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The GRAND COMBAT

The Grand Combat is a huge tourney of religious significance held on Arkaela once every five years, to commemorate Andraxas' victory over Cthuga at Mount Vormidurth, and the rise of his cult to supremacy over the Cthulan gods. It occurs on the Battle Plain, a huge dry inland ocean bed outside the capital, Doom's Gate {see the Arlaela main section for descriptions and pictures of these Places of Note}. Almost all psionic guildmembers are required to attend, and many common folk migrate for weeks just to witness the event. The event lasts for three days, and is followed by the Grand Revel, where the combatants and their guests gather to celebrate victories and heal wounds.

1st Day

The first day of the Combat is taken up by the Personal Combats and Guild Manifestations, as well as the eliminations for command positions which will be needed for the next day's events.

Guild Manifestations - these events allow any challengers to vie against reigning Guildmasters for the command of a psi-guild, and for lesser positions under the Guildmaster. The combatants begin 50 feet apart, and five rounds of psionic conflict must occur before they can close for combat, which is often quite bloody.

Personal Challenges - Many of the visiting beings will issue challenges against each other, for reasons of honor, revenge, etc. Or, they may place their banner on the scaffolds erected for such a purpose, and a challenger may take up the banner as an issue of challenge for pure sport. These combats are often to the death, though they need not be. There must also be a prize of some sort from each contestant to be given to the winner, such as an item, a title, etc. Whatever the terms, they must be agreed to by both parties before the battle begins.

Slave Combats -Any slave who is brought along to the games may petition for his freedom through combat. If the slave's master approves, the slave will fight a random monster of appropriate level, with no more than 150% of the slave's hit points, and will be armed with a +1 glass weapon of his choice, and a suit of glass armor with leather (AC 3). If his master does not approve the petition, the slave is armored as above and must fight a random creature with 150% hit points of the slave. If the slave loses, his master decides his fate, the easiest of which is usually to remain dead.

The Greased Log Gator Pond Free-for-All - This new event occurs, like its title suggests, on a greased log bridge above a pond stocked with prehistoric alligators. The bridge is 100 feet long, only one-man wide, and two teams compete against each other. The object is simple: get to the other side of the bridge. The first team to get its last (surviving) member across wins, and all will be granted an additional 5 permanent hit points. Half of each team will be split up into pairs in two-man rowboats, {15 hitpoints of damage will sink the boat in 1-4 rounds, 20 points sinks it instantly}, the rest must cross on foot. The pond is 30 feet deep, and the giant alligators are coerced to attack only individuals in the water, unless attacked from a boat or bridge. {If they kill a combatant, the gator will deposit the body on shore and return to the fray}. Any individual on the bridge must roll his dexterity on a d30 to keep his balance if he runs or attempts to swing or hurl a weapon. If he fails, he's in the water. Individuals in the boats may either provide support fire for people on the bridge, pick up swimming comrades if they have room, or just row for the other side. There are two rules: no-one may damage the bridge to collapse it purposefully {50 hp in one spot will do this}, and no flying or teleport-like magic is allowed. Levitation is okay, and anyone with natural or magical/polymorphed wings are allowed to fly, but they are going to be special targets for the other team. Occasionally, some unfortunate slaves are forced to participate in this tourney.

Second Day

This and the Third Day are taken up by the actual "grand combat", a small ritual `war' between two forces, usually numbering more than a thousand and frequently with more than ten thousand on a side. Each force is lead by their Battlemaster, in most cases an ultra-powerful being whose expertise will (hopefully) lead his troops to victory. The two Battlemasters are actually fighting to get at one another, as both teams are striving to penetrate the other's defenses to capture or slay the opposing Battlemaster. The significance of the Combat itself varies from year to year; the first ever held was an open challenge used to lure the forces of Cthulu to open battle and decimate them when guerilla tactics had failed to dislodge the cult's hold on society. Subsequent Grand Combats have been focal points for conflict between the forces of Law and Chaos, as well as opportunities for conquered kingdoms {Castle Cannabis from Greyhawk, for example} to gain more freedoms from their Tanu overlords.

This mass melee stops at sunset of the Second Day, and then the men camp on the field, to rest and heal for the next day. No one from one team may leave their camp during the night, and no-one may be added to the ranks.

Third Day

At dawn, the combat resumes, and continues until sunset, or until one of the Battlemasters is eliminated. If this does not occur, then each team is scored by counting captured heads from the ranks of troop leaders. The point-scoring for these trophies is as follows:

Commander of a squad (10 men) 1 point

Commander of a battalion (10 squads) 3

Commander of a legion (10 battalions) 5

Subcommander (usually half or third of the men)10

Member of Battlemaster's guard 15

Being is an Immortal 10

Being is a Demigod 15

Being is a Lesser God 25

Being is a Greater God 40

 

 

There is usually a lot of fighting to recapture leader's heads.