It's been a long time since I posted an Actual Play report from my old Hackmaster group, but I found the next one 3/4 written in my email.
The previous entries can be found here. I may set up a page for this and Cthulhu for a more enjoyable reading experience... or something like that.
Mutumbo: Nubian warrior who completed a quest for his tribe. Now wandering in search of adventure.
Cecelia Darkspruce: half elf cleric/sorority girl of Sif.
Lord Ralphus: Pixie Fairy who thinks he's king of the world
Kalin Sworin: Human cleric of Akana. Looking for his brother Dalmar (former PC, now deceased).
The Drow with No Name: very "mysterious" Drow fighter.
The group continued on to the Crosedean capital of Hydincall. Outside of the village of Shrewsdale, they rescued a small boy from quicksand and spent a second night there as small heroes.
The next night the pixie fairy was acting strange at the encampment, mumbling, picking fights, and trying to set the donkey on fire. The next morning some of the party's equipment was gone, as well as the Lord Ralphus and the donkey.
When the group arrived at the gates of the massive captial, they asked
around, and yes, people did remember seeing the pixie fairy and the donkey. In fact, the donkey was just a few feet away from them, completely stripped of supplies!
Angered, Cecelia leaves the group to hit a small shrine to Sif and begins a hopeless mission of finding their stuff and bringing the thieves to justice. Disenbowling a certain pixie fairy would just be a fun hobby.
Back at the inn, Mutumbo finally came clean with Kalin, admitting that he knew Dalmar was missing since there visit to the village of Orlane. He told another white lie that Dalmar had scheduled a rendevouz point in Hydincall if they ever got separated. Kalin seemed fine with the situation, so long as he could eventually see his brother.
The Drow with no Name left with the inn with a man named Game and dwarf named Steve, and partied.
The other mopey PCs met Markus the elf, and he volunteered to help find Dalmar.
The serving boy announced that there was a dead gnome in the outhouse. Kalin performed last rites and contacted the guard for burial. When Kalin returned, the inn was aflame, but all their remaining supplies were saved by Cecelia. The serving boy Dimitri offered his place (roommates with Game and Steve) and the group crashed.
As the group emerged from the party home of Game and Steve, they staggered into a carnival atmosphere. It was the Hydincall (world) Gladiator Championships! Pit fighters from all over the world descended onto Crosedes and their 30,000 seat arena to show off their prowess. Markus and Mutumbo went to arena to inquire about fighting, while Kalin volunteered his healing services for the games as a penitence for his sins. All were accepted.
After an opening extravaganza worthy of a magical Olympics, the low level fighting began, as did the rain. The rain came down in buckets and flooded the arena floor into a muddy mess, but not not one person left the stands, instead they screamed for more. The matches themeselves turned into mud wrestling matches with weapons, and since most bouts were fought until one fighter simply submitted, the crowd became agitated.
Finally it was time for Markus and Mutumbo to fight a quick bout before a larger bout involving multiple combatants and monsters was to commence. The duo saluted the King in the stands, saluted each other....
and then the King stopped the fight. The downpour turned into something more akin to a tropical storm than a lazy day of rain. For the sake of the spectators and gladiators, the rest of the program for that day was cancelled. They were more than welcome to return the following day for more excitement... and the early rounds of the "pro" tournament.
The crowd grew angry, even to the point at hurling objects at the king's magically protected box. Fearing some sort of riot, Markus and Mutumbo, looked at each other, nodded, and charged in combat.
Try as they would like, the pair attempted at staging an elaborate combat was futile. The mud slowed them down too much. However, when they decided to change the tempo of the fight from periods of furious combat, then allowing each other a moment of recovery, the crowd was reined back. The two were still mud covered, but upright giving it everything they had, followed by some grandstanding by one as the other recovered.
As the roar of the crowd grew, so did the accuracy of and damage dealt by the blows. Kalin was forbidden to use magic and the combatants were getting worn down fast. Finally, in a moment of martial prowess, Markus hit Mutumbo with tremendous force and the Nubian fell to the ground. Kalin dashed out onto the arena floor, and Cecelia jumped from her seat to help her friend. Only their combined efforts brought back Mutumbo from certain death.
(Markus rolled a nat 20 on his combat roll. The subsequent critical hit roll brought Mutumbo to -8. The combined healing of the clerics was just enough to get him back to 2.)
The crowd loved every minute of it.
Of course, no one else wanted to go out and fight that day, forcing thousands of angry fans to riot through the city. Markus and Mutumbo's fight is credited with keeping the disturbance at a minimum, although the torrential downpours that kept fires from burning out of the control and spreading probably helped too.
(Dalcin, the Pixie Fairy player was tiring of the ineffectiveness and general insanity of the player and decided he would officially go crazy and steal the party's stuff. This would make the party appreciate the new character's generosity and accept him into the group. Ironically, Markoos was the name of another elf back in my College AD&D game during the mid-90s. That character was far more annoying and needed to be knocked down a few pegs before becoming one of the champions of equal rights for the elves in a humancentric world.
The Hydincall Gladiator Championships was another development from that campaign, and whenever some city adventuring gets more investigative that combat-driven, I let the warriors in the party blow off some steam.