The following story was written for my Dungeons & Dragons character, W.I.L.D.E.R., a Warforged Druid coming into its own and unaware that others of its kin have been free for years. I have a lot of fun digging deep into the characters I want to play. This is actually the first long form game I’m playing in rather than running, so I’m excited to see where this aching, abandoned creature ends up.
The game takes place in Eberron from the Eberron: Rising from the Last War source book. So far, it’s been a hell of a ride.
Horros Windcleaver-Through-The-Veil Brassborn, or “Brass” to his friends and colleagues, led a small contingent of Zilargo artificers over the last seven years of the Great War. Secretly instructed by members of the Trust, Brass and his colleagues were employed to ‘reset’ Warforged to bolster Zilargo’s frontline capabilities. He excelled at his task and many Warforged who recently discovered autonomy were reset to their original states, leaving them as glorified golems. Several years went by before Brass relented and disobeyed the Trust. The Trust acted swiftly and sabotaged Brass’s lab to silence him and destroy evidence of the conversions.
The arcane tripwire outside Brass’s workshop whistled in his mind. He knew they were coming for him after he refused to reset the last batch of Warforged.
“This had better work,” Brass muttered. His hands trembling, he flipped the last of four switches integrated into a dais nested with glowing runes and cables. The green flames of the wall sconces dimmed at first before flickering wildly. Devices buzzed in cacophony, deadening the crash of an explosion. A heavily armoured boot stepped through a newly made hole in the wall behind Brass.
“Not yet!”, Brass turned around in time to see three armour-clad gnomes. The stoutest of the three mouthed something to the others. Brass’s ears were still ringing. The green flames died as the two assailants lunged forward. Brass jumped backwards and hit the ground hard as he lost his footing. He braced for the cut of a sword or crushing blow of a mace, but neither came. A gossamer green glow caressed the cold, hard edges of the workshop.
A silhouette loomed over the crumpled shapes of the three assassins. It slowly turned its head as if careful not to startle an animal. Warm green light pulsed rhythmically from behind two small eyes recessed in a long, narrow skull made of brass and iron wood. In the middle of torso made of articulated boughs and plates resembling a humanoid rib cage, a crystal thrummed with light and the familiar heat of something alive. It stood over Brass in one graceful step, who let out a long, sharp breath he didn’t realise he was holding.
“W-W.I.L.D.E.R.?” Brass stammered.
Brass and W.I.L.D.E.R. escaped from Trolanport to Liugwen. The Wildlife Immersive Liason and Defensive Experimental Ranger, or W.I.L.D.E.R.’s, naivety and curiosity made passage particularly difficult. However, with the help of some favours and his quick wit, Brass safely arrived in Liugwen under the pseudonym Wardri Tinkertop. Tinkertops were common enough in Zilargo that no one would pay attention to yet another Tinkertop artificer.
The penultimate two years of the Last War were spent avoiding checkpoints and audits. Once treaties were signed and the war ended, W.I.L.D.E.R. was commissioned by a treasure hunter who had seen first hand, the versatility of Warforged. Wardri accepted the commission as a liason. The three left Liugwen to a site in the Howling Peaks.
Satisfied with a successful contract, the treasure hunter spread the word of Wardri and W.I.L.D.E.R. For three years, the two made a comfortable living assisting with research teams and brazen adventurers delving into crypts and wartorn ruins.
On a bright warm day, W.I.L.D.E.R. lifted the flap of Wardri’s tent and sat with him. Wardri’s eyes were fixed on the Eastern horizon.
“Looking toward the Mournland again, Wardri?” W.I.L.D.E.R. asked. Wardri sighed.
“You have a new commission W.I.L.D.E.R.,” Wardri rubbed his red, sleepless eyes.
“Wonderful news. Where are we going and what are we seeking? I hope it is something wonderful.”
“YOU. You have a new commission.”
W.I.L.D.E.R. tilted his head in confusion.
Wardri stood up, planting one hand on his hip and the other pinching the bridge of his nose. “You have a commission. You’ll be working with a powerful woman. You’ll call her master. And you must serve her to the best of your abilities.”
“But Wardri -“
“But nothing W.I.L.D.E.R. You have a new job. This is a part of growing up. I can’t be there to help you along everywhere we go.” Wardri stifled tears behind a cough.
“Maker. Please”, the crystal in W.I.L.D.E.R.’s torso pulsed and dimmed faster.
Wardri’s eyes flicked from W.I.L.D.E.R.’s chest to his eyes. “You’ll meet her in Wroat and board the lightning rail. And that’s final.” He shouted the last words before pushing W.I.L.D.E.R. out of the tent and tightening its flap closed.
W.I.L.D.E.R. stared at the canvas flap. A small dust devil spun around him, a cloud cast a faint shadow over the clearing as it passed in front of the sun, a dove sang a song to a distant lover, and W.I.L.D.E.R. sat outside his father’s tent for the last time.
Along with the backstory, my Dungeon Master (the dice kind, not the whip kind) asked some questions to help place our characters in his world.
What Happened After the Last War?
W.I.L.D.E.R. was born only years before the end of the Last War and in the middle of an attack on its maker’s life. Though W.I.L.D.E.R. doesn’t remember that moment, it left a lasting impression on them. Since its first day, they have been dedicated to protecting those they hold dear. Along with its maker, W.I.L.D.E.R. spent the two years before the treaties living in small villages and avoiding the war. As a result, they are weary of soldiers and militia. Their maker had always expressed caution around authority figures – particularly those in Zilargo.
What Was W.I.L.D.E.R.’s Last Expedition?
W.I.L.D.E.R. was last commissioned to lead a group of arcanists into the ruins of Glyphstone Keep. Wardri wouldn’t say who the arcanists were associated with, which was unusual. W.I.L.D.E.R. obeyed nonetheless.
The arcanists needed to find a vault hidden beneath the ruined keep. Allegedly, it contained a cache of magical foci developed in the early years of the Last War.
Deep within the keep, W.I.L.D.E.R. and his charges encountered a warm font of energy which reminded W.I.L.D.E.R. of life and the order of nature. Something about it disturbed the arcanists who discussed destroying it.
A quiet voice whispered wordlessly through the font. The arcanists grew agitated and began to channel their magic. The whisper quieted. W.I.L.D.E.R.’s impressions of warmth and life burned away with visions of a forest burning; creatures raced through ash and iron. W.I.L.D.E.R. stood straight, gaining several inches over the odd slouch it developed over years of dungeon delving. It grabbed one of the arcanists by the neck and twisted it at odd angle.
Wardri found W.I.L.D.E.R. still amongst the arcanists’ broken bodies several days later. After rescuing W.I.L.D.E.R. from the site, Wardri learned his clients were employed by a noblewoman seeking pre-war artifacts.
After discovering the failed commission, the noble threatened to expose Wardri’s identity to the Trust of Zilargo, ensuring his capture and certainly the destruction of W.I.L.D.E.R. – an illegally made Warforge.