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Steve McAndrews

Gypsy

who were they to dispute it? “What are you three doing so far from the vardas at this hour?” Rula asked. Still. Uthar harrumphed and Eldwyn. “Ask me what?” Parva kicked the ground like a nervous steed. she saw a circle of wagons painted as colorfully as her own varda. and she saw several of her brothers and sisters sitting around the campfire.” Parva turned from the other romani and a huge smile erupted on her face.” “Ohhh. do not fear. “Little sister. “That kind of dance. Rafe and Kush stayed behind. It’s been too long since last we spoke. Fortunately. What were they up to? © 2013 Alliance LARP www. Rula sang a happy tune to herself as she led her djolano-drawn varda along the road leading out of town. Rula shook her head and smiled. It had been four years since she saw Parva. She gathered her rai together and told them that she needed to talk to Parva privately. These were children no more. a Barbarian and a Mystic Wood elf named Eldwyn. Kush and Rafe’s suspicious stares melted away.” volunteered Kush. but members nonetheless and therefore they deserved all the respect siblings should afford each other. But even her friends’ bickering couldn’t dampen her spirit. they had taken their place as full-fledged members of the kumpania. “It’s a family matter. I am sure this Ailudral will be very impressed.” “And Rafe?” “Yes. telling jokes and spinning yarns. which he tied behind his head allowing his fair . “But you have traveled more than they have. Now. Rula corrected herself again – came running up beside them. “Could you lads escort my rai into the camp and tell the vaido that I will be seeking permission to join my varda with his kumpania?” Rafe smiled. A little farther ahead. Kush and Rafe. Three of her rai accompanied her. He had thick blond hair. Elves can be very old. You will see. as different from each other as their owners. Herbalists. she saw three romani children talking in the road. I remember one abiav when—” “No. Still.” “Well. there is no shame in that. “Really dance. “It’s a family matter. Rula quickly introduced her rai. Rula thought.” she said sheepishly. Rula hugged her. For a gaje. Parva merely embraced Rula warmly and kissed her on both cheeks.” Rafe said despondently. a powerful warrior. The beard suited him. complained that he wanted to watch. But Thomas silenced them all with a stare. and her lover. We are waiting for a gaje elf named Ailudral. Rula?” “Please be sure my rai don’t lose any of their possessions on their way to camp. it was nice to return to her people every so often and catch up on events of the day. as fun as it is to spend time with the gaje. Rula corrected herself.” said Rafe. They were arguing about the appropriate herbs to use to cure a bout of rootache. but it warmed her all the same.com “Ask her.” said Parva thoughtfully.” Rula turned to Rafe and Kush. “Parva’s been dancing since she could walk. lifting her peasant skirt to make sure it didn’t pick up the dust of the road.” Kush said. Rula feared Parva might try to leap into her arms. Beside her strode the Human Thomas. Rula returned to her rai and told them they were in good hands. “Parva wants to know what it’s like to. What if I mess up?” “Well. “it’s always best to take it slowly your first time. I want to know what you think. he barely reached her chin and now he stood a full head taller than Rula and she swore he had replaced his arms with tree trunks. “Good evening. Ailudral was handsome. Rula gave Thomas an appreciative kiss. Rula. They were barely in their teens then. If Rula thought these gaje worthy of joining her kumpania. “Dance?” laughed Rula. and even her husband some day.” he said sternly. as recognition dawned on her. Would it help if I stayed close by?” Parva nodded. Rula bowed low. Haven’t your parents talked to you about this?” “Yes. Most people get so nervous.” said Rula. Rula was surprised at how deep Rafe’s voice had become. The two boys – men. Ailudral is very big and he has a lot of experience in the world.” Rula smiled at Thomas. “Let it be. Behind them walked Uthar. with much to learn. The fire was so small as to resemble a candle’s light from where Rula stood. “Of course. Kush had grown much since they last spoke. Rula nodded. eyeing the gaje strangers with suspicion. he always seemed to understand when Rula needed time to deal with matter of the Rom. Four years ago. Rafe was considerably shorter.As the sun set. Then she sat on the side of the road with Parva until Ailudral arrived. you know. members to be sure.” said Parva. and a small pat in a place so Thomas would understand she would be even more appreciative later. but he would never be a true part of the family. A small campfire burned in the center of the circle. but Rula didn’t want to try to lift her all the same. but their age doesn’t seem to come with any lasting wisdom. The three looked at each other sheepishly. but each with a distinctive style. Coin jingled in her pocket and memories of the evening spent with Thomas could only make her smile. He would never be a true Rom. It is your first time after all.” “Yes. “Rula!” she screamed as she ran towards the traveler. No. Then she went and joined Parva and the boys. We’d be honored. Rula. and as soon as she uttered that word. no doubt singling tales. All will be fine.” “I’m just very nervous. my brothers and sister. they rush it and don’t take the time to savor the excitement. as she did when she was a toddler. pushing Parva gently on the shoulder. curious Mystic Wood elf that he is.AllianceLARP. dance. and slight of build. she couldn’t help but hear a twinge of bitterness when Thomas said the word “family”. Parva was a slender girl. even for an elf. but he had grown a thin beard and mustache in the style that many romani wore these days. Not far from town. Young. Thomas could be her lover.

Rula gave Parva a reassuring hug and whispered a word of confidence in her ear before tumbling backwards out of sight along the bushes lining the roadside. “If two people love each other.” Ailudral smiled and Parva blushed. Because the sumadja compels Gypsies to place family concerns over all others. little sister. he scanned the countryside. you laughed. the life of a wanderer is lonely. This filial bond is not simply a learned trait resulting from being raised by Gypsies. whether immediately related or not. He wore tightly fitting and expertly tailored clothing that accentuating his athletic physique. “You mocked my vaida! In his own tent. but he used his bluster to mask the fact that he had spent few of those years beyond his homeland. If two people love each other. Gypsies. I want to introduce you to Eldwyn. As close as Gypsies and gaje may become. Sometimes these rivalries become so intense that Gypsies prefer traveling with gaje just so they can spend time with people they don’t feel are always competing with them. whether the Gypsy is raised by other Gypsies or by the gaje (nonGypsy races). A Gypsy raised by Elves will feel this bond to other Gypsies. “When I cursed him. He didn’t. This does not mean Gypsies hate non-Gypsies. even Gypsies who might belong to different tribes. and the Gypsy quickly learns to accept companionship from any individual of any race who could be called a friend or even spouse. (referred to among the Gypsies as sumadja. Ailudral of the Elves. but could you not see how those laughs cut me? You think of nobody but yourself. “Hello.” said the elf bowing low in an exaggerated gallantry. but Rula’s experienced eyes saw there the overconfidence of youthful exuberance.” was all Parva could utter before the nausea overwhelmed him once more. “Par—” he began before his mouth filled with bile once more. “Will he … will he be all right?” “The Elf? He’ll be fine in a few minutes. Nevertheless. “Wha—?” cried the elf as the fumes of Nausea Poison rolled up his well-tailored shirt and into his perfectly shaped nose.” Ailudral tried to speak. When she caught up to Parva. Inevitably. On his belt he wore a full quiver of arrows whose fletching matched the pattern on his cloak. On the contrary. But it is our traditions that teach us when to dance and when to run. “I thought he was going to cut me from throat to toe with that big knife of his when he said that. But the kiss never occurred. He quickly fell to his knees and began to vomit in the middle of the road. fair lady. try to keep these intra-familial disputes “within the familia”. although the Gypsy will generally let the rai know that if the Gypsy must choose between rai and familia. The power it holds. I made him rai. I’m my own woman. In private. As he stood.” she began demurely. She hoped her colorful outfit wouldn’t give her away. Gypsies. she knew it hadn’t.” And the two sisters laughed as they raced towards the warm. RACIAL BASICS Being a Gypsy means being a member of the largest extended family in the world. May this teach you to respect our ways in the future. despised and shunned if you do not say ‘I’m sorry’ to every Gypsy you meet with everything you say and do.” Rula said. gaje are simply not family and will never know the tug of the sumadja.” Parva wiped her tears away. On the contrary.features and piercing green eyes to shine. When I told you of my people’s traditions. “I curse you. “You acted true. An Elf raised among Gypsies might love the race as any Elf would love an adoptive family. “If two people love each other…” Parva began as Ailudral inclined his head to kiss her. as a whole. Come. Rula placed a comforting arm around her shoulder. He didn’t walk along the path so much as he strode it. It is an in-born instinct that every Gypsy possesses. she saw the young romani was crying. Rula emerged from her hiding place. she brushed a stray hair from her face and then placed her hands demurely behind her back. I curse you to reclaim the honor of my people. but will not feel the reassuring tug of the filial bond. no matter how well-intentioned Gypsies may be. “He was always making jokes about our ways. Ailudral. Nervously. mounting it like a knight might mount a steed. are nomads and wanderers. conflicts will arise between their familial duties and their civil responsibilities. why should they have to beg permission of some doddering old man to get married?” Ailudral drew Parva close to him. “I don’t understand your people’s ways.” Parva shuddered. How could I have thought I loved you?” Ailudral reached out. He walked as if he owned the world. This elf might be several centuries old. When she saw Ailudral relax.” Ailudral shook his head. At some point. “Does your chief know you are here?” “As you said. It is a function of biology. she ventured. particularly for as social a creature as the Gypsy. Rula shrunk lower to the ground. there. You defended the honor of the romani. This sumadja also prevents Gypsies from forming permanent bonds with any stable community. the familia will win. Ailudral drew back as he felt the gas packet being crushed against his outfit. inviting lights of the kumpania. Parva had already begun to walk down the road to town. May I forever wander friendless. “I’m sorry. A nervous toe drew circles in the road. “Hail. I hoped he would understand. There was nothing that could stop it. to defend himself.” “He probably would have. the mock coyness dissolving into a spit of bitterness. There will be others who are more deserving of your love. my Mystic Wood elf rai. He treated you like an honored rai and you repaid him with insults. or the “inheritance”). “then they would know enough to respect their family traditions. Gypsies have a hard time accepting positions of responsibility in gaje institutions such as governments and guilds. She heard Ailudral utter a feeble “I’m sorry” as she passed him by. Now there is a gaje worthy of a romani’s love … at least for a night or two. perforce. How do you resist the urge to…?” “You never forget your first dance. I thought I loved him. Parva stood and went to the center of the road to meet the elf. imagine the sibling and generational rivalries that can emerge in a family made up of thousands of members. . And maybe he’ll think twice before showing a romani disrespect. The sumadja does not mean that all Gypsies get along with each other. I’m just glad you don’t buy into any of that nonsense.” said Parva. Every Gypsy is a member of the same family. the Gypsy leaves the position of responsibility rather than suffer the family’s scorn.” Parva spat upon the wretched retching Elf. I told him they were important to me. Such non-Gypsies can be “adopted” into the family (and are called rai). but he could barely utter a word between the uncontrollable spasms and retching. if you hadn’t been promised the hospitality of his tent. Parva. he doesn’t own me. When I felt the power of it. Listen to your elders and they will show you the way.” “There.

Gypsies are very vigilant in making sure the Gypsy Curse is used only for family business. loyal and free-spirited. quick-witted. the Gypsy Code of Honor is not a mandatory code of behavior for Gypsies. .This desire to avoid any entanglement that might create a conflict between the Gypsy and the family causes many Gypsies to despise all forms of entanglements. If a player sees that a victim is clearly uncomfortable with the Gypsy Curse chosen. Rejection. however. The most difficult aspect of the Gypsy to role-play is the Gypsy Curse. it is generally believed that the Gypsy Curse should only be used for family affairs. irrepressible. Other Gypsies have a more lenient attitude. The Gypsies (who prefer to be called romani) of the real world have a rich and varied culture and heritage. scarves and veils. if someone cheats at cards against a Gypsy. In our game. romani are unable to Gypsy Curse people. the Gypsy should choose a different Gypsy Curse (which again can be rejected by the victim). Gypsies who use them for personal profit or petty revenge that has nothing to do with the family are often punished severely. the Gypsy Curse cannot be used to affect combat or other in-game skills. Accordingly. customs and laws. overly defensive. It should be remembered that the victim of a Gypsy Curse may reject any specific Gypsy Curse that is laid on him. Specific terms of the Code of Honor vary widely from location to location and the Code of Honor for your local Campaign will be found herein. although such Gypsies are exceedingly rare and are shunned by the vast number of their brethren. friendly. If the person were cheating only because he was playing against a Gypsy. COSTUMING Gypsies prefer to wear flamboyantly colored loosely fitting clothing. However. treacherous (to nonGypsies). Accordingly. the Gypsy Curse is unique in that it cannot be dispelled. many Gypsies sprinkle their conversations from the romani tongue. Some Gypsies see even knighthood (and its oath of chivalry). In the real world. In other words. resisted or even Dodged. A Gypsy can also be shrewd. Some Gypsies have even been known to engage in slavery (but would only enslave gaje). Gypsies love attention! Female Gypsies tend to dress surprisingly modestly. does not mean the victim is free. Instead. a Gypsy Curse would be considered inappropriate. a marshal might be needed to resolve the dispute. ROLE-PLAYING The Gypsy is the only race in our game that is based (albeit loosely) on a culture that can be found in the real world. Players should feel free to borrow from romani languages (and their various dialects). from slavery to bondage. noses. There are many websites and books available with a wealth of information about the romani culture. On the one hand. In fact. a Gypsy is generally rakish. it is a florid manner of describing the customs and expectations that the Gypsy family places on all of its members. flaunting the relatively conservative conventions of other races. not all races are fit for such a free-wheeling life. On the other hand. ankles. but players need not learn any of these things in order to play Gypsies and they should certainly not let such real-life concerns get in the away of telling a good story. romani have stringent codes of dress and behavior that would interfere with many character concepts that people might want to play. In the real world. A traveling Gypsy always seeks to determine the specifics of the Code of Honor in any new land through which the Gypsy travels so that he does not inadvertently bring shame or dishonor to the family. Gypsies consider the Gypsy Curse to be a special reward for belonging to the close-knit Gypsy family. cunning. If the Gypsy and victim are unable to craft a Gypsy Curse that is mutually acceptable. wild and unruly. Unlike Codes of Chivalry and civil laws. and noise usually accompanies an arriving Gypsy. all Gypsies must possess an exotic accent to make sure the character is not confused for a Human. Rather. Gypsies who kidnap babies. and clothing. outgoing. deceptive. it is incumbent on all players to try to portray Gypsies in a way that is not offensive to their real-world counterparts. with baggy pants or skirts that cover their ankles. marriage and landed holdings as a form of servitude. poison drinking wells and steal for no reason other than “I am Gypsy” are only playing into the worst stereotypes of this ancient and honorable people. then the Gypsy Curse would be more appropriate. understanding that although the Gypsy requires independence. smart. Jewelry jingles from ears. Let's face it. Players should also take care not to cleave too closely to the real-world customs of romani. Most Gypsy communities will also have a “Code of Honor”. the player should remind the victim that they may reject the Gypsy Curse. language and customs.