Monday, May 7, 2012
Enigmundia: A Different Take on Mystara's Thyatis
So what of the Emperor of Thyatis, who rose from the ranks of the gladiators? How do we handle him?
First off, since there are several modules in which gladiators figure prominently, I'd be loathe to remove them entirely. Furthermore, I particularly enjoy the secret role they apparently play in preventing monsters from the Underworld from emerging into the light of Thyatian streets, so I here's what I come up with:
Fencing + Bullfighting with monsters + arena dungeon crawls
Instead of the traditional gladitorial weaponry and armor, we use at sabres and foils and daggers. We approach the various gladitorial schools as different styles and schools of swordfighting. There are master swordsmen and master swordsmakers; families of styles and odd orphaned counterstyles; there are butchers and artists that all take to the arena in duels of skill and honor.
Bullfighting with monsters
But they don't always fight each other. As in Thyatis, they prepare themselves to fight against creatures of the Underworld; many of the battles in the public arena are against monsters who have wandered up from the depths into the traps of the Empire. Their deaths at the hands of individuals and teams in the arena is reminiscent of bullfighting and the Roman battles against lions and tigers and wild creatures from far off lands.
Arena Dungeon Crawls
Once a year, in the Grand Arena of the Empire, a new dungeon design is realized in stone and wood. Creatures rare and wild are released into it a day early to find their homes, while larger chambers house monsters both intelligent, exotic, and deadly. Masked teams from different schools are sent into the arena's dungeon to fight against the monsters, to find the hidden entrance to the central chamber, and defeat and kill the foul criminal swordsman within.