#2121

I’ve been thinking about inevitability. About how chance and circumstance could lead Igor Dyatlov’s hiking group to set up their tent in the exact center of an extremely rare and unknown wind vortex, the resulting infrasound of which sent them running into the subzero Siberian winter. Those students did everything right, everything, given what science knew at the time, and yet nine people froze to death in darkness. In 1958 no amount of investigation could answer the why of the disaster. Now we know. They couldn’t have.

I’ve been thinking about preparedness. About how chance and circumstance could lead the RMS Titanic to sail through an unknown thermal inversion, an ocular mirage that hid the iceberg, so confused the nearby Californian that it never went to assist, and ruined any chance those floating in freezing cold water had to survive the night. Both ships’ crews did everything right, everything, given what science knew at the time, and yet fifteen hundred people froze to death in darkness. In 1912 no amount of investigation could answer the why of the disaster. Now we know. They couldn’t have.

How can things go so extremely wrong when those involved are as educated, trained, and prepared as it is possible to be? When they do everything exactly right and still meet with helplessness and death? What does that mean for the rest of us who know so little? We can only prepare for what we know is coming. We can only imagine scenarios within the reality we conceptualize. Beyond that we are babes.

I do not fear the unknown. I do not fear aliens or curses or conspiracies, Sasquatch or Mothman or Bloody Mary. I fear what we already know. I fear the sleeping calderas and the pressurized fault lines; I fear the solar flares and the sixth great extinction. And I fear the as-yet-unknown. The to-be-known. The dangers already existing all around us, hidden only by the limits of human knowledge. What awaits us that we will never see coming?

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#1991

[ The great DM in the sky told us to design masquerade outfits for our characters, so here is Remr being predictably nerdy and over the top. ]

“Companions, hello!” Remr hurried down the last few stairs to where her party waited and spun in a circle to show them her masquerade costume. Beneath her mask, she grinned with glee. “Get it?” The tiefling seemed very proud of her creation, and it was both easy and yet incredibly difficult to see why. On the one hand, her dress was clearly of very fine quality; black velvet, silk, and lace cascaded over the large black crinoline cage beneath, and at each bunching little jewels glimmered. Her mask, too, was of fine black lace and glittering jewels, and the raven feathers that framed it extended back to encompass her horns and wrap into her carefully spiked hair. On the other hand, though, the dress was also torn to shreds. The bodice was fine, neatly sewn and studded with rhinestones, but at her waist things seemed to have gone rather south. The front of the dress had been torn back completely, revealing the hoop skirt beneath. Its ragged edges tapered back to Remr’s sides, where the fabric devolved into a shredded mess that just brushed the floor. Likewise, Remr’s black sleeves and tights also sported tears halfway down and ended in unraveling strings. It was quite possibly the most expensive wreck any of them had ever seen.

Never and Tevasshus exchanged their usual Remr is being weird again look, but did not answer. Solena, still new to the group, smiled encouragingly yet waited for someone else to speak. Finally, Tarcella took the bait. “Get what? Did your dress lose a fight with a wolverine or something?”

“No, silly. I’m the concept of entropy!” Remr held out her arms as if a better display of the outfit might render further explanation unnecessary. She received only blank stares. Sighing, she lowered her arms. “I know what you’re thinking; this is way too oversimplified to really represent a complex thermodynamic system. I was worried about that. I almost went with a costume that represented the known universe using the mask as the sun and radiating outward and downward through the cloth of the dress based on the distances between objects in space, but I couldn’t get the calculations to accurately account for all the folds and pleats in the fabric. So I thought of this but then I wasn’t sure if people would understand that I was going for more of an artistic representation of the common understanding of entropy, you know, as in order versus disorder, versus the obviously more accurate and more recent understanding of entropy as it relates to quantum theory and statistical thermodynamics.” She frowned uncertainly. “Do you think anyone will call me on it?”

Silence. Blinking. More silence.

“Uh,” said Tarcella.

“…what the fuck,” said Never.

“I think you look great!” said Solena, despite having understood none of what Remr just explained.

“Oh good, thank you,” Remr, visibly relieved, hugged the cleric and then gestured toward the door with an excited grin. “Shall we be off, then?”

#1951

I don’t have any writing to post today because I’m a terrible writer, so here’s all the cool shit my D&D character Remr, biologist extraordinaire!, has managed to do in just two… rounds? Meetings? Episodes? What do you– whatever. Here you go:

  • She asked a man wearing a mouth mask, “What’s wrong with your face?” in an attempt to figure out if he was contagious or not. When he was understandably offended, she mistook his reaction for a language barrier and proceeded to talk slowly and loudly and to mime the concept of contagious diseases. Her efforts were not appreciated.
  • She tried to talk to an owlbear in order to become friends with it so it wouldn’t attack the party. Did not work. Almost died.
  • She gleefully examined the owlbear’s giant nest full of droppings and owlbear pellets and other gross stuff, for research purposes.
  • She looted the skeleton of a club-footed child from a sarcophagus, for research purposes.
  • She traded the child skeleton for a cursed half-orc finger bone, also for research purposes.
  • She managed to deliver the killing blow to a frost wight after only taking three entire turns just to fire her lightning arrow.
  • She drank a sample of a mysterious potion while in FantasyCostco and turned temporarily green. She also lost 8 HP.
  • She took a sample of a mysterious and incredibly dangerous fungus, for research purposes.
  • She tugged on a horse leg she found under a bush in order to ascertain whether it was attached to anything. It was. The horse leg was attached to a dead horse and she consequently got the party attacked by dire wolves.
  • She accidentally lead her party into the fae wilds after promising some pixies the party would kill an old lady who is probably definitely a witch.
  • She has somehow become the charge of the party’s very long-suffering dragonborn bard (my fiance, so maybe it’s not so surprising…), and takes great delight in reminding him that they’re basically family. She makes him be her roomie and stays up all night telling him about her thesis (which has to do with the biological differences between centaurs and mermaids).
  • Also, she has become BFFs with the halfling pirate in the party and got drunk in a tavern with her and a bunch of sailors, for research purposes.
Capture

Look at this fuckin nerd.

#1918

[ Yo check out my new D&D character, she’s based on several professors of mine and Evie from The Mummy! Speaking of which, I drew her in one of Evie’s outfits (normally she has light leather armor). ]
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Name: Remr’knali’v’sarna’nbat’shi
Nickname: Remr
Age: 30
Gender: Female
Race: Tiefling
Class: Ranger
Background: Sage/researcher
Alignment: Neutral Good
Level: 4
General physical description: Red skin, yellow eyes, black hair (a double sidecut with bangs, usually held up in a bun by several writing implements), two horns on her upper forehead (one above each eye)
Orientation: Oblivious (she’ll end up some sort of queer, but for now she’s too involved in her work to think about it)
Relationship status: Married to her job
Family: Well-to-do mother and father, three older female siblings
Job: Associate Professor of Biology
Dress style: Tends toward comfort over appearance, clothes are often muddy, ripped, ink stained, and covered in bits of melted candle wax, wears a belt from which hang sample bags, a compass, a magnifying glass, and other necessary scientific tools
Companion: A long-suffering mule named Abigail
Religion: Agnostic but very excited about the possibility of meeting a god or gods when she dies, as she has lots of questions to ask them
Hobbies: Geology, ecology, anthropology, climatology, mythology, sociology, learning new languages, translating ancient texts, barely ever sleeping, writing notes to herself on her clothes, skin, or whatever else is at hand
Favorite food: Chocolate covered coffee beans
Catchphrase: “Fascinating!”
Strongest positive personality trait: Very outgoing and non-judgmental
Strongest negative personality trait: Extremely flighty
Sense of humor: Jovial and nerdy, but often accidentally pretentious
Temper: Friendly, upbeat, intense but well-meaning, hard to anger or offend, socially awkward but unaware of it
Consideration for others: Assumes everyone is as excited about learning as she is, has no concept of personal space or privacy
How other people see her: They either love her or hate her, depending on how they deal with such high energy levels and the conversational equivalent of pinball. Additionally, she can come off as pretentious or thoughtless.
Opinion of herself: Best Professor Ever!
Background: Being the high energy, ambitious late-in-life child of aging parents who had already raised three other daughters, Remr was often instructed to “go play outside” or “find something quiet to do”. She spent most of her time alone, either reading every scrap of text available or exploring the natural world. Her parents had hoped she would follow in her sisters’ footsteps and take up the noble family occupation of being a succubus, but it was clear early on that she was destined for the university. She and her parents parted on good terms, though they are wary of the packages she sends home; they sometimes contain dead, or not-so-dead, specimens. She is currently an Associate Professor on an extended sabbatical (the university may perhaps keep extending it in the hope she doesn’t come back).
Philosophy of life: Attainment of knowledge is the noblest pursuit to which one may dedicate their life, and nothing (even the law) should stand in the way of furthering our understanding of the world.
Most important thing to know about this character: She may be a flighty science nerd, but she has a rock hammer and an ice pick and she knows how to use them.