The Arena of Chríya
by David Bailey
This is one of the gifts from the demon Chríya (The One Who Skulks) to Hrúgga.
The arena is a model of the Hirilákte arena that stood on the island of Vrá at the opening of Engsvanyáli times. It is accurate in most details, but is slightly modified in order to make it stronger as a model. Thus it has solid external walls and it lacks some of the finery and cloth finishes. Apart from that it is realistic. Differences from the modern Tsolyáni arena include its smaller size, the lack of balconies for sorcerers and archers, the lack of an Imperial seal and the poorer quality seating. This model is just made of marble and a heavy dark wood. The value as an historic artifact is in the region of k2,000 to k20,000 depending on the market. At present it would fetch most in the North.
The structure of the model is not, of itself, magical. This would probably upset the use of any Perception of the Energies unless it was very carefully targeted. The contents are quite magical, and it is they that exert the effect noticed by the users of the arena.
The contents are as follows:
11 N'lüss warrior units consisting of 20 men and Tirikamu
1 Support/command unit consisting of 2 Kerdu and 18 Molkar
The mix of ranks in these units appears highly unusual to the Tsolyáni point of view; however the N'lüss officers are a lot more active than their modern counterparts. Leading from the front is likely to lead to relatively high attrition of Generals!
3 Ssü units of 25 combat equipped Ssü and 5 support(?)
90 Hlüss, of which 15 seem to be bejeweled
80 Bednálljan marines including 16 officers
These units are in little cages, each figure is about one-and-a-half inches tall and is carved out of wood and painted. The weaponry appears to be scraps of metal loosely bent into shape, as does the armour.
At the 'enemy' end of the arena there are two very large pairs of doors. These can be opened only by reaching into the arena. The risks of this are elucidated below. Behind these doors are large empty stable rooms with gravel floors and tiny steel chains. The stables and the large manacle ends are empty.
The 'friendly' end of the arena has three smaller pairs of doors. In these smaller cages contain a variety of items which can best be described as spare parts, or perhaps the remains of past conflicts.
The figurines can be animated. This is achieved by the enchantments laid upon the little wooden figures by Chriya. In concert they have an effective 'attack' of 21. This acts instantly on any person who lays a hand on the inner pillars or any of the figures. The effect is to diminish the victim and place them at the centre of the arena in a small circle marked with Chríya's glyph. This circle is bisected by the centre line mark of the arena. The figurines become animated and will assume the arrival to be their leader depending on which way they step out of the circle. It is thus equally possible to lead the N'lüss or the 'enemy'.
The N'lüss do not all have to be mobilised at once, it is best to take only those troops absolutely essential to the battle ahead. N'lüss are not well known for their discipline, they tend to melee on a broad front in single combats unless sternly ordered. It was customary for the leading officer to lay the first blow. Unfortunately the figures can’t communicate their 'thoughts' to the leader.
For the stats of the figurines use 'average' NPC stats with +25% on HP, Melee, Armour for the 'officers'.