The Blackguard Trials began as an exhibition to display the capabilities of ships available for purchase to potential buyers. Frequently the buyers would request live demonstrations of several ships at once to best compare their capabilities. Over time the Trials evolved into a full scale festival open to the general public, complete with food and entertainment in addition to the competitions. Smaller competitive events were added for the average sailor or non-sailor, frequently sponsored by various naval manufacturers. The smaller manufacturers of naval aids were also included, displaying their collections of navigational aids, ocean resistant paints, enchanted sails, and other sailing accessories in an effort to capture attention and sales from the many sea captains in attendance. The heart of the Trials still revolves around the shipbuilders' competitions, with races to showcase speed, obstacle courses to display maneuverability, and even war games to reveal the latest developments in offensive and defensive capabilities. For those interested in the latest in naval technologies, the Blackguard Trials are the place to be.
While the Trials are enjoyed by all inhabitants of Avorae they are of special importance to the shipbuilders of the city. The Trials are designed to help potential buyers determine the best ships for their needs and as a result all shipbuilders are especially motivated to put in a good showing. Those building accessories for seafarers also maintain a strong presence, and it is not uncommon for these groups to cosponsor a competing ship or even an entire competition.
The Blackguard Trials are held for an entire week during the summer season. They are typically scheduled in the early summer to avoid the summer storm season upon the Blackguard Ocean.