In a Dragon Age campaign based during the first blight, we had been in a very large city for quite a while. The Blight caught up with us, and the dark spawn began to assault the city. We met the force head on in the outer sector of the city, only to come face to face with a horde of Hurlocks and the Archdemon itself.
Me, the Qunari Barbarian: (surveying the map our DM had drawn out) Ok, we cant win this - but if we run now we’ll die anyways. We need a diversion. How about this cow?
Our DM had drawn a small enclosure with a cow inside it.
Human Barbarian: What if you throw the cow.
Me: I attempt to pick up the cow and throw it at the Archdemon.
Me: (Rolls nat 20)
DM: … You somehow lift the cow above your head, and throw it directly at the Archdemon… 80ft away from you.
Necromancer: I CAST SUPERIOR WALKING BOMB ON THE COW.
Everyone pauses to stare at our mage. After a quick check, the spell has a 120ft range. The spell succeeds.
Our DM begins to roll a saving throw for the Archdemon.
DM: (Rolls nat 1)
DM: … Roll for damage.
Necromancer: (Rolls crit, max damage)
DM: (Holding face in hands) The cow explodes, and transfers the spell onto the Archdemon and the nearby Hurlocks, who also explode. The explosions continue and damage the Archdemon until the entire group you were facing are dead, and the Archdemon is a pile of steaming goo.
DM: This was the main battle I planned for this session.
I’ve written a lot about the seven classical planets and celestial/cosmic witchcraft. I think it’s time to bring things a bit more down to earth, though!
This is a new two-part series! It will focus on the natural elements as understood by the Western Magical Tradition.
In today’s article, I’ll be explaining a bit about the history of these concepts and how I see them. I hope you find this interesting and informative!
Thinking About the Elements
Elements are one of the first concepts I learned when beginning a journey into witchcraft.
But! How do we view the elements as concepts? Lets consider how they relate to us and the whole universe. Here’s my views!
Some believe the elements are simply words for natural phenomena. In other words, Fire is fire - the burning of a campfire or candle, or another flame. Water would always be something like a stream, the ocean or other liquid. I don’t see it this way. They’re far more complex than that!
The four elements stem the observations of ancient philosophers. These thinkers guessed that these substances were the building blocks of physical reality. Of course, they were wrong! In reality, atoms comprise matter. Matter and energy, then, make up the physical universe.
We could associate four classical elements with the four states of matter. These are solid, liquid, gas, and plasma. They’d correspond to earth, water, air, and fire in turn. This is a very simplified view, though!
These concepts were fundamental to the ancients. A wealth of lore has developed around them. They have grown into complex metaphors for aspects of the human condition. The physical manifestations of the elements have become potent symbols.
They represent various mental and emotional phenomena. Symbols are important in witchcraft. The way I see it, all tools of the Craft are symbols used to connect with larger forces that work within the universe.
The elements themselves, and their attributions, are in fact, somewhat arbitrary. This means that each of us will have a different idea of what each element represents!
There’s nothing wrong with this, though. The point is to use them as symbols. What they symbolize to you is your own business!
Qualifying the Elements
In the Western Magical Tradition, there are four core (classical) elements: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water.
Some traditions do posit a fifth element called the quintessence, also known as Spirit or Aether. This fifth element stands apart from the other four, as it doesn’t behave in the same way.
I’ll be focusing on these four, not on the quintessence. Spirit as an element is a very large topic best suited for its own series of articles.
Alchemical thinkers have placed these four into categories. . They’re quite useful for understanding the system.
Each element is either “hot” or “cold,” as well as either “dry,” or “wet.”
This doesn’t describe the physical qualities of the phenomena in question. Rather, these terms are metaphors. They refer to the roles taken by the concepts each element embodies.
Hot and Cold Elements
Hot elements are active in human existence.
They stand for concepts that penetrate and alter the world around them. An outdated way of putting this would be to describe them as “masculine.” This comes from historical stereotypes about gender. I tend to use the term “active” to describe hot elements. That’s Fire and Air.
Cold elements are passive and receptive.
They represent concepts from which we draw nourishment. They are the structure or substance that forms our mental landscape. The hot elements tend to be the essence or organizing principle.
Cold elements are often stereotyped as “feminine.“ They are Water and Earth, both of which play a nourishing role in human existence.
Wet and Dry Elements
Dryness as a concept within the Western Magical Tradition refers to a fixed state. In other words, the dry elements are things that don’t often change. These elements are full of stability.
The key feature of a dry element is lack of intense motion. We can depend on the stable parts of our existence, represented by these elements.
The dry elements are Fire and Earth. It may seem strange to call fire stable, but it is a reliable source of warmth to us. It represents a constant feature of human life.
When we speak of wet elements, we mean the two elements that aren’t fixed. In other words, elements that flow ,change and transform. It is the concepts associated with these elements that drive the changes. They are reliable, but only insofar as change, itself, is something to rely on!
The wet elements are Air and Water. Both are natural features that shift and flow through our lives. The inclusion of Air as a wet element shows that these are metaphorical, not literal terms.
Much more could be said about how people have described the elements throughout time. The above image shows the alchemical view of how the elements can combine to create secondary principles.
As you might guess, “fixed” and “volatile” here stand for what we’ve been calling “passive” and “active.” If you want to know more about these further topics, I recommend Robert Bartlett’s book, True Alchemy.
The entire concept of the elements is a metaphor, though. It’s a metaphor that can work for you. It can help with your Craft, and help you connect with the universe. I’ll be posting the next article tomorrow! In that, I’ll be discussing each element in detail.
Alright, so here I am with another long ass meta post. Only this time, this one is directed solely at the legend, Levi Ackerman himself. Yet again, I am seeing the “Levi is Abusive” mumbo jumbo and I have spent my two years in this fandom quiet about my opinions on this for the most part because I do not enjoy drama. However, after this last batch of Discourse™ that I have seen, I have been pushed beyond my ability to bite my tongue.
This is Part One to a two part meta, and this is me basically trying to shine light on Levi’s actions a bit and why he behaves the way he does. In no way do I try to justify all of the shit he carries out so don’t think this is just a fangirl squeal post. I’m simply trying to better explain his character for the people who seem to think he is some kind of rage beast who beats kids for fun in his spare time.
I will be putting this under a Read More because it is extremely long and also contains spoilers. I’d also like to state that this would be best read from a computer or the mobile website as it contains a metric fuckton of manga panels used for reference (seriously use any other means outside of the mobile app to read this because the app will butcher this post and cut out a majority of the images). If you are sitting down to read this, please make sure you are comfy, cozy, and drinking a nice warm beverage. Now then,
DISCLAIMER: This is my personal opinion. In no way am I stating what I say here is completely accurate. if you disagree with my opinion, good for you! That’s your prerogative. However, If you are going to send me messages trying to argue points of view with me or send me hate messages because my opinion differs from your own; do us both a favor and just don’t even bother. WARNING: Major spoilers ahead.
First and foremost, this is the scene I see brought up the absolute most so I’d like to go ahead and address it first:
Background: The party had just moved into an abandoned keep and were a few days into restoring it to a liveable condition. It is now late in the evening and the hired housekeeper, a mid-twenties human woman, comes out of the kitchen to bring a quickly prepared dinner to the group. She had been receiving some grief from our tiefling paladin about the floors not being clean enough to eat off of all day. So when she sets the food before us she mutters under her breath, “I swear, if anyone drops any of this on the floor I will make you eat it off the floor and/or lick the carpets clean.”
Me (human druid): Do I hear this.
DM: It was muttered loud enough that you could hear it with your passive perception, yes.
Druid: I would like to cast feather fall on the housekeeper and then make an attack roll to trip her with my staff.
DM: Okay, make an attack roll vs her dexterity saving roll, with advantage thanks to feather fall.
Druid: rolls 17
DM: Well she rolled a 5 and an 11, so as she turns back towards the kitchen you lower the end of your staff catching it between her feet and she falls to the ground, quickly at first and then softly as feather fall takes affect.
Druid: I look down at the housemaid, smirk, and then with my -2 modifier to charisma say, “Oops looks like I dropped you on the floor, I guess I will have to lick your carpet clean.“
(Everyone looks to me and then the DM, stunned, as this is the first time ever playing my character has done anything like this, usually being the serious one of the group)
DM: Roll a straight charisma check, with disadvantage.
Druid: First roll Natural 20, second roll… another Nat 20!!
DM: Seriously, she rolled a 2 for her charisma saving throw!
Druid: The druid leans further down to her ear and whispers, "your quarters or mine”.
(Everyone loses it at this point.)
(The housekeeper and my druid have been dating ever since and may have a little one on the way.)
I wrote this again because I believed I could expand the story and see how it go.
***Logs of the late Admiral Elfre”
Personal log 1. I got accepted into the coalition military only as a simple deck serf my main duties are cleaning the vents of vermin that somehow make it onto the ships and breed. I also run messages, it’s good exercise but most of the officers don’t even look at me, I’ll show them I’ll make admiral in not time.
Personal Log 6. After helping engineer Lopya with the engine after being stuck in dead space for nearly a week I was promoted to bridge officer, I mainly work the coms console but it is a step in the right direction, i cant wait.
Personal Log 8. One of our explorer ships has found a new planet, this one is apparently unique and has all our scientists really excited. Not sure how it is unique because I always thought every world in the galaxy was unique but apparently this is one is special. My colleagues are talking about nothing else I might actually keep an eye on the com traffic to see what the fuss is about.
Personal Log 9. Well I read some of the com messages ( I know I’m not supposed to but curiosity got the better of me) and this new world everyone is going crazy over is apparently the only world which can truly be classified as a “Dead World” But life is not only surviving apparently its thriving. They think their might be intelligent life there, even if the air is toxic and the plant life poisonous and Maker only knows what the animal life is like. I shudder to think of what could survive there.
Personal log 13. The explorer team has gone missing, they were researching a new animal that lived in huge hives and it is believed the creatures may have discovered them. Not sure how I thought they were using this new cloaking technology that makes them invisible? Could these creatures see through it?
Personal Log 14. Workload today was insane, more com traffic than ever, our fleet is being redirected. But on the bright side if I make a good impression the captain might put me on course for deck officer level 2? I can only hope.
Personal Log 16. I’m not sure if this is good or not but our fleet has been chosen to search for that research team that went missing, why we should when we are an explorer fleet not a military fleet. I mean, we only have handful of actual soldiers on each ship, but then orders are orders.
Personal Log 17. I think I may have made a mistake, the captain wanted a coms officer to go and record to rescue and like an idiot I said I’d do it before I truly thought about it. I’m going to a “Dead world” to find people. I want to live long enough to have wife’s and spawns I don’t want to to go somewhere where i might die. Well I can’t back out now, at least Major Jesa gave me a handgun to use in case.
Personal Log 18. We landed on the planet at the researchers last known location, we found their base, it was hidden inside one of the hills over looking a herd of fluffy animals that made off “Bahhhh” sounds as they saw us. They were not hostile luckily, we assumed they were prey animals, wee went off to complete our mission. We found one of the trackers the researchers use sot hey don’t get lost, it was badly broken so the log could not be accessed, we bagged it kept on.
Personal Log 19 The nights here are cold, really cold. We set up air tight tents so we did not have to sleep in our suits and even with the heaters we were all shivering. Private Getr joked this was worse than the time he fought against some snow like monsters on a world going through an ice age. i could tell he was not joking, i hate this place.
Personal Log 20. Private Getr’s suit was split yesterday, some plant that has spikes cut his suit and he died in moments, he never had a chance to even seal the split. A pair of his comrades volunteer to take him back to the shuttle and off they go, we are three men down.
Personal Log 21. The rain, so much rain, I mean it’s not unusual for water to fall from the sky but this is just crazy, we all agree not to out today.
Personal Log 22. We saw the natives, or at least what we think are the most dominant natives here. There were three of them, small and running around in one of the fields playing I think, is that playing or were they fighting for dominance? they were quite small and talked to each other in odd clicking noises. Then the older appeared, far larger than their young, they appeared out of the trees not far from us, then one of them started sniffing the air, no way could they smell us could they? We quickly left before we were discovered. But not before we saw the Hive, it was larger than any city I have seen, how many of these creatures were there.
Personal Log 23. Finally some other sign of the research team, an tent, only one but it’s a sign. We call inside but there is no answer, we slowly make our way inside and find what we feared we would. A body, His skin was the same as privates Getr’s when his suit split, he was holding a note though all it said was. “Run!”
Personal Log 27. Well I’m glad that’s over with and i can get back to my life, that world is now off limits to everyone now and is under strict quarantine level 10. The first planet to get that level. They even named it Kila, apparently it means death in one of languages spoken in the coalition.
Personal Log 30. Since my mission to Kila I have gain more responsibility and just yesterday they are giving me my own ship!! It’s only a snall support ship with a few hundred crew but I’m excited. Captain Elfre, i like the sound of that.
Captains Log 36. I’M BORED!!!! This support ship gets almost no mission, all we do is patrol and help the larger ships move into formation, I want a bigger ship!!!! Or at least something to break the boredom.
Captains Log 38. A whole quarantine fleet went missing a couple of days ago, I instantly knew which one before i even heard the planets name, it was Kila. By the Maker have they made it off the that planet? More fleet are being directed and we are on standby if we are needed. I have a feeling we will be.
Captains Log 40. We are needed, the fleet is heading to the quarantine Kila zone.
Captains Log 41. The quarantine is breached the creatures have built ships and a lot of them, these hive ships were scanned and found our own technology on board. They are using our warp drives, did they figure out of they were built? How? Are these things sentient? We take up position to bar their path and we simply stare at each other, we send message after message to try and open a dialog but there is no response. Then over all our coms, a noise like screaming, is that Getr? Are they in my head? Only one word is truly heard. Hooman, our enemy has a name. The Admiral orders us to open fire and we unleash our weapons upon them, huge pulse cannons and missiles with enough yield to scorch a planet. Nearly all miss. How could they miss and those that hit seemed to only cause minimal damage. Wait are..their ships healing themselves? We scramble to reload and open fire again but the Hoomans fore first, we don’t recognize what kind of weapons they are using but they cut right through our armor, the flagship goes down having been hit by three separate enemy ships. The other captains are screaming orders or trying to regain some kind of control, I shout over the coms that I cam taking command and order the retreat. The war against the Hoomans, has begun.
Captains Log 50. The Hoomans are spreading and spreading fast, every engagement is the same, they break into real space, our coms go haywire and our fleet gets wiped out. We need a different strategy.
Captains Log 54. I have been given command of a new battleship, it is to be the new flagship of a invasion force into Hooman space. Our scientist have theorized that the Hoomans work on a hive mind command structure and if we wipe out the their main hive world Kila the rest will fall into chaos. I don’t know how they can know that as to my mind no Hooman has been captured alive or dead. But I am eager to go on the offensive for once.
Captains Log 55. Our first victory!!! We engaged the Hoomans on the edge of their space and wiped them out, we left the planet as we needed to save our resources for the homeworld but it felt good to drop a few nukes down there. We can do this, we can win!!
Captains Log 57. The Hoomans never seem to run out of ships, we have assembled the largest fleet in the galaxy and that has got their attention, their advance into our space has halted. I have their complete attention, and that terrifies me.
Captains Log 58. We lost half our ships in the last battle and the flagship is heavily damaged we have taken refuge in an asteroid belt to make repairs but the Hoomans are looking for us. They always know where to find us, they always know.
Captains Log 60. I can only engage the Homans one more time before I have to retreat and i am nowhere near their homeworld of Kila, they always seem to have more ships. The last engagement were boarded by them, I have seen every kind of species in the galaxy and we are all different, some are fast, some are strong, some are smart and so on. But never have I seen a race like them. They only have two arms and two legs which is the lowest number of any rce and it seems to work to their advantage. I saw on the security cameras our soldiers fight them in hand to hand and the Hoomans just danced around them. They moved like water and hit like avalanches, our new directive was never to engage them in close combat, you’d never win. Not that shooting them seems to work either, my bridge was breached by them and i shot one in the head with my pistol and it barley flinched, if it wasn’t for a guard with a blaster i would have been dead. Sadly that moment of saving my life cost him his own, he was hit my one of their weapons and his whole body evaporated. Not sure what is a worse way to die, being touched by one of these things or shot. This invasion is over, I’m ordering the retreat.
Captains Log 62. 2 months, that was all the time I bought while invading their space and once more they are on the offensive, consuming world after world and terraforming it so only they can live there. Trillions are now dead and how much further will they spread before they burn themselves out.
Captains Log 65. Our leaders are panicking, the surviving races are merging all their resources in some attempt to turn this tide. Our pleas of surrender and mercy go unanswered except for the usual response of the com screaming. But on some lighter note I go promoted to Admiral, my life long goal was achieved only because my predecessor shot himself when his homeworld was consumed by the Hoomans, his mate and youngling did not make it of world in time. They now expect me to win this war for them, I don’t know if I can but I am going to try.
Admirals Log 1, My first engagement as an Admiral with the race known as Hooman has ended in our utter defeat, we exited hyperspace right on top of them and they reacted as if they knew we were coming. Are these creatures just super fast or can they see the future? We retreated to Elixal Prime but my few remaining ships will not be enough to hold them off for long. I have already began evacuation but there are not enough ships, they will be here soon,
Admirals Log 5, Elixal Prime is lost, the moment the first of their hive ships arrived we had to abandon any hope of rescuing the population. I can only imagine what horrors they will face. We heard their screams over the com as we left.
Admirals Log 13. I have implemented a scorched earth policy, any world we cannot protect or have to retreat from is scorched to make sure they can’t use it. It will slow them at least.
Admirals Log.16 It did not stop or slow them, in fact it made terraforming the planet for themselves easier so we have abandoned that tactic.
Admirals Log 22. They are spreading faster now, faster than we can track them its like a damn has broken and their entire race is now searching for new worlds to consume. Do they eat their worlds? Is that why they are expanding? for food?
Admirals log 29 the Hoomans have conquered half the galaxy and there are too few of the surviving races with the ships to even try and stop them. Some are talking about surrender. How could we? These creatures are so deadly that even one setting foot on a planet spells disaster as if their whole body was made to house millions of viruses. My old friend was touched by one once, I’ll never forget what happened to him. His skin burned and fell off he bled form every part of his body, his screams, they still haunt me.
Admirals Log 40. Me and the other admirals have agreed that this war cannot be won, we have but one hope, all the survivors of the coalition have gathered in one system. There are only 50 billion left out of a population of thousands of trillions. But our scientists have built a war winning weapon, a huge beam cannon that can destroy fleets. It is very experimental as if uses the power oft he sun to fire. The plan is to use it to defend against the Hoomans in this system indefinitely, let them have the galaxy surely they will let us have one small system?
Admirals Log 50. I was wrong about the Hoomans letting us live here, because here they are, but there is only one hive ship just sitting there watching us. My ship is placed directly opposite it, Im sure i can take on one ship but I know, that silently out there, his friends are watching. Once more our coms go nuts, i turn it off, i have had enough of listening to the sounds of my comrades die over and over again. I open fire and before the munitions hit the Hooman hive ship turns and enters hyperspace. He’ll be back.
Admirals Log 60. The Hoomans are back and it seems they have brought their entire fleet with them, My fleet has over 5000 ships of varying classes and the new solar cannon we built. Just a little closer, i oder the cannon to fire and millions of miles behind my fleet the solar cannon unleashes the power of the sun at the Hoomans. Then…wait? No this is not possible the Hooman fleet is moving and a new kind of ship is taking the lead…it’s huge almost the size of a moon and it is moving to intercept the beam. The solar cannons beam hits the new hive ship but…it does not do what they said it would. It is supposed to destroy the ship then the beam jumps tot the nearest ship and destroys that one and so on. But the ship is…is…absorbing it? the light is dancing around the hive ship and then suddenly fires from the tip, oh no it’s heading for one of the planets! It hit the planet the solar cannon was orbiting and it erupts and breaks apart. 20 billion souls all gone in an instant. Screaming I order to open fire, all 5000 ships unleash our firepower at the Hoomans, with so many ships and so many targets it’s hard to miss. The battle last only an hour.
Admiral’s log , We’ve lost, our final stand began an hour ago, 3 thousand ships gone, in an hour!!! How could such a race even exist? I sit here reading reports of what their world is like, no wonder they turned out like they did out of all the worlds in the galaxy this one has to be the most hostile one. I’m not going down without a fight though.
Admiral Efre grabbed his rifle and locked his log in the hopes that it might be found by someone who could read it and remember the struggle the galaxy went through. Perhaps in a couple of millennia when the Hoomans have died out. The Hoomans were cutting through the door now, his soldiers all got to their feet and readied their rifles. The pride he felt for them, even in their final moments they were defiant, even though there was nothing and no one left to save.
The door blasts open and we open fire, like before the Hoomans shrug off our shots like they were pebbles, a few go down but it doesnt stop the others. The run into us and…and? They’re not killing us By the Maker they want us alive! Are they going to eat us? One grabs me with its gloved hand and forces me to my knees alongside my soldiers and another enters like the others of it’s kind inside a sealed suit. It lowers itself to look me in the eye and raising a visor to show it’s face.
They’re disgusting, their faces…the proportions are all wrong and only two eyes? How could they see so well with only two eyes? The nose is pitiful in size I can only imagine how strong it was. And the skin, it looks wet like oil, is it acid?
Finally it speaks and the words put the chill of death into me.
alrighty, i know i was only asked about supercorp fics but this quickly turned into my end all be all list of recs. this got long and i’m not even sorry. disclaimer that i am Soft and don’t like Angst or smut