plague stone

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

Em, guys, can I ask you something? Look around you. Look at, well, everything. The castle, his looks, his lair with lava, the ninjas….what part of it ever made Ras look like someone trustworthy? What part of it all doesn’t scream FUCKING EVIL?!

The conclusion to Damian Knows best in Teen Titans #5 is surprisingly brief. Demon’s Fist is quick to turn on Ras once they find out he stole them from their parents and their whole lives have been a lie….which is done through Damian’s mastery in the ancient art of exposition dump. Fight with Ras himself is brief and he seems more concerned about being a dick to everyone in general and Mara in particular than anything else. In fact, the fight seems to happen only so that Damian can make that one reference to the cartoons.

On the other hand, once that is done we have actually a nice moment between Bruce and Damian that leads to Batman-founded Titans Tower. It actually works nicely as a setup for the team as a whole. I think the theme of this team being “work in progress” and trying to define what it actually means to be Teen Titans as they go may be an interesting way to approach this particular type of group. From a meta perspective, after so many different incarnations and reboots what DOES it means to be in Teen Titans actually is a question worth exploring. Demon’s Fist also has a potential, now that they’re free and can do whatever they want, could be fun to see them in this book later. Or in another title.

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A playlist of songs to listen when you feel like shit and/or you want to be left alone 

listen here | x
tracklist here | x

ATM: Runestones of the Sornieth Magi
A chart of runes for the High School AU. To use these, mages drew these adjacent to each other or organized them into a shape to be connected with lines. They can be made using any medium, but only a true believer can harness their power. These are not all of them, but they are the most well-known. The explanation for each are under the cut.

Keep reading

nyaarlathotep  asked:

I was wondering if there are any "Cthulhu mythos" stories that attempt to tie the legends of the "Fair Folk" with the mythos. I know some of Lovecraft's works do make nods to tales of the Fae such as Whisperer in the Darkness, Pickman's Model, and possibly the Dreamlands stories. However I want to know of any authors who have tried to make a connection of the two since they seem to be a terrific match.

Hey! It really is a great question that you’ve asked, and like most of the really great questions that I get, it’s complicated…to a certain degree anyway. I’ll do my best to answer as briefly as possible here and then add in some related posts for the weekend queue to follow up with more resources/ideas. I’ll post a rec list tomorrow since time got away from me tonight while I was re-reading a few stories. :) I’ll tag any content related to this discussion as ‘signs in Aklo’ for easier tracking  and/or blocking. [Warning: rambly content below; I’m sleepy, as well, so forgive any type-os, etc. ]
    There is quite a bit of this “Fair Folk” element found in what I think of as the “Nature Mythos” branch of the Mythos tree, yes. A lot of it, although it’s not always presented plainly as such. And “Nature Mythos” is just what I call it, btw, (nothing “official” ) and I tend to use that term in reference to any works that draw from Blackwood and Machen, as well as Lovecraft’s works that clearly stem from folklore-centered/folk horror content. As far as Lovecraft’s stories themselves, if you read his work chronologically, you see more of an obvious integration of ideas from Machen/un-”revisioned” folklore early on, and it does really work, as you mention. “The Moon Bog” came to mind immediately for your question. Pure folk horror and closer to an example of what you’re talking about, I’m sure. 

     The Moon-Bog by Abigail Larson

 As you move forward, though, you begin to see more of the Mythos ‘style’ I guess you’d call it, toying with folk horror concepts—where ideas are taken, sure, but they’re morphed into something more ‘cosmic’ than traditional folklore and/or that which is anchored traditional mysticism and belief (i.e. Machen’s mysticism vs. Lovecraft’s atheism/materialism; the differences those views can make in presentation and style and on and on). For instance, The Dunwich Horror is fairly commonly acknowledged to be inspired by (or a pastiche of, depending upon who you read) The Great God Pan. But there’s so much more at work there w/regards to folk horror elements (place + ritual + weird happening….) and notions from the world of the fae, so to speak. You have those standing stones plagued by “rushing presences,” the haunted landscape of New England—a sort of extension of old country tradition/transported, for better or worse, to North America and, in that way, turned much larger in scope (cosmic, in that sense). In much Mythos fiction, the original entities (or whatever you want to call them) are often present only in spirit or in a very different form from traditional folklore, so that it’s not quite so easy to say, “Here. Here is a story that presents the Mythos ‘version’ of the Erlking. There you are.” Why? Well, in a good Mythos story, you would start with that entity (or idea, depending on your approach/beliefs) and then go farther back. What was this…presence…before this particular culture named it? That concept of the Erlking would be humanity’s name for something much older, much “bigger,” and always already present in various cultures, etc., perhaps. Maybe the Erlking is actually, say,  Hastur—either misidentified or in a masked form (?) Who knows? You would need to work to make the connections clearer, and I think that tendency to “require the reader to do some work” is at least part of what attracts many of us to this content in the first place.

The Erlking by Samantha Niemczyk

     I really enjoy reading someone like Machen beside Lovecraft and then following it with more recent takes, just to see the movement and differences over time. Dholes, for instance, are clearly inspired by Machen’s The White People, but the white, wormy things that eventually appear in Brian Lumley’s stories are a far cry from what’s present HPL’s (and especially Machen’s) work. They’re obviously related, but they are related through a sort of Mythos chain of influence. And I think that long history of open influence, re-imagining, and recreating is one of the coolest aspects of the Mythos. 
      As for New Mythos examples, there are so many stories that work with these themes to varying degrees without naming them “fair folk”-related. For starters, you might look to Laird Barron’s Old Leech tales. I’ve never heard/read him discuss the entities in stories like “The Broadsword,” but these are ancient creatures that seem to get a lot of pleasure out of messing with humans. Those that cross their paths end up caught in “the black forest of cosmic night.” They’re definitely earth/nature-rooted and are quite malevolent in ways similar to what’s described in stories about the fae. And I’ll stop here since I could go on and on and on…
  I’ll work on a list of suggested short stories and works of longer fiction that fall under the ‘Nature Mythos’ heading (minus so much chit-chat from me/more in bullet list form) and post that late tomorrow when I grab a chance. Hope this helps/is useful as a point of access, at least, and that you don’t mind my drawing the response out a bit. It’s a topic/focus that I enjoy a heck of a lot, and I appreciate having the chance to explore it for a few days on here. Have a good Friday.

I saw the thing about Vile bolts, and so I thought. Vile bolts are just big wads of phlegm spat at the opponent. Vile slashes are actually when the dragon licks their hand, and then chases around their foe and smack them with the diseased spit hand. The final Plague move, Comtagion, is when the dragon blows their nose into their hand, then takes the mucus and draws a satanic symbol onto their opponent.

did you know that eating crushed emeralds was a common ‘cure’ for the black death?

Sapphire - peacemaker/truth/honesty
Saturn/September/Virgo

  • If worn, it protects against poison, plague, fever, and skin diseases. It is said that gazing in to a sapphire can preserve eyesight. Used to heal throat related problems, as well as nose-bleeds, tuberculosis, and burns.
  • Used as a peacemaker. It allows people to freely talk about their differences and understand each other’s point of view. It diminishes anger and irritation.
  • In meditation, use the sapphire to access deeper levels of consciousness and understanding to one’s self. In divination, use the sapphire to increase the ability to see in to the future.
  • It is believed to bring faith, hope, and protection on long journeys. Many years ago, soldiers would wear sapphires in to battle for protection.
  • Symbolizes truth, faithfulness, and honesty. In lore, it is said that if someone who is untrustworthy or dishonest wears a sapphire, it won’t shine. At times, sapphires are given by lovers to represent faithfulness for each other.