497 – Better Get Rey-Rey

And now, in a continuing service, an entry from the Encyclopedia Ardrisia.

SKULLBALL

On the Lower Planes, life is a grueling existence and usually very short. Unrelentingly harsh weather conditions, demonic adversaries and a distinct lack of decent take-out food are among the many things that can make a soul give in to despair. However, for some there is a tiny beacon of hope. Well, not hope, exactly, so much as a distraction from the Brain Rats trying to eat your brain in your sleep. That distraction is the sport of Skullball.

It is unclear when Skullball was invented as the passage of time is difficult to mark in the Outer Planes, but it has certainly been around for at least a millennia or two. We think. Skullball teams are popular with the student bodies of the various high schools that exist on the Lower Planes. Incidentally, the existence of high schools on the Lower Planes goes far towards proving the point that the concept of “high school” is indeed infernal in nature, as has long been suspected. Skullball provides a barely structured way of ensuring that only the strong, brutal or cunning survive to fight in the Blood Wars.

Skullball is played by two teams of eleven players each; all players are limited to ground movement only, regardless of whether they can fly, teleport or burrow with great speed. The object of the game is to get a large skull from one end of a field to the goal line at the other end, scoring 5 points. A Skullball game lasts as long as it takes for the ceremonial Murchinpa Egg (a small demon known for its fecundity and rapid maturation rate and little else) to hatch. Once it hatches (usually about 4 – 7 hours), the game is over. Beyond that, there are no rules. Each team maintains at least two back-up rosters of players ready to play at a moment’s notice, as it is considered a dull Skullball game if there aren’t at least 5 – 10 fatalities or dismemberments during the course of a game. When the game is over, the losing team has to give up its weakest member for the winning team to eat, thus providing the skull for the next game. This is considered a way to reclaim honor by everyone on the losing team except for the demon who has been chosen to be eaten. One imagines he/she/it wouldn’t be particularly chuffed about it.

The Encyclopedia Ardrisia, Volume 41 (Santor’s Sibiliant Swords to Slaadipuffs), Kilanio University Press, 48th edition.

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