Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Fighting Pit

There are all kinds of entertainments available in a sizable port city. While taverns and brothels are usually the first to catch a sailor's attention, there are also traveling bards and perhaps even more organized types of shows. One that appeals to a particular crowd, however, is the fighting pit. An enterprising young adventurer who didn't really take to the adventuring lifestyle, Thayer took the gold that he earned during his brief career and used it to buy a rather ordinary warehouse close to the docks. That structure he then refurbished, digging out a basement, building quarters for competitors and then adding two levels from which patrons can watch the fights.

The Fighting Pit
Broad double doors provided access to the warehouse at street level. The building itself is two stories above ground. Those two levels have been gutted of everything but support pillars, a railing to prevent spectators from falling into the pit, and a spiral staircase in each corner that provides access to the other levels. The pit itself is sixty feet on a side, with a floor of packed dirt and sand. It is surrounded on the underground level by sixteen small rooms, where combatants can prepare for, and recover after, matches.

Running Matches
Entry for a night's entertainment costs 5 sp. Given that it's standing room only, positions against the railing are on a first come, first served basis only. Each bout pits two competitors against each other in single combat. In game terms, this can be handled in much the same manner as typical Pathfinder battles. Matches are fought to incapacitation, so there's usually a chance that the loser can recover. Thayer keeps a cleric on hand, too, to provide healing for the defeated. Although the combatants are permitted to use any magic that they might possess, no outside participation or interference of any kind is permitted. That rule is enforced not only by Thayer and his heavies, along with a hired wizard named Ancalimë, but also by the spectators, especially those who have wagers on one combatant or another.
At the end of the night, Thayer keeps half of the proceeds for distribution to his employees and profit; the other half is divided among the competitors.

Betting on Fights
On the subject of gambling, it is permitted. While there is not technically a limit on wagers, they don't generally exceed ten gold pieces per fight. Because Thayer and his heavies don't wish to be bothered by keeping track of this business, it is standard practice for the two participants in a bet to have a third party observe the transaction.

At any given time, Thayer and a dozen or so guards are present to make sure that things run smoothly.

Sylvio Thayer
CR 4
Male human fighter 5
N Medium humanoid
Init +1; Senses Perception +0
AC 11, touch 11, flat-footed 10 (+1 Dex)
hp 47 (5d10+10+5)
Fort +6, Ref +2, Will +1
Resist Details
Spd 30 ft.
Melee Weapon +12 (1d8+7)
Special Attacks weapon training +1
Str 18, Dex 13, Con 14, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 12
Base Atk +5; CMB +10; CMD 20
Feats Cleave, Dodge, Great Cleave, Power Attack, Vital Strike, Weapon Focus (longsword), Weapon Specialization (longsword)
Skills Climb +12, Survival +8, Swim +12
Languages Common
SQ bravery +1, armor training 1
Combat Gear Studded leather armor +1, longsword +1, pouch containing 100 gp in mixed coins

Sylvio Thayer loves nothing more than a good fight. What he did not love were the privations that adventurers had to suffer as part of their lifestyle—sleeping outside on the hard ground, subsisting on trail rations and limited quantities of ale, and the like. That's why he retired from that profession, choosing instead to invest his hard-earned money in this fighting pit. Now he can enjoy as much fighting as he is able to arrange, while still living comfortably in town.

Thayer's Enforcers
CR 1/3
XP 135
Male human warrior 1
N Medium humanoid
Init +1; Senses Perception +0
AC 14, touch 11, flat-footed 13 (+1 Dex, +3 armor)
hp 6 (1d10+1)
Fort +3, Ref +1, Will +0
Resist None
Spd 30 ft.
Melee Longsword +1 (1d8+2)
Special Attacks Power Attack
Str 15, Dex 12, Con 13, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 9
Base Atk +1; CMB +3; CMD 14
Feats Power Attack
Skills Climb +6
Languages Common
Combat Gear Studded leather armor, longsword

These fellows have a fairly cushy job that lets them show off a little bravado without actually facing much danger; it suits them well. They are given to bluster, but can be overwhelmed by a real show of martial prowess.

Brother Fain
CR 2
XP 600
Male dwarf cleric 3
NG Medium humanoid
Init -1; Senses Perception +3; Darkvision 60 ft.
AC 13, touch 9, flat-footed 13 (-1 Dex, +4 armor)
hp 23 (3d8+6)
Fort +4, Ref +0, Will +6
Resist hardy, stability
Spd 20 ft.
Melee Heavy mace +4 (1d8+1)
Special Attacks None
Str 13, Dex 8, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 17, Cha 14
Base Atk +2; CMB +3; CMD 12
Feats Extra Channel, Selective Channeling
Skills Diplomacy +7, Heal +9, Knowledge (religion) +6
Languages Common, Dwarven
SQ Channel positive energy 2d6
Domain Spell-Like Abilities: Rebuke Death, Touch of Good
Spells Prepared
1st—Cure light wounds, deathwatch x3
2nd—Cure moderate wounds, gentle repose x2
Combat Gear Chain shirt, masterwork heavy mace, healer's kit, silver holy symbol

Brother Fain worships the Goddess of Mercy, bringing her blessing to those in need of healing. Sometimes he struggles with his job as healer for a fighting pit, given that those who engage in combat aren't doing it for any cause higher than that of earning some money. For that reason, he sometimes dreams of finding a band of adventurers and joining their efforts to dome some real good in the world.

CR 2
XP 600
Male elf wizard (diviner) 3
CN Medium humanoid
Init +3; Senses Perception +3; Low-light vision
AC 13, touch 13, flat-footed 10 (+3 Dex)
hp 13 (3d6)
Fort +1, Ref +4, Will +4
Resist Elven immunities
Spd 30 ft.
Melee Quarterstaff +2 (1d6)
Str 10, Dex 16, Con 11, Int 17, Wis 12, Cha 8
Base Atk +1; CMB +1; CMD 14
Feats Greater Spell Focus (divination), Scribe Scroll, Spell Focus (divination)
Skills Knowledge (arcana) +9, Knowledge (geography) +9, Knowledge (history) +9, Knowledge (local) +9, Spellcraft +9
Languages Elven, Common, Gnomish, Dwarven, Orcish
SQ Bonded item (staff)
Spells per Day: 4/3/2
Spells Prepared
0th—Detect magic x3, read magic
1st—Comprehend languages x2, identify
2nd—Detect thoughts x2
Combat Gear Robes, masterwork quarterstaff, component pouch, spellbook, potion of gaseous form, scroll containing mage armor and shield

At first glance, it might seem unusual that a wizard (and a diviner at that) is involved in business like this fighting pit. While it's true that the half-elf's job is to monitor spectators and competitors alike to prevent the use of magic in the fights, Ancalimë also uses the opportunity to pry into the minds of those who are present. So far he has just done so for his own amusement, but it won't be long before he learns something really important and decides to use this tidbit for his own gain.

Using the Fighting Pit in a Nautical Fantasy Campaign
There are many ways in which this establishment could become involved in a nautically-themed Pathfinder campaign; a few of the possibilities are detailed here.
  • First and foremost, one or more of the PC's could participate in the fights in order to hone abilities and earn some coin.
  • Indeed, a party might come together for the first time while all are present and something happens to draw them into an adventure.
  • Should somebody decide to cheat, perhaps by aiding one competitor or hindering another—the PC's could have a chance to bring that person to justice.
  • If Ancalimë ever learned something really important, he might sell that information; that, in turn, could lead to blackmail or perhaps even a murder, and the PC's might be asked to investigate.
  • When a young noble decides to participate in the fights, the kid's parents hire the PC's to bring the wayward youth back home. The crowd at the fighting pit doesn't like this intrusion, however, and so the PC's must decide to be forceful or subtle—perhaps even requiring cheating on their part.

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