I am in the middle of a homebrew and my PCs have been given the option to fight in the arena in the city they are seeking to help. The award is to be allowed a personal audience with one of the BBEG in the campaign if they win. (Chances are they will not win.) So far the things I know I want from the arena are:
I want them at some point to have to fight one another BUT - It will be non lethal. I do not want the loser of the fight to be knocked out of the tournament and unable to help with the last fight in the arena.
I want them to fight together against a Hydra at the end BUT - their chances of killing the hydra are slim. I want them to feel the pain of failure. If they can beat it, Great! but I do not see it as likely.
I want them to fight another group of NPCs (these characters, 2 of them, are some of our characters we created in past campaigns, I know they will get a kick out of this). BUT - Since it is only 2 NPCs, I don't know how to justify that 4 of the PCs are allowed to compete against them.
Ultimately, I want them to fight one another (which engages all 4 PCs ) but the result of that will be that there is a loser and a winner. I need to find a way that all of the above can happen, and that all PCs are engaged throughout the whole process.
I also do not want to play a double faced DM and have to entertain 2 plot lines. Example: 2 winning PCs advance to fight while other 2 PCs go on some random mission (since they lost).
PCs are levels 4 and 5 broken down below:
- level 5 Warrior
- level 5 Cleric
- level 5 Bard
- level 4 Rogue
My thought is to have this like a festival. There is one, maybe two fights a day. I am hoping for ideas. I want them to feel like all fights are lethal but they are all not. The PC vs PC fight will not be lethal. The PC vs Hydra fight will be lethal.
They have made their way into a corrupt city. The BBEG likely does not know that they are the protagonists of the story. The right hand man of the BBEG, SHILROCK, met with the PCs earlier in the campaign and asked them to assassinate a Lt. of the BBEG to better his position in the court. They succeeded and Shilrock told them he would enter their names into the tournament as a reward. It is an honor to be able to fight in the arena. Also, the reward for winning the arena is a personal audience with the BBEG.
Hope this clears some things up.