d&d items: the circlet of minor mind expansion

Rare (requires attunement)

Description: A pewter circlet with with a small quartz gem inset in the center. The circlet seems to hum with a soft energy when you are close to it.

Unattuned: When worn without attunement, the circlet grants a +1 to the wearer’s Intelligence score.

Attuned: While wearing the circlet and meditating for a short rest, in addition to the +1 to Intelligence, the circlet expands the wearer’s mind, opening up new psychic pathways and unlocking powers hidden deep within themselves. However, this power is unstable to those who are not trained in psionics, and can backfire if used too often.

You gain the psionic talent Mind Meld, and can use it a number of times equal to your Intelligence modifier (minimum of 1). In addition, you gain a portion of the psychic discipline Psychic Phantoms, including the Psychic Focus from that discipline, and the power Distracting Figment, which you can cast safely once per day, and as though you have 1 psi point. If you have at least one level in a psionics class (which currently is just the Mystic), you can use these as listed in the class description, without limitation.

If you are not trained in psionics, you can attempt to use Distracting Figment beyond once per day, or expend up to 3 psi points, but doing so can do bad things to your brain pan. Use of it in this way grants advantage on the target’s saving throw, and a roll of 19-20 will result in the power backfiring, dealing 2d8 psychic damage to the wielder, and rendering the circlet inert for one week.

VERY IMPORTANT: You must use another short rest to meditate to disengage yourself from the psychic power of the circlet. Not doing so can also do bad stuff to your brain pan.

PSIONIC STATS
(These are from the Unearthed Arcana Mystic class.)

Mind Meld
Psionic Talent

As a bonus action, you can communicate telepathically with one willing creature you can see within 120 feet of you. The target must have an Intelligence of at least 2, otherwise this talent fails and the action is wasted.

This communication can occur until the end of the current turn. You don’t need to share a language with the target for it to understand your telepathic utterances, and it understands you even if it lacks a language. You also gain access to one memory of the target’s choice, gaining perfect recall of one thing it saw or did.

Psychic Phantoms
Awakened Discipline

Your power reaches into a creature’s mind and causes it false perceptions.

Psychic Focus. While focused on this discipline, you have advantage on Charisma (Deception) checks. [Note: by being attuned to the circlet, you are focused.]
Distracting Figment. As an action, choose one creature you can see within 60 feet of you. The target must make an Intelligence saving throw. On a failed save, it takes 1d10 psychic damage per psi point spent and thinks it perceives a threatening creature just out of sight; until the end of your next turn, it can’t use reactions, and melee attack rolls against it have advantage. On a successful save, it takes half as much damage.

latent nascent thoughts

the weekends have become the shell that i crawl into. showering is the hardest part. no one will smell me so who cares? i lick the front of my top teeth and debate whether i should brush. who cares? no one is here, no one will mourn my teeth. should i put the dishes in the dishwasher? who cares. the trash? only i see it. i sleep 12 hours and long for more. these are the weekends.

fortunately the weekdays need me to be awake and alert. they need me to shower and brush my teeth. because there are people on weekdays that require my assistance and pay me in exchange for it. that money keeps me from sleeping in a gutter or not eating. i am appreciative of that part, at least. i am a high-functioning depressive, you might say. but still it seeps in, every day. “mental health day” has become my new celebration; when life gets too hard i can say “fuck it” and go back to sleep.

if you’re reading this, i’m okay. and i’m sorry i cancelled on you. it’s not you, i cancel on everyone. but it is better than the alternative–a meeting where i can’t be fully present with you. i hate that more.

ursula & toilet paper & eggs

this morning i woke up as i usually do, with my cat leaping up on the bed at around 6:30am, meowing and pawing at me to feed her. and i did what i usually do on weekends–shooed her away to give me another half-hour of respite. sometimes i get up, feed her, then promptly go back to bed. but even on those days, i can never sleep past 10am. the morning is imprinted on me now, i am used to its summer light and chirping birds.

i am reading a collection of short stories by ursula le guin, and they are very good. women authors are fantastic at sharing the experience of being a woman with their audience; their stories are as much emotional encapsulations as they are plot-driven. i laid in bed and read for an hour, a story about a man from a planet where women dominate due to genetic shenanigans centuries ago; most male babies die in childbirth. so it’s all women and a few men, who are raised in “castles” where the play games of sport and then women pay for the men to fuck them so they can have more kids. but the women are all in love with each other, and men are little more than breeding stallions.

anyway this man lived in a time where the men were trying to become free, after researchers from another planet arrive and decide to “interfere” with the people. once the men (the populace in general) see that men from that planet are free and educated and do whatever they want, the men from this planet want that too. and this man in this story gets it, but it’s hard, because now what does he do? the women aren’t used to men not being in castles or “fuckeries” as they put it. (i love that le guin calls them “fuckeries”; the view of sex in this story and in a couple others that i’ve read so far is so free and polyamorous and definitely a stance re: american prudishness.) he eventually goes to hain (a planet colonized or co-inhabited by terrans, apparently) to become educated. it was a good story and a good collection of stories so far (the book’s 800 pages).

it’s nice outside and i opened the blinds and jowers laid in the sun splayed out over my bed as i read, and then she insisted that she lick my hand for a long time, which she does sometimes. she doesn’t like it when i pet her when she wants to clean me; she’ll look back at my hand like, “bring it back here, it is still unclean.”

it’s clear outside and i walked to the corner store to buy some toilet paper, eggs, and a dumb hazelnut starbucks drink. sometimes when i buy weird things together i like to conjure weird stories in my head about why i’m buying these things together. like, what would be the weirdest thing the cashier could think. the starbucks was just coffee (obviously) but the eggs and TP were for some sexually deviant thing i was going to do: hardboil the eggs and stick them up my butt, of course. TP was for cleanup. at 9am, of course. but then i thought about it more. even hardboiled eggs are no match for the cinching power of the sphincter. i would just end up with broken egg bits in my rectum, which was the least sexiest thing i could think of at 9 in the morning.

i drank the starbucks drink and thought about making breakfast, but my pan still had leftover bacon grease and fat in it so i have started the dishwasher and eaten a fiber granola bar thing instead, one of several unusual things i buy at grocery outlet. i am bad at doing dishes, especially when i’m depressed. i have some used tupperware in and around my sink that i’m afraid to open. my sink is full of grossness. it’s embarrassing and i should do my dishes more often but it’s hard to do when the only prevailing thought in your head is “nothing matters, who cares,” etc etc.

i am attempting to write more again, morning pages or 750 words or whatever you wish to call it. to write freely and to not censor myself or delete the words because i don’t think they’re good enough. i feel a sense of serenity this morning that i haven’t felt for a while. i’m okay at home right now. my depression is no more than a feeling of content loneliness, which is something i can capture and care for. nothing in my world right now feels content, usually, so i enjoy the brief respite. i am alone in a full room, i don’t really care about myself currently. about or for myself. i can’t remember things, my productivity at work took a dip because i was in a depressive fog and fell behind on my tasks. i tell my therapist this but leave some of it out, because i view myself (and my depression and anxiety) as a burden on others. even to my therapist, whose job is entirely to be a emotional beast of burden (no offense). there are some secrets i don’t even tell myself.

but i’m listening to classical music (thank you thank you allclassical.org for existing) and the sun is shining through the blinds and my cat is asleep on her cat tree and i’m writing and feeling only very minimally ashamed of it. that’s better.

2017 state of things

Hello hello hello.

2017 has been a shit year for the world. Thankfully we have Facebooks and Twitters and Tumblrs and all sorts of social media that you can reference regarding that particular breakdown of our country’s fundamental governing. This is my blog, so of course I will talk about myself.

For me 2017 has been more mediocre and lacking in ambition than anything else. There have been some high points: I was in a play, the first legitimate paying gig in like three years. It was a lean cut of Shakespeare’s Troilus & Cressida, done at Lone Fir Cemetery here in Portland, by Portland Actors Ensemble. We had a great cast and an equally great run, and I am thoroughly proud of the production and the people within it. It, for a brief moment, sparked a renewed passion to act again, though to be honest that spark has since dwindled, for reasons I’ll talk about later.

I have a new job, working as a Legal Secretary for the Oregon Department of Justice. My first state job. I started in September and still have a couple of months left on my trial period. To be honest I took a positional hit for this job–I was a Legal Assistant at my old job, though jobwise it was much more on par with being a paralegal[1. If you’re confused about the hierarchy of these titles, you know how a rectangle is sometimes a square but a square is never a rectangle? Yeah, it’s that kind of confusing.]. Either way, definitely a higher position than secretary. I’m hoping that this is the beginning of an upward climb through the state system, either through the DOJ or somewhere else in the state. I appreciate the job security, the benefits, and the ability to get my student loans forgiven.

Also, the Dept of Justice’s online intranet site is called DOJO, which is fun.

In February I wrote some really great songs as part of FAWM, which I hope to throw onto a website this year.

In November I finished NaNoWriMo for the second time in the 15 years I’ve attempted. The book is called Leap Year One and I hope to get it ready for a first draft by March or April or something like that.

So I have a lot to be happy about. And yet so many other things are nagging at me.

Continue reading 2017 state of things

3 five-syllable sonnets

CCXXIII
dreaded emptiness
fills my vacant lungs
like absent ichor
desperate for nothing–
satiated by
the vacuum of my
loneliness. behind,
an anxious beating
heart continues its
vapid advancement
toward obsolescence.
and submerged in this,
a flailing brain, too
self-absorbed to care.

CCXXIV
indeterminate,
the beats of the heart,
prior to your own
death. impossible
to count, they ravage
onward toward ex-
haustion, and with them,
you. you had no say
in this, no power
over your own heart
and its context. you,
replete with feelings,
destined for the dirt
and meal for earthworms.

CCXXV
happiness eludes
me, perpetual
sand sifting through my
outstretched fingers. i
am obsequious
to lingering doubt,
held in position
by neverending
question, festering
through languid meaning.
i know nothing of
happiness. i trudge
through morose thickets
in eternal search.

some thoughts concerning the latest game of thrones episode

I’ve never done this before but goddammit I have thoughts. SPOILERS, obviously. (this is for S7E4, for when future me reads this and is like “WTF is wrong with me?”)

  • Jaime Fucking Lannister. Okay walk with me here. Here’s a guy, finest swordsman in Westeros, right, gets his fucking hand chopped off so early in the series I can’t even remember how good of a swordsman he was purported to be. This guy’s gone through some shit, alright? So if he fucking dies from drowning, I will, I don’t know, I’ll fucking move to Greenland, I don’t even know. If the Hound can end up alive, so can Jaime. (Also I presume Bronn or Dickon *giggle* saved him and will drag him to shore, where Dany will try to kill him but then Tyrion will be like “No my queen” and maybe they hold him hostage against Cersei who’s like “I don’t care about him, just kill him” and then maybe they kill him and THAT’S the saddest thing ever.) My point is, Jaime keeps getting shit on and I don’t like it.
  • I am not a Dany fan. I’m House Stark 100%, probably because I come from a lower middle class-to-downright poor family, and I suspect the Starks are like the “good ol’ boys” of Westeros, relatable by virtue of their northern England dialect. So watching Bronn shoot that fucking dragon was the best. I literally was saying “Shoot that dragon” as I watched the episode. Now look: watching Dany wander Essos for however many seasons we’re on now (12? 34?) meant a lot of buildup with little payoff, until now. Watching the Emo Riders of Rohan attack the Lannister troop was awesome, partially because–despite being told earlier in the episode–I didn’t expect Dany to come in on a dragon. I dug this because, again, she’s been thirsting for this for years and then everyone’s like “No you shouldn’t burn everyone up with dragons” and she’s like, “Why the hell else would I have dragons then, huh?” I think her ultimate weakness, though, is that I don’t think she can control what the dragons specifically can do unless she’s riding one of them, which means whenever she needs precision work it means she is vulnerable because she’s on it. But man when Bronn had that ballista out I was like Fuck Yeah Bronn you shoot the shit out of that dragon. (However, why did they have the ballista in the first place? Were they transporting it? Or were they just like “We better have this just in case”?)
  • It also was dumb of Jaime to charge a dragon but it was also kind of cool.
  • Davos Seaworth is the Yamcha of the GoT universe. I had mentioned this on Facebook before, but this show is turning into DBZ in the sense that you’ve got the big players (Jon Snow, Cersei, etc) making big moves, and then you have these people that had big roles who are falling by the wayside. Like Brienne, used to be major but now she’s like fucking Piccolo. And if that’s the case then Arya’s Gohan. Sort of. Just go with me on this. Tyrion is Krillin but only because he’s short.
  • I was really hoping that when Missandei was getting all smiley about the Unsullied, Dany would be like “What’s up with you?” and Missandei would say, “Oh nothing, just that Grey Worm ate me out like Chinese takeout the other night and it was amazing.” Would’ve been a nice bonding moment between them.
  • Where the hell is Jon Snow going to get all the people to mine that dragon glass? Also, dragon glass is just obsidian, right? If so, is obsidian in Westeros magical or something? I’m still unclear on that.
  • For real when Theon and Jon Snow met I was like, “I can’t even remember if Jon hates Theon or not.”
  • So one of Dany’s dragons is named Drogon? How did I miss that? It’s like, “Hey, that’s a beautiful cat, what’s her name?” “Cot.” “Cot? Your cat’s name is Cot?” “Yeah.” “Well okay.”
  • “What’s your dog’s name?” “Dag.”
  • “Lovely horse.” “Thanks, his name is Harse.”
  • I wonder if Aiden Gillen knows that his Littlefinger voice is quite possibly one of the most grating voices ever? I’m sure he does. I can barely listen to that guy because of his voice. He sounds like he’s constantly holding in pot smoke. Or like he’s constantly playing the bassoon but there’s no instrument there. He’s constantly doing “stage whisper.” Guy needs to use his diaphragm.
  • Jon’s like “Hey Dany there are some cave drawings in here and fucking Da Vinci drew this portrait of the Night King by the way.” I mean compare it to this cave painting we did thousands of years ago, of what appear to be a bunch of ETs hanging out with some bulls. I know the Children of the Corn Forest are supposed to be some kind of magical beings but did they study at the Rhode Island School of Design or someshit?
  • Brandon Stark is like that guy in high school who did shrooms one time and from that moment on became a scholar on mycology. You’d be like, “Hey Greg you wanna go to the beach party this weekend?” and he’d calmly say, “No, I must tend to my fungi,” and then occasionally you’d see him tripping at the grocery store, staring at the frozen peas like they were telling him secrets.

the state of things

I gave up my blog for nearly a year so I could write a bunch of monologues. As with most of my ventures these days, it ended with a sense of ambivalence. I wrote some good stuff, I wrote some bad stuff. I pretended song lyrics were monologues during FAWM. I wrote part of a NaNoWriMo novel in first person, pretending those were monologues. I delved a bit into my own battles with depression, a thing I keep meaning to write about but end up not doing because, of course, I don’t think it’s worthy of your time. (Then again, this is my blog, and if you’re reading it then you obviously have devoted time to it.) It’s funny; in my teens and part way into my 20s I spent a lot of time being open and introspective about my own life. I’d write tons of material on Diaryland and LiveJournal–completely open for people to read (which got me in trouble a couple of times). I did it so much that I realized I was being repetitious and I guess I decided I didn’t like that. Not for me, per se, but for you, the reader, whomever you may be. My repetitions were usually negative in nature and being repetitious about how I’m bad at dating or how I suck because I don’t want to go out ever ground me down like a weathered rock on a riverbed. Polished, but dull, lacking edges. Same as all the other rocks.

So later on I just gave up writing things. I decided to be introspective in my own head. Folks, that’s not the best idea. Ideas in your head roll around forever, they get stuck there, trapped in your consciousness until you let them out. And I’ve always been a man who needed an outlet, especially for my creativity, which tends to diffuse sadness or depression vis a vis working distraction. Taking my problems and internalizing them to the extent that I have been has only pulled me down, in ways I didn’t know I could be pulled. I’m still climbing out of that pit. Writing monologues was an excuse to be creative every day, to try and inhabit another person’s mind for at least an hour or two a day. Truth is, some days I forgot and had to make up for them later. Other days I didn’t want to get out of bed. And then around June my job got so busy that I didn’t really have the energy to devote to writing monologues, so I stopped prematurely. Not bothered by that one bit. I wrote 267 monologues! That’s nothing to sneeze at. (Sneeze at? Did I just make that up?)

Point is: I think my goal for this blog now is to continue being introspective, to be honest with myself, and to write about my life in a way that, I hope, is accessible to everyone who cares to read it. Because I always want an audience, but I think the audience wants to see me be honest with them, and not hide. On the other hand: I hate when I talk about what this blog is about. Who fucking cares. It’s a goddamn blog. It could be about my favorite hot dogs, who gives a shit? Just write you big dummy.

267: ulryaeus, exhaler of the north, bringer of peace to the nearly dead (padora)

[hokoran, inhaler and high priest of padora, lays unresponsive and dying on an altar covered in fresh white linens. ulryaeus stands behind the altar, and in front of him is a packed amphitheater full of padorans and civilians alike. ulryaeus speaks with grave solemnity.]

my name is ulryaeus, exhaler of the north, bringer of peace to the nearly dead. i am here in the breeze of padora’s breath to release the breath from high priest hokoran, inhaler and beacon of light and justice for our people. i have known hokoran for many decades now, many days providing for our sects, many nights arguing philosophy and theology of our goddess. hokoran’s voice was free from pain, free from suffering, as he believed all suffering in this world was merely a tool toward greater enlightenment. for that he is the utmost exhaler in my opinion, but he refused to agree, stating that his enlightenment was directed toward the greater good and the preservation of mankind, and that to await padora’s final exhalation was to find pessimism in a world which required none. in him i found the balance between our faiths, and the true representation of padora–as a divine source of inspiration, and as a living force which feeds us all, no matter if she is breathing in, or breathing out. in her breath we are alive, and in her breath we should choose to live.

it is with a heavy, heavy heart that i remove the breathe from my long time friend and compatriot. hokoran’s duty to padora will be hard to fill. peace be with you brother, and may your own breath mingle with padora’s winds for all eternity.

[ulryaeus raises a dagger and slides it into hokoran’s heart. the amphitheater breaks out in traditional songs of mourning.]

266: courtney (body language)

i am very conscious of your body language, trevor. i see you hunched over like that, brooding, like “the thinker” except you’re leaning sexily against a wall. cigarette dangling from your lip. trying to damn hard to make me want you. you give off this aura of mystery, like you’re some kind of enigma, but we all know, especially when we go to bed with you, or when we go to dinner with you, or even five minutes alone at a bar–we know who you really are; a nervous, anxious wreck of a man desperately clinging on to some semblance of humanity. it’s tremendously obvious, and it’s almost funny how dead-set you are on trying to hide it. it’s like trying to hide the stench of body odor with dab of water to the armpits. your energy permeates you, it infuses you, it anchors every aspect of your being to the earth. and we see it. we all see it. we watch you wallow in it while you attempt to give off this concept that you’re okay. well, you’re not, trevor. none of us are. so drop the bullshit and just talk to me.