Curse of the Crimson Throne
Every year, the dean of abjuration at the Acadamae sends out a dozen invitations. The top student from each of the seven other schools receives an invitation, as do the leaders of the thieves’ guild and four other known gangs chosen at random. These invitations grant the holders temporary amnesty, allowing them to participate in the competition without fear of arrest for past crimes (those who foolishly commit crimes while thus protected usually end up as test subjects in the Hall of Whispers).In addition to the invited participants, the annual event draws hundreds of onlookers, who fill the Acadamae’s grounds and stare in wonder at the secretive college’s otherwise closed campus. Students manning the gates prevent beggars and riffraff from entering the grounds, and as a rule no human child shorter than a dwarf may enter. For this one day, the normally staid and infernal wizarding college becomes more like a carnival than an esteemed and world-famous place of learning.
Beginning at sunrise and continuing until sunset, the invitees attempt to penetrate the defenses of the hall and to step foot anywhere within the building. Two-dozen Korvosan Guards patrol the interior of the building, looking for a victor. As part of the rules, only one wizard may stay within the building to defend it against its potential invaders. For the most part, this young abjurer (selected by the head of the school) has little to do but watch, as the building’s magical and mundane wards and protections prove more than sufficient.
Every year in which no one succeeds in breaching the building, the prize grows. Since the first festival in 4544, the prize has grown by a few thousand gold sails or a minor magic item every single year. In 163 years, only one person has ever claimed the prize. Only 7 years into the contest, Dyson Fordyce (the fourth son of the lord at that time) managed to step half a shoe beyond the building’s threshold, granting him a small fortune. Dyson donated half his winnings to House Fordyce, allowing it to rise to the status of Great House (a title it only held for a century), and used the other half to ensure for himself a life of quiet luxury in the hills outside Veldraine. Since then, the rumored purse for any future victor purportedly exceeds the yearly budget of most noble houses in the city.