The audience was stunned into silence. The boy’s playfully casual use of illusions on each and every one of them had them in doubt that it was actually occurring. Were they dreaming? Isn’t he aware of how disgustingly wrong the act of using illusions is? Doesn’t he understand how taboo? How can such a prominent figure so blatantly insult the free and clear minds of the Kingdom? And yet… many members of the audience couldn’t help but notice that he was being quite open about his powers, as well as the fact that he was just using them to make the game seem a little more… magical?
If Syron wasn’t using his powers, the members of the audience wouldn’t even be able to watch what was going on in the game. Nevermind the fact that image in the center of the playfield was rather beautifully constructed. If they weren’t obviously aware that they were simply watching an illusion crafted from the mind of the so called “Event Master”, they would believe they were witnessing a scrying spell overseeing an actual coliseum battle. Except for the avatars. For whatever reason, they were all shown to be wooden puppets holding toy versions of whatever weapon their class used. All the puppets from Team FIB were black and numbered in glowing emerald to clearly tell which was which. The puppets from Team Housewives United were all glowing emerald with black numbers.
“Alright everyone, you should each have a set of dice that corresponds to you. Remember the color of your dice, as you’ll all roll together when there is a need for it. For example… now! Everyone, roll for priority! Tell me your modified rolls. There is a judge assigned to each team to help you make sure you give the correct value. Once we get started, you will only have ten seconds to tell me what you do during your turn per player.” Syron directed while he at his shorthand notes for each team’s abilities.
One of the healers went first, but they just moved away from the center group where they started and towards a different barricade to cover behind. Above Syron’s head a massive sideways oval with blurred edges appeared and showed a woman. She was holding a shepherd’s cane and wearing a standard set of adventurer leathers while sprinting over sand and then sliding behind a concrete slab, her various potions sloshing about in their bottles fixed to her chest with a bandoleer.
Smart play to not be grouped up against a full team of glass cannons. Should I make an announcer comment on it? No… it’s the first move. Treat this a little more like a regular game dude…
Next went the protector that used one of his three targeted shield abilities on their melee. The oval now showed a beefy woman with broad shoulders and thick muscles in the same kind of adventurer leathers as before, but she was hiding behind a slab before holding a huge heater shield out in front of them. The shield lit up with a blue glow for a few moments until the glow faded away. Then the image in the oval changed to show a woman with a medium build and a sword and buckler crouched behind another slab glow the same blue as the heater shield from before.
Then four consecutive turns of fixed artillery fire came from the four magic ranged mage characters. One shot from their bombardment got lucky and hit the healer that had yet to go for all but a few health points. Another shot got really lucky and hit the first healer for critical damage, taking her out of the game. When the four children declared their intentions to all attack at once, Syron went ahead and resolved each turn in his head before showing the results on the oval. It showed three boys and a girl wearing identical red robes standing in a diamond shape, chanting with their staves raised above their heads. Four balls of swirling fire appeared in the air above the mages and they all moved in unison to point their magics forward. Both healers were shown now, hiding behind two separate slabs. A fireball struck each barrier with stone chips flying everywhere. When the dust settled, both healers looked at each other and nodded, before standing with their own weapons to fire back.
Then the second round of fireballs hit, despite seeming to have been launched at the same time as the first two. One healer was caught in the explosion as it struck the slab again, her body flying backwards into the sand, but she was able to shake her head a few times and focus back on the battle. Above her, a red bar showing her health points shrank down to a tenth. The other healer took the fireball straight to the face, her body completely being engulfed in the inferno. When the fire settled down, only the burnt end of the shepherd’s cane and a few broken vials remained.
Loud whooping came from the children’s side as they all started high fiving each other to the unreserved chuckling of a few members of the audience. The four members of Housewives United were frowning, but expected at least this much from a high offense team like the children’s. The judge for their team, whom was actually just one of the Forrester House Knights cross-dressed in butler attire that Syron had played several games with in the past, led the woman whom lost her avatar off the playfield.
“Fiery Inferno Blaze has claimed the first kill! I wonder what Housewives United plans to turn this around?” Syron asked the crowd, not expecting an answer but hoping to get them riled up at least a little. He had to be honest with himself… he was having quite a bit of fun. Unfortunately, perhaps because they felt their weren’t supposed to, no one in the audience said anything.
“Next to move is player three from Housewives United. She has chosen to do a full turn heal on herself after speaking with her remaining teammates.” Syron paused for a moment while concentrating to make the oval show the bandoliered healer above him raise her cane and say in english “Moon…. Healing… Escalation!”
Syron couldn’t stop himself from laughing out loud at the reference no one in this world would even get.
“Last to go, with a natural one rolled for priority, is the physical melee from Team Housewives United. What do you do?” Syron asked quizzically as he stared down the woman twenty feet away. She shouted back so that she could be heard clearly.
“I’m going to charge straight up the middle, full sprint so I can make it there in one turn.”
“Sprinting will use up your entire turn and you won’t be able to do anything else until your next move. Where do you want to end up?” The woman whispered her chosen location to the judge who walked out into the playfield and pointed to the square right in the middle of the mage’s artillery formation.
“Alright, first turn is over. Everyone, roll once again for priority.”
Syron had argued in his head over and over again how he wanted to have priority work in his game, but he decided that a naturally nimble character could have a really slow start because of a bad roll… but that was no reason for them to go last for an entire encounter. Obviously the characters with stats invested in relation to physical and mental speed would tend to go earlier than characters that hadn’t, so he opted for a priority roll every turn for his first iteration of his game.
“First up is Player Two from Fiery Inferno Blaze. They opt to blow up the swordsman standing right next to them with their biggest attack… well… hopefully this goes better than I expect it to. Roll to hit… success. Roll for damage… surprisingly low. Which is a great thing for you, I guess, since the attack you chose has an area of effect. Two of your party members are within the range of that attack, so they have to roll to see if they dodge out of it… one does, the other takes… enough damage to put them at low health. Both get a minus two for priority this round due to having to move before they were ready. As for the melee… the damage is mostly soaked up by the shield and they take… one damage.” A cheer was raised from the Housewives United table where the melee’s player high fived the protector’s player. The children’s table was in shock. The kid that just went stood up and shouted at Syron.
“That’s not fair! Why does my magic hurt my team!?”
Well… I suppose the second turn is as good a time as any for a rules argument with a child… ah… this takes me back.
“The attack you used, “Flare bomb”, is clearly stated to have an area of effect of three spaces from the point of impact upon all entities. This includes friendlies, enemies, as well as non-living entities such as barricades or items with durability. It is powerful, yes, but the trade-off is that it is unwieldy in close range. If you have any other questions about the abilities of your avatars, feel free to ask your judge for clarification. There will NOT be shouting and arguing with me, kid. Do I make myself clear?”
Sure… it’s a bit heavy handed for a grown man to treat a child this way… but it’s better to set the tone early… eh… oh crap… I forgot I’m a noble. Be nice to the peasants Syron!
The kid looked like he was going to poop himself. Syron grimaced before putting on his cheeriest smile
“As long as you understand, let’s get the game going again. Who moves next… ah, the protector.”
They opted to move halfway across the map and within range of the melee, then started to charge another shield ability that would get resolved next turn.
“Next is… the mage that was at low health. What do you do?” They used their unique ability to fire a ray of scorching heat at the physical melee, bringing them down to a third of their health.
After that, the melee used their unique ability to move and attack twice in one turn, but gave up using their next turn and accrued a penalty to future priority rolls.
“Roll for attack… hit. Roll for damage… ah…” The oval above Syron’s head depicted a swordswoman rushing past an unguarded robed boy and take his head off with a quick swipe of their sword. There wasn’t any blood, the body just crumpled and vanished into smoke leaving their weapon on the ground.
“For the next move… yep, roll for attack. Hit. Roll for damage…” Another robed boy collapsed to the sand.
“That was quite the brutal play by Team Housewives United!”
The sad thing is… if that second caster didn’t have their priorities lowered from the friendly fire, they could have killed the melee before they got their turn. Poor kid. They’re already acting like they’ve lost the game. Well… there is quite a lot of money riding on it, so I get it I guess.
“Next up is the remaining healer. They sprint and stand between the caster that has yet to go and the melee, I guess hoping to take a hit in their place since they couldn’t get close enough to heal? The caster has motioned that they want to use their special ability now. Ah… how fortunate. The ability they chose was to be able to cast a spell while moving once an encounter. They move around the side of the healer and blast the melee at point blank range with a ray type spell. Roll for accuracy… it would have missed except the melee can’t dodge this turn so their modifiers aren’t applied. Roll for damage… yikes. This match is a close one. Housewives United’s melee avatar takes six damage, putting them at one health. Nobody sneeze on them!”
* * * *
“In the end, the protector’s spell resolved on the melee who got healed during their ‘resting’ turn. This resulted in the magical ranged units of Fiery Inferno Blaze to get cut down before they could stack up enough damage on the shielded and healed units of Housewives United. Team Housewives United moves to the second round!”