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Update 4.3.5

Hello all, update 4.3.5 is around the corner. With it are coming some bug fixes, minor edits, and some other various and sundry items. Currently in beta, but expected release in about a week or two.
 
Core - Search & Activity Streams:
Improved searching for phrases (when the search term is wrapped in quotes) when using Elasticsearch. Fixed creating activity streams on front-end. Fixed duplicate topics showing in some streams if using Elasticsearch and posts/comments have been split. Fixed error being logged when accessing an invalid page number of paginated results when using Elasticsearch. Fixed a typo in the Elasticsearch "Analyzer" setting description. Core - Social Promotion / Our Picks:
Fixed reputation information sometimes missing from replies to status updates and from topics on the "Our Picks" page. Fixed missing CSS if "Our Picks" is the community's home page causing missing images. Fixed promotion occurring at wrong time if scheduled to occur at midnight † Core - Posting:
Fixed edit being lost if the edit triggers the URL or word filter. Fixed issue where attachments may be rejected if URL filter is set to reject all URLs. Core - UI:
Fixed height of blocks in some grids. Fixed missing Tumblr icon in email footer. Fixed W3C validation error. Core - Clubs:
Fixed possible error when editing a club. Fixed price not showing correctly for paid clubs which do not have a renewal term. Core - Misc:
Updated CKEditor to 4.10. Fixed URL input fields not handling the value correctly if a "?" is immediately after the domain without any path. Fixed disabled reaction types showing in the reputation summary on user's profiles. Fixed it being possible to add a member back into a personal conversation after they've left by accessing the URL directly. Changed the "next" link which shows on mobile on the last page of a paginated table which, although disabled, points to a page that doesn't exist which was reported to trigger an error on some SEO diagnostics tools. Changed the online user list cutoff when using Redis to be consistent with when not using Redis (30 minutes). Forums:
Changed the permission check when viewing all topics created by a member to if the viewing user can see the forum they are in, rather than if they can view the topic† Commerce - Subscriptions
Fixed reactivating a previously expired subscription not moving the member back into the correct group. Fixed transferring a subscription from one member to another. Fixed duplicate subscriptions being created if member generates multiple orders for Subscriptions before paying and then pays more than once. Fixed broken record showing in the list of subscriptions if a member with a subscription is deleted. Fixed handling of subscriptions when merging two members. Commerce - Support
Fixed incoming emails not being received if the email was CC'd to the support system rather than sent directly. Fixed merging two accounts not reassigning ratings/feedback on support request replies. Commerce - Misc
Fixed entering a coupon a code may redirect user back to the first step of the checkout process. Fixed error caused by history logs for an alternate contact which has been deleted. Pages
Fixed error on "create item" page if the database is on the community's home page. Fixed attachments to editor fields in databases not being saved correctly. Gallery
Fixed error when editing a video in Gallery which does not have a thumbnail uploaded. Fixed URLs for video thumbnails in the XML sitemap. Increased maximum size of image descriptions to prevent value being cut off. Marketplace
Fixed possible duplicate notifications for Marketplace files. Literature
Fixed error viewing the literature comments a member has made from their profile. Fixed possible duplicate notifications for Story entries. Removed name of story from the header of each entry when viewing a specific story. Calendar
Fixed issue where recurring events may show in wrong timezone. Fixed error when editing an event to remove the end time.
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AnthroDynamics, GDPR, and You

What is GDPR? How does it affect AD?
GDPR is the General Data Protection Regulation. It is an EU law on data protection and privacy for all individuals within the European Union. It also addresses the export of that personal data outside of the EU. However, there are certain points that should be noted, and we'll discuss those. You have individual rights when it comes to your account and data, the two primary of these being the Right to be Informed and the Right to Erasure.
The Right to be Informed
Encompasses our obligation to provide "fair processing information", which you can find in our Privacy Policy. Emphases the need for transparency over how we use your personal data. The Right to Erasure
The broad principle here is the right to enable an individual to request the deletion or removal of personal data where there is no compelling reason for its continued processing. We will always inform you of any changes to our Privacy Policy, either by email, social media, forum post, or private message. Any changes to that policy will have a waiting period before they go into effect, which will be announced along with the changes. The key phrase in the right to erasure is "Where there is no compelling reason for it's continued processing". In other words, yes, we can delete and remove your account, unless there is a need for us to retain your details. For example, to comply with tax codes (from financial transactions). AnthroDynamics will use a system of account deletion that will leave most Text-based content, but remove the Gallery Images associated with that account if no transactions exist.
Lawful Bases for Processing
Consent
We feature a setting to not automatically opt-in to administrator emails, such as newsletters. You can always edit your Notifiication settings to be able to opt in or out of these administrator emails, as well as any and all other types of notifications. When we change our Privacy Policy or our Terms of Service, our system will automatically ask you to accept them again.
Cookies
We store a small amount of data in cookies. These are used to authorize user accounts when you re-visit the community. Other cookies are used to provide a service at the user's request, such as changing the Theme.
Why go through all of this?
GDPR is all about being a good steward of the stored data of our users. Note that there is no requirement under the GDPR to delete or remove any information sent to the server by our users. While we do offer you the option to delete your account to comply with the Right to Erasure, it will be at our discretion if we remove all user-submitted content from that account, with the remainder being anonymized. The analogy with this is that it's similar to email: once someone sends you an email, you aren't obligated to delete that email. The same is true of user posted content. Ultimately though, we want our users to feel comfortable in using our services, knowing that their data is ultimately theirs.
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Layout Changes

Just a quick one today, not really for new features but more for homepage layout and whatnot. We've removed the "Popular Contributors" block in favor of a block of latest journal entries. We've also swapped the Swiper Slider on our different themes to an actual application, so that the themes no longer update their sliders separately (More work for us ._.). So now there'll be consistency there (Also, now I won't chew myself out when I forget to add the "new" sliders onto the other themes...). A few other minor changes will be noted below as well.
Twitch.tv embeds are finally enabled! Still working on Picarto (Sorry, their API is kinda terrible). Some blocks on the home page were updated with a "Show More" button. (Ok ok, namely the Dev Blog and the new Journals block....sue me.) Two more themes are in the works, but uh....they're not quite ready to roll out yet. So there. Have that. Small update is small, but an update nonetheless. If you all have any questions, suggestions, or comments, you're always free to post them in the Q&A Forum. 
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Removing Integrations

Hello again all. I want to touch briefly on a couple of concerns with some of the integrated features that we will be removing for various reasons. We have disabled and/or removed these features in order to protect you, our users, and our community.
1. Facebook Login
With the recent news of the possibly illegal usage of User Data by Cambridge Analytica, we have some changes regarding Facebook integration with AnthroDynamics. We have permanently removed the ability to create an account using your Facebook credentials. Furthermore, we have also disabled logging in to accounts using Facebook as an authentication method. Users who have previously created an account with Facebook will continue to be able to use their AnthroDynamics account. All that requires is the account's display name and the password you set when first logging in. If you need help, you can use the Contact Us link at the bottom of every page, or the Reset Password functionality on the login screen. Please note that the sharing links for content will still work.
 
2. Google Maps
In an effort to remove all tracking software and integrations from AD, once 4.3 launches we will be swapping out Google Maps with MapBox. Because maps are used in Calendar events (for instance, when adding a venue), this is one of the central features that we feel needed changing. We will make this move as soon as it is feasible to do so.
 
I hope this clears up our stance, and shows our commitment to protecting our community and its users' data.
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Known GIF Issues 9-24-2018 Read more... ×
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    • By BigPuppyStuart in Stuart's other Writtings 0
      Mistlands: These are a set of World that are satellite realms off the prime material plane but not quiet in the Feywild or Shadowfell. As a resault, both powerful lifegiving fey magic and the energies of the shadowfell are present in abundance.  The Mistlands also seem to shift and change at times, large landmasses and continents will remain stable but suddenly a continent that was years distant by see will suddenly be visible off the coast for a few days. This even leads to strange occurrences like a small empty feild suddenly has a path to miiles and miles of forests that lead to mountains when veiwed from one end but look normal when view from the other. The Nature of these changes are not well understood but they seem to never happen in permanently inhabited areas. This means that permenent borders and maps are  a little use less in some parts of the world. Also celestial bodies are different in different lands, one land may have 3 moons, some have one and some have none.
      Differences from other settings: Since magic is so high in this land Material components are not needed to cast spells that normally need them. Instead Spell components can be used to make Pre-prepared spells that can be used or set by anyone. Example: The Alarm spell usually needs a small bell and fine silver wire to cast. Instead in this setting a wizard can cast it with verbal or ritual means not needing the components. But the wizard can obtain the Silver wire and Bell, cast the spell on it, then sell the per-prepared spell as an item or give it to a non-magic user to use. This means they act like scrolls but can not be transcribed into someone else's spell book.
      New items:
      Lesser Dragon Cloak/ Lesser Bat cloak: A magical cloak that spreads like wings when the wearer jumps or falls from heights that would otherwise be harmful. The wearer can also spread them at will and the wearer can glide or slowly descend. This effect is similar to Feather fall.
      Greater Dragon cloak/ Greater Bat cloak: A magical cloak that spreads like wings when the wearer jumps or falls from heights that would otherwise be harmful. The Greater Dragon cloak can give the wearer flight. The Cloak does not flap or make noises so a greater dragon cloak is utterly silent.
      Bird cloak: A cloak with a feather pattern or made of feathers that can give the power of flight. The Cloak makes a flapping noise so it is not silent.
      Tablets: Tablets are minor magical artifacts that are similar to a scroll but are reusable. When they are made they hold the instructions to a single spell that can be read or cast from it. The Tablet does not disappear when used but is depleted for 8 hours. After Using one, a wizard can still transcribe the spell on it into their spell book. These are practically indestructible that makes These are immensely valuable to libraries and schools so can be sold to them for immense sums of money should the spell on it be rare enough.
      Prayer-book: These are books with Prayers and meditations written in them that don't mention any specific god. These are used Idealist clerics and Paladins to reinforce their focus on their ideals but the text within can be applied to any faith so they are of benefit to any divine class. Mechanically someone can spend their short rest reading from it and once every 8 hours gain a +2 to any roll concerning divine powers.
      Cantrip rings: Cantrip rings are as the name suggests, a ring that allows the wearer to cast a cantrip. The ring will bear the name of the cantrip they cast. Rings vary in quality and will have charges that reflect the number of charges per 24 hours that can be used. minor 10, intermediate 20, Greater 50, and Exceptional have no limit. Any quality of ring will add 1D4 if you cast the same cantrip as the ring holds yourself, it will be added to damage if it is an attack and to all other rolls if it is a non attack spell.
      Book of endless pages: This book seems to have far more pages than could ever be contained in the book. These books will seem to shift contents depending on what the reader is looking for.  There is a spell book version of these as well.
      Serpent fang dagger: A magical item that always has the effect of poison. They are single edged and slightly curved and their handles are shaped like snakes. There is a scale pattern on the blades. At will the wielder can switch from lethal to paralyzing or sleeping poison.
      Gods of the Mist-lands:
      The Wounded king of Heaven. The self Sacrificed, the Stalwart Gaurd:
      Power Level : Dead or Missing Formerly Greater or Overgod.
      Alignment: Nuetral good
      Follower Alignment: Any good
      Domains: Unknown, good, protection.
      These are all names of a powerful Deity that sacrificed himself to destroy or lock away a great evil. As such he is seen as the Patron of protectors. Even though he is seen as dead or locked away, his power remains and those that uphold the ideals of defending the weak have a chance of accessing his power. This has led to " The Church of the remnant" a church that does good deeds and fights evil but has no god to ask for guidance. Clerics of this church still have their prayers answered by... something and are granted powers by...something. Despite being considered dead, esteem for this Deity has never dwindled because the ideas he espoused and taught remain valuable. His Clergy declared they would spread his philosophy and his teachings even after they lost their connection to him. They carried on doing good deeds and kind acts even without divine help for 100 years. Then even though they never regained their connection to their god, they began to get divine powers again. They are just not sure from where.
      Mechanic notes: This means that healing and defensive powers are boosted +2 but any prayers for guidance or divination don't work.
      Phagogore:
      Follower Alignment: Any
      Power Level : Intermediate or Greater Alignment: True Neutral or neutral good Domains: Food, lust, Gluttony, farming, cooking, Curiosity The 5 throated lord of desires. Fat male, has 4 fleshy throats on his back full of teeth. Appears to be a fat humanoid who never wears a shirt and looks mostly normal aside from the flexible throat tentacles. His skin color varies in his depictions because he rumored to disguise himself to look like a native of the land he is traveling.  He is more philosophical, his book message basically is " you have desires no matter what, how you deal with them is up to you, here is some advice" It is unclear what class of Deity he is, he may be intermediate or greater. This stems from the fact that any creature that needs to eat or desires to do so can be considered his subject. Phagogore seems to be interested in almost every desire mortals have leading to there being some question of his Alignment. His Worshipers can be any alignment but his churches seem to be neutral or good. Since Lust is one of his Domains he has many children. He is Considered to be a general god of plenty and abundence and his holy book praises those who share their abundance with the poor and deprived, but it also extols the virtue of personal gluttony and self indulgence. These passages have led to 2 denominations of his church, the generous " Priests of plenty" who share food with anyone who needs it and " The Cult of eternal indulgence" which hold feasts and orgies and claims to be about selfish pleasure. Some Members of the "Cult of Eternal indulgence" will secretly share food with the poor in defiance of their sect's dogma. 
      Many but not all of his Clerics are fat or plump but all of them have spells to create food. Many of them go on minor feeding the homeless and poor rampages.
      As well as physical appetites Phagogore supports mental appetites as well and is hungry for knowledge and eager to share it so often will be seen to support libraries and schools along side gods of knowledge.
      Phagogore's holy symbol is a smile in a square of 4 dots, a full wineglass ( Cult of eternal indulgence ) or that of a goblet or tankered spilling or pouring ( Priests of Plenty). His holy weapon is a large meat Cleaver. He has also been been rumored to eat foes in combat and that freaks out some people but no one sure if this is just a rumor or something he actually does.
      Phagogore is known to have a couple half mortal children, all of whom are powerful but many of them do not seek to acquire followers and are not counted as gods. The ones that have obtained godship are Grossomar Venia, Bernard Soulsinger and "The Traveler".
      The spirit of mindless famine:
      Power Level :Lesser
      Alignment: Choatic evil
      Follower Alignment: Choatic evil
      Domains: Famine, starvation, suffering, want, cannibalism.
      While still being concerned with food, this is the polar opposite of Phagogore, this deity is master of want and starvation. While this Deity has little of a mind, it hates Phagogore, a feeling that Phagore reciprocates. Wendigos, ghouls and famine zombies are their work.
      Their unholy symbol is that of broken teeth wailing.
                   
      Solarania: The mistress of the sun.
      Power Level :Greater
      Alignment: Lawful Good
      Follower Alignment: LG, CG, NG, LN
      Domains: Sunlight, radiance , life, order, Justice.
      Solarania is depicted as a dark skinned woman in golden armor. Her iconography is very similar that that of sun Gods from elsewhere that she may be just an avatar of one of them. She has no celestial mate or consort but is in a sisterly relationship with Dusk, the night goddess.
      Her symbol is that of the sun. Her Holy weapon is a battle axe.
       
      Dusk, Mistress of the night.
      Power Level :Greater
      Alignment: Nuetral good
      Follower Alignment: Any
      Domains: Rest, Darkness, Solace, Refuge, Stealth.
      Depicted as a pale skinned woman in black clothing and average beauty, she is concerned with giving the creatures that toil in the day time to rest and sheltering those creatures who can not stand the sun. Despite being the opposite of Solarainia in the day night cycle and in appearence they are often called " The Sisters of the Cycle" and often depicted dancing together playfully.  While not a battle centered goddess, she does carry a crescent shaped knife that is considered her holy weapon but plenty of Alchemists and herbalists carry the same kind of knife to cut herbs.
      Blectmira: The creeping dark
      Power Level :Greater
      Alignment: Evil
      Follower Alignment: Choatic Evil
      Domains: Darkness,terror, Entropy, lifelessness, corruption, Poison, disease.
      Blectmira takes everything negative about night and darkness and magnifies them. She is the goddess of Vampires and monsters that hate the sun. Blectmira is one of the closest things there is to being a prime evil. Blectmira does not have a form that can be depicted and there is some debate on whether or not it is a deity or something else.
      Phyrmass'ereth Lehreloth
      Power Level :Intermediate
      Alignment: choatic good.
      Follower Alignment: Any
      Domains: Knowledge, study, science, poison, Alchemy, chemistry and Medicine.
      Phyrmass'ereth is depicted as a female Drow. She is usually depicted as a young woman holding a flask. She is the patron of scholars and alchemists who look to turn the properties of the natural world to the benefit of its people. Her dogma though is not only concerned with making medicine, experimentation and knowledge in themseleves are something she preaches because any knowledge can be used fort good or evil but you can only use it for good if it is known. She is shown to have a fondness for spiders and snakes but is not obsessed with them and killing such creatures are not an affront to her. She has taken her godship from an ancient hesslithith deity that left the realm for an unknown reason.
      Grossomar Venia
      Power Level : Lesser or maybe Greater.
      Alignment: Neutral good or Chatic good. ( There is some dispute )
      Follower Alignment: Any ( but overtime they shift toward good )
      Domains: Redemption, forgiveness, righting wrongs, atonement, Justice driven Conflict.
      Grossomar Venia is the god of forgiveness and atonement. His Appearance is that of a Portly man with dark hair and pale skin. In physical appearance he Greatly resembles many depictions of Phagogore. This make sense because he is one of Phaogore's sons. Any monster that wants to become good or evil doer that wishes to change their ways might devote themselves to Grossomar Venia. Also anyone turned into a vampire against their will can call out Venia and have their curse modified or mitigated. All Daywalking vampires with free will are granted Venia's mercy, as are many Lycanthropes.  One of the odd things about Grossomar Venia is that he seems to attract lots of Warlocks as followers. He Is also able to become the patron for Warlocks and grant them eldritch powers in exchange for Service in his army after the creature's death. Grossomar Venia is forming an army to defend the Celestial realms for a coming war with the hells and the Abyss and service in this army is seen by some as a get out of jail free card for past bad deeds while many more see it as a good duty in its own right and pledge themselves to him. Grossomar Venia is also popular among Tieflings and is sometimes depicted with Horns and red skin because their is a semi common belief that he is half devil but this is considered just speculation. Most of his followers would not care if he was as his entire domain is surrounding forgiveness and turning good that which was once evil.
      His Holy symbol depicts broken manacles. and his Holy weapons are a Rod and a Rapier
       
      Cryoleial Borialin: Lady of winter, Queen of the frosts.
      Power Level : Greater
      Alignment: Neutral good ( Formerly true neutral )
      Follower Alignment: LG to LE
      Domains: Winter, Frost, seasonal change.
      Cryoleial Borialin is an Eladrin or Elvin woman of great icy beauty. She used to be coldly aloof and lonely and very reclusive because all who touched her froze to death and she shut herself away so as to not harm mortals. She built a following with this nature and people preached she was a reflection of the uncaring winter. She then met a man who could touch her and not suffer any effect and they married. She was never actually uncaring and aloof she was just depressed and lonely so her marriage brightened up her demeanor. She how holds winter celebrations and holidays that are full of cheer. She is not completely without morose spells but having a permanent mate means she can get through them more easily. In some of the Older temples or in the more conservative ones, her husband is never mentioned.
      People have tried to touch her when they see her and this has lead to several deaths. Any character that is attracted to women needs to roll a wisdom saving throw. Anything under 5 will lead the character to attempt to touch her. If she sees this she will bat the character's hand away with her gloved hands but will not be angry about this as she knows that there is a strange compulsion around her. If character successfully touch her skin they will be brought to 1 hit point and slowed or if passing a constitution check be reduced by half of their current hitpoints.
       
      The Traveler
      Power Level : Lesser
      Alignment: Chaotic or Lawful Neutral ( Depending on his mood )
      Follower Alignment: Any
      Domains: Travel, adventure, wanderlust, seeking out secrets, exploration
      The Traveler is a hefty Vistani man of good cheer and mysterious ways. His exact features seem to change so it is hard to recognize him if you encounter him. He may even disguise himself as a woman or a child. He is often wandering the multiverse and he has no true church or clergy. Everyone who sets out to see new things is said to be his follower. Whenever he meets someone he may through hints and rumors send them on the path of adventure. His ultimate goals are hard to comprehend if he has any because sometimes he will set people on a path that leads to glory and sometimes to destruction. It is said by most scholars that he doesn't have an end goal and just points out possibilities. He seems to have no moral aims beyond encouraging travel and adventure. He is one of the Children of Phagogore. The Traveler has a twin brother who is also powerful and immortal but not a god.
      His holy symbol is that of a road stretching off into the horizon.
      Bernard Soulsinger / Veryamorton  Laermeluion Malathalonin / The Bold bear of song.
      Power Level : Lesser
      Alignment: Neutral good
      Domains: Music, joy, art, literature, good natured jokes or trickery and inter-species romances.
      Bernard is a jolly chubby half elf or Half Eladrin with a ruddy complexion and golden hair. He is one of the sons Phagogore sired in one of his many affairs. In Bernard's case his mother was the Eladrin high queen Fainauriel Malathalonin the immortal who engaged in the affair 500 years after her husband died in battle. This means that Bernard is technically part of the Royal family of the most powerful Elvish kingdom but not in a position to inherit the throne unless his 5 half siblings and their heirs die. This has led to a weird divide among Eladrin in the mistland kingdoms as he is Shunned by some of his half siblings and embraced by others. Whorship or representation of him is banned or frowned upon in some of the royal houses and completely fine iin others. Despite not being a god of war it has been noted that he seems to engage directly in many important large scale conflicts against the forces of evil. Since he is also fond of trickery he will sometimes play jokes on people or do odd things to make people laugh. He once convinced a Human king that his wife had been turned into a cat for a week despite her being present the whole time. This Averted a war with a neighboring Dwarven kingdom because " My husband is convinced i turned into a cat, imagine what other wrong things he has been convinced of." It was later reveal one of his advisers was manipulating the king into a war for evil purposes and this practicle joke gave them time to uncover this.
      When represented by elves as Veryamorton  Laermeluion Malathalonin his symbol is A Raiper and a pair of castanets, When represented by humans Bernard's Holy Symbol is a tipped goblet with a harp on it but he is sometimes represented with a bear playing a lute. This because sometimes he turns into a bear that plays the lute.
       
      The Collector
      Power Level :Greater
      Alignment: Nuetral
      Follower Alignment: any
      Domains: Death, moving on, collecting souls, transit to the afterlife.
      The Collector is Depicted as a Dragon that is black ( But not a black dragon as seen in the monsters manual ) that has glowing green eyes. This dragon is neither male or female, they are just a dragon. They are called the collector not only because they collect and shepherd the souls of the dead but because all that die in their realm have a small effigy of the person sculpted and added to their collection. These Effigies carry copies of all that person's memories and experiences. It is said that this dragon hoards memories. The souls of the dead are then shepherded through the astral sea to their final resting places. The Collector keeps all creatures that would detain or take souls away as they travel to their final destination. The Collector yearns to collect the memories of all that live but is not greedy enough to try and accelerate people's demise, the collector also does not begrudge those that are resurrected.
       
      More to be added.
      New Spells: These are spells and abilities that are native to the mistlands and are in addition to the spells available in 5thE materials. 
      Suspend hunger: A 3rd level spell that stops all hunger and thirst for 3 days. At the end of 3 days hunger and thirst return and you can not have the spell cast on your for 3 more days. When cast as a ritual the components are some chalk to draw a circle, a seed of any type and 3 drops of water.
      Spectral dagger:
      Cantrip
      Casting time: Bonus action
      Range:( 60ft ) if Thrown, touch if held.
      Components: mental Concentration.
      Duration: Instantaneous, concentration
      This spell allows you to create a dagger of magical energy in your hand and throw it like a throwing dagger or use it as a Melee weapon. It has the same damage as a mundane dagger 1D4 damage but counts as a magic weapon. At 1st level it does piercing/ force damage at 3rd 5th 7th and 9th level a new damage type can added. This is Retroactive but only happens after a level up. If someone got it at 5th level then leveled up to 6th level then they could pick 2 additional damage types. only one damage type is active at a time. until 10th level when 2 damage types can be applied at a time. Starting at level 5 you can create 2 of these and throw them at the same target or hold them both in your hand each dagger can be a different damage type. at leveled 10 you can create 3 but can only hold as many as you have hands.
      Shade
      Evocation Cantrip
      Casting time: 1 action
      Range:5 foot radius
      Components: V S
      Duration 1hour unless dismissed
      This spell creates an area 5 feet in radius in which bright harsh light is dimmed and glare is reduced. If you are trying to hide a shiny paladin or reflective object in a sunlit area this spell lets you do that. It also gives you slight respite from harsh sunlight and heat. It is not dim enough to hinder vision so it can not be used in offensive fashion. It will also not shield creatures harmed by sunlight from taking damage. Should the caster be subjected to light briight enough to blind or daze them, the shade will reduce it to manageable levels.
      Rafenlos's Ray of Rot
      Necromancy Cantrip
      Casting time: 1 action
      Range:60ft
      Components: V S
      Duration: Instantaneous.
      Caster fires a ragged beam of black and purple energy at a creature within range. Make a ranged attack against the target. on hit Target takes 1D8 necrotic damage and has a 1 in 4 chance to gain a -4 penalty on attack rolls. Roll a 1D4 and on a 4 the target gets a -4 penalty on the next attack. the damage of this increases at 5th level to 2D8 and at 11th to 4D8 and 17th to 4D8. This can be cast non lethally but must be declared before hand. The Non-lethal spell effect is deep blue and Black and is visually different enough that observes can tell whether or not it is being cast lethally.
      Pyrathos's Flaming Ray
      Evocation Cantrip
      Casting time: 1 action
      Range:60ft
      Components: V S
      Duration: Instantaneous. Concentration
      Caster fires a precise beam of fire at at a creature within range. Make a ranged attack against the target. on hit Target takes 1D8 fire damage and has a 1 in 4 chance to gain a 1D4 damage at the start of each turn. Roll a 1D4 and on a 4 the target begins to smolder and take 1D4 fire damage until they pass a constitution saving throw or they suffer 2 rounds of damage. This Spell can be cast continuously but it consumes the caster's attack but they can still move while casting it. Moving force the caster to make a new attack roll with a -2 penalty. The damage of this increases at 5th level to 2D8 and at 11th to 4D8 and 17th to 4D8 and it lasts on additional round of the 1d4 fire damage each time the damage increases from a level up. This can't really be cast non-lethally because it is fire. This spell also has the utility that it can start fires on flammable objects or bring water to a boiled when maintained.
      Grasping force
      Conjuration Cantrip
      Casting time: 1 action
      Range:30ft
      Components: V S
      Duration:  3rounds or Instantaneous.
      This creates a shapeless force that can hold up or move 50 pounds or instantly shove up to a medium creature. When used as an attack it deals 1D4 force damage and moves a creature one space on a failed strength check. This can also be used to push or pull a creature without damaging them. It lasts far shorter than mage hand but it can be used to pull someone back from falling or move them out of the way of danger. It can also be used to catch or halt a falling object up to 50 pounds. A falling vase can be brought to a halt before it hits the floor and a thrown oil flask can be batted away. It can also be used to send an object sliding away from you back toward your grasp.
      Spark Strike
      Evocation Cantrip
      Casting time: 1 action
      Range:60ft
      Components:  S
      Duration: Instantaneous.
      A narrow bolt of lighting shoots from the Caster's fingers and strikes one target. Make a ranged attack against the target. on hit Target takes 1D8 lightning damage and has a 1 in 8 chance drop what ever is in their hand and a 1 in 8 chance to spasm and hit themselves. Roll a 1D8 and if you roll a 7 the target has to make a Dex saving throw or drop their weapon if an 8 is rolled then the target spasms and hits themselves for their weapon damage reduced by half. If the target rolls full damage with their weapon, they take all of it. This Spell can also be cast without speaking so it will still function if the caster is gagged. It is by no means a stealthy spell as it shoots lightning. This can be cast non lethally and just stun or numb the target.
       
      Grossomar Venia's Javelin of light/darkness
      Invocation Cantrip
      Casting time: 1 action
      Range:60ft
      Components:  S
      Duration: Instantaneous.
      This spell causes a vaguely javelin shaped projectile launched from the hand. Caster chooses Dark or light when casting it. If light is chosen a radiant javelin flies out and does 1d8 +1  radiant damage. If dark is chosen then a black javelin is hurled that does 1D8 force Damage but on a critical hit ( Natural 20 roll ) causes Disadvantage on perception checks for 3 rounds and disadvantage on the next attack roll for any attacks that require sight. Abilities like misty step that require sight will have the effected roll a Dex Saving throw or they will fall prone. " The evil wizard, his vision blurred tried to escape us, but he misty steeped 2 feet off his mark and fled straight into the wall next to the door and knocked himself cold. The Abbot we had been sent to rescue laughed so hard we had to carry him out."
      This Spell was created by the god Grossomar Venia for his armies to guard against hellish invasions but proved so useful that knowledge of it was freely distributed to Divine and Arcane casters the world over.
      Lullaby
      Level 1 bard spell or Ritual
      Range 30 feet as ritual or level one spell slot. Cast as a 5th level it can be heard by an entire village.
      Components:Verbal
      Duration: up to 4 hours. Roll 1D4. If nat 20 is rolled on performance check it lasts 24 hours.
      Any creature suffering has their symptoms lessened or reduced but not cured. Anyone who hears it gains the benefit of a short rest without loosing any effects that would be lost after a rest. It also as mentioned reduces suffering, on going damage from disease or poison is halved for duration of the effect. This also gives listeners advantage on saving throws and calms panicked or feared neutral or friendly people. It will also comfort the dying. If any creature, friend or foe is dying what would be a slow painful death, the pain is forgotten and the death becomes a peaceful one.

      "I was working as a doctor when the plague hit Swamp landing, a moderate trading village that was the only access to the swamps. There were more people than we could treat, the dying filled the streets crying out as the fever wracked their bodies with pain. Then, the whole town was blanketed by a clear sweet voice, the cries of pain fell silent and the nurses and doctors felt a call clarity as they tried to save lives. For once the town was silent except for the song. Passings were gentle and some we thought would never make it took a turn for the better. After 2 hours the music stopped but the calm remained. The mayor sent some guards to where they thought it had come from. it was a hill just outside of town. There they found a boy, a street orphan they thought. He was slumped against a rock overlooking the village square holding a home made guitar. He was skin and bones and covered in the rashes of the plague. He spent his last hours of life singing the suffering to rest, if the gods are not caring for his soul now i will have words for them when my time comes."
       
      Force orb
      Psychic/Telekinetic Cantrip
      Casting time: 1 action
      Range:60ft
      Components:  Mental
      A hazy transparent orb of distortion flies at a target. Make a ranged spell attack against the target. On a hit, the target takes 1d10 force damage.
      The ability creates more than one orb when you reach higher levels: two orbs at 5th level, three beams at 11th level, and four orbs at 17th level. You can direct the orbs at the same target or at different ones. Make a separate attack roll for each orb. On Crit target must make a Dex saving throw or be knocked prone.
       
      Chemical Splash ( Modified Acid splash )
      Conjuration cantrip
      Casting time: 1 action
      Range:60ft
      Components:  V S
      Choose one Target, or choose two creatures that are within 5 feet of each other, within range ( this includes the environment, locks and doors can be eaten through by acid damage.) A target must succeed on a Dexterity save or take 1d6 acid ( or poison  depending on caster choice ) damage.
      Unlike acid splash from Toril, Chemical splash can be modified on the fly when cast. Caster can choose Acid, Poison, or Soporific ( Tranquilizer ) 
      Choosing Soporific will damage the target but damage caused by this effect is non lethal and causes the target to fall asleep or pass out. Target can awaken from this if damaged.
      This spell's damage increases by 1d6 when you reach 5th, 11th, and 17th level.
      Phantom dart
      Conjuration cantrip
      Casting time: 1 action
      Range:60ft
      Components:  V S
      This cantrip creates a small spectral dart that fires at target in range for 1D4 Damage. You can conjure it and hold it ready. Any poisons or tinctures that the cast wishes to apply to it can be put on it afterward or during casting. You must have a vial of that poison open at cast to apply it on casting. The target must make saving throws for the poison chosen. This spell is slightly more comlicated for pllayers to use as it is more of a toxin delivery system than a real attack though it can be used this way in an emergency.
      Push/pull
      Psychic Cantrip
      Casting time: 1 action
      Range:30ft
      Components:  Mental
      Up to  1 medium creature target can be pushed 5 ft in any direction. This does no damage. Target does not have to be a creature it can be an object. Target can resist with a strength check.
      Gunthor's Frost bomb ( Modified fire balls )
      3rd level evocation
      Casting time: 1 action
      Range:150
      Components:  V S ( VSM when made as a pre-prepared spell item, components are 3 drops of ice cold water and freshly fallen snow )
      A bright white streak flashes from your pointing finger to a point you choose within range then blossoms with a low roar into an explosion of Frost. Each creature in a 20-foot radius Sphere centered on that point must make a Dexterity saving throw. A target takes 8d6 frost damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. each targets has its speed is reduced by 10 feet until the start of your next turn.

      The ice spreads around corners. It freezes any freezable liquids or Objects in the area that aren't being worn or carried.

      At Higher Levels: When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 4th level or higher, the damage increases by 1d6 for each slot level above 3rd.
       
      Classes: New Classes or modifications to existing classes
      Idealist Cleric or Paladin: This is similar to a normal 5thE cleric but they are not driven by the worship of a god, but of an idea. These people came into being During the days when  "The Church of the remnant" was still a group of idealists with no divine power. When Divine power began to Manifest in them it stated with the " The Church of the remnant" but anyone who held certain ideals strongly enough began to be granted powers.
      Mechanic notes: powers that pertain to the ideal are boosted +2 but any prayers for guidance or divination don't work. Example a cleriic devoted to the ideal of healing will get plus 2 on all healing related powers and a Cleric devoted to the ideal of combat will gain +2 on all attack powers.
      Meta Magician: After gaining enough Arcane knowledge arcane power users with the Meta Magician feat can spend time to study then create a modified version of a spell. This is how Pyranthos and "Rafenlos the Redeemed" Created the spells that bear their names.
      Psionic/Psychics: People who use the sheer power of their mind. The power on which they draw is like magic in a sense but many things that inhibit magic effect Psychics to a lesser degree. A pyshic will still have their powers in an anti magic field. Spells that do Psychic damage can be learned as powers by this class.
      Magical mutations: Since magic and psychic energies are so plentiful, mutations occur that can add extra layers to characters. Discuss with the GM what mutations you want to add and they may be allowed. This can be anything from strange eye colors to talking animal characters that cast spells to even people who switch sexes when the moon hits a certain phase. These magical mutations also explain why some monsters have human level intelligence and can be PCs.

       
       
      Races:

      hesslithith: A serpent race that appears Similar to Yuan-ti but are very different in behavior. They are all incapable of speech so must communicate telepathically. This means they are skilled in stealth but their inns sound depressingly quiet to non-psychics. A hesslithith can transmit thoughts to non telepaths but only to people they intend, you need to be a psychic to eavesdrop on their conversations. They are Amphibious and can live on land and in water so they don't come into conflict with others when it comes to living space as often. They Need warm climates so are at home in sweltering swamps and jungles as well as warm coastal seas. ( Stats will come later )
      Vistani: There is a sizable Vistani population in the mistlands. There are infact several Clans of Vistani so players can choose to play as the Vastani variant of human.
      Djinn-kin:
      Theonleth/ Theolonrial: This can be considered the Celestial mirror of the arcanaloth. They are Animal people who are well versed in knowledge of all things divine and arcane. They are more a mixture of Fiend and Celestial and can be any alignment but lean toward good. Since Theonleths are such powerful spiritual beings they can't really die like other beings but their physical bodies can be destroyed. They will reform after a time in their Astral home and can make their way back to  the physical world. Players who play Theonleths can offer a challenge to the GM. They come in lesser and greater/ Ellder and younger Varieties usually determined by age and power. Players can only play as Lesser/younger to preserve balance. A greater Theonleth/ Theolonrial will have total control over any Lycanthropes they meet while Younger Theonleth/ Theolonrial will be able to repel them once a day.
       
      Calavites/ The children of Calavacla: Underground dwelling human-kin that have extreme life spans, dark-vision and pale skin. They have been compared to the Shardar-kai and they indeed are similar in many ways. Calavites have sharp teeth and are often mistaken for vampires. Their culture and architexture is considered a little unsettling but they are not evil. The main problem surface dwellers in their cities experience is lack of light, since the Calavites have darkvison their cities are very sparsely lit.
                 
    • By Kindar in Missing Son 0
      The Missing Son 38
            With fall's arrival he didn't get to see his family as much. His brothers went back to school, even Aaron decided on another year, instead of enlisting.
            They all got together every few weekends to play football or baseball at the park. Patrick tried to get his mother to join them, but she declined, using her job at the diner as an excuse.
            * * * * *
            "Patrick?" His mother asked, knocking on his bedroom door. "can I talk to you for a moment?"
            "Sure." Patrick turned off the display on his phone and set it on the bedside table.
            She entered, looking around and shaking her head at the clutter before focusing on him. "It's about your father."
            It had been a month and a half since the dinner, and she hadn't said a word about it. He hadn't pushed, he knew she wasn't comfortable with the subject.
            "I've been thinking, and... I mean, I think we should invite him, well them, for thanksgiving."
            "Their whole family?" Patrick was surprise she was making the offer.
            "No, no. Just him, and his brother, of course. We couldn't fit all of them, how many children did they say they have?"
            "Seven."
            She shook her head. "Right, no, we definitely couldn't fit all of them."
            "Are you sure it's a good idea? They could be celebrating Thanksgiving with their family."
            "Yes, you're right, what was I thinking?" She turned to leave.
            "Wait, I'll call and ask them." If she was inviting them, that was clear progress and he didn't want to discourage her outright.
            She gave him a weak smile. "Alright." Then left his room.
            Patrick wondered what had brought that on, she hadn't shown any interest in spending time with them before. he shrugged, just happy she did, and called his father.
            "Hi dad."
            "Hi son, what's up?"
            "Well, my mom wanted to know if the two of you would be interested in having thanksgiving dinner with us."
            "She invited us?"
            "Yeah, I was surprised too."
            "I'd like to, considering she's making the effort, but I'm going to have to check with the kids. We usually go all out as a family on that day."
            "I understand."
            "Let me call you back in an hour or so, they're all working on school work right now."
            "Sure."
            And hour later his father called back.
            "Me and Donny are all good to go. The kids are insisting we go, they really want your mom to come to the birthday party and if that's what it takes to make her comfortable, they are all for it."
            "I'll tell my mom, and we'll see you both on the 26th."
            * * * * *
            The meal was simpler this time, since his mother had to work the noon shift at the dinner. Chicken with stuffing out of a box, store bought bread, but the cranberry sauce was home made. His fathers only brought one bottle of white wine, as he's asked. For dessert it was going to be a chocolate cake with a choice of maple walnut ice cream, his favorite, or vanilla.
            They were in the middle of the meal, with his mother regaling them about a customer who demanded to have the whole thanksgiving experience at the dinner, when someone knocked at the door. She'd been telling them how He'd gotten into a shouting match with the cook because they couldn't do the stuffing to go with his turkey, cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes.
            She stopped talking and looked down the hall.
            "Did you invite anyone else Patrick?" she asked, then looked at Donald, how was wearing a purple button-down shirt and Daniel, how had a plain white one.
            "We didn't, promise." Daniel said.
            Patrick went to stand but she waved him down. "I'll get it."
            Donald chuckled bitterly. "I guess even here you aren't immune from the door to door sellers."
            "Looks like it," Patrick replied.
            "Maybe we should have a talk with Dam," Daniel said, "have him outlaw the act."
            Patrick stared at his father, mouth open.
            "He's kidding," Donald reassured Patrick. "Anyway, it isn't something Damian is going make happen."
            They exchanged a look that made Patrick question that statement. Okay, just who the-
            "Father Durony! What are you doing here?"
            Patrick cursed under his breath.
            "Hello Margarette," The priest answered. "This year I decided to visit all my parishioner on this special day and help them give thanks."
            "Ahh, that's very good of you, Father, but..."
            "No need to thank me, Margarette, it's simply my duty to my flock."
            Footsteps moved toward the kitchen, the hard-sole shoes of Father Durony clacking on the old wooden floor in the hall.
            "Patrick, how are you," the old ram said as he entered the room. "Oh, you have guests, I had no idea."
            "Yes," Margarette said, just behind him. "That is Donald, this is Daniel. They are, err, friends of the family."
            "I am so glad to meet you. Which church do you go to?"
            "We're from the other side of the city," Daniel said amicably. "I doubt you've heard of it." He gave his brother a warning glance.
            "I hope your pastor takes good care of you and your soul."
            His mother pleaded with Patrick, mouthing 'I didn't know.'
            Patrick gave her a small nod. He believed her, but he had trouble believing the priest was here by accident.
            "And you Patrick," the priest continued, either unaware, of ignoring the looks being exchanged. "How have you been."
            "I've been okay."
            "I'm glad to hear it. Have you seen your father since we last talk? Have you been able to talk with him about his sins, and how to get back on the Path?"
            Daniel gave Patrick a questioning look, but Patrick was looking at Donald, whose face was hardening.
            It was his mother who spoke up. "Father, please. this isn't the place for such talk."
            "Of course, please accept my apology."
            His mother nodded. "Patrick, why don't you go get an extra chair for Father Durony."
            Patrick stood out of reflex, even if he didn't want the priest to stay. They had a couple of old foldout chairs in the linen closet down the hall.
            "Please Patrick, no need to bother, I won't be staying. How about I lead us in a short prayer to give thanks?"
            His mother forced a smile, "of course."
            Father Durony closed his eyes and brought his hands together. Donald opened his mouth, but closed it again at Daniel's glare.
            "We thank you, our heavenly Father, for the food you give us, for the time you allow us to spend with our family and friends and we ask that you give us the strength to withstand temptation. Amen."
            "Amen," Patrick and his mother echoed.
            Father Durony eyed Patrick's fathers. "I don't believe I heard you say Amen."
            Daniel smiled at the priest. "We didn't feel it was needed."
            It was clear to Patrick Donald was keeping his mouth shut through will power.
            "At least please tell me you joined in the prayer. It was the Christian thing to do."
            "Alright, why don't you shut up." Donald erupted.
            "Donald!" his mother exclaimed.
            "Dad," Patrick warned.
            Even before the silence fell Patrick realized he'd made things worse.
            Father Durony was the first one to find his voice. "So, you're the sinner." He turned to Daniel. "How can you let your brother carry on living in sin? don't you care at all for his soul?"
            "Shut the fuck up." Donald growled. "What me and Danny chose to do behind closed door is none of your fucking business."
            "Don't you dare take that tone of voice with me. I'm the voice of God. You will show me respect."
            "Like Hell I will after you spoke to me that way. You get what you throw out, you can't swallow it you keep your muzzle shut."
            "Can't you get it through your thick skull that I'm trying to save your immortal soul?" Father Durony screamed.
            "Bullshit!" Donald was on his feet, fingers almost jabbing at the ram's muzzle. "You're just hoping to make yourself feel better by trying to make me feel bad. Well I got news for you. We're perfectly fine with who we are, so you're going to have to get your cheap kicks somewhere else."
            Father Durony swatted the finger aside. "If you think I'm going to let your heathen ways infect Patrick's soul..."
            "Silence!" Patrick's roar stunned everyone into it. "dad, sit down." Patrick stood.
            "Patrick."
            "Sit your ass the fuck down."
            Donald's expression was pained as he sat. The priest smiled in victory, but that lasted only until Patrick grabbed him by the collar. "And you're getting the fuck out of my mother's house." He dragged him to the door and it was only with effort that he didn't throw him out.
            "Patrick, I implore that you listen to me."
            "Shut up Durony. There's nothing you can say that I want to hear."
            "But that man is a danger to your soul."
            "No. He's my father. You're the danger here. I'm done listening to your bigoted opinions. I can't stop my mom from going to church, but I fucking hope that after your display she's going to know better than to think that anything you have to say comes from Gods."
            "I am God's voice on Earth."
            "Bullshit. God doesn't speak of intolerance and bigotry. He speaks of love and tolerance. You're the bigoted one, and you're hiding behind God."
            "You are making a dangerous mistake young man, in letting that... person in your life. He will drag you off the Path."
            Patrick wanted to scream at him to leave his family alone, but he found he didn't have the strength anymore. He didn't want to spend any more time arguing with this bigot.
            He sighed. "You know what father? I'm going to pray for you and hope you eventually find God's love. Now go home."
            The ram huffed as if what Patrick had said was an insult, turned and left. Patrick didn't watch him go he went back in and gently closed the door behind himself. He took his seat at the table and joined the others in the loud silence.
            When his mother spoke he voice was tentative. "Patrick I swear I didn't know he was coming here."
            "I know, mom. I'm guessing Old Dame Lambert saw we had guests and reported it to him."
            They were silent for a moment again. Then she placed a hand on Donald's and Daniel's. "I am truly sorry you had to be subjected to such hate." She took a breath. "I don't know how I feel about you living in..." she stopped herself. "About you being gay, but I know you're a good person, and that you wouldn't do anything to hurt Patrick, our son."
            Daniel nodded.
            Donald sighed. "I'm sorry I lost my temper. I shouldn't have let him get to me like that."
            His mother smiled. "Well, I have to say it wasn't entirely unexpected. Patrick does have your temper."
            That made them chuckle, and they set about continuing the meal.
    • By Kindar in Missing Son 0
      The Missing Son 37
            Patrick leaned against the wall and watched his mother work. He couldn't help chuckling. He'd never seen his mom put so much effort in a meal. He'd gotten up at ten to the sound of her cleaning the house, and the moment he stepped out of his bedroom she gave him a list of ingredients to go buy.
            When he'd come back she had her cooking gloves and apron on and she set to work. He'd offered to help, but other than peeling potatoes and chopping vegetables she wouldn't let him in the kitchen. He'd watched her make bread, and a cake.
            He wasn't sure if that was the last time his mother had baked, but he had a memory from when he was six or seven. It was Christmas, for some reason she didn't work that day. They had spent the day making bread, cookies and cakes. He'd helped as best as he could, even improvising gloves to avoid leaving fur in the bread dough. He smiled at the memory.
            "Patrick, can you make sure the bowls and plates are clean?"
            "Sure thing mom." He knew they were, since he'd been the one to do the dishes last night, but he washed everything again, both to please her and to have something to do. After drying them he set the table.
            A moment later his mother sat down. "All done. The roast is resting, the bread is going to be ready in twenty minutes. the soup is..."
            "Mom, I know, I watched you do all of it."
            "I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed cooking."
            "Well, you should try to do more."
            She shook her head. "No, tonight is a special occasion. I can't afford to take the time off to cook." She smiled at him. "Once I retire. I finally have a retirement plan that will let me do that."
            Patrick considered things for a moment. "You know. with the odd jobs I've been picking up in Richard's neighborhood, we probably have enough money for you to quit the waitressing job."
            She placed a hand over his. "No Patrick, that's your money. We can split the groceries and bill, but it's your money. "
            "Mom, I can..."
            "No, Patrick. What these last few weeks have made me realize is that you are an adult now. You need to have your own things, that means your own money so you can buy things you want."
            Want? He didn't want anything that required money, did he?
            "Now, go change into something more presentable."
            He looked at what he was wearing, jeans and is wife beater. "This is fine."
            "Patrick, we are having guests, put your church shirt on." She stood and headed to her room.
            It was his fathers, not the president that was coming over. Still, he went to his room and pulled out the shirt he wore when he went to church, then looked at his jeans. They were faded in places and almost worn through in others. He probably had a pair in better condition.
            He found one, a black pair that wasn't quite as worn. Dressed he headed back to the kitchen. As the timer beeped his mother came out wearing her best dress, a gray and gold summer dress that went down to her knees. He almost commented, and would have made a fool of himself, but there was a knock at the door.
            "I'll get it," he said.
            He opened the door and his greeting died on his lips. His fathers were standing before him, wearing brown slacks. One had a black shirt on, the other an orange one.
            "Hi Patrick," one of them, in the black shirt, said.
            Patrick shook his head. "Sorry, you're wearing different colors."
            "It was Danny's idea," Donald said, nodding to his brother in the black shirt.
            "I thought it might make things easier on your mother."
            "I'm sure it will, come on in."
            "We weren't sure what we'd eat," Donald said, showing the bottle he was holding. "So we brought a bottle of red and one of white."
            Daniel raised his bottle.
            "Thanks." Patrick took the bottles and eyed them suspiciously.
            "Don't worry," Daniel whispered. "They aren't expensive."
            They took the few steps taking them to the kitchen. His mother was fidgeting next to the table.
            "Mom, you remember Daniel and Donald," he said, indicating them, and then placing the bottles on the counter.
            "Yes," she replied, "welcome to our home." She hesitated before offering her hand.
            Daniel took it. "It's a pleasure to see you again, Margarette."
            "Yes, it is," Donald said when he shook her hand, although he didn't sound as enthusiastic as his brother.
            "Please, have a seat." She indicated the table. "Patrick, you too."
            "I can help serve the food."
            "Go sit down, I'll take care of that." She took the bottle from him. "I'm afraid we don't have wine glasses, I hope normal ones will do."
            "That'll be fine," Donald replied.
            Patrick took a can of orange soda out of the fridge before sitting down. His mother place an empty glass before him and then glasses half full with red wine before Daniel and Donald and her place. She collected the bowls and filled them with soup.
            They ate in silence for a long moment. Patrick tried to find a way to break the uncomfortable silence, but it was Daniel who did it.
            "Where do you work, Margarette?"
            "I work at Olympic Mattress, it's a mattress factory. I'm a team supervisor. I also work at a diner a few blocks away."
            "Two jobs?" Donald said. "That can't be easy."
            "It can get tiring, but we do what we have to. Actually, today I should have..." she paused, then shook her head. "That isn't important. But that might chance soon, I decided to apply to the position of floor supervisor when it opens."
            Patrick looked up. "Really? I didn't know that."
            "I'm not sure when it will happen," She said, "and I can't be certain I'll get it, but I want to try."
            "That's great, mom."
            "I hope you get it," Donald said, raising his glass to her.
            "What does being a team supervisor entails?" Daniel asked.
            "It mostly mean I make sure my team works efficiently, if one of them had a problem I help them resolve it. But me and the other supervisor have started polling everyone for ideas on how to improve the work flow. We take an hour every week to refine our choices, and at the end of the month we present the best one to management."
            "Are they receptive?" Donald asked,
            "Very much so. Last month we suggested a new layout for the sewing machines that will help the flow of production. When we came back after that weekend, a quarter of the floor had been rearranged, and two teams are working on it."
            Donald finished his soup. "Why didn't they do all of them?"
            "The layout isn't proven, so they don't want to risk disrupting the entire production. They are going to leave it like this for six month, to give everyone on that line the time to get used to it, then they are going to compare it to the rest of the floor." She took the bowls away and brought the roast to the table. She offered the knife to Donald, and he sliced it while she place the salad on the table and cut the bread.
            "That's really impressive," Daniel commented. "Me and Donny aren't exactly team players."
            "What do you do?" she asked.
            "We're computer game designers."
            "And you do well?"
            "Well enough," Donald said.
            "They made Castle Crash," Patrick said.
            His mother's eyes grew wide.
            "To be honest," Daniel said, "it hit it big after we sold it. And it would never have become as successful if we'd kept it. We don't do a lot of marketing."
            "Or try to gouge the player base," Donald grumbled.
            "What do you mean?" Patrick asked.
            Daniel finished his piece of roast. "The company we sold it to made it so a lot of the big bonus can only be bought with cash, instead of earned through play. That isn't the way we do things, but I have to give them this, the controversy did have everyone talking about it for a while."
            Margarette buttered her bread. "don't you have to work with others to make games?"
            "Not really," Donald said. "Sometime we have to hire someone for part of the game, like the music, but they are working for us, not with us."
            Daniel took over. "Our current game has us working more closely with others because we've been hired to make it for a new game system, so there's a lot of conversation, but even that isn't really working with a team. We do our part, test it with the system. If it doesn't work they decide if they want to adjust the system or the game."
            Donald looked thoughtful for a moment. "You know, I think the last time we worked as part of a team was in high school."
            Daniel nodded. "Our senior year, chemistry."
            "Right. We were teamed up with... That wolf guy, the one who was on the baseball team, and this cow, I think. Anyway, yeah, that was a disaster."
            "What happened?" Patrick asked.
            "The project was about demonstrating an exothermic reaction."
            "So, being the down to earth, dependable teens that we were," Daniel continued, "we decided to make a fertilizer bomb."
            "You what?" Margarette exclaimed.
            "Just a small one."
            Donald nodded. "And the ingredients weren't in a sealed container, they were on a board so we figured there wasn't going to be a 'bang'."
            "Because of that I'm guessing there was one," Patrick said.
            "It was more of a loud 'paf'," Daniel said.
            "A lot of smoke and heat."
            "And singed fur, don't forget that."
            Donald chuckled. "Danny was the one who lit it so he was right next to it when it went off. He ended up on his ass."
            "Did you get hurt?" Margarette asked.
            "No, just my fur that got singed. for about two months my face fur was uneven. Donny was the one really troubled by it."
            "Why?"
            "We're twins. We've always looked alike, and for the first-time people could tell us apart easily. I wanted to shave my fur to match him, but dad wouldn't let me. I think that was the only time I was really angry at him."
            "He knew you wouldn't be able to do it."
            "I know, but I was still pissed at him."
            Margarette nodded. "It isn't always easy to do what we think is the best for our children," she said thoughtfully.
            Daniel raised his glass. "Amen to that."
            Donald joined it. "Very much so."
            Margarette looked at them surprised before lifting her glass.
            They looked at Patrick. who chuckled and raised his own. "How about I get back to you in twenty years or so." He drained his glass. "Do you want more?" he pointed at the empty glasses.
            "Who's driving?" Donald asked.
            "I will, go ahead. I'll have water."
            "Mom?"
            "Sure, why not. I have the afternoon shift tomorrow."
            He filled both the glasses halfway, then rinsed Daniel's and filled it with water from the fridge. he got himself another soda.
            Margarette got praises for the food, and the banana walnut cake impressed Donald so much he asked for the recipe. They talked for a while after they were done eating, until Margarette let out a yawn, which spread to everyone else.
            Donald and Daniel stood to leave, and Margarette called to them.
            "Patrick told me that you've invited him to celebrate his birthday at your house."
            "We'd like for both of you to come," Daniel replied.
            "Who is going to be there?"
            They looked at each other. Donald was the one who spoke. "Well, the kids invite their friends, and the parents come too."
            "How many people are we talking about?"
            "Possibly close to seventy-five."
            "And what will be happening?"
            "we have a pool, so swimming, talking, someone usually starts a volley ball game. If the weather isn't on our side we'll be inside. we have a few game consoles."
            Margarette nodded. "Alright, We'll think about it."
            Donald nodded. "That's all we can ask for."
            Patrick escorted them outside, where they hugged. Patrick found he didn't want to let go of them, holding both close to him and breathing in their scents. They kept their arms around him, and he stayed like that until he started to feel aroused.
            He let go of them. "No matter what my mom decides, I'll be there."
            "We're looking forward to it." They turned to leave.
            "You two drive safely."
            "No worries there," Donald replied. "Slow-mo here is the one driving."
            "You had that extra glass of wine, now you pay the price." his brother said.
            Patrick smiled and watched them walk away. He watched their ass and tails until they got in their car. He stayed outside for a time to give his heart time to settle before going in.
            "Mom," he said, entering the kitchen, "go to bed, I'll clean up."
            She put plates in the sink. "It's okay. I can take care of this."
            "Mom, you spent the day cooking. It's my turn. Go to bed."
            "Are you sure?"
            "I am." He hugged his mother. "Thank you for doing this. I love you mom."
            "I love you too Patrick."
    • By Kindar in Excerpt for Patreon Exclusives 0
      Going home: Strongburgh, Part 4 of 4
      He shoved the metal slim between the wooden door and the frame, just above the lock and pushed against it. The door cracked and the lock assembly bulged, but not enough. He forced the slim back in, this time going a little deeper and giving him better purchase. It still wasn’t enough, but on the third try the wood shattered and the lock fell out of the door.
      Sometimes, even for a Builder, it was the application of direct force that got the job down. But, as soon as he had the time he was making himself some sort of multi-key, this was the second, not third door he’s broken to open, and that didn’t count the minivan.
      He peeked inside, relieved to not hear any alarm. The large storage room smells of dust and mold. The only light came from the door he held open. It was enough to show him boxes after boxes with signs of water damage. A few had papers spilling out of broken sides.
      He stepped in. This, he figured, was what had happened to all the books and pages of tests once computers had been introduced. This was what he’d used to learn. It was depressing to see all of it abandoned like that, but the Builder in him knew that technology always moved forward.
      He saw the door leading inside the hotel on the other side of the room, and closed the door. The darkness was near complete, what light that entered through the missing lock no enough to let him see past the first few stacks of boxes
      He almost tripped on an errand box, and did end up on his back when he stepped on papers made slick with mold and humidity. He cursed as trashing to get up just covered him with more of the gunk. As soon as they were over he was going to need a shower.
      The door opened without resistance and in the crack letting light through he could see it didn’t have a lock. Clearly the university didn’t care if someone stole what was in this room.
      He searched for Amirel’s device, and saw only one, heading for the cluster by the entrance. She’d posted them all there? She hadn’t kept any for protection? Since she didn’t know he could see the diagrams, this wasn’t a trap. She was that confident in their ability to keep him from getting in.
      Eric located Amirel’s briefcase above him, where he thought her office was. She’d be near it, he was certain of that. He considered turning on the sphere right now—he had to give the thing a name. He could repurpose ‘Disruptor’ since he’d left his in the elk’s classroom.
      He could turn the Disruptor on now, but he still had to cross to the other end of the building to access the stairs, and if she noticed the disruption, she’d have time to find a way to get reinforcement to her office.
      When the student had reached the cluster he opened the door. As he stepped out he saw the shiny mold on his pants and hoodie. Fortunately there was no one around to see him. He ducked back in, and found dry papers to scrap as much of it off as he could. He tried not to think of it as desecrating the past, after all he wasn’t the one who had abandoned all these papers here, the school system had.
      Once the spots on his clothes only looked dirty and damp, rather than wet and slimy he left the room and headed for the stairs. A few students had appeared, but none of them with devices in their necks, and some gave him a curious glance, but they didn’t seem bothered seeing him.
      No one yelled at him by the time he made it to Amirel’s floor, and he took that as a good sign. He turned the Disruptor on before leaving the stairs. He could wait until he was before her, give her a speech about the evil of her way and how he as going to stop her. He chuckled at his own idiocy, this wasn’t a movie, at least he hadn’t seen any cameras following him around. Until that happened, he was playing it safe, instead of the trying to rock it.
      He kept his gaze on the briefcase. If she hadn’t moved it, it should be at the foot of the desk, on the other side form the door. In the desk itself he could see the components to the device stacked in their boxes. And on the shelves all the other devices.
      The door was locked, but even if he didn’t remember what the combination, he could now work them out at a glance. He punched it in and entered the room.
      “How—?” she froze on seeing him.
      He closed the door behind him.
      “Everyone to my office, now.” She spoke in a calm voice, didn’t even raise it. For all appearance, Eric was the only one who could hear the command. It confirmed that the briefcase transmitted her commands. He wondered what the range was.
      He stepped around the desk. “I don’t care what you think.” She grabbed the briefcase before he got close to it. “But what you did to them is wrong.”
      “If you think you can stop me, you’ll be surprised.” She spoke with such certainty, such superiority it made Eric study her. “There’s on their way here, all of them. You through they had to hear my voice to obey me? You’re—”
      Eric hadn’t planned on showing her the Disruptor, it felt too much like a movie moment, but he figured it would shut her up.
      “What is that?”
      “It’s a signal disruptor, radio, cell. I had a Tecker student build it for me because, no, I didn’t think they had to be here to hear your orders. You hold on to that briefcase too tightly for me to think it isn’t important to all this. It transmits your orders to them, or it did. I turned this on before I opened the door.”
       
    • By Kindar in Missing Son 1
      The Missing Son 36
            Patrick didn't go directly to his mother's house. She wouldn't be home until five thirty, and he didn't want to be there alone. He walked the neighborhood, nodding to the people he saw. He had no doubt the old rhino would call his mom, she was always poking her nose into other people's business, but for once he didn't care.
            Mister Omaka was watering his roses and they talked for a bit. The ocelot had worried something had happened to Patrick, and he explained about the fight with his mother and staying at a friend's place. Patrick promised he'd let him know how the talk with his mother went.
            At five forty-five he headed back. His mother would be waiting for him and it would be unfair to let her worry needlessly. The door opened with its usual creaking.
            "Patrick?" his mother called.
            "Yeah, it's me." He put his jacket in the closet before heading to the kitchen. He stopped in the opening, she wasn't alone at the table, an older ram was seated across the table from her.
            "Hello Patrick," Father Durony said. "Would you take a seat?"
            Patrick didn't move. "Why are you here?"
            "I am here because your mother asked me to come."
            What was his mother doing involving the priest in this? He looked at her, but she was looking at the table.
            "She explained the argument that lead to you walking out."
            "Yeah, so?"
            "Please Patrick, sit down."
            Patrick didn't move immediately. He wanted to yell at his mother, this was a private matter, but that wouldn't help anything, specially not before father Durony. He took the closest chair and sat down.
            The ram looked at him, one eye was going cloudy. "Patrick, I want you to know that I'm not here to pursue any agenda. Your mother told me that she opposes you seeing your father, and I told her she was wrong."
            Patrick couldn't stop his ears from moving forward.
            "I would never advocate for a son to be kept away from his father unless there were safety issues." His mother opened her mouth, but the ram raised a hand. "Margarette, you agreed to let me talk."
            She looked at the table again.
            Father Durony looked at Patrick again. "Now, your mother has some concerns. Is it true that your father lives in sin?"
            Patrick considered going into details about what he knew his fathers got up to with his brothers. It might be good to see the old ram shocked, it might even send him off screaming. But the priest was being reasonable, for now.
            "He's gay, he and his husband are raising their kids." He kept things vague. He doubted his mother had given details.
            "She said you have visited them."
            "A few times now."
            "Have they done anything to you?"
            What was he talking about?
            "Have they tried to touch you inappropriately?"
            Patrick laughed at the old ram. "Of course not."
            "Patrick, please, this is serious."
            Patrick got his laughter under control. If only this priest had an inkling of how well behaved his family had been with him.
            "No, they have not done anything inappropriate. They are good people, and my brothers are pretty fun to hang out with."
            "That's a relief. And your brothers, are they... normal?"
            It was with some effort that Patrick kept his features neutral. "Normal?"
            "You know."
            "How the Hell," Sorry, "would I know that?"
            "You must have talked about it with them."
            Like there was any chance Patrick was going to discuss that with him. "Maybe you go about asking your family members about their sexual preferences, father, but I don't. I've gone swimming with them, I've played cards, and we've talked about life. And just so you know, if they had told me about their sex life, I wouldn't tell you."
            "Patrick, I'm asking out of concern."
            Patrick barely stopped the snort. "I don't care. I don't see them coming here to go to church, so that isn't any of your business."
            Father Durony raised his hands. "Alright. You are right, they aren't my parishioners. That is between them and their priests." He folded his hands before him. "Is it true they claimed that you are gay?"
            "They did." Patrick prepared himself for the next question.
            "And are you?"
            "No," he lied.
            The ram peered into his eyes and Patrick maintain the gaze. "Good," the priest said. "I'm proud of you for resisting temptation."
            It was a good thing his hands were out of view because they clenched. Resisting temptation?
            The ram smiled. "I'm happy to say that you have my blessing to continue seeing your father."
            His blessing? Like Patrick needed that. Just who the Hell (sorry) did he think he was?
            "And hopefully, with your guidance you can help him see the error of his ways, and guide him back on the Path." The ram stood. "I will leave the two of you to continue talking."
            With all his self-control Patrick stood without shoving the table out of his way. He hoped the priest wasn't going to say anything more because Patrick was inches from throwing him out of the house.
            Instead he escorted him to the door.
            "God be with you," the priest said and he stepped outside.
            Patrick forced the words out. "And He with you, father." Patrick was certain now he didn't want to have anything to do with Father Durony and his church. he closed the door and went to the bathroom.
            He rubbed water in his face. He needed to calm down. he couldn't let loose the anger the priest had stirred on his mother. He toweled his face dry and went back to the kitchen, taking the chair father Durony vacated.
            Patrick sat down opposite his mother. He waited of a moment in case she had something to say. When she didn't he did.
            "I want to make something clear, mom. I'm done tolerating your narrow-minded point of view."
            She looked up. "What does that mean?"
            "It means I don't want to hear anything about this sin bullshit."
            Her eye went wide.
            "Patrick, they..."
            "Stop."
            "Patrick."
            "I'm warning you mom, stop."
            They were both silent for a long time.
            "If you expect me to like him because he's your father, Well I don't."
            "Mom, you don't even know them."
            "I know all I need to know." She crossed her arms over her chest.
            "How can you? all you know about them is that they're gay."
            "That's enough. I could never like someone like that."
            The statement hurt enough that he almost told her he was gay, but he stopped himself. He wasn't ready for that argument. "Fine, then I'm out of here."
            "What?"
            "What do you want me to do mom? I told you, I'm not dealing with this anymore. You want to be some intolerant woman, fine, you be that, but I have no interest in being around someone like that."
            "I'm not..."
            "Bullshit. You hate my dad because he doesn't fit your narrow definition of perfection. one thing that you've decided is a sin, and he isn't fit to be around. Well, let me point out something. You lie, and lying is a sin, and if I remember my bible correctly it's actually mentioned in the ten commandment, While being gay isn't. So you tell me who between you and them are in deeper shit."
            "Patrick, I'm sorry I lied to you. I'm trying to protect you, don't you see that?"
            "I'm not a child anymore mom. I don't need your protection." He stood. "And to make it clear. They are not the reason I'm leaving this house. You are." He turned to head out of the kitchen.
            "Patrick, don't go."
            He turned and looked at her.
            "Please. Don't abandon me."
            "Why should I stay mom? so I can listen to more of your intolerant bullshit about people you're not even willing to get to know?"
            She winced.
            "Please Patrick, I'll try."
            "Try what?"
            "I'll try to get to know them, somehow. Just stay."
            Patrick sat back down. "Are you serious?"
            She nodded.
            "Alright. Then lets invite them to dinner."
            "What? we can't do that?"
            "Why not?"
            "They're..." she shut her mouth before Patrick could say anything.
            "Mom, they are my father. If you want to be part of my family, that means you're going to have to interact with them. If all you can do is explode anytime they are around, I'm not going to be around. You need to realize that, and you need to decide what you're willing to do about it, because I've made my decision."
            She nodded. "Patrick, do you have any idea what you're asking?"
            "yes, that you stop seeing them as this one thing and start seeing them as people. Mom, by inviting them here, we're in control of the environment. This is your house. They will respect that, I will make sure of it."
            She looked around the kitchen. "This place is a mess. What are we going to cook? I can't afford the kind of food they're used to."
            "Then we make them our kind of food. I'll pitch in so we have enough for four."
            She looked at him, uncertainty in her eyes. "When do you want to do it?"
            "Soon. Friday would give us the rest of the week to prepare."
            She shook her head. "I work Friday, I can't have anything done in just an hour. but I can take Saturday off. I'll owe Beatrice a shift, but I can manage that. That's going to give me the day to clean this place and prepare the meal."
            "Alright."
            "If I do this, you're going to stay?"
            Patrick took his mother's hands in his. "Mom, I want this to happen because I want to stay here."
            Her smile was uncertain, but it was there.
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