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M Humanoid (Human) Medium 8 | HP 52/52 Temporary: 17 | AC 29/16/24 | Fort +5 Reflex +9 Will +6 (+2 vs Mind Effecting, -2 vs Evil) | CMD 22; Flat-Footed 17| Initiative +5 | Influence : 1/5 | Spirt Dance: 2/19 | Active Spells:

On their way to pick up some nifty new clothes, Captain Muse drops by the Sonder to say a quick hello and check on the progress of the ship's repairs, and considers making a pitstop by the Public Counting House to drop off some of the gold he's carrying, but in view of that Halak and his crew are themselves in view, he concludes both that a pickpocket would have to be mad to come anywhere near him, and that the bank would have to be mad to let his little company inside.

So it is that he makes his way to Eastman's Livery Emporium to outfit some orcs. Muse keeps the straightest of faces as he watches old Eastman's own expression at the dozen-odd furred and armored orcish outlanders who just trudged into his shop and abode.

"Brolin." the old man states with all the condescending longsuffering Conrad Eastman can muster. Which is rather a lot. He perfected the art of sounding impatiently patient a lifetime ago as Captain Conrad Eastman of the Salt Dragon.

Captain Muse grins. "Miss me? No, no, don't answer that. Look, this is Halak, Wudugog, Dumburz, Gnarlug, Kodagog, Opkagut, Targhed, Oghuglat, Ohulhug, Sahgorim, Gat, Bandagh, Mergigoth, Vakgu, Zaraugug, and Dular. Gat, Suhgorim, Ohulhug, Oghuglat, Targed, Opkagut, Kodagog, Gnarlug, Dumburz, Wudugog, Dular, Zaraugug, Vakgu, Mergigoth, Bandagh, Halak, meet Conrad Eastman. Conrad Eastman, meet Halak, Wudugog, Dumburz, Gnarlug, Kodagog, Opkagut, Targhed, Oghuglat, Ohulhug, Sahgorim, Gat, Bandagh, Mergigoth, Vakgu, Zaraugug, Gnarlug, Dumburz, Wudugog, and Dular. They need something to wear in town."

Eastman shakes his head longsufferingly and chuckles. "I'll see what I can do for you."

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M Humanoid (Human) Medium 8 | HP 52/52 Temporary: 17 | AC 29/16/24 | Fort +5 Reflex +9 Will +6 (+2 vs Mind Effecting, -2 vs Evil) | CMD 22; Flat-Footed 17| Initiative +5 | Influence : 1/5 | Spirt Dance: 2/19 | Active Spells:

Weird to think that we made it out of that place, after almost a year and so many close calls.

It was one hell of a story arc, and I'll raise an imaginary glass to the superb GM who GMed it, as well as all of my fellow players!

Might I be so bold as to suggest we rest for the night? We probably don't want to try traversing that bendy river in the dark, especially considering that the party's sailor is somewhat preoccupied.

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M Humanoid (Human) Medium 8 | HP 52/52 Temporary: 17 | AC 29/16/24 | Fort +5 Reflex +9 Will +6 (+2 vs Mind Effecting, -2 vs Evil) | CMD 22; Flat-Footed 17| Initiative +5 | Influence : 1/5 | Spirt Dance: 2/19 | Active Spells:

If someone finds a way through the rubble with perception, can the rest of us follow behind?

Unrelatedly, this is a thing that I drew.

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M Humanoid (Human) Medium 8 | HP 52/52 Temporary: 17 | AC 29/16/24 | Fort +5 Reflex +9 Will +6 (+2 vs Mind Effecting, -2 vs Evil) | CMD 22; Flat-Footed 17| Initiative +5 | Influence : 1/5 | Spirt Dance: 2/19 | Active Spells:

It's pretty obvious from his face that Algric isn't doing well, and the memory reader has an educated guess as to why. Muse falls back a step to walk side by side with the dwarf.

"Algric, have you ever heard," he begins, in nonchalant tones suggesting anything but a deliberate attempt to convince or console, "the tale of Albert Norwich?"

"Believe it or not, he really lived, once upon a time. I heard this from the horse's mouth. Well, Rhalak Spiritdancer isn't a horse, and doesn't have a mouth, but . . . at any rate, it happened in the first generation of Kazad Gravr, back before these halls were a well-kept secret. Norwich was a shepherd. As was his father, and father before that, and so on as far as oral tradition stretched - they weren't big on writing things down back then, see. It wasn't always an easy job, and it wasn't uncommon that he and his clan would have to fight goblins, wolves, and the weather for the right to life and livelihood. And I can't honestly say that he loved his job. I don't know nearly enough about him, but from what I do know I know he was a grumbler. But it was tradition, it was his family legacy, and it was his."

Muse looks sad, recounting what comes next. "From the fact that I've heard this story, you might have guessed that his life wasn't happily uneventful. Raiders came. I'm told they called themselves the Geirdmadra, and I've traveled far enough to tell you definitively - there aren't any Geirmadra left. Dwarves are nothing if not thorough. These raiders treated murder like it was a game, and their battle cry went "this one's mine." The Norwich clan was taken by surprise in the night, and they were massacred. Albert was one of few survivors who went to the dwarves of Kazad Gravr. The Geirmadra were a threat to everyone who loved peace and wanted to live happy boring lives, but Albert wasn't thinking about anyone but himself. He wanted revenge. Kazad Gravr, though, they took longer views. They worried that the Geirmadra might turn their eyes to the dwarves' stone halls, and as they'd always been proactive in managing threats to their security the Rune Wardens went to field. Albert knew the lay of the land, and fought bravely beside them. By the time the Geirdmadra were beaten human and dwarf considered each other fast friends. Together they identified Norwiches fallen kin, and together interred them in a grotto held sacred to Clan Norwich, and a priest of Torag oversaw the ceremony."

"That much," Muse says, adjusting his hat and gesticulating, "survived the retellings more or less intact. Some details were lost or changed, but in the grand scheme of things they don't really matter. What happened after, though, that's been forgotten. See, the dwarves of Kazad Gravr wanted to dig a tunnel to and build an outpost in the grotto where the Norwiches were buried. They had a damn good reason for it. They wanted more advance warning of threats like the Giermadra, and they wanted to mobilize faster if and when one appeared. But Albert said no, unconditionally. They wouldn't move the bones of his family and his ancestors, and he'd die on that hill if need be. Kazad Gravr thought he was being unreasonable, but he was an ally and a friend." Muse gives a sad grin and shakes his head. "So they waited to build their barbican until after Norwich was dead and buried."

The captain shrugs his shoulders as if to say 'they really should have consulted a medium about this.' "Albert Norwich's ghost came back to haunt the place, because of course. And he had friends inside Kazad Gravrs walls that'd been against the idea from the start. Eventually they decided to respect the dead man's wishes, collapsed the tunnel they'd built and abandoned the project. There's no moral to this story, it's just a thing that happened. But if I were to amend one in . . ."

Muse is quiet for a moment, before concluding his tale. "The orcs came from the same direction as the Giermadra did, those thousands of years ago. I don't know what kind of a difference it would have made, a few more days warning and one more place for the Rune Wardens to deploy. I don't know if it would have made any difference, it seems likely that Kazad Gravr has outposts further flung then one they considered making in it's earliest days. But if you asked me about it, I'd say Albert Norwich was in the wrong."

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M Humanoid (Human) Medium 8 | HP 52/52 Temporary: 17 | AC 29/16/24 | Fort +5 Reflex +9 Will +6 (+2 vs Mind Effecting, -2 vs Evil) | CMD 22; Flat-Footed 17| Initiative +5 | Influence : 1/5 | Spirt Dance: 2/19 | Active Spells:

It's with trepidation and shaking hands that Muse takes hold of the sapphire-inlaid silver bands. To his sight, they glow like a beacon even against the backdrop of the other dwarven artifacts. As if there were three suns in the sky, the suns with him in the room, and then also something Else that is to the sun what the sun is to the moon. But that's where the analogy breaks down. Because the suns didn't all glow with light. You can get used to light. By going blind. And once you've seen light it holds no surprises for you. It comes in different colors, but that's about it.

Sure, there was light. Centuries of it. Light from hearths and forges, snippets of lives preserved because they were significant to the person who lived them. Centuries of light compressed into a single moment as Muse's brain tried, despite itself, to wrap itself around what he was holding. And along with that light came happiness and sorrow and disappointment and wrath and relief and confusion and humor and a deep seated contentedness that that made him think of the Sonder and every other emotion known to humans or dwarves. Muse laughed and cried, holding those silver bands, and didn't have the spare presence of thought to care what anyone thought of that. It helped the Spirit Dancer not one whit that he'd carried the First King's sword until he'd grown used to it's light. You can't get used to a flood of unique memories. Muse was learning new and exciting ways to go blind.

But one thought stood out from all the others, because it was his. More an emotion than a thought, though, or two emotions - wonder for what had been, and despair at what was lost.

The dwarves had a tradition of Spirit Dancers. Psychic powers tended to run in families, but they jumped and skipped where they pleased. Dwarven lives were long enough for one generation to train the one after the one after the next. In a secluded mountain hideaway, far from the memories of civilization, children were trained by their parent's grandparents, taught techniques to manage their curse and gift. Ghosts didn't chase them out to sea, they didn't have to figure things out as they went.

Muse thinks, I wish these were my lives that I'm watching. But I'm glad I got to see it.

"Kazador," Muse manages through the onslaught of emotions and centuries of light, "Kazador. If I meet a dwarf who who sees the ghosts like I do, I'll teach them how to Dance and I'll be happy to let them have any and all ancestral doodads on my person. That . . . came out a lot more flippantly than I meant it. I'm as sincere about this as I've ever been about anything ever - a dwarf could do more with these than I ever could. And I'd hate for the world to lose something like that."

ᚨᚾᛞ᛫ᛟᚾ᛫ᚦᚨᛏ᛫ᚲᛟᚾᛞᛁᛏᛁᛟᚾ᛬ᛃᛟᚢ᛫ᚺᚨᚡᛖ᛫ᛗᛃ᛫ᚨᛁᛞ, says the new voice in his head, in a voice like mountains shifting. Living with Legacy helped with that, at least.

"Thank you for letting me borrow these," Muse subvocalizes, "until we find their rightful owner."

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M Humanoid (Human) Medium 8 | HP 52/52 Temporary: 17 | AC 29/16/24 | Fort +5 Reflex +9 Will +6 (+2 vs Mind Effecting, -2 vs Evil) | CMD 22; Flat-Footed 17| Initiative +5 | Influence : 1/5 | Spirt Dance: 2/19 | Active Spells:

"Without him, and Nelly, we would all be dead," Kazador states, weary. Muse wonders how the dwarf must feel, forced to watch helplessly from the antimagic field while battle raged just in front of him.

Pride cometh before the fall, it's said, and if you've a sin it's Pride. There's a lesson to be learned here, and it's standing right in front of you. Muse raises his eyes to look Kazador over. You learned something unpleasant about yourself today, self. How will you respond to it? Not by gambling or drinking irresponsibly; you're lucky enough to have a support net, people like Tiyeri and Torval who'd look out for you. You'd never end up alone and hungry on the streets, especially considering that you can conjure food out of thin air. But does this shatter your resolve, your confidence? Is this where you head back to your ship and do things you know you're good at?

"You're quiet. What're you thinking?" he whispers to Legacy.

"I think that you are growing into your role," the vast being rumbles.

Muse considers that for a long minute. "I don't follow," he says at last.

"Kazad Gavr is secure. Your mission here nearly done. Yet in your private thoughts you frame returning to the sea as something to be avoided, a personal failing."

A cold shiver runs down Muse's back. Thinking, he's right, I'm done, crisis averted we beat the Council to the weapon and now I'm done and how does he know what I'm thinking?

"Most are defined by their Age," Legacy muses, "live the life they are given and cannot see outside of it. Cannot see the past and the future. You walk a road that leads to becoming one who defines their Age, and commands Time and Destiny itself. The choices you make, the company you keep, these will change the course of history forever."

That isn't remotely true, Muse thinks, hopes. I'm a bit player. Aloud, he whispers, "I need to heal myself, and then I need Omit to cast false life for me, and then it's Scabb's turn. So I'll talk to you later."

Channeling the Heirophant and casting a few healing spells.

CSW: 3d8 + 8 + 2 ⇒ (2, 3, 5) + 8 + 2 = 20
CLW: 1d8 + 5 + 2 ⇒ (8) + 5 + 2 = 15
False Life: 1d10 + 8 ⇒ (10) + 8 = 18

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M Humanoid (Human) Medium 8 | HP 52/52 Temporary: 17 | AC 29/16/24 | Fort +5 Reflex +9 Will +6 (+2 vs Mind Effecting, -2 vs Evil) | CMD 22; Flat-Footed 17| Initiative +5 | Influence : 1/5 | Spirt Dance: 2/19 | Active Spells:

Did we just win?

Muse is queasy from hitting the antimagic field, the silence in his mind where he's accustomed to spirits talking to him throws off his concentration, he hurts all over from the gargantuan tendrils squeezing and pulling at him, and the burns on his face, well, they burn. But that's not why it doesn't feel like a victory.

He ran. Worse. He abandoned his team. It was important to Muse, to his self-image, that he was the sort of person who'd risk their life if that's what it took. He'd faced down pirates and plagues, after all! Stared down sea-serpents and spat into waves taller than the mast of his ship. Because, this he knew, if you throw yourself headlong into adversity as if success were the only option, you've got a shot at, eyes ahead, seeing a path to victory and, shield first, being close enough to the action to take it.

It was important to Muse, to his self-image, that he was the sort of person who never gave up hope, who'd throw himself headlong into the jaws of defeat grasping, snatching at victory. It was important to him that when the chips were down, the whole crew could look to see him quaffing a quaff of Cayden's finest, unperturbed. Even if he wasn't really, people would see him and it'd reassure them, reassure them that the captain would figure something out.

It was important to Muse's self-image that when there aren't any good options, only degrees of failure to choose from, that he was always the last to retreat. It's a habit that's earned him a few arrows in his front and back, but he's gotten good at dodging those and has Savvy to heal the ones he can't. I can handle whatever's thrown at me, is his philosophy, so better me than someone else.

But then he'd had something thrown at him that he couldn't handle. He'd given it his all and when that didn't work wracked his brain for an oblique angle, something out of the box or stupid enough to work. But he couldn't even see the first step on a path that led to victory. So he'd ran. Worse, he'd left people behind him, because he didn't think he could save them and didn't want to die with them. But they stayed, and eyes ahead, metaphorical shields forward, they'd been there to see a moment of weakness and take advantage of it. And now Muse forced to confront the fact that he isn't as brave as he thought he was. That he isn't unconditionally brave, like Fyrtor. That he has a breaking point, and this was past it.

And then Muse realizes why it is that this doesn't feel like a victory to him. It's because it isn't. It's because he already failed, and only for a second thought "did we just win?" because at some point he'd redefined victory as "get everyone left out of this alive" from "get everyone out alive" and that realization hits him like cold water and he lowers his hat to hide his eyes.

And then because Muse isn't the sort to stand around and do nothing he draws his bow and fires an arrow at the same square everyone else is shooting at.

To hit, sickened, nonproficient, unmagicked: 1d20 + 10 - 2 - 4 ⇒ (16) + 10 - 2 - 4 = 20 damage: 1d6 ⇒ 3
Miss Chance: 1d100 ⇒ 82

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Sir RicHunt Attenwampi wrote:
Drejk wrote:
Sir RicHunt Attenwampi wrote:
Edit: Oooo, would dragons get bezoars?
I think that draconic bezoars would be composed of teeth, bones, hair, and some other undigested remains of their prey, so they would be closer to owl's pellets than cat's hairballs.
Just needs a little necromancy to animate as a bezoarombie then, or maybe as a death bezoar knight.

This is happening.

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DungeonmasterCal wrote:
My singing could curdle water.

Could curdle water. xD

I look forward to the day when brain machine interfaces are somewhat more common, and humans won’t be limited even by their imaginations.

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Ugh. Speaking of dentistry, I’m getting my wisdom teeth cut out later this month. Best to have it done while you’re young, I’m told.

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Give your followers scrolls of merciful magic missile. You have plenty enough liquid cash.

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Populating a dungeon or three with a variety of monsters is a tricky thing at times. I popped in to say that it's worth noting that a variety of monsters isn't always a good thing. The Angry GM puts it better than I could, so I'll let him explain.

The Angry GM wrote:

Why Mega Man is Better than Keep on the Borderlands

It is ALWAYS better to build a level from a small collection of assets mixed and match together than it is to build it from anything you want. ALWAYS. The trouble is, the reasons are not always obvious.

First of all, remember that D&D is a tactical game. One of the things that makes combat interesting is that the players can make lots of choices about how to engage. Do we close with those enemies, do we let them come to us, do we use ranged combat, melee combat, do I spend resources on a burning hands spell or just throw a cantrip, and so on and so on. Honestly, if you build combats that are tactically interesting, you’ll find most players respond really well. I’m watching a group of complete neophytes to D&D RIGHT NOW who are mainly into story and character nonetheless get excited by exploiting the tactics in the combat sections because they are learning how to exploit their tactics.

But to allow for that kind of interesting tactical play, you have to build for it. Let me give you an example. In a recent game I ran, I included these dinosaur-like raptor enemies. They were fast, but they were really good jumpers. And if they could cover enough ground before their attack (by running or jumping), they did hefty extra damage. Now, tactically speaking, that isn’t too complex to deal with. You don’t want to fight them at range because they will close quickly and do extra damage in the process. Instead, you want to get right in their faces as quickly as possible and pin them down. Or slow them down with spells or other effects.

The problem is, players generally won’t figure that s$&% out in the first fight. Or they will figure it out late in the fight, after they’ve been screwed over by the charge and jump. It wasn’t until the SECOND fight with those bastards that the players really exploited the tactics. And they felt really good about winning that second fight. Because they took far less damage.

You really can’t make any combat tactically interesting until the players start to understand how their enemies actually work. The first fight with a new opponent is never the most interesting one. The same is true for traps and other obstacles. The first pit trap is a surprise. Either it hurts the players or it doesn’t. When the party spots the second pit trap that completely blocks the hallway they need to go down, that’s the interesting one. That’s the one where they have to figure out how to cross 15 feet of hallway without touching the ground.

Speaking of pits, the third fight with those lizard monsters happened in a room that was divided in half by a ravine. The monsters could easily retreat across the ravine with their prodigious jumping skills. They started disengaging, jumping across the ravine, and then leaping back into the fray the next round to do massive damage. Suddenly, the ranged combatants became more important again with those enforced hit and run tactics.

With one ravine and one lizard monster, I created three fights that got progressively more interesting. Hell, imagine those lizard monsters in a room with pit traps.

Now, imagine I have two different lizard monsters. One spits acid. One is a jumping pouncer. Do you charge the acid spitter and leave the pouncers free to run around? Do you pin down the pouncers and suffer the acid attacks? What if those creatures have a ravine. How many different encounters can I build with acid spitters, pouncers, and ravines? I could fill a ten room dungeon with tactically interesting challenges with three elements.

And it isn’t always about adding challenge. Imagine the satisfaction when the PCs enter a small, constrained room with a couple of pouncers they can easily pin down. Suddenly, they feel powerful.

You don’t get that if room one is pouncers, room two is spitters, room three is a pit, room four is kobolds, room five is a momma dinosaur, and room six is a kobold sorcerer.

And you might say “well, it’s hard to design tactically interesting encounters, I’m not good at it, so variety is easier.” Sure, it is. But if you impose a hard-and-fast rule that you only have two monsters and one environment hazard to use and you have to fill eight rooms, you GET good at it. Because you have to. Limitations and handicaps force you to design better things.

And it isn’t just about combat. Or traps. Imagine a hazard like green slime. Green slime hides on the ceiling and plops on you and sticks to you and dissolves your skin. The first time, it’ll surprise the hell out of someone. After that, the party will start looking up. They will see it every time. How many different things can you do with green slime assuming the party is never going to be surprised by green slime again?

Try it right now. Think of how many different ways to use green slime if the party is already looking up.

On the ceiling above the door the party wants to go through. On the ceiling inside the door so the party can’t see it from outside the room. Several patches above a narrow walkway over a drop. On the ceiling above a treasure chest. On the ceiling above the pedestal that has the book that is easily dissolved by acid. Blocking a narrow hallway. See what I mean? If I told you had to use green slime four times in a dungeon, you’d HAVE TO get creative.

Something that I like doing is preparing the PCs for hard fights by having them fight similar creatures ahead of time. In a dungeon that I'm in the middle of sketching out, around other projects, there's a fight I wrote, and in fact designed much of the dungeon around, against a black pudding in a room with a resetting silver darts trap. This has to the potential to be a positively brutal fight at the level the PCs face it, so I don't spring it on them. But I can't warn them ahead of time that it's coming, either - that'd take all the fun out it.

What I'm doing is, first the PCs will fight a handful of grey oozes on their way through the dungeon. The tactics the party learns fighting the oozes are directly applicable to the pudding - they're both ambush-grapplers that melt equipment. (The adventure assumes automatic bonus progression, so it's not so bad.) The PCs'll also run into a number of the silver dart traps, in places where it'd make sense for the dungeon's creator to trap - they're built into the iron doors that protect high-security vaults, and the floors in front of the doors that are trapped are often marked with scratches from when wandering oozes or vermin set off the trap. The PCs should learn to avoid the traps pretty quickly. (Though some rooms inaccessible to bugs and oozes won't have the tell-tale floor scratches, and combats might make them position recklessly. The important thing is that the traps become a known quality before they are ever particularly dangerous.) And then they'll fight a black pudding - but not in a room with a darts trap. Only then, that the groundwork is set, would I submit a party to trap and pudding alongside, only once they know their enemy well enough to plan around it's strengths and weaknesses, despite that they didn't likely expect this scenario specifically.

Relating this to your mothman, perhaps you could introduce the party to some of his tactics ahead of time? A wizard with greater invisibility and black tentacles, an aboleth with project image and illusions and domination, a creature or five with fear auras so that the party's wised up and gotten some kind of protection against his mind-rending gaze, etc. So then when it comes down to the climatic fight with this rogue agent of fate, the PCs are forced to put together all the lessons they've learned over the course of their adventures. Heck, maybe have the dungeon leading up to the final fight deliberately evoke the bosses of days past, to put the PCs in a nostalgic mood here at the end of the adventure, to remind them of what all they've done and how far they've come.

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Unless you need it for prereqs, I see little reason for nabbing power attack before level three or five. Especially on a two-handed fighter. 1d10+6 or more damage will drop the vast majority of creatures you fight at such low levels already, reducing your accuracy to put them three points further past zero is an awful trade.

I’d rather have combat reflexes or toughness or improved initiative, or even whatever prereqs you’d have to take later down the road anyway to make your build work.

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DungeonmasterCal wrote:
It's been pretty quiet the last couple of days.

Awkward quiet, or companionable quiet? Well, now I’m here, so it’s awkward loud. ‘Poligies.

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M Humanoid (Human) Medium 8 | HP 52/52 Temporary: 17 | AC 29/16/24 | Fort +5 Reflex +9 Will +6 (+2 vs Mind Effecting, -2 vs Evil) | CMD 22; Flat-Footed 17| Initiative +5 | Influence : 1/5 | Spirt Dance: 2/19 | Active Spells:

"Right. All right, all right, here we go. It's something that I was looking to address while we're here anyway; not the most graceful segue, but it's an awkward topic all around - raiding party tactics and the how, when, where, and whys of killing people." The captain rubs his eyes and puts his thoughts in order. "We're outnumbered by a hostile force, and that informs our tactics. Since we woke up today we've exploited magical silence, alchemical noise, and defensive fortifications for everything that they're worth, and at times it was barely enough to keep us alive. So when you argue that we shouldn't make things harder on ourselves, by the gods do I see where you come from." He raises his hands in a conciliatory gesture.

But it's with sudden vehemence that Muse says, "But I can't agree. Doing the right thing is always harder than doing the convenient thing. I mean, it's practically a tautology; you have my word as a well-traveled Medium that Iustia and the Concordat are just the newest faces on the ancient tradition of powerful people making their lives more convenient at the cost of other peoples'. And I'll also guarantee that at least most of the Concordat Council and the schlubs in King Stephen's orbit harbor at least faint misgivings about what they're doing or what they enable. It's just they'd rather take the path of least resistance than do what's right."

Increasingly unable to keep the frustration out of his voice, Muse pronounces,"we're outnumbered by a hostile force, and yes, that informs our tactics. War's an unpleasant affair, and I've waded through the cognitive debris of people who weren't able or willing to prioritize their friends and themselves over the people trying to kill them. Wherever possible my recommendation is to trick, trap, ambush, divide, conquer, and generally pit their weakness against our strength. But on the slim chance that parley could avoid a pitched battle, or when the worst of the fighting is behind us and I think the survivors might be willing to capitulate . . . I intend to ask!"

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It's never happened in a game I've been a part of, but I do have an anecdote for you. Have you ever read the Tale of an Industrious Rogue?

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Slim Jim wrote:
There's no reason your "samurai" can't also be a paladin.

Ohhhhh, I see.

I'll second the Warrior Poet, 'tis amazeballs!

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M Humanoid (Human) Medium 8 | HP 52/52 Temporary: 17 | AC 29/16/24 | Fort +5 Reflex +9 Will +6 (+2 vs Mind Effecting, -2 vs Evil) | CMD 22; Flat-Footed 17| Initiative +5 | Influence : 1/5 | Spirt Dance: 2/19 | Active Spells:

“Well put!” Muse opines, still miffed about the “idealists can’t be compromised with” thing. “Barney as a box of crickets. Happens to older ghosts, sometimes, they fray at the edges. It’s worth noting, though, that none of this is news to me. I’m not a unwitting proxy unknowingly working to put a ghost in control of thousands of people’s lives. Savvy’s pretty alright when you get to know her; acerbic and amoral and a little opportunistic, but pretty alright. One of the first mobile spirits I found, in fact, and no small part of the reason for my commercial success, as it is. If I thought she was a dangerous destabilizing force, I’d be less cavalier. She’s been crafting a point by point rebuttal, so I’ll let her get on that.”

“Eat your scarf then, elf,” Muse matches her tone and cadence, “My actions are consistent, from a perspective outside self righteousness and moral impetus. My only regret in my life’s pursuit of such is that I failed to haunt the veritable fortress I’d prepared to inhabit until long after the city around it turned to dust, living on instead in this coin. Life is short - for us humans at least. And mine shorter than most. I wasn’t forty when I realized my natural life was drawing to it’s close - at forty you lived at your parents’ expense! You can wax moral about my ‘fear of death’ five centuries hence, when your fingers can’t grip your bowstring and your vision has preceded you to the courts of the gods. Fear and wisdom both come with age. Perhaps they’re indistinguishable.”

“You call my adherence to Abadar’s teachings into question and suggest that the Judge of the Gods would disapprove of besting Death. But “all things die” is neither law nor Law. Axiomites do not die unless killed, nor will the petitioner that discarded me. In the Book of Numbers Abadar writes no structures against elves, wights, or dragons, long lived beings all - and if the rules to the game we play are written such that a careful reading shows the path to join a longer lived class of being, it would be a faithful Abadaran who finds it.”

“You call my respect for Abadar’s advice and wisdom into question in suggesting I lived a life of thwarted ambition and self-deceit. But this is not the case. My path to immortality only began when I realized the urgency of the endeavor; I lived perhaps a decade grasping for the unattainable. And it was not a path I undertook lightly.”

“You call my character into question and suggest I see Captain Muse as nothing more than a convenient proxy. But the captain himself will tell you that we both benefit from the arrangement. Is that not the very definition of friendship?”

“You call my commitment to Abadar into question by suggesting that Abadarans must be constantly seeking out agents of chaos and destroying them. This is not only untrue but a patently absurd avenue of attack, and I’m disappointed in you.”

“My successful search for justice is the only reason we can talk here today. I find honesty so important that we are having this frank conversation. And I have only thrice knowingly broken a moral law, each time before I was nineteen years of age. I am a cleric of Abadar, and I’d like to see you eat your scarf.”

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M Humanoid (Human) Medium 8 | HP 52/52 Temporary: 17 | AC 29/16/24 | Fort +5 Reflex +9 Will +6 (+2 vs Mind Effecting, -2 vs Evil) | CMD 22; Flat-Footed 17| Initiative +5 | Influence : 1/5 | Spirt Dance: 2/19 | Active Spells:

“Cynical psychic echo that I am, I don’t trust idealists with the power to rule. All too often their absolutest morals conflict with one another’s, or what’s worse, with reality. And there’s no compromising with them. Rest safe knowing that when I attain power, it won’t be with an eye towards foisting my beliefs or values on anyone else.”

Somewhat miffed about Savvy’s assertion that idealists don’t compromise, I compromise. I never not compromise, even when it’d be easier not to, the Captain points out, “You’ve said what you won’t do. But that wasn’t the question.”

Savvy tries to explain why world domination is an end in and of itself. “I seek utter freedom from compulsion; those without power are at the mercy of those with it and only a great fool trusts someone who isn’t themself. I want the freedom that is destroying those who’d dare force my hand with utmost convenience from the safety of my writing desk, instead of hunting down pirates and orcs in person. The freedom that comes from nine hundred years of wealth compounding. I sampled this freedom while alive, in dilute form, and I acquired a taste for it. As to what I will do, when I can do anything, as to what goals I will pursue? Whatever I want at the time. That’s the entire point.”

Muse repeats this to Mel.

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Kamea wrote:
For those that are interested. His Rules

Fascinating. For those who don’t want to read through all of that, 1-9 casters get double spellslots per day.

Having read it, though, I don’t see why enervation is such a problem. Shouldn’t the enervated BBEG get a new save, using their lowest saving throw, for the first few rounds of the effect?

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M Humanoid (Human) Medium 8 | HP 52/52 Temporary: 17 | AC 29/16/24 | Fort +5 Reflex +9 Will +6 (+2 vs Mind Effecting, -2 vs Evil) | CMD 22; Flat-Footed 17| Initiative +5 | Influence : 1/5 | Spirt Dance: 2/19 | Active Spells:

"For the record," Savvy begins, "I resent being interrogated by any elf so naive as the good Melira Elanariel. Were it not for her, we'd have the Concordat ship at our disposal at this very moment. Those unfortunate few who find their morals absolute always toe the line betwixt asset and liability - and gifted a healer and archer as she might be, I'm quite of the conviction our mission would be easier without her."

"I disagree. Strongly. Can you just answer the question?" "Sorry, give us a moment," the captain says aloud. "And show some semblance of courtesy; it won't kill you."

"Very well," says Savvy in a tone of longsuffering, "we might as well get this over with. It was a conscious decision to remain on the material plane, though one taken without a proper understanding or respect for the ramifications of doing so. I wouldn't recommend it to another. It was as a mortal cleric that I studied the River of Souls and the outer planes. Unwilling to have my memories ripped from me and scattered to the nine corners of the Prime Material, I sought to unshackle myself from my soul entirely. I knew that some memories managed to persist after their souls abandoned them, and what others managed by accident or coincidence, I sought to replicate by diligence and study. Regret was the common theme shared by those memory fragments least fragmented, and so I did things that I regretted. The haunts and spirits I spoke to had unmet goals and unfinished business, so I chose ambitious goals for myself, that I had no hope of completing in my lifetime, and enchanted myself so I could not see this, and could not choose not to pursue them. And those who persisted always had strong ties to a person, or a place or an object. Those tied to a person rarely outlived them, and those tied to an object were less able to affect the world, so I chose to tie myself to a place. That alone among my preparations failed."

Reluctant to speak as the spirit was at first, Savvy's warming up to her oratory. It's been a long time since she's gotten to brag. Muse quotes her word for word.

"Having cheated death, and freed from the self-imposed mental shackles binding me to my impossible goals, and, though this took longer than the others, having found someone with whom I can communicate, I am free to acquire wealth and influence over my long, long life. Captain Muse is something of an expert on memory ghosts and how long they take to decay, and he thinks I'll last several thousand years at the least. Time enough for me to become a power greater than any nation - time enough, perhaps to find a cure for my condition; if it's a solvable puzzle Omit will puzzle it out, given an epoch."

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PossibleCabbage wrote:

My real question is - how does one "spam" a spell they can only cast like 5 times per day?

It seems like "how to deal with enervate" is a question of "include >5 things you would want to enervate" and "don't allow 15 minute adventuring days."

Balkoth said that they gave spellcasters more spells per day to make up for the reduced effectiveness of save or sucks. How many more spells per day? Not a clue! I have no idea what's happening at Balkoth's table, and so I won't hazard to hazard advice. I don't even know the rules to the game Balkoth's playing, let alone what could be done to improve it.

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Glad to help, however much I did.

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ekibus wrote:
So follow the dredd movie and have it so all the exits are sealed either by magic or physical obstruction. Now they need to disarm that before they can leave. The "defense" kicks in and the beasties are let loose.

I'unno about that. I don't think that a physical obstruction would delay a party of PCs for long - the blighters get creative. Same for magically sealing the exits. The players are liable to go through a wall, or, should that prove too difficult, dismantle the load-bearing innards of the house so it can't keep itself upright and hide in a bag of holding while the building collapses around them. The party's level one, so they probably don't have extradimensional hidey holes, but the general concept still stands. (Or, rather, falls.)

If I needed to provide an incentive for not leaving the dubious safety of the building, I'd probably focus more on making the building seem downright hospitable compared to what's outside it - that way, instead of feeling trapped and prying up the floorboards in a desperate bid to tunnel for freedom, the players will instead feel grateful for the meager shelter it provides. Examples of what I mean:

1 - When night falls it brings with it a cursed fog that deals WIS damage for every minute of exposure. With some minor fortifications (stuffing blankets under the doors, boarding broken windows) the house can stave off the fog. This would work best with some foreshadowing beforehand - the mindbreaking fog bank probably shouldn't just roll in with no explanation.
2 - When first they enter, the players find lines of powdered silver drawn along the house's doorways and windowframes. When the full moon rises in the sky and the werewolves begin to circle outside, the single-hitdie PCs (likely without a single silver weapon between them) realize just how screwed they are.
3 - Nasty weather. Mundane, but it does the trick. Pathfinder's environmental rules are brutal on low level characters perhaps unrealistically so, and temperatures below zero degrees Fahrenheit will kill a first level character extraordinarily quickly. The stormclouds roll in and begin dropping hail, sleet, and lightning, and the PCs are more or less trapped.

As to how the PCs would escape such a pickle, perhaps there are talismans inside the house that can protect them from the fog. Perhaps there is a secret stockpile of silver and alchemical weapons in the basement. Perhaps the weather breaks in the very early morning, after the PCs have discovered the house's secrets and know to run as soon as is feasible.

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Professor Ludwig von Duckenhowe wrote:
We are travelers in both time and space with the whole world to see. waaaaooooo waaaaooooo!

Who can save us from this unfortunate state of affairs? No one if not (drumroll) DOCTOR BEES!

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DungeonmasterCal wrote:
It's a beautiful day. The flowers are blooming, the trees are budding, the birds are...birdsing. And the wasps are swarming, looking for new places to build their hate-filled strongholds of pain. Good thing I don't like to be outside.

Just do what I do and wear a swarmsuit everywhere you go. At only twenty lbs, it's well within carrying capacity even for a low strength character like me. It lowers your speed a bit, but that only really matters in combat - if your DM's a jerk, they might double your odds of a random encounter since it takes you twice as long to get places, but that just means more exp - and by your level you really should really have some sort of magical flight for in-combat mobility.

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M Humanoid (Human) Medium 8 | HP 52/52 Temporary: 17 | AC 29/16/24 | Fort +5 Reflex +9 Will +6 (+2 vs Mind Effecting, -2 vs Evil) | CMD 22; Flat-Footed 17| Initiative +5 | Influence : 1/5 | Spirt Dance: 2/19 | Active Spells:

Flying far afield to gather friendly arrows on the behalf of his less mobile friends afore his spell of locomotion wears off and leaves him drifting to the ground, Muse is glad to have a moment alone with his thoughts. And other people's thoughts. And while most times he'd be glad for that too (having always had someone to speak with close at hand, Muse doesn't deal well with any measure of isolation), some rare times he'd rather be left entirely to his self.

A terrified kobold struggling against it's bonds. A reluctant executioner raising his hammer.

"What are you thinking about?" Asher's voice. Bored wasn't the right word. Stir crazy. Muse would be too, if he was a fragmented and fragmenting memory, spending most of his time barely able to perceive the world, and the rest of it seeing through someone else's eyes, looking where they looked and walking where they walked. Or glided, in this case. Asher would be annoyed that his turn with working eyes, albeit someone else's, was being used on the rote drudgery of retrieving arrows.

Muse's own prefrence, at this moment, was being left to his own thoughts, but. You can't make everyone happy at once. "Ruminating," the spirit dancer subvocalized, "about how hard it is to properly hate someone, when you can see where they're coming from."

"I never have any problem with that."

Unsure how to answer, Brolin instead channels the trickster. "Help me look for arrows."

Trickster-boosted perception check: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (14) + 9 = 23

Down to two rounds of Spirit Dance today.

Returning to his comrades in time to catch the tail end of Fyrtor's and Mel's conversation, Captain Muse offers his services. "I can fly anyone who needs it over the spike growth, there's a short while yet before my spell wears off."

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Gotta christen the new bed by breaking a bottle of Janx Spirit on the hull.

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DungeonmasterCal wrote:
Asmodeus' Advocate wrote:
DungeonmasterCal wrote:
Pain. So much damned pain. I can't read or watch television with getting so fidgety that I have to stop. April 3rd can't get here fast enough.
Sympathies. :(
Thanks. I know it sounds like a poor pitiful me post but it's more of a this is pissing me off post lol.

Far be it from me to criticize someone for venting to the internet - the hypocrisy would be palpable. Sometimes one just needs to confirm that the people out there care. I guess what I'm saying is: don't self-censure out of fear that we don't want to hear it when you're having a piss-poor day. The people out here care.

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MageHunter wrote:
quibblemuch wrote:
Our scientists were so busy asking if they could build a cybernetic Monkey Santa, they never asked if they should.

I wasn't permitted to view that show as a youth, on account of it being "violent". Me and my brother feigned ill and contagious to watch an episode while the parent was at church. Got caught in the act, too. For all the risks we took, I don't remember a thing about the show any more . . .

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DungeonmasterCal wrote:
I was never arrested in any state but I was banned for life from the Memphis Zoo in 1987.

My grandfather has the heart of a lion.

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captain yesterday wrote:

Yeah, I'm not answering those.

Not unless I'm getting paid to.

I'll pay you in internet hugs? Except I'm not really into the hugging people scene, so maybe in internet handshakes?

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Thomas Seitz wrote:

I prefer to keep to snake puns and wondering if Kevin Conroy is ever going to give up being Batman...

It's newt ever gonna happen.

SIssyl wrote:
I lost my USB stick the other day. *shudders* Happened before, and each time it's awful. WHAT WAS ON IT??? WHO HAS IT NOW? And WHAT CAN THEY DO WITH THAT? Eventually the fear goes away, and you put new questionable stuff on your next USB stick thinking "this time I will delete it", but you don't remember doing so when that too disappears.

While we're talking about losing USB sticks.

Edited to avoid doubleposting.

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The Vagrant Erudite wrote:
To be fair, having only read the word until I was over 25, I pronounced "trebuchet" as "tree-bucket" for a loooooong time.

As an elementary and middle schooler I mispronounced a lot of words, I'd even hazard to say most words. It's the peril of anyone who reads more than they speak . . . all of us antisocial people.

*sound of glass breaking*

I had an actual speech impediment, though, which didn't help. And which also didn't exist. In my fifth year of being educated I was the only person in the grade still leaving regular class for speech therapy. Everyone else had fixed their s%%# over the years, one at a time. But I was still pronouncing s's as th's. I was worried I'd be like that forever. And then the speech therapy teacher (speech therapist?) who'd been telling me how I ought to be positioning my tongue and teeth for half a decade finally expressed confusion that I had no difficulty pronouncing sh's or z's, saying I was the only person she'd ever met who could pronounce sh but not s. That confusion solved my speech impediment overnight, as I'd been laboring under the delusion that the mouth shape for s was basically the same as for th, hence why I pronounced it that way, which annoyed me a little as anyone could have told me that 's' and 'sh' were the same sounds with different lip shapes at any point ever and I wouldn't have had to go through five years of "try and hold your tongue back while you say the word snake for half an hour straight." I'm not irrationally bitter over this roughly a decade later, by the way. Not at all.

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I hear you, Erudite Vagrant, I hear you. I've made similar arguments to people in the past. In this very thread, even, if memory serves. About that newly coined word, "yeet".

But . . . using antisocial to mean shy?! It's as if someone decided to call water chlorophyll - simply bizarre! And if they do it consistently, the people around them might cotton on eventually . . . but it's still bizarre.

I'll endeavor to be amused rather than annoyed . . . but as of this moment I'm still sorely tempted, upon hearing the malaprop, to demonstrate the difference defenestratively.

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People who say antisocial when they mean asocial. Especially when they’re referring to themselves.

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M Humanoid (Human) Medium 8 | HP 52/52 Temporary: 17 | AC 29/16/24 | Fort +5 Reflex +9 Will +6 (+2 vs Mind Effecting, -2 vs Evil) | CMD 22; Flat-Footed 17| Initiative +5 | Influence : 1/5 | Spirt Dance: 2/19 | Active Spells:

Got my initiative up in the status line, sorry about that. If no one strenously objects, I'll move Algric up onto the walls with us; I know Kazador posts from his phone pretty frequently, which probably explains why Algric isn't there on the battlemap already despite clear narration indicating such.

Similarly unable to aid Kazador, Muse'll direct his attacks at the most injured orcs still standing . . . or writhing in tentacles, as case may be.

to hit: 1d20 + 17 ⇒ (6) + 17 = 23 damage: 1d8 + 8 + 1d6 ⇒ (4) + 8 + (2) = 14
to hit: 1d20 + 17 ⇒ (5) + 17 = 22 damage: 1d8 + 8 + 1d6 ⇒ (4) + 8 + (2) = 14
to hit: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (13) + 12 = 25 damage: 1d8 + 8 + 1d6 ⇒ (4) + 8 + (4) = 16

We can just get those bad rolls out of the way now, that's fine.

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In the 1340's and -50's, millions of people died of the bubonic plague. Black Death ended civilizations. It didn't wipe out humanity completely, because humans are tough and humans are creative and humans are resilient. But it ended civilizations.

The bubonic plague was a human-made catastrophe. We didn't mean to do it, but that goes for most human-made catastrophes. If humanity had been smarter, we could have averted the whole thing by not opening any transcontinental trade routes, or nipped it in the bud by quarantining the infected, or, if humanity was truly brilliant, we could have used the antibiotics that modern civilization depends on for such things. Instead we carried blessed talismans to ward against the plague and went out to find witches we burnt in the hopes that God wouldn't punish us any further.

Humanity wasn't smart enough to solve the problem we were given, at the time.

Climate change stands to kill billions, if humanity doesn't stop it. It'll end civilizations. I doubt it'll wipe humanity out completely, because humans are tough and humans are creative and humans are resilient. But it could very well end our global civilization.

Climate change is a human-made catastrophe. We didn't mean to do it, but here we are. If we'd been smarter, we could have averted the whole thing - if the money and incentives had been there in the 80's to develop green technology. We could have nipped it in the bud in the 90's, or in the 00's, or even in the 10's. We could have avoided the worst of it. Instead we launched misinformation campaigns for our own personal benefit, and went out to find witches to burn.

Humanity wasn't smart enough to solve the problem we were given, at the time.

The difference between 1340 and 2019, the difference between 1980 and 2019, the difference between 2010 and 2019, is that we humans have gotten a hell of a lot smarter.

The problem we're faced with is vast. It's really, stupidly vast. But we aren't squaring off against it with horses and castles. We're squaring off against it with High Technology, with the stuff of science fiction. And, most importantly, we're squaring off against it with the knowledge that the next ten years will see more technological advances than all the years preceding them.

Problems that looked straight up impossible in 2010 look as trivial to us as an outbreak of the bubonic plague looked to our 2010 counterparts. By 2030 genetic engineering will have really come into it's own, asteroid mining will be, if not commonplace, at least a tenable proposition, I'd be surprised if anyone in America is relying on fossil fuels for electricity in the year 2030; if the government doesn't update it's grid a la the "Green New Deal" the private sector'll have obsoleted government-sold electricity entirely; it already makes economic sense to solar panel your house if you plan on living there for any length of time. Hell, we might well even have an artificial superintelligence that makes our greatest minds look like chimps that can solve our greatest problems as casually as we scratch where it itches.

I'm not starry-eyed looking at the future; if anything I'm mad anxious. Because there are plenty of problems that looked as impossible in 1340 as they did in 2010 and do in 2019. I hope and strive that humanity will grow smart enough to solve our problems.

But I don't think that our extinction is inevitable, or that it ever was. If anyone finds out a way to live forever, it'll be a human. We're the smartest things that have ever been. We're tough and we're creative and we're resilient.

And for the love of all things holy, folks, solar panel your houses, and if you're replacing a car make it an electric one. Societal change starts with each of us.

Orthos, Post-Singularity wrote:
There are ways around.

Expanding on this, because a technological singularity will change everything and it's important to know about and vitally vitally vitally important that we as a civilization don't mess it up. Here's a good article for the layperson.

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I'unno about purple, but magenta ain't a color.

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Laws against foraging annoy me.

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Do we need a monkey santa respect thread?

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[moseys into thread]
When I was a boy scout, I earned the nickname "Hobbit" for going camping barefoot.
[/moseys into thread]

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Byzantine tax codes designed specifically to exempt the specific people who put a particular politician in power annoy me to no end. You think this is hyperbole, but you are wrong. My annoyance will live to see the universe's heat death, and beyond.

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The odds of me ever raising a family are pretty low. An ex-kid myself, I have first-hand experience with the sort of people who god knows have kids but shouldn’t; I wouldn’t want to inflict existence on someone who was doing perfectly fine without unless I was sure that it’d be one heck of a rockin’ existence.

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Orville Redenbacher wrote:
When folks say,"yeah well thats your truth and I have my truth..."

That is not how truth works.

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My knowledge of tigers comes solely from playing Zoo Tycoon, and I haven't even done that in years.

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Jests aside, here’s hoping for a complicationless operation and swift recovery.

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DungeonmasterCal wrote:
Housemate Dizzydoo42 is going in for surgery in the morning. Send him prayers, good vibes, whatever you got!

Whatever we got?


I think I’ll play it safe and just send well wishes.

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