Maybe we need a bit more philosophy?

Everyone knows about the Roe vs. Wade decision which was overturned yesterday by now. There is a planned parenthood/abortion clinic near my house that we routinely drive by if Megan and I are doing errands or grabbing a bit to eat at Panera. Without fail there are protestors out in front of it. Even today, in the rain, after the largest anti-abortion victory in fifty years, they were out there again protesting. 

Ironically, I came across this video on TikTok this morning and while I don't normally like this sort of hyperbolic rhetoric, I do feel like it aptly sums up what I seem to observe. 

As I continued to drive home in the rain, it really got me thinking about the why and my mind drifted for some reason to philosophy. I have mentioned on here before who I studied political theory as my undergrad degree and there is a lot of overlap to philosophy there. Without a doubt those courses changed my entire outlook on the world and me as a person, and I grew and learned more from those courses than anything else I have ever taken. STEM has been such a large push in our world the past 20 years or so, and it just makes me think that perhaps instead of reinforcing the productive, output-driven focus of STEM education if we all might just be a little bit better off if we have some art, philosophy and music eduction to slow everything down. To teach people some contemplation an insight. 

You know, in Dungeons and Dragons there are two fundamental mechanics for using your brain to solve problems. Intelligence and Wisdom. We've really been pushing that intelligence part pretty hard with STEM learning. Perhaps we need to take some time and give the Wisdom score a little bit of love.

Several years ago I posted some reading ideas for those who may want to get into Political Theory, and by proxy some philosophy. I'll re-link that post here: Matt's Reading Suggestions for Political Theory

Additionally, this seems to be a nice list to start for many people, although any 1-2 of these will probably suffice as an introduction: 15 Best Philosophy Books for Beginners (Introductory Books to Start With)

Writing Prompt: You, a humble elf farmer, happen upon the lost hatchling of a dragon. You raise it until it is self sufficient and set it free. Centuries later, a young woman with draconic features knocks on your door and claims you are her mother.

Fire light danced across the oak and marble walls of the Eluvian temple as Lireal set the candles for the evening. She has been repeating this same ritual for nearly four centuries, each evening pointedly lighting each of the one hundred and thirty-one candles in the main hall in a succinct procession. This evening however was different when there came a rapping on the front door. The other stewards in the room all paused, surprised at the sound, looks glancing from one to another. Putting down her long match Lireal glided toward the front door, the gaze of each of the stewards following her across the hall. She lifted the iron handle, pulling open the large wooden door, which lurched under its own weight. 

Peering out into the  town of Eglarest, Lireal’s gaze surveyed the square outside the temple. The evening air was soft and quiet. The warmth of the late summer day still clung to the white limestone buildings and the cool air from the Lavalling forest swayed through the oaks outside the city wall. The sound of the rustling wind whispered across Eglarest and Lireal saw a few men across the square finishing closing off the gate for the evening. Besides those elven men though, there was no one else to be seen. 

Stepping outside Lireal looked again, confused about the knock  she heard, when a weak voice caught her attention to her right. 

“Mother.” 

The voice was delicate, but unmistakable. Lireal’s breath caught  at the sound and her hand trembled as she brought it up to her mouth. 

“No, it couldn’t be. It simply cannot be," she thought to herself. The simple desire in and of itself was almost heartbreaking enough as she turned toward the voice. 

Standing to the right of the door was a young elven woman with blonde hair and striking ice blue eyes. Her hair and clothes were a mess, torn and burned. The skin around her eyes held a distinct tattoo, drawn in white ink following the contours of her cheek bones up to her ears and her brow in the design of dragon scales. Her right eye was bruised and blue and dried blood ran from a fat lip which she nursed with the tip of her tongue. 

Lireal’s heart skipped and then sank and the sight of her daughter Adalina. “My child!”, she exclaimed and rushed over to Adalina taking her into her arms. Adalina’s weight pressed into her as Lireal brought her hand up to brush the hair out of her daughter’s face. 

“What has happened to you?” 

“Mother, please I didn’t know where else to turn.”

“Quiet child, let me tend to your wounds”, replied Lireal, her instincts taking over as she directed stewards to grab water and fresh linens

“Mother, please. They are coming. I am sorry, I didn’t mean to bring them here, but they are coming,” said Adalina before she lost consciousness.

It was not until several hours later that Adalina finally awoke. Lireal was sitting at her side. In the course of a few hours Adalina’s wounds had healed remarkably fast. Her lip had reduced in swelling and the bruises across her body had all but disappeared. As she came to, she bolted up in the bed. 

“No, I must leave. I must be gone before they come”.

“Ada, please. What are you talking about?”, asked Lireal. Concern and longing in her voice for the daughter she has not seen in two centuries.  

Before Adalina could respond the ringing of the guard bell from the front gate chimed four times and shouts came from outside the temple. Both women arose at the sound, Lireal surprised at her daughter’s swiftness considering her injuries. 

Before they could reach the front door of the temple a crash rippled through the building as the front gate to the city exploded into splinters of wood and fire.  Lireal threw open the door and ran out into the square. Bodies of elven men and women of the town’s guard lay scattered across the square. An orange glow throbbed like a heartbeat from beyond the city walls as the Oak forest of Lavalling was burning. Through the gate strode Men, borne in iron armor and carrying the magic of fire in their hands. One man in particular stepped forward into the empty square. 

“I am the most holy emissary of the White Cloth, come to bless and baptize this town in the name of his lord. My name is Eringas and we have tracked to this place an abomination of the rightful order. Come, bless yourselves in the name of the White Cloth.” 

Lireal stepped forward raising her hand in a gesture of calming, but before she could take more than two steps, the whistle of an arrow sang through the night finding purchase. Lireal didn’t even realize what had happened before the dull punch in her chest was followed by the pooling of warm blood across her white dress. She stumbled forward another step, before falling to her knees and the hands of two stewards closed around her shoulders. 

Time slowed, the sound of the world dulled to a muffle in Adalina’s ears as she watched the arrow loose from the archer’s bow across the square. With her perception of time and speed she watched in horror as the arrow stretched across the town square and bury into her mother’s chest. The weight of the impact rippled through all her senses as she darted from the door of the temple to where her mother stood, and now began to fall. With each step she took she could hear the weakening beat of her mother’s heart and could smell the fresh blood pouring from the wound. 

Silver tears streaked her face as she collapsed over her mother’s body, cradling it in her arms. Each weakening heartbeat reverberated in her mind in  slow agony as she listened  to the final moments of her mother’s life pass before her. Centuries of time that could have been spent together lost in moments with each beat. 

Lireal looked up into her daughter’s face, raising her hand to caress her daughter’s hair. 

“I always hoped I would get to see you again.”

And she was gone. The last heartbeat died away in Adalina’s mind leaving behind a void of silence that would never be filled again. It was replaced with the beating of her own heart, of her own rage which she had spent so many years culling and learning to control. It rose deep from within her chest, at first only in her mind, but beat after beat growing and bursting forth in a rage and sorrow that would consume the town of Eglarest. 

“Men. Men will pay. Mankind will pay for what they have done.”

I Think I Want to Get Into Watches

So my latest ADHD obsession right now is watches. I've pretty much always worn a watch in some fashion or another all the way back to high school, may be even junior high. Nothing fancy. A Fossil typically. The most recent iteration happens to be an Apple Watch, which I have had for maybe four years now. I am noticing though that I am not really utilizing all that many smart features on it and it is basically a fancy heart rate monitor. Now, don't get me wrong. I still love that and being able to track all my health data all the time is fascinating, but I feel like I want to start to get into the watch game a bit more. 

James Bond was always a favorite character growing up and of course he has quite the watch game. It wasn't until last year that I realized how expensive some watches are though. Omega has always been a brand that seems to have caught my eye, but it wasn't until this past fall when I decided to look up how much an Omega Speedster costs. It is somewhere around $4,000, which if I am being honest is incomprehensibly expensive. I don't think I can justify that much money on a watch, but I suppose I would be willing to pay a few hundred dollars for one. After all I paid ~$350 for my Apple Watch. 

Citizen Eco-Drive Titanium

The Citizen Eco-Drive Super Titanium has caught my eye. I think in general any watch that doesn't require a battery seems appealing as I can just sort of pop it on and go. The titanium color matches my wedding ring too and I think the style of this watch has a nice look that can be dressed up or dressed down. 


Timex North Field Post Solar

Timex really catches my eye as well, especially their field watches. The Field Post Solar has that nice rugged look which I really like with the fabric band. Although I can't say that I really like how it loops. Perhaps the leather band would be the best way to go, and I have never owned a leather banded watch. It seems like it has a nice simple and clean look. 

There are a few others that catch my eye as well. Some are dreams and some are something perhaps worth looking at more closely. 


Electric Daisy Carnival

Megan and I attended Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) last weekend. It was quite simply one of the most amazing experiences of my life. A rave, a festival, an art installation. It was an experience that is truly hard to describe. It took place at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway and had nine main stages that covered most genres of dance electronic music. In addition to those main stages, there were probably dozens of other artcars, sounders and other installations around the entire complex. Ohh, and it also had a carnival in the center of it. 

The vibe of the entire event was something unlike I have experienced before. Almost pure positivity from the attendees and you could feel the mantra of the event Peace, Love, Unity, Respect (PLUR) throughout most of it. Of course there were minor instances where intoxicated individuals were rude, but that was mostly few and far between. It is 100% something I need to do again and the post euphoria come down this week after the event has been pretty hard to digest. 

We have intentions to attend Electric Forest next summer and then go back to EDC in Spring 2023. You can find most of my photos and videos over on Instagram, but I have spliced together highlights in the video below. 


D&D: Encounter Idea - A Roadside Wedding.

Halfling Wedding

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After a long, hard day of traveling the party comes across a halfing with a cart caught in the mud. He is in need of assistance to free the cart.

Jacquot Jean

If the party helps him and repairs the cart he will invite them to the wedding he and his fellow travelers are going to.

After continued travel to about an hour past sunset, the party hears the rousing sound of music and merriment coming from just off the road. They find a large group of tents and many bonfires setup around with a handful of guards watching the perimeter. 

Wedding between Nicolle (Human Male) and Claricia (Female Halfling)

  • Upon arriving the party is immediately invited to attend the wedding ceremony, that was being held up waiting for Jacquot. 
  • The party may spend a few moments talking or introducing themselves to various members of the family before choosing a side to sit to. 

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Family Members 

There are dozens of people in attendance at this wedding, so feel free to make up any characters as you see fit for both families. A could place to start to build tension in the scene is to have the Halfling family be very rowdy, drunk and celebratory. The Human family may be much more reserved and feel uncomfortable with the ceremony. As the evening progresses, perhaps certain members of the family will "loosen up", perhaps with the party's assistance.

Members  

  • The bride (Claricia) – very nervous, worrying about everything and at some point late in the evening sneaks up to a member of the party to ask them to take her away in the middle of the night. She is terrified of being married. Her new husband is actually a wonderful man, she is just afraid of "growing up" and settling down 
  • The groom (Nicolle) – a bit nervous and drunk. Celebrating, but genuinely seems to be a wonderful young man. 
  • The father of the bride (Anthoine) – One of the only Haflings at the party not enjoying himself. He complains non-stop about how much this is all costing him.
  • The mother of the bride (Amelot) – is either crying about losing her baby or fussing over something at the wedding. 
  • The parents of the groom (Jacques and Odelina) – happy and enjoying themselves, most likely because they’re running up the bar tab which is being covered by the father of the bride.

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Encounter Ideas

  • During the ceremony anyone in the party may try to convince either of the parents that they are capable of conducting the wedding ceremony or adding their additional blessing. Per +17 at dis-advantage if not a Halfling or Cleric. 
  • Once the ceremony is over, invite several NPC's from the party to invite various members of the party to dance. This is an opportunity to throw in a "horn-dog" grandmother, a flirtatious young boy/girl who is way too young, a drunk individual who wants to know all about the party's adventures, the aunt who is suspicious of why the party is here, or any other character of your creation/ 
  • As the evening progresses there are several ability contents or competitions that the party may choose to participate in.
  • Somewhere on the campground will be a large tent setup for smoking. Inside will be a fortune teller (Danśe) who the party can make friends with and have their fortune told for free. The fortune that is told is insignificant. She is in fact a Warlock who a fiend patron. For every fortune told she hands out a small scroll with a glyph carved into into it. She instructs the individual to trace the glyph onto a floor or a door as a protection warding and upon the next new moon it will active releasing a number of monsters identified on a 1d6 below. She is very naive and does not know what she is handing out and even if told, insists that her patron would never do such as thing. 

Fiend Monsters

  1. 1 Imps
  2. 3 Imps 
  3. 2 imps+ 2 Quasits
  4. 2 Spinded Devils
  5. 2 Hellhounds
  6. 1 Shadow Demon 


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Ability Contests

  • Strength: Wrestling match where participants are shirtless and oiled. If one of you wishes to participate they may succeed in consecutive strength checks of increasing difficulty (per DM's discretion) and may not use any magic items for this competition. Reward: Heart of the Sleeveless
  • Dexterity: Competition to scale a 30' wooden pole. The first person to scale the pole without using magic gains the item on the top of the pole. If one of you wishes to participate they may succeed in consecutive dexterity checks of increasing difficulty (per DM's discretion) and may not use any magic items for this competition. Reward: Fortune's Flower
  • Charisma (Performance): A dashing young man is dancing and singing near the food and drink at the event. He is joined in a song with several other people. If one ore more member's of the party join in and actually sing the song below. If they they each will be rewarded. Reward Singing Stein

Tip: Consider throwing various alcoholic beverages, some magical if you so choose at the party throughout the party to impact the potential competitions above. 

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Cup of Mead Song Lyrics

I rose up in the morning and I felt a dire need,

To dream away the dreary day and down a cup of mead.

I felt the sting of honey bees, from last night's revelry, I'm looking for the honey that'll cure my soul's disease...


Hey!

Hey!

Hey!

Hey!


I drank another cup or two, and sleep did close my eyes,

A nightmare of a desert dry and not a girl for miles,

I dreamt I saw a waterfall, a waterfall of mead,

I need another cup or six, to clear my memory...

So brother won't you roll another barrel to the bar?

And pour another cup or two so I can soak my heart !


Hey!

Hey!

Hey

Hey!

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Rewards

These were all taken from Griffon's Saddlebag, and I highly encourage you to check them out for additional resources on these items and more. https://www.thegriffonssaddlebag.com


Heart of the Sleeveless

This vest is made from a luxurious, silky material that seems to always make the wearer appear more fit. The clothing gently hugs the wearer, redistributing weight and muscle to flatter and accentuate their physique. It seems to deflate sadly once taken off. While worn, the fabric’s color changes with the wearer’s mood or flash of emotion. Refer to the table below for the vest’s colors when under different emotions. While unworn, the fabric’s color becomes a muted blue.

Emotion Color

  • Anger Red
  • Anticipation Orange
  • Joy Yellow
  • Love Lime
  • Fear Green
  • Sadness Blue
  • Disappointment Indigo
  • Disgust Purple
  • Jealousy Black
  • Surprise White


Fortune's Flower

These magic flowers are said to bring good luck and are often given as gifts at weddings. You can use an action to pull off and drop one of the flower's five petals. When you do, there is a 5% chance that the petal glimmers in a flash of light as a rune is burnt into it, recreating the effects of the augury spell. When it does, 1d6 new fortune's flowers grow at that petal's location after 30 days if the ground is suited for growth.

The plant has no seeds and can't be re-potted for travel. An unpicked fortune's flower regrows one flower every year. Once picked, the flower can survive up to 7 days before it withers and dies.


Singing Stein

While this pewter stein holds at least a sip’s worth of potable alcohol, the face adorning it comes alive to sing songs based on the kind of drink. The stein is not sentient, but does have a pleasant singing voice. If there are multiple steins in the same room, they can sing together in harmony if they have the same drinks within them. The stein sings songs slightly out of key if the drink inside is poisoned, which can be heard following a successful Wisdom (Perception) check as determined by the GM.

If there are multiple kinds of alcohol within it, the stein either alternates between song types or does its best to combine their various lyrics. Example drink Type of song Wine Ballad Rum Sea Shanty Ale Drinking song.