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    posted a message on Tell us about YOUR Bard!

    Name: Trip Fadecloak

    Race: Rock Gnome

    Background: Charlatan

    Subclass: Lore Bard

    Trip Fadecloak was a well-respected writer from Waterdeep, the City of Splendors. Having developed a knack for telling stories at an early age, he quickly became known as a famous best-selling author for numerous books & plays, such as "Beauty & the Tiefling", a steamy romance about an aasimar woman falling in love with a troubled tiefling,  "Twelve Angry Clerics", a legal thriller about 12 very different clerics attempting to solve a murder, "The Tantalus Archives", a series about a sarcastic wizard detective investigating crimes and stopping the scheming of a villainous lich, and his most popular series, "A Song of Life & Death", a political epic about murder and betrayal. He would often frequent the many taverns within Waterdeep, mesmerizing audiences with his tales of daring adventures and dashing heroes.

    Unbeknownst to the public, however, was the fact that Trip felt quite empty in his own life. Depression gnawed at him constantly, as he never achieved any of the feats or accomplishments of the heroes in the stories he wrote. He'd always heard about the deeds of heroes, like famous dragon-slayers or the stalwart adventurers who braved the Undermountain at The Yawning Portal, and felt envious that he lacked the courage of such figures. And, as time went on, Trip began having difficult inspiring himself. He developed writers block, and soon nearly two years had passed without him being able to write anything. Desperate, he began seeking out information through various contacts he had created throughout his career, some of them in the criminal underworld. Trip created an alias, Tricky Nym Suda (or, adjusted, "Tricky Pseudonym"), for dealing with this network of spies, and began using the information he gathered as inspiration for his novels. He even managed to gather valuable secrets about some of Waterdeep's most powerful and influential figures, subtly pulling the strings to his benefit, and using them as characters in his novels to compensate for his creative block.

    Trip made a mistake, however, when he published his latest novel in "The Tantalus Archives", "The Eye of the Beholder". In the story, his character Tantalus was investigating the real-life criminal organization known as The Xanathar Guild, when the wizard discovers that the leader of the mafia is in fact a Beholder. Trip had taken inspiration from a ridiculous rumor that the Xanathar was some kind of monster, and thought it would make a good plot twist. Unfortunately for Trip, however, the REAL Xanathar Guild apparently didn't take kindly to the author's interpretation, and dispatched assassin's to kill the famous gnome.

    Trip was forced to flee his home, at least temporarily, in order to save his own life. Exhilarated by this close encounter with death, however, his experience somehow managed to thrill him greatly. Realizing that he now had an opportunity to become the actual hero of his own story, he ventured forward to seek out adventures, eager to make his next series of novels a chronicle of his personal experiences.

    Trip will often use his famous status of an author as an ice-breaker, asking if the locals have heard of his work. He also enjoys captivating audiences with stories, or telling fortunes using a marked deck of Tarot cards. Both a charmer and occasional liar, he delights in mingling fiction with reality, despite some of the trouble it gives him.

    In combat, he will often narrate events as they unfold, describing the actions, or possible actions, of his fellow allies as "inspiration"...for example, "The Fighter gripped his blade and steeled himself for the killing blow." His "Cutting Words" offers a similar benefit, as Trip discovers that his magical talent for articulation allows him to warp reality, causing enemies to miss their attacks... "The dragon choked upon its flames, and realized the folly of its ego".

    While his alignment is somewhat chaotic and leans more towards neutral in his morality, Trip does have a deep desire to be a good person, as he yearns to be a hero.

     

    Posted in: Bard
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    posted a message on Tempest Cleric - Things a Badass Follower of Kord would Say

    Greetings!

    A Tempest Cleric is, with a begrudging nod to the War Cleric, the defining cleric of fighting and / or brawling. Rather than healing, they are moreso defined by their ferocity and sheer strength, tempered by focus and heroism.

    I have a hill dwarf tempest cleric who is actually very calm and somewhat shy in normal situations, but in the prospect of battle, dramatically shifts into a fearless fighter. I am looking for taunts / comments she might say when engaging the enemy.

    For example:

    "I be the lightning, and the thunder be my hammer as it cracks yer skull!"

    "Give yer best; I not be offering Kord a lackluster fight!"

    "None shall hold back the storm!"

    "If ye ever be wonderin' who yet god is, look no further...they be standin' in front of you. And they be fresh outta mercy."

    "Celebrate! I bring the word 'o Kord! And that word is PAIN."

    "Strike me if you must! For it is the secret language only I may understand! It tells me where the next dead man stands!"

    "Know that when you die, I shall raise a toast to ye in tribute!"

    Posted in: Cleric
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    posted a message on What are your favorite starting battle master maneuvers?

    I enjoy the bonus action abuse one could implement with a Two Weapon Fighter (one of the few subclasses where it can be used well, in my frustrated attempts to make a dual-wielder).

    "Trip Attack" to knock them prone, then bonus action strike them with advantage.

    "Menacing Attack" them, then hit them again to get the point across (in more ways than one).

    Pile on the damage, then "Riposte" if they aren't convinced your a living flurry of blades. No action, bonus or reaction, wasted!

    Posted in: Fighter
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    posted a message on Inspiring Through Action...Refining the Sword Bard to a Keen Edge.

    That's a pretty solid backstory that would explain why a Bard would take up a sword.

    Posted in: Bard
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    posted a message on Inspiring Through Action...Refining the Sword Bard to a Keen Edge.

    So, with the addition of "Xanathar's Guide to Everything", we were graced with a hefty collection of spells and subclasses, including some amazing Bard subclasses.

    While "College of Glamour" offers support rivaling that of the infamous Lore Bard, and "College of Whispers" adds a sinister intent...the "College of Sword" subclass truly embraced the idea of a Bard who wishes to become a legendary hero, rather than idolize them through song or story.

    By using their Inspiration to pull off elaborate "Flourishes", they contribute to damage, but also provide tactical support on the battlefield...deflecting attacks that would normally slay them on the spot, or by dancing across the battlefield for distraction and pushing enemies around.

    While not as sturdy as Barbarians or Fighters, and perhaps not as elusive as Rogues, they do manage to meet them somewhere in the middle...while also having full spell casting to boot.

    My question to this forum is...what sort of Sword Bard would you create? Do you take the "Dueling" or "Two Weapon" Fighting Styles? Do you prioritize "Dexterity" or "Charisma"? What sort of race do you choose? Which Feats? What did your Sword Bard do in your background? Were they an acrobat or pit fighter? A dashing vigilante, or menacing assassin? 

    And finally...what "Magical Secrets" do you choose to compliment their swordplay? Do you borrow the Ranger's sought-after "Steel Wind Strike" to become a flurry of stabs and slashes...or the legendary "Tenser's Transformation" from the Wizard spell list to become the embodiment of physical perfection...?

    Let's hear those suggestions in the comments below!

    Posted in: Bard
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    posted a message on Let the Rage Flow Through You...Tell Us About YOUR Barbarian!

    Kaldyr Tripcloak served as a mere grunt within an adventuring party, consisting of a half-orc named Hurk who wielded a warhammer, a halfling rogue named Fennec with fast hands and sharp blades, a dwarven smith cleric named Runa, a tiefling sorcerer, Tantalus, who was a charlatan good at negotiating deals, and Sydney, a half elf bard who served as the groups leader. Though Kaldyr was merely a glorified cook next to these impressive spell-slingers and skilled warriors, he never felt unwelcome.

    One day, the party took on a contract to investigate a series of disappearances around a desolate battlefield, where a number of merchant caravans had gone missing. They were ambushed by necromancers; who summoned both undead and incorpeal spirits to overwhelm the party.

    They were taken back to an ancient, worn-down fortress and locked in cells. They discovered other prisoners, who had gone missing from before, and who told them that these necromancers were part of a death cult that operated throughout Faerun. They sought to conquer death and prolong their own lives, and had conducted twisted experiments on the living prisoners to do so.

    One by one, Kaldyr witnessed his friends and allies taken from their cells, and heard their shouts and screams as the necromancers subjected them to dark magic. Kaldyr, once a optimistic and positive adventurer, saw his hope shatter in the wake of such evil.

    Then, the necromancers came for him. Strapping him to a table, they summoned the spirits of the dead, slowly draining the life from his body. Then, the necromancers conjured a wraith...some ancient warrior of tremendous power and rage, and attempted to force it to possess Kaldyr's weakened body. Perhaps they were trying to bind undead spirits to a living body in order to create an undying creature...?

    Their experiment, however, was interrupted. Kaldyr was, in fact, an aasimar; a mortal touched by the radiant power of Mt. Celestia...and when the dark power of the wraith combined with the protective energy of Kaldyr's deva patron, it created a rather large explosion, causing the necromancers and their lab to be flung into chaos.

    In the smoke and debris, Kaldyr emerged...though he was not the same. His skin had gone pale, his features gaunt and enveloped in mist. His eyes had darkened into two pits of shadow...with only red beads of rage-filled pupils peering out from the blackness. He had become one with the wraith, and was suddenly driven by the Rage that compelled the undead spirit.

    Fueled by both the rage and vengeance for his fallen friends, Kaldyr attacked the necromancers and killed them all. When the last of the necromancers attempted to summon undead to aid them, they were shocked when Kaldyr reflexively summoned the spirits of his fallen comrades...appearing as spectral warriors who held the undead at bay.

    Kaldyr slew the last of them, and freed what prisoners remained. But now mourning the loss of his friends, and now possessed by this wraith, Kaldyr was uncertain what the future held in store for him.

    And the Rage of the wraith needed to be satisfied, as it was still brimming with bloodlust beneath the surface...

    As a barbarian of the Path of the Ancestral Guardian, Kaldyr draws his power from the incorpeal spirits...his Rage is fueled by the wraith bound to his soul, who lends him power and skill, and resistance to physical attacks. When raging, he appears much like a wraith, with red eyes and ghostlike features. His Spirit Shield ability allows him to summons shadows and the shades of his fallen comrades to defend the living.

    With the Haunted One background, Kaldyr struggles to suppress the wraith, who seems to yearn for some unknown revenge, possibly against the death cult that had slain Kaldyr's friends. He occasionally sees spirits that no one else can see, not without the use of magic sight. His subclass skill that allows him to use "Augury" and "Clairavoyance" are the result of his studies into incorpeal undead.

    He is very much a gothic-styled barbarian.

    Kaldyr seeks to track down this death cult, and will Rage whenever encountering necromancers or those using evil magic. He wishes to free himself from the wraith, yet also finds its power useful...

    Posted in: Barbarian
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    posted a message on Let the Rage Flow Through You...Tell Us About YOUR Barbarian!

    Ah, the mountains of muscle and power that are BARBARIANS!

    Fighters may be proficient in their technique, feeble spellcasters may have their magic, and those sneaky rogues might get lucky with their sharp little toothpicks...but when you simply need a physical terror on the battlefield, nothing quite compares to the raw ferocity of a barbarian. With their Rage mechanic, there are few physical threats they can't deal with...and they have the vigor and damage to provide lasting aid to their companions.

    But what sort of backstory makes your barbarian unique? Are they just your typical "angry guy with an axe"? Or is your barbarian a warrior whose "rage" is simply a battle trance they enter to achieve focus? Did something happen in their past that drove them down a path of slaughter and combat? Are they from the wild frontier at the edge of civilization, or are they a ruthless killer from some urban city?

    With "Xanathar's Guide to Everything", there are even more options for what makes your barbarian who they are...they can be chosen warriors of some divine god, an embodiment of nature, or a spiritual combatant fighting for their ancestors.

    Discuss below what makes your barbarian unique...tell their story, or some of the great things they've done!

     

    Posted in: Barbarian
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    posted a message on Monk background

    I've heard many creative ideas regarding monk backstories...

    The monastery background is usually a favorite, as the monastery usually has a purpose for existing...to combat evil, to provide sanctuary to travelers, or to pursue enlightenment...usually your monk's personality or goals mirror the same goals of your monastery. Maybe your monk received a vision during meditation, forcing you to go out on an adventure. Maybe your monastery was destroyed by a warlord, and you were the sole survivor, and so the knowledge of your martial skill remains with you alone...

    Conversely, maybe your monk was indeed self-taught...a slave who was forced to fight in the gladiator pits? A drunken brawler who accidentally challenged a tavern filled with members of the City Watch to a fight and was forced to abandon the city to avoid arrest? Maybe they're just an acrobat or performer, like Dick Grayson. Lots of options.

    Long Death Monks are a personal favorite of mine, because they can be creepier with their backstories...one of my Long Death monks was experimented on, and possessed by a wraith, and so cannot be mortally wounded if they use their ki. She can be riddled with arrows, burned or bludgeoned, but refuse to die....and so she seeks vengeance on those who caused her condition. Another person had another idea of a Long Death Monk who trains in graveyards and cemeteries, learning the martial arts from the souls of deceased warriors. That's a cool concept; a monk who is merely studying the best fighting styles...

     

    Posted in: Monk
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    posted a message on Dual wielding vs. 2 handed

    In broad strokes, as I have been committing myself to developing a Fighter character recently, I'd say that Two-Weapon fighting and Great Weapon Fighting  both have remarkable utility...for a particular subclass.

    Two-Weapon Fighting shines under a Battlemaster, who is able to utilize a Maneuver with each strike of a weapon...piling on the damage and also implementing useful effects at a quicker rate. Great Weapons can do this, too; however I feel Two-Weapon Fighting fits the subclass more, as most of the Manuevers do not require the bonus action, allowing a chain of attacks and effects (provided the Battlemaster has the Superiority Dice available!). These also replenish on short rests... very good!

    Great Weapon Fighting is quite fantastic under the Samurai subclass.. as the Samurai subclass requires a bonus action for it's main feature, it doesn't mesh well with Two-Weapon Fighting. For Great Weapons, however...you will gain advantage on your weapon attacks FOR THE WHOLE TURN...meaning that, even with the -5 to your roll for "Great Weapon Master", you have a chance to gain advantage for that sweet +10 damage with every swing. This features will turn the tide of any battle...though, it does need to replenish on a long rest.

    So...a Two-Weapon Fighter in this way can attack more frequently with numerous effects, while a Great Weapon Fighter hits like a truck when he needs to most.

    Posted in: Fighter
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    posted a message on Glamour Bard Analysis Paralysis!

    Far Step gets overshadowed by a lot of Magical Secrets, but I enjoy the idea of a Bard who can teleport as a bonus action consistently...

    I paired it with Steel Wind Strike for maximum shenanigans...flicker between multiple enemies, dealing tremendous force damage, then...Far Step away.

    Or...Destructive Wave, knock a ton of enemies on their rears for a ton of damage then...Far Step away.

    I tend to think of Glamour Bard as having a lot of energy...dancers, acrobats, singers...so the teleporting skills are like their skills expressed through their magic. I also interpret their Mantle of Inspiration as them "teleporting" their allies out of danger (or charming them to "dance away"...moonwalk out of the reach of a dragon or giant!).

    Thunder Step provides the ability to teleport, too...as well as DAMAGE. Plus, you can bring an ally along...easy way to save an ally from death.

     

    Posted in: Bard
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    posted a message on Fight on...Tell Us About YOUR Fighter!

    Durgan Stormforge was one of few dwarves to enlist in the Waterdeep City Watch, a position with which he held with extreme pride, though he was often mocked for being among the shortest of the recruits. As he also kept his hair trimmed short and his beard shaved to maintain a professional demeanor, this led many to question his "legitimacy" as a dwarf...often, when forced to deal with other dwarves drunkenly brawling in local taverns, they would jokingly refer to him as "some gnomish sod" before berating him. Still, Durgan was as dedicated and skilled as any City Watch guard.

    Over time, though, the taunting began to wear him down. Then, while off duty, a local gang of malcontents entered Durgan's favorite tavern. They saw him, and soon the name-calling resumed.

    As the thugs began to teasingly refer to him as "halfling" or "gnome", something in Durgan snapped. He lashed out with two handaxes he kept on him at all times, cracking one of the goons with the blunt end, and a bloody brawl ensued. Throughout the fight, the gang still kept shouting "kill the gnome!", which only made Durgan more enraged (I'M A DWARF, DAMMIT...!!).

    By the end, the thugs were either wounded or dead, and Durgan was probably going to lose his position within the city watch. To make matters worse, the thugs he had dispatched were members of a powerful criminal mafia within Waterdeep, with suspected ties to the Xanathur Guild.

    Durgan was forced to flee the city, lest the criminal organization take revenge upon him. He now adventures full-time, using his two-weapon fighting and City Watch training to fuel his Manuevers with the Battlemaster subclass.

    People still mistake him for a gnome.

    Posted in: Fighter
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    posted a message on Fight on...Tell Us About YOUR Fighter!

    Taking some "inspiration" from the Bard Forum, I thought it would be interesting for people to share their version of a Fighter...

    Whether your a rank and file soldier whose seen too much, a disgraced noble duelist who lost their honor and wealth, a swashbuckling pirate whose ship was wrecked, a wandering mercenary looking for some easy gold, or a gladiatorial pit fighter having a hard time adjusting to civilian life, or a magic-wielding terror on the battlefield who may or may not be wanted for murder...let's hear about some of the backstories you've come up with to turn your standard, default "guy with a sword" into a true legend.

    Names, race, backstory, subclass, fighting style and preferred weapon...feel free to even mention some achievement or crazy sh*t you've pulled off with the character.

    Posted in: Fighter
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    posted a message on Minotaur fighter

    Had a fun little backstory about a Minotaur fighter named Torstun who'd been captured by pirate slavers at a young age...he was bred from captivity to fight within the gladiatorial arenas within a pirate cove. Slavers would take their strongest slaves and throw them into the pits, where they would be forced to fight for their amusement, or die for insubordination.

    With Torstun's monstrous appearance, he made for an intimidating adversary for most fighters in the pits. However, Torstun himself was not inherently violent...his people, the minotaurs that dwelled peacefully on their own island of Adamantius, taught themselves to resist the dark influence of the demon lord, Baphomet...a deity that stoked the violent urges of other minotaurs down the path of evil.

    Imprisoned by these vicious slavers, however, Torstun found himself having to kill his opponents to survive. While his pirate captors cheered him on for his victories, Torstun became traumatized by the killing, hearing the whispers of Baphomet in his ear every time he struck down his opponent in bloody combat. He began to slowly lose his mind, becoming a twisted beast that reveled in the killing, as the audiences cheered for their prized monstrosity of a champion.

    Then one day, another slave was thrown into his pit...a young halfling woman, armed with only a meager rapier. By this point, Torstun was a shadow of his former self...any trace of the human side of his minotaur lineage had succumbed to Baphomet's dark temptation. Towering over his opponent, Torstun launched himself at the halfling woman in a frenzy, striking with hammer in one hand, cleaver in the other. To both Torstun and the audiences surprise, however, the halfling woman moved with an astounding speed, dodging Torstun's blows as they thudded harmlessly into the dirt. She weaved around Torstun's weapons and stance with an expert grace, jabbing with her rapier into his flesh. Mere pinpricks to his hulking form, they only enraged Torstun further; he continued to lumber after the halfling, swinging his weapons and lashing out with his horns, as she danced around the pit, stabbing him with precise hits. As the fight continued, Torstun felt himself growing tired...none of his victims had managed to survive this long, and he was growing fatigued. Still the halfling woman continued her evasive maneuvers, and Torstun felt his rage slowly ebb away, the influence of Baphomet moving to some distant place in the back of his mind...

    Then, to the audiences shock, the halfling woman sidestepped Torstun delivered two quick flourishes into the backs of his hind legs, cutting deeply into his flesh. Torstun lost his footing as the strength gave way from his legs, blood pouring from the wounds. He staggered, falling on his back with a thunderous boom, kicking up dust from the pit.

    The audience was silent; unheard of in this obnoxious pirate cove of greed and misery. Somehow, this tiny halfling had managed to topple a minotaur. The halfling woman casually stepped atop Torstun's fallen form, placing her boots on his heaving chest and looking down at him, square into his eyes.

    "Finish it," the minotaur said, glancing at the rapier the halfling woman held, still slick with his blood. These were the first words Torstun had spoken for a very long time; perhaps it had been a year. This close to death, and he could no longer hear the dreaded Baphomet whisper in his head. His mind, and his soul, perhaps, were finally about to be free.

    The halfling woman paused, considering the request. "No," she said, wiping his blood from her rapier upon the rags she wore as a tunic. "I'll need you soon."

    Torstun was taken back to his cell, as the audience both cheered and booed the new halfling champion, for she had entertained them but also cost many of them substantial gambling bets. His wounds roughly tended to, Torstun was left in darkness and silence, contemplating the mercy that halfling woman had given him. He did not fell deserving of her mercy; he had killed many men in these pits.

    "I'll need you soon..." she had told him. She had spared him, when she could have killed him. Such a thing might have caused her slavers to kill her for such defiance, had it not been so entertaining. Two weeks passed, and Torstun was left in his cell to heal...but still he heard the cheers from the pits, as he presumed that the halfling continued to succeed in her fights. However, he heard whispers...she apparently refused to kill her foes, even when commanded to. Torstun was in awe by this...such an open act of rebellion was death in this place!

    Apparently, the other slavers agreed, as an uneasiness began to grow within the cove. The guards posted outside his cell spoke freely, as they considered him nothing more than a idiotic beast, that after a few more fights, the halfling woman would be killed, as an example to the rest of the prisoners. Torstun was horrified; but he did not know what he could do to aid her. Still, her words stayed with him... "I'll need you soon."

    Then, two nights later, there came sounds from outside his cell. The hiss of metal through air, the gasping of breath, and the sounds of bodies hitting the floor. Then, Torstun's cell opened...and there was the halfling woman, wielding two blades...a longsword, and her rapier.

    "Are you ready to pay your debt to me?" the halfling woman asked in a low voice.

    Torstun stared at her a moment, then nodded. "Yes," he answered in a calm voice.

    The woman nodded, satisfied, and tossed him the longsword, which he caught. "I have no need of beasts," she said. "If we are to leave this place, I need your wits as much as your size...and perhaps, with luck, we might taste the open air as free people once more."

    Torstun nodded, hope filling him for the first time since he'd been taken as a young bull. "What do we do?" he asked.

    The halfling woman show her teeth in a fierce grin. "We get the others," she said simply.

    And so, they silently crept and killed the other guards to the cells, and the halfling woman released those prisoners she had spared from the pits, and together they stealthily exited the cove, stealing a ship large enough for all of them, yet quiet enough to make their getaway before morning light. By dawn, crew of freed slaves had left that terrible place behind them on the horizon.

    Torstun stared at the sky, trembling at all the pain and blood of these last few years, and at the future ahead of him. He thought of what he would do...what he SHOULD do...and he thought of home, and the shame he felt for all the lives he took...he did not know if it would be right for him to return, having succumbed once already to Baphomet...

    As he contemplated these things, a thought struck him. Turning to this halfling woman who had saved him, he asked her, "What should I call you?"

    The woman paused. "Call me Captain, if you like," she said finally. "I might have need of someone like you."

    Torstun grunted, nodding his head slowly. That sounded fine.

     

    That sounded right.

    Posted in: Fighter
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    posted a message on The Tavern of Stupiditiy

    A grief-stricken blacksmith came barging into the tavern, stating that his precious Diana had been taken by goblins.

    We were so eager to help him, we left immediately...without any sort of directions.

    Later, we found out that "Diana" was, in fact, an anvil that the blacksmith had affectionately named. So we had blundered about the forest, caves, and a temple for ritual sacrifice because we hadn't bothered to stop and ask for details.

    Posted in: Story & Lore
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    posted a message on Can a Genasi cut their hair?

    That's...fascinating. And potentially wonderful story content.

    An air genasi's hair might drift away into smoke...

    Or an earth genasi's hair might crumble into dust, or crystallize. Might make for an interesting bracelet.. valuable?

    A water genasi's hair, honestly, would be fairly normal...just damp.

    But a fire genasi would be the best...

    "Hey, guys! Who wants to help me start this bonfire?!"

    (fire genasi looks at the pile of sticks, snorts, then snips an ember of "hair" off with some scissors, and flicks it onto the logs, starting a smoldering fire.)

    "There ya go."

     

    Posted in: Story & Lore
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