New Caliphs

The Last Stand
Unfinished, but the story needed some closure

Just to wrap things up, I wanted to make a final post. Unfortunately, a glut of scheduling complications combined with an altogether-too-long gap between sessions for people to be reasonably invested in the story, their characters, and where things were going meant that we were unable to finish the campaign properly, and so I’m left with the unenviable task of writing out what might have happened. There were 1-3 more planned sessions remaining in the story depending on how the dice rolled and down which avenues the PCs chose to peer.

Frankly, looking back at the number of still-hidden characters I had, there were a number of plots that could have been uncovered, but there is literally no telling what might have happened. Feel free to browse the characters I’ve removed from secrecy if you’re so inclined; all of them are based on their actual historical counterparts, so it’s reasonable to believe that any plots they took part in during their actual lives were probably going to appear in New Caliphs. Even I’m not entirely clear on how I was going to tie some of the characters in at this point five months removed from our last session. Likely not all of them would become figures in the story, but who knows?

The most obvious question was: What would happen with the book? Well, the book was discovered to detail all steps in a ritual. Unfortunately, the ritual’s outcome was unclear (or at least not explained by John Dee), and it required the use of religious relics (which the PCs correctly believed that they could create in addition to stealing or acquiring them in other ways). Without possessing any relics, it fell to the group to acquire several before commencing with the ritual.

As I mentioned earlier, the group had discussed creating some relics of their own. Imbuing them with power was a nebulous process, but chief among the requirements for a relic is the belief of a group in its power. This would require some sort of urban legend or show of power and then use in a notable event, something that wasn’t hard to come by in this tumultuous era.

Of course, they could just use some fraudulent relics or just try to fake it with whatever items they can find in addition to stealing relics (there were several on display in Constantinople, for example, and relics were rumored to be in just about every major city, castle, and church across the whole of Europe and Asia Minor), but the decision would have been up to the PCs.

Depending on the quality of the items that the group assembled, the ritual would have a better or worse chance of achieving a positive result directly correlated to the number of authentic relics used. I had planned to run the ritual as a 3d6 test with the target number being the number of magically active participants in the ritual as well as a +3 for any authentic relics, a +2 for any successfully “created” relics, and a -3 for any false relics. Rolling under the target number (or a critical success) would be a success. Critical failure would summon a number of demons equal to the party as well as the immediate spread of plague.

In the event of a failure, the group would have to fight a minor demon or else allow a major plague outbreak centered in the region where they conducted the ritual (probably Tangier). A success would have given them vision of a smiling man that granted them whatever they wanted, as in the wish spell.

Alas, we never reached the end. Better luck to us next time, I suppose.

Assault on the Tower of Calahorra

Abba Eban – Steve
Mohammad Atta – Dan
Avraham – Jon

The story picked up in a guerrilla camp outside of Cordoba. Prag (P: Eric) was grievously wounded during a surprise attack right before the party was able to rendezvous with Aben Humaya’s troops, and so after they assembled their camp at the edge of the guerrillas’ settlement, he retired to attempt to recover some strength. While he was asleep, a man came over and identified himself as a messenger of Humaya’s and informed them that they would be leading a group of North Africans in the assault on Cordoba. The Africans are supposedly coming up the road from the south. The party did not believe the authenticity of his message, and so they went directly to Humaya to speak with him.

After talking their way past the guards and into Humaya’s tent, they discover that he is drunk, something the devout Muslim Mohammad finds disgusting, but Abba finds quite entertaining. After verifying the message and clarifying that they would better be able to communicate with their fellow Moors than he (and imbibing a great deal), Humaya sends them on their way. Shortly thereafter, the group realize that a letter of greeting from Aben Humaya might expedite the process of convincing these North Africans to work with them, and so Abba returns to Aben Humaya’s tent to get said letter. Unfortunately, the guerrilla leader is passed out from drink, and so Abba decides to forge a letter and use Humaya’s ring to seal it. The group then discuss and determine that this is probably the best way to get into the Tower of Calahorra, which is where they have been told is the most likely place that any surviving arcane books from the Caliphate period of Andalusia would be.

The next morning, they pack a light load and leave Prag with the Moriscos whilst they head south to join their North African allies on the road and formulate some sort of plan. After a half-day on the road, they meet with the Moors on the road and discover that they are largely noble descendents of the former Al-Andalus and their servants. After briefly making conversation, they decide to pose as a troupe of actors coming to town to put on a play about the Conquista and the Spanish victory over the heathen Berbers, hence the large number of North African looking men in their number.

Putting this plan into action, they are able to talk their way into town without any problems, and they set up a meeting with Pedro Menendez de Aviles, the governor of the town, in order to secure a space in the courtyard of the tower to put on their performance. After Abba greased Menendez’ palm, the Governor was more than happy to have them perform in the courtyard.

After setting up the show successfully, the group went into town to get supplies for the performance and to learn more about the Governor and what they might face in the tower while drawing as many people as possible to the show. In the course of asking around, they found that the Governor kept council with a “painted lady” named Zola from his time in the Caribbean. She was rumored to have knowledge of dark arts, and a number of people around town and even in the Governor’s own staff were fearful and mistrustful of her.

The most important item that they were shopping for, however, was a special chair. They found a suitably ornate chair to serve as the “seat of honor” for Governor Menendez to sit on during the performance. They rigged a trap in the seat of the chair that, when activated by depressing a hidden lever on the back of the chair, would stab the governor through the seat of the chair with needle tipped with a potent poison, killing him shortly thereafter. Everything goes off without a hitch, the group practice the performance (which Abba has more or less improvised on the spot) and prepare the stage and trap in the audience.

Alas, instead of the Governor sitting on the trapped chair, his wife takes the better seat. The group decide that one death will serve as well as the other for purposes of distracting the Governor, and so they decide to go forth with their plan anyway.

The first act of the play is almost unwatchable. Luckily, the bumbling suits the Spanish’ contempt for their Moorish enemies, and Abba plays masterfully in the lead role, so people stick around after the intermission. During the second act, the group do much better in bringing the stagecraft to life, and so the audience is suitably distracted for Avraham to activate the trap, which is set to strike as soon as the weight of the seated person lifts from the chair. The Governess stands at the end to applaud, and the group notice that she grabs her bottom, meaning that the trap did work. Thirty seconds later, the Governess swoons, and the group, who have thoroughly ingratiated themselves to Menendez by this time, rush his wife into the Tower to “help” her.

His wife is secured in a bedroom in one of the upper levels of the tower, and as soon as Avraham says that he suspects poison and begins trying to suck the poison from the puncture wound on the Governess’ exposed buttock, Menendez sends away for Zola. When some of the guards leave to fetch her, sounds of Spaniards dying come in from the town: it appeared that Aben Humaya was finally making his attack on Cordoba. Avraham silently locked the door, and Mohammad chose then to make his move to stab Menendez, but the guard interrupted his attack. During the fight, the guard was killed and Menendez disarmed and knocked out cold, but not before Mohammad is seriously wounded in his sword arm, rendering it limp and unusable. As Mohammad is about to kill the unconscious Menendez, Zola arrives at the door with the other guards. She tries to enter, but the door is locked, and the group yell that Zola must have poisoned the woman, trying to take advantage of their inherent fear of the slave woman and her dark magic.

Through the door, the party hear the guards move to subdue Zola, and then there is loud shrieking and guttural yelling punctuated by the shouting of the guards and sounds of fighting. Avraham believes the sounds to be some sort of demon. After a few tense seconds, Avraham moves to open the door. Mohammad is frozen with fear for the moment. Avraham sees into the center of the tower: where the guards had been are just some bloody corpses, and an injured demon is bearing down on the door. Avraham throws a vial of flame retardant at the beast, but it does nothing. After a few attacks, Avraham decides to blow a fireball using his flame magics, and he drives the demon over the railing of the stairs. It falls to its apparent death. When they look over the railing, they only see the body of a black slave woman with blood pooling from it. They then kill Menendez and dump his body over the railing where Zora’s body lays.

Looking out the window, Abba sees that Aben Humaya’s forces have withdrawn, and their compatriots in the courtyard that were fighting have been largely wiped out. They draw the few that survive into the tower and bar the front door. The group ask the remaining men to man the murder holes over the door of the tower and try to hold off their attackers for as long as possible while the group search for information concerning the Book of Soyga and an escape route.

Mohammad sets up a trap on the front door, and they then start to search the bsaement of the tower where they had earlier heard most of the black magic was conducted (as well as where the wine cellar was – Abba’s primary concern). After killing a sleeping guard at the end of the central corridor, they searched the wine cellar and then a room on the other side of the basement. This other room appeared to be where Zora was doing black magic and sacrificing people as evidenced by the chains and strange glyphs and symbology that lined the walls. The group searched fruitlessly for something pertaining to the Book, and then realizing that time was short, they took as many books as they could carry, and then they began to search for a means of escape. Abba took the uniform of the guard they murdered in the cellar hallway while the rest of the people searched. No exits were forthcoming in the magic room, so they went back to the wine cellar and took a second look, this time finding a false wall of bottles that could be moved. They gathered the remaining men up top (four survivors of the original sixteen men they met on the road) and fan down the tunnel they had uncovered, leaving a mammoth fire and cloud of choking smoke behind them. The group were rather disheartened to come all this way and find nothing relating to the Book of Soyga, and there is some light debate about whether or not they should continue searching the tower, but the sounds of the Spanish breaking the main door in change their minds and unite the group in their commitment to exiting the tower with haste.

After a few uncertain minutes of travel down this strange tunnel that they have just uncovered, they emerged on the banks of the Guadalquivir River and followed the shore away from the now-burning tower into the forest. Feeling distrustful of Aben, only Abba went back to the guerrilla encampment while he wore the guard’s uniform under a tattered cloak. He was approached by a member of Aben’s personal guard and chided for wearing the uniform of the Spanish because Aben didn’t want it to be well known that he had consorted with the enemy. With this knowledge, Abba drew his cloak closer, found Prag, and beat a hasty exit from the camp.

Believing that the North Africans had been sold out, the group hastily made the trip back to Gibraltar where they recuperated at Ferag ben Ferag’s for several days while telling of Aben Humaya’s treachery. They were then notified that Faisal had sent for them to come see him immediately in Tangier. Ferag promised to see that Aben Humaya gets what is coming to him.

With that arranged, the group return to Tangier and find Faisal with little trouble once they are able to locate the sailors with Faisal’s boat in the docks. Upon entering Faisal’s newly purchased Tangier home, they are greeted by Faisal and an Englishman by the name of John Dee…

Players earned four CP for this session, and more points are available for Character Logs of the session as well as background info for those characters that have not already posted such a story. Next session will not be for some time due to the summer scheduling crunch. We are shooting for a late July/ early August playdate.

Muskets and Moriscos

Avraham – Jon
Prag – Eric
Mohammad Atta – Dan

Mutahhir was pleased with the proceeds from selling the initial slaves as well as the new slaves and camels that were acquired during the initial trip to Timbuktu, and so when Avraham and Prag return said profits to Marrakech, they are feted and generally living the good life, especially relative to how the other slaves are living. They let time pass relatively idly as they do some mundane tasks around the master’s home and prepare for their companions and Faisal to return.

Faisal and the rest of the group return to Marrakech from Casablanca. The trip is uneventful thanks to Faisal’s extensive travels through the region. Faisal and Mutahhir immediately engage in conversation while the rest of the travelers settle into their rooms, converse with one another, and eat after a long journey. After a short time, Avraham, Prag, and Mohammad are summoned into the side room to speak with Faisal and Mutahhir. The owner and son decide that the three slaves will accompany Faisal to Cordoba and attempt to gather more information about the Aldaraia sive Soyga vocor. Faisal believes that he will be able to draw on some of his family’s influence as former nobles of the region and communicate with Morisco nobility that still inhabit the region. The group try to travel without Faisal, but master and son are insistent that his place is in the thick of things and remind them who is master and who is slave, and so they relent and begin preparations to leave in three days.

As soon as the time has passed, the four travel to Casablanca and again employ the sailors that sold Faisal their ketch to sail them to Gibraltar by way of Tangier. They take on some cargo to help offset the cost of the voyage, and then they set sail up the coast of North Africa. They make their way through a storm without too much trouble thanks to Prag’s meteorological talents and the skill of the sailors, and the group opts to skip another visit to Tangier to acquire more cargo in favor of heading directly to Gibraltar.

After making landfall, they are greeted by Ferag ben Ferag and his attendant, Diego Lopez ben Abu, the both of whom are family friends of Faisal’s from the days past when they lived on the peninsula, before the Reconquista by Spain. Ferag invites them over for a meal, and he reveals that he can put the group into contact with Aben Humaya, the leader of a revolution by the oppressed Moriscos of Spain.

After dinner, they leave to find lodgings for the night and are ambushed by Spanish forces. They manage to repel the attack, killing six attackers, but Faisal is shot during the skirmish. The group choose to go on to Cordoba to try to make contact with Aben Humaya without Faisal, and Ferag Ben Ferag arranges for his attendant and some of Faisal’s men (including Ahmed – who still hasn’t died)to make for Tangier once Faisal has stabilized.

On the road to Cordoba, the group have another shared dream. This time, they see a strange creature, one that Avraham recognizes from his Kabbalistic readings to be Baphomet. It is a strange and nonsensical dream, but it warns of the strange power of the leader of the Spanish forces.

Finally, as the group reach the outskirts of Cordoba, they are approached by a group of men. These happen to be scouts for Aben Humaya and his revolutionaries, and they arrange a meeting with the rebel leader. Thanks to Faisal’s seal, they are able to prove their legitimacy as supporters to Humaya, and he recognizes that the groups can help each other. He needs more men to mount a sizeable attack on the Spanish that hold the city currently, and they will need more men to storm the Tower of Calahorra, a local landmark where the Spanish leader Pedro Menendez de Aviles has made his center of operations and consolidated texts that proved too valuable to burn as a part of the eradication of all parts of Morisco culture in southern Spain. They also tell rumors of strange magics practiced by the Spanish and feel a general unease.

We will return to play Friday, June 22nd, and all characters earned an additional 2 CP for last session’s events.

The Wisdom of Mohammad

May Allah grant us peace and honor.

We finally arrived in Timbuktu, and I with a massive gash adorned across my midsection. Despite my insides nearly falling out on the ground in front of me, Faisal said nothing and expected me to continue with my daily duties and even forced me to read some non-sensible Latin out of the back of a wooden book for him, as if the physical pain isn’t enough, he also wants to torment my mind. Alas, my loyalty is his as long as my debt is not paid. May Allah have mercy upon his filthy soul.

Luckily, Abba was kind enough to help me with my injuries. He spread some green mushy mixture that smelled of ox urine and mint, which reminded me of Saafir’s wife’s lentil soup, on my wounds. He told me to leave it on for the whole day, but when I scraped some of it off a couple minutes later I was surprised to find the wound almost completely healed. When I teased him that it was clearly an act of magic, he vehemently denied he knew any magic. His denial makes it very clear that he knows magic, it must be something that runs in Jewish blood.

Last night I had a very strange dream about the city of Cordoba. When I was looking at the markings on the outside of Faisal’s book yesterday, it became evident that the markings were Spanish, so when I dreamt of Cordoba, it must have been a sign from Allah.
When I told everyone of my discovery, Abba started talking about having the same dream as well. However, this cannot be so, he must have invaded my dream when I was sleeping using his Jewish black magic. This frightens me more than I can explain, for if he can invade my dreams, what is to stop him from stealing them?

Somewhere in the dry, nasty desert
I thought that in all of my time on this world I had seen some strange things, but today Allah let me glimpse something truly fascinating. We were treading though the deep desert when Ping noticed that something was following us. In all his military wisdom, he decided that we should spring a trap upon them before they attacked us. Not desiring to end up with my insides on the ground again, I rigged a trap with my crossbow and masterfully concealed myself in the sand next to it. Much to my dismay, the creates that walked into my trap were not bandits but creatures with no heads!
Unfortunately, my trap worked well and struck one of these fascinating creatures in the middle of it’s body. I’m not sure how, but luckily my bolt did not kill the poor creature, his heart and brain must be located somewhere else on his body. I suspect his heart is in his left arm and his brain in his right and his lungs must be right where his mouth hole is, in the center of his torso. Between having to keep Abba from killing these interesting creatures and their fear of us, I was only able to study them for a brief seconds. Whether they are creatures from Allah or the Devil, I do not know, but whatever they are, may Allah have mercy upon their souls.

We arrived in Tunis today, Abba is out drinking again. He came home very late last night stinking of the Devils breath. I have told him many times that he should refrain from poisoning his body but he does not listen. Even when I offer to lend him my precious copy of the Koran so that he may learn the true path to happiness, he refuses. He has not invaded my dreams since the first time, maybe he can learn from his mistakes.
Despite his silver tongue, his violent nature and insistence upon poisoning his body, he seems like he might be alright.
Ping is such a strange fellow, he sits every morning with his legs weaved around themselves in complete silence. He can do this for hours on end without moving a single muscle. I believe he is praying to his false gods. Though I am happy to have him at my side, as he is quiet and is always willing to share his portion of chicken, I do pray that he will someday find Allah.

Somewhere in the middle of the Sea
We left Tunis in a hurry, which certainly did not object to for a massive herd of Janissaries were sitting right outside the city gates. Luckily, Ping spotted them in time. In his cowardly haste, Faisal forced Abba to quickly purchase a small fishing boat and instructed him to blackmail the poor owners to sell us the boat and then work on it for free.

I think Avraham was right about the Germans, for a few of our newly hired crew are Germans and Abba caught them plotting to slit our throats while we were sleeping. I convinced Faisal to allow us to sell them to another slaver (the nastiness one I could find) at our next port rather than kill them, for death is far too quick a punishment for these murderous bastards.

May Allah grant us peace and honor.

Session 2 - Excerpts from Abba's diary

I must be getting soft. Mohammed my sexless brother was whining incessantly about a few scrapes he had from the Berber attack and I risked outing myself as a warlock to heal him. I like the sexless Allah worshipping zealot more than is prudent. Luckily he seemed to believe the random bits of grasses I applied to the wound and the broken Hebrew was part of the ancient art of Jewish herb lore. He is now convinced Jews are magical creatures. I must be more careful with Avraham broadcasting his talents.

Faisal the flaccid in his infinite wisdom made it known to me that he would beat me if I did not return all the gold I made selling the camels in the market today. I sold the half dead mangy beasts as the Sultan’s of Ozbrooks fabled racing camels. I made Faisal a rich man and only kept a small finder fee of an eighth of the excess profit. I even showed my generousness by sharing the money with the group by catering dinner and providing music worthy of any sultan. After many drinks I stacked the gold into piles and placed them around the room. So that my flaccid captore would be like a greedy servant stooping over to pick up each pile.

I have come to believe the book was created in Cordova. Mohammed and I apparently both dreamed the same dream with scholars huddled around the book chanting. In my dream a piece of the Ten Commandments was incorporated into book during its creation. What this can mean I don’t know. Perhaps I’ve been too hasty in turning my back on my father’s teaching of the Torah.

The next day as Ping and Mohammad went to the library I managed to get assigned to read the book. The book is in Latin and contains the most marvelous bits of useful magic. I’ve paid special attention to a spell called oblivio mens or forgetful mind. I’m pretty sure I will be able to put it to good use. The author claims he once enthralled the contestant in the last round of an archery contest to forget how to draw a bow and thusly winning a very large purse.

The road to Tunis
I’ve seen monsters today. I couldn’t shake the idea of something following us. After enhancing my eyes and ears with an enchantment, I confirmed my suspicions. I alerted Ping a man who reliably can be counted on to handle the violent element. He wisely counseled the fatheaded Faisal who agreed to let us set a trap. The trap worked beautifully as Mohammed rigged his crossbow as a trap as we hid under blankets. Mohammed scored a hit and Ping shot out from his blanket. Then the strange oriental did not attack but performed some kind of dance. If I didn’t know better I would have thought he cast a spell because not two seconds later did one of the creatures flee and one of them fainted. The creatures were like men but without heads and their faces were on their chests. These creatures were hideous and I shrewdly advised we kill both before they slit our throats in the night. Mohammed and Ping both felt sorry for these dogs of the desert and let them both go.

We finally arrive in Tunis and I definitely need a drink and take off to the nearest watering hole. Tunis seems to be entirely populated by pirates and wenches. After playing in a couple drinking houses for coin a dim witted man shot his pistol at me wanting to see me dance. I was tempted to go shove his pistol up his arse but why dirty my hands when so many people in the tavern can pummel the man for me. Instead, I suggest to the crowd we all fight instead of dance and slip out in the resulting mayhem safely out into the streets.

In the distance a sandstorm was blowing in. Unlike a natural storm it moved against the wind. It was the collective hooves of thousands Algerian horseman. I race back to the party and let rational Ping confirm my suspicion. I think he has seen more than his fair share of fighting as he wandered from the orient and he expertly sized up the force. The flaccid Faisal then whimpers and eventually accepts the council of his servant betters and we sprint to procure transport upon a ship in the harbor. The drunken townsfolk were to dimwitted to know their impending doom at the point of an Algerian sabre and I was able to buy a seaworthy sailing vessel. Of the party, only I Abba knew the ways of the sea and we needed crew beyond the three German slaves. I offered safe transit to the seven men we bought the ship from in exchange for there help sailing to Morocco. After illuminated the fact the Algerian army was approaching they agreed to work for free on their old ship.

At sea
We slipped out of the harbor and raised an Algerian flag. The seven old seadogs were wise to carry flags of many nations for just this sort of occasion. We met the Algerian navy and after a brief parley went our separate ways. The Algerians wanted to recruit us into the armada. I couldn’t think of a thing I’d want to do less than die fighting some other person war and declined for the party.

The three German slaves were mutinous and I briefly considered joining them in impaling our good wise master Faisal the flaccid. But ultimately I have no desire to fight Ping and Mohammed so I betrayed the Germans to Faisal. We made a quick stop and sold the three slaves for a good price and made it back safely to Moroccan waters.

Session 1 Recap
Travel to Timbuktu

Mohammad – Dan
Avraham – Jon
Amelia – Jacq
Ping – Uriah
Prag – Eric

The party (all currently slaves/indentured servants) prep for travel from Marrakech to Timbuktu with Faisal, the son of their owner Mutahhir. Ping and Amelia are able to successfully secure some decent prices. Mohammad works a side deal for some extra coin (102 coins) unbeknownst to the rest of the group.

They leave town and start the journey to Timbuktu. A few days in, Prag notices unusual, suspicious tracks in the sand. A few days after that, the group either are restless in sleep or experience a vivid dream about a strange, vaguely utopian city filled with luminaries from the entire world over. At the close of the experience, all hear a book shutting loudly.

Shortly after that, Avraham and Ping confront Faisal about the strange item that Avraham saw being loaded into Faisal’s lockbox before they left for Timbuktu. He reluctantly shows them the item, a wood-planked tome on magic called the Aldaraia sive Soyga vocor. It includes a nameplate inside the front cover containing a name in English. Amelia believes it says that the book belongs to a man named John Dee, but she cannot read English well. Avraham comes to believe that the book is trying to encourage the group to do its bidding and that the book is cursed. Faisal tells them that the book is important business to his family and that it is certainly safe and not cursed.

They continue on their way, eventually running into a pair of dehydrated Spaniards who have collapsed in the desert, and they enslave the pair as well and eat their dead horses. They have markings on their clothes and arms/armor that indicate that they are members of the Order of Calatrava. They later reveal that they are tracking Avraham to bring him to justice for past sins.

Just out of the desert after 9 days and about a single day’s ride from Timbuktu, the group are attacked by a group of Berbers. All of the group survive and contribute to the slaughter of the 8 bandits, and the one surviving raider is also enslaved, and their 8 camels are added to the growing haul.

The group finally ride into town, and they must wait outside while Ahmad Baba and his mentor Mohammed Bagayogo meet with Faisal, who is accompanied by a few other slaves, namely Ahmed, a fellow slave belonging to Faisal that Avraham believes will die as foretold in a reading of the stars.

We will resume play in two Fridays, May 25. All players receive 3xp to be spent or saved as desired. If purchasing advantages, please choose realistic powers, IE no flying or other extraordinary powers other than magic.

Also, if you would like to do a drastic rework of your character, now will be the last time to do so. At no penalty, you may rewrite your character as you see fit if some component didn’t play out as you had hoped. Feel free to contact me with questions or concerns.


New Caliphs Pre-Campaign Setting Information
Why/How a Group Like Yours Came to Be... And Where You're Going

Morocco. Marrakech, specifically. The group are all slaves owned by Faisal ibn Ayyud al Qurtuba, a wealthy merchant whose family were displaced from Cordoba during the Reconquista.

As our story begins, the group are assisting Faisal’s son, Mutahhir, in the transportation of a shipment of slaves from the markets of Marrakech to Timbuktu, where they can acquire valuable Saharan salt and rare items from the near East. In addition to Mutahhir, there are a handful of other house slaves and pack animals to do a large part of the carrying; the group is to provide the muscle for this operation as they have all proven themselves useful in that capacity in the past.


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