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My daughter sent me this from a blog she showed me....
Valhalla does not discriminate against the kind of fight you lost. Did you lose the battle with cancer? Maybe you died in a fist fight. Even facing addiction. After taking a deep drink from his flagon, Odin slams his cup down and asks for the glorious tale of your demise!
Oh my god, this is beautiful.
A small child enters Valhalla. The battle they lost was “hiding from an alcoholic father.” Odin sees the flinch when he slams the cup and refrains from doing it again. He hears the child’s pain; no glorious battle this, but one of fear and wretched survival.
He invites the child to sit with him, offers the choicest mead and instructs his men to bring a sword and shield, a bow and arrow, of the very best materials and appropriate size. “Here,” he says, “you will find no man who dares to harm you. But so you will know your own strength, and be happy all your days in Valhalla, I will teach you to use these weapons.”
The sad day comes when another child enters the hall. Odin does not slam his cup; he simply beams with pride as the first child approaches the newcomer, and holds out her bow and quiver, and says “nobody here will hurt you. Everyone will be so proud you did your best, and I’ll teach you to use these, so you always know how strong you are.”
A young man enters the hall. He hesitates when Odin asks his story, but at long last, it ekes out: skinheads after the Pride parade. His partner got into a building and called for help. The police took a little longer than perhaps they really needed to, and two of those selfsame skinheads are in the hospital now with broken bones that need setting, but six against one is no fair match. The fear in his face is obvious: here, among men large enough to break him in two, will he face an eternity of torment for the man he left behind?
Odin rumbles with anger. Curses the low worms who brought this man to his table, and regales him with tales of Loki so to show him his own welcome. “A day will come, my friend, when you seek to be reunited, and so you shall,” Odin tells him. “To request the aid of your comrades in battle is no shameful thing.”
A woman in pink sits near the head of the table. She’s very nearly skin and bones, and has no hair. This will not last; health returns in Valhalla, and joy, and light, and merrymaking. But now her soul remembers the battle of her life, and it must heal.
And asks again.
And the words pour out like poisoned water, things she couldn’t tell her husband or children. The pain of chemotherapy. The agony of a mastectomy, the pain still deeper of “we found a tumor in your lymph nodes. I’m so sorry.” And at last, the tortured question: what is left of her?
Odin raises his flagon high. “What is left of you, fair warrior queen, is a spirit bright as fire; a will as strong as any forged iron; a life as great as any sea. Your battle was hard-fought, and lost in the glory only such furor can bring, and now the pain and fight are behind you.“
In the months to come, she becomes a scop of the hall–no demotion, but simple choice. She tells the stories of the great healers, Agnes and Tanya, who fought alongside her and thousands of others, who turn from no battle in the belief that one day, one day, the war may be won; the warriors Jessie and Mabel and Jeri and Monique, still battling on; the queens and soldiers and great women of yore.
The day comes when she calls a familiar name, and another small, scarred woman, eyes sunken and dark, limbs frail, curly black hair shaved close to her head, looks up and sees her across the hall. Odin descends from his throne, a tall and foaming goblet in his hands, and stuns the hall entire into silence as he kneels before the newcomer and holds up the goblet between her small dark hands and bids her to drink.
“All-Father!” the feasting multitudes cry. “What brings great Odin, Spear-Shaker, Ancient One, Wand-Bearer, Teacher of Gods, to his knees for this lone waif?”
He waves them off with a hand.
“This woman, LaTeesha, Destroyer of Cancer, from whom the great tumors fly in fear, has fought that greatest battle,” he says, his voice rolling across the hall. “She has fought not another body, but her own; traded blows not with other limbs but with her own flesh; has allowed herself to be pierced with needles and scored with knives, taken poison into her very veins to defeat this enemy, and at long last it is time for her to put her weapons down. Do you think for a moment this fight is less glorious for being in silence, her deeds the less for having been aided by others who provided her weapons? She has a place in this great hall; indeed, the highest place.”
And the children perform feats of archery for the entertainment of all, and the women sing as the young man who still awaits his beloved plays a lute–which, after all, is not so different from the guitar he once used to break a man’s face in that great final fight.
Valhalla is a place of joy, of glory, of great feasting and merrymaking.
And it is a place for the soul and mind to heal.
literal tears in my eyes omg
This is a very beautiful thought, but Valhalla isn’t the only grand hall one can go to for their afterlife; I’d love to hear stories as beautiful as this for other halls.
There is a young girl, her body frail and small. The girl bares the marks of so many scars, so many beatings from her broken home. Every night was a constant fight to stay safe, every day at school, she had to say her bruises were from playing too hard. Her teachers would look at her, but not see what was happening, and the girl kept suffering. She hardly had a childhood before her mother took it from her one night, a drug induced rage that ended her life far too soon.
The girl enters the hall of Folkvangr, sobbing at every step. The goddess Freya, ethereal and lovely, sits upon a golden throne at the highest point of the hall. Freya is concerned, her brows furrowed.
“Why do you cry, child?” she asks, her voice rings like a thousand bells, echoing through the mighty hall.
The little girl hiccups, she fidgets and hides her scars, “you are so beautiful, and I’m afraid I’m too ugly to be here.”
Freya descends from her throne, gliding and golden like the passing of sunlight through trees. She kneels in front of the girl and embraces her.
“Dear child, I am the Vanadis Freya, goddess of beauty and battle. I have the first choice of the slain, and I chose you. You are beautiful and your fight is over. You have a home with me now. I will teach you to fight so that you never need to be afraid again, and I will love you no matter what.”
The girl looks up and sees the faces of gently smiling women and girls of all ages and colors behind the goddess. She knows that she has gained many mothers and grandmothers and sisters. The girl knows that for the first time since she can remember, she will finally be loved.
There is an old man with old wounds. He fought in war to protect everyone, only to come home to poverty and sadness. The old man lived the final days of his life on a bench in the park, and no one mourned him.
When he wakes up, he is in a dark house, made of stone. Snow falls sleepily outside. There are cheery little candles on top of many stout wooden tables in the great room. A tall pale woman sits with a black dog at one of these tables. There are people all around; eating, laughing, playing games like old friends. The house is loud and merry with fellowship.
A call rings out over all the noise.
“Good to see ya pal! Come sit with us!”
A younger man beckons towards the old man, and he reluctantly joins the youngster and his companions at the table.
Many of the men and women at the table pat him on the back. The lady’s dog curls up at his feet. One of them even pushes their bowl of hot stew to the old man. The old timer enjoys the warmth in his bones, the thought of not going to sleep hungry fills him up with happiness that makes his eyes sting with the icy bite of tears.
“I appreciate it all, but surely this is a mistake. I don’t know you all” the old man is afraid that now they will shoo him away, like so many others. Instead, the lady with the dog kindly grasps his hand, her face melts in understanding.
“This is Helheim, and in Helheim, we are all remembered. I am Hel. You are among friends now. You will never go hungry, you will never be alone again.”
Time passes, and the old man has made many friends in Helheim. Some nights, when the snow falls hardest, a new person will appear, shy and uncertain. The old man always rises from his seat, always certain to have a warm drink in both hands. The old man gives the newcomer his friendliest smile and says,
“Good to see ya pal, come sit with us.”
Two young men, both in love. They hoped to get married, but then the doctors said the two worst words you could ever hear. The sickness ravaged one of them, and broke the heart of the other. The sick man barely recognized himself in the mirror anymore, and the other felt like he was drowning in helplessness.
Months later, it’s the night of the funeral for the sick man. His lover clings to photos of them together. He can’t see through the hurt, he can’t find it in himself to do anything but cry. His entire body aches with how much he misses his lover. The young man turns to cheap gas station beers to drown out the pain. Driving home with too many open cans on the floor, he hits a deer and tumbles into a ditch.
He finds himself on the ground in a golden forest, with trees arching so high into the sky, he can barely see the tops. The falling leaves dance to the song of the gentle winds, and the sunlight plays over everything in sight. He realises its not the wind singing; there’s the melody of many singing voices carried on the breeze. The young man follows it to a bright clearing in the woods. Many people are there, making flower crowns and laughing. The heady smells of wine and cooking meat wafts around him. At the front of the crowd is a man in rich finery, laughing with all the rest. The air is alight with joy and the sounds of bells.
But most importantly of all is his boyfriend, glowing with health, covered in flowers and smiling.
Hope this touches you all as much as it did me...
The following images depict a miniature of a female sylph or fairy in natura. I am not sure if these would be in conflict with the posting guidelines or not. Better safe than sorry.
Clear minis are best painted by undercoating with a matte clear varnish and then transparent paints such as inks.
This mini has wings in vallejo pale grey wash before citadel carroburg crimson wet blended on drucii violet. Body in thinned old citadel turquoise glaze, hair and panties in army painter green ink. The eyes are the only bits painted with normal opaque paint.
As this mini does not seem to be released as of yet, I do not know who sculpted it or what it's code or official name is.
I'm not entirely sure what this is supposed to be; I got it in a group of figures that I bought on Ebay. I know it's by Grenadier, and that's it.
I painted this up as part of my Morihalda challenge; to a (hopefully) decent tabletop standard.
Those eyes were tons of fun.
I forget exactly what this figure is called, but it's another old Mage Knight figure that I have repainted. I think it would work well as a (small) evil treant. I'd have to go through the Monster Manual, but I'm sure that there are other plant monsters this would work as, too.
Tabletop paint job as usual.
ETA---Forgot to mention, this is part of my Morihalda challenge (do art every day in December).
I’ve been running D&D games for 30 plus years and occasionally someone will ask to play a character with psionic abilities. I usually resist allowing this; I don’t want peanut butter in my chocolate. I view psionics as a science fiction component rather than fantasy, the theory that science fiction is a form of fantasy not withstanding. I generally prefer my fantasy to focus on magic and medieval European settings, and leave other historical cultures, aliens or technology out. Over the years I’ve mellowed and come to accept that players just want to enjoy the fantasy of taking on a role they do not (or cannot) partake of in real life. So I’ve come to accept ninja, psion or steam punk peanut butter in my European medieval fantasy chocolate.
A bit more than fifteen years ago I ran a D&D 3e game set in the Diablo 2 video game world of Sanctuary, using setting and adventure supplements published by Wizards of the Coast. Included in the setting book were rules for the Diablo 2 character classes. I allowed a mix of D&D and D2 characters, but required the player to chose either the D&D spell system or the D2 spell point system, choosing spells from only from the appropriate list. One of the players chose the D2 Necromancer and used the Diablo 2 spell list and spell point system.
This player was a bit of a power gamer and focused on how to maximize the spell point pool, basically never running out of spell points. The character was able to always contribute in a meaningful was to every encounter. I’ve never been a fan of the 15-minute adventure day, so I usually enforce travel time and backtracking, with the commiserate chance for creatures rising the alarm, ambuscades or random encounters. The spell point pool this character had helped this character be less of an liability in these circumstances, but for large or long fights resource management was still important. I was struck by how the spell point system and the psionic power point system were the same, just using different wrappers (terminology).
After the end of that campaign we were looking for a new setting, and the magazines Dragon, Dungeon and Polyhedron did a cross over adventure called “Incursion!”, featuring Githyanki invaders. It was a precursor to the modern Adventure Paths, and it included psionics. After having run a spell point system in the D2 campaign I was more open to psionics and bought the psionics handbook. Some of players had their characters take levels in psionic classes, and it worked out fine for most.
The same player that played the necromancer wanted to play a Psion, and was keen on creating new powers. His approach was with psionics anything that one could think of could be accomplished with the mind, as opposed to magic which was limited by codified spells, rules and tradition, and relied on an outside source of power. My approach was that both systems use intellect or force of personality to access and control another source of power; the mind is not powerful enough to affect the world directly. We clashed a bit as I was using existing powers to set the power level and point cost of new powers and he wanted to create custom powers with specific effects, so limited in application that he felt the level and point cost should be lower. He was of the opinion that psionics should not be limited, essentially viewing psionics as superior to magic in every way. My concern was that if psionics were always the “better choice”, why would anyone ever play a spell-caster?
Around the time we were finishing that campaign, D&D 4e came out and we switched over to that system. I won’t go into my opinion of 4th edition here other than to say I think it is a fine game system, just not D&D. The new daily, encounter and at-will power system precluded spell or power points and I gradually returned to my dim view of psionics. I’m of the general opinion that there is no need for competing power systems in the same game, such as spell points as opposed to spell slots, or psionics to magic. It is difficult if not impossible to balance to power systems across 20 plus character levels. Melee combat and magic systems are difficult enough, but adding another system will only make it even more difficult.
The Vancian spell system has serious flaws, but its history and well established structure provides built in limitations and guidelines on creating new spells. That same structure is not unjustifiably viewed as restrictive by some, but inserting another, subjectively “better” system will imbalance the overall game even more. If and when psionics are added to 5e, I hope they reconsider power points and stick with a Vancian system. Or rewrite magic with spell points. Keep the peanut butter and chocolate separate. Sorry fans of Reeeses Peanut Butter Cups.
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