council figures out the control panel, eventually they could get the robots working again. The party decides that the robots are no good and must be shut down forever. Somewhere below the Civic Center, an Artifact of Power distributes power to all the robots. They resolve to delve into those unknown tunnels and take that Artifact of Power!

End of Session move.

  • Did you thoroughly explore a new location? Yes
  • Did you learn more about the world and its people? Yes
  • Did anyone find what they are looking for? Yes

Restore Gear, Restore Gear, Averiela and Lucia level up.

Chasing The Sunset & Ancient Wisdom

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

The party: Dryden of Conwall the Collector/Hunter, Averiela the Elf, Lucia the Brave the Heir

Last time, the party saved the town of Bogden from werewolves. They spent the next week recovering in Bogden

Dryden gains Destiny: Hunter

Party Recovers: remove all marks from health, gear, and spells

The grateful citizens of Bogden offer the party several boons to choose from:

  • Two Platypeople will join the party as companions
  • Anter (the vilage elder) will share her wisdom
  • Shady individuals with certain useful skills will owe them a favor

The party have trouble choosing between these enticing options.  Perhaps they should bring Sallet and Sally (the lycanthropes) along with them, so they can deal with their transformation on the next full moon. The Champ thinks the lycanthropes should be killed to protect the rest of the town.  Eventually they decide that the greatest treasure is knowledge!

Fellowship move: The Elder. Each character asks one question and receives a truthful answer

Lucia: Who built the Moon?

Anter is 85 years old, so she was not born when the Moon appeared 100 years ago, but she memorized the stories passed down from the Elder before her. The Moon was the Dragons’ greatest weapon, but it didn’t work. Shortly after the Moon appeared, the Dragons disappeared.

Dryden: How can I ensure the two werewolves and the whole community are safe.

Anter: The Champ wants to kill them to protect the community, but they are part of the community, so that will not keep the whole community safe. We could exile them so they don’t attack their fellow townspeople, but since they are part of the community, that does not protect the whole community. We could build cages and contain them on the night of the full moon. The best, but most difficult option, is to cure their lycanthropy.

Averiela: How do we stop the greatest threat to the world?

Anter: That’s the Moon’s purpose. Make the Moon work the way it’s supposed to.

Averiela: We should find the Dragons.

Dryden & Lucia: We know where one is.

Dryden explains the method he uses to cure the werewolves last week. He gives Anter two Healing Potions, but the Unicorn Sword (the other half of the ritual) is spent.

GM note: The Unicorn Sword is not part of Dryden’s gear, so it is not affected by the Recover move.

White Sand uses Holy Horn: restore one charge to Unicorn Sword

White Sand uses Infinite Compassion: restore one charge to Unicorn Sword

Averiela’s live Unicorn shares her power with the Unicorn Sword so that Anter can use it on the next full moon. Anter thanks them for their help, then quickly wraps the Unicorn Sword in a cloth and puts it away. Using the horn of a peaceful creature like a Unicorn as a weapon is an atrocity, and Anter’s really uncomfortable looking at it.

Dryden gains location bond with Bogden: I cured the werewolves in Bogden

Bogden Minimum Response Level increases to 1

Bogden Response Move: Bad Weather: rainstorm

Clouds and rain move in as the party finishes Recovering. The clouds and thick sheets of rain reduce visibility, and the ground turns to mud. The Platypeople love this weather, but it’s inconvenient for adventurers used to dry land. Tammeas the giant turtle loves the rain, but Knows Too Much is cranky.

Before they leave, they write on the Bogden Message board.

Lucia: Anter can be an ally. Watch out for Champ. The mayor will talk you to death (metaphorically) Also Sally and Sallet are werewolves (maybe)

Averiela: Whoa, that might cause prejudice!

Lucia crosses out Also Sally and Sallet are werewolves (maybe)

Dryden: If the full moon possess
And healing occurred,
Seek Anter.
Your worth she’ll assess,
If you be not deterred.
I have six words to spare!

Averiela: Do Sally and Sallet have Lycanthropy? Help them.

Lucia and Dryden want to find the Dragon in the Goblin city mentioned by Brianiac.

Averiela: Is that really the last Dragon?

Lucia & Dryden (in unison): It’s the only Dragon we know of.

Dryden: We head for Dragons or the edge of the map, where the water flows up! I’m going to insult that Dragon and bait it into fighting me!

Anter gives directions to the twin volcanoes: take the river that flows out of Bogden south until it connects to the Mighty River. From there, walk overland towards the twin volcanoes visible on the southern horizon. The party prefers the secret tunnels, but worries that the rainstorm has flooded them. The tunnel to Bogden has enough water in it to flow toward the main tunnel, as it did before it collapsed.

Dryden & Averiela Fill Their Bellies & assign the extra healing to White Sand

Just before they leave, they remember that Roddy is still in a cell!  He does not recognize Lucia’s authority, so she can’t order him to do anything.  Dryden tries the diplomatic approach

Dryden Finish Them (Wisdom) Advantage: can’t avoid conversation while imprisoned 10+

Dryden points to White Sand, a live unicorn, and says that Unicorns are noble beasts, but EEE, who adopts the aesthetic of Unicorns by killing them, is evil. Roddy should join the authentic good team. He could be an asset!

Roddy forms bond with Dryden and joins as a Companion

Now they head out for real! They enter the secret underground tunnels and continue south. They approach a fork in the tunnel. Both sides go roughly the same direction, but one has water, and the other does not. Averiela scouts up the dry tunnel and finds a station. These tunnels were a transportation network long ago, and this was a large station with plenty of seating, and a counter that used to provide some amentities, maybe food and drink. All that was long ago, and the stone benches are covered in dust, and all the shelves are empty.  Averiela’s keen Elven vision detects a slip of paper dovered in Dwarven runes: a winning ticket for a lottery that hasn’t operated in centuries. She also finds a secret compartment containing an ornate locked box.

Dryden investigates the box: picking it up, spinning it in his hands, knocking on it. The mechanisms remind him of ancient trap techniques he learned from The Trapper.  Dryden was a student of The Trapper, but never saw his face. Dryden would go to a certain place for a lesson, trigger a trap, then figure out how to get out of it. The last time he went for a lesson, he didn’t get trapped. Instead of a trap, The Trapper left his scrolls explaining his techniques. That’s how Dryden found out that he had graduated.

Averiela: So can you unlock it?

Dryden: Yes and no. I’ll hold all the moving parts in the correct positions, and you should be able to remove the contents. We don’t want to be in a subterranean position to try thing. The trap collapses in like a vaccuum, and wears off in 6-12 hours.

This station has a spiral stone staircase leading to the surface, like the other stations the party has seen in these tunnels. They push back the covering at the top of the stairs, which turns out to be a curtain of flase grass, hiding the entrance in a meadow. They are just south of the Mighty River, which flows west to east. To the east, rapids coming down from huge white mountains, the Treacherous Mountains that Dryden and Lucia crossed not long ago. To the west, the Mighty River flows on for a long way. To the south, twin volcanoes are visible: one smoking, one dormant. On the north bank of the Mighty River is a town.

Averiela: Let’s open this box far from the entrance, so we don’t affect travel. Also far from the town.

Dryden: The radius of a trap this size is only 50 yards.

Drdyen will operate the puzzle box and put just the right pressure on the hidden mechanism on the bottom. Lucia will open the lid and grab what’s inside. Both must be ready to get ot a safe distance at any moment. Dryden has final instructions for Averiela, who is standing well clear.

Dryden: If we get stuck, wait it out. Throw stuff into the effect to use up its energy faster.

Lucia (+Hope w/Dryden assist) Get Away 10+

Everything goes as well as it could, which means Lucia and Dryden dive aside as the box and nearby landscape collapse into a tiny ball, but Lucia holds the prize in her hand!

DM note: Clearly this treasure of the Dwarves would be Dwarf-Made and Precious, but I had the players roll 2 d6s to select more item tags

It’s a Ceremonial Throwing Axe, used to show authority in Dwarven culture. It’s definitely still a weapon, but aesthetics were more important than efficiency. The handle is made of gold and the axe blade is deep blue crystal, sliced from a geode.

New item: Ceremonial Throwing Axe. Dwarf-Made, Precious, Thrown, Clumsy

The party heads to the nearby town of Thaumatown. Its narrow streets are crowded by tall narrow buildings. It seems claustrophobic, and looking closer only intensifies that impression. The streets are packed full of people rushing every which way. Enforcer Droids bark orders and direct traffic, but each Droid gives contradictory orders, pushing people into endless loops and traffic jams. In the air above, metal eys with buzzing wings watch over everyone.

Roddy, Knows Too Much, and White Sand stay at the edge of town. They don’t like crowds. Dryden shows a secret arm signal that indicates trouble. Roddy can watch for it with the scope of his pneumatic gun. Dryden identifies the Enforcer Droids as a public menace, and wants to figure out how to fix them. Maybe there’s a cool reward! As they try to enter the town, an Enforcer Droid warns that they are violating traffic regulations.

Lucia Symbol Of Royalty: grant an audience with anyone

Lucia demands to meet the ruler of this town. The Enforcer Droid recognizes her royal symbol and starts leading her towards a tower at hte back of town, ordering everyone out of it way. Before long, another Enforcer Droid directs Lucia’s Droid into a dead-end alley, then a third Droid closes the main road so they aren’t allowed to leave the alley.

Lucia Symbol Of Royalty: grant an audience with anyone

Lucia sees how this works and orders every Enforcer Droid that gets near her to take her to its leader. Soon an entire formation of Enforcer Droids are leading her to the tower, leaving a sector of town free from their nonsense orders. Living townsfolk cheer in relief. The Enforcer Droids open the doors at the base fo the tower, and Lucia and Dryden go inside. They climb the stairs and reach a study at the top. A balcony provides a great view of the city below.  Bookselves line the walls, and tables are covered in scrolls and parchment. Everything is wrinkled and water-damaged. Most importantly, and most unfortunately, they find the dead body of a Wizard and the knife that must have killed him. This town has no ruler. Hasn’t had one for while, judging by the state of the body.

Chasing The Sunset & Thaumatown

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

Party: Agnes the Harbinger, Lumen the Lantern, Melvin the Rain, Rook the Remnant

GM note: In the original West Marches, it was easy to have new characters team up, because everyone went back to a single home base. In Chasing the Sunset, characters can be in different places, and we players must contrive ways for them to meet in a single place.

Lumen (last seen on a racing yacht docked at Port Fennrick) has a problem projecting herself into reality and uses Melvin as a beacon to pull herself back into this dimension.  Melvin, fresh from busting up mafia headquarters, still wears the form of one of the gangsters, and Wallace, Agnes’ new dog, recognizes him and runs back to him. Agnes and Rook run in after Wallace a short time after. Lumen asks Agnes “Do you know this dog?” Agnes asks Wallace, “Do you know this being?” But they make introductions and realize that they are follow adventurers and should go on adventures together.  Melvin tries to shake Rook’s hand, but the shapeshifter and the ghost can’t touch each other.  But what adventure should they seek? Lumen swore to protect Jensen from the shady people that she was smuggling contraband for, but the mafia is already destroyed. Agnes and Melvin saw to that. They decide to head upriver, and try to get a ride from Jensen. She would help, since she owes them for saving her from the mafia, but her boat is wrecked, so she can’t.

Our crew heads for the mouth of the river to look for a boat that could give them passage. There’s a raft piloted by a giant, and a longboat with a crew of humans. Agnes gets a doomy sense from the longboat, so they choose that one, and exchange work for passage. Melvin uses his Rain powers to clean the boat, while Rook floats above and keeps watch.

Agnes checks in on Johnny, the mobster who has been fleeing upriver for some time. There’s interference in her vision, like the interference when two Harbingers are close to each other. Through the interference, she sees a crowded city with narrow streets.  That’s Thaumatown, and the longboat is headed there.  Agnes doesn’t want to go to a town with another Harbinger, but she’ll go anyways. Anything could happen.

Thaumatown is a crowded, bustling city. There are clockwork robots everywhere. Automatic cranes load and unload boats at the docks. Flying surveillance drones watch everywhere, and police robots expertly direct traffic to keep the crowded streets moving. The streets are narrow and the buildings loom over them, so they sky is barely visible.  Two towers are visible over the roofs of the other buildings: a large clock tower on the civic center, and a wizard’s tower on the far side of town.

Melvin drops into the water to look around while the rest of the crew disembarks like normal people. The police robots direct them like they direct everyone, but it seems the robots are taking a special interesting the crew. Melvin finds some big pipes taking in water from the river, and dumping water into the river, He swims up the pipes into a water treatment center. His formless body can squeeze through the filters, but it will take some time. As he’s squeezing through, he sets of water quality alarms, and someone is coming to investigate, so he abandons his search of the water treatment plant and flows through other pipes under the city.

Some police robots approach Agnes and tell her to follow them. They clear crowds out of their path, quickly leading Agnes, and Lumen to the civic center. In the central chamber of the civic center, there’s a piston rising all the way up the clock tower. This piston retracts, and on the end is a fancy chair, and in that chair, Brainiac, who controls all of the robots, and thus the entire town, from this central location.

GM note: Not the comic book character. A very smart man.

Brainiac explains that he works for a wizard, an amazing man who can see the future! He foresaw that one day another Harbinger might come and threaten his rule, so Brainiac devised a plan to ensure the stability of the town.  Brainiac gestures, and a police robot brings a weird hinged cage, like a tea strainer, but two feet long, up to Agnes. It’s like a Faraday cage for magical powers, and will block the interference that Anges is causing the wizard, and vice versa.  Brainiac demands that Agnes wear the helmet!

The crew decides to go loud instead of accepting captivity! Lumen’s light flashes ,temporarily blinding the police robots and surveillance drones, but Brainiac was prepared and sends the surveillance drones crashing into Lumen’s last known location. She didn’t move, so she’s hit.  Melvin arrives at the civic center and lets Rook in.  Rook floats in and whispers spookily in Brainiac’s ear.  Lumen starts fighting the police robots with her knife and light. In the melee she drops her knife and smashes her bare hand into the unyielding armor of a police robot.  Brianiac raises his chair to escape to the clock tower, and Rook floats up after him, but Brainiac is prepared and activates an electric grid beneath his chair, zapping Rook & stopping his advance. Brainiac arrives at the top of the tower, where huge control panels and screens are arrayed before him, letting him control everything in the city. He’s sure to call in reinforcements.  Agnes uses the ley lines to reach out from Brainiac’s position, flipping switches and yanking wires. Traffic goes haywire as the police bots malfunction and direct people into impossible patterns.

At this point, the wizard decides to step in. A beam of energy from the top of his tower cuts across the twon and into the side of the civic center, burning a spiral pattern through the wall and into the floor, widening and widening until Agnes is hit! The harbingers interfere with each other’s vision, so Allan a Zham had to fire blindly towards the densest static in his vision.

The tactical situation changes in an instant. The crew needs to close the distance since they can’t match Allan’s power at range. Lumen’s light moves to shield Agnes. Melvin causes a fog to appear, hampering Allan’s vision. Agnes puts on the Faraday cage helmet, so she disappears from Allan’s view.  Lumen, Melvin, Rook, and Agnes all fly, float, or clamber over rooftops and across alleyways towards the wizard’s tower and Allan continues to fire on them.

Rook is floating straight in, confident in his incorporeality, when a flask of holy water teleports right on top of him and bursts! Agnes is flying on Snek, Allan’s attacks force them down below the roofline, towards police droids!  Melvin and Lumen are running over rooftops together and a fireball explodes under them just as they leap from a barbershop!  Barbers are thrown through the air with a perfect four-part harmony of screams! Clients stagger out of the rubble, haircuts burned away.  Melvin and Lumen are singed, but escape further fire and confront Allan a Zham in his sanctum at the top of his tower!  Windows look out over the city. Screens show camera feeds from surveillance droids. Maps, scrolls, and books are stuffed into shelves and piled on tables all over the room.  Allan is furious! HE knew that someday someone would come to overthrow him, and now these adventurers have come even to his inner sanctum. He will tolerate no threat to his power!  Melvin causes rain inside, soaking reams of irreplaceable magical research. Allan is momentarily distracted by the destruction, and Lumen seizes her chance!  She uses her survival knife as a focus for her Light, and fires it with laser precision into Allan’s head, killing him instantly!

Down on the streets, Anges is receiving conflicting instructions from two malfunctioning police robots. One orders her to take a path blocked by the second, which tells her to turn around. They will get rough if she doesn’t obey, so she stalls for time and starts a fire inside the second robot. When it is too damaged to insist, she obeys the first robot and just walks away.

The whole drew assembles in the wizard’s upper room. Most of the papers are ruined, but there is one note about twin volcanoes. Sure enough ,the two peaks are visible to the south.  Rook speaks with the spirit of the slain wizard, asking why he attacked them. Allan wanted order above all, and proactively removed anything that could cause upheaval or disruption.

Melvin shape-shifts into the exact likeness of the wizard and leads the crew back to the Civic Center. Allan a Zham had a “I can do what I want” badge, and flashing that to the police robots allows Melvin to ignore their senseless, contradictory orders. The citizens of Thaumatown are not so lucky.  One group is being sent in a never-ending circle by a few police robots, and an automated crane on the docks just shoved and entire shipment off the deck of a boat and into the water.  Brainiac has put the Civic Center in panic mode. Big metal shutters cover all the doors and windows, and a Stone Sentry has been activated inside to eject any trespassers.  The crew gets onto the roof and climbs up catwalks to the outside of the clock tower.

The clock faces are transparent, and they can see Brainiac desperately trying to regain control of the city.  Brainiac is suprised to see the wizard with some of the troublemakers, but Melvin assures him that it’s fine. Brainiac opens the window and lets them in. He gives a situation report to Melvin, who he thinks is his boss.  The damage is severe, but in another six hours he cna have the robots back to 65% efficiency. Brainiac requests that Allan a Zham lend his magical aid, since the situation is so dire.  Melvin says, “Are you implying you’re not up to the task?” Brainiac is cowed and promises to work even harder. Lumen whispers “You should fire him” to Melvin. Melvin agrees and tells Brainiac he’s be reassigned because he’s handling this crisis so badly.  Melvin hands over the paper with the twin volcanoes on it and tells Brainiac to go take care of it.  Brainiac pushes back a little. It’s such a long and dangerous journey that he’s going to take a surveillance drone. That way, he can call for help if he needs it. Melvin agrees to these terms, having no intention of actually helping if Brainiac gets in trouble.

Finally, Melvin appears to all the people on the docks. He says that the people are strong and capable. They no longer need rulers over them. He tells them to elect representatives, then walks out onto the water and sinks in. The rest of the crew also slip out of town, which has no king, no overseer, and whose overcrowded streets are jammed with malfunctioning police robots.