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Sea of Blood (2e)
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Sea of Blood (2e)

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"Every land to drown in the avenging sea of blood" —from the Prophecy of the Deep Mother

The deep sea holds many perils, some known, some secret, some merely hungry — and some outright evil. Those who live on dry land speak in whispers of the dreadful City of Abiding Hunger, where sea devils cavort in the court of their king, awful rites pay homage to a brutal shark god, and desperate refugees from above the waves dream of the sun they will never see again.

In Sea of Blood, adventurers attempt to overcome the mortal threats contained in the City of Abiding Hunger and the Throne of Teeth before finally coming face to face with their true enemy, the Deep Mother. It can be played as a stand-alone adventure, or it can serve as the finale of the sahuagin adventure trilogy that started with Evil Tide and continued in Night of the Shark.

Product History

"Sea of Blood" (1997), by Bruce R. Cordell, is the third Monstrous Arcana adventure for The Sea Devils (1997). It was published in December 1997.

Origins: Continuing the Arcana. Each annual Monstrous Arcana series consisted of a coffee table sourcebook, two 32-page adventures, and one 64-page adventures. "Sea of Blood" (1997) is the 64-page adventure that finishes off the sahuagin arc begun with The Sea Devils (1997).

Adventure Tropes: Sudden but Inevitable Betrayal. In the previous adventure, "Night of the Shark" (1997), the characters were saddled with an NPC who is scheduled to betray them in "Sea of Blood". This a variation of the "necessary failure" trope popular in '90s D&D adventures, which had previously been used in "Night of the Shark". It also leads to the inevitable imprisoned trope. It's rather striking that these classic railroad tropes were so important to the Sea Devils adventures, but the majority of the scenarios are still very open sandboxes.

Adventure Tropes: The Enemy City. The earlier Sea Devils adventures were all variants of dungeon crawls, but "Sea of Blood" instead focuses on the enemy city trope, where characters must travel incognito through a monstrous city. The idea dates back to D3: "Vault of the Drow" (1977) but appeared several times in the '90s. (When the characters penetrate to the Throne of Teeth, they might have a more typical palace crawl ahead of them.)

Adventure Tropes: Let Slip the Gods of War! "Sea of Blood" is another D&D adventure that ends with the attempted summoning of a god: Angueleusis.

Genre Tropes: Lovecraftian Horror. The spectre of Lovecraftian horror appears once more here in the form of: the anguillians; their rulers, Deep Father and Deep Mother; and their god Angueleusis. It feels a lot like the story of the Deep Ones, with their rulers Father Dagon and Mother Hydra, and their god Cthulhu.

Exploring Neverness. Racial details again lead back to the world previously depicted in The Gates of Firestorm Peak (1996), but the world is only detailed here through the underwater realm of The City of Abiding Hunger.

Monsters of Note. "Sea of Blood" provides the origin story of the sahuagin — how they evolved from the anguillians after the interference of the elder elves.

This largely contradicts the various origin stories proposed in The Sea Devils. It does however build nicely on the hints found throughout this adventure arc and also adds more details on the elder elves who were first mentioned in The Gates of Firestorm Peak, where they created the Vast Gate.

About the Creators. Cordell started working at TSR in 1995 and would stay with Wizards of the Coast until 2013. His major previous work was The Gates of Firestorm Peak (1996). His successful work on the sahuagin adventures would lead to him being picked to write The Illithiad (1998) and the three companion adventures.

About the Product Historian

The history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the editor-in-chief of RPGnet and the author of Designers & Dragons — a history of the roleplaying industry told one company at a time. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to

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Sergio S August 19, 2020 4:24 am UTC
I purchased the book and I want to export the maps to an image software. It states I need a license, if that is the case, why did I not receive one with the purchse?
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TSR 9560
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File Last Updated:
June 24, 2017
This title was added to our catalog on June 27, 2017.