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Cooking pt2, the Carnivore Cookout.
I've been taking my time and learning about cooking, and building some of the universe that this story resides in as well as fine tuning the species and the location for this next story. I don't have everything perfect yet, but this is as much as I wanted to get without stringing you guys along for another week. So there's going to be some errors with grammar (It is not my strong suit) and word spelling or misspelling.
The ship was slowing down.
Although he couldn't exactly see why they where slowing the planet below them Chandak still looked very far off. Although he wasn't a sailor and this was his first and probably only trip into space, he still knew that the distance between them and him had to be well in the hundreds of thousands of kilometers. An to be honest, space scared the crap out of him.
It was a big lifeless void of nothing. So monumentally open and big they had dedicated one solitary word to describe it. An so much of it there really was. He had done reading on space and space travel at the behest of his wife who had had enough of him complaining about a trip, that he had competed for. It was nerves really. So he'd dutifully read up on the subject as much as he could, going over the safety procedures and the ship they'd be traveling on with a fine tooth comb. There where escape pods located along the hull on both sides even he could operate with a few weeks worth of ration and water inside as well as a beacon for rescue. There where emergency force-fields that would snap into place encase of explosive decompression, with their own dedicated power supply. Plus they were being escorted by three warships and some of the finest marines and sailors their navy had to offer.
Knowing these few things made him feel safer, but it still would not erase the butterflies when he saw his staff press themselves against the glass to see their first alien planet below.
The competition to get here had been fierce.
While advisors where essentially representing all of humanities knowledge on military tactics and what else they could divulge, the cultural representatives would be sharing dances and art work as well as more detailed history than they had managed to scrounge on their own. It was something he was genuinely interested in, history had always been a bit of a side hobby, that was when it wasn't dwarfed by his passion for cooking with meat.
Chef Daniels ran a successful Smokehouse and Live-Music Restaurant back on Earth. He had built his reputation on smoking a lot of the meat they used in their recipes, to make a generous BBQ spread year round.
Steaks, hamburgers, ribs, stuffed peppers, smoked brisket, smoked chicken along with some smoked sausage that he'd gotten a local retailer to let him design. Some of the younger kids on his staff had recently smoked an egg in the kitchens smoker as well. It had turned out fine but he hadn't put much thought into adding it to the menu. Along with all the meat they had salads, some pasta dishes as well as the regular fries, onion rings and chicken wings that any restaurant that could be called one would have.
But this was a challenge he'd never truly faced before.
Sure it was easy to make a pulled pork sandwich, or serve a half rack or full rack of ribs to his customers. His All-Meat Burger with pulled pork, sausage, chicken and fish had put his place on the map in many respects. They even had a yearly contest for their Seventy Two ounce steak, over four thousand calories twice the daily intake for anyone not overly active. It was expensive and only a few contestants a year tried it, but it brought in the crowds and it was spectacle that always made his place the center of attention for that one night.
Now though he wasn't feeding Omnivores. These folks where strictly Carnivores, and it wasn't a lifestyle choice this was how they'd evolved over the years. On meat based diet. That was a challenge to create a dish for, it meant no buns no pasta, even the batter was out. No starches, no yeast, no vegetables to lighten the blow of the proteins. Only fats, proteins along with butter and creams. He even had to be careful what spices he used cause some could put the aliens into shock, or even outright kill them. So no Thyme, Oregano, or Mint, those where actually deadly towards them. Not that he'd put mint in any meat dishes. Things like celery seeds, chives, dill and any similar spices where to be avoided as they weren't immediately lethal but they didn't want to accidentally poison them. Paprika, red pepper flakes, chili powder, white pepper, mustard powder where okay though. As well as a lot of other spices so he had some wiggle room. Though he had to go by the technical jargon the scientists had provided to each restaurant picked and make a dish that they'd assumed wouldn't harm them, but still taste delicious.
Though without a current cooking culture on that planet or really in the galaxy at large it was very hard to gauge what they did and did not like.
Chef Daniels Sous Chef came walking up with a tablet in hand, he had relegated her to do inventory again. He himself had done lots of reading and rereading the Approved Rumanoid Consumption list and checking what they had brought with the Sous already, triple checking the seals and inspecting them everyday they had been traveling. It drove the ship crew nuts, but it was a habit he wasn't about to break.
"Everything's still sealed in stasis, no breaks in the container, leakage or spoilage either. The spices haven't been touched by the Galley crew either and all of our supplies are accounted for." Sous Chef Hetav been with him for eight years by now and was looking into opening her own place in a year or two, he was sad to see her go but it was the nature of the business. Besides he had one or two promising cooks who he could train to take her place.
He gave her a nod of thanks and held out his hand for her to place the tablet into, he immediately began his own look over the inventory. It wasn't that he didn't trust her. This was a dinner so important he'd had to compete against an entire world's worth of talented Chefs and Restaurants just to be able to go. The winner's where representing and entire people spread over five planets. And although his wasn't the only team of cooks going down to Chandak, they where the only one from Earth.
"Good. Get our guys to start packing the equipment and supplies together the Captain told me we'll be passing through their borders and making landfall within the next four hours. I want everything ready to go in the vans before we touch down."
"Yes Chef." She went to wrangle the younger cooks with some of the more senior staff.
He swallowed some air and looked down at the planet as the ship began moving again. "I hope nothing goes wrong."
How could this have happened at a time like this?
Admiral Siwasuri was looking at the report that had been handed to him by the Captain of the Cruiser they were now on. "Is this accurate?" he read over it again hoping it wasn't so. This was supposed to be a diplomatic trip, one that every sailor, officer, and civilian had been thoroughly screened and vetted for. All of this was supposed to be behind them in Sol.
"Yessir, Warrant Officer Rivard caught the Petty Officer tampering with the food supplies aboard the Olive Branch."
He looked over the report, "Oregano? Is that on the Barred List?" It seemed to the Admiral that he had forgotten the finer things that separated Humans from Rumanoids.
"Yessir, along with Mint and Thyme. I've been checking records and setting a shipwide search for more of the barred items. I've also been sent a message by the Captain of the Olive Branch, the Chef whose supplies has been tainted has been notified." His face tight and his jaw set. This could mean that the Protection of Humans terrorist group had gotten onto their ships. They where set against an alliance with the Rumanoids because of their carnivorous nature.
The Rumanoids did give them plenty of reasons to hate them however. A bulky and pack centered race they where known as fierce fighters and regularly participated in blood sports where a few deaths a year wasn't unheard of. Rituals of burning themselves with hot metal as a sign of rank in their military or of important in political office was often painful for humans to watch and resembled branding cattle on a ranch. Not to mention their eating of raw meat exclusively as the base of their diet. That made a lot of peoples stomachs turn back home.
After reviewing the tablet and the attached file of the Petty Officer he decided that this was something he owed his opposite number an explanation. "Please inform Keert Nothran that I'd like to talk to her. We need to make them understand that this isn't why we're here."
"Yessir." he gave a sharp salute and left the Admiral to think in the Captains quarters.
Interlacing his fingers he rested his head on them and thought.
The screen above him beeped with the words INCOMING TRANSMISSION flashing on them. He made sure his uniform was tidy and straight as well as his posture before hitting the answer button. "Keert Nothran." Stating her Name then Rank as was traditional in their culture.
"Admiral Siwasuri this is unexpected. We have just cleared you for entry into our space." the translator was give the Nothran's barking singing voice an aged female human one to compensate for the lack of lips. Rumanoid culture as it turns out had a more Matriarchal social structure much like lion packs did. Few males and many females.
"I'd like you to hold off on granting our ship entry into your airspace for the moment. We have a saboteur on board." he waited as she took in the news, his mind trying to anticipate her next words and what he would say to keep this diplomatic mission on track.
"I was informed that your ships had been cleared of these terrorists, and was assured they would not interfere." He noted the insignia on her chest, a stark change from the women under his command, where their chests where flat rather than rounded like humans where. Also the body of a Rumanoid looked more like a werewolves did with some thicker legs and more dexterous fingers with smaller claws but no less sharp he'd been assured. They where a study in an evolved predator species that had come from a more canine background, especially since they had retained many of the sharper teeth and the palate for raw meats.
It was intimidating and sent his reptile brain screaming, the first time that is.
"I was given those same assurances Nothran, it seems they found a way to bypass our strictest security protocols and get aboard. You've been briefed on the Protectors of Humanity?" making sure his back was straight tall and he appeared as confident as she did. While they didn't eat sentient meat or act as much as animals as one would expect this was still a military officer and it wouldn't do to show weakness towards them.
She spat to the side in what the translator told him was a equivalent curse to her people. "We have come across these prejudices before. They are scared we will try and conquer your race and subject them to our ways. These Protectors of Humanity show the same fear our people do. The radicals who fear change to our ways, that humans will make us soft." she barked something to the crew around her, something about orders and teams that the translator didn't quite pick up. Finally turning her muzzle to the screen separating them. "I will send down a team of my own to inspect the tainted goods. I will not let these sniveling cubs come between our friendship."
He gave her a curt nod. "I appreciate that. I will be sending a transmission back to my superiors I would be happy to send yours along as well."
At the very corner of her muzzle a smile crept up the side. It was the closest her species got to smiling in the monkey way. "I am thankful for the offer. We have our own channels to send to your people." she looked directly at the human Admiral on her screen. "May you fly true Admiral Siwasuri."
"Fly true Keert Nothran." and with that their conversation was over. He blew out a relieved breathe of air. "That went better than I'd expected."
Captain De Louise was taking a verbal beating from Chef Daniels after he'd learned about his dry goods being tainted with oregano of all things.
He had stormed into her office clearly upset, angry, and scared that he had been targeted and the confidence in his craft was now under scrutiny by aliens. Not to mention the fact that they had just performed a check on their inventory before the Petty Officer had been caught sabotaging their spices.
The Captain let him vent for a few minutes, until she recognized a man on a rant and had raised her voice. Something she rarely did in her command, a fact she was quite proud of in her military career. These however where not people in the rank and file. These where civilians. "Mr. Daniels!" her voice carried through the small conference room easily and silenced all who where speaking. Switching tone immediately she laid out what they now knew. "We have caught the Petty Officer who tainted your dry goods."
"Rub." he quickly corrected her.
Not used to people being so forward with her on her ship she quickly changed tact from her commanding presence to one of a sympathetic nature. He was reminding her of a young De Louise who had refused to listen about the dangers of house parties. "Yes Rub, and we are questioning him as we speak. The Oregano has been contained and is being sealed away before our guests arrive. We are doing all we can to stop this sabotage before it gets out of hand."
"Out of hand?!" he pulled out his tablet and pointed to an item she could barely see. "They put it in the Rub! That's the biggest batch of 'dry goods' we have! It's practically useless now! How am I supposed to cook brisket without Rub?!"
While the Captain was contemplating what a Rub was for her second in command spoke up to her aid. "I'm sure if you spoke to our Chef he would have something to help you out, we've already cleared him and his crew and their free of Barred Items and anything less lethal to Rumanoids."
"How am I supposed to recoup that much loss? All the ingredients for another batch are back on Earth!"
Having enough of this insubordination on her ship, under her command civilian or not. "Mr. Daniels!" his unimpressed eyes latched onto her again. "I'm sure a creative man like you can find a way. I don't have time to spare for your problems, I have terrorists to find and not a lot of time to find them." she looked to a rather serious looking sailor in uniform. "Master Petty Officer escort Mr. Daniels out of this room and make sure he does not bother me again unless it is related to someone dying."
"Yessir." and he turned to the two civilians in front of him. "Sir, Ma'am this way." all but shoving them out of the door. Leaving the Captain of the Olive Branch and her crew to reviewing reports and logs of all the crew onboard she was responsible for.
Chef Daniels was furious.
This was a defining moment of his career, something that he'd only dream he'd be able to do and now it was being ruined by a bunch of fearmongering assholes who could only imagine bad and not the good.
He had been given a pair of military escorts that followed him back down to the storage area they had been given for their supplies. Already inside Sous Chef Hetav was with the rest of the cooks frantically checking each package sealed and unsealed to check for any more barred items they may have gotten into the meat or other spices. With technicians providing scanners that went deep inside the meats to check again that it wouldn't kill the Rumanoids.
With a sharp tone that was holding back anger. "What did they get?"
She stood up and looked at her Chef and then gave a nod to the sailor who was scanning the brisket beside her. A very slow and thorough process.
The air condensed into a cloud around her mouth in the compartment, while not what it was originally intended for this was to help keep the meat as cold as possible as they checked it outside of the stasis containers. "Seems the rub was the only thing tainted so far. When we came in there was oregano scattered everywhere on the floor looks like they got into a fight. It's been cleaned up and put into a sealed box. It looks like he got pretty far into mixing it in with the rub, it wasn't a lot and it was powdered so it would have gone unnoticed when we'd apply it. By the amount though looks like we got lucky with that Warrant Officer, he was planning to ruin our entire inventory."
Rubbing his face with a palm Chef Daniels grumbled and then started making plans. "Get Saro, Carter, and Julian into the kitchen with you and start working on a new Rub. Everyone else doesn't leave until we're sure the rest of it is fine. I'll stay here to inventory and see what we can salvage." he jerked his thumb at the door as he took out the stylus from his pocket and got to work.
It was a long process and it took nearly three hours for him to be satisfied they weren't going to kill any of the aliens they where serving. About half way into those three hours the Rumanoids showed up.
This meeting was always going to go down in history, but what struck Chef Daniels as the most notable part of this whole thing was how little he was actually afraid of them. Sure they where around six feet tall on average, bodies that looked like they all worked out. They where quite nice, respectful and they acted like professionals. He didn't really see much of their faces or the uniforms they supposedly wore as they where covered in hazmat suits and holding scanners of their own. Which they applied to everything that he had brought with him.
It took some cross checking and showing them the offending substance so they could add it to their database but they where cleared by both Human and Rumanoid techs to serve their food on the surface.
When they where cleared however one tech stayed behind as his staff was sealing everything back up and reengaging the stasis containers. She took off her hazmat hat and breathed in a breathe of safe fresh air. "That smells pretty good." she took another breath through her muzzle and walked closer to Chef Daniels.
He couldn't help his initial reaction of backing up as this big wolf person came up to him. She didn't take it to seriously and politely waited with her paw outstretched. He grasped it and shook it, noticing it had about as much strength as his own either that or she was holding back. "Thank you for letting us take a look. We know much more about this sort of thing."
It wasn't really human words, it was barking whining and very similar dog like noises that came out of her mouth, quickly and efficiently translated. He felt funny like he was talking to a dog that was being voiced over. "I'm just glad we've still got something to serve you!" he laughed and she smiled at the corner of her mouth, looking very alien the way she did it and very familiar.
"I look forward to hearing about it." she gave one last look at the meat on the shelves. "Those are some lucky Ranchers down there."
It had taken a whole day but the the culprits had been found, although one had to be brought out in a body bag as they'd successfully committed suicide.
This unnerved Chef Daniels. This attack on his inventory had been bad enough but for someone to actually kill themselves rather than be caught? That made this all to real.
He tried to put it out of his mind as their convoy was greeted by the Rumanoids security detail on their planet. Turns out there where many more girl than guy space wolves and that apparently was quite common. He was envious of those going into the city to learn about space wolf culture and see the sites, his group was pressing their faces up to the windows of the van they'd piled into as they drove on a highway escorted by a small army of local police.
It seems they where just as afraid of their people attacking humans as humans where of them.
Once they left the lakeside city behind them, they came out onto a plains looking landscape. Rolling hills and lush grass fields that seemed well maintained and cultivated for just being grass. An it was boringly simple grass too, same colour same shape with different looking weeds growing in some places. If it wasn't for the weird looking cows he would have sworn he was back in Alberta.
"Look! Alien Cows!" Everyone crowded around the right window looking out at the different looking bovines that were calmly chewing the familiar grass, completely unaware they where the first local fauna being observed by aliens. "Look at those horns, they got big hooves!"
They where indeed larger than home grown cows. Thicker legs held up a bigger body, about thirty percent bigger than your average heffer, with a more furry looking hide. The biggest difference of course was in the face. They had large mouths like a hippos with long necks that allowed them to graze without kneeling. It was an odd sight not to see regular earth cows and see these strange looking hippo/llama/yak hybrids in a field as if it was the most normal thing in the world. Which it was here.
Chef Daniels looked to the marine escort that had come with them, along with his team that was spread out among the four vans they had. "Ever seen anything like it?"
Sergeant Ohama nodded, "Once, when we where given the threat assessment for the location." he still gave the 'cows' a big side eye as he drove. "Still something to see them in person."
They drove for about two hours, or four tamles in local time denominations, when they reached Kerchaw Ranch.
It was a large affair. With their primary food stock being meat they had a large grazing field around them they had driven through along with several big zoo looking enclosures with local animals moving around and being loud. Trying to see what had rolled up to their homes.
Getting out of their vans it was noon in their Twenty Three hour or Forty Six tamle day. So they had plenty of time to get BBQ set up and prep for the evening meal. He got Hetav to start that while he went with Sergeant Ohama to greet the owner of the Ranch.
She was walking over with what he assumed was her best leathers on. Leather work being one of the signature Rumanoid clothing options and exports. She wore what looked like some space cow hide vest over top of a white shirt that came down to her elbows and a red pair of pants that he assumed where also some kind of sewn leather that he'd heard about but was unsure how that was possible. Sticking out her paw much more forcefully than the tech had he jumped a little bit. She was quick to apologize. "Sorry, got a little excited." he took hers and shook it. "You must be Chef Daniels and Sergeant Ohama." he got an enthusiastic shake as well. "I'm Itack Kerchaw, this is my families Ranch."
"Pleased to meet you." greeted the Chef.
"Ma'am." was all she got out of the Sergeant. He was here as security afterall not to socialize, he was sure his conversation with their alien escort was going to be much longer.
"Would you like the tour?"
He held up a hand and she looked at it curiously as he smiled at her and pointed to his staff. "If its okay I'd rather get everything set up before we let my cooks run around."
She gave that weird side smile and nodded. "Sure sure, I'll make sure my girls don't interrupt."
That's when the strangest thing happened.
A ball came rolling out from behind one of the enclosures and barrelled directly for them. About three feet tall it had a silver sheen to it and a black stripe around it that spun with the direction of the sphere. Sergeant Ohama had already drawn his pistol and Daniels was poised and ready to jump or run when Itack put out her hands. "It's okay it's just a Mo'bair."
The Sergeant was still tensed as it slowed down to halt beside the owner. It seemed to right itself so the circle was level with the ground then the top split down the middle and the two halves opened and fell to the side with a hydraulic hiss to press against the ground stabilizing the ball on some metal arms. Every human in view stopped what they where doing to watch this spectacle.
Inside was the third of the races friendly to humans.
Small only three feet in length they had six stubby limbs and a body that looked more like the microscopic Tardigrade, with gecko like hands on each limb they where the only species that wore no clothes and had four eyes. They where also the most technologically advanced of the four races. Developing technology for mobility and speed far before any other race. It was sitting on its belly on a chair, four of its limbs working some different control with three screens in front of its face, while its hole like mouth sat below its eyes closed and looking squids suction cup. With grey skin and looking more overweight than anything, it had by far made the most theatrical entrance than any other species he'd heard of.
"This is He'tailr my Accountant and Supplies Manager." she swept her arm from the small alien to the humans before her. "These are the humans I mentioned before."
It didn't open its mouth but instead words where spoken by a translator somewhere in the sphere itself. "Welcome. I am told that you have far superior nutrient rich food at your disposal."
Daniels looked at Ohama as he holstered his weapon. "Um yeah, what do you like to eat?"
"We do not like to eat. We have no taste buds."
"Oh." He'd forgotten that these folks had sacks of digestive fluids that they simply put organic matter into, and sometimes inorganic as well. They had been unimpressed with Territ 78's famous report on human cooking. "Right. Um your still welcome to some anyway. Body needs food," then despite his inner critic shouting at him he added. "Right?"
Unperturbed the alien grub blinked its weird pupil-less eyes. "Yes we do. I look forward to it." then it turned its attention to the space wolf rancher as the Chef felt embarrassed and looked away trying not to look more foolish than he did. "Here are the daily accounts, and the new order list." holding up a Rumanoid sized datapad with a robotic arm.
Distracted by the datapad she spoke without looking at the small grub in its hamster ball. "Thank you He'tailr, I'll see you at dinner." and with that the small grub looked at each human before the ball remade itself and seemed to wobble back then forward before rolling off to another part of the Ranch.
Without meaning to Daniels blurted out. "That was weird." Eyes going wide with shock at the lack of diplomacy with which he'd handled that.
Itack seemed to find it funny and broke into a few quick barking laughs. "He's like that with everyone." she assured her guests. "Don't take it personally."
They had to set up their work station and make sure everything was ready to go for later in the day, but right now the smoker and the Brisket needed to be done first. They'd be there late into the night and smoking was a long process. One they'd mentioned in the information packet so they weren't going to leave it out. It would still taste good even with an simple rub as opposed to the more complex one they originally made.
Itack was brought over and introduced to his staff with handshakes and polite smiles. They then showed her the process of how one cooked with smoke and finally got the brisket rubbed down and let their host give a cursory sniff. "It smells odd," she rubbed her nose. "I've never smelt something like that on meat before." he seemed hesitant. "Will it taste good?"
This time it was the Chef's time to smile. "Oh yes."
Once they got the Brisket in and left the security team to watch over their supplies, still nervous about the previous attack. They got the tour of the property.
She showed them the weird hippo faced llama necked yak bodied cows that are the most common meat source. Then the monkey type creatures, which made every human anxious and scared for their alien cousins. Some reptiles where also shown in a much much warmer enclosure with some mammals for them to feed on. They also had avian species they ate but they weren't on this ranch. It made Chef Daniels think hard on what agriculture and ranching was like for these people. They had to consistently supply meat to all of their people, make sure its raised properly and fed properly. That means they had agriculture specifically for their livestock, and they would feed specific herds with different foods to help change the taste. They lacked any proper digestive tracks for fruits but they did feed them to the avian creatures and monkeys they kept as livestock and they had to fertilize then and use pesticides on them. Although they where aliens so maybe they had different methods than spraying.
To soon tour was over and the Ranch Hands came back to the main house for what was to be a momentous occasion. Cooked meat. They had never seen the like.
They had seats to wait for their food, but as this was as much a spectacle to watch as to eat the humans found themselves performers on the flat tops and grills as they cooked up the hamburgers ribs and chicken for their customers.
Daniels found it a little unnerving to be watched like a monkey before a wolf. He pulled Itack over to him and made a mention of this. Apparently as in thralled as the others she hadn't been aware of the fact that they where intimidating them. So one by one she pulled them back until they where at a more respectful distance to watch them work.
The meal for that evening consisted of Half racks of ribs with salt and pepper chicken wings on the side. Cheese stuffed hamburgers with bacon and meat waffles as the bun. Chef's famous All-Meat Hamburger took a lot to make and there were few to hand out. Lastly is a World Famous Chili that barely had to be altered at all.
When the first plate was handed out to Itack every biped watched with bated breath as she bit into the first cooked rib served on Chandak. With baited breathe Chef watched as she thought about what she was eating and then eyes going wide in canine delight as she quickly ate up the rest. "It's delicious!!"
What followed was more akin to a buffet back home. Plates where quickly passed out with various dishes on them, they lined up and asked for what they thought looked good. That seemed to be everything that the humans where cooking. Even though this was a much more limited menu than what they would normally serve. The kitchen staff worked admirably in these strange conditions with these meat eating sentient wolves watching them, some drooling before quickly wiping their mouths. Even the strange human carbonated beverages where at hit, the more robust flavours like root beer and coke.
By the time they ran out most of the Ranch hands where sitting down at very similar human benches and picnic tables talking happily and licking their fingers clean. Be them alien wolves from another planet or twenty somethings in on a Friday night Chef Daniels still knew a satisfied customer when he saw one. Even the little Mo'bair seemed surprised at the dense nutrition in the cooked meat, although the taste was lost on it.
Itack was quick to give them praise. "That was incredible. So much flavour, so many types! That gooey yellow substance..."
"Cheese." added Daniels with a smile.
"Cheese! How do you make that?"
He explained the process best he could, he wasn't a dairy farmer after all, while his staff prepared the the human meal which was much less heart attack inducing and friendlier to the omnivorous palate. Simple Coleslaw with burgers and fixins, tomato, celery, onions, relish, ketchup, mustard. With some pop and chips.
An a while afterwards they where done with the cleaning and getting everything squared away they still had the Brisket to chop up and dish out. Although by their reaction, Chef Daniels felt like he had just offered these wolves ice cream instead.
So that's part 2.
I've got more ideas for this story and would like to expand on it as much as I can. I mean there's only so much I can do with cooking and aliens, but I still see a lot of life left in this series. Even if I do branch away from cooking.
I hope you liked Carnivorous Cookout and hopefully I see you in the next one.
Bannerlord Early Access - Mainline 1.5.3 & Beta Branch 1.5.4 Patch Notes
Previous Beta Hotfixes:
13/10/20Added missing loading screens for Multiplayer maps.
CrashesFixed a bug which crashed the game when the player attempted to pick up an item just before and during the hideout boss cinematic. Item interaction is now disabled during cinematics.
Fixed a bug which prevented heavy infantry, skirmisher, heavy cavalry and light cavalry formations from spawning correctly in certain missions. This could cause crashes.
Fixed a problem which crashed the game when the player transferred troops from one formation to an empty one and then gave a formation order.
Fixed a crash that occurred while dragging-dropping items in the inventory.
Fixed a crash that occurred when a player failed at romance bartering.
Fixed a crash that occurred when an army leader died.
Fixed a crash that occurred when forming caravans.
Fixed a crash that occurred when clicking "take a walk around" after loading, if the save file was created while waiting in a village.
Fixed a crash that occurred when the player bartered with bandits for safe passage.
Fixed a crash that occurred when creating a kingdom.
Fixed a crash that occurred with battle simulations.
Fixed a crash that occurred when involved kingdoms made peace during a simulation.
Fixed a crash that occurred when the main hero tried to marry someone within the same AI-led party.
Fixed a crash that occurred when the player loaded a save file that was taken in the tutorial village menu in the tutorial phase.
Fixed a crash that occurred when the main hero died with an active quest.
Fixed a bug that made companions transport to another city while they were in the main hero's party. Also fixed a crash that occurred when the main hero clicked on the clan tab while the previously mentioned bug occurred.
Fixed a crash that occurred while opening the Smithy in towns.
Fixed some crashes and bugs that occurred when a nonplayer hero died in battle.
PerformanceLoading core assets separately to speed-up first meaningful render during game launch.
Fixed CPU spikes on the campaign map caused by the distance checking algorithm.
Various CPU memory leaks were removed.
Save & LoadClans are saved now. Clans added to XML will not be added to games that have already started and will only be available in new games. Deleting a clan from an XML will not affect save games.
Save game files are now categorized by their game in the UI.
Art5 new empire villages added.
Various improvements on castle gates for better AI behaviours.
Improvements to empire_town_j_siege's navigation mesh for better AI behaviours.
There was a minor visual bug in Aserai parley scenes, about the flags getting into the walls. That bug was fixed on all the levels.
Improvements to workshop scene props scaling.
Visual improvements to Khuzait villages.
Visual improvements on Vlandia keep model.
Added rein rope simulation to chain_horse_harness.
Northern light harness and Imperial riding harness were replaced with newer versions.
Fixed visual issues on Sturgia and Khuzait keep banners.
Improvements on some of the Empire villages:
Empire_village_f, empire_village_g, empire_village_h, empire_village_i, empire_village_jFixed a visual issue on the board game.
Fixed stair physics and some visual issues on one of the Empire towers.
Fixed the player falling into emptiness issue in Empire dungeons.
Fixed prison bars visibility issue in Vlandian dungeons.
Fixed a bug that prevented smooth grass LOD transition.
Improved quality of tree billboard rendering.
Some GI updates were made to the empire_town_j_siege.
Updated and enriched flora on the Tsagaan castle scene. Fixed barrier bugs and some physics issues which were preventing fall damage.
Added a new male voice set.
Added additional colours for skin, hair and eyes to the character creation screen. Various improvements on the textures and blendshapes. Also added bushy eyebrows.
Town Quick Talks:
Players can now talk to notables in town centres, companions in taverns, and lords in keeps through the map conversation screen without a loading screen by using the "Quick Talk" button.
Crafting screen changes
New visuals for the crafting final stage pop-up.Added a new icon to the inventory that shows the current hero's skills on hover.
Stamina bars for smithing heroes so that players can see the stamina without hovering over each hero.
A "Civilian" icon will be shown if the crafted weapon is also usable in the civilian equipment set.
Added sorting to SP scoreboards and now heroes are shown at the top of their party lists.
Added an option to swap character and mount places in the inventory for a more focused view of the equipped mount.
Now if a locked item is removed from the inventory, it won't lose it's lock status when that item is added back to the inventory until the player removes the lock themselves.
Added "Enable Tutorials" and "Reset Tutorials" controls to the campaign options window.
Added new Scouting and Tactics perk icons.
Added a dropdown for hero selection to inventory (similar to character developer).
Added a quest icon to army nameplates if a lord in that army has a quest.
Removed the "over the limit" warning if the player didn't make any changes in the party screen.
Added hero's health and wounded information to hideout troop management window.
Now query pop-ups can be closed with Enter or Escape key.
Added wage of the party and tooltips to troop icons in the clan/parties tab.
Added a confirmation query to "Disband Army" in Kingdom/Armies tab.
Fixes:Fixed the damage amount for throwing weapons showing incorrect values in some cases.
Fixed the rotations of items in the inventory preview window.
Fixed an issue that caused the army management window to close improperly.
Fixed an issue in the hideout troop management window that caused troop counts to go negative.
Fixed an issue that caused modifiers of items to be removed on party screen reset.
Fixed an issue that caused the "Leave Members" button to be enabled while the player was in the tutorial stage.
Fixed an issue in the crafting screen that caused smithing heroes to overflow out of bounds.
Fixed an issue in the crafting screen that caused the order of smelting items to reset after smelting.
Fixed an error in the item preview window that caused reins of a saddle to not be added.
Fixed an error in the crafting screen that caused refinement recipes to not update on smithing hero change.
Fixed an error in the conversation screen that caused wrong relation values to be shown.
Fixed and improved encounter overlay food and morale values and tooltips.
Fixed an error in the conversation screen that caused encounter parties to overflow out of bounds in some cases.
Battles and SiegesA bug in the tactical AI that caused a defending army to become indecisive between different tactical positions and go back and forth was fixed.
Fixed some unintended behaviour of the battering ram that could stop it from delivering damage among other things.
Fixed a bug that caused players to spawn as spectators in battles.
Character Development SystemAdded 31 combat-related primary and secondary throwing perk effects to the game. This should complete all throwing perks in the current design.
Added 25 campaign side Roguery perks.
Added 31 campaign side Tactics perks.
Added 40 campaign side Scouting perks.
Added 38 campaign side Steward perks.
Added 33 campaign side Trade perks.
Fixed the following riding combat perks:
Mounted Warrior: Secondary effect was accidentally set as party leader effect. This is correctly set as a captain effect now.Fixed an issue that caused players to start the campaign with 0 renown regardless of what was chosen in character creation.
Horse Archer: Corrected the perk explanation text.
Sagittarius: Fixed a problem which accidentally reduced ranged accuracy when it should increase it.
Fixed a problem with the epic perk of smithing which changed into another perk after save and load process.
Fixed the levelling up of scouting skills of non-player party leaders.
Fixed the levelling up of heroes when they didn't level up without their skill level up.
Clan and PartyClans will respawn their parties based on settlement location data rather than saved coordinates to avoid situations where data loss during loading could lead to parties glitching into the geometry of settlements. This change f.e. prevents enemy lords from spawning inside settlements and blocking the settlement’s gate.
Healing skill did not affect the healing speed for larger armies. Instead of scaling healing rate with army size, it now scales better with medicine skill. This change should make the medicine skill more meaningful.
-Changed healing for regulars from 0.2 + 0.2 x WoundedCount to a fixed 5 base heal.
-Changed settlement healing for regulars from 8 to 10 settlement base healing.
-Changed the skill bonus for healing regulars from 0.1% per skill level to 1% per skill level.
Increased the lower boundary of the herd speed penalty players receive, if you have a high amount of animals in relation to your party size.
Fixed some issues with the disbanding of dead non-player heroes' parties.
ArmiesFixed a bug that caused NPC lords to calculate influence values wrong while thinking about creating an army.
Kingdoms and DiplomacyAdded new clans.
Fixed an issue that caused nobles to oppose some decisions they had proposed after some time.
Fixed a bug that led to dead clan leaders being awarded fiefs through kingdom decisions.
Fixed a bug that prevented minor faction leaders from being replaced once they were dead.
Settlement Actions (Town, Village, Castle and Hideout)Fixed a bug that forced players into the request entry menu of a castle when they stopped waiting there.
Fixed a bug that enabled players to request a meeting at settlements with lords in their army.
Artisans now offer troops like other notables.
Stashes were added to player-owned castles.
Fixed a bug that prevented the location character list of a settlement to not refresh after prisoners in the settlement were changed.
The same access rules will be applied to all player clan members in a settlement. If a player doesn't have access to the lord’s hall, their clan members (family members, companions) will spawn in the tavern. Once access is gained, all clan members will appear in the lord’s hall.
To fix some potential bugs after releasing/donating prisoners to settlements, a code refactor was made for the party screen.
Fixed a bug that caused the request meeting button to be greyed out even if there are nobles inside.
Fixed a problem with having negative or more than 100% disguise probability values when the player wants to sneak into a town.
Fixed a bug that caused the Land Tax policy tooltip to display incorrect numbers.
Fixed a bug that led to notable supports not being updated during the game.
Quests & IssuesThe “Prodigal Son” issue quest has been implemented.
The "Village Needs Draught Animals" issue quest has been implemented.
“Lord Needs Horses” quest will now cancel correctly if the quest giver is imprisoned.
Fixed an issue with the "Inn & Out" quest that caused it to not provide any rewards to players even when the quest was completed successfully.
Players will be able to sell poachers characters to progress in the “Manual Laborers” quest.
Some dialogue updates were made to the “Company Of Trouble” quest.
The “Needs Help With Outlaws” quest will fail if a raid starts in the quest settlement or war breaks out between the player and the quest giver's faction.
Quest NPC skills for “The Spy Among Us” quest were updated. NPC's will have higher skill values and they will scale according to quest difficulty.
The “Needs Access to Village Commons” quest will cancel if a raid starts in the target settlement. Players are now allowed to simulate the quest battle.
Improvements & fixes related to “Notable Wants Daughter Found” quest:
Rogue characters and their equipment are changed.
New dialogues and new ending added to the quest if a raid starts in the village that the rogue and the daughter escaped from.
New pop-ups are added when entering the quest villages based on the village status.
The quest will be cancelled if war breaks out between the player's and the quest giver's faction.
Fixed a bug that caused quest pop-ups to appear multiple times.
Improvements & fixes related to “Manual Laborers” quest:
Added a prisoner transfer limit (random between 50-80). Players won't be able to trade unlimited prisoners.
New dialogues were added to the quest.
Improvements & fixes related to “Escort Caravan” quest:
Every time the quest caravan exits a town, the caravan leader notifies the player about where the caravan is going.
Bandit parties are divided into 3 levels. Each wave will appear based on chance when the caravan exits a settlement.
Bandits will not spawn in front of the town gate.
Quest time limit added.
Fixed a bug that decreases the caravan party's speed too much after winning a hard fight.
Some dialogues are updated. Now the quest giver gives the info about the reward amount.
Improvements & fixes related to the “Family Feud” quest:
New dialogues were added after the quest fight.Fixed a bug that caused the ”Train Troops” quest to be cancelled if the borrowed troops are selected for Rival Gang quest battle.
Agent behaviours were improved after the fight.
Fixed a crash that occurred when the player opened a conversation with the target notable via the Quick Talk button.
Fixed some camera-related bugs while multiple conversations were active.
Fixed a bug that causes players to get double quest rewards after completing a quest with an alternative solution.
Alternative solution companion reward experiences are tweaked in all quests.
Improved main storyline kingdom creation quest logs.
Fixed a bug that caused the quest parties in “Caravan Ambush” quest to remain still after battle.
Fixed a bug related to the "Caravan Ambush" quest that caused caravans to get stuck in towns.
Fixed a bug that caused the player to be stuck in the tutorial when the player loaded an autosave that was taken in battle with Radagos.
Fixed the bug that let Story Mode heroes die in battles.
Fixed a bug that made Radagos disappear on Tutorial Phase.
Conversations & EncountersAfter trading with a caravan, the player now returns to the greeting dialogue instead of the map screen.
Fixed a bug that allowed players to open conversations with prisoners without entering a settlement.
Fixed a bug that caused the army menu to open after talking to an army member and initiating combat through dialogue. Instead of the army menu, the encounter menu will open.
Fixed a bug that froze the game when quick talk dialogue and Rescue Family quest Radagos dialogue conflicted.
Many of the conversations that were using the old mission system were changed to the new quicker conversation system.
Added clan leader noble titles in dialogue boxes.
Ensured player's children have met the player to avoid an awkward conversation.
Expanded post-battle comments for army battles where the player was a participant.
Added new comments to frequently encountered conversations.
Fixed the bug that caused some nobles to talk like the main hero's brother.
OtherFixed some troops appearing older than they should.
One of the Battanian companion templates was using armour that was too high tier. It now uses a weaker one.
Starting age for the main character is now 19. Main character's brother and mother now also have more fitting ages.
Body armours with arm, leg covers now provide more armour to those parts. Armour pieces have been rebalanced and recalibrated. Most troops now use different armour pieces that are balanced for their tier and troop type.
Some behaviour of advanced training melee NPCs has been fixed.
Tournament participants don't spawn near other participants anymore.
Added notifications for prisoners who escape from our settlements or our party.
An issue with the taskbar icon of the game was fixed.
Troops belonging to a faction will use faction colours instead of civilian colours in civilian scenes.
Players can use ALT + LMB to escort a party.
Added encyclopedia entries for imperial factions.
Fixed typos, gave lords and minor faction heroes a minimum riding skill of 100 to make sure they can ride assigned horses.
Fixed a bug that caused villager parties to go to a castle or town while disbanding.
Removed a shield from Tacteos that was unsuitable for his character.
Design & Balance
Crush Through:Increased crush through energy threshold.
Made it slightly easier to crush through with 2h maces in relation to the energy threshold change.
Game ModesDestroying siege equipment granting gold during warmup is fixed.
Map RelatedDruimmor Forest was fixed in terms of barriers, exploits and visual bugs. Proper barriers have been applied on cliffs and roofs. Also, there are some fixes made in Ruins of Jawwali, which includes having matching rock and cliff textures, fixing the barriers around unused areas and fixing the navmesh problems.
Physics problems like getting stuck in the wooden columns and visual bugs are solved in the skirmish scenes Trading Post and Town Outskirts. Many exploitable situations are eliminated.
Fixed many possible causes for crashes in Baravenos Encirclement.
Other - MiscellaneousFixed a condition where the rider's animation state gets broken when the mount gets killed while the rider is mounting
Player was not losing any score on suicides, fixed.
The number of missiles in quivers while selecting a character fixed.
Server & NetworkClan game creator no longer crashes upon returning to the lobby.
UIAdded dead teammate indicators.
Added sorting to MP clans tab.
Now party member names will be shown in a different colour in the 'ALT' behaviour in MP battles.
Small tweaks and improvements.
UIAdded UI Scale control.
Changed the "Show Banners On Friendly Troops" option into a slider that controls the opacity of these banners.
Added a new (or old depending on how you look at it) Warband style 3 part crosshair.
"Finalize Chat" key is now re-bindable.
Separated general kill-feed (top right) and personal feed (centre middle) controls in the options.
Gauntlet memory and performance improvements.
Fixed some layout issues that appeared in panels that come out of frame.
PerformanceSignificant performance improvements for the animation system. This will benefit situations with lots of animations such as battles and very populated town scenes.
AnimationsIdle and standing animations of agents now always start from the beginning instead of a random location, for both better visual effects and optimisation.
CombatChasing agents followed the same path, which caused them to move in a line. Now they spread out a little bit, which looks more natural.
Agents surround enemy agents and choose a position based on the weapon length of the enemy. If the enemy had a longer weapon like a spear, the surrounding agents moved a bit far from the enemy. Now they compare the enemy's weapon length with their weapon length and move closer if the enemy's weapon is longer.
Reduced the angle of possible rear ups.
Increased rearing damage threshold a tiny bit.
Braced spears can now also rear-up cavalry.
OtherFixed, when someone mounts a horse that is running away, the horse becomes unattackable beyond map borders.
ModdingA new cheat "reserve_houses_in_settlement" that activates all houses in a settlement has been added for testing purposes. The cheat reserves and adds 1 dummy NPC to all houses in the settlement that the player is currently in - making them easily accessible. The reserved tag for the houses is not cleared after saving, so use the cheat with caution.
Welding multiple navigation mesh vertex pairs enabled.
Level names for the scenes can now be renamed from the Scene Editor.
Some formation orders that were omitted from public namespace were added for use in mods.
Improved moddability of the UI assets, now UI assets are separated into modules so mods can either add new assets or overwrite existing ones.
Improved sprite sheet generator performance.