I will be running a battle in a magical arena in the near future. Using the movie Gladiator as a inspiration, I would like them to recreate a historical battle, in this case an aerial fight, as a chance to introduce a bit of Greyhawk lore (think Holodeck approach).
Is there anything relatively famous in the Greyhawk lore? I just need something where PCs would be riding on Griffons or Wyverns in a focused battle.
(FYI - I am sprucing up the Arena area in the Ruins of Castle Greyhawk)
Dragon Magazine #51, July 1981 had an article on The Winged Folk (Al Karak Elam) in which a great battle (ambush) was described in which many thousands of Winged Folk were slaughtered. The article was republished in the The Best of Dragon Magazine III, though it may not be the kind of battle you're looking for.
That might work. Much like in Gladiator, I would put them on the "losing" side. There is no saying the illusion of the Arena cannot grant the group wings/flight. I'll see if I can find the article (I might have it, depending on where my wife hid all my stuff :)). What were they ambushed by?
The most relevant passages in the article are these:
"...Hawkwing, king of the Winged Folk, proclaimed that... the Winged Folk warriors would gather into an army and aid Imruk's effort.
"With command of the air provided by the Winged Folk, Imruk was able to crush the High King's armies.
"The last battle of the uprising was fought on the plain to the north of the High King's capital. The Winged Folk clerics called upon their gods for aid, and their prayers were rewarded when the High King's demons were destroyed by the gods' wrath.
"..... Imruk invited Hawkwing to bring the Winged Folk army to Imruk's encampment the following day so he coulde give the winged warriors great rewards for their part in winning the battle.
"The following day the Winged Folk army landed in the designated area in the center of Imruk's camp. as soon as the air was no longer stirred by the beating of wings, Imruk's archers fired upon the Winged Folk, and only a few of them again reached the safety of the sky."
Greyhawk has Griffon riders(I think it is them, or is it the Castle Karystyne forces?), while some Wild Coast forces and/or lords ride drakes and possibly even wyverns. With those forces recently in opposition, there is no reason why they couldn't have had an aerial clash or three. _________________ - Moderator/Admin (in some areas)/Member -
Greyhawk has Griffon riders(I think it is them, or is it the Castle Karystyne forces?), while some Wild Coast forces and/or lords ride drakes and possibly even wyverns. With those forces recently in opposition, there is no reason why they couldn't have had an aerial clash or three.
I believe it is Greyhawk. That was my other idea - them suddenly flying over the City in a "dogflight".
In the very unlikely case for those that play in my Olde Skoole Campaign, those should stop reading now!
Here is the encounter as I have it envisioned (combine with my other post):
This replaces the end fight in the initial excursion into the Tower of War where the PC get to the Arena and battle the General and his Dragon (3.5 Expedition to the Ruins of Castle Greyhawk).
The General has figured out how to utilize the Arena's full power of illusion for fights.
What he does not know is that the old, standing tradition that those that survive three battles in the row are "freed". You must collect a magic gem at the end of each battle to be freed. This is the PC's "out", as otherwise the Arena has Wall of Force and Dimensional Anchors to keep PCs from escaping. Wizard PCs will be able to make a Knowledge check to know this fact once they realize where they are.
When the PCs get transported into the Arena, they do see the crowd, the General, and a few of the General's guests. One of those guests is the Powerful, Shady Merchant, who is being wooed by the General to help weaken the city defenses in exchange for more power in the city after Iuz's forces take it.
After the appropriate BBEG monologue, the crowd goes crazy. One section of the arena sudden opens and dumps the cheering goblins into the arena (much to their surprise – they were wondering why they had front row seats). The arena is already set up as ruined terrain. The “cool effect” is the crown “fades” and a larger map appears. The PCs now are immersed in the battlefield, with only a few witty comments from the General as the battle develops.
After defeating the goblins, the scene rapily shifts. Lava with rocks that can be jumped to. A Fire Giant rises up with Fire Mephits sniping away. On Clubs, Vigor check or Fatigue due to heat (Savage Worlds reference). Giant can move easily about the battlefield (sink down, pop up, etc)
The final battle is PCs riding griffons vs. in battle depending on what is coolest from this thread. Savage Worlds has some great rules for this type of "dogfight"
Once the PCs win the day, the General is surprised when the Arena "frees" the PCs, and the final beating is on. The Merchant flees for a later encounter in Greyhawk.
I don't have my books in front of me ... but, there's an annual event that is held in the City of Greyhawk called the Desportium of Magic. It is a celebration that re-creates the siege on the keep of the city. Each year magic-users are invited to use illusion and whatnot to re-paint a picture in real time and space to re-create the scene ... the most impressive "video" wins the contest.
You could easily use this to theme a gladitorial combat in which the forces of the city repel the monsters and such that are attacking the citadel. Only instead of illusions, they're fighting the actual battle. I can imagine such an event to be particularly popular with the citizens of Greyhawk, since the winning side were the forces of Greyhawk. The PCs could be painted up to look like monsters (orcs or hobgoblins or some such) and forced to wear cumbersome costumes ... or even fight alongside an ogre or two, as they are slain by the "good guys".
... and then there was that thing on the Great Day of Signing. I'm hoping someone else will chime in - <cough> Rasgon <cough> - because I think this one is in The Adventure Begins or the LGG ...
When Rary's plan failed to kill the entire Circle of Eight, wasn't there an aerial battle over the City of Greyhawk? Didn't it burn part of the city, leaving fireball damage all over a part of the Lower City, or something? Rather than repair the thorough scorching, they painted everything black ... a custom that has held for years now, and even new buildings are painted black in that neighborhood.
You could probably turn this into a reenactment, adding the city watch's mages pursuing the summoned creatures of Rary, or somehting to add more participants to the melee.
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