I learned about this contest yesterday morning when I finally opened up my EN World newsletter. I glanced at the mention it got, chuckled, and then something happened — I don’t know what exactly. Maybe a light bulb came on in my head (or that flash of light I happened to see might’ve simply been a neuron misfiring) but I knew I had a character to submit for the contest. A character I could play on the stage or screen, if need be.

The rules are for characters that already belong to a villainous race (there was quite a substantial list) and a class with a tendency towards magic. The things that popped out to me were: kenku and bard. The character is an amalgam of several characters and NPCs I’ve created over the years, with a bit of backstory filched from several sources. Cicero the Cunning is an evil kenku bard (Virtue of Cunning) worshiper of Vecna.

Cicero was once apprenticed to a warlock devotee of the Far Realm, and Cicero acted as a spy and an informant for the cabal of Vecna. Of course, over the years of his apprenticeship, the nameless entities of the Far Realm not only corrupted the warlock, they planted the seeds of madness in Cicero’s mind as well. When the warlock was driven to commit a grisly, ritualistic murder-suicide, Cicero snapped and he fled with the dead warlock’s ritual book and magical focus.