Family’s Always Embarrassing

Session 3.13

1628, Fire Season, around Fertility Week

Dramatis Personae


Maalira (‘Lira)
Varanis (Ranie)
Xenofos (X’fos)


A guide who was very definitely *not* Koraki
Koraki (Korris)
Fazzur & Mirava
Some Grazelanders


Rajar negotiated for an iron axehead from T’Dwarf.1This will only end in tears, sir.  T’Dwarf would only supply wrought iron, not ‘power matrices’ or in fact the rather more useful steel.  Berra, given the chance to ask for a favour, asked for the people of Alda Chur to be protected if the bat came that way.  The Dwarf said she would owe him, and Berra nodded to Koraki and said that was his problem – but any favour to her could be for just agreeing to do that if it was necessary.

The Dwarf revealed that the Bat was 100km away2and presumably there was a discussion over what a km was to the North-West.  It was not moving fast, meaning that it was not easy to tell if it was moving at all, given the problems of what he reluctantly explained as air spirits getting in the way of Yelm’s gifts.3The PCs obviously had no idea about refraction and heat mirages.  T’Dwarf had no previous information on where it had been, and thus which way it was moving.  He mentioned that if he was going to be ‘firing banishment grapeshot at 45 degrees’ he did not want to fore-warn his opposition.

The caravan headed from the Mine toward Dunstop, making reasonable time given the animals and the terrain. En route, they spotted a party of riders not far from the Dinosaur Graveyard, and Berra sent Suuraki to investigate in case it was Onjur. He and his high llama found a hilltop from which to loom impressively and from this vantage, he was able to observe some people butchering a thunder lizard whilst others stood guard. The guards watched him watching them and there was a brief display of weapons, but nothing too overt. Suuraki circled back to the party to report and spotted similar tracks, coming back to report there had been at least two wagons.  This worried Berra, who thought they might be preparing for camps to be filled, and soldiers to be fed.

Rajar recalled they were close to the Earthshakers Graveyard and noted that relying on the meat of old animals was not ideal.  That meat was probably for prisoners.

The caravan continued on its route and after a time, they spotted a group of Grazelanders pacing them. Rajar made a show of looming ominously between the Grazelanders and Irillo’s people. Berra decided it might be unwise to let him take lead on any conversations with them and made sure to join him as two of the Grazelanders rode closer.  Berra tried to do the Humakti threat-making to help Irillo negotiate, and ended up having an attack of very cute sneezes.4Fumbled Intimidate. The Grazelanders were eyeing Rajar’s new axe with a little too much interest.

Irillo treated with the grazelanders in the time-honoured tradition of a merchant, which is to say that he offered them a gift (bribe) of wine for their queen.  Berra managed to derail herself rather than blurting out how much she thought the wine was worth.  Varanis ended up convinced he had given away the good stuff.  A little later Irillo kicked himself, having given the riders some of the good wine by accident.

The remainder of the journey to Dunstop was uneventful.  The ferry crossing on the final leg brought them into contact with a talkative ferryman who told them that he’d recently transported a rhino rider.5He might have meant bison, given he referred to Calamity and Followed as rhinos. He provided little by way of useful information and much by way of irritation.  Lunar Tarshite military units became more common. Xenofos identified them as likely belonging to Fazzur.6So did some other people, by guesswork.  Xenofos seemed to actually know. 

At Dunstop, Irillo bribed his way into the city and set up at the market. He was visited by an initiate of Etyries, Daughter of Issaries, who appeared to have been an old friend. Some trade and banter were exchanged and Irillo came out the better of it. At the end of the day’s trading, after he packed up, Irillo got directions to the palace. He sought entrance to deliver gifts for King Fazzur and Queen Mirava and was eventually given an audience with his guards.

After the usual formalities were dealt with, Mirava, looking pregnant, granted them a private audience. There, she and Varanis made politely pointed remarks. Berra crossed the line into discourtesy7…stayed across the line on holiday with a thick book and 200lb of excess baggage… more than once, but both Mirava and Varanis mostly ignored her. At one point in the conversation, Rajar quietly offered to kill the pregnant queen.8This is probably a thing Varanis should talk to him about.

Varanis told Mirava about the threat of the Bat9Her sister interrupted to make pointed remarks.(Mirava commenting on Varanis’ lack of baby fat and Varanis asking about her sister’s other daughters). and asked for her husband’s advice on getting by in Lunar lands.  Mirava gave her an address and said to tell them that she knew – but Fazzur did not need to.  They left, with the address on a bit of clay that Mirava baked for them.  Varanis worked out from how Mirava was acting that these would be Eurmali.

Once they returned to where they were staying, Varanis decided that the visit to the Eurmali required a small party. Not everyone was told who they were going to talk to, chiefly to keep Berra (and maybe Xenofos) from finding out.  She asked Nala to be the voice of it, not wanting to make herself too obvious in the process, and then told Rajar and Suuraki that she wanted them to act as slightly drunk guards, but preferably not to kill anyone.

The house Mirava directed them to was close by, so they walked. Nala knocked at the door and a peephole opened up. There was a brief discussion through the closed door, during which Nala persuaded the guard to let them in, rather than name drop in the street. Once inside, she passed along Mirava’s subtle threat about knowing where to find them. Nala explained that they required a passport and an older man with keen hearing appeared. He produced a large bronze tablet of sorts that would grant them safe passage in Lunar lands and said he’d send the bill to the palace. Nala worked out he was almost blind from how he was acting.  She thanked him with beer. The four of them made it back to the caravan and weren’t even followed in the process.10Presumably because the Eurmali probably already knew where to find them.

Back at the market, the others had a quiet conversation, a bit of a drink, and a game of knucklebones.  Berra explained her behaviour to Valseena and Maalira – once Valseena worked out that Mirava was an elder sister, it all made sense.

“The prologue!” – GM, despairingly, for the third fourth time

“Bollocks…. sorry, bad language.” – Berra
“Is it?” – T’Dwarf
“Yeah, it’s not the sort of thing you say to a lord or a mine manager.” – Berra
“Ay, that’s useful to know.” – T’Dwarf

“So, saying ‘double bollocks’ is also bad, but I’m being inappropriate today. Double bollocks.” – Berra
“Doesn’t that have some redundancy?” – T’Dwarf
“Yeah, most guys have two, I think.” – Berra
“That sounds like it could’ve been useful in previous eras.” – T’Dwarf

Once they have left the Dwarf’s place, Berra asks Maalira, “Did you mean to elbow me? Because he wanted to know that.”

Berra’s organising the caravan and telling Koraki, “Do your own thing and tell me what I should have ordered later.”
Maalira laughs. “I was elbowing you to stop you swearing, not to stop you explaining.”
“Yeah, but he likes to know what’s appropriate.”
“That doesn’t mean you need to be inappropriate as a demonstration…” Maalira rolls her eyes, affectionately.
“Well, how else would I demonstrate? Actions?”
“I mean, I don’t have what he was interested in.”
Maalira shoots Berra a VERY exasperated look.

“Oooo, impassive staring contest. Carry on!” – Suuraki

“I’m going to intersect Rajar, just in case.” – Berra
“No no no, I’m not charging them.” – Rajar
“No, I’m there in case you talk to them.” – Berra

“Are you looking for trouble, because I’m up for it.” – Berra
baby-kitten sneezing fit – Berra fumbles Intimidate

“Gentlemen, gentlemen. We don’t need to argue about this, do we?” – Irillo
“Inside his helmet, Rajar looks confused, but nobody can tell.” – Rajar

“Berra, do you need a lozenge?” – Maalira
“Thanks, no. I… don’t need sweet things right now.”
Berra continues to eat dwarf rations.

“I’ve got no problem with Praxians, me.” – Ferryman
“Really? Are we not trying hard enough?” – Suuraki

“Y’pronunciation’s wrong there. You mean ‘will you shut the damn hell up’.” – Berra
“Berra!” – Maalira
“What? I criticalled Praxian and I have to correct him!” – Berra

cheese jokes – everyone
“One day, I’m going to turn up at your house and hurt you.” – Rajar, gently

“The Prologue.” – GM, for the fifth time.

“GM is trying.” – Berra
“Very trying.” – Berra
“Damn beat me to it” – Maalira

“Rejoining the group when someone is saying ‘what could possibly go wrong?’ is an experience.” – Maalira

“I would plan to take your travels away from Tarsh in the next few seasons.” – Etyries Priestess
“Have you heard something?” – Irillo
“I haven’t heard anything, but the grain futures are really strong in this area, a lot’s being bought up and I don’t think it’s for gin.” – Etyries Priestess

“Berra casually goes to guard the door.” – Berra

“Even curvier than that…” – GM
“Oh, I’d’ve thought you’d’ve got that out of the way by now. Are you slow or something?” – Berra

Apparently Berra is NOT IN A GOOD MOOD. But she mutters to Maalira, “That queen needs telling to get off on the regular.”

“Fazzur says they’re putting supply dumps in place.” – Mirava
Berra cannot help nodding.

“Maalira weighs up whether she can tread on both Berra’s and Rajar’s feet at the same time” – Maalira

“Maalira pinches the bridge of her nose” – Maalira
“S’fine. It’s because otherwise we’ll get angry.” – Berra
“GET angry?” – Maalira
“Berra was happy once. Then she turned three.” – Ari Mala
“Yeah. Like – she doesn’t care, we don’t care, but we don’t like her. And we’re not telling her who we are. Just what she thinks we are.” – Berra
“Berra’s pretty quiet, but apparently amused.” – Berra

“When you get there, show them the tablet, and say ‘I know, but Fazzur doesn’t have to.’.” – Mirava

“You know those awkward sorts of hugs…” – Varanis
nods from all around the gaming group – group

“It’s best not to tell these things…” – Mirava
“In case-” – Berra cuts herself off
nods – Mirava
thinks this is about having a girl child – Nala

“The bearer will be able to tell you who sent her. I value your worth and your aid.” – Mirava to the forgers

“Rajar, I need you sober and not killing anyone.” – Varanis
“Um.” – Rajar

“Partially drunk, ready to go off, but not drunk yet… alright, drink this.” – Rajar

Once people have left, Berra relaxes a bit. “Her sister needs to think that she’s in charge, so you need to argue with her, so she can win.”
“The sister or Varanis?” – Valseena

“The sister. She’s all about how special she is.” – Berra
“Ah I see.” – Valseena
“But she’s happy to think she’s the one helping us, and if she thinks she’s smartest then she says most. And she has to feel she’s ‘helping’ Varanis to do her best work.”
“Ah – the older sibling – I get it.” – Valseena

“You’re generally… enhanced.” – Varanis
“No, I’m quite slim. Praxians don’t tend to get too curvy.” – Nala

“Yeah. That one. You got many?” – Berra
“Well there was the one that married Rajar…” – Valseena
“Her voice drifts off, her face reflecting open puzzlement” – Valseena

“Is the horse coming?” – Suuraki
[at the same time] Varanis: “No” / Nala: “Yes”

“Rajar resents people saying Praxians don’t get curvy.” – Rajar

“I look short in this group.” – Varanis among the Praxians.

Valseena shrugs and reels off a list of other sisters, no brothers
Berra nods. “Just two of us. I’m the eldest but my sister’s the Ernaldan, so we know she’s the sensible one.”

“You knock in the prescribed way.” – GM
“I know two ways to knock on doors!” – Rajar

“Crouch down a little and smile winningly. Otherwise they’re just staring at my chest.” – Nala
“If it gets us in…” – Suuraki

“Rajar reluctantly puts down his other lock pick.” – Rajar, with an axe

Berra notes, “My sister’s going to have a second child, as well as the extra one she’s looking after. I’m going to be an aunt. Again.”

“She knows, and the King doesn’t have to.” – Nala
“Oh, it’s threats, is it?” – Eurmali
“No, that’s not a threat.” – Nala
“Yes it is.” – Suuraki

“Oh god, I just realised, Varanis talks Heortling like Berra!” – Varanis

  • 1
    This will only end in tears, sir.
  • 2
    and presumably there was a discussion over what a km was
  • 3
    The PCs obviously had no idea about refraction and heat mirages.
  • 4
    Fumbled Intimidate.
  • 5
    He might have meant bison, given he referred to Calamity and Followed as rhinos.
  • 6
    So did some other people, by guesswork.  Xenofos seemed to actually know. 
  • 7
    …stayed across the line on holiday with a thick book and 200lb of excess baggage…
  • 8
    This is probably a thing Varanis should talk to him about.
  • 9
    Her sister interrupted to make pointed remarks.(Mirava commenting on Varanis’ lack of baby fat and Varanis asking about her sister’s other daughters).
  • 10
    Presumably because the Eurmali probably already knew where to find them.