Memories of Blood
Memories of Blood
The Gladiators of Bael Turath
Setting: Points of Light (generic D&D 4.0)
The end of the Gods War, and the collapse of the Divine Emperor 200 years ago has reduced the landscape to a blasted wasteland ravaged by uncontrolled divine magic. In the wake of this disaster, the gods themselves have been banished from the natural world, and their servants are looked upon with fear and distrust. Instead, the people have turned to other forces to protect them. In the wilds, people of all races have put their faith in the primal spirits which banished the Gods. In the east, human barbarian tribes worship dragons, giving rise to the empire of Arkhosia. In the west, the rulers and noble families of the powerful city-state of Bael Turath have made literal deals with Devils, selling their souls for the arcane might they use not only to survive, but to thrive in this cruel new world. The new empire of Bael Turath has grown rapidly, absorbing nearby cities and villages, initiating their leaders into dark pacts with diabolic forces.
In the cities of this new empire, slaves, criminals, prisoners of war, and political dissidents from across the realm are made to fight each other for the amusement of the Human citizens and the newborn race of Tiefling nobility. Before a new gladiator is thrust into the ring, they are fitted with a collar of powerful magic design, which constrains their powers outside the ring. The collar also strips from them their memories. This is done to discourage escape and as a symbol to all that these warriors are already dead, their former lives already lost.
Your heroes are a group of new gladiators purchased by a young but ambitious Tiefling noble to fight in the games. Together, you must survive the challenges of the Colosseum, escape from captivity, and restore your memories. Then you must decide whether to return to your past life, or return to Bael Turath to take bloody revenge on your former captors.
This campaign draws obvious inspiration from films like Ben Hur, Sparticus, and Gladiator. The combat comes hard and heavy, especially early on, and your characters will get to level up quickly while engaging in a series of challenging battles for their lives. Combat will still be party based, rather then one on one, gladiators will be fighting in small teams against other gladiators as well as captured monsters.
The premise gives everyone a reason to fight and a reason to be fighting together. For the first several adventures everything will be formulaic and episodic, but also fast paced and straight forward. After proceeding through the ranks of contenders (or earlier if you pull off something unexpected), the PCs will be presented with one or more chances to escape, and will have to fight off pursuit while surviving in the harsh wasteland and trying to find a way to restore your memories.
The memories themselves present an additional psychological aspect. How did you end up as a gladiator? Were you convicted of a crime? Were you a noble who fell out of favor with the emperor? A political dissident, or a prisoner of war? Is there someone to blame for your suffering, or someone you care about that you left behind? Someone you have to find now that you’re free, if only you can remember who and where they are? And what is your true name? If you’d like, you can come up with these details yourself, giving me plot threads and npcs that I can weave into the story – people who’s significance you know even as your character remains unaware. Alternatively, if you’d prefer you can leave your background as a blank slate, and have me come up with one for you – introducing it to you in bits and pieces, so that you have to piece it together as your character is does so.
The adventures are home brew, rather then pre-published, so if we went with this it would be easy to work in changes to the plot or setting to tailor the game to your preferences and characters.