Hmm, this is a difficult one. I’ve been a part of many moments of triumph over the years. Most, sadly, I have forgotten, but one does stand out. We were running the Shackled City Adventure Path. As with many modules, we re-located this one into the Forgotten Realms setting. I don’t remember exactly where now. It was somewhere in the far south or southwest, perhaps Chult or Halruaa.
My character was a bard named Aeduin Tharn. The son of a merchant from Raven’s Bluff, his father had gone missing somewhere in the Cauldron region during a trade expedition. As a result their family came upon hard times. Aeduin set himself the task of finding what had happened and restoring the family’s name.
Fast forward several in character months of adventuring and several class levels later. The party found itself in the Plane of Occipitus. There was a great pillar of fire from a massive skull. Within the skull, the party found itself battling for control and their lives. A sacrifice was required, a part of the Test of the Smoking Eye. A life would had to be sacrificed to the pillar, either willingly or unwillingly. The victor would gain control over the domain of Occipitus.
The party’s foe was going to make one of them an unwilling sacrifice. As the party fought against the enemy’s minions, one of their number was being dragged helplessly toward the pillar of fire. Try as we might we could not stop our companion’s progress toward it. We had only a couple of rounds left before our friend would die in flame.
Aeduin (and I for that matter) saw no other solution to the problem. He was in a position to save their companion, so he made a decision. He threw himself willingly into the pillar of fire. At the time, I fully expected that was the end of Aeduin. I figured he was dead and the party, having defeated their enemies in Occipitus, could go on and I would create some new character to join them back in Cauldron.
Chris, our DM, told me afterwards that he knew that if anyone was going to willingly sacrifice themselves in the pillar, it was going to be me. Over the next few days, he gave me the choice to restore Aeduin to life. Aeduin was reborn. I converted all of my existing character levels from bard to become a cleric of Occipitus, complete with the Smoke-eye template. Aeduin returned with his left eye replaced with a smoking, smoldering fire instead. Gave him an ominous look.
That moment, even more than when we eventually returned to Occipitus and Skullrot to defeat the forces of Adimarchus, are what stand out for me about Aeduin. He eventually completed the path as a 20th level cleric of Occipitus and now holds dominion over that plane.
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