Wastes of the West: Death of a Comedian

Greetings, dear reader! It's been approximately six months since my last post, but here I am, yet again, to regale you with tales from my adventures in 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons! This time, I'll try something a bit different from my usual pattern: a brief synopsis of a few sessions, rather than a detailed write-up of a single night's play. I hope you enjoy!


If you're just now joining us, or if you've forgotten and don't care to check the blog's previous posts, the setting for this campaign is the Wastes of the West, a dimension dominated by a vast shifting desert and populated by exiles from across the multiverse. It's a land of fierce disparities, of hot days and cold nights, affluent cities and squalid barbarian camps, all dreamed up by my friend Michael, who also serves as our game master (you can find his excellent blog here). Our story features a large cast of heroes, including Aedan, the prideful high elven noble turned druid; Escha, the mischievous halfling bard; Thora, the tiefling priestess of storms; Gray, the human gunslinger/cleric; and Cerebirn the elven ranger, played by yours truly.

Our heroes have been exiled from their homelands for various crimes, and have spent their time in exile doing favors for the elven jester-king Rayne and his goblin servant Grem. Our heroes' most recent errand involved striking a deal with a slaver in the red city of Sordis, but the deal went sour and so they've returned to Rayne's keep with a burning city behind them and a severed head in the back of their covered wagon.


Rayne giggles at the sight of the severed head. Apparently, the deal went about as well as he'd hoped. "Come in, come in, dear friends!" he calls. "I'd like to have you join me in a little game." The party passes through the banquet hall where bandits and beasts of various fantastical races engorge themselves, and approaches the raised dais where Rayne sits upon his throne. Grem watches from a balcony.

On the dais is a large wheel, and to the wheel is tied a young elven woman - Cerebirn's true love, a slave whose people he's promised to free. Rayne is throwing knives carelessly at the wheel, barely missing her. "I've been meaning to talk to you all," Rayne says. "You've all been such great friends, really going the extra mile to please me, asking for nothing but a few coins in return. I've decided to offer you a deal." Some in the party flinch, knowing quite well that Rayne's contracts tend to be bound in blood. "I'm offering you a position among my troupe - a very prestigious position. All that's to do is sign the contract." He throws another knife at the wheel, and this one draws blood. The girl doesn't even wince.

As the party debates their course of action, Cerebirn pulls a ring off of his necklace and rubs the green stone. Almost immediately, a small green toad leaps out of Rayne's mouth. As the king vomits, the entire hall falls into a stunned silence. Only Cerebirn lets out a chuckle.

Rayne looks up, then to the ring on Cerebirn's finger. "What? Was that - you?" Cerebirn nods. "Why would you do this?" Rayne asks. Cerebirn shrugs.

At this point, Rayne's eyes turn from bewildered to enraged. "Have you got the stones for this?" he asks, a warning in his voice. Cerebirn just shrugs again. Rayne looks around at the crowd, who look on, waiting to see what their leader will do. "So that's it, eh?" he snarls. "Boys, we've got a challenger to the throne!" All of Rayne's bandits whoop and holler excitedly, and the slaves nervously watch Cerebirn, hope glimmering in their eyes for the first time in many long years.

Before the duel begins, Cerebirn's comrades bless him with a new suit of chain armor, a spirit blade, and a few spell buffs. Cerebirn prefers the light weight of leather armor, but thanks them nonetheless. Rayne sports nothing but leather armor and a sword/dagger combo, but the ruby ring on his finger glints menacingly. "En garde!" he yells, and the duel begins!

Many blows are dealt, and before too long, both of the duelists are bleeding heavily. But just when it seems that Cerebirn is defeated, Rayne turns to showboat for the crowd. Cerebirn, bleeding and gasping for breath, lunges forward and stabs Rayne in the thigh, hobbling the jester king. A hush falls over the crowd. Even Grem seems surprised.

Cerebirn ponders for a while, his sword pointed down at his defeated foe. What to do with this wretch? In the end, the ranger sheathes his sword. Rayne looks up in shock, realizing his life has been spared. Cerebirn turns away and takes a few shaky steps away from the throne he's won.

While swords clash in the great hall, the rest of our heroes creep their way into Rayne's treasure room, where they snag several potent magical artifacts: a lightning-imbued bow for Cerebirn, a ring for Escha, a holy talisman for Gray, and a blessed cleaver for Thora.

The group returns from the vault just in time to see Cerebirn limping away from the dais, Rayne lying on the ground. The expression on Rayne's face quickly turns from shocked to venomous. "You won't get away that easily!" he hisses, and the ring on his finger glows with a burning light. But before he can cast a scorching ray, Thora, watching from the sidelines, takes control of the spectral blade and pierces him through the heart.

"Who's gonna be the boss now?" asks one of the orcs, to no one in particular. Cerebirn looks back at the corpse. "Not me," he says, and continues walking towards the door. The group gives Cerebirn some much-needed healing before gathering the enslaved sand elves into a caravan bound for the town of New Haven.

But before they get very far, the sky darkens, and a booming voice calls out, "Going somewhere?" The party looks up to see a monster of fog and shadow looming above them. It's the goblin Grem in his true form, that of The Nameless One. He - or it - reaches down with black smoky tentacles, and the battle begins.

The lightning arrows of Cerebirn prove of little use against this monster, but thankfully, the holy magics of Gray and the radiance of Thora's new cleaver carry the party to victory. Our heroes set off for New Haven, where a surprising twist awaits them.

Thanks for taking the time out of your day, dear reader, and I hope you'll join me in the future for a new adventure in the Wastes of the West!



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