Fighting Grounds

Ruins of a Subterranean City
In the ruins of a subterranean first age city, built on the ceiling of a massive underground cavern, buildings hanging down like stalactites, with pipes running down to the massive reservoir a mile beneath the city proper.

A winter festival
A winter festival is held on a frozen river, where fur-clad citizens partake of mulled wine and dance or skate upon the ice. Strange lights glow beneath the frozen surface, then burst upwards through the ice: Fire Aspect Dragon-Bloods in airtight power armor! Cauldrons of boiling wine, ice sculptures, characters dragged under the ice into the swift river currents!

In the great covered bazaars.
A great shaded marketplace, full of sand and people and even a good deal of animals, with crowded pedestrian passageways snaking between rickety shacks and more elaborate stands. People sell everything here, from spices and precious metals to lamps and bowls and fabric. The fight will probably destroy quite a bit of property even if people try to control themselves. Collateral damage is almost impossible to avoid, and some might actually try to take advantage of the confusion (slaves to escape, thieves to snatch a few purses). City guards are almost sure to investigate the brawl, if they manage to get through the escaping crowd. (bonus points if one of the combattant cares more about the people around him surviving than actually winning the fight)

In the great towers of Shall-pur.
The wooden towers, linked by hundreds of flimsy covered bridges, are full of shops and houses and promenades, and can be seen from dozens of miles. Since most walls inside the towers are thin wood or even paper, a fight will probably go from place to place very quickly, interupting dinners, tea ceremonies, baths and jewel-makers. Falling and jumping from tower, to platform, to bridge is also a very distinct possibility. Obviously, such a fight would be even more impressive with Exalts able to use the geography to their advantage, scaling walls, throwing people through the towers, or even jumping from rooftop to rooftop before raining death down on their adversaries.

In the lost temple of Kadingir.
During a race between two groups to discover an artifact or reactivate a manse before sundown, both must find their ways through the ancient and crumbling superstructure, and eliminate the opposition. Locked rooms full of dangerous rubble, corridors filled with traps, a maze of dusty corridors where getting separated by a landslide that propels you to a different level is all to easy, and everyone you meet might very well by one of your ennemies… or worse, something still living inside the temple. Ideally, a small fight to get everyone separated is a good way to start. Each group now has to find a way to get back together as soon as possible, while avoiding or eliminating their adversaries and trying not to get killed by the dangers of the temple.

In a burning building as the town is getting sacked.
They are trying to save someone, to kill or capture him, or to reach a specific place before it burns down. They may be the invaders or the victims. Inside a burning palace or a flaming library, they are confronted by their nemesis and must fight for their lives. The longer the fight lasts, the more they risk being burned or having the building fall down on them. And as scrolls and tapestries and wooden beams start to burn, the air is getting more and more opaque and hard to breathe. Even worse, the town is full of soldiers, and their side is starting to loose. (bonus points if the nemesis is immune to the fire or to its effects)

In the middle of a parade.
With so much noise and color around, fireworks going of, and people drunk, screaming and chanting randomly, it's going to take a while for the crowd to even notice you're fighting. But once they do, it will be hard to stop them from panicking. It would also be very easy to hide in the crowd, or in the side streets, either to escape or to attack your opponent by surprise while he's looking for you in the wrong direction. (bonus points if both sides really don't want people to notice you're fighting, either because you're two anathemas in a Realm controlled city, or because the Emissary would consider it a breach of commerce)

In a seraglio.
Similar to the marketplace idea, it's a cluttered, enclosed space where guards are sure to come quickly, and where avoiding collateral damage is night-impossible. Half-naked ladies and boys screaming, or dozing off in a drugged stuppor as the fight rips through inestimable artworks, destroys silken beds and explodes pillows full of flying feathers. There might be a fountain in the middle of the building, where you can even try to drown your ennemy. (bonus points if you are figthing one of your previous lovers)

In a gigantic bath-house.
You liked the part about drowning someone in a fountain? Get ready to push it to the next level. Hard stone floors giving way to ice cold baths where you can simply push your adversary before he can do the same to you, soapy floors where even walking is risky, rooms full of warm, heavy water vapor where people can simply disapear by walking a few feet away from you. A small room full of jars of unknown medical substance, some of them maybe even poisonous in large doses, that you can hurl at your enemy… All the fun of fighting in incredibly different environments, in the same building! And you can even get a massage afterwards.

In a snowstorm.
The snow is five foot deep, and rising. You can barely see further than your arm, and the falling snow is brushing of all sounds. Even walking is slow, druging work, and you now have to fight for your life. Hide in the snow to jump your would-be killer, and risk being killed by frostbite? Or try to flee, even though you might very well be running into even worse predicament (wasn't there a cliff somewhere in this area, after all)? Are those trees in the distance? Is this slippery, icy patch more or less dangerous that the snow? (bonus if the fight carries on to a frozen river that start creaking dangerously underfoot)

In the middle of a stampede.
Perfectly adjustable to each power level : Mortals might be very worried at a buffalo stampede, but even Exalts will grow pale when having to fight in the middle of a panicked herd of thunder-lizards. Dodging the animals, or trying to control their flow, rappidly becomes a losing battle, as they are panicked by something out of both your control. You will be carried away from your opponent, or be forced to close in to avoid getting crushed. Falling on the ground is certain death, making someone fall an easy victory. Maybe it would be easier to try to ride and jump from one animal to another?

On top of a Behemoth.
Once again, let's get bigger. You are now fighting on a single living monster, but what a monster! Climb up on its back, try to reach his head to maybe control it. Avoid arrows by hiding between gigantic horns. Fight on moving ground, high enough to never want to fall. Rip of a scale to protect yourself from a blow, and get the hell out before the monster scraches the now itchy spot. Run along the arm to jump in the air, hoping against hope that you timed your movements carefully enough to catch this claw on the way down, and climb back up to take your opponent by surprise. A classic.

In a mangrove.
Waist deep in murky water, with tortured trees all around you. Light and shadows make everything strange, and you might even not recognise your own allies. Every steps seems to be sucked in the sludge, and moving too fast is to risk falling down in a deep watery hole or getting your legs stuck in wide roots. Climbing the trees is possible, but there's no telling which branch might snap under the stress. People might even try to bide their time underwater, ready to snap out behind someone else in order to kill them. Plus, you're probably not alone : the drowned forest is full of life, from small but potentially deadly parasites, to the great amphibious beasts that might just come up looking for a meal if you make too much noise.

In a whirlpool.
This is no storm-tossed ship. In fact, there's not much ship left : it's been crushed by the waves and spat out in a thousand pieces. Now you jump from hull piece to raft to floating barrel, figthing for your life and trying to escape the whirling pit of death. Maybe you angered a sea-god, maybe your opponent tried to use a wonder she didn't understand. Now your crew and hers are fighting and rowing away. The winner will have the dubious prize of making the long treck back to land.

In a crypt full of sleeping mechanical warriors.
Each strike of your daiklave breaks a couple of the ancient automatons. You can even hide amongst them, use them as not-quite-human shields, grab their weapons to fight with, or push them for a deadly domino effect. (bonus point if someone manages to figure out how to reactivate them while the fight is going on, gaining an instant army that might not even respond to her orders.)

In a circle of enemy soldiers.
Let's try the living version! A deadly duel, this time, a one-on-one, conveniently surrounded by warriors loyal to your enemy. There is no escaping, unless you want to be immediatly butchered. Don't worry, they have orders not to interfere in the issue of the fight - unless you win, of course! If you knew about this beforehand, you might have a hidden ally among them, but what is she going to do on her own? So, now is the time to fight for your life, and if you are very good, to try and convince everyone they should let you live (or even better, join you!). Good luck.

• In the catwalks above a stage, with the opera/play in progress below.
• On a frozen river, with chunks of ice breaking away under your feet.
• A flotilla of logs floating down a river.
• Construction scaffolding – especially if on an Immaculate temple or manse.
• Under direct, heavy essence cannon bombardment.
• On top of a charging yeddim, in a low-overhang forest
• Waist-deep in a stream
• On a thread-bare rope bridge spanning a chasm
• Hanging onto the ropes that dangle beneath a Hlsanti air ship (which may or may not be on fire)
• In the remains of a former life’s sorcerous library as it's being burned
• In a wharf side warehouse, in a roped-off ring, surrounded by dozens of hard-nosed spectators screaming for blood
• On a rocky precipice overlooking a fall of hundreds of feet
• On a rowboat
• Inside the mouth of a greater elemental dragon
• In the middle of a big parade (the anniversary of the founding of the Empire perhaps?)
• In a ship's rigging
• Below-decks in a burning, sinking ship
• In a bamboo forest, about fifty feet up
• On top of a mist-shrouded hill, surrounded by the crumbling remnants of a stone circle
• In a sheep pen with about 100 sheep (substitute pigs as required)
• Anywhere at all during an earthquake
• Inside the chambers of a dying giant's heart .
• On the back of a flying whale. And every so often it spouts a geyser of steam from its blowhole.
• On the surface of a huge, faceted mirrored lens so there are thousands of distorted images of you and your opponent.
• On dragonfly mounts that buzz around one another…
• In a brick-walled olive oil cellar - when one of the casks is struck, olive oil coats the floor.
• In a hedgerow maze
• On a sea-wall during a hurricane
• Running concurrently with another swordfight, such that each of the four combatants wants to kill the other three
• On a stone staircase in a rapidly falling apart castle.
• Underwater while wearing armor.
• On the floor of a large ballroom after the villain has insulted the hero – remember those floors are slick.
• On the edge of a burning, active volcano.
• In a smithy filled with blades
• In a house about to be blown to pieces by a tornado- with a shelter out back with room for one.
• On the roof of a burning tower
• Up a gigantic tree, with lots of hopping from branch to branch
• In a teahouse run by a god, to whom you must politely apologize every time you break something, else her wrath will fall upon you.
• On a grassy plain in the middle of a stampede.
• From rooftop to rooftop in a flooded town.
• In the city's slums during a massive fire.
• An open field with snow 4 feet deep.
• In the middle of a riot.
• Quicksand.
• In the path of a massive horde of army ants.
• On a teetering see-saw platform over something dangerous.
• Atop the pistons of some great machine
• On a suspended cage with the damsel in distress within.
• Inside a wind-tunnel.
• While skydiving.
• In an area flooded with explosive gasses. (Better not parry & cause a spark.)
• On skis, hurtling down the side of a snow-covered mountain.
• NOT on skis, hurtling down the side of an ICE-covered mountain.
• While flying hang gliders.
• In a room full of hemophiliacs.
• In a mill (remember, flour dispersed through the air is explosive).
• Jumping from piece to piece of wreckage as it's being sucked into a huge whirlpool.
• In the middle of a summoning circle, where a demon will be called if any blood strikes the ground. Better make sure to use the flat of the blade.
• At a crowded dynast party, without letting the guards know.
• In an Esher-esque construction of stairs, halls, and archways that warps space.
• While having sex.
• While handcuffed or otherwise bound to another swordfighter.
• A horse track or chariot track just after the race has gone by, with a minute and a half until it swings by again!
• A china shop
• An area of forest on a 60 degree incline
• In the desert at high noon (heat prostration anyone?) while a sandstorm is coming.
• Last men standing on a battlefield (weapons, corpses, and setting sun mandatory, undead optional).
• Lovers fighting in a huge canopied bed with dozens of pillows and silk sheets.
• At a witch-burning, climbing up the unnecessarily huge pyre.
• On the back of a giant turtle that is swimming through a swamp full of alligators & with snakes dangling from the heavy vines.
• On top of a hill during a thunderstorm
• In the bathtub or at a bath-house.
• In the shrine of a forgotten/elder god who is starting to wake.
• While being lynched
• In chariots, especially when running along the spar of the enemies chariot.
• In a masquerade ball in which many people have the same costumes
• On top of monolithic statues depicting your ancestors/nation
• In a crypt full of life-size, realistic warrior statues, which may or may not come to life.
• An island as it's sinking.
• Beneath a waterfall, struggling to stay on your feet under the torrent of pounding water.
• On rafts, going over the waterfall.
• In the hulk of a ghostly pirate ship or ocean liner.
• On top of a giant Godzilla-style monster. (Leviathan maybe?)
• On top of a careening coach while riding over a bridge 10 miles above a city.
• Atop a burning citadel while meteorites fall all around
• In the middle of Nexus’s trade center
• In a brothel / opium den.
• In the surf at a rainswept beach, with heavy waves
• In the substructure beneath a huge bridge.
• In a graveyard.
• A knife fight in a 3 foot square room

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