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  1. Welcome to the Fighting Pit! One of the wonders of Historica, this massive amphitheater has seen some of the biggest crowds in the guilds gathered to watch the most exciting spectacles. Old timers who saw the arena in its heyday say that the roar of the crowd as you enter was like nothing ever heard anywhere else in Historica. My first idea for this was to make it a single scene viewable through the gladiator's tunnel, but I quickly realized I wouldn't have enough depth of field to make the stands as big as I was envisioning them. So you get two scenes for the price of one. I've never used this many minifigures in a build before! Wasn't able to pay quite the usual attention I give to each combination, I basically just had to use every passably medieval torso. The final model is quite large, each succeeding row got wider and wider! I put together a time lapse video of the process which you may or may not be interested in but I encourage you to watch the first thirty seconds anyways, got some neat effects. There are also lots of pictures and more detail on my blog! I was inspired by @Gideon's fighting pit of Mophet back in the day, and the concept has kind of simmered on the back burner for me since then. It seemed to fit the Ancient Wonders bill perfectly and so I decided to go all out and hopefully give W. Navarre a run for his money... and the rest of you too. Let me know what you think and thanks for stopping by!
  2. The build: The story: The life of a fungus herder could be a lonely one. Most mushrooms were skittish creatures preferring the quietness of the deep forest and the solitude of their own kind. Too much sunlight, noise or disturbance and they grew slowly or not at all. For this reason, fungus herders were often quiet, introspected folk. Some of the most renowned fungus herders in all Historica were the tree-folk of the Enchanted Forest. Tree-folk were often reclusive themselves, sometimes living out their entire lives in the same valley or grove. Their introspective nature enabled the tree-folk to discover the magic of fungi – both metaphorical and mystical: the phosphorescence of gilled Pixie chalices; the healing power of Witches’ Steeples; or the purifying abilities of Spotted Purple Caps, capable of negating evil rot incantations. Of all the tree-folk sub-races in Historica, the best fungus herders came from the grent sub-race. Although few grent would admit it to outsiders, part of the secret to their success was that they could form symbiotic relationships with many fungi. Tiny fungal hyphae would wrap around grent roots and even penetrate the root interior. The fungus provided its grent partner with minerals in exchange for nutrients and other chemicals the fungus needed but could not produce itself. This skill enabled the grent to intimately monitor the health of their herds and encourage spore growth. Even grent, however, sometimes needed help propagating their fungal herds. In a grove within the Enchanted Forest, stood three ancient standing stones. Twice the height of a man, these stones stood in a slight semi-circle. For most of the year they stood grey and largely unadorned; not even moss or lichen marred the surfaces. At the autumnal equinox, however, faint traces of purple and silver runes appeared carved into the rockwork, hinting at a long-forgotten magical purpose. Uncovering one – likely incidental – use for this magic, the tree-folk had repurposed the standing stones for the annual, highly anticipated fungal swap meet. Grents, other tree-folk and the occasional wild dryad would herd their finest fungal specimens across the forests to this one grove. Under a full moon, the magic of the standing stones would ripen the fungal spores, which spawned in vast multi-coloured clouds. The air seemed almost to sparkle as moonbeams fell on clouds of spores. The normally solitary tree-folk were affected by the occasion too, becoming almost giddy. They swapped stories and news; traded fungal specimens; and, on occasion, frisky grents even coupled to propagate baby grent saplings. This particular year, the first to arrive at the standing stones were a small group of grent. There was Ngaio, herding a troop of sharply-pointed Witches’ Steeples; the juvenile sapling Mahoe attending his first meet and showcasing some tiny puffballs, most still waiting for their pinks caps to erupt; and Kawa, corralling a mixed herd of Firecracker white caps and Sour Buttons. They were all good samples and likely to generate plenty of interest when the trading began in earnest. All focus, however, was on Kauri, or more specifically the magnificent specimen he was showing off. ‹Is that an Ogre’s Eye? I didn’t think there were any left!› said Kawa. ‹Is that actually up for trade?› asked Ngaio. ‹I’ll give you all my puffballs› added Mahoe. The Ogre’s Eye was a rare mushroom that was pale green in colour and with a large black spot on its crown. From above it resembled a large eye, hence its common name. While striking in appearance, this was not the reason it was causing a stir. The Ogre’s Eye was bioluminescent and soaked through with magic. It was an ingredient in many potions and highly sought after by elves, mages and even Nocturnan necromancers. Kauri let their excitement wash over him before responding. ‹Hah, no way! I’ve already got a buyer lined up in Cedrica. This one is just for show - I've already removed all its spores. I thought you’d like a look before I make my fortune.› Kawa looked away to hide his disgust. This was a classic move by Kauri, who loved showing off but also proved damn successful at almost everything he tried. Kawa moved off to inspect Ngaio’s troop, refusing to give Kauri any more attention. Tiny Mahoe, however, was clearly impressed, shuffling up for a closer look. Thankfully the moment didn’t last long, with another arrival. A hulking tree-man shuffled into the standing stones glade, preceded by a collection of red and white capped -shrooms. ‹Baob, you’ve really packed on the rings› said Ngaio in greeting. ‹You look like you’re ready to go to seed!› When tree-folk reached a certain age, they gave up their mobility to put down roots. ‹True, I am. This will be my last swap and I’m giving away all my troops in preparation.” Baob was a different sub-race from the grents, a much stockier group known as mallowmen. Three large trunks grew from his hunched back curving outward in gentle lines. The offer of free mushrooms was enough to entice tiny Mahoe to the newcomer. ‹What is it with everyone going to seed all of a sudden? First Rimurapa, now you› interjected Kauri, shifting his specimen in a transparent attempt to restore attention to him. ‹Rimu’s gone to seed?› said Kawa in shock. He’d always been close to that particular grent and it came as a surprise to hear the wizened mentor had settled down without letting him know. ‹Yes, over by the Notomys’s coast› Kauri preened delivering the news to his rival. He’d intended to wait until there was more of a crowd before doing so, in order to embarrass Kawa in front of more kin. Hearing that development, Kawa immediately lost interest in the swap meet. While he needed to stay to revitalise his herds, he resolved to visit his old friend as soon as he the meet wrapped up. He wanted to perform the fungal exchange rituals known to ease the transition to a sedentary state – and find out what had caused his friend to seed years earlier than expected. The herders and their herds: From left to right: Kauri - the Ogre’s Eye; Kawa - Firecracker white caps, Sour buttons; Mahoe - pink cap puffballs (mature and immature); Ngaio - Witches’ Steeples; Baob - red-capped toadstools, pink-spotted boletes, red hard-caps Build notes: Comments and constructive criticism welcome!