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The Great School of Magic: The Spell Pitby Jesper Andersen
The Spell Pit is a fighting arena beneath the Great School of Magic in Glantri City. It was constructed at the same time as the school itself and measures some 200 feet in diameter. Around the edge of the arena are elevated rows of seats with enough room for at least a few hundred people. Special booths are reserved for noble guests, the Masters of the school and of, course, the Grand Master.
Spell Pit was constructed as a training ground where the students could learn the art of using their spells in live combat situations. Many students want to try the "real thing" but are either too comfortable or to busy with their courses to go on adventures. The Spell Pit offers a (fairly) safe taste of what magical combat is like.
Monsters are hunted all over Glantri, and sometimes even further away, and brought to the dungeons below the school via a special Gate controlled by the Master of the Spell Pit. That way, the City Constabulary does not interfere too much because no monsters are transported through the city itself. Needless to say, security in the dungeon is very high. Guards with wands of Hold Monster and/or Charm Monster patrol the area, doors are magically locked, key junctions in the corridors are trapped etc. If you play a magic-intense campaign you can even give the guards wands of Disintegration. Furthermore, all guards and monster handlers working below the school are of course members of the Monster Handlers' Syndicate.
The tuition fees at the Great School of Magic cannot cover all the expenses of running the Spell Pit alone. Therefore to fight a monster a student must pay 100 gold ducats per Hit Dice of the creature. Special monsters such as undead or outsiders cost an additional 200 gold ducats.
For inexperienced students, higher-level students and teachers of the school of enchantment magically control the monster. But once the student is ready he can begin fighting uncontrolled monsters and sometimes more monsters at the same time.
In any event, the Master of the Spell Pit and a few of his helpers are always around for the fights to stop any monster from actually killing a student (although that does sometimes happen).
Most fights are against animals such as black bears, mountain lions and snow apes or humanoids captured in the mountains.
More rarely, an experienced student will try his hand against more exotic creatures such as carrion crawlers, lycanthropes or trolls.
A few times each semester the Master of the Planes and the Master of Necromancy (not to be confused with a Death Master of the Circles!) will supply elemental creatures or undead for the fights.
On very rare occasions a high-level wizard or even one of the Princes will appear in the Spell Pit, usually to fight young frost giants, small dragons or ice horrors. Such events are always the centre of much activity at the school and every student crams into the seats around the Spell Pit to watch the fight.
The Spell Pit in Glantri has inspired numerous other schools across the Known World but most lack the proper resources to imitate it. However, in 997 AC the Collegium Arcanum in Thyatis City finished building the Arena Magicus and undoubtedly Alphatia has several similar facilities.