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Xefros Arena Stickball Outfit

A photograph of Xefros Tritoh in Arena Stickball gear, kitted out to play the position of Pusher.

Arena Stickball is a popular sport played on Alternia during the time period of Hiveswap. It is the favourite pastime of Xefros Tritoh, who plays the role of Pusher. Arena Stickball is a competitive team game played with 15 balls; "these are all different sizes and each has its own distinct powers". Players (or at least players playing Pusher) wield a chalked Cuebat in the manner of a baseball bat on Earth, and wear protective headgear. Despite this, Arena Stickball is often mortally dangerous, the Pusher role particularly so, to the extent that burgundy blooded players are sought out for the perceived expendability of their caste, and for the ability to psychically commune with players who have died, among other telekinetic abilities.

Arena Stickball is seemingly based upon Table Stickball, which is a fun game that The Felt made up which is based upon their hatsSburb Logo, and which also bears an uncanny resemblance to the Earth game of Pool. Due to this, it is possible that the popularity of the game of Arena Stickball on Alternia is due to the influence of Doc Scratch and the other Felt members over the planet and its society.

Rules Edit

The full ruleset of Arena Stickball is unknown. The game is played on a velvet field in two 11-hour halves. There are 15 balls of different sizes and which possess differing abilities. Eight ball names are known - the Dozer, the Tracer, the Clover, the Finisher, the Snowball, the Matchtip, the Stitcher and the Man On The Moon. The Dozer is the 2 ball, which puts whoever it hits to sleep. The Tracer is the 3 ball and tries to follow the path it takes in the previous match. The Finisher is the 5 ball and will only move in a predetermined path. The Stitcher is a pile of yarn that has to be rolled into a ball before being used to score. The Matchtip is the 11 ball and has the special property of being permanently on fire, the Snowball is the 8 ball and contains a nuclear device that goes off after a certain amount of time, and the Man On The Moon is the white numberless ball and cannot be struck by a Pusher's bat. The Tracer and Finisher's roles correspond to their Felt counterparts' powers as well. All of this would indicate that the complete set of balls matches up in terms of powers and game role with the abilities of the Felt as well as the original pool balls.

Two teams compete to score with the balls; the Pusher is the only player position which is allowed to score, making Pushers frequent targets for attacks from other players. Other players take defensive positions, occupying roles such as Wrangler or Blaster. It is likely that each position is played by a troll with a specific blood color. Players with psychic abilities are largely permitted to utilize them during play, given the nature of their particular role.

Arena Stickball is apparently extremely violent to the extent that player deaths are common, especially in the vulnerable Pusher position. This is to such an extent that it is even incorporated into game tactics, with the ability to contact the ghosts of dead players being seen as a team advantage. This would suggest that the game doesn't have many rules enforcing player protections or placing restrictions on violent play, or at least not to an extent that player deaths are commonly prevented; either this, or any such rules may often be disregarded. Either way, the violent aspects of the sport are in line with the brutal cultural traditions that are common on Alternia.

The telekinesis lock on the Sports Vault in Xefros' Rumpus Room consists of a small minigame to be played with psychic powers, which seems to be based on some version of Arena Stickball. This game incorporates hostile enemies in the form of aggressive black crustaceans. It is unknown if these are also a part of a real game of Arena Stickball, but knowing Alternian culture, they may well be.

Culture Edit

PASLL

The Alternian Pro Arena Stickball League crest.

Teams compete in Arena Stickball leagues. One time, Xefros' team took third place in the Outglut Grub League, and the team members were awarded a featureless white orb as a trophy. He is currently trying out for the Thrashthrust Junior League, likely a city youth league. Players who perform badly in try-outs risk being culled. Beyond this, top teams compete in the Alternian Pro Arena Stickball League, which is distinguished by its crest displaying the 15 balls of Arena Stickball. Popular pro teams include the Thrashthrust Snowglobes, Xefros' favourite team.

Some pro players are well known and have attained celebrity status. Xultan Matzos is one such player, a Burgundy-blooded Pusher who played for the Thrashthrust Snowglobes, and who at least for Xefros was a particularly influential player of this position. Xefros has a poster of him in his respiteblock, and particularly idolizes him, modelling his play style after him. Xultan was executed after being used as a mind-controlled pawn by a blueblood attempting to attack the Heiress.

Arena Stickball is also referred to as the "Sport of Lords", similarly to how on Earth horse racing is sometimes referred to as the "Sport of Kings". This is likely a reference to Lord English, leader of the Felt and Lord of Time, from whom by proxy of the Felt the game my ultimately be derived, and whose eyes take the form of Table/Arena Stickball balls.

Arena Stickball Illustrated is a magazine publication dedicated to the sport.

Merchandise Edit

Small figurines of Arena Stickball players can be purchased or attained; these may be depictions of famous players, such as Xultan Matzos. Two player tabletop versions of the game in a similar style to table football also exist, but these apparently don't bear much resemblance to the actual game of Arena Stickball. Arena Stickball game grubs (video games) are also released periodically, around six times per sweep; however, these are all very similar as, of course, the rules of the game don't change.

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