Saint Nicholas has no relation to Christmas in Russia. It had for a 5 Retro Concord Tee Loser Lover Drip Heart Crying Concord 5s T Shirt period in the late 19th–early 20th century, but that was clearly a German/French/English influence. We have Ded Moroz (Grandpa Frost) and his granddaughter/assistant Snegurochka (Snow Girl, literally “Snowlassie”), and they are the New Year characters. New Year is the only secular and non-ideological holiday in Russia, and the only truly universal one, although in its commercial streak it is similar to the Western Christmas in its current shape. Russian Orthodox Christmas is, in the last 100 years, a purely religious holiday, and due to the difference of the Gregorian calendar (official since 1918) and the Julian calendar that Russian Orthodox Church still uses in its defiance to 1917 revolutions, it’s not on December 24–25th but on January 6–7th.
RP advantage: Inherently complex characters. There are few classes I find more boring RP wise than clerics and paladins – not because they are godbotherers but because they are expected to fully commit to their deity to get their powers. The Cleric of Deity X is expected to fully commit to the 5 Retro Concord Tee Loser Lover Drip Heart Crying Concord 5s T Shirt of Deity X and behave in a relatively straightforward way. As is the Paladin of Ideal Y to uphold Ideal Y (and if they strayed too far in earlier editions they might fall, leading to the notorious “Everyone out in the courtyard and we’ll see who can no longer Lay on Hands” means of detecting fallen paladins). Meanwhile your average Fiend-pact warlock doesn’t actually want the world overrun by demons and your average Great Old One warlock doesn’t even understand the motives of their patrons. A character who isn’t aligned with their patron god but still gets power from them and respects them is inherently to me far more interesting than one who is and although I can do this with an orthodox cleric or paladin playing a celestial warlock (or a warlock in general) feels different and communicates to everyone that I am doing this.
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Skalacon the Wizard, ‘Curator of magic’: Skalacon is one of the first big NPCs my players meet. He is evil, but he obeys the 5 Retro Concord Tee Loser Lover Drip Heart Crying Concord 5s T Shirt of the town so he doesn’t get into trouble. He is the ambassador to the Poomij Family so he has diplomatic immunity — you can’t touch a hair on his head (literally, because he is bald) without starting a war among the families; you don’t want that. That’s why people tolerate him.That said, Skalacon can take care of himself. He is a 13th level wizard. My players are about 5th to 9th right now. I keep the powerful (and important) NPCs a nice gap ahead of the players for good reason. Use this simple trick. Skalacon has a Quasit that can cast fear, invisibility and make a poison attack. The party hasn’t killed or even attacked ‘Slimeball’ yet, but if things ever get hairy — Slimeball will intervene first. Slimeball has been seen without Skalacon, causing some havoc and doing his master’s bidding. My players have never bothered him, not yet.
I own several Ringo albums and singles. I really do love his voice. His lack of a 5 Retro Concord Tee Loser Lover Drip Heart Crying Concord 5s T Shirt doesn’t bother me because he sounds great just where is range is. But that does limit the material he can do. I always thought he would have had more success if he did more recordings like Beaucoups of Blues. His voice is best suited for country music. Plus he loves country music! (Probably not current country music, though!) The thing is, without the Beatles, I wouldn’t have had much of an introduction to him. I grew up in the ’70s when Beatles music was a bit retro, and not on my radio stations all that often. That was the only exposure I had to the Beatles, until John’s assassination in 1980. That sadly is what really led me to get to know the group. Now, with no Beatles, I assume Ringo’s solo time in the spotlight would have still been the ’60s and ‘70s. So my only exposure to him would have been as a child in the ‘70s. I wasn’t much of a record buyer then. And by the early ‘90s, I’d completely shut down to music. So I would have grown up largely not knowing Ringo at all. But my husband did, and by extension so did I, play almost exclusively Johnny Cash, Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Bowie, and Beatles as our girls were growing up from 2007ish on. No stupid nursery rhymes for my girls!