the runts

Hey Ed

If you really want to look bigger…

…maybe stop hanging out with GIANTS…

…and definitely stop letting them carry you like luggage.

So I may have fallen in love with this AU. *__*

My take on Altean Prince!Lance has all of the same insecurities as in canon - of being mediocre, insignificant, superfluous - but exacerbated by his station in life. To the other pilots, he’s a pampered little playboy who was gifted his position, and all he can do is put on a brave face and pretend he doesn’t hear their whisperings, privately desperate to prove (to them? to himself?) that he really belongs there.

Keith is still half-Galra (humanness is recessive in this universe, I guess), a runt among the soldiers, and severely ostracised for it. He’s short on social graces, so he’s constantly getting into fights, and despite his extraordinary talent in the field, has accrued enough demerits that he’s been condemned to the lowest rung of deckswabbers for about a decafeeb.

Anyways, one day they’re both busy being broody and self-absorbed without paying attention to where they’re walking, and you can probably imagine what comes next.

Imagine Loki going with Thor to an animal shelter because Thor is trying to teach him kindness and humility, but Loki is in no way interested. When he hears a puppy whimpering incessantly, he rolls his eyes and ignores it. Finally, he comes face to face with the small, unimpressive creature when Thor hands him a puppy feeding bottle. To which, Loki looks at the apparatus and disgustedly asks “Why doesn’t its mother feed it?” To which Thor explains she abandoned it and refused to care for it because it is a runt, the owners had left it to die in a box by a river. On hearing that Loki swears to tend to the pup and when it is old enough to be rehomed, a family come to take it, but it will not leave Loki, it refuses to be parted from him. 

Runt

Name:
Species: Galra
Age: 18 (assuming they have a similar lifespan to humans? If not he’s the equivalent of a 18 year old human)
Gender: Male
Height: 6′4 (average being 7′6) - 1.94m
Family: Orphan (?)
Story: Abandoned at an orphanage at a very early age and sold as a slave to the Galra military not long after. The soldiers and officers simply call him “runt”.Cares for the prisoners and performs simple tasks around the base.Frequently steals more food and medicine for the prisoners.

“We were extra hard on him to toughen him up, and look what happened!”

-

Ludo is probably my favorite character in ‘Star vs The Forces of Evil’, and depending on where the writers are planning to take this, he might turn out to be the most important.

Who is Ludo?

In Season 2 of ‘Evil, the bard Ruberiot, who has vowed to sing The Truth, no matter the consequences, calls Ludo an envious jester. And yet Ludo might be the key to the core narrative of the show, and to the destiny of his entire world. 

Ludo is a fool. He is weak and stunted in every conceivable way - mentally, physically, emotionally, morally. 

In fact, one has to wonder how he even manages to be the heroine’s main antagonist at all. In Season 1, he had assembled a gang of vicious monsters and thrown his clan out of their ancestral home. Surely he must have SOME hidden talents?

In the episode ‘Ludo in the wild’, we finally learn what these are. For the first time, we really get to observe the pattern up close.

Ludo is alone. Weak, cold and hungry, surrounded by creatures much stronger and craftier than himself. 

He starts stalking them. They are kicking him around, and yet with glassy eyes, he keeps on following them into their nests, returning to their abuse like a moth to the flame. Except this particular moth is not flammable. They may feel pity for him, or disgust, but whatever he feels does not go any deeper than the most basic, ludicrous flashes of hunger, fear, pain and outrage. And… affection.

Are we starting to see how the trigger-happy warrior princess Star Butterfly might have first caught his attention? 

He’s always watching. Worming his way into his abusers’ lives, until they are becoming used to him. They think they know what their power dynamics are.

And then, in the blink of an eye, Ludo turns the tables. Perhaps even without realizing it himself, he has studied his abusers, knowing them on an intimate, if purely instinctual level.

If you are what you eat, and Ludo is all the way at the bottom of the food chain, then congratulations: Ludo is a part of you now.

Ludo’s talent is surviving abuse and mirroring his abusers (he even gets the better of Star Butterfly when he learns magic and steals her spellbook), in a twisted mockery of family relations. He did it with Arachne and the Bird (his two mothers…), the horde of rats, probably with his first troop of monsters as well. Oh yeah, and his actual family, where all of this started.

Ultimately, of course, his domain will fall apart. Once he has gathered his armies and his prizes, he hardly even knows what to do with them. All of his attempts at grandiose shemes are short-sighted and doomed to fail. As a survivor, he only lives in the moment. Easily tricked and robbed of all his achievements, or manipulated by those with much greater designs into doing their bidding. His armies of abusers are quick to turn on him again once he inevitably loses his focus, because frankly, they are not even sure why they ever… adopted him in the first place.

He has no past, and he has no future. It’s funny how he commands his army of rats to rebuild an ancient monster stronghold - ultimately doing little more than shoving debris around, before the house of cards inevitably falls apart again. In dreams and stories, houses represent your mind, your inner life. What does this ruin say about Ludo?

Ludo was the runt of the litter, and he has never grown up. Ludo is a child. Reverting again and again, repeating his cycle of survival and abandonment.  

There is a remarkable scene where the wise, ancient entity Glossaryck is trying to teach Ludo magic, and just after Ludo expressed his disappointment that convincing Glossaryck to work for him did not require torture, he immediately demands Glossaryck torture HIM. Just a couple of scenes later, he meekly asks Glossaryck to praise him, even tuck him into bed calling him “my darling”. 

Yeah, take a wild guess how those wires got crossed in Ludo’s head.

Ludo is attracted to abuse, to the abusive use of power, and abusers are attracted to him. He is the very focal point of the eponymous Forces of Evil.

Despite what you might have thought when you picked up this waaacky show, when it comes to Evil, with a capital “E”, they are being dead serious. Hint: it’s not the kind that is reliably confined to an impressive villain character, a single person or faction.

Star Butterfly will have to dip down and go deep.

As you might have guessed by now, the monsters themselves are not the Forces of Evil (though the Jury is still out on Toffee). They are the remnants of proud nations who have been decimated, robbed of their lands and pushed to the margins of civilization, many of them turning bitter and violent. 

In a way, Ludo is the ultimate monster.

And ‘Evil is his story.

The battle for the soul of that world is going to be fought inside Ludo.

Literally.

4

MISSING: One antenna. Iconic. Usually seen on top of a kid named Edward, also answers to “Fullmetal”, also answers loudly to “Runt” and “Pipsqueak”. If found please return to Ed on the set of the Fullmetal Alchemist live action movie.

Scaling Challenges Down...

Throughout the D&D crazed Internet,  there are numerous encounters designed to stretch not only the capabilities of the players and their characters, but those of the monsters as well.

5th Edition has specific rules for making monsters tougher by raising their Hit Dice, while the Player’s Handbook and Dungeon Master’s Guide provide tools for adding character levels to monsters and adding traps to their lairs.

For a change of pace, a DM may want to scale a monster down, making it weaker.

The possible reasons for scaling down an encounter are numerous.

So are the ways to do it.

The most complicated way to scale down a creature is by reversing the process for scaling it up.

Removing Hit Dice removes skills and combat abilities.

It may reduce the effectiveness of spell-like abilities or even the number of spells a creature can cast per day.

Reducing a creature’s size (say, from Large to Medium-size), not only lowers its physical ability scores, but could provide an interesting story angle as well (for instance, a runt minotaur hoping to win the respect of his peers).

Hampering monsters the same way a DM hampers characters can be less work for the same reward.

Perhaps an ettin has lost his greatclubs or a bard no longer has his intrument.

Creatures with limited use abilities may have already used some or all of them for the day.

This tactic works as long as the players can be made aware of the limitation.

Maybe a mage used his cone of cold earlier that day to kill an owlbear.

If the players find a partially frozen owlbear corpse, they have a chance to figure out their nemesis is not up to full strength.

As an alternative, consider putting a powerful creature in an environment that’s hostile to it, or simply inconvenient.

Perhaps a kuo-toa took a wrong turn getting back to the pool and ended up in the courtyard of an abandoned castle.

With the sun coming up soon, the adventurers can wait in the stables for the right moment to strike.

If the griffon the party is running from is foolish enough to follow them into a thick grove of trees, its maneuverability is drastically cut down.

The same way you play up a creature’s intelligence to make it tougher, playing up a creature’s stupidity can help even the odds.

Even smart monsters can make bad decisions…

Using cursed items can further offset a creature’s powers.

Creatures can even have permanent spell effects on them from previous adventures, such as blindness or bestow curse.

At the lower end of desirability, but still acceptable in certain situations, is simply knocking down hit points.

Consider a mimic that hasn’t had time to fully heal after its last encounter with a group of goblins.

Like most of the tricks in this book, scaled-down monsters should be used sparingly.

You should never introduce a new monster as a weakened version.

Using scaled-down monsters may make the players unimpressed, unprepared, or reckless when they meet the normal version.

Even if they have seen the monster before, they may feel cheated if they run into weakened monster after weakened monster.

Scaling down the CRs is an inexact science at best, and that may lead to more complications when assigning experience points.

Used in the right way, however, it offers more opportunities for cleverly designed encounters.

8

What happened, my dear Zero, is I beat the living shit out of a snivelling little runt called Pinky Bandinski, who had the gall to question my virility. Because, if there’s one thing we’ve learned from penny dreadfuls, it’s that when you find yourself in a place like this, you must never be a candy ass; you’ve got to prove yourself from day one. You’ve got to win their respect. You should take a long look at HIS ugly mug this morning. 
                                                                                     He’s actually become a dear friend.