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2023.05.30 20:02 Centumviri Welcome to Green Valley: 4 Bumpkin Quest Adventures
Welcome to Green Valley
Four Merry Jaunts Through in the Bumpkin Quest Campaign
It’s a big world filled with far off folks who have far off problems. In the quaint farming town of Hills Furrow that has certainly not been the case. Here life is simple, local, and paced by the seasons. There ain’t been a need for “Venturers” and their ilk since your Papaw was just a sprout. However, the winds of change are blowin, and things are about to git just a bit more exciting round these parts.
Welcome to Green Valley, The down-home home of Rural Fantasy Misadventures and Grass-Roots Shenanigans. The Valley is Filled with Colorful Characters, Brimming with Odd Ball Neighbors, and has more than a few Local Yokels. Welcome to Bumpkin Quest. These adventures are intended to be a series of silly adventures that all go awry in some way or another and stir up trouble throughout a peaceful little village that has in many ways been overlooked by the troubles of the world “outside”. CHAPTER 1: Green Tide CHAPTER 2: A Cartload of Chickens CHAPTER 3: Marvin the Magnificent CHAPTER 4: High Society ADVENTURE MECHANICS
- Target Character Level: Commoners - Level 1 - Target Party Size: Four Players - Average Adventure Playtime: 1-2 Hours - Tone: Rural Misadventures
I’ve also put these adventures into a PDF that includes our Bumpkin Quest: Campaign Guide
which fills in the details of Green Valley pretty thoroughly. The quests are simple enough to be run in any setting you choose, but if you're interested in more the Guide as over a dozen Custom Maps, 70+ NPCs, Location Descriptions, 20+ Local Legends, and Scores of Adventure and Event Ideas. You can grab the PDF Free at the link above.
At the center of the Valley sits a patch of small grassy hills, through which the Slow Water meanders through. Built into these hills is the Village of Hills Furrow. Celebrated by everyone living in The Valley and boasting a whopping population of almost 150, Hills Furrow is the center of commerce and social importance. Well, at least as far as the locals are concerned. Realistically it would be less than a blip on the grand scale of things, a mere kernel of wheat in the silo of civilization, but to those who live here, there is nothing quite like living in the “city”.
The Village itself, like the Valley, is predominantly Halfling, and their fancy dwellings are burrowed into the hillsides as often as possible. These dwellings have been family owned for generations only becomeing available if there are no heirs to pass them along to. Other folk live in well kept two story shingled buildings, most of which house a business on the lower floor and house the Shopkeepers and their families above their workplaces, though a few live in nearby homes. There aren’t many “rental” spaces in town, as property is usually bought up quickly by the Halfling Families, but there are long term options at either of the Inns in town. Hills Furrow: Locations
1) The Crocked Crow (Inn and Tavern) 2) The Dancing Lamb (Inn and Tavern) 3) The Moaning Toad (Tavern) 4) Granny's Groceries (General Market) 5) Get Nailed (Hardware and Distilery) 6) Gimdurh's Hammer (Smithy) 7) Brenra's Mechanicals (Tinker) 8) Hjoldren's Home Goods (Carpenter) 9) Standard Industries (Office) 10) Fit to be Dyed (Tailor) 11) The Last Loaf (Baker) 12) The Cloudy Cleaver (Butcher) 13) Nature's Medecine (Apothecary) 14) Sheriff's Office 15) Green Valley School House 16) The Waterwheel 17) The Windmill 18) The Undercloak Estate 19) Truefoot Burrow 20) The Meadows Family Hill
The people themselves are hospitable and friendly enough, but they do not really trust outsiders. Folks from foreign places are good for trade, news, and little else. Those that come through are treated well enough as long as they don’t wear out their welcome. Locals, well, that’s a bit of a different story. The city and area doesn’t operate under a written caste system or social structure, but there is clearly a pecking order, and family heritage matters a great deal to folks in Hills Furrow. Most locals, whether they’ve gotten an education or not, can easily be classified as simple. It isn’t that they are slow of mind or unintelligent, but more that they are unconcerned with matters the outside world considers important. This sentiment has created a general, but friendly, dislike between those that consider themselves Highfalutin and those that clearly are not.
Well now that I've given you the fifty cent tour. Shall we get on to adventure?
CHAPTER 1: Green Tide
We will open our journeys in the Green Valley at Green Tide, the annual celebration of Winter’s End. This adventure is designed to give a tour of Hills Furrow and introduce them to the locals. It will begin with some chores around their house to prepare for the festival and end with a battle involving an enchanted broom. If you did not do Session Zero, this chapter may take a bit longer as we get to know everyone and their characters.
ACT 1: Pre-Festival
The locals spend the week cleaning out their houses and farms. They gather old junk and unused items to be used later in the festival. They also begin preparing what food is left from winter to be used in a celebration and feasts. Things to do!
- Have the Players clean up junk around the house - Have them Find something strange (Perhaps used for a later mystery?) - Have them Decorate their Broom - Have them run a Household Errand (Meet an NPC)
ACT 2: Sweeping Day
A merry festival celebrating Spring cleaning and putting the past behind them. They form a parade, with one member from each house carrying a brightly decorated broom and using it to symbolically “Sweep Away Winter”. The rest of the family marches their winter’s trash and unused goods down to the Fairgrounds. The goods are often traded, while the trash is piled in the fire pit to await burning later. The entire day is filled with fun outdoor activities. Households also symbolically bring their problems to the bonfires to burn them later. Things to do!
- March in the Parade - Carry Junk to the Bonfire - Meet more of the Locals EVENT: I Love a Parade
The parade will march North from near the Cross Roads in the South up around the hill and back again to the South where it will head for the Fairgrounds. There isn’t anything particularly challenging about this event, but it would be a wonderful place to start leaning into or building local rivalries. EVENT: Never Seen a Broom Do That…
As they come into the home stretch of the Parade one of the local’s Brooms will animate and take off. It will chase folks around the parade. The players can attempt to stop it, but the broom will flee soon after being attacked. It will fly up into the air, attack a flock of geese, and chase them off until it can’t be seen anymore. They can go and collect a fallen goose if they wish. I highly recommend giving it a motorcycle type sound as it flies around hitting folks. Maybe even going as far as giving it a rough gravel angry voice and letting it insult people.
ACT 3: Winter’s End
Winter’s End is a Combination of Groundhog’s Day and Fasnacht, this day gets a little wild. The Festival kicks off at dawn with the Great Gopher Hunt. Gophers are well known spies for The Voice of Winter and thus need to be hunted before they can tell The Voice to delay Spring. Gophers themselves are quite tasty, and are notoriously bad for crops, so this works out economically all around. Throughout the rest of the day families continue to contribute to the Bonfire Pile which often gets quite large. At dusk a large effigy of The Voice of Winter is placed on top of the pile. Once the sun has fully set they light the fire and burn the Effigy. Folk usually dress darkly during the day and brightly at night. After the burning they feast on sweets and treats that were made from goods saved up from winter storage. Things to do!
- The Great Gopher Hunt - Carry Junk to the Bonfire - Meet more of the Locals - The Fairground’s Activities EVENT: The Great Gopher Hunt
The Hunt begins at dawn and takes place all over the Valley. Locals race to collect as many Gophers as possible. It is easiest to kill the Gopher, but there are some that find that distasteful. Instead they live trap the critters. It is a bit tougher to do so, but an option should your players wish. This is most easily played out as a series of appropriate Skill Checks, in which the higher they score the more gophers they obtain. EVENT: Trash Removal
They may find some locals willing to pay them to help cart junk down to the bonfire pile. Not a lot of skill involved in this, but it is a great opportunity to meet locals, and you could throw a runaway cart at them. Fair Activities
They will probably want to take part in Fairground Activities. Players love these types of challenges. Here are a few ideas you can build on. - Axe Throwin: Basic attack rolls on a Round Target. Higher scores equal Higher points. - Bow Shootin: Basic attack rolls on Moving Targets. Higher scores equal Higher points. - Pig Chasin: Catch the greased Pig! Medium DC Challenge requiring three success before three Failures. - Mud Wrastlin: Nothing says bumpkin like a good Mud Wrastlin Pit. Contested Skill Challenges. - Sausage Eating Contest: Increasingly difficult DC Challenge. Eat till you puke! Can also be Pies or Ribs or Little Fish… you know whatever someone wants to stuff dozens of in their gullet. - Tug O’War: Team Strength Challenge. Three to Five Contested Rolls with opposing teams. - Gopher BBQ Cook Off: A Hard Culinary Challenge to see who can BBQ the best Gopher! - Races: Foot and Mount Races based on Three to Five Contested Rolls. I usually include a few odd mounts like a Giant Chicken or some such nonsense.
ACT 4: Day of Ashes
The Day of Ashes is a day of rest, recovery, and reflection. Locals take the ashes from the bonfires and rub their hands in them to symbolize the end of a hard year’s work and hardships of the past. The day ends with a large family feast, typically Pork. Activities this day are light, but many folks head to the Temple for the Calling of Spring Blessings. They put on their fancies and head down to ask forgiveness for over-indulging in the festival and for worship. Well sort of…
Unfortunately, a lot of folks take this as an opportunity to peacock about and practice their one-upmanship over other locals. If you’re looking for inspiration for their outfits look to older photos of the Kentucky Derby. Over the years this troubling practice has caused more than one fight to break out after the service.
*Things to do! *
- Go to Temple and Meet More Locals - Pick a Local Patron! EVENT: Temple Services
The majority of the town comes to Temple on this day. The service is usually longer, and a bit more “Where have most of you been all year?” But otherwise it is a call for the Divine Blessings to touch their crops and protect their lives. It ends with a ceremony in which the locals put their hands into the ashes from yesterday’s bonfire. Once services end they will head outside, where the trouble will begin. Two of the wealthier families will get into it with each other. Starting with a couple of veiled insults, probably before service and continuing afterward. If one of your players is from a local Rich Folk family then they can be right in the middle of it all, otherwise they will have to pick a side. This choice will determine their house Patron moving forward. Tension will increase until folks start drawing up sides, and then someone will throw a rotten tomato at one of the House Matrons. That will blow the lid off the incident and a yokel brawl will break out. For comedy purposes I recommend the instant appearance of several food carts filled with expired products, and maybe a six year old hustler selling big sticks for wacking folks with. As the locals brawl call for perception checks. Who ever rolls highest begins to hear… The Broom returning! ENCOUNTER: Stick In The Eye
The broom returns ready to whoop some ash. It will be absolutely bent on cleaning anyone and everyone who is even the slightest bit dirty! If it successfully attacks a character they will have to make a Strength Saving throw or be knocked to the ground and swept clean by the broom. As this would be an awful omen for the year folks are terrified and will be running around screaming. Absolute mass hysteria. If the players were lucky enough to hear it coming they can avoid being surprised by the broom. Otherwise the broom will get a full round to attack before they have a chance to do anything. They’ll have to beat the broom into submission any way they can before it sweeps the whole town into chaos!
After defeating the broom things will settle back down again. Bumpkins are quick to return to normal when things go awry. However, they will have gotten the attention of one of the Wealthy Families in the area and be offered jobs. Which family is really, based on what will work best for them and you as the DM. For gags you might be tempted to have the Yokels pick them up, but that is a hard bit to sustain, and you may be better served keeping them on the side as a comic foil rather than up front. Completely up to you. The session should end with them being invited to meet their new patron tomorrow someplace important.
CHAPTER 2: A Cartload of Chickens
After successfully defeating the Enchanted Broom, our Bumpkins have gained the attention of a possible local Patron. This individual has summoned them to a nearby farm to discuss future work. That work includes proving themselves capable and not just lucky.
ACT 1: Meet the Boss
In this Act the players will meet with their new patron, one of the Family Heads, who that is entirely depends on their choices from the last game. This entire side branch is designed to flavor the background of the campaign, but if you’d rather just have them stay freelancing and independent that’s fine as well. There is also the possibility of “competing” offers should they have second thoughts for any reason. Once they arrive at the meeting spot their Patron will ask them some questions about their ambitions (Class Goals), they will then hand them off to their new “boss” who will assign them their task. They will take them to a nearby barn. NEW NPC: “Boss” Needs a fitting name for the Family they work for...
Character wise, what we got here is a standard “Ranch Foreman” character. They’re tough, A little mean, and completely loyal to their employer. They almost certainly chew tobacco (by the handful), have a tattoo of the Ranch’s Brand, and know where all the bodies are buried. They also have a huge and obvious scar on the side of their head where a Giant Chicken pecked a hole in their skull, so they’re not as bright as they used to be, not at all truthfully. Nor are they actually the Foreman anymore, but no one has a heart to tell them. They’ve been quietly downgraded to Chicken Handler, which is something they seem to remember quite well, but the brain damage keeps them from realizing all that. They can be found wandering the Farm giving strange orders to other Hands. These Hands nod politely and then go back to what they are doing. Things To Do!
- Meet Their Patron - Discuss Their Future - Meet Their New “Boss”
ACT 2: Chicken Dance
Boss will lead them into the odd looking barn. This building is filled with Giant Chickens. These two-three foot fouls have extremely exaggerated features, spiky looking beaks with sharp tooth like edges, big darting eyes, bumpy cracked skin, long gnarled talons, and dirty mottled feathers. They’re more beast than bird. But, they’re good for eatin! These creatures should have a stat block similar to an Axe Beak. When the players enter into the Barn the Chickens will go nuts, obviously deeply bothered by the intrusion. Boss will throw in some deer haunches and the birds will tear them apart in a feeding frenzy. They will then put on a Chicken Suit and begin a flapping dance. (Google Magnificent Riflebird) It should be absolutely captivating and the chickens will become mesmerized, watching every move. Boss will then load two dozen chickens onto a large wagon and lock it. They will have the players push the wagon out while he keeps the Chickens calm. Once outside they’ll hang heavy tarps on the sides of the wagon, and remove the suit. He will then explain to them that they need to keep the tarps on the wagon, and keep the birds well fed, or the chickens will get restless and become violent. When they do need to interact with them someone will have to wear the suit and dance to keep them calm. The bigger the person in the suit the better. Boss will then give them a Map of Green Valley and instruct them to drop off two chickens at each of the outer settlements. They have two days to get this done. Things To Do!
- Head into the barn - Witness The Dance of The Chicken - Push the Wagon out - Get the Costume and Delivery Instructions
ACT 3: Bumpy Roads
They will be off to deliver the Chickens to various locations. There is no specific order to this delivery, they just need to pick a route and go. If they’re short on time they can take the country roads that lead between the outer settlements, but these aren’t as well kept as the main roads are. Whatever road they take and wherever they decide to stop for the night there are problems they will encounter along the way. You can make them random or pick the ones that best suit your players. Most of these should at some point require someone putting on the suit and dancing for the chickens to keep them calm. I would also increase the difficulty of each event. If they fail a dance the Chickens will become restless and start attacking the cart until they are calmed down. Too many failures and the wagon’s cage will break and the remaining chickens escape. They will then have to be rounded up and the cage repaired. Things to Do
- Decide the delivery route - Deliver the chickens - Keep the Chickens calm Possible Road Events
1) Rough roads cause problems 2) Yokels attempt to see what’s in the cart 3) Bad Weather swamps the road or scares the chickens 4) Pack of Coyotes causes trouble. 5) Chicken Rustlers! Protect the Flock! 6) Wagon breaks and needs repair 7) Cows in the road, someone’s herd is out. 8) Broken Bridge, not gone, just broken
ACT 4: Final Delivery
They’re now closing in on the final delivery. Something needs to happen here to cause them to put the suit on. Or maybe they never took it off! I love that idea, that one of your players just loves the suit and wants to be a chicken… lol… Anyway I’m a fan of having them need to get out of the suit for some reason, maybe a bathroom break, or they stand on a fire ant hill, or a snake slithers up their leg. You know something silly and fun. BUT the zipper is stuck! So they’ll have to try and unstick it and fast! Whatever happens they’re going to get shot at by some hunters looking for a big score who have mistaken the flailing caused by the stuck zipper to be the chicken attacking. After dealing with the Hunters they can go ahead and make the final drop. And head home. Things to Do!
- Head for the final delivery - Get shot at! - Deliver the last chickens ENCOUNTER: That’s a BIG Chicken!
Having two hunters in the field is more than enough to cause a problem for the players. The hunters will almost certainly surprise the players, but you can allow them a perception check, if they succeed they’ll see the hunters just before the muskets go off. It would be OK to down the Chicken Player here if the hunters successfully hit it. They’ll have healer’s kits on hand because, well, this seems to happen to them a lot out here. After the initial attack the players can decide to attack back or try and talk the hunters down. A basic Bandit or Scout stat block should do will for the hunters. If you’re looking for a bit more mayhem, if the hunters miss the players you could have them hit the cage, and you know, bust it open. This may be especially tempting if they POSSIBLE ENCOUNTER: Big Ol' Frog
So there is a giant frog hiding in the mud down in the creek. If a player takes cover behind the banks there is a good chance that the frog will attempt to nab the player as a snack. If it is successful in grabbing a player with its tongue it will immediately head down river, and they'll have to chase it to get their friend back.
When they return, Boss will reward them. How much will depend on how successful they were delivering the birds. If they did a descent job, they will be paid two day’s wages each. If they were completely successful they can have a bonus. However, if the wagon is in bad shape they might have some money deducted. After they’re paid out, they will be dismissed, and told to expect a new assignment next week.
CHAPTER 3: Marvin the Magnificent
After successfully delivering chickens Boss is going to trust them with a more important task. Their employer has requested an item to be created by Marvin the Magnificent. This is a farming community so having enchanted Farming Equipment is extremely desirable. Marvin has done a lot of basic enchantments over the years, but this new one, an The Stone Skipper, a plough whose blade goes ethereal while in contact with stones too large to push away, has really put him to the test. He needs some help with the final enchantments. The players will have to travel to the Ethereal Plane and hit the Blade of the plow with large rocks. But there’s a problem, they’re going to have mischievous Ethereal Sprites attempting to stop them! If they’re successful, which they should be, they get to take the plough for a test drive, and deal with the strange side effects of the enchantment. Angry goats that blink in and out of existence.
ACT 1: To the Tower
They’ll be summoned out to the Ranch where they’ll meet with Boss again. Once there they will notice a large pile of bent and dinged up plows. Boss will explain to them that a recent land acquisition has become problematic. The Fields are filled with large stones just under the topsoil and they’ve damaged a lot of Plow Blades. The Smithing costs are getting out of hand and so their Patron is looking for an alternate solution to the problem. He is sending them to help Marvin the Magnificent, who has taken the job, but run into some complications and needs some help. They may ask about Marvin. Or perhaps the fields that were purchased, so be ready to answer these types of questions. Once they’re done here they can head to Marvin’s Tower, which is just north of town. Things to Do!
- Meet Boss again - Ask some Informational Questions - Head for the Tower NPC: Marvin the Magnificent
ACT 2: Marvin the Magnificent
As they approach the tower they should see an explosion at the peak of the structure. It should look similar to a fireworks mishap. When it clears there will be no visible damage to the tower, But Marvin will plummet to the earth just off to the side of them, landing in a small pond. He will then come charging out of the pond, laughing hysterically, and riding on a large turtle. Once he gets a few feet away from the pond the turtle will disappear and he will tumble to the ground right in front of the players. He will leap up quickly and turn toward the players. “Behold Travelers, You stand in the presence of Marvin the Magnificent! And everything you have witness was mostly intended!” He will then strike a cool pose with his wand pointed to the sky! “Now why do you approach my tower!?”
Once Marvin finds out they’ve been sent about the plow he will become more nervous looking. “I see, well follow me. We have work to do.” He will then start walking toward the tower… his boots squishing out water. This should give them a little time to ask a few questions. Marvin will be a little subversive about what they need to do. He will attempt to frame it very mysteriously, saying things like “All will be revealed soon.” and “Save your questions! All Answers await us… in the future!” If they ask him about what they witnessed outside, he will tell them he was working on a mount summoning spell designed for lakes and rivers. Things to Do!
- Head toward the Tower - Meet Marvin - Ask Questions
ACT 3: The Cabinet of Mysteries
The inside of the Wizard’s Tower will be far more mundane than they likely expect. At least on the first floor. It will have a sitting room, dining room, and kitchen, as well as a few odds and ends about. Nothing special at all. The second floor, are Marvin’s personal quarters and some room for study, but it is the third floor, where Marvin will lead them, and it will be more of what one would expect in a Wizard’s tower. There will be books shelves, arcane equipment, and storage for components. In the middle of the room will be a tall cabinet.
Marvin will explain to them that the Cabinet is a transportation device, and that he will need them to enter into it with a plow that he has recently enchanted. They will be taken to the Ethereal Plane, and once there they’ll need to take the plow outside and begin hitting it with large field stones. There is a large pile of stones just on the north edge of the tower. They’ll have to do this quickly, before the “others” show up. Who are the others? Hard to say, but there are things that live in the Ethereal Plane that don’t like intruders. The idea is to imbue the Plow with Ethereal Powers so it can pass through large stones while plowing fields. Once they return with the Enchanted Plow, Marvin will have them load it on a cart, pulled by a very smart Donkey, and send them on their way. Skill Challenge: Enchant the Plow
This skill challenge will require five successes before they’re incapacitated by the others. However they decide to do it, they’ll have to successfully hit the plow with five large stones. Failures will result in strange indiscernible entities attacking them. They do minimal damage but could knock people out if there are enough failures. Things to Do!
- Move Through Marvin’s Tower - Enter the Cabinet - Enchant the Plow
ACT 4: Blinking Goats
Upon returning to Boss with the Plow they will be happily greet and paid. Their Patron will be there and will be very pleased with their success. He will ask them to demonstrate the plow’s abilities. Once they get set up out in the field and begin plowing something weird will happen. Every time they hit a stone and the plow’s power activates an Ethereal Goat will manifest and kick or ram the plow, and then disappear. It will feel very similar to what they encountered in the Ethereal Plane. They’ll have to find a way to deal with the manifestations. ENCOUNTER: Ethereal Goats
These goats should function very similarly to Blink Dogs, but I would trim the HP and AC a little to put them in line with the party’s. They will be intent on breaking the Plow not the party, although they will attack the party if they can’t get to the Plow. Things to Do!
- Deliver the Plow - Drive the Plow - Defeat the Ethereal Goats
Once defeated the Boss will come over to yell at them, but the Patron will find the entire thing amusing and more importantly, another impressive demonstration of the player’s skills. He will invite them to the “House” for an important party next week.
Chapter 4: High Society
They've definitely been noticed now and have impressed with their ability, unconventional as it may be. They are invited to their patron's home, but not as guests. Though, they might think they were actually invited as guests! They have been brought in to help work the event held out at the Party Field. They will have to gather party supplies, help put up the tent, and then serve the actual guests. During the evening’s entertainment a hypnotist “The Great Dr Hypnotika” will mesmerize the crowd and attempt to rob them all. Hopefully the players don’t fall victim to her schemes. And if they do oh well, they’ll be entertained all the same.
ACT 1: Special Delivery
The players arrive at the Patron’s very nice property. They will be greeted by a properly dressed servant with a clipboard, the Party Planner. The Planner will be rigid and direct. They will immediately begin tasking them about. If they mention that they were invited to the party the servant will laugh “You didn’t think you were a guest? Oh dear, how embarrassing. You’re the help! It is still a great honor to be tasked to help at the Party, but you’re not guests. Now as for your current task. Head into town and gather these supplies. Bring them to the field by noon.” After the instructions are given the servant will go back to their tasks and expect the players to do the same. They will have three stops; The Crocked Crow for Food and Beer, Get Nailed for the Tent and Spirits, and Shalana Proud-Breed’s Tailor Shop to pick up the Dry Cleaning. Feel free to make any and all of these go sideways! Its a good place to toss in some shenanigans as well! They should also be introduced to Dr Hypnotika and her associates. Things To do!
- Go to their Patron’s Home - Meet the Party Planner and Dr Hypnotika - Run their Errands NPC: Dr Hypnotika
Dr Hypnotika and her group will perform for the party. Hypnotica is a Tiefling Mezmerist and illusionist. She has an obnoxiously high charisma and some pretty serious skills to back up her claims. However, she uses those skills to beguile her guests, robbing them blind while they are under her spells. She wears a fine robe with a bedazzled headwrap. She has dark upward spiraling horns, light purple skin, and matching eyes. She wears a monocle and walks with a ceremonially carved staff depicting the "Struggles of the Universe". She is extremely persuasive and even more deceptive. Even if someone were to grow suspicious she can easily talk her way out of trouble. NPCs: Clapper and Bob
Hypnotika brings with her two assistants. Clapper the suit wearing Kenku who will perform wondrous displays of mimicry and slight of hand, and her strongman Bob the Kobold. Bob wears a leopard print strongman's outfit and is amazingly swole, particularly for a kobold, and capable of lifting upwards of 400lbs. Bob doesn't do much else other than get hit with things. in the act.
ACT 2: Put up the Tent
After they finish running their errands they will be tasked with putting up a large party tent. This Act is an ongoing Skill Challenge and should have a constantly distracted feel to it. First they have to unpack the tent. Then they have to realize some pieces are missing, they’ll have to form a solution to that problem. After that wind should cause some problems as the tent is at least being pulled up. This is a great moment for some wondrous tom-foolery. Things To do!
- Unpack the tent - Deal with missing parts - Secure the tent during the wind gusts
ACT 3: Put These On
After they finish putting up the tent they’ll be sent to the Servant’s Quarters to bathe and change. They’ll get a little time to explore and snoop if they wish. Afterward they’ll be tasked with helping in the kitchen, but unfortunately the cooks are going to have been playing a drinking game all afternoon and are no longer fully capable of doing their jobs. This would make a great moment for some sort of mini-game where the players have to determine whether or not the cooks are doing the right things. Once the dinner has been completed they will have to serve the guests. This is a good place to insert gossip and help them meet a few other folks. Things To do!
- Get changed for the party - Deal with the drunk cooks - Serve the guests drinks and food
ACT 4: An Evening to Remember
At some point in the evening things are going to start sliding downhill. Some of the locals will have become extremely inebriated and will need to be encouraged to leave, or just moved off to the side as they’ve already passed out, before the show begins. Once the show begins the locals will become fixated on the goings on. “The Great Dr Hypnotika” will have put an additive in the drinks for the that will make everyone more susceptible to her powers of persuasion. Once the show starts she will have them all doing silly things, those who drank have disadvantage on saves against her powers. She will end the show asking the guests to display their most valuable treasure, a with a hypnotic pattern and then send her assistants out to collect those treasures. The players will have to “do something” about the thieves. Things To do!
- Deal with Drunks - Watch the Show - Stop the Criminals ENCOUNTER: Hypnotika's Gang
This encounter doesn't have to be a fight. If Hypnotika is caught she may claim it was all part of the act and simple return the valuables with a "no harm, no foul" type attitude. This will be he go to in an attempt to avoid a fight, but if the character persist in some kind of retribution or punishment the situation will devolve into a combat. Hypnotica herself is an Illusionist Wizard but is low on spells after the show. Clapper is a low level rogue and Bob a Barbarian, and should play out as such. Even with Skills they are combat adverse and will be looking for an opportunity to flee rather than fight. They do have a getaway wagon out front that they'll be headed for if things go south.
We’re assuming the Bumpkins at least attempted to stop the robbery. This will draw a lot of attention to them. Their Patron will be well pleased with them, and let them know they will be getting much more important jobs in the future. The guests will also take note and will begin treating them all a bit better. They’re all essentially Folk Heroes at this point for secondary backgrounds. Their Patron should reward them with something very nice as the party kicks back in. They will need to finish out the nights work of course.
Congratulations! Your Players have completed their first Quest-line! Hopefully it was a delightful experience. But now that they've finished what comes next? Well, here are some ideas.
*Reward Them! *
They've been doing some rather Adventurous things lately, and therefore should now have a Class Level under their belt, so the real D&D world now opens to them! Maybe it is time for some real adventuring gear. No more sticks, stones, and burlap sack armor. Folk Heroes?
There's a good chance that the Valley is Speaking the News about them and their exploits while drinking in the taverns. They may have even earned the actual Folk Hero Feat! Maybe someone would be interested in giving them a task! Simply Go Exploring!
There are a lot of places in Green Valley that we only dipped our toes into. You could have them head down to Stinkmarsh, or maybe climb up the cliffs of Longridge. The world (Well, the Valley) is wholly open to them. Explore Local Legends
There are lots of local legends they can look into! Hopefully they search out something that isn't too far over their heads! Continue Working for their Patron
It would be an easy DM go to simply to have them continue working for their current Patron. They've probably been impressive enough fo a family to be interested in keeping them on. Establish Themselves as Adventurers!
Maybe they want to set up a Adventurers for Hire business? This "Heroes Guild" approach is really appealing to a lot of players and absolutely plays into Bumpkin Quest. Just remember, this is a place of low key problems that locals make really big deals out of. So the idea of slaying dragons shouldn't really be on the table... that is until an actual dragon shows up! Which one day absolutely should.
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2023.05.30 19:31 Seeyouon_otherside The Isolationists - Chapter 31: A Totally Original Conspiracy
One Month into the FUTURE!™
Memory Transcription Subject: 001, Deathwatch Guard
Edo was livid to say the least. Not because of how poorly the war was going - he seemed to be growing less concerned with that by the day - but because of what was happening here in Unity. People were already growing tired of the war and - more importantly - suspicious of Edo. Edo’s admittedly blatant power grab had been hidden behind the public’s blind rage at the xenos. Although it was far less intense than the anti-predator propaganda the Kolshians and Farsul shoved down their citizens’ throats, the Unity had still been taught that all xenos were untrustworthy at best and out to destroy everyone at worst. Only problem was now, the propaganda’s effects were wearing off as people began to take a closer look at the Council Chamber explosion.
Reporters and conspiracy theorists both put out valid points. How did the Federation find Zeyzell-10? How did they sneak a bomb into the best defended building in the entire Unity? If they used a tiny drone, how did they get it on-world in the first place? I looked down at my holopad to study a tabloid with Edo’s face on it.
OVERSEER EDO. NOBLE LEADER OR FILTHY LIAR?
For now, it was just tabloids. Next it would be credible articles, then mainstream news and talk shows. We needed to get the public back on our side before they realized what we did. Edo stared at the holotable in front of him as he studied his popularity statistics. They’d fallen from nearly 100% right after the bombing to an uncomfortable 70%. Still safe for now, but that number continued to slowly fall by the day.
I looked at the newest complaints Vajo had sent our way. Although the desertion rate had dropped off, ships were still going missing without seemingly any rhyme or reason. I suspected rebellion, but I couldn’t find anything as of yet. I’d sent probes to every system in our territory and, other than a few untraceable subspace trails at Sot Lovin, there was nothing that gave any evidence of an insurgency. They’d covered their tracks well if they actually existed.
Lerza had also eluded capture for the past month meaning that she was either in the Deep Wastes or had left Zeyzell-10 altogether. She should have been one of our top priorities but Edo was too concerned with his own power to care very much. If anything, the only reason he was giving her any thought at all was not because of the threat she posed to security but because she’d embarrassed him with the stunt she pulled at the prison.
I looked at the holomap of Federation space. The Kolshian leader, Chief Nikonus had slipped up horribly recently, revealing all manner of atrocities committed against their own people. Edo had taken extra care to keep that from the public. We didn’t need to give them any excuse to sympathize with the enemy. Beyond that, the Kolshians had obviously been hiding the true extent of their power. And yet, despite their giant fleet, this war was going nowhere. However, unlike Edo, I wasn’t arrogant enough to believe that we were holding them off because of our own military might. If not for the Humans also making gains into Federation territory and drawing some of the xenos’ attention, the Kolshians almost certainly would have pushed the war into Unity space. Even then, the biggest reason we were holding the xenos off was the Weapons Division’s new toys, such as a plasma turret for warships that fired a solid, lightspeed stream of plasma. It could only sustain a shot for a few seconds and had a terrible cool-down time but it was nevertheless a game changer in battle.
I tallied off the important worlds that, for now, were off limits due to the Humans’ intervention: Venlil Prime, Khoa, what was left of the Gojid Cradle, Mileau, Colia, Jild, Leirn, and a few others. Before Protocol-37 we had taken Sillis, Fahl, and Nishtal, all destroyed now. There was one peculiar incident during the glassing of Sillis, when some deranged Arxur Chief Hunter came to swipe the planet from us. The High Captain in charge had just decided to cut her losses and let the crazy reptile have its fun with the insectiods.
That decision turned out to be a mistake, as now the same Chief Hunter was harassing our forces wherever it could. It would have to be dealt with sooner or later. Only problem was, Edo was too concerned with the Kolshians to give the Arxur much thought, although he had begun to draw up crude plans. But perhaps the biggest problem of all were the Humans. The UN had officially condemned our actions and I had little doubt that we, along with the Arxur, would be their next enemy if they won against the Federation.
What made them such a problem was how the public viewed them. The general consensus was that Humans were either just below the Zeyzell or they even matched us in terms of sapience. The primates were popular and cries for us to reunite with them against the Federation had begun to rise again. I was already brainstorming atrocity propaganda to ruin their reputation but I wasn’t sure if people would immediately latch onto it. And to be fair, perhaps entwining tails, or at least just tolorating the Humans would be the better decision than trying to fight them. Our war with the Federation is already severely weakening our military strength, meaning that we could absolutely lose if we immediately turned our sights on the primates when we won.
If we won. The Kolshians were-
“I’ve made a mistake,” Edo said suddenly.
I turned to him.
“Care to elaborate, sir?”
“The public is slowly but surely turning against me. If I lose control of them, I’ll have to divert resources to deal with the problem and then the Kolshians will have a clear shot into Unity space.”
Edo made a good point. The Kolshians likely weren’t expecting such fierce resistance on our part, but this war would become unsustainable if things went to shit on the homefront. For every planet we took, the Kolshians took one from us in turn. With every battle, we lost more ships than we could easily replace. We’d nearly lost a Shield-class last week in fact. Those things took years to build and we certainly didn’t have enough time to replace those.
“We need to find a way to divert the Kolshians’ attention from us,” I said. “We need breathing room.”
“But how? The Humans have made it clear that we are far from their friends, as stupid as that is. I would have expected the things to be glad we’re enacting revenge on the ones who killed millions of their own-”
“Could you get to the point, sir?”
Edo shot me a nasty look before continuing.
“Yes, yes. The Humans won’t help us and the Arxur are absolutely out of the question. Our wartime production is already strained. We need to change things.”
A dangerous idea came to me.
“Perhaps the only way to prevent a revolution is by purposefully prolonging the war.”
Edo stared at me blankly.
“Again,” he said. “but make sense this time.”
“At this point, avoiding a dragged out war is impossible,” I explained. “What we need to do is drag it out on our terms. Not to mention that this will keep the public in line."
Edo tilted his head.
I pulled up a hologram of Pydoria Rusarth. At the moment, it was among the most heavily fortified planets that wasn't a Core World.
"It would certainly be a tragedy if the filthy xenos took advantage of a coincidental fleet movement over Pydoria Rusarth that occurred the same time a clear path was given for them to arrive there. The poor citizens of the colony that fended off the first attack by the Federation, reduced to nothing but ashes and scattered atoms. Fortunately, a massive fleet of reinforcements arrived in time to annihilate the xenos but only after the colony had fallen.”
Edo’s eyes widened throughout my whole speech.
“I-I should have you executed for treason!” he spluttered.
I gave a hollow chuckle.
“Sir, we’re both already traitors. If we do this, we lead the Kolshians into a trap, destroying a good amount of their forces, leaving us at least a little more time to regroup and the public will rally once more behind you. The choice of course, is yours in the end.”
Edo fell silent as he considered my idea. He glanced up after a minute or two.
“Very well. Begin drafting up plans,” he ordered.
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2023.05.30 19:30 Thesorus Italy (Rome/Sicily) Report back from our 2 weeks vacations.
Spend 2 weeks in Italy with 2 short stays in Rome separated by a week in Southern Sicily.
I'm not that good at writing, so ...
We've been to Rome many times before, we have a few places to eat that we like, places to visit that we like and also discover new places; my GF is a little less adventurous than I am and not that in shape (she's working on that), so I tried to set destination goals instead of just getting out in the morning and walk aimlessly.
Our flight in got delayed, missed a connection in Zurich, staff was very good at finding us the first plane to Rome, we just lost a couple of hours, no biggie (thanks SWISS Air).
Seriously busted my budget. (worth it, but not funny... lol )
Driving around Sicily was fun; on our way in to Porto Empedocle, the GPS got us on some small roads, weird, but we saw some really nice areas, fields, hills, flowers. Smaller winding hill roads were more complicated because I'm just not used to them, and even if we sometimes blocked other drivers, they were not that impatient and passed us when they had the chance.
The weather in Rome for the first few day was OK, not cold, but not warm, a little bit of rain, but not enough to us miserable (lol).
Rome (part 1):
- National Museum of Modern Art (on the other side of the Villa Borghese park) : Really cool place to visit, not many people, very nice restaurant (cafè, restaurant and a nice terrasse); there is a small version of the Sfera con Sfera from Arnaldo Pomodorto that you can also find at the Vatican museum garden.
- Botanical Garden: better than last year, roses were all blooming.
- Did the usual Piazza Navona, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps meandering.
Flew to Sicily; this was the discovery part of our trip.
We based ourselves in Porto Empedocle and stayed at a very nice B&B with a pool, but the weather (cool, very windy, rainy-ish) did not permit us to indulged and GF had a nice cold/sore throat and slept 12hours per day. We had a boat tour cancelled (and refunded) because of the bad weather; so did not see the Scala dei Turchi.
- Porto Empedocle: Nice little resort town; did'nt go to the beach (weather), the pedestrian area was nice with a few good restaurants (Vigata in particular and Il Ritrovo), we did not go to the upper side of the town, as the week went on, there were more and more tourists.
- Valley of The Temple: Super Cool, first time for us to see real Ancient Greek Temples, VERY impressive, we booked a guide and it was perfect (except for the super strong winds)
- Favara: Spend some times seeing the Farm Cultural Park, a small artist retreat/exhibition area and went to the Palazzo Miccichè with its inside forest, really fun. Unfortunately the weather was not great and the city seems to be closed down on a Saturday, but we found a nice open restaurant, U MACCICUNI.
- Agrigento: The weather was not good that day, we just bee-lined to the Museo Diocesan (only thing opened on sunday, we did not stay there long enough, rainy and GF was not feeling it, but I need to go back and climb and walk all around.
- Weather was good on Monday and we drove to San Leone and see the beach, spend a couple of hours just sit by the sea.
Drove back to Palermo for 24 hours; I loved the city, I need to go back; we had nice weather (for once)
- We stayed near the Cathedral
- I loved the Mercato del Capo (obviously very touristy), would have eaten everything; we did not have enough time to explore the other markets
- I loved the pedestrian areas, it is a nice respite from the bustling streets everywhere. (even if it's a lot more more commercial), but some nice find (Angela Tripi with her nativity scene workshop)
- I loved what I saw from the small area near the Mercato della Vucciria.
- Fun little Sweets store at the Dolceria di Santa Caterina.
- Mostly clean in the more tourist area, lot of trash everywhere else.
- Cars, cars and more cars ... damn, more cars and cars and scooters ... many piazza that could be nice place are just over-filled with cars (not just palermo, but everywhere in Italy).
Rome (Part 2):
We flew back from Palermo to Rome with stupendous weather, warm, sunny.
- Went back to brave the hordes of tourist (us included) at the Vatican Museum, we spend a lot of time in the Sculpture area and Pinacoteca and the modern arts after the Sistine Chapel. (we rushed as more we could the long corridors)
- Garum Museo della Cucina , nice small discovery, with ancient and recent cooking books on display, kitchen equipment; there was also a small market there at the same time (clothes, jewelry) We also spend some time at the Campagna Amica Market, very nice local products with a small area at the back with food to eat.
- Walk back to our place and stopped at the Galleria Doria-Pamphilj, we found that they have a really nice fancy outside restaurant in the courtyard, one of our best meal of this vacation.
- Antique Market at Ponte Milvio on the GIRO Sunday, we got lucky, walked toward the Vatican and got a taxi just on the other side of the street closures (same when getting back), market seemed smaller than last year (?)
- We enjoyed the GIRO, watched the laps on Vittorio Emanuele II. They GO FAST.
All in all an enjoyable vacations.
We will probably spend more time in Sicily next time, maybe in early October (or even the same time as weather seems unnaturally bad this year).
Maybe on the eastern side (Noto/Ragusa) and some wineries we know near the Etna.
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2023.05.30 19:18 parzi_3 Compared to her other two books, 'The Little Friend' by Donna Tartt is massively overshadowed.
Donna Tartt is undoubtedly one of the most well-renowned and talented writers of this generation. However, all I see is praise for only two of her books, The Goldfinch and The Secret History. I happened to find The Little Friend in Barnes & Noble and give it a go- and honestly, despite popular belief, I thought the book was great.
It's a grim coming-of-age story set in Mississippi revolving around a girl, Harriet, who sets off with her friend to discover who murdered her brother Robin 12 years ago, who's death left a marked impact on their family. Throughout the story, the narrative switches between her and Danny, a notorious man part of a crime and drug dealing family and who she accuses to be Robin's murderer. Out of her three books, in my opinion, The Little Friend best executes the theme of the discovery of evil and loss of innocence.
The gradual shift from a kid detective murder-mystery to a bleak, thriller-like novel was astounding. Donna Tartt almost tests our own prejudices by seeing how like Harriet, we assign the guilt of Robin's murder to Danny simply because it makes sense for him to be Robin's murderer, later revealing that he was only a friend of Robin. In a way, Danny and Robin play as a foil for each other- Robin, who was more likely to have led a promising future with loving family and friends, dies- meanwhile Danny, who was abused by his father and raised in a crime filled family is spared by death. The constant subversion of expectations shows Harriet the real, unpredictable chaos that life actually is. She is forced to wake up out of her childlike adventure fantasies and realize- she is not a Sherlock Holmes where she solves the mystery, and the bad guys receive their respective punishment- but in a world where loss is painfully cruel and real, and when a tumble of depressing events pour down on her as she grows up, she is forced to break out of her naive view of the world.
Overall, The Little Friend was a thrilling read and I believe it deserves to be held in somewhat the same regard as her other books. The murder of Robin which captivates Harriet to set off in an adventure, and the gradual hopelessness of her situation as she grows up, were written beautifully by Donna Tartt and should have better recognition.
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2023.05.30 19:10 SchlesingerMindy323 [HIRING] 25 Jobs in IL Hiring Now!
Hey guys, here are some recent job openings in il. Feel free to comment here or send me a private message if you have any questions, I'm at the community's disposal! If you encounter any problems with any of these job openings please let me know that I will modify the table accordingly. Thanks!
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2023.05.30 19:08 oranjslys Series of fantasy books with a multicolored minimalistic look with approx 200-300 pgs that featured a map on the first page.
I saw a huge section in a Barnes and Noble back around 2019ish dedicated to the series which I would assume means it released around that time. Series was at least 5 books and wasn’t over 15 or anything crazy. Each book had one solid color with each being fashioned with a different small unique symbol. There was also a pretty detailed map on the first two pages of each book. I have no recollection of the story itself but I recall it was set in a really unique fantasy or dystopian world (most likely fantasy). I think that maybe (big maybe here) it had something to do with these different tribes/groups of special people who lived in some of the locations shown on the map, with each book representing a tribe/group. I don’t remember the author and each book was around 200-300 pages. That’s all I can manage to remember, I know it’s very little but on the small chance that anyone has an idea as to what the series is please let me know.
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2023.05.30 19:07 Carbon_Brick Surprised by which Disney CMFs my local LEGO store had sold out. The store sorts them all, so this is based on requested figures, not random. I didn't think Baymax, Miguel, and Stitch would be top 5.
2023.05.30 18:45 Secure-Dragonfly8458 HELP! I booted up my nook hd plus today for it not to be able to download or redownload books
I have updated to 2.2.1 and rebooted multiple times even contacted support nothings helping I am still waiting on a response from barnes and noble support. All I wanted to do is read some books without having to dig out old iPad mini from my closet. Edit : I am still able to connect to the internet and watch YouTube and search chrome yet not able to download or load things that require a internet connection related to barnes and noble!
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2023.05.30 18:45 CBFindlay Tuttle stationary?
2023.05.30 18:32 brideck79 May 31 - RKC Third Coast Preview
Wed, May 31 - vs RKC Third Coast
Stream Link: https://www.youtube.com/@fox9/streams
(Whaddaya need this for? You're going to the game, right?)
RKC Third Coast (0-3-0) is (along with Rochester FC) one of the two true expansion sides in the Heartland division this year, and as you might expect, had some difficulty attracting Division I college talent. Only a handful of players from their nearly 40 announced signings play for schools like Cincinnati, Milwaukee, & Marquette. Instead, more than half of the roster comes from regional D2 & D3 schools, with a heavy focus on players who hail from the Racine/Kenosha area.
RKC's roster is very offensive minded -- about a third of the players who have seen the pitch so far this season play forward for their respective college teams. Five players with minutes for RKC scored 8 or more goals in school last season. (By comparison, Aurora only has Maya Hansen who fits that description.) Their style is correspondingly pretty aggressive. They press to a degree and will try to jump passes in the midfield to try to flip the run of play. The problems, as evidenced by their recent 7-0 defeat at the hands of Chicago City, lie in the back line.
Looking at 2022 collegiate numbers, RKC has less than 5000 total minutes of defensive experience on the roster, and their most experienced defender, Parkside's Ally Francisco (1327 min), hasn't made an appearance yet. (By comparison, Aurora has 4 defenders who logged more minutes than Francisco.) To make matters worse, RKC has been playing a whole host of forwards and midfielders out of position on the back line. Chicago City pressed and then carved them up with simple moves to easily create space and a pile of scoring opportunities. Barring a dramatic shift in lineup or tactics, I would expect Aurora's potent offense to be able to do the same.
Players to Watch:
- 9 Molly O'Regan F/MF
- 10 Haley Johnson MF
- 7 Addison Spilman F/MF
RostePlayer Notes: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1-ogUiDrCnPwOrF27YLlo7c7CWYBjEKAU/view?usp=share_link
Match Details: https://www.modular11.com/match_details/31897/2
Prediction: There is already an alignment and roster listed for RKC in the match details. If there's truth in that, they're moving to 4 players on the back line with two of them (both on the Nguyen side of the field) being actual defenders. I don't think it'll matter. Aurora wins somewhere in the neighborhood of 6-0.
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2023.05.30 18:30 ginomachi How Should We Feel about Barnes and Noble Now?
2023.05.30 18:25 kolorblindartist My band Palette Knife starts tour with Thanks! I Hate It this week!
2023.05.30 18:24 jennibeam How Should We Feel about Barnes and Noble Now?
2023.05.30 18:08 Dangerous-Bag-7327 [HIRING] 21 Jobs in Chicago Hiring Now!
Hey guys, here are some recent job openings in chicago. Feel free to comment here or send me a private message if you have any questions, I'm at the community's disposal! If you encounter any problems with any of these job openings please let me know that I will modify the table accordingly. Thanks!
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to ChicagoJobsForAll [link] [comments]
2023.05.30 17:53 SchrodingersSmilodon (Spoilers Extended) A unified theory of the Others, the Long Night, the Horn of Winter, and Bloodraven, Part 4
This is the third in a series of posts, in which I present a theory on the history of the Others. You can read part one here
, part two here
, and part three here
My previous posts came with a disclaimer, which I'm going to copy-paste below:
In a certain sense, I am both a new and an old fan of ASOIAF. I read the books about ten years ago, enjoyed them, and then barely thought about them ever again after putting them down. Then, HotD got me interested in the series again, and I ended up going down the rabbit hole of fan theories, speculation about future books, details that I missed on my first reading, etc., which has been a lot of fun! But I’ve only read the series once, and it was ten years ago, so a lot of my memories are pretty fuzzy. Honestly, a lot of my knowledge comes from the wiki (although I have gone back and reread certain important chapters). All of this is to say, I am not the most knowledgeable person to be coming up with fan theories, and the fact that I’m posting this at all probably indicates a certain amount of Dunning-Kruger effect. Take everything I say here with a grain of salt, and please let me know if there’s something obvious that my ignorance has caused me to miss.
Other than that, let me know what you think!
But I also need to include another disclaimer: I came up with this theory before I became aware of the idea that Bloodraven wasn't the three-eyed crow, and, as such, this theory assumes that Bloodraven is the three-eyed crow.
To be honest, I'm becoming increasingly sympathetic to the idea that Bloodraven isn't the 3EC, but I'm still undecided. If Bloodraven isn't the 3EC, that will poke a few holes in this theory, but I ultimately think it wouldn't be too
big of a problem. After all, the 3EC led Bran to Bloodraven, so they must share at least some goals. So, I ask that you assume for the purposes of this post that Bloodraven is the 3EC, with the understanding that, if it turns out that Bloodraven isn't the 3EC, this theory will need some minor amending. I've already been thinking about theories on that topic, so, if and when I finish such a theory, I'll post it and discuss how it modifies this theory. But that's getting ahead of ourselves. For now…
Part 4: Bloodraven
Making First Men horny
One of the most powerful pieces of magic we're told of in ASOIAF is the Hammer of the Waters. This is a spell that causes powerful earthquakes, capable of radically reshaping the geography where it's used. The Children of the Forest are said to have used the Hammer of the Waters on at least two occasions: once to flood the Neck, and once to break the Arm of Dorne. I argued in my previous post that the Horn of Winter contains the same magic as the Hammer of the Waters, and that when Joramun blew the Horn of Winter the resulting earthquake destroyed the western section of the Wall and created the Gorge. However, while the Horn of Winter replicates the magic of the Hammer of the Waters, that doesn't mean the Horn of Winter was the original Hammer of the Waters; that is to say, I don't think that the Horn of Winter was used to flood the Neck or break the Arm of Dorne. There are a few reasons why the Horn probably wasn't responsible for these historical events:
- The Horn of Winter is probably the same horn that's currently in Sam's possession (link to a series of posts that analyzes the Horn of Winter and lays out this argument), and that horn is banded in bronze. The CotF didn't work with bronze.
- TWOIAF described how the CotF brought about the Hammer of the Waters, and it had nothing to do with sounding a horn. Supposedly, it was your standard blood sacrifice deal: kill a bunch of people, and in exchange a powerful magical effect will occur. While the Horn of Winter might kill the person who blew it (in the same way Dragonbinder does), we have no reason to believe it requires a mass sacrifice.
- Creating the Gorge, while no mean feat, is much less impressive than breaking the Arm of Dorne or flooding the Neck. The Horn of Winter appears to be a weaker version of the Hammer of the Waters.
So it looks like, compared to the original Hammer of the Waters, the Horn of Winter represents a tradeoff of power for convenience: the resulting earthquake isn't as strong, but you can create an earthquake without performing a massive blood sacrifice. But I want to focus on the fact that the Horn of Winter is banded in bronze. The CotF don't use bronze, but you know who do? The First Men. The Horn of Winter contains the magic of the CotF, but its physical structure could only have been made by the First Men. This suggests that the First Men (or some faction thereof) and the CotF (or some faction thereof) collaborated to create the Horn of Winter.
I suspect that that First Men faction was none other than the Stark Kings of Winter; this would explain why it's called the Horn of Winter in the first place. Regardless of which group of First Men was responsible, however, it's easy to see why they did it: the Horn of Winter is a powerful weapon, and any faction of First Men would have been happy to have such a weapon in their possession. So the interesting question isn't, "Why did the First Men work with the CotF to create the Horn of Winter?" The interesting question is, "Why did the CotF
work with the First Men to create the Horn of Winter?" Why would the CotF give the First Men a weapon capable of destroying the Wall?
Let's take a step back and recall the role that the CotF played in the events leading up to the construction of the Wall. Their lands were invaded by the First Men, and I argued in my first post that they responded by creating the Others as a race of slave soldiers to fight the First Men. After the Pact ended the war between the CotF and the First Men, the CotF kept the Others enslaved and/or hunted down the free ones in the Lands of Always Winter. Then the Long Night came, and I argued in my second post that the Others took advantage of it by attacking the First Men, killing them en masse in order to grow their power, with the ultimate goal of attacking the CotF. Eventually, the CotF participated in the peace agreement that ended the Long Night. But it's worth remembering that the CotF only interceded in the conflict between humans and Others at the urging of the Last Hero:
"Now these were the days before the Andals came, and long before the women fled across the narrow sea from the cities of the Rhoyne, and the hundred kingdoms of those times were the kingdoms of the First Men, who had taken these lands from the children of the forest. Yet here and there in the fastness of the woods the children still lived in their wooden cities and hollow hills, and the faces in the trees kept watch. So as cold and death filled the earth, the last hero determined to seek out the children, in the hopes that their ancient magics could win back what the armies of men had lost." (AGOT, Bran IV)
Prior to the Last Hero, the CotF seem to have been content to sit back and watch the humans and the Others kill each other—which, considering the history of those three species, is understandable. (According to Sam, the CotF did at one point give obsidian daggers to the Night's Watch, so the CotF did get involved in the conflict between the humans and the Others eventually, but this probably didn't happen until after the Last Hero made contact with them. Old Nan says that the Last Hero had to go on a quest of some difficulty to make contact with the CotF; presumably, this wouldn't have been necessary if the CotF were already giving obsidian daggers to the Night's Watch, because then the Last Hero could have just gone to the Night's Watch and gotten in contact with the CotF that way. So, for most if not all of the Long Night, the CotF did not provide humans with obsidian weapons, meaning that they truly were uninvolved in the conflict between the two species.) I argued in my second post that the peace agreement between the First Men and the Others was an essential part of ending the Long Night, and that this was facilitated by the Last Hero/Azor Ahai. The CotF's absence in the conflict between the humans and the Others prior to the Last Hero's involvement suggests that the CotF had no desire to see the humans and the Others make peace. They only facilitated a peace agreement because it was necessary in order to end the Long Night.
The Long Night was an existential threat to the CotF, both because the forests can't survive in an eternal night and because the Others might eventually become powerful enough to threaten the CotF. So the CotF needed to end the Long Night, and ending the Long Night necessitated a peace agreement between humans and Others. It's very easy to imagine that the Last Hero's pitch to the CotF went something like, "Look, I know there's no love lost between you and humanity, and certainly none between you and the Others. But the Long Night isn't going to end unless all three species work together, and the Long Night will
kill you guys, just as it will kill humanity. For your own sake, work with us to end this." Clearly, this argument was persuasive. But, once the Long Night ended, the CotF no longer had any reason to care about peace between the humans and the Others—a peace that only existed thanks to the Wall, which was partially destroyed by the Horn of Winter, which the CotF helped to create. The logical conclusion is that the CotF made the Horn of Winter in order to destroy the Wall and renew the war between the humans and the Others.
The CotF weren't unconcerned observers to the human-Other war; they actively wanted the two species to fight.
You may be wondering, why didn't the CotF just destroy the Wall using the Hammer of the Waters? The problem with doing that is that the Hammer of the Waters is distinctly CotF magic, so destroying the Wall with the Hammer of the Waters would have pointed right back to the CotF. The humans and the Others would have known that the CotF were trying to provoke them back into war, and they would have naturally resisted those efforts. The way around this is to give humans access to the same magic as the Hammer of the Waters. That way, when the humans use that magic near the Wall, it will be the humans who are responsible for destroying the Wall. Helping the First Men create the Horn of Winter was therefore a way for the CotF to end the peace between humanity and the Others, all while maintaining plausible deniability. And it kind of worked; the Horn of Winter did destroy the western part of the Wall. But this didn't result in the human-Other war that the CotF wanted, because, as I argued in my previous post, the Others' queen was taken captive at the same time as the destruction of the Wall, and she's been used as a hostage to keep the peace ever since.
I've argued that the CotF wanted the humans and Others to fight, but I haven't explained why they'd want that. The easy answer is that the CotF have grievances with both the humans and the Others, so they wanted bloodshed between the two. But we shouldn't accept that easy answer too readily. If we're going to understand what the CotF want, we're going to have to get inside their heads. The books tell us about at least one way in which CotF psychology differs from human psychology:
"That was in the dawn of days, when our sun was rising. Now it sinks, and this is our long dwindling. The giants are almost gone as well, they who were our bane and our brothers. The great lions of the western hills have been slain, the unicorns are all but gone, the mammoths down to a few hundred. The direwolves will outlast us all, but their time will come as well. In the world that men have made, there is no room for them, or us."
She seemed sad when she said it, and that made Bran sad as well. It was only later that he thought, Men would not be sad. Men would be wroth. Men would hate and swear a bloody vengeance. The singers sing sad songs, where men would fight and kill. (ADWD, Bran III)
So we're told that vengeance and spite aren't really a thing for the CotF, or at least not in the way that they are for humans. I've heard some people suggest that Leaf might be lying here, and that the CotF actually do want vengeance, but I don't think so, for a couple of reasons. First, and this is purely personal preference, I think it's a lot more interesting if the CotF don't think in the same way that humans do. If you're going to have multiple sentient species in your story, and they all think and behave in the same way, then it kind of defeats the purpose of having multiple species in the first place, doesn't it? If the CotF think and act just like humans do, I would personally find that boring. Secondly, and more importantly, we know that the CotF employ at least one human, Bloodraven, as a greenseer. This is a position of importance and confidence in CotF society, and it gives Bloodraven access to immense information. If the CotF were really planning on taking vengeance on humanity, then it's unlikely that they would be able to hide that information from Bloodraven (and any other human greenseers the CotF had; we don't know if Bloodraven was the only one), and it's unlikely that Bloodraven would help the CotF destroy or harm his own species. So the fact that the CotF rely on Bloodraven (and possibly other human greenseers in the past) suggests that the CotF genuinely don't wish any ill will on humanity, just as Leaf said. And if the CotF don't wish any ill will on humanity today, then they also probably didn't wish any ill will on humanity at the time they made the Horn of Winter—that was back when humans still held to the Pact, so the CotF would have had fewer grievances back then than they do today. So, if the CotF wanted to cause a war between the humans and the Others, and their goal wasn't to cause any long-term harm to humanity as a species, then their intent must have been to harm, weaken, or exterminate the Others. The CotF wanted the humans and the Others to go back to war, and they wanted humans to win.
This explains why the CotF used to gift obsidian daggers to the Night's Watch.
This raises the question, if the CotF wanted humans to defeat the Others, why didn't they help the humans during the Long Night (at least, prior to the Last Hero's involvement)? Well, once again, we need to consider the psychology of the CotF. We know the CotF are willing to fight incredibly bloody wars, as they did against the First Men, but we also know that they won't keep fighting in a hopeless circumstance simply to spite their enemy, in the way that humans will. In situations where they are faced with assured destruction, they react with sad acceptance, not defiance. The fact that the CotF didn't initially participate in the war against the Others during the Long Night indicates that they must have viewed that war as hopeless. The Others were sweeping south, massacring humans, converting their boys into more Others and raising the rest as wights, constantly growing stronger; the CotF must have concluded that there was nothing they could do, no way to survive the Long Night. They didn't just roll over and die, but they weren't about to fight the Others when they had no chance of success. The CotF most likely hid, guarding themselves with magic, waiting to die a slow death—just like they're doing today.
Fortunately for the CotF, the Long Night did not end in their extinction. As I argued in my second post, Azor Ahai negotiated a peace treaty that ended the Long Night. But, as part of that peace treaty, the Others received a queen, the first female member of their species (whom I've been referring to as the Night's Queen). This allowed the Others to reproduce sexually, as opposed to their earlier method of kidnapping human children, and as a result the Others' population would have begun increasing dramatically following the Long Night. So, on the one hand, the Others were no longer benefitting from the Long Night, meaning they were more vulnerable than they had been prior to the peace treaty. But, at the same time, the Others were growing more powerful, as their population rose. For the first time since the Long Night began, the CotF could now hope for victory in a war with them and the humans on one side and the Others on the other side, but they had a very narrow window in which to act, before the Others became too powerful.
That's why they only began making moves against the Others after the Long Night; during the Long Night the Others were too strong to be realistically opposed, and before the Long Night the Others weren't seen as a significant threat. Once the Long Night ended, however, the CotF got to work, by helping to make the Horn of Winter and by providing the Night's Watch with obsidian.
The above description probably makes it seem like the CotF were motivated to provoke a new war against the Others out of self-preservation, and there may well be some truth in that. The Others, with their new queen, were a rising power, and they still probably harbored a vendetta against the CotF. If the new war against the Others resulted in the Others' extinction, that would obviously guarantee the CotF's safety from them; if the war resulted in the Night's Queen being killed or captured (which I argued is what happened), that would remove the Others' status as a rising power. So, if the CotF were acting out of self-preservation, their plan seems to have been both well motivated and reasonably successful.
But, while the CotF might have successfully averted the risk posed by the Others, they failed to do the same with the humans. Leaf, and presumably the other CotF, fully recognize that humanity's expansion is going to drive them extinct. This has massive implications for the CotF's goals and motivations. The fact that the CotF are aware of and resigned to their inevitable extinction means that self-preservation is no longer a concern for them.
They might have been motivated by self-preservation following the end of the Long Night, but not anymore. Whatever the CotF are doing nowadays, they're doing it because there's something they want to accomplish before they vanish as a species. And I do think that the CotF are trying to accomplish something, partly because characters that don't want anything are boring, and partly because Bloodraven is clearly up to something, and the CotF are supporting him. So, if they're not motivated by self-preservation, what are
the CotF trying to do?
A common idea I've heard is that Bloodraven and the CotF want to prevent the Others from destroying the world in a second Long Night. I think there's an element of truth to this (especially considering the lengths the CotF have already gone to to oppose the Others), but I don't think it's the whole story. Consider this: if the CotF want to prevent the Others from conquering Westeros, but they're not motivated by self-preservation, then they must be motivated by some combination of altruism and guilt. They created the Others, then the Others got out of hand, to the point where they threatened all of Westeros, and now the CotF feel responsible for making sure they don't do that again. That's reasonable, even noble, but it can't be limited to merely defeating the Others in this latest confrontation. If all that comes of this current conflict with the Others is that the Others are prevented from conquering Westeros, then who's to say that the Others won't try to conquer Westeros a third time in another 8,000 years? And by the time that happens, the CotF will be extinct, so they won't be around to help with that conflict. Simply defeating the Others and thwarting their plans would be a temporary solution to a permanent problem, and, with the CotF facing their own extinction, they would see now as a time for permanent solutions. And when the problem in question is the existence of the Others, there can be only one solution: The CotF want to wipe out the Others completely.
I suspect they wanted this ever since the Long Night; they probably see it as cleaning up after their mess. Now, with their extinction looming, that plan to genocide the Others has been made a priority.
I know that my logic has involved jumping around in time a lot, so, as a summary, let me present this handy timeline of the CotF's thoughts on the Others:
- During the war between the CotF and the First Men: "We need the Others to win this war."
- After the Pact was forged: Either "We may not be at war anymore, but we need to keep the Others as our slave soldiers, just in case the humans break the Pact," or "We don't need the Others anymore now that we have the Pact. I'm sure the handful of free Others in the Lands of Always Winter won't be a problem."
- During the Long Night: "The Others are going to drive both us and the First Men to extinction, but there's nothing we can do about it. This sucks."
- After the Long Night: "The Others are vulnerable, but they won't be for long. They're a danger to both us and the humans, and they're our fault. We need to act fast to destroy them, while we still can. That means we need to get the humans and the Others to start fighting again, and then we can help the humans win that war."
- After the Night's Queen was taken prisoner: "This isn't ideal, but the Others are no longer a rising power without their queen, so we can leave well enough alone."
- After it became clear that the CotF were going extinct: "The Others are unable to act against the humans for now, but there's no guarantee that that will last, and we won't be around to oppose the Others forever. We need to genocide the Others, while we're still around to do so."
I want to comment on an interesting theme here. You may notice a certain paternalism in the CotF's attitudes toward humans. This has already demonstrated in the books:
"Two hundred years?" said Meera.
The child smiled. “Men, they are the children.” (ADWD, Bran II)
It has often been observed that the Others, as an existential threat that can only be dealt with if humanity puts away its petty political squabbles, serve as a metaphor for climate change. In this metaphor, the CotF are the older generations that caused climate change in the first place and now are dying off for unrelated reasons. The CotF's behavior can then be seen as an aspirational model for how older generations should behave with regards climate change. Rather than saying, "Fuck it, I'll be dead, so it's not my problem," they ought to say, "I'm partly responsible for this, so I need to fix it, and the fact that I won't be around that much longer only means I need to work harder to fix it while I still can." Sadly, the CotF only behave the way they do because of their inhuman psychology, which points to the fact that it was never realistic to hope that older generations would behave this way in real life. I doubt this theme is intentional; Martin seems to have originally not seen the Others as a climate change metaphor
, although he's since come around to the idea. Still, I think it's a neat connection.
It was Bloodraven all along
If the CotF really want to wipe out the Others, then the current situation at Winterfell must seem perfect for them. I argued in my last post that the events of the series have left Winterfell vulnerable, and the Others are now planning a rescue mission to extract their queen from the Winterfell crypts. With their queen no longer held captive, there will be nothing preventing war between humans and Others (and, after the humans kept the Night's Queen imprisoned for thousands of years, the Others will definitely have cause for war), and this war will happen while the CotF are still around to support the humans. Better still, humanity has dragons again, which will surely be useful against the Others. Everything seems to be going swimmingly for the CotF's plan to provoke a war of extermination against the Others, which raises an obvious question: did the CotF cause the current situation?
To grossly oversimplify a complex series of events, Winterfell's vulnerability can be traced back to two events:
- Ned going to King's Landing, and subsequently getting beheaded. This caused all of the Starks except for Bran and Rickon to leave Winterfell, and it caused the Northern army to march south, leaving Winterfell vulnerable to…
- Theon capturing Winterfell, and subsequently losing it to Ramsay. This physically damaged Winterfell, it caused Bran and Rickon to leave, and it meant that Winterfell was now under Bolton control, which put it at the center of both Stannis's war and the various Northern intrigues.
As it happens, there's evidence that Bloodraven played a part in both of these events. First, Bloodraven was probably responsible for sending the direwolves to the Stark children (link
to a series of posts by JoeMagician
that lays out this argument, among other claims), and these direwolves shaped the events that led to Ned's beheading. Summer killed Bran's assassin before he could murder Bran, but also before he could be interrogated by the Starks; as a result, Catelyn acquired the Valyrian steel dagger, but she didn't know who sent the assassin. Littlefinger took advantage of this to manipulate the Starks. Meanwhile, the Nymeria/Lady incident deepened tensions between the Starks and the Lannisters. I'm not saying that the direwolves exist solely
for the purpose of getting Ned's beheaded, but they did contribute to his beheading, by providing Littlefinger with a means of manipulating the Starks and by further souring relations between Ned and Cersei.
More significantly, Bloodraven removed Bran's memory of Jaime pushing him from the tower:
Bran was staring at his arms, his legs. He was so skinny, just skin stretched taut over bones. Had he always been so thin? He tried to remember. A face swam up at him out of the grey mist, shining with light, golden. "The things I do for love," it said.
The crow took to the air, cawing. Not that, it shrieked at him. Forget that, you do not need it now, put it aside, put it away. It landed on Bran’s shoulder, and pecked at him, and the shining golden face was gone. (AGOT, Bran III)
If Bran had kept that memory, then he presumably would have woken up and told someone, "Jaime Lannister pushed me out of the tower, after I saw him wrestling naked with Queen Cersei." How exactly this would have changed the events of the book is a matter of fanfic, but, with eye-witness evidence of Jaime and Cersei committing incest and attempted murder, it's very easy to see things going poorly for the Lannisters. Even Cersei recognized how difficult of a situation that would have been to navigate:
If truth be told, Jaime had come to rue heaving Brandon Stark out that window. Cersei had given him no end of grief afterward, when the boy refused to die. "He was seven, Jaime," she’d berated him. "Even if he understood what he saw, we should have been able to frighten him into silence."
"I didn’t think you’d want—"
"You never think. If the boy should wake and tell his father what he saw—"
"If if if." He had pulled her into his lap. “If he wakes we’ll say he was dreaming, we’ll call him a liar, and should worse come to worst I’ll kill Ned Stark."
"And then what do you imagine Robert will do?" (ASOS, Jaime I)
Had Bran kept his memory of Jaime pushing him out of the window, then it likely would have been Cersei and Jaime's downfall, and that means Ned wouldn't have lost his head.
Later, when Theon takes Winterfell, he wakes up suddenly in the middle of the night, and he gets the feeling that someone
was responsible for waking him:
One moment he was asleep; the next, awake.
Kyra nestled against him, one arm draped lightly over his, her breasts brushing his back. He could hear her breathing, soft and steady. The sheet was tangled about them. It was the black of night. The bedchamber was dark and still.
What is it? Did I hear something? Someone?
Wind sighed faintly against the shutters. Somewhere, far off, he heard the yowl of a cat in heat. Nothing else. Sleep, Greyjoy, he told himself. The castle is quiet, and you have guards posted. At your door, at the gates, on the armory.
He might have put it down to a bad dream, but he did not remember dreaming. (ACOK, Theon IV)
This was the chapter where Bran and company "escape," and Theon's primary emotions throughout the chapter are anxiety and desperation. Those feelings build over the course of the day, as Theon tries and fails to find Bran and Rickon, eventually consuming him to the point where he does something stupid.
"Joseth has the right of it," said Maester Luwin. "Groping through the woods by torchlight will avail us nothing."
Theon could taste bile at the back of his throat, and his stomach was a nest of snakes twining and snapping at each other. If he crept back to Winterfell empty-handed, he might as well dress in motley henceforth and wear a pointed hat; the whole north would know him for a fool. And when my father hears, and Asha …
"M’lord prince." Reek urged his horse near. (ACOK, Theon IV)
Theon woke up in the middle of the night with a sense that something was off, and then he had plenty of time to stew in his anxiety. Were it not for that, he might not have descended to the point where killing the miller's boys seemed like a good idea. Therefore, the hint that someone was responsible for waking him up is interesting; maybe Bloodraven used his psychic tree powers to wake Theon? The passage mentions the "sigh" of wind—a notably anthropomorphic phrasing—and we know that, when Bran tried to communicate with Ned in the past, it sounded like wind to him; maybe Bloodraven can do something similar, sans time travel? There's nothing explicitly pointing to Bloodraven, but there is evidence that he's messing with Theon's emotions in his next chapter:
The sky was a gloom of cloud, the woods dead and frozen. Roots grabbed at Theon’s feet as he ran, and bare branches lashed his face, leaving thin stripes of blood across his cheeks. He crashed through heedless, breathless, icicles flying to pieces before him. Mercy, he sobbed. From behind came a shuddering howl that curdled his blood. Mercy, mercy. When he glanced back over his shoulder he saw them coming, great wolves the size of horses with the heads of small children. Oh, mercy, mercy. Blood dripped from their mouths black as pitch, burning holes in the snow where it fell. Every stride brought them closer. Theon tried to run faster, but his legs would not obey. The trees all had faces, and they were laughing at him, laughing, and the howl came again. He could smell the hot breath of the beasts behind him, a stink of brimstone and corruption. They’re dead, dead, I saw them killed, he tried to shout, I saw their heads dipped in tar, but when he opened his mouth only a moan emerged, and then something touched him and he whirled, shouting … (ACOK, Theon V)
Theon feels guilty for faking Bran and Rickon's death, and he's afraid for his future; that guilt and fear would have existed in him no matter what, but these dreams amplify those feelings, and the presence of weirwood trees suggests that Bloodraven is actively sending them to Theon. After all, none of Theon's experiences have involved a weirwood in any significant capacity, so this wasn't a native element of his dream, and Bran often has dreams about a weirwood that are implied to be sent by Bloodraven. Theon's fear and his attempts to rationalize his guilt drive him to cling desperately to his power and authority:
"Your prize will be the doom of you. Krakens rise from the sea, Theon, or did you forget that during your years among the wolves? Our strength is in our longships. My wooden pisspot sits close enough to the sea for supplies and fresh men to reach me whenever they are needful. But Winterfell is hundreds of leagues inland, ringed by woods, hills, and hostile holdfasts and castles. And every man in a thousand leagues is your enemy now, make no mistake. You made certain of that when you mounted those heads on your gatehouse." Asha shook her head. "How could you be such a bloody fool? Children …"
"They defied me!" he shouted in her face. "And it was blood for blood besides, two sons of Eddard Stark to pay for Rodrik and Maron." The words tumbled out heedlessly, but Theon knew at once that his father would approve. "I’ve laid my brothers’ ghosts to rest." (ACOK, Theon V)
All of this causes Theon to reject Asha's offer to leave Winterfell for Deepwood Motte, which results in Ramsay sacking Winterfell. So, to summarize, Bloodraven provided the Lannisters with advantages so that they would triumph in their intrigues against Ned, and he psychologically manipulated Theon so that he would lose Winterfell to Ramsay. Bloodraven has actively worked to create the circumstances that have left Winterfell vulnerable, so that the Others will be able to rescue their queen and begin a new war against the humans.
I don't want to fall into the trap of claiming that Bloodraven was responsible for everything; I think that most events in the story happened without his direct interference. But, thanks to his greensight giving him glimpses of the future, Bloodraven has found a few places where just a small nudge can result in things going the way he wants them to.
Of course, putting Winterfell in a vulnerable position only matters if the Others know about that vulnerability. Bloodraven must have some communication with the Others.
I'm not sure what this communication looks like; if the Others can dream, then it might just mean sending them green dreams prophesying Winterfell's coming vulnerability. Alternatively, Bloodraven might be communicating with them directly by skinchanging into a raven. Maybe he's posing as a human traitor, willing to sell out the humans and the CotF, a kind of second Night's King? This is definitely the biggest missing piece in my theory, but I don't think it's too outlandish to posit Bloodraven has some
means of getting information to the Others, and that he's thereby clued the Others in on Winterfell's coming vulnerability.
A politically useful apocalypse
I've talked a lot about the CotF's motivations, but not at all about Bloodraven's, so let's do that now. I'd recommend you read this
excellent series of posts on Bloodraven, which I'll be drawing from heavily. Prior to becoming the Last Greenseer, Bloodraven was primarily occupied with the Blackfyres. He played a crucial role in ending the First Blackfyre Rebellion, including but not limited to killing Daemon Blackfyre and his eldest two sons, and since then he went to every effort to foil future Blackfyre attempts to claim the Iron Throne. Some people have speculated that Bloodraven did so out of duty and a desire to keep the realm stable, but this doesn't hold up. Following Maekar I's death, a Great Council was held to determine the succession, and Bloodraven invited and then immediately killed Aenys Blackfyre. Bloodraven later claimed that this was for the good of the realm, but… how? If the Great Council had selected Aenys as the next king, the crown would have passed to him just as peacefully and rightfully as it ended up passing to Aegon V. If Bloodraven was truly motivated by duty and a desire for peace, he would have had no reason to kill Aenys. The only explanation for Bloodraven's actions is that he genuinely did not want a Blackfyre to take the throne, no matter the circumstances surrounding their accession. In fact, his anti-Blackfyre obsession was so intense that he ignored the devastation caused by Dagon Greyjoy, because addressing it would leave the throne vulnerable to the Blackfyres:
"Myself, I blame Bloodraven," Ser Kyle went on. "He is the King's Hand, yet he does nothing, whilst the krakens spread flame and terror up and down the sunset sea."
Ser Maynard gave a shrug. "His eye is fixed on Tyrosh, where Bittersteel sits in exile, plotting with the sons of Daemon Blackfyre. So he keeps the king's ships close at hand, lest they attempt to cross." (The Mystery Knight)
It's important to note that Maynard Plumm was probably a glamored Bloodraven, so this isn't mere speculation; this is Bloodraven telling us his motivation. By all accounts, Bloodraven's tenure as Hand was an awful time for Westeros, where law and order broke down and few people respected the king. The point is, Bloodraven was not a noble man fighting against a beloved brother because it was the right thing to do. Bloodraven was a Targaryen uber-loyalist, who would gladly see the realm burn, so long as a Targaryen remained on the throne.
And he appears to have retained that loyalty, decades later. Bloodraven is likely in control of Mormont's raven (see the series of posts I linked earlier), and in raven form Bloodraven hints fairly clearly about wanting Jon to be king:
"Aemon knew, and rightly, that if he remained at court those who disliked his brother’s rule would seek to use him, so he came to the Wall. And here he has remained, while his brother and his brother’s son and his son each reigned and died in turn, until Jaime Lannister put an end to the line of the Dragonkings."
"King," croaked the raven. The bird appeared across the solar to land on Mormont’s shoulder. "King," it said again, strutting back and forth. (ACOK, Jon I)
Something similar happens in ADWD, but what's interesting about this instance of the raven calling Jon king is that it happens immediately after Mormont claims that the Targaryen line has ended. This suggests that this is more than just a prophetic statement of fact; this is a profession of loyalty. Jon is the rightful Targaryen king, and he has Bloodraven's support.
Given his undying Targaryen loyalty, Bloodraven must be psyched about the coming war between the humans and the Others. Daenerys is coming with three dragons, which will be humanity's best hope for defeating the Others; Westeros will naturally rally behind Daenerys, solidifying her rule. Moreover, dragons will be seen as the saviors of Westeros, rather than as dangerous weapons. If Marwyn was right that the maesters killed the dragons, then this would prevent a similar conspiracy from arising and driving the dragons back into extinction, since the dragons would now be seen as necessary for Westeros's security against the forces of evil. So while Bloodraven wants to provoke a war between humans and Others, just like the CotF do, he wants this for a different reason than they do; Bloodraven wants to use the Others to bring about a lasting Targaryen restoration.
Continued in comments
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2023.05.30 17:50 Altruistic-Horror-55 some new purchase
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2023.05.30 17:26 Horror-Resist3035 Roof cross bars for 2019 Chicago Burbs
Cleaning out the garage and found my cross bars from my old Tahoe. Anyone near the western burbs of Chicago that needs a pair? I'll give them to whoever wants to pick them up.
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2023.05.30 17:18 KamchatkasRevenge Out of Cruel Space Side Story: Of Dog, Volpir, and Man - Ch 220
A solid half hour of hugs, kisses, handshakes, back slaps, well wishes, greetings from new inlaws and long time customers of the shop alike, and the occasional cheek pinch by one of his new auntie in laws for good measure ensued.
Finally the ebbing of the great tide of very happy people sees the Sarkin clan installed in one of the large booths that dominate the corners and walls of the room.
Set up with a two piece table with the centerpiece able to spin to allow people to share dishes easier, and to allow waitresses to gently send food to customers in the corner without any form of issue around a circular table. Miu'Kin's mother, Kamei'Kin, had pulled out all the stops and laid out a veritable feast in front of the new members of her family, clearly eager to celebrate her youngest daughter's success by the preferred method of the Kin clan... food.
Dino ribs that would do Fred Flintstone proud, delectable looking steaks of some local critter that were just right in terms of being juicy and lean. Cuts of rich white and red fish fresh off the grill or served raw. Fresh steamed crustaceans and shellfish. Whole game birds of sizes ranging from 'chicken' up to a glossy fried bird with beautiful crispy skin that resembled and tasted like pure dark meat turkey but was around the size of an ostrich.
That last one was something that Tyler had immediately texted Jerry about as soon as he had his first bite. Not just because it was a good opportunity for his boss and friend's business... but also because he wanted to be able to butter fry one of these monsters and eat it himself whenever he pleased too!
With all that meat in front of them it was easy to miss the various sides. Mostly small types of rough vegetables, the turtle rice or a few other little things that packed a serious punch flavor wise by Galactic standards, or served as a form of cleanser, like ginger almost. All served with ample Apuk style sauces ranging from something not too far off from BBQ sauce to more of the berry jam that had been in the pastry they'd enjoyed earlier at Caring Conquests. The main flavoring on offer was of course one of the Apuk's favorite animal based foodstuffs... butter.
Apuk used enough butter to make Paula Dean an honorary noble, if not a saint in one of the Apuk's native religions. They cooked in it, put it on food in various formats ranging from butter based sauces to slightly less complicated offerings. For example, lightly herbed butter was a favorite for many Apuk to put on meat. The herb and butter mixture was considered strong stuff by the Apuk and was just flavorful enough that a human could enjoy it without needing to supplement any further flavor... except maybe a pinch of salt like most galactic cuisine.
Cassie, normally so prim and proper was apparently hungry enough that she'd gone slightly feral, and was forcing herself to not automatically hood her wings over her food like a great bird of prey as she tore at one of the dinosaur ribs, proclaiming it to be absolutely delicious before cracking the bone and eating the marrow and moving on to the next rib in the rack.
For Tyler's part while the sheer volume of meat was awe inspiring, he felt himself craving a decent amount of vegetables, or at least a bowl of plain white rice to cut all the richness with as the meal went on. In fact the more he thought about that, the more appealing layering some of this mountain of carnivorous delights onto a bowl of freshly steamed white rice became.
The sheer mix of delectable flavors that would soak into the rice as he worked his way through the meat alone seemed designed to tantalize his taste buds. Thankfully the Apuk grain the troops on the Tear generally called Turtle rice was a somewhat close enough substitute. It got the job done any way, even if it lacked the delicate flavor of true white rice.
Miu'Kin, for her part, was having a grand time despite her initial familial misgivings. She was seated to Tyler's right, teaching her new husband about Apuk family style cuisine both for her family specifically and for the capital region.
There were commonalities compared to Nara's home province, and as the capital you could generally get anything from anywhere on the planet if you wanted it, but the Kin mainstay was Northern cuisine which tended towards more intense flavors.
The North also had a unique dish in a strong broth that was served cool, and either drunk as a beverage or a very strong tea, or eaten with noodles in a style that strongly reminded Tyler of soba. It was considered essential for cooling off when you were out working near an active volcano in the specific parts of the North the Kins hailed from.
There was of course hot noodle dishes too, Apuk spicy noodles was a dish that had eagerly been adopted by humans aboard the Tear after Jerry had learned about them on a date with Masha, though Nara pointed out that the way it was served on the Tear was distinctly non-traditional to a horrified Kamei'Kin.
"Well that just won't do at all! I'll be sure to send a cookbook along with you when you head back up to orbit. I know you humans can take a lot but there's no reason to not get it right. Besides, if I manage to open up a dialogue with this Chief Noitaka of yours, I bet I can get some tips on doing things in a more human style. This dashi stock you talked about sounds very similar to some concepts in Apuk cuisine already and I just bet I could replicate it... without the massive amount of sodium chloride and other poisons you seem to ingest. An Apuk grade human hot sauce also seems like it has a lot of potential too! Oh this will be all sorts of fun! Especially if I can actually get my hands on some human style meat."
Tyler nods, smiling at his newest mother in law. "I don't see why not ma'am-"
Kamei'Kin holds up a hand. "Hold it right there. I love that you're so polite, sweet ember but really I can't have my son in law, or any of my daughters in law calling me ma'am! You just call me Kamei'Kin or "Momma" like my little flame over here."
Miu'Kin wilts slightly, clearly wishing her species still had a shell so she could hide in it for a moment, only to brighten up a touch when Tyler gives her thigh a reassuring squeeze under the table. He could appreciate how it could feel having a parent who was such a... bombastic personality to say the least.
Kamei'Kin settles back in the booth a bit. "So, let's get down to the brass tacks I suppose, how long till you leave? I always figured Miu would leave Serbow at some point but goddess's shell it does seem like it's come up faster than I'd expected."
Tyler shrugs. "Well we don't rightly know, we were making port call for at least two weeks, and we're a literal day into the first week practically speaking, but now the Skipper's marrying an Imperial Princess so gods only know how long that's gonna take to shake out completely. There's some sort of business the Skipper needs to attend to in Nodawk city in the Tier barony too, so that'll eat some time up, I mean the list goes on. I'm sure the Captain and the diplomats will find plenty for us to do to make the stop over worth the time. Can't just have everyone on liberty the whole time after all. Though from what we just saw at Caring Conquests one of the major activities will be moving the personal effects of new Apuk spouses up to the Tier from Serbow."
Kamei'Kin slaps her knee and lets out a bark of laughter. "Don't I believe it too! Hah! Goodness it's been awhile since we found a species that had menfolk who were downright eager for Apuk brides. Normally ladies like us and the Cannidor can have a hard time reeling in mates from the more delicate species. Dating only Apex species limits the dating pool quite a bit, to the point that you may as well marry into your own species. Apuk in general tend to stick to our own space and prefer our own culture... similar again to the Cannidor. So we end up marrying within our own species more often than not."
Tyler nods. "Then along comes my species, and the biggest debate in the barracks among our Marines and sailors is if Apuk or Cannidor make for the best possible bride for a human. With strong camps arguing for the Horchka and Seramali, but that's a demographic bias as much as anything. We have a lot of men happily married to Seramali and Horchka gals, myself included. Undaunted wide, the Apuk and Cannidor have very strong fan clubs among humans."
"Considering you've got two Apuk brides, two Seramali and this beauty of a Rabbis to my left I think I can guess where you fall in that debate."
"Heh. Guilty as charged. Cannidor can be a bit... much for me. I enjoyed meeting the Crimsonhewers at our last port call, and I've met some of their girls who have shipped aboard the Tear now, but honestly, even married and allegedly a bit calmer they're just... a lot. Apuk have big personalities but tend to compensate by being proper ladies too. That said I've met a lot of wonderful alien women from all sorts of species now and while I understand the debate as just something stupid to kill time, I don't think there's a definitive species that produces the best wives for humanity as a whole. It's a silly concept inherently. I'm sure there's a guy out there who's got a perfect match in just about any species. Hell one of my buddies has built himself a family of primarily Arachne women... and frankly, while his wives are lovely for the most part, they creep me the fuck out to the point that I have trouble being in the same room as them. I've never been a big fan of spiders."
The Apuk matriarch considers that for a moment and nods. "Hmmm, fair enough, there's always going to be one species or another that someone just can't process or understand for whatever reason. I don't understand the Slohb at all. Or the type of man who'd seek out a Vulba or Charbis hive as his family. Or other peoples with what we might consider more extreme lifestyles... and I know the Apuk's lifestyle, especially here on Serbow where things are still a bit more... traditional, than the colonies, you could say, is considered extreme in it's own way.”
"Kidnapping as a method of courtship can certainly leave that impression on people." Cassie notes primly, gently dabbing her mouth with a linen napkin to clean off any errant sauce or meat.
"Oh psh." Kamei'Kin waves Cassie off a bit with a laugh. "It's not that common!" She stops and considers for a second. "Well. It is more socially accepted, so fair enough. Ah you lot are fun though! I'm glad Miu'Kin got settled into such a wonderful family. Make sure you folks stop by on the regular while you're still on Serbow alright? Food's on me!"
The Sarkins exchange some looks and Tyler turns to face his new mother in law more directly.
"With food like this on offer, you can consider that a promise Kamei'Kin. I'll see about sending some of the boys your way too. Humans appreciate a good meal and I do try to help family out where I can."
"Well hell, always happy to have new customers! I'll make sure anyone from that ship gets treated proper. It's just not right to let visitors to Serbow escape without a little Apuk home style hospitality in their lives!"
Cassie rips a chunk off another rib. "On that, I think we can all certainly agree!" First Last
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2023.05.30 16:58 Grundlemiah Lund is creaming his jeans for this one.
2023.05.30 16:49 Then-Dinner-6466 Why is this so difficult
I'm a 40 yo guy in the Chicago area, I date all over the place race wise. For me I could care less about skin tone. Asian, Black and Hispanic women seem interested but it feels more like I'm an experiment for them. Why is it so hard here near this city. I have tried all of them dating sites, done the bar stuff. Even blind dates. I always get "I have never dated a white guy" and it makes me feel like a lab rat. Any real place to find a meaningful relationship near Chicago?!
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