A New Breed of Hero

Rudolph red nosed reindeer fantasy drawing

A New Hero is Born

The roleplaying games of today are not ready for this kind of hero to step forward be it for Dungeons & Dragons, gamma world or a super hero RPG but I thought I would give you a glance at the future of games and gaming characters. So here you are.

I present Ruddi.

Russian heritage has given Ruddi a hardy and powerful form. With the strength of ten and the super power to fly at incredible speeds. He has a nose for detecting Evil behaviour at great distances. A fortress is solitude somewhere at the North pole that’s managed by an elderly couple with a fondness for toys and pointy eared children.       

Ruddi’s team of eight (dasher, dancer, prancer, vixen, comit, cupid, donner and blitzen) never seem to be in the limelight and are only remembered by the most avid of fans.    
Once a year Ruddi does some charity work and helps deliver sympathy parcels to locations around the world dressed as a donkey or small horse of some kind. Never one to miss the opportunity for a photo shoot with the press. 

I hope this has given you an insite into the RPG’s you could be playing especialy at this time of year, in the festive season.

Happy Gaming Holidays!

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I’m a Thule for you

This is a conversation I had with my brother via text about the Call of Cthulhu game I ran on Sunday at the #UKgamesExpo in Birmingham in the UK.

“Hi bro. Yeah, was back yesterday but didn’t see your message. I’m fine. Caught the sun on holiday. When is your game day?  “

Game expo was this weekend gone. Was really good wish you could have been there.

I started it at the end of last episode. They were escaping on a locals fishing boat (very of as a player brought his own character who happened to be a fisherman, perfect) they headed to local town home of fisherman to work out what to do and talk with resistance and get radio message to England. They said stay away from the island and then it was bombed. They watched it happen. Very cool. Then I ended it just there. 6 years later they get their respective letters and once again meet to return to the island .

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Cthulhu Calling: Moons Over Cairo, Act Three

New York

written by symatt , March 21

The train came to a shuddering halt at Pennsylvania station in New York in a rush of steam and noise.

Glancing through the cab windows, police stood in line on the platform facing away, keeping the huge crowds of people away from the train.

An emergency wire must have been sent ahead.Harold peeked out of his cab door to look as to where the raised voices were coming from.”Please, No, remain in your cab until the police have spoken to you” Came a male voice with some authority to it.

As Harold backed up to retake his seat, he caught a glimpse of Justin on the platform in handcuffs with an officer holding his rifle and anger on his face as he shouted and waved a finger at Justin.

“Oh no, Thats not on.”

Reaching for his coat and carry on case, headed for the platform.

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Cthulhu Calling:Moons over Cairo Act two

Train to New York


written by Aja , February 24

The Professor finished his toast and smiled to himself as he watched Justin polish off another egg before wiping his mouth with a napkin. 

“Justin, I’m sure I know that chap from somewhere. He looks as if he’s been dragged through a hedge backwards and from the way he’s eating he doesn’t appear to have had a good meal for a while. I think I’ll have a word and see if the old brain cells trigger something.”

“Right you are Professor. If you don’t mind, I think there’s some jelly in that jar that’s in desperate need of some toast”.

The Professor rose from his seat and swayed along the dining car to the elderly gentlemen’s table.

“Forgive me. Would you mind if I joined you. My name’s Harold Trimble and I’m sure that your face is familiar. It would be rude of me not to see if we are acquainted”, said the Professor to the man.

Meanwhile, Justin sat back in his seat with great satisfaction. He hadn’t had a breakfast like that since the Olympics in Belgium. Justin glanced around the carriage. The Professor was talking to the disheveled chap and everybody else was finishing off their breakfasts. Justin could see that the two men and the lady were still playing a game of some sort. Intrigued, Justin got up and walked along to the opposing table. Justin was a competitive chap by nature and took an interest in games of all sorts. He smiled and introduced himself.

“Good morning, I’m Justin Le Dunst from Boston and I couldn’t help notice the game you are playing. I’d be fascinated to know what it is that you’re playing.”


written by symatt , February 25

The three at the table stopped and altogether and stared at Justin. Moments passed then a smile broke across the womans face. she stood, offered justin her seat and in a very english accsent Said. 

“Please, ofcourse, plenty of room”

Sitting herself in the next seat along she handed Justin a hard leather dice shaker and a couple of dice.
The two men opposite continued to drink there coffee and stared at Justin.
Justin , at this point could’nt fail to notice the simularity between the two men.
“Ha, Twins” he laughed to himself.

The Game board was set out with one hundred squares starting from the bottom left at 1 and ending at 100 at the top right. The path that the colourful counters took was interspersed with ladders that if you landerd on a square with a base of a ladder in it, it would take you higher up the board and in total oposition if you landed on the head of a snake it would move you back down again.
Justin grined” this is easy and taking the shaker, shook the dice for his first go.

Neanwhile Professor Trimble took the seat that was offered to him by the grey haird gentleman, who, saying nothing just pointed to a seat with a half eaten sausage.

Both men sat in silence for a good five minutes as the man finished what was on his plate.
The professor felt very akward.
Eventualy he wiped his mouth with the edge of the table cloth and told the waiters to Bugger off and without looking at Professor Trimble , spoke.

“You think you know me, eh!” The grey haired man stated. ” Well do you read man!”
His eyes darted up and looked straight at the Professor.
The Professor opened his mouth to say somthing and before he had chance to utter one word the man continued, in such a load tone as to make everyone in the car stop what they where doing and look his way.

” Im William Sather, Professor to you , but you can call me Bill”.
He then offered a grubby hand to Mr Trimble who politly shook it.

Professor Trimble’s mind raced, then in a flash it came to him. A while back now he had read a journal with an artical in it about a professor Bill Sather that had gone missing, (this was several months ago now, he was sure) in Northern Africa, It had been reported that he was maybe eaten by wild animals as no trace had been found.

So, where had he been and why was he on this train to New York in such a sorry state.

“So tell me Bill, what takes you to New york ?” The Professor asked with a quiet enquireing voice.

“John Coles, he hasn’t the first idea of what he is getting himself into, thats for sure”.

Coffee man! Bill bellowed at the waiters, who at once refilled his cup from a shaking pot.


written by Aja , February 25

Justin rolled a 3. He moved his counter, one space short of the foot of the first ladder. He passed the shaker to the woman and smiled at the twins. 

“I’m getting off in New York. Is that your destination too, or are you travelling further afield?” asked Justin.

The woman rolled the die. A 6! She moved the counter and rolled again. A roll of 3 took her counter to the foot of a ladder and up to space 23.

The first of the twins took the shaker and said “You’ve done it again – are you sure you’re not influencing the roll?”.

Professor Trimble tried to regain his composure. This man was presumed dead, but here he was, large as life sitting in front of him. Drinking coffee. Eating sausage. Two sausages. Three sausages. The Professor realising he had been sitting there with his mouth open, quickly recovered. He kindly asked the waiter for a cup of coffee and took a sip.

“Bill, you can call me Harold, I’m very pleased to meet you. Of course I’ve read about you. What on earth has been happening, the papers say you’re missing presumed dead!”, said the Professor. Barely taking a breath he continued, “What about your family – do they know you’re ok and what’s this about Cole? He’s asked me to have a look at some find he’s made – he’s being very mysterious about it and my colleague had to dig around a bit to find out he’s been digging near the Valley of the Kings. And what do you mean he doesn’t know what he’s getting himself into?”.

Sather drained his cup. “Waiter!! More coffee!”.


written by symatt , February 28

Justin sat quietly playing the game, every question he asked was met with silence. The only time any of them spoke was to comment on the dice roll or to ask for yet more coffee.
This did give Justin time to really look at the gameboard and see the pictures within the squares.
The pictures denoted foreign scenes, India Justin thought but was’nt sure.
“What do the pictures mean?” Justin asked quizically.
The woman who still hadn’t given her name said” Each ladder is a virtue and each snake is of evil”, she continued happy to explain “Look” she pointed “No12 is faith and 57 is generosity and so on”,
“Oh i see” answered Justin “So that one is……?” pointing at a snake on 76 “Drunkeness” the women interrupted, “If you make it to the top you reach nirvana, now, stop talking and play the game”.
once again the shaker rattled and the dice thrown. As Justin dropped the dice into the shaker for his turn out of the corner of his eye, he could see what looked like ………well like mist, seeping out of the corner of the carriage. He took a mental note to keep an eye on it and then continued with the game. 

Bill drained his cup again spilling half down his beard and splashing onto his shirt, which Harold had noticed on being closer was alot dirtier than he first thought.

“Coles…..ha! He thinks it’s all his idea!” Bill’s voice had annoyance in it.
” I started that dig, i was the one that ‘let it out’, he hasn’t got a clue.”
Bill forced into his mouth a large piece of bacon and stuffed a bread roll into his jacket pocket with the other hand.

Harold furrowed his brow and was about to ask, let what out? When he noticed steam or smoke around his feet, actually he thought, it’s acting more like early morning mist. He leaned to his left in his chair and looked along the floor to the mists point of origin being the corner of the carriage where the side meet the back panels.
“How odd” Harold said rhetorically, which made Bill look in the same direction.
“OH BLOODY HELL, it’s found me already” said Bill with urgency and fear.
The mist was starten to thicken now and one of the waiter’s had noticed and was pointing it out to the others.
Bill stood knocking his plate to the floor cramming the last of the bacon into his mouth and the last rolls into his pockets in desperation.
Everyone in the coach noe stopped what they were doing and looked at the thickening mist in the corner.

The young man who had been sitting on his own demanded that something be done,
” The steam from the loco is coming into the dining car, someone get the conductor” he yelled. He then stood picking up a couple of napkins and strode through the mist towards the now darkening corner.
He bent into the mist to investigate, his body now a silhouette with no real shape to it.
“I can’t find wh…..” Before he had chance to finish his words a sickening inhuman scream broke the tense silence of the dining car. Moments later his body flew through the mist sending wisps twirling in every direction, landing hard on the carpeted floor.

The woman at Justin’s gaming table let out a shrill scream and a waiter dropped a tray in shock.

Laying just a few feet from them was a scene that very few people would witness ever in their entire lives.
The young man lay on his back arm’s out stretched, his upper chest and throat was torn and ripped and blood glistened, his faceless form had a deathly smile as there was no skin from his forehead to his chin, his eyes had no lids and where blankly staring at the ceiling, a cough and a spurt of blood spat from his open mouth.
” MY GOD! He’s still alive” yelled a waiter hysterically.

Bill was the only person moving in the whole carriage, he ran in the opposite direction to the mist, knocking the conductor off his feet, who was just entering. H arold in disbelief watched him go and in total surprise was shocked and horrified to see Bill run into the ajoining carriage yank open an outside door and jump.
Harold turned to look at Justin who along with the others were looking at the
mist.

Something was taking shape,
In the mist, something was coming………………….


written by Aja , March 01

The Professor leapt up from his seat and headed away from the mist towards the carriage where Bill had leapt off the train. 

As he passed the supine figure of the unfortunate young man on the floor he shouted “Justin! We’ve got to get out. Let’s go!” and carried on towards the next carriage.

Justin had other thoughts. This poor chap needed help. He warily eyed the mist and grabbed hold of the man’s shoulders and started to drag him away. “Someone give me a hand – he needs help!”.


written by symatt , March 05

Justin leaned back as he pulled the severely injured man away out of the mist,
it had been a while since he had lifted something so heavy. He glanced up into the mist, a dark shadow was moving forward towards him, it looked animalistic as it edged his way. Justin pulled hard but this time something was holding the body back. 

The carriage was aleat half full with mist now, and the help Justin had asked for was now all exiting the car followed by the conductor scrambling to his feet. Justin gave one last tug at the unmoving body which was then pulled from his grip ripping off a finger nail, Justin failed to notice the pain, h e was now fixated on the form in the mist. His mind raced to try and make sense of what he was looking at through the gloom, the only thing he could think of was a dog or wolf of some kind, but no, that wasn’t right.

Time seemed to slow to almost the point of stopping. A limb of elongated proportions broke into view. The thump of Justin’s heart in his chest motivated him to move and so he ran unsure of what he was running from but he just knew he had to run.

Harold was unable to see back into the dining car as he was jostled by the other diners running past him.
“Justin!” Harold’s voice was panic stricken. Justin, moments later ran through the carriage and the conductor slid it shut as hard and as fast as he could, and before he had time to let go of the handle something red, wet and sticky slammed against the doors small window,slid down the glass and slopped to the floor leaving a blood smeared stain.

They all stood in the corridor of the next carriage, the other passenger’s were coming out and asking what was going on. The diners stood shaking, tears and fright on their faces.


written by Aja , March 08

Justin stood back from the door, his heart thumping in his chest. The Conductor was desperately trying to calm down the passengers. Justin motioned to the Conductor and took him to one side.
“I don’t know what the hell is in there, but I think it would be advisable to put as many doors as possible between us and it. How many more carriages are there?” said Justin. 

Before the Conductor could answer, Justin had an idea. “I’ve got a rifle in the baggage car – I’ll go and get it, come back and keep guard – I’m a pretty good shot.” Justin headed for the baggage car pushing his way through the passengers milling in the aisle.

Meanwhile, the Professor moved towards the open door and, after checking there were no approaching tunnels, leaned out of the open door and looked back along the track to see if there was any sign of Bill who had jumped out of the train so precipitously moments before.


written by symatt , March 19

Harold looked back along the carriages, wind crashing into his hair and jacket, animating them into a frenzy of movement yet not a sign of Bill could be seen. 

“For goodness sake why don’t we stop the train”
A shrill female voice calls from the group of passengers and a call of agreement from the rest is quickly interupted by the Guard.

“NO! NO! We will be in NEW YORK in just over an hour, i’ll keep the coach door locked and whatever animal has got in there can just stay there until the authorities can get to it” Trying his best to hide the fear that he was feeling he continued,
“So please, please all return to your cabs, lock your doors and stay calm”.

The Guard bent, picked up his hat from the floor and with a instinctive action, dusted it off and placed it on his head whilst taking a quick glance through the bloodied coach door window, mist obscured every angle.

Passengers where dispersing when Justin came running back from the baggage car with rifle in hand and sweat on his brow.


written by Aja , March 19

Harold hauled the door shut and turned to see Justin loading a rifle. 

“You’re not going in there young man. It’s not safe, rifle or not.” said the Professor.

“Don’t worry Prof – I’m just going to stand here – any sign of anything, I’ll let off a shot and scarper!”.

The Professor sighed and headed away from the mist, joining the other passengers. Justin put the rifle to his shoulder, aimed it towards the door and tried hard not to think about the congealed red lumps sliding down the window.

Justin muttered softly under his breath, “Roll on New York…”

MOONS OVER CAIRO Act one

It’s 1926. A sponsored expedition to Cairo found something very interesting in the sands, Things were recovered , taged then moved. Moved to where?          Could you be the ones to find out, Join me as we create a story together.MOONS OVER CAIRO Its history in the making and so it begins  Professor Harold trimbleDeep in his studies at the university of Massachusettes, Boston.  A letter Dated 02/08/26 arrives in the early post but it’s late afternoon when he gets around to reading it.
.
Prof H Trimble School of Greek History University of Massachusetts Boston
4 August 1926 Karl Sappington Columbian University New York

Dear Mr Sappington,
Thank you for your letter dated 2 August.
I have long been an admirer of the work of John Coles. The finds he has unearthed and written about in the past have contributed enormously to the field of History. I am extremely intrigued about the find you allude to in your letter and am flattered to be invited to carry out some research with Mr Coles.
I barely had time to begin discussions with the Dean here, before he interrupted and insisted that I take a sabbatical and take the opportunity to work with John Coles. I humbly accept your invitation.
My fellow university colleague and friend, Justin Le Dunst ,will accompany me in the role of amanuensis and assistant. Le Dunst is a very able and practical chap who will be of great assistance.
We look forward to meeting with you on the 10th in New York.

Yours sincerely

Harold Trimble

P.S. If you have any details of the find, I may be able to carry out some initial research in the University Library’s extensive collection before joining the train on the 10th.

…written by symatt , February 20, 2009


Brrring, Brrring.
Hello, oh Hello Professor Trimble, this is Alice, Mr Sappinton’s assistant. Mr Sappington asked me to call you with regards your visit. Apparently its all a little hush hush at the moment and Mr Coles wants a big unvailing in front of press and the mayor of New York, so at this point he is unable to furnish you with infomation…. but, as soon as the cameras are gone, then youself and the other learned guests can ask all the questions that you wish and Mr Coles hopes that you will become invaluable to his further research into his find.
we all look forward to meeting you professor Trimble, you take care and Mr Sappington will see you on the 10th. bye Click  .

..written by Aja , February 21

Professor Trimble popped his head around the door of the Sports Hall Office at the University of Massachusetts.
“Good morning Justin. I’ve just had a call about this find that John Coles has asked us to look into. It’s all very mysterious – apparently he wants to unveil it in front of the Mayor and a load of hobnobs. He doesn’t want to tell us anything about it yet.”
Justin was in the process of oiling a fine willow cricket bat he’d just had imported from England. He was keen to introduce new sports to the University and since a postgraduate student from Cambridge had raved about the game when he was here during the last semester, Justin had decided to try it out. The student had moved on and had unselfishly left a copy of the rules for Justin to study.
Justin put the bat and oil to one side.
“That’s interesting Professor, I must say I’m not surprised, from what you tell me about this chap Coles. He likes to make an entrance.”
The Professor drummed his fingers on the door frame.
“Yes, I’ve been thinking about that. I think it would be pertinent to have a look in the newspapers to see if there’s been any mention of where he’s been recently – I know he travels a lot and the papers like to report on his activities. Would you mind checking the recent papers from New York to see if there’s any mention of his exploits?” he asked.
Justin’s face lit up. “Yes Professor, it would be a pleasure. I’ll just finish up here and I’ll let you know what I find.”
The Professor thanked his colleague and returned to his rooms. He had some packing to do.
written by symatt , February 21

Justin trundles of to the Uni library Getting sidetracked by a few of the young ladies in the hallway (library use roll for justin For more details)
The library is a vast metropolis of books, bookshelves, desks,tables and chairs. Students mill in and around narrow corridors of shelves like slow moving trafic occasionally stopping to browse the contents of the vast knowledge stored here. Justin sits himself down at the Newspaper archives and begins to trawl through months of back issues The hours spent in the library passed faster than expected for Justin and lunch had long gone before he had found what he hoped the Professor was looking for.
On his return to Professor Trimble.
I Had no problems finding articles on John Coles, he seens a bit of the adventuring sort to me Professor, any way its like finding where he hasn’t been was the problem Ha Ha. It seems that most of the finds in the University museum are down to him. Anyway Mr Coles latest expedition was to Egypt to a dig just outside the bounds of the Vally of the Kings, less than 3 miles from the tomb of Tutankhamun (which was discovered in November 1922). No one is sure what made him dig in this location but for the last 3 months has been sending many small artifacts back to America, which are now located in the Museum labs for study.
written by symatt , February

Justin pondered for a moment, there was an odd thing that i noticed in the New York papers about CATS, yeh i know Cats, well apparently the city is having a problem with them coming into the city from all around, they even closed the subway because of them on one occation.
Anyway maybe we can get to see the vaults when we get there? Im not to intrested in the press and the shouting that they do , i had enough of that for the Olimpics.
written by Aja , February 22

Professor Trimble agreed with Justin. When they arrived in New York, it would be good to get down to the research straight away. Like Justin, the Professor wasn’t interested in the publicity.
The Professor was very happy with the information that Justin had dug up in the newspapers, and he sat at his desk mulling over the information, fiddling with his pipe (unlit – he never smoked it, it gave him something to do with his hands when he needed to think).
So old John Coles had been near the Valley of the Kings had he? Given Carnarvon’s and Carter’s discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb, no doubt Coles was hoping to find something similar. Perhaps he had, and this is what this grand ceremony would be all about. The Professor was more hopeful that perhaps some more interesting objects had been found that needed researching and explaining. As for the cats, the Professor dismissed them from his mind – Justin seemed intrigued by it, but the young always found these strange stories intriguing.
Justin popped his head around the door.
“Good afternoon Professor. I’ve packed my bags. The train leaves at 6:30 tomorrow morning. It takes about 10 hours to get to New York. The time should pass pretty quickly – the first class service is supposed to be top notch with three good meals on the way.”
“You’re quite right Justin. I’ve traveled to New York a few times over the years and the train really is very comfortable. I’m sure we’ll not want for anything.” replied the Professor.
“There’s a cab picking us up at six. Do you need any help packing?” asked Justin.
“I’m ready to go. I’ll pack a few books and papers this evening and instruct Jones to wake me at five. I’ll see you in the morning.” said the Professor.
“Right you are – see you in the morning.” Justin said over his shoulder as he headed out of the room.
Jones , the Professors University help, duly woke him at five and the Professor and Justin arrived at the station in plenty of time to board the train at Boston’s South Central Station. Within minutes of the train pulling out of the station, the Professor and Justin settled down to an extremely good breakfast. Now they were on their way, New York couldn’t come quickly enough.

...written by symatt , February 24

The train rattled on it’s journey but the waiters barely notice as they continued to serve breakfast. There was around seven other people in the dinning car and as the world flashed by the windows the professor took note of each one. A young portly man, dressed in a dark blue suit sat with his elbows on the table and his fingers intertwined stareing out of the window seemingly lost in his own thoughts as his scrmbled egg was going cold on the plate in front of him, the professor also noted that there was some pale skin where a wedding band should have been. The tables were layed in all manner of finery from fine linen napkins to the gold plated sugar tongues resting in the bowl and the soft terracota carpet that softend everyones footfall..
The next table down was a young couple holding hands and giggling across the table at each other, the young woman was pale skined with short dark hair as was the fasion these days, and her dress,well, no wonder that the waiters lingered at that table just that bit longer than usual. The gentleman was unimpresive in a grey jacket ans a smile that just wasn’t convincing. Seated across from them was a quiet group , two gentlemen and a woman. The two gents were dark of skin but not african and the woman had olive skin just like the europeans, she was wearing a pale blue trouser suit and a bright head scarf, tight over her hair as to offer no clues to the colour and length. The two men were in dark suits and white shirts with no ties. No one was eating at this table, just drinking small coffies and by the looks they were playing a board game of some kind. The professor considered for a moment and decided that they all must have been in there forty’s or ther abouts anyway and from time to time they seemed to look over this way.
Finaly an elderly gentleman sat alone eating his breakfast but in such a manner to have thought that he had not eaten for sometime. His hair was messy and matted as also his beared and mustache, he had on a white linen jacket over a white shirt wich had already gathered food stains of soft egg running down it. He slurped at orange juice and coffee almost together whilst his mouth was still full of food. The professor enqired of Justin.
” Do you recognise that man Justin?”
justin twisted his head so that he could see over his shoulder.
“No prof” he said between bites of toast ” I don’t think that I have seen him before”.
“Justin, I have a notion that i know that man,but from where Justin, from where?”
Justin shrugged and took another noisey bite of toast.

Wheeled Wagons of Wonder

Camped for the night
In our gaming life as our Characters be it in D&D or any RPG we use Caravans, those collected means of safe transport from one major city to the next stopping off at small towns along the way to trade, drop off and pickup passengers. Whether you Are a passenger or a paid employee of the caravan owner.

We love these wheeled wagons of wonder. What goes on with these traders and their travels when we aren’t looking. Here I,ll try and show you.
People of importance and note aboard the Caravan.

The Master.
He/She could be the owner but never assume this. They also could just be hired to do a job but remember they get well paid for a job completed. Although if a caravan is lost they will not fear their bosses wrath to much. If they are the owner then they will possibly fight to save it by their hired guards side. Trade Guilds own many caravans and make it difficult for any independent trader. Most of the time its undercutting prices but they charge for the extras like food. So if you are new to this form of travel, seek out the small companies.

The Cook.
You may think this person should be a long way down the list but fear the hungry man for without a cook to keep the employees happy then it will soon loose staff to the better fed trade companies. Its the cooks job to calculate the provisions needed for the trek to the next supplies. They always welcome extra food caught by passengers.

The Wrangler
This person is in charge of the well being of the animals that haul the loads and Caravans. Be they cattle, horses or tamed beast. They will make sure there is enough feed and water for the journey. Also watching there general health as a sick animal is unless to any road train. Also having some skills as a smithy for shoeing but also for general caravan repair.

The Scout/Tracker.
Not all Caravans have a Scout. As most employers see them as an over spend. But those that do use them find them beneficial. They will find safe routes avoiding danger and difficult trails that may be blocked from weather, landslides and beast movement like Orcs on the march. They carry a horn with them at all time for signalling danger. They will scout ahead each day before sunrise.

The Entertainer.
These colourful people usually travel with Caravans for their own benefit. As this is the easiest and safest way to travel. Occasionally a caravan owner will hire an entertainer for his own benefit and piece of mind, that a calm crew is a happy crew.

The Followers.
These come along for the comfort of the men folk and to sell their wears as they go. The Owner tries to stop these women coming but in the end they serve a need. Its also good for moral. They help around the camp. Willing to cook and clean for a price if that’s what you are after. A little touch of home.

The Priest.
Priests or Acolytes travel for free. As they are a good source of well being and calm among the travellers. Most have skills in healing and with a donation to their church will be willing to help.

The Guard.
Most Caravans will have and keep regular Guards. These are possibly the highest paid of the Caravan crew next to the cook. These will put their lives on the line for the safety of the Caravan its stock and its passengers. One Guard in particular will be designated  Captain and may get a gold more than the others. He will organise and lead the guard but also it his job to physically protect the Master.

The wise one.
Also know by other names most notable is Witch. Not many caravans have a witch. But when they do they have all kinds of knowledge to pass on be it about the local areas Forna  and Flora. To herbs and poisons. They also may have knowledge of magic. If a caravan owner chooses to have a wise one along they can be expensive. So if one chooses to come along they are not charged. But they do seem to travel at the back beyond the guards and alone.

Now comes the paying passengers and the trade goods. Also some crews will bring their families with them attaching their own caravan to the line up.

Caravans.
Time to look at the Caravan its self.

caravan in detail
Most are constructed from wood and metal and drawn by animal. With a sturdy wooden roof be it flat or arched. Some are barrel-shaped with a smooth curve from one side to the next.
Painted in vibrant colours, all kinds of decoration from flowers to epic battle scenes of some hero passed. Horns hang from a peg on the side of every caravan for use in signalling danger.  Steps lead down from the rear door and Lanterns hang from the roof. Lit at night to keep in view and count at a distance.

The lead Caravan has a high driving seat to allow a good view of the road ahead and immediate surroundings. Its living space is the best kept and luxurious, with cushions and carpets throughout.

Then next is usually the coach that carries the stock and trade goods.
This one is more secure. With no windows and a heavy lock upon the rear door. Metal plates can also be found nailed to the sides and the underside. Shields hang along the sides and can be retrieved and used when needed.  The wheels are protected by used shields.

Any number of Caravans can now make up the most of the road train. If they are owned by the trader then the caravan has a uniform look be it the colour of the paint work or a uniform for the crew. A lite loaded Caravan is used for paying passengers but most will travel happily with one or more of the crews families.

Placed somewhere in the midst is the food and water caravan. This will carry living food like chickens and small pigs also a goat for its milk. Dry goods and vegetables are stored in sakes and crates. Water is contained in Barrels attached to the outside of the caravan for easy access and refill. The amount of food stock carried depends on the journey time to the next town or trade post.
The final Caravan is used for the Guards that are hired for the caravan protection. Not the best kept but then the guards get the best pay.

Dogs also accompany a caravan for protection and for their heightened sense of danger. Large but untrained is the cheaper option. Two to four is usual.

Travelling.
A typical day with a Caravan road train.
Typically a Caravan will not depart before sunrise. So during winter months it makes for shorter travelling days. They will move at a steady pace as not to exhaust or hurt the animals. They will generally stop once at around noon then make camp just before Sunset. It would have to be an extra ordinary reason to travel at night. Food comes within the price of your passage. So no extra provisions are needed.
Hot meals are served at noon and supper camp with a hearty breakfast in the mornings.

A large pit is dug when the caravan first stops in the evening, between 1 and 2 feet deep with a circle of stones around the edge and a campfire is lite within. This keeps it as hidden as possible from a distance. Food Is cooked above, hanging pots from a chain and hook upon a metal tripod. The hot stones are also used to warm the caravans on chilly nights.
The hole is then filled in in the morning before departure.

There is an obvious hierarchy within the caravaners and their teams. If you join with your own caravan you join at the end of the line just in front of the guards coach. Last in usually means last served. Don’t feel put out or insulted by this its just the way they are.

It is seen that if you have any fighting skills and the Caravan is in danger it is your duty to help protect the Caravan and its occupants. Most towns and villages will look coldly upon any who think this is not the case. Getting work in any towns from then on may become difficult.