Each of these Encounters Around The Arenas was inspired by a card draw from the RPG Inspiration Cards.
Usually I used a combination of the image, Title, and Archetype. I often used the Event, Character Trait, and Character Quirk descriptions as well.
Table 3: Encounters Around The Arenas (d12)
- A group of Strangers and Outsiders have lined up for try-outs for the armed sports in the Arenas. Members of the Crow and Watcher families begin to goad some of the try-outs to show off their skills. An old man and a boy face off. Both are given weapons as the Crows and Watchers smirk.
- A young Crow woman swaggers toward you, pointing her finger. "I challenge you!" she points to one of your party. "And I challenge you" she points to another of your party.
- You see a series of strange beasts in cages being drawn on carts toward the Arenas. One or two of the strange creatures uses words. "Shut up or you'll get worse" one of the Keepers with the carts shouts into a cage, brandishing a club at the strange creatures.
- A young woman named "Glory Crow" strips to the waist and grapples with a sweaty, barrel-chested man called "Top Stonebreaker". A crowd gathers around their wrestling match. Each contestants' holds become increasingly unsafe and aggressive. A few bet-takers are working the crowd. Suddenly, the woman screams in pain. She draws a knife.
- Trumpets blare. One of the Arenas is about to seat spectators for the games. It is time for the competitive ballgame, in which a hard rubber ball is passed between two teams until one side scores a victory by sending the ball through a very small stone ring. A Strangerside ball team will be facing off against the Crows. A clown distracts the crowd as it lines up to pay a bead for admission. A child is picking pockets as the clown distracts people nearby.
- A weapons merchant has set up a booth. There are a number of fine blades on display, and several that are rusty, crusty, and/or of inferior quality. One of the blades speaks to you. Literally.
- A famous Strangerside gladiator called Old Skull walks up to the Arenas. A Crow approaches him, and stops him. "I thought you were dead" the Crow says. "Let's see what we can do about that." Old Skull squints, his brow furrows. His eyes are full of cataracts. "I'm not defenseless," Old Skull says as he reaches for a sword.
- Deathraven Crow arrives. The crowd parts for this clan elder. She begins to berate a young fighter. "Killraven," she says to the redhead. "Don't embarrass me again. You'd better find someone to really hurt today. Preferably one of them." She points to a group of Outsiders waiting in line for tryouts.
- Two Watcher family members face off. A woman is singing as they spar. The woman has distinctive snake tattoos wrapping around each of her arms. They move as she sings. Both men look dizzy and confused as they fight.
- A disheveled man offers you tickets to a feast being held by the Watcher family. He shows you a handbill for the feast, which is at their family house nearby. You will be able to meet some of their ablest gladiators. All you need to do in return is go out the city gate behind the Arenas, and get a barrel of wine from a vendor named Indulgence, who has a wine bar on the beach. He says to ask for the Shimmermoon Bleed - that is the best red wine.
- King Emerald Horizon arrives for the games on a splendid litter. Just as he dismounts, several beasts break free of their cages and head right for him. The sky suddenly dims. Eclipse beginning! The Kings guards begin swinging their swords at everyone!
- Two Outsiders face off, as people begin placing bets. Swords ring out, but the two warriors seem slow to engage. An Outsider in the priestly regalia of Huitizilopochtli begins to laugh. "They are lovers!" he exclaims scornfully.
There are a few gladiator references from a certain Silver Age Marvel comic thrown into this table for good measure. Let me know in the comments if you spot them.