War Games

From the pen of Drear

Madness runs were a way of life, and not just in Pithea. The militias were kept busy just trying to keep up with the outbreaks. However, militia and territory leaders were always aware that if our country ever ended up at odds with another nation again, those same militias would be called upon to fight.

During their training, militia members were taught to fight fellow humans the same as maddened animals, but it wasn’t as easy to practice that in the field. One of the domes in our union did provide illusionary human opponents, but they were never quite as smart as real people would be.

The War Games started as an advanced battle simulator, pitting real humans against real humans. But once the system had been designed, those involved decided that they could do a lot more with it—namely, an actual game.

The idea of the War Games was that, on a pre-determined playing field, teams of players would match off against each other. The fighting would be simulated, similar to the way it was in the domes. However, in the domes, the enemy was created using Power, while the weapons or Power blasts used to fight them were real. In the War Games, the enemy would be real, but the weapons or Power blasts would be illusions.

The playing field would be inside a controlled environment similar to training domes, in which real weapons were not allowed, and Power worked differently. Each person would be given a Power-created version of the weapon he or she already owned. Also, while inside the controlled environment, Power blasts would have different effects. They would be visually accurate, but wouldn’t cause the same pain, damage, or destruction that the abilities normally would.

Though the ability or weapon used in the War Games didn’t injure an opponent the way it normally should, it did still affect them. It would cause a tingly sensation, followed by numbness. How large of an area was affected, or how badly, was determined by the initial attack. It was meant to simulate the inability to use a body part due to injury. Likewise, though Clerics were not necessary in the Games, they still did play a part. A Cleric’s heal could reverse the numbness on an “injured” part of the body.

If a person’s injury, or accumulation of injuries, were deemed enough to kill them by War Games officials who monitored the battle, they would be removed from the game for the rest of the playing time.

The War Games were announced shortly after the buildings in Black Grange were reclaimed. Pithean officials decided the clearing would be a perfect playing field for multiple reasons. It was a wide, open area that wasn’t very close to any town. Also, the buildings were empty, but no other plans had been made for them, so they became part of the games too.

A massive cleaning and repairing project was undertaken not long after the animals had been eradicated, so the buildings could be ready. Each one was divided into different sectors, as the buildings were extensive. The upper floors were off-limits during the games, because that was where the living areas were.

During this time, there was a lot of speculation over what the buildings had actually been used for in the past. Each structure had hundreds of individual living quarters in it. Those living quarters consisted of at least one bedroom and bathroom, some with small kitchens, maybe a second bedroom, or even a sitting room. On the lower floors, each building had an expansive kitchen, a few bathrooms, other large or small rooms with indiscernible purposes, and an unusual man-made trench.

There had been some technology in them in the past, but most of it was broken and useless, thanks to the hundreds of years of rampaging, maddened animals. Any remnants of the old technology were taken out and disposed of quickly.

When the War Games were ready to be launched, detailed instructions and rules were given to each member, both on how to play, and on how to form teams. At first, participation in the games was limited to militia members, but that rule changed only a few months after the sport went live. The War Games creators underestimated how popular the games would be, and how many people would want to participate. Teams were usually named after the leader and could have no fewer than twenty, and no more than fifty, members. During the game, only thirty members per team were allowed on the playing field at a time.

The team that was in control of the sector at the end of the twenty-four hour game time earned the privilege of staying in that building until the next game, which would be two weeks later.

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