The Beacon Academy Initiation is a process that all first-year students possibly go through upon arrival at Beacon Academy.
Instructors grade the students for the duration of the initiation but do not intervene in any way.
In "The First Step", Professor Ozpin, Glynda Goodwitch, and the new students arrive at Beacon Cliff for the first part of their test. Ozpin mentions the dangers and possibility of death during the initiation, advising the students not to hesitate to destroy everything in their path to succeed. It is also explained that, once in the Emerald Forest, their partner for the next four years would be the first person they make eye contact with.
They will then head north to an abandoned temple to find and return one of the relics. These relics are newly chosen by the headmaster himself for the test each year. (In the year the RWBY team partook, the relics were chess pieces.) It was also stated that the students would be watched by staff members, but that those watching them would not help because their job is simply to observe.
The students were then launched one at a time into the Emerald Forest, using their own landing strategy to land safely (except Jaune Arc, who was saved by Pyrrha Nikos). Upon landing in the forest, each student eventually found a partner either on purpose or by accident and the duos started making their way to the temple. Along the way, the students were faced with attacks from different types of Grimm all over the forest. While some managed to beat their enemies, others failed and were forced to retreat.
Through the initiation, the students are put into teams comprised of four students each, who are formed based on the two pairs that took the same relics, such as Team RWBY, with both pairs taking the white knight piece.
At the conclusion of Initiation, Ozpin announces each team based on the relic they retrieved. He names and appoints a leader to each team.
Relics are used as part of the Beacon Academy Initiation. Despite the name, relics are simply items used as a goal for students participating in the Beacon Academy's initiation. They are placed at the abandoned temple in the Emerald Forest during the initiation that Ruby Rose and the others in their first year at Beacon participated in.
Teams of two are required to recover these relics and return them to the Beacon Cliff in order to complete the initiation. The students are watched and graded on their performance along the way, but the professors will not interfere.
Relics are chosen by Professor Ozpin every year, and therefore vary from year to year. The relics that Ozpin chose on the year that Ruby and the others arrived were black and gold chess pieces, albeit with only one pair of pawns in each color.
Blake Belladonna and Yang Xiao Long found the temple in "The Emerald Forest, Pt.2" and discovered that the relics were black and gold chess pieces on twenty pedestals. However, three of the pieces, the black bishops and a gold pawn, were missing, signifying that other teams had made it before them.
Yang whimsically decided on a "cute little pony", choosing the white knight as their relic.
After Nora Valkyrie arrives with Lie Ren at the temple in "Players and Pieces", she quickly snatches up the white rook. Jaune Arc, Pyrrha Nikos, Weiss Schnee, and Ruby Rose also arrive, with a Nevermore and Death Stalker pursuing both pairs. Since completing the mission only requires each pair to return to the cliff with one relic, they decide to grab the relics and run. Prior to leaving, Ruby chooses the second white knight and Jaune picks the second white rook.
This choice of pieces later turns out to be the key to sorting the pairs, which were formed on a first eye-contact basis, into teams of four that are created through combining the two pairs that have matching relics.
Teams and Pieces:
- RWBY - recovered the White Knights, chosen by Yang and Ruby.
- JNPR - recovered the White Rooks, chosen by Nora and Jaune.
- CRDL - recovered the Black Bishops.
- Kerry Shawcross stated on Twitter that Blake was, in fact, in the launch sequence. Whether this was him taking advantage of Blake's absence and similarities to a ninja for a joke or covering for an error was unknown at the time, but it was further revealed in the RWBY Vol. 1 DVD commentary that they did not show her landing strategy because, as Kerry stated, "She's a cat, she'd just land on her feet."
- Based on the number of relics, there were places for ten teams in the freshman class. However, it is unknown how many teams completed the initiation.
- Originally, there was going to be a relic inside the stinger of the giant Death Stalker that Jaune and Pyrrha encounter during the initiation.
- In RWBY: Grimm Eclipse, players can collect artifacts that award 100XP upon collecting. These artifacts are visually represented by the white knight and white rook relics.
- Ruby Rose
- Weiss Schnee
- Blake Belladonna
- Yang Xiao Long
- Jaune Arc
- Nora Valkyrie
- Pyrrha Nikos
- Lie Ren
- Cardin Winchester
- Russel Thrush
- Dove Bronzewing
- Sky Lark
- Ruby Rose and Weiss Schnee
- Blake Belladonna and Yang Xiao Long
- Jaune Arc and Pyrrha Nikos
- Lie Ren and Nora Valkyrie