Dark Sun: The Tyrant of Tyr
Excepting Kalak’s ziggurat, the gladiatorial stadium is the single largest structure in Tyr. The ziggurat looms over one end of the stadium with the Golden Tower rising majestically at the opposite side. A special viewing box for the templars and the king connects the Golden Tower to one of the ends of the stadium. On the ziggurat’s side, a great stairway climbs from the gladiatorial floor to the very top of the rainbow pyramid, while spacious, beautiful mosaics depicting Kalak as a great warrior god adorn the walls to each side of the pyramid’s stairs.
The stadium’s rectangular combat field measures 300 feet long by 80 feet wide. The arena’s floor of hard-packed sand bears an auburn, almost reddish hue. Tyrians say it is the lifeblood of thousands of fallen gladiators that gives the sand its unusual tinge. Separating spectators from combatants is a 15-foottall barrier that rises from the floor of the arena to the stadium’s first seating level. The stadium’s multi-leveled seating configuration is unique in the Tablelands.
An upper and lower seating section comprise each of the two long opposing sides of the stadium. The seating sections span 300 feet with stairs to the back spaced at 50 foot intervals. The arena’s stonebenches receive little use as the Tyrian crowds usually remain on their feet for the duration of the match. Traditionally, the lower section seats the nobles, senators, and members of powerful trading houses who prefer the shade granted by the overhanging upper section. The king and templars, of course, sit in the special roofed viewing box in the Golden Tower reserved expressly for their use.
The upper sections of the stadium, referred to as ¨The Sun Seats,¨ are open to the general populace of the city. This section generally attracts a more raucous crowd of commoners to view the bloodsports.
The spaces below the spectators’ seats are a maze of cells and passageways that hold prisoners and monsters destined for the arena. A wide avenue leads from the stadium’s north side to the nearby Stadium Gate in the city walls. This gate is carved to resemble the gaping jaws of the Dragon, and it is used to trans port monsters captured in the mountains or the desert to holding cells until they are brought out for combat in the arena.
Banther, The Master of Games, stages games on ten days out of each month and during festivals. Anyone can enter the games, although in practice, most entrants are professionals who win purses to support themselves or gladiators sponsored by a noble family or merchant house or slaves who have been conscripted to die or at best survive for another day. To win ones freedom as a slave in the arena is extremely difficult and usually involves the influence of an outside sponsor.