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Quintzel


Introduction

Positions

The Game Field

Rules of Play

Team Names

Variations

Past Games of Note

A List of Variations



Introduction


Quintzel is an intense, competitive sport involving two teams each trying to kick a bright white ball past the opposing team's goals. Its origins are lost to the mists of time, but the league system evolved around 1800AH and universities began running leagues around 1820AH. Similar to our soccer, the game can and does frequently involve people getting hurt. The ideal Quintzel player is muscular but not musclebound, lean and fit rather than overblown and pumped up. Most of the Eastern Cities that have major universities have a Quintzel team. Fans of the game can be found all over the Eastern Seaboard of Scialla, though generally due to travel constraints and communication delays fans tend to follow their home city's team. Fans can get incoherently passionate about their team; players can be treated akin to rock stars especially if they're really good at the game. Universities count on their Quintzel teams to help generate revenue; not only do the games themselves cost money to attend and not only do fans tend to purchase swag with team logos, but past University attendees often donate money to their University out of love for the Quintzel team's accomplishments.

Quintzel is primarily played at the university level; there are not, unfortunately, enough cities with enough money to make it a professional concern outside university circles. But the games (played in the fall and winter) draw crowds of thousands on weekends to Valrona's amphitheater. There are 18 teams. They rotate in cycles called "byes" to win 2 out of 3; losing once is all right, but losing twice will lose that season's tournament. Each round has byes till it's reduced the number of teams to a requisite number: first from 18 to 14, 14 to 10, then from 10 to 5, then from 5 to 2, then the two opposing teams play one time. It's expected for byes to take three weeks each. The winner takes the bye. Games are played on both weekend days if necessary to finish a bye. In the case of a tie on the last game, the team plays up to twice more; if a tie happens on all three games, the two front facers duel to first blood with the weapon of choice of the non-hosting team's front facer. This has only happened once in 85 years, in 2140.

Physical violence is not only tolerated but expected. It is not at all weird or unusual for fans to tear down the goals and get into riots if they disagree enough with the referees. Referees are generally fair and impartial, but don't always make decisions fans agree with. Referees themselves have gotten into fights with each other as they make determinations. The teams themselves frequently fight, body-check, and knock each other down in the name of "whoops, was that YOUR ribcage?" People often get arrested at games in the aftermath.

The teams are governed by the League of Quintzellers, an august group of older Quintzel stars and managers. There are twelve members of this organization, all elected by the various schools' teams, coaches, and university heads. Once elected, a member serves for ten years or until retirement. The President of the League is Lord Duby Faughn, a gentleman from Hevalta. Lord Faughn is of advancing years, but in his youth he was an incredible front facer. He's known for his quirky sense of humor and his encyclopedic knowledge of the Rules and Variations.

Nobody can major in Quintzel, by League rules. Players are required to have high grades (usually a 3.5 out of 4) or be suspended from games until the GPA is brought back up.


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Positions


There are eight people on a team plus eight alternates. If a team member gets too injured to play, an alternate can take his place, except for the Mischief, who cannot be replaced. If all the alternates are also lost to injury, then the team must function with fewer than eight. Team members can also be lost due to penalties, which can mount considerably especially toward the end of the season when emotions run high.

Women have been allowed to play Quintzel since the League Accords of 1840AH, though they do not frequently figure into the teams. The makeup of teams tends to be 80% male, 20% female; female members can have a bad reputation for unladylike behavior, but this, too, is part of the game's cachet.

Front facer: a senior usually, sometimes a junior. Takes the brunt of the opposing team's assault. Primarily responsible for carrying out the coach's instructions, defending the side facers, and helping the homerunner get captured balls to the goals. Front facers are generally good leaders and the "face" of the team. Front facers will be the burliest players on the team.

Side facers: particularly responsible for capturing the ball and getting it to the homerunner. There are two of these.

Mid-defender: a position manned mid-field by two players particularly dedicated to keeping the enemy's kicked balls from reaching the goal. Two of these.

Goaltender: a very well-padded player whose job is to keep kicked balls out of his team's goal. One player.

Homerunner: a quick, lithe player whose job is to receive the ball from the side facers and to actually get it to the goal. They must kick the ball into the goal, but from how far away is up to them. One player.

The Mischief: tasked with muddying up positions in whatever way he wishes. Previous Mischiefs have pretended to have the ball, shouted warnings to the wrong people, and generally been a foul-up wherever possible. The Mischief is usually an underclassman. One Mischief some years ago actually managed to smuggle an opposing team's uniform onfield and stripped his team's shirt off, ran around in the wrong team's uniform, and scored several goals before anybody figured it out. This same Mischief, a legend in his time, got a thousand of his team's fans to expose themselves in the stadium, distracting the opposing team dramatically enough to win a tournament. The Mischief is not bound by any rules save that he can't kill or maim anybody. It is worth noting that the first goal of the front facer is generally to beat the opposing Mischief into a coma as early as possible. Strangely, Mischiefs often go on to political careers. Only one player can be the Mischief, but for Haran's sake, how many can the world take?


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The Game Field


Quintzel is played upon a field of grass (the Pontecala Sand Devils suggest artificial turf like silkspun every so often, but this gets shot down quickly) that is rectangular in shape. It is 120 yards long and 30 yards wide. Along each long side is a "blind zone" 2 yards wide. Each narrow side has a goal 2 yards wide that is striped and contains a 1-yard-wide "bonus box" in its middle.

The field is marked off every 10 yards in chalkdust, with the middle being marked with three lines each 1 yard apart. The exact middle is the Demarcation. The yard on either side of it is called the nimbus. The home team's nimbus is called the near side, and the away team's side is called the far side. Generally the home team's side is permanently marked with their team mascot or symbol -- a custom said to originate because a once-fashionable Mischief tactic involved moving temporary team markers.

Past the blind zones, each team's cheerleaders can put on their shows. Along each long side are stadium seats as well, and each team's side almost always sits on their team's blind zone side.

At the 30, 60, and 90 yard markers, three circles are outlined in the chalkdust on the line marker itself, placed equally distant from each other. These circles are 2 yards in diameter. Each set is called morning, noon, and night circles (counting forward from the home team's goal side), and each individual circle is the "close", "neat", or "far" circle (counting forward from the home team's blind zone side).

The neat noon circle is smack in the middle of the field, so is where the ball begins play every game.

The ball itself is white, spherical, exactly 12" in diameter, and patterned with a series of ridges for better traction. It is made exclusively of pigskin and blown full of air.


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Rules of Play


1. Each team must have a full complement of players at the beginning of the game.
Needless to say, this means that each team is very protective of its Mischief. There are "understudy" Mischiefs, of course, but nobody wants to go into game like that. Without a full complement of players at the start, the team forfeits.

2. Game play must begin at the appointed time and place. Late teams forfeit the match after 10 minutes past the appointed time.
This rule has led to a lot of drama in the past, but generally it has led to the charming custom of both teams being on the field at least an hour before the match.


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Quintzel Teams and Symbols


Valrona Burgundies:
Located at Valrona University, the largest university on Scialla. The symbol of the Burgundies is a white-headed, burgundy-bodied eagle sometimes depicted holding an axe and shield. The mascot is a burgundy eagle.

Cicilium Smokies:
Located in Cicilium, the northeasternmost Eastern City, the Smokies are one of the most highly-rated teams around. They play for Northeast Vo-Tech, one of the Eastern Cities' most popular vocational schools, and their teams tend toward the corn-fed and muscular. Symbol: an owl.

Warran Honeybees:
Located in Kandar, at Warran College of the Humanities. Symbol: a honeybee. They are famous for their Honeybee Honeys, a series of cheerleaders in skimpy clothing who do a lot to keep attendance at games high.

Singer Crusaders:
Located in Hevalta, at Singer College of Natural Sciences. Their symbol: a knight in armor, usually depicted raising a sword.

Twin Gorges Outsiders:
Located in Abdera, at the Twin Gorges Military Academy. The Outsiders are a serious proposition of a team, with exquisite teamwork (one might say bordering on military precision) combined with strength. They tend to be weaker in their use of Mischiefs, though, and thanks to a singular lack of sense of humor can be beaten by someone who's inventive and irreverent enough. That said, they can really do a number on a Mischief who isn't careful. Symbol: a white five-pointed star against a dark green background.

The Saints:
Sponsored by the Val Taqarian Western Seminary, the Saints are a very formidable team indeed. Despite their name, they're known for being mostly Noble and generally very prone to misconduct faults. Symbol: a tonsured monk holding up a shield.

The Pontecala Sand Devils:
Any team in its right mind fears the Sand Devils when they're on their game. Luckily, that isn't always a given. Their strategies don't always pay off, but when they do, fans can count on the boys from Pontecala to deliver an action-packed and suspenseful game. Their Mischiefs tend to know the rules better than most, and their teams in general seem to play for the long game. This tactic is what backfires on them sometimes. Symbol: a gold tornado against a blue field.


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Variations


Quintzel's primary appeal is its hundreds, if not thousands, of game-altering rules. The League itself maintains rulebooks that contain all of them, but they're difficult to remember, obviously, and interact with each other in bizarre ways. New rules get proposed in the spring, after the last season's game is completed, are voted upon and codified by summer, and must be in place by the end of summer so each team can acquire the new rules and memorize them.

Each team may suggest one new rule. The rules almost always benefit that team's next-year team. As an example, a team that has strong runners might declare a new rule that only goals that have been run at least 23 yards may count as legal. The new rule must fall under the categories of Variations (a rule that is based closely off of the Main Rules), Gambits (a violation of the Main Rules that may only apply in certain circumstances), and Ploys (an attempt to alter a Gambit to suit a different situation).

Once per round, the Mischief can declare a Variation, Gambit, or Ploy. The Mischief has to be able to play when he declares, so if the opposing team knocks the Mischief out of play quickly enough, they may not have to deal with a declare at all. Obviously, as variations pile up, the game gets increasingly weird, but that's just part of the fun.

For example, Atkinson's Variation declares that only goals that result from at least 23 yards of running are legal. Mitchell's Ploy, on the other hand, declares that the 23 yards may be distributed among more than one runner at a time, so if 4 people run the 23 yards among themselves, passing the ball back and forth, the Gambit applies.

A Mischief may declare only if his team starts the kickoff in a round. Once a declare is made, it stands (hence why a lot of Variations have very similar names; if a Mischief mis-says a name, it still stands). The opposing team may declare something once they start off a round. A declare cannot be withdrawn. If a team cannot fulfill the declare's obligations, they forfeit that round.


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Past Games of Note


2145 Quintzel Bowl:
In 2145, the Valrona Burgundies were the lowest-ranked team in the entire league. They barely managed to squeak into the final Bowl held in Priascialla, but their prospects were grim. The odds were stacked against them in such a major way that nobody expected them to win. Then, suddenly, shockingly, the team rallied. The Mischief declared the "Bugger This for a Lark" variation, which got rid of a particularly irritating referee, and just before he got beaten into insensibility, managed to hide the ball so well it took an hour to find it. A lightning storm came out of nowhere too, destroying the field and making the grass very slippery. The Burgundies had all brought extra-strong cleated shoes, so once the ball got found, they were the only ones who could actually run quickly on the wet grass. They won the Bowl, and nobody was more surprised than Valrona! Ever since, the city has been fiercely protective and supportive of its team.


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A Partial List of Variations


Name

Execution

The Pantaloon Defense

Gambit, declared 2030AH by the infamous Mischief, Bernard Fauntleroy, commonly referred to as "Bernie the Bastard." The Pantaloon Defense has been used numerous times in the ensuing years, so is noted here first. During a timeout, the Mischief declares the Variation by catching a referee's attention and tugging subtly at his waistband. Once declared, any of the declaring Mischief's team must come up with a red-spotted pair of white pantaloons (the fabric is up to the owner of the pantaloons). The opposing team's homerunner must then wear the pantaloons over his head, thus blocking his vision. The game proceeds as normal, and the pantaloons must remain until the declaring Mischief gets wedgied.

The "Bugger This For a Lark" Variation

Variation, first used in 1950AH. When used, it forces one referee of the Mischief's choosing to retire from the field to go have a beer for one hour, thus reducing the overall number of referees around to catch wrongdoing.

The Brewer Hypothesis Gambit

Gambit, devised in 1870AH. When declared, every member of the opposing team drinks 3 8-oz. beers in 5 minutes. It is customary for the opposing team's audience to drink at least one sympathy beer. This gambit was first declared against the Crusaders to resounding success, but doesn't work as well against, say, the Sand Devils.

The Weston Defense Gambit

Gambit, devised in 2201AH. With each player who is taken out on either side, the opposite side must sacrifice their equivalent player. For example, if either side loses a Homerunner, the other side loses theirs, too. This is obviously a scorched-earth tactic, but if a team is genuinely worried about their chances with a much-stronger team, they can use this to even the odds.

The Livingston Ploy

Ploy, devised in 2202AH. A player cannot be eliminated from the field if he is wearing women's underwear. A demonstration is required.


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