The Dread Arena (3.5e Variant Rule)
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The Dread Arena
"When kissed by steel the blood of a hero and the blood of a villain look quite the same. There is probably something profound in that, but it matters not. Both are after all, nothing more than fuel for the mightiest of all flames." -Unknown.
The Dread Arena is a dimension carved by a Lich of incredible power, where demonic beings from all planes are drawn, seeking the power of the Ring at its center. Adventurers entering the Arena are stricken with madness, attacking one another until only one stands. Whomever survives, and navigates the confusing whorl of corridors, chasms, and random unpredictable curves finds themselves before a pillar of obsidian carved in the shape of a grasping hand whose fingers clasp a small, thorned ring. Glutted on the blood of countless beings, the Ring is an artifact of incredible power, and can grant almost any wish, including a finite number of other wishing items, so long as that number is less than 1d20+1. It can evoke radical change, creating new items and item types, even new classes from nothingness. It can create a number of items that while not infinite can be as large a number as you can name.
A Dread Ring cannot change rescind or otherwise alter a wish made on a previous Dread Ring. If a player wishes knowingly or unknowingly to do this, the Ring screams in their mind, burns away, and sudden weakness drops them to the earth. They must take the death and dying saves against a DC of half their maximum health +1d10.
A pity then that you slew your comrades to get it.
When you call upon the ring, a white hot light burns from it, scorching your finger. It then burrows in, digging jet black vines through your skin, tunneling into the marrow itself. A vision flashes before your eyes: the world ripped asunder, the sky a sea of blood, the sea a plane of stone. Then it passes, and the power of gods roars in your veins. This power cannot be long held, and doing so cuts your lifespan in two.
The Ring's power is based on that of the Lich who created it, meaning that a Ring from a weaker Lich can accomplish less than one from a strong. DMs may incorporate this to place a limit on wishes. Additionally, the Lich grows stronger with each Arena it creates, and when the survivor claims their prize, a partial Dread Ring appears on the Lich's finger as well. It takes 1d4+1 Arenas before the Lich's ring is complete. This ring can never be taken from him; even if his hand is severed, the limb regenerates taking the ring with it. Even if somehow the artifact is taken from him, it can not be used.
Additional notes: NPCs cannot participate in the Dread Arena nor can they acquire or use Rings