Lords Of The Ring: Fantasy Wrestling

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Here: Have a Homebrew setting to use for your Pro-Wrestling-esque Setting needs:

The Lords of the Ring and The Guardians of The Squared Circle[edit]

Imagine, if you will, an Orc and Dwarf engaging in something that's recognizably pro-wrestling. That's the core conceit of this setting.

We'll assume we're in something like the Blood Bowl setting: ISO Standard Fantasy Setting that's developed into something vaguely resembling the modern world with modern sports.

The basic building blocks of this setting are the Promotions, organizations designed to unify each of the various combat sports in either a region or ruleset.

There are three ends of the business:

  1. Duelists, who are straight up MMA-style fighters.
  2. Showmen, who are more interested in entertaining an audience.
  3. Godbrawlers, from whom the entire sport descends.

Godbrawling was originally an Orcish religious practice; two Orcs would put on masks and personas of legendary Orcish gods and heroes, and engage in ritualized unarmed fighting. At some point, the practice spread to the Dwarves (probably originally via the mechanism of some Orcish priest actually recruiting a few dwarves to play Dwarvish heroes), and from there, to the other races.

On the more secular side, we have the Showmen (who, as mentioned, are mainly interested in Entertaining), and the Duelists (who are mainly interested in Winning). You can usually tell the difference, from the outside, because the Showmen try and prevent people from betting on their contests, as some (but not all, or even many (although this varies from Promotion to Promotion)) of their matches are fixed (some fights are just too dangerous to be held honestly). (This is to have both Kayfabe and Real Fighting side by side, each (sorta) respecting the other, as is the current practice in RL with WWE and MMA.)

Due to certain historical oddities, all three are held under the watchful eye of a Order of Priests known as "The Guardians of the Squared Circle", who fulfill much the same role as Boxing Commissions in MMA and Boxing in Real Life. They also watch over the Showmen, insuring safety protocols are followed, and, depending on the promotion, they do the same "no fixing" protocols for them (the Old Compromise is that, at the end of the year, the Guardians of Squared Circle issues a report, saying how many matches they oversaw in each Promotion, and how many they oversaw with "no fixing" protocols, and discusses what "Not fully sanctioned" Fights were performed under the auspices of the Promotion).

It's not considered a complete dishonor or illegal to hold an unsanctioned match; in particular, some Duelist Promotions in some jurisdictions that allow for such things have occasional Deathmatches, (which are officially "unsanctioned" for safety, but guarded even more closely for Fixing) and some Showman Promotions have gone sufficiently outside their usual ruleset that the Guardians declared the resulting match "not fully sanctioned". Both are an exception to the Old Compromise, and are discussed in the Yearly Report in detail (and as such, even more honest then usual on the Showman side).

The Various Non-Orc-and-Human races involved in this sport[edit]

There are three kinds of Dwarf: Drunk (hard-working, but also hard-playing), Dour (always found in the Duelist side, or working backstage) and Devout (while not the audience for Duelists and Showmen, Devout Dwarves are the main non-Orc consumers of Godbrawling).

Elves probably exist. If so, there are probably several subspecies of them. For our purposes, we have Common (working class), High (the nobility), and Wood (the country bumpkins) Elves. There are probably a lot of Common Elves pretending to be High Elves in the Showman side of things, just because the High Elves probably make such good hate-sinks.

Ogres and/or Trolls come into play on the Showman side at least, because the "Monster Heel" niche exists.

Halflings and Gnomes probably fill the "Midget Wrestler" niche quite nicely.

Godbrawling and Miracles[edit]

Yes, miracles get thrown around in some (but not all) Godbrawling matches. How much varies wildly, according to such factors as audience size, religious significance of the fight, piety of the Godbrawler, the god or legend being invoked (some throw around miracles like candy, some want the Godbrawler to stand all on his own like they did), and a dozen other factors. The actual helpfulness of the miracles in question are also highly variable: sometimes, a God wants his Godbrawler to struggle more for victory, even if said God likes the Godbrawler in question.

On Gambling[edit]

Maybe you're wondering about the threat of match fixing by gamblers, or other interested parties. That's where the Guardians of the Squared Circle come in. One of their responsibilities is insuring that, if fixing happens, it's done by the Promotion, and only on matches that are declared "unsafe for gambling" (whether by the Promotion or the Guardians is unimportant, so long as it is done sufficiently loudly for would-be gamblers to hear).

They take that responsibility seriously. There are quite a few Gods who would cheat on behalf of their Godbrawlers, but for the watchful eyes of the Guardians. And the Guardians realize Mortals take after the Gods in this respect, even if for different reasons.

The Lords of the Ring[edit]

The most famous of all Promotions, The Lords of the Ring are unique in a few respects: First, they travel from Promotion to Promotion (there are other traveling Promotions, but those travel from small town to small town, not city to city, and they stand on their own); they fight according to the rules of the local Promotion, and usually win (since winning a match against them usually results in an invitation to join them, and they represent the Best of the Best). Secondly, they have all three types of fights under the same Promotion (most Promotions only handle a single end of the business, or at most, two; the differing demands of each of the three means that it's usually easier to just stick to one side). Thirdly, they can afford to have, and have had upon occasion, an openly, if mildly, antagonistic relationship with The Guardians of the Squared Circle, due to the fact that they hold so few fights on their own (the few arguments the two organizations have had usually centered either on an individual referee or fighter, the Lords' unique nature, or backroom dealings that very few people outside the business care about).

Magic[edit]

Healing magic does exist. It's expensive, slow, and sometimes ineffective (leading to well known old injuries), but it exists. Resurrection magic doesn't, though.

On the plus side, there's a well known "curse" custom made for all who fight in gladiatorial conditions (among other things): Known as "The Blessed Curse", it prevents the cursed from doing any lasting damage while active[1]. But accidents do happen, even with this layer of protection.

[1] Why, yes, it does sees a lot of use outside the Sporting world, usually for training. There are also other uses of the curse. That's all we're going to say about it, though, for subtly obvious reasons.

And yes, there are combat wizards among all three branches of the Sport. They usually are required to either fight each other, or at a handicap, since most Promotions view Magic (besides the Blessed Curse) as an Outside Weapon.

Other curses, blessings, spells, and so on exist, but, for the purposes of this discussion, are usually used as a handicap. Curse removal is surprisingly cheap, but only if you know what curse was used.

Some Miscellany[edit]

There are a few minor points worth mentioning:

  • Female wrestlers: They exist in this setting. Elven ones are particularly popular.
  • There exists a God named Kayfabe, the God of Fakery. He's one of the major Patron Gods of Showmen, although there are plenty of others.
  • I need a third point to mention here.