Out back of the Red Dragon Inn stands a building with thick oaken double doors. Every week, the sporting patrons and competitors of the Duel of Fists battle bare-handed within its tall, proud walls. This is the Outback.
Pause as you enter, and look around a bit. It's a large, impressive open space, with curved roof-beams reaching upward two stories, flanked by high windows for daylight. (The original building was built years ago by Panther, the founder of the Duel of Fists, and this is the third building to carry the honored "Outback" name.)
In the corner to your immediate left is a shallow in-ground tank, a miniature ice rink. The area ahead is dominated by the four great dueling rings, each a slightly raised circle of sand. To their left stands a large, bright green Fern; its long fronds shade two of the rings, and huge thorns along the stem rise up like steps. A few special rings are alongside the Four, including the infamous Styx -- a platform of crisscrossed wooden beams suspended 15' above the floor, with mats below.
Practice mats are in the far corners, with sparring equipment hanging nearby. Between them is an elevated platform with a couch and several comfortable cushions -- the seat for the officials who score the bouts. A switch opens floor panels covering the infamous Pit in front of them -- a hole in the floor filled with mud, weevils, and fun. (Doors in the far wall lead to extra rooms. To the right is a small storage area that doubles as a private dueling room for Team Fist and others. Two lounges provide lockers and hot & cold showers.)
The full ringed balcony on the second floor was added in the second incarnation of the Outback, and provides excellent views from along its ornate railing. Some of the locked upstairs rooms are rented for the night by wayfarers, and some are kept for other purposes.
To your right is a long bridge with narrow center planks, dangling precariously over a large wooden tub. On the wall beyond is a large posting-board for announcements, challenges, notices, and standings. Below it stands a long, elaborately carved bar, the handiwork of Jake Thrash, Layne Jenkins, and Dalamar Majere. The glistening cherrywood shelves contain anything a thirsty brawler could want... with ale from the Red Orc Brewery, and even a small collection of Skullsplitter Ale.
The bar offers a perfect view of the rings, as do the nearby tables and chairs. Many of the regulars have taken tables as their own, and can often be found there as they rest between their own battles, drinking and watching the action.
Over the bar are a series of large oil portraits: a pictorial history of the various champions, the past and present holders of the coveted Diamond. Their names are legendary: Ulath ni Fici, Shannon Colton, Jake Thrash, Percival, and more...
We invite you to browse the annals of history. Herein dwells living tribute to the best duelists the Outback has seen.
How do you match up?