9th level transmutation spell
You briefly stop the flow of time for everyone but yourself. No time passes for other creatures, while you take 1d4 + 1 turns in a row, during which you can use actions and move as normal.
This spell ends if one of the actions you use during this period, or any effects that you create during this period, affects a creature other than you or an object being worn or carried by someone other than you. In addition, the spell ends if you move to a place more than 1,000 feet from the location where you cast it.
Dungeon Master: You walk into the tavern, which you find to be somewhat emptier than normal. The sign on the front door said “NO ELVES ALLOWED, TAKE OUT ONLY,” and true enough, you see no elves, only a few humans filling tankards from home and then quickly leaving.
Braedon Stormsong: Strange. I stop one of the leaving humans and ask “What exactly is going on? I’ve been out travelling and must have missed something.”
Leaving Man (DM): “Were you travelling under a rock? The whole kingdom is shut down, there’s a plague tearing across the countryside. By order of the Duke, all of the public spaces have been closed, and most of our shops have been shut down. Now, we all have to stay at home.”
BS: I’ve been staying here in the castle eating food and water from create food and water for months. I’m going to cast contact other plane to ask when this will all be over.
DM: Alright, roll your Intelligence save.
BS: rolls dice 22! Success! I’m asking “When will this plague be over?”
Extraplanar Entity (DM): “Never”
To me, it seems like all time has stopped. Somehow, somewhere, I’m convinced that there exists a circle of wizards conspiring against us, casting time stop over and over again. I’m not sure how these wizards came to our world, but I have to imagine they just used plane shift. I’m further unsure what their motivation was, but it is the only reasonable explanation.
Our only choice while we wait? Well … we just have to wait. Anticlimactic, I’m sure. What was the point of this? Well, I’m currently just a little bit stir crazy, so I needed to write something talking about how horrible this is to forget how horrible this is.
Much Ado About Nothing
Okay I lied, I have an agenda. There are a lot of people who are protesting, asking for the lockdown to be lifted by the government. Well, asking is a bit of a trite term. Demanding is maybe more accurate. But these protests are often referred to as “grassroots.” Populists on both the left and right often consider something being grown in an organic, grassroots style to be good. It means that actual, ordinary people are taking political action. However, some (but not all) of these protests were actually “prodded along” by national figures and organizations. The people deny that organizations orchestrated it, but will confirm that they have personally advised the leaders of the demonstrations. I realize that the specific incidents I’m referencing are somewhat old, but there are other more current examples.
Armed protesters stormed the capitol building of Michigan protesting Governor Whitmer’s stay at home order. Operation Haircut happened just a few days ago, even though Governor Whitmer has gradually been opening the state to help more business sectors reopen.
According to the Associated Press, the public generally supports the handling of the pandemic by Governor Whitmer in public opinion polling. This trend has continued. A survey from the Democracy Fund + UCLA Nationscape Project says that 71% of Americans are more concerned by the government lifting social distancing restrictions too quickly. Only 29% said that they are worried regulations are not being lifted rapidly enough. Granted, this may be different since the survey is about two weeks old at the time of writing. But, nearly a third of the country would have had to change their mind in the past two weeks.
What does all of this mean? Granted, I may be reading in between the lines. Still, it seems as though a small but vocal minority of people have interests that are just not reflected by the vast majority of the country. Without getting too political, this vocal minority is wielding an excessive amount of power in most places. My home state, Nebraska, never had a stay-at-home order, and as a result, we have four counties, which are among the country’s worst hotspots. For a state that is simultaneously the 16th largest by area and the 38th largest by population, it seems like our low population density should have made it easier to combat the virus. But the reverse is true because of the vocal, conservative minority of people arguing for the relaxation of regulations nationwide.
Our governor, Pete Ricketts, was one of six governors nationwide never to issue a stay-at-home order. Even when COVID-19 ripped through the state, Governor Ricketts didn’t issue a stay at home order. While cases are growing in Omaha, specifically in North and South Omaha, Governor Ricketts never issued a stay-at-home order.
I have a sneaking suspicion that our numbers are much larger than the official statistics suggest. Testing wasn’t available in our state until much later than other states. My dad presented symptoms associated with COVID-19 back in March. Even though every test the doctors ran came back negative, he still is yet to be tested for COVID-19 antibodies. Does this mean that I maybe had the disease as well? I was sick for a couple of days, but it was not nearly as serious my dad’s almost three-week-long sickness. Did my mom? My sister? I wish I could tell you for sure. But I can’t even tell you if my dad had it, and he was the one that was presumed positive by his doctor.
What was the purpose of this rambling, incoherent essay (if it can even be called that), you might ask? This my best attempt at asking people to consider the way that their actions affect other people. But not in a “wear a mask” kind of way (though you should wear a mask in public). More so, in a general reminder to be kind to the people around you. We’re all in this together. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that we all want to be safe and happy. Just the definition of safe and happy varies from person to person. And that’s okay. You should, however, consider the way that your actions will potentially affect others. Does a marginal benefit to the economy mean that much to you if it means thousands of preventable deaths? Keep things shut down as long as it takes to slow the spread to a manageable level.
Social distancing isn’t about stopping the virus; it’s about not overwhelming the hospital system. And even if you think you’d rather get the disease early and get it over with, there are immune-compromised people you might be interacting with that could die because of your immunity. John Stuart Mill said:
“The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.”
-John Stuart Mill, On Liberty (1859)