Trials of Grettir
An annual fighting tournament held in the Free State of Thorvald's capital city of Grettir. Celebrated with a week-long festival , the Trials are typically composed of three to five encounters against a variety of terrible beasts and monsters. A brutal affair, it's rare for a year to pass without at least one fighter's death.
When Thorvald fled the kingdom of Glace with a small band of dwarves to escape the kingdom's oppression, he founded the city of Grettir at the foot of a imposing mountain where his father died from exhaustion. The nation's capital city and stronghold was carved inside the mountain's vast caverns over the course of several decades, but it wasn't until decades later that Grettir's inhabitants discovered they'd founded their city atop a sleeping fire elemental. Unlike the rogue spirits known to appear from the Plane of Fire, this was a primordial elemental that if awoken would destroy the city and everything nearby in a fifty-mile radius. Thorvald deliberated with his council for weeks on how to address the apocalyptic threat, and in the end they came to a two-part decision that would have implications for centuries to come. First, a ceremony would be performed to turn Thorvald into a demigod capable of protecting the nation from the elemental should it ever be awoken. Thorvald, exhausted after decades of forging a nation in the wilderness of southern Pescat, agreed to undergo the ritual to preserve his hard work for generations to come. Second, Grettir's government would establish an annual fighting tournament where challengers from all over the world could test their strength against a menagerie of wild beasts and monsters. The tournament would become an opportunity for the kingdom to obtain global renown, but the tournament's brutal fights would also serve as yearly blood rituals used by the nation's clerics to cast a powerful 'Sleep' spell on the primordial elemental. Since its founding in the 500's, the Trials of Grettir have gone on without fail for almost four centuries. Plagues and wars have been known to delay the tournament, but Grettir's leaders always found a way to perform the rituals by the year's end. For the fighters willing to risk their lives, the tournament can be an incredible opportunity to advance their reputations and win powerful items from the nation's vaults. Previous Trial Winners
Elements of the Trial: The Grand FeastThe week of the Trials begins with a massive feast hosted by the nation of Thorvald's Allspeaker/head of state in honor of the fighters participating in the tournament. The dinner is hosted within the Allspeaker's official chambers along with each group's sponsors, a time for drinking and revelry before the tournament's ruthlessness takes its toll on the fighters. Minor feasts and parties are hosted all over town on the day of the Grand Feast, most notably at the Sturdy Stone Cafe where the cafe's owner Duke Mithril hosts a days-long jam session for all of the entertainers visiting town Grettir for the festival.
The TrialsThe trials last for four to six days depending on the number of fighters participating. A maximum of twelve different fighter groups are allowed to participate in any given year, centuries of trial and error have determined it to be the maximum number of groups before the Trials become a drawn-out affair. The groups are allowed to have anywhere from one to six members, but the average is three or four. Each group has at least one day where they participate in multiple encounters, taking short rests in between the fights before moving on to the next encounter. Groups are disqualified from the tournament if all of its fighters die or the group surrenders during an encounter. For the groups that succeed in their trials, their fights are graded by a handful of veteran judges who assign scores to different aspects of the fight: speed, effectiveness, defense, and style. The group with the highest score from the preliminary fights advances to the final trial, but two groups have been known to advance to the same final if the judges deem both of them equal in skill and power.
The Final TrialEach year the organizers of the Trials work tirelessly to deliver a show-stopping battle at the end of each tournament. A group of highly-trained monster hunters travel around Pescaliat to capture rare and dangerous beasts, like the behir that Asdis Loderr fought in 884. Other times Thorvald himself will appear to challenge the fighters in his celestial form, a formidable opponent for even the most battle-hardened adventurer. After the Royal Knights Brigade fought in the Trials of 897 the tournament became a global phenomenon with fighters the world over traveling to the icy reaches of Grettir to test their skills. The Trials' organizers worked overtime to deliver challenging encounters, experimenting with summoning rituals to bring monstrous creatures to the material plane for the fighters to face.
Closing CeremonyThere have been many years when no group or fighter is able to overcome the final trial, but if victorious the winning group is awarded 100,000GP for their efforts. A parade is held in their honor, and the fighters are made honorary citizens of Thorvald should they decide to stay in the region. Thorvald's treasury has amassed an impressive collection of powerful relics and magic items over the course of four centuries, and every few years the trial's organizers will offer one of these magic items as a reward along with the prize money. Thorvald's leaders and Allspeakers have been reluctant to give away hand-crafted dwarven relics as tournament prizes, but as the tournament grows in popularity its organizers have had to upgrade the prizes offered to attract a better-caliber fighters.
- Thorvald's Allspeaker, who ushers in the tournament's beginning and awards the champion belt to the victors
- The fighters, whose numbers range anywhere from ten to a hundred depending on the year. The more fighters, the more challenging the trials become.
- The sponsors, wealthy individuals and powerful organizations financing the fighters for bragging rights and possession of Thorvald's powerful relics