Zirnakaynin: Blood and Darkness: The Gladiatrix Saga

Game Master Dragoncat

A campaign set in the drow city of Zirnakaynin, following a band of gladiators as they fight their way to gold, glory and the promise of freedom.

Performance Combat Rules

Anabel: Indifferent
Brevka: Helpful
Kaxatja: Friendly
Lilamma: Friendly
Lyra'an: Helpful


Current Date: Starday, 7th of Sarenith, 4705 AR

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Brevka's charge practically bowls the retiarius over, and her chop cleaves through her trident to carve a bloody swath across her chest from shoulder to hip. Avaxa collapses, unconscious and bleeding.

Combat over!

Alaunirra applauds, and the rest of the assembled crowd joins in. It soon becomes a standing ovation.

"An exceptional display from, truly, the finest of our prospects!" The First Daughter calls out from the luxury box, her tone nothing short of impressed and jubilant. "I haven't seen a performance like that since 4700."

"Attention, victors." Terrix calls down to the arena floor. "Once you've had a chance to get your bearings, see yourselves to the chapel of Nurgal. There, you will officially be inducted into the ludus."

A group of drow guards arrives from the eastern gates, bringing with them a team of ragged-looking human slaves. "As to the rest--bring the lucky one and the darthiir to the ludus for treatment. Throw the corpses to the beast pens--it appears our pets will feast well this day."

Alaunirra clears her throat. "And to those of our audience who are interested in contracting out our warriors--Terrix will be more than happy to answer any questions you have." With that, she disappears into the viewing box while Terrix makes his way down to the stands.

The slaves begin the unenviable task of cleaning up the wounded and the dead.

DC 20 Perception:
During the cleanup, you notice something lying in the bloodied sand where Kamala fell.

It looks like a small disc with a bat-winged butterfly on it.

Anything else you want to do before moving on?

Female Half-Orc Primal Spelleater 1 | HP 14/14(16) | AC 15 (13), T 11 (9), FF 14 | CMD 17 | Fort +7(9), Ref +3, Will +4(6) | Init +1 | Perc +0 | SM +0 | Performance Combat +5 | Rage Rounds 7/7

As the bout ends Brevka resheathes her blade and squats for a moment, resting her hands on her legs. It makes it all the easier for taking the small disc to go unnoticed...

Perception: 1d20 ⇒ 20 Hey!!!
Sleight of Hand: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (14) + 3 = 17 Hopefully I'll get some distance penalty help from the Masters

"Hey, Runt. Can you help Legs? Better for her if she can walk out of here on her own power. No one wants to spend a lot of coin or luxuries on a gladiator who won't last."

Anabel sighs with relief to see Erevas has survived. She nods to Brevka and moves to Kaxatja's side. "Spirits heal you, sister," she prays as she presses her hands to the hole in the drider's abdomen.

Cure Light Wounds, Kaxatja: 1d8 + 1 ⇒ (8) + 1 = 9

As the wound seals, she turns back to Brevka. "You are injured as well. May I?" The elf hesitates a moment before gently laying her hands on the half-orc's breasts to mend her injuries.

Cure Light Wounds, Brevka: 1d8 + 1 ⇒ (7) + 1 = 8

Female Half-Orc Primal Spelleater 1 | HP 14/14(16) | AC 15 (13), T 11 (9), FF 14 | CMD 17 | Fort +7(9), Ref +3, Will +4(6) | Init +1 | Perc +0 | SM +0 | Performance Combat +5 | Rage Rounds 7/7

Brevka coughs in surprise, but quickly draws what was left of the arrow from her chest as she feels the healing energies at work. "Thank you. I was just going to cut that out later, but..." She smiles sadly as she looks at her dead. "This wasn't a battle to remember; no need for a new scar."

I'm definitely chuckling to myself a little bit at the image of Anabel raising her hands above her head in order to get at Brevka's wound, but probably Brevka was still on her haunches.

Female Fetchling Knifemaster 1 | HP 10/10 | AC 16 (14), T 14 (12), FF 12(10) | CMD 14 | Fort +1 Ref +4, Will +0 | Init +10 | Perc +4 | SA +1d8

Lyra'an smiles as she looks at her victorious companions. Smirking at Brevka she pipes up, "So looks like I owe you."

Female Half-Orc Primal Spelleater 1 | HP 14/14(16) | AC 15 (13), T 11 (9), FF 14 | CMD 17 | Fort +7(9), Ref +3, Will +4(6) | Init +1 | Perc +0 | SM +0 | Performance Combat +5 | Rage Rounds 7/7

Brevka looks at the blood that spatters her skin and gear with less pride than she wished she felt.

"Looks like you do." With an effort of will she returned a smile to her face. "Let's get off this sand. You can help me with the armor back at the Ludus."

Female Neutral Drider HP 11/11 | AC: 14/T 12/ FF 13 | Fort: +3; Ref: +1; Will: +5 | Init: +2 | Per +6 ; SM: +2 | Spd 40 ft. , Climb 20 ft.| CMB: +2 CMD 13 (+25 vs. trip) | Darkvision 60ft | Performance Combat +6

Kaxatja stifles a scream with all of her fortitude as the trident pierces her abdomen. She sways, only the bolstering infernal song keeping her on her many legs.

Stay up! Let them not know how truly that struck...

Kaxatja lowers herself to accept Anabel's soothing magic, and nods deeply in thanks.

The drider chides herself thrice, once for failing to kill Kamala outright, once for ignoring the threat from a netted Avaxa and a third time for being punished so easily for that second failure. She is angry too that her vengeance on the slaver was taken, and angry that Kamala yet lives to hold a grudge. Though she is proud of her work today she knows luck played its part, and she must also pay credit where credit is due.

Perception: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (14) + 6 = 20

She sees Brevka gain a trinket, but says nothing, turning instead to the group at large.

"Well done...Sisters. We fought well, together. And Lilamma, my heart is yours for one battle. As you saved me, I too will save you if it be within my power..."

Female Tiefling (Kiton Born) Skald 1 Init +2 Hp 10/10 AC 17 T 14 FF 15 Fort +4 Ref +2 Will +1 Spd 30 DR 2/Silver Perc +3 Pic

Lilamma seems sad, and pouting, grumbling in a near childlike voice

Not funny.. no one hurted me.. and I hurted no one...I hope I'll be punished, at least, for being such an inadequate fighter…what will my god say, if I can't spread his words of pain...

Sorry for the delay!

The gladiators depart from the Exhibition Grounds through the imposing brass eastern gates, leaving the coppery scent of freshly spilled gore in the sands behind them. The stone tunnel leading from the arena is a depressingly familiar one, its walls carved with reliefs of scantily-clad gladiators, men and women alike, doing battle—some with strange beasts, but usually with each other. They pass by a couple of stone doors to the south before passing through an archway that leads to a brightly lit stone corridor.

The corridor blazes with what feels like an unnatural perversion of sunlight, lit every ten feet by brightly-glowing obsidian rods. The sheer radiance shining from the rods stings the eyes as the party makes their way forward, the stone floor beneath them feeling warm beneath their feet.

The corridor opens into a large oval room with a thirty-foot high vaulted ceiling, its stone floor covered in an expansive orange rug styled to look like the sun. Standing at the far eastern end of the room, up a small flight of stairs, is a massive stone statue of a creature with a lion’s head and lower body, but the torso of an impeccably-fit humanoid male. One of the statue’s hands holds a very large heavy mace, its head carved to look like the sun. Bright golden light radiates from the head of the mace. Several archways branch off from the north and south ends of the chapel—two main ones to the north and south, along with three smaller passages on each side.

Several male drow guards are arrayed on the edges of the room, their dark armour and weapons making them stand out in the bright light. Almost all of them have their eyes screwed shut, staring at the floor or both. Kneeling before the stairs are several surfacers and drow females. The surfacers are each dressed in white satin cloth that’s barely enough to preserve their modesty. The drow women are more modest, wearing flowing white silk robes and bearing symbols of a lion’s jaw closing around a sun around their necks.

At the base of the stairs is an older, imperious-looking drow woman draped in gold, silken robes and adorned with a headdress fashioned in a facsimile of a lion’s mane. Several small rubies sparkle in the headdress. A bright gold symbol of a lion’s jaw closing around a sun hangs around her neck.

DC 10 Knowledge (Local):
This is the High Priestess of Nurgal and Matron of House Volatexia, Jezzara Volatexia.

”Ah—the newest of House Volatexia’s gladiators, yes? Yes, I see.” The high priestess speaks, making a little beckoning gesture to a few of the guards near the chapel’s entrance. ”You will not need your weapons or armour for this ceremony.”

Five guards approach the party and expectantly wait for them to disarm.

Female Fetchling Knifemaster 1 | HP 10/10 | AC 16 (14), T 14 (12), FF 12(10) | CMD 14 | Fort +1 Ref +4, Will +0 | Init +10 | Perc +4 | SA +1d8

With no idea what the significance of everything she was seeing might be, but sensing that this was one of those moments where obedience was important, Lyra'an steps forward, removing her armor and handing over the elaborately detailed daggers.

After a moment of hesitation she also hands over the khukri, she keeps as a concealed back up weapon.

Knowledge Local: 1d20 ⇒ 4

Female Tiefling (Kiton Born) Skald 1 Init +2 Hp 10/10 AC 17 T 14 FF 15 Fort +4 Ref +2 Will +1 Spd 30 DR 2/Silver Perc +3 Pic

Know local: 1d20 ⇒ 14

Lilamma strokes her spiked chain, trying to soothe and calm the steel

Taki, Taki, Taki... we'll soon meet again, don't worry. Next time you'll quench your thirst for blood, I hope.

She removes quickly her armor, hoping feverishly her exposed flesh will soon be flailed, whipped, and cut for failing to beat anyone in the arena.

With shining eyes, she looks quickly at the high Priestess of Nurgal

Knowledge (local): 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (6) + 3 = 9

Anabel calmly surrenders her bow, arrows, and dagger. She removes her manica, greaves, and balteus and hands them over as well. The shaman stares up at imperious drow, figuring she must be somebody of importance.

It's just a matter of time. Soon, my chance will come, and I will show her the error of her ways.

Female Neutral Drider HP 11/11 | AC: 14/T 12/ FF 13 | Fort: +3; Ref: +1; Will: +5 | Init: +2 | Per +6 ; SM: +2 | Spd 40 ft. , Climb 20 ft.| CMB: +2 CMD 13 (+25 vs. trip) | Darkvision 60ft | Performance Combat +6

Tik-takking quietly along the corridor on her arachnid appendages, Kaxatja frowns at the hated lights. The bright fane further irritates her. She has no idea who the priestess is, but realises she is in no position to dispute terms.

As if in a daze she likewise hands over her trident and beloved net, then removes her lorica manica and harness. The straps have left weals and grooves on her dusky flesh and as she comes to recognition again feels even more a monster now that her horrifying form is naked to all.

”Legs”! The one thing I no longer possess. Oh, I have eight spider legs, but nothing will return me to who I was...Was Niletha there, outside, watching? Would I even remember her...recognise her face? What is this life?

Knowledge (Local): 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (7) - 1 = 6

Female Half-Orc Primal Spelleater 1 | HP 14/14(16) | AC 15 (13), T 11 (9), FF 14 | CMD 17 | Fort +7(9), Ref +3, Will +4(6) | Init +1 | Perc +0 | SM +0 | Performance Combat +5 | Rage Rounds 7/7

Knowledge (local): 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (9) - 1 = 8

She felt as if she should recognize the woman. Something in her voice conjured memories of kisses that burned like ice, but promised no safety or comfort once Dawn had rent the lying veil of night.

Brevka bit the inside of her cheek until the taste of blood in her mouth tethered her to the here and now. Stop it. She's dangerous, but that doesn't mean she works the same.

Silently Brevka handed over her borrowed blades, and began to strip away her armor. Belt, greaves, arm guard and helmet clanked into a pile on the floor, once she gratefully removed her strange furs she stood confidently before the court in her bloodied smallclothes, trying hard not to think about smashing a guard to the floor and taking his weapon.

Who knows what they can hear?

Once the party has disarmed, the high priestess beckons them forward. ”Come. Stand before me.”

Once the party walks up to the steps before her, she spreads her arms wide and turns her gaze skyward. ”Holy Nurgal, behold the warriors standing before you, newly christened in the blood of the battlefield. As they steel themselves for the battles ahead, we ask that you grant them your blessing, so that they may follow the path you have set before them. May these gladiators, their blades sharpened and their bodies honed, find their true purpose amid the dust and carnage that is your holiest of practices.”

The carved sun illuminating the room begins to shine with a blinding and searing light, forcing the guards and slaves in the room to shield their eyes and the acolytes to kowtow before Nurgal’s statue in supplication. The high priestess’ eyes stare at the blazing light source with a manic grin on her face, never flinching from the brilliance. The roiling warmth of the light enters the party’s bodies, and they can feel whatever lingering fatigue and pain being burned away.

The party is fully healed and any fatigue they have is ended.

The shining light eventually recedes to a far more tolerable level, and the priestess closes her eyes. Several tears are streaming from the corners of her eyes. ”The Shining Scourge has given you his blessing, gladiators. Return to your living quarters. Choose a living space for yourselves. Or perhaps ask of an acolyte for… indulgence. For now, the day is yours.”

”But do not think to rest upon your laurels. Tomorrow, there are more battles to be fought.” She turns away from the party.

Anyone have any plans?

Anabel suppresses a shudder as the demon lord's light suffuses her. Nurgal is not the sort of entity she wants to accept any blessings from, but it is just another indignity to suffer in pursuit of the cause. Once the priestess has completed her benediction, Anabel takes her leave and makes her way to the living quarters. She tries to track down her fellow elf, Erevas, to speak with him.


The gladiatorial living quarters are easy enough to find--you remember them well enough.

The living quarters are a combination of mess hall, kitchen, living space and bathhouse, all carved from the same cold, unfeeling granite that makes up the rest of the House's tunnels. Twelve stone tables with benches are arranged in two columns, with a scant few gladiators you don't recognize eating at them. A dark stone structure stands to the north of the dining tables, with a window providing a view of the kitchen facilities beyond.

To the east stand a pair of double doors, painted gold and engraved with an image of the blazing sun. There's an inscription in Undercommon above the doors.

"Bathing Area: Frigidarium, Tepidarium and Caldarium"

The actual living spaces for gladiators is to the west of the dining area. Rows of stone living cells are to the north and south of the large cage against the western wall--the cage you remember as the one where all the trainees were kept like animals. It's completely empty now--and much like the other cells, it appears to have been freshly cleaned.

You find Erevas' cell in the middle of the northern row. A drow priestess of Nurgal emerges from the cell with two guards flanking her. She gives you a disdainful look as she stalks away.

Erevas himself is lying on a straw cot in the back of his cell, curled on his side and shaking.

Anabel kneels beside Erevas's cot, placing a comforting hand on his shoulder. "Rest, brother. You have survived another day," she says in her native tongue. "I am sorry my teammates were forced to cause you pain. You are my kinsman. Is there anything I can do to help you?"

Diplomacy, Persuasive: 1d20 + 8 + 2 ⇒ (3) + 8 + 2 = 13


Erevas looks up at you, his eyes cracking open slightly.

"...I don't suppose you could drop this entire cavern down on the drow's heads, slay any survivors and flee with me to the surface?" He asks, his Elven sounding tired and on the verge of breaking. "Probably not, but since you offered, I felt it wouldn't hurt to ask..."

"...at least, not any worse than the brute's blade."

Anabel smirks slightly. "Unfortunately I do not possess those abilities. But I have come here for a purpose--not to slay the drow, but to save them from themselves. Stay alive, and you may yet have the freedom you seek."


Erevas' eyes open some more. "...save them? Are you insane?"

"You've seen their cruelty first-hand--you've suffered it first-hand. They kept us in that..." He looks past you to the cage outside the cell door. "...that cage like we were animals. How can you still think that?!"

"I am Shin'Rakorath. I have seen firsthand that some drow are not wholly evil. They can be redeemed, they just need somebody to show them the way," Anabel says resolutely.


Erevas' expression softens and he sits up on his cot. He's quite fit, certainly up to House Volatexia's standards for a gladiator. He's lithe and slender, suiting his archery style perfectly.

"...a Lantern Bearer?" He softly repeats. "Then you are brave, indeed--or mad."

Now that he's sitting up, you can feel his eyes taking you in. He's no longer shaking so much.

"I doubt the noble-born drow will be inclined to listen to your message of peace... but..." He trails off, something occurring to him.

Anabel blushes slightly as she feels Erevas's eyes on her. The attention is not unwelcome.

She quirks an eyebrow when he trails off. "Yes? Is there something that might help the cause?"


"...I think you'd have better success with the guards." Erevas leans forward with a conspiratorial whisper. "From what I've seen of some of the guard, they don't really enjoy working for the Matron--they don't have the depth of faith their surface raiders have."

"I'm no diplomat, but if you play on the guards' distaste for their employers, you might find some help down here."

Anabel smiles up at the other elf, her heart beating a bit faster with excitement from Erevas's advice, not to mention his proximity. "Thank you! I will do as you recommend." Her amber eyes sparkle.


"Uh, don't-don't mention it." Erevas sheepishly scratches the back of his head. "...really, don't mention it. You never know who might be overhearing."

A blush is starting to creep onto the archer's face. "...do you want to get the door?"

The cell door--and for that matter, every other cell door in the ludus--is a sturdy-looking wooden door with a barred window at eye level.

"Oh! Uh, okay..." Anabel quietly closes the door, then turns back to Erevas expectantly.


Erevas stands up, his legs slightly shaking and his loincloth looking a bit tighter than normal.

"I don't know how much longer I have left to live, and I've brushed with Pharasma once already. I'd, uh..." His eyes dart nervously about his cell before he sighs. "...oh, Hells with it. Do you want me?"

He makes no move to approach you.

Anabel hesitates, then steps closer to Erevas. She places a hand on his bare chest and nods. "Let us join our spirits and bodies together, and give thanks for being alive," she says.

Erevas sucks in a breath as you touch him and looks as if he's about to say something else, but decides against it and pulls you closer to him, catching your lips with his and pressing in with need. His grip on you is loose, but you can feel him quite intimately through your own loincloth.

Anabel and Erevas:
Anabel returns the kiss, feeling the stirring in his loins pressed against hers. It was only a few dozen years ago when she sported similar parts of her own, but her time among the spirits had transformed her body as surely as her soul. Now she was fully female, her body reacting in the expected way.

She leans against Erevas, hands wandering across the tightly corded muscles of his back, but she lets the much taller elf take the lead.

Anabel & Eravas:
The taller elf takes a few steps back, his legs reaching the edge of the cot. As he sits down, he pulls you into his lap, his mouth briefly pulling away from yours to reach your ear. His hands slide up your back and begin to tug on your breast band, trying to get it off.

Female Half-Orc Primal Spelleater 1 | HP 14/14(16) | AC 15 (13), T 11 (9), FF 14 | CMD 17 | Fort +7(9), Ref +3, Will +4(6) | Init +1 | Perc +0 | SM +0 | Performance Combat +5 | Rage Rounds 7/7

Brevka endured the blessing as if she'd just been flung into the cold plunge, teeth gritted, and unwilling to show any discomfort.

She murmured something appropriately grateful, and withdrew. Wincing as she walked past her armaments. Damn, I was supposed to get Baby Blades to clean those... A thought struck her and she clapped a heavy hand on Lyra'an's shoulder. "Don't think you're skipping out just cause you don't have to shake all that in a barrel of sand. Grab a strigil, I'll meet you at the baths."

Unfortunately, she didn't know the layout that well, and the signs were in gibberish... "Where the Hells am I going..?"


Once you make your way out of the chapel, you find your way to the living quarters without too much difficulty.

Slide 4 on the Maps has the map of the gladiator's quarters.

A couple of the newer gladiators are kind enough to point you to the east, through the gold-painted double doors with the sun engraved on them.

Anabel and Erevas:
Anabel moans softly as Erevas nibbles on her pointed ear. She helpfully reaches back to remove her band, letting her modest breasts jiggle free. She slowly grinds her hips as she perches on his lap.

Anabel & Erevas:
You feel Erevas' member twitch and stiffen further under his loincloth as you moan. His hands are starting to tremble as they move across your back, one coming to rest in your hair and the other sliding down to your own loincloth, his fingers trying to undo its ties on your hips.

He sucks on your earlobe for a bit, a little moan of his own filling your ear.

Anabel and Erevas:
Again, Anabel is happy to be helpful, unlacing her own loincloth and Erevas's in turn. She discards both garments on the floor, leaving both elves fully nude.

Anabel & Erevas:
Erevas gives a sharp gasp as you free the both of you from your scant clothing. His hand clasps one of your bottom cheeks and he lays you down on his cot.

His hands aren't shaking anymore. He trails kisses down from your ear, to your breasts, and past them to your belly...

...before coming to a rest before your nether lips.

There's a moment where nothing happens. Then you feel his lips upon you, his tongue sliding into you and his hands holding your thighs close.

Anabel and Erevas:
Erevas's sudden surge of confidence is surprising, but even more so when his trail of kisses reaches its destination. Anabel gasps sharply, then begins to squirm and moan. "Ah! Ooh, gods and goddesses," she breathes.

Anabel & Eravas:
One of Erevas' hands slides beneath you and he begins to rub his face against your lips. You feel a finger enter you and begin to stroke the underside of your pearl while his tongue penetrates you with practiced ease.

He starts to hum a little tune as he works, sending very pleasant vibrations into your pleasure button.

Anabel and Erevas:
Anabel writhes even more, her body wracked with pleasure. She lets slip a little giggle. "You seem to... have had... a lot of practice doing this!"

Anabel & Erevas:
Erevas' tongue and finger work to pleasure you for a while before he stops. He withdraws from you and presses a hungry kiss to your lips, briefly touching your tongue with his own and encouraging you to taste yourself.

He doesn't linger for long--he pulls away from your mouth to whisper in your ear. "Turn over. I want to mount you."

His length is very stiff and throbbing.

Anabel and Erevas:
Anabel eagerly complies with the command. She rolls onto her hands and knees and raises her bottom in the air, presenting herself to Erevas.

Anabel & Erevas:
You feel Erevas move behind you and bend over you, his breath tickling your ear as he kisses the back of your neck. He trails some kisses down your spine until he reaches your bottom, where he stops and repositions himself.

You feel the head of his member gently rubbing against your very wet flower, coating himself in your moistness before sliding in. He lets out a gasp and an excited moan as your inner walls surround his length.

He starts to rhythmically pump into you, fondling your bottom while periodically giving it a smack.

Anabel and Erevas:
Anabel whimpers into the cot and grips its edges as she feels Erevas slide inside of her. Her petite body rocks back and forth as he pumps from behind. Her hard nipples brush against the bed, tingling with sensation. She has had the occasional lover in the past, but none with the skill and enthusiasm of her current one.

"I surrender myself to you, Erevas," she groans. "My body belongs to you!"

Anabel & Erevas:
Your words stoke a fire in Erevas, causing him to accelerate his pace. One of his hands slides beneath you to stroke your little pleasure button while his other hand continues to squeeze your backside. His thrusts and rubbing cause the pleasure wracking you to reach a full-blown crescendo...

"Ahh... Haa... Haa--" His eyes start to roll back into his head, and you feel him start to go rigid. He pulls his member out of you and starts thrusting between your glutes. Moments later you feel his warm seed splattering all over your back as he climaxes, still thrusting.

Anabel and Erevas:
Anabel's lower muscles clench and pulse as reaches her peak. She moans with ecstasy, though she can't help but feel a little disappointed when Erevas withdraws before finishing. Still, she lies there in the afterglow, eyes half-lidded, a contented smile on her face.

Anabel & Erevas:
Erevas starts panting as he comes down from his peak, looking down at you with a dumb grin as he admires his work.

His member still feels quite rigid against your body, even after he finishes. He must have been really pent-up.

You feel him gently rubbing against your soaked nether lips again. "...that was..." He says between breaths. "...it's been too long since I've done that."

His shaft easily slides into you again. His hands move to your bottom cheeks, tenderly caressing them as he remains still inside you. "Would you like another?"

Anabel and Erevas:
"Ah!" Anabel is surprised once again as Erevas gets his second wind. She moves her hips against him eagerly. "Yes."

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