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Lockdown restrictions from Wednesday 30th September 2020
The following new restrictions will be in effect in Newcastle, Gateshead, Northumberland, North and South Tyneside, Sunderland and County Durham: updated Friday 2nd Oct 2020 Mod note:This is a long one, but important nonetheless. Please take a moment to read through it. These are the most relevant restrictions, however you should read them in full here
Residents of these areas must not
Host persons they do not live with in their homes or gardens
Meet others in their homes or gardens, even if outside the affected areas
Socialise with others with whom they do not live, in an indoor setting, whether inside or outside the affected areas
Meet in groups of more than six outdoors, unless part of the same household or support bubble
Fixed penalty notices may be issued against those over 18, and in contravention of these regulations, including:
£200 for the first offence (lowered to £100 if paid within 14 days)
£400 for the second offence
Double the previous figure for any subsequent offence, up to a maximum of £6,400
Any person who holds, or is involved with the holding of, an illegal gathering of more than 30 people may be subject to a penalty of £10,000 The following gatherings are permitted
Where each person is from the same household or support bubble
Attending a birth at the mother's request (Mod note: please be sensible about this one)
Visiting a person who is dying
Fulfilling a legal obligation
For work purposes (see here) or for the provision of voluntary or charitable services
For the purpose of education or training
For the purpose of childcare by a registered provider, or informal childcare as part of a support bubble
To provide emergency assistance
To enable one or more persons in the gathering to avoid injury or illness, or to excape a risk of harm
To facilitate a house move
To provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person
To continue existing arrangements for access to (and contact between) parents and children, where the children do not live in the same household as their parents (or one of their parents)
You MUST wear a face covering on public transport, in taxis, and in private hire vehicles, in addition to substantially enclosed travel hubs - such as indoor bus stations You are strongly advised to travel only for essential reasons, such as to or from work or to collect groceries, cleaning or medical supplies.
Nightclubs, dance halls, discotheques are closed
The following venues must close from 10pm until 5am, including for takeaway/carry-out services, with the exception of food/drink delivery or drive-through service:
All hospitality venues listed below, with the exception of workplace canteens if there is no alternative at that workplace for staff to obtain food
Arcades and other indoor leisure facilities excepting gyms or fitness studios
Indoor and outdoor funfairs
Theme parks, adventure parks, escape rooms
Cinemas, theatres and concert halls must close by 10pm, excepting to conclude a performance started prior to 10pm
Restaurants and bars must only allow food/drink to be consumed whilst seated, if sold to be consumed on the premises. Orders must only be taken whilst seated. Takeaway orders may be made at the bar or other counter before 10pm.
Hospitality venues subject to these restrictions include but are not limited to:
Restarants, including restaurants and dining halls in hotels or clubs
Cafes and canteens, including workplace canteens (unless otherwise specified), not including those at hospitals, care homes or schools
Canteens in prisons, at naval, military or air force establishments or for the purposes of the Department of the Secretary of State for defence
Services providing food or drink to the homeless
Bars, including those in hotels or clubs
Social clubs, including CIU and working men's clubs
Expansion of hospitality restrictions Venues must take steps to ensure:
Customers only consume food or drink whilst seated in the premises
Orders are only taken from customers who are seated, if the business serves alcohol for on-premises consumption
Bookings are not accepted, or customers admitted to the premises if:
Groups include more than one household and/or support bubble if they will be seated indoors
Groups include more than one household and/or support bubble, or more than six people if otherwise, if the party is to be seated outdoors
Customers do not join other groups on the premises, including in outdoor areas such as beer gardens
Tables are appropriately spaced to ensure adequate distancing
Exemptions to the six-person restriction outdoors, or single household indoors
Wedding receptions (limited to 15 people)
Civil partnership receptions (limited to 15 people)
Funerals (limited to 30 people)
In general, businesses must make sure that customers do not meet indoors with members outside their household or support bubble, that they do not sing in non-household groups, or dance. Businesses must also ensure that loud music is not played, and tables/chairs are appropriately spaced apart. Pontential fines for non-compliance include:
£1,000 for the first offence
£2,000 for the second offence
£4,000 for the third offence
£10,000 for the fourth and any subsequent offences.
There have been a number of posts circulating on social media disputing the effectiveness of restrictions, as well as disputing the severity of the virus and the possibility of it ever being contained. These are mostly based on pseudo-science and contain factually incorrect information. We strongly advise that you follow these restrictions, and if possible remain entirely indoors without coming into physical contact with others outside of your household. This is obviously not possible for everyone. Furthermore, a reiteration of current requirements:
Masks or face coverings must be worn in public indoor spaces, and in shops or other retail facilities where possible.
If you are displaying symptoms, isolate yourself and call for medical assistance.
If you have been in contact with someone who later develops symptoms, isolate yourself and maintain vigilance for symptoms of your own. The current estimated incubation period is approximately two weeks.
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A haunted mansion with a twist, it was touched by the shrouded king, an inter-dimensional being of darkness, now the mansion acts as a pocket dimension with seemingly infinite rooms, and phases through time and space, having been photographed before it was technically created.... Feel free to throw in as many horror references as physically possible.
Fortune Teller's Room
Room just for a certain kind of pet (Google 'tarantula room')
Darkroom (like for developing photographs)
The lotion room: Dozens if glass shelves hold hundreds bottles of lotion. Footsteps are muffled against the leather floor. The walls are made of living skin hidden behind thin wood panels which fold out of the way like shutters.
The crime scene: A manikin lies motionless inside of a chalk outline. The decor is that of a seedy motel. Flies buzz lazily, crawling in and out of the the sink’s plumbing. Upon inspection a few strands of hair are found in the drain. If you pull them they slide out, slimy and damp, attached to a piece of scalp.
The powder donut: a room with opulent furnishings. Overstuffed chairs and sofa’s welcome visitors. If sat upon, they release a white cloud. Poison? Mold? Anthrax? Powdered sugar? Mites? Only time will tell the effects.
Abandoned room: all the furniture is covered in sheets. If lifted, nothing but dust is found under the cover.
Model train room (or world equivalent)
Wood working room
Dangerous material storage
Pastry kitchen (completely separate from normal kitchen)
Smoke room (for curing meat)
Walk-in closet full of fancy costumes
Emergency supply room (full of water, fire suppressant, weapons, gas masks, and similar. Think prepper)
Room of magically useless curiosities
Statue room (full of statue figures)
Portrait room (full of portraits)
Sculpture room (not figures, more artistic)
Room of stone where everything is made of marble
Golden room (painted or real you decide)
Peacock room (like the famous irl one, beautiful room that was decorated to match the gorgeous painting of peacocks that spans the entirety of the wall and ceiling
Phoenix room (see peacock room, but Phoenix themed.)
Cozy sitting room (fireplace and hot coco with marshmallows at the ready)
Window room (each window shows a completely different view)
Room filled with sand
Bathroom with dead woman in bathtub (the shining)
Edit: more stuff
Room of illusion (everyone inside appears to grow either horns or wings, mess with your party as you choose)
Suspiciously Empty room
Classy bar (like a five star hotel)
Inhabited swimming pool
Interior of Pyramid
Exterior of pyramid inside larger room
Glass cube room (think cabin in the woods)
Rustic Cabin room
Earthquake room (you feel an earthquake with inside it, but the rest of the house in undisturbed)
Room full of Fragile vases
Room full of cut Flowers
Room with one bloody handprint in the center of the floor
Room with bed (bed has rumpled sheets and is warm to the touch)
Room full of cats
Room with axe stuck in door
Room with typewriter and desk, papers with gibberish written on them are scattered over the floor
Room with walls that are made of tree bark. Red sap oozes from it when touched. Smells of pine and mold. Mushrooms grow in patches
Room full of moldy dead rats (perhaps an later temporal space of the live rat room, may seem eerily familiar if they have encountered the living rat room first)
Living rat room: Room of food barrels, when disturbed, rats pour fourth (perhaps an earlier temporal space of the dead rat room, may seem eerily familiar if they have encountered the dead rat room first)
Mad Science Laboratory
Safe Room / Panic Room
Walk in Closet
Wine cellar with wine press and some bloody rags scattered around the press
More of my own ideas 178: Dinosaur Containment Units 179: Submarine Bay 180: Western Bank 181: Underground Temple 182: Puppet Theater 183: Agency 184: 80's Room 185: Criminal Hideout 186: Comic Fan's Room 187: Wizarding World Room 188: Space Station 189: Pirate Ship 190: DnD Room 191: Escape Room 192: Slasher's Collection 193: Art Cabin 194: Antidote Lab 195: Motel Rooms 196: Board Game Room 197: Wax Museum 198: Casino 199: Gore Fountain 200: Murderous Little Girl's Room 201: King's Crypt 202: Lurker's Room 203: Skeleton Band Room 204: Spider's Nest 205: Witch's Kitchen 206: Ghoul Stairs 207: Mad Scientist's Collection 208: Library of Spells 209: Gothic Dining Room 210: Fog Room 211: Potion Shop 212: Bone Web 213: Redneck's Shed 214: Indoor Beach 215: Hellish Labyrinth 216: Wedding Chapel 217: Ballet Stage 218: Fun House 219: Castle Gallery 220: Moon Pavilion 221: Psycho Cinema 222: Suburban Garden 223: Racist Club 224: Bloody Playroom 225: VRcade 226: Tribal Arts 227: Robotics Room 228: Funerary Storage 229: Slasher's Wardrobe 230: Ski Lounge 231: Vampire's Crypt 232: Seaside Knick Knack Shop 233: Tree Farm 234: Mutant Bunker 235: Demonic Book-Building Workshop 236: Alien Nest 237: Medieval Gallery 238: Scarecrow Shed 239: Cabin Cellar 240: Room in Tarps 241: Dog's Room 242: Puppet Workshop 243: Candy Shop 244: Post-Apocalyptic Room 245: Christmas Hall 246: Fleece Room 247: Playground 248: Giant Cake 249: Cannery 250: Room Under Construction 251: Moth Light 252: Fiendish Kennels 253: Sheep Tents 254: Alien Court 255: Railway 256: Bunny Bridge 257: Funeral Home 258: Squatter's Warehouse 259: Algae Pond 260: Civil War Battlefield 261: Dollhouse 262: Vampire Party Hall 263: Daughter's Crypt 264: Doghouse 265: Writer's Room 266: Cloning Lab 267: Electrocution Chamber 268: Corpse Pit 269: Boarded Room 270: Snake Island 271: Fossil Cave 272: Arctic Crater 273: Surgical Theater 274: Chemical Silo 275: Psychic Test Center 276: Spider Den 277: Old Aviary 278: Black Magic Strip Club 279: Witch's Warehouse 280: Ancient Egyptian Tomb 281: Pumpkin House 282: Giant Snow Globe 283: Deer Cult 284: Giant's Home 285: Snake Pit 286: Reanimation Lab 287: Reptilian City 288: Drinking Lodge 289: Twin Girls' Room 290: Ancient Altar 291: Asylum Cell Block 292: Vomit Covered Room 293: Time Machine 294: Shaman's Tent 295: Locker Room with steroids in one of the lockers 296: Room of Shadows 297: Elder Brain 298: Giant Board Game 299: Dark Shed 300: Revolutionary Exhibit 301: Limacology Labs 302: Broken Stables 303: Gator Shack 304: Ant's Nest 305: Apehouse 306: Rich Cat Lover's Room 307: Insect House 308: Tengu Shrine 309: Rodents Room 310: Inside a Genie's Lamp 311: Insect Study 312: Reptile Room 313: Parasite Storeroom 314: Athena's Shrine 315: Frog Library 316: Ruined Date 317: Gladiatorial Arena 318: Simulated Haunted House 319: Gorilla House 320: Death Cult 321: A laboratory that looks as though people left in a hurry... 322: A medical room that seems as though someone died here. 323: Japanese VHS Enthusiast's Apartment 324: Prison of the Deformed 325: Room of Stretchers 326: Oni's Hut 327: Mongolian Tents 328: Room of Cloaks 329: Gothic Party 330: Pteradactyl Enclosure 331: Carnivorous Greenhouse 332: Rabid Kennels 333: Space Hangar 334: Hatchet Shed 335: Indoor Swamp 336: Room of Smoke 337: Old Man's Room 338: Murdered Child's Room 339: Weaboo's Room 340: Snuff Studio 341: Warlord's Tent 342: Gamer's Parlor 343: Tentacle Pools 344: Toll Bridge 345: Headhunter's Camp 346: Sugar Mill 347: "Vaginal Torture" Room 348: Dermatology Room 349: Volcanic Room 350: Nile Tomb 351: Farmer's Children's' Room 352: Infant's Play Room 353: Room of Flames 354: Innsmouth Pawn 355: Rabbit Room 356: Maternity Ward 357: Steampunk Workshop 358: Minotaur's Labyrinth 359: Goth Girl's Room 360: Serkhet's Shrine 361: Irish Washerwoman's Room 362: Wild West Shooting Gallery 363: Medusa's Garden 364: Room of Decapitated Heads 365: Toxic Barrel Storeroom 366: Alien Specimens Room 367: Fishing Shack 368: Sushi Farm 369: Shark Bay 370: Alien Plant Cave 371: Butchery 372: Exterminator's Room 373: Elliot's Room 374: Magic Theater 375: Pirate Ship 376: Surgical Bay 377: Viking Long Ship 378: Hag's Barn 379: Vampire Garden 380: Enchantress' Room 381: Mutant Bug Arena 382: Clown Toyshop 383: Underworld Gate 384: Arctic Labs 385: Padded Cell (Someone escaped from it) 386: Gym Supplies 387: Virginial Garden 388: College Library 389: Sex Room filled with Plushies for some unknown reason... 390: Weed Farm 391: Security Office 392: Horror Movie Studio 393: Gadgets Lab 394: Office Cubicles 395: Break Room 396: Superstitious Woman's Room 397: Sexy Nurse's Office 398: Rest Stop 399: Room of Old Dolls 400: Reveren's Room 401: Parental Room 402: Sex Dungeon 403: Escape Room 404: Hoard 405: A.I. Room 406: Technovault 407: Staffroom 408: Ritual Room 409: Hellish Stripclub 410: Criminal's Apartment 411: Military Kennels 412: Femme Fatale's Room 413: Brine Reef 414: Decrepit Police Office 415: Skeletal Ballroom 416: Murder Circus 417: Wolf Den 418: Sulfuric Pit 419: Tribal Room with Snakes 420: Zombie Outpost 421: Law Firm 422: Decrepit Building 423: Creepy Old Orphanage 424: Vampiric Enforcer's Room 425: Sorority Room 426: Leprechaun's Cave 427: Death Row 428: Ghost Finder's Lab 429: Sunken Ruins 430: Faith Chapel 431: Convent 432: Vampire Hunter's Armory 433: Tickling Chamber 434: Fishing Boat Dock 435: Terror Chamber 436: Room of Coffins 437: Agentry 438: Widow's Bedroom 439: Sleepy Hollow Gallery 440: Prisoner's Row 441: Occultic Library 442: Sunken Spire 443: Well of Souls 444: Tomb of the Pharoah's 445: Blood Chamber 446: Pit of the Giant Wolf 447: Victorian Tea Room 448: Gothic Museum 449: Satanic Church 450: Cedar Cabin 451: Halloween Shop 452: Magic Show 453: Skeletal Garage 454: Asylum Common Room 455: Lynching Yard 456: Occultic Garden 457: Dark Post Office 458: Black Wedding 459: Holy Portrait Hall 460: Rl'yeh Gate 461: Victorian Labs 462: Room of Globes 463: Hunter's Parlor 464: Retro TV Room 465: Hall of Miniatures 466: Persian Lounge 467: Photo Freak's Room 468: Maze of Screens 469: Pit of Sharp Objects 470: Pencilhead's Room 471: Puzzle Room 472: Key Cabinet 473: Room of Wooden Cubes 474: Room of Jackets 475: The Giant Cuckoo Clock 476: Rotary Room 477: Room of Lights 478: Swimmin' Hole 479: Typewriter Room 480: Smoking Parlor 481: Cigar Storeroom 482: Second Drawing Room 483: Murder Mystery Parlor 484: Golden Throne 485: Case-File Storeroom 486: Evidence Storage 487: Room of Pulleys 488: Slideshow Theater 489: Cassette Room 490: Room of Newspapers 491: House of Matches 492: Room covered in Duct Tape 493: Room of Plug-Ins 494: Static 495: Relaxation Chamber 496: Lake of Rust 497: Room of Passwords 498: Fishing Pond 499: Detective's Office 500: Pamphlet Office
Maybe magical, extraplanar, or just unusual. Comment and I'll add yours to the list :)
Imp Imporium - This store is small and boxy, and entirely made of redwood. A tall devil stands behind the counter wearing a suit and tie, and imps are chained to the walls. He offers you the services of one of his imps for a small price- the rights to the imp's memories of what they did when you're done. He requires a much larger material collateral for if you don't return the imp or it dies/is irreparably maimed in your service.
Coagulation Station - A seemingly normal (if ugly) old woman runs this roadside popup store. It is nothing more than a cart with a sign next to it reading "Coagulation Station" painted roughly in red over a lime background. She offers healing supplies, potions, and rations in return for a small vial of your blood. (Feel free to come up with consequences for buying from her, such as her being a hag or using it for a strange ritual, etc.)
Elemental Extras - An air, earth, fire and water elemental stand in the four corners of this (entirely brick) shop. Unfortunately, the "shopkeepers" only speak primordial, so good luck if you don't. They each offer to put special elemental effects on whatever you own, such as a fire effect on your sword, an ice effect on your armor to freeze whatever hits you, or an earth effect on an arrow to have surrounding dirt swallow whoever it hits. Everything here is understandably very expensive.
Vraug aks stor - A very tall, older orc hero enthusiastically tries to sell his weapons in this shop in order to retire. They're hung up on the walls, all showing varying signs of use. Some appear to be magical. Vraug also tries to tell his customers stories about each weapon before they buy (and especially before they ask.) The weapon most prominently displayed is a +4 Great Axe, with obsidian blades, a dragon-scale tip on the end and golden threads running down the handle. There are a few chinks in it, and the tip somehow has a dent in it, but the damage only seems to add to the charm. He charges an extraordinary price for this axe.
Angel Bazaar - Apparently recently the churches haven't been generating enough coin to keep the local deity fiscally afloat, and some angels have taken it upon themselves to raise that extra money. Some are selling more regular items for cheaper prices, such as healing items, some are selling more extravagant magical items, and even others are offering "miracles." They're all set up in a series of stands in a small square that you swear wasn't here before.
Betsie's Black Cauldron- everything is black, especially Betsie. From black oak ethanol to black licorice she has ingredients and potions unique to her gimmick. u/LateLolth96
The Fleeting Flyer's Fast Findings- if the item floats, flies, or is otherwise airborne this shop might have it. Limited time only and has (randomized) a rare three uncommons and six commons but the more you travel the more likely you are to come across it because it's on a one man spell jammer with two carnival cars behind it. u/LateLolth96
The Kyuss Kasino- a worm themed casino where the main attraction is the purple tunnel which is a purple worm in a metal harness designed to prevent it from moving and to keep its mouth open. The wager, and incidentally, the show is if you can make it out the other end alive you [win]. There are scrying orbs that display a live feed of the current "adventurer" in the worm for 5 silver lasting 30 min before the next five silver (no refunds). Quest hook? u/LateLolth96
Djinni Gin Jamboree- a once a month festival celebrating a moon cycle of the dm's choosing. Marids sell their distilled saliva as well as various forms of never-before-seen-by-man fish dishes, and water elementals play live music which more or less sounds like the rhythmic gurgling of a muddy brook. u/LateLolth96
The Crossroads Corridor - An invite only shop, given to adventures who have a number of their own magical items. When the invitation is slid under any closed doorway, said doorway will become the doorway to the shop. Operated by The Masked Man, it is a magical item shop that trades magical items for magical items of similar value. Leaving will exit out the door you originally put the invitation under. u/Hacknslaasher
Bottom's Bottomless Meatpies - It's cheap, delicious (although a bit gamey and hard to chew) and the servings are enormous. The shop is run by an old goblin with an enormous smile, his name is Toothy Bottom, less so because of his bum, and more so because of a secret that he isn't telling any one, the secret that has made his Meatpie-shop the most well visited in the entire area, at least by those not able to afford fine dining in the upper districts.For you see, underneath this humble shopped, staffed every hour of every day with more goblins than you can count on one hand, or two hands if you have taken ABM (Advanced Barbarian Maths), lies a large, cavernous mining operation.You enter it through a set of large trap-doors found in the cold-store basement where you find the literal wheelbarrows of meat that allow every customer to order however much meat they want in (or on) their pies, as long as the Goblins can lift it up to the counter (the largest order so far was, according to the Goblins managing the front of the house, "the weight of a small baby wrapped in a nasty hunting dog." they have made no comment as to how they know that specific measurement).Once you are through the trap-doors, you'll find a rail-system rivaling that of the largest Dwarven mines, with rail-master goblins timing and directing all the in- and out- going traffic, and every cart that comes in is absolutely and utterly loaded with meat, which is then loaded on wheelbarrows and carted up through the trapdoor.If you were to follow the rails as deep as they go, through all of the winding tunnels, across chasms, past various cave-dwelling monsters that try to snack on the meat or goblins or, well, you, then you'll eventually find yourself at the namesake of mr. Toothy Bottom.A large, mass of rock-hard skin, covered in spines and horns and other sharp shapes, it has been split open, and the dark flesh underneath is mined ceaselessly by a small army of Goblins. They aren't violent, in fact, they are quite cowardly, but they are as professional as any Goblin can be, and they are also fighting a continuous fight against the flesh with their pickaxes.For you see, the open wound is constantly trying to close itself, regenerating at a blinding speed that the Goblins have learned to keep up with after opening the wound large enough to allow for their massive excavation progress.This may be the toothy bottom of the pits and chasms.But it is also a small area of the sleeping Tarrasque, regenerating fast enough that it does not notice the harm being done to it, and with a large enough Goblin Workforce to drive the economy of what is, essentially, a small Goblin Kingdom in these tunnels, complete with blacksmiths making new Meat-axes and monster-hide-leathercrafters making workboots and pants for the Goblins working down in that caustic blood.And let's not forget, that the entire lower class of the city has eaten Tarrasque meat at least once, some of them for years.But it's only two silver pieces for as much pie as you want (or can carry), so who cares to ask where it's all coming from? u/Neknoh
Sarah’s sewing shop, “World class Seamstress.” - She means world class! She can repair even magical fabric to like new condition. Everything she makes alterations to gives them a +1 to charisma for 24hrs or until dirtied. Bonus returns after being thoroughly washed and dried (some items are dry clean only)She’s also a dry cleaners. u/rab-byte
The Philosopher’s Time Shop - Sundials, watches, windup clocks, candle clocks, hourglasses the size of mites up to the size of your average goliath, the Philosopher has a range to suit almost any buyer in need of a way to measure time. Be careful, the hours you spend there fly away like seconds! u/ElZoof
Oakshot Saddliery - Gwinnett Oakshot caters to a select clientele, those looking for clothes, armour, weapons and equipment specifically designed to suit those who spend at least part of their days in a different body shape. Minor magic at most, it’s mostly just very well designed to suit your Druid on the go or werebeing out for a night on the town. u/ElZoof
Jasper, Goldhand, Bloodstrangler and Smith - What does “‘til death us do part” mean if your wife is now a lich? Does a lifetime guarantee still stand if the object in question broke before the manufacturers were born? What exactly is an annuity? The firm of JGB&S is on hand to assist with non-devilish contracts of any kind. u/ElZoof
Morogh's "Pet's" - This pet shelter is run by an older halfling named Morogh. He's kindhearted and only wants the best for his little animal companions he sells. From apes over hawks to wolfs, he just has every animal companion you could think of, but his store also has a back area. Not everyone is welcomed there as he also sells abandoned monster hatchlings, like griffons, owlbears, pseudodragons and even a red dragon wyrmling. Those monsters are all tamed so no danger there, Morogh just wants to know his customers better before trying to sell one of his more 'exotic' assets.The adventurers maybe can persuade him or do a favor for him (possible quest), like acquiring some exotic food for the more demanding beasts and monsters he houses. After this Morogh decides to sell them one of his monsters as a companion. u/Th3Banzaii
Plane Ole' Butcher - A butcher shop that sells meat from an unknown plane of origin. One day a small portal opened up from the ground and strange-smelling exotic meats have been extruding from the portal. A shop was built around the portal which has been active and pumping for 50 years. People come to see the wonder firsthand but they stay for the dirt-cheap meats. The meats are char-grilled and heavily spiced to soften the meat's naturally pungent flavor. u/HeyShipmate
Looters Late Return (aka LooLaRe)- A seedy smelling store run by an androgynous goblin who wears overly fancy clothes. This goblin sells in bulk only, and at discounted prices. The catch is that if you make a purchase, you must sign a contract guaranteeing repeated weekly purchases. Your bulk discount increases the more product you are able to move, but if you are unable to maintain your weekly purchases, the goblin’s secret network of enforcers comes for it’s dues. Or your life. u/pikkl_rikk
Sandman Fisheries - This tightly packed stall smells or marine air and salty nets. It has all the sea can offer to the gourmet with a striking emphasis on huge fish: tuna, spadefish, and the occasional gargantuan squid. The product is impeccably fresh. Always. Sandman (a desert dweller and camel race aficionado) doesn't seem to understand what you're asking about the supply chain and how come his shop ever exists at hundred of miles from the nearest sea! u/Banuken
T'zargo's fine wares - This shop can be mysteriously seen in any plane, but always appears as an identical modern convenience store looking building. Inside is a tabaxi named T'zargo, always advertising his "fine wares at reasonable prices." He sells extremely rare and powerful items for millions of gold, along with random everyday items. Some of these rare items include an axe once wielded by Baphomet, and draws from a deck of many things. His mundane items he always pulls out of a box on his counter, and they include a full rowboat and 30 chairs. u/Kellen1013
The Magic Commoner - A basic magic item shop owned by a young elf wizard named Tavon Ilidan. He sells all sorts of magical things from armor to weapons and rings an such.The thing about his shop even though on the outside it looked like a regular building despite being one solid color; purple, orange, green ect. But when you walk inside it's much larger than its outward appearance.The shop also travels via a magical door. Tavon has a set of different keys he keeps with him representing the different cities of the land/world. He first closes the front door, locks it, then unlocks it with a new city key and when he opens it, it opens to the new city.Tavon's appearance reflects on which city he is in and what color his shop is. If is shop is blue his robes are blue as well. Tavon also has a secret. Even though he looks like a young elf he is actually an ancient gold dragon that simply likes to travel and meet new people without the stigma of being a dragon. He likes to play tricks on people and test them to see if they are worthy of specific items in his shop, (IE a wand of fireballs he made himself.) u/nota_person
Mallard Maladies - A veterinary clinic for ducks. The shop keeper is an old blind man who refuses to heal non duck creatures, but can be tricked into healing non ducks with a high enough deception ability. Despite the name, the clinic services male and female ducks. u/El_Jewbacabra
The Exploding Wand Shop- A shop that is characterized by an explosion that lifts the roof of the building off the walls and expelled black smoke every few hours - followed by the owner shouting from inside "I'M FINE, EVERYTHING'S OKAY!"The owner is a young Eladrin Artificer named Seyf Melorathian who experiments on new wands and other magical wonders. His face is a black charcoal from the soot of the explosions but otherwise would be a light brown. He has a pair of glasses that protects his eyes from being covered in soot. He has blond hair and wears a Smith's apron. He sells common rarity wands, up to rare rarity wonderous items, and has been working on an experimental wand of fireballs. You can only purchase an experimental wand if you do a material gathering quest for him.If you buy one of his wand of fireballs (2000gp and a waiver signed to not sue) there's a 10% chance that when used the wand will cast a second fireball centered on you during the spell.He also offers enchanting services at various speeds depending on the rarity of the requested enchantment. He will also willingly take on apprentices or teach enchantment to anyone. u/xBramStokerx
Fishman’s Man Fry – A Triton, named Vamras Vogalath, with broken Common serves delectable seafood dishes. If asked about the name, he explains that it is food FOR men, not for fishes.Side note- this is shop is not anywhere near any large body of water. Nobody in town is sure exactly where the fish come from. u/Unprincipled
Shwarma Tent - delicious herb infused fried flatbread with cured meats and shredded carrot and cucumber. The tent has small tripod tables and stools of worn wood. Patrons carve their names and other messages into the tabletops. Among the mundane names can be found the names of previous characters and NPCs that the party met, BBEGs they defeated, dated long ago, the current ruler of the land and the name of an old lover with a heart around it, Ash Ketchum, Drizzt, The Doctor, and the original Avengers. Searching carefully can also reveal a cryptic message to the party, seemingly carved years prior, but naming the PCs. u/bluecor
Threads of Fate - three old sisters weave spidersilk and mundane silk into beautiful garments with embroidery that sometimes changes its image. For instance, a nightrobe has the moon and a starry sky embroidered, and the moon changes its phase with the real moon. On another, a dragon slowly chases its own tail, with its wingtips pointing to the time, as a clock. Yet another displays an hourglass which constantly drains, and runs out when the wearer dies. Other images might show great moving battles, gently waving flags that slowly fade and dilapidate as the empire becomes more corrupt, or ruins that become progressively overgrown with vines. The theme of the garments deal with the passage of time and the inevitable end of life. u/bluecor
Salty's - the owner Saltamancia sells salt of differing coarseness and colors, and is an expert on which textures best compliment which purposes, from baking fine rolls to soaking one's feet after a days march. He has certain rare salts from distant lands with rare properties. For abjuring circles, he has a blessed salt that cannot be dispersed by gusts of wind. For healing, he has a fine blue salt that, when mixed with honey and packed into a wound, prevents infection and scarring. Another salt taken with hot peppermint tea can remove an additional level of exhaustion with a rest. True to his name, Saltamancia is old and curmudgeonly u/bluecor
Bestboots - Bestboots sells custom footwear of exceeding quality, made from rare materials. The footwear can be light for nimble moves or heavy for kicking doors. With the right materials (possibly a quest) minor advantages can be built into the footwear. For example, a sole of felted yeti hair can give normal traction on ice, and a sole of gummed soapwood sap can allow the wearer to ignore a casting of grease underfoot. u/bluecor
Hap's Microbrews - Hap claims to have perfected the means of beer portability, in that his brews are bottled and sealed under pressure in containers of lightweight spun cellulose which dont shatter when dropped. Opening his bottled beer releases a small localized burst of cold, chilling the beer just shy of freezing. The locals generally ignore his cart and "ice cold beer" sign, as ales are meant to be drunk at room temperature so that they don't unsettle the stomach. A discouraged Hap sits by his cart of beer bemoaning his own foolishness at sinking his fortune into such a folly. u/bluecor
Indelible - this quiet dusty alcove sells the magical inks, parchment, paper, vellum, papyrus, and delicate quills needed to prepare arcane and divine scrolls. Also sketch artistry, heraldry, and calligraphy supplies. Blank spellbooks, charcoal, pastels, and a few unique items are sold. Glowing chalk leaves marks that remain luminous for several hours. A special lightly waxed paper is waterproof and can be written on underwater with a special pencil. A waterproof scrollcase holds six tightly rolled papers in individual tubes, designed so you can immediately draw out the scroll you desire without searching through a sheaf of papers. The proprietor Abagnale is a gifted forger, and can make needed documents for the right fee, but only those skilled in thieve's cant would be able to recognize this based on a small glyph carved above the lintel. u/bluecor
The Magical Arts - this is a totally mundane shop which sells shaved and marked decks of cards, scarves for pulling from your sleeves, salted nuts cans that shoot a confetti burst when opened, squirting lapel flowers, palm buzzers, chewing gum that turns your teeth black, whoopie cushions, and stink spray. The guy working there isn't the owner, but is happy to teach you how to use his goods. While distracting you with a card trick, he will also attempt to shortchange you or pickpocket something (minus 4 to notice his ledgerdemain). If caught, he will only say "check your pocket" and there you will find the item you thought he pickpocketed. "Its all part of the trick, man," he will say, as he pulls a coin from your ear. u/bluecor
The Bee's Knees - honey from different types of flowers with exceptional flavors. Meads of each type are also sold, as well as bee pollen and honey candies. A honey from frostclover will quickly dispell a hangover. Phasebee royal jelly can allow an additional use of misty step for a character with that feature, but the cost is exorbitant. The affogatto with honeycomb, coffee, and ice cream is delicious, and gives the benefits of a short rest when consumed in the shop over the course of an hour. u/bluecor
Wacky Backy - Mr. C. Marin runs this fine tobacconist. House blends of pipe and cigarette tobacco can have classic Gandolf effects: controllable luminous smoke rings of various colors, and custom flavors and scents. The halfling weed is also sold. A self-lighting pipe is available, as well as a "peace pipe," which is a heavy iron pipe useable as a club (but you can also smoke out of it). Mr. Marin can craft custom peace pipes of nearly any light weapon. u/bluecor
Wild Bill's Skins - Bill buys and sells tanned and untanned hides of all types. All. Types. Bill can craft armor and other leather goods from nearly any type of hide. Custom saddles can be made for any beast. A saddle on display is embossed "ride me hard and put me away wet." It isn't for sale, and it looks like it would fit Bill. He can craft a skin-tight custom leather armor that is concealable under clothing, but the customer must go into the back of the shop for a very long and invasive fitting. Rumor has it that some customers never emerge. u/bluecor
Yellow Dancer - This is a musical instrument store run by a purple-haired elf named Lancer who was a freedom fighter in the past. His sister, Yellow Dancer herself, a famous concert performer who is a recognized star, is sometimes there in his place. Instruments of high quality and beginner pieces are sold. On commission, Lancer can craft an instrument which contains a secret sheath for a hidden weapon or wand. Also sold is "the Axe," a battleaxe/guitar combo, with a magical property of sound amplification that allows it to be heard in the largest venue, and allows for unique distortion effects. At DM Option, the Axe can also be used for ranged sonic attacks, mimicking the effects of Eldritch Blast. u/bluecor
The Titty Twister: an adult entertainment venue, mostly for merchants and caravan guards. A goblin barker in a tophat and coattails out front gives a spirited pitch about the feminine wonders to be found within. Inside is a seedy establishment styled to look like an ancient temple. Billiards and darts games line the walls, and a poker game is playing out at a table near the center. Its a rough crowd, and fights that break out are settled with the loser being dragged away by the bouncers and the winner buying a round for the house. Beautiful dancers take turns on stage and mingle with clients between songs. Private shows are available. During the day the massive door is barred and the place is eerily silent, but from dusk til dawn raucous action is there for the taking. Locals stay well clear and pray for protection if they must pass near this den of sin. u/bluecor
The Campus Martius: This strange storefront is a place for games of strategy, including draughts and card games, as well as sandtable war strategy matches involving miniature army figurines, played out with dice and measuring sticks. Arguments over rules are common, and are arbitrated by a robed and wigged judge on a low dias at one end, who often consults an enormous tome of rules which only he is allowed to read from. 1sp per game, per player, but by convention, the loser pays the fees of his opponents. A sweet green drink called mountain brew is popular here. It enhances focus, adding +1 to concentration saves for an hour, but leaves one tired, -1 to all saves for an hour thereafter. u/bluecor
Millenium Sustainable Armory: run by an elvish druid, Millenium sells "murder free" armor made from silk, giant leaves, sustainably harvested ironwood and similar materials. The armor otherwise has the properties of normal light and medium armors, but contains no leather, bone, or metal. Cost is about double. Heavy armor is not available. The leaves making up the armor do not wilt or turn brown. u/bluecor
The Meat Market: run by a shadowy figure in torn robes, this odd shop gives permanent magical effects in exchange for body parts. The more important the organ or body part, the better the effect. The effect goes to whoever the part comes from, so don’t get greedy! Wonder where the parts are going... u/CephaloPawd
Fernado's Fish Frenzy - in a village where magic and fishing collide, you might run into a man who can be at multiple places at a time, Fernado. He is a mystical fisherman who sets up booths in town squares, where the fish fight to the death in gladiator-style combat. The loser, is placed on his selling slab and the victor becomes larger in size. He has a 'leaderboard' that updates magically after every battle, accounting for all of the places Fernado is at in your world. u/BEZERK0xD
A rickety old shop plastered with the title of some famous adventuring party / adventurer on it. The entire shop is run by a near delusional fan of the party/individual, and sells merchandise about them, as well as weirdly specific information that you aren't sure how they know. (If your party is famous enough, the store might be dedicated to them) u/bladeraptor3
Sorry if this is the wrong place to ask, not really sure where to start. My moms grew up going to Vegas all the time, loves going with her parents, and was really excited to take my dad and I for the first time, on a trip that was scheduled for next week, obviously cancelled, and she’s really bummed about it. I want to create a a sort of casino themed night in our basement which has a bar and a pool table, a generally “party” vibe, next weekend, and I have some supplies like string lights and the like, I can buy alcohol, but I’ve never been to a casino or Vegas. How can I make it feel more casino-y? My mom likes the low-stakes slots and the fun sort of feel of the whole thing, the shows, and the wine. She isn’t really into card games or crazy cocktails, so that kind of rules out some of the tropes. I was thinking about string lights hung up, and maybe setting up our laptops to have slot-machine games on them? I’m more trying to throw a Vegas-themed hangout to lift her spirits.
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What Returning to Work Will Look Like in Offices, Cafes and Factories Around the World
Expect lots of temperature checks and one-way routes. ‘As we experienced in China, this will be a journey.’ Wearable social-distancing buzzers. Masked blackjack dealers. Drive-thru electronics purchases. From cubicles to factory floors, cafes to clothing boutiques, businesses around the world are dreaming up creative ways to reopen, attempting to start revenue flowing again while minimizing the risk to customers and employees. The global economy is riding on their ability to pull off that delicate balance. A new flareup of Covid-19 cases could shutter offices, stores, restaurants and manufacturing plants once again, further choking off the flow of goods and services and threatening more jobs. Some governments, such as China, are providing rigorous oversight of the process. Others, including President Donald Trump’s administration, have offered looser guidance and are entrusting businesses to monitor their facilities. Scientists are still studying how the virus is spread, and whether keeping people six feet apart is enough, adding to the risks. The companies’ plans rely on a steady supply of masks, gloves, thermometers and tests that is likely to strain budgets and manufacturers’ ability to keep up. Social distancing will be built in, with people divided by barriers and kept apart from colleagues and customers, a U-turn after years of movement toward open floor plans. Some companies will monitor employees more closely than ever before, while others will let workers choose how much protection they need. The way we work, shop, travel and eat in 2020 – and probably beyond – is being plotted out in boardrooms around the world. Here are the changes companies are contemplating for their workplaces in the coming weeks.
Seats on the shuttle bus to Unilever’s Shanghai offices can be reserved using a chat group. Employees must be masked to board, and they sit on alternating sides, one person to each four-seat row. Upon arrival, each worker scans a QR code and fills out a health status report to get a daily pass to enter. Then comes the temperature check and the hand sanitizer. Inside the office, movement is tightly regulated. Employees keep their masks on and are encouraged to use the stairs instead of the elevator, with spritzes of hand sanitizer before and after touching the regularly disinfected handrail. In the canteen, a single person is allowed at each four-seat table. Such measures might seem predictable in a centrally controlled society like China, but some version of them is starting to appear in the West. At Britain’s former state phone monopoly, BT Group Plc, call center workers sit two meters apart, and walkways are designated as one-way to keep people from brushing past each other. Temperature checks are becoming routine at Sistema, the Russian conglomerate, which also says it’s developed its own two-hour test for Covid-19. Employees who come to the office have been tested in the past couple of weeks, though as many as half of the call center workers at MTS, the mobile network controlled by Sistema, are operating out of their homes.
Flexible space operator Knotel, which runs offices for corporations including Uber and Netflix, says workplace design has to change. Offices will likely be less densely populated, and altered to make them “antiviral,” according to Amol Sarva, Knotel’s chief executive officer. “Things like ventilation, UV light, density screening, video monitoring, and temperature monitoring, cleaning protocols — those are all going to have to change,” he said. “Certainly there’ll be more space.” In China, Cushman & Wakefield has helped move nearly a million workers back into 800 million square feet (74 million square meters) of office space. The company is creating a Recovery Readiness manual for landlords and tenants, based in part on its experience in China, that includes colored carpets to create visual boundaries around desks, plexiglass shields between desks that face each other and signs that direct walking traffic in a single direction.
Even when people do come back to the office, meetings will be limited, and large gatherings are out of the question. This week, Facebook Inc. CEO Mark Zuckerberg canceled all physical events of 50 or more people through June 2021. The vast majority of employees are required to work from home through May, and those who need to carry on doing so will be able to work at home through the summer. The road to normalcy may be much longer than that. At Abcam Plc, a British protein research company, 40 out of 300 China-based employees started returning to work in Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou and Hong Kong on Feb. 14. Two months later, the company is running split shifts to maintain distancing for the roughly 50% of employees based in manufacturing, logistics and essential lab work.
On Feb. 10, Winly Automotive (Wuhan) Ltd. was assigned a checklist from the government. To reopen, the company would be required to have a one-month stash of masks and sanitizer, take a photo of the supplies, and send it to officials before submitting to a detailed inspection. “The policy has been constantly changing,” said Wang Xuepan, one of the plant’s managers. “It’s very difficult for us to handle.” In the Seattle area, Boeing Co. has worked with the Washington state labor department on a plan to reopen its factories. It will be doling out cloth masks to most workers, saving the gold-standard N95 masks for a select few in more hazardous conditions. Unlike office drones, factory workers have to show up in person to get the job done. Figuring out what basic protections they’ll need is part of the challenge. At Boeing, industrial engineers are analyzing the sequence of work on its assembly lines to find ways to spread apart workers.
Taking the Temperature
Airbus SE has divided employees at its plants into red and blue teams, who don’t see each other because they use different routes to enter and exit buildings. Volkswagen AG is allotting more time between shifts and reducing expectations for production because it takes longer for people to move around each other at a safe distance. Ford Motor Co. is experimenting with wearable devices that would buzz workers if they get too close together. While the virus can be transmitted by people with no symptoms, many manufacturers are doing temperature checks, whether with thermometers, thermal imaging cameras or — in the case of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV in the U.S. — reusable forehead strips. Fiat Chrysler, whose CEO Mike Manley is one of the executives talking with Trump about reopening the economy, is requiring workers to fill out a health questionnaire two hours before reporting to work each day. They must bring either a hard copy, or scan a QR code with their phone, to prove they aren’t displaying signs of illness or exposure to the virus, according to documents obtained by Bloomberg. Workers can’t enter the plant without it. Some companies are closing cafeterias in favor of vending machines. Dongfeng PSA in Wuhan is handing out prepared lunchboxes to employees, who must eat at least 1.5 meters apart with their backs to each other. Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. said Chairman Li Shufu wrote a song to keep workers motivated through such dreariness. “A world full of expectations/Turned to dust of yesterday,” the lyrics go. “Their sorrow flowing into the sea/But the flower of love is quietly blooming.”
When air travel resumes in earnest, it’s likely that hand sanitizers, face masks and thermometers will become standard at most major airports, said David Powell, medical adviser for the International Air Transport Association, a trade group. All three have shortcomings, but can also reassure passengers, he said. The International Civil Aviation Organization, which sets global flying standards, wants to establish a “public health corridor concept.” Under such a plan, major airlines, airports, public authorities and other parties would adopt common protocols for screening, boarding, in-flight procedures, arrivals, customs and baggage. “We cannot all just stop flying,” Ansa Jordaan, the group’s chief of aviation medicine, said during an April 15 webcast. Emirates Airline said this week it was the first to conduct rapid Covid-19 blood tests, with results available in 10 minutes for passengers flying Wednesday from Dubai to Tunisia. It plans to extend the procedure to other flights, according to Chief Operating Officer Adel Al Redha. Other carriers are attempting less invasive measures. Etihad Airways, another major airline in the United Arab Emirates, plans to deploy touchless self-service devices at its hub airport in Abu Dhabi to identify travelers with medical conditions, including the early stages of coronavirus. In the U.S., American Airlines Group Inc. plans to continue spacing customers apart during boarding and flights, conducting extensive cleanings of aircraft and reducing food and beverage service to limit contact, CEO Doug Parker said in an April 15 video message. “When you do fly, aircraft cleanliness and social distancing matter greatly,” he said.
In China, it’s become standard to have your temperature taken any time you want to go shopping. Visitors to the Wuhan International Plaza luxury mall are checked for a fever at the door, before they queue up to be served one at a time at Louis Vuitton. Levi Strauss & Co. disinfects its Chinese stores three times a day and requires temperature checks for customers, who are expected to wear masks before entering the store. Fitting rooms and products that have been tried on are disinfected each time they’re used. It’s unclear whether practices implemented in China will make their way to other parts of the world, though several companies said they’ll learn from their experience in Asia.
Another technique is to keep shoppers out of the store altogether. Dixons Carphone Plc, the electronics retailer, is considering plans for contact-free “drive-thru” style stores to limit the risk of coronavirus for staff and customers. Shoppers would park outside, call the store to select items to buy, use a contactless system to pay and then open their trunks so staff could deliver the products. Salespeople at luxury retailers in China were already using social media to engage with customers before the outbreak, but they’ve stepped up the effort since, adding clients on WeChat and sending them information about the latest trends. Louis Vuitton tried showcasing its summer product line in a livestream show on March 26 featuring a social-media star, but was ridiculed for the quality of the video. Sometimes there’s no substitute for personal contact.
Buffets and salad bars will be re-thought, and self-serve drink stations may be “a thing of the past,” said Taco John’s CEO Jim Creel, who added that other changes are afoot at the 387-store chain. Taco John’s popular salsa bar — around for the past 15 years — may be removed. “We hope we don’t have to take them out — that we’ll be able to figure out a way to make them still work — but I’m afraid the fear factor our there will force us to go to a pre-packaged option.” A test of self-ordering kiosks may also get pulled back. “It was a good idea three months ago, but not so good today,” Creel said.
In China, restaurants and even bars have opened back up in Shanghai, with varying limits on seating arrangements – some allow six to a table, others only one. In Beijing, restaurants are doing temperature checks. In Wuhan, most places are still delivery-only. “In the short run, as dining rooms open back up again, you’ll probably see many restaurants space their tables a little bit further apart,” said Jack Li, CEO of menu researcher Datassential. “You’ll see more restaurants try to adopt phone pay. So not having to hand your money or card to anyone. You’re certainly going to see more places continue to do things like contactless delivery.” Starbucks Corp. is taking a store-by-store approach to resuming business activities in the U.S., with services limited to drive-thru, delivery and takeout via mobile orders and contactless pickup. “As we experienced in China, this will be a journey,” CEO Kevin Johnson wrote in a memo to staff on Thursday.
Chains are cutting back menus, focusing on products that sell best and are easy to make. Romano’s Macaroni Grill has pared down its menu to 70% of what it used to be, saying goodbye to pizzas and calzones recently. McDonald’s all-day breakfast menu is gone. Fazoli’s Italian restaurant chain is trying to secure Purell sanitizing stations – four for each store — along with “millions” of alcohol-based wipes for re-opening the dining rooms of its 216 locations. The company is also re-thinking bathrooms and looking into touch-less soap dispensers. It’s an investment, but a worthwhile one, says CEO Carl Howard. “I want to let the consumer know I’m doing everything I can to keep them as safe as possible,” Howard said in an interview.
Large public gatherings aren’t top of mind yet in China, but Trump and the people who run the U.S.’s biggest sports leagues appear aligned in their thinking that live games, at least in some form, are a critical part of helping the country recover. “The progression needs to be open outdoor sports first, golf, tennis, swimming so that we can start to test the waters — that I’m fine with,” said billionaire Mark Cuban, who owns the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks. One obstacle may be local politicians. When UFC floated plans to host an event this weekend on tribal land in California without spectators, it was pressure from politicians, including Governor Gavin Newsom, that led to its cancellation. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has reportedly discussed the possibility of prohibiting large gatherings like concerts and sporting events in the city for another year.
That said, there’s billions on the line for sports leagues, sponsors and media networks if the games don’t resume soon. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious-disease expert, has said that that the only way to do that this summer is to close venues to fans and keep all the players, coaches and referees isolated from society. Cinema owners are also waiting to see when health officials give them clearance to open up. Cinemark Holdings Inc., the third-largest U.S. movie chain, has been in discussions with major film studios about when to release blockbusters again. The chain’s management thinks they could begin bringing back staff starting in late June, then build up a marketing campaign for a broader re-opening on July 1. The experience won’t be like it was before coronavirus hit. The chain will either have to limit the available tickets for each showing, leaving about half its seats open. Or it may eliminate reserved seating, so customers can voluntarily spread themselves out when they arrive. Cleaning will have to be ramped up, and opening hours may be limited to accommodate the changes. “How long that will take? We’re not completely certain,” said Mark Zoradi, Cinemark’s CEO, on a call with analysts and investors on Wednesday. “But we’re planning on anywhere from one to three months to light up that engine again and then to begin with higher profile, new product.”
Las Vegas casino executives have discussed opening with as little as one-third of their rooms available, with limited entrances where guests’ temperatures could be checked. Casino employees would wear masks and gloves, and gamblers would sit at least a chair apart at blackjack tables. The moves are similar to what is already occurring in Macau, the world’s largest gambling market, where casinos closed for 15 days in February and reopened under tight restrictions. The companies are also discussing enhanced cleaning techniques, something unions have requested.
The $19.3 billion U.S. theme park industry is also making plans, though no one knows when gates will reopen. When they do, employees may be wearing masks and temperatures may be checked not only at the entrances but inside as well, said Dennis Speigel, a theme park consultant in Cincinnati. Operators may also institute virtual queues, where guests snag a place in line through an app and come to ride when it’s their turn. “The theme park of the future is going to have to take a much different turn, from distancing to wanding to cleaning,” Speigel said. “I’ve never heard the fear in the voices that I’ve heard. Nobody knows what they’re going to be doing.” Bloomberg News - With assistance from Thomas Buckley, Thomas Seal, Dana Hull, Natalie Wong, Julie Johnsson, Charlotte Ryan, Christoph Rauwald, Kyunghee Park, Gabrielle Coppola, Shiho Takezawa, Tian Ying, Chunying Zhang, Keith Naughton, Mary Schlangenstein, Justin Bachman, Layan Odeh, Jordyn Holman, Deirdre Hipwell, Robert Williams, Kim Bhasin, Jinshan Hong, Claire Che, Leslie Patton, Kelly Gilblom and Christopher Palmeri.
Hello. I need help writing my protagonist for a fantasy anime-style webnovel I'm writing. Genre: psychological, drama, maybe some action. Things he doesn't have yet: personality, a goal. **Magic System** In this setting, there are six types of Arcana, or dual–themed elemental magic, available to humans. I say *elemental*, but some non–elemental magic falls into it too, as long as it's thematically related to the element. These are: The Wave Arcana (Fire+Water) The Moon (Light+Darkness) The Nest (Life+Death) The Cloud (Air+Gravity) The Tower (Earth+Aether) The Great Passage (Time+Entropy) These 12 elements are taken from the online cardgame, [Elements the Game.](www.elementsthegame.com) Feel free to check it out, we're running low on players :( Anyway, back to the story. A person is usually born having one of these Arcana; two if talented, and up to three for those really gifted. The number of Arcana is a status symbol in this world. Having multiple Arcana is enough to appoint you president of a country. But there was one person, Shion, who was born with, not one... not two... but *all six* Arcanas currently in existence. This was unheard of. Never before in history has there been a royal flush of Arcanas, all inside one person. Shion was a one in a million miracle, so, his birth was treated like the coming of Christ. It wasn't just for show, Shion was the strongest human alive by a wide margin. He could move mountains with just a flick of a finger, he could start thunderstorms with just a mere blow of his breath. Destined for greatness, the people raised him to be the perfect hero, and by the time he's grown, he'd already accomplished countless great feats. [Shion](https://www.deviantart.com/verticalskyline/art/Hero-800648919) **Premise** Shion was tasked with the role of defeating the *DemonLord*, a powerful entity far within the depths of hell. Long story short, it did not go well. The DemonLord proved too powerful to banish. In the heat of the moment, Shion resorted to a last–ditch severing spell, a Light element magic that targeted the Darkness–based constitution of the DemonLord. It was a success. The DemonLord was split... That night, 10000 pieces of the DemonLord's magic rained down upon the continents. Even if Shion couldn't kill him, this should be enough to count as a win. But the use of this spell also left Shion open to a counterattack. As the DemonLord lay dying, he cursed Shion. He cursed the Arcanas of human magic, and promised that never again will Shion have authority over his Arcanas. Blinding flash of light. Shion wakes up, with no more magic, no idea of who he is, and no memories of his previous life. This... "Amnesia Shion", will be the main character of our story. Standing before him now, are six waifus, all representing the Arcana magic Shion once possessed. The DemonLord had taken his magic, and turned it into sentient beings that can now think for themselves — this is what he meant by Shion *never again having authority*. So as with the DemonLord being split into 10,000 pieces, Shion the Legendary Hero was also split into 7 people: 6 magical beings (representing his powers), and the leftover physical body. **Aftermath** The Arcana waifus, like their magic, have vastly differing personalities. They can get along to some extent, but most of the time they can't settle their differences. They all have their own opinions, their own outlook on life, and they all think they're superior over the others. They want to prove their own magic is the best one; working together is the last thing they want to do. Each waifu is magically as strong as the original Shion — just one of them has enough power to destroy an entire country. Early in the story, they part ways and go on separate journeys across the continent, with each Arcana trying to accomplish their own thing. They try to steer clear of each other's business, but as it stands, the world is a small place... It's not uncommon for the Arcana waifus to bump into each other, and it's definitely not uncommon that one Arcana interferes with another's plans. If two of them clash, the resulting damage would be unimaginable. **The Arcanas** Let's have a quick rundown of the waifus. First off, the *Wave* Arcana. Master of Fire. Master of Water. Main girl. Let's call her Raine. [Uncolored](https://www.deviantart.com/verticalskyline/art/20191027-210437-N-821514897) [Colored](https://www.deviantart.com/verticalskyline/art/The-Wave-822171183) Raine wants to hunt down the 10,000 DemonLord pieces scattered about. It's "what the original Shion would've wanted", so it's only fair they respect his wishes. The other sisters don't care about any of that though, and deep down, Raine too doesn't want to hunt demons out of her own accord. She only does so because it's the one thing she understands about the original Shion. She believes they (the Arcanas) are existences who should not have been born. If Shion had just been careful, he'd still be alive and intact right now. It's only by a fluke that they're alive. Them being there only adds insult to the fact that the original Shion is gone, so she feels the only way to get validation for their existence is to finish everything Shion started: clean up the remaining 10,000 demons. She tries talking this through with her sisters, but when none of them listen to her, like Fire, she can be volatile. At one story arc, she hatches a plan to magically explode the sun. Sure, it would kill all the demons in one go, but would also kill everyone else, completely missing the point. That's her flaw — she wants to follow the *killing demons* part to the letter. She's willing to destroy the world just to end the 10000 demons, which, just going out on a limb, is *not what the original Shion would've wanted*. *The Moon* [Darkstar](https://www.deviantart.com/verticalskyline/art/Ijime-800647535) [Colored](https://www.deviantart.com/verticalskyline/art/The-Moon-Arcana-810226656) Darkstar is Darkness-dominant. She hates the Light element within her, she never uses it, and will stop at nothing to get rid of it. It's probably easiest to visualize her as the "goth girlfriend". After leaving the others, she sets out on a journey to research samples of the DemonLord's magic. She is very interested in them, especially on how the DemonLord was able to severe the Arcanas from Shion. It seems demon magic can do things human magic cannot. She wonders if demon magic could also alter the pre-existing Arcana pairs. She wants to cast a worldwide reality warp that will scramble up the Arcanas, in hopes that her Light magic will finally leave her Darkness side. *The Nest* She has two forms. At night she's *Memento.* [Death](https://www.deviantart.com/verticalskyline/art/Death-800647137) During the day she's *Mori.* [Life](https://www.deviantart.com/verticalskyline/art/Life-800635987) [Colored](https://www.deviantart.com/verticalskyline/art/Mori-832018199) Nest Arcana is not a very combat–suited magic. It's main use is agriculture, healing, and communicating with souls of the dead. Life magic is the least dangerous of all, making Mori the safest waifu around. That said, Memento's Death magic is dialed up to eleven; she unconsciously saps the life force out of everyone around, making her a walking bio–weapon. Mori is very shy. She prefers talking to plants and animals rather than people. She's also a bit animalistic, eating meat raw and with her hands. This makes her all the more self–conscious of herself in front of people. Memento is very non–caring, and talks to inanimate objects instead. She does want company to some extent, but accepts that her power is a curse preventing that. The two personalities are perfectly content staying away from human contact. *The Great Passage* [June](https://www.deviantart.com/verticalskyline/art/Cheerleader-825435543) A cheerful, lively girl. There are other split personalities she can tap into (because entropy means randomness). She's usually happy-go-lucky — because she already saw the future and knows how things turn out. However, there's one blockage in the future that she can't seem to see past through. At some point in the future, Darkstar will succeed with her grand, paradigm–shifting plans. The universe will disappear, to be replaced by a parallel, alternate reality. She can't see the future past this point. She doesn't know what will happen, but whatever it is, it can't be good. More than anything though, she takes it a personal insult that someone is locking down her prophecy powers. Her main goal is to prevent Darkstar's plans and alter the future. She's mostly offscreen, only occasionally appearing to warn Ashi about the future. *The Cloud* [Agyros 1](https://www.deviantart.com/verticalskyline/art/Agyros-800634867) [Fish Orbs](https://www.deviantart.com/verticalskyline/art/Fish-Orb-810227519) [Fish Orbs Colored](https://www.deviantart.com/verticalskyline/art/Agyra-828370569) [Agyros 3](https://www.deviantart.com/verticalskyline/art/Agyros-uncolored-824748076) Agyros. She's hot–blooded and aggressive, with even Darkstar going so far as to call her "unhinged". She wants to fight a strong opponent. She has no qualms killing people, she just wants to fight. One as challenging as possible. Her journey is one of finding the strongest people on earth and defeating them, and when it's clear no ordinary human in the world can match her, she turns to lopping off her Arcana sisters one by one. *The Tower* [Hera](https://www.deviantart.com/verticalskyline/art/Hera-2-831818318) [Hera 2](https://www.deviantart.com/verticalskyline/art/Hera-1-831818128) Last but not least, Hera is obsessed with power. She wants to be worshipped, by as many as possible. She wants people serving her, because "servants" equal *power*. She believes true power is having the allegiance of others, either by choice or by force, and since she inherited Shion's inhuman power levels, the whole world is now hers for the taking. Aether covers mental (non–physical) magic, spatial magic and parallel dimensions. Earth magic includes rocks, metals and precious minerals (diamonds, rubies, etc.), so every shiny jewelry there is, Hera wants for herself. She uses these riches to buy people's servitude, and for those she can't bribe, she'll use mind control magic to force them. **The Protagonist** The body. The part of Shion left when his powers were removed. He's lost all memories, he's lost all magic, and he's lost all things that made him the great hero he once was. Let's call him *Amnesia Shion,* or 'Ashi' for short. He is a *Vacuum* — that is, people born with zero Arcana. They can't use magic, they're very weak. They *can* infuse magic into their body, though it's not as glamorous as it sounds. For the Vacuums, magic is like an unlearned skill (e.g. playing the piano/doing a sommersault). To learn it, you practice over and over 'til you get it right. Each Arcana has a way to 'train' a Vacuum into using magic, and once you've gone through them, a Vacuum will learn to use Arcana the same as a natural born mage. Here's the catch though: Vacuums are not designed to learn that skill. Their body hates it, so a Vacuum is always in a constant trajectory of "unlearning" all the magic experience they get. It's like studying for a pop quiz of your most hated subject. You absorb the knowledge just long enough for the exam, then once it's over, your brain can't wait to forget every useless thing it tried to cram. Vacuums have no workaround for this, they just have to face losing every magic skill they learn. Not training for a day is like not playing the piano for a week, you get rusty insanely fast. If there's one thing they have going for them, it's flexibility. Normal people can't change their magic type, they're stuck with whatever Arcana they've got. But for the Vacuum, they're free to train any and every Arcana they want. Ashi could have Nest Arcana now, and then Cloud next week, and then Tower; it's very versatile... **The Philosophical Battle** As I said, at the start of the story the Arcana waifus can't settle their differences. They find it way too easy to argue because of their differing personalities, but the real nail in the coffin is how each interpret differently Shion's life. Raine argues that he's a hero. Of course, he saved the world countless times, and he always does the right thing. He's what everyone in the world should strive to become. Darkstar says this is bullshit, and that all Shion was was a puppet — an overrated military weapon that did whatever he was told. Agyros also argues against this hero interpretation, but posits that Shion was "an existence beyond human strength". He did not obey anyone. He reached the peak limit of human magic, and was simply bored that everyone else on the planet was so weak. That's why he challenged the DemonLord, when he was sitting oh so quietly in hell. Shion didn't want to save the world or fluff like that, he just wanted a worthwhile fight. He wanted to know if he could beat God. June supports this, citing how Shion was unable to forecast how the fight will turn out. When Time magic fails to show you even *one* future outcome, you know that's a sign something bad will happen. If he knew what's good for him, he would've stayed away from the DemonLord at all costs. When asked how Memento considers Shion, she simply replieas as "dead". Mori, however, thanks Shion as you would food before eating. She views Shion as a necessary sacrifice so that all of them can exist. Finally, Hera agrees with Raine on the point that Shion is a hero, but adds that he wasted his life doing all those useless things, when he could've been so much more productive. This sets the waifus against each other, and makes Ashi question how he should view this so–called *Shion*. **Ashi's Magic** The protagonist here faces severe magic shortage, so to combat this, I've decided to train him mostly in the Great Passage Arcana. I've thought about this, and *Time plus Entropy* seems to be the most fitting element for a protagonist. It's an intercepting magic that works with minimal violence. Entropy is described as the thing that makes a bent nail or a crumpled paper hard to straighten again — it is the chaos and randomness in the universe. Entropy magic then specializes in churning out buffs and nerfs with no pattern, as if one were a walking casino slot machine. It's chaotic, it's unpredictable, and it's the last thing you want to see when you have grand evil plans rolling out tommorow. Time magic is the opposite. It's peaceful, it's orderly, it's magic that seeks to reduce the entropy of the universe. Combining the neutralizing power of Entropy and the rewinding/repairing magic of Time, the Great Passage Arcana has theoretically the best defense out of all six types. First off... Ashi can't have magic for long periods of time. He won't have it 24/7, so to not be caught empty–handed right when he needs it, he takes a leaf out of June's book trying to forecast the future. This way, he has an early warning which emergency situations will need magic. He won't predict all of it, but he'll be prepared for a good story arc or two. It's better than going in blind. Next, he'll excel in a close–quarters disarming spell. It's a simple fusion of speed magic plus predicting, very effective in stopping an assailant. And for his bread and butter, the whole Entropy package. Entropy has a lot of utilities. You want to destroy an evil deathray machine? *Entropy is your friend.* You have to break into the enemy's lair? *Entropy is your friend.* And most important of all, you want defeat someone a hundred times stronger than you (the Arcana waifus)? Entropy is your only shot. When it comes to other Arcanas, victory always goes to the stronger, smarter, and more experienced fighter. But against Entropy magic, that advantage is meaningless. Entropy closes the gap between the stronger and the weaker fighter, such that any predefined strength difference is rendered unuseable. Entropy's theme is that no matter how strong the enemy is, there's always a chance to turn the tables around; the strongest magics always fall against the simplest ones (sneeze spell, tickle spell, etc). **Antagonists** There are two types of antagonists in this story: the 10,000 demon pieces, and the Arcana waifus. The demons take up bulk of the story. Demons find people with powerful emotions such as jealousy and anger, and give them demon powers of their own. They act as the bridge for ordinary people to do evil things. Maybe someone wants revenge, maybe someone wants to take down the government... these are things the demon pieces easily latch onto. Anyone who is a host for demons receives powers beyond human limits, and will start a chain events which the main characters get caught up into. So in this scenario, the antagonists will be other fellow humans. The second antagonists are the Arcana waifus. They're not "evil" per se, but they're morally misguided. The story progression ultimately heads towards one of these Arcanas attempting to do some "world destroying". Raine does it. Darkstar does it. Pretty much everyone does it at some point. They are the overarching antagonists that everything is progressing towards. Now, I say they *are* antagonists, but they also take turns being the heroes. They have a weird dynamic where they're all so powerful they could destroy the world, but they're simultaneously the "safety switches" that can stop each other. When facing an Arcana waifu attempting to destroy the world, the protagonist or the military are enough. It takes an Arcana waifu to beat another Arcana waifu. **The Story** *Part 1, Raine's Arc* To paint a picture of what Ashi will face, I'll go into a very quick rundown of the main key events. At the start, Ashi travels with Raine, (more like she forced him to), aiming to hunt DemonLord pieces. He goes along with her because, well... he'll starve to death if he doesn't do anything, and she seems like she already knows the society of this world. He's strung along to hunt demons without being proactive himself, which is generally bad for a protagonist, but since defeating demons is not the story goal, he maybe gets a pass. The first arc covers Ashi and Raine chasing after a demon into a village populated by Vacuums. Since they're vulnerable, they are all protected by the *Nine Circles of Hell*, nine Fire specialists who had the most massive kill counts in the previous world war. From a skateboarding maid to a loli who uses pencils to attack, they are held as one of the strongest military forces to date. Ashi gets his first experience training magic here. Meanwhile, he notices something weird. Despite being called The *Nine* Circles of Hell, there's only eight of them. Ashi and Raine find out the story of how they had to kill one of their members after catching them in the act of doing a crime. She was a Moon–user. Despite not being a Wave, they recruited her because of Light's very useful, Lie Detection spell. She made information gathering easy, which gave them huge leverage during the war. However, a few years later, she was caught doing (insert crime here). She defends herself, saying someone she knows is being held hostage and she's being forced to do it — something along those lines... But since all the others are Wave users, not Moon, they don't have their own way to determine if she's lying or not. Ironically, it's their own *lie–detector* they can't lie–detect. They ask, "Why didn't you just tell us before? We're the best military troop around, we could have rescued that hostage." Now, I'm a sucker for internal conflict, and I would love nothing more than to put here that line in Page 18 of Kaguya–sama wa Kokurasetai, Chapter 182: [Kaguya 182](https://mangapark.net/manga/kaguya-sama-wa-kokurasetai-tensai-tachi-no-renai-zunousen-akasaka-aka/i2425080/c182) I absolutely get off on this shiz. Things like insecurity, things like self–blame... when the reason for the story's conflict is based around something psychological rather than physical, it just hits on a whole new level. Considered a traitor, she was burned alive and buried in the center of town. The Demon smells this injustice — even if she's long dead, her anger for the Nine Circles lingers forth. The Demon takes over her anger and turns into a towering monster. Civilians are evacuated as destruction rains everywhere. Knowing the full story, what do Raine and Ashi plan to do? Insert character development here. The next arc covers Raine and Ashi out at sea meeting Hera, who's already teamed up with a bunch of pirates and is trying to dig up a shipwreck supposedly carrying "tons of gold". Hera asks Raine to help her out (since sea counts under the jurisdiction of Water magic). Raine agrees, on the condition that Hera later goes to help her demonhunt. Raine and Hera work together to split the ocean and unearth a shipwreck from within its depths. However, as soon as Hera transfers the gold into a pocket dimension, she destroys her crewmates' ship, not intending to share the loot. Raine saves them, angry that Hera would stoop so low. Hera says she's still up for demonhunting if Raine wants, but Raine takes it back, realizing the dangers of having Hera as company. Hera teleports away. Over the next few weeks, Raine tries to catch word of her sisters. Darkstar and Memento Mori have been completely under the radar so far. Raine stumbles across Agyros, who true to her character, has gone and challenged every professional fighter she could find. Raine asks her to join demonhunting, to which Agyros says she'll do it if Raine beats her in a fight. Raine refuses, saying she's not going to hurt her sisters. Agyros says that's her weakness. If you want anything in this world, you should be prepared to take it by force. Agyros leaves. The last person to meet is June. When Raine meets June, although she doesn't want to do it, she takes Agyros' advice and challenges June to a fight. June agrees, and absolutely scrapes all her attacks. Raine failed to land a single strike. Frustration builds up. June says that contrary to what Agyros said, Raine's true weakness is that she doesn't *mean* what she does. There's a world of difference between simply trying to do something, and using everything in reach to achieve that goal. June leaves. This is when Raine gets fed up with everything. It's pointless to rally the Arcanas together, she should've just done everything from the start. She disbands the team with Ashi, and goes off on her own. Ashi hears of the news that the sun is acting weird. June tells him that Raine is trying to blow up the sun and kill everyone. That's insane, he says. Ashi tells June to stop her, but she just leaves. Ashi chases after her, he tries to find Raine, but no matter what he does, with no magic he can't do anything. He is useless by himself... He trips. All hope lost... That's when Darkstar appears, revealing that she had been following Ashi all along. She doesn't have the same goal as Raine, but she is similarly interested in the demons. So, she secretly followed the two while concealing herself with invisibility magic. Ashi pleads Darkstar to stop Raine. Darkstar doesn't really care if the sun blows up or not, but the idea of teaching "miss goody two shoes" a lesson *does* enthrall her. An unlikely duo, Ashi and Darkstar team up to stop Raine. Light should protect against non–physical attacks like Fire, but Darkstar is stubborn. She won't use it. Only when she's on the verge of defeat does she use Light's heals. Raine almost succeeds with her plan, but Darkstar also unleashes what she's been working on. A huge, snake/dragon–like smoke figure appears, black as the night. It catapults into the sky and swallows the sun. I reference this to the quest *Eclipse* in Dragonfable. (very amazing game if you want to check it out) Ashi (Entropy) fights Raine who has little mana left. Just in the nick of time, Ashi pulls out a lucky *body–swap* magic. With Ashi in Raine's body and Raine in Ashi, the disaster has been successfully neutralized. Raine reflects on the error of her actions. Hotsprings filler episode where the body swap effect suspiciously won't revert. *Part 2, Memento Mori* Darkstar and Ashi truly part ways this time. Ashi and Raine are about to return to demonhunting when they notice that for some reason, the demons have become more powerful. This was Darkstar's doing. Though the world has Darkstar to thank for stopping a solar burst, this was her true motive all along. That Eclipse spell was an experiment to see how demons in the vicinity will react to Darkness magic — stopping Raine was just a side errand. All over the news, demons start cropping up, swarming the major cities. Raine makes a mental note to discuss this the next time she sees Darkstar, but in any case, there's too many demons for one person to handle alone. June quickly tells them where to find Memento, before disappearing again. With no better option, Ashi and Raine go to Memento for help. They manage to convince her after a long talk, and as the idol of Death, she mass wipes most of the demons in one go. They enlist her to the party. From here, Raine, Memento Mori and Ashi go on one or two mini–adventures together. I'm thinking of, instead of the usual demonhunting formula, they get involved in a murder mystery... to make it thematic to the Death element. Anyway, there's a lot of opportunity to insert adventures here. *A lot.* So probably a series of self–contained arcs takes place, exploring the world and introducing many interesting characters. But as said, Memento passively lifesteals everyone around her. As time goes on, it becomes increasingly obvious she shouldn't have joined her party. Just as they were starting to develop a bond, Memento tethers around whether it's best for her to just leave. I do love my internal conflicts, so Memento's character arc is going to be about her wondering if it's better for everyone she go back to isolation. The nail in coffin is (details not worked out yet) when she uses a Resurrection spell to revive someone from the dead, completely shocking everyone around. Even Raine didn't know that was possible. The best Death magic could do so far was either necromancy (corpse reanimation), or simulating a hologram of the dead that talks and acts like the original. A *true* Resurrection spell was not something that's ever been done before. Memento confirms that the original Shion could do it. However, he kept it a secret from everyone somehow. News of this got out quickly — that someone brought back the dead, good as new as if they never died. Everyone suddenly wanted a piece of this. Everyone wanted Memento to revive their loved ones. People were rioting, fighting, to get to Memento first. This must be what Shion feared. He must've (with Time magic) predicted this insanity. Memento cuts off ties and goes into hiding. Raine and Ashi go in search of her, as well as thousands of people who want that Resurrection magic. Now begins a worldwide race to find Memento. Meanwhile, Agyros has already beaten all the strongest fighters in the world; she's running out of challengers. She comes to June for advice. "A person worth fighting, where can I find one?" June tells her that there is one such person — a person much, much stronger than Agyros. If she wants to find out the details, she needs to be at this [exact place and time], right where the climax of Memento's story arc takes place. Agyros asks if June thinks Memento can beat her, but June clarifies that it's *not* Memento. It's someone the six Arcanas haven't seen before, and June further teases that it's someone they couldn't even *imagine* existing. If it's not Memento, that means it's one of the people looking for her... — this is how Agyros interprets it. June alludes that Agyros should kill everyone approaching Memento. Protect Memento from all the ones after her. Just keep doing that, and someone *amazing* will appear before her eyes soon enough... Agyros takes this advice and leaves for Memento, warning June that she better not be lying, *or else.* Agyros finds Mori, they travel together. Mori doesn't want to kill people, but there's too many people after her. Agyros happily does all the killing. This goes on for a while... As things heat up, a huge, cult–like organization starts putting others in danger as well. They kidnap Ashi, thinking he knows where Memento is. June informs the others of what happened. Raine, Mori and Agyros all break into the secret hideout to bail Ashi out. Huge and long complications ensue, lasting several chapters, and involving many innocent civilians. Raine is trying to break Ashi out of the organization's grasp, while Agyros is killing everyone she could find. The designated meeting time should be right around now; he should be coming soon — that supposed "strongest person". In the height of the climax, Ashi is held at gunpoint. He is about to get killed. Memento was fine if they'd just gone after her and not involved anyone, but going after Ashi too is unforgiveable. She's had it, this is the last straw. Out of nowhere, Memento takes over Agyros and the two combine to form a new, *different* waifu. Memento and Agyros are gone now — in their place, a unique, *never before seen* Death+Air waifu. Her magic is not something resembling any known Arcana. She combines Air's long–range slicing magic and Death's ability to kill. No one is spared, everyone is instantly diced. Memento and Agyros return to their original forms. Agyros is shocked by what transpired. Memento reanimates the corpses of the dead to follow her, and comes to the conclusion that she should've just stayed alone from the start. Memento ends the conflict by saying that next time anyone comes near her, she's surely killing them, before leaving into the distance. *Part 3, Agyros* Agyros confronts June about what happened. June explains that what that was was a "Fusion", a phenomenon that happens when two of the Arcana waifus, in the heat of the moment, share a *common goal.* The Arcanas, by default, are too different to get along together. In times that they do see eye to eye however, that one moment where they understand each other and share the faintest semblance of an emphatic bond, when *that* happens, they unlock a hidden power to merge into one unified being. Back then, when Ashi was in danger, both Agyros and Memento aimed to kill the enemy. This mutual understanding is what allowed them to combine the best of both their Arcanas: Death's killing power, and Air's long reach. A Fusion has the fighting strength of two Arcana waifus combined into one. Agyros is not satisfied with this... She wanted to fight a strong opponent, not be merged into one... She orders June to fuse with another Arcana right now — June says it's not that simple, but that there *will* be more Fusions to come in the future. With Agyros' anger reaching its peak, the two fight. June uses speed magic, but Cloud Arcana is unfortunately the hard counter for it. Gravity sucks things in a magnetic "field". It's an area coverage, it's not something you can dodge or run from. June is defeated, and now, Agyros decides the "strongest people" she's looking for are her sisters. I'm fuzzy on the chronology after this. Maybe more filler arcs here and there. Agyros goes after Darkstar, who only narrowly escapes, and then Mori next. Probably for emotional effect, Raine finds Mori on the verge of death. Raine tells Mori to fuse with her so they can defeat Agyros, but the Fusion fails. Mori doesn't want to fight her sisters, so she passively accepts her fate. Raine freezes Mori to preserve her life, and takes it upon herself to stop Agyros. The matchup is now Raine (and Ashi) vs Agyros. Agyros tries to suffocate Raine with Oxygen Depletion magic, but Raine hard–counters this by taking the battle underwater. Raine and Ashi narrowly take the win. From here there's two Arcana left: Hera and Darkstar. I haven't worked out the details, but Hera eventually goes for a worldwide mind control, and Darkstar for a reality warp. **Themes** The easy way to write this is probably that Ashi wants to save the world, just like the original Shion did. "Even though he's weaker than the average person, heroism and righteous deeds are not something you forget. They're inside you." So Ashi, despite not remembering anything about anything, is still the same person through and through: *a hero.* You can build up to an emotional climax with this theme; it's simple, it's reliable, and no need to write the story super complicated. But I don't want this. This is a direction I'd prefer to avoid at all costs. In fact, I want to show the complete opposite theme: *Shion is gone.* Whether you like it or not, a person that has amnesia is no longer the same person you know. A person is defined by his memories and personality. Change that, and you've basically killed that person. We get Ashi, who is in stark contrast to Shion. He has no traits of being a hero in him. It would even be better if he's an asshole, or *rude* — something to that effect. He should have beliefs (not finalized yet) that are unsavory to listen to... things like you should not give to the poor, or that slavery is a natural product of human nature. He doesn't sugarcoat things, and says them in an almost cynical way. Right now, I'm envisioning Ashi as someone who's "a hero for the wrong reasons". For example, let's say Ashi at a birthday party. Suddenly, bad guys break in and kidnap the birthday girl. A fight ensues, where Ashi and main characters are defeated because they weren't ready. Target is taken to a secret hideout, because *insert plot element here.* Ashi and the cast break into secret hideout, retrieving the hostage and taking her as far away as possible. As bad guys chase after our characters, Ashi stays behind to delay one of the henchmen. In your usual action story, Ashi would be doing this for the team. He's giving the others *valuable time* to escape, he's doing it for birthday girl. But Ashi here cares about none of that. He just has a bone to pick with the guy who beat him. He takes it as a personal insult that he was defeated because he was caught offguard, so now it's a fight with no surprises... This is the kind of development I'm leaning towards. He's clearly fulfilling a heroic act here, but there's something that makes it unheroic all the same. This happens every single time. Ashi doesn't reach that state of being *100%* truly heroic. There's always something off about it, whether it's the motive, the method, his decision–making, etc... Add to that that Entropy magic can backfire (help the enemy instead), and there's the perfect case of a non–hero. Once the bad luck starts rolling in, Ashi will turn the smallest problems into a world–level threat. There'll be conflicts that are entirely his fault, throwing him for a loop, and it would now be up to Raine or another Arcana to clean up his mess, not that they hate doing that. This is what I want Ashi's character to be about: *a celebration of flaws.* He accepts that trying to be a 100% righteous hero is unrealistic, because no one is born a saint. So he does things the way he wants to, for better and for worse. To the question of who he thinks Shion is, his answer will be "not me". **What personality fits Ashi?** I can't come up with a personality that complements all his unique points. He's very... contradictory. He can be pessimistic at times... selfish, petty, and even reckless. Yet, he *still* has enough resolve to save the world when someone like Raine is threatening to destroy it. Next to the Arcanas and their senseless violence, he is the voice of reason. But next to the average person, he's someone who lacks basic decency. I can't imagine him having a normal interaction with the other characters and it not turn super awkward super fast. Right now he's not really a character yet, moreso a plot device to save the world/make things worse when needed. **Goal?** There may also be the problem of him not having a long–term goal to work towards. It's okay if he doesn't want to hunt demons (Raine has that covered), but he should have something he wants to achieve concerning the Arcana waifus. Preferably Hera, since she gives the most "Final Boss" vibes. One thing I'm considering is making Ashi our world's *parallel universe* counterpart of Shion. A normal highschool student. He committed suicide, was fished out from the void by Hera (Aether magic includes parallel dimensions), and correspondingly transferred into Shion's leftover body. Ashi regains memories of his life (our world) one by one, and makes it his personal goal to confront Hera why she resurrected him at all? What is the purpose of him living in this new world? I think this adds a unique touch to his character. He doesn't care about innocent people or justice at all. The reason he saves the world from destruction is that he can't fish out the truth from Hera anymore if the world ends, he's just too fixated on that goal... Or if not that, then a solid plan B is that he and the Arcanas have a memorable bonding time in the first chapter. The Arcanas have *all the necessities* to live self–sufficiently: Raine supplies water, Darkstar the lighting, Mori grows crops, Hera supplies construction materials, Agyros fashions them into a habitable structure, and June repairs everything that gets broken. All seven of them can theoretically live a happy, peaceful life by themselves. But soon after, rifts begin to form. They get into an argument regarding their views, and so they part ways. Ashi then makes it his goal to bring everyone together again. This seems like it could work, but probably very hard to write. It's very contingent on the first chapters being good. All six would have to have a really good chemistry together for someone to go to lengths to bring them back, anything less and it won't be convincing.
March 12 Update: Operation Grand Heist’s Next Major Update and our FREE Shamrock & Awe Event Have Begun!
Our next major game update during Operation Grand Heist begins today along with our Shamrock & Awe Event on PS4, delivering a ton of new content, features, and gameplay improvements across Multiplayer, Blackout, Zombies, and the World League Hub. Here’s what’s new in this week’s update:
Visit the Black Market during the special event to receive your free St. Patrick’s Day Gesture & Calling Card.
Multiplayer: St. Patrick’s Stockpile
In this seasonal twist on Fracture from Black Ops 3, kill enemies to collect their shamrocks and deposit them at the nearest pot of gold to score points for your team.
Blackout: Spring Map Update + New Surprises
Spring has arrived in Blackout, bringing with it all-new lighting, a whole lot of greenery, and some... colorful hidden treasures. Follow the rainbow!
Zombies: Green-Eyed Zombies + Seasonal Easter Egg
May the luck of the Irish be with you against the green-eyed zombies that await in Classic Chaos story maps! Rumor has it they’re hiding a special new Easter Egg to discover at the end of the rainbow...
Wear some green, grab your friends, and enjoy Shamrock & Awe in all modes during this two-week event!
Black Ops 3’s fan-favorite Fracture game mode returns with a new twist in Stockpile, debuting today on PS4! Collect and bank enemy tags, deposit them point to score points for your team, and rack up the most points for the win.
The warming springtime weather has swept a tropical storm across the island map of Contraband, free for all players starting this week.
The Thresher will no longer damage friendly players in modes with Friendly Fire enabled, and the Dart will no longer count toward team kill punishment in modes with Friendly Fire enabled.
Casino Hardpoint & Custom Game Fixes
Casino will now be available in Hardpoint and Custom Game playlists for Black Ops Pass holders.
Prestige Master Level 999 Fix
For those MP die-hards who’ve already reached Level 1000 Prestige Master but haven’t seen their rank update past Level 999, a fix is live for you with today’s update.
Later in Operation Grand Heist, we’re also introducing our new Barebones game mode featuring classic gameplay rules and no Specialists. Infected, Capture the Flag, and Prop Hunt are also planned for later in the Operation, along with even more gameplay improvements and tuning updates.
World League Hub
Thanks to everyone in the competitive community for the incredible reception of League Play – the numbers are in, and we’re blown away. Since launching League Play in Black Ops 4 on all platforms, we’ve seen an exponential increase in player participation compared to Black Ops 2’s League Play, making it our 2nd-most popular Multiplayer playlist behind Team Deathmatch as of last week! https://preview.redd.it/sct5l6fk0rl21.jpg?width=1660&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=1213a5877a52198afd16810d717138c3663f4b53 League Play has constantly evolved behind the scenes since launching just a few weeks ago, thanks in large part to direct player feedback. Today, we’re excited to announce a new round of improvements kicking off today to make League Play even more competitive and rewarding:
Match Quit Penalty
When a player quits with 4 or more players on their team, that player will now receive a new penalty to their Ladder Points in addition to the standard match loss deduction, as quitting a match will also count as a loss. This is the first phase of penalties that we’re implementing for quitters in League Play, with another round of refinements planned for our next major update.
Daily Bonus Rollover
We’ve heard your feedback on the Daily Bonus system – namely, that the initial version was most advantageous to players who could get in enough matches each day to earn the maximum number of bonus points. To improve this, now your remaining Daily Bonus point pool will roll over day-to-day until the end of each League Play Event, allowing all players to max out their bonus points at their own pace. The Daily Bonus has also been reduced from 200 to 100 to better balance its impact on the overall Ladder.
12 Custom Classes
All League Play competitors will now have instant access to all 12 Custom Classes in the World League Hub. This will allow all players to set up a full suite of custom loadouts specifically for League Play rules without first Prestiging multiple times in Multiplayer.
Top 5 Ladder Rewards
Players will now earn 4 Gems for finishing in the Top 5 of their Division, with your rank now permanently reflecting your Top 5 finishes with Gold and Silver treatments. This adds another important milestone for players to battle over between Top 10 and 1st Place in each League Play Event.
New 1st Place Reward
Players can now earn 5 Gems for finishing in 1st Place in each League Play Event (was previously 4 Gems).
We’ll continue to add more improvements and features to League Play in future updates, including additional ranks – keep your feedback coming, and watch this space for more news.
Blackout’s map takes on an entirely new look for spring, including updated lighting, new and improved greenery, and springtime trees in full bloom throughout the map.
Hardcore Mode (PS4)
Drop into Blackout with no HUD, armor, vehicles, or zombies in our all-new Hardcore game mode. Watch the skies, as a fleet of choppers will drop flares overhead to inform players of each new circle location. You’ll need to keep your wits about you and rely on your senses if you want to make it out on top!
Contraband Stashes (PS4)
Discover Contraband Stashes in Blackout to get access to the latest weapons, including the Rampage auto-shotgun, Switchblade X9 folding SMG, and KAP 45 auto-pistol.
Muscle Car & SUV in Solos, Duos, and Quads (PS4)
Our newest land vehicles make their debut in core Blackout playlists with this week’s update. The Muscle Car and SUV bring their own distinct advantages, but their special abilities remain exclusive to Hot Pursuit.
Operator Weapons and Purifier
You’ll be able to find and wield a new class of weapons equipped with Operator Mods from Multiplayer in Blackout with this new update, as well as Firebreak’s Purifier... if you’re lucky enough to find it.
Weapon Inspect will be available by pressing left on the d-pad. Holding left on the d-pad will still activate the Callouts menu.
Gestures and Callouts at the Victory Screen
Players can now activate Gestures and Callouts during the Victory screen, so you can celebrate your #1 spot in style.
Limited-Time Mode Stats
With this update, all Limited-Time Modes will now feed stats directly to the new “Limited-Time Modes” filter in the Barracks. Previous Hot Pursuit stats will also populate to this new stat filter.
Added the ability to change Class when joining a match in progress.
New stormy variant of Contraband added to rotation, free for all players.
Casino is now available in Hardpoint playlists and in Custom Games for Black Ops Pass holders.
Addressed an issue where the Sniper’s Nest could occasionally remain in the playspace after expiring in Casino.
Addressed an issue where some users could not progress beyond Prestige Master Level 999.
Addressed an issue where Create-a-Class slots unlocked through Prestige could have empty Equipment slots.
The Thresher will no longer damage friendly players in modes with Friendly Fire enabled.
The Dart will no longer count toward team kill penalties in modes with Friendly Fire enabled.
Addressed various instances where the Seeker could fall through the map.
Addressed an animation hitch when standing from crouch while holding a Trophy System.
Addressed an animation issue with Outrider’s Hawk tablet while a pistol was equipped.
Improvements made to the revive UI to match the revive UI in Blackout.
Mastercraft camos will now display on weapons in the Gun Rack.
Warpaint can now be seen through Seraph’s “The Professional” mask.
World League Hub
Players that leave a match early will now receive an increased match quit penalty.
Unlocked all 12 Custom Classes for players to use in World League Hub.
Prestige Master players now properly earn XP in League Play matches.
Multiplayer Challenges now properly track while playing in League Play Events.
Prestige icons now properly appear when leveling up in League Play Events.
Ladders and Rewards
Added a Top 5 Ladder Reward tier that awards 4 Gems.
1st Place Ladder Reward now awards 5 Gems.
League Ladder Tile in the World League Hub now properly updates after a League Play Event ends.
Addressed an issue where players were able to roll over their Ladder Points between Events.
Daily Bonuses will now roll over day-to-day for the duration of the current event.
Reduced the Daily Bonus point value from 200 to 100.
Addressed an issue where Match Bonus was rewarding fewer XP than intended.
Addressed an issue with inconsistent XP being awarded to players in Search and Destroy League Play matches.
Addressed an issue with Specialist Stats displaying Public Match Stats instead of World League Hub Stats.
Addressed an issue with the Previous League Play Results screen appearing before a player had completed their Skill Evaluation matches.
Addressed an issue with the League Play Career tile in the Barracks not properly updating.
Addressed an issue with Streak Flames not appearing in some cases.
Spring Map Update
Added updated lighting, new and improved greenery, and springtime trees in full bloom throughout the map.
Operator Weapons added to Supply Drops and Stashes.
Weapons come with Operator Mods pre-attached, which cannot be stripped.
Operator Weapons glow purple for easy identification.
Firebreak’s Purifier flamethrower can now be found in Supply Drops.
Players can now mute team members via the Team Scoreboard.
Improved visibility of items on the ground when wingsuiting and parachuting into the map.
Enabled prioritizing ammo pickups over weapon pickups in Blackout Options.
Weapon Inspect can now be activated with left on the d-pad on consoles.
Gestures and Callouts can now be activated during the Victory screen.
Added new Limited-Time Modes stats filter in Barracks.
All Limited-Time Modes now feed stats directly to the Limited Time Modes filter, including previous Hot Pursuit stats.
Addressed an issue where the wrong Calling Card was displayed when a player spectated or viewed the Killcam.
Addressed an issue where the player character was missing when joining another player in the lobby.
Public matches will now automatically continue with a new host if the current host drops out mid-game.
Fixed a crash that could occur when a Catalyst zombie performed its special attack.
Fixed a crash that could occur when navigating from the Black Market to a Zombies lobby and back.
Fixed a crash that could occur when a player started a Custom Mutations IX match where starting points had been adjusted in “Edit Game Rules”.
Fixed a crash that could occur when the player queued for a public Classic IX match.
Blood of the Dead
Fixed a crash that could occur if the player rapidly switched tabs while spectating.
Fixed an issue during the “Death-Con Five” Gauntlet where the player could be disconnected from the server and moved to the main menu when transitioning from Round 10 to Round 11.
Fixed a crash that could occur when viewing a clip made during the previous patch in Theater.
Fixed a potential freeze and/or crash that could occur in Theater when fast-forwarding a clip from Dead of the Night.
Global – Addressed issues where:
The Welling could be permanently unlocked with a Permanent Unlock Token, despite it being the starting pistol.
Pack-a-Punching the Swordfish while it was equipped with the Holographic and Long Barrel attachments caused the weapon to have improper animations.
If the player left any party lobby hosted by a player, then accepted an invite into a custom Zombies game from a second player, it would result in the player losing functionality during the First Time User Experience screen.
The Ethereal Razor could be seen constantly even if the player was not using the knife.
The player put their only weapon into the Pack-a-Punch, effectively giving them fists in first-person, but a knife would be seen in their hand in third-person.
After killing the Blightfather, the 25% XP boost did not give out the appropriate value with a “MKII” weapon.
Prestige Master – Addressed issues where:
A Prestige Master Level 1000 player could still see an XP bar in the After Action Report after every match, despite there being no XP left to earn.
Earning XP at Prestige Master Level 322 could become corrupted.
The Options menu during a game would display the incorrect level and amount of XP for a Prestige Master player, and would be inconsistent with the After Action Report.
A Master Prestige player changed their Prestige icon and other players would see the default icon in the Social menu.
Players may lose their sprinting animation after sliding and shooting during “Slippery” in Round 2.
Players were able to use Elixirs while not sliding, which was inconsistent with the round description during “Slippery” in Round 2.
If the player rapid-fired a semi-auto weapon while sliding, they could rapid-fire the remainder of the clip after stopping during “Slippery” in Round 2.
Damage would persist on players while standing still during Round 5.
The player would lose points when they run, walk, slide, crouch, or go prone in Nova 6 Gas, despite the description only mentioning when “standing” during the “High Gas Prices” Round.
“Veni, Vidi, Zombie!” Gauntlet
Addressed an issue in Round 26 in which players could briefly see their Equipment in their hands as their weapon changed.
Addressed an issue in Round 26 in which the revival animation would not play when the player was reviving another player.
Addressed a visual issue near the Mystery Box in the War Room Upper Level.
Addressed an issue where activating the Nova Crawlers by annoying McNamara during a round transition change would cause all spawns going forward to be Nova Crawlers.
Closed an exploit where the player could use the Ragnarok DG-5 to jump onto a filing cabinet in Central Filing.
Addressed an issue where players were unable to repair barricades in the Ra Altar room.
Addressed an issue where the player may notice a misaligned Challenge text box in the UI after cutting a Challenge Banner rope.
Blood of the Dead
Addressed a rare issue where the player’s Shield Key could get jammed in a door while aiming down sights.
Addressed an issue that could occur where the Warden that spawns on the roof could path to the Infirmary and then get stuck.
Addressed an issue that could occur where random barricades would become unrepairable after Round 6.
Dead of the Night
Addressed an issue where the light FX for Alistair’s Annihilator could persist on the screen when grabbed by the Crimson Nosferatu.
Addressed various visual issues in the Cemetery.
Perk Up Elixir
Addressed an issue where the player would only receive two Perks from the Perk Up Elixir after failing a round in any Gauntlet match by not completing the objective.
Addressed an issue where, if a player used the Perk Up Elixir in a Gauntlet to obtain extra Perks and then proceeded to get damaged down to 50 health, then used In Plain Sight while being attacked at 50 health, the round failed and the Perk Up Perks remained active when the player respawned in the next round.
Unique Friendly Fire hitmarkers will now appear when damaging friendlies in any game mode with friendly fire enabled, including Hardcore modes, Blackout, and League Play.
There’s plenty more to come during this Operation, including our upcoming “Ancient Evil” Zombies map, an entirely new Blackout experience, Barebones and Infected modes in Multiplayer, and so much more. Get out there and let us know what you think in the comments! -Treyarch
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