The Origin of Fennel the Half-Elven Stoner Ranger

In my current D&D campaign run by my friend Mo, I play a half-elven ranger named Fennel in Eberron. This is his origin story.

Merwyn the Younger (who’s like 70; Merwyn the Elder is really old) is one of the druids who live in the forest where Fennel is from. He’s a skilled and devoted herbalist and master of fungal lore (cough my shroom dealer cough). And, like me and many other fans of recreational herbalism, he is an admirer of the famed bard T’rei N’as-t’as-ô, leader of the troupe of traveling troubadours The Ichthyans.

One fall, the Ichthyans were wrapping up their summer touring season with one of their last big shows at a camp on the eastern side of the land, and both Merwyn and I were attending. What they didn’t know is that the bordering country to the east had recently undergone a revolution and was now under the control of the Grey Militants, a harsh, lawful-neutral clerical sect, who were expansionist and were sending out military parties into the surrounding land to “clean them up”, breaking up pagan music festivals, confiscating recreational herbalism supplies, and even capturing people to bring in to their re-education camps. (That is, they’re a bunch of cops who are No Fun.)

Well, one of those clerical army bands raided the music fest and captured both The Ichthyans and Merwyn the Younger, along with several concertgoers, and it looks like it’s off to the reeducation camps for them.

Lover of liberty and friend of Merwyn that I was, I rounded up some of the other concertgoers to form an impromptu rescue party.

We spent a day sobering up, and then tracked the clerics for the next week, until they were camped near a crossroads with a road that led back to my forest. We staged a daring midnight raid on them, broke everyone out of jail, rescued Merwyn and the Icthyans and took them with us. And as our getaway ride, I stole a couple wagons, including the treasure/storage wagon that the Militants were using to carry all the recreational herbalist supplies they had confiscated over the past couple months.

So there I am with Merwyn and the jam band, riding the biggest stash box eastern Eberron had ever seen. We lose the clerics, make it back to the forest, and not only is Merwyn safe, but we’ve scored so much herbal supplies that we’re able to smoke out every forest dweller who partakes for the rest of the winter.

The druids are so grateful to have Merwyn back (along with that wagonload of sweet dank) that Merwyn gifts me his wondrous druid pipe, which used to belong to Merwyn the Elder, and before that was handed down through generations of the great herbalists of my land. It’s a stout and sturdy thing of wood and glass, looks almost like it was grown rather than made, and is decorated with a carving of an Ent. The bong is lovely to look at, and almost looks like a natural thing; you can’t tell if it was carved or grown. It’s got the face of an ent on the front and what look like tree roots curling up around the main glass pipe part. Some real like Minnesota hippie shit; you just know that whoever owns that thing probably has some classic Tolkien posters up in their bedroom, has been to more than one Renn Faire, and probably owns a big Elfquest collection. It’s got an extra big bowl, with a hinged lid on it, and the bowl is miraculously never cashed out. (Like, every time you pull it out, you’re like “aw, sweet, dude, there’s a little left over from last time!” Every time!)

The way I activate this bong and its magical obscuring smoke is by doing a Massive Bong Rip on it and puffing the smoke all over. The Command Word to deactivate the bong is “Whoa dude!”.

Our arrival back at the forest village is a big scene. We had lost the clerics some three days back, are all relaxed now, and the rescue party has turned into a party. We’re all just high as fuck, T’rei had gotten into Merwyn’s mushrooms, is tripping balls, and is deep into an hour-long magical lute solo that’s some real proggy shit, and somewhere along the line we picked up a bored tavern wench and a pair of dwarven philosophers who are trying real hard to establish what the true, essential nature of stone is, which is actually making good progress now that they’re stoned. Merwyn’s sitting on the back of the stashwagon, blazing one; the other wagon’s been taken over by a game of Magic cards that’s been going on so long they don’t even know what day it is over there; and the road smells dank for like a mile in our wake.

(These druids are obviously Circle of the Land druids. “You gotta be in tune with the laaand, man.”)

And this is what inspired me to become a wandering adventurer, because it made me realize there were forces out there trying to harsh people’s buzz, and I could do more good out in the world than just hanging around my forest. Pretty much everyone in that rescue party decided to become an adventurer because of it. The dwarven philosophers are wandering the world in search of the Deep Knowledge. Yulia the Tavern Wench became a fighter who does it just for kicks. And a bunch of the others went back east to fight the Grey Militants and make the land safe for music festivals again. (Merwyn stuck around home to tend the druids’ grow operation.)

And that’s the origin of Fennel the half-elven stoner ranger.

Matt Lubchansky made this awesome portrait of Fennel, at my friend Jess Zimmerman’s request.

Portrait of Fennel the Half-Elven Stoner Ranger

The Eversmoking Bong

(Buy Matt’s new book!)