The Last Adventure of Red the Firbolg

I just played through my favorite character exit I’ve ever seen in person, and I’d love to tell you about it. It might brighten your day.

A local friend kicked off a 5th Edition D&D game a while ago, set in a Dark Souls-style dark fantasy setting. The other players were playing an orc hardboiled detective, a tiefling warlock whose familiar was a best-selling author, a kor cliff-acrobat, and, for some reason, a shifter monk who was basically the robot gorilla from the cover of the FATE Core Rulebook. I decided to play counter to the tone of the setting a little bit and made a firbolg druid, exiled from his forest home for political reasons. Firbolgs (which in 5e are blue-skinned forest-dwelling demi-giants, like how an elf might picture a giant) don’t have names, but the party ended up calling him Red, after his red hair. Red loved nature. Like, really loved it, with giddy enthusiasm. Think Leslie Knope from Parks and Rec with none of the organizational skill. He was the party’s two-hundred-fifty-pound medic and chef (he took the Gourmand feat), who could talk to animals and plants and be understood, but couldn’t receive a response without further magical aid. His spellcasting focus was a live squirrel. I decided to roll for my ability scores instead of doing point-buy, and ended up with pretty fantastic stats in everything but Intelligence. Red knew how to use every plant he’d ever seen, but had no idea what any of their names were. Firbolgs don’t have names, y’know?

Six or so sessions in, the party agreed to retrieve a demon lord’s slumbering human wife from a pyramid in exchange for one of the seven major MacGuffins. Red was down for this plan, just as long as we double-checked the plan with the wife beforehand. Red spent most of his gold on ingredients (including some very overpriced quinoa), and the party set out to find the pyramid. The guy playing the orc private investigator was absent for the next session, and is going to have to grasp a lot of ridiculous stuff next week when we tell him what went down.

After some complications, we get to the pyramid. It’s a labyrinth that gets cleaned out by dragonfire at regular intervals, so we’re racing through a maze against the clock. We find the princess in an obsidian sarcophagus and wake her up by accident when the warlock rolls to eldritch blast something and gets a 1. Red ends up feeding most of his ingredients to the dragon to placate it, with underwhelming results. After the tiefling tinkers with the cleanout timing mechanism and really messes it up (such that the whole pyramid is set to explode), we leave the princess by the locked exit to the pyramid and descend into the room with the MacGuffin in it. It’s being guarded by a lesser demon (we can’t let this guy know we’re working for his boss because of reasons). The door drops shut, and after realizing that we’re actually capable of winning this fight with the dwindling resources we have, we do. We finish the combat with eighteen seconds left before the pyramid explodes. Red picks up the badly-injured warlock, and we all book it out of there. We’re all doing okay, except for the gorilla monk, who just can’t seem to pick up enough speed.

Now, I’m not sure when this happened, but somehow, during an earlier session, a cabal of druids we did some work for at the beginning of the game contacted some members of the party and gave them something akin to an eco-bomb. The members of the party who received the bomb decided that the best thing to do with it was implant it into the arm of the gorilla monk while she was getting unrelated surgery, and not tell anyone about it, including the gorilla monk.

So, just as Red clears the pyramid, it explodes, utterly destroying the lagging gorilla monk. The explosion, however, sets off the eco-bomb, which abruptly vaporizes all of the party’s metal possessions and permanently transforms a couple hundred surrounding acres of desert into old-growth redwood forest.

This big, beautiful new home is all that Red has ever wanted. As the other members of the party recover and begin to panic at the loss of all their metal, Red strips naked and begins frolicking in a state of pure hollering ecstasy. He casts create water to bring the rain down onto this whole universe of new friends. The other party members realize that the orc detective is stuck at the top of a tree, and that the princess took their sand skiff and stranded them long before the fight with the lesser demon was over. Red is still out of his mind with joy. He runs to the center of the new forest and finds a portal to Faerie, which, with a flourish and a laugh, he dives into, to frolic in bucolic splendor forever. Thus endeth the career of Red, firbolg adventurer.

I had never before retired a character because they got exactly what they wanted, but I hope that it’s an experience you get to have some time in your life.

–ð