This last commission batch I was happy to have 2 opportunities to draw both Opal and Stevonnie. This is the only piece that has both of them together though.
Stevonnie joins Opal meditating on the cliff overlooking the temple at dawn. I know Opal is no Garnet, but I think it would be fun to see some more fusion bonding. Maybe Stevonnie could pass on some wisdom to Opal from Garnet? Who knows!
I’ll most likely take on another commission batch around April. If you’re interested, check out my commission post!
The Big City – A Guide to Developing Urban Environments
Hullo, Gentle Readers. This week’s article is suggested by
TheVaporite, who asks for “Creating Urban Environments. From larger towns to
capital cities, how do you make a location that feels alive but also is easy to
create. Any tips or tricks?”
I actually had to wrestle with this myself recently, when I
set a whole level’s worth of story in Estwald, one of the greatest cities in my
campaign world. I am not a strong cartographer, and I didn’t want to dedicate a
massive amount of work to trying to flesh out a massive metropolis, so I
developed some shortcuts to making it.
Firstly, I started thinking of the geography of my city. I
wanted it to be a mighty port on the Bright Sea, and I liked the idea of it
being built on different layers, so it became built against a huge cliff face.
The city rises, roughly from low in the south to high in the north, with Castle
Caladorn, home of the ruling family of Summerlund, being on the higher peak.
Other parts of the city descended along the slope, or, in the case of the
waterfront, were carved out of the sea cliff itself.
I next began to think of some landmarks I wanted to include
in the city. Some of these I developed out of my imagining about a fantasy
city, such as the Mariner’s Tower that looks out over the Bright Sea, the
Amphitheatre of Damotyre, named for a tiefling poet who is my world’s
Shakespeare, and the Sword & Spell, a popular tavern specifically catering
Other landmarks came out of the wants and needs of my
players. I knew the greatest city in Summerlund would have a huge temple to
Shandalene, the goddess that our player character cleric, Eustace, worships.
This begat the Temple of the Dawn, seat of power of Her Radiance, Ionna
Palatina, Matriarch of the Faith. I knew Ghost, the shifter ranger, wanted to
see how shifters lived in Estwald, which inspired an area called The Den, a
small community of shifters that took over an abandoned dwarven underground
Once I had my landmarks, I began to conceive of the concept
of various neighborhoods. Each one would have its own personality and house
some of my landmarks. The lofty Castle District led upwards along the city’s
slowly rising geography towards Castle Caladorn, and it contained the
Amphitheatre of Damotyre. It is largely the home and playground of the richest
and most privileged of citizens. The city’s heart is the Garden District, very
much home to the middle class of merchants, well-off adventurers, and the
lesser important nobility. The Garden District got the Sword & Spell, as
well as a huge park that inspired its name. Mercantile endeavors and small
manors make up the Gold District, the waterfront (including the Den, the
Mariner’s Tower, and, surprisingly, the Temple of the Dawn) became the Salt
District, and the southern part of the city, full of soldiers and blacksmiths,
became the Steel District. Other regions included the unofficial “Green
District” (basically the city’s farms outside its walls), the Lantern District
(the low district of ill repute), and the Beneath (all the parts of the city
under the parts that most people ever see.)
I drew a rough map of where these districts were in
comparison to each other, and noted the landmarks on my map for ease of
reference. I then came up with some fun little fantasy quirks, since this is
not a city in our world. There are impressive waterworks that the party
wondered about, until they met the clever kobolds who live in the Beneath and
who keep the undercity running efficiently. There are also Wayguides, young,
often homeless city kids who linger by the main entries to the city and rent
out their services to help travelers get around. A royal menagerie, the Gardens
of Leocaedia, contains a plesiosaur, an owlbear, and jewel-like talking birds
from far-off Velnar, among more mundane creatures such as lions and elephants.
All of this gave me some good personalities for my NPCs.
Gaff & Gemma are young twins who work as Wayguides, smart, efficient, and
well-spoken, with daggers hidden in their sleeves. The Halfling Brandy
Quietstreams and the Half-Orc Drog are a couple who run the Sword & Spell.
Ionna Palatina is the formidable middle-aged woman who runs the Temple of the
Dawn. Griff is a rat-like shifter who’s the unofficial “mayor” of The Den. And
Arbilly Willowshade is a spoiled Halfling bravo who is now the romantic rival
of our party’s Halfling Fighter.
One last bit of advice – don’t be afraid to let elements
that you create for your city either get moved to another city or just lie
fallow and wait if they don’t get used. I created a whole subplot with a
Thieves’ Guild that was meant to provide a romantic interest/rival for one of
the PCs, but events in the story never gave that a chance to blossom. The PCs
are leaving now, so I’m not going to force this bit of plot to come to light.
Instead, I’m going to let it go, and possibly revisit it in another city.
To sum up, don’t overwhelm your city with details your
players won’t need. Make landmarks and develop neighborhoods with their own
character to set them in. Create some vibrant NPCs to live in it and be friends
and foes to your PCs. And don’t be afraid not to use absolutely everything you
come up with.
I hope these tips help you to make fantastic fantasy cities
for your players to explore.
I enter the old temple at dawn
As the rising sun shines upon the lofty pines.
Through the bamboos a secluded path winds
To a Zen court in the depths of flowers and trees.
The birds rejoice in the mountain air
And reflected pools cleanse the heart.
The hubbub of the world is hushed
But the bell’s chime lingers on.
Prompt: “Could I request a lovely Bones/Reader where they are in an
established relationship and she/he goes on an away mission and gets kidnapped?
major reader whump major worried bones rescue hero kirk fluffiness abounds?” - Anon
Word Count: 2,793
Warnings: Graphic depictions of violence and gore.
Author’s Notes: So, in hindsight I think I read “major reader whump” and ran with it. The “lovely” and “fluffiness abounds” parts got a little lost along the way; I think that’s why I ended it the way I did. Dearest Anon, if you are dissatisfied in any way with how this turned out, please let me know and I’ll see about writing a less serious/gory story.
It’s really long, but not long enough that I felt compelled to split it into two fics.
The aliens are supposed to be a little on the hard side to read, because of their accent. If anyone needs a translation, let me know and I’ll post something.
Aside from that, I’m proud of how it turned out, and I really hope you all enjoy!
What would happen if Sam and/or Dean and/or Cas found the badass readers stuffed bear collection?
The First Teddy Bear
“What is this place?” Sam waved his hand in front of him, breaking through the cobwebs that had accumulated since your last visit to the house, over seven years ago.
“Used to be my home.” You shrugged, following him into the house.
“Seriously? This place?” He looked around before starting up the stairs.
“Yeah, this place. Sorry it’s not all glitz and glamour.” You scoffed.
“No, no, that’s not what I meant. You just - it’s smaller than I thought. I always wondered how you fell into our lifestyle so easily, sharing rooms and only one bathroom between the three of us when we’re on the road. Makes sense now.” Sam stopped at the top of the steps and looked back at you, silently asking which room was yours.
“On the left.” You pointed to the purple door. “Please excuse the fact that it looks like a girl actually lives here. It was my mom’s idea to paint it-”
“Bright pink.” His head tipped back as he laughed. “Yeah, not what I expected at all. Maybe like a navy blue, black even.” He chuckled. “And what is all of this?” He stepped toward the corner, packed with stuffed bears.
“That - um, so that actually… was mine. Not my mom’s.” You shuffled your feet. “My grandmother started buying me teddy bears for every one of my birthdays and holidays. I just - kind of kept them around. When I left I wanted to bring them with me, as something to remember her by, you know? She was gone. I just wanted a piece of the life that I knew before it all turned to hell.” Your voice cracked as you picked up the smallest bear, the oldest one. “This was the one she gave me the day she visited my mom in the hospital after I was born. It’s my first.”
“Bring it along.” Sam wrapped his arm around your shoulders and pulled you into a hug. “We’ll find a spot for it back at the bunker. Somewhere safe.” He kissed your temple and realization dawned on him. “This is why you wanted to come back. Not because of some old lore book. Because you miss your old life.” He sighed as he realized it was his fault you were still here in the first place.
He should’ve let you go the day you came back to consciousness. He should never have pulled you into bed with him just a few days later. He shouldn’t be waking up next to you every morning. He didn’t deserve that, didn’t deserve you - not in his mind.
But you? You were endlessly thankful that you made the decision to come back, even if it was just for this one bear. It’d look perfect in a crib next to the little jumping bean dancing around in your stomach - the baby Sam had yet to learn about.
Magnificent ancient city - Bagan, Myanmar. This area with
thousands of ancient temples is one of the richest archaeological spots in
Asia. The most spectacular time to see the temples is at dawn or dusk, when the
sun rises and sets. Some say that hiring a bicycle is the best and
cheapest way to get around this beautiful area.
Falling in love was a special privilege given to someone whose external, sensuous charm and internal ignorance, disorganization, and lack of cognizance permitted him to form a kind of fantasy about others. It was a rude privilege.
It was as if he walked into a museum and wandered around the priceless pieces and found one that he immensely felt protective towards. So fond of it, he didn’t dare to touch at all. Minhyuk’s long-time wish is to wake up next to you, and with God’s grace, he has finally had the chance to.
You’re not usually the kind that would sleep in, but this morning was an exception, because it was a long ride on the plane yesterday, and your cheeks are hurting from smiling too much. Minhyuk couldn’t stop taking your pictures and couple selfies, not that you mind it at all, and it wasn’t all his fault. He had an irresistible and addictive smile line that you would spontaneously would 100 percent smile back at him, just because he is. Minhyuk lay his head on his bicep, laying on his side to face you. He is wide awake and extremely smiley.