It’s easy to envision ruins as some stodgy, dusty artifact — a pile of collapsed Doric columns, a field of mold-encrusted tombs, or an overgrown garden having swallowed its attendant manor house eons before. These ruins are perhaps far more surprising to the motley that finds them: it’s the wreckage of a 10-car locomotive. The icy steel tracks fade off into the snow (for the locomotive sits mostly buried beneath wind-swept winter), and the blocky beast of a train sits kinked up like a zig-zagged garden house.
It’s not a train from the material world, to be sure — close examination shows that despite being forged of steel this is a thing forged purely of Hedge-stuffs. The windows are made of prismatic crystal (once beautiful, now cracked and shattered). The sleeper cars are each home to a gilded cage, in which one finds the two-headed skeleton of some parrot-sized bird (whose purpose has long been lost). The art deco bar is stocked with bottles of alcohol nobody from the “real world” would ever recognize (Fishtail Ale? Cobbler’s Ink Liquor? Blue Arsenical?). The seats are most telling, most still home to the original passengers — all dead, just skeletons slowly moldering, slumped forward or backward in their chairs. Most are hobs: misshapen skulls, many limbs, some not humanoid at all but just a nest of tiny bones.
- Changelings who sleep inside the Black Loco find that their Oneiromancy is greatly improved — any dream-related rolls made gain +3 dice. Also, Storytellers should consider the possibility that changelings might be able to get the locomotive running again. It’s a steam engine, fueled by coal. Repairing it necessitates a Repair Item roll, but on the extended roll a character will need a number of successes equal to the train’s Structure, which is a whopping 50, and in addition, each roll now equals one hour of time. Fixing the train shouldn’t be distilled down only to this system, though — it should be punctuated with roleplaying and conflict opportunities that threaten the project. Remember: the Hedge is never truly safe.
- Dancers in the Dusk, p. 90