challenge of the masters

This is one of the 2 things im working for the ML anniversary!

 I know i released it a little bit early but i didnt want to make 2 posts that day, specially since the other thing im working is a comic. (there’s another reason why im posting it now, but you will know that later ;))

Buffing a Low CR Encounter

Class Levels

The most straightforward method of increasing a low CR creature’s CR is by giving it class levels or by increasing it’s stats using the table in the back of the DMG. It’s a bit tedious, but it makes a more interesting creature once you are finished with it. No one expects the goblin with wizard levels or the kuo-toa with levels in monk!

More of them

Don’t do this one often, but you can always send a large number of low-CR monsters at the party. While adding class levels requires a lot of prep time, lots of monsters requires a lot of wasted in-game time, and that has potential to bore the players. But every once in a while, you can just send a whole bunch of monsters at them. When it doesn’t happen every single session, it’s a fun romp for the players to be able to feel powerful but still run the real risk of damage. Thanks to 5e’s bounded accuracy, more enemy attacks means more potential harm.

Lasting Effects

When players realize that the normally low-level encounter they are facing offers a lasting debuff attached to it, suddenly the encounter becomes more meaningful. They will have to take extra steps to avoid diseases, poisons, magical effects, or injury. For instance, a regular old giant rat is no threat at all at a pathetic CR of 1/8. But the locals have all been suffering from a plague carried by vermin, suddenly a bunch of rats has potential of ruining a PC’s entire day if they fail a save. Melee characters might opt to fight from range or spellcasters might need to burn a higher-than-normal spell slot to take them out quickly. A drow that drops a large creature with a small cut before going after the PCs suddenly becomes a hit away from poisoning a PC with who knows what sort of diabolical substance.

Hazards

Environmental hazards can make advantages for enemies and disadvantages for the party which together can significantly alter an encounter’s CR. If kobolds are firing crossbows prone from high ground and have cover firing upon the PCs in an open area with plenty of traps hidden all over and a lava moat to find a way across, the PCs will take plenty of damage before ever reaching them. Even if they don’t take damage, they will likely waste valuable resources over a handful of kobolds. Carefully tailor your encounters in the enemies’ favor if they are a lower CR than the players, who will have to get lucky or clever to overcome the tipped scales.

Special Abilities

There’s always a handful of abilities that you can throw at the PCs. Whether it’s the ones in the book (shoving, grappling, flanking) or ones you invent as a DM. Matt Colville once defending 4e D&D and its Powers for enemies. They always did something, and in terms of monsters they were occasionally unique to other editions of D&D. Try adding some unique abilities to your lower-level monsters that make sense for that creature. When I ran a game with an Aboleth, I heavily homebrewed some new abilities for it to surprise my players. I gave it a sort of Mind Blast (like a Mind Flayer) that would only knock creatures unconscious, making it easier to capture and enthrall players that got separated. I also gave it the ability to phase through ice as it was in a giant “aquarium” with ice walls, so it could either observe the PCs from its murky water or attack when it chose to reveal itself, or even drag a PC into the tank with it to coat it in its diseased mucous. Admittedly, an Aboleth is not a low-CR monster. But on its own, the PCs would have easily taken it out so I gave this guy plenty of advantages to tip the odds in its favor and the players still pulled through eventually. But I had made an easy encounter into a very challenging one.

Stakes

Increasing the stakes of an encounter can alter how PCs approach a challenge. If players have to stay undetected, then even a bunch of orcs will be a threat to a party trying to sneak by a low-level monster, because it’s no longer about “can they kill it?” but “can they kill it before it has a chance to yell or else sneak by it?” Another option might be a requirement NOT to kill the creatures in an area. Maybe they are breaking into their own allies’ palace for information or to ‘borrow’ some magic item, but have no ill intent against the guards. Killing one might put them at massive fault. A time limit can increase the stakes of an encounter where they actually need to consider “should we waste time to kill these low-level creatures?” Perhaps those low-level creatures need to just be avoided instead so the players don’t spend too many precious rounds dealing with combat. There are plenty of other ways to increase the stakes of a battle, so get creative!

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A typical day in my beloved Nightmare

Remember kids, If it’s your first time on any map, consider LISTENING to someone who knows it better ! щ(ಠ益ಠщ)

30 DAY TF2 CHALLENGE


I wanted to animate this but didn’t have any fitting voice lines, so next time

If you’re looking for something to do this summer, why not practise your Russian with the 30 Day Russian Challenge? The goal is to get a 30-day streak on @duolingo, starting July 1, 2017. 

If you succeed in getting a 30-day streak, send us a screenshot and we can include your name in the 30-Day Russian Challenge Roll of Honour. (Or something.)

Share your progress with us here at Russian Grammar and let us know how you get on! 

The Three Keys of Magic

The Keys of Magic are a core principle shared by many different schools. While they may seem simple, the truth is that they can be challenging to master. Dedicate time to honing these foundational skills, and you’re sure to see results in your craft. 

I’ve included here an explanation of each key, along with some of my personal tips and tricks for success.

Relaxation

It’s difficult to concentrate when you’re not comfortable. Minimizing distractions and developing an ability to focus through them will be essential. I’ve repeatedly insisted that meditation is the number one skill any witch or magician needs to master. This is one of the many reasons why. The importance of mental control seems like a no-brainer, but I’m always surprised by how often people neglect their meditation.

To begin, find a quiet and comfortable place to work where you are unlikely to be interrupted. Ground yourself, and clear your mind. Gradually allow all the tension to leave your body. From this empty, neutral position, begin to focus your will on your work.

As you gain experience, you should train by increasing your level of distraction. Practice relaxation and focus in places that aren’t ideal, so that you’re equipped to do even better. Cultivating your skills here will allow you to successfully work magic in less and less ideal situations, giving you an edge and the discipline necessary to be successful when it truly matters.

Visualization/Concentration

During your ritual, adopt a single minded focus. It’s not enough to express your desire, you need to see the thing you want as though it’s already come to pass. Instead of “I want a promotion at work”, think “I have been promoted”. See yourself receiving the promotion, feel the joy and satisfaction of your new role. Bask in your boss’ praise. To help make the thing real, try to engage all your senses. Imagine the way the place smells, what it tastes like, how it feels. What’s the quality of the light? What’s the soundscape like?

You must truly cement the thing as real in your mind. This key goes back to the Principle of Correspondence, if you’ve ever studied Hermetics. Even if you haven’t, you’re probably familiar with the phrase “as above, so below”. The continuation of that is, “as within, so without”. Make the thing real inside of you, so that in the next step it can become real outside of you. Take the time to sink into it. The solidness of this visualization will directly relate to the strength of the outcome.

Projection

This is easily the most difficult of the keys to master. In order for your magic to do any work, you first have to send it out into the world. All that energy, focus and desire you built up during your ritual needs to be released. For this to happen, you’ll have to relinquish all attachment to your spell, along with any desire for a result.

To help with this, I keep a journal of my workings. Following each ritual, I record what I’ve done in a dedicated book, along with any details I consider significant. Depending on your craft, those details may include things like the moon phase and the position of certain stars, or they could be the entities you worked with and any offerings given. I also make a point of recording significant occurrences, such as candles that wouldn’t light, strange sounds, or a personal mistake (these happen). Because I trust the integrity of my recordings, I feel secure releasing my work. Transferring the memory from myself into the book is a symbolic activity that helps me detach from it.

My personal rule is not to return to that writing for three months. At that point, I’ll review the ritual and assess its effectiveness.

Sometimes, even after documenting the work and trying to release, I’ll come back to a spell and discover that it didn’t have the desired effect. At this point, I’ll concede failure and begin a retrospective. Shockingly, this final admission that the work did nothing sometimes has the power to complete the third step, causing your results to manifest. If you find your rituals aren’t resulting in an outcome you’re happy with, consider the possibility that you haven’t truly let go of them.

tygermama  asked:

AU - The Jedi say "The Padawan Chooses The Master" Qui Gon lives, Obi Wan is very preoccupied, and Anakin is put into the creche as an Initiate to learn what he can until Qui Gon wakes up from his coma and gets yelled at by the Council. In the meantime, Anakin meets other Jedi Masters and when the Council asks him who he wants to be his teacher, his answer isn't Qui Gon. Instead it's *insert your fav Jedi here*

My Friend, I both hate you and love you for this prompt. Because I am so very very torn. But let me give it a go.

Naboo is a debacle. No one debates that. Qui-Gon Jinn comes back to the Temple barely alive, accompanied by his Padawan - the first Jedi in a millenia to have slain a Sith - and the powerful young boy they found on Tatooine.

At first they wait - while Obi-Wan Kenobi is considered more than deserving of Knighthood, they hold out hope that Qui-Gon will wake and perform the ceremony himself, and take Anakin on as he originally intended. It is not to be.

Obi-Wan is knighted and sent off on missions, Anakin remains in the creche - as Qui-Gon lives, it seems presumptuous to have any other Jedi take him on. But Qui-Gon may never wake, and so the more senior Masters take it upon themselves to get a feel for the too-powerful boy. Just in case.

Months later, Qui-Gon wakes.

He is in no shape to do anything more than argue with the council, but he is awake. Still, the matter of Anakin Skywalker is put off a little longer, until Qui-Gon is in a better position health wise. Besides, while he is not completely at ease in the ranks of the initiates, Skywalker has settled in somewhat - it will do no harm to wait a little longer. And it also gives some of them a bit more time to try an mitigate Jinn’s eventual bad influence.

A year after Naboo, the council requests the presence of Initiate Skywalker. The boy who faces them is so very similar and yet so very different from the child they interviewed a year earlier. Still far from emotionally balanced, but much less fearful. After all, by this stage he knows them all somewhat, and he has begun to accept that he is not going to be turned out - over the last year it has become very apparent that he cannot remain untrained, and as such the Creche Master had taken the time to explain the notion of a Padawan accepting a Master.

(They will never know how how much that notion affects Anakin. Because what slave chooses their own Master?)

And so they ask him. “Who would he choose as his Master?”

And Anakin is torn. Because this is a huge decision, and he knows it. Never before has he had the power to CHOOSE. He has to do this right. Qui-Gon Jinn freed him and brought him to the Temple. He is Anakin’s hero. It would make sense to accept him. And yet… What of the other Masters?

What about Master Billaba, who so patiently walked him through the First Forms when he worried about being so far behind his classmates? Or maybe Master Fisto, who laughs and smiles and pats him on the head and tells him not to worry, he will get the trick in time - has he considered a moving meditation, like this? Or even Master Windu, who is stern and forbidding, but UNDERSTANDS the anger that coils in his chest? And Master Koon - he’s kind and an absolutely WIZARD pilot. What should he do?

But Anakin Skywalker is a child of the Force. And all of the Masters he has encountered over the last year have told him the same thing. So he reaches out and…

The council watches as the boy raises his head and looks up at them with an unassailable sense of certainty. 

“I’m sorry Masters, but I can’t choose. Not yet. It’s not the right time.”

And it takes everything in him not to back down in the face of Qui-Gon’s sadness and the Council’s impatience, but Anakin stands firm.

The Force is speaking to him. Loud and clear.

“Not Now.”

In the end it is Yoda who breaks up the raucous arguments with a few firm taps of his gimmer stick. If the Force tells young Skywalker that now is not the time then so be it. The boy is still younger than the average new padawan, and still has some catching up to do. There is no hurry. Let him remain in the creche they shall, until the time is right.

And so they do. Except Anakin’s little demonstration along with the general increased interaction during Qui-Gon’s convalescence means that several of the Council members are seriously considering the merits of taking him on themselves. And Qui-Gon? He is determined to regain little Ani’s regard.

You can imagine the result. Anakin Skywalker becomes the envy of his classmates, as multiple senior masters court him to be their padawan. Plo Koon in particular seems to take great delight in tweaking Qui-Gon’s ire by allowing Anakin to learn to pilot the Temple ships, and Mace has spent a lot of time showing Anakin how to control his darker impulses. Kit sneaks him sweets but both he and Depa have the suspicion that they are not seriously in contention. Ironically all the attention has done wonders for his attachment issues.

Still, every time he is asked if he is ready to take a Master, Anakin will close his eyes and reach into the Force, before saying. “No. Not yet.”

Incidentally, his lack of Master has very much impeded the Chancellor’s efforts to spend time with the boy alone. After all, a Padawan is very different from an Initiate from a Jedi perspective - one is considered a semi-adult capable of assisting in basic mission duties while the other is not. The Chancellor may be their direct superior, but even he cannot order them to facilitate private audiences with a CHILD under their care. For now, he must make to with infrequent and supervised visits in which he must take care not to overstep the role of a genial man interested in the welfare of the child who saved his planet.

It infuriates him.

But anyway.

Time passes, and Anakin’s classmates start to dwindle, as they are either apprenticed (Anakin feels smug at having facilitated one of two of the matches - having Knights and Masters watching him keenly means he can try and push others in direction the Force suggests) or drawn towards alternate pathways. Anakin is nearing thirteen years of age, and he knows the time for a decision is coming soon.

But there are things he needs to make sure are in place first. Luckily, he knows who to speak to about that.

“Time then, it is, Young Skywalker?”

“Yes Master Yoda.”

“Hmm. Certain, you are?”

“Yes Master Yoda.”

“Good. Done well, you have, to follow the Force in this. Who is it, you have chosen?” 

Anakin tells him.

And the old Jedi starts cackling.

It is not long after that Anakin Skywalker stands before a large crowd of Knights and Masters (Because this? The apprenticeship of Initiate Skywalker? This is going to be the thing of temple legends and  NO ONE wants to miss out.) and asked who he would take as his master.

And Anakin Skywalker looks his choice straight in the eye as he speaks their name.

Obi-Wan Kenobi nearly faints there and then.

.

Let’s take a step back. 

When Obi-Wan Kenobi first accompanied his comatose Master back to the Temple, he had been consumed by their last conversation. The one in which he had promised Qui-Gon to train the boy. Except, those were obviously the words of a man who thought himself dying, and Qui-Gon still LIVED. When the council decides to put Anakin into the creche until things are more certain, Obi-Wan is so RELIEVED. Because while he would if he had to, Obi-Wan doesn’t feel READY to take a padawan just yet, not while he is still processing the end of his own apprenticeship, and Anakin is meant for Master Qui-Gon - Obi-Wan would never wish to steal that role while the possibility remains that the man will wake one day.

Still, he made a promise. And there are many ways to teach.

So Obi-Wan makes an effort to check in on Ani, make sure he’s settling in ok. It’s a big culture shock for the boy from Tatooine, and Obi-Wan does his best to help explain some of the things Temple raised initiates take for granted. Anakin’s  glee when he finally gets the hang of something is infectious, and Obi-Wan finds himself enjoying the time they spend together. 

When he starts taking missions as a Knight, Obi-Wan makes the effort to farewell Anakin every time he leaves, and if he can, brings him back some toy or trinket from wherever he ends up. Nothing major, but Anakin has often expressed his desire to visit every world in the galaxy one day, and he gets so excited even if all Obi-Wan has to show him is a rock he found while running for his life from upset dignitaries…

Obi-Wan thought his missions might be less exciting now he wasn’t partnered with the most infuriating diplomat in the Order. He was wrong.

When the Masters begin paying more attention to Anakin it is Obi-Wan he contacts for reassurance he is doing the right thing. After all he is listening to the Force, but what if he’s listening wrong? And Obi-Wan tells him he’s doing fine, to follow his instincts, and sorry he has to go now due to potential pirates, but maybe to take time with each of them to work out how well they connect, just in case the Force changes its mind? And it is Obi-Wan who tells him he should just confess about the incident with the door chimes, and reassures him that no one will hate him over the accident with the speeder. 

As time goes on, Obi-Wan becomes known in the Temple as the BEST source of information on the Skywalker Situation, because he has THE most up to date gossip on what Masters Jinn and Windu have decided to challenge each other with this time, or which Knight has decided to throw their hat into the ring most recently, only to find the kid too much to deal with. Obi-Wan finds himself feeling a little protective over Anakin, rolling his eyes at the latest stuff up on the part of Ani’s potential masters, and during one of his morning meditations he comes to the startling realisation that he is well and truly Attached to his young friend.

Well then.

So of course when it comes time for Anakin to make his final decision, Obi-Wan Kenobi puts on his best face and mentally tries to work out which master will have the honour of training the Chosen One. The selfish part of him hopes it’s not Qui-Gon. He adores his former Master, but time has convinced him that he would be a poor match for Anakin. And he wants what is best for the boy. 

Maybe once Anakin is safely matched to a Master of his own Obi-Wan might consider the merits of a Padawan himself. Certainly he is feeling a lot more confident in his skills that he was a few years earlier…

But then Anakin gives his name.

His.

Obi-Wan Kenobi.

So many faces are turned to face them and he can feel them all asking “Why him?” and he doesnt have an answer and…

Anakin is looking at him. Waiting. For his response.

His heart gives him his answer, but he has to be SURE this is the boy’s decision.

“Why now Anakin?”

And Anakin smiles, bright and sure.

“Because you weren’t ready before.”

Oh.

Obi-Wan Kenobi laughs then, in joyous wonder and kneels to look the boy (his student!) in the eye.

“In that case, Anakin Skywalker, I would be honoured to be your Master, if you would agree to become my Padawan.”

And the Force sings.

~~~

I hope you’re not too disappointed! I was tempted to write a Plo Koon is Anakin’s Master AU, but in my heart of hearts, I just can’t keep the Team separated! :)

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Russian Literature Moodboard Challenge (1 / infinite): The Master & Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

But would you kindly ponder this question: What would your good do if
evil didn’t exist, and what would the earth look like if all the shadows
disappeared? After all, shadows are cast by things and people. Here is the
shadow of my sword. But shadows also come from trees and living beings.
Do you want to strip the earth of all trees and living things just because
of your fantasy of enjoying naked light? You’re stupid.

Mimi’s Trope Challenge Masterlist

A trope is an often used plot device or a common theme you might see pop up frequently (various AUs, bed sharing, pregnancy, etc.). I compiled a list of common tropes (thanks to the help of my amazing followers) as prompts for this writing challenge. Below the cut you will find the tropes and their corresponding fics. Thank you to all of the authors who contributed a fic to this challenge. You guys are superstars!

Happy reading everyone!

Originally posted by tana-the-dreamchaser

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Rude Awakening

Written for: Ash’s 300 W&G Challenge / Michelle’s AU & Things Challenge / SPN HWC – Week 17

Prompt: “Speaking of chairs, you look like a fun place to sit.” / Professor AU / “Tell me something I don’t know about you.” (Quotes are bolded in the story)

Pairing: Dean x Reader

Words: 3270

Warnings: Smut, Angst, AU

A/N:  So I found a great way for all of this to be wrapped up in one fic. Well, I sincerely hope it works and it’s enjoyable. Thanks to all the wonderful organizers of Challenges. It’s very hard but a ton of fun. All errors are my own, gifs found on the google, and feedback is greatly appreciated. Thank you for reading!

Summary: Upon returning home to finish school and care for your father after an accident sees your best friend Meg taking you out for a night of fun. It leads you into the arms of the man of your dreams. But what’s a dream come true without a nice slap of reality?

Masterlist

     “I’m just so happy you finally transferred here, Y/N,” Meg grinned pushing another shot across the table at you.

    “So you could have someone to drink with on a Thursday night?”

    Meg looked at you for a moment before shrugging, “Either way this year is going to be epic.”

    You’d made the decision to go to a closer college for your last year of college due to your Dad’s accident. Bobby Singer taking to using a wheelchair was an obstacle in and of itself. Thankfully you’d convinced him the nearby college had a better program for your degree and that seemed to appease him for the time being. Meg was your high school best friend and had convinced you to give up daughter duty for a night of drinking before classes started on Monday. However, she had a late shift Friday through Sunday so tonight was your best option.

    “I don’t know about epic but I’ll be glad to put it all behind me. I have that paid internship at the hospital starting next week and as long as I graduate and pass my boards I’ll be an RN in no time,” you held up a shot as she toasted you.

     “Oh damn,” Meg jumps up. “I’m going to go find the restroom, order another round and request some dancing music.”

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day 3: bias eating

he just eats so well ♥︎

[Before Joan of Arc was given command of the french army, she was to be judged by 18 bishops of France to discern whether she really was on a holy mission sent by God, or a fraud. Seguin Seguin, dean of the faculty at Poiters, recalls excerpts of the interrogation:]

‘I asked her whether she believed in God,’ Seguin reported of the girl who spoke to angels. 'She replied, “Yes, more than you do.”’

The Dominican professor of theology Master Guillaume Aymeri’s challenge to Joan: 'You said the voice told you that God wishes to deliver the people of France from their present calamities. If He wishes to deliver them,’ Aymeri said, 'there is no need of soldiers.’

The response Seguin described […] was exasperated, indignant, and hardly the words of a girl overawed by her interogators. 'In God’s name!’ Joan said. 'The soldiers will fight, and God will give them victory.’ It was an application of what Joan’s comrades-in-arms remembered as her favorite alphorism: 'God helps those who help themselves.’

'What language do your voices speak?’ Seguin asked.
'A better tongue than you,’ Joan answered.

—  “Joan of Arc: A life Transfigured”, by Kathryn Harrison