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Festival of Ermaneo 789 AC


HISTORY

The city of Ermaneo has struggled over the last thousand years to be relevant.  At times, it has been a notable unaligned port town, the home to a quasi deity, a luxurious resort city, the location of treaty talks between powerful nations, and the seat of power for a warlord seeking to create a nation.  But for all of these events; none has lasted or have given the city such status that it has remained in the consciousness of the world.

Amidst that struggle, one of the city’s lords, Theroit, came up with an idea that would keep the city in the worlds eye at least a little for centuries if not forever.  What Theroit saw when he traveled the world were competitions and festivals that attracted travelers and pilgrims.  The greatest of these were the Suian and Graplore.  Dedicated to deities, these events moved from place to place all over the world.  They were by invitation only for competitors, but anyone that could afford it could travel to watch the spectacle.  Whatever city held the event saw a massive influx of coin and trade.  So the lord had an idea, he would improve upon these events in every way possible.

To start, he would host his event always in the same place, Ermaneo.  That would bring the attention always to his city.  The revenue and the notoriety would always be focused in one place.  While the other events were held every 25 years, his event would be held more often, every five years.  More often meant more revenue and more fame.  It would be dedicated to many deities, not just one or two; better to attract more and a greater variety.  It would be open to anyone, not just those given an invitation by a cleric.  This would mean more competitors, more spectators routing for their favorite, more interest from all walks of life.  With all of those thoughts in place, he set about creating the festival.

He drew the concept from a story his grandfather had told him from his grandfather’s youth.  It was well known that Amat was trapped in the moon, but was not well known was how that happened.  His grandfather’s story was that the deities banded together along with the heroes of the day to cast a spell using the months of the year as a guide.  This charm trapped Amat in the moon.  Even though it had only been forty years since that occurred, many already doubted the story’s validity, although most believed Amat was trapped in the moon.  Theroit liked the story and saw at as an opportunity.  He could use that event, which bound the entire world against a common foe.  He could use the calendar, something understood by all.  He could use those to create the foundation for his festival.

For several years, he planned and organized.  He spent his family’s wealth preparing.  Finally, in 263 AC, on the fiftieth anniversary of the event, he launched the festival.  It was one of many around the world that celebrated and honored the moon’s creation.  The first one drew little worldwide attention.  The winner of the events was a local boy, who became wealthy from his prize and left the city.  Five years later, with Theroit even poorer, he held the events again.  It gained a little more attention, but still Theroit lost more coin than he earned.  Once again, the winner left the city.  The trend continued for years.  It was not until the 6th festival, when Theroit was a man in his seventh decade that things began to change.  A competitor entered the festival with much fanfare and with great expectations.  He brought with him a great deal of attention and the crowds that visit the city tripled.  It is rumored that the individual was Mouser, but whatever the case may be, the person set nearly ever record for every event and put the festival on the world stage for the first time.  From that point until Theroit’s death at the age of 97, the festival was a great event.

During Theroit’s lifetime, an entity who the learned called a quasi deity came to live in Ermaneo.  Drawn at least in part by the festival and the crowds it drew, Spinnar became a shadowy benefactor for both the festival and Ermaneo.  His love of gambling and games were a perfect fit for the city and the festival.  For a time, the other religions grew suspicious as they believed Spinnar was using the festival to grow his religious base and become a deity.  Luckily for all involved, Spinnar was never able to make the festival his event.

Theroit is credited with the idea, and as legend has it, he was the one the developed the many events and the theme.  At first, no one else wanted to claim credit, but as the festival grew, others jumped in with claims.  It was all an attempt to collect coin.  Theroit is said in some histories to have bought off these claimants.  Sadly for him, all the money he made in the first years was paid out.  By the time the festival became a great success, all of the profit went o creditors and he died poor.  The lords after him for decades became wealthy from the festival, often retiring immediately following the event with their coffers full.

In the early 400’s, the festival had fallen on hard times.  Few were interested.  At least some of that lack of interest was due to the lack of competition.  An elf that went by the name Lotisan had won seven consecutive events and showed no signs of either slowing or choosing not to participate.  The lord then tried to have him killed in the festival of 433 AC.  The attempt failed, the lord was removed by popular uprising, and Lotisan continued.  The new lord was an ally of Lotisan named Hobert who allowed the trend to continue.  Lotisan did stop competing, off and on for three more decades.  But his presence diminished each event since everyone knew he was the true champion.  After sixty years of this, the festival and the city nearly fell apart.  The city was poor, population had fled.  It was then that Lotisan, having drained everything he could from Ermaneo, left.

Hobert lived on for a few years more.  His replacement was a young human named Fucian.  He did many great things for Ermaneo, and for the festival.  With little opposition, he changed the event to be held every twelve years instead of every five.  The hope was that the extended time would give the long lived races fewer opportunities to win consecutively and also the hope was to build more excitement in between events.  More build up to a grand festival.  Another change which was directly a result of Lotisan’s victories was a lowering of the reward for victory in the tournament.  This had a twofold effect.  First, the greatest and most dominate competitors would not think it worth their time to compete and keep them away.  Second, it would give the city more profit.  He did many other things, such as move the city onto safer land and sign treaties and deals with other cities and nations.  All of this set the stage for the return of the festival to prominence.  By the time the festival of 488 AC came, the majesty of the event had come roaring back and Hobert was given the credit.  The lord lived to see three more of the most successful festivals in the history of the city.  Helped by the golden age much of the world was living in, the festival became bigger than it had ever been.  Then, as with so much, the Day of Falling Death in 525 AC changed things.

Ermaneo had no reason to be attacked, and hence it was spared any direct devastation.  But the rest of the world was dragged into war.  Nations that in the past had sent hundreds to the festival sent none.  Attendance fell.  Focus of the city turned to being a safe harbor.  The quasi deity Spinnar, who had called the city home for over two hundred years, left to make his home on the Great Plateau.  Hobert fled Ermaneo with his fortune.  The city continued as a major trade port, but the festival was all but ignored for the entirety of the war.

The Ermaneo that existed at the end of the War of Technology did not resemble the old city.  New structures had been built which included technology.  Old buildings were leveled and the land they used often abandoned.  The population had grown close to 200,000.  The festival still occurred, but it was small and attracted few foreigners.  The foreigners that did attend were often allies of the Tinkocracy.  When they were defeated in the War, there were almost no foreigners.  A new lord took control of the city after the last members of the Tinkocracy left in 645 AC.  With the pullback of the Tinkocracy and the lack of international trade, little was left of the port business.  With the festival a shadow of its one time glory, the new lord Menlow was left with little.  He began to build the city’s fortunes once again, using the festival as the primary building block.

Luckily for Menlow, few knew how friendly the city had been with the Tinkocracy and over time, the nations began to trade again across the seas.  The port business returned.  Overland trade became notable for the first time, as the Dedestroytian Peninsula was now split into two nations.  By the time of Menlow’s death in 671 AC, the festival had been put back on a path to notoriety.  The festival remains today on a slow upward swing, as does Ermaneo.  Its current lord, Quinton, is continuing the plan of the past century; slow steady progress for the city and the festival.  The latest one is expected to have 100,000 visitors.



RULES OF THE TOURNAMENT

The Festival of Ermaneo has twelve parts, one for each month of the year.  The parts are always done in the same order, which corresponds to the order of the months.  Each part is connected by theme to a month.  Some parts are worth points, while others are elimination style; meaning that if you fail you are eliminated and probably dead.  A competitor continues until they withdraw from the competition, until they are dead, or until all twelve parts have been completed, at which time a winning is declared.  The winner is the competitor that has earned the most points in the parts which award points.

Each part of the competition has different rules, as each part is notably different from the others.  However, there are some universal rules.  Outside interference is grounds for immediate disqualification.  If any competitor is found to be using the aid of a cult deity in some way, they are disqualified and thrown out of the city.  Trying to cheat by bribery or other pay offs, including to other competitors, is grounds for forfeiture of the competition and all of the competitors possessions.  Competitors may not leave the city during the festival.  Anyone caught leaving the city is disqualified.

The events during the festival are each based on a month of the year.  Everyone knows the calendar, and most know that the months have a meaning dating to the early years of the world.  Fewer can name the meaning of those months; but every competitor in the festival either knows the meanings, or finds out before he or she enters the competition.  This is important since each meaning is a clue as to what the event associated with that month will involve.  While the original meaning of each month is probably lost, what exists are close translations.

 

MONTH

MEANING

Coustus

Winter

Smofena

Magic

Pramon

Beginning

Wavery

Water

Trest

Center

Huenti

Heat

Kiusta

Creature

Leenot

Tree

Mafeeti

Planar

Napay

Treasure

Progonust

Story

Baston Sun

Many

The types of events that have occurred in the past festivals are known, but they change every festival so that no competitor knows exactly what to expect.  Events in the past have been: duels, fights, puzzles, quizzes, and races.  They have included tests of speed, endurance, intelligence, wisdom, strength, and wit.

 

OPENING DAYS

Two days before the festival is set to begin with the first event of the competition, the city is full.  Every inn is packed with tourists.  Taverns are full each night as the owners make coin hand over fist.  The markets are crowded to the point where one is lucky to make one purchase before giving up in frustration.  Outdoor stables have been put up on the outskirts of the city after the mayor ordered no horses be allowed in for safety and cleanliness.  The port is loaded with ships.  Owners have rented out their peers.  Ships, both local and foreign are docked along the coast for a mile down the river almost to the sea.  Some ambitious crew even decided to build their own tavern and inn after seeing the city so crowded.  The Two Day Inn is now nestled within sight of the river, several hundred feet from the city’s edge.  The scene is barely controlled chaos.

From what everyone has said, this turn out is good, and meets the city’s leaders’ hope.  Over 100,000 people have flocked to the city to praise the deities and be entertained.  Even though the religions are all represented, and there are encouters between sworn enemies, there have been no deaths and very few altercations.  The city officials have taken every possible precaution.  Sheriffs and Investigators, Maidens and Knights, Inquisitors and Regulators, and even Vigilantes and Stalkers are present to keep the peace.  Visitors have been seen from almost every corner of the world, with notable exception being the String Mountains.  Icefians, Yellowians, Plateuians, Horarians, Intorians, Elves of all types, gnomes from around the world, lizardfolk and humanoids are all seen around town.

The Day of Light has passed only a week before.  It is hot and humid.  The near twenty four hours of light allow for constant parties and open taverns.  Those that arrive in the city for the first time are overwhelmed by it.  Only the Plateauians have an idea of life like this.  What is striking, especially to those for poor regions, is the magical cool that pervades most establishments.  The weather is humid, but to walk one hundred feet from the city, one feels even more depressed by the weight of the air.  The city itself is alive with magic to make the place comfortable.  No small task.

Comfort is not the only goal of the many magics active in Ermaneo.  Protections against all manner of intrusion, namely by cults, abound.  Guards with every known simple detection spell are seen walking around with eyes aglow.  Purges of invisibility are everywhere, making for amusing moments for those close enough to see.  Magical dogs barking at intruders; thieves held in place, spraying with color, or laughing hysterically occur every hour.  Protective circles make for odd walking patterns down the main roads.  But for any that have been here before, it is a welcome sight.

Rumors return in full force as the festival nears.  Word on the street, leaked by the mayor, is that there are eight races and nine regions of the world represented among the competitors.  There is a great deal of excitement over that fact, as humans have dominated the number of competitors in past events.  While there are currently no odds being posted, since little to nothing is known about the competitors, bets are still being taken.  It is said that there is a cultist hiding among the competitors, but he has not been found out yet. 

 

ASCENSION

So it happens that whenever so many faithful of all religions gather in one place, conversation inevitably turns towards the divine.  Discussions and debates are common throughout the city during the festival.  In some, wars are at the top of everyone’s list to discuss.  While this year is no different, with the long standing Horarian-Destroytian war nearby, there is another topic which draws even more discussion, at least from non-Horarians and non-Destroytians.  The topic on the minds of most religious and many others is that of ascension.  Within a year, the Counsil will vote on 7 quasi deities.  Each will be given a chance to argue their case, if they choose to, in front of the assembled Counsil.  The results of the votes could change the Counsil and in turn, the world.

The festival is the only place in the world where notable clerics of every religion gather at the same time.  It therefore offers a unique opportunity for the religions to get a vote count by talking to all of the other clerics.  That vote count has often turned into a shouting match or a debate.  So widespread are the discussions, that even those that are not thoroughly religious or uneducated have picked up on what is being discussed.  The most entertaining clerics command large crowds as they talk about the issue.  They spread little time trying to win over non-clerics, but rather informing and enlightening the masses.  Others try to use the discussions to bring fear or loathing into the hearts of the gathered listeners.

Those that listen, learn.  Many of the quasi deities would not been known by a majority, but after a week in Ermaneo, they are.  Allanda, the best known, is often mocked for her turning down of a position on the Counsil she has won several times in the past.  Some think they Counsil should not bother to offer it to her again.  Arsenal, just slightly less well known, is given the most serious thought of the quasi deities.  Tinkers and technology has gone so long without a patron on the Counsil, the time may finally be now.  Lansin, the doctor of Pacyr, will get his first vote.  Opposed for many reasons by those that despite Hemator, there are those that argue that his elevation could weaken the cultist by taking away some of her base.  Pulundogin, the island hopper, is dismissed.  Few think the islanders need their own deity.  The former hometown favorite Spinnar, lord of gambling, is spoken of carefully.  The city has a long relationship with the quasi deity, and it has become somewhat taboo to discuss him.  The ancient Taivas Valtias, the winger weapon artist, who is again, for more times than any other quasi deity, up for a vote.  Momentum has built for him over the last century and many think this will be his year.  Finally, Zeist, the insane oxymoronic tinker whose only chance lies in being the alternative to the long waiting Arsenal.

For those that listen and watch, what makes this discussion ever the more interesting is the actual presence of followers of these quasi deities.  It is the only time, possibly in history, where so many faithful of the quasi deities have been in one place.  Their high clerics and leaders of their faiths campaign endlessly to the gathered clerics.  They also take their message to the crowds gathered from around the world, to take the message home with them.  It is rumored that Allanda herself is in the city, doing exactly the opposite of the other quasi deities, asking to not be voted onto the Counsil.  Arsenal is not present, but strange lights in the night sky a mile from the city are said to be a sign that Zeist himself is near.  Lansin’s faithful have taken to healing those in the city for free during the festival.  Spinnar’s faithful are known to be running most of the bookmaking.  Even the island hopper and the winged warrior are said to have faithful in the city.

Even more interesting that that, rumors are that the competitors in this year’s competition are strewn with faithful of the quasi deities.  Taivas Valtias surely has one, as does Allanda.  It is believed that Spinnar as two or three.  There is another that is believed to be a follower of Zeist or Arsenal, and one that follows the ways of Lansin.  A win by an avowed follower of a quasi deity would have quite an effect on the story of a quasi deity rise to the Counsil.

 

The Entrants into the competition are:

bulletCyrus West, a goblin from Iott.  Strange thing in and of itself, he is also a cleric of Compture, which makes it all make sense.  He came to the festival to thwart the plans of his master.
bulletGiblet, an ice gnome from Gnarland.  He is the representative of his nation and of Gnarion.  He is a cleric and a monk.
bulletHorimoto Kavai, a Horarian monk.  A long time sailor, he came to the festival in hopes of winning the coin which he owes his ship after they paid for his return to life.
bulletKelgos Baen'Tar, a drow berserker, rogue, and cleric of Falan.  His reasons for entering are all his own.  He is disliked and basks in it.
bulletLamont Gnalwazfix, a tinker gnome.  A doctor on a sailing ship, he became a follower of Lansin and has come to the festival to represent his lord.
bulletNaz, a goblin from Icefia.  A rogue and a lucky faithful follower of Stasis.  He came on a whim in hopes of doing well.
bulletOctan Un, also known Titus Azius.  An orc fighter and bard from the empire, he is a notorious gambler and competitor who found the ideal festival to sate his desires.
bulletSarcon Flint, a human from the Destroytian Republic.  He came as an agent of a guild from the republic in hopes of helping them collect some much needed coin in a time of war.
bulletTeljan, who turned out to be a doppelganer.  His origins unknown, although it is widely believed he represented one of the quasi deities.
bulletTuko, a half-elven rogue from the plateau.  He came to win some coin.
bulletVincent, a human native to the city of Ermaneo.  The crowd favorite, he had been studying the events and the festival since he was a boy in hopes of winning it one day.
bulletZed, a human bard and cleric of Arsur'Anyodel.  He looked to prove himself by winning the competition.

 

THE COMPETITION

COUSTUS

The first event was a test of endurance and skill.  The competitors were locked in an ice box and given one hour to escape.  Some used magic to open the door.  Others picked the lock.  The plurality broke the box with fist, weapon, acid, or with tools.  Only Tuko and Sarcon failed to get out, both trying to wedge the door on the way in, but they were spotted.  Giblet was the quickest, stepping out faster than Cyrus but a split second.

 

SMOFENA

The second challenge was to survive as many spells as possible.  Both Lamont and Octan didn't even survive one spell.  Half survived 5 to 7 spells.  Cyrus and Kelgos were the only two to make it to the 3rd level spells, with Kelgos getting one spell further.

 

PRAMON

The field was split into groups of 4 and they were to race into the city.  The event was held at night, with the path lit.  However, just off the path, in darkness, on both sides, were tokens hidden and worth points.  The first group was Zed, Sarcon, Vincent and Horimoto.  Every one received either 6 or 7 points.  The second group had Kelgos, Teljan, Tuko, and Octan.  Kelgos was knocked out by Teljan and received 0 points.  Octan was charmed and only got 3 points.  Tuko snuck out with a few more.  Teljan ended with 10.  The last group, all the goblins and gnomes, was easy going with all collecting some points.  It saw Lamont ride his horse through the streets.  Cyrus was not the clear leader, and remained so for the next six events.

 

WAVERY

The water challenge was to get a golden weight from the bottom of the river to the other side.  The fastest received extra points, and turned out to be Teljan, who turned into a Gree.  All of the other accomplished the task and earned points, using every manner of technology, trick, physical ability and spell.  All that is, except Zed, who nearly drowned.

 

TREST

The fifth events had the competitors go out to a large circle marked outside the city.  The objective, to place a token at the center of the circle.  Every competitor had a different method, but the best went to Lamont and his tinkering.

 

HUENTI

The only event that took place outside the city was this one.  The competitors were teleported to the desert, where they had to survive for 24 hours while moving as far as possible from the starting point.  Tuko and Horimoto both failed to survive the day.  Teljan won another event thanks to his shape shifting ways.  Horimoto and Tuko were dismissed after the event.

 

KIUSTA

Into the arena the competitors went, one at a time, to face a monster.  Although they didn't die; Zed, Lamont, Octan, and Kelgos were defeated.  Zed and Octan were dismissed after this event.  Vincent and Giblet survived but did not defeat their monster.  Teljan and Sarcon both defeated Manticores.  Naz killed a basilisk.  Cyrus also killed his monster.

 

LEENOT

Eight made it to the climb at the Tree of Habastly.  Vincent made it the highest.  Lamont had a good showing but was still dismissed after the event.  Teljan turned into a Vishtoo and was disqualified for trying to fly.  This disqualification would cost him, as in the end he would need just one more point.

 

MAFEETI

The next event is a favorite of all, the planar wheel.  Only Teljan choose to forego the bonus points and pick a plane.  He choose the Beastlands and ended with only three points as he could not handle the animals.  Cyrus had his worst performance, unable to heal the rabbit from Bytopia, and in fact killed it gaining no points.  Kelgos antagonized a Gemblade from Mount Celestia and earned points for surviving his wrath.  Naz fixed a sword from that same Gemblade to earn equal points.  Sarcon escaped a chain prison to earn points.  Vincent and Giblet earned only a few points after being unable to escape the Grey Maze.  After this event, Naz and Cyrus were tied for the lead.

 

NAPAY

Twelve items of value surrounded the remaining seven.  They had to try to collect the most valuable one.  Kelgos tried to kill Teljan but failed.  Teljan would later get revenge by charming townsfolk to steal Kelgos' scrolls.  Vincent found the most valuable item, but Naz found one valuable enough to get him into the lead.  Sarcon's unlucky choice of item gave him but 2 points and he was dismissed.

 

PROGUNUST

Each competitor was given one hour to collect coin from a tavern in a non-charming non-violent way.  Cyrus' terrible performance almost got him dismissed.  Kelgos ended up burning the bar and collecting only a little.  Giblet tried his best but his fisticuffs earned him only a few coins.  Teljan and Vincent both did well, but it was Naz's luck at cards that earned the most coin.  Such was Naz's performance, that only Vincent and Cyrus were close enough to him to make it to the last event.

 

NAPAY

 

 

 

 

FINAL STANDINGS

Naz (12 events) - 140

Cyrus (12 events) - 101

Vincent (12 events) - 101

Teljan (11 events) - 99

Kelgos (11 events) - 97

Giblet (11 events) - 91

Sarcon (10 events) - 77

Lamont (8 events) - 56

Zed (7 events) - 40

Octan (7 events) - 37

Horimoto (6 events) -37

Tuko (6 events) - 27

 

 

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