I know I’ve shared this story before, but I can’t find it.
I grew up in a log cabin in the woods on the outskirts of a small rural town. It’s so small that it doesn’t actually show up on any maps - the only official marker is a small green sign on the edge of the road, and the longest-residing resident automatically becomes the mayor. We have a few houses, a gas station, a Masonic lodge, a Quaker church, and a couple of small graveyards. The rest is farm and woodland.
One day, I was visiting a school friend in the next town over. There were six or seven of us there, doing nothing but munching on pretzels, talking shit, and stewing in a questionable hot tub. I didn’t get out much, so this was a real party for me.
I stayed late because one girl I didn’t know offered to give me a ride home. I lived about 20 minutes away, but she didn’t mind - she liked driving country roads and wanted the practice. We were halfway there when I casually mentioned the name of my town and she nearly veered off the road.
She turned to stare at me in horror. “Are you serious?! I’m not driving there!”
“Why… not?” I had no idea what her problem was. It’s not like there’s a crime problem. Was it too far away? Was she going to leave me stranded?
“It’s super haunted. I hear so many bad stories about that place,” she said. I think my jaw dropped, but she was completely serious.
“What have you heard?” I asked. Haunted? And *I* didn’t know about it? Me, the kid who drank up ghost stories and urban legends like mother’s milk?
She explained how she’d heard stories about secret societies, strange rituals, black dogs, witches, mysterious gated roads, creepy houses, hooded figures roaming graveyards, and more. She was clearly terrified.
It took me a moment to process everything before I burst into laughter. Gasping for breath, I said, “That’s me! That’s all me! That’s literally all my family!”
My dad, a Freemason, had offered our woods as a location for rituals. My dog at the time, a black Labrador, was allowed to roam free. My parents often cooked over an open fire in a cauldron, either preparing food or chemical treatments for my father’s craftsmanship. Our log cabin we constructed out of pieces of old 18th century local buildings and is filled with oddities @. The hooded figures had been my birthday party, wandering the cemetery with lanterns ‘cause there was nowhere else to go.
“It’s not haunted,” I assured her. “That’s all just my family doing normal stuff. You can visit if you like. The scariest thing in town and the source of all these stories is already sitting next to you in your car, so what’s to fear?”
She did eventually calm down enough to drive me home, and we had a good laugh about it. I have no idea how far my town’s reputation for spookiness has reached, but I’m honored to be the inspiration of at least a few urban (rural?) legends.
10 Ways to Make Your Dorm Room (almost) Instantly Homier
Whether you’re heading back to college for the fourth or very first time, try these tips to feel at home on campus:
Lamps! Even in the nicest accommodations (like Smith!) the overhead lighting isn’t all that pleasant. A lamp or two (maybe one floor lamp and one bedside) softens the light in the room, and undeniably makes it homier. Pick up some thrift store lamps once you get there, especially if you’re coming from far away, that way you can ditch them at the end of the semester if you can’t store or move them easily (plus thrifted lamps are pretty cheap — I found one of my three lamps on the side of the road, the other two were willed to me).
A rug can make a room feel much warmer, and I much prefer stepping onto a rug when I get out of bed over the cold floor. I’ve also had friends use a rug as a seating area on the floor, lined with throw pillows against the wall (especially good if you’re not a fan of folks sitting on your bed).
Cool it on the high school friends photos. You might see photo collages that take up entire walls on Pinterest and in friends’ rooms, but a few nice photos in frames of family and friends from home can aesthetically and mentally prepare you for new friends and adventures in college.
You can never have too many mugs. The bigger the better — tea, coffee, water, extracurricular beverages (you know, like milk for your cookies), cereal, fruit, yogurt, the mug is one of the most universal dishes.
Extra blankets of different weights will up your cozy factor, and will come in handy when it’s fort building time. You can also fold these up to use as extra pillows for leaning against the wall/on your bed. Especially as you’re adjusting to a new house’s thermostat, a variety of blankets is nice to have as you figure out what makes you comfy.
Fake flowers or plants, or real ones if you’re ambitious, add sweet bursts of color to your very neutral room. I like to keep mine in wine bottles, as it really classes up the place, and is perfect for making a get together with friends or a wine date with a friend/gal pal/boy toy more festive.
Keep the blinds open during the day! If you can, arrange a mirror to reflect the light from the window (my first year my closet door, which had a mirror on the outside, was luckily directly across from a window, and it actually made a substantial difference to the feel of the room).
Have some conversation starters — a favorite album artwork, a poster from a favorite trip/museum visit/concert/movie, a small statue you found in your first year room’s light box (now there’s a story), a map with markers on it (Places you’ve been? Places you want to go? Places people you love are?), a flag from your state/country/political party (I proudly fly the NWP flag and it has made me several friends), something you made or someone made for you (maybe a blanket your grandma crocheted you). Anything that a new friend can ask about and you’ll have more to say than just, “oh I thought it looked nice.” Something with a story is always great, and it’s a great way to find things in common right away. On that note, if you bring books from home, people are going to check them out when they come by your room, so make them count!
A tapestry or something cloth on the wall will really warm up your white-walled room!
Seasonal decor you make yourself, like paper snowflakes with your roommates when you’re ready for snow, or paper flowers for when you desperately want it to be spring — festive and a nice study break!
six of crows character aesthetics: what’s in their bags edition
a cloth to polish his bloody cane with, an extra pair of leather gloves, folded maps, a leaking black marker, cologne labeled 'blood of my enemies', hair gel for his impeccable quiff
black and gold eyeliners, the softest oversized black hoodie, crumpled maps at the bottom because she doesn't really need them anyway, a cord of scuffed rope, a stone to sharpen her knives with on the go, bits of parchment paper and a pen to write messages on
a piece of silky red ribbon for her hair, an almost empty tin of sugar cookies, dark red lipstick, a tin case of bones, hand sanitizer to eat away the stench of dead things, vials of colored pigments for tailoring
an extra pair of warm fuzzy socks from nina, random trinkets he picked up in the snow and woods, a long heavy gun, an extra strap for his large-as-life bag, a case of polish and things to clean his boots with, cologne smelling of winter and fresh air
wylan van eck:
unscented chapstick, a vial of liquid sunshine or something, a yellowed dogeared notebook full of numbers and equations and diagrams (and subtle sketches of jesper), an old flute he painted on, an extra warm sweater (bright green), tissue paper
an extra pearl or two for his pistols, a pack of old playing cards, crumpled change, an old pocketbook with photos of vintage guns, a tin of extra minty mints, a notebook of his own puns that he adored and laughs over from time to time + puns he'll save for later
The Littlest Winchester - The World Is Your Canvas
Character(s): Dean Winchester, Castiel
Word Count: 454
In each hand, Dean’s four-year-old daughter holds a marker. The drawings on the wall of the bunker tell how long she’s been at it without being caught. It isn’t her father who finds her first, nor her uncle, but rather Castiel. The little girl doesn’t so much as startle when he crouches down next to her and inspects her wall art curiously.
1) Read the book. … This seems extremely simple, but I’m constantly stunned at how many new DMs think that just because they’ve played in a game or two as players, they can run the entire game off the top of their head. They get overwhelmed quickly, and give up. You need to be very familiar with how the rules and gameplay work before you can guide other people!
2) Start with a pre-made adventure or campaign, and tweak it to your own tastes as you go! Writing your own from scratch gets daunting and exhausting very quickly, but always having a set campaign guideline to go by will ease that. As you gain more confidence, you can change the story up to fit you and your players better.
3) You do not need a ton of miniatures, models, and scenery to be a good DM. I know the pressure of advertising, marketing, and shiny displays says otherwise, but you just need to worry about being a story teller. Tabletop games are about the imagination first, so even just doodling a map on a piece of notebook paper, and using M&Ms as player markers will do the trick. When I host games online, there are no maps or markers at all, it’s ALL imagination, and it works great!
4) Tell your players to get there early - or if they’re habitually late, tell them an earlier start time. This gives you time to answer questions, have everyone get settled, and for nerves to calm down for the anxious ones. The more you’re rushed to get started, the more frustrating your whole session will be.
5) HYDRATE YOURSELF. If it’s gonna be a very long session (over 3 hours), have multiple bottles of water or sources of hydration on hand. You’re going to be talking a lot. Chapstick will be important too, for similar reasons.
6) Have a game binder with plenty of notebook paper in it. This will keep track of notes you need to take, player information you need, anything you need to scribble down. At the front page, though, make a list of the things you need for each game. Your dice, your maps, any figures if you use them, the books you’ll need, hydration + food supplies, anything like that. It’ll act as a reminder so you don’t forget something before it’s game time.
7) In that binder, also keep cheat sheets on status effects, your more common tables (I have a lot of carousing tables), NPC names you’ll be using a lot, trap effects, and maybe even some stat blocks of common creatures they could encounter in your dungeons/forests/etc. That way you don’t have to keep searching for them in the DMG or Monster Manual at a crucial point. Makes things go quicker, and gives your players a little more confidence when they don’t have the answer, but you do.
8) TAKE INTEREST IN YOUR PLAYERS. TAKE. INTEREST. IN. YOUR. PLAYERS. Too many goddamn DMs only see their players and the PCs as meatsuits that are expendable, and delight in total party kills. They don’t care about the time spent creating a character, or the backstory put on the, or how the character interacts with things. Don’t be that DM. Before a game even starts, you should be talking to your players, asking about their characters, getting to know how the character works and where they come from, and also how the player prefers to do things. Some players like smashing and slicing things, others prefer roleplay - when you know who is who, you can strike that balance easier. But investing that time also gives you things you can use for story plot, ideas for quests or NPCs, and allows you to invest your party in your world that much deeper. TAKE INTEREST IN YOUR PLAYERS.
25/04/2017 Today was a very productive day! I worked really hard on taking notes and making mind maps for tax law (and I used so much paper that I feel sorry for the trees.) I hope you’re all having a wonderful day!
I’m sure I’m not the only one who couldn’t decipher half the names on this map so here’s a 4662 x 2839 map of Lucis, without markers and with everything written in a more legible font. I hope I didn’t forget or misspell any locations. You can use it for anything or add stuff on it I don’t care.
imagine an open-world SCP Foundation game set in Bellerverse or Doctors of the Church or some shit and it has all the tropes of Every Fantasy Setting Game™ and Bethesda probably made it and like you walk into some cave and find some long-escaped Keter-class monstrosity munching on human remains and when you walk down the tunnels a ways there’s some camp of dead settlers and their Conspicuously Placed Torn Diary Pages™ with Believable Handwriting™
and you The PLayer CharactER
® are like chillin at some settlement eatin 871 cakes and random people will run up to you and the camera will automatically rotate toward their face over an awkward three-second transition and then they’ll speak after another awkward three-second transition and they’ll talk and the popup on the screen afterward’ll be like
and you’ll have the map marker stuck on your HUD for forever and there’s eight active quests and you work for the Foundation and Insurgency simultaneously somehow but you’re also anomalous and have purple eyes after paying the trader from Brightrun 400 gold for cosmetic spells and you’ll never know where to go and
the bard’s song by blind guardian will play on repeat from an indiscriminate location for hours and you can’t turn it off and please never let this game happen