We played another StorySynth game this week, Around the Whirl by Randy Lubin, in which we tell the story of a pair of childhood friends who are perfect complement each other: outgoing Nella and bookish Bly. When a friend promises to buy us that mystical artifact from the Endless Market we’d been coveting if we can travel around the entire archipelago by the summer solstice, we readily agree. Getting out of this town will be a welcome relief from all the grime and crime.
Our first trip is aboard a luxury liner full of wealthy aristocrats, who we try to fool into believing we belong on board. When one of the wealthy families knocks the ship off-course to knock-off the scion of a rival family, the ship veers dangerously close to the vortex at the center of the Whirl. We discover the plot and warn the other family, then assist the navigator in getting the ship back on course. In the process, our humble origins are revealed, so we’re unceremoniously dumped at a mining outpost, fallen on hard times as their output has dwindled. After we make music, sing, and tell interesting stories at the local tavern, the town of miners insist we stay and provide more entertainment. We instead instruct their children in how to play the concertina, recorders, and drums and put on plays, so the children can entertain their parents without us.
To leave town, we must travel through the mines themselves, traveling in small carriages, but the primary path through the mountain is blocked by a massive boulder. After must arguing between the various members of the expedition, we lead the group back to the last junction and a rising passageway, then dig our way to the surface. On the other side, we come to a beach with a flexible tube leading under the waves. After walking through the tube, we enter a giant soap bubble, filled by a miraculous city of great beauty and excessive civic pride. Unfortunately, a protest by the Nomen, who object to the city’s constant construction churn, devolves into violence. We convince the rulers to give the Nomen their own neighborhood where they can maintain things as they are rather than constantly upgrading as happens elsewhere in the city.
Reaching shore after leaving the submerged city, we had to pass over a chain of snow-capped mountains. Near the peak, we came across hot springs tended by peaceful people, but their rivals from the valleys attacked using their flying machines, trying to seize the magic stones that heat the springs. We trick the raiders long enough to escape ourselves by giving them a hot bag of normal stones. On the other side of the mountains, we come to a mechanical city of gears and pistons populated by walking automatons and coveralled engineers. To help one inventor win a scholarship during an anniversary contest when her advanced, humanoid android cannot yet speak, Nella, coated in gold and pretending to be the android, is locked in the exhibition. Bly and the inventor concoct a heist to get her out using their knowledge and the actual android.
On our final leg back home, we are riding a passenger flying machine with enormous mechanical wings, when a small group try to hijack the ship using swords and pistols. The Captain has barricaded himself on the bridge, but we know the ship’s secret and open the door for the hijackers. When they get inside, they cannot figure out how to control the ship and eventually give up, evacuating using parachutes. We make it back shortly before the solstice, exhausted by our adventures but also happy to have such magnificent stories to share.