thatched hut

Incantations: Powerful Magic, At A Cost...

Incantations are like spells, but they can be cast by characters who are not spellcasters.

This variant enables characters who know the correct ritual gestures and phrases for an incantation to achieve powerful magic effects.

Incantations don’t use spell slots, you don’t have to prepare them ahead of time, and you can use an incantation an unlimited number of times per day.

Incantations have drawbacks: They’re time-consuming to cast, and success isn’t assured.

They are often expensive, and some require additional participants to complete the ritual.

Some incantations work only under certain specifi c conditions, such as during a full moon.

Most important among the drawbacks, an incantation rarely fades away quietly if the caster fails to perform the ritual correctly.

Instead it reverses itself on the caster, explodes with a cascade of magical energy, or weakens the barrier between worlds, enabling hostile outsiders to emerge onto the Material Plane.

This variant gives a measure of magical power to non-spellcasters, but the incantations themselves are usually too specific in effect to increase a character’s power in the general sense.

Because many incantations require academic skills such as Knowledge, the characters best equipped to cast them are often spellcasters anyway.

Incantations provide a useful way to introduce powerful magical effects in a lower-level game under controlled conditions.

PCs will still use spells rather than expensive, risky incantations whenever they can.

Incantations are also more specific than spells, so the DM can introduce them into the game without worrying that they’ll spread beyond the immediate situation.

If you want characters in your low-level game to take a brief sojourn to Ysgard, you can introduce the incantation Hrothgar’s journey.

Because it requires the construction of a thatched hut in the middle of a forest and works only during the winter solstice, you don’t have to worry about the characters exploring the Outer Planes whenever they get the urge.

If you gave low-level PCs easy access to the plane shift spell, on the other hand, they could wander the planes until they ran afoul of the first outsider more powerful than they are (which is almost any outsider).

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Styles & Co - Part 7

Authors Note: I am not too impressed with this chapter, I just can’t put my ideas into words and it is taking longer than expected to fill in the interesting parts. I promise they are coming, hopefully. Feel free to leave feedback and I hope you guys are enjoying Styles & Co. Xx
Previous Parts found HERE!

My eyes open and my head feels hazy and confused, I sit up in an unfamiliar bed, lost and dazed. The last I remember is the whist airport, Harry’s long arm tugging me along as our fingers lace together. I was right behind him, tremendously bleary-eyed and doing my best to keep up with his accelerated pace. Over twenty-four hours worth of travelling doesn’t go down well wit me. I pet my hands on the bed, trying to locate Harry, my heart racing as my frantic hands struggle to find him close to me. “Harry?” I push the covers off me, exposing the empty side of the bed, beginning to feel a little panicky. “Elle, what’s the matter?” I hear his voice request, my eyes unable to see where he is. The light flickers on and Harry is standing at the doorway of a bathroom, 
“Harry, where are we?” I breathe, still baffled and unsettled,
“The resort, relax.” He discloses, crawling on the bed and pressing a caress to my forehead. 

I take the moment to take in a deep breath and take in my surroundings. “What time is it?” I doubt, a little mistaken for time right now. Harry snickers, finding it interesting how I’m a little out of it.
“Seven in the morning, baby.” He acknowledges while getting off the bed and pushing back the neutral curtains, permitting natural light to shine into the bedroom. Harry turns the lights off and gestures for me to get out of bed while wandering out of the bedroom area. I accompany him, entering a small room before he opens a door, my eyes become attracted to the rich bluish water. I step out, gaping over the enchanting outlook of glistening cerulean water.
 A romantic retreat in an over-water bungalow, thatched-huts on stilts line flawlessly overlooking a clear lagoon with striking green mountains behind them. Pure paradise. “Oh, my.” I gasp, my eyes transfixed by the delightful scenes. I did not expect Harry to book us a getaway at an over water-bungalow resort, perched over the crystal-clear waters on stilts; fanning out from a lush private island. Breathtaking is the only word suitable to describe such beauty.
“This is beautiful,” I gasp, completely hypnotised. My eyes shine toward Harry and he responds, “not as beautiful as you, go back in and get some sleep. We have a long night ahead of us.” He grins, smoothly charming me and awakening small butterflies in my stomach,
“A long night?” I challenge, his eyes shimmering, his lips forming a straight line as he yet again nods.
“In more way than one.” He flirts cheekily and I playfully hit arm,
“Don’t be cheeky,” I urge, considerably relishing his cheekiness, there’s something about the way he smirks and the way his eyes narrow down on me that attract me.
“I’ve got a few things to do, my love. But, I’ll be done in a few hours so we can then start celebrating New Year’s, Eve.” Harry informs me, reminding me that it is indeed New Year’s Eve.
I lean up and kiss him, tenderly pulling away, promptly investigating “What are you doing?” being inquisitive.
What could he possibly have to do while on a vacation with me?
“Just gotta double check things with the resort. Get some more sleep, you’ll need it.” He again gleams, causing me to chuckle yet again. Cheeky, I like it. 


Harry’s eyes gaze at my body, my dress hugging me in all the right places, his tongue licking his lips as he straightens his tie. “You, my dear, are so divine.” He gawks, his words soft and gradual, almost as if he didn’t know which words to use. I give him a bashful smirk, my eyes gawking at his attire.
The man could wear a paper bag and still be the hottest man around. “It’s going to be a long night.” He murmurs against my lips, not being able to resist my temptation, “in more ways than one.” He continues, ruining my lipstick as he pulls me in for a deeper kiss, enthralling me like always.

I pull away, his thumb pressing to my lips and fixing the mess he produced, “it’ll be long.” I agree, my eyes radiating into his, “especially for you.” I smile, taking a step away from him, confusion taking over the expression on his face.
“How?” He clears his throat, using his own thumb to wipe away the lipstick smeared across his lips.
There’s something about a romantic bungalow over the water that brings out the extra romantic and teasing side of me. Making love is great in our own bed, but even better when romance is heightened over a gorgeous turquoise lagoon. 

With a devious grin, my eyes flicker up at Harry, “I’m not wearing underwear,” I answer, stepping outside the door, entering out onto the extensive boardwalk where he has to behave himself. He closes the door behind him, his eyes burning into me, his mind perhaps thinking of devious ways to get me back to our room before midnight. “Elise, you’re very, very naughty.” He murmurs, his hand intertwining with mine, guiding me away from our perfect bungalow. My heels echo against the wooden boardwalk, the noise of the salty ocean echoing a delightful, relaxing sound that is like music to my ears. 

We walk hand in hand making our way around the retreat, finding the lovely restaurant Harry chose for us to dine at tonight, a luxury he emphasised on for our New Years celebrations. We are welcomed politely and immediately escorted towards a table outside in a secluded area where only a few other couples unobtrusively dine. I admire the glass bottom flooring, attracted by the unique dining experience offered. Harry graciously pulls my chair out of me, a gesture he doesn’t get a chance to do very often.
I give him a smile to show my appreciation, taking the seat and looking down at my feet, watching as fish swim below. I smile at our waitress, my eyes peering at Harry as he studies the menu, paying not attention as I gawk over him while I am completely captivated by his appearance tonight. He sits charmingly in front of me, an attractive navy blue button down covering his flawless skin, so effortless, yet so charming. He finally looks up and he smiles, “sweetheart, what do you want to order?” He inquires, a sigh escaping my lip as I think of inappropriate thoughts regarding him.
I highly doubt ordering him with a side of wine is suitable to say while perched at a dinner table. I lick my lips subtly, diverting my attention to my menu, “wine, please.” I clear my throat, my eyes promptly scanning the list of delicious wines the restaurant has to offer. “White wine of your choice,” I inform him, turning the page and reading the main course menu that is full of many delicious plates.
It’s almost too hard to choose. 

Harry’s eyes sparkle, a small smirk becoming noticeable; wine can sometimes make me a little frisky, and cheekier than usual.
“Elise, what did you do while I was out?” Harry begins a conversation while overlooking the menu himself. I shrug, remembering how I did absolutely nothing. Jet lag is a bitch to me.
“I slept. What did you get up to, Mister?” I challenge, unsure of what exactly he did while I was relaxing. He never did elaborate on what he had to do.
“I had to take care of a few things.” He unconcernedly counters, gesturing for our waitress to collect our order. The waitress politely orders our wine before starting us off with an appetiser of Harry’s choice. I raise a brow, fixated on Harrys eyes as they try to avoid contact with mine. “Elle, figure out what you would like to eat.” He motions down at my menu as I continue to stare into his emerald eyes.
“What did you have to do, Harry?” I adamantly; however, I respectfully challenge Harry, not wanting to start anything while at dinner, although the fact that my boyfriend went missing while on a beautiful island is considerably sly. Surely there isn’t too much he could have possibly done that’s entertaining without me.
Perhaps he went to check out the bar?
I wouldn’t mind, he knows that. But my curiosity is intrigued with finding out what he got himself into. “I had to make some calls back home to Anastasia, she has things to do for me.” He briefly elucidates my question, giving me quite the monotonous answer.
Surely Anastasia would much prefer a little time off while it is New Year’s, Eve. “Harry, give her time to her family.” I graciously command before he changes the conversation entirely, deciding he wants to discuss things other than business for a change.
That’s quite the surprise. 

“Elise,” Harry distracts my attention away from the delightful wine that was just re-poured for me. I look up and smile at him, watching as he leans back in his chair, his hand digging into his pants pocket. “Darling, how much do you love me?” The question rolls off his tongue effortlessly and cheekily, his eyes shining as I cock my head slightly to the side. I love this man quite a lot, no other man has caught my fancy ever since I met him. There’s not a man on earth that could possibly take my attention away from the man sitting right in front of me. To say my love for him is infinite would be far too cliché and mushy for my liking so I will settle with loving him on occasions. “I only love you, sometimes.” I gracefully beam in a joking manner, “what did you do, Styles?” I immediately raise a brow, unsure of what he’s managed to do that he needs to be reassured I love him.
Usually, Harry asks me this question when he wants something, or he’s done something that could perhaps bother me, or it has to do with business. “I haven’t done anything. So you love me, sometimes?” He informs me, he confirms my own words, with a grin, I agree.
“On some occasions, yes,”   unsure of what it is that he’s going to spring on me.
I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s about to tell me that he has to fly back to London for some bloody business thing that’s gone wrong.
“Your Christmas gift arrived.” Harry lowers his eyes to his lap, a weird comment to roll off his tongue.
I was expecting something along the lines of “baby, I have to fly back to London.” Or “baby, I have a business deal and you won’t like it.” Generally, he doesn’t challenge my love for him when he abruptly wants to hand me some sort of belated Christmas present. “Harry, you said you were my gift.” I remind him of the exact words he told me on Christmas morning. 

*** flashback***

 I find myself tangled within the sheets, my boyfriend’s legs over mine, his arm wrapped tightly around my torso. It’s around nine in the morning and he’s yet to leave the bed, his perfect body has been nestled beside me the whole night, not moving once for anything, not even for the buzzing sound of his phone. “Harry, Harry wake up.” I tenderly nudge him, pulling him from his peaceful slumber, groans escape his dry lips before his eyes immediately open,
“Elise, what’s wrong?” He murmurs tiredly, pulling me even closer within his secure grasp. I considerately wiggle from him, pulling him further from his sleepy state as he props himself up on his forearms, “baby, what’s the matter?” His hoarse voice inquires, uncertain as to why I’m waking him and pulling myself from his secure grip. “You’re late for work,” I murmur, not wanting him to rush away too suddenly. I’m selfish, I want his body against mine, but I know he has things to do. He looks at me for a moment, that cheeky grin waking along with the rest of him. “My love, it’s Christmas. You asked me to take the full day off, remember?” He presses, leaning over and placing a soft kiss on my cheek.
“You took the day off?” I request, finding my body moving closer to his, nestling into him perfectly,
“Yes, you said all you wanted for Christmas was me. So, here I am, sweetheart.” He cutely announces, moving to wrap his arms around me as he lowers himself back into the bed. “I’m all yours for twenty-four hours. Do as you please.” He relaxes, his voice getting deeper as he becomes sleepier.
“Do as I please?” I cheekily whisper with a teasing tone. He hums against my skin as he places sloppy kisses on my neck. I chuckle cheekily, a few ideas coming to mind, ideas that I don’t need to express vocally. “But, wait until I’m not so sleepy, I really need sleep, baby.” He adds, causing me to chuckle further on this attractive morning. “What’s my present? You know yours.” Harry sleepily murmurs, beginning to get comfortable with his arm wrapped around me, his legs tangled with mine again.
“You’ll find out tonight,” I inform him, leaving it to his imagination to figure out the rest. 

*** end of flashback*** 

Harry shakes his head, again looking down at whatever lays in his lap, “Elise, did you really think I wouldn’t get you anything?” He softly questions, leaning closer to the table, I give him a shrug.
I wasn’t concerned about a materialistic item he may have gotten me, I told him what I wanted, and he gave me twenty-four hours of no work, no phone calls, no texts, no emails, nothing.
He was all mine, of course, once we escaped the family Christmas- he was all mine. 

He brings his hand into view, a small red Cartier box in his hand, “If you don’t like it, I’m sorry. But, I saw you on the website.” He informs me, flicking the box open to reveal a rather impressive bracelet.
“Oh, my.” I gasp and he carefully takes it out of its position in the box, gently taking my hand and placing the bracelet on my wrist, clipping it into place. A perfect fit. “Thank you, it’s so lovely.” I gawk, exceedingly appreciative to be able to wear such a beautiful rose gold bracelet that glistens in the lighting of the restaurant.
Harry tries to refrain from buying me jewellery, many times he has voiced his opinion on preferring for me to pick it out myself and him just swiping his card. He’s not a fan of purchasing jewellery, he only does it on rare occasions or when there’s a business event approaching and he desires to have me show off a lovely set of diamonds— something I don’t do often unless it’s specifically asked. 

We find ourselves sitting on the sand, hearkening the noise of the waves crashing as my own giggles get lost within the crashing waves, “shhh,” Harry laughs, quietening me with a delicate kiss on my lips, “What? You don’t like my giggle?” I humorously challenge, my feet burying themselves in the delicate sand,
“I do, very much. But it’s just for my ears.” He murmurs, lightly brushing his lips against mine, a teasing motion that is beginning to take its toll on me. “Sweetheart, are you a bit cold?” His voice distracts me from my eyes gazing into his, the cold shivers running through my body reminding me of the sea breeze that whistles around us late at night. I give him nod, debating whether to graze my hands over his body and to press my lips to his or not. “Here you go,” he slides his jacket down his lengthy arms and carefully drapes it over my shoulders. 

At times he can be a complete sweetheart when he wants to be.
I appreciate seeing the difference between boyfriend Harry and CEO Harry, he seems to get his ties crossed between the two. “I love you,” I grin, pressing a kiss to his delicious lips before he can even respond back to me. He gently pulls away, a smirk prominently pressed to his lips, Harry presses his hand mildly to my cheek, cupping my face as his eyes radiate into mine, “I love you, too.” The words roll off his tongue melodiously, bringing to life the butterflies in my stomach. 

Being able to be carefree with him is absolutely wondrous, to be able to lie on a beach right before midnight, listening to nothing but the waves against the shore, the distant sound of music and restaurants still bustling, and feeling the cold sand between my toes as Harry presses sweet kisses to my lips is one of the most relaxing and darling things to experience. There are no business calls interrupting us, no texts or a grouchy Harry pissed off with his employers, it’s strictly just the two of us and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

“It is close to midnight,” Harry reminds me of the New Year that is close to embracing us within the next few minutes while we lie under the stars, with the waves echoing along the shore. I give him a nod, my hand mildly pressing to his chest grasping his shirt carefully, “kiss me,” I command persistently, narrowing my eyes on his. His grin widens while his emerald green eyes glisten in the moonlight, radiating charmingly as he leans down and brushes his lips against mine, leaving me wanting more. “I know you can do better than that,” I chuckle, my fingers smoothly pull at his shirt. He hums an mhm, knowing he can do much better than a simplistic tickling brush of his lips with mine. “Savin’ the good kiss for midnight,” he notifies me, immediately glimpses down at his phone, “there’s a minute left, love.” He enlightens me, my eyes concentrating on his lips, my body yearning the taste that he allows. 

The countdown begins and the sound of early party poppers mimic from the restaurants, a few cheers echoing as well. Harry glances at me with a prominent grin. He gently pins me on my back, his body hovering over mine while I press my brazen hands to his broad shoulders. We both hear the ten-second count down begin and he takes it as a signal to lean down and take bold possession of my lips, his tongue intertwining with mine as our bodies inch closer, my heart beating faster as my arms wrap around his neck, leaving no space between our bodies.
The cheers of the New Year ringing in echoes resoundingly, fireworks beginning to explode as we continue to stay intertwined with our lips. He tenderly pulls away, leaving me wanting more as usual. “Happy new year,” he hums, letting out a small breath as I beam up at him.
One year down and many more to go with him.
“Happy new year.” I smile, “now c'mere.” I tug at his shirt, pulling him in for a romantically intense kiss, my hands unable to stop themselves from travelling up and down his body.

It’s four in the morning when the sound of Harry’s phone continues to echo, pulling me from my slumber. I mildly push him, wanting him to turn it off and allow me to sleep. We’ve only been asleep for about an hour and I’m very eager to continue dreaming. I feel Harry move within the bed, pulling the covers as he leans over for his phone, “this better be important,” he unkindly answers the phone, his voice deep and full of sleep. “What do you mean? Is there anything you don’t fuck up?” He grumbles, sitting up in the bed, distracting me from falling back asleep. “I am not even in the bloody country! How the hell did you manage to compromise my business’ integrity?” Harry snaps, raising his voice even further.
Something tells me the start of this New Years is not going to go as planned.
His business at times can definitely be a damn moment ruiner, particularly at four in the morning… Four hours into a New Year that is meant to bring us pleasure and God knows what else.
“Elise, we need to go,” Harry commands as he pushes himself off the bed, turning the light on,
“What?” I dispute, shielding my eyes from the fluorescent light, considerably grouchy that I’m being roughly awoken. Again! 

I rub my eyes and sit up on the bed, taking note of Harry reaching for the suitcase. You’ve got to be kidding me right now. We literally just got here and we have to leave because of business.
“Elise, I need to go back and fix things, we will be back in a few days.” He explains, forcing his clothes into the bag while I stare at him. “Are you getting up or not?” He questions, irritated and extremely ill-tempered as he tries to grab clothes and do something on his phone. “No. I don’t want to leave.” I shake my head, having no desire to go back to London just to fly back in a few days. I doubt he will even want to make the flight back here once he reaches London. He will end up too consumed with his work that he will disregard the trip. “I don’t want you here on your own.” He shakes his head, throwing his phone on the bed out of frustration, letting out a heavy huff. 

Harry takes a deep breath, his hand running through his hair before pressing to the suitcase. “I’ll stay,” I notify him, going against his wishes and not moving from the luxury of the bed.
“I don’t have the time to argue you, fine. Book me a flight, please.” He gestures towards his phone as he paces the bedroom up and down. I grab his phone and aid him with making things easier for him. “If you need me, call me. I don’t want you here by your fucking self…. Just come with me.” He shakes his head at the thought of me not leaving with him.
“No, you brought me here for a vacation and now your work is getting in the middle of it.” I shake my head much preferring to stay in a tropical place- after all, the vacation is paid for so I might as well relish in it on my time off, it is not like I have anything else better to do on my time off. Well, that of course, is beside contemplating Logan’s proposal, but for right now I much prefer to pretend that he, along with his proposition does not exist. “Things don’t go to plan. I have work here to do, too!” Harry raises his voice, “I have a client to meet and now I fucking can’t because one of my employees fucked up while I was gone.” Harry continues with an ill-tempered tone, thoroughly annoyed and frustrated.
“So this was a business trip?” I dispute, taking note of his comment of having work to do here, too. 

Now things make sense, he had absolutely no reason to abruptly fly us to a tropical island, he did this for business and it just happened to be a gesture to satisfy me wanting him for the New Year.
“Damn it, Elise, are we going to argue about this?” He grunts,
“No.” I sigh, deciding not to make him any more irritated than he already is. “I’ll meet your client,” I suggest, surely it can’t be too hard to meet a client and tell them whatever it is Harry needs to tell them.
“And what will you do? I don’t need any other problems right now.” He mutters, not seeming too fond of the idea of my suggestion. If he was to give me the right briefing I doubt I would fuck it up for him.
“Have faith in me, damn Harry I’m not entirely useless. You have taught me a little bit of the business world.” I cross my arms, my eyes narrowing down on him while he zips up the suitcase. 

With a heavy sigh, he responds to my idea, “Okay, I’m sorry. I’m just tired and irritated.” his voice sounds lower and collected, a clear indication he is doing his best to stay composed and not take his frustration out on me; something I admire about him, he always does his best to stay composed and not get too riled up at me. “Look, I’ll meet your client and tell them you’re ill or something, you tell me everything and I’ll do it,” I reassure him, 
“I don’t know, Elise,” Harry sighs, thinking about my proposal, “You’d be meeting a businessman, a strong, intimidating man, who probably won’t take you seriously,” Harry informs, only causing me to roll my eyes.
“Oh, really?” I raise a brow, already not being too fond of Harry’s choice of client, if he won’t take me seriously then he isn’t worth the time of day. “So, basically because I am a woman  doing what he clearly thinks is purely a ‘mans’ job, he will not take me entirely seriously?” I grumble, looking at Harry as he thinks of the suitable words to muster up in a response, “Remember I am your girlfriend and you currently are not talking to me as a CEO, but as my boyfriend.” I calmly remind him, just to make it clear that what he says perhaps might piss me off if he uses his 'CEO’ choice of words. 
“I will leave this all up to you, if you think you can handle it, I will trust your judgement. I will prompt you from the airport and email you things. Oh and by the way, I exclusively disagree that it is solely a 'mans’ job as you declared,” Harry responds as he throws on a t-shirt over his tanned body, 
“Good answer,” I nod with a smile, pleased that he did not state something irrational out of frustration and irritation. 
“mhm, okay, I will call you when I land and all that shit I am obliged to do, so you don’t think the worst.” He walks around the bed and comes over to me, pressing a delicate kiss to my lips, “Now, don’t get carried away and get whisked off your feet by some hot guy on the beach that buy ou drinks.” He jokes with a small chuckle, plausibly trying to convince himself that he is perfectly okay with me staying here and defying his wishes of travelling with him to London. 
“I will try, but I can’t promise anything.” I playfully tease, hushing him with a kiss so he doesn’t respond. With a heavy sigh, he pulls away from me, my lips curling into a pout as he leaves my lips bare. 
“Have a safe flight, I love you, sometimes.” I wink, finally noticing his lips curve into a small smirk, irritation no longer being prominently known. 
“I love you too, on some occasions, behave yourself.” He clears his throat, shuffling towards his suitcase and pulling it behind him as he paces closer to the door, he turns on his foot, for a moment he wordlessly stares over at me with a tortuous grin. I put aside the unsettling feeling amongst me and give him a small smile including a nod, gesturing that I have not changed my mind and that he needs to hurry to catch his flight. 

Without further ado he takes a breath and steps out, leaving me unattended in our bungalow. 

Thimble 16화

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You weren’t supposed to be there. No one really was, out of palace servants crowding around you, but again no one would be there to tell you to go back to work, because every single of your superiors were out there in the field.

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Hindu ritual forces Nepali women into monthly exile
The small thatched hut in western Nepal has no walls to keep out the cold. Inside is a raised platform where Pabrita Giri sleeps during her period, banished from her home by a centuries-old Hindu ritual.

Below the hut, known as a chhau goth, Giri lights a small fire to keep her warm. The smoke rises up to the small cramped area where she sleeps, making her eyes water.

“We think that if we don’t follow chhaupadi bad things will happen and if we do, it (the gods) will favour us. I feel it does good, so I follow it during my periods,” Giri, 23, explained.

“Now I am used to it. I used to be afraid in the beginning because I was away from my family during dark nights and the place is like this,” Giri said gesturing around her.

The practice is linked to Hinduism and considers women untouchable when they menstruate.

They are banished from the home – barred from touching food, religious icons, cattle and men – and forced into a monthly exile sleeping in basic huts.

In some areas, women are also made to spend up to a month in the chhau goth after they have given birth. read more
(via AFP)

Making Friends

Marshmallow-Manju gave me the prompt ‘magic, snails, and bruised knuckles’ and this is what I came up with.

Making Friends

Matthew flicked the snail back into the cauldron and straightened his pointed hat with his other hand.  He squinted at the grimoire floating in front of his face.  

“Snips, and snails, and puppy dog tails…”  He muttered, turning the page with a flick of his wrist.  “That can’t be right…”

His mentor had told him to go out and make some friends his own age.

He had taken her advice to heart.

“Oh well.”

He stirred the bubbling pink mixture counterclockwise and lowered the heat until it popped and simmered and darkened.  It was almost red now.  He stood on his tiptoes and peered into the cauldron.  

He had never had a friend before.  His parents had brought him to the old witch when he was four years old and the magic started leaking out between his fingertips and toes.  He lived with her in a thatched hut in the forest and the children in the nearest village laughed whenever the two of them passed through with bundles of dried flowers and clinking, clacking bottles.

So he would just have to make a friend from scratch.

The cauldron started to tremble and shake and Matthew stepped back, raising his arms when it flashed a brilliant white, and tripping over the hem of his cloak.  He toppled backwards into shelves of mint and ragweed.  The jars crashed around him.

“Are you okay?”

Matthew gasped and pushed his hat back into place.  

There was a naked boy standing in the cauldron.  He was paler than he should have been, maybe, and his eyes were the same colour as the bubbling mixture but he was grinning at Matthew.  His elbows were scratched and rubbed raw and his knuckles were bruised.

He looked just like all the little boys in the village who fought and climbed trees and rolled around in the grass.

“Yes!” Matthew scrambled up and helped pull the boy out of the cauldron. “I’m sorry!  Are you okay?”

“I think so.”

Matthew draped his cloak over his shoulders.

“Do you have a name?”

“I don’t know.  Maybe.  I feel like I have a name.”

“You can pick!  My name is Matthew.  I didn’t get to pick.”

The boy closed his eyes for a moment before opening them again and cackling.

“Gilbert!”  He said.  “I feel like a ‘Gilbert’!”

“That’s a wonderful name.”

Gilbert put his hands on his hips and puffed out his chest in pride.

“Of course it is.”

“Do you…”  Matthew bounced and fidgeted with nervous excitement.  He really liked Gilbert.  He wanted Gilbert to like him too.  “Do you want to be my friend?  I’ve never had a friend before.  You would be the first.”

Gilbert puffed up even more.

“Then I’m going to be your bestest best friend ever.”

Brain Food Lunch     300 HP / 50PP

This entry is based on what’s known as ‘Dal Bhat’ an extremely oft eaten meal in eastern mountainous regions such as Nepal and Tibet. Generally speaking, the dish consists of Dal (lentil soup) and Bhat (boiled rice) and is commonly served with sides such as fresh vegetables and curry among others. Even though the ‘lunch’ has many different components, each individual recipe can be just as tasty on its own.

Almost as if in a dream I found myself above the clouds in the mountaintop kingdom of Dalaam. Few westerners had ever had the privilege to walk amongst the rocky spires and thatch huts of this mysterious land and fewer still had recorded their experiences in writing. Indeed it was a trial to pull my attention away from the infinite sky to collect my thoughts.

Outside of the glistening golden palace at the summit, the people of this region live quite humbly. And it would seem with simple lives comes simple foods as exemplified by the bowls of rice gruel that sustain many of the villagers day in and day out. However, if you desire to indulge your body and mind with a more opulent culinary offering, the legendary Brain Food Lunch is the meal you seek. The combination of seemingly ordinary ingredients is so masterfully crafted that only a few bites will leave you physically rejuvenated and with a sharpness of mind that’s almost uncanny.

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You know how they say people in glass houses shouldn’t through stones? Well they could also say people in thatch huts shouldn’t throw lightning balls, because the wall will catch fire. It did.
—  Michael Vey: Battle of the Ampere
A Strange Encounter

I just started playing DnD at the urging of a friend. Over a few weeks, we amassed a pretty good group of people on our campus to campaign with. However, alone with our main campaign which is every Friday, we do mini-campaigns and games to earn xp or items or incur penalties for our main characters.

This story involves a mini campaign that had three of our group and our DM. The characters are:

ME: Anton Falone, a human sorcerer who was raised as a noble and is kind of low-key elitist about everything without realizing it. He is very, very charismatic. Unfortunately. Neutral Good.

FRIEND 1: Tern, the monk who grew up as a hermit. He kind of hates Anton just for being a Noble. He is Lawful Neutral????????? Ish????

FRIEND 2: Bones, the rambunctious charismatic skeleton bard, created just as a joke, but actually holds our party together with his inspiring songs about bones. Neutral Good.

DM: He is evil. Pure evil. We hate him and adore him and his whole goal is to build us up and crush us down and we love it.

It starts with us walking through the forest. After a couple of jokes about a fishing trip that involved lizard people, a werewolf, and everyone being drowned, we came across a little village just as the sun is going down, and we all roll perception just high enough to see that there is no one outside. So, we walk up to the first house and try knocking on the door and calling in. There is a sound of a little movement, but no answer. And these were like little wood and thatch huts. This village had no tavern, no central building. None of the houses had windows. All locked. We repeat this with the second one, and a gruff man calls out that he won’t let us in no matter what. I rolled a 17 and got a 23 with persuasion, but it still was not high enough. So we move on. The third building had no sound at all. So, our monk decided to jump up on the roof. He had an acrobatics check of 16 and managed to just scramble on top.

Friend 1: I’m going to punch through the roof with my staff.

And he does, but with enough force to fall down inside the building. Meanwhile, Anton is waiting outside, jiggling to door, when he sees Tern disappear from the roof and a thump come from inside.

DM: You land on a pile of corpses. Roll to see if you keep your sanity with two d10s for percentage.

He rolls and gets 75%. So, Tern is a little shaken, kind of gagging at the stench, but nothing too bad. He goes to open the door. Meanwhile, Bones the skelly bard is reading through his book of songs, composing and humming. He didn’t even notice anything happening.

After Tern opens the door, I roll to see how affected Anton is by the huge rotting pile of bodies. He ends up puking, clearly not used to corpses at all. However, while this is happening, our DM both has us roll perception checks. Bones did not have to, as he was clearly absorbed in his book outside of the house, not even looking inside to see the corpses.

We got a 2 and a 1. After we finished cracking up from such awful rolls, a werewolf clambers out of the pile of bodies and bites Tern.

DM: Roll a constitution check.

Friend 1 rolls a natural twenty. Of course.

DM: (sighing) You don’t catch lycanthropy… yet.

Before Tern or Anton can do anything, there is loud sound and the werewolf kind of convulses. There is a spray of blood and a glowing white light appears from inside the werewolf. It promptly dies, turning back into a naked man. At this moment, Bones finally turns around since he heard the sound and wanted to see if we did to. For the first time he sees this pile of like 20 rotted and mutilated corpses and this newly killed man.

Bones: What did you do, man… (Imagine kind of a surfer stoner voice)

Meanwhile, Friend 1 has to roll a series of constitution checks to see whether he gets lycanthropy. He succeeds and Tern begins to feel better. Anton is kind of looking him over, knowing from experience that people turning into animals and biting others are usually not a good thing.

Anton: Are you… feeling okay?

Tern: Yeah! Perfect.

Anton: You sure? Because that bite looks… (rolls and succeeds a medicine check) infected.

Tern: I’ll be fine in no time!

Anton is still nervous, kind of backing away from Tern.

Friend 1: Can I roll insight to see why he’s nervous?

DM: Go ahead. Anton roll deception.

Keeping in mind that Anton Falone has a +6 to deception, we both roll. Friend 1 gets a 5. I rolled a 22

DM: Well, you are pretty sure he’s backing away because he thinks you smell.

Tern: Is it because I’m a hermit? You bastard!

Anton: Uh…

Bones: It’s not that bad. (As a skeleton, he has no sense of smell or taste)

Upset, Tern walks to where the sound came from find out if there’s any hint as to what killed the werewolf. He does another constitution check, succeeds, and is pretty sure that he will not be infected. Meanwhile, Anton kind of walks over to Bones.

Anton: I think he’s infected with lycanthropy.

DM: Roll a medicine check to see if you know what disease is.

Being a skeleton who had been locked in a catacomb for 35 years after being used in a traveling carnival, Bones did not know much about the affairs of living things. We finally figure out he kind of knows what disease is but not that it can be spread, much less that lycanthropy is something bad.

Bones: Nah man, he looks fine! He’s walking. There’s no way.

DM: Roll a persuasion check.

Natural 1.

DM: You have utterly convinced yourself that whatever this disease it, Tern has it and it is dangerous. Good job.

Seeing Tern walk back, Anton walks over to the house that they got an answer from, and knocks on the door. The man from inside answers.

Man: What!

Anton: We uh… killed the werewolf and need shelter for the night. Can you let us in?

Man: You let it out?

Anton: Oh no! My friend did, but it got shot… somehow

Friend 1: (ooc) Way to throw me under the bus.

Man: We lost our best men keeping that thing locked up and now it’s free!

Anton: It’s dead!

Man: Did it bite any of you?

Anton: Well-


Anton: My friend got bitten, but we were thinking of waiting until the next full moon since it won’t take effect until then-

Man: Kill him.

Anton: What?!

Man: Kill him. Those things cannot be stopped.

Anton: But… what if he’s okay?

DM: Roll persuasion

Critical fail.

Man: Kill him.

DM: Congratulations. You are now convinced that there is nothing to do but kill him.


(As a note, I don’t think we’ve had so many crit fails in one night before. It was awful.)

Indigenous peoples suffer from highest rates of suicide

Journalist and filmmaker Charles Lyons explores the high rates of suicide among indigenous people in Brazil:
    Friends and family gathered around the limp body of a 15-year-old boy laid out on a bed in a thatched hut near the Brazilian town of Iguatemi, close to the border with Paraguay. A shaman shook a small wooden rattle while chanting and dancing — final rites for yet another victim of a suicide epidemic that has plagued the Guaraní Indians of the western Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul.

thegrandgranger  asked:

4 and 7 please!

4. Favourite historical era?

I’m just so damn into the Anglo-Saxons. We’re talking the Isle of Britain c.500-1066 CE. There’s very little information available, relative to most other periods of European history, but they’re just so tribal and sing-songy. It’s so easy to see the humble roots of what would become western nobility, rolling around in thatch huts and being all dirty and gross but still claiming to be these grand kings and demi-gods and it’s awesome and hilarious. 

In all seriousness, it’s the best place to see a relatively isolated group trying to blend old Roman customs with Scandinavian and Welsh traditions. They didn’t know exactly how Rome worked/what Rome was, but they did their best to piece it together from ruined roads, city centres, and religious writings. Saxon culture, grounded in songs and poems rather than written history, slammed into Roman Christianity and became something weird and unique and cool. 

7. Historical dressing, uniform, or costume?

Ok. The Polish heavy cavalry/winged hussars are pretty damn rad.

But it is difficult to dispute the magnificence of Edo samurai armour.