Sonic the Hedgehog is basically some sort of freaky cryptid, isn’t he?
No, I don’t mean because he’s an electric blue hedgehog, though there is that.
I mean… like, back in the day when 2D platformers were all the rage, everybody wanted to be the next Mario. There were about a billion different attempts to manufacture a mascot-driven platformer franchise by corporate decree; some flew high and crashed hard (e.g., Earthworm Jim); some were bad jokes right from the get-go (e.g., Bubsy); and some have just bumbled along doing their thing, no gushing headlines but no hysterical laughter (e.g., Rayman) - and then there’s Sonic.
Sonic is the one mascot-by-committee who’s managed to make good. He has a goofy design, a self-consciously “edgy” personality, and basically nothing to distinguish him from any of dozens of failed efforts, yet everybody loves him. And on top of all that:
a. Most of his output has ranged from mediocre to terrible for longer than the bulk of his current fanbase has been alive - there are literally kids who love Sonic in spite of the fact that his last standout game came out before they were born; and
b. He’s a console mascot for a defunct console.
… and yet he’s coasted on pure name recognition for decades, and is routinely mentioned in the same breath as mascots like, well, Mario.
42/100 days of productivity - just got back from my one month camp! my cousin brought a bunch of stationery from China :)
And another announcement: I’m collaborating with best self co to promote the SELF scholar, a journal designed specifically for managing a hectic student schedule. You can see a preview of this in the third picture. This journal will be available for purchase soon!
Dedicated to my equally obsessive and kinky friend, Abbie (you know you loved it).
Warning: lots of fluff, love (aka serious business), humor, awfully kinky situations, teasing, and smut (not all in that order though)
A/N: You’re welcome ;) This is the beginning of a series of drabbles for this couple, and was really fun to write. *It’s not meant to be completely realistic, but I tried to keep the boys’ characters in mind, but come on, we all fantasize.* Enjoy~
Important note:‘Italicized words in this format are Y/N’s thoughts.’
You had done everything in your power to get Taehyung’s attention, due to his recent unresponsiveness. You were sure he was snubbing you, but for what reason you didn’t know.
Tonight, Tae and the rest of BTS had a stage and press meet for Mnet, and you, per the norm, were to go along with them for support. Tae rarely left you behind for events such as this because he hated the thought of leaving you all alone at home. The few times he had been forced to leave you alone, he rushed back in despair, with promises to make up for all the lost time. Not that you minded. Those nights definitely made up for it.
The past few days though, Tae had been very quiet. But not just quiet. He barely even looked at you while you two were together. He kept leaving for work early, barely touching the special breakfast you always made for the two of you to eat together while watching each other from across the table, as neither one of you were awake enough to speak in the mornings. Instead both sleepily, and happily grinning at each another from your self-designated seats.
Recently though, Taehyung just did not seem to want to have anything to do with you. He had always been so open with you, so the fact that whatever that was on his mind was keeping him from speaking openly with you, bothered you to no end.
The first day, you just wondered if he was exhausted due to BTS’ recent mini-comeback, but you started to become fervent in your efforts to figure out what was going on with him. You checked just about every news and fan site dedicated to BTS to see if any of the fans had noticed something you hadn’t, but to no avail.
Apparently though, the fans seemed just as concerned about your husband as you. Not only was he distant at home, but at work as well. You had even texted the boys to ask them if they had any idea about what might be going on with him. Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
You began to panic after a few days because unsettling thoughts of Taehyung maybe cheating on you flooded your mind. You quickly dismissed them, though, because you knew Taehyung well enough to know that he would never cheat on you. Besides, you trusted him wholeheartedly. He was your best friend and hubbie after all.
You were at a loss for what was going on with him, but you were determined to figure it out. At whatever the cost. Even if that meant flirting with the other members tonight at the event to get Tae jealous enough to speak to you.
You knew Tae’s jealous and possessive side all too well. It happened to be the most effective method of getting what you wanted from him (not that you couldn’t ask for whatever you wanted, but it was typically worth the trouble when he was mad).
You also knew the members of BTS well enough to know they’d be down for just about anything as long as no one was cheating on anybody, and was all in good fun. You were close with each of the boys, and you loved them all as your best friends, especially Taehyung, Jimin and Yoongi.
Dressing for the event had been rather fun. You didn’t want something too revealing- that had never been your taste. You decided on a dark red turtleneck dress with long sleeves, and a short skirt that exposed your silky legs and thighs, and added red velvet pumps to top it off. You wanted to go all out tonight if you were going to go through with this plan.
When you finished, you headed out of your closet and downstairs towards Taehyung. He had been pulling on his blazer when you walked out, and barely glanced at you when he grabbed his car keys. It wasn’t until he sat in the car, that something about you must have caught his attention, as he did a double take. He looked into your eyes with surprise for about 4 seconds before turning his eyes forward and starting the engine.
Throughout the drive, Tae’s knuckles were white against the steering wheel, completely engrossed with the road ahead of him.
You’ve probably heard a lot about our future filled with self-driving cars. In fact, they are already cruising the streets today. And while these cars will ultimately be safer and cleaner than their manual counterparts, they can’t completely avoid accidents altogether. How should the car be programmed if it encounters an unavoidable accident? In our TED-Ed Lesson, The ethical dilemma of self-driving cars, Patrick Lin navigates the murky ethics of self-driving cars.
Here’s an example for you to think about:
Let’s say there’s a motorcyclist wearing a helmet to your left and another one without a helmet to your right. Which one should your robot car crash into?
If you say the biker with the helmet because she’s more likely to survive, then aren’t you penalizing the responsible motorist? If, instead, you save the biker without the helmet because he’s acting irresponsibly, then you’ve gone way beyond the initial design principle about minimizing harm, and the robot car is now meting out street justice.
The ethical considerations get more complicated here. In both of our scenarios, the underlying design is functioning as a targeting algorithm of sorts.2:44In other words, it’s systematically favoring or discriminating against a certain type of object to crash into. And the owners of the target vehicles will suffer the negative consequences of this algorithm through no fault of their own.
Could it be the case that a random decision is still better than a predetermined one designed to minimize harm? And who should be making all of these decisions anyhow? Programmers? Companies? Governments? Reality may not play out exactly like our thought experiments, but that’s not the point. They’re designed to isolate and stress test our intuitions on ethics, just like science experiments do for the physical world. Spotting these moral hairpin turns now will help us maneuver the unfamiliar road of technology ethics, and allow us to cruise confidently and conscientiously into our brave new future.
Check out the lesson here for more ethical quandaries to ponder.
Full disclosure: My copy of Tomb of Annihilation and the ToA: Dice Set were provided by Wizards of the Coast prior to release for review.
Oh man am I excited about Tomb of Annihilation!
For those who might not know, ToA is D&D’s latest adventure book set in the jungle peninsula of Chult. It takes heavy inspiration from Tomb of Horrors, Dwellers of the Forbidden City, Jungles of Chult, and a variety of other D&D adventures of old. Pendleton Ward, the creator of Adventure Time also consulted on it (and it shows!).
Much of the press coming out about this book focusses on the adventure’s exoticism and its lethality in equal measure; “A death curse lies upon Faerun where characters can’t be brought back from the dead! All clues lead to a colourful dinosaur-filled jungle crawl with deadly traps everywhere! Expect to be killed, over and over again!”
Now that I have the book, have read through it, and have run parts of it, is it worth your time and money?
“I watched a snail crawl along the edge of a straight razor…”
There is a ton going on in this adventure.
With the exception of Curse of Strahd, this is the D&D’s strongest entry in their series of hardcover adventure books. It has more good ideas per page than any other entry, and despite the clear inspiration it takes from old AD&D books, it features the most original content.
A Killer Hook. The inciting incident of a ‘Death Curse’ that prevents raise dead spells from working, and causes resurrected characters to slowly waste away, is great. It provides a weighty reason to travel across the world to Chult, and it remains a constant threat in the game because player character death is a very real possibility.
The Best of Old and New.ToA is a very old school style of adventure. Not only is it a gonzo wilderness hexcrawl where survival skills and mapping are big components of play, but it also features several trap and puzzle filled dungeons that require (and encourage!) player skill and clever thinking in order to solve. On top of this, a new “Meatgrinder Mode” is introduced that raises the Death Save DC from 10 to 15, making for a much more lethal adventure that feels at home with OSR adventures.
To balance this out, a variety of options have been made available to more narrative focused groups to take advantage of: unique and weird ways around permadeath, loads of interesting and challenging NPC’s, and a variety of story-filled side quests to keep RP loving players happy amid all the dungeon crawling. ToA really does provide the best of both worlds with this. To those worried that this adventure will be too ‘old school’ for them, rest assured.
Thoughtful, Self-Contained Design. ToA is one of D&D’s better organized fifth edition books. Like Curse of Strahd it’s an adventure isolated to a single region. It’s a big region, but not having to worry about or rely on the rest of the Forgotten Realms’ world and tropes makes things much simpler and more direct. This extends to the book itself. The hex map of Chult has been provided both filled in with all the locations, and also blank for players to fill in as they play. Best of all, both these versions are provided as a poster map!
All the important random tables and encounter tables are easily accessible in the back of the book, and a helpful table of all the major NPC’s (with name pronunciation guides) are available at the front of the book. This is a fantastic design decision and is very helpful.
(EDIT) New Player Options. Two new backgrounds are provided in ToA: The Anthropologist and the Archeologist. The former allows a PC to examine a foreign culture/species’ language and customs, allowing them to adopt them for a time to make communication possible. The latter has a lot of Indiana Jones flavour and grants the PC a special dungeon exploring tool or item.
All the Best Monsters.ToA has dinosaurs. A lot of them. It has tribal goblins with stacking powers. It has flying monkeys, unicorn bunnies, evil drop bears, an entire race of catpeople, man-eating plants, microscopic leeches, clouds of flesh-eating insects, and more! Plus, almost all of them can appear as undead as well. ToA provides more interesting monsters and creatures in a handful of pages than most bestiaries/monster manuals have in their entirety! Plus, the important monster stats from existing sources (Monster Manual, Volo’s Guide, etc) are provided in the back of the book as well, which means less switching between books!
“The horror…the horror…”
Not everything about the book is great though.
My usual gripes with WotC D&D books are still present. Dungeon maps aren’t labelled with their room names or contents, dungeon text still runs a little long, and the hex-map encounters could stand to be organized to a single page for easy reference.
What sucks is that what is otherwise an exemplary and interesting adventure is hurt by this lack of organization. The dungeons themselves are fantastic, relying on interesting and novel traps. Having them be laid out and presented with a greater emphasis on ‘ease of use’ would have made them much more accessible, in what is otherwise a book made with an eye towards DM accessibility.
“…if you understand me, Willard, you will do this for me”
Folks, Tomb of Annihilation is really freakin’ cool.
I feel like I say “No, really, this time this is the new D&D book you should get” a lot. With each new D&D release my initial impressions are positive, and they sour as time goes on.
I’ll say that Tomb of Annihilation does a lot of things right by me and by my taste in adventures.
It’s weird and gross and different and it doesn’t fall back on medieval fantasy tropes and cliches like a lot of Forgotten Realms stuff does. It’s better organized and more useful than most D&D adventure books, and you definitely get your money’s worth in terms of how much adventure content you get.
“Dame,” said this Pluto, “be no longer wroth; I give it up; but since I swore my oath That I would give to him his sight again, My word shall stand, I warn you that’s certain. I am a king, it suits me not to lie.”
The Merchant’s Tale
Pluto in the 1st House: The Dais of Shadows. When positioned in the house of the Self, he designs powerful, magnetic individuals. While they are more of the loner type, they come as very intimidating and knowledgeable. Persons with Pluto in this house have a domineering, almost unbearable stare that mirrors perfectly their strong will power.
Pluto in the 2nd House: The Key Tower. These persons feel comfortable with using resources or talents that other might consider taboo or odd. They have a terrific dislike for helplessness, and even if they have a pathological desire to gather as many belongings as possible, second house Plutonian natives are willing to sacrifice anything needed to keep something or someone dear to them safe from harm.
Pluto in the 3rd House: Garden of Words and Swords. These individuals have something especially tremendous about their speech, even from a young age. They can be very persuasive, and know how and when to use their self-taught and dangerous knowledge to be in advantage. These persons might despise authority or any form of academical education, but they are at the same time in an endless hunt for information.
Pluto in the 4th House: Chamber of Memories. Even if their childhood was peaceful and stress-free, the fourth house Pluto natives have a hard time exposing their past. The mother will play a major and influential role in their lives, even becoming a little bit too controlling. They might go through patriotic or identity crisis as a member of their family. However, if they know how to embrace their dark side in a beneficial way, they have great potential to become inspiring public figures.
Pluto in the 5th House: The Royal Amphitheatre. Although these individuals can overindulge themselves in obsessive behaviors, they are very likely to get bored of their current interest and start searching for a new one. They usually get what they want, but not without encountering some obstacles on the way. They are passionate and intense, never scared to enter a new power game or something that can keep them entertained.
Pluto in the 6th House: The Hidden Sanctum. Despite the activities associated to this house, Pluto makes these natives to be generally repulsed by any kind of servitude acts towards others. They get involved in all kind of unconventional or obscure jobs. Therefore, they tend to keep their activities a secret and share them only if it’s completely necessary.
Pluto in the 7th House: The Masquerade Ballroom. Seventh house Plutonian natives get easily suspicious or jealous regarding their relationships. They want to have their partnership under control, and when feeling threatened, they will do their best to prevent the attack. Good aspects will help them have a fulfilling and long lasting marriage or relationship with their loved ones.
Pluto in the 8th House: The Dormitory Arena. These individuals have a remarkable affinity for occult and energy manipulation. They emanate high sex drive, and are also very attractive in this regard. They obsessively desire intimacy, and are driven to manifest it through unusual and unorthodox ways. However, they seem to attract the same kind, and the outcome of this impact is paranoia or violent reactions (not necessarily physical).
Pluto in the 9th House: The Upstairs Catacombs. These native must be very careful when expressing their beliefs, so that they do not become religious fanatics, determined to impose their truths on others. This placement is an ego boost, and it gives the individual the required self-confidence to share their discoveries with the rest of the world.
Pluto in the 10th House: The Knife-Edged Throne. Severe, respected and intense, these individuals are usually weighty figures in their entourage, and have lots of expectations to live up to. They climb their way to the top by allying themselves with other influential people even from the day they were born. But one must be aware that all this power can easily turn someone into a corrupt individual. They shouldn’t forget those that helped them to rise and accomplish all they have.
Pluto in the 11th House: Strategy Room. This placement tends to offer their owners great partnership skills and mighty positions in their group. They attract powerful people that can help them reach their goals behind the scenes, just like they prefer things to be done. One bad effect is the possibility to abuse of their ability to manipulate the masses, and use it just for personal gain.
Pluto in the 12th House: The King’s Mind. Having Pluto’s secretive nature fused with the discretion and cryptic waves of the twelfth house makes one be very reluctant to show their real feelings and intentions. They have several fantasies since their childhood, which can influence them in a bad or good way. It’s nearly impossible to tell on which side they do stand, as just a few people know their true faith.
Greek and nordic demigods This is some concept art for a story me and @idek-issues are working on (He does all the writing I’m just there for moral support :3 )! This (may be a slightly shameless self insert story let’s face this) about greek and a nordic demigods and a quest ofcorse that maaaay end up or not with death. :)