Paladins and clerics representing various gods and deities mill about a staging area in preparation for the tournament of champions. The first round is one-on-one competition – you are slated against Tiberius, a paladin in service to Arkanath, the god of justice. You and your opponent enter the arena and head to opposite ends.
Tournament rules encourage fair play – the goal is not to cause your opponent serious injury, but simply to best them in overall combat. To that end, there are no restrictions – participants are able to use traditional weaponry, enchanted items, and divine magic in their battles. How do you approach your bout with Tiberius, a warrior known for an aggressive battle strategy and skilled in the use of multiple types of weaponry?
Tiberius charges as well with his longsword outstretched. As you close the distance, you see him muttering and making an arcane gesture with his open hand. His spell banishes your summoned celestial and now you are alone on the field with only your magical shield to protect you.
You make a swipe at Tiberius and he ducks under your hammer. He swings his blade in return and you are too slow to block it. Your shield takes the hit and it shatters. With your magical wards depleted against a more experienced opponent, you backpedal as Tiberius advances toward you. You should have known better than to have challenged a paladin in short range combat.
Tiberius brandishes his weapon and makes several quick strikes. Unable to block all of his attacks, you falter and he spies the opportunity to disarm you with a flick of his sword.
You raise your hands and concede defeat against the better swordsman. With round one over, you return to the staging area and wait for your next event.
Tiberius charges at you, but your first bolts of energy impede his advance and cause him to stumble. You realize that although he is a formidable close-range opponent, his defenses are lacking against long-range strikes.
You continue your assault and reposition yourself further away from Tiberius. He continues to move toward you, but each bolt rings against his heavy armor. He appears winded, and you take the opportunity to close the gap and hit him with your warhammer.
Unable to move quickly enough to defend himself, your overhand attack hits his left shoulder and he falls to his knees. He raises his hands in submission and you rest your hammer on your shoulder, pleased to have succeeded in your first round of the tournament.
The next trial in the tournament is a team event – capture the flag. You are paired with three other participants to form a team. Your goal is to retrieve the opposing team’s flag and return it to your home base.
For this event, the gods in attendance have cast a large Preserve Life spell allowing all combatants to attack without the fear of causing mortal harm to their fellow clerics and paladins.
Each team consists of two clerics and two paladins and is allowed 15 minutes of strategy preparation prior to the start of the match. How do you prepare with your team?
With your roles clearly defined, your team moves out as a unit. The two paladins are with you, while the other cleric stays at the base to defend from attackers. The other cleric places protective wards around the paladins before you leave. You hold your magic in reserve in case you need to act quickly to bring someone back into fighting shape.
The forest that serves as your battleground is thick, yet strangely quiet. You hear nothing as you move through the brush and toward the enemy base. Then the paladin next to you cries out in pain as you see an arrow pierce his shoulder.
The other paladin raises his shield as you drag your injured comrade behind a tree. Against the darkening sky you see the silhouette of a single opponent, a paladin with a longbow some 100 yards to the west.
You invoke Eraminus’ power and heal the injured paladin. The other paladin is still catching arrows in his shield, serving as a nice distraction as you slip through the trees and close in on the archer. He doesn’t see you approach as you unsheathe your hammer and bring it down on his head. With your opponent dispatched, you quickly find the flag and rejoin your team as you trek back to the home base.
You race through the trees and arrive to find your flag stolen, and the other cleric unconscious. Knowing you may only have seconds, you quickly place the enemy’s flag into its receptacle. A horn sounds denoting your victory. You find out later that you were only a few seconds faster than your opponents.
Your team leaves for the enemy base, and you run towards an open field a half mile away from the base. You channel the most destructive energies you can muster and create a raging fire nearly 100 feet across and rising 30 feet in the air. You also generate a beacon of light that extends upward to the heavens, and rumbles of thunder that cascade across the treetops.
Shortly, two members of the opposing team, a paladin and a cleric, arrive to investigate. You slink off to the shadows and they fail to notice you among the cacophony of sound and light you’ve generated.
With their backs turned, you take your warhammer and charge the cleric. Your strike catches him unaware and he falls to the ground, unconscious.
The paladin is quicker to react and you trade blows, blocking and parrying as you try to find an opportunity to strike. Just as the paladin starts to gain the upper hand, a horn rings out across the battleground – your team has won! Your opponent lowers her weapon as you smile, knowing your distraction lead the team to victory.
With your events complete, you watch the rest of the tournament as a spectator. Dozens of champions give their best effort to appease and honor their gods in tests of combat, skill, and strategy. As a token of his appreciation of your efforts, Eraminus offers you the rare privilege of a face-to-face meeting.
Your patron transports you to a simply adorned temple. You sit, and Eraminus says, “Killian – you have honored me in this competition and fought well. But more than that, you honor me with your actions every day. I am eternally grateful to you, be it when you help those less fortunate or when you defend others from harm. For all that you have given me, I would like to give you something in return”
Eraminus presents two magical artifacts – which do you choose?
You take the sigil and say, “Eraminus, you honor me. With this sigil I will be able to help so many more in your name. I am glad to be your student, and will continue holding up your noble ideals until the end of my days.”
You bow to your god and he vanishes, leaving you to contemplate the wonders of your life in service to a higher power.
You grasp the hilt of the hammer and say, “Thank you Eraminus. With this new weapon I will be able to cleanse this world of evil in your name and defend the helpless against the undead and fiends. I will continue to honor you through my actions and hold up your ideals until the end of my days.
You bow to your god and he vanishes. You twirl your new weapon in your hand and contemplate the wonders of your life in service to a higher power.