In the first session, Coahtar awakened in the Arena in Domil. Unable to remember why or how he got there, he is informed by an orc in the room that they are gladiators. The Arena Master enters, and a gladiatorial bout ensues. In the introduction to the bout, Coahtar is described by the female announcer as a convicted spy, sentenced to Glory or Death in the Arena. Not much is said about the orc, who is described as a disgusting beast. In a single massive strike, Coahtar disables the orc. He must decide between killing the orc or letting him live. If he were to live, the hero would have had to help him out the Arena. Instead of bother with that, Coahtar lifts his sword above his head and proceeds to split the orc in half. Coahtar is told he will be stuck in the Arena for a while, because he has been sentenced to "Glory or Death." His action was dishonorable, so he is no closer to being freed. The Arena Master is very angry, and one should avoid ticking off powerful dwarves like him.
Later that same night, Ellywyn Pocklewocket, a beautiful gnome bard (and announcer at the Arena), visits Coahtar and gives him a choice. He can stay in the Arena and fight for his freedom, or he can escape with her and find his Glory or Death by another way. They leave together.
They sneak through the underground streets of Domil, going through the sketchier parts of town to avoid much law enforcement presence. As a result, they happen upon Durik Domil, a dwarf who has just killed another person in an alley. He explains that what he did was the right thing, but he will have angered his superiors in his gang, The Company. He joins the party, if only to help them out of the city. At this time, Elly also explains her reasoning for escaping. She was sentenced to slavery in the Arena because of her family’s alleged criminal activity. She is out to clear her family name. She knows that as an escaped slave, in order to Domil she must have achieve one of two things: either Glory, or Death. Durik has motivation for Glory or Death as well. He has killed someone important to the Company. If he wants to be rid of the gang life, he must return to Domil much stronger than he was when he left, in order to discourage retaliation from the Company. Alternatively, he could embrace the gang life, and return with accolades and increased strength to start his own rival gang to the Company – or just take over his old gang himself. One of these three "Glory" choices, or Death, are all that he can look forward to.
The band of three journeys a short trip outside the city to the old Pocklewocket estate, an under-hill complex that has been abandoned for almost a generation. It has been over-run with centipedes, trogs, and kobolds. The group fights through, and faces serious injury as they near their goal of clearing Ellywyn Pocklewocket‘s name. As Coahtar lies hurt, Durik finds documents proving that Elly’s family were, in fact, crooks and thieves who swindled the Arena Master. Things look bleak for the group, but Bolo Humdeep shows up.
Bolo is a cleric of Bahamut who followed the group to the estate, out of protective curiosity. He observed some of the fight and conversation, and decided this group’s cause (to clear their names and make a name for themselves) was noble. He proceeds to heal the party, and leads them to a safe haven called The Houses of the Holy. While sleeping at the Houses, each of the four companions are awoken, magically tattooed, and then knocked out again for days. The magical person or force who did this is unknown, but it changes the dynamic of the group’s mission. Durik tries to abandon the group, but the tattoo cause immense searing pain down his spine as he walks away. The group is stuck together.
Upon further inspection, the tattoos are all the same on each of the group members. The tattoo consists of three dots, arranged like the three points of an equilateral triangle. They are black, but have some movement magically imbued on them. The top dot changes to resemble a road, then fades in to a thick drop of liquid. It resembles an alchemists symbol for blood.
Below is a quote from gameplay, as the group tries to decide what to do:
Bolo Humdeep: I’m afraid I have little by way of answers. We must find someone who knows more about such things. There is an elven wizard… in Anu, up the Anu-Domil road. He may have answers for us. Or… up at Nation’s Gate. There are halfling bards who know more lore than any man or dwarf I’ve ever known. Perhaps they would have answers.
The group debates, and decides to head to Anu, to speak to the elven wizard. They set out at dawn, and reach the waypoint whhere the path to Domil meets the Bloodrain trade road. While on the road, they see five dwarf soldiers and two dwarf Assembly members patrolling the road. Rather than face these potential enemies, the group heads off the road in to the South Forest, which runs along the Anu-Domil in many places. Once in the forest, the group is assaulted by a group of kobolds that seemed to be on the run from something or someone. The kobolds could have retreated back into the forest, but chose to fight in order to get to the road.
After defeating the kobolds, the reason for their strange behavior seemed clear. An sylvan hunting party followed quickly behind them. The elves capture the heroes, not trusting their motivations for entering the forest. The party, tired from travel and kobold slaying, agrees to go without a fight. The elves then promptly knock out the group with darts tipped with a powerful sedative.