Participants in the Amphitheater of the Perfect Path are the mightiest, most glorious warriors that the velstracs can find and kidnap from their homes. After waking up in and making it through a massive, strange, trap-laden and monster-filled hall, the contenders make it to a city-sized, torus-shaped arena, from which thousands of jeering Shadow Plane denizens can watch their ordeals through magical viewing devices.
The velstracs who oversee the tournament ensure that the teams distrust each other and view each other as foes, instead of potential allies, by filling the arena with illusions and mind-altering substances, so they are more likely to kill each other to entertain the velstracs. They promise release to the winners, but rarely give it; those who desire freedom must realise that escape is the true objective of the tournament. The team that does so in the most entertaining way (determined by the velstrac judges) is deemed the winner, though most are emotionally broken by this time.