Holy Grail War: Haven
Every 100 years, the best and brightest among the Arcane Circles gather in a single location in order to participate in a tournament of some renown. The prize for victory in this contest is said to be a powerful relic which will grant the wielder a single, reality-altering wish. Though, strangely, as near as anyone can recall, no side has ever achieved victory.
The rules for this tournament are deceptively simple. Each participating champion of their circle will perform a modified summoning ritual of the sort normally used to call forth an arcane minion. In the place of the mindless automatons and elemental spirits one would normally see, this ritual instead brings forth the long-dead spirit of a mythological figure, be they hero or villain. Once all the minions, or arcanists, of a given side have been slain, that side has lost the conflict. In accordance with the Treaty of Venice, uninitiated witnesses are to be executed.
This year, the township of Haven has been chosen to serve as the site of the tournament. While normally all locations within the boundaries of the conflict are to be considered a war zone, The Blackfield Institute has graciously chosen to serve as a neutral party to the conflict, opening its doors in order to serve both as a meeting place and a safe harbor for those arcanists whose minions have been defeated. They are unquestionably capable in this regard.
The Legendary Spirits
Though summoned through a modified version of the same spell many arcanists utilize to call upon a minion, the Legendary Spirits who serve as footsoldiers in this grand game retain their own unique personalities and memories. Though the spells which bind them require them to acquiesce to demands made by members of their circle, they are able to disagree, strategize and make suggestions as they please. The minions utilized in this game are each historical figures from throughout history, some more mythical than others. They count among their ranks everything from terrible villains like Caligula and Medusa to grand heroes such as Sigurd the Dragon Slayer and The Hound of Chulainn to everything in between. As previously stated, each Legendary Spirit retains their memories from life. As such, they also retain their weaknesses and strengths. The vast majority of
minions therefore choose to identify themselves solely as their class and the circle which they represent. Older or better known spirits are more powerful than younger or lesser known spirits. Even if their identity has not yet been revealed, they are strengthened by humanity's belief in them. This is represented by their Legend stat. This stat is also what makes them so much more powerful than the average arcanist.
Every Spirit has a given class, dictated by the skills, abilities and stories which led to their status as a legend.
There are seven classes in total:
Sabers are swordsmen. Not particularly agile, they are the most formidable of armed combatants in close quarters, stand-up fights. Often, these were knights, samurai and so on. Examples include Miyamoto Musashi and Richard the Lionheart.
Lancers were famed for their use of spears, lances and other polearms. They tend to be rather agile, so as to better utilize the reach of their weapon, as well as cunning. Some examples of Lancers include Leonidas I and Brunhild.
As the name implies, Archers specialized in long range combat. They tend to be rather incapable of close, but are swift enough or stealthy enough to maintain distance. Billy the Kid and Atalanata both would qualify as Archers.
Riders were famous captains of ships, horseman or so on. They specialize in mounted or vehicular combat, or are otherwise highly mobile. They tend to be rather fragile if prevented from those things, however. Examples include both Alexander the Great and Anne Bonny.
Casters were legendary witches or wizards. As one might expect, they are rather terrible in a direct confrontation but have enough tricks up their sleeves that they can do all manner of wondrous things. The nature of the tournament allows them to enact gate magic in small areas as easily as most arcanists manage a mancy. Examples include King Solomon and Elizabeth Bathory.
Assassins, meanwhile, are masters of stealth. While they can't handle themselves very easily in a direct fight, so long as they're able to get the drop on their opponents, they tend to be exceedingly dangerous. They usually have a number of tools for misdirection and escape. Among the ranks of the Assassins, one might find the likes of Jing Ke and Jack the Ripper.
Lastly are the Berserkers. The most powerful form a spirit can take by far, the berserkers' immense physical strength and raw endurance is almost always wasted by their complete lack of sanity. Usually, this manifests as a near unstoppable rage. Berserkers are exceedingly rare, but might include Caligula or Eric Bloodaxe.
The Circle Arcanists
While there are rumours of a fourth side in this year's tournament, the three participating teams are composed of the three Arcane Circles: White, Red, Black.
The reward for the contest is that a single wish will be granted to the winning side, and these three groups have banded together due to sharing similar goals for that wish. Of course, as with all disparate groups, their actual vision for the implementation of their team's desires may vary wildly from arcanist to arcanist.
The White Circle has banded together in order to seek out the lofty goal of world peace. Its members may not hesitate to fight, but many of them may be unwilling to kill their opponents. This is the circle which many dreamers who wish to be virtuous or believe themselves to be virtuous would find themselves in.
The Red Circle meanwhile seeks knowledge for its own sake. The actual goals of members of the Red Circle have a tendency to vary wildly, but in the end each member is seeking the answer to some very difficult question. This is the circle which many dreamers who would neither consider themselves virtuous nor corrupt would likely be a part of.
Lastly, The Black Circle is composed of those who are seeking nothing short of world domination. Naturally, they all disagree on who exactly will be left in charge once they achieve victory, but most are absolutely certain that victory is all but assured. The Black Circle is the group which corrupt dreamers most often find themselves a part of, but it may also contain those who, in the waking world, are struggling with the descent into corruption as well.