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Spezzy Keeps her Garden in Ard


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Hiiiiiiii everyone! And happy 2021 :D

 

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Challenge Theme

 

This challenge is themed off the book Seraphina. The main character has visions, and to manage these visions, she creates a mental garden, which is just a form of cognitive architecture, and avatars (grotesques) of each of her visions live within this garden. Each of the grotesques has their own personality, needs, and area of the garden, and she gives them a name based on their personality
 
Every day, she must keep her garden in "ard", and if she doesn't, the grotesques will take over and give her headaches, anxiety, and could even knock her unconscious.
 
Here's a (paraphrased) quote about "ard":
"...The human condition is confusing and often overwhelming, and they developed strategies over the years for keeping their heads "in ard".  Ard was a central concept of philosophy. The word itself meant roughly "order" or "correctness"...but the idea was much deeper. Ard was the way the world should be, the imposition of order upon chaos... Human emotions, messy and unpredictable, were antithetical to ard..."
 
Basically, how she tends to her garden is that she cultivates relationships with each grotesque, and gives it a place in her mind to thrive or live - and if she does that, it will stay put and not cause chaos in her mind.  When she tends her garden, she can do the bare minimum some days, or she can do more - but if she doesn't tend it for a few days, it starts to create chaos (and the headaches/visions/etc).
 
In the book, the visions end up being real people - but that doesn't matter for the purpose of this challenge and this theme, because I simply just love the idea of instead of having daily or weekly tasks, I have a garden I have to tend to - so I'm going to use it as an analogy for this challenge, and the garden will be a part of my character moving forward.
 
2021 Goal
My 2021 theme/goal is to become antifragile. I'm working on a 2020 summary / 2021 goals post for my battle log, but for now - I'll be splitting up the year into sections based on things I need to do to become antifragile.
 
And the first one, really, is to get my mind in order and the basics down. 2020 threw me for some loops, and while I am extremely proud to have stayed afloat, my life is extremely different than it was a year ago (I'm not even in the same country), and a lot of my basics need to be revisited. I also struggle with anxiety and ADHD - both of which are insanely easier to manage when I'm consistent with the basics.
 
These basics are things that, once I have down, I'll still need to focus on - even when they aren't a challenge goal, per se - so my goal is that I make the garden a big focus of my challenges in Q1 of this year, but after that, it's a singular goal - and not broken out by 'grotesque' (because yes, I am absolutely going to call each thing I need to work on a grotesque as she does in the book 😂 ). I'm also going to name them, just like she did in the book because that's part of the fun. 
 
Challenge Goals:
 
Focus on tending Spezzy's Garden. 
 
I imagine it looks something like this:
 
wallpaperbetter.com_3072x1920.jpg
 
 
And here are its residents and how Spezzy must keep them happy. 
*Everything here is a work in progress, so I may rename, update, add, or remove grotesques at any time :)
*gifs are an approximation of what I imagine they look like
 
Skadi
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Skadi can be found walking around the garden, and does not like to sit still.
 
To keep Skadi happy, Spezzy must walk with her at least twice a day. 
 
Loud Lad / Floki
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Floki likes building things and is very intelligent, but also is kind of bizarre and unpredictable and very vocal about his feelings. While he's open to change, he likes things a certain way, and if they aren't that way, he can be very loud. He can be found either by the lake, building things, unless he's been neglected, and then who knows what he'll be found doing - but it's probably not a good thing.   Floki represents my rehab work for my injuries.
 
To keep Floki happy, Spezzy needs to do her stretching/rehab work daily, even if it's 5 minutes. 
 
Magni
daily_gifdump-30-6.gif
Magni likes picking things up and putting them back down.  He can be found near a large pile of rocks that he can pick up and put down whenever he likes. 
 
To keep Magni happy, Spezzy must strength train at least 3x per week. 
 
Platypus
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Platypus can not get enough water, and is always found swimming in the lake.
 
To keep Platypus happy, Spezzy must sit with him and drink at least a gallon of water a day. 
 
Pandowdy
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Pandowdy is always found wandering around, gathering food - apples, mushrooms, carrots, etc., or fishing in the lake. 
 
To keep Pandowdy happy, Spezzy must stick to her nutritional guidelines (modified autoimmune paleo) at least 90% of the time. 
 
Penguin Man (Master P) 
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Penguin Man is named after a Grotesque from the book, Pelican Man, who was alway staring into the night sky, and had a great ability to observe other's pasts and futures. 
 
To keep Master P happy, Spezzy must focus on breathing exercises every day. 
 
Moon Rabbit
tenor.gif
Moon Rabbit is named after the Moon Rabbit, a mythical rabbit that lives on the Moon. Moon Rabbit hangs out in the Moon in the sky in the garden, and only comes out at night.
 
To keep Moon Rabbit happy, Spezzy must not use my phone within 30 minutes of bedtime, and stick to my bedtime. 
 
Minerva
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Minerva is always found with her notebook by the lake, planning things and writing things down. 
 
To keep Minerva happy, Spezzy must focus on her daily schedule planning the night before, and stick to it. 
 
 
Ratatoskr, or, Squirrel
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Ratatoskr is often found in the garden doing whatever it is he feels like at that moment. He represents my ADHD - and is named after a squirrel because first, this.  But I wanted to name him after a very important squirrel, because I have found that ADHD, when focused, can be used as a superpower, but left to its own devices, can be destructive. 
 
To keep Ratatoskr happy, Spezzy must work from her desk in her office and wear her headphones at least 75% of the time. 
 
Holmgard
giphy.gif
Holmgard - Regardless of what shape the garden takes that day, Holmgard can always be found at the very center of the garden, and has three animal companions, and often has a picnic ready for Spezzy when she goes to tend her garden. 
 
To keep Holmgard happy, Spezzy must spend time with her partner and animal companions, and work on continuously fostering and growing those relationships. 
 
Janet
The-Good-Place-fall-finale-3x09-Janets-D
Janet is found in an underground bunker that only I know how to find. None of the other grotesques, or anyone else I know, are allowed in - though even though she keeps moving the location of the bunker, others keep getting in. When others get in, things start to get weird and the bunker starts to implode and Janet has to build it again. Janet represents my time for myself goal. 
 
To keep Janet happy, Spezzy must focus on doing something purely for her own happiness at least 2x per week. (Janet is happier with 3-4x, but let's start slow here!)
 
Miss Fusspots and Mordred
 
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Mordred and Miss Fusspots- Mordred and Miss Fusspots are two Grotesques who live near eachother. These are the most complex Grotesques. 
 
Mordred is based after a grotesque that is able to speak, lie, sense fears/dreams, and influence thoughts and decisions. In the book, Seraphina locks her into the "wee cottage" to prevent her from wandering over her mind and take over. 
 
Mordred is my anxiety/panic attack goal.  And I'm creating a "wee cottage", too. 
 
Whenever my brain tries to take me down a negative internal dialogue, or a dialogue that I know will take me down the path to an attack, I'm going to "check the lock" on her cottage and make sure it's still locked. And as long as it's still locked, I know I'm safe. 
 
Miss Fusspots hangs outside the wee cottage and likes to make a fuss out of things, or over things that aren't in her control, or when Mordred starts to act up. If she's happy, she's just hanging out in the front of the wee cottage gardening, but if she's not, she's fussing a whole bunch, and sometimes she thinks that Mordred has all of the answers to everything, so she starts looking for the lock to the wee cottage so she can unlock it and let Mordred out. That's bad. 
 
So first line of defense - tell Miss Fusspots to stop fussing and that whatever she is fussing about is not worth it, and start using my coping tools to calm her down.
 
Second - check the lock and remind myself that Mordred is locked up.
 
Managing the rest of the Grotesques will help keep Mordred and Miss Fusspots happy. 
 
 
And that's it! So looks like a lot, but really just focusing on nailing down the basics. I also would not be surprised if nailing down the basics here takes a few challenges, but that's okay! :)
 
PS Here's another image of what the garden might look like:
 
dragon_027-web-light.jpg
 
or maybe like this, in autumn, which is the best season:
75d19a4f096943d615ade8518b9714bd-700.jpg
 
 
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Spezzy, the Arcane Skirmisher
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“There's only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you've got to be kind.”
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This is one of the best challenge intros I have ever seen. I love the narrative framework for the goals. I also like the big lake in your garden. 

garden GIF

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I love this concept, cultivating a garden is a wonderful way of envisaging what you want to achieve.

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8 hours ago, spezzy said:

This challenge is themed off the book Seraphina

I read this and gave a squeal of excitement. I LOVE THIS BOOK! Thank you for introducing me to the wiki fanpage! 

 

Your grotesques are so absolutely perfect. I need to go back and re-read the book now! I like the nod to her half-dragon heritage with the train your dragon gif too!

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Wow, very nice write up. Good luck with your 2021 goals and challenge. 

 

PS I'm going to have to read this book. 

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This is a great theme! 

 

I hope that you can also take a little time to speak with Mordred and Miss Fusspots every once in while. They may not always say the right things, or say it well, but sometimes you have to hear what they are saying. Doesn't mean you have to believe it, or act on it. Just listen every once in a while. You might find that they will stay in their "wee cottage" without a hefty lock if you can do that. But only take time with them when you are strongest in case you need to wrestle them back into their cottages ;) 

Hopefully the Muay Thai training can help with that!

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9 hours ago, Rhovaniel said:

I read this and gave a squeal of excitement. I LOVE THIS BOOK! Thank you for introducing me to the wiki fanpage! 

 

And here I thought no one was going to even recognize the theme... 🤣

 

3 hours ago, GoodDoug said:

Hopefully the Muay Thai training can help with that!

 

Don't encourage her, I've already been punched twice in her sleep!

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13 minutes ago, Rurik Harrgath said:

Don't encourage her, I've already been punched twice in her sleep!

 

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13 minutes ago, Rurik Harrgath said:

 

And here I thought no one was going to even recognize the theme... 🤣

To be fair, half the excitement was that I've never heard anyone else mention the book either...

 

13 minutes ago, Rurik Harrgath said:

Don't encourage her, I've already been punched twice in her sleep!

Are you sure you didn't do something during her waking hours to warrant a 'sleep' punch? :P 

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Same, I feel like I have another book on my list now. :)

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3 hours ago, GoodDoug said:

This is a great theme! 

 

I hope that you can also take a little time to speak with Mordred and Miss Fusspots every once in while. They may not always say the right things, or say it well, but sometimes you have to hear what they are saying. Doesn't mean you have to believe it, or act on it. Just listen every once in a while. You might find that they will stay in their "wee cottage" without a hefty lock if you can do that. But only take time with them when you are strongest in case you need to wrestle them back into their cottages ;) 

Hopefully the Muay Thai training can help with that!

 

Thanks you!

 

For this - it's not so much keeping the emotions locked up :) I think feeling emotions is super important, and learning how to react to them. 

 

Mordred is a bit more complicated because she completely takes over. She's a product of PTSD, and I disassociate and it's like watching myself as if I'm watching myself in a movie - and the anxiety and/or panic attacks that come after she takes over take me out emotionally for days, and it's not productive. I haven't had a full one in a while because I've put in a lot of work around it over the years, so "checking the lock" is me adding a pause in to remind myself that I'm strong enough, and that I don't have to let her take over. 

 

Miss Fusspots doesn't get locked up, she hangs out outside the cottage and I talk to her, and she's the first line of defense - I use my tools to talk to her to help me calm down - I do my breathing exercises, Felix will intervene (I actually got him as a psychiatric service dog, though he's not fully trained yet :) ), I note and recognize triggers, etc. If I don't tend to Miss Fusspots, she lets Mordred out, and I lose control of everything. 

 

So the long term goal here isn't ever to let Mordred out of the cottage - the goal would be to kick her out of the garden completely, though due to her nature, it may be something where locking her up is as good as it gets.  Miss Fusspots is a healthy, and necessary inhabitant - even when she's making a fuss 😂 😂 😂 

 

 

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Spezzy, the Arcane Skirmisher
Chaotic Good Quarter Elf Slayer/Magus
STR: 21 / DEX: 17 / CON: 14 / INT: 15 / CHA 15
“There's only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you've got to be kind.”
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51 minutes ago, raptron said:

Same, I feel like I have another book on my list now. :)

 

2 hours ago, Athena said:

Such. a good. Theme, yes! I too, now want to read the book. :)

 

 

9 hours ago, h3r0 said:

Wow, very nice write up. Good luck with your 2021 goals and challenge. 

 

PS I'm going to have to read this book. 

 

11 hours ago, Emerald Eagle said:

I now really want to read this book! Great challenge :)

 

Yess! It's great, and it's a "young adult" fantasy novel, technically, so it's a super easy, relaxing read :) There are two other books in the series, so I'm going to read those next. 

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Spezzy, the Arcane Skirmisher
Chaotic Good Quarter Elf Slayer/Magus
STR: 21 / DEX: 17 / CON: 14 / INT: 15 / CHA 15
“There's only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you've got to be kind.”
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17 hours ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

This is one of the best challenge intros I have ever seen. I love the narrative framework for the goals. I also like the big lake in your garden. 

garden GIF

 

Thank you! A lake is absolutely necessary :) Water is one of the most peaceful things to look at!

 

17 hours ago, sarakingdom said:

This is awesome, and your little rodenty carrot-muncher is absolutely killing me.

 

He is EXACTLY what I am going to imagine Pandowdy as, every time. Makes me smile so big :D

 

11 hours ago, Jarric said:

I love this concept, cultivating a garden is a wonderful way of envisaging what you want to achieve.

 

Yeah! This feels more about character development, too, vs completing a list of tasks every day, which feels a bit more check-boxy to me and less exciting :) 

  • Like 2
Spezzy, the Arcane Skirmisher
Chaotic Good Quarter Elf Slayer/Magus
STR: 21 / DEX: 17 / CON: 14 / INT: 15 / CHA 15
“There's only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you've got to be kind.”
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5 hours ago, Big_Show said:

I absolutely love this theme!

 

Thank you!

 

 

10 hours ago, Rhovaniel said:

I read this and gave a squeal of excitement. I LOVE THIS BOOK! Thank you for introducing me to the wiki fanpage! 

 

Your grotesques are so absolutely perfect. I need to go back and re-read the book now! I like the nod to her half-dragon heritage with the train your dragon gif too!

 

Yesss :D We also just finished watching all of the How To Train Your Dragon series, so toothless is on my mind  :)

 

Did you read the other two in the series? Those are on my list next!

 

3 hours ago, Rurik Harrgath said:

 

And here I thought no one was going to even recognize the theme... 🤣

 

 

I didn't either! 

  • Like 1
Spezzy, the Arcane Skirmisher
Chaotic Good Quarter Elf Slayer/Magus
STR: 21 / DEX: 17 / CON: 14 / INT: 15 / CHA 15
“There's only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you've got to be kind.”
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3 hours ago, Rurik Harrgath said:

Don't encourage her, I've already been punched twice in her sleep!

 

2 hours ago, sarakingdom said:

 

 

 

2 hours ago, Rhovaniel said:

Are you sure you didn't do something during her waking hours to warrant a 'sleep' punch? :P 

 

 

giphy.gif

 

Also, @Rurik HarrgathI believe you told me if I wanted to get better, I needed to practice... I was just practicing... in my dreams. 😬 

 

 

 

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Spezzy, the Arcane Skirmisher
Chaotic Good Quarter Elf Slayer/Magus
STR: 21 / DEX: 17 / CON: 14 / INT: 15 / CHA 15
“There's only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you've got to be kind.”
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56 minutes ago, spezzy said:

 

Thanks you!

 

For this - it's not so much keeping the emotions locked up :) I think feeling emotions is super important, and learning how to react to them. 

 

Mordred is a bit more complicated because she completely takes over. She's a product of PTSD, and I disassociate and it's like watching myself as if I'm watching myself in a movie - and the anxiety and/or panic attacks that come after she takes over take me out emotionally for days, and it's not productive. I haven't had a full one in a while because I've put in a lot of work around it over the years, so "checking the lock" is me adding a pause in to remind myself that I'm strong enough, and that I don't have to let her take over. 

 

Miss Fusspots doesn't get locked up, she hangs out outside the cottage and I talk to her, and she's the first line of defense - I use my tools to talk to her to help me calm down - I do my breathing exercises, Felix will intervene (I actually got him as a psychiatric service dog, though he's not fully trained yet :) ), I note and recognize triggers, etc. If I don't tend to Miss Fusspots, she lets Mordred out, and I lose control of everything. 

 

So the long term goal here isn't ever to let Mordred out of the cottage - the goal would be to kick her out of the garden completely, though due to her nature, it may be something where locking her up is as good as it gets.  Miss Fusspots is a healthy, and necessary inhabitant - even when she's making a fuss 😂 😂 😂 

 

 

I really like the way you are framing this. It sounds like you got a good handle on it. I can’t wait to hear more about this lovely garden!

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8 hours ago, spezzy said:

Did you read the other two in the series? Those are on my list next!

Not yet! Along with a new copy of Inkheart (I lent it to someone who never returned it :(), it's on my list. I'm just making myself read through at least some of the vast pile of 'unread' in my collection first!

Rangers Gonna Ranger

Current Challenge: The Adventures of Rhovaniel: Vol I

Previous Challenges: 1|2|3|4|5|6|7|8|9|10|11|12|13 1415|16|17|18|19|20|21|22|23|24|25

 

2021 Quests:

Run 3 Laps of Oblivion| Run and Complete Man vs Lakes | Achieve a full pull up| Achieve 10+ unbroken push ups| Write 90,000+ words of a novel (0/90,000)| Read at least 20 books (4/20)

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On 1/1/2021 at 5:30 PM, GoodDoug said:

I really like the way you are framing this. It sounds like you got a good handle on it. I can’t wait to hear more about this lovely garden!

 

Thanks :D Working on it - these grotesques have been a work in progress for a loooooooong time. I think it helps to finally name them, though!

 

On 1/1/2021 at 7:11 PM, Artemis Prime said:

Just added this book to my Good Reads want to read shelf yesterday!

Love the garden theme! 

 

Yesssss!!! And thank you :D

 

On 1/2/2021 at 1:11 AM, Rhovaniel said:

Not yet! Along with a new copy of Inkheart (I lent it to someone who never returned it :(), it's on my list. I'm just making myself read through at least some of the vast pile of 'unread' in my collection first!

 

Yeahhhhh that pile grows so fast, doesn't it? I barely read at all in 2020 just because limited brain capacity (one of the reasons I started back with a "young adult" novel 😂 ), but even though I wasn't reading, I didn't reduce the speed at which I was adding or buying books hahaha. 

 

On 1/2/2021 at 6:33 AM, KB Girl said:

This is brilliant, and thanks a whole bunch- it really helped me wrap my head around what's been going on the past few weeks (I inadvertently let my mordred out of it's cage). 

 

Thank you!  

 

It's amazing how quick Mordred can take over without us even realizing it's happening, isn't it?  Glad this imagery helped place it!

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Spezzy, the Arcane Skirmisher
Chaotic Good Quarter Elf Slayer/Magus
STR: 21 / DEX: 17 / CON: 14 / INT: 15 / CHA 15
“There's only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you've got to be kind.”
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Okay, first! Added in two more grotesques, which puts me at 13 (and if you have a garden of grotesques, you must have a prime number of grotesques 😬) . I am not allowed to add any new grotesques this challenge, though I can modify them as I see fit and as I learn their needs more and more. 

 

I know this sounds like a LOT of goals - but many of them are either things that I already have down as habit and have been working on for a while now, are extensions on already created habits, or are things  that used to be habit and I'm just bringing back.  Some of them, also, are more reminder goals - like Lady Fusspots and Mordred, for example, where they aren't so much a 'task', but a tool, or Holmgard and Janet, which is a reminder to prioritize myself and my family over other priorities in life.   I am not setting up any new systems, or creating any new plans, as a part of this - it's more just solidifying everything and making sure they are all down pat before trying to add anything new onto my plate.  

 

Plus, with everything going on in my life this year - sticking to the basics feels like enough! :)

 

Here's a chart I made for a weekly "tracker" template that I'll use that lays things out a bit simpler without all the gifs :)

 

Name
Represents
Goal
This week's review
Skadi
Daily Movement, Getting Outside, Getting Sunshine, Getting Fresh Air
Walk 2x Per Day
 
Floki
Lifelong injury rehab work, to keep me out of pain
Daily stretching / rehab movements
 
Magni
Strength Training, to help with lifelong independence
Strength Train 3x per week
 
Platypus
Hydration
A gallon of water per day
 
Pandowdy
Stick to nutritional guidelines to keep body happy and auto immune in check
90% compliance to mostly Auto Immune Paleo protocol
 
Penguin Man (Master P)
Breathing Exercises for mental health
At least 1 Breathing exercise / day
 
Moon Rabbit
Sleep Hygeine
No phone within 30 minutes of bed, Stick to bedtime
 
Minerva
Schedule Planning
Plan next day night before, loosely plan week on Sunday
 
Ratatoskr
Managing my ADHD
Work from desk with headphones on 75% of the time
 
Holmgard
Prioritizing Family and Connections
Spend time with partner and animal companions each day.
 
Janet
Prioritizing myself
Spend time purely focusing on myself at least 2x per week.
 
Miss Fusspots
Anxiety / PTSD #1
Use coping mechanisms whenever needed.
 
Mordred
Anxiety / PTSD #2
Check the lock, remind myself I'm strong enough
 

 

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  • That's Metal 2
Spezzy, the Arcane Skirmisher
Chaotic Good Quarter Elf Slayer/Magus
STR: 21 / DEX: 17 / CON: 14 / INT: 15 / CHA 15
“There's only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you've got to be kind.”
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