DM Tales—A Plunging Rebuke


My first adult experience with D&D was not as a Dungeon Master, but as a player character. At the start of the pandemic my mental weariness was so high I had my friend, Calvin, put together my character for me 1. We chatted back and forth and came up with my half-elven, noble-born, paladin. I named him Serin Lithos. He was arrogant, felt his current job was beneath him, and looked down on his fellow party members 2.

The set up for the campaign was that our Kingdom was at war, and we were new recruits who were spending a year in training as local constabulary. Serin had grown up on the stories of the war and the greatness of their kingdom, so when it came time for him to take his specific oath at third level he took an Oath of Vengeance against those who were responsible for keeping his kingdom in the war 3.

This did not turn out the way he thought.

It turned out that the people who were responsible for keeping the war going were three hags with whom his town had made a pact 4, and his own king. And one of the tenants of the Oath of Vengeance is that sworn enemies can never be shown mercy. Serin got really dark, much to the approval of our party’s warlock 5.

And, at the very end of our adventure, Serin came face to face with his greatest sworn enemy. The one whose lies had fed his childhood, sent countless people to their deaths, and pressured his own home town into making a pact with evil creatures. This was his moment to keep his oath, and he made the most of it when he rebuked the king. A story which I recount in this week’s DM Tales.

  1. The mechanics had changed so much since Second Edition AD&D that my brain was having difficulty grasping things at that point in the pandemic journey. 
  2. He was a rock-head. 
  3. I mean, “they” have to be the bad guys. Right? 
  4. Including his own family. 
  5. Picture Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins if he’d decided the League of Shadows had a good point and decided to help destroy Gotham City.