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killgore
2004-12-09, 05:37 AM
As you approach the fortified city of Corcoran, you see a weird glow over the hills. As you crest the hill, you look down to see a sight that leaves you speechless. The entire river surrounding the city is on fire. Beginning up at the north falls (a mile up stream), and down to the south falls (a little over a mile and a half down stream), flames dance over the surface of the water.
Strangely, there does not seam to be panic coming from the city, but rather the sounds of celebration. Looking closer, you see many boats out on the water, and the bridges are covered with celebrators and vendors, with the occasional drunk being thrown off the bridge into the fiery water.
At this, you begin to realize it's all an illusion, but the sheer scope involved is staggering.

The River of Fire is celebrated in the city of Corcoran (any gameworld, requires at least one major river capable of having a LARGE city on a island in it).

Just over 200 years ago, the city of Corcoran was threatened by a massive humanoid invasion. After over a month of siege, with continual battles over the bridges ended. Due to the bridges being destroyed, the humanoids decided to build a flotilla to cross the river. After nearly 2 weeks of constant building, the humanoids where ready to launch. The city however, was not without it's own resources. They learned of the plan from simple observation, and some divination, and consulted with all the spellcasters in the city.
One of them, an elderly halfling wizard named Garson Firefoot (who was known for his love of elemental magic), set out to insure his cities safety. Being quite old, over 130, he had not taken much of a role in the cities defense up to this point, and such much of his adventuring life had been spent on other planes, no one really understood just how powerful he really was.
On the day the flotilla launched, Garson Firefoot waited until the entire force was on the water, even though that meant many where climbing the walls, and there was fighting at the docks. Once the entire fleet was waterborne, he cast a spell, which turned the water into fire. All of it. For two and a half miles, and as deep as 80 feet in some places, all water became fire. In less the 30 seconds, the entire humanoid army was destroyed. As the boats had no water to keep them afloat on, they simply fell into the fire, and even if some humanoids had some sort of protection from fire, they still fell and had no air to breath, and the fire was strong enough to override most elemental protections anyway.
The stunned populace quickly made Garson a hero, and a year later, on the anniversary, Garson Firefoot passed away of old age, a happy content man (halfling).
Though the notes on the spell have been found, no one seems able to decipher them, leading many to believe that Garson was casting 10th level magic, and others to believe the notes are false, and meant to make it so no one else could ever use that spell again. Either is a possibility, and would have fit the halfling.
Now, 200 years later, the day is marked with the spellcasters of the city casting massive illusions of fire on the water, as well as fireworks and other pyrotechnic displays.

The actual festivities are quite similar to any other festival, there just happens to be a fire motive to everything. There is much drinking and dancing, and any place with a view of the water at night is covered in spectators.
A few unusual contests have evolved;
The Fire Dance, basically a form of streaking; this contest is actually outlawed, as the occasional real fire is frowned upon. Basically, you get someone to cast protection from fire on you (but not your clothes), then you cover yourself in flammable liquids, and light yourself on fire. The game is to see how long you can go before needing to put yourself out, evade the watch, and not take damage.
The Swim, this, legitimate contest consists of several contestants swimming the river carrying torches. The first one to cross the river with the flame still lit wins.

Most businesses stay open, though they tend to charge about double what the did the day before, but churches tend to be closed unless located next to the river, then they stay open to draw people in, plus they act as hospitals for the party goers who get injured. The temples not located next to the river tend to have roving patrols of healers to do likewise. The priests almost never charge for healing this day, and many people show up in the city just for a free cure or remove spell.
Any spellcaster who can cast illusions is asked to participate, with cash rewards for the best and most realistic illusion.
Strangely, it's also a day when humanoids can show themselves (in small numbers only) with relative safety. The general attitude is "We beat you back then, you’re really not much of a threat." This leads to some really condescending attitudes from people, but humanoids aren't likely to be attacked except by the occasional drunk who wants to live it up. But these are minor and rarely lead to serious damage.

Gamebird
2004-12-09, 02:57 PM
* * *A few unusual contests have evolved;


Those sound hilarious! ;D

killgore
2004-12-10, 12:29 AM
Those sound hilarious!
Thanks. I edited for spelling BTW.

Gorbash Kazdar
2004-12-16, 07:45 PM
Very cool concept. I love the sense of history behind it, and how everything ties back together to that central theme. Really ties it together. I'd like to see a few more contest/celebrations, though.

I'm assuming you have "humanoid" instead of a specific race, so a DM can insert whatever group is the default bad guys of his or her world?

I honestly think this is the stronger of your two entries, though the flavor text is better for the other. I'd love to see more of that here, especially since the basic description puts me in mind of a lot of great imagery. :)