Gauntlet is the game. Surviving is the goal.
Rise of the firms
The Gauntlet is more than just a game, it’s a way of life for the whole planet, a beacon of hope that arose from the darkest time in humanity’s history. That time came from a small change in society, that snowballed out of control. The rise in 3d printed caused a shift in power that only increased as nanomachine printing developed. Almost anything could now be created by anyone, with the only limiting factor being the raw materials needed. The manufacturing and farming hubs of the world collapsed and those areas rich in elemental resources found themselves with new influence. As resources became scarce, differences in opinion on how to allocate them came to a head.
The first of the Great Firms, Unity, was formed: a global alliance of areas that felt the resources should be evenly distributed. It didn’t go unnoticed that most of the constituents of Unity were in the countries that were now lacking those same resources. Consequently the mineral-rich nations were united in their contempt for this plan. Some of them had been very poor before the balance of power shifted and pointed out that, as no-one had helped them when they were in need, why should they help others now? They formed their own Firm: The Collective, and borders began going up across the world, even splitting countries. When dissent within The Collective grew, the final Firm appeared from the subsequent split: The Divided.
The Thousand Day War
The stage was now set for what became known as the Thousand Day War. Skirmishes became battles, battles became atrocities and the world moved ever closer to annihilation. During those dark times, Unity was found to be doing live fire testing on PoWs. What should have been a watershed became just part of the mounting horror, with the other two Firms adopting the practice, and even streaming it for a bloodthirsty public. The war raged on, until one devastating act finally brought the world to a crossroads, a massive nuclear strike on Australia. Would humanity continue on the path of destruction or move toward the light? Fortunately, the world chose the latter, and the three Firms worked together to find a way forward. A peace summit was held, and The Gauntlet was made its centerpiece.
Beyond the Game
Created before the war, the game had been successful in poorer parts of the world. Put on the world stage, and promoted as way for the three Firms to co-exist, it became a smash. It was selected in the hope that a sporting event would show how the Firms could work out their differences. There was also a quiet wish that it would wean the public off their lust for blood, channeling it in a more wholesome direction. Initially, it was a chase game, similar to tag, with Runners trying to stay ahead of the pursuing Hunter, through a three - dimensional maze. Over the years, rules were changed, the maze was removed and more thrilling, and dangerous obstacles introduced.
Parallel with this was the emergence of Underground, a secret blood sport that had risen from the surplus of weapons, armor and out of work soldiers after the war. It began as private events, played out in makeshift arenas, where the soldiers would fight to the death for a paying audience. As the Gauntlet gained popularity, the Underground events started to copy the format, throwing anyone who wouldn’t be missed into the arena and having the soldiers hunt them down. Finally, when The Gauntlet introduced weapons for The Hunter, the fighters in the Underground, hungry for mainstream success, moved over into The Gauntlet and it became the game that we know today.
The Gauntlet’s influence grew and grew, with successful players taking roles in government, until participating in the game was the only real way to advance in society. It also became an important part of commemorating the terrible events that humanity survived, in the hope that they would never be repeated. To that end, the game takes place in recreations of the theaters of war, and the players’ outfits and gear are based on notable people and events from the past.
History is woven through The Gauntlet, even as the players write the next chapter in that history.
Enter the Garden
The game is played in vast coliseums: collections of individual arenas that bristle with high technology, the most important of which is nanomachine printing. In this process, tiny machines take raw materials and forge it into anything that can be imagined, from the very ground the players walk on, the trees and buildings that they use to hide, to the projectiles they fire. The games have two opposing sides: five Runners vs. one Hunter. Runners are fast, agile and usually physically augmented, to enhance their natural athleticism. However, they are vulnerable and must work together as a team to complete their objectives and exit the Garden. They are equipped with a Vambrace, a combined printer and launcher that can create bolts that will disrupt the Hunter in different ways. The Hunter is their sole opponent. Well armored and well armed, Hunters use a variation on the Battle Suit, created during the war, which makes them effectively impregnable. It does, however, make them less sprightly than the Runners. To make up for that, they are equipped with heavy weaponry and powerful assets, like automated turrets and mines. If the Hunter executes three Runners, they win; if three Runners escape the Garden, they win.
There are many reasons to play The Gauntlet: fame, power, in order to keep the past alive, or create your own legacy. Know that the eyes of the world are on you, and they demand nothing less than your very best.