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Why fight in an arena?

Discussion in 'World Building' started by D. Gray Warrior, Sep 15, 2017.

  1. D. Gray Warrior

    D. Gray Warrior Troubadour

    In the world I am creating, there are essentially magical versions of gladiator combat, where all the fighters are sorcerers. I'm trying to think of a reason for why they would do that given that sorcerers may be quite powerful, so they might not forced to participate, and the use magic is legal, though heavily regulated. It could be for no other reason than sport, but I feel like that is waste of energy and sorcerers.
  2. pmmg

    pmmg Auror

    I don't know, why do people fight in the MMA?

    Maybe there is a big prize.

    Maybe it is more of a roman gladiator type deal where they are forced too? Perhaps people have stuff they care about to hold over their heads.
  3. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

    For tenure and promotion in magic schools.

    For lands, wealth, a prospective lover's hand.

    For pride, fame.

    Some could be forced if their loved ones were in danger, held hostage, or if curses have been placed on them and they want to remove curses, or...maybe entire kingdoms are being held hostage, guaranteed safety as long as they send sorcerers to compete in the matches.

    Why do anything?
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2017
  4. TheKillerBs

    TheKillerBs Inkling

    It could be a form of monetised training and propaganda. You say the sorcerers are quite powerful, so it would follow that they be of military interest to the nation(s). Presumably sorcerers would fight other sorcerers in military and/or law enforcement operations, so they would need to train to fight other sorcerers and sparring is a good way to train. Most people, one could argue, would be very interested in seeing sorcerers fighting, and as most actual fights would be in wars or covert operations, they wouldn't get the chance to. But if you were to make the spars available to the population, charging an entrance fee, you would be able to make money while training your sorcerers. By the way, training sorcerers is probably expensive, so you'd be recouping that money. At the same time, by showing off your sorcerers' might, you'd be sending a message to potential enemies, both within and out of the nation. "Look at how powerful our sorcerers are. If you mess with us you'll have to face them and you don't want to do that because look how powerful they are" and such. Also, it keeps the sorcerers in the national zeitgeist as heroes and children will look up to them and want to be sorcerers when they grow up, ensuring that you'll always have the best recruits available.
  5. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    I have an arena fight in my WIP. No magic, but the reason for the tournoi is to settle disputes. Normally, my elves settle disputes among themselves--they don't have much of a legal system--but when the matter is too grave or too long-standing, there are these tourneys. They are held in an arena because all clan members are there to witness the results. Multiple contests are held because the tournoi is part of a multi-day festival at which lots of other business is transacted, so there are lots of clans in attendance.

    A bit long-winded, but there's another reason for having a fight in an arena: justice.

    But how in the world are you going to keep the audience--and the structure itself--safe in a wizard battle?
  6. wirehead

    wirehead Acolyte

    I mean, comparing to the modern day, we've got a bunch of people who play football or race formula one cars. And the folks who play football end up pretty damn battered by the end of their career and sometimes there's a car crash that kills the driver.

    There's really a spectrum between a friendly game of cards on one end and brutal gladiatorial to-the-death combat on the other. And there's a lot abut the attitude towards injury and death and the afterlife and so on there reflected in where your society fits in that spectrum. You could even drive a comparison to modern American Football where it is presented as one level of dangerous but is actually probably at a higher level of dangerous.

    The other day, I was riffing along the idea in my head that the schools of warlock arts have been studying things for so long that they have worked out different versions of the same spell, such that you have one form that causes just pain, one form that causes just injury but no pain, and the traditional form that causes pain and injury together.

    Conversely your idea gave me the notion of a magical battle in the middle of a city, but only the space between the first floor and the roof, such that the people of the city could watch the battle above themselves, but the battle is complicated by the need of flight and skilled use of the available space.
  7. D. Gray Warrior

    D. Gray Warrior Troubadour

    I figured there could be a magic barrier between the audience and the combatants. The arena fights could also be an alternative to war, as in their world there was a war that got out of control and nearly destroyed everything.
  8. Corwynn

    Corwynn Troubadour

    Arena fights need not necessarily be to the death. In the world I am creating, there is a sport called sword-dancing that evolved out of Roman-style gladiatorial fights. However, by the present day, it has become less about blood in the sand, and more about displays of fancy swordplay and acrobatics. Bouts are til first blood, and although fatalities can and do still happen in the arena, they are no longer common or expected.

    A more practical purpose for arena duels between sorcerers could be for training. Early medieval tournaments included an event called a behourd. The behourd was similar to gladiatorial combat, except that the contestants weren't supposed to kill each other. In fact, the point of the exercise was so warriors could hone their combat skills. Of course, if people want to watch these bouts for entertainment (and better yet, pay for the privilege) all the better.
    skip.knox likes this.
  9. Zeppo

    Zeppo Dreamer

    From what I have seen in some arena combat history, it was done for fame and fortune. Gladiators rarely fought to the death, and the idea of being a gladiator brought fame and wealth to the fighter that otherwise would have led a life of poverty. So, in my view, willingly fighting in the ring where death is a possibility, alternatives must be limited. If the society is otherwise a healthy economically stable one, then it would take a certain level of person that would be willing to do it. as others have said MMA, boxing, and other fighting sports we have today can be viewed in a similar fashion.
  10. valiant12

    valiant12 Sage

    I think the "corect" way to write a hiper competitive tournament\sport is to give each of the participants a difrent motivation.
    For example you may have the protagonist type dude with with some noble or idealistic intentions, his best frend with other good intentions, the main character rival, the person who most people consider the best in the sport, the psychopath who like violence, the person who just want the prize money, the person who want the fame, the person who like competition, the person who was motiveted by the money in the begining before but now he have another goal, the patriotick person who want to prove that his country/city/school/etc is the best in the world/uneverse/town/etc, the "villan" and someone who was forced to participate.
  11. Mayarra

    Mayarra New Member

    I'd say maybe a prize or another reason for them to be there to get something they want?
    Maybe just a tournament to measure strength?
  12. ChasingSuns

    ChasingSuns Sage

    Money, fame, or perhaps another prize such as a magical item/artifact.

    Another idea: each noble family submits a mage as a competitor, and the family that is represented by the winner becomes the ruling family of the kingdom for a certain number of years (kinda like in G Gundam).
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