So our level 7 party was hired by a king to get an object from a dragon’s lair in exchange for an items that was part of one of our party member’s personal story quest. We got into the blue dragon’s lair, killed it’s children, then waited ambush style for it to get home. The fight basically went like this:
DM: The blue dragon flies into its lair
Party: Surprise Round!
DM: Yup… Surprise Round
Sorcerer: Hey, do you two want 150ish hitpoints and to hit like a fighter twice your level?
Sorcerer: I use twin spell to cast polymorph on both of them. They’re both giant apes now
The party proceeded to beat down the dragon while one giant ape beat on it and the other grappled it to the ground. We then leveled, got 100,000gp each, and got magic item loot from the dragon’s hoard. Our dual-classed Arcane Archer Kensai Monk (basically Zen archer for 5e) got the Oathbow.
A few encounters later, our party is now level 8. As a level 8 party of 7 characters we decide to fight the Pit Fiend in front of us instead of run away. Here’s how that fight went:
DM: The Pit Fiend hasn’t noticed you yet.
Party: Surprise Round!
DM: Yup… Surprise Round
Sorcerer: Who wants to be giant apes?
Sorcerer: I do the thing.
The party then proceeds to fight the Pit Fiend. The Pit Fiend knocks the bard out of giant ape form and knocks him unconscious, and the fight is getting pretty rough. That’s when our SuperArcher decided this had gone on for too long…
Archer: So it’s taken 5 rounds of great apes, paladin smites, chromatic orbs, and oathbow shots right?
Archer: Alright. This combat is taking too long. Action Surge, Sharpshooter on all four attacks, that’s 22, 23, 21, and 21 to hit?
DM: They all hit
Archer: That’s 1d8+3d6+15 four times…
DM: *proceeds to close his Monster Manual and start folding up his DM screen*
In a famous debate that was settled by the sixth patriarch of Zen, there were two monks arguing (when a flag was flapping in the wind) whether it was the wind or the flag that was moving. And he said it’s neither; it’s the mind.
The komusō (literally “priest of nothingness” or “monk of emptiness”) were a group of Zen Buddhist mendicant monks who wandered the roads of Edo period Japan. They would play elaborate tunes on their bamboo flutes as they begged for alms, their faces (and thus, their ego) completely concealed by a distinctive hood woven from straws or reeds. Unsurprisingly, many were recruited as spies or were actually ninja or ronin in disguise, and eventually their temples and their schools were abolished for meddling in material affairs instead of spiritual ones.
Context: Our group is doing the Rise of the Runelords Pathfinder campaign and we’re currently in the middle of a dungeon. Our group consists of a Teifling Paladin, a Human Sorcerer, a Half-orc Oracle, a Dampir Cleric and a Human Zen-Archer Monk (me). We come to a crossroads in the dungeon and decide to send 2 people down one hall and 3 down the other. The Oracle is currently equipment-less and has amnesia, and the Cleric is notorious for rolling really badly… all the time.
I’m currently sitting at the table doing homework due the next morning and only half paying attention to what’s going on.
Paladin: “Okay, so Hummingbird (sorcerer) and I are going right down this hall, Dorian (cleric) and Ka'runk (Oracle) are going left down that hall. Zanzi (me), which way do you wanna go?”
Me (not paying attention): “Uhh… right I guess”
Paladin: “Great, awesome, so the 2 tanks and the sorcerer are all together and we’re leaving Dorian with… Ka'runk… ”
The GM doesn’t give me a chance to change my mind, I’m laughing my ass off, and the Cleric keeps rolling single digits to convince Ka'runk that they’re on the same side. Ka'runk proceeds to beat him down to 2 HP before my group meets back up with them.
Zen Habits Live Simply (don’t just shove it under the rug)
Do one thing at a time. This rule (and some of the others that follow) will be familiar to long-time Zen Habits readers. It’s part of my philosophy, and it’s also a part of the life of a Zen monk: single-task, don’t multi-task. When you’re pouring water, just pour water. When you’re eating, just eat. When you’re bathing, just bathe. Don’t try to knock off a few tasks while eating or bathing. Zen proverb: “When walking, walk. When eating, eat.”
Do it slowly and deliberately. You can do one task at a time, but also rush that task. Instead, take your time, and move slowly. Make your actions deliberate, not rushed and random. It takes practice, but it helps you focus on the task.
Do it completely. Put your mind completely on the task. Don’t move on to the next task until you’re finished. If, for some reason, you have no choice but to move on to something else, try to at least put away the unfinished task and clean up after yourself. If you prepare a sandwich, don’t start eating it until you’ve put away the stuff you used to prepare it, wiped down the counter, and washed the dishes used for preparation. Then you’re done with that task, and can focus more completely on the next task.
Do less. A Zen monk doesn’t lead a lazy life: he wakes early and has a day filled with work. However, he doesn’t have an unending task list either — there are certain things he’s going to do today, an no more. If you do less, you can do those things more slowly, more completely and with more concentration. If you fill your day with tasks, you will be rushing from one thing to the next without stopping to think about what you do.
Put space between things. Related to the “Do less” rule, but it’s a way of managing your schedule so that you always have time to complete each task. Don’t schedule things close together — instead, leave room between things on your schedule. That gives you a more relaxed schedule, and leaves space in case one task takes longer than you planned.
Develop rituals. Zen monks have rituals for many things they do, from eating to cleaning to meditation. Ritual gives something a sense of importance — if it’s important enough to have a ritual, it’s important enough to be given your entire attention, and to be done slowly and correctly. You don’t have to learn the Zen monk rituals — you can create your own, for the preparation of food, for eating, for cleaning, for what you do before you start your work, for what you do when you wake up and before you go to bed, for what you do just before exercise. Anything you want, really.
Designate time for certain things. There are certain times in the day of a Zen monk designated for certain activities. A time for for bathing, a time for work, a time for cleaning, a time for eating. This ensures that those things get done regularly. You can designate time for your own activities, whether that be work or cleaning or exercise or quiet contemplation. If it’s important enough to do regularly, consider designating a time for it.
Devote time to sitting. In the life of a Zen monk, sitting meditation (zazen) is one of the most important parts of his day. Each day, there is time designated just for sitting. This meditation is really practice for learning to be present. You can devote time for sitting meditation, or do what I do: I use running as a way to practice being in the moment. You could use any activity in the same way, as long as you do it regularly and practice being present.
Smile and serve others. Zen monks spend part of their day in service to others, whether that be other monks in the monastery or people on the outside world. It teaches them humility, and ensures that their lives are not just selfish, but devoted to others. If you’re a parent, it’s likely you already spend at least some time in service to others in your household, and non-parents may already do this too. Similarly, smiling and being kind to others can be a great way to improve the lives of those around you. Also consider volunteering for charity work.
Make cleaning and cooking become meditation. Aside from the zazen mentioned above, cooking and cleaning are to of the most exalted parts of a Zen monk’s day. They are both great ways to practice mindfulness, and can be great rituals performed each day. If cooking and cleaning seem like boring chores to you, try doing them as a form of meditation. Put your entire mind into those tasks, concentrate, and do them slowly and completely. It could change your entire day (as well as leave you with a cleaner house).
Think about what is necessary. There is little in a Zen monk’s life that isn’t necessary. He doesn’t have a closet full of shoes, or the latest in trendy clothes. He doesn’t have a refrigerator and cabinets full of junk food. He doesn’t have the latest gadgets, cars, televisions, or iPod. He has basic clothing, basic shelter, basic utensils, basic tools, and the most basic food (they eat simple, vegetarian meals consisting usually of rice, miso soup, vegetables, and pickled vegetables). Now, I’m not saying you should live exactly like a Zen monk — I certainly don’t. But it does serve as a reminder that there is much in our lives that aren’t necessary, and it can be useful to give some thought about what we really need, and whether it is important to have all the stuff we have that’s not necessary.
Live simply. The corollary of Rule 11 is that if something isn’t necessary, you can probably live without it. And so to live simply is to rid your life of as many of the unnecessary and unessential things as you can, to make room for the essential. Now, what is essential will be different to each person. For me, my family, my writing, my running and my reading are essential. To others, yoga and spending time with close friends might be essential. For others it will be nursing and volunteering and going to church and collecting comic books. There is no law saying what should be essential for you — but you should consider what is most important to your life, and make room for that by eliminating the other less essential things in your life.
This isnt a request, but I just want your thoughts; sombra mentions a bakery in dorado right. What if she and zen go there again and they go chill at the bakery/sombra angst bc its just. Gone
Oh I’ve heard that voiceline before and I love it!
On heading to the bakery, Zenyatta is excited to experience Sombra’s home and be with her. Though he can’t eat, he finds it fascinating to watch Sombra eat, and a cupcake sounds really good to her right now.
Coming to the spot where it should be, they only find a vacant building and a broken sign. Sombra immediately brushes it off, saying they can go somewhere else.
Disappointed, and sensing Sombra’s wavering soul, he only takes her hand as they walk away. Though she never acts upset, he knows it bothers her to find her home different and it shouldn’t bother her… but it does.
He doesn’t pressure her to speak about it, but he quietly stays close to her for the rest of the night.