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The LOLOMG head to Hamid's family estate. Hamid tries on new robes with surprising revelations, the party gets to know Azu better, and Sasha's hands are definitely in her pockets.


The party have just left the temple of Aphrodite. In front of them is the Cairo strip, covered with sand. Most of the buildings are occupied or boarded up against the sand, and a number of people are starting to sweep up the sand to get it off the street. They decide to go to Hamid’s home, although he seems a bit reluctant about it. Azu picks up on it, asking why he doesn’t sound excited, and Hamid explains that it’s been a while since he’s seen his parents and he’s coming back with bad news. Sasha asks if they might already know, but Hamid isn’t sure; Grizzop says that they teleported, so they may already have been told. Hamid adds that the last time he saw them, it didn’t end up going well, but Sasha counters that at least they aren’t going to have the same welcome that Barret gave them, so they’re doing better than her folks did already. It actually does comfort Hamid to know that. 

They start to walk over to Hamid’s home, and Hamid mentions that he has a few awkward questions to ask his parents. The other three ask what he means, and he explains that he thinks he’s finally figured out what he is. He reminds the others about how Einstein told him that he was a sorcerer, explaining that he thought he was a wizard but that being a wizard doesn’t explain how he doesn’t have to practice magic to use it. Sorcerers are very rare; Hamid explains that incredibly powerful wizards can transfer magic down through bloodlines, and that magical qualities will show up in their children or grandchildren. Hamid says that no one in his family was a wizard, but that there’s evidence that non-human magical creatures, if they reproduce with humans, can also pass down the magic through bloodlines. He mentions how, back in Prague, he turned into a little lizard boy, but says that he doesn’t think that it was a lizard. Grizzop asks if he thinks he was descended from a Meritocrat, and Hamid exclaims that he doesn’t at all, but maybe from another dragon. Hypothetically, there could be other dragons around, but no one has ever seen a dragon who wasn’t a Meritocrat. Grizzop thinks that the Meritocrats might have killed the other dragons, but he does remember that up toward Russia and Siberia there’s a lot of hyper-mega-fauna wandering around. Central America could also be dragon central, but none of them have any real idea.  

A drawing depicting two different Hamids, a brown halfling male. In Front: Hamid wears a green three piece suit with a purple ascot and handkerchief. His mouth is raised in a smirked with his eyebrows raised. His hands are outstretched in his hands and from them are two swirls of blue light. Behind: Hamid had his back turned. He is wearing a purple robe with a design of a tree running down the back of it. His hands are more claw-like and his skin has bronze scales showing. He face is in side profile; he is smiling. Fire is coming out of his hands and circling him.

Hamid's Robe of Arcane Heritage and family tree. Art by @sketch-cat on tumblr. Used with permission.

Hamid pulls out a cloak that he got from Newton’s vault, and explains that it should show his sorcerer bloodline. It’s a purple, silk robe that looks like academic robes; it has golden stitching down the lapels, shifting in the way that magical text does. As he puts the robe on, the stitching stops shifting, and becomes evocative of snouts and claws and wings. Hamid also looks different - his face is a bit sharper and striking, and his cheekbones stand out more. His skin looks obviously strange, scales developing, and it looks like brass. As they’re watching Hamid, a family tree begins to grow along the back of the robes; Hamid doesn’t know that this is happening. It grows from the base and up toward the top; Sasha is the only one who can make it out, and recognises Apophis being written at the top of the tree. Hamid can feel the change on his skin but isn’t sure how drastically it’s changed him.  

Sasha says that Hamid probably won’t have any awkward questions for his family, because there’s an entire family tree growing on the back of the cloak. She says that he’s descended from a dragon, and Azu says that he does look a bit more lizard-y. Hamid takes the robe off, and the second it comes off, the family tree disappears and Hamid goes back to looking the way he did before. Grizzop asks what the robe is, and Hamid explains that it’s a Robe of Arcane Heritage. Once he’s worn it for 24 hours, it will attune to him, and he’ll be able to take it off and the effects on both the cloak and himself will remain. 

Hamid puts the cloak back on and Sasha reads out the family tree. It starts off very traceable, and then they hit the limit on what Hamid’s family knows, and the tree stretches all the way back throughout the generations until it finds the ancestor who is the source of his power. It goes back around 800 years, and Apophis is the name at the top of the tree. Grizzop cheers, saying he was right, and Hamid is a bit shell-shocked. Sasha mentions that he’s got a bunch of descendants, and Hamid is surprised that he’s the first to show any sort of heritage, as far as he and his family know. It rewrites a lot of things that they think they knew about magic; officially, nothing of this sort of fraternization between Meritocrats and a non-meritocrat has ever happened. Also, Meritocrats have been known to take a humanoid form, but they haven’t often had cause to. 

Hamid slips his sleeves off and on again, and has a light cloak hanging over the back of his robes to hide the family tree. Considering how rare this entire situation is (it may be the only instance of it occurring), Hamid doesn’t want to invite undue attention. Grizzop says that they should probably arrange a meeting with Apophis to discuss this, and Sasha’s situation as well. 

They finally make it back to Hamid’s family home, heading out of the commercial area and into a more expensive, rich area of the city. The houses are enormous, and the roads gets longer and fancier, like the names. They approach the largest house in the area; it’s huge and sprawling. It looks similar to the Alhambra, with gardens on different levels. It’s less of a house and more of an estate. There are two guards at the front gate (Adnan and Kazeem), but they’re encumbered with too much plumage that they wouldn’t be able to fight. Hamid greets the both of them, but they don’t recognize him until he introduces himself. The guards trip over themselves a bit as they welcome him home, and Hamid introduces Azu, Sasha, and Grizzop to them (mispronouncing Grizzop’s name, which Grizzop smoothly corrects). One of the guards runs over to open the gate, reaching into the small guardhouse and putting on some sort of vestments, and the other is asking if Hamid would like them to announce him; the entire conversation is happening in Arabic, so only Hamid and Azu understand. Hamid says that there’s no need to announce them, that they can just head up to the house. Grizzop starts walking past them; one of the guards stay at the gate and the other follows them up to the house. The house has been built to accommodate a full-size human rather than being halfling sized, but Azu will still have to stoop the entire time. There’s a guest wing that she and Sasha can stay in that is human sized. 

The gardens that they walk through are incredibly tasteful, with perfectly cut rows, but they’re also completely covered in sand, and are being tended by an entire team of gardeners. The front door is large and ornate, with gold and mithril inlays. They’re probably worth thousands alone, less from the gold and more from the mithril. Sasha realizes that the door is both ornate and strategic; if an angry mob came running, it would do a good job at keeping them out. 

Grizzop opens the door and Hamid thanks the guard, who mentions that Hamid should probably be slightly reserved. He mentions that the news of Aziza’s death has already reached the family. Hamid pulls the sleeves off and on again, and his suit colors change to a more muted green and purple. The guard pulls Hamid away for a moment, and Hamid asks for them to wait for one moment. Adnan says that he’s happy to see Hamid, but that his mother is rather upset and that his father has taken the news harshly. He suggests that Hamid be gentle, since his father isn’t handling it well, and that Hamid keeps the hijinks to a minimum. Hamid says that he’s grown up a lot since they’ve last seen them. Adnan says that he’s happy Hamid was able to take some time off from his studies to visit, and Hamid laughs uncomfortably before agreeing. He asks if there’s anything else that they can do, and Hamid says no, before asking if Saira is here a well. Adnan says that the entire family is here, and then breaks just for a moment to give Hamid a quick hug before turning back to a professional decorum and heading back to the front gate. 

They head into the building; the outside is still business as normal, but the inside has a lot of black drapery hanging around. A butler comes over and sees Hamid, offering him a black armband, and asking if there’s anything else that he can do. Hamid asks the rest of them if there’s anything they need, but the rest of them say that they’re alright. The butler says that he will notify the family that Hamid has arrived, and that if his friends will wait here, he will see that they are attended to. Sasha slips her hands into her pockets. The interior, compared to the exterior, is a little bit disappointing - it’s a bit more minimalist than the exterior of the estate. Hamid explains that his friends should be included in the wake, but then turns back to Sasha, Azu, and Grizzop and asks them to wait outside while he goes in to see the family. 

The butler leads them up the staircase, and Hamid ushers his friends into a lounge asking for them to stay there as he speaks to his parents and siblings. Grizzop says that Hamid can do what he needs to do. They hear a ringing bell coming from another place in the house - it’s a magical bell. Since it’s a small room, Azu lays down across two chaise lounges, instead of stooping. Hamid starts to head up the stairs, but waits for the butler to accompany him. He’s lead down to the family drawing room, and the butler knocks on the door twice. A voice calls out for him to enter, and Hamid steps inside as the butler opens the door; he pats Hamid on the back as he goes in, and then shuts the door behind him. 

A digital comic page of Azu, a Black orc in pink armour; Grizzop, a grey goblin in grey armour; and Sasha, a human woman in a long black coat, chatting. In the first panel, Grizzop looks up to the right, saying "Sasha, you grew up below ground too, right?" Sasha responds with "yes", and Grizzop says "Met too!" The next panel is Azu saying "Oh, is that why you are so small?", and the final panel is Grizzop and Sasha gasping at her in disbelief.

Azu, Sasha, and Grizzop have an uncomfortable conversation. Art by @cauldronsart on Tumblr. Used with permission.

Back in the lounge, Grizzop and Sasha are asking what Azu did before becoming a priest of Aphrodite. She says that she used to be a farmer, and Sasha and Grizzop both talk about how they both grew up below ground. Azu asks if that’s why they are both small, and Grizzop and Sasha both say no; Grizzop explains that as a goblin, he wasn’t allowed to live above ground. As they’re discussing, two halfling servants show up and begin passing out food and drinks to the party. They head off and stand beside the door, heads down, and in attendance. All three of them are slightly uncomfortable and unused to being waited on.

Back in the drawing room, Hamid’s entire family (minus his two little brothers, the twins, Ishaq and Ismail) are in there. His father, Saleh, is standing in front of a bay window, looking out over the river. His mother, Hawaa, is sitting on a chaise lounge, and she sees Hamid, chokes up, and turns away. His older brother, also named Saleh, is sitting at a table with a drink in his hands, and his now-eldest sister, Saira, sees Hamid enter, acknowledges him, and pats the chair next to her. Hamid nods to Saira, and goes over to his mother and gives her a hug. She leans in and hugs back, and Hamid starts crying. 


Alex: "Just throwing it out there, the ring was the first MacGuffingham. Literally, the first…"
Ben: "You mean, McGuffin. That’s canon now."
Alex: "I hate you guys."
Ben: "Pointless items are called MacGuffinghams, as we have learned!"
―Alex gets MacGuffinghams and McGuffins mixed up.

Grizzop: "Right, so are we gonna go visit your parents?"
Hamid: "Uhhh…yes…I think we probably should."
Azu: "You don’t sound very pleased about that."
Sasha: "Yeah. I assume that parents are a good thing?"
Azu: "Family is a wonderful thing to have."
Hamid: "Well, I mean, apart from anything else, I am delivering them some quite bad news."
Sasha: "You don’t think they’ve already heard?"
Hamid: "Well they might have, but I don’t know that for sure. But…I also…ummm…let’s just say the last time I saw them it didn’t end particularly well and I’m a little worried."
Grizzop: "Well, it’s best to bundle up bad news into one thing, so let’s get it all done quickly."
Sasha: "I mean, Hamid, if they don’t, like, assault us in an underground lair and set a bunch of dogs on us and then, like, march us into an underground mansion and stick a cursed ring on one of us, then you’re doing better than my folks aren’t you?"
Hamid: "That’s a good point! Thank you, Sasha, that’s actually really helpful."
Azu: "We shall all be here to give you moral support, won’t we."
Grizzop: "Yeah!"
Sasha: "I mean, thinking about it, my uncle did send me down to fight those people, and I got exploded. Do you think they might explode you?"
Hamid: "Oh, no no no. No."
Sasha: "Okay. It’s just, you know, family can be quite violent."
―Hamid worries about seeing his family again.

Lydia: "Is that ... a voice in your head?"
Bryn: "I dunno, that was just Alex trying to feel included. We're having a lovely conversation and the GM has to stick his nose in."
Ben: "Butt out, universe!"
Lydia: "Wisdom, pure wisdom coalesces from the clouds and drips down on us."
Ben: "A sad sweeper."
Helen: "Aphrodite?"
―The players poke fun at Alex.

Hamid: "A Meritocrat, no, God! What, that's crazy! I mean, a dragon, maybe, but there are other dragons apart from the Meritocrats!"
Grizzop: "Are there? I don't actually know. Let's petition this random sweeping man!"
Sasha: "Sweeping man, what know thee?"
Sweeping Man: "Well, uh, the thing is, I only answer questions based on dice rolls as a way to pass the time, with that in mind, can I get a knowledge history from everyone that has it?"
Grizzop: "Thank you sweeping man!"
―Hamid tells the party that he thinks he's descended from a dragon.

"Nailed it! Yes! Descended from a Meritocrat! Grizzop strikes again!"

Helen: "Did you drop out?"
Ben: "I’m just really enjoying Helen’s face, since we’ve had all of this and Helen’s like, wait, what? What’s going on?"
Helen: "The thing is, I genuinely love gossip as well, so I’m like, “Woah, the banker’s son dropped out of university.”"
Bryn: "Dropped out? Noooo."
Helen gasps: "Kicked out?!"
―Helen learns that Hamid was kicked out of Cambridge.

Grizzop: "So, before you were, you know, doing stuff with Aphrodite, like, what are you…"
Sasha: "Yeah, where’d you grow up?"
Grizzop: "What are you into?"
Azu: "Oh, farming."
Sasha: "That sounds above ground."
Azu: "Is that important?"
Grizzop: "You grew up below ground as well, right?"
Sasha: "Yeah!"
Grizzop: "Me too!"
Azu: "Oh, is that why you are small?"
Grizzop: "Nooooo."
Sasha: "Insensitive. No, that’s the malnutrition."
Grizzop: "No, no, we lived underground because we weren’t allowed to live above ground."
Sasha: "Yeah, similar."
Azu: "What?!"
―Azu awkwardly gets to know the party.

Alex: "Your father is at the far end of the room staring out of a large bay window across the rear of the estate out over the river. Your mother is sat on a chaise lounge, she turns and sees you, chokes up and then turns away. The two youngest brothers don’t appear to be in this room. Your brother is sat at the table quietly with a drink in hand. And your now eldest sister, she’s the only one who sees you enter, acknowledges you and doesn’t either break or ignore you. She just turns to you and pats a chair, and it’s all just very quiet."
Bryn: "I will nod to Saira, but I’m gonna go over to my mother and I’m not gonna say anything, I’m just gonna hug her."
Alex: "She leans in and hugs back."
Bryn: "I start crying. So does Hamid."
Alex: "I think I’m gonna have to end the episode there. This is sad."
Bryn: "Dammit Alex!"
Ben: "Should we leave? By next episode, should we leave and just let you two hug it out?"
Helen: "Are you really crying?"
Bryn: "Nearly, I’m fine, I’m fine."
Alex: "I couldn’t handle a real time episode in that context, it would break me."
―Hamid returns home to his family mourning Aziza death.

Dice rolls and Mechanics[]

  • Grizzop makes a Knowledge (nature) check to see what he knows: 15.
  • Sasha rolls a Knowledge (local) to see what she knows about Meritocrats: nat 20.
  • Sasha makes an Appraise check on Hamid: 12.
  • Sasha, Grizzop and Azu roll a Perception check: Sasha gets a 15, Grizzop gets a nat 1, Azu gets an 8.
  • Sasha makes an Appraise check on the doors: 26.
  • Sasha makes an Appraise check on the ringing bell: 23.

Plot Notes[]