giant elk

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Spent the weekend roaming the redwoods, lush with green from El Niño’s rain.

Redwood National Park, CA. March 2016. (Instagram)

Recently Extinct Megafauna

Not ‘cavemen hunted these’ recently extinct. Recently extinct as in ‘16 to 20 human generations ago’.

Aurochs

What: The ancestor of domestic cattle

Where: 3 subspecies found throughout Northern Africa, Europe, and India 

When: 1627

Cause: Humans

Fun fact: They were mentioned in the Hebrew bible as re’em and mistranslated in the king James version as unicorns. There are numerous programs to revive the species 

Haast’s Eagle

What: One of the largest flighted bird to have ever lived

Where: New Zealand

When: 1400s

Cause: Humans

Fun Fact: It’s been speculated that the ‘giant hawk’ Maui transforms into in Disney’s Moana is a reference to this eagle, which still has cultural significance for the Maori people of NZ, and is known as Pouakai in legends

Quagga

What: Subspecies of plains Zebra

Where: Africa 

When: 1883

Cause: Humans

Fun Fact: It was the first extinct animal to have it’s DNA analyzed and there are efforts to revive the species. Though there are some triumphant sounding articles there, true quaggas are not back from the dead. We’re getting close now, and have 6 individuals now classed as ‘Rau quaggas’

Stellar’s Sea Cow

What: Massive sirenian mammal related to the modern dugong

Where: Bering Sea

When: 1768

Cause: Humans

Fun Fact: It was declared extinct just 27 years after discovery by Europeans. 

Thylacine

What: Marsupial carnivore

Where: Australia, Tasmania, New Guinea 

When: 1936

Cause: Humans

Fun Fact: There are purported sightings more than any other animal on this list. Many people believe this animal might still be out there 

???

Moa 

What: Immense flightless bird

Where: New Zealand

When: By 1445

Cause: Humans

Fun Fact: These gigantic birds were the prey of choice for the aforementioned Haast’s eagle. When humans destroyed the Moa population, the eagle was starved out.

Mexican Grizzly Bear

What: Exactly what it’s name suggests

Where: Northern Mexico to southern Arizona and New Mexico

When: 1964

Cause: Humans

Fun Fact: Like the Tasmanian tiger this bear might still be out there. The species was declared extinct in the 60′s, however, a brown bear was shot in Sonora in 1976

Elephant bird

What: Gigantic flightless bird

Where: Madagascar

When: By the 1700s

Cause: Humans

Fun Fact: They have the largest recorded egg size of any bird, with their eggs weighting up to 22 lbs.

Eastern Elk

What: Large subspecies of elk

Where: Eastern USA

When: The last confirmed eastern elk was shot in 1877

Cause: Bullet (humans)

Fun Fact: This elk could weigh up to about 1,000lbs and could have antlers 6 feet in length. Another subspecies, Merriam’s elk, went extinct around the same time but once lived in southwestern USA.

Koala Lemur

What: Giant lemurs

Where: Madagascar

When: By the 1500s

Cause: Humans

Fun Fact: These were relatively human sized lemurs, growing 4-5 feet tall (the average male chimpanzee stands at just under 4 feet)

Japanese Wolves

What: The Hokkaido and Honshu wolves of Japan

Where: Japan

When: By the 1900s

Cause: Humans

Fun Fact: These wolves were purposefully exterminated with mass poisoning efforts by an American hired by the Japanese government. 

* Some of these animals aren’t technically megafauna; I’m being lose with the term. The thylacine is about 30 lbs shy of the marker, the Japanese wolves fall a little short, and Haast’s eagle falls well below. 

** I’ve left out some of the more recent and / or better known animals; I wanted to focus on animals I feel are slipping from general memory. 

*** There are actually several subspecies of Moa, though I’ve lumped them together as they all met the same fate around the same time.

Druid Week: Druids in the Game

As a DM:

Versatility:

Druids already have a huge part in most roles, so they don’t need much in terms of catering. A bard might need to feel more involved in a campaign, but a support druid can also provide utility, tankiness, damage… they can Wild Shape or cast a spell whenever they need anything! They are one of the most versatile classes in the entire game. If they need encouragement, give them a variety of challenges (as you should always be doing, really) to force them to take more creative problem-solving measures.

Environment:

Make unique landscapes and environments for the druid. You don’t have to do it every time, but every once in a while feel free to go overboard. Floating midair land masses, waterfalls that flow upward, geysers of acid, an insect hive the size of a city… just describe some beauty shot that can really tug at the druid’s magic-strings. They will be interested in the unique plants and animals and magic there, which can influence how you populate such a land. Not to mention the other players will love such a wondrous place, too.

Fauna:

One thing a lot of DMs forget is to give druids a place to excel. Druids fall flat inside an enclosed dungeon. Give them space out in the open; in the wild. Give the druid some non-magical beasts to interact with. DMs always forget that regular threats like lions, tigers, and bears exist and with a druid, these often turn into roleplaying encounters rather than combat ones. Speak with Animals, Animal Friendship, Beast Bond, Beast Sense, Animal Messenger, Dominate Beast, Locate Creature, and Commune with Nature can all interact with beasts in some way. Beasts are everywhere if the druid is looking for them.

Flora:

Another thing to keep in mind is plant life. I just did a whole two-part post about Herbalism as a more fleshed-out system for 5e. Part 1 is just a pipeline of dice tables to make up new herbs. The herb could play a minor role in a story or adventure, or it could simply be a useful tool that exists in your world. For instance, I once had some herbs with yellow flowers that would act as healing potions, but you could only eat them twice within 24 hours or you would get sick. Ever since then, the players could find those herbs elsewhere and have a unique source of HP instead of a boring old potion. Plus they have the a-ha moment of realizing they found something useful on their own instead of opening a chest and finding it there. Part 2 of the Herbalism Guide was more about how to use the herbs as potion ingredients, as medicine, and as spell components. If you want to go the extra mile or want ideas for what herbs could do, use it!

Mood:

Just like clerics, druids can have supernatural senses that can add to the mood of an adventure. Imagine if you were a druid PC and the DM says “The druid senses something off about this forest. It makes you feel sick.” or “This jungle is in agony. You empathize with its pain, which feels like insects stinging you all over your body, and you can almost hear the wails of the trees.” Druids could make an Insight check to try and feel how a beast is feeling in the same way. It singles out the druid, identifies the problem as environmental corruption, and enhances the mood. What more could a DM want.

As a Player:

Get the Most Out of the Game:

Ask your DM questions about the flora and fauna and traits of the setting. When you travel to a new area in-game, be sure to cast Commune with Nature and get a lay of the land. This can add to the experience and provide vital information on targets for Locate spells, herbalism, and beast-influencing spells. Don’t be afraid to ask your DM for strange things that might not exist in the standard rules like “Can my druid think of any herbs that could cure paralysis in this environment?” The DM might find that intriguing and make it a plot point (making things a bit easier on the DM and giving you a potential solution to your problems to boot).

Don’t be afraid to request unique creatures to Wild Shape into, even if they aren’t in the book! I don’t see jellyfish in the Monster Manual but if a player asked me for it, I would just turn them into a Poisonous Snake with no land speed and 10 ft. swim speed, but maybe increase the poison damage a tad. And heck, who says there aren’t Giant Jellyfish in the realm of D&D? Use a Giant Poisonous Snake for that! You could easily reskin monsters like that, especially for cosmetic reasons. In the tropics? Turn into a Giant Parrot instead of a Giant Eagle. In the tundra? Turn into a Snow Hare instead of a Badger to better hide in the snow. In the desert? Turn into a Coyote instead of a Wolf. There are so many animals in the world, there is no excuse for creativity on your end as a druid!

Wild Shape:

Optimize the usage of your Wild Shape. Pick the right animals for the right jobs!

  • Mobility/Scout: Giant Elk, Deer, Hyena, Horses, Flying Snake, Giant Owl, Giant Eagle, Giant Badger, Ape, Panther, Giant Toad, and Giant Crab all have either fast movement or unique movement (fly, swim, climb, burrow).
  • Tackle: Lion, Panther, Allosaurus, Giant Octopus, Crocodile, Giant Constrictor, Giant Toad, and Giant Crab can all knock enemies prone or restrain them.
  • Poison Damage: Poisonous Snake, Giant Scorpion, Giant Spider, and Female Steeder (OotA) all have poison that can deal damage to those not resistant.
  • Sustained Damage: Wolf, Giant Crocodile, Tiger, Giant Boar, Ape, and Dire Wolf all deal reliable damage and have adequate tank.
  • Tank: Warhorse, Black Bear, Giant Constrictor, Rhino, Ankylosaurus, Whale, Elephant, Hulking Crab, Triceratops, and Mammoth all have a bunch of HP and AC.
  • Spy: Mule, Horses, Cat, Frog, Crab, Snakes, and Spiders are great at hiding and some have blindsight! Crag Cat (SKT) has Nondetection as well!
  • Thumbs: APES HAVE THUMBS. Which means that they can manipulate things other animals can’t. Also: You can wield your weapons while in Wild Shape!

Other tips: use summoned minions or your allies to help flank enemies while in Wild Shape. Cast buffs before you Wild Shape, make sue they don’t require concentration if you want them to stack, otherwise you can at least concentrate on one thing while in Wild Shape. If you are in a long dungeon with little to no rest,  save Wild Shape for big fights when the tank is worn down or save it for utility when the other casters are low on spells. Also for grappler beasts knock the enemies down before you grapple. Then they can’t move and when they break grapple they can’t get back up as easily!

Spells:

Buffs: Druids are great for buff spells. Be sure to buff yourself before entering Wild Shape! ex: Enhance Ability, Faerie Fire, Longstrider, Barkskin, Stoneskin, Protection from Energy, Antilife Shell

Zoning: Druids have crowd control spells, but many of them control crowds through zoning. Take advantage of the fact that you are the largest influence on the surrounding environment. You get to change the battlefield to your advantage! These are big, flashy spells that make the druid fun. Use them to put obstacles in front of creatures to slow their advances, make it harder for creatures to dodge, provide cover for your party, or force enemies into a trap. “Oh there’s a Wall of Fire there I better go around it” [gets bottlenecked by ranged PCs instead of taking fire damage] ex: Wind Wall, Wall of Fire, Entangle, Plant Growth, Spike Growth, Flame Sphere, Sleet Storm, Insect Plague, Wall of Stone, Wall of Thorns, Bones of the Earth (such a cool spell)

Minions: In D&D 5e, most ACs are nearly the same thanks to Bounded Accuracy. So more attack rolls equals more damage. Minions help with this, and druids can get plenty using Conjure Elementals, Conjure Fey, Conjure Woodland Beings, and Conjure Animals! Not to mention spells like Awaken and Dominate Beast to get more allies.

Healing: Druids are good at healing. Note that Healing Word is a bonus action and has range, unlike Cure Wounds. Druids also get the Restoration spells and Reincarnate, which is less powerful than Resurrection and such, but hey it’s something!

Damage: Druids can output damage, mostly through their zoning spells, but also with some neat single-target spells. Note that Moonbeam and Blight are rare sources of Radiant and Necrotic damage, respectively.

Utility: Druids have utility. Various divination spells can break the game if you are clever. Several spells help you get where you want to go or get rid of enemy spells. Use them liberally unless you have a Wizard to lighten the necessity for utility spells. ex: Speak with Plants/Animals, Water Breathing, Animal Messenger, Pass Without Trace, Find Traps, Locate Object/Animals/Plants, Gust of Wind, Detect Poison/Disease, Detect Magic, Dispel Magic, Meld into Stone, Scrying, Tree Stride, Commune with Nature

Hey, look. It’s that Megaloceros giganteus portrait I started in April 2015… and finally finished.

Commonly known as Irish elk* or giant deer, M. giganteus lived in Eurasia during the Middle Pleisotcene and Early Holocene. It had the biggest antlers of any known cervid: it could reach up to 40kg in weight, and up to 3.64m across. In body size, it was similar to the Alaskan subspecies of moose, reaching on average between 540 - 600kg, with large specimens weighting 700kg or more.

It’s closest living relative is probably fallow deer (Dama dama)

*elk in British English is exactly the same animal as moose in American English. Don’t ask me why. Elk/moose live in Eurasia as well as North America, so it really doesn’t make any sens to me, but there you go.

Beautiful Surprises

Characters: Dean x Reader

Warnings: FLUFF

A/N: I’ve been on a Sam kick lately with my Shelter from the Storm series (shameless plug), so I thought I’d give Dean a little love. I was attempting to write a drabble while I waited for my movie to start the other day and my hand slipped. Oh well, who doesn’t love Dean fluff amiright?? Hope you guys enjoy it. Let me know what you think! Thanks for reading! 

(gif is from canonspngifs)

“You know you don’t have to kidnap me. I already agreed to be your girlfriend.” You laughed as you turned your face to where Dean sat behind the steering wheel. He had blindfolded you with his good tie and was driving you to an undisclosed location. 

You could hear his hearty laugh and could picture the crooked smile you loved so much. He kept stealing brief glances at you as he drove. It was hard to deny how beautiful you looked even with the navy silk tie over your y/e/c eyes. “I’m glad to hear that. But let me just surprise you this one time.”

Sinking back into your seat you crossed your arms. “You know I don’t like surprises,” you frowned. Dean only answered with another laugh and reached down to give your leg a soft squeeze. 

Keep reading

anonymous asked:

Do you think Jon will be made king in the books or is that a show only thing? Love your meta about Jon's name, btw!

First of all, thank you!

To answer your question, Mormont’s raven certainly seems to think so:

“King,” the bird said again.

“I think he means for you to have a crown, my lord.”

“The realm has three kings already, and that’s two too many for my liking.”  Mormont stroked the raven under the beak with a finger, but all the while his eyes never left Jon Snow. - 
ACOK, Jon I  

“Free,” the raven muttered. “Corn. King.”  - ADWD, Jon VIII

He rose and dressed in darkness, as Mormont’s raven muttered across the room. “Corn,” the bird said, and, “King,” and, “Snow, Jon Snow, Jon Snow.” That was queer. The bird had never said his full name before, as best Jon could recall. - ADWD, Jon XII

Gilly seems convinced, too:

“They say the king gives justice and protects the weak.” She started to climb off the rock, awkwardly, but the ice had made it slippery and her foot went out from under her. Jon caught her before she could fall, and helped her safely down. - ACOK, Jon III

When Gilly entered, she went at once to her knees. Jon came around the table and drew her to her feet. - ADWD, Jon II

And considering his subsequent actions, doubtless Alys is in agreement as well:

“Marriages and inheritance are matters for the king, my lady.” - ADWD, Jon IX

All told,  “kings” are mentioned 279 times in Jon’s chapters, and “crown” an additional 29. Naturally, most of these are in the context of discussions about other kings but it’s telling all the same, especially compared to say, Jaime, who has only 162 combined mentions, or Bran who has 74, despite both having as much reason as Jon to be discussing or thinking about kings and kingship (albeit slightly less interaction with kings).  I would argue on a Doylist level, this is a deliberate effort to associate Jon with royalty. The more heavy-handed examples aside, even Jon’s descriptions of his world are filled with crown imagery:

The way up was steep and stony, the summit crowned by a chest-high wall of tumbled rocks. - ACOK, Jon IV

The sky was cloudless, the jagged mountains rising black on black until the very top, where their cold crowns of snow and ice shone palely in the moonlight - ACOK, Jon, VI

The peaked roof was crowned with a huge set of antlers from one of the giant elks that had once roamed freely throughout the Seven Kingdoms…  - ASOS, Jon I

Before them, the ice rose sheer from out of the trees like some immense cliff, crowned by wind-carved battlements that loomed at least eight hundred feet high…  - ASOS, Jon IV

Ahead he glimpsed a pale white trunk that could only be a weirwood, crowned with a head of dark red leaves  - ADWD, Jon VII

Jon is the only POV to consistently use this way of describing his environment, so it’s less likely to be a predilection of the author; this is GRRM, these choices are rarely a coincidence.

A plethora of meta has been written about this already, but imagery aside I think there is a pretty strong argument in the narrative for Jon ruling in some capacity before the series’ close. For one thing Robb’s will is bound to make a reappearance, though the legality of that will admittedly be complicated by many factors (the fact the Bran and Rickon are now known to be alive, the North backing Stannis, who would not recognize Robb’s ability to legitimize bastards, R+L=J, should anyone learn the truth of that…) Moreover we have this:

The girl who drowned the slaver cities in blood rather than leave strangers to their chains can scarcely abandon her own brother’s son in his hour of peril. And when she reaches Westeros, and meets you for the first time, you will meet as equals, man and woman, not queen and supplicant. How can she help but love you then, I ask you?  - ADWD, Tyrion VI

Young Griff is attempting to usurp Jon’s narrative, but we the readers know Jon is Dany’s brother’s son, and it’s Jon and the North in need of rescuing. This seems like an instance where Tyrion is accidentally prophesying; the HOTU visions introduced Dany to her third husband, her blue rose, her one to love. And she will not meet him as queen to supplicant. They will meet as equals - as queen and king

10

NORTHWEST ADVENTURE: ELKS OF HOH RAINFOREST  

It was a beautiful morning in the Hoh Rainforest. We woke up and had oatmeal with peanut butter for breakfast, then we quickly packed up our backpacks to hike out. As we wandered slowly through the forest we heard some noises in the bushes. Alix was the first to notice him. It was what I had been wanting to see for years, a Bull Elk about 50 yards off in the distance. He was partially obstructed by humungous trees but as he pranced away we could see his enormous size. The moment was too precious and I didn’t bother taking out my camera. I was just happy to be here. We waited about five or so minutes to see if he would reappear but he never did. We continued our stroll through the forest admiring the trees, mushrooms, banana slugs and droplets of rain. At this moment we were clueless to the fact that we were surrounded by a herd of Roosevelt elk. They slowly revealed themselves to us as we hiked through the forest. We were ever so quiet, moving in slow motion and rather delicately. If you weren’t paying attention to your surroundings you could easily not see a single elk at least until they were completely blocking the trail. When we finally realized that we were completely surrounded by we were in complete shock. It was just too cool.  Leaning just a little to your left or to your right  could reveal dozens of elk, that’s how hidden most of them were. We stood there in awe surrounded by babies, youngins and females. Then a massive bull elk lifted his head right in front of us, we were twenty feet away. It took my wife about a minute to even notice him because just one tree blocked her entire view of him. I slowly inched her over until she could clearly see him, then I took a few photos as he checked us out. As he slowly wandered away the elk bugling began. It was magical, a moment in time that I will never want to forget.

Northwest Adventure Post 01: Portland

Northwest Adventure Post 02: Mount Hood

Northwest Adventure Post 03: Hoh Rainforest 

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California–  in the last month me and Sadie camped in the giant sequoias, hiked by Half Dome and swam under yosemite falls and under El Cap’ in Yosemite NP,  and camped our way up the coast.  We saw dolphins, seals, bears, elk and more, we were so damn lucky to have such a good trip

Fun things while exploring cemeteries

so my sister and I are huge nerds. We love wandering around cemeteries and leaving offerings for old graves and such. It’s just a thing we’ve always loved to do. 

So we went to a cemetery today while on vacation. Kinda surprised cos our parents suggested it. Dad wanted to see some of the famous people buried there. 

Well, we’re wandering around and suddenly mom spots this huge buck wandering around eating. It had to at least be a 5 point buck, if not six. I started taking pictures and noticed a giant elk statue just behind it that was in all of my shots. A few moments later another 5 point buck appeared. I got lots of good pictures of them. 

Around the same time, my dad who was in the car noticed a doe and some fawns nearby that were grazing in a different patch of grass. I didn’t see them myself, but I got a lot of pictures of the two buck’s from several different angles. 

once they ran away I went to check out the Elk statue I saw and it ended up being some monument to a brotherhood from the area. I got a lot of chills in those moments. It was beautiful. 

Then came the point when we tried to go into the chapel and it was locked. I tried to peek into a window and all I saw was some guy looking out at me. I freaked and backed off. My sister did contact a spirit though! I did not since we were with our parents. 

7

Merlin is the Leader of the Druids but the Dark Elves from the Land of the Dargonelles hear about his power to talk to Dragons. The Dark Elves are looking for a way to conquer Camelot especially since Mad Uther last lay seige on their lands and people.

Merlin visits the Elves in their darkly gorgeous city built into the mountains. He drinks their wine not realizing he is being tricked. The wine is magical and the elves get control of Merlin’s mind and magic.

Prince Arthur had met Merlin many times in the Druid forests.Once Arthur found him talking to a Giant Elk. Arthur knew that Merlin was a peaceful man and a handsome druid leader. 

Arthur could not believe the rumours he was hearing about Merlin and his army of dark elves and monstrous dragons pillaging city and towns near the mountains. 

Could Arthur save the Druid he knew from the clutches of Dark Elves before Merlin’s soul disappeared leaving only Merlin’s image to embody the evil new King of the Elves?

2

And the morning is quiet!
Only the Nightingale charms the song
And it seems - still you sleep
And the world becomes more wonderful.

With the river mist, lilacs in dew
Cherry drops night
And now in all its glory
Over the field larks sang.

Firebreak, in green Vale
Where the air is fresh rich
In the grass crushing hallway
It turns out the giant… elk.

Gandalf: This is all your fault, Thranduil.

Thranduil: What did I do?

Gandalf: You just had to be interesting. You just had to dress better than anyone else. You just had to have great hair. You just had to ride on a giant elk. You just had to speak with such a deep, sultry and resonant voice.

Thranduil: This battle is not about me.

Gandalf: Oh, no. Not the battle.

Thorin: Don’t listen to him, boys.

Fíli: I like his hair. Same color as mine.

Kíli: Listen to what, Uncle?

Thorin: Why do you look so much like me, Kíli?

Kíli: Lucky, I guess.