With the Summer Olympic games now in full swing, we thought we’d help you bring the spirit of the Olympics to your role play gaming. Whatever tabletop RPG you are playing, there are some Olympic sports that you can include quickly and easily. These include: Running, Swimming, Archery, Wrestling, Boxing, Long jump, Weight lifting and Gymnastics. Simple feats against other competitors that can easily be resolved with the roll of a dice. However, what if you want something a bit more suited to fantasy gaming? Here are our 5 sports for use in a fantasy setting.
What it is: Monstrous dressage is a fantasy sport in which participants use magic to claim a beast as a mount and lead it through a series of predetermined movements, illustrating the rider’s mastery and control of the creature.
How it is won: Points are awarded for the size, temperament and exotic nature of the participant’s chosen mount and the complexity and skills of the movements carried out. Monstrous Dressage contests are normally judged by previous riders and industry experts.
Monstrous Dressage is a firm favourite amongst spectators as it gives people the ability to see (often huge) monsters that they have never seen before. The drawback is that larger mounts have been known to accidentally squash a number of spectators. Some contests have ended in tragedy as riders have lost control of their otherwise ferocious beasts and many lives have been lost.
Most Monstrous Dressage riders will employ large teams of ‘adventurers’ to find and capture wild and exotic creatures for possible use in competitions. It takes a very skilled and very powerful magic user to be able to ride the largest and highest scoring creatures.
What is it: Mage Archery covers a number of different disciplines in which mages (non-guild members only) fire elemental bolts at targets. Disciplines include: Mage Archery, Mounted Mage Archery, Moving Target Mage Archery.
How it is won: In Mage Archery points are scored for hitting closest to the centre of a standard archery target. Each participant is allowed 12 bolts and then the totals are scored. In the event of a tie the competition continues with the target getting gradually further away until there is a winner. In Mounted Mage Archery, the competition is exactly the same but with the mages situated on the back of a moving horse. Moving Target Mage Archery involves small wooden discs being thrown into the air using a trebuchet like device which the mage then has to hit with his or her bolt. Again, the participant with the greatest number of hits over 12 rounds is declared the winner.
Mage Archery is a staple of most magic contests but is seen by many as lacking the excitement of some of the more modern competitions. Guild members are not allowed to take part in most Mage Archery contests as they are at an unfair advantage over amateurs. This however has led to the mages guilds complaining that it encourages unskilled magic users to practice without the safety and supervision that the guild provides.
What it is: Seven competitors take part in this fast paced and exciting all-against-all contest. Each competitor guards a large bucket. Dotted around the pitch are large stones of various sizes. The aim of the game is to prevent stones from being placed in your bucket whilst placing stones in the bucket of your opponents. All of this is done using only the power of the mind and telekinesis.
How it is won: Each stone has a points value (larger stones are worth more points). If a player manages to place a stone into the bucket of a competitor using only their mind and telekinesis, that player earns those points. Matches are in three 7 minute thirds with the person with the most points at the end of 21 minutes being announced the winner.
The rules of Stoneball continue to change and adapt as players find ever more ingenious ways of cheating. In the past players have exploited loopholes in the official rules to use spells and their own brute strength to score points and prevent other players scoring. Stoneball games have been known to become violent as players take offence at being ‘accidentally’ hit with a moving stone and ‘accidentally’ hit the other player back.
Force fields and other defences are provided for spectators to ensure that no harm comes to them. In the early years of the sport this wasn’t the case and many people were maimed or injured by out of control stones which led to yet more violence.
What is it: Stealth is a 20 minute game played by two teams. Each team has ‘hiders’ and ‘seekers’. The aim of the game is for the ‘hiders’ to sneak (using magic) through the specially designed course and reach the opposition team’s ‘goal’. The ‘seekers’ of the opposition try to prevent this by using magical detection techniques.
How it is won: The team with the most ‘hiders’ in the opposition goal after 20 minutes wins. A good ‘hider’ has a flawless grasp and very high level of skill with concealment and stealth magic. In addition it pays if ‘hiders’ have a good grasp of dispel magic spells to try and avoid the counter measures of the ‘seekers’. ‘Seekers’ need, not only a grasp of detection spells but also guile and cunning to catch their opponents out in ways they hadn’t expected.
There have been a number of instances in the past where teams have been disqualified for using illegal manoeuvres such as teleporting and the placement of concealed shields to physically prevent opposition team members from passing. This has led to the game becoming increasingly regulated which some say has taken some of the fun out of it.
What it is: 16 flammable ‘pins’ are staked into the ground in coaxial squares at one end of the playing area. Each Pin is spaced equally so that the furthest pins are exactly ten feet from the centre of the arrangement. Players then stand 60 feet away from the closest pin and cast a fireball towards them. The aim is to ignite all pins in one fire ball. If any remain unlit, the player may then cast another in an attempt to ignite those that remain.
How to win: Each game of fire bowling is played over ten frames. In each frame the player scores however many pins they manage to light using two fire balls. If a player lights all pins with their first fireball then they are awarded ten points plus their score in the next frame for that frame (if they get all ten in the next frame as well then points continue to accumulate until they fail to light all ten pins in a frame). If a player manages to light all ten pins using two fireballs in a frame then they are awarded ten points plus any points that they make with the first fireball of the next frame (if the first fireball results in all ten pins being lit then again points accumulate until such time as the player fails to light all pins in the first fireball of their frame).
Fire bowling requires huge amounts of concentration and is very demanding in terms of the magical energy that is required per game. For that reason it is uncommon that players will participate in more than one game per day and games are often abandoned once it becomes mathematically impossible for one of the players to win. Due to the difficulty of the game and the magical demands on its players, a number of other, non-magical varieties have begun to spring up.