keys to the player

On the subject of old events, does anyone else remember the Lock Capsule? What was even up with that?

If y’all don’t know what I’m referring to, let me explain. The Lock Capsule was a special event key item in HGSS and BW that was never used. Like not even in Japan. The idea was to have people send this item from HGSS to BW and it’d give them a TM (TM95, Snarl). Sounds straightforward, right? Nope. It was ridiculous. It was nothing but bad ideas and horrible planning.

Let’s pretend we’re an average player without a guide on how to do this whole thing. (Honestly, without a guide, we’re screwed by step 2, but go with me here.)

First of all, it’d have to be sent to HGSS as an event. But in HGSS, the item is absolutely useless - and cryptic. The info just says “A sturdy Capsule that can only be opened with a special key.” This alone would have players searching all over the Johto region looking for this “special key” … but there isn’t one. And there’s not a single clue in the game as to what it’s for, what it does, or how to use it. At all. Nothing. Nada. Null. Zilch.

Then we have BW. Which again for the most part doesn’t mention it at all - unless you have it. And getting it from HGSS to BW is even more absurd. You can’t use the PokeTransfer to send it up - since that only transfers Pokemon. You couldn’t give it to a Pokemon to hold because it was a key item. So, how would you get it there?

You have to use The Relocator, and I’m sure I’ve lost a few of you here. What’s The Relocator? It’s a very special feature of BW. Why don’t you know about it? Because the game fails to really mention that it even exists until you unlock it. And unless you know EXACTLY what you’re doing, there’s no way you can unlock it. You have to find an otherwise totally useless and cryptic NPC in Castelia talking ambiguously about a “special machine” he invented and tell him a specific phrase - “everyone happy, simple connection.” And let’s all be honest with ourselves: at this point, none of us are happy, and this is anything but a simple connection. So he can go take a long walk off a short cliff.

Alright, well, now maybe the game will tell us a little more about the Lock Capsule, or at least the Relocator? Hardly! He only says the Relocator is for “special pokemon and items,” and doesn’t tell you where to find it or how to use it. So again, we’re left clueless. What we actually gotta do is save and restart, and then select The Relocator on the main screen. Which is located at the very bottom of the pre-game menu, so unless you’re looking for it, you’ll probably never see it. As soon as you start it up, it - without any explanation - attempts to open DS wireless communication. At that point, it acts much like PokeTransfer - it tells you to grab your second DS with any 4th gen game inserted and go to Download Play. Except, unlike PokeTransfer, The Relocator can only transfer five every specific things: a shiny event Raikou, Entei, or Suicune, a 4th gen event Celebi, or the Lock Capsule. Oh, by the way, it doesn’t tell you any of that. If you have none of those, it will simply tell you nothing can be relocated. Even if you do have one of those, it doesn’t even tell you it relocated them, it just cryptically says the relocator will close.

Also, the aforementioned Raikou, Entei, Suicune, and Celebi (which are used for the Zoroark and Zorua cutscenes) could be transferred by the normal no-need-to-unlock-in-a-very-odd-and-unknowable-way PokeTransfer and still work fine for those cutscenes. (I wasn’t 100% sure on this, but since posting this I’ve had it verified by others.) Also because The Relocator doesn’t tell you exactly what can be relocated. there’s no way to know it can relocate the Lock Capsule, unless you’re Relocating with a game of HGSS that already has one. That’s it! That’s the only way!

Okay, let’s say you’ve now gotten to this point. You’ve relocated the Lock Capsule. Now what? Right, the item description says it can only be opened with a special key. Time for another key hunt! … or not! Because again, there’s no key! At all! Instead, you have to take it to another random, otherwise useless, completely no hints as to what he really does for you NPC in Castelia. The game, AGAIN, gives you no hints. At all. If you talked to the NPC before getting the Lock Capsule, he simply mentions he picks locks. That’s it. But even if you did talk to him before, you probably forgot all about him, because he’s just a useless NPC on a random floor of a building in the biggest city in Unova.

What’s your reward for all this? The TM for Snarl. And since the Lock Capsule was never released, no game of BW can legitimately have all TMs. Whoops! Also, because GameFreak never deletes items from their games, it’s still a dummied out, non-functional, unobtainable key item. Yeah. Even in Sun and Moon. It’s still there. It’s just hidden away.

So basically, they never did this event because it’d need to come with a highly detailed guide on how to use it. Amazing.

100 “Epic” Adventure Ideas...

Here are one hundred adventure seeds you can use to generate ideas for your adventures and campaigns.

  1. A ancient and evil balor sorcerer imprisons old friends of the player characters, holding them hostage in return for a service. 
  2. A band of several death slaadi rogues and sorcerers begins to waylay all planar travelers who chance through their recently claimed turf on the Astral Plane.
  3. A ranger hero recognized around the world begins to organize a group of explorers for reasons unknown…
  4. A bardic college develops a style of music that charms and dominates any that listen to it too long.
  5. A beholder cluster, made up of many beholders driven mad, begins to war with lesser beholder communities, apparently all seeking a beholder artifact. 
  6. A prominent deity grows sick and will die if the cause of its divine ill is not discovered. 
  7. A beloved prophecy long accepted as true fails to occur because of the characters’ meddling, and the world turns against them…
  8. A blinding, yellow haze seeps down from the sky, covering the world…
  9. A celestial tree hundreds of miles long reaches its roots down and begins to grow on the world’s surface. Creatures from other worlds live in the heights of the tree. 
  10. A child is born who prophecy indicates will one day ascend to godhood. 
  11. A black disease blights the forest, killing all vegetation as it continues to expand without limit at an ever-accelerating rate. 
  12. A clan of psionic militants breaks away from the kingdom — literally. A huge chunk of land hundreds of acres wide floats up and away (taking with it many terrified non-psionic people). 
  13. A conjunction of parallel planes somehow energizes a lowly peasant to the power of a greater deity — but only until the conjunction ends. 
  14. A cross-time catastrophe has cut off the Material Plane from all others. 
  15. A dragon kills the ruler of the largest nation and takes over, calling itself the Dragon King.
  16. A flaw in a true resurrection spell leaves one player character undead by night and alive by day. 
  17. A floating city arrives from across the sea, apparently fleeing the depredations of the Warlord, a barbarian of an epic caliber.
  18. A flock of angelic avengers and celestials is ravaging across the continent. 
  19. A meeting is called by a storm giant blackguard. Powerful giants from around the world (and other worlds) begin to congregate. Though no one knows the meaning of this calling…
  20. A glorious gemstone in which the first light of creation still lingers is purportedly languishing in an ancient, crumbling demi-plane. 
  21. A great chase ensues through endless parallel dimensions as wizard researchers follow the faint trail of the long-vanished elder elves. 
  22. A group of gargoyle paragons claims the Cathedral of Pelor as its own new home. 
  23. A hero of renown (a quasi-deity, really) is to be wed to an elven prince, but the prince’s royal family claims the prince is under a spell. 
  24. A hole is gouged in the veil separating life and death. As the tide of life pours out into the void, all creatures everywhere begin to die as they accumulate negative levels. The hole must be mended. 
  25. A red dragon and two of its siblings emerge from a red-lit cavern in the earth. 
  26. A lesser deity declares the PCs as its mortal enemies, enjoining all its worshipers and allies to find and slay them. 
  27. A longstanding illusion is pierced, revealing that the king is nowhere to be found, and that all dictates of the kingdom have been actually flowing from the thieves’ guild. 
  28. A new deity decides to leave the Outer Planes to set up its palace on the face of the Material Plane. Once it arrives, it demands worshipers and servitors. 
  29. A mad chronomancer with a mastery of time, has determined how to destroy the past (and therefore the present). Unless it can be stopped, time itself will unravel. 
  30. A planar conjunction will soon come to pass, allowing the legions of hell (or worse) direct access to a selected part of the Material Plane for 24 hours. It can’t be stopped, but some famous characters may attempt to defend key cities or strongholds from the onslaught. 
  31. A player character’s heart is stolen and replaced with a magical gem or a strange alchemical creation. Who knows how long the replacement will last? 
  32. A powerful wizards’ guild enters all-out war with the dominant religious order of the world. 
  33. A quasi-deity wants an escort as it ventures into the Abyss to release a companion quasi-deity from bondage. 
  34. A rogue moon threatens to crash down upon the world, ending all life. 
  35. A sentient spell-virus is raging out of control among spellcasters. All who fall victim to it become part of one unified mind controlled by a malign intelligence. 
  36. A species of “fish” introduced from another plane has provided good eating and relief from famine over the last year. Now, thousands (possibly millions?) of the fish-like creatures begin a sudden growth spurt, transforming en masse into terribly powerful and bloodthirsty predators. 
  37. A splinter community of humans evolves into a sub-race sporting strange and variant powers. 
  38. A syndicate of assassins dramatically expands its membership by introducing a mind-control potion into a city’s water supply. 
  39. A team of nightmares draws a chariot driven by a powerful fighter into the city. 
  40. A titan seeks those brave enough to release it from its age-long bondage; its rescuers may face the wrath of higher deities. 
  41. A vampire scion from another plane begins to conquer world after world with the help of a reforged artifact of legend, Midnight’s Heart
  42. A volcano erupts. In the aftermath, a portal to the City of Brass on the Elemental Plane of Fire remains open permanently.
  43. A well-known wizards’ guild’s magical dumping ground of failed experiments and stale spell components becomes sentient.
  44. A wizard attempting to summon a powerful devil slips up and somehow summons an abomination instead: an infernal lord of the hells. 
  45. A wizard claims to have developed an epic spell ritual that, if cast, will slay a deity.
  46. All magic items crafted from a particular city begin to bestow negative effects on their owners with each use. 
  47. All who fall asleep on a selected world cannot be awakened and eventually die in their sleep. Exhaustion is beginning to take a hold on even the greatest heroes of its realm…
  48. An adventuring party stumbles upon the tomb prison of an long dead half-god and releases it. 
  49. An anti-magic plague is released by an unknown agency, causing sickness and eventually death to any who prepare or cast arcane spells. 
  50. An artifact belonging to one of the characters must be destroyed, lest some great catastrophe, which has secretly been gathering, come to pass. 
  51. An artifact capable of forever dominating all red dragons everywhere is discovered.
  52. An enclave of gnomes customizes an iron colossus into a walking war platform.
  53. A group of NPCs known for good deeds suddenly embarks on a death spree, murdering merchants and their envoys…
  54. A group of NPCs decides to destroy the PC adventurers, for reasons that are initially obscure. 
  55. A sentient, free roaming, self-casting disintegrate spell breaks loose from a wizard’s laboratory. 
  56. A legendary paladin leads a crusade to hell. 
  57. An inter-dimensional caravan must float on the River Styx through the dangers of several lower planes. 
  58. Spirits begin to manifest from machines as complicated as simple steam-powered wheels — is it a warning from the gods of the forge to desist? 
  59. Angry druids raise the beasts, animals, and dire animals of the wild, intent on beginning a new world order in which nature comes first. 
  60. As the world ages, frequent earthquakes threaten to plunge the major nations under the sea. 
  61. Blue-skinned merchants begin to sell enormously popular items composed of dreamstuff — “mined from the very dreams of a deity,” claim the merchants.
  62. Deeper than the Underdark, the world is discovered to be hollow. Hanging in that vast opening is an unknown, uncharted inner world of strangeness.
  63. Dwarf miners follow a vein of adamantine to a hinged valve sealed with divine magic of an age older than any of the current deities. 
  64. A group of seemingly amateur rogues steal the magical scepter of the Dragon King. 
  65. Evil opportunists slay the Guardian of the Flame of Destiny, hoping to remold the Law of Reality to their own liking. 
  66. Ghosts of every sort begin to rise again, and they won’t recognize their own undead state. 
  67. Mind flayers successfully gain control of a surface nation, plunging the region into permanent darkness. 
  68. Jade pyramids of prodigious size rise from the earth. Sounds unlike any heard before echo faintly from within their stony cores. 
  69. Construct-like creatures of insane complexity called “machines” move across the land, preparing the way for a larger invasion of automated entities. 
  70. Magic begins to fail, supposedly because it is being “used up” faster than it naturally regenerates. 
  71. Mercenary half-dragons who ride chromatic dragons as steeds sell their swords (and spells) to an evil empire. 
  72. Newborns begin to be born without souls.
  73. Off-plane raiders begin to steal people away for use as slaves and food. 
  74. Once every ten years a small cave provides access into a magical, underground world where all living beings give off colorful light, ruled by mysterious fey lords with mysterious agendas. 
  75. One of the player characters learns about his or her real mother or father — in fact, that parent was a demon, and that demon has come calling. 
  76. Planetars and solars bring heaven’s war to the Material Plane, slaying any and all they deem evil or immoral. 
  77. Chromatic dragons decide that their “species” is the only true draconic race, and they begin a campaign of genocide against all other dragon types. 
  78. Several well-known cities and all their inhabitants suddenly disappear without a trace. More could follow…
  79. Someone is breaking the Seven Seals that maintain the integrity of the multiverse…
  80. The ancient Great Library has secret vaults where the Words Once Spoken are supposedly inscribed in the Book of Sleep. To speak them again would remake the universe. 
  81. The Clock that Rules the Universe is under attack by insane gnome alchemists, who are raiding it for parts. 
  82. The End Times threaten to begin. 
  83. The gods of Law put all humanoid races on trial for their excesses.
  84. The Lord High Priest of Pelor denounces her deity and faith. 
  85. The most feared and reviled weapon of legend, an artifact sword that drains life energy with a touch, is lost by its owner. 
  86. The Mother of Spiders emerges from her Cocoon of a Million Years to find a mate for her next spawning. 
  87. A vast necropolis undergoes a mystical transformation. Now, each coffin, sarcophagus, and mausoleum leads to separate cemetery dimensions and realms of death. 
  88. The PCs’ stronghold mysteriously gains new extra-dimensional halls and rooms of unknown origin, content, and extent.
  89. The populace decides that they want one of the PCs as their new ruler, which doesn’t please the current ruler. 
  90. The secret texts of a prominent religion, recently discovered, call into question the church’s real goal, its actual origin, and the agenda of its god. 
  91. The souls of a good queen and her family are drawn into the Abyss by an unknown demonic agency. 
  92. The spirits of the dead begin to possess the bodies of the living at an ever-accelerating rate. 
  93. The sun is infested with moon-sized parasites, and may soon fail like so many other stars have fallen to this celestial infestation. 
  94. The winter, which was overly cold, lasts too long — the goddess of winter, Auril, is suspected to be the cause…
  95. The woods begin to grow without bound, invading field, plain, and city. 
  96. The yuan-ti attempt to awaken the Slumbering Serpent, a little-known abomination born of their own race and a god of serpents.
  97. Twenty percent of all astral travelers begin to disappear in mid-trip. Mid-travel diversion spells are suspected. 
  98. Two parallel planes move too close to each other, and denizens and objects of one constantly slip onto the other, and vice versa. 
  99. Unless stopped, an ancient demi-lich will inject itself onto the Negative Energy Plane, where it can possess any undead anywhere in the multiverse. 
  100. When a friend or a respected associate is resurrected, the soul returned to the body has different memories from the original. Whence does this soul come? 
washingtonpost.com
U.S. women’s soccer wins higher pay, improved support with five-year labor deal
The U.S. women’s soccer players’ union and the sport’s governing body have agreed to a five-year collective bargaining agreement, improving standards for the national team and pro league and ensuring labor harmony through the next World Cup and Olympics.
By https://www.facebook.com/SoccerInsider

“In a joint statement, the U.S. Women’s National Team Players Association and U.S. Soccer Federation said they have “ratified a new collective bargaining agreement which will continue to build the women’s program in the U.S., grow the game of soccer worldwide and improve the professional lives of players on and off the field. We are proud of the hard work and commitment to thoughtful dialogue reflected through this process, and look forward to strengthening our partnership moving forward.”

In recent years, the players have raised issues about compensation and working conditions compared to their male counterparts, casting a shadow over the efforts of the most successful women’s team in soccer history and pitting the federation against wildly popular athletes, such as Carli Lloyd and Alex Morgan.

In March 2016, the players  filed a federal complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, charging the USSF with wage discrimination. The case remains active.

Financial specifics were not immediately available, but people with knowledge of the pact said it includes:

  • Increase in direct compensation
  • Increase in bonus compensation
  • Enhanced benefits related to travel and hotels
  • Per diem equal to the U.S. men’s team
  • Greater financial support for players who are pregnant
  • Financial support for players adopting a child

Also, in a key gain, the players’ association will now control group likeness rights for licensing and nonexclusive rights in sponsorship categories where USSF does not have an agreement.”  

Read the full piece here

GOOOOAAAAAALLLLLLL!!!!!

See the full gifset here

More posts on women’s soccer

Solo: A Memoir of Hope, by Hope Solo

When Nobody Was Watching: My Hard-Fought Journey to the Top of the Soccer World by Carli LLoyd

The audiobooks for Solo: A Memoir of Hope and When Nobody Was Watching: My Hard-Fought Journey to the Top of the Soccer World are both available as free downloads via an Audible.com promotion! More info on the promotion, plus a huge list of available feminist books here.

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I like how the implication of this is that kageyama doesn’t even bother to tell tsukishima that he’s gonna do this anymore. He just sets the ball sky high out of nowhere and trusts that tsukishima will accomodate accordingly. He wouldn’t be able to pull that shit with anyone, maybe not even hinata, but he knows his teammates and he knows tsukishima will be able to pick up on what’s happening and quickly make up the difference.

boyf riends ok

ive been thinking about this all day so what if michael can only take so much sugar before he gets a crazy sugar high

so when he and jeremy are having a sleepover (“it’s not gay!”) and all they are eating/drinking is sugar,,, well michael is bouncing off the walls by one am (jeremy thinks it’s kinda cute but at the same time “sit the fuck down michael!”)

except he’s bound to crash from his high. and he crashes hard.

by like two thirty, three am, michael is totally useless. he can barely keep his eyes open to play any more video games. but when he crashes, he gets dopey and affectionate

so he’ll be having the time of his life, laying across jeremys lap, trying to play with his hands, trying to get him to (“spill some juicy gossip”). he eventually tries to kiss jeremys fingers, hold his hand, etc

he just keeps pushing his boundaries,,, and jeremy is letting him (with a burning red fave, but he’s letting him)

they fall asleep (aka michael passes out and jeremy turns in for the night) practically holding each other, mostly because michael would not let jeremy move once he got ahold of him

as jeremy falls asleep, he’s thinking about telling michael. ya know, telling him. about his feelings

he wakes up, confident and ready to go, except michael embarrassedly detangles from jeremy when he wakes, mumbling a quick “whoa, gay man” (sigh, boys ) and jeremys heart shatters just a little. michael remembers next to nothing from last night, let alone all of his affections

Eclipse 2017: A Unique Chance for Science

On Aug. 21, the Moon will cast its shadow down on Earth, giving all of North America the chance to see a solar eclipse. Within the narrow, 60- to 70-mile-wide band stretching from Oregon to South Carolina called the path of totality, the Moon will completely block out the Sun’s face; elsewhere in North America, the Moon will cover only a part of the star, leaving a crescent-shaped Sun visible in the sky.

Find eclipse times for your location with our interactive version of this map.

A total solar eclipse happens somewhere on Earth about once every 18 months. But because Earth’s surface is mostly ocean, most eclipses are visible over land for only a short time, if at all. The Aug. 21 total solar eclipse is different – its path stretches over land for nearly 90 minutes, giving scientists an unprecedented opportunity to make scientific measurements from the ground.

No matter where you are, it is never safe to look directly at the partially eclipsed or uneclipsed Sun. Make sure you’re prepared to watch safely, whether that’s with solar viewing glasses, a homemade pinhole projector, or online with us at nasa.gov/eclipselive.

Within the path of totality, the Moon will completely obscure the Sun’s face for up to 2 minutes and 40 seconds, depending on location. This will give people within the path of totality a glimpse of the innermost reaches of the Sun’s corona, the outer region of the atmosphere that is thought to house the processes that kick-start much of the space weather that can influence Earth, as well as heating the whole corona to extraordinarily high temperatures.

In fact, scientists got their first hint at these unusually high temperatures during the total solar eclipse of 1869, when instruments detected unexpected light emission. It was later discovered that this emission happens when iron is stripped of its electrons at extremely high temperatures.

This region of the Sun’s atmosphere can’t be measured at any other time, as human-made instruments that create artificial eclipses must block out much of the Sun’s atmosphere – as well as its bright face – in order to produce clear images.

We’re funding six science investigations to study the Sun’s processes on Aug. 21. Teams will spread out across the path of totality, focusing their instruments on the Sun’s atmosphere. One team will use a pair of retro-fitted WB-57F jets to chase the Moon’s shadow across the eastern US, extending the time of totality to more than 7 minutes combined, up from the 2 minutes and 40 seconds possible on the ground.

Our scientists are also using the Aug. 21 eclipse as a natural science experiment to study how Earth’s atmosphere reacts to the sudden loss of solar radiation within the Moon’s shadow.

One region of interest is Earth’s ionosphere. Stretching from roughly 50 to 400 miles above Earth’s surface, the tenuous ionosphere is an electrified layer of the atmosphere that reacts to changes from both Earth below and space above and can interfere with communication and navigation signals.

The ionosphere is created by ionizing radiation from the Sun. When totality hits on Aug. 21, we’ll know exactly how much solar radiation is blocked, the area of land it’s blocked over and for how long. Combined with measurements of the ionosphere during the eclipse, we’ll have information on both the solar input and corresponding ionosphere response, enabling us to study the mechanisms underlying ionospheric changes better than ever before.

The eclipse is also a chance for us to study Earth’s energy system, which is in a constant dance to maintain a balance between incoming radiation from the Sun and outgoing radiation from Earth to space, called the energy budget. Like a giant cloud, the Moon during the 2017 total solar eclipse will cast a large shadow across a swath of the United States.

Our scientists already know the dimensions and light-blocking properties of the Moon, and will use ground and space instruments to learn how this large shadow affects the amount of sunlight reaching Earth’s surface, especially around the edges of the shadow. This will help develop new calculations that improve our estimates of the amount of solar energy reaching the ground, and our understanding of one of the key players in regulating Earth’s energy system — clouds.

Learn all about the Aug. 21 eclipse at eclipse2017.nasa.gov, and follow @NASASun on Twitter and NASA Sun Science on Facebook for more. Watch the eclipse through the eyes of NASA at nasa.gov/eclipselive starting at 12 PM ET on Aug. 21.

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com

I realized one more amazing thing about last night's episode of Supergirl

That episode was incredibly female centric but more so than that, 4 key players in the episode (Lillian, Cat, Rhea and the President) were women over 50 years old.

It’s rare enough to get a woman over 50 on TV at all, more rare it is to have that woman be a key player in the plot line.

Having 4 female characters, all completely different and amazingly complex in a show and have them all be incredibly important to the story is unheard of.

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HISTORY MEME | three wars/battles: the wars of the roses

“The period of civil war called the Wars of the Roses is traditionally viewed as lasting from 1455 to 1485, from Richard, Duke of York’s attempt to unseat King Henry VI until his own son, King Richard III was defeated at Bosworth. In reality, the roots of this conflict lay long before it erupted. As the large and ambitious royal family created by King Edward III began to feud and squabble, trouble moved ever closer. As unpopular as King Richard II was, his removal in favour of his cousin broke a line of male succession that stretched back 300 years to King Henry II. Unseating God’s anointed King of England was previously unthinkable. Henry Bollingbroke made it an option, a choice in the face of poor kingship. He opened a door through which his own grandson was to be pushed, dragging a bickering nobility and a terrified country with him.” – Matthew Lewis,  A Glimpse of The Wars of the Roses

What Your Favorite Lackadaisy Character Says About You

Atlas May: You watched Twin Peaks to find out who killed Laura Palmer and were severely disappointed that it became a show about surrealism and coffee slurping FBI sweethearts.

Mitzi May: You have had it up to the rafters with all the men in your life and spend your evenings drinking alone listen to Lana Del Rey, Marina and the Diamonds, and/or Halsey.

Viktor Vasko: You had a sexual awakening when you saw the buff tigers from Zootopia and weep every night that you will never be held in the rippling arms of a feline lumberjack.

Mordecai Heller: You’re holding out for a Kylo Ren redemption arc and have reblogged a picture of Peridot and tagged it “me”.

Wick Sable: You are the most boring person in your friend group and have yet to accept that your only role is to sigh and pull your hair at the sight of their wacky antics.

Ivy Pepper: You are subscribed to at least one makeup tutorial YouTube channel, and your friends are always complimenting the clothes you either made yourself or bought at a thrift store.

Rocky Rickaby: You are a current or former theater kid who is still reeling with embarrassment over the the times you ruined your chances at romantic love by being an overbearing fuckup. 

Calvin “Freckle” Murray: Your blog is full of memes about living with mental illness and using abstract gallows humor as a coping mechanism. 

Edmund Church: You’ve eaten monopoly money before. 

Lacy Hardt: You’re working in retail and hating every hellish moment of it.

Dorian “Zib” Zibowski: You either have an unyielding fetish for musicians, or are a musician with an unyielding fetish for yourself.

Nina McMurray: You reblog sexual posts telling people to love Jesus and to go to church.

Horatio Bruno: You have the comic where Alfred beats up Superman framed on your wall.

Dr. Quackenbrush: You have a McElroy level obsession with horses.

Captain Kehoe: You listen to nothing but Jimmy Buffet.

Dominic Drago: You romanced Nick Valentine in Fallout 4.

Mrs. Babka: You, without a hint of irony, cried when nobody came to eat PawPaw’s burgers.

Virgil: You know how the comic will end, and you know he’s a key player in the events to come.

Nicodeme Savoy: You fantasize about dating a country boy but are painfully aware that real country boys are belligerent idiots at best and racist homophobes at worst.

The Pig Farmers: You are a real country boy.

Serafine Savoy: You are part of witch tumblr and channel all your magical energies into destroying the gender binary and cursing Donald Trump.

The Arbogasts: When playing RPGs, you give up on the main quest and decide to raise a family and grow crops, only picking up a weapon to defend against bandits.

Asa Sweet: You are a contrarian that everybody dreads being around.

Things You Missed Out On if You Never Watched the 2003 Original Series
  • The birth of Elicia Hughes
    • Which canonically happens on Edward’s birthday
  • Shou and Nina being a much bigger part of Edward and Al’s life.
    • They weren’t just some family the brothers met once. They lived with the Tucker’ for months before Nina died. 
  • Al being smart enough and advanced enough to pass the first part of the Alchemy Exam, pulling out solely because it would be dangerous for people to know he didn’t have a physical body.
  • Barry the Chopper as a human. Not only do the brother’s meet him before Laboratory 5, but Edward and Winry are almost killed by him. 
  • The Tringham brothers
  • By far the most iconic of any of the FMA/FMA:B openings
  • Hughes being crushed by a 12 ft monument of Elicia 
  • Roy and Edward head to head in one of the most epic duels of all time
  • Mini-skirts
  • Al and Martel being really close friends
  • Lust’s character being 176% more important and compelling. 
    • Like… way more important. I personally like the homunculi creation system in the original a lot more than in Brotherhood. With plotlines like that being so different there is no objective ‘better’. But, the way she was created paved the way for not only one of the best character study episodes (35, ‘Reunion of the Fallen’) but one of the best character redemption arcs, as it’s fueled by revelation of character motivation, not a moral change of heart.
    • Speaking of: the dynamic/relationship between Scar and Lust
      • I was genuinely shocked when I first came on Tumblr after finishing the original (before starting Brotherhood) and found absolutely nothing shipping wise between the two. I know now it’s because the majority of the fandom is dedicated to Brotherhood, but still. Maybe it’s just me, but I found their relationship to be one of the most complex and fascinating dynamics in the entire series. 
    • TBH, I think that with the exception of Selim and Greed (and maybe Bradley), the Homunculi in general are way more fleshed out, sympathetic, and so much more intriguing than just the evil bad guy henchmen of Father.
  • The Flame Alchemist, the Bachelor Lieutenant and the Mystery of Warehouse 13
  • One of the most iconic Royai scenes in history
  • Sheska being a much more important character and her being a key player in solving Hughes murder
    • SHESKA AND WINRY BEING BEST FRIENDS 

This is all I’ve got right now just going off the top of my head but I’m sure there are way more please feel free to add anything I missed.

4

Black History Day 3: Cab Calloway.

Cab Calloway was groundbreaking as one of the first African-American musicians to be prominently featured on film. His work with the “Betty Boop” cartoons (as seen above) was legendary because it was basically the grandfather of what we know now as motion capture animation. They recorded Cab singing and dancing (dancing which included an early version of the moonwalk so take that Michael Jackson) and they TRACED HIS MOVEMENTS FRAME BY FRAME to translate them into the character he was playing. None of that unitard covered in ping-pong balls mess. Painstaking frame by frame tracing to capture his motions. You can watch full length versions of the Betty Boop cartoons featuring Cab Calloway pretty easily. I think they’re all on YouTube and they’re in the public domain so they’re easy to find and download. The names of the cartoon shorts are “Minnie the Moocher”, “Snow White ”, and “The Old Man of the Mountain”.
So go watch them now and appreciate a hard-working black musician who pioneered the jazz genre and was a key player in animation advancement.

It Wasn't Worth All The "Horror Movie Bullshit"

Context: I am DMing a group of players through an amped-up version of the Death House from Curse of Strahd. This is meant to be a one-shot mini-campaign where many (if not all) of them will die, so I’m doing my best to make things as dangerous and scary as possible, including playing creepy music which has them all on edge. The group has made it to the third floor of the house and found two doors, one locked and one unlocked. This takes place after they fail to open the locked door.

Player 1: So the other door is unlocked, right?

DM: Right.

Player 1: I go to open the door… 13 for perception?

DM: As you look around your notice this room is mostly empty save for a desk with a large iron key on top of it. There is also a window on the far wall and sitting on it as a porcelain doll with a faded yellow dress. It’s eyes seem to follow you.

Player 1: Nope! Fuck that! I close the door.

Player 3: But the key! What if it unlocks the other door?

Player 1: Ugh, fine. I open the door again.

DM: You see the same scene, but the doll is no longer on the windowsill.

Player 1: Uh, perception 17 to see where it is?

DM: You cautiously pure around the room, looking for any signs of a faded yellow dress, however seen nothing… Until you look down.

Player 3: NO.

DM: Yes. The doll is standing by the partially open door, looking up at you with blue glass eyes.

Player 2: I roll to fucking punt it across the room! *rolls a 2*

DM: You take a step forward and go to kick the doll with all your might… only to have it grab your boot with its tiny porcelain fingers.

Player 2: HOLY SHIT! BURN IT! BURN IT!

Player 1: I ROLLED A 15 TO CAST FIREBOLT ON THE DOLL!

DM: You hear a high pitched shriek echoing from the room as the doll’s head explodes into flames, it’s worn yellow dress catching almost immediately. You watch in abject horror as it releases its grip and stumbles back. As its hair burns away, its glass eyes roll upwards to look at you before beginning to melt back into its porcelain skull.

Player 3: NOPE! I roll to slam the door shut!

DM: The door slams shut without a problem and the screaming stops abruptly.

Player 1: Guys… we still need that key…

After some argueing about whether or not getting the key and potentially unlocking the other door was “worth all this horror movie bullshit”, Player 1 again steps up.

Player 1: Okay, I open the door again and get a 14 perception.

DM: The first thing you notice is an eerie silence followed by the distinct smell of sulfur and burning hair, and lastly you see the remains of the doll. Her body is charred black, her hair has burned away along with the clothes she was wearing, and the sockets which once held blue eyes are empty, yet somehow you still feel as if you are being watched. She sits upon the desk, holding the iron key in her lap.

Player 1: FUCK IT, I’M GONNA SPRINT IN THERE, SNATCH THE KEY AND GET THE FUCK OUT AS FAST AS I CAN!

DM: Roll me an athletics check.

Player 1: 19?

DM: You do so easily, slamming the door behind you. Congratulations, you got the key.

Queue having to take a 10 minute break as the DM laughed about their reactions and everyone shared their mutual terror of babydolls, agreeing that after this all was over they were going to burn the whole house down.

Dungeon Crafting: Puzzle Dungeons

image source: Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages

Now, I don’t know if you people have seen Mark Brown’s miniseries on YouTube known as Boss Keys, but it’s pretty great. It picks apart and analyzes some of my favorite dungeons from the Legend of Zelda games and finds out what makes a dungeon a Zelda dungeon. I have always loved these dungeons because they have a lot of density and force you to explore the space slowly and think your way through its puzzles. Definitely check out Boss Keys. From what I learned from those videos plus my own experiences as a DM, I’m going to try and detail how to create a Zelda-like puzzle dungeon. There are a few hallmarks that you should hit on:

Dungeon Density

Each area in the dungeon should be complex. It should have several things to interact with in each room other than the monsters or guardians. Everything doesn’t have to be immediately useful or usable, but it should provide context for the dungeon. For ideas, think what the dungeon was used for and research what sorts of things might be in an ancient tomb, lost temple, or forgotten keep. Have certain puzzle elements stand out. A good example from the Legend of Zelda is the eyeball above a closed door. I would stray away from that type of “puzzle” as it’s very well-known, I assume, that you have to hit the eye to open the door. On the other hand, a well-known puzzle like that could signal to the players that this is going to be one of “those” dungeons.

Making a dungeon complex and dense will mean that you have less rooms to populate, and will make it feel robust and well-used. It will also give a feeling of slight confusion for the players as they try to organize all of the information you’re giving them, but as the dungeon progresses, they can pick and choose which parts of the dense dungeon are integral to solving the dungeon!

Hub Areas

With all of that dungeon density I’ve been talking about, it’s good to have some sort of hub area. It could be a large room, a safe sanctuary, or have some overbearing landmark for players to imprint on. This will be the main part of the dungeon that they remember and can rely on. They will pay the most attention to this hub. So if this hub is a main part of solving your dungeon puzzle, they will notice changes made to the room very easily. For instance, a hub room could be a gaping chasm with bridges that seem to be mechanical. When certain levers in other parts of the dungeon are pulled, some pathways in the hub open up and some close off as the bridges ascend, descend, or turn. Back in my post about dungeon tempo, this creates a nice rhythm for players to always come back to a room that they’ve cleared and notice progress.

Branching Paths

Branching paths are a key part of puzzle dungeons. Don’t have a dungeon that is all one path that railroads players to the end of the dungeon with a puzzle for each room. Players need to be able to explore and discover the available paths in the dungeon and find the path for themselves. In the Boss Keys miniseries I mentioned, Mark constantly differs Legend of Zelda dungeons by whether they make you find a path versus making you follow a path. I personally enjoy finding the path and I think most players do too. It is key in creating what are known as…

A-Ha Moments

An a-ha moment is not that feeling you get when listening to Take On Me, but it’s pretty close. It’s that feeling a player gets when they figure out a puzzle by suddenly putting two and two together. There are a few aspects to create this in dungeon and level design:

  • Foreshadowing: implying that one part of the dungeon must be revisited later or implying something further in the dungeon exists. Laying this groundwork puts thoughts in players’ heads to help them markedly acknowledge that it’s okay to leave this area, because something lies ahead.
  • State Changes: the environment of the dungeon or its parts changes based on the actions of the players. This is the “puzzle” part of the a-ha moment. Pressing a button to change gravity, move a pylon, or change water levels can would count as a state change. Even acquiring a key item that can affect the dungeon or the players’ movement would count (see Link’s Pegasus Boots, Hover Boots, Silver Gauntlets, etc.)
  • Backtracking: After the state change, the dungeon has shifted. Some areas that were once inaccessible can now be accessed, and areas that were once open have closed off. This forces the players to backtrack. Where do they backtrack to? The place that foreshadowed the backtracking.

How does this look in practice? Let’s make an example:

The players enter a dungeon and quickly make it to a hub area with four doors. three of the doors have a bridge extending from it to a central platform. The platform and bridges are 100 ft. above a pit of spikes, which are very satisfying to kick the kobolds in this room onto. Once players tire themselves of punting kobolds, they notice that the central platform has a large plinth with a stationary mirror set into it. The mirror is facing one of the directions of the bridges. The mirror can’t be easily moved without tools, and it has no apparent use yet. The players move on to one of the doors connected by the bridge.

The players go through several chambers, fighting monsters and avoiding traps, when they find a room with a lever in it. When pulled, they hear a low rumbling and grinding of stone elsewhere in the dungeon. When they return to the hub room, the central platform and bridges have rotated, allowing passage to the door that didn’t have a bridge leading to it before.

Down this new route, the players find a stone button with an angel relief on it. After pushing a huge rock onto it, they hear another rumbling. On returning to the hub room, an angel relief is now visible on the wall as a stone slab has moved away to reveal it.

The yet unexplored room is still accessible by the bridge, and after exploring down that path, the players find a crank near a gilded relief of a sun. The crank opens up a sunroof in the hub area. The sun (if daytime) shines light onto the central mirror in that room, which then reflects it out in one direction. The only problem is, the beam of light from the mirror isn’t facing the way the PCs want (towards the revealed angel relief in the hub area).

Realizing that they need to point the mirror so the light shines on the angel relief, they must backtrack to the room with the lever that rotates the bridges and mirror until the mirror is oriented the way they want.


This example has density. It’s essentially four rooms with all the things they need to solve a puzzle in the hub area (the central room with the bridges). It could use more density though with more puzzle intertwined throughout some filler rooms or with more things to do in each room; I was light on description for the purpose of the example. It has three branching paths (four if you include where they entered from). The mirror foreshadows a light puzzle, and the sun icon foreshadows the opening of the sunroof. The bridges, angel relief, and sunroof all exist in the hub area and change states based on the players’ actions in the rest of the dungeon. Players have to backtrack to the room that changes the bridge orientation so they can rotate the mirror to face the right direction. This is a fairly simple puzzle, but in the context of a session of D&D where the story less shown and more told, it can prove more difficult. Keep all of these factors in mind when making a puzzle dungeon, and don’t forget to watch Boss Keys!

The accusations of white-washing being leveled at The Great Wall are almost funny because there are only 2 white actors in the movie (both playing European characters) (plus Pedro Pascal), and the rest are Chinese. As the director has stated there five key players in the final victory and four of those characters are Chinese. The movie has a Chinese director. Half the movie’s dialogue is in Chinese. Most of the crew is Chinese. The movie is filmed in China. It’s a Chinese film company partnered with an American film company. The title flashes on the screen in both English and Chinese. The fantasy elements are the movies own but are rooted in Chinese culture. The film is made in a style that incorporates elements of Chinese film making. It’s essentially a Chinese movie that is using Matt Damon to gain access to an American audience. 

People got mad and called this movie racist but it’s easily one of the most Chinese movies to ever get a wide theatrical release in the US. 

My players have been making their way through a dungeon. They are accompanied by a goat named Jesus Christ that fell in love with a player who rolled a natural 20 for animal handling. They are faced with a decision.

Me: Alright, you have one key and one door that is still locked. What do you do?

Player one: I put the key iN THE GOAT

Player two: *loud exclamations of unhappiness*

Me: Okay, the key is now inside the goat.

Player one: I TURN THE KEY TO SEE WHAT SECRETS THIS UNLOCKS

Player two: This is animal abuse!

Me: Okay, you turn the key, and Jesus Christ the goat kicks you and turns to face you. He is preparing to charge. Roll for initiative.

Eventually Jesus Christ the Goat was killed after dealing significant damage to player one who failed to land a hit for about three turns.

me yesterday: still love the x files but i think i might be getting over my obsession

me right now: i’m the key figure in an ongoing government charade, a plot to conceal the truth about the existence of extraterrestrials. it’s a global conspiracy, actually, with key players in the highest levels of power and it reaches down into the lives of every man, woman, and child on this planet. so, of course, no one believes me. i’m an annoyance to my superiors, a joke to my peers. they call me “spooky.” spooky mulder, whose sister was abducted by aliens when he was just a kid and now he chases after little green men with a badge and a gun shouting to the heavens or to anyone who will listen that the fix is in, that the sky is falling. and when it hits, it’s gonna be the shit storm of all time.

Critical Role and Queer Perspective

There’s a little Critical Role analysis I’ve been thinking about that probably won’t fit in my thesis, mostly because it’s too narrow in scope. I wanted to talk about it, though, because it’s been one of the most interesting transitions to watch in terms of how the show thinks about its queer characters.

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