Have you ever stared into the void and realized that it was staring back into you?
Arriving Friday night, it was exactly as was promised, and more, light hearted storytelling around the fire, a poker tourney, and a scavenger hunt. Skarda, Kirk and I opted to do the scavenger hunt, so we wandered off into the dark, with nothing but a dagger between us, and not really a clue what we were looking for. Searching for a while, we were able to find quite the horde, and brought back to Dygen crazy things like the corpses of Will 'o' Wisps, ectoplasmic rocks, and eternal snowflakes. Not to mention, birds, snakes, and a fancy tile you might find in an exquisite outhouse, or some lord's kitchen. Also a wand that emitted some sort of negative light. It was great, it made everything we were looking for glow, even if we didn't know we were looking for it.
After the scavenger hunt, we joined the revelry, and it drifted on into inky blackness that was the night.
The next day Dygen lead us to the City of Compton, which apparently had been built up over the passed year after Akakios' most recent defeat. It was beautiful, the pathways were easy to follow and they lead us straight to the arena for the tournaments. The kindly people of Compton entertained us with the music of the land as we began to fight in tournaments, and throughout the day.
One thing that should be noted here, the Grand Opening of the Bronze Forge, which is Grimloch's new shoppe, it was filled with a large selection of weapons, and shields, all of which seemed to be of high quality craftsmanship. It was really an excellent way to open up, because a few people may or may not have needed weapons throughout the day for various reasons. Overall it get's my stamp of approval and I'd happily send people looking for gear in that direction.
Now I can't turn a blind eye on the tournaments, which up until now I've sort of glazed over.
The tournaments of the void has really excellent staffing, they really care about the advancement of tournaments within the Realms, and it shows. I was fortunate enough to get some intel on how the four man tournaments were intended to run, and the system seemed really elegantly simple, and yet, it provided a team combat experience, with individual ranking. Wait what? No, seriously. This is something I really wish I could have experienced, because frankly, I love team combat, but am more driven by individual combat, so it sounded like a perfect marriage to me. Unfortunately the marshals had to make the game time call that we did not truly have enough competitors to experience this style tournament to its fullest, and honestly, as someone who has been in that position, I think they made the right call.
We did have enough for singles though, and people trickled in throughout the day as well. While there weren't many people, in fact, only 8 at the beginning, the first comment heard was “these are not the 8 people you want to see if you want points.” and it was true. The wins were hard earned, and several fights through out the day were just straight up pretty. The marshals did an excellent job of toeing the awkward line of being, tough, fair, and not interrupting the flow of combat. It was truly exemplary. Beyond the traditional singles tournaments, there was a Void pit, which had several variations on what is commonly known as the Bear Pit, for example single shorts that count as two handed weapons, and an off handed pit. These pits challenged competitors to fight outside of normal weapon behaviors, and it was a pleasant change of pace between rounds.
Tournaments ran for almost 7 hours on Saturday, which must seem insane knowing that we were light on competitors, but honestly our pace was a perfect balance between cut throat, and relaxed. Marshals did an excellent job of keeping things moving without running us ragged.
Throughout the day, if you weren't fighting in tournaments, you had the option of seeking out items on the scavenger hunt again. Honestly there must have been at least a thousand things to find, every time I turned around someone was carrying what seemed like armfuls of various odds and ends that Dygen needed for mysterious purposes.
After tournaments we were provided some of the best food that could easily have been served in any feast hall with pride. There was a veritable duck-ton of chicken, beef, veggies, and meatballs. Everyone happily overate, and then ate some more. They really pulled out all the stops on food and should be applauded.
After dinner the Knights of Blackwood did a brief court, where we made it public knowledge that Kirk is my squire. Then we shared a moment, that in my opinion was a long time coming. Jinx had been a squire to the order for a while, and I was privileged to participate in several conversations attesting to her excellence. Honestly, it's amazing to see the effort she puts into everything she does, and its truly an honor to now be able to call her a Knight of my order because it is undeniably deserved. Many congratulations to her.
Dygen let us know what had gone on while we were eating and knighting. Apparently Akakios decided to lay siege to Compton, and had managed to take it over. We were sealed out of the city, and the tournament arena. Our objectives were fairly simple to say, we needed to collect pieces to an arch way that would disrupt the barrier and let us back into the city to kick some ass. I can handle that. But there was a catch, there is always a catch, Akakios had managed to collect the arch pieces, and had sent out three Lords of corruption to guard them and ruin our night.
As a basic sort of conceptual power, each lord had a corruption circle, which was cursed in some way depending on the lord. Each corruption circle had a circle of purity which either cured or suspended the curse in some way depending again on which lord it was.
The first lord was the corrupter of Might. Might's circle forced us to only use a single one handed item at a time. A single short, or a shield, not both. If we were in the circle of purity we were free of this curse and able to fight full tilt. We were not able to beat this lord and his minions. We were too few in number, too disorganized, probably just a touch dumb. We escaped after being brutally massacred, but we managed to get the pieces we needed from him, so it wasn't a total loss.
The next section was the corrupter of Wisdom. Wisdom's corruption circle prevented us from using magic, and his purity circle was an exception to that but, fortunately Dygen had communed with the void in some way, and was able to change that purity circle into a circle of healing as well. Perhaps he used some of the things from the scavenger hunt to pull this off, but I don't honestly know. I changed the tide for us. We ended up having to tie the lord up in some fancy energy rope that was lying across the circle, and then get him to the circle of purity and kill him from there.
The third lord was the corruptor of Will, within his circle if you died, and were raised, you became his minion. We needed to all pile into his circle of purity, along with his original minion, and kill him from there. By this point we were more organized, but this did not go off without a hitch.
Finally we had all the pieces, and were able to break into the City of Compton, and as we did, alarms sounded, and fire shot off in warning that perhaps we were not completely prepared for this fight. Little did I know that the Corruptors had been pulled in to their leader, and there were more minions as well. We attacked, and found our way to the purity circle, but were quickly destroyed by the enemy. Fortunately, they weren't too observant, and one of us was able to regenerate and return us back to life. We attacked again, this time a bit more organized, and were able to defeat the Corruptors for true this time. It took some time and definitely some trial and error, but eventually we realized that they had weapons made of ectoplasm that we needed to impale the boss with, and then we were able to destroy him. He carried an amazing bone sword, which we made off with like thieves in the night. The three ecto swords, and the bone sword, were all excellent, and I'd happily use them in a tournament, and I'm pretty picky about my swords. Having staved off Akakios devilry for the time, we were able to return to the fire, and join in the revelry with the people there.
Sunday began with a small court held by Grimloch, Slade did his gauntlet, and was accepted into the nation as a full member. They had other business, but I will leave it as their own. Shortly there after we moved into tournaments. I already talked about them in length, but believe me the Sunday tournaments were no exception. We rounded the weekend off with the award ceremony, and the raffle. Throughout the weekend, the more you participated, the longer you were there, and the more you succeeded, you earned raffle tickets, and the raffle was full of prizes. Real steel weapons, certificates to events, certificates to the Bronze Forge, and the list goes on, it was truly a great spread.
In all honesty, the short of it is this; what you missed was an amazing event. You missed the fruition of a lot of hard work, and planning. It literally had something for everyone. Light hearted relaxing fun, heavy combat, and thoughtful questing. I absolutely plan to attend in the future.