Backstory Time: A friend of mine approached me with the offering to play my Ranger as a guest character in their campaign as they really liked my character. While I originally designed them for a different campaign I loved playing the character and jumped at the chance as I would be starting a portion of the way into the campaign at the moment the party hits level 8.
Meet Khan Nyxtalon, non-binary black Dragonborn Ranger with the Horizon Walker subclass. https://i.imgur.com/c1XToVI.png
The campaign takes place in Humblewood with a variation of several other campaigns having been previously blended in with it; including Waterdeep Dragon Heist, Curse of Strahd and of course Humblewood Tales. My character hails from Waterdeep and was commissioned by the Lord's Alliance to investigate Crescent Claw cult activity in Everden that was resulting in a lot of kidnappings and murders. Khan ventured forth with a small group of Faerun soldiers before getting split up in a rainstorm and ambushed by a devil. The devil corners my ranger before the party makes their grand appearance. Among them is a Vulpin Paladin named Mira who casts Shield of Faith on me a former priestess of the Crescent Claw cult. Our party consisted of myself, Mira, Quarkie, Lugra, and Lazy Fish.
I hung around for the first chapter as I was only a guest character at first, but when one of the party members was planning to bow out soon I got offered a more permanent spot on the team. So we continued on, and our journey through Humblewood took us far. We learned of the Den Mother, the head of the cult who was trying to take over Humblewood and the many minions she had enlisted to her aid including one Manshoon from Waterdeep. Our journey brought us to Captain Cromley also from Waterdeep, who was about to spearhead a large scale attack against Blackfang Isle the staging grounds of the Crescent Claw cult. Our forces break through, Manshoon is slain, Lugra perishes, and everything goes white.
We wake up on a ship, a flying ship even, held together in some sort of stasis cryopod as the game starts to take a wilder turn. Everyone is offered an opportunity to roll a new character. I decide to stick with my Ranger as I want to see their story through, as does Mira stick with hers. Quarkie gets swapped out for Malazaan an Aarakocra Bard, Lazy Fish is replaced with Digbo the fistie cuffs Tiefling Wizard, and Lugra who had just died is replaced with Larkspur the Mapoch Rogue. Mira and Khan stick together and join with the new heroes as Captain Cromley alerts us that he just freed us and we need to reach his position. He informs us that we had been gone for three months and that the Crescent Claws had taken over Humblewood by enlisting the help of a Mapoch tyrant named Constantine.
For the next many months we fought and fought, slaying the tyrant and decimating his armies, but the war with Den Mother and the cult was far from over. The Den Mother was planning to bring her patron, an entity known only as Volza-Roak to Humblewood to destroy it since she could not conquer us. She takes her ship the Redeemer, the cult, and flees to the stars. We sought out the wild gods that lived in Humblewood, those that were left alive to seek out their chosen in order to bring about the Great Rhythm and stabilize Humblewood. Along our journey, Digbo our Wizard fell to an interdimensional worm and we lost the chosen of the god Hath. We continued onward determine to stop this madness, only to find the shadowy form of Lugra awaiting us. Revealing that he was also a servant of Volza-Roak and while he was no ally to the Den Mother, he did as his patron asked and attempted to stop us from finishing the Great Rhythm. We succeed in our endeavor, Lugra is forever banished, and all are boarding Rhea's Arrow a much smaller flying vessel in order to pursue the Den Mother across the stars.
We know we are coming toward the end, everyone can feel it. Cromley informs us of our plan to attack the Redeemer and try to free more prisoners to aid us as well as heist an artifact museum of the Den Mother's to up our power. We board with some minor teleportation issues but eventually free Kane, a Tabaxi Warlock/Gunslinger who replaces Digbo's vacancy. The museum is hit next and we make it out with several powerful artifacts, including the Sun Blade, the Rod of Lordly Might, a Ring of Invisibility and several other goodies.
The second phase of our plan comes into play when we need to disrupt the engine of the Redeemer to stop the Den Mother from reaching Volza-Roak and stealing her patrons power, potentially making her unstoppable. We learn much to our horror that the engine itself is the Den Mother's husband, Richard who has become a Lich and is powered by the souls of the trapped heroes aboard the ship. Our Paladin Mira narrowly dodges a Disintegrate before slaying the fiend for good. With the engine dead, the ship drifting towards the realm of Volza-Roak, and the city cast in darkness we make the final push and free the remaining heroes.
A prophet among us, Benna Serridan tells us of the battle to come, how only seven of us can enter to stop the Den Mother. Each player was allowed to play their current character and any hero they had played before that was still alive as apart of our prison break. Since I had only played Khan this journey I was given something else instead; the Egg of Rebirth, an artifact that is capable of bringing me back to life the first time I die with a blast of radiant energy.
As we near the Den Mother's tower which has began floating away from the ship city, I stop to talk to Cromley, being the only other individual I know and trust from Waterdeep.
"Can I ask you a favor?" I say.
"Of course." I produce a red hair band that my dragonborn wears to keep his dreadlocks tied together in a makeshift pony tail and hand it to him.
"My husband gave this to me before I left. I know we all may not make it back home, if that happens. Can you return this to him, let him know of what happened."
Cromley takes the band and nods, "But we're making it back home, all of us."
The final arena lays before us, the Den Mother now in sight. We throw everything we have at her, knowing this could very well be the last fight we ever face. Some characters get swapped out for their originals or for their duplicates until finally. With a single critical sword thrust through her heart, Mira claims the Den Mother's life and screams.
With the Den Mother gone we feel uneasy, and only just now realized that in her rushed madness, she had set Volza-Roak free to stop us; she had won after all. Diane, the mother of the prophet appears before us and tells us the Den Mother was close to destroying Volza-Roak and that we could complete her spell, but it would cost one of our lives in the process. A hushed silence falls upon the party.
"I'll do it." I speak up. There's some hesitancy from the rest of the party.
"This is a one way trip, you know that?" Diane says offering me the black crystal heart of the Den Mother.
"It has to be done, whether this artifact keeps me alive or not it does not matter."
Mira walks over and hugs Khan, saying her final goodbyes to the friend she had made in this years long journey.
"Don't count me out just yet." And I watch as my friends board Rhea's Arrow and began to depart, leaving me alone on the platform, staring down the approach mass of the Elder God. All I can think of is home, the people I've left behind, and the husband I won't be able to return to. I hold my hand out grasping the crystal firmly and start channeling my planar energy into it. I can feel my life force being drained as I start to grow cold. My friends watch from the ship as I suddenly go limp… and then there's a blast of white energy that soars out into the encroaching realm, annihilating it, the platform, and Volza-Roak in one fell swoop.
Six months pass and both ships return to Humblewood. Mira having claimed the Crescent Claws as their next in line and reform them from the Den Mother's ways. The rest of the party splits, returning to their homes as Cromley boards Rhea's Arrow one last time to return to Faerun, to return home, to keep a promise to his friend.
Too my surprise; my Ranger awakens in a dark endless void. No sound, no people, no earth, nothing. Before long I feel sand at my feet and I realize the void has been replaced with a vast white desert, with a figure approaching me. A white Vulpin, the daughter of the Den Mother tells me she has been searching for me. She explains that my body had no where to go when the Egg of Rebirth brought me back, so I landed in purgatory. She reaches out and offers her hand to me.
"Even a desert as vast as this has an end."
"Lets walk and talk." I say as I take her hand and she guides me out into the sea of sand. I had become lost, but I was alive, and I was determined to find my way back home, no matter how long it takes.