Tales of Blood and Woe
Chapter 1: Initiation
I haven’t seen such a group of sniveling shits in all my days. Just look at these spineless bags of meat! Worthy not even of the air they breathe, not even of the sand upon which they tread—something I take upon myself to remedy, and in short order. So, slime, know that your old lives ended when you entered these sacred grounds. Whoever you think you were, you are not: that person is dead. Here, you will be reforged as warriors, worthy of honor and glory. You will fight, bleed, and many of you will die for the glory of our gods.
- Aidren Tokali, Gladiator Trainer
Such an extreme setting calls for some amount of character creation limitations. Although most any character options can be discussed, a tentative ban on certain empowered and enlightened classes is in place1. If someone desires to play them enough, the ban will be lifted on a one-time only basis. The party should consist primarily of Martial and Primal characters.
All races are fully allowed (but no Minotaur-only parties, please).
For stats, use the 22-point buy system outlined in the PHB, except that you will have 27 points to spend. Make a very powerful 3rd level character.
1 Arcane: Arcane power is somewhat discouraged, but open. However, certain types of arcane classes make poor slaves in the eyes of most dominars, and thus are tentatively banned:
- Bards tend to be too creatively trained.
- Wizards have strong minds and are capable of great magical feats that might put an owner at risk.
- Swordmages, while largely martial, also possess strong minds and could put owners at significant risk.
- The gods do not favor mortals in this age. Many kingdoms have given up hope altogether and turned their attentions to other endeavors. Few yet cling to the gods for salvation or call to them for power, and fewer still are rewarding for their efforts.
- Because of this, divine power is not all lights and flash, wizz and bang. Some over-the-top powers may need to be adjusted to reflect this. Powers will start subtle and become more substantial as you prove yourself to the gods.
Martial: Nothing much need be said here. This is your primary character pool.
Primal: Most everything here will work great, with one exception: druids will require a bit of extra finagling. What’s to keep you from simply turning into a bird and escaping your captivity?
Psionic: While psionics are less enlightened, typically, than those who need study or faith to draw power, they are particularly empowered, and thus tentatively banned.
Each character has recently been abducted from his or her homelands and forced into slavery. Make up a unique story such that your character has a strong reason to survive ongoing gladiatorial events and/or gain freedom. Also, he or she must be willing to fight, and to kill (even if only after some careful “conditioning”). You could be a street urchin, whose fate differed from his companions when arrested for a petty crime, or who volunteered himself for the fame and glory; a minor noble who was betrayed by his superiors, fearing he may rise above them; a warrior from a distant land, captured only to be forced into slavery; or something else.
For more background information and ideas, check out the wiki.
Although your character doesn’t technically “own” any of his or her gear, standard starting fare is allowed, so choose three magic items: one second level, one third, and one fourth.
Posting It Online
To allow others to see information about your character and in an attempt to enhance roleplaying in a game slightly focused on slaughtering monsters, I will be encouraging online biographies. This not only helps me to catalog information about your characters, but also helps each of you remember things about each others’ characters and the world in which they reside.
How to Put Your Character Online
- Go to the Characters tab.
- Check out the “Sample PC”: template.
- Copy elements from the Sample PC template.
- Go back to the Characters tab.
- Click Create a New Character.
- Fill it out, pasting elements from the Sample PC template into yours.
Leveling up will work a little differently than normal D&D games. While your characters remain gladiators (there are plans for eventual freedom), they will receive accelerated experience rewards, reflecting upon the grueling training they will have undergone in the training camp. Each session will see a reward of 500 extra exp, or 750 if all gladiatorial events were won.
It may not result in a level a session, but it should be damn close.
Planning for the Future
New avenues may open once your characters have gained their freedom, either by choice or by necessity. At that point (if we get to it) the game will resume the standard leveling pace.