Hey everyone! You may remember the story of Siren, the half-elf ranger raised as a dragon. Well this is her creator here, back with another tale. No, this one is not about her party's shenanigans (part two of her tale is in the works), but after my DM and another member of our group had an impromptu one shot session, I have a story about a new character of my creation.
Meet Sepsis (yes, he was named after the potentially deadly complications of an infection): He is a CN goblin who fled solo from his clan after it was taken over by a bugbear. Not eager to be bullied to his death by such 'leadership' and forced into the eternal ranks of the Goblin God Maglubiyet any time soon, he gathered up what he could carry and disappeared into the night, dodging any and every goblinoid he came across and eventually finding refuge with a pack of bandits who adopted him as a mascot and taught him their thieving, roguish ways. He loves ale, shiny coins, daggers, dice of any and all kinds, and not being dead.
His personality traits include: 1: *gasps and points* What the hell is that? *steals your wallet*, 2: *endless daggers*, 3: Gib him all the click clack math rocks., and 4: By Goblin standards, he is f*cking Adonis…. or so he thinks. (I bet you can guess which one most heavily influences today's story.) At level 3 he becomes an arcane trickster and yes, he learns fireball, because why not, he's chaotic neutral, it'll be fun. For me anyway. Eventually he gains the favor of a pirate and joins her crew as a first mate. What could possibly go wrong?
Luckily for the druids he ends up traveling with, the adventure in this tale happens at level 2, so for now he's just a stabby lil trash goblin who hasn't quite gotten the hang of magical shenanigans.
This story, like most of the good ones, begins in a tavern.
Sepsis is sitting at the bar, nursing a glass of ale. Seebo Verdant (pronounced like see-bow ver-dahnt), a very odd dwarf druid that Sepsis has had a couple brief run-ins with before, is sitting next to him. This is the other player.
"There are no faces." Seebo mutters randomly, as he tends to do.
"That's seriously weird, man. You've got to stop saying that." Sepsis grumbles, giving him a side eyed expression that shows his disturbance in the often muttered phrase. Seebo doesn't seem to notice.
Suddenly, a vine covered elf sweeps into the room, notices Seebo, and makes a beeline for him.
"Have you seen our other brothers and sisters?" She asks the dwarf in Druidic with an urgent tone. Both Seebo and Sepsis turn to stare at her for different reasons. There's a pause.
"Should I have?" Seebo replies plainly. The elf pauses, pondering the question, seeming caught off guard.
After another moment of silence she answers in common: "There is something wrong with nature."
This catches Seebo's attention, but means nothing to Sepsis who is giving the pair his side-eyed expression once again.
Druids. There was no understanding them.
The elf, who introduces herself as Vivian, explains that there have been reports of druids going missing, nature turning on them. She needs all the help she can find in tracking down the lost druids and saving the earth. She asks Seebo if he will help her.
The dwarf quickly agrees, turning to Sepsis and asking, "Sepsis, are you coming with us?"
The goblin pauses, wide-eyed at the sound of his name, but when Seebo asks his question, Sepsis smells an opportunity. He smiles, setting his nearly empty mug down and turning towards them.
"I dunno. What's in it for me? You got any money, or gems.. or click clack math rocks?"
Vivian looks perplexed. "I have nothing to give.. but there are many emeralds in the forest."
"Where they belong." Seebo adds sternly, giving Sepsis a stern and knowing look. The goblin waves him off.
"Wait. You said there's emeralds in the forest? Hm.." Essentially that means he has to go for free… but there's a chance to find some treasure in the forest. It's not like he has much to do around here but pick some pockets..
"Alright fine. I'll tell you what." he says to Vivian, flashing her his 'charming' smile. "You buy me a keg of ale for the road, and I'll come with you."
Once again, Vivian looks perplexed. "Buy?" She doesn't understand the concept.
"Yeah. Buy. A keg. Of ale. Y'know. Tell the barkeeper you want a keg of ale." He huffs, getting impatient.
She seems to have understood, going over and asking for the keg. The barkeep gives her a price and she looks back at Sepsis, unsure once again. He huffs a second time.
"Give him money!" But she has none to give, and Sepsis ignores the fact that she already told him that. The goblin then looks over at Seebo, hoping the dwarf will cough up the coin.
"Do YOU know what buy means?" He quipped, tapping his foot against the barstool.
"Yes. It means trade." Seebo answers quickly. Vivian once again seems to understand.
"Oh! I know trade!" She pulls out a small dead mammal and sets it on the bar. The barkeep stares at the mammal. Vivian stares at the barkeep. Sepsis stares between them. Seebo stares at all of them.
Slowly, Sepsis slides a copper piece across the counter. "What do you say you take my friend's small dead mammal and this shiny copper piece and we call it enough for a keg?" The goblin asks with his most charming smile.
The bartender glares at him and finally snatches up the offered trade, handing a keg specifically to Vivian, who then turns it over to the happy goblin.
"Okay, let's get the hell out of here then!" He chirps, hopping down from the bar and lugging his prize out the door and after the two druids.
Vivian leads them towards the forest and the group discovers two options for travel: by foot through the trees, or on the river by canoe. Sepsis is nervous about going into the trees – too much potential for running into other goblins. While he didn't really think any goblins from his home would be out this far, it was even less likely they'd be on the river.
Seebo asks Vivian what path she thinks the other druids would have taken and she gestures to the water, so the group heads towards the river. The trio then realizes that they need a canoe.
Looking around, Sepsis notices a few people on canoes already, and a few empty canoes tied to the docks.
"I say we just walk up and take one like we own it." Sepsis grunts, heading towards the boats.
On his charisma check, he rolls a Nat 20.
"You walk up to the canoes like you own the whole f*cking lot." The DM laughs.
Nobody questions them, and after a brief struggle with the ropes, the group is sailing down river. It's smooth sailing for now, the druids taking care of maneuvering the boat while Sepsis chills out, drinks some ale and plays with his dice.
Suddenly, large green lily pads loom in the distance. The water is thick with them, most as wide as 4 feet. In their canoe as is, it's impassible.
The group stares for a moment before Seebo stands and grabs his quarterstaff, lowering it in the water and nudging a lily pad carefully aside. Vivian uses her staff to help, and Sepsis spots a large bullfrog on a nearby lily pad that looks like a tasty treat. He doesn't get a chance to even think how to catch it though, because he now finds himself on oar duty.
After barely passing his strength check, grumbling and cussing the whole way, he begins paddling them downriver once more as the druids continue to clear their path.
As they make it through the lily pond, something unnatural feels afoot to Sepsis, and that is because he thinks it's wildly unnatural for a tree branch to reach all the way out from shore to the middle of the river to tap his shoulder.
He would be right. Tree branches most definitely do not do that. But apparently giant F*cking spiders do.
When he turns his head and spots the massive beast reaching out for him from the shore, he shrieks and drops the oars, jumping up and scrambling a few steps back. As the canoe rocks from the movement, the druids turn and stare up in shock at the unnatural monstrosity before them. Both know without a shadow of a doubt that it shouldn't even exist; at least, not in this place. Or plane.
Sepsis is too shocked and revolted to take action, but Seebo is a quick thinker. He transforms into a blink dog with his Wild Shape and then teleports to the shore as the spider reaches out once again for Sepsis. The goblin barely has time to think as the boat rocks lightly again from the sudden shift in weight. A loud bark echoes in the air and the spider's attention is averted to the blink dog that is suddenly behind it. It begins to turn but as soon as it's back is to the river, the dog is gone again and Seebo has reappeared on the boat.
The spider realizes the dog is gone quickly and not liking to waste time, returns it's attention to the river, reaching out once more for the canoe. This time, Sepsis is ready.
"Do you have any more of those small dead mammals?" He shrieks to Vivian who nods and hands one over. Sepsis quickly stabs an arrow through the thing and strings it on his bow, attempting to shoot it past the spider. He manages to fire the arrow, but ends up accidentally shooting the creature in the center of it's body. This worked however; the spider reeled and began frantically trying to remove the tiny mammal which it seemed to think was attacking it. This gave Sepsis enough time to shove the oars at Seebo who had turned back to himself, and the dwarf quickly rowed them to safety, leaving the monstrosity behind.
Finally they arrive at their destination, docking the canoe and heading into the forest. The sun is starting to set, and it's a mostly uneventful trip to the druid's meeting place. It lays in a beautiful glade with a glittering green sheen to every rock on the ground, an array of plant life, and a large, crisp and clear-watered well in the center. Near the well is a large stone fox that moves but makes no sound, and another stone with a message carved in Druidic that when translated reads "The guardians lie below". The group ponders the possible meaning of this and approaches the well. Sepsis can see glittering emeralds dotted throughout the wall of the well, and immediately he's trying to think how he can get a few out. He glances over at Seebo who is giving him a very stern, disapproving look. It might be harder than he anticipated.
Vivian leans down and reaches in the well. Suddenly the water begins to twist. Before anyone can move, she's sucked in and swept to the side, disappearing. Suddenly, getting emeralds out of that well is no longer a priority.
Sepsis and Seebo are equally stunned. Both want to help, but neither one is willing to jump in, and they have no idea what to do. They survey the area. It sparks a bit of recognition in Sepsis for some odd reason, and he recalls an old legend about a glade in a well that involves a town a half day's travel from this area. That doesn't help much with the drowning druid. He tries to focus.
Sepsis relays the memory to Seebo and feels a dilemma is at hand.
"I don't know what to do for her. She's gone. Maybe we should just call her dead and move on to the city, I don't know if it's worth trying to save her." Sepsis says frantically. They're running low on time and ideas. She's surely about out of oxygen and getting all three of them killed can't be of any use.
"I think she's worth saving." Seebo says sternly, giving Sepsis a wilting look. The goblin grumbles and searches around desperately for an idea, suddenly starting to pull rope out of his bag.
"I've got it! We lower a rope in and see what happens.."
"And we tie something heavy to it so it will actually sink." Seebo adds in agreement.
"Yeah yeah.. now what can we use? The heaviest thing I have is a crowbar.." And he didn't look very willing to give it up.
"Maybe a big rock or-" Both goblin and dwarf eyes settle on the stone fox at the same time. The creature tilts its head and stares back. There's a beat of silence.
"We could throw the fox in." Sepsis says bluntly after a second. Someone had to.
The fox does not appear to like this plan.
There's a moment of hesitation. "No. We aren't throwing the fox in." Seebo dissents firmly.
"Fine. Find a big, non-moving rock then!" Quickly a big enough one is found and tied securely to the rope, and the two lower it in. It is quickly swallowed by the water and swept to the side much like Vivian had been, and suddenly there's a snag.
"Now what, do you have any bright ideas?" Sepsis hollers.
"Well, we have the end of a rope that might have a druid attached to it. Maybe we could try pulling?" Seebo answered deadpan.
A few struggling heaves later and Vivian collapses on solid ground, coughing up water.
"Well it's never done THAT before.." She mutters after she catches her breath and gets shakily to her feet, the entire group quick to move away from the well.
Once she seems stable, Sepsis repeats his memory of the city and the group agrees that's the next best step. Vivian knew of the story as well, and they set out with her leading the way. By daybreak the group has arrived from an uneventful trip.
The city is large, lavish, and stunningly beautiful. The streets are lined with merchants, and the first thing Sepsis notices is a glittering green jewelry stand.
The shop keep eyes him warily as he approaches, but offers a polite smile after a moment.
Sepsis steps on up and offers the merchant his best 'charming' smile. "Hello fine sir. I am an upstanding citizen much like yourself, just looking to shop around.." Sepsis declares with his smile and 'convincing' head nods.
"What wares have you to sell today?" Oh he was totally killing it.
"Mostly necklaces, sir. Are you… shopping for a uhm.. pretty.. lady?" the shopkeep asks with a fair amount of uncertainty on whether or not any goblin could really be considered pretty.
"Oh ah.. yes! Yes I do believe my.. ah.. lovely Malaria would like these necklaces.. what styles have you got?" Sepsis ad-libbed quickly.
"Well, we have pieces like this.." The merchant pulls out a stunningly beautiful and clearly expensive piece with a good size golden pendant carved into the shape of a person, with emerald eyes and other emerald decorations adorning the statuette and chain.
Sepsis' eyes practically bug out of his head and his smile widens. "Ah yes, that is beautiful.. and how much does that piece cost?"
"500 gold." The merchant answers. Sepsis barely blinks.
"But of course. That makes sense. I am curious.. on an unrelated note, what is the cheapest piece you have?"
The keeper sets the first necklace down and picks up another piece adorned with simple emerald beads. "This one is 2 gold."
"Yes, yes, this is beautiful too, quite exquisite pieces you have and at sensible prices t- MY GOD MAN WHAT IS THAT?" He suddenly points and stares at a random point behind the shop as he shouts, wide-eyed with a very dramatic expression of mock horror on his face.
It's so cliche it just might work.
He makes his deception roll well within range. The keeper turns, searching for the almost certain calamity. Sepsis moves to swipe the 500 gp necklace.
His slight of hand roll? I hold my breath as I roll.
Another Nat 20.
And just like that I have a new favorite set of dice.
Feeling victorious he turns – as I put it – to disengage and dash, but Seebo was watching the exchange and was by no means amused with the clever theft. So, as the Sepsis turns to run, the dwarf reaches out with his staff and whacks him smartly on the head.
"Ow!" Sepsis yelps, turning to shout at Seebo. He realizes however that his yelp had caught the merchant's attention. The man is confused enough that it takes a second for him to notice the golden pendant necklace is gone, and that the goblin's point-and-shout had been a mere ruse.
"Hey, give that back!" The merchant shouts, but Sepsis is already dashing off with a squeal, ducking around a corner.
"Okay, well now guards are chasing you." The DM says, appearing to be both amused and already so done with his antics. The really hilarious thing is that she had commented before the game that she thought she had a simple enough plot that there was no way for us to derail it. She didn't count on the CN trash goblin loose in a shiny emerald city, apparently. Meanwhile, Seebo's player looks up to the ceiling with hands raised and asks "Why? Why do all of your characters end up getting arrested?"
"Ah, but he hasn't been arrested yet, he could still get away with it!" I insist. It's not over till the fat guard sings.
"What's your speed?" DM asks.
"30." I answer. "But he's dashing, so he's going 60." Badum tss.
He makes a stealth save and gets ahead of the guards. He snags a dress off a clothesline and manages to stumble into it while running, but loses a bit of headway, and now he just looks like a goblin in a dress. This disguise was not well planned.
He keeps running, takes a corner and manages to knock over some trash barrels as the guards gain on him, sending trash and barrels scattering across the pathway behind him. He surges ahead, cuts another corner, makes another save, finds a hat, and before he knows it he's lost the guards and is back at Seebo's side, out of breath, grinning with victory and keeping his face under the brim of his hat, the necklace heavy in his pocket. The trio quickly shuffles down the road and heads to the library, somehow managing to avoid any suspicion along the way.
Once they get in the library, they rifle through a few different books on lore and the area, finding a book about the legend Sepsis and Vivian had heard of. The legend spoke about unnatural monstrosities that can arise, destroying vegetation and the natural world. The only creatures powerful enough to combat the monstrosities are ethereal guardians that lie sleeping somewhere in the world. They're described as more of an essence than a physical being, an essence that needs to be woken in order to face the unnatural beasts. Now the question was where are the guardians, and how in the world were they to be woken up?
Suddenly, Vivian notices a large potted plant in the corner. She looks shocked and heads towards it. "Odd. These are usually only in the forest.. how did it get here?"
Sepsis and Seebo head over, looking curiously at the plant. It seems familiar. Seebo finds a book on the plant and discovers that it's used mainly for healing and sealing wounds, and in some cases has been used to reattach limbs.
There's a moment of silence as the two ponder what this could mean. It seems like it could be related.. giant vegetation-destroying spiders.. a weird well with a sign that reads 'guardians lie beneath', legends of guardians with no physical bodies that need to be woken.. weird familiar plants that can reattach limbs…
"OH SHIT." Both players shout simultaneously. Eureka. We've got it.
"Vivian, do you know where these plants typically grow in the forest? Are there any close by the area where the well is?" Sepsis asks, both he and Seebo looking like they have an idea, and they're pretty sure it's pretty close to the same one.
"There are many of them in the forest. I'm sure we could find a patch nearby." She answers.
Sepsis turns to Seebo.
"So.. what I'm thinking is, we need to get the plants in the well.."
"I was thinking the same." Seebo answers.
"But how? We may not have time.. the monstrosities are looking to destroy the plants and we don't know how much we need.." Sepsis adds.
"We also don't know where they are or how long it'll take to get to them.." Seebo replies. Both are thinking hard, trying to remember if they saw any along the way.
"Y'know.. I actually think I saw one of those somewhere close by the well.. maybe in the glade, or around the edge.. it was somewhere really near to the area." Sepsis says suddenly.
"Then we'll go back and hope to find it along the way." Seebo decides.
So, out of the library they go, heading back out of town. A guard stops them on the way out, looking for thieves, but he doesn't bother to check under the hat of the 'ugly little girl', and the group manages to move through without being caught. Sepsis feels victorious. The necklace is his.
They arrive back at the well by the next night fall, and do indeed discover one of the plants within the glade. Unsure how to proceed, Sepsis pulls a leaf off and drops it in the well just to see what happens. Suddenly, the ground begins to tremble. Seebo pulls another large leaf off and drops it in. The ground shakes more. Sepsis drops a third leaf in and surprise surprise, shaking intensifies and a small crack spreads along the ground.
Unsure if this is really a good idea, they pull the plant up and dump the rest into the water. The fox guardian, who has gained more and more interest as they began to add the flower, moves towards the well now. The water begins to swirl into a whirlpool and the stone beast dives in as the party is backing quickly away, in good time as the ground suddenly splits.
A giant wooden head emerges from the ground, made entirely of gnarled and twisting roots and branches, some with green leaves budding at the end. As it pulls itself through the earth, the trio realizes that it's a massive dragon with blueish-white glowing eyes.
The beast climbs through the ever widening hole in the ground that used to be the well, pulling it's massive wooden body onto solid land. Glowing eyes peer down at the group as the dragon's body creaks, tree-branch wings spreading wide.
As the group stares, Seebo steps forward and speaks to it in Druidic.
"Guardian.. do you know where the missing druids are?"
The beast looks surprised and stares at them a moment more.
"We are the guardians." It answers simply. There's a moment of understanding and slight saddening among the group as they realize what this means. The dragon glances at Sepsis, then returns its glowing gaze back to Seebo.
"Thank you for not letting the goblin throw me in the well yesterday." It chortles to him in Druidic. Then, without another word, the beast flies off in the direction that the party had come, intent to defeat the monstrosities and return the world to it's natural state.
The three have completed their mission. As they make it back into town, Sepsis realizes something very important.
"It's a good thing I stole that necklace, cause I didn't find any damn treasure in that forest."