In this worldbuilding post, we’re supposed to looks at the games, food and general amusements of Øtherworld.
Øtherworld. is, of course, a game all its own, but one of the odd things I included within the game was a popular game-specific sport: Øgreball.
There are two versions of øgreball: the one that øgres play and the one that most of Øtherworld calls its favorite sport.
The øgrish game was designed to teach cubs the art of war. It is also the pastime of mature øgres. In the øgrish version, played in a deep pit rather than a stadium, there are three (or *four) kinds of balls in play. The most common are metal studded leatherclad balls. There are also a few metal or stone balls of larger size, used mostly as wicked, bonebreaking dodgeballs. Lastly, there is a large, ogre-sized wicker ball, inside of which is placed an unlucky prisoner (human, gøblyn, pig, etc).
The rules of the øgrish game are uncertain. There are no goal posts; however, there is a large earthwork in the center, unscaleable for the average øgre, epscially in the midst of a pitched battle. The floor of the playing pit is graded away from the earthworks, so that the balls will roll into ditches at either end of the pit. There, other øgre players collect the balls and launch them from oversized slingshots or, in the case of the wicker cage, a catapult.
The object of the øgrish version is two-fold: beat the other team senseless until only your team is alive and/or conscious and beat the snot out of the wicker ball. It is pretty much a huge, rule-less battle with players using clubs to bash the balls at each other or to simply bash each other senseless, while slingshot operators pummel everyone indiscriminately. No one knows who came up with it, but it is very brutal. It’s possible that when øgres degenerated from the Summa [if such a thing ever truly happened], they kept øgreball as a much corrupted relic of some ceremonial sport whose purpose has been lost to us.
As for the fourth “ball” which is occasionally in play… when an øgre head gets separated from its shoulders, said head is treated like any other ball in play.
The civilized game utilizes an official court of play. The stadium is set up to resemble an øgreball pit with seats lining the tops of the perimeter of a rectangular field. Goal nets are placed at two opposite corners. A low net similar to a tennis court net halves the field, emulating the øgrish earthwork barrier. A pass exists on either side of the net. A semi-circle is marked off around the net in which only the goalie can occupy. He cannot leave this area.
All players are protected with leather armor. The goalie bears a shield and his choice of either an øgreball club or racket. The guard players stay on their side of the net and are armed with øgreball clubs. Skirmishers can go anywhere on the field, except the goal zone. Skirmishers are armed with rackets. Unlike the øgrish version, players are not permitted to bludgeon each other.
There are only two types of ball in play: medium sized leatherbound rubber balls and large leatherbound rubber balls. The field includes anywhere from 20 to 30 of the smaller balls, divided evenly along the sides of the net at the start of play and 2 to 4 of the larger balls, placed in the passes in even numbers. Smaller balls are worth 2 points apiece per goal. Large balls are worth five points. Play continues until the last ball has been caught in the nets, thus ending a set. A game consists of 1 to 4 sets, agreed upon beforehand. Balls which overshoot the net are tossed back into play.
A standard game includes 20 2-point balls and 2 5-point balls at the start of a set. A championship game consists of 30 smaller balls and 4 larger balls and a large wicker cage ball [unoccupied] worth 20 points.
Up next: A chapter excerpt from Øtherworld.