Sponsored in main by the temple of Kord, arena fights were a staple of the old Suel empire and still thrives in areas of Suel cultural influence, which is most of the Flaness. It is most prevalent in the south. Some gladiators are professional, but it is not uncommon for dilettantes and adventurers to perform in the arena for some extra cash or fame.
These days, arena events are mostly nonlethal, staged between volunteer gladiators. Arena events can be made quite safe, tough there is still a bit of discomfort and some risk involved. Poor arenas might only allow truncheons and fisticuffs in order to prevent injuries, but respectable establishments use the Fake Fighting spell. Some use of indirect damage is allowed, but can be considered reckless endangerment. Causing a death in the arena is strongly discouraged and generally sternly investigated. If the killing is found to be deliberate the crime is considered to be murder.
Some arenas, particularily under evil regimes, practice lethal games or games involving constructs, undead, nonintelligent creatures or others not affected by the Fake Fighting spell. It is quite common for convicted criminals to be made to participate in such games. The audience generally love lethal games as long as they are not too common, and any fame gain from such games are doubled.
Common arena rules include the following:
- A match begins with a bell stroke announcing a grace period of three rounds. During this time, gladiators may cast spells on themselves, the stage or their allies, maneuver for position, or use interaction skills on the audience or the opposition, but no attacks are allowed. As a special rule, delaying or readying actions during this time is not allowed. In high-fame matches, the time of grace might be longer, up to one round per two points of Fame for the most famous gladiator.
- Once the time of grace is over the gong strikes a second time, and any tactics are allowed withing the limits of the type of game. One of the most common ways for the judge to show favoritism is by mis-timing the second signal.
- Because of the duration of the fake fight spell is limited, nonlethal games have a strict time limit equal to the caster level of the attendant in minutes. This is usually 1 minute + 1 minute/3 points of fame and includes the three rounds of setting up.
- Many games have special rules of some kind, such as no magic, no touching, no flight, etc. Others add spice in the form of terrain, magic or special conditions. Variations are endless.
Fame and Reward
The audience loves gladiators, and shower them with gifts and favors. Even the underdog can get quite popular if he shows grit and humor in the games. To reflect this, each gladiator has a fame rating which reflects her standing in the eyes of the audience. Fame has a base value equal to the characters level, and changes after each arena event and for each month of inactivity, but it can never be lower than effective character level or challenge rating for a monster.
|Winning a game against equal opposition||+1|
|Winning a game against superior opposition (+2 challenge ratings or more)||+2|
|Losing a game against inferior opposition (-2 challenge ratings or more)||-2|
|Participating in a game against greatly inferior opposition (-5 challenge ratings or more)||-2|
|Successfully using Charisma skills, like Bluff, Intimidation, or Perform||+1|
|Successfully using agility skills, like Jump, Climb, or Tumble or combat maneuvers, like bull rush, disarm, sunder, or trip or spells to such effect||+1|
|Successfully showing personality with an established arena gimmick||+1|
|Showing cowardice or using delaying tactics||-1|
|Disqualified because of a time limit or judge intervention||-1|
|Participating in too many events||-1|
|Each month without matches||-1|
|Moving to a larger arena||-3|
- Charismatic fighters are always popular, whether they use their wiles on the opposition, or spend time showing off for the audience. The DC to impress the audience is generally 10 + your current Fame rating.
- The crowd loves a fighter with personality, but stage personality often boils down to some gimmick, such as such mercy, ruthlessness, enormous strength, a signature finishing move or spell or some other recurring trick the character has shown before in the arena.
- The audience does not appreciate if the greatest stars are over-exploited; good managers knows to put on lesser acts in between. Add up the fame of the character as he finishes each of his events over the month; if the result is over thirty the penalty applies.
At the end of each event, the character receives gifts and favors equal to his fame rating squared in gold pieces. A sponsorship contract of some sort is worth from one to three times this amount, payable each month. The characters fame also affects his attitude; Anyone with a fame rating of ten or more is likely to be recognized in the street and can expect a friendly attitude from fans. Anyone with a fame rating of 20 or more is a star and can expect a helpful reaction from fans and a friendly reaction from most everyone. Add half the character's Fame to Gather Information rolls, but also to the chance that anyone hears of the character asking about them.
Fame rating can never be less than the character's level. If it ever sinks to a value less than your level, you lose all fame benefits and are strongly recommended to reenter the arena under a different stage identity.