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The Suian 516 AC
After the first two Graplores, the deity Han~Sui saw
how well the peoples of the world reacted to the competitions.
He wanted to recreate that react with a competition of armed
skill to promote his faith.
In the year 479 BC, he and his faithful organized the first Suian
The tournament was like its predecessor, the Graplore, in many ways.
It takes place in a hexagonal arena with ten foot walls,
generally set into the ground to allow spectators to see.
The arena is twenty five feet across.
It consists of matches, which consist of best of three contests.
A combatant is eliminated after he has lost two matches.
Magic is disallowed, except for the enchantments places by the
judges to attempt to prevent unneeded deaths and injuries, and
enchantments meant to protect the integrity of the competition.
Much like in the Graplore, combatants are chosen by clerics.
They are chosen by clerics of Han~Sui for the Suian.
This means that chaotic combatants are uncommon, and combatants
that are devout cultists are very rare.
The host city also gets to select one combatant, which is vetted
by the religion, but rarely vetoes.
For many centuries, one of those ways was that it was held in the same
city as the Graplore, on the following year.
That changed after Tyrogatore angered the Counsil deities.
He declared that the Graplore would be held in 240 AC in the city
of Mydir, the home of the cult of Hemator.
Han~Sui, hating the cults, had his faithful hold the Suian in 241
AC in Nestonitop, in the Orcish Empire.
Since then, they have only been held in the same place on rare
Although the winner of the Suian has always received the same prize, the
many of combatants have received different awards through the years.
The winner has always received a blade of finest quality, usually
made of the strongest steel.
Occasionally, the host city or nation will provide another material,
such as mithral or adamantium.
The blade is forged by the most notable and available sword maker
of Han~Sui in the world. It
is traditionally a curved long sword, or katana, but that blade type is
not a requirement. The sword
has the year and location of the tournament etched into the blade, and
most times the name of the winner etched on after the tournament.
THE TIME: 516 AC
Some would call the century before the Day of Falling
Death as the best century the world has ever seen.
It clearly falls into what is historically known as the
Diamond Age, when the Kingdom of Icefia was the world power and
its ideals were those that the world saw as best.
Around the world, there was tranquility.
The Spider Queen had been defeated long ago, and the powers that
be held the underdark squarely in check.
The Grean Republic, which had long been the hard fisted rulers of
the sea, had been defeated.
The seas were now as free and safe as any time in history.
Dragons had been hunted almost into extinction and posed no
threat. Tinkers had advanced
science further than had ever been thought possible, and while many
still refrained from the use of technology, few had a prejudice against
it, and wherever it existed, as with high levels of magic, life was good
for the people.
The powerful nations of the world, the Kingdom of Icefia, before any of
its regions had revolted; the Destroytian Republic, before the Wars of
Decency; and the Kingdom of Yellowia, while it still held sway over all
its traditional lands; stood allied to each other.
Only the String Mountains knew war within two decades before.
The orcs knew their borders and did not stray beyond them.
The Great Forest was peaceful.
The lands surrounding the Great Plateau were sheltered under its
umbrella. The Odd Lands were
The Counsil was strong, and despite a few cults existing, no evil cults
had much of any power. On
the Counsil itself, the balance of power clearly favored good and
neutrality. Gremdelivian was
near extinction. Sutyr had
not yet appeared. Lavash’Ki
had not made it on to the Counsil.
Highlander still sat on the Counsil and was an advocate for
civilization. Stasis had
ascended from a demi god to a lesser power less than a decade earlier.
With all of that stability in the world, the generational time came to
hold the Graplore, and then the Suian.
It is an event that for one of the rare times is not interfered
with by any war around the world.
Magic and technology have created a time when communication and
travel are as easy and safe as they will ever be, making it easy for
clerics of Han~Sui to scout the world and easy for combatants to make it
to the location of the tournament, in this case Massada.
THE PLACE: MESSADA
Resplendent. There is no
other word that captures Messada at the height of its glory.
In the years just before the War, after the Arch was built and
the river channel dredged and the city prepared for the Suian it was
truly the greatest city of the world.
I will never forget the first time I came to it; sailing up the
Tamin, under the Arch you could feel the city drawing close in the
behavior of the crew. It was
like dawn, passing out of the dark wilderness into a bright safe place.
The valley flattens and the great granite walls can be seen from
After you passed the walls for a few minutes the whole city, sloping
gently to the northwest and the castle, could be seen.
There was no interior walls on the river in those days, the city
had little pretense of being a fortress, not with the world at peace.
From the Harbor you could see the bustle of the Gnomish wards on
the east bank, never still, but sitting in the shadow of the new Royal
Military College. If you
looked down the wide streets to the west eventually after seemingly
endless perfect rows of stone townhouses with their sloped blue slate
roofs, your vision would be blocked by some great structure.
In the south it was the Bardic College, a place so mysterious to
me that I didn't dare to venture there for decades, until after the War.
Its strange triple tower and great keep-like hall seemed so out
of place with the harmony of Dwarven perfection of the rest of the city.
Not far to the north was the arena, it is there still though it
seems less than it was before, but in those days it was another symbol
of greatness, the place where 300 years before Stasis had won the
tournament and come so close to equaling Korda's legendary feat.
I arrived only a few weeks before the Suian and the whole Kingdom
felt like crackling lightning so alive it was that the Suian had
returned on the anniversary of Stasis' Triumph.
Further north still and
much closer to the harbor was the Great Market.
I had been raised on Red Island and had spent many a day in the
market of Tas-tio-Horari so markets held no awe for me, but in those
days it was a remarkable place.
If the College and its theatres were the height of culture then
the market proved that the Kingdom was the height of civilization; so
civil were its merchants, so honest the tradesmen and so skilled the
craftsmen it showed every visitor a sincerely welcoming face.
Nearly any item or honorable service could be found there.
I will not say it is much changed today, but the suffering of the
Kingdom has hardened its people and the joy has gone from many simple
The great northwest road, the Castle Road was like nothing I had ever
seen. After the energy of
the market the sudden change to serene, idyllic calm was off putting.
In those days only a long arrow shot from the edge of the market
you would come upon the great mansions of the city, huge stone homes,
some compounds in their own right, stood guard over the wide tree lined
boulevard. They seemed like
monuments to the Kingdom's triumph and the idea that they belonged to
just one family was inconceivable.
Had I not seen the Castle in the distance I would have thought
they were castles themselves.
Then as the High King's gate is clear ahead the road widens,
becoming like a plaza and the great soaring temples and keeps of the
city stand on both sides, like an honor guard for the Castle.
First to the right is the Headquarters of the Knights of the
White Sword, a place that when I first saw it I never dreamed I would
set foot inside. Even its
stern practical facade gave one a feeling of hope in those days.
Its walls seemed unnecessary, its doors guarded but unbarred.
Further along the High Temple of Stasis, its diamond keep the
largest building I had ever seen its blue glass commanding reverence
from every passerby. Between
them, in their protective shadow, stands the Temple of Hemator, its
cheering pink and red glass casts a warm welcoming glow on the streets,
though I remember even then where the red light fell on the blue
flagstones I could not help but think of all the blood that had been
shed to protect the Kingdom.
Across from those magnificent structures were places strange to me, that
as one so young I could not understand why they held places of such
great honor. First the
temple of Gnarion, who seemed such an upstart to me to be accorded such
a place when mighty Han-sui or Treetop's temples were nowhere nearby.
Another solid practical building, but it too radiated hopefulness
and energy, for Gnarion expects nothing less of his redoubtable
followers. I have learned
better in the centuries since.
Next the Fountain of Tfop, a power strange to me and of
questionable use. If I had
been a better student of history I would have understood why he and his
followers were shown such respect, and the relationship among He and
Stasis and Falan. A place of
beautiful craftsmanship, so unlike the others, except its neighbor to
the north, the Fountain was all glass and steel and copper.
It sparkled like a gem and cast its light all around when the sun
or moon shown upon its walls and dome.
Then the last, the First Temple of Falan.
Nothing like what I expected from my enclave shine, it was a
beautiful, soaring structure; full of great flying pillars and bright
windows. It was the first
place I entered in the city, to pay my respects if not my worship.
There is so much more I remember of that happy time, too soon washed
away by the long darkness of the War and the rebellions; but it does my
heart hurt to dwell to long upon it, for there is much yet to be done to
make the Kingdom as it was.
Wilar Tel'cu 783A.C.
The capital of the Kingdom of Icefia was the ideal
place to hold a Suian tournament during the Diamond Age.
It is the seat of power for the Kingdom of Icefia, which was
founded by Stasis, who in life won the Suian.
The home of his religion, which is often allied to Han~Sui and is
a proponent of the tournament.
It is only the second time the city has held the tournament, the
first being 300 years prior in 216 AC, when Stasis himself won.
RULES OF THE TOURNAMENT
The Suian Tournament consists of duels.
The duels pit two warriors against one another in a 25 foot
diameter circle arena. The
arena has ten foot walls surrounding it.
Two warriors fight until one is unconscious, dead, weaponless,
disqualified, or until one concedes.
A warrior must defeat another warrior two times to win the match.
The matches are therefore, the best two out of three duels.
A warrior is eliminated from the tournament after he has lost two
matches. The tournament is
therefore, a two loss elimination tournament.
The tournament continues until there is only one warrior left,
and he is the winner.
In the rare case of a draw in a duel, the warriors are allowed to be
healed up to the point where they were at before the duel began, and
they fight again. If at all
possible, two warriors do not fight against each other in two matches
over the course of a tournament.
The opponents are randomly selected for each round, with the only
disqualifier for a pairing being if the two warriors have fought in the
tournament before, and there is another possible opponent for each.
In any given round, if there are an odd number of warriors, the
judges select the warrior they feel is the best and give that warrior a
bye for the round. They will
not award the same warrior a bye in two straight rounds, and if
possible, not award a warrior more than one bye in the entire
tournament, even if that means giving byes to warriors that are not the
entrants into the tournament are:
|Francos Macomber, a human from the Destroytian
Republic who fought in the last Suian, of 491 AC.
He came in 3rd at that tournament and for years after
devoted his life to returning and winning.
However, being human has disadvantages, and time began
to catch up to him. He realized when he reached
the age of 50, that he would stand little chance against
the other that had defeated him and would not have aged
by the time of the next tournament. He changed his
objective. Instead of training himself, he set out
to find a student to teach. A physical specimen
that could be modeled, trained, and win the Suian under
Francos' banner. He did just that. Oddly,
however, that was not the end of Francos' story.
In a twist of fate, two months before the tournament, he
was called to be a replacement for a shrine in his home
town in the Republic. His ego took over and he
agreed. He faired very well in the tournament,
getting to the 10th round before he was forced to face
his protégé. The very first duel went poorly for
Francos, ending in him being badly hurt. Realizing
he had gone as far as he would, he conceded the match
and resigned from the tournament. He continues to
participate as the aid to his protégé, who remains
undefeated into round 13.|
|Varak, a large Gatori from the Ekrudian isles, he is
the protégé of Francos. While still young, he was
a wild berserker, using his immense size to defeat his
opponents. Francos came upon the beast and saw
potential. He convinced Varak that the best life
he could have was with Francos. It helped
that he offered the Gatori lots of coin and food.
For the next several years, Francos used his own talents
and hired others to teach the Gatori many other
techniques. When it became clear that Varak's
rather short for his size arms would be a problem,
Francos guided him to the use of a Glaive. Despite
that training, Varak often falls back upon his animal
ferocity and crashes into his opponents with devastating
force. He has so far ran through almost all of his
competitors, smashing their weapons before they can even
attack him effectively. He even defeated his
mentor so decisively, that Francos retired from the
|Abernathy, a human from the Icefian isles, he is one
of two sons of a wealthy merchant family that made it
into the tournament. It is widely believed that
his father bought his entry into the Suain after his
brother was selected to be in it. Abernathy took
out his frustration at that situation in the early
rounds of the tournament, defeating his brother.
He is a skilled wielder of the ranseur, trained by the
best Ekrudian Spear fighters alive. His has bought
the best trainers and been given everything necessary
through life to turn him into the greatest warrior in
|Drydan, the other brother who is the only competitor
remaining with a loss. He is also human, but went
about gathering his skills in a much different way.
He is a noble warrior, knightly in virtue and honorable.
He has trained with many of the orders of Icefia, most
notably the Bladelords. He uses two scimitars,
white in color.|
|Emerius, an orcish Bladelord that has been training
on the path of the Silencer.|
|Ynok the Bull, a Kobold from Borkondof.
Although the slow witted Kobold would say that he is no
longer a slave, the truth is that his hobgoblin and
bugbear masters still control his actions, even if they
do so less directly than when he was simply a talented
warrior in their arenas. When the time came in
Borkondof for the great tournament to be held to
determine who the high cleric of Han~Sui there would
select as his nominee for the Suian, Ynok entered after
the 'suggestion' of his masters. He easily
defeated all but one of the hundreds of challengers.
It came down to Ynok and a massive bugbear named Foss.
NO one is certain, but most believe that his masters
cheated to allow Ynok to win that final battle.
Regardless, the Kobold is now undefeated after twelve
rounds of the Suian. His victories have often been
so quick that neither he nor his opponents have been
seriously harmed. He scares his opponents into
submission wearing his unique bull headed full armor.
When he needs to, he charges more ferociously than
nearly any other competitor.|
|Foss, a Bugbear from Borkondof. After being
defeated by Ynok, he went on a quest to find another
cleric to nominate him. He was successful, and was
nominated by the cleric of a small shrine in the great
forest. It is said he killed twenty ogres by
himself to convince the cleric. He ran through the
first six rounds winning easily. He made it clear
that he wanted to fight Ynok, claiming that in the
controlled environment of the Suian, he would easily
win. However, his wish did not come to pass.
He lost to the bladelord Emerius in round seven, and
then two rounds later came up against the scimitar
master Marcus. He lost both fights and left the
tournament disappointed. He continues to hang
around the competitors, hoping to cause the defeat of
|Tan'Fesh, originally from the great forest this
Sakor'akai has traveled far and wide to prove his skill.
Early in his travels, Tan'Fesh came to the conclusion
that the best way to prove his skill was inside the
arena. The great wars of the world had ended, so
he had none to fight in to prove his talent.
Against the warnings of his family, he traveled to
Borkondof, where he won many fights before having to
escape. Lore has it that he even fought against a
young Ynok and defeated the Kobold, but spared his life.
He later lost to Foss the bugbear, who spared Tan'Fesh
life after witnessing his honor earlier. He went
from there to the Orcish Empire, where he won again and
again. Just before he left the empire, he took
part in a match Agyar'golyo, where he competed with a
young Thrasius, allowing their team to win and vaulting
Thrasius into a starting spot on a team. He then
traveled to Yellowia, where he learned from the
Silverswords, including an already talented Lexi.
He continued to travel, fighting all over the world.
He fought in the desert of Intoria and in the String
Mountains. Finally, when the Suian neared, and he
knew he had to compete, he returned home and was quickly
nominated to the tournament. So far, his most
notable opponents were the Sledgehammer prince and the
nephew of the Jungle elven queen. He defeated
|Gelaud Sledgehammer, the dwarven prince of the
sledgehammer clan. An able warrior and veteran of
many battles, he was expected to go much further than he
did. He was one of the only competitors to have
seen many actual battles, as the wars in the String
Mountains were the only of significance in the world in
the past twenty five years. He ran through three
opponents before coming against Foss the bugbear, who in
an amazing, and some say lucky rush, killed the dwarf.
He was brought back, and won two fights convincingly,
making him again a favorite to win despite the loss.
However, he then had to fight Tan'Fesh. The
Sakor'akai was too tricky for the dwarf and eventually
force the prince to concede.|
|Erizzel Jungletree, part of the royal family of the
jungle elves. A talented ranger, treewalker, and
acrobat, the jungle elf had a century of experience in
combat. His performances disappointed. He
tried trick after trick, and many failed, ending with
him in precarious positions. He lost two of his
first three fights and became the biggest flop of the
|Lexi Keegan, a female halfling from Yellowia.
She is this tournament as the representative of the
Silverswords. Like many of the Silverswords before
her, Lexi is a master fencer and expert at defensive
fighting. She has the distinction in this
tournament of being the quickest competitor. Her
duels have been long, and she has lost more than a few.
Despite that, she has yet to lose a match and is putting
on a good show for her Silversword brethren. She
defeated and eliminated fellow female Rakel.|
|Thrasius Aggripa, a professional athlete and warrior
from the orcish empire, and is this Suian's
representative from the Agyar'Goylo sport which is so
popular in the empire. He is talented in manner
forms of combat and has a better understanding of
competition like the Suian than anyone who has not
fought in one before. His fights have ended in all
different ways, but more often than not his opponent has
conceded out of frustration. To this point, he has
not fought any of the other elite competitors, and he
has dominated all of his opponents.|
|Gnax, a boisterous amatine gnome who many believe to
be an assassin. He is quick, sneaky, deadly, loud,
obnoxious, and has humiliating many of his larger
opponents. When not fighting, he does not mingle
as many of the combatants do. He and his entourage
fade into the crowds, only to appear again on the day of
|Marcus Vai, a former slave who calls Icefia home.
Once taken off a ship on the high seas, Marcus was
rescued by a former Suian competitor and Sword Saint
named Darren Felton. A decade ago, when Marcus was
merely a serving boy on some island, Darren traveled to
the island and killed his slave master. Taking the
young boy under his wing, Darren taught him how to
defend himself. The boy proved to be naturally
gifted and took to the art of the sword quickly.
Traveling with his mentor for years, Marcus learned many
things and became quite wealthy. Finally, Darren
retired and Marcus took up all of his duties in Icefia
and the isles. When the time came for the Suian,
the same cleric that had nominated Darren nominated
Marcus. The protege did not disappoint. He
has won most of his matches without even getting hit.
He has forced many to conceded before they did any
damage to him. He defeated the monstrous Foss, as
well as defeating and eliminating the most talented
paladin in the tournament.|
|Gerald Gala, a noble paladin and cavalier from
Icefia. Many believed the descendant of many great
Icefian heroes would win the tournament, especially in
his home nation. Despite his advanced age, he
remained the best warrior in his family. He was
nearly unstoppable against any unscrupulous opponents.
His long sword and shield was relics and had been used
by his family in a dozen Suians. In round four, he
proved to be not lucky. He drew the barbarian
Kertullian, hater of Icefians. Despite his clear
skill advantage, Gerald was laid low, killed by the
raging murderer. He returned and stayed in the
tournament, winning five more matches before he had to
fight Marcus. The skilled swordsman was vulnerable
to none of Gerald's advantages and defeated the beloved
|Theos Firstcrest, the chosen champion of the
Destroytian Republic. He is a noble warrior,
Knight of the Republic, and skilled mounted warrior.
He is the best known combatant in diplomatic circles and
his victory in the Suian would have more international
ramifications than any other competitor. He
adheres to a classical style of combat and classic
methods of victory. He is well versed in all forms
of combat, a jack of all trades and master of none.
He has won duels in many different ways, but always
honorably. He is a fearless warrior who is
respected by all. Theos was supposed to fight
Francos in the round before the former winner retired.
It was reported that Theos would have conceded each
fight out of respect to his countryman and former near
|Rakel, a nipit bard from Yellowia and member of
Order of the Trueheart. Having talked her way into
a nomination, the lady was nonetheless a skilled
warrior. She won several fights before running
into Geluad Sledgehammer, who mocked her songs of long
and her whispers. She conceded quickly, earning
her boos and jeers from the crowd. Saddened from
the experience she only barely won her next match before
losing to the Silversword Lexi, another female against
whom she had no chance.|
|Kertuallian, a barbarian from Icefia whose declared
purpose is the death of all Icefians. The only
reason he is allowed in the kingdom is because he was
nominated to fight in the Suian, otherwise he would be
arrested and likely killed. His most satisfying
victory came in round four when he fought the beloved
veteran hero of Icefia, Gerald Gala. He killed the
knight and a riot almost erupted. Taunting the
crowd and trying to take the head of his opponent as a
prize, Kertuallian had to be escorted from the arena and
held in protective custody for a month. He won
that fight, but has only narrowly won many others.
When not fighting an Icefian, he appears less interested
and has nearly lost four times. He remains a
tremendous threat late in the tournament, as one third
of the remaining competitors are Icefian.|
Emerius defeats Abernathy 2-1
defeats Lexi 2-0
defeats Gnax 2-0
defeats Thrasius 2-0
defeats Ynok 0-2 DQ
defeats Kertuallian 2-1
defeats Drydan 2-0
defeats Varak 2-1
defeats Emerius 2-0
defeats Kertullian 2-1
defeats Gnax 2-0
defeats Lexi 2-0
Lexi, Gnax, and Kertullian eliminated
get s bye
defeats Tan'Fesh 2-0
defeats Ynok 1-1 DQ
defeats Abernathy 2-1
gets a bye
defeats Thrasius 2-0
defeats Tan'Fesh 2-1
and Thrasius eliminated
gets a bye
defeats Theos 2-0
gets a bye
defeats Varak 2-0
defeats Theos 2-0
is the winner!
The final twelve combatants of the 516 Suain were
quickly separated between contenders and pretenders. After the
14th round, five of the remaining 12 were eliminated. One could
say it was the tournament of reach, since five of the final seven used a
reach weapon. But oddly, they began to drop out. The master
of the scimitar was a puzzle that could not be solved. Only the
hater of Icefians was able to defeat in a duel, by making him concede
once. The other finalist was classic fighter and a knight.
Fearless, he ignored the strategies of many who relied on intimidation
and fear. He brutal attacks overcame each opponents tricks, until
he ran afoul of Marcus, whose trick was just a bit too deadly.
The Icefians, hosting the tournament, had high hopes
for a home nation victory. With a third of the final twelve being
Icefian, they had a good chance. Incidental deaths proved the
nemesis of many of them. Abernathy, Drydan, and Emerius all dying.
Emerius was so bad that after multiple deaths he was forced to withdraw.
The hope of Icefia fell to Marcus. From a long line of light sword
fighters from eastern Icefia, his family had entrants in the Suians for
centuries. He finally fulfilled their dream and won.
A factor that occurs every so often in the Suians is
a new trick that someone brings in which fools the judges. In
years passed it has included strategy-less dwarven ragers, exalted
warriors, and the like. This year was the same. After the
tournament, the judges looked into the existence of Ynok and determined
that while he had not broken the existing rules, his kind would no
longer be allowed. A new test would be developed to determine if a
combatant had any connection to another plane, no matter how slight.
The connection would be analyzed and if deemed unfair, the combatant
would be barred.