|Type||Card and Drinking Game|
|Player Count||2 minimum|
|Objective||Discover new things|
The Volay Circuit is in the core of its essence a Truth or Dare game, but it has additional rules that make it more dangerous, but many would also say far safer to play. The game Truth or Dare has been an old practice even before Ailor civilization became the dominant force on Aloria, and it was mostly the Altalar who created a number of varieties that fundamentally changed the context of the game. The game is particularly popular among nobles and hedonists because of the promise of shedding unadulterated truths and risky dares without the fear of reprisals or public humiliation. In fact, the reason why the Volay Circuit is so much liked is that it guarantees to a certain degree that whatever is said and done stays within the group who played the game, with dire consequences for those who break their oath.
The Volay Circuit was developed somewhere in the 5th century before Cataclysm during the height of political intrigue. Back then, alcohol-based games among the Altalar were frequent, but Altalar always used a variety of restraint and silence to keep themselves from public embarrassment and losing public face. It was supposedly a priest called Volay Bei Movrae who developed a ritual of binding for silken armbands with the blessings of Ulley, the Altalar Pantheon god of Protection. Since he described how to perform these simple Altalar prayers in some of his writing, the practice spread beyond the Allorn Empire. In modern times, the Cult of Virility among Ailor society has mostly adopted the practice, to the point that Volay Bands are usually sold by corner street Altalar vendors close but not yet inside the Old Town district. Most Altalar salesmen sell the small magical oddities used to play this game because of how easy they are to make, and thus they are easily obtainable even though the usage of them is dubious in Unionist eyes. Most modern noble youth and young adults have tried the Volay Circuit at least once because of its daring prospects. There is nary a noble except for the most devout and religious who haven’t heard of the game or understand how it is played.
The game of the Volay Circuit is played by at least two players and up to any amount of them, though smaller numbers are usually recommended. For every person, a Volay Band is required before the game commences. When the game is about to start, all members must hold a Volay Band in their hand, speak the words: “Truth or not, commend these words and acts only to thought.” After having said those words (which can be done simultaneously or in clockwise order), each person much wrap said binding around the right arm of the person on their left, and ensure to tie the knot properly. When tied, the band (which is made of cloth) will light up with a yellow glow, until all bands are attached. Just as all bands light up in unison, the light fades, after which the bands visibly disappear as well, some say commended to the Exist until Ulley decides to return them to the mortal plane.
The purpose of these Volay Bands is that they act as a secrecy curse. Anything that is said and done during the game of Volay Circuit must remain secret. None of the members may speak of what they saw, heart, said or did, or even allude to it or use secret and clever ways to reveal things they had learned through directions and actions. It is said that the Altalar goddess Aish-eia watches for any foul play and immediately tells Ulley if the bond of the Volay Bands has been broken by someone. As if by divine intervention indeed, if someone were to somehow allude to something said, speak out an act that occurred during the game or in any other way alluded to things done during the game, the band will reappear on their upper arm, spreading a dark sickness on their body. Radiating from the band, a blackening curse of the body would appear that rots away the arm before the arm would eventually fall off. No known Magics or medical cures have been known to tackle the very few cases of this Curse of Ulley. No weapons or even enchanted items could break the band, nor any medical proficiency or even magical healing could re-attach the arm or indeed cure the plague. The Curse of Ulley would continue to rot away at the arm until everything up to the shoulder was lost. The prospect of becoming horribly diseased and losing an arm if something was revealed from the game to outsiders, makes playing the game appealing because it is self-insulating, it provides a guarantee that those who play will not reveal anything of the game to the outside.
There is a higher variety called Higher Volay Circuit which makes use of the second Band of Aish-eia, though this practice is far less popular. The Band of Aish-eia is made in a very similar way to the Band of Ulley, and attaching it is done in the same manner as the Band of Ulley, except it is attached to the left arm of the person on the right, instead of the right arm of the person on the left. Just after attachment, the persons who attached the band may speak of one phrase “We shall not speak of <Insert term here>.” This phrase acts as a final rule to the game, essentially allowing the Band of Aish-eia to create an exception upon one subject. This exception is made because the Band of Aish-eia is like a truthsayer serum. While the band remains attached, the person is incapable of speaking half-truths or lying; they can only tell the absolute truth. There is only one exception: When compelled to speak about the subject they implied before with the phrase “We shall not speak of <insert term here>” they will not be compelled to speak the truth. Unlike the band of Ulley, the Band of Aish-eia has no long-term impact on the life of the person who used it. It remains blue glowing during the game, but simply drops off and shrivels into nothing as soon as the game is over and people walk away from the table. It can however not be removed during the game in any way shape or form until the players leave. The term chosen for exception to the Band of Aish-eia is usually singular but can be a bit wider. For example, a person may say “My Wife” or “My Family.” In the former, any questions about the character’s wife will not need to be spoken of, whereas in the latter, any question relating to their family relations, history and actions cannot be spoken of. Some terms cover more subjects than others, and some may be experienced as too wide for the other players. It is up to the other players to verbally reject the safety clause of a person when they ask for too much to remain secret. In such a case, the bands slip off and have to be re-attached.
Both the band of Aish-eia and the Band of Ulley appear like regular Altalar cloth decorative pieces out in daylight. There is, in fact, no way to determine their authenticity without trying them on and watching to see if they glow with the right procedures, and if one of them is faulty for those present in the game, all of them do not work regardless of whether they are working or faulty. Additionally, the players have to remain near one another, and the Bands seem to detect when it’s not a matter of game but of crime and justice. Regalian authorities have tried to use these bands before against or with spies and criminals, but have found that they simply do not work without being in their relaxed game-setting.
How to Play
Once the bands are attached, the game is quite simple and not much different from the Truth or Dare played by anyone else. As opposed to the flexible turn target choosing the next target, however, the Volay Circuit is played in a clockwise fashion to ensure everyone gets turns. Players can, however, skip their turn of choosing someone by knocking the table (which should usually be present to hold drinks if they are used) which results in the turn being passed over to the person on their left. When alcohol is present, the practice is usually to take a shot of whatever drink is present before answering or doing a dare present. The truths are straightforward and should be asked freely. The dares differ a bit, however. In normal Truth or Dare, the players can challenge someone for a dare outside of the game, but for the Volay Circuit, this is not possible. For the Volay Circuit, dares may only be performed inside the confines of the game area, and only with the objects and people present. It is taboo to ask open-ended questions during the game, however. For example, a good question can be to ask what race someone finds most attractive. A question, however, cannot be what their deepest darkest secret is. A question for a truth must always be scoped to a particular subject or matter. Otherwise, the band of Aish-eia doesn’t work, and the Band of Ulley causes a burning sensation in the upper arm for a few seconds, to warn the player that they are being too greedy.
There is no real objective in the Volay Circuit aside from perhaps getting drunk and getting to know others better. It provides a safe way to learn things of others, or perhaps even to talk of one’s own secrets if prompted, without the fear of getting discovered. There is a rough, unofficial scoring system too. For each dare or truth asked, a player gets 20 points, while a player gets 100 points for completing a truth or dare. It is allowed for a player to reject a truth or a dare without consequences (if the Band of Aish-eia is not used that is). This, however, allows the person who asked them a question or dared them into an action to ignore a request made of them by the person who rejected their truth or dare. It is also considered rude and unsportsmanlike to reject a truth or dare.
- It is recommended to prepare a list of truth’s or dare’s for specific characters that are being played with in advance. A group should agree to play this game an OOC hour in advance and then send one character to retrieve the bands, while the rest consider their questions and dares. Nothing breaks this game more than six people sitting in a circle with only two people having questions or dares for the others.
- It is recommended to switch up dares and truths, but many games can be played with just truths. There are no rules about the relation between truths and dares in numbers.
- There should be an OOC understanding between the players that there can be no saving or retconning from the Band of Ulley and that this is all done in good faith. That means if the truth comes out and the players somehow god-rp around their commitment to the Band of Ulley (to which there is currently NO WAY to get rid of it, either physical or magical, or even to cure the effects after it has started), staff may be contacted for rule breaks and the culprit punished. If the players aren't comfortable with trusting the other players to uphold this secrecy both IC and OOC, it is recommended that the players don’t play.
- OOC secrecy is not required but strongly recommended. Again, if you are playing with a person who likes to talk about character secrets OOC, don’t play with them. The power of the game is bringing characters closer together by knowing them better on a personal level that would otherwise require a lot of ice breaking. If that gets ruined by a person spreading rumors and talking about it OOC, then that just encourages metagaming and ruins the point of the game.
- The game cannot be used force characters cleverly into silence about certain matters. While they cannot speak about certain matters said or done in this game, if the information is somehow otherwise being revealed (or by another person who now has the Curse of Ulley), the information becomes free game and they may talk about it again. Furthermore, the information or act must always be question, dare -> answer, act. Someone may not just scream out a statement and then have it protected.
- A person once incorrectly attached the Band of Ulley to the neck. When they spoke of a truth they had heard, the Band of Ulley killed them by decapitating them.
- It is hard to find a noble nowadays who hasn’t played the Volay Circuit in their teenage years (especially in Ithania), or indeed to find an Altalar peddler who does not sell the Bands required, since any Altalar who believes in Estel and her Pantheon can make them.
- Because Altalar peddlers aren’t always present, it is fine to imply that your character bought them off an NPC or still had some laying around from last time.