Jeffrey Baird

March 25, 2021

Sébastien Cousteau

For some people reading about other people's D&D characters is the most boring activity imaginable. If you are one of those people, please do not read any further. You have been warned 😜.

One of my (guilty?) pleasures is getting the characters I play in tabletop games drawn by an artist. I see it as a way to both support an artist whose work I appreciate and help to bring that character to life. I love to see the character I am playing, a being born from my imagination, appear on the page. My current character, Sébastien Cousteau, holds a special place in my heart.

I asked the very talented Julia Fernandez to bring Sébastien to life and I am thrilled with the results.


I am a die-hard Critical Role fan, and the campaign I am playing in takes place in Matt Mercer's world. And, since I started watching the Critical Role stream, I've felt drawn to the Cobalt Soul monks. They are Exandria's librarians, literally religiously focused on making knowledge available to all. They also have a secret group of monks called "Expositors" who work to root out corruption wherever they find it. So when I joined this campaign, I knew I had to create a Cobalt Soul monk.

Sébastien Cousteau was born to Elaine Cousteau in the city of Emon on the 32nd day of Sydenstar  785 PD. She and her husband, Jean, lived a comfortable middle-class existence. Elaine was 35, and Jean was 28.

Before Sébastien's birth, Elaine was a student at the Alabaster Lyceum. She studied the philosophy of the Arcane and the history of the Age of Arcanum. While Elaine enjoyed the life of the academic, she felt she was missing something in her life. Then, the Lyceum hired a young furniture maker to build a new dining table for their resident hall. Despite being several years her junior, the young craftsmen charmed Elaine.

Elaine was not a woman of impulse, so her family was stunned when she showed up pregnant at her family's estate to introduce them to her new husband. Her parents welcomed Jean to the family and were thrilled to meet their first grandchild. However, the family's luck ran out. Elaine's parents both took ill not long after Sébastien was born, and neither of them recovered.

The family used the wealth they inherited from Elaine's parents to set up a small workshop in Westruun, where Jean built up a renowned furniture-making business. The wealthiest citizens of Exandria fought for the privilege of owning a Cousteau piece. Each wardrobe, desk, table, or chair was a unique work of art designed for the intended recipient.

When Sébastien was 14, his father discovered that his pieces were being copied and sold by the Clasp to wealthy Marquet merchants. These forgeries were harming his reputation as they were of sub-standard quality. He uncovered that his apprentice, Philipe, was recreating his designs and selling them to the Clasp. Jean confronted Philipe about his betrayal, and a struggle ensued. Philipe murdered Jean and fled to Wildemount.

After Jean's murder, a heart-broken Elaine felt the urgent need to leave Emon.  She accepted a Cobalt Vault position in Vasselheim to continue her research into the "Age of Arcanum." Elaine never formally joined the order, but she continued her study with their full support.

Sébastien had always been bookish, taking after his mother that way, but moving to the Cobalt Vault awakened a new passion in him. He walked the stacks every day, reading whatever he could get his hand on. After a while, he impressed several of the Cobalt Soul monks, who asked if he would like to study with the order officially. That is how, at 17, Sébastien donned the Blue of the Cobalt Soul.

He took well to martial arts training, but it was not his primary interest. Sébastien, much like his mother, was interested in history. Over the next thirty-three years, Sébastien studied the Calamity. He authored the definitive account on the battles of Ghor Dranas as well as augmenting his mother's work on the Age of Arcanum. Mother and son worked side-by-side for decades to learn everything possible about The Calamity. 

Then, at the age of 84, Elaine passed in her sleep; Sébastien was 50. Her death left him lonely and depressed. He suddenly felt an emptiness that no amount of perusing the stacks in the Cobalt Vault could cure. He sensed that he had finished his work in the library. So, Sébastien left Vasselheim and went on a walking retreat through Wildemount.

If you made it this far, I hope you enjoyed the self-indulgence of sharing Sébastien with you!