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  1. The woods surrounding the enclave were lovely and peaceful, and the hallways in which she was permitted to stroll were equally so, but Chris-Tien found herself restless. While she accepted the need to recover from the days and nights spent in the maze, the paladin was keenly aware of the need to aid the faculty of Strixhaven against the bugbear wizard Murgaxor, who even now could be gathering his strength and materials .... and assistants .... for a deathly ritual deep in the woods of Witherbloom. Waiting and recovering were near the bottom of the list of things she wanted to do. But she had little idea of where she actually was located ... and the clerics and monks of the Cobalt Soul had taken her gear. To repair it, was the excuse they gave .... and Chris had to admit that it had suffered during her latest encounters. Fighting defensively, to wear out but not maim her ensorcelled friends, the paladin's armor had been dented and scorched to the point of potential failure. Her current benefactors were currently mending it ... as well as her body .... promising that one of their clerics would be able to teleport her to Phandalin far faster than she could travel by ship and horse. Considering the heat that came off the nearby fields, Chris was sure that the journey by normal means would take weeks, if not months. The climate here, so warm and dry, suggested that she was far south of Neverwinter. She just hoped that the cleric would be as good as he thought he was. This challenge is a refinement of the previous one, with some changes to the scoring and the return of a map of randomly generated terrain, which will instill some variety to the daily cardio workouts. The spreadsheet itself shows the updated scoring items and options. Since I did not engage and beat my Shadow boss, it is still out there .... skulking and awaiting a chance to strike, having become more powerful during the interim. 10% more hit points. Since I beat it on points with such a huge spread, I've tweaked the scoring to try to make it more important that I work on my nutrition goals. For fun, since I wanted to try out a solo D & D campaign, I will also be using the Wolves of Langston solo adventure as the basis for this challenge's story. I also have long wanted to try out a colleague's idea of making a class into a multi-player game .... so I'll be reading that book and thinking about refining the rules for gamifiying fitness and health. Plus, I'll be paying attention to what a a couple other very creative members of the Rebellion come up with. 😇
  2. So, while holding office hours .... ... I wrote up the next challenge. Well, here we go again. We’re moving. Again. At least, this time, we are moving to a location that I know well and where we already have friends and family. Yes, Virginia, we’re moving home!! The goals for this challenge are to: Change residences and transport our stuff successfully. This shouldn’t be too hard. We’re packing and have movers lined up to do the heavy lifting … literally. Nudge blood pressure down to less than 120/80 Keep weight within 1% of 150 pounds. Keep MIND score above 8.5 each week Prepare for the Trek Pack and tidy up the old house for sale. This is a little hard to measure. We will succeed at it because we must. We might not get all of the spiffing up done before the end of the challenge (or the house sells …), but we will be moved unless something drastic and unforeseeable happens. Travel 240 miles More cardio!!! The distance between our current house and our new house is about 240 miles. I won’t rack up this distance in the 35 days of the challenge (nearly 7 miles per day, which is a lot for a desk worker but not much compared with the D&D assumption of 30 miles per day), but I’m going to set the distance and get as far as I can get …. picking it back up for the next challenge. That also gives me time to do the pre-journey stuff in both the game world and real world. Since cardio helps decrease my stress and blood pressure, this is a strong success contributor. I’ll be counting the distance on my FitBit … so every step counts. If I bike or row, I’ll add that distance separately. Forage for Health Keep tracking on the MIND diet with my Google sheet. This is going well and is pretty easy to maintain without feeling deprived. Has it helped my blood pressure?? Hard to say, but it is arguably a healthy plan no matter what the measurable results. I am maintaining my current weight, and increasing some strength measures. Keep Growing …. Stronger! Strength training is one area at risk during the move. I’ll maintain my gym membership until the end of May, and I have plenty of basement gym equipment, but I need to set a goal to make sure that it doesn’t fall by the way. Ok, 10 strength sessions of any type. Travel with Friends and Meet Strangers MAYBE, I will be able to write some more story episodes as I go. I do have a party of Strixhaven students (including Khrum!) that will be taking the journey with me. They can help battle foes along the way with their various skills. Misc Tools Tracking spreadsheet Hevy app How to Play D&D By Yourself Uncharted Journeys This seems a little light, but it's going to be a busy 6 weeks, and I don't want to stress out and quit because I got overwhelmed with details.
  3. The overarching goal for this challenge is the same as in the previous challenge: reduce my blood pressure to below 120/80. The systolic pressure is the problem number (current average is 127 over 74). I am dutifully taking my medications while hoping that lifestyle changes could make medication unnecessary, after we finish moving this summer. Meanwhile, I will continue to improve my diet, practice meditation and yoga, and exercise daily. Weight-wise, I am being pretty wise. I gained and then lost a few pounds after my doctor made a change in my medications last challenge. Right now, I'm below my goal weight and anticipate slowly losing a few more pounds simply from following an improved diet. Although, I am also pushing on the strength training front ... so I might not lose weight so much as maintain while (hopefully) adding muscle. I dithered about what diet to follow for the coming challenge. The Blood Pressure Down diet was helpful, but I like thinking about eating food and not about eating minerals. So, I looked at the DASH diet and the MIND diet and decided to try the MIND diet first. Again, I don't want to fuss over minerals (sodium) rather than concentrate on food categories. So, I made a new checklist for the planner. I will probably compress it a bit from this draft. I started getting stressed about how to track and judge progress, which is counter-productive given the goal. Also, I've already had a melt-down over moving. (Never show your house to a friend of a friend who wants a big house for a small price.) So, I am going to continue to use the D&D character sheet idea: Chris-Tien's character sheet. And will strive to reach level 5 by the end of the challenge. Since I'm pretty close to level 4, I think that's feasible. Also ... I want to work on my Strength attribute and channel my inner Holga. I get to count it as a daily success if I use the MIND diet sheet during the day. Each item on the AVOID section is one hit point to count against my current 11 HP. I can recover HP through self-care activities TBD. The rest is pretty straight-forward. And now, it's time for a run.
  4. I've decided to embrace RangerBrain and enjoy some variety as well as maintain a consistent core of practice. Base: Log food and activity in WW's app Do SOME sort of workout daily Participate in the NF Walking challenge All of the base goals are on a spectrum of success, and any activity that is an improvement on the slough of despair and inaction will count as success. Fun: The Strixhaven: Curriculum of Chaos is the inspiration for daily activities and/or study. Every day, I'll do something that would fit within the focus of the 5 Strixhaven University colleges. More about that will emerge as the challenge progresses, but I will be taking a pottery class (throwing on the wheel) during the challenge. Since this is a fairly light semester, I MAY also write some fanfiction as I go.
  5. Previously, on Nerd Fitness... Honour amongst thieves I'm unnecessarily excited for the new D&D movie next year. It comes out on my birthday, and it looks really good. And I know it's early days, and I know we've only got one trailer and a couple of interviews to go on, but I dare to dream. So, the challenge theme is the easy bit. As far as I know we don't even have the names of the main characters yet, but that's not going to stop me building a D&D party. Barbarian - +2 STR The goal here will be to do my physio exercises at least once every day. I buggered up my knee earlier this year, and I've been regularly seeing a physio to try and get it sorted. We haven't had much luck so far, and if there's no improvement in the next couple of weeks I think my physio will be sending me to a specialist for scans and such. Regardless, the goal is to do as I'm told and try and get better - this includes taking it easy when I'm told to! Druid - +3 CON This is all about beer (I feel like druids would make the best brewers; it's all about fermenting stuff. Well, ok, monks definitely make the best beer, but we don't have a monk in this party). Prior to lockdown, I didn't really drink at home. Then, when I could no longer go out for a beer, I started drinking at home instead, and I haven't let that go since restrictions ended. I also don't go out anywhere near as I used to, so it's not as bad as it sounds, but I've been finding myself drinking 3 or 4 days in a row and that's not good for my health - physical or mental. The plan is that 6 days per week I won't drink at home. I'll still drink at home on Wednesdays, because a few beers in front of Questing Time is a genuine pleasure, and I'm happy to keep that. Drinking out of the house any other time is fine, it's just home beer we're trying to curb here. I'll be tracking beer-free days, so counting out of 6 instead of counting up. Bard - +2 CHA, +1 SAN Do something creative every day. Really, it's that simple. A lot of the time it might be drawing - I have so many cool drawing resources I want to play with and I rarely pick them up. Other times it might be D&D prep; we're starting a new short adventure (we being myself, WW, @DarK_RaideR, @jonfirestar and @WhiteGhost), which doesn't need a ton of prep but it does need some. Most of which is drawing maps and loading stuff up on Roll20 to be honest. Creativity can be anything else - occasionally I might pick up my guitar for 5 minutes, and I might even allow singing or practising accents (though I do that stuff in the shower/car quite a lot, but maybe if it's genuine practise for something). Sorcerer - +2 INT I'm currently working through the final stages of a professional qualification (which is apparently about equivalent to a bachelors degree, I learned recently). I have 5 essays left to write, at 3,500 words each, the first being due in September. The others are due December or further away, but I really just want to get the whole lot done and get this over with - I've been doing qualifications in my industry since 2012 (with a bit of a break), and it would be nice to come to the culmination of that. The goal is 4 hours of essay writing per week. I should get 2 hours during the working day, so it's just an hour each day on the weekend to keep this moving. The more of these I write the easier they get, so I hope I'll get through them quickly with this much effort. This goal would work better with a wizard than a sorcerer, but we don't have one of those Paladin - +1 SAN This is about brushing my teeth, twice daily (because paladins are shiny, obviously*). I do better with this when I track it, and it's a good signifier of my mental health. I'm not sure that brushing my teeth helps my mental health, though challenge structures most probably do, but if nothing else I can pretty much tell how many good days I've had but how often I hit this. Zero week As I hadn't written this challenge for most of zero week, I just set myself two simple goals - physio and teeth. So far both are going well. SHOW ME THE MONEY I've previously tried to bet money on my goals, but that falls down at the end of the week or the end of the challenge when I don't have the cash to pay the bet. So, new plan: I've budgeted £250 per month to bet on my goals. On payday each month, I'll take that £250, plus any leftover money in my account, and bet it against my goals over the past month (using only the full weeks since last payday). For the percentage of challenge goals I hit, I get to spend that money, or put it in my savings. For the percentage I fail, I use the money to pay off my mortgage. This means that the bets won't line up with challenge dates, but they will line up with me having money and that's more useful. For this challenge, weeks 0 to 3 will be in the August bet. The September bet will be weeks 4 and 5 of this challenge, plus 0 and 1 of the next one. Other thoughts In weeks 1, 3, and 4, and I have counselling appointments that I booked a few weeks back. If I can, I'll talk about those here, and if I need to I'll add a new goal to address any actions from them. I don't really know what to expect, so we'll see how it goes. Right at the end of week 5 I have a race - Summer Nuts. I won't be doing much running training for it with my knee, but mercifully the two guys from work I'm running it with are doing bugger all at the moment, so it shouldn't be an issue. I just hope I can make it round without too much pain. *Massive tangent - I have a sudden urge to play a paladin devoted to a god of decay, or something similar, so I can have a really gross, fungal paladin. Maybe fungal paladin would make a good subclass?
  6. #1: Complete the GCP Associate Cloud Engineer Course and Angular Heroes (+2 INT) This one's all about upskilling. I've got access to a GCP Cloud Engineer course through Udemy. My goal over the next 5 weeks is to complete all of the video content and schedule an exam. (Updated 4/11/22) My goal over the next 5 weeks is to reach Section 20 out of 26. (+1 INT) Next challenge, I will pick this back up, complete the remaining 6 Sections of Video Content, and schedule an exam. Additionally, I want to complete the Angular Heroes tutorial in order to re-familiarize myself with AngularJS (I haven't touched Angular since about 2015). (+1 INT) Angular Heroes is being set aside for this challenge. Progress: 100% 🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ #2: Resurrect my Homebrew D&D Campaign (+1 CHA) My Homebrew D&D Campaign has been on a 2-year Hiatus due to the COVID Pandemic. In short, we really don't like playing online. Now that we're all vaxxed, boosted, etc, we're ready to play in person again. There's only one problem - I now live a 2hr drive away from all of my players. My goal over the next 5 weeks is to write enough content to get the party through the end of the next two arcs, which I'll call The Shattered Lands and The Efreet. Stretch Goal is to come up with a regular play schedule that gives us enough play time for the story to stick between sessions, and run an actual game. Progress: ~60% (this one's hard to quantify) 🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩⬜⬜⬜⬜ ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ #3: Sick Lifts (Maintenance) (+0.5 STR) My other 2 goals for this challenge are way more important to me, so in short my Lifting Goal for the next 5 weeks is maintenance. My routine will vaguely resemble the IADJS (I Ain't Doin Jack S__t) Template from 5/3/1 in that I will get in the (home) gym, do my core lifts, and get out. Goal is to hit all of my workouts. 2/week x 5 week -> 10 workouts. Progress: 100% 🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩 Reward - Circlet of Superior Concentration If I complete Goal #1, I'm buying myself a new gaming headset with ANC. I've settled on a Steelseries Arctis 9. It'll help with my focus at work, and in my further studies, along with being a good headset for PC gaming, PS4 gaming (whenever I get my PS4 fixed), and for wearing on the metro.
  7. It’s been a year since I was in the gym regularly or doing any physical training in any recognizable fashion. Over the last couple years, I’ve focused on Druidics, deepening my abilities and establishing a bedrock. This is good. But it’s time to come out of the cave and stand in the sun, even if it’s the thin light of winter. 2022 begins the Paladin Build, and I’m not going to sugar-coat it: I’m intimidated. I have no idea what I will be able to achieve. I have lots (lots) of self doubt on this front. If I learned anything in the Deep Dark Druid forest, it’s that we can only solve a problem we are willing to have. Simply put, I can’t scale an obstacle that I’m unwilling to face. Join me as I muster my willingness to walk back into the gym and see what I can do, and how often I can do something, anything once I am there. In this, I’m turning to my long-ago skill tree to help guide me through. There is one goal this round: Get in the gym, whenever I can, without judgement. If the core of druidics is “Be here now,” then the core of this challenge is “do something now.” I always know what to do once I’m there. Any of these: Strength: Lifting heavy things Intelligence is a weapon like no other: Reading, writing, classes Wisdom to know how and when and where to fight Constitution: Sleep, eat, water, Wellness Wednesday (acupuncture/massage, milk & eggs) Dexterity: Body-weight training (pushups, core work, yoga) Endurance: Just keep moving (swim, stationary bike) Charisma: Sauna, sleep
  8. Assault on the Gloom Monster! - again I am quite literally, copying and pasting a challenge from October 2018, lol. Why? Autumn into winter is my most difficult time of year because the shortening days, the degrading weather and grey skies all weigh on me heavily. While I've never been clinically diagnosed with S.A.D. I would be surprised if they said I didn't suffer from it. Autumn and winter is brutal for me, yo. I cannot let the Gloom Monster derail me every year, so we are doubling the efforts to avoid the trap that will turn me into one of the Gloomfallen. RULE #1 - Consistency, not Perfection will damage the Gloom Monster! I've spent the last 4-6 weeks getting into a very good routine with strength workouts. I work out so that I am strong and physically fit enough to move through life in a way that allows me to enjoy a lot of things. I also know it is great for aiding the mood and guarding the emotions against attacks from the Gloom. Exercise at least 5x a week. Continue strength training 2-3x, fill in other days with any kind of non-laziness. Basically, anything 20m or more that has me up and about, can count for this. RULE #2 - To keep the soul healthy, the body must be nourished. I'm on a good streak with tracking my calories, and it is currently not causing me any rage, stress or tantrums. I have taken a couple months off of tracking. I've held the line with my weight during that time, but I would like to shrug off at least half of the pounds I put back on after hitting my all time low. I am going to start off this challenge with tracking again. Both because I think I need the refresher, and also because my sister will be tracking food again after meeting with a doctor about her weight gain. I'm hoping that I can help her by doing this along side her. If not, it's always a good re-focus for myself. Track Food in MFP 7x / week. Plan for 1 Fun meal / week. RULE #3 - A sharp mind keeps a sharp sword. So, this was mostly about art back in 2018. I've not done that hardly at all for the past year and it shows. As I had always wanted art to be a means of practicing "a thing I am not super good at, but will continue even thought it doesn't come fast or perfect" - I would like to get this going again. I almost always get re-inspired during Inktober. So I just need to make time for this. It will also include other creative outlets and anything that makes me put down the video games. Sketch a few times a week! 3x / week Reconfigure desk to set up an EASY tablet access point. D&D Prep 1x / week RULE #4 - Face fear, conquer lies. I don't even know how to quantify this, and that typically marks for a bad goal - but this is so dang important right now. Any ideas you all have on it, I am open eared. Some ideas floating to work on this are: Gratitude Note Daily Positive Body remark Daily Change 'doom' What If's to be a what if 'best case scenario'. Continue Devotions Find a small group / even if it's online to help me with faith side things. Side Goals for the journey: Really hone in on the budget app. Use it for every single thing purchased. Get outside, even when it gets cold and bleh. "Man's heart away from nature becomes hard." ~ Standing Bear (Read this at a N.P. once and loved it.) Recreate 1 movie inspired gif per week! See at least 4 houses to start getting ideas of what works and what doesn't taste wise.
  9. EDIT: By popular demand I am changing my challenge to be about the 3 things most important to me (and my readers) right now: 1. Tats - I am getting my first tattoo and it is impacting my life in a big way as it heals and I continue to get it worked on. 2. Gaming - I am loving the heck out of Assassin's Creed Odyssey right now and it is my new obsession. 3. Ice Cream - I have a couple hundred dollars worth of ice cream that is prepaid and I need to eat it soon or I will lose it. I can't not eat it because apparently I don't even know what 'sunk cost' means Optional Side Quest - avoid misspelling anything that might make people think this challenge is about something other than the above 3 things Original challenge write up is below: ----------------------------------------------- Now's my chance, RUN! Those of you who followed my last challenge know that the biggest thing in my life right now is getting my first ever tattoo. It is a massive thing on my left shoulder that has already had 8 hours of work into it and I still need at least double that before it will be finished. This is going to be pretty much dominating my life for the next few weeks so I might as well plan this challenge around it. (Current tattoo progress in the spoiler for anyone interested) On the advice of my artist, I need to refrain from serious upper body workouts for the duration and at least a week following the completion, which means probably about a month or so. Given that most of my workouts consist primarily of heavy upper body stuff this means I am going to have completely revamp how I get my exercise in. I asked my artist about his suggestion for exercise for the next little while and his response was a shrug and suggestion that "maybe every day can be leg day". And while he isn't necessarily wrong, I am going to modify this to mean things that involve legs, which I am going to break into two main categories: Running: I have been working recently on getting my cardio endurance back up by running on the treadmill off and on over the last year or so. Now that spring is finally here, I can get out and run in the park again. My goal last challenge was 50km and I very nearly hit it without even trying very hard. This challenge I am going to raise the bar and aim for 100km. I probably won't get there, but that's why they call it a challenge Stretching: My last challenge had a stretching goal and I completely ignored it. This time I have much less of an excuse so let's see if I can actually stretch consistently for an entire challenge. Goal is 5 stretch session/week which comes out to 30 session. I probably won't hit this either but let's just call it a "stretch goal" Food: In addition to exercise, I also want to make sure I am getting my nutrition right so I am going to have to put together a menu for each week. I am tired of eating the same things over and over so I will probably do something similar to the 5x5 challenge I did a while back. I will aim to have a meal plan ready in the next few days [Meal Plan goes here] Personal Development: We all know that I spend pretty much all of my time not working out or cooking in front of the xbox. This is a brag, not a complaint Its a great life and I plan to keep doing it, but I also want to do other things that help me to develop other skills as well. For this one it could be anything from practicing the ukulele to reading books or even drawing. Goal is to spend at least 15 minutes a day on something other than gaming, 5 days per week. Will I actually do this or will it end up being my dump goal? Stay tuned to find out. The rest of my time is going to be split between Assassin's Creed, Tomb Raider, Elder Scrolls, Forza and my various D&D campaigns so expect to hear a bunch of stuff about that for most of my updates.
  10. RPGs (mostly pen&paper, but not exclusively) have been a massive part of my life for two decades. I mean I did marry my Shadowrun GM just over 18 years ago and we are raising children together. Sure we broke up a little while back, but thats just us coping with each of us changing. He's not a bad person. He really isn't. So. I'm to pick up the mantle of GM this week. I am working through Easter Weekend and after that I have most of the month of April off work, because I am lucky and blessed. Vacation-time for the win. The garden is calling me, or is that me jonsing after some green-therapy, either way, that'll happen. Plus some posture practice to get my back issues under control... lots of good pt happening.
  11. The muscle wizard keeps fighting This challenge I'll be taking part in a group challenge with @Starpuck, @Raxie, and @DarK_RaideR. You can find out more about that here: Welcome to the Underdark - 2020 December / Holiday Challenge (Dec 6 to Dec 26) - Nerd Fitness Rebellion I'll be returning to the character I ran last time, Guglug the muscle wizard. Guglug is the half-orc bouncer at the Fiery Grog tavern, but he's left his job working the door to seek out a more adventurous life. Far from an average half-orc, Guglug works the door shift at the roughest bar in Port Meranda in order to pay for his tuition as a wizard. This challenge sees the party facing a group of grimlocks, and each of my goals will either allow me to deal damage to these dangerous foes, or to protect myself from injury. FYI, this is a grimlock: So, without further ado (I like a little ado, but enough ado is enough), my goals are: Attacks: Greataxe - 10XP Guglug hits a thing with his greataxe (he is a muscle wizard after all). For this goal I need to complete my workouts 7 days per week. I will deal 1 damage per workout after the first 2 (I deal no damage if I only do 2 or less workouts), plus a bonus point if all workouts are as prescribed, for a maximum of 6 damage per week. I've currently paused my gym membership until after I move house, to save a bit of money and because I can't be certain if it will be allowed to open or not at any given time. That makes it vital that I stay disciplined in my home workouts. I've added the bonus point for doing all workouts as prescribed, as I've got into a bad habit of waking up late and cutting sessions short as a result. Catapult - 10XP Guglug magically flings an unattended object in the direction of an enemy, likely in a comedic fashion. For this goal I will need to make sure I have my protein shakes 7 days per week. If I hit 7 days I'll deal 5 damage, 6 days will deal 3 damage, or 5 days will deal 1 damage. In previous challenges I've had a proper protein tracking goal or a calorie counting goal. This time I want to keep it simple, and I'm not too worried about letting loose a bit for Christmas. Last challenge I discovered that my protein shakes make up a huge proportion of my total protein intake, and that it's almost impossible to hit my protein goals without them, so that's where I'm focussing my energy. Thunderwave - 5XP A wave of thunderous force sweeps out from Guglug, hurting foes and blasting them backwards. For this goal I need to create something 3 times per week. It could be doing some drawing, or writing homebrew D&D content, or what ever I feel like. I'll deal 1 damage for the first creative session, 3 damage if I get 2 sessions, or 5 damage if I hit all 3. The creative stuff really helps me to unwind, particularly after a stressful day. In previous challenges it's just been drawing, but I don't see that it's necessary to pigeonhole myself like that, anything creative should be a good thing. Green flame blade - 5XP Guglug's greataxe is magically enveloped in green flames, which leap from his target to an adjacent enemy. For this goal I need to brush my teeth twice per day, every day, and use the electric brush and clean between them in the evenings. I'll deal 1 damage for each day after the first 3 (3 days or less and I deal no damage), for a maximum of 4 damage. This is something that I do easily when I'm feeling good, and if I'm feeling stressed or anxious it slips. So keeping on the straight an narrow here might be good for my mental health. If not, it'll definitely be good for my teeth! Defence: Guglug has 9hp, and as a half-orc also has relentless endurance. Guglug can use the following abilities to avoid damage: Absorb elements - 10XP Guglug's spell captures some of the energy of an elemental attack against him, which he can use to empower his next attack. For this goal I need to complete 3 foam rolling sessions each week. I'll take 1 damage for every session missed. This is something that seems to really help with my dodgy hip, and with general aches and pains. It would help a lot more if I was more consistent with it, hence the goal. Dodge - 5XP Guglug dodges the enemy's attack. For this goal I will also need to keep on the protein shakes. For every day below 5 that I have protein shakes I will take 1 damage (1 damage at 4 days, 2 damage at 3 days, and so on). If my catapult goal is the carrot for protein intake, this is the stick. General stuff I'm currently in the process of buying a new house, which is slightly stressful but so far has gone pretty smoothly - I'm hoping we'll be moving in January if all goes well. In the meantime I still want to make progress with my fitness, in the hope that obstacle course races will be on next year. In theory my first race is in February, so really there's no time to spare. My workout plan consists of 4 runs per week and 5 home workouts. Tuesday and Thursday are short workouts after my runs, with full workouts Monday, Wednesday, Friday. You can also expect this challenge to be scattered with D&D talk, updates from the campaigns I play in and the one I run, and quite a lot of general rambling.
  12. When we last left off, our noble party of would-be adventurers had been given a simple task. Tofdir Duflame, gnomish proprietor of the Fiery Grog Tavern, had tasked the party with hunting rats in his basement. They were promised a silver piece for every rat tail they returned with, and in the fashion of all great adventurers had gone about their task with much enthusiasm. So much enthusiasm, in fact, that they saw no problem in attacking that weird rat, the one with the exposed brain, which fled through the back of a large wardrobe in the tavern cellar. Chasing the creature into the wardrobe, our noble heroes found themselves flung into another place entirely, with no clear way to get back. Unperturbed, the party continued to slay rats and collect tails (a silver piece is a silver piece, after all), venturing further and further into the tunnels they found themselves in. Eventually the way opened out into a large chamber, where a voice spoke inside each of their minds. The voice warned them that they were trespassing on their terrain, but assured them that they would be put to good use as food for the colony. Only then did the creature emerge. A mass of fleshy, writhing tentacles surrounding a blind, milky white eye. The lower tentacles whipped through the air with a wet, swishing sound, as the creature hovered slowly closer to the party. Worse though were the upper tentacles, each of which held another cloudy white eye. This was to be the party's first encounter with a mindwitness: A terrible battle ensued, with the party slinging spells and slashing weapons at the creature, and the creature for its own part firing beams of energy from the horrible orbs embedded within its tentacles. Ultimately the party were able to destroy the beast, but still they were too late. Too loud, and too late. Just, barely, too late. As the creature finally fell to the ground, twitching and writhing like a jelly pot in a blender, a horde of creatures entered through the doors on the far side of the room. These creatures, much like the midwitness, appeared to be blind, their empty eye sockets covered by a sealed layer of skin. Their vaguely humanoid forms were grey in colour, and covered in and wiry, black hair. Wearing only scraps of makeshift clothing they carried primitive weapons made of bones, stones, and teeth. None of that though was quite as unnerving as the sound of these creatures. As they charged towards the party, a horde of sightless savages ready to tear them apart, these creatures made no noise at all. No battle cry, no grunts and goans of exertion, and scarcely a murmur of sound as their bare feet hit the floor. An eerie silence pervaded as the creatures closed. * * * So this challenge, @Starpuck, @Raxie and @DarK_RaideRwill be following up on our group challenge we ran two challenges ago. Last time we took the mindwitness all the way down from 71hp to 1hp, but failed to kill it in time before a new threat arrived. This time, rather than one large beast, we will be fighting a veritable horde of grimlocks: As we complete our goals we'll do damage to the grimlocks, and hopefully be able to slay the horde. Each grimlock only has 11hp, but there's a lot of them. How many? Well, I have to keep a bit of suspense for now And so we will face the monster together, both literally and figuratively, and update on how we’ve done here for our mutual entertainment. We have 3 weeks of challenge to defeat this threat, and so every goal and every point of damage counts. And with that, I will leave it to the players to introduce their characters and their goals.
  13. The skittish man looked over his shoulder before he made his way up the creaky steps of the tavern. He wasn't supposed to be here but he didn't have a choice. There was an evil coming...an evil so vile and so horrible that the fate of every man, woman and child in the surrounding kingdom would be in mortal danger if he didn't seek help. Two nights ago, he had been followed. The undead black bird was nearly silent when it stalked in the treetops among the gnarled branches. He looked again over his shoulder to see if he could spot the bird but to his surprise, the undead creature was no where to be seen. Each step towards the tavern doors entrance echoed audibly, and despite the boisterous noise coming from inside, the creaks and groans under his weight seemed to weigh heavily into the night. With a shaky, outstretched hand, the man opened the door and entered the tavern. He was immediately greeted with warm air, the smell of ale, and a symphony of music coming from the stage just left of the bar. The atmosphere of the tavern seemed to calm the man's nerves and he made his way through the crowd to settle at the bar. "Whadda having, sir." The short, burly barkeep asked as he wiped down a glass and threw the rag over his shoulder. The barkeep was bald with a dark brown beard that was trimmed neat and cut short to the neck. He had kind brown eyes that seemed trustworthy and to the skittish man, he felt comfortable around the barkeep, even though it had been mere seconds since he sat down. He wasn't really sure what he wanted though. The long journey had taken a toll on his body and he had actually grown sick to his stomach over the last day's ride to get here. "I, um...well," the man cleared his throat, "I'm actually looking for someone." He said to the barkeep. "Aye?" The barkeep asked. "So nottin to drink fer ya? Maybe some hot boar stew? It's the best in all the kingdom." As if his stomach ache was instantly cured, the sound of boar stew made the skittish man's mouth salivate. How long had it been since he last ate, he thought to himself. Two days? "Actually, the boar stew does sound quite nice. I'll have a bowl of that." "Comin' right up!" The barkeep announced cheerfully and scurried off to the kitchen. When he came back just a few seconds later, he had a faded blue bowl filled with the piping hot stew. The smell of the boar nearly cramped the man's stomach up as he realized just how hungry he was. He nearly snatched the bowl out of the barkeep's but restrained himself. "There ya go, sir. Gallup's world famous boar stew. Hell, we took down der beast not twelve hours ago so ya know its gonna be gurd!" "Thank you very much. And you must be Gallup?" the man replied with a thankful nod. "Nah, dat's me brother. I'm Garrick, the most handsome barkeep in all the land!" The barkeep chuckled so loud it nearly drowned out the music. After a moment, he caught himself and turned back to a more serious demeanor. "So...ya say yer lookin for someone, eh? Gotta name?" "I don't know the man's name, per say. I've heard him called numerous things if I'm being completely honest. The Red Wolf?" Garrick paused a minute, his eyes shifting to the back of the bar. "Well...I do know a man by dat name but he's not to be bothered at da moment." "Really?" the man sat up from his boar stew, almost excited. "I dare say, it's rather urgent that I speak to this man. It's a matter of life and death!" Garrick saw the terror in this man's eyes and almost felt sorry for him. The barkeep got down low to the bar to whisper something. The skittish man leaned down with him but couldn't hear the words over the music. Then, Garrick nudged his head towards the back of the bar where his eyes shifted earlier. The man turned his gaze in that direction and saw a leather clad man sitting by himself drinking a mug of ale. His features where like that of a warrior; well muscled and tight jawed. He appeared to be tall with his legs stretched out under the table, one foot crossing over the other. His skin was fair, which made his other features stand out like a sore thumb. Atop his head was a mess of wavy red hair. Even in the dimness of the bar you could tell. And with that look, the man sitting in the corner gazed back. The look paralyzed the skittish man as he noticed the piecing blue eyes burning through him. They were the eyes of a wolf. Gulping down hard, the skittish man grabbed his hot bowl and made his way over towards the red-haired man. As he stood before him, the red haired man held his gaze the entire time. "Go away." he muttered, his voice gruff and raspy. Almost as if he hadn't spoken in days. "But sir..." "I said. Go. Away." He cut off the skittish man and pointed back towards the bar. The skittish man, feeling more confident this time, sat his bowl down on the table, pulled out the chair on the other side, and sat down. "Sir, my name is Sibis Davizo and I have come looking for the Red Wolf." Sibis was fully expecting to be cut off again and was surprised when he wasn't, so, he continued on. "And I am in need of your service. It has come highly recommended that YOU are the best scout in all the kingdom and that when it comes to finding things, there are none better." There was a long instance of silence between the two men before the red-haired man spoke. "Go on..." "So, are you the one they call The Red Wolf?" "It's possible. Why don't you tell me what you need first and maybe I'll tell you who I am." "Very well... as I've said before, rumor has it that you can track things down better than anyone. Whether that be people, items or more exotic things. I'll cut to the chase because time is of the essence. I am in search of something called the Book of Life. This book has immense power." "Why search for a book that's only been rumored to exist?" The red-haired man asked as he leaned forward now, interested in what Sibis Davizo was saying. "I was told the only way to defeat Dedd Lyft the Necromancer was by obtaining the Book of Life. Somewhere in it's pages is a spell that could destroy him and his undead army." The red-haired man shook his head slowly. His face was expressionless but his eyes showed something. They showed fear. "Come with me. It's too dangerous to talk here..." ************************************************** Hello All!! Welcome to another challenge! I'm very excited about this one for a number of reasons. 1) My birthday is right in the middle of this challenge! 2) I'm doing some creative writing! and 3) I'm kicking ass in the gym AND the kitchen! This challenge is all about writing, eating, lifting and gearing up for the holidays. Won't you join me?? Goal 1: Tevior "The Red Wolf" Bindreft This goal is all about writing. I loooooove creative writing. I looooove creating fun and interesting characters. To do this goal justice means I need to write little excerpts like the one above and work to do that 2-3x a week. Nothing major, just write for 15-20 min and see what I come up with. I'm hoping to build a fun story for everyone (and myself) and maybe turn this into something I do on a more regular basis! Here's what Tevior looks like: but think wavy red hair and reddish stubble instead. My inspiration is this guy: Possible Points: +2 END, +1 CHA Goal 2: Dedd Lyft the Necromancer Dedd Lyft is the main villian in my story. This is a play on for Deadlift, obviously, but you already knew that, didn't you?? . @Jarric made a good point on my last challenge: "don't be afraid of deadlifts. Just take them serious and you'll be ok." And...that's exactly what I'm gonna do! I'm fine with trap bar deadlifts...but it's traditional deadlifts that have always scared me because I didn't want to hurt my back. I'm usually really solid in practicing good form with ALL my lifts, but I've stayed away from barbell deadlifts in favor of trap bar for a while now. The idea behind this goal is to practice barbell deadlifts at least 1x a week and work on getting better doing those. They don't have to be heavy but ideally I would like to find my 1rm sooner or later. Possible Points: +3 STR Goal 3: Up the Intensity Between lifting 3x a week, I also want to add in 1-2 KB workouts on my off days as well as add in a sprint day on Saturdays. This is about sweating and getting out of my comfort zone. I have a plethora of KB workouts I can do, AND, I have a 35# and 45# KB I can use at the house. I'll be posting my KB metcon's when I do them for anyone interested. Possible Points: +2 DEX, +1 END Goal 4: #SmoothPanther I'm on a 5-day streak right now and don't plan on breaking this. Stretching has been something I neglect. A lot. And I'm never going to perform well in the gym unless I limber up and take care of myself better. I work hard. Now, I need to stretch hard as well. I'll be following Nsima Inyang's Smooth Panther routines each and every day. I'll also be posting these for anyone interested or maybe you just want to follow along with me?? Possible Points: +2 CON, +1 DEX Goal 5: Carnivore-ish If you've been following me recently, you know that I've adapted a carnivor-ish eating style. Basically, this means TONS of protein. TONS of fat. And SOME carbs...like 100-150g a day total or less. I'll mainly be eating red meat loaded up with butter and bacon grease with some rice and potatoes thrown in there every now and again. The idea is NO sweets until my birthday, which I will indefinitely have a cake, and then it's back to the grind after my b-day weekend. Thanksgiving is also a small pass as I'll probably have some pumpkin pie or something. But, my diet consists of almost NO veggies and hardly any fruit. If I do have fruit, it'll be some blueberries or something. But otherwise, it's ALL meat ALL the time. Possible Points: +1 CON, +2 WIS And there you have it folks. Thanks for following along and I hope you enjoy my story thus far Wolf
  14. It had seemed such a simple quest; just kill the rats in the basement. Standard fair for any would-be adventuring party, a simple job to earn some coin and test out their skills. One silver for every rat’s tail they returned, that’s what they’d been promised. But then a different rat came, one with its brain exposed, and glowing faintly. The little bugger had escaped into a large wardrobe in the corner of the tavern cellar, and what’s worse is that it had taken one of the tails the party had been so careful to collect! Chasing after it, our noble heroes found themselves flung into another place entirely, with no clear way to get back. On the plus side, there were a lot of rats here, and exposed brains or not those tails were still worth something. Following the first principle of adventuring*, the party gathered as many tails as they could. They reckoned that they were on for a decent haul if only they could find a way back to Tofdir, the gnomish fellow who’d sent them down here in the first place. After many tunnels, all of which only seemed to lead deeper, and innumerable rats, the way opened out into a larger chamber. Far from the cramped, dank conditions of the previous tunnels, this was grander. Perhaps it was once a temple of sorts, or perhaps a court of some great subterranean king. Whatever the purpose of this place, the party did not have long to contemplate it, for in their minds came a voice unlike any they had ever heard. “You are trespassing in our terrain,” said the voice†, “however you should provide adequate sustenance for us.” As though the voice were not troubling enough on its own, its owner soon emerged, floating in from a high tunnel like the world’s most disgusting helium balloon. A fleshy mass of tentacles surrounded a large, milky white orb, which could have been an eye. The lower tentacles lashed through the air as it moved, making a wet, whipping sound. The upper tentacles were far worse however, as they held more milky white orbs which flitted back and forth disconcertingly. Were these more eyes, or an entirely different feature of this alien creature’s anatomy? As the creature emerged a beam of energy lanced out of one of the small orbs, picking up one of our noble heroes and tossing them across the room like a rag doll. Immediately doubt set in for the party, was this a fight they could win? *Take everything that isn’t nailed down †If said is the correct way to describe a voice beamed directly into one’s consciousness * * * So this challenge @Raxie, @Starpuck, @DarK_RaideR and myself wanted to try a group challenge, and being us it’s of course D&D themed. We will each be creating 1st level characters, and pitting them against a vicious foe, with completing our challenge goals meaning we do damage to the monster. Our monster this round will be the mindwitness: I chose this as it speaks to a lot of the difficulties we sometimes need to overcome when we take on a new challenge. It can cause aversion, fear, apathy and inaction, all things which can get in the way of our goals. Also, look at the thing! That’s one cool monster. And so we will face the monster together, both literally and figuratively, and update on how we’ve done here for our mutual entertainment. A mindwitness has 75 hp, so to defeat this monster we will need to do at least that much damage between us over the next 5 weeks. We will also need to avoid taking damage to survive the fight, and each character will have their own ways of dealing and avoiding damage.
  15. Ziggurat of the Dead So last challenge I had the idea of the Ziggurat of Goals, whereby I would only get points for each goal if I had completed the goals that underpin it. It's a ziggurat because that's a better fantasy word than 'pyramid' (and it's easier to draw it with steps!) It worked very well so I'm not changing much, but as this is the 10th anniversary necromancy challenge we now have the Ziggurat of the Dead. (Aside: This reminds me of the SilverClawShift campaign journal which was my first real introduction to the madness of D&D, has anyone read that? If you like crazy fantasy stories you should definitely check it out.) xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx x--Extra Credit--x xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxx--Calories--xxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxx--Exercise--xxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx--Tooth Care--xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx--Hip Rehab--xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx So that's the ziggurat. The observant amongst you will notice that there's an extra level to it this time round. Let's drill down into each goal: Hip Rehab - 15XP What: Do my stretches/exercises/foam rolling every day. Why: My hip was hurting a lot at the start of last challenge, and it has significantly improved from a month of consistency on this goal. It's not fully healed yet though, so I need to keep up the good work. This is important for a lot of goals I have this year and to enjoy a lot of the things I enjoy (OCR, climbing, running, lifting, sitting down!) How: I have a programme of 12 things per day. Aim to do a couple first thing in the morning, to get me off to a good start on a day. If I have stuff left in the evening, prioritise this goal over bedtime, but try not to need to! Tooth Care - 10XP What: Care for my teeth! Why: Because I want to keep all my teeth for as long as possible without tooth pain, and avoid expensive dentist bills. Another goal from last challenge that showed a measurable improvement. How: Brush in the morning with a manual brush, in the evening with an electric brush, and clean between my teeth/floss in the evening. Exercise - 10XP What: Exercise every day. Why: Because I enjoy it, and I enjoy it more if I'm more consistent. Because I have goals this year that require me to be fit. And because I generally want to be a strong and healthy person. How: There are no rules on what I have to do on what day, and anything of 20 minutes or over will count. With that said, I plan to do CrossFit MTTF, Run WSS, and boulder at least once per week. I also want to focus on not skipping my long runs, which I did too much last challenge. Calories - 10XP What: Count calories every day and stay under an average of 2,650. Why: Because I gained some fat over December/Christmas, and I'd like to lose that. I'd also like to be in the best shape of my life for Comicon this year (not actually sure if I'm cosplaying yet, but it's a good mid-year point regardless). This is both an aesthetic thing, and a efficiency thing - it's easier to run carrying less weight, and to do things like muscle ups, rope climbs and bouldering. How: Using My Fitness Pal, I'll aim for 5 days at 2,410kcal and 2 days at 3,250kcal. That allows for a night out drinking (the difference equates to 3.7 pints of Fosters, 3.5 pints of Guinness or 3 pints of Amstel, so with a bit of food planning I can happily go for 4 pints), or extra eating on long run day (it would give me 11 energy gels, or more likely a couple and a bit of extra food afterwards). I reserve the right to change the split of days in advance of the week, as long as the weekly average works. Extra Credit - 5XP What: Do 3 extra credit exercise sessions per week. Why: To work on some weaknesses and some areas I don't otherwise cover. How: I have three workouts I have planned for each week, which should only take around 10 minutes each: The Acrobat: Hangboarding practice, to improve my finger strength for climbing The Fighter: Pushups and pullups, to drill core movements that I would like to be better at when they come up The Bard: Bicep curls, tricep extensions and a core exercise, this is an exercise in pure vanity; whilst my goal to look great at Comicon is mostly about low body fat, it won't hurt to get bigger arms to match my growing shoulders. Other Stuff I'll be starting week 1 on Monday 17th February (challenges start on Mondays, fight me). There's a few events going on this challenge: Meeting an old friend for beers on Tuesday of week 1 It's my birthday Tuesday of week 3 I'm running Winter Nuts on Saturday of week 3 (aiming for 28km (~17.4 miles) and hoping not to get hypothermia - will be out for about 6 hours including 4 lake swims) Seeing a Metallica tribute band Friday of week 4 Going out to celebrate my birthday (and watch all of the last day of the 6 Nations rugby in a pub) on Saturday of week 4 For zero week I will be trialling the above goals, but not tracking them. I'll also try and write my roadmap for the year (it's a bit late!) and re-read my oldest challenges. You can also expect lots of talk about D&D from the two live games I play in, and the play by post I'm in with @Starpuck, @Raxie and @Wild Wolf, and expertly DM'd by @DarK_RaideR.
  16. I don't pay much attention to new years (my most hated holiday) but I do love me some Nat 20's, and at least this new year brings that to the table. Hah! Table... love it when it happens on accident. Anyway. One of the best chances to get a Natural 20 in gaming, is if you roll with advantage. You get to roll with advantage if you have a certain skill set, or strong proficiency, or if the situation you're in presents you with a reason to make the task easier. It's never just a random thing. In other words, you have to do something to set yourself up for the advantage. For me, my single biggest factor in rolling with advantage, is the arcane school of "Consistency." We're starting this new campaign off with a goal of becoming proficient in consistency once more. The goal for January is to start building consistent habits. Key word. Build. I'm not looking to pour the cement on Monday the 6th, and immediately have The Sears Tower (er Willis Tower... whatever it is now.) I realize that habits are built over time, and that there will be missed days and slips and slides. So I am going to be tracking a LOT of things to start; but also not worrying about a set number of doing them each week. Active abilities: Exercise, broken into the following - strength, cardio, stretching, active recovery, other. Self Care abilities: Night time routine, consisting of the following - teeth brush, teeth floss, wash face, mud masks, 11pm lights out time. Creative abilities: Sketching, tablet art, art lessons, D&D prep, other. Food abilities: Tracking calories, or, on occasions I cannot - intuitive eat in place of tracking, planned indulgences. Some of these, I will start off with setting goals to do them so often because without that, I might get lazy. But we're also going to focus on flexibility. Move 5x a week, sure! Maybe I really want 3x to be strength but I end up with my hip nagging me, or a sinus infection that makes heavy lifting really unappealing and perhaps not the right choice for my body? Fine, but don't let good reasons turn into cheap excuses. I still get credit on 'moving' if I opt for stretching or yoga that day instead of the lift. Things like that... In August, I was doing really well with my pull up program, and I set a goal of being able to do Tom Holland diagonal walking pull ups... I will have to work hard to get back to that but I think I can still make it for the goal date of End Game's Anniversary. (April 26th) That's basically 4 months. If I lose the weight I've gained and get back into the strength routine, that should be plenty of time. I have everything plotted out in my new, bigger, better 8x10 Bullet Journal, so my check in's here will be either a snapped pic of the bujo, or a quick 'alls well' and some deets on anything that came up. Once we get through this first challenge, we'll see how things are lined up for #2.
  17. I am so completely unfocused, lazy, overwhelmed, and under-motivated. So I steal a fantastic quote from Critical Role Campaign 1. I can't think about this too hard, or else it will fail. I really should go through my life and either set better boundaries on my schedule, or, take this challenge and learn how to quit things. The worrisome part of that idea, is that there is 'quitting because it makes sense so I can focus on something else' and 'quitting because I've chickened out'. We only want the former. So. There is one rule to this December challenge. Every morning. Wake up. Write out the plan for the day in BuJo. [And any 'do this week' things too] And then do my best to stick to it. (Excepting reasonable flexibility and sense.) There are things I'd like to get back into better habit of, but if I say I must do them this many times, and I start to fall behind, I will be all the Moop. So we're just going to write them down as 'Think about these things' and if I also do them. Great! Parts of the Plan - Eat better. - Exercise consistently. (Stick to Strong Lifts, it'll work!) - Get back to art stuff. You like it! Keep at it, you will keep improving. - Make time for friends and family. - Invest in church stuff. That's it. Nice. Simple. Not overwhelming.
  18. Gather 'round ye young and old. Listen close as this story unfolds. I tell the tale of a party of four and the epic adventure that was in store. PRIDE is the name! Slaying is the game! There was a fiery barbarian, a fallen hexblade, a clerical modron and me, the horned bard - little did they know, this adventure would be hard. PRIDE is the name! Slaying is the game! Through dungeons they would explore and monsters they would battle, the journey ahead would be a difficult one traveled. PRIDE is the name! Slaying is the game! Would they succeed? This was a question they would find out later. Lest the group forget that their DM was Dark_Raider. PRIDE is the name! Slaying is the game! What he had in store was an ongoing story - as this oddball foursome sought friendship and glory. PRIDE is the name! Slaying is the game! If you would like to see how this story ends, then stick around as the fun just begins. PRIDE is the name! Slaying is the game! Welcome, welcome, welcome friends! I'm so glad you're here! A new challenge has begun and I'm excited to be back with the Rangers ! If you're behind on the times with what's going on in "Wolfie's World" then let me catch y'all up super quick: I'm working 2 jobs now...over 70 hours a week. I nap like it's going out of style. I workout like a cocaine addict. Aaaaaaand, I'm starting my very first D&D campaign with the wonderful and talented- @Raxie @Jarric and @Starpuck ! We are graciously being DM'd by the legendary @DarK_RaideR and I could NOT be more excited to start our story. If you would like to know more about the specific "party of adventurers", then please head on over to their respected challenges and check out all the cool stuff going on there! If you caught it up above, I am playing the bard. This is a class I didn't realize how much I identified with IRL and I'm honored to not only play a Bard, but a sexy, lute playing Tiefling Bard . Ok, so maybe not EXACTLY like that one, but you guys get the gist. I have horns, a tail and a love for music and stories! My charisma is my main stat and I'm not afraid to charm your pants off...literally! This challenge will center around my Tiefling Bard, Arkaryn (Are-Care-In) Riftripper. Race: Tiefling Age: 25 Height: 6’2 Weight: 190# Hair Color: Dark brown Eye Color: Violet Skin Color: Light Blue Class: Bard/College of Valor Background: Arkaryn “Ark” grew up in the village of Ruinspoke. His father, a bard himself, was entrusted as the lead musician of the Full Mugs, a tavern owned by a male dwarf named Temget, whom prided himself on his homebrewed beer. Ark grew up loving music and hearing the stories of many adventurers and their travels into the various ruins that surrounded Ruinspoke. He longed to adventure and make a name for himself when he came of age and set out on his own when he turned 18. Gifted in multiple instruments, Ark was prolific with the lute in particular. As a parting gift before he left, Ark’s father had given him his old lute, an ebony colored beauty with gold engravings. Along his journeys, Ark met a dragonborn named, Otivull, who was training with the Lance Defenders, and the two became best friends. Ark taught Otivull how to sing and play the lute while Otivull taught Ark how to fight. The two had many years adventuring together and earning coin before Otivull’s Lance Defender squadron was re-stationed and the two inseparable friends lost touch. Ark found himself back in Ruinspoke for a time being, playing at Full Mugs tavern with his aging father. The longing for adventure still held strong in the Tiefling’s heart and after a year, he set out again to make a name for himself. It was on his next adventure that Ark would meet Jyotika the Fire Genasi, Penemue the fallen Aasimar, and Cog the self-aware Modron. What happens next is a story still waiting to be told... This is how I see Arkaryn looking like (except he's light blue with violet colored eyes): Handsome, huh?? The rest of my challenge outside of my D&D campaign will involve two things: Steps & Reps. Goal 1: Steps Did you know that for every 2000 steps walked equals 1 mile? Well, since starting my second job at Costco, I've realized I've been taking a MASSIVE amount of steps. On average, I get about 12k steps in a day (if not more). Over the coarse of a 5-day work week, that's 60k steps, or around 30 miles walked a week. And that's NOT including anything extra on my days off. 30. Miles. A. Week. And that's on the low end. Yesterday I had 15,972. The day before was 15,182. That's 15, almost 16 miles walked JUST on the weekend. My goal is to track my steps daily and see how many miles I can cover over the coarse of this challenge. My goal is 175 miles walked over the next 5 weeks. That's 35 miles a week. I think I can achieve that goal. Bonus points for anything over 175 miles. Possible Points Earned: +4 STA, +1 DEX Goal 2: Reps This little workout thing I've been doing....I've got it down these days. I don't need to track my daily/weekly workouts. I do however want to track how much weight I'm moving per workout. I will do this by multiplying the amount of weight in each set including reps, multiplied by the total number of sets per exercise and then continue this process for each exercise in the workout. An example would be today's workout: 4 x 6-8 BB alternating reverse lunge 2 x 115# x 6 (each side) = 2760# 2 x 135# x 6 (each side) = 3240# 2 x 6 seconds leg lockout iso 4 x 6-8 DB lying triceps extension 1 x 30’s# x 8 = 480# 3 x 35’s# x 6 = 1260# 4 x 8 DB high pulls (40#’s) = 2560# 2 x 6 seconds cable high pull iso 3 x 12 Deadlift (125# x 12) = 4500# 3 x 10-12 DB bench press 1 x 40#’s x 12 = 960# 2 x 45#’s x 12 = 2160# 3 x 10-12 chin up grip lat pull down 1 x 100# x 12 = 1200# 2 x 115# x 12 = 2760# Drum roll... dibadibadibadibadibadibadibadibadibadibadibadiba... TOTAL WEIGHT MOVED = 21,880# !! Possible Points Earned: +3 STR, +2 DEX Goal 3: P.R.I.D.E aka Party of Ridiculously Interesting and Daring Explorers Dark_Raider coined the term: P.R.I.D.E in our discord last week and we all just loved the idea of it! With the unique group make-up we have, it's likened to popular titles such as Guardians of the Galaxy and Suicide Squad. I'm really excited about this whole thing and can't wait to learn the D&D ropes from some of the best! This goal ties into the D&D campaign. I want to: Have weekly updates on how the campaign is going, interesting facts and short story write-ups from Ark's POV if time permits. Ark's starting spell list: Cantrips- Vicious Mockery (you know this one's gonna be a lot of fun!) Minor Illusion Ray of Frost (due to my Levistus racial variant) Spells- Charm Person Sleep Healing Word Hideous Laughter Ark's Starting Stats: Strength- 8 Dexterity- 15 Constitution- 14 Intelligence- 10 Wisdom- 12 Charisma- 16 Possible Points Earned: +5 CHA (because, duh! Charisma is my most important stat! ) It's good to be back with the Rangers! Can I get a woot woot for my lute lute?! Wolf
  19. "And so we have come full circle. The road journeys ever on, yet we note such anniversaries with thought and reflection. Perhaps it is time for our ranger to take bold new steps; to push further past her known boundaries and find new futures. For that, we must embrace the mindset and discipline of the monks, and the chosen tradition for Starpuck, will be the Way of the Empty Hand..." It was the September challenge of last year that I took on the goal of 100% or bust. I gave myself a heck of a reward as incentive (D&D terrain tiles) and I managed to pull it off. Not only that, the consistency proved the best part of that arrangement! Four weeks of effort set into motion what would become 4 months of forward progress. I lost 20 lbs and several inches. I gained strength. I felt great! I was tracking my food so consistently that I only just broke my MFP streak of 320 days. (There were a handful of only half tracked days in that span, to be fair and honest.) And the best part? I only ever gained about 3lbs back over the next 8 months. I have hovered between 140-143 at worst, ever since. I maintained! WIthout rage, or tantrum, or frustration, or guilt, or feeling deprived. It also gave my body a nice long time to get used to things at that point. And now? Now we step back in to a little bit more focused work. Way of the Empty Hand Monks of this tradition are masters of doing more with less. They focus their minds and determination on what can be obtained with both hands free, rather than with grasping onto the equipment and goods that other adventurers might rely on. They learn that the hand must remain open and empty, in order for it to grasp what challenges lie ahead. (So it's a play on Open Hand... which is a D&D tradition that exists.) Here's how it equates to my Ranger challenge: 1. Empty the Hand that holds the iron. - I already work out and that doesn't need much help in maintaining. Maybe being a bit more focused would help... but the actual doing is getting done. So, lets start working on some actual programs, that are pre-built, that I can follow and gain some guided strength and mobility. I also want to add either yoga (have the NF yoga, so that makes the most sense) or maybe some Tai Chi to build some slow down / balance / strength / mobility into my body. 2. Empty the Hand of mindless food indulgences! - Food wise, I do the right thing 85% of the time. It's not straining me at this level, but I also know where I can tighten that up. Game nights. Namely, I tend to have a snack always in hand during game nights so I need to learn how to 'empty the hand' during the 2-3 sessions per week I play in. I think I might even indulge in a little side game of getting some 'monk hand wraps'. Every snack I eat at game night wraps around a digit of mine. The goal being to not end up with the whole hand wrapped! *Ok, that might need some work, but I think I can do something with this. I also want to tighten up a bit on my choices of food. More lean protein, more veggies. I'm pretty good at this, but if I can get to a point where I crave grapes as a sweet snack, instead of cookies, all the better. (That might not happen, and that's okay. But I'd like to just continue to add more wholesome foods to my palate.) 3. Empty the Hand of whim buys and indulgent purchases. - Spending. My car is paid off and I want to focus on savings now. I have an app that is appropriately called 'Spending Tracker'. I have had mixed success with this one. I am great at tracking fuel, groceries for work and dinner costs. But once I forget a meal out, or a whim buy of a new notebook for D&D (this happens more than I want it to), I tend to stop tracking those things. And THOSE things are what most need tracking. This will help me tighten up my spending, AND accurately see how much I spend per month on necessities versus desires. And THAT helps me see the bigger picture on what housing costs I can afford. 4. Empty the Mind of thoughts of Perfection. - Art stuff. Sooo I guess a pencil in hand doesn't fit the empty hand analogy. But I can get deep here and say that it also implies a Monk of this tradition must empty their minds of preconceived expectations on themselves based off of others. IE - stop being so upset over how good or bad you are at something, and just focus on continuing to learn and progress. This will tie in to the monk discipline side of things. That's what I'll be working on this go around. I am going to focus things down a bit more precisely as the day goes on. I'll be using my pre-written BuJo to set this all up and keep track of what is getting down on what days too. The goal is 90% - because it's a 5 week challenge. And that's going to give me some wiggle room without it being rage-inducing. Which, it hasn't been in a long time, but I would rather set an attainable goal and surpass it, then set a really unfeasible one and then give up after having to wiggle early on it. Along the way, I hope to bring my monk along for the ride over on @Jarric 's adventure! Hopefully he needs a monk in his group. And oh! The bonus goal we're reaching for here ... see, yesterday I met a Jester at the Ren Faire. I called out to her and said, "Jester, do you have any donuts?" And she comes over, and says, (in perfect Jester voice) "Wellll actually I do!" and pulls out a prop donut. Then a prop lollipop! She was so spot on ya'all. My friend, who has Jester as his fave, missed her, but we found her again later. I apologized for bothering her again, but said that my friend would really love a picture with her. She obliged. And then said, "Do you know about the Traveler?" and I answered, "Of course! We're going to Traveler Con... the one that might be at the volcano!" And she just right back and forth with the banter. Then she pulls out a hand made, color printed pamphlet on The Traveler, and hands it to us. I was so inspired by this little gem of a cosplayer, that I think I've decided to cosplay as Beau for my next con. And that's a super bold move for me, but I want to try it. *nodnod* This challenge will help me get there.
  20. A dungeon crawl is a type of scenario in fantasy role-playing games in which heroes navigate a labyrinthine environment, battling monsters, solving puzzles, evading traps, and looting any treasure they may find. I thought this an appropriate theme for this challenge because I often struggle in Sept/Oct as the sun vanishes, the days get shorter and the schedule gets busier. I have pinpointed my trouble areas, now it's just a matter of navigating them. And to quote one of the Twitter folks I follow: The goal of DnD is not to level up in order to overcome a challenge. Its to solve challenges in front of you with the tools you have in place. I will conquer this dungeon with the tools I have in place, and by doing so, gain experience and level up as a side effect! Goal 1: Battle Monsters In order to handle the monsters I will face in this dungeon, I need to be well trained. That said, too many battles in a row will leave an adventurer exhausted, so I need to plan smart. Lift 2-3x / week Move 2-3x / week With hockey starting, I will not have a static schedule. I would love to get into 3 lift days a week, but it's really hard to juggle when I might end up with 2-3 hockey nights on one weekend. (Not likely, but could happen.) I also know that getting to the gym for a lift session on the weekends fails 80% of the time, so I cannot count on it. Therefore, the strategy on this monster is this. Non hockey Friday = Lifting on MWF If hockey on Friday, then lift TTH. Bike, run or dance on the days that do not include lifting. Goal 2: Solving Puzzles The biggest puzzle in this dungeon is to figure out how to stay consistent so I can lower my BF% some. This means tracking calories, and playing with the numbers - even when the data I collect doesn't immediately shout out the answer to the problem. Sometimes you get info from several chambers before you get the answer to the riddle. Track calories daily, even if they are grossly over. 7x/ week Cook at friends house for two meals there a week. 2x/ week Goal 3: Evading Traps This is about evading the weakend trap! The subgoals here may change from week to week as I find out what works best, but here is the starting plan. Avoid the honeybadger polymorph trap on game nights. 2-3x/week -- Above accomplished by the following. 1) Have sandwich makings and healthy snacks at Q's house for game nights. 2) Plan meals by Wed, so I know what I am eating, at what time on Sat/Sun. 3) Allow and plan for, one 'fun' meal per week. Limit fast food Iced Coffee's to 2x/week. Goal 4: Document the Journey for the Archives This is added in to account for the art goals and habits, as well learning to juggle the various commitments I've set up for myself. Sketch daily. 7x/ week Practice on tablet. 4x/ week Art lesson. 1x/ week D&D Prep. As needed, but at least 2x/ week Church Group. 1x/ week (Mondays.) Additional goals, that I don't want to make weekly due to stress inducement! Keep at the nightly teeth routine. Get the budget sorted, for real. Use Good Budget - limit money spent, track where it goes. Weekly plan out the weeks events, schedule and plans for food so it is not tossed aside due to 'last-minute-itis'.
  21. STARPUCK JOINS UA ACADEMY This anime is full of wisdom and motivation in all the right areas for me. It's also been a while since I plotted out a challenge where the goals are meshed into a theme, and I am feeling like this could give me an extra boost in getting back into the routine of it. A recurring theme for me (came up in the anime's I've watched, and now our church sermons too) is Endure. If I were to take a moment to be completely honest with myself -in an eye opening, epiphany kind of way- I've been kind of a quitter lately. And by lately, I mean the last couple years. So here are some quotes that I am going to be embracing, and building upon through this challenge. Midoriya once said, "I'll have to work harder than anyone else to make it. I'll never catch up otherwise!" He has to work harder to do things that come easy for other students. This hits so close to home for me because I have often said that I need to work so much harder to be fit/not overweight/healthy, etc than 'the normal person'. I watch my hockey teammates chug beers and Doritos after games and not gain a pound, whereas I can gain an inch from just smelling a pizza. It might in fact be harder for me. The options remain the same: do it anyway, or give up. Which leads to the next quote, by my all time favorite character. I want to become healthy, strong and fit. I want to do active things my whole life. I want to be a bad ass chick! Well then - I need to stand up and remember that, and push forward and never give up. This is a hard one to admit. I am the ultimate planner -/ dreamer -- but I fail at being a doer. My dreams end midway because I go through all the trouble of dreaming them up, but leave them on the shelf as 'dreams' rather than goals that I am working to. This is usually because I end up being too afraid to pursue stuff. Fear is a problem that needs facing and as All Might has said, "I smile to show the pressure of heroes and to trick the fear inside of me." So this first post I suppose is mostly just me sorting out my feelings on the challenge and what I need to tackle. Unfortunately, a lot of the things in THIS post aren't very quantifiable, so the next post is going be specifically about what I feel I need to do, to train myself, and to keep going without giving up, and yet still do this in a way that is sustainable for the long haul. (This one ties right in to the single most profound comment I heard in yesterday's sermon: God's best for us, comes through our times of moving through fear.)
  22. Hello! So this is totally insignificant I'm sure...but for some reason I'm harping on it. I've noticed some people have character stats in their signatures and I think that is SUPER cool. How did you all determine it? Was it from a NF article I missed or did you all just decide to start at a number and randomly give yourselves' stats when you feel like you deserve it? I gotta know.
  23. Regular Gnoll, Regular Gnoll! Hello all! Welcome to my NEIN Challenge! Which, of course means no challenge. And is a great reference to the new campaign for Critical Role, which I love. Totes <3s. Anyway. It's zero week now, making next week Week 1, but I will be in sunny California starting on the 21st and for a whole week. Those of you who know me, or are somehow my twin (Hi @karinajean!) will understand that starting a brand new challenge without the chance to focus on the new lovely goals you set up, makes for a MEEEEEHXPERIENCE! So I am not challenging this time. Just a sort of battle log-esque thing, in the forums for challenges, to remind me to not lose track completely. This week, I will focus on getting some lifts and exercise in before I begin traveling. 3 Lifts ☑ ☐ ☐ 2 Moves ☐ ☐ I will eat healthfully, with the food I have here, so I do not spend money before the trip. I will not eat snacks (salty or sweet) unless I am feeling a little hungry. Food is for filling and tasting, not just for tasting because yum. Breakfast at work will be the last couple eggs and the oatmeal I already bought weeks ago. Lunches at work will be Tuna Melts because I had English Muffins left over from last week's shopping. Snacks of apples and yogurts as per usual. Dinners at home Mon Wed and Fri. Tuesday dinner is either those rice shrimp bowls or Chipotle (bowl, no rice) if our friend wants to go out before our trip. Thursday is local taco place because it is SO much better than crappy Chipotle. Snacks at gamer house will be a single healthful sweet + skim or almond milk. A single serving of popcorn if I get real noshy. I will aim to get 3 days of art on the tablet in before I go on my trip. ☐ ☐ ☐ I will aim for 1-2 sketch days IF able to do so without incurring other stress for trip needs. ☐ ☐ Vacation Readiness Checklist Print directions out. ☑ Print receipts and confirmations. ☑ Write contact list out for my sister. ☐ Write emergency contact list for me. ☐ Write up To Pack List. ☐ Check camera and pack components. ☐ Find Atlas! ☐ Flight Info for our Drivers. ☐ Where am I going you say? Death Valley National Park for 3 days, then shifting south to Joshua Tree for 3 days, back up to Vegas to hit Red Rock Canyon or maybe kayak Lake Mead and then home! If nice weather will not come to me, then by the Travelers Knickers, I will go to it! Getting really excited too! And as of right now, not anxious/nervous at all!
  24. "Almost all of the common people and other folk that one might encounter along the Sword Coast or in the North have one thing in common: they live out their lives without ever traveling more than a few miles from where they were born. You aren't one of those folk. You are from a distant place, one so remote that few of the common folk in the North realize that it exists, and chances are good that even if some people you meet have heard of your homeland, they know merely the name and perhaps a few outrageous stories." Starpuck Prepares for Traveling and Does Good Things Well! And apparently creates a title that will make grammar hounds twitch and Zoolander proud, lol! Keeping it super simple this time around folks. I may be recovering from a mild concussion brought on by one heck of a collision in my last hockey game. The professionals that checked me out weren't overly concerned but said to err on the side of a positive diagnosis and give my brain some chill time. I'm also a few weeks away from my first vacation of the year and would like to get myself prepared for that. Since walking is still on the allowed chart, and since I need to avoid the more strenuous activities and sports for a few weeks, I will tailor this challenge to doing what I can with what I've got. That is going to look like this: Eating of the Foods Continue to read and follow Intuitive Eating. This is not an easily tracked goal, so for the sake of accountability, I am going with a sort of negative points system. I will tally up points whenever I eat past my hunger, by as many points as I feel I've passed a good spot on the hunger scale. Ate just a bit past full because of reasons, that's a point. Go absolutely ape poop on food, that's three points. Cook things at home, eat tasty stuff that does good things to the body. I've slacked on the cooking of things due to timing, schedules and a feeling of being burnt out. Now that I am having more 'down' time to recover, it allows me the chance to expand on this area of exploration. Walking the Path Walk. Outside, inside, whatever- but do it daily. This is going to be hard because if it's at all cold, or cloudy or meh, I tend to not want to walk. The weather SHOULD be starting to break here in Chicagoville, so the goal is to get 20 minutes of consecutive walking a day for right now. Adjust as able. Cultures of Other Lands Art. Keep up the art habit. I've been on a better upswing of art. So keep at it. Get at least four days in a week, sketching and tablet time. D&D stuff. Keep slowly organizing the D&D notes onto Google Docs. Engage in prep work and creative minded projects for it, but don't obsess. Journal in the BuJo I do better when I keep up with my Bujo. The key to this is having the next week set up by the Sat/Sun prior, and making sure I think to open it during the weekend. Odds and Ends Set new budget and freaking stick to it. Plan out the trip details for vacation. Make plans with besties. Clean Closet? *wince* Create weekly time sheet. That's it folks! Simple and stress free. Keeping the focus on doing what I can, and doing it well.
  25. AND DEADLIFTS!!! A new challenge is upon us, and I have decided to not go so crazy on themes and stuff this time around. Ok, I lie a little... there's still gonna be lots of D&D talk, and references to Critical Role, and general badassery that's often inspired by games and stuff, and of course gifs! Something I have struggled with since- ...forever, is consistency. And for serious, just tonight, it dawned on me; "Starpuck... you can't have an epic character, if you keep changing campaigns. You'll just keep hitting level 5 and then starting over." So this challenge is going to be about grinding out some starter mobs and figuring out which quests are worth digging in on, and which ones are are pulling me away from the end boss. Goal #1 - Nom like Nott "I find the pitcher of cucumber water, I dump it on the floor, and I eat all the cucumbers." ~Nott Goal: 5 servings of produce per day, every day. I'm going to be delving into Intuitive Eating this challenge, but something I want to work on is getting my produce in. I've improved HUGELY over the past few years, but I'd like to really get a solid habit of reaching for fruits and veggies first. I'm fond of veggies, but I haven't found too much I like in the way of fruit. Suggestions will be welcome! Goal #2 - Train for Adventure "I'm a Ranger; we don't min-max, we just kick ass." ~Starpuck Goal: 5 workouts per week; aiming for 3 lifts. Strength training is important for a bunch of reasons, but also because I think it really gives me a boost of confidence. I'd like to focus my workout efforts on the lifts, but if a schedule comes up that it makes sense to have only 2 lifts, but 3 other workouts I'm gonna just roll with it. Goal #3 - Hone skills, keep the mind sharp. Goal: Plot time for artwork (4x/week) and D&D prep (2-4 hours/week). I would like to take my art hobby to the next level. That means I need to keep the practice up weekly, as well as push myself out of my comfort zone. I'll be looking for books or tutorials, and possibly, look into purchasing a more "grown up" program. Art 4x a week needs to be maintained. Sketching practice counts. D&D work I'd like to put in 2 hours on off weeks, and probably by necessity a bit more on weeks I have a game to run. Goal #4 - Study my Spellbooks Goal: Read through Intuitive Eating Because, let's be honest guys... 2+ years of counting calories isn't actually getting me anywhere. Is it too much, too little, the wrong kinds? Who knows! Clearly, ancient mankind did not need such formulas, so the body must know how to do this on its own. If nothing else, I am confident the book will help me address where my poor connections to food are, and give me insight into fixing that. I am going to try to read 15-30 minutes before bed on weekdays, and see if that also doubles up and helps me sleep better. That's it. Keeping it simple and not too crazy. These are all things I've been mostly doing. But this time it's about doing them with consistency and conviction. So, let's get rolling!
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