The earliest recorded game was set in 1200 AD. Every ten years, the hidden powers select ordinary folks from all walks of life to engage in these secret struggles. The mortality rate is high, and for the first half of the decade many will be replaced by newcomers, keeping the number of active players around 1000 worldwide. After the 5th year of that decade, no new people (contestants? victims?) are sought. By the end of that 10 year period, typically less than 5 come out as hardened Veterans, so transformed by their experiences and ambitions as to be largely unrecognizable from where they began.

No one knows why these events transpire, although theories abound among Vets. Some believe they are purely entertainment (many games are quite sadistic), others believe they are being readied as an army for some trans-dimensional apocalypse. Thus far, no one has produced a lead on the puppet masters.

The only linking factor with all those chosen is a bright and burning drive to somehow be or do more than what they have now. The "Secret Masters" have an uncanny ability to seek out these people & aid them in this pursuit, but like the Monkey’s Paw, they never quite offer complete satisfaction. Thus the chosen, through unknowable hardship and terrors, are forged into some of the most formidable beings ever to exist.

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