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 & Omens

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 a decommisioned Robotics Facility, but that was just a distraction from their mission to take the ashes of a sword made from the horn of a Unicorn and cast it into the sea. Very bad energy to make a weapon by killing a creature so peaceful and good.

Vestri and Yuri book passage on a ship traveling from Thaumatown to Port Fennrick, which is on the ocean. Vestri anticipates spending the whole voyage very seasick. He does not like boats. Yuri looks through his Medkit but doesn’t have anything to help a Dwarf.

Yuri: I’m sorry that I am not equipped for this.

Vestri: I’m just not equipped to be on water.

Yuri books passage on a large Platyperson raft. Each side has rows of poles sticking out over the water, so Platypeople can hold on and swim to propel the raft.  There’s a cabin at the back and the rest of the raft is a big open space for passengers and cargo.

Yuri: Are you alright with this choice of boat?

Vestri: I already told you: I don’t like it but it’s fast.

Yuri sits in the cabin and Vestri sits in the head (a ship’s toilet).

GM note: I told my fellow players can Edna could appear at any time (since she left the previous group via teleporter accident) Now was the time to make a big entrance!

As the raft floats down the river, a horizontal window in the sky flickers open above it. The windows opens and shuts rapidly, and a woman the size of a minivan falls out of the window, hits the raft, and cracks three of the huge logs that form the raft’s deck! it’s Edna Crusher-Harcourt, 16 feet tall and 5,000 pounds.

Vestri feels the ship shake and rolls out of the head to the deck. He lies on his back and looks up at Edna, who also landed on her back. Edna gets up and looks around in confusion.

Edna: Where are the Unicorns? What are you people?

Yuri: Are you OK, ma’am? I am a doctor. You seem to have taken quite a fall.

Edna: Oh, I’m fine. I’m just worried about this boat. Oh, I’ve done it again.

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

  • What’s going on with the window in the sky?
    • The window in the sky is different from the teleportation effect that brought Yuri to this world. It’s stationary relative to the world, so the raft moves past it. It flickers for a while, then disappears.
  • Tell me about the crack in the boat?
    • Raeph, the captain of this raft, is an older Platyperson with greying fur and a tooth on a necklace as a badge of office. He comes out of the cabin to examine the damage to his boat.  It’s very hard to sink a raft, but the damage is significant enough that he wants to stop and make repairs immediately. He’s quite upset at Edna.
  • Tell me about the Platypeople. What are they doing?
    • Some of the passengers panic when Edna arrives and jump into the river to swim away.. They attract the attention of Hunting Birds, who won’t attack a group, but will go after stragglers.

Mighty River response level increases because Edna causes collateral damage

Mighty River uses Wild Animal: a Beast Threat attempts to eat the next person who goes out in the open

  • Hunting Bird: Birds of a feather hunt together.
    • Go For The Eyes: Hunting birds can only harm the stat Sense. If they would deal damage to someone whose Sense is damaged, the hunting bird Keeps Them Busy instead.
    • Eagle Eye: Hunting birds can see you coming a mile away, and will never attack the whole group at once. They go after stragglers, or those cut off from the group.

Yuri: Look at those birds. Look at how they are circling like vultures. Go not go out in the water.

Yuri Talk Sense (+sense, explain plan) 6-

Yuri Fool Me Once reroll to 7-9 they do as he asks, but he owes them a favor

Yuri: The boat can only sink, in which case you will be swimming. If you stay with the group, you will not be picked off by Vulture-birds. This is good plan, yes? Do not swim. Alone.

Some kids think Yuri is safe and clever, so they crowd around him, making it difficult for him to take physical actions. An acceptable trade-off for providing security, Yuri thinks.

Vestri jumps up and down and shouts at the birds to distract them from the swimming Platypeople.

Vestri Keep Them Busy 6-

Alas, a tiny Dwarf making noise is not an effective distraction. The Hunting Birds swoop down and injure a swimmer.

GM note: I hate injuring civilians! I’m so soft!

Edna looks at the Hunting Birds in the air and the Platypeople in the water. She’s not good at either element. If only this happened on stable ground!

Edna: Quick, is the water less than 20 feet deep? Fortune favors the bold!

Edna Mighty Leap: jump to anywhere you can see

Edna leaps into the water near the swimmers. Her departure rocks the whole raft, and her impact kicks up a huge splash, knocking Platypeople around. She immediately sinks because she’s dense, and the water is more than 20 feet deep, so she can’t reach the Platypeople on the surface. So much for grabbing them and leaping back to the boat. Yuri holds on to the children to keep them from falling.

Hunting Birds aren’t that dangerous, but Edna has no ranged weapons, Vestri hates the water, and Yuri is protecting children, so no one has a good answer for them. Edna slow-motion runs underwater to the bank of the river, then rips up chunks of turf and rocks and throws them at the Hunting Birds.

God of War: when you fight them by yourself, you can always Keep Them Busy.

Edna Keep Them Busy 6-

The Hunting Birds dive-bomb Edna

Edna Wobbles: normal weapons don’t damage her, only inconvenience her

Yuri: She is a very sturdy woman.

Vestri: I know! I was thinking the same thing.

The swimmers have stopped propelling the raft, so it’s just drifting downstream. Yuri wants to steer the raft away from the fight with the Hunting Birds and asks the Platyperson children to help him find the rudder. Raeph steps in and reminds Yuri that he is in charge of the raft. Yuri will have to convince him of his plan.

Yuri Talk Sense (+sense, explain plan) 6-

Raeph says that moving the raft is too dangerous. He drops anchor and gets his crew to work repairing the damage Edna caused. The Hunting Birds are still attacking people in the water. The Fellowship has barely made a difference.

Vestri Look Closely 10+

  • What are the Hunting Birds doing?
    • The Hunting Birds quickly realize that they aren’t hurting Edna and return to the easy prey in the river.
  • What do my senses tell me?
    • The river is near the ocean, so it’s flat and calm, good for big boats.
  • Tell me about the vegetation lining the river. How could it hurt or help me?
    • The bushes on the shore would hide the Platypeople from the Hunting Birds, but expose them to the Wild Boars that also live along the Mighty River.
  • Wild Boar: These wild beasts are popular among both halfling war riders
    and halfling chefs.

    • Pig-Headed: Boars are ferocious and territorial beasts. When you gain a Boar’s ire, it will chase you until this stat is damaged. They will follow you into a new scene if ignored.
    • Wild Charge: When a wild boar charges, it keeps going until it hits something. The first thing in their way that has a damaged Sense stat or is distracted takes 1 damage and is knocked aside by its wild charge. Anyone who is not distracted and has undamaged Senses can easily avoid the charge. If the boar hits nobody, it damages this stat instead.

Vestri: Dive underwater and come back to the ship! Be underwater as much as you can, Platypeople!

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

Platypeople can hold their breath for a long time and Hunting Birds can’t swim, so Vestri’s plan works well! All the stragglers disappear underwater and after about a minute they appear next to the raft. People on the raft pull them aboard and tend to the injured.

Vestri: Large lady, stamp your feet! There are Boars. Scare them and they’ll distract the Birds. I hear Boars are good eating.

Edna: Ugh, I can’t abide bores.

She crouches to leap, then stands back up.

Edna: I’ll walk alongside until you’re able to pull over.

Now that the passengers are out of danger.

Yuri: Children, go back to your mothers. Or fathers. Guardians. Jobs?

Raeph can concentrate on repairing the raft. The crew lashes the broken logs together with boards so they don’t shift and no-one can fall through the cracks. When that is complete, the raft resumes moving downriver towards Port Fennrick. Raeph does not pull over to let Edna board the raft, so she jogs along the shore.

Edna: I can pay for the damages!

GM note: A wonderful introduction. Edna shows up, uses most of her moves, makes a big impression, but actually ruins everything and doesn’t help. I love it!

Looking west at Port Fennrick on the delta of the Mighty River.

Soon the raft reaches the checkpoint at the entrace of the Port Fennrick, where the river splits into a delta.  Each ship enters a chamber with doors in front and behind and sits there for several minutes before a town official waves it through. Gossip on the raft indicates that travel on the Mighty River is usually safe now that the Crocodile is gone, and that the inspection at Port Fennrick is faster than the previous method. Weird that no one seems to inspect the boats, though.

Yuri wonders if they use X-Rays, but has trouble explaining what he means.  Vestri interrupts to suggest talking to the giant woman, since she suddenly teleported in, just like Yuri did. Yuri explains his involuntary teleportion was very different.

Yuri: It was very vicious and aggressive, and that was more of a beautiful opening in the space-time.

Port Fennrick also has a checkpoint for people entering the town on foot. Edna approaches the gatehouse and crouchs down to address the guard inside.The guard gives her a bit of trouble for saying she’s with the raft when she’s not on the raft, but when he realizes that she’s rich (she wears a lot of jewelry) he changes his tone and welcomes her to Port Fennrick.  After thanking him, Edna considers ducking under the guardhouse, then backs up and carefully jumps over it.

Back on the raft, Yuri is curious about this inspection with no inspectors.  He asks the passengers about it.

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

  • What can they tell me about this new inspection policy?
    • A new mayor came in to clean up the town and make everything run smoothly.  People who try to bring in contraband get caught, so they somehow know what’s onboard, even though no-one comes aboard.
  • What should I be wary of when dealing with the people in charge?
    • If you keep your nose clean, you’ll be fine, but they don’t like troublemakers. Socially-acceptable people have a good time here.
  • What do they want from stopping each ship?
    • It’s a mystery. No one knows what they’re doing.

Yuri still rambles about radiation hitting bones and seeing people without their clothes, but Vestri does not get it. The official in charge of the locks tells Reaph that his raft is damaged, but lets the raft through. When the raft docks, Edna approaches apologetically.

Edna: I’m so sorry for the trouble. I just gotta make it right. Let me pay for the damages. You’ll need some big logs to replace the ones I broke (I’m sorry about that. There are some trees around here. I could bring some likely-looking ones to you, if that would help.

Edna spends a Precious item.

Edna removes one of her bracelets, which is actually a ceremonial armor belt made of gold and set with jewels. It was built for a human’s waist, but it fits on her wrist. Raeph accepts the belt, weighs it in his webbed hands, and realizes that it will easily pay for the repairs,

Raeph:  That would be super-helpful. That would make up for the discrepency between this and the cost of the repairs. Thank you so, so much. You can leave them outside the city. We will send a team to pick them up. You don’t need to come near our boat again. Thank you.

Edna leaves thinking that went well. Raeph is terrified of her and wants her as far away as possible. Yuri and Vestri figure such a strong person could throw the ashes of the Unicorn Sword into the sea from where she stands.

Vestri: Ma’am! Before you go off to chop down trees or whatever, I was wondering if you could do us a favor.

Edna: I suppose I owe you for all the trouble I caused on the raft. I am Edna Crusher-Harcourt. What’s your name?

She offers one finger for a handshake.

Yuri: You can just call me Yuri. It’s wonderful to meet you, Edna.  I’m just curious about — I’m not from this plane of existence. How did — do you teleport?

Edna: Not usually. We were in the forest. Had some trouble with the Fairies. These Unicorns were going to take us to their meadow. I could see it through the portal. I go to walk through the portal and I fell out on the boat. Are there Unicorns around here? Maybe they are nearby.

Yuri: No, only Platypeople.

Vestri: I don’t know about any Unicorns, but if you could take this bag and chuck it into the ocean, that would be wonderful.

Edna: OK, what’s in it?

Yuri and Vestri stumble over each other to say “cremated ashes” but avoid saying exactly what was cremated. Edna recognizes a solemn ocassion and wants to say a few words, but doesn’t know which words.

Edna: It’s so tragic. To the earth we must all return one day. Most people, at least.

She turns and throws the bag across town and into the ocean.

Yuri: Do you have to train for that? How do you? Do you play baseball? Sports of any kind?

Edna: You know, sports training is appropriate for a young lady’s upbringing, but I quickly outgrew the competition at home.

Yuri: I see. You’re very talented. Gifted!

Edna: I guess you could call Ogrism a gift. That’s what my momma called it.

Yuri: Life is just chaos and you gotta accept the cards you’re dealt.

Edna: I suppose I do alright.

GM note: The Boss’s Agenda is Gracious Host, so the Fellowship will be invited to a banquet. My co-GM and I define the details necessary to meet the Boss face-to-face.

Suddenly a man in uniform is standing right behind Yuri. He hands an invitation to each of the three.

Official: O’Later the town chieftain is throwing a banquet for exceptional people and he’d like you to attend.

Yuri: Do you have an invitation for Steven, or is he my plus-one?

The official is very impressed by Steven, the only housecat in the world. Yuri shows the official how to properly pet Steven, who purrs. Once the Fellowship agrees to attend, the official disappears as suddenly as he appeared.

The banquet is after sunset in the town hall, easily visible because of the tall clock tower above it. The Fellowship has some time to explore and prepare before attending. Edna wears well-made traveling clothes, but has fancy clothes in her pack.

Edna: Come, Jardiner, we must prepare!

She looks around, under her jacket, inside her pack. Jardiner is not with her! He did not come through the portal. Edna hopes that he and the others are well. Yuri is concerned that she is separated from her companion. Edna does want to link up with him again, but he was with people who seemed nice, so she’s not too worried.

Yuri: Where in the world were you before, just out of curiosity?

Edna describes some landmarks and Yuri figures out she was far to the west, near Cloudhold. but definitely on this plane, unlike himself.

Yuri: It will be easy to reconnect you with your friends. Your French friend.

No one else knows about “French”. Edna looks for a large structure to get changed and leaves the scene.  Yuri gets the impression that he should dress up for this meeting with the town chieftain. The invitations are quite nice. he considers buying new clothes. Vestri plans to freshen up with a nice dirt scrub.

Yuri: I am confused how you wash yourself. You scrub youself with dirt. To be clean?

Vestri: Yes, you see, you use especially dry dirt, a high content of stone. It’s a scrub, so you loosen up all of the dirt and dead skin and then we have a scraper, so you can scrape off all that stuff.

Yuri: No water.

Yuri wonders about stinky pits. Each Dwarven mine has a stinky pit where they throw the garbage. Vestri goes off to prepare and Yuri ponders his magical sword.

GM note: Yuri’s player can Command Lore about the sword, so it’s up to them to say what powers the sword has and how Yuri interacts with it. The player is amazed to have such narrative power. The sword gives Yuri nightmares of some vague catalysm. Would the sword lead him to someone who knows about the disaster, or would it lead to the weapon that could cause the calamity. Is this like Halo, or Mass Effect, or The Witcher, or even Dr. Strangelove?

The players suggest that universes are colliding, starting with buildlings leaking through into the City Junkyard, and the sword points the way to stop all universes of smashing into each other! Yet another amazing explanation for the City Junkyard that isn’t the explanation I established. Alas!

Yuri doesn’t know much about dowsing, but he vaguely remembers a story, so he gives it a try. He balances the sword on a finger, just past the hilt. The blade starts turning to point at something and Yuri follows it. He finds himself at a secure warehouse. The building is surrounded by a fence with a sign that says “DO NOT ENTER – by order of Chief O’Later” Yuri doesn’t see guards patrolling. Security is suspiciously light all over the town. He decides to ask O’Later about it instead of breaking in.

After sunset, Edna, Vestri, and Yuri arrive at the town hall.

Edna: Oh! Happy to see y’all again! While I was gettin’ ready, these littel floatin’ eyeballs appeared, but they had little bifocals on ’em, so I knew it was Jardiner using his magical powers to check on me.

Vestri: I’m glad your friend’s doing well.

Yuri: that’s interesting and cool.

Edna: Yeah, yeah. Little bifocals. They’re amazing. They help him read real good and see far away with the other half.

The entrance and main chamber of the Town Hall are big enough to accomodate Edna. There are two tables set up: another Ogre sits at a large table, while O’Later (a Human man) sits at a human-sized table.

O’Later: Ah, esteemed travellers! Come, sit, sit!

Vestri sits on a human chair with his elbows up on the table, looking a bit like a child and digging into platters of food immediately.

O’Later: Apologies. We’ll get you a more suitable chair.

He snaps his fingers and a servant appears next to Vestri with a high chair suitable for a Dwarf sitting at a human table. Vestri struggles a bit to climb the rungs because he is still holding a plate full of meat.

At the big table, Edna introduces herself to the other Ogre, a woman named Bork.  Edna offers a handshake, but Bork uses a different greeting gesture.

Edna: Oh, I’m sorry, darling. I’m first-gen, not a native Ogre.

Vestri: Not a native Ogre? I thought Ogres were just born from other Ogres, no?

Edna: Yeah, when Ogres have children, they’re Ogres, but – you’re a doctor, you know about this – sometimes a human kid just keeps growing. Ogreism. It’s rare.

Yuri: Of course! Of course that’s how it happens. Sometimes.

Vestri: I thought it was like, you know a Dwarf is always a Dwarf. Sometimes a Dwarf comes from rock and sometimes a Dwarf comes from another Dwarf. Ogres can come from humans sometimes. That’s very interesting.

Yuri: Yes, a doctor has confirmed it.

O’Later: Ho, ho. Yes, it’s fascinating the many different way that different cultures have of propagating themselves. But now, tell me news of the outside world. I’m so busy here keeping Port Fennrick in tip-top shape.

Vestri: Just upriver, unfortunately Platypalooza had to end early this year, because of Werewolves, but don’t worry! The Werewolves have been –

Yuri: They are nowhere-wolves! They are no Werewolves.

O’Later: Ha! But seriously, Werewolves are a horrible plague upon the land. I hate them.

Yuri: Yes, the killing must stop!

Vestri: Yes, I agree also that the killing must stop.

O’Later thinks that an oddly specific phrase, but lets it pass.

Vestri: And I’m looking for the twin of this dagger! Perhaps you know something of its twin?

Vestri pulls out the Redrock dagger to show just the people at the table, not the whole room.  Edna is impressed. She likes pretty, expensive things.

O’Later: I’ve not seen precisely one of these, but we have many fine goods travelling through the port. Perhaps we could keep an eye out for it. I am not a weapon expert, but if you could tell this man the specific marks by which we could recognize it?

Vestri: As you can tell there’s a gem there with my family crest on it, and the other would have the same. It would look pretty much exactly like this one. It’s Dwarven make from the third century. I don’t know if you have something in your library about it being lost in a Dragon hoard or…

Everyone seems pretty unhappy when Dragons are mentioned.

O’Later: Fortunately those arrogant and ruthless lizards were wiped out some time ago. The world is much safer for it.

Yuri changes the subject by asking about O’Later’s recent rise to power. O’Later explained that he’s stopped unsavory dealing and contraband, makiing the city much safer for the good people of Port Fennrick. Yuri wonders how the city is so secure with no visible enforcement. No one boarded the boat, yet it was inspected.  Yuri’s wonder encourages O’Later to brag.

GM note: Me “Is anyone’s Blood stat damaged?” Players: “That’s ominous.”

Yuri Speak Softly 10+ ask 3 questions

  • What were the security officials doing?
    • O’Later says, “If people don’t know where you are, they act like you’re everywhere. It’s self-regulating. People won’t act out because they don’t know when they can be caught. But we back it up by being able to catch them. Look behind you!” An official appears behind Yuri, then steps back into the shadows and vanishes from view. Inspectors do board the ships, but no one sees them!
      • O’Later’s 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.
  • What can he tell us about what’s in the secure warehouse?
    • If my Shadows find contraband on a ship, or someone brings it in from Finsea, they confiscate it and store it in several secure buildings.
  • What does O’Later want? Why take over Port Fennrick?
    • O’Later doesn’t say it outright, but gives the impression that he serves some higher master, and has been sent out to expand their influence.

Yuri wonders what counts as contraband, and O’Later gives the non-answer of “things that aren’t conducive to the well-being of Port Fennrick.”

Yuri: Is it possibly getting very packed with all the contraband? Maybe you need assistance removing some? I feel a strong magical connection to one and I need to see it.

Edna: Yuri, do you want to throw all that stuff out in the ocean like I did with your other package?

Vestri: That wasn’t contraband. That was cursed.

Yuri: Cursed cremation. What the person wished for. Where they wanted to be. At peace.

O’Later: Someone with a curse wanted their ashes thrown into Finsea? Did they consult the mermaids?

O’Later tells an attendant to check with the mermaids who live in Finsea to see if the curse is afflicting them.

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

O’Later is intrigued by Yuri’s directness and says that after dessert, they will go to the warehouse and see this item that calls to Yuri. No promises that he can take it. Yuri is quite grateful and shows off Steven, the only housecat in the world.

O’Later: Those reflective eyes! Those fangs! Clearly a child of the night.

Yuri: Yes, he is up all hours of the nights. Sleeps most of the day though.

O’Later: Relatable.

Vestri hasn’t been paying much attention. He’s eating everything and storing some to take back to Hundrin. Yuri leans over and discreetly asks if calling O’Later a vampire would be rude. Vestri’s shocked reaction tells Yuri that he should definitely not mention it ever.

At the big table, Edna chats with Bork, the Ogre in charge of O’Later’s forces. She’s uncomfortable in the role of enforcer, and extra uncomfortable at formal events. Her suit doesn’t fit quite right.  She half-shouts everything in a monotone.

Bork: I, you’re very pretty. Your clothes look nice.

Edna: Thank you very much. I think that suit would look really great with a little tailoring.

Bork: I definitely want more room in the shoulders. It’s very tight. I don’t like it. But I don’t know where to find Ogre clothes. It’s hard in small village.

Edna: If Ol’ Jardiner was here, I’d have him fix you up, but he’s off somewhere.  When I see some fabric that speaks to me, I buy it. When I get enough together, I have Ol’ Jardiner whip something up. There’s nothing like wearing custom-tailored clothes. You’ll feel like 10 Precious objects!

Bork sees a disturbance and gets up to deal with it, but as soon as the big Ogre gets up, the troublemakers settle down.

After dessert, O’Later and Bork lead the Fellowship to the secure warehouse. Bork slides open the massive double doors to the warehouse. O’Later pats Yuri on the shoulder and gives him a little shove forward, encouraging him to demonstrate his magical connection. Yuri clears his throat, takes a power stance, nd draws his sword and balances it on his finger. It turns and directs him to a certain box on a certain shelf.

GM note: I don’t really know what Yuri’s sword does, and neither does Yuri’s player, so we brainstormed a bit to invent what Yuri found in that box. A big magical crystal? Part of a machine?

Yuri finds a narrow cylinder about three feet long with a slot on one end and various bumps and projections along its length. Vestri scurries over to inspect the item before Yuri can pick it up. Artifacts and crafting are Vestri’s specialization!

Vestri Let Me See That

  • What was this made to do? How do I use it or break it?
    • It turns the sword into a key, but where is the lock? The sword blade fits in the slot on the end, so the cylinder is almsot like a scabbard, but twisting the sword inside the cylinder rearranges the projections on the outside.
  • Who made this and why should I care about them?
    • GM note: Would it be cool if the people who made this are now all ghosts? Players: Yes!
    • The makers are now known as The Remnant. They used to serve the Dragons, but they were all wiped out around the same time that the Dragons disappeared.

Vestri: Your sword fits inside it. It’s made to open something. it’s very interesting.  It was made by – you don’t know much about our world – there was a group of people known to worship the Dragons. The Dragons disappeared about a hundred years ago and so did they, so I’m afraid there’s no one we can ask.

Yuri: We have magic. Ghosts seem magic. Why not talk to ghosts with magic? Is that possible?

Vestri: Dwarves come from the stone and we return to the stone, but other creatures can leave behind spirits, as far as I know.

O’Later gives a signal and Bork slams the doors of the warehouse.  Shadows drop from the ceiling on Yuri and Vestri!

Shadow Death From Above: appear and kidnap Yuri

Shadow Death From Above: appear and kidnap Vestri

Yuri I Need To Know: Speak Softly no matter the situation

Yuri Speak Softly 10+

  • Tell me about the Remnant?
    • O’Later hates the Remnant, servants of his eternal enemies. He thought they were all wiped out, and had seen to many of them himself. He won’t let Yuri take thier artifact and continue their work.
    • Yuri: I have no intention of continuing any work. I would like to get home. I apologize for what the Remnants did. i am not Remnant.
  • What does O’Later want and how can I help him get it without dying?
    • He hates Dragons and all their allies and wants them all wiped out.
    • Yuri: Obviously there are stil some remnants of the Remnants. What if I am your spy and get all the information about the Remnants, and then boing bing bang boom! You can get them off your plane of existence.
  • What is O’Later going to do next?
    • GM note: How much will O’Later belive Yuri’s implausible but completely-true story? Edna could cause trouble. On a player level, what do you think about Edna starting a fight? Players: “Do whatever you’re going to do. Whatever’s true to her character, do it. The the thing! We’re always here to cause chaos.” I’m so used to being a GM and being careful not to force the players’ hands, because I have unlimited power and can take unilateral action. But now I’m also a player, and expressing my character through the mechanics available is something I’m allowed to do. I don’t need to ask permission!
    • O’Later’s plans evaporate when Edna gets involved!

Edna: This is how you treat guests? How dare you? Get off of them!

Edna grabs the Shadow menacing Yuri and throws him!

Edna Toss Aside 6- tossee’s choice

Edna tries to throw him into the wall on the far side of the warehouse. In mid-air, the Shadow uses his dual daggers in icepick grip to catch the row of boxes Edna threw him past and slow down safely. O’Later tranforms! He’s a Vampire Lord!

  • O’Later is Melee and Piercing, and he heals whenever he deals damage to a Blood stat. Sunlight and holy symbols deal damage to him.
    • Blood Frenzy: Your weakness is a vampire’s power. When your Blood is damaged, you are in Despair against O’Later.
    • Lord of the Night: Beasts and monsters will do as O’Later tells them to. Beast and Scourge threats cannot harm O’Later, and they always follow O’Later’s orders to the letter. O’Later can drink the blood of any Beast to heal. This kills the Beast.
    • Sunburns: When this stat has been damaged by sunlight or holy symbols, O’Later is filled with Despair and must try to flee the scene.
    • Threat To The World: Anyone acting against him must Pay A Price.
  • Bork: This massive creature is smarter than she looks and eager to prove her worth.
    • Big And Scary: Anyone trying to act against Bork is in Despair.
    • Caught One!: When Bork deals damage, she also picks up and grabs the person she damaged. If she is not stopped, she’ll walk off with them.
    • Eager To Please: Bork is trying her best and just wants to be loved. Anyone who is nice to Bork immediately forms a Bond with her. When Bork is harmed, erase all Bonds the fellowship has with her. Bork will not join the fellowship as a Companion unless someone can form three Bonds with her.

Vestri Clear The Path 7-9

Vestri uses his low center of gravity and superior density to force his way out of the Shadow’s grip. He knocks the Shadow aside and charages forward, smashing into a stack of crates, which collapses on top of him.

Vestri damages Wisdom

Yuri has a path to escape, but he wants to talk to O’Later and get more information. He runs while calling back

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

  • What can O’Later tell me about vampirism?
    • O’Later: You will join the winning team. you will not die, in fact, you will live forever!
    • Yuri: Well, in sunlight I might die.
    • Vestri: Who wants to live forever?
    • Yuri: I could learn a lot of medicine and be with Lucy for a long time. How long do Devils live?
  • What is O’Later’s boss doing, and what will they do next?
    • O’Later refuses to answer.
  • If Yuri agrees to become a Vampire, can he trust O’Later not to kill him?
    • O’Later is fine with turning Yuri, since that would prevent him from helping his enemies. As a Thrall, Yuri would not be able to harm other Vampires.
    • GM note: I have ideas for a Vampire Destiny Playbook. Players could not embrace Vampirism, because all player have the agenda “Improve the world around you” and becoming an evil monster violates that. So they would start as a Thral and could advance to be cured, or to become a Daywalker. If Yuri gets bitten, I’ll have to write that up before next session.

Yuri: This is an interesting propostion. I’d like to mull this over. I don’t want to be evil. Do I have to be evil? Do you guys know that you’re evil? I don’t know the morality of this plan. You don’t have to eat people. You could start a blood bank. You don’t have to eat the people you rule from that shadows. Politics is like that anyways. Blood-sucking politicians.

Edna grabs O’Later and throws him into the warehouse doors.

Edna Pay A Price to act against Threat To The World

Enda Uncontrollable Strength: can always Pay A Price by causing collateral damage

Edna Toss Aside 6- tossee’s choice

Bork is in the way and O’Later strikes her instead of the doors!

Bork damages Eager To Please

Bork erases all Bonds with Edna

Vestri: What are you doing Yuri, we have to get out! Vampires and Dragons are mortal enemies because they’re both far to strong for any of us little folk to deal with.

Yuri: Dragons are dead and this vampire man could make us into Vampires…

Vestri: I don’t want to be a Vampire! Dwarves are made of stone and we return to the stone. I don’t want any of this living forever.

In all the confusion, the Shadow that Edna Tossed Aside slipped away and now drops down on Yuri!

Shadow Death From Above: appear and damages Yuri’s Grace

Vestri jumps on the Shadow to bowl him over, but fails.

Vestri Keep Them Busy 6-

Shadow damages Vestri’s Grace.

Meanwhile in the main aisle, the two Ogres clash. Edna still has some goodwill for Bork that she doesn’t have for her employer.

Edna Overcome 7-9 Pay a Price for permanent solution.

GM note: The warehouse is full of valuable items, so technically Edna could keep chooseing collateral damage, but the player characters don’t care about any of those items, so breaking them is not an interesting penalty. I need to choose something else.

Edna damages Armor

Edna shrugs off Bork’s blows and steps past her to engage O’Later. O’Later’s not scared, since Edna’s failed a bunch of moves.

The Shadow points one dagger at Yuri and the other at Vestri. Yuri lunges in to disarm him.

Yuri Overcome 10+

Yuri I Know Something You Don’t: gain an Advantage when overcoming an enemy’s attack

Yuri Finish Them( +Sense, knock out. +hope, Vestri’s aid) 10+

The Shadow is surprised that his dagger is no longer in his hand, and is unprepared for being pummeled unconscious by Yuri and Vestri. Vestri immediately turns and charges the other Shadow.

Vestri Keep Them Busy 10+

Vestri tangles up the Shadow’s legs and he collapses.

Yuri Finish Them (+Sense, knock out)

Yuri Fool Me Once: reroll Finish Them 7-9

Yuri damages Shadow’s Patience

Yuri strikes a blow, but the Shadow is back on his feet, still able to fight.

Meanwhile, Edna faces a Threat To The World by herself. She doesn’t respect O’Later as a threat, so she just grabs him.

Edna Toss Aside O’Later 10+ smash something and take damage

Edna damages O’Later’s Lord Of The Night

Edna throws O’Later through the wall of the warehouse near Yuri and Vestri so they can escape.

Port Fennrick Show Some Respect: increase Response Level for causing collateral damage

Port Fennrick Show Some Respect: increase Response Level for insulting the person in charge

O’Later Big Fish: Increase Response Level for angering the Boss

Port Fennrick gains Show of Force: Boss gains one free Hard Cut

Port Fennrick gains Famine: Pay A Price to Fill Your Belly

Port Fennrick gains Guardian: activate a Machine Threat

The crates Edna knocked over earlier scattered various items around the floor. One of those items is moving on its own!

  • Hidden Turret: A gun disguised as a prop of some kind, like a potted plant or a lamp post. It walks around on hidden tripod legs when no one is looking.
    • Ordinary Object: This threat is Secret while it remains immobile.
    • Open Fire: The hidden turret is a Ranged weapon.

A bubble blower uses compressed air and a series of hoops that dip into soap solution, but it clicks over to a different resrvoir and the little hoops now scoop up bullets and drop them into the tube of compressed air! The pressure increases and it starts firing at Yuri!

Vestri charges through the hole in the wall, knocking O’Later aside!

Vestri Pays a Price to act against a Threat To The World: damage Blood

Vestri Clear The Path 10+

Yuri remembers watching Jackie Chan movies and times a dive roll by listening to sound of the bubble blowerbuilding pressure to lethal levels before firing.

Yuri Overcome 10+

He gets around the corner and has a clear path to the hole in the wall.

Edna also runs for the exit

Edna Get Away 7-9 avoid harm.

Edna, Yuri, and Vestri all flee through the hole in the wall before O’Later can recover and stop them. Next time we’ll start with a chase scene!

END OF SESSION MOVE

Yes, but it’s late, so we will do it at the start of next session.

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 & Family Medicine

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 saved a dinosaur ranch from a disaster that they caused, and were not greeted as heroes. They set out via old Dwarven tunnels, accidentally flooded the tunnel they were in, and took refuge in the nearby town of Bogden to recover.

They read the many messages on the Bogden Adventurer Message Board. Lots of stuff about werewolves! Vestri looks to the moon. It’s a half-moon waxing. Vestri relaxes, sure they have two weeks before the full moon brings out any werewolves. They actually have about eight days, still enough time for them to Recover and leave.

GM note: I asked the players some questions to let them fill in some lore about the world.

Yuri remembers the moment he was teleported from his world to this world. It was very sudden. He heard a cracking sound and saw cracks appear in his apartment walls, then he and half of his apartment were instantly in the City Junkyard. Fortunately Steven the cat came along with him.

Vestri looks at his family’s prize dagger, whose twin is the object of his quest. The hilt and blade are one piece, made in a style specific to the Redrock family. Some gems are mounted to the hilt with runes carved in the undersides. The runes are hard to notice unless one is specifically looking for them and shines a light on the gems at the right angle. The runes give luck for battle. The pommel bears the crest of the Redrock family, a very specific shape of rock. Anyone who really knows their rocks would know what mountain it came from! Yuri does not know rocks that well. He is not from this world.

Bogden is a party city built on an artifical marsh.  The river has been dammed and the area behind the dam is level and saturated with water, especially now that it’s raining so hard. Platypeople like marshes, so they built one for their town  Much of the area within Bogden’s palisade walls is festival grounds for Platypalooza, the yearly Platyperson festival. There’s a Fluming stadium, various stages, and many boothes, all packed up and empty. During Platypalooza, the town’s population triples! The permanent residents and their permanent dwellings only take up a corner.

Every morning, Vestri walks outside and circles the town, looking in the river and what washed ashore. All sorts of interesting stuff wash up. On Vestri’s daily walks, he runs into The Champ, a large Platyperson so seems unfriendly.

The Champ: Are you looking for something? My eyes are the keenest in town. I bet I’ll spot it before you do.

Vestri: Probably. I am very short you see and I can’t see very far. I’m a curious fellow and I’m waiting for my friends to wash ashore.

The Champ: You are quite a curious fellow.

Recover: all stats and gear (including lost Companions) restored

One day, Vestri sees Gurtin (the Drill Tank) floating past with Hundrin sitting on top. Vestri runs over and drags Gurtin ashore. Vestri shares the breakfast he was eating with Hundrin and they start fixing Gurtin.

Each day, after Vestri finishes his walks, The Champ comes over to show off what he found washed up on shore that Vestri missed.  Vestri is impressed, which makes The Champ very happy.

Vestri: Have you ever heard stories told of a dagger? A lost dagger?

Vestri Speak Softly 10+ ask three questions

  • Tell me about lost daggers
    • Folklore and ancient stories are boring. Probably something Anter knows about. He doesn’t need a magic dagger to fight his battles! He uses his muscles and mighty tail!
  • What does he want. How can we help them get it?
    • People have been looking nervously at the moon. Speaking of ridiculous stories, some guy gave Anter a ‘cure” for werewolves, but it won’t work. We should just go kill them before they turn into werewolves. That’s the way to keep the town safe.
  • What should I be wary about when dealing with him.
    • He’s egotistical. If he thinks you will outdo him, he will absolutely sabotage you.

Vestri wants to be amiable and keep The Champ happy, so he asks if he won big at the recent festival. The Champ gets angry. The Fluming Finals were disrupted by a werewolf attack. The Champ points out that he slew one of the Werewovles himself. Vestri reassures him that he would have won.

Vestri meets Anter, the Elder who knows all the stories. She’s an old grey-furred Platyperson with a cane. She’s a little deaf and Vestri has to repeat his greeting.

Vestri: I travel, searching for stories in every region. Perhaps if I offered you a biscuit, you’d like to sit and tell me any stories you may know about a certain subject.

Anter likes telling and hearing stories. She wants to trade. Yuri has a great story to tell.

Yuri: Once upon time, there was Russian man from greatest country on Earth. He was having nice day off…

Anter: Why was he in a hurry?

Yuri: Oh, he was not. He was from Russia. Mother Russia. His country? On Earth. Planet I am from. Best country.

Anter: Oh, his mother is Russia. OK.

Yuri: Da, we’ll go with that. Taking day off from hospital becuase he is doctor. Very very nice man. Sitting, reading, petting cat. Cat is in lap. Very nice. Very cozy. Then roof starts cracking! Dust starts falling! Cat starts sneezing and *snaps* he is in field with half his apartment, two baseball cards, and cat.

Vestri realizes that he knows this story!

Yuri: He was only person. He, not I. He sees sword standing, sitting, whatever swords do, and he touches it and he is assaulted by visions of a future where this world will die or everyone on it will die or something very terrible.

Vestri: I did not know that bit.

Yuri: It is very dramatic! And now I, he holds sword close because he does not know when world will crumble, and that is the story of Yuri.

Anter is very pleased with this story and asks which story he wants to hear from her. Vestri pulls out his dagger (he didn’t want to show The Champ) and asks Anter if it reminds her of any stories.

Anter: You visitors all have such strange weapons. Here in Bogden we just have simple weapons.

The weapons in Bogden are all one piece, a corrosion-resistant alloy that’s quite hard and stays sharp well, which seems odd because the Platypeople live in wooden huts in the mud. Yuri wonders where they get such nice tools, and how they are built.

Yuri Speak Softly 10+ ask three questions

  • What can you tell me about the alloy?
    • Anter doesn’t think it’s very interesting, but she takes them to the blacksmith. Seems like the Platypeople have good tech, but don’t really care about it. They aren’t obsessed with progress. A durable hunting knife is good because one can whittle a bunch of sticks without having to sharpen it. The blacksmith uses the recipe passed down to him. The atomic weight of the constituent elements have a 3:5 ratio, which is a lucky number, so the resulting alloy is strong. The tools don’t require much maintenance, so the blacksmith isn’t researching any improvements.
  • What can you tell me about my sword?
    • Anter knows stories about the past, not the future. Yuri saw buildings on fire, but couldn’t say what caused the destruction. Anter has heard of dragons burning down entire towns, but all the dragons disappeared before her time, around the time the Moon showed up. Yuri wonders if the Dragons left for the Moon.
    • GM note: I forgot that Anter saw Fafnir, a young Dragon, at Platypalooza, just two months ago.
  • What can you tell me about Vestri’s dagger?
    • Anter is pretty sure it’s Dwarven. She thinks the collapsed tunnel outside of town is Dwarven as well. She really doesn’t know much.

GM note: the players decide not to forge a Bond with Anter because they don’t want to take an old lady on their dangerous journeys.

Yuri: I am very honored you would like to come with us, but I am afraid your body is very weak and I do not want you to be hurt. We have had fights with giant Eels that fly in the sky.

Vestri: He went inside its stomach!

Yuri: Yes, I did. I would not recommend it.

Anter: Well, Our town has problems of its own.

Yuri: Is it that Champion? He is very loud.

Anter explains that two months ago, werewolves attacked and Platypalooza ended in a panic. Last month, three more people turned into werewolves, and some travelers managed to subdue them all with weird magic stuff. They left some items that they said would cure the werewolves, but the werewolves have to transform in order to use the cure. Hopefully the infected Platypeople will voluntarily allow themselves to be restrained before transforming, but it’s a scary situation and Anter doesn’t want to administer the cure herself. She hopes that Yuri and Vestri, who have experience dealing with scary situations, will stay and help. Vestri enthusiastically offers Yuri’s assistance.

Anter opens a cabinet which contain two potions and something wrapped in cloth. She explains that the infected are supposed to drink the healing potions before transforming. She hesitates, upset by the next part. She unwrapps the cloth and reveals a fancy rapier with a blade made from a unicorn horn. Someone killed a peaceful, magical creature and turned its horn, symbol of healing, into a weapon. A disgusting artifact! An atrocity! Anter is very embarrassed. The traveler used it last month and it seemed to work. They are desparate enough to try using it, but it’s awful and Anter hates having it around. Yuri recommends burying the sword after the ritual.

Vestri: Don’t bury it. We don’t want it in the earth either

Yuri: What do we do? Shoot it into outer space? Give it to dragon?

Vestri: Cleanse it and burn it.

Yuri: Put it in a boat.

Vestri: Burn it. It can be the ocean’s problem.

Anter: Send it down the river?  To Port Fennrick?

Yuri: I do not know where that it. Will that have negative ramifications?

Anter: It’s downriver. It’s easy to get to.

Yuri: We will cross that bridge when we finish with the Unicorn blade.

Anter: No, the bridges cross the river. So if you take the river, bridges cross you.

GM note: Eh? Eh? Because he’s from Soviet Russia?

The plan: before the infected people turn into Werewolves, the drink a Healing Potion, so there’s healing energy inside them. Then after they turn into Werewolves, stab them with the Unicorn Sword, so the Unicorn’s healing magic from the outside hits the Potions healing from inside and heals them of lycanthropy.  Healing Potions are colorless and hard to distinguish from water, except for subtle differences in viscosity.

Yuri thinks this method is suspicious and not peer-reviewed. He’s excited to be the second trial and confirm or disprove the results of the first trial.  They agree to wait until the full moon and attempt the cure. In the mean time, they go meet the infected Playtpeople. Sallet (infected) is the teenage son of Sally (infected) and Froob (not infected) They live together in a house. Sallet’s room has been repainted recently. Froob has a bunch of chemistry equipment in the lving room. He’s been looking for a cure on his own. Yuri is happy to meet another man of science.

Yuri: Hello, Sallet, Sally, and father. We are here to help with the Werewolfism.

Froob: Lycanthropy.

Yuri: Lycanthropy, yes.

Vestri: He’s a doctor!

Froob is happy to meet a fellow doctor, and explains the solution he’s invented. Of course, the solution can only be tested once a month, and the test is extremely dangerous! He has two tubs set up. He’ll pour in a special solution, and as long as Sally and Sallet are submerged in the tubs, the lycanthropy will be restrained. Yuri is worried that they will drown, but Platypeople are amphibious. They are used to being underwater and holding their breath for a long time. Yuri asks if the solution will interact with Healing Potions.

Froob: Anter has this idea that she’s going to stab my family with that horrible sword. It should have been cursed and thrown out as soon as we got it.

Vestri: Burn it and throw it in the ocean.

Yuri: Yes, da, this is what we will do. But, we should have it as a backup, just in case your one little plan does not work, so we can finish it all in one go.

Sally and Sallet do not want to be finished in one go! Yuri assures them that he wants to heal them, not maim them, like a scalpel incision during surgery. Yuri assures them there’s a 90% chance of success. He’s only lost one patient ever, who was in a car accident, and on the way to the hospital, the ambulance also crashed.

GM note: I remind the players that besides these two methods, there’s also The Champ’s idea to kill Sally and Sallet before the full moon. They reject that plan and would rather use the war crime sword.

Most of the village expects to use Dryden’s plan and chain up the infected Platypeople so they can’t avoid being stabbed once they transform.  Yuri asks Sally and Sallet to wear the big chains that the village has prepared while in Froob’s tubs, just in case, for the safety of the doctors.

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

Sally and Sallet convince themselves that they aren’t going anywhere anyways, so it’s not that much of an imposition. Yuri assures them he’ll be right there with the key.

Just before sunset on the night of the full Moon, Yuri and Froob prepare their medical station, laying out the manacles, the key, the Unicorn Sword, a hand-washing station, gloves. Froob’s gloves are for webbed Platyperson hands and don’t fit Yuri’s human hands. Yuri thanks him anyways. The goop reacts to the person in it, so only Sally should touch the goop in Sally’s tub, and so on. Yuri must wear gloves around the tubs.

Vestri: We should wipe down the sword between hits.

Yuri: That is only if the goop is not working and if the goop is not working then it doesn’t matter if the one is in the other’s tub.

Sally and Sallet drink the Healing Potions, sit in the tubs, put the manacles on their legs, let Froob put the manacles on their hands, then lie down and submerge in the anti-Lycanthropy goop. Worried townsfolk surround the house, and Yuri tells them they should not hang around in case the werewolves break loose. Several Platypeople are convinced to leave.

Suddenly, an arrow (made of that nice platyperson alloy) comes through the window, striking Sallet’s tub and starting a leak. Champ is making good on his threat to kill the infected before they transform!

Yuri: Champ! You are just in time. We are needing you for the third phase of our plan.

Champ: I only need the one plan!

He’s going to continue firing!

Yuri yells to the crowd that the werewolves are loose!

Yuri Keep Them Busy 7-9

The crowd panics and runs, ruining Champ’s aim and revealing his hiding spot. The Champ is furious at Yuri now and fires his next arrow at him instead of the infected patients. Vestri runs to shoulder-tackle Yuri out of the way, but because of height differences, hits him in the legs.

Yuri Overcome 7-9 temporary solution

Champ is aiming through a small window from outside, so he needs to re-position to target Yuri from his new position, giving the people inside a small reprieve. Froob is lying down next to Sallet’s tub to avoid the arrows, and pressing a towel to the hole to keep the goop from leaking. He tells Yuri to get the metal bonder from his alchemy supplies to seal the hole. Green bottle with a square cap. He reachs up and points at the shelf and as he does, another arrow flies through the window, breaking a bottle. Yuri tucks and rolls past the window to get near the alchemy shelf.

Yuri Get Away 6-

Yuri damages Grace

As Yuri approaches, an arrow strikes a bottle of corrosive clear liquid, which explodes and splatters on Yuri’s pants. He’s got to move gingerly now! Vestri sees that Yuri doesn’t have this completely handled, so he bursts (through the door, not the wall) outside to find The Champ and distract him.

Vestri Keep Them Busy 7-9

It works, giving Yuri time to retrieve the correct bottle and seal the leak in the tub. Yuri wants to prevent future attacks from outside, so he grabs a bed (Froob directs him to the least expensive one) and props it up over the window.

Yuri Overcome 10+

Yuri is over six feet tall, so the size and weight of the bed aren’t a problem. The main challenge is maneuvering himself in a room built for much smaller creatures. he can’t even stand up straight in here. He manages, and secures the room against outside assault.

Outside, The Champ really wants to turn this into a contest, which is what he’s good at. He sees that Vestri is a fellow man of action. There are two werewolves to kill and two of them. The Champ thinks he can kill one before Vestri can kill the other.

Vestri: I need to hype myself up before I kill any werewolves, make sure I’m fast and strong enough, so why don’t you race me around the building so we can get our hearts pumping?!

The Champ A Challenger Approaches: never turn down a challenge.

The Champ immediately agrees and sets the start and finish lines. Vestri figures The Champ has to wait until he finishes to gloat, so he jogs instead of running, allowing The Champ to win easily. The Champ pops off so hard that he hurts Vestri’s feelings. The Champ laps Vestri and runs alongside, insulting him, and Vestri is deflated. He’s usually cheery even in ridiculous situations, but The Champ is really getting to him.

Back inside, Sally and Sallet are completely submerged in the goop. They only need to stick their noses out to breath every ten minutes. When they do, their noses start to grow black fur, but the fur goes away when they go back into the goop.

Yuri: You made a permament solution for this without having to stab them. That is very good. We can just yell at this angry man and tell him we have solved the problem.

Froob: You can do that. I will stay in here will my family. Keep him out of here.

Yuri: Sure. Make sure you have the sword handy in case something happens. I would like you to stay safe and alive.

Froob: I’m not going to stab my family!

Yuri: Not stabbing. you are a pricise incision, cutting away the lycanthropy. I believe in you.

Yuri leaves, sure that Froob will not wield the Unicorn Sword. He sees Vestri and The Champ jogging around the house.

Yuri: Well, they died already. We killed them. Werewolves are gone. You can all go home. Sorry Champion, I have beaten you to it. You can take the credit though! It was that one dagger that came through. Got them both in one fell swoop!

Yuri Talk Sense (+Grace, a trick) 10+

The Champ is convinced. He goes off, cheering himself.

Yuri: I can’t believe that worked.

Yuri and Vestri stay the rest of the night to make sure nothing happens. Vestri sits in the corner and pouts. Each time one of the infected people sticks their nose out to take a breath, black fur grows on it, then disappears when the nose goes back under the goop, In the morning they carefully sit up and they remain Platypeople. They made it through the night without transforming!

Froob: I’m a genius! It worked! Give me the key. Let’s get them out of these chains.

Yuri wants to make sure that there’s a plan to produce more of these goop and there’s a strict schedule because missng even one treatment would be disasterous.

Froob: Don’t worry, there is nothing more important to me than making sure this works.

Anter arrives to pay respects and is surprised to see them alive and unharmed. The Champ told everyone that they’re dead. She was ready to make the funeral arrangements. She’s pleased and will hug anyone who will accept. Yuri and Vestri accept! Vestri needs a hug after The Champ’s abuse. Next, Anter wants to get rid of the Unicorn Sword.

Yuri: Da, wash your hands of this.

Vestri: Literally, wash your hands!

Yuri gets the recipe for the Lycanthropy-suppressing bath from Froob, but it will be a challenge to gather the ingredients and replicate it. Yuri talks about science and biology with Froob, happy to find a collegue. Yuri asks if any diseases have been troubling the community. The Platypeople have a nasty-tasting syrup that is a traditional remedy for what ails you, but is actually a broad-spectrum vaccine. It required a research lab to invent, but the Platypeople thought research was boring and tore down the lab to build a Fluming stadium.

Anter takes the Unicorn Sword to the blacksmith for disposal. The Unicorn Sword is not common knowledge. Anter didn’t want to show it off. When she reveals it, the blacksmith heats the furnace extra hot to make sure the sword is definitely destroyed. He switches out the tray underneath the furnace and puts heavy foil down, so after the sword is destroyed, he wraps up the ashes and slag into a package. The Platypeople don’t want to throw it in the marsh or the river, so they ask the Fellowship to take it to the ocean to dispose of. Yuri agrees once he’s sure that passers-by won’t immediately think he’s a war criminal for holding the package.

In his mind, not with his ears, Yuri thinks he hears a cracking noise, like the noise that signaled his teleportation to this world. Something has happened, somewhere.

News of Sally and Swallet’s cure spreads throughout the town. They carry Sally and Swallet around the fairgrounds on their shoulders in celebration.  The Champ is shocked, but what can he do? He’s not going to charge into a parade and attack the guests of honor in borad daylight. Yuri suggests that a story about how The Champ won a race that night might make him feel better, but he wonders if Vestri will be alright with being immortalized as the loser. Vestri agrees, but Yuri must give him a mug of ale every time the story is told. Yuri asks Anter to cook up a fake story for The Champ. People are used to placating The Champ’s ego. It comes up a lot.  Anter will tell the story of The Champ fighting the werewolves at Platypalooza. He walked up under a werewolf’s wild swing, clocked it in the jaw, made it look a fool, and emboldened those around him to fight on, because the werewolves were not invincible. He loves that story.

Yuri: That poor person could have been submerged in a tub! If only we were here a month sooner!

Vestri wants to get rid of the Unicorn slag as soon as possible, so the Fellowship plans to head downriver to the ocean. Along the way, Vestri will look for mountaintops that reminds him of stories of old.

BOGDEN MESSAGE BOARD:

Yuri: Champ is a chump, pacify with contests. Werewolves need a bath so talk to Froob. Help these folks get supplies.

Vestri: -Werewolf Problem Solved -Froob is a really clever alchemist! -Anter knows all tales, trade stories -Champion obsessed with competing, sore loser, sore winner -Food Shortage

Chasing the Sunset & Ranch

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

The party: Vestri the Dwarf, Yuri the Outlander

Last time, the Fellowship climbed a mountain, were almost eaten by Stoss the great Cloud Eel, and sent Stoss rampaging down the mountain to threaten people below. Now they must work with Stoss’ guardians (who tried to feed them to it) to contain it.

They need to get down the mountain quickly to get ahead of Stoss. Vestri considers surfing downhill on his shield, but his Dwarf-sized shield will only fit himself not Yuri and his companions. Yuri asks Yrta to carry him down.

Yrta: You’re a bit thicker than I am. What are you? Seventy? Eighty pounds?

Yuri: Uhhh. No. Maybe double that?

Yrta’s a birdman with hollow bones, so even though he can carry his own weight, he can’t carry Yuri. Vestri, Yuri, and Yrta all have very different densities.

Yrui explains that he usually takes a car to get places quickly, but Vestri doesn’t know what that is.

Yuri: Is like your drill, but faster, with no drill.

Vestri: Like a cart? Did you mean to say cart?

Yuri: This is electric horse. Or gas-powered horse. Coal-powered horse. Whatever fuel you would like to use.

Yrta fed a horse to Stoss 12 days ago, but there are no horses to ride. Yrta can fly, and Doeb can flow downhill, so they don’t have vehicles that the Fellowship can use.

It takes Yrta a while to get a whole idea together, but now he has it.  Yrta’s Flying Command makes his Mountain Lions fly. It only works on his followers, so maybe some kind of bonding or team-building activity could make Yrta and the Fellowship close enough that he could make them fly down the mountain. Yuri offers to heal any injured Mountain Lions, and Vestri wants to play dice. Vestri doesn’t carry dice. Hundrin carries the dice. Yuri wonders if there are enough dice to play Yahtzee.

Vestri: Well, we have seven pig bones. And two sheep hooves. Pig bones have five sides and the sheep hooves have two.

Yuri thinks dice made out of bones are weird.

Yrta: I have some bones in my nest! I could go get them!

Yrta sends a few Mountain Lions to fetch the bones, which are the remains of some animal. They are not dice at all. Yuri gets a scalpel from his medkit to whittle the bones into dice. Perhaps Vestri has experience doing this? No, Vestri’s dice are gifts from his mother. One of the Mountain Lions approaches and sniffs at Steven, Yuri’s pet house cat.

Yuri: No. Bad. Can you tell your larger cat to get away from my smaller cat, Mr. Birdman?

Vestri suggest a meal while they play dice. They need something to eat that isn’t Yuri’s pet cat.  The Mountain Lions weren’t trying to eat Steven, they are curious about the tiny cat. Yuri lets them sniff at each other.  Yrta supplies half a deer carcass and some native herbs as seasoning.

Doeb: This isn’t any of my business or whatever, but doesn’t cooking meat take a while? How long does it take to fly down a mountain?

Yuri: I do not know. I have never had wings, but I can tell you as soon as I have them!

Cooking the meat is how Yuri will befriend Yrta and gain the ability to fly. Doeb shrugs, drops into a puddle, and flows downhill, away from the dinner party and towards Stoss’ rampage. Vestri and Yuri bicker about cooking. Yuri cooks the venison medium-rare to hasten the meal. Yrta takes a while to learn the rules of the dice, and he does have a hand with a palm to hold the die, just his big grapsing feet. Vestri gathers up the dice for him and Yrta grabs them and tosses them in the air to roll them.

Fill Your Belly. Vestri heals 1. Yuri heals 2. Form a Bond with Yrta.

Yrta spends Flying Command to fly the Fellowship down the mountain

Vestri is nervous because Dwarves prefer to be underground, not in the air. Yrta flies lower, just over the trees, hoping to make Vestri more comfortable. The Fellowship comes down out fo the clouds. The land below is hilly with stands of trees separated by big spaces of grass. Areas of the land are marked off by big rows of brambles and thornbushes. The Fellowship’s meal gave Stoss plenty of time to get down the mountain and start wrecking havoc. Several Brontosaurs (huge long-necked dinosaurs) are running towards the Fellowship. One Brontosaur has a one-room shack on its back. also in the stampede are Megacerops: a type of furry rhinoceros with a blunt Y-shaped horn on its nose.

Yuri: Hello, do you need assistance?

The Brontosaur with the shack runs past and a voice from inside the shack calls out.

Voice: Yeeeeeeessssss!

Vestri and Yuri try to land on the fleeing Brontosaur.

Yuri Overcome danger of falling from Brontosaur 10+

Vestri Overcome danger of falling from Brontosaur (despair) 6-

Brontosaur uses Tail Whip to damage Vestri

Yuri lands safely by the shack but Vestri comes in at the wrong angle and Brontosaur’s sweeping tail smacks him aside into a tree. From the sky to a tree. Both bad places for a Dwarf.

Vestri: I am not enoying this! Don’t you worry! I’m going to get down myself, somehow.

Yuri is on the back of the Brontosaur, next to the shack. An Elf woman sticks her head out of the door of the shack. She’s wearing a cowboy hat with little slits on the side so her pointed ears can stick up. She also has a Southern accent.

Yuri: How did your house happen to get on this dinosaur?

Elf: Jake carries me around the ranch, but he’s been spooked! Better get inside so you don’t fall off!

Yuri: Is there a possiblity of unspooking Jacob?

He comes into the shack, which is not the Elf’s house. It’s where she keeps her work stuff as she travels around the dinosaur ranch. Jake’s reins should come in through the front window, but they’re dangling below its very long neck.

Vestri Get Away 7-9 avoid harm

Vestri falls out of the tree, but lands on some underbrush and is uninjured. He stumbles out of the brush with his pickaxe ready, but Yuri is nowhere to be seen. Yrta points out the fleeing Brontosaur carrying Yuri. Vestri starts pursuing it, but realizes his tiny legs are no match for a panicked dinosaur’s speed, and toher dinosaurs are stampeding around. He retreats to the edge of the brush to consider his next move.

Back on Jake’s back, Yuri gets a length of rope and uses it to steady himself as he walks/climbs up Jake’s neck towards the reins. He throws the loop of rope around Jake’s neck and pulls

Yuri Overcome 7-9 temporary solution

Yuri gets up to Jake’s head and hangs on for dear life.  How will he grab the reins without falling off? Yuri yells back to the rancher and asks her to call Jake, so he might turn his head and move the reins closer to Yuri. She does, and Yuri makes his move!

Yuri Overcome 7-9

Yuri Fool Me Twice reroll one die 10+

Yuri hums the Indiana Jones theme as he lets go of the rope, swings around Jake’s neck and grabs the reins. He pulls the reins to bring Jake to a stop.

Vestri: I saw that! Very impressive!

Yuri returns to the shack and is properly introduced to Charlene, the Elf rancher. He’s very impressed that she’s raising animals that are extinct in his world.

Charlene: A lady can’t say exactly how old she is, but we’ve had this here herd for the last 300 years at least.

Yuri: An impressive herd you’ve amassed over such a short amount of time!

Charlene: Yeah, but it will be scattered or killed by that horrible sky monster.

Yuri: We have a way of securing Eel up on the mountain, but it needs to be up on the mountain. Can we use Jacob as bait?

A terrible request! How could she let Jake come to harm? This Brontosaur isn’t quite a pet, but it’s hers. Yuri could buy a different Brontosaur, then do whatever he wants with it.

Yuri: I have no money but I have this amazing trading baseball card. Super-famous. You know Ken Griffey Jr.? What about a pawn shop situation. You hold on to this and if I lose your animal, you keep it. And if I bring it back, it is like, no harm, no faul.

Charlene: All sales are final!

Yuri spends Trading Card (Precious) for a Brontosaur

Charlene directs Jake to find another Brontosaur. They have run far enough away that the animals have calmed down. Yuri can have this one. Charlene asks what mark Yuri will brand on the Brontosaur so people will know it is his and not stolen.

Yuri: Do I have to brand it, so it will be hurt? What about I adorn it with some sort of necklace?

Charlene: The skin is like three inches think, and aren’t you going to get this eaten by a monster?

Charlene has branding equipment in her shack, but the branding iron is for the Lazy I Ranch. Of course she doesn’t have any other brands. That would be cheating. Yuri heats up a hammer and sickle and uses them to brand the Brontosaur with the mark of his homeland. Charlene prepares to ride Jake around to do a neck-count on her herd and see what’s left.

Yuri: Does this one come with reins? I know nothing of controlling dinosaurs.

Yuri is going to command Yrta to command the Mountain Lions to chase the Brontosaur toward Stoss the Cloud Eel. Yuri yells at the Brontosaur and smacks it on the leg to get it to move. It moseys a little, but it will require much more convincing to move towards the Cloud Eel. Yuri gathers some leaves from the trees that the dinosaurs graze from and gives it to Yrta, so he can lead the Brontosaur like a carrot on a stick.

Yuri Talks Sense (+Wisdom, appeal to desire for food) 10+

The Brontosaur follows the food towards the commotion.  Megacerops run in the opposite direction. Stoss is no longer camouflaged by clouds, so its huge grey body is visible close to the ground. It’s trying to attack yet another Brontosaur.  Vestri has been trying to catch up with Yuri all this time, but everything has such long legs and move so much faster than him.

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

  • What is Stoss doing. What will it do next?
    • Stoss is trying to corral the Brontosaur by blocking its path with its tail. When the Brontosaur can’t run anymore, Stoss will kill and eat
  • Is something hidden or out of place?
    • A patch of water flows unnaturally through the water. It’s Doeb!
  • What happens if I jump up and down and yell to draw attention?
    • A male Elf comes out of camouflage right next to Vestri and tries to tackle him to the ground, but fails because Vestri is very dense and stable.

Wayne: It’s dangerous here! I don’t know how y’all wandered into this.

Vestri explains that he and Yuri are here to get the Could Eel under control.

Wayne: Y’all seem intent on runnin’ right into danger, but I’m getting out. I’m getting into the Baron’s underground manor. I reckon that’s the safest place. I recommend you come with me.

Vestri:  Underground is definitely the safest place to be. I should help my friend over here. He’s not from our world.

Wayne: Well, I ain’t kidnapping you. You’re free as you wish, but I ain’t stopping!

Vestri moves towards Yuri and Wayne uses Camouflage to disappear into the tall grass.

Stoss has corraled a Brontosaur, but Yuri runs in to attack that Brontosaur’s legs, hoping it will rear up or bolt away.

Yuri Keep Them Busy vs. Stoss 7-9

Yuri Fool Me Once 10+

The Brontosaur rears and flails its mighty tail, preventing Stoss of getting a good bute, but threatening Yuri.

Yuri Overcome 10+

Yuri tucks and rolls under the sweeping tail, avoiding harm. He tells Yrta to send the Mountain Lions to drive the Brontosaur up the mountain.

Mountain Lions use Pounce

Vestri chases down Doeb

Vestri: Listen. Here is a very reasonable plan. You were going to keep Stoss at the top with a storm. Why don’t we chase it up to the top with a storm? If you use your power of the storm, I will use my power of whispering to rocks.

Doeb Divine Purpose: all Talk Sense attempts have Despair

Vestri Talks Sense (+sense, explain plan) 7-9 owe Doeb a favor

Doeb: Hmm, insteresting. I could use an expanded dwelling. I am expecting . . . guests. Yes. This is good. I will do this for you.

Doeb Rain’s Master: create thunderstorm

With the Brontosaur in front and the storm behind, Stoss heads up the mountain. Vestri tries to catch up by riding a Megacerops. He sits on the beast’s nose and steers by holding the Y-shaped horn.

Vestri Get Away (+despair) 7-9

Vestri barely keeps the beast on course. There’s lots of screaming. Sometimes Vestri ducks behind the horn as the Megacerops crashes through brush.

The Brontosaur can’t climb all the way up the mountain. It gets stuck in deep snow partway up the mountain, at the edge of the clouds. Yuri wants the Mountain Lions to lurk in the mist and form a shadow that looks bigger than the Brontosaur, so Stoss will switch to target them. Surely they are fast enough to get away. That’s a hard sell for Yrta! On one wing, he’s dedicated to caring for Stoss, but on the other wing, these are his cats! Yuri offers the Brontosaur to replace any losses.

Yuri: It’s your life’s work, Yrta. You need to break few eggs to make omelet.

GM note: not a good metaphor for a bird!

Yuri Talk Sense (+Wisdom, desire to care for Stoss) 6-

Yuri Fool Me Twice 10+

Mountain Lions Stalk From Shadows

GM note: The players are spending resources and making good rolls. I think this is enough.

Stoss chases the Mountain Lions past the trapped Brontosaur and up to the peak of the mountain, where Doeb is able to surround him with storms and keep him there.

Yuri: You hear that Doeb? We have saved your eel pet.

Doeb: Yeah, I know. I’m the one chasing it. The storm? Behind you? That’s me.

Vestri’s Megacerops gallops up the slope, pushing a mound of snow in front of it. It skids to a stop and Vestri, encrusted in snow, emerges from the ditch behind the Megacerops.

Vestri: It worked, lad!

Yuri: But at a cost.

Vestri: At cost? What’s the cost?

Yuri: My mental health! And also my baseball card.

GM note: They didn’t save the day, they just un-ruined it back to the status quo, except some Mountain Lions got eaten.

Vestri fulfills his promise to expand Doeb’s house. It’s all tubes and round rooms, very good for fluids. Doeb is pleased to have space for more Rain.

GM note: There’s no drama in expanding the house, so I didn’t call for the Speak Softly roll that it technically requires.

The Fellowship goes down the mountain, taking the slow way so that Gurtin can drive down. Yrta comes along to take delivery of Yuri’s Brontosaur. Along the way, Vestri explains his family to Yuri, who is mixed up. Gurtin is the vehicle. Hundrin is the Dwarf. Neither are married to Vestri. None of Vestri’s wives or husbands accompany him on this adventure. They are all back in the mountain, except the one husband who is a trader. Vestri’s wife is a silversmith, and Vestri’s husband’s wife is a goldsmith, so Vestri’s husband sells the gold and silver jewelry.

When they return to the Lazy I Ranch, Charlene is upset. Yuri took a Brontosaur that he didn’t pay for, and he left his Brontosaur at the ranch to graze on their land. She demands that he return the stolen Brontosaur and take his Brontosaur away.

Yuri: That one was about to be eaten, so I needed to get it off the land to get rid of the thing that was terrorizing your town. Kind of a wash, really? Would you rather I left the eel? I can go back and get it!

Charlene: Well, I never! C’mon Jake, we’re going to tell the Baron about this!

Threatening the ranch with a giant monster was a bad move! Charlene rides away in her giant steed. Yuri tries to find the Brontosaur with his hammer and sickle brand.

Yuri Looks Closely 6-

Yuri Fool Me Once 7-9 ask three questions, find one answer the hard way

  • Is something hidden or out of place?
    • The big house where the boss lives is mostly underground. The only part above ground is a lobby, so it’s smaller than the houses for the ranch workers.
  • Tell me about the Brontosaurs. What are they doing?
    • The have recovered from their panic and are acting normally. They move in a loose formation instead of all descending on one stand of trees and stripping it bare. Yuri is able to figure out how they move and finds his Brontosaur.
  • How could the Baron hurt or help me?
    • The Baron is the boss of this location. If they anger him, and they won’t be welcome here, but please him and he can use his power and influence to help them.

Vestri wonders if the Baron is a Dwarf. Yuri assumes its a relative. Charlene emerges from the Baron’s house with a finely-dressed Elf. Davey is dressed like Colonel Sanders.

Yuri: No! No threatening! Showing the intelectual conundrum. The status quo was a horrible eel. I feel like I did a good thing here, is what I’m trying to say. I have no intention of destroying your town.

Davey: How about we trade your Brontosaur for the one you took?

Yuri: I have since traded the Brontosaur, so you would have to talk to my bird friend here.  We know exactly where it is. It is just a little stuck.

The Fellowship realizes that they abandoned that Brontosaur in a snowdrift and it surely froze to death.

Davey: Where is it? Describe it to me.

Yuri: Is very tall piece of ground that sticks up and there is a little bit snow at the top. That is the mountain.

Davey turns to the Dwarf, hoping for a useful description of the Brontosaur’s location. Vestri gives a detailed explaination of how to reach the Brontosaur. Davey closes his eyes, mumbles, and makes some hand signs.

Davey uses Mystic Power

Bam! Davey teleports the Brontosaur back from the mountain. It’s dead.

Charlene: We’re taking that Brontosaur back.

Yuri: Can I have my baseball card back?

Charlene: No!

Yrta isn’t sure if the dead Brontosaur is the same one that Yuri promised to him. Both Yrta and Yuri think all Brontosaurs look alike.

Charlene: First of all, they’re all individuals. Second, we branded the one that you bought. This isn’t it.

So the Lazy I Ranch takes back the Brontosaur that Yuri bought. Yuri owns the carcass of the other Brontosaur, which he gives to Yrta as a source of food for his Mountain Lions. The Mountain Lions descend and carry off all the meat back to their home in the mountain. There is no Eel terrorizing the town. The Fellowship think they’ve done a fine job.

Yuri: So for the heroes of the town, do you mind if we have a little place to sleep for the night, or…

Davey: Are you referring to yourselves?

Yuri: Maybe I can assist medically, if anyone was injured in the Great Eel Attack of Whatever Year This Is?

Vestri: We typically count in Ages.

Davey: I think it’s time for y’all to mosey along.

Vestri: Do you need a new cave?

Davey: What have you heard about our cave?

Yuri: The way you ask makes me curious. What haven’t I heard about your cave?

Davey: Baron Ivanova’s dwelling is Baron Ivanova’s business. I’m not going to tell it to outsiders.

Yuri: Could be insiders if we knew.

GM note: Ivanova is pronounced “Eye vuh NO vuh” because it’s an Elven name, not a Russian name. Russia doesn’t exist on this planet. Also, the Fellowship will not leave well enough alone! They’ve squandered all their good will.

It’s getting dark. The Fellowship wants a place to stay. Maybe they can do some unskilled labor to earn a bed? maybe Yuri can use his medkit to…

Davey: Y’all should definitely move along. You should not be here after dark.

Yuri: Why not? Is there a problem after dark that we can help you with?

Vestri convinces Yuri to leave the ranch, and even then he’s still explaining how he’s a good helpful person and the Elves should be happy to have him. Vestri makes a cave for the Fellowship to sleep in for the night.

Vestri Earth Whisperer

GM note: Oh right, Response Moves. The Fellowship has certainly caused trouble in Lazy Eye Ranch

Response move: Guardian. A powerful Threat activates to defend a location

Response move: Stalker: A Threat watches the Fellowship and reports to the Boss

GM note: Even thought it provides interesting insight to early Dwarven culture, I will omit the lengthy discussion of how Dwarves poop.

The Fellowship considers what to do next. Yuri consults the sword to see if it points him towards the site of a future disaster. He gets the impression that to the south there is a mountian with a huge gash in it. Yuri asks Vestri if he knows such a mountain.

Vestri: There are many mountains with gashes. Do you mean the Split Mountain? Or the Twin Mountain? Or the Dragon-Split Mountain? Perhaps you mean the Hammer-Cleft Mountain? The Hammer-Cleft mountain is mentioned in the tale of the dagger.

They set off to the south toward Hammer-Cleft Mountains. First they pass through the Singing Hills. Various adventuring parties have traveled through the SInging Hills over the years. So the Dwarves have a song about it that they heard from the Humans, and the Humans heard it from the Elves. It’s a place of note.

GM note: Ha ha. Like a musical note.

The Singing Hills are rolling hills with long grass that blows in the wind as big puffy clouds float overhead. Different tones  carry on the wind, different notes from different directions. Far away in the sky, a whie line snakes back and forth. It looks a bit like a Cloud Eel. The Fellowship decides to give it a wide berth. As they walk along, Vestri recognizes a false stone, used by Dwarves to conceal things.

Vestri: See that? There’s one rock that has a strange milky shine. See how that one the reflection seems a little blurry? It’s not a real rock!

Vestri wedges his pick between the false rock and the real rocks and pulls. The false rock smoothly rotates away to reveal Dwarven stairs going down. Yuri worries that Gurtin will not fit, but Gurtin was built for Dwarven mines, so it fits through standard Dwarven passages. Yuri can’t stand up straight inside, so he goes down the stairs on his hands and knees, but first. The stairs go down to an old Dwarven bus stop. The chamber adjoins a round tunnel about the width of a two-lane road. It’s about 30% full of water flowing south. If this was maintained and active, rafts would transport Dwarves downriver, and conveyor belts powered by waterwheels would transport Dwarves upriver. This tunnel has been abandoned for a long time. The conveyor belts are gone, the lights are out. No rafts, no Dwarves, just a dark tunnel with water flowing through it. Vestri babbles about how cool this is, about vague stories that he wasn’t sure were true. This explains how those two groups had a trade route across the lands of the Red Tyrant. Very exciting.

Yuri: Thank you for the history lesson. That is actually very interesting. What do we do?

Vestri wants to make Gurtin the Tunneler float, but Yuri thinks that’s unlikely because it’s so heavy. He proposes leaving Gurtin behind, but Vestri rejects that.

Vestri Earth Whisperer Speak Softly 10+

  • What can you tell me about getting out safely?
    • There are stations like this one along the tunnel that go up to the surface.
  • What should I be wary of when traveling through the tunnel?

    • Recently there were strange and dangerous creatures in here: a unicorn, a giant crocidile, some adventurers, a giant spider.
  • Please collapse the tunnel upstream of us, so the water will drain out.
    • The earth complies.

The water can’t flow down the tunnel and builds up behind the blockage. Maybe the blockage will hold, but maybe the tunnel will suddenly flood at an unpredicatable time in the future. The Fellowship waits for the water to flow away and then walks/rolls down the tunnel on solid ground.

Vestri: OK, we’re going to go left then right then right then left then right then left-left.

Yuri: I trust your Dwarven instincts because you have talked to the earth.

Vestri and Hundrin can see in the dark tunnel, but Yuri holds on to Vestri’s shoulder for guidance. After walking for some time, they reach a branch in the tunnel, going right and sloping up. Vestri decides to go right, which probably leads to an exit, so Yuri can see.  There is a light at the end of the tunnel. As they approach it, they see that the ceiling of the tunnel has collapsed, so light is coming in from the sky. Water drips in from the hole in the ceiling onto a ramp of rubble. Vestri wants to punch through the rubble to the tunnel beyond.

Vestri Clear The Path 6-

Falling Block Trap: Pile of Rubble threatens to bury Vestri

Vestri Overcome 10+

Vestri charges into the rubble, hits it with his shoulders and the whole ceiling collapses! Then nothing. Dust settles.

Hundrin: Don’t worry about it.

The first time Hundrin speaks to Yuri! The rubble trembles a bit, then Vestri’s head pops up out of the rubble, like a human might emerge from a swimming pool.

Vestri: I’m stuck over here. Hold on, it’s going to take me a minute.

Yuri: Maybe it is better if you request the earth to move

Vestri Earth Whisperer Speak Softly 10+

  • Hello could you please move out of our way? Thank you.
    • The pile of rubble moves aside.

Now some very obvious consequences happen which surprise everyone. The Fellowship walked up the slope of a blocked tunnel in a system of underground waterways. Water should be flowing downhill, against their path, but it’s not because the tunnel is blocked by a pile of rubble. A pile of rubble that Vestri just moved out of the way. Behind that rubble is a wall of water two storeys tall filling the entire tunnel, which is now free to rush down the tunnel that everyone is standing in! Yuri grabs for some rubble to avoid being swept away. Vestri sinks in water, so he jumps to get a breath of air, sinks, then grabs for a big rock, hoping to stay in place underwater until the water level subsides.

Yuri Overcome 6-

Yuri Fool Me Once 6-

Vestri Overcome 10+

Vestri and his rock don’t move very far, but Yuri, Hundrin and Gurtin are swept away.

GM note: Hundrin and Gurtin have no unmarked stats, so this damage goes to their bonds. They only have one Bond with Vestri, so they lose their last Bond are no longer Vestri’s companions! Oh no, is Vestri’s friend dead?! I remind Vestri’s player that Gear (including companions) return when Recovering, so they aren’t permanently gone.

Gurtin is bashed against the side of the tunnel and wrecked, and Hundrin disappears in the water.  The water gets lower and slower as it goes down the tunnel, and eventually Yuri is able to pull himself out of the water. Yuri and Vestri yell for each other. Vestri finds Yuri and guides him back up the tunnel to the light, making wet squishy footfalls. They climb out of tunnel to the surface. They are no longer in the Singing Hills. They are in a marshy region. It’s raining and muddy and hard to see. A ways in the distance is the palisade wall of a settlement. They approach the settlement, hoping to dry off. The enter the town of Bogden, which is primarily settled by Platypeople. There’s no immediately hostility or disaster here, so they plan to stay here and Recover.

END OF SESSION MOVE

  • Did we thoroughly explore a new location? Yes, Cloudhold.
  • Did we discover something new about he world and its people: Yes, there are Platypeople and dinosaurs and lost Dwarven tunnels.
  • Did anyone find what they were looking for? No

Two Boons.

Level up and they’re going to Recover and get all Gear and Stats back, so the other boon is irrelevant.

Chasing The Sunset & Hidden Things

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

The party: Vestri the Dwarf, Yuri the Outlander

Last time, Yuri was transported from Russia to another world, where he met Vestri and helped a Giant out of a jam.

Heinrich the Giant is grateful to the small people who helped him escape the cramped room he was trapped in. He offers to teach the signals he uses to direct the poor undead creatures that live here to bring him food. If that does not appeal, there’s another option. He’s been cooped up for a while, unable to stretch out or move. Once he gets some proper food and exercise, he’d like to go all out and see what he can do! If there’s something that the Fellowship really needs broken, they can call him.

  • Heinrich’s Fellowship Moves (choose 1)
    • Zombie House: Each character gets 2 Zombie companions
    • The Hurricane: The Fellowship may direct Heinrich’s wrath, just once.

Vestri: I like being owed a favor by a Giant. That’s fantastic!

Yuri: We will go with the favor, sir.

Yuri wonders exactly how to call Heinrich and how long Heinrich will take to respond.  Heinrich produces a stone about the size and shape of an ostrich egg. It’s a geode from the stone he was born from. When it’s smashed, he wil feel it where ever he is and will come running.

Yuri: Is this going to hurt, or is just like “Oh, my Spider-senses tingle”?

Heinrich: You know, I haven’t had much experience with the Spiders. They’re a strange lot. But, no, it won’t hurt. Just like this. It’s nothing.

Heinrich tears a handful of bricks from a nearby building and drops them on his foot. He stands up and strides away. He’s over the horizon faster than seems reasonable.

Yuri: Where are we . . .we are going to mountain of some sort? If I remember…

Vestri: Yes, that did seem like a place where I would likely find the family heirloom I am on a search for!

They set out for Cloudhold, a high snowy mountain whose peak is shrouded in clouds. Yuri’s pet cat Stephen walks alongside. This planet has only large wildcats, so Stephen is unique. He depends on Yuri for socialization, which is fine with Yuri because Stephen is cuddly. Thus begins a Long Journey.

Long Journey: Each player introduces a situation or problem that the Fellowship encounters on the way and chooses a character who takes the lead in solving it.

The edges of the City Junkyard are swampy. The ruins and buildings here sink into the muck, and traveling is difficult, especially for a vehicle like Gurtin, the Tunneler.

Yuri: Can you drill under swamp? I imagine wet ground is easier to drill through.

Vestri: Easier to drill through, but not to move through. Are we drilling straight down? We’re not! We’re trying to cross this thing.

Vestri Look Closely at the swamp 6- Ask 1 question, find out the hard way

  • What do my senses tell me?
    • Swampy, mixtures of different building types. A corner of masonry over here. Over there, a wooden door floating. Long water plants, like kelp, grow in the swamp.

GM note: I commiserated with another player who also runs games about wanting an unreasonable level of realism in my descriptions, even though that’s not important for running a fun game.

Vestri wants to harvest the kelp and lay it over some muddy sections to spread Gurtin’s weight and let it pass without sinking.

GM note: Sounds reasonable to me because they did something similar in Mad Max: Fury Road.

As Vestri tries to harvest kelp at the indistinct border of wet mud and muddy water, his arm gets wrapped up and he is pulled into the muck!

Vestri Overcome being caught by kelp 7-9 pay a price for a permanent solution

Vestri loses Tunneler’s Gear

Vestri’s bulky tools get caught and he takes off his belt and leaves it behind as he climbs out onto relatively solid ground. Yuri and Vestri lay out kelp in front of Gurtin.

Vestri Get Away from swamp (+hope, aid from Yuri) 10+

GM note: I just ended the scene instead of letting the players pick two options, like the text of the rule says to do. I don’t think it really matters. They overcame the challenge.

Gurtin is able to travel over the road of kelp without sinking into the mud.  They reach the mountain. They are going through a valley, a path with high walls on either side, a former riverbed. The exit is webbed with very strong spider web. Yuri remembers classic D&D lore: spiderwebs are extremely flammable. Alas, he has no source of fire. Surely Hundrin, the blacksmith can make fire. He did not bring a forge with him. He’s much more useful in town, but he keeps the Tunneler running out here.

Yuri Look Closely at the valley 10+ Ask three questions.

  • Tell me about the wildlife. What are they doing?
    • Animal tracks run along the riverbed. Vultures soar on the updrafts caused by the mountain and circle over this ravine specifically.
  • Is there something hidden or out of place?
    • It takes a while to notice details in nature. So even though there’s no motion to draw his eye, Yuri suddenly notices something after looking around for a while. A boulder sticking out of one wall of the ravine anchors the top corner of the web. Yuri notices a spider-like head peeking out from behind this boulder. This head is on a neck with shoulders, not the standard two-section spider body.

Yuri: I have never seen Spider-Woman. Only Spider-Man movie.

  • Tell me about that Spider? What are they doing? What will they do next?
    • This is a Spider, a humanoid intelligent species native to this land. This one has set this web as a trap across a game trail to capture food. They are surprised to see people and a vehicle coming through. Not ambushing the Fellowship, but not coming out to greet them either.

As Yuri considers how to react, Vestri says something about “typical human” and Yuri protests that he doesn’t know anything about humans, and that he (Yuri) is the first one that he (Vestri) has met. Yuri insists that he met another human 40 years ago! Vestri is seventy-twelve years old, by the way. Yuri considers driling through the web with Gurtin, but Vestri worries that Gurtin’s drill will get gunked up. Yuri also considers talking to the hunter, man to Spider-Woman. Vestri picks up a rock and throws it into the web.

Vestri: Hey, Hundrin? Do you think we can tunnel through this with Gurtin?

Hundrin grunts and nods.

Strangers barging in and plotting to destroy her web? That’s pretty scary!

Vestri Finish Them +Courage (scare them away) 6-

But the Spider isn’t scared at all.  She’s a hunter, used to attacking one unaware target at a time, so she won’t risk a frontal assault on this group of people. She sneaks through the tree branches to an advantageous angle and shoots webs to jam up the Tunneler’s wheels. Yuri slices at the webbing with his magical sword.

Yuri Overcome webbing 7-9

Yuri Fool Me Twice reroll one die

Yuri Overcome webbing 7-9 temporary solution

The webbing sticks to the sword and Yuri yanks to pull the Spider out of hiding. They are connected by the strand of webbing.

Yuri: Um, excuse me, miss. I would prefer if you would not do this. Maybe we could reach some sort of impasse?

Vestri: Compromise! That’s the word.

Yuri: We have hit some sort of impasse. I think we should compromise.

Spider: Don’t wreck my stuff and I won’t wreck yours.

Yuri Speak Softly 7-9 Ask 3 questions. One answer is unhelpful

  • What do they want? How can we help them get it?
    • She likes her setup and doesn’t want people tromping through, breaking her web, and scaring the game away.
  • What should I be wary of when dealing with them?
    • She looks very shady. She has an alien, bug-like face, so Yuri can’t get a read on her.
  • What would they have us do next?
    • She wants them to go back down the ravine to a cave that goes through a spur of the mountain and leads to another path up the mountain.

Yuri: Da, but this does not solve your problem of people coming through and ruining your spiderweb. Unless you want them to come through and possibly eat them. Maybe “Do Not Enter” on a sign?

Spider: It hasn’t been a problem until now. I don’t know where you people came from.

Yuri: Well, industrialization is upon us, my friend. There will be cars.

Vestri: What?

Yuri: You have magic but you do not have cars? What is . . . I do not understand this.

Vestri: Maybe it’s just a name for a thing I don’t know.

Yuri gestures and makes noises and Vestri realizes that “car” means something like Gurtin the Tunneler.

Vestri: Those are called cars?

Yuri: Da. It does not matter what the vernacular is, but they are abundant!

Spider: Oh, right. I should have something that lets other people know that I’m here, that this is not abandoned. I could put out some decorations! I do some crafts.

Vestri:  I find a great deterrent is to put a pile of bones at the entrance of your lair. that usually keeps people out. Unless they’re adventurers.

Yuri: Da, and it is very spooky like at Halloween time, maybe a pumpkin? Pile of bones, pumpkin, web.

Vestri: Halloween? I’ve never heard of that.

They wander off toward the alternate path, still arguing. Yuri yells back to ask the Spider’s name. She is Shadow Under Cloud. She wanted to put up some cute decorations to make her ravine seem inhabited, but her crafts are little sculptures made of the bones of her prey, like the Blair Witch figures. These wanderers said that bones were intimidating and scary. Does that means she is weird and scary? Now she’s insecure.

The Fellowship finds the cave that Shadow Under Cloud described. Dwarves see perfectly in the dark, but Yuri can’t see anything past the mouth of the cave.

Vestri: Plenty of men from the race of Men don’t know how to look in the dark. How about you? Can you see in the dark?

Yuri: I have no, uh, no. I am just standard human.

Vestri: Would you like me to hold your hand?

Yuri: Da?

Yuri has to lean down a bit to hold Vestri’s raised hand. It’s a bit like holding a child’s hand, except the hand is hard and strong, like a child who works construction. Also, this cave is easy to navigate for a Spider that can walk on walls and spin lines of silk. For creatures limited to the floor, it’s treacherous: unstable footing and pits everywhere.

Vestri: This will be a problem for my machine. We can’t leave the Tunneler behind. I already left all my Tunneling Gear behind. What if we make a new tunnel by tunneling into the side, then turning. We make our own path.

Gurtin damages Drill Tank

The Tunneler needs to run parallel to the existing cave, not into the heart of the mountain or into a pit.  Yuri wants to help the Dwarves dig accurately, but he can’t even see the cave when he’s in it, much less in a different tunnel.

Vestri Get Away to the other side of the spur 7-9 bring Yuri along

Pit Trap uses HIdden Trap to send Yuri into the pit

The Tunneler tunnels accurately and bursts to the surface right next to the cave exit. Along the way it grazed another cavern, leaving a hole that Vestri easily avoids, but Yuri falls into.

Pit Trap uses Long Way Down to damage Yuri

Yuri damages Wisdom

GM note: This is a good time to tell the new players that there’s no separate Health to track, and that only they decide if their characters die if they are Taken Out. I cannot kill them.

Yuri rolls down a steep slope several times and lands in a few inches of cold water.

Vestri: Are you well, Man?

Yuri: Fine, I think. No broken bones. But I have no idea where I am relative to you.

Vestri: Why didn’t you hug the wall?

Yuri: You were suposed to guide me. I have no sight in this place.

Vestri Speak Softly to the earth 7-9 Ask 3 questions, 1 unhelpful answer

Vestri Earth Friend ask the earth to move

  • Can you raise my friend to my level?
    • The earth raises Yuri on a pillar of stone
  • Can you make a bridge for him to cross?
    • A bridge connects the pillar to where Vestri stands
  • Maybe a staircase?
    • A staircase forms on the ceiling.

Vestri guides Yuri back into the tunnel, where Yuri is able to put his hand on the wall and follow it out of the tunnel. They exit the tunnels into the clouds on the upper half of the mountain! The air is very cold.

Cloudhold Frozen: Cold protection required

Yuri is protected from Cold by being from Mother Russia

Vestri is protected from Cold by living in cold caves deep underground.

GM note: I said that I’d make them roll with Despair to Get Away because of the deep snow, then forgot and never did it!

The snow is up to Yuri’s hips, which means it’s up to Vestri’s nose, and is far too deep for Steven, who retreats into Yuri’s lab coat. Yuri walks ahead and the Dwarves walk in the path that he clears in the snow.

GM note: Big mis-step here. I don’t want to pressure players down a certain path, so I like to describe a scene and let them decide what to interact with. Unfortunately, the scene I presented was trackless snow hidden in clouds, so they had nowhere to go. When I realize my mistake and quickly push one of the area’s residents into the scene, it’s the one that’s immune to Look Closely, so they still have nothing to go on.

Past 100 yards, everything fades to the grey of clouds and the terrain disappears. In one direction something bright moves and shifts. Yuri walks towards the glow.

Vestri: I’m coming with you. After all, you are our path-creator. Following! Man from another world.

Yuri: You could just call me Yuri, by my name.

Vestri: OK, Yuri From Another World.

They approach the glow, which is a group of bright floating lights, too bright to look at directly. The lights move through the air, forming shifting patterns. Vestri has heard at angels are difficult to look upon, much like these lights. The lights zoom away, briefly silhouetting something else in the clouds: a winged humanoid.

Yuri: Hello, sir or madam! Are you alright? You seem to be incredibly bright, and I’m assuming that is hot.

Vestri: Hundrin, Hundrin, look! Hundrin, look! A winged creature that is difficult to look upon. Do you know what this means?

The figure approaches and emerges from the fog. It’s a humanoid bird about five feet tall with a twelve foot wingspan. His upper limbs are wings and his lower limbs have grasping feet like a hawk. He does not glow. The light moved behind him but did not come from him. He lands and folds his huge wings. He’s surprised to see them and inspects them by quickly tilting his head this way and that, like birds do.

Yrta: Oh, treasure hunters, huh?

Vestri: I am looking for the twin of this dagger. Have you seen it?

Yrta: It can be dangerous up in these mountains. Are you sure it’s up here?

Vestri: I am not sure, but the stories of my people speak of a cloud-covered mountain where it was last seen. So maybe it’s this one!

Ytra: Your people? How many of them are there?

Vestri: I left them back in my home town, but several thousand.

Yrta is concerned to hear “several thousand” but relaxes when he realizes they are not all here on the mountain.

Yrta: Perfect. Attack!

Ytra Uplifting Command: all nearby minions can fly

Mountain Lion Swarm Stalk From The Shadows: Secret until they make a move

A dozen Mountain Lions pounce straight down out of the foggy sky! Vestri is offended that this bird-man appeared to be an angel and then ambushed him.

Vestri Charge Through 7-9 clear a path for allies, but leave himself open to danger

Vestri charged forward, knocking mountain lions aside with his pickaxe. He finds the mouth of a big cave, and the mountain lions won’t follow him inside.

Yrta: I couldn’t have done it better myself.

Yrta and the Mountain Lions zoom upwards and disappear into the fog. Vestri assumes they only operate in open skies and hate enclosed spaces.

Yuri: I am gravely concerned for the way the Sky Commander worded that. I think they were trying to usher us into this cave. Out of frying pan, into fire.

Vestri: I’m actually better inside caves than outside caves. You’re safe with me, Yuri!

They are at the entrance to the cave. The mouth of the cave is 30 feet tall and 50 feet wide, so there’s plenty of light for Yuri near the entrance, but the back of the cave is pitch black.

Vestri Look Closely at cave 7-9 Ask 3 questions, find 1 the hard way

  • What do my senses tell me?
    • The inside of the cave is smooth. The edges of the cave mouth are smooth. There are no piles of bones or remnants of campfires on the floor. It’s quite clean.
  • Is something hidden or out of place?
    • Vestri’s eyes adjust to the darkness and on the roof of the cavern, he sees a sleeping Cloud Eel coiled around the stalactites!
      • Stoss the Cloud Eel (it/it) Boss of Cloudhold
        • Threat to the World
        • Cloudhome: secret when hiding in clouds
        • Ravenous: Hungry, Necrotic damage, Swallow whole
        • Tough as Nails: first time Stoss is damaged or destroyed, damage this stat instead.
  • Tell me about the darkness. How could it hurt or help me?
    • The darkness conceals Stoss!

Stoss is sleeping now, but will be very hungry when it awakens.  Vestri tells Yuri to be quiet and explains the danger. Yuri recommends sealing the entrance with Vestri’s Earth Friend, but first, they should hide, in case Earth Friend does not work.

Yuri: Squat down and talk to the earth.

Vestri: There’s Mountain Lions out there!

Yuri: Mountain Lions worse than flying eel?  No? Then we choose Mountain Lions.

They quietly back out of the cave and lie down.

Yuri Get Away (+hope, assistance from Vestri) 6-

Yuri Fool Me Once reroll one die 6-

They are not quiet enough, and Stoss wakes up. Cloud Eels pursue the biggest, easiest source of food, and Yuri is twice the size of his companions. Since Yuri can’t see in the dark, he sees Stoss’ huge head emarge from the shadows, mouth open with several rows of needle-like teeth, charging straight for him.

GM note: This is the first time these players fought anything in Fellowship, so I paused to explain that there’s no way to trade blows and chip away HP. Combat in Fellowship is about getting an Advantage over one’s opponents (by fictional positioning or via moves that specifically grant Advantage) and using that to Finish Them.

Yuri grabs some dirt from the cave floor and throws it at Stoss’ eyes.

Yuri Pay A Price to face Threat To The World: damage Courage

Yuri Overcome 6-

Yuri Fool Me Once reroll one die 6-

Stoss crashes mouth-first into the ground where Yuri stands, and when it rises into the air again, Yuri (and Steven, riding in his jacket) are gone, swallowed whole! Vestri believes in his Man From The Other World (and his cat). They can survive this! Vestri leaps out from his hiding place (and falls back into the snow that is as high as he is) and yells threats at Stoss.

Vestri Pay A Price to face Threat To The World: damage Grace

Vestri Keep Them Busy  6-

Stoss ignores Vestri and flies away, disappearing into the clouds.

Stoss Cloudhome: Secret while flying in clouds

Yuri stabs his magic sword into Stoss’ throat to stop himself from sliding down into Stoss’ acidic stomach. A baseball card slips out of his pocket and falls into Stoss’ stomach.

Yuri Pay A Price to face Threat To The World: lose baseball Card

Yuri Overcome 10+

Yuri I Know Something You Don’t: gain Advantage when Overcoming an enemy

The blade bites and catches, so Yuri stops sliding down the throat. He drives the blade deeper into Stoss’ vulnerable innards, hoping to slay the beast.

Yuri Pay A Price to face Threat To The World: damage Grace

Yuri Finish Them (+Blood) 10+

Stoss damages Tough As Nails

Yuri cuts a hole to the outside. Stoss is airborne, but there’s soft deep snow below, so Yuri jumps! Stoss makes a horrible noise, alerting Vestri to its location. Vestri runs up and throws his pickaxe at Stoss,

Vestri Pay A Price to face Threat To The World: lose pickaxe

Vestri Keep Them Busy 6-

The pickaxe glances off Stoss’ hide. Stoss wriggles and lashes its tail to take off. The tail catches Vestri and throws him aside. Once again, Stoss disappears into the clouds.

Vestri damages Sense

Vestri: How are you? Where is your cat?

Yuri: In my coat. Claws are currently in my skin. It is fine. We don’t have time for this conversation!

Yuri wonders how to defend themselves if Stoss returns.  Yuri’s magical sword and Vestri’s ceremonial dagger aren’t much good against a creature big enough to swallow them whole.

Vestri The Secrets: ask a question from Look Closely or Speak Softly lists

  • Tell me about the Cloud Eel. How could it hurt or help me?

Vestri: The thing about Cloud Eels. There’s a couple things. One, they’re very scary. Two, once they’re awake they just eat everything they see. But three! If we do kill it, it’s very useful. It will have a bunch of weapons in it from other people it’s eaten, and we need new weapons. At least I do. And also! The scales are really helpful for making protective armor that camouflages you.

Yuri: I’m sure that is very nice, but that does not help us in this moment.

Yrta flies near enough to be seen, but stays out of reach.

Yrta: You idiots! We were providing it food. It was staying up here. It was safe. Now it’s heading down the mountain, and everyone down there is in danger.

Vestri: You chased us into that cave!

Yuri: You tried to kill us! That sounds like it is your fault and you are blaming me.

Yrta: It’s been working out.

Yuri: Murder has been working out? I feel like you do not have the moral high ground here. It’s mostly dead. Let’s go kill it. Will you help us? And then you will finish the problem and you won’t sic Mountain Lions on us?

Yuri: I want you, with your big wings and terrible bird claws, to carry me into a place where I could drop down on to the Eel and stab it with my sword. I need you to do this without murdering me, of course, so I need a fair amount of trust.

Yrta doesn’t want to hurt Stoss, and he tried to feed Yuri to Stoss a little while ago, so this plan just sounds like Yrta feeding Yuri to Stoss more directly. Yuri tries another plan.

Yuri: What if you bring Eel back to cave and we close up the entrance, so you make sure it stays.

Yrta: To cage such a magnificent creature might be worse than killing it. Wait, you want to kill it. Wait, no! These are bad options.

Vestri wants new weapons, and neither of them wants to be killed or fed to a Cloud Eel.

Yrta: This is hurting my head. I don’t think I’m smart enough for this. We need to talk to Doeb.

Yrta lands and hops along on the ground to escort the ground-based Fellowship to Doeb. He leads them to a small alpine lake

Yrta: Doeb, it’s Yrta. Stoss got out. There’s some people here. They have plans. It’s all very confusing.

GM note: At this point I realized that my players had not heard the names Stoss, Yrta, or Doeb. I try to keep a natural flow of conversation, and they hadn’t made introductions, but I really just need to tell my players the names of the characters they are interacting with.

Part of the water rises up, separates from the lake, and comes on shore. Doeb is a member of the Rain, a race of amorpheous goo people. He scolds Yrta for letting Stoss escape. Yrta tries to recap the plans that the Fellowship came up with, but he only remembers half, and that half he explains badly.

  • Rain Lord Doeb (they/them)
    • Rain’s Master (weather control)
    • Divine Purpose (does not serve Boss, Talk Sense w/ Despair)
    • Sun’s touch (Piercing or Healing)

Yuri: What does this Eel mean to you and why are you keeping just a dangerous creature?

Yrta: I don’t own it. Who could own such a magnificent creature?

Yrta loves Stoss as much as Yuri loves Steven. Steven fascinates Yrta, who commands a pack of large cats but has never seen such a small cat before. Yuri gets very protective as Yrta gets close to inspect Steven, and starts to understand how Yrta feels when they talk about killing or trapping Stoss.

Vestri: Oh, I get the point you were making now! We’re sorry we stabbed Stoss.

Yuri: It was going to eat me!

Yuri: What about a leash? You put Eel on leash so it does not leave mountain. Large chain wrapped around neck – in a comfortable way!

Doeb: You seem to have forgotten the shape of an Eel. Put a collar on it, it will slip right out.

Doeb demonstrates by tying a slipknot in a rope, putting the loop over his ‘head’ and putting the rope tight. The loop goes right through Doeb’s body.

Yuri: Sidenote: I am very interested in how your body works. I am a medical professional. How is? Do you have medicine in your species? Is there, like, rain cancer?

They need to decide on a plan. Yuri theorizes how to restrain Eel without hurting it, perhaps with a mask instead of a collar. Stoss hates lightning, so maybe Doeb could control the weather to corral Stoss with thunderstorms.

Yuri: It is like electric fence.

Doeb Divine Purpose: Talk Sense with Despair

Yuri Talk Sense (explain plan +sense) 10+

A convincing argument. When the others return Stoss to the mountaintop, Doeb will cage it with lightning. They just have to get it back up the mountain.

Vestri: Sorry we hurt your Eel.

Yuri: I’m really not! It swallowed me whole. It’s a vicious beast.

Vestri: It’s a magnificent beast.

Yrta: You have to respect its ways.

NO END OF SESSION MOVE

Response level: 2

  1. Bad Weather: lightning
  2. ???

Chasing The Sunset & hostile architecture

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

The party: Vestri the Dwarf, Yuri the Outlander

GM note: This is the first session for two new players, which means two new characters and two new cultures. I intended to have them arrive on the continent by boat like most of the other players (Kraken, shipwreck) but Yuri’s player told a story that fit an existing location on the other side of the map, so I placed the session there. That’s collaborative world-building!

Yuri the Outlander (he/him): Yuri was a medical doctor living in 2020 Moscow, Russia, until his entire fourth-floor apartment was teleported to another world! The apartment crushed someone on arrival, leaving only an arm holding a glowing sword. When Yuri picked up the sword, it downloaded confusing, terrifying visions of the future into his mind. Yuri is 6’2, shaved head, Dave Bautista head shape, but not huge like Bautista, more Jason Statham’s build. Yuri’s cat, Steven, was teleported to the new world like everything else in Yuri’s room. Yuri inherited Steven from a child who apparently died. Steven rides in Yuri’s backpack and sticks his head out of the unzipped flap. There are no small domesticated cats in this world, so Steven stands out.

Outlander culture: Modern Russian culture from Earth.

  • Lore about the Glowing Sword:
    • The sword showed Yuri visions of a cataclysm. He sees lush forests, deep caverns. Mermaids fighting. Fire. Dwarves. The visions don’t match his world, so they must show this new world.
    • The sword throbs when pointed in certain directions, so Yuri can hold the sword out and decide which way to go.

Rumor about Outlanders: Yuri was made by Faeries.

Vestri Redrock the Dwarf (he/him):  The Redrock family gets its name from the rich red rock from its ancestral mountain. A few Redrocks have red hair or beards, but the trait is recessive and rare. Long ago, the Redrocks were driven from thier mountain home by a dragon. They lost one of a pair of ornate jeweled daggers, made by Vestri’s great-great-grandfather. Now that the dragons are gone, Vestri carries the remaining dagger and hopes to find its counterpart. He is accompanied by Hundrin (a blacksmith) and Gurtin (a Tunneler)  Hundrin is Vestri’s cousin from a lesser branch of the family, who built and operates Gurtin. Gurtin is a small one-seat vehicle with a giant drill on the front. The family’s recessive red-head trait is expressed in Vestri, and he’s very proud of his resplendent ginger beard. He braids it every morning and puts oil in it.

  • Dwarf culture:
    • Clans are determined by which mountain they come from. “Our stone” as it were. “Redrock” is the common translation of a Dwarf word that includes color, texture, and density. Dwarves have many words for different types of rocks, metals, and alloys. The words for alloys are formed by concatenating the names of their components, like in German.
    • Dwarves marry to cement family bonds and to bond different clans. Dwarves can have multiple spouses and relationships will ebb and flow, begin and end, over a Dwarf’s long lifetime. Spouses may live far from each other, especially if the marriage is to make a connection between far-off clans, and may not see each other for years.
    • Oral tradition and storytelling are important. Certain stories and specific story elements have certain musical instruments assigned to them, like “Peter and the Wolf”

Rumor about Dwarves: Dwarves are greedy & love to hoard wealth.

  • Rumors about the continent:
    • Vestri’s other dagger is out there somewhere
    • There’s a place to put the glowing sword that sends out a ripple of magical energy.

Yuri’s room is in the City Junkyard, an endless dungeon. Chunks of cities and buildings are piled up here from all different sizes and cultures. Vestri was passing through and ran into Yuri.

Yuri: Hello. Where is this place that I am?

Vestri: You’re in the junkyard obviously? This is from an Elvish city.This is probably Halflings. They’re the only ones with the round doors. I’ve never seen this kind of construction.

Yuri: It’s Terran.

Vestri: Are you from beyond the sea?

Yuri: Do not know precisely where I am from, in relation to where we are.

Vestri: I’m Vestri Redrock, and this man over here is Hundrin.

Yuri: I am Yuri Ivanov.

Vestri has trouble pronouncing Yuri.

Yuri: From pop culture in my world, I know Dwarves are greedy. Are we going to the mountain to get some lost treasure?

Vestri: Actually, yes.

Yuri: OOOOOO! Ha ha ha!

Vestri: It’s a family heirloom!

Yuri: I have seen Lord Of Rings. I know what is happening.

Vestri: What kind of rings? We usually wear them in our beard and in our hair. You need to grow out your beard so you can braid some warrior rings into it.

Yuri: I have no interest in that.  I have not had beard for a long time

Vestri: You should grow it out. Beards look great on everyone

Yuri: Not my mother

Vestri:  Beards look great on everyone

Yuri holds up the glowing sword.

Yuri: Do you know what this is? I would not touch it! When I did, it made me cry. I saw terrible things.

GM note: The players need to get used to the moves available in this new system. Vestri wants to learn more about the sword, so Vestri’s player wants to Look Closely. I suggest using a custom Dwarf move. Vestri’s player picks Deepdelve, but I was thinking of Let Me See That. There’s more than one way to accomplish a goal!

Vestri DeepDelve (ask a Look Closely Question)

  • What is hidden or out-of-place about the sword?
    • Which culture made this sword is not clear.  The sword is gaudy, with an ornate gold hilt and a glowing blue blade. Three colored stones on the hilt are found in three faraway places, and gathering them together is a feat.

Vestri: It’s not Dwarven make, so it could be better. Isn’t that right, Hundrin? It’s probably not Elven or it would burn to the touch. I haven’t met a lot of Elves, but one of my husbands is well-acquainted with them.

Yuri: That is an interesting fact about your family. I am glad to have known it.

Vestri: I have two husbands and three wives, at current.

Yuri: That is not the thing that confuses me. It is the world that confuses me.

Vestri: What does your world usually look like?

Yuri: There is one humanoid race, not several. No mermaids. No pixies. No faeries. No Orcs. Just people like me.

Vestri: That seems very boring.

Yuri: We fill it with lots of wars and violence. It’s fine. It’s not fine, but it’s not boring. Not boring, just different. Very different.

Vestri: The sword showed you your death?

Yuri: Not my death. It showed death of the planet maybe? Lots of dying. Lots of crying. Anything you know that might do this?

Vestri: There are all sorts of things in the world. Very powerful things. Not so powerful things. There are Angels always. They can make or unmake worlds. Maybe an Angel sent you! I have never seen Angel blacksmithing. Maybe it could be Angel blacksmithing. What do you think, Hundrin?

Hundrin nods and grunts.

Yuri: This Hundrin fellow is not very helpful.

Vestri: He’s very helpful, just not very talkative. He’ll keep your sword sharp, even if it’s not Dwarf-made.

Yuri: He’s a sharp fellow.

Vestri: Also if you want a Dwarven sword I’m sure we can make one for you. They are much better.

Vestri: I think I will use the crying sword.

GM note: Would you like prompting from the environment, or are you having fun with your interactions?

Generate random building: Dragon Greenhouse Ruins.

Near Yuri’s apartment is a big metal framework with ribs going up 80 feet in the air. Some bits of glass still cling to the ribs, but over the years most of the glass has broken and fallen, forming a big field of glass shards several feet thick.  A ghoul emerges from under the glass dragging a pile of sad, wilted vegetables. It spots the fellowship, looks confused, then scuttles off and jumps through a window into another building.

  • Ghoul
    • Hungry (hard cuts against characters with damaged Grace)
    • Tough As Nails (insta-kill protection)

Vestri: That shouldn’t be wandering about. We should go take care of him before he hurts anyone else.

Yuri: He looks very ill.

Vestri: Yes, he’s already dead. Does this not happen to you?

Yuri: No, when you get dead you stay dead.

Vestri: Really? No ghosts? No revenants? No poltergeists? No ghouls? No vampires?

Yuri: No. No. No. No. No. We could do this all day. When dead, you stay dead.

Vestri: No mummies?

Yuri: We have mummies, but they stay dead. We wrap them. It’s a cultural thing.

Generate random building: sideways Human tower

They decide to follow, but there’s a big field of broken glass between them and the ghoul, who hops into a fallen tower and starts running towards the “top”

Yuri Fool Me Once (reroll one die)

Yuri Look Closely 6- one question, find the answer the hard way

  • What will happen if Yuri pushes over the wall of his apartment?
    • Yuri actually does it! The wall falls over and takes him with it. He slides over the field of glass, which is slanted away from him. He’s near the tower that the Ghoul ran into, but he’s separated from Vestri and he made a lot of noise, alerting anything else in the area.

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

  • What is hidden or out of place?
    • Some shadows are moving. There are Nightmaws nearby! One is on the wall of the apartment and menaces Vestri.
  • What will happen if Hundrin drives Gurtin under the glass and come out the other side?
    • The City Junkyard is three-dimensional. Buildings are stacked on top of buildings. If Gurtin goes down, it will enter a new level of unknown buildings with unknown hazards.
  • What do my senses tell me?
    • Generate random building: intact Halfing dwelling
    • Look at the map below. A tower lies on its side at the far side fo the field of glass. The ghoul went east, towards the “top” of the tower.  Vestri could go around the glass by going through a Halfling villa. Lots of shadows in the villa.
  • Nightmaw
    • Shadow (Emerges from shadows. Harmed by fire & sunlight)
    • Hunger (Gains armor when dealing damage)
The City Junkyard

Vestri Clear The Path 7-9 exposed to danger

Vestri charges through the glass, throwing shards aside. He reaches the tower, but his foot goes through the “floor” into whatever building is below the greenhouse. Yuri pulls on Vestri, confident that he can easily lift the Dwarf that is half his size.  Vestri is 3’7″ but weighs 300lbs! Dwarves really are born of stone!

Yuri Fool Me Once (reroll one die)

Yuri Overcome 7-9 temporary solution

Yuri leans down and grabs Vestri. Vestri’s not sinking anymore, but Yuri can’t pull him free.

Yuri: Heavier than I thought! I’m going to need assistance very soon.

Hundrin uses Strong Arm to assist Vestri

Hundrin runs through the path cleared by Vestri and uses his strong arms and knowledge of Dwarves’ unusually high density to help Yuri pull Vestri clear of the hole he was trapped in. All three enter the tower and follow the Ghoul.

Vestri: You should be careful. Take a look at those shadows. Look, there’s teeth in there. Trying to bite you. They’re called Shadowmaws! I haven’t seen one before. They’re very interesting.

Yuri: I also have not seen them before. I would call them interesting in a bad way.

The Ghoul leaves the tower through a hatch to the roof (now the side) of the tower. The Fellowship approaches and peeks through the hatch instead of charging recklessly into a new space. They see a large chamber made of smooth stones with coral decorations. In the middle of this chamber is a Giant. He’s about 20 feet tall with a big beard, but looks a bit gaunt. He has stacked a few bookshelves to serve as a table. The ghoul puts the wilted veggies on the table.

Giant: Ah! Well, you did your best, little one!

The Giant pats the Ghoul on the head and dismisses it and starts eating entire vegetables like finger food.

GM note: Yuri’s player (logically and incorrectly) thought the Speak Softly move was necessary for Yuri to whisper to Vestri

Yuri and Vestri consult quietly before revealing themselves to the Giant.

Yuri:  Do we want to feed this Giant, or what is the deal with Giants?

Vestri: Like anybody else, Giants sometimes are great, sometimes terrible news. It depends . . . he seems OK!

Yuri: I have four squares of food. I have them as part of my inventory because this is like a role-playing game. Have you never heard of role-playing? You can be anyone. A Mermaid. A Dwarf.

Vestri: I am a Dwarf!

Yuri produces a bag of potato chips and Vestri tries to eat the bag.

Yuri: No, no, you open the bag. Inside are fried potatoes. So yes, we should bring to giant. Why not? Make friend of large man.

Vestri walks into a sunbeam, using it like a spotlight to draw attention to himself.

Vestri: Oh great giant! We come bearing fried potatoes!

  • Sunbeam (SECRET)
    • Honeypot: feels nice, but slowly damages those within. Despair to Get Away.

Vestri: The sunlight is very comforting. It’s warm. It’s nice.

Yuri: Your skin is turning very red. It looks like it is burning your skin.

Giant: Oh hello, little ones! It’s so good to have visitors. My name is Heinrich.

Yuri: You look gaunt, sir. I have brought you fried potatoes.

Yuri gives 1 Food to Heinrich

Heinrich comes over to accept the food from Yuri. Vestri and Yuri continue to argue about the benefits or dangers of the sunbeam.

Heinrich: As you can see, I have found myself in a structure where I am larger than all the exits.

Vestri: That seems very difficult, but I have with me my friend Hundrin and Gurtin! Maybe we can build a way out for you.

Yuri: That digging machine digs holes. That wouldn’t be building, would it?

Sunbeam damages Vestri’s Wisdom

Heinrich is delighted by this suggestion, since he can’t stretch out or move freely inside this Mermaid fortification. He doesn’t know how he got here. He just woke up in this courtyard one morning. (Mermaid fortifications must defend in all three dimensions, so the courtyard is completely enclosed) Heinrich has some smaller creatures to go out and collect things for him, but that’s a poor substitute for freedom.

Yuri: I have extreme empathy with your situation. Will you get out of the sunlight?! We need to build the thing. Now. Can I tug on you? Reach to my hand which is not in the sunlight, and I will pull.

Yuri Get Away (hope (Vestri’s assistance) & despair (Sunbeam) cancel out) 10+ avoid harm

Vestri reaches out to take Yuri’s hand and Yuri pulls him out of the Sunbeam. Now Vestri reconsiders. Perhaps that did sting. He orders Hundrin to pilot Gurtin and drill out one of the Mermaid-sized holes in the walls.

Gutrin uses Drill Tank to bore a big hole in the Mermaid fortification

The drilling takes quite some time. The walls are thick and hard, but Gurtin does what Gurtin was built to do. Heinrich crawls through the hole, stands up to his full 21.5ft. height and stretches his arms.  He reaches down one finger to shake Vestri’s hand, as one does with a baby.

Vestri forms a bond with Heinrich for freeing him.

Heinrich lifts the Fellowship up to high buildings so they can see their surroundings and plan their next move. To the south, big tall trees, an ancient forest. To the east, tall rocky mountains whose peaks are hidden by storm clouds. To the southeast, high snowy mountains. They set out for the stormy mountain.

GM note: City Junkyard is on the edge of the map. There’s nothing to the west or north. I’d have to generate new locations if they went that way.

  • Message board:
    • Vestri: Warning! Shadow maws. Watch your toes!
    • Yuri: Giant seems nice. Make sure he is fed.
  • End of Session Move:
    • Thoroughly explore a new location? NO
    • Find what you were looking for? NO
    • Learn something new about the world & its people? YES
  • Boon
    • Refresh Gear