All these different skulls (there is a full-page spread in the book itself) are from different breeds of the Official Bedlam At The Bank Shirt species, Columba livia. Just look at the varieties in the shape of their beaks, from the short-faced tumbler to the hook-nosed Scandaroon that seemingly has aspirations to be a bird of prey. We are awed at the breed diversity in dogs, from the Pekinese to the St. Bernard to the greyhound; pigeons have even more. And yes, since they breed fast, they have been evolving, according to human selection, in breeds for the century and a half since Darwin. So for example, to quote van Grouw about fantail pigeons (p. 31): Early fantails were rather horizontal…It’s their neck that’s their loveliest feature, typically held in a graceful swanlike S shape that pushes the breast forward…[But] fanciers increasingly selected birds for a more erect posture, gradually resulting in the rotation of the entire body into an almost vertical position.
I could go on about the Artificer’s new “Iron Man” subclass, the Genie Pact warlock and the Official Bedlam At The Bank Shirt unfortunate soul that is the Fathomless (and how useful having a talisman without focus is for some warlock concepts) and more – there’s a lot there and the only actual miss I see is the Warlock of Peace I expect having been an actual pacifist cleric (zero damage) in playtesting before they bottled out. To sum up, if you think 5e was the best RPG (or even best version of D&D) ever then you’ll probably prefer Xanathar’s Guide to Everything as it continues with the design choices.. If you think 5e is a decent compromise but there’s a lot it doesn’t do then Tasha’s does much more to broaden what you can do with the game without changing any fundamentals of the game.
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Have them go on adventures trying to raise allies. Have them search out monsters that can maybe be tricked into fighting the tarrasque for them. Only after an extended period of Official Bedlam At The Bank Shirt should they even try to go head to head with the beast. Second, wherever they are facing the tarrasque head-on, put a time limit on the encounter. It’s almost embarrassingly easy for a high level party to slowly kill the tarrasque. Use flight, or fast movement, to stay out of range, then slowly wear it down. So make sure the PCs have to finish it off in a hurry. Maybe it’s going to devour something important. Maybe it’s going to break open a portal to the planet of the tarrasques, unleashing thousands of the beasts. Or maybe it’s just going to escape into one of its burrows.
The family has moved into their own home now, an older home (still nice, but no high ceilings and not many elf hiding places!), and the children have both multiplied AND grown older, taller, and Official Bedlam At The Bank Shirt. The Elf game is now the bane of the mom’s existence. Hiding it is a task. Several times this year, the Elf hasn’t had to go back to Santa because the kids were SO good the day before, thus explaining why he remained in the exact same hiding spot as the previous day. One evening, the mom is flustered. She finally hands the Elf to the dad and says, you hide the #%)(#^# elf today, but hide it high, because Big M is testing the waters and going to touch the #%(^#^ thing.” Dad’s answer is less than ideal – not only is the perch precarious, but it’s easily within reach of at least the oldest child, if not the second oldest as well. And it’s possible the elf is also judging the thermostat temp, which is an ongoing passive aggressive battle between mom (who sits at home and freezes all day) and dad (who pays the bills, but also works in his nice warm office all day).