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Against the Shadow  |  Forum  |  Midnight & RPGs  |  GM's Corner (Moderators: Bleak Knight, Glacialis)  |  Topic: Sharuun
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Author Topic: Sharuun  (Read 2444 times)
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Spell Energy / Taint +2/-0
Posts: 21

« on: August 09, 2006, 10:24:21 AM »

The Spectacle

There is but one event that gathers the crowds of rich and poor; The Spectacle. The heart of Sharuun beats with bloody chaos in the arena, a grand showcase of the Sarcosan past made present. Gladiators from all walks duel in the crimson stained sands, surrounded by jeering madness, hoping to gain glory and fame; one last stab at power. The Spectacle is one massive circular stone building, with several arenas littered amongst its bowels. Outside, streetwalkers ply their trade in the shadows, homeless gather around shared fires and heralds call the evening’s entertainment, selling violence as theatre. Inside, makeshift tents house gambling tables, betting booths, and backrooms suitable for more discreet entertainment. Smoke hangs heavy in the air, mixing with the fetid smell of human sweat and blood. There is only one escape from the dirt and squalor, private booths at the foot of each arena, fit only for the Rich, the Devout, and the Honoured.

The Vision

The Spectacle is operated by a man known only as Victor. Many speculate if this is his true name, or whether he attained it through surviving years of gladiator bouts. Whatever the truth may be, Victor is indeed a product of an earned status through The Victory. In the years before Victor salvaged the rights to open the Spectacle, arena fights were unorganized and unassociated. Gladiators who achieved victory were given little in either payment or accolades, as most of the audience was filled with commoners. Victor saw the opportunity for profit, he had a vision of exploiting the Nobles and the black hearted legates by charging a minimal entrance fee. For their gold, however, they receive the highest quality of service, of course. In time, the popularity of the contests grew, the crowds far outnumbering any makeshift seating Victor could supply. Even nobles stood with the commoners, desperate to get a view of the violent entertainment. Victor had a plan. On a cold foggy night, he stole away to the Temple with scroll in hand and determination in mind. How it came to pass that Victor was able to gain an audience with High Legate *name* is to this day unknown, but the message he carried was one to which *name* took a great liking. Victor asked for permission, and funding, to build The Spectacle on the promise of his vision. Victor would use The Spectacle as an information center with allegiance only to the High Legate himself, reporting any suspicious activity or intelligence directly to the Temple. The High Legate agreed, and so The Spectacle has existed for its fifth year. Victor has amassed great wealth and a powerful ally with his devious plot, and now the Spectacle is the greatest arena of entertainment in the land.

Blood, Guts and Glory

Every Gladiator has a story, but all are bound by one purpose: The Victory. In Sharuun, even the lowliest sheol can attain fame, honour and status, he is only required to attain the victory in the arena. The life of a Gladiator is soaked in blood, driven by adrenaline, and more often than not, brief. However, for those who deliver a crowd pleasing victory, there is a prosperous future in store. Nobles in particular, consider the company of a Victor a great signature of status. To have a Victor dine at your table, (or in some cases, serve) is paramount to bragging rights. Nobles pay a wealth of gold for this honour, an honour any Victor (no matter his personal status) is more than willing to sell. It is said that a gladiator can earn more gold from one visit to a noble house than he will ever earn in all of his victories combined. There is a great truth in this, as the individual who is involved with the actual violence earns little of the profits his work has generated. Nearly every gladiator is property of a müdür who charges the arena for his services. This is where the true profit is earned, many müdür charge as much as ten gold coins for a single fighter, and it is only he who sees the coins. Gladiators earn their way by winning, and truly successful veterans can claim as much as five gold coins when they fell their adversary. Unsuccessful fighters, needless to say, claim only the sweet embrace of death.

Violence as Theatre

The Spectacle is open to all who can squeeze into the cramped quarters. There is no charge for common seating, but betting and gambling are strongly encouraged. (Some would argue enforced, but they happen to be at the end of a blade at the time). For those with the wealth to afford segregation, a five gold fee opens the door to separate booths complete with two large guards.

Bouts happen daily, and when there is a great supply of Gladiators, often hourly. The Spectacle houses four distinct arenas, each with a particular motif or theme. Victor's only fear in life is that one day his show will become stale, and therefore puts his creative mind to task in delivering great entertainment. That said there are no two shows are ever the same.

Human Frailties: This arena is devoted entirely to battle between human adversaries. Contestants range from day to day, but often include Gladiators, common thieves serving their sentence, homeless people snatched from the streets, and common folks late in their taxes. The physical layout is simple, an eighty foot circular pit ensnared by ten foot high stone walls. The floor is covered with white sands, making any form of movement tiring, slow and yet very exciting to watch.

The Wilds: This lush arena is covered front to back in exotic flora and fauna. Almost as large as Human Frailties, The Wilds is not circular in shape, nor does it limit itself to any one shape at all. Victor has managed to recreate the jungles of Aruun and it is here the most popular displays of violence occur. Beasts, animals, and creatures of all kinds rend flesh and bone to remain one day longer. Many citizens visit this arena simply to view the new creatures that grace its floor, some seeing the pity of such amazing beasts die before their time.

Theatre: As the name would suggest, the Theatre is the grand showcase where historical battles are re-enacted. When Victor heard rumour of an elven operative in the city, he personally approached the High Legate of Sharuun. Victor begged for him to search out this fey so he could display the traitor in the arenas. He agreed, and in a short time, the elf was in custody, and Victor began plotting a new extravaganza for the masses. Based upon one of his favorite stories as a child, Victor wished to host the Story of Englan and the Cave Troll. Historically, it was the story of an elder elf caught in a situation beyond his physical ability, who used his mind to destroy the foul Troll. The case was not the same in the bout, where the Cave Troll liquefied the defenseless elf in a matter of seconds, and so popular was the show that Victor continually reads historical texts in search of new theatre. The floor of the theatre changes regularly, however Theatre fights are far more rare, as gathering the resources to display them takes much of Victors time.

The Pit: The Pit, as the locals call it, is the main attraction; a grey and green marble floor accented with drab stone walls adorned with silver metallic spines. It is here where traitor nobles, captured resistance fighters, and fallen legates face their death, none afforded dignity in their final hour. Here, even a poor beggar can witness the cruel fate of his superiors. It is the ultimate disgrace before eternal sleep. These are not so much bouts, but public executions, however they tend to be the most popular amongst the masses. More often then not, the poor soul is tied to a pole and fed to hungry crocodiles, much to the delight of those responsible for the events leading up to the execution.

Far Lands Market

The Grand Bazaar, for those who know the history of Sharuun, was once a bustling stretch of merchant stands, entertainment, and exotic wares. In the time before Shadow, Far Lands Market was hailed as the greatest cultural gathering place, uniting people of all race and kind from this continent, to others from far away. Any item one desired would eventually be located and acquired, ranging from magical to the mundane, from books to brooms. The Market itself was vast, its alleys and squares stretching miles in every direction. Many guessed that the Far Lands Market never truly found limits, spilling out into every street and corner of the vibrant city.

Now, however, under the darkness of Shadow, the Far Lands Market is but a shade of its former glory. Home to beggars, criminals, lowly sheol and much worse, the Far Lands Market is an area of Sharuun that even hardened common people avoid with quiet distain. Every dark alley is crawling with treachery and danger, the open plaza itself rotten decay and villainy. Where proud merchants in ages past would exhibit their wares, streetwalkers now sell the only wares left in the Far Lands Market.

The physical layout has much diminished in darkened times, limited now to one open plaza a few hundred feet in length, connected to several branches of alleys and narrow paths that sliver into the surrounding city. Garbage, human waste and other vile substances infect the Far Lands Market, and any adventure in the area is as foul as it is dangerous. For those who brave the darkness, however, there are rewards.

Anything for a Price

There are yet a very select few individuals who are able to profit from the Far Lands Market. Some, desperate only to make a way for themselves, others who wish to better the cause of the common person. These merchants, named by some the Ghost Merchants, keep their existence a secret, their names passed on only through trusted individuals, which in the end protects both buyer and seller. Any PC who wishes to meet with the Ghost Merchants must have a contact amongst their number, or succeed at a Gather Information (DC 28). What the merchants have for sale varies greatly by the individual, selling anything from information, weapons, smuggling services, to assassination, sex, and drugs. Chances are if there is something you need, the Ghost Merchants will have it. It is important to keep in mind, however, that each Merchant is in no way associated with the next. What one may value as moral another may view as despicable.
Insurgent Spy

Spell Energy / Taint +0/-0
Posts: 116


« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2006, 02:50:26 AM »

I really liked your efforts.  If my party gets captured it is a good way to keep them alive---well at least for a little while before they are killed in the arena or delay death a little longer and escape.

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Against the Shadow  |  Forum  |  Midnight & RPGs  |  GM's Corner (Moderators: Bleak Knight, Glacialis)  |  Topic: Sharuun
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