The sport of Kinchaa, originally a product of Enlil culture (its name in an ancient dialect meaning "to grasp the sun") has become a popular pastime for the people of Araevis, and the inhabitants of Terminus in particular. Though modern iterations are far removed from their more humble roots, its contemporary practice shares two very important traits with its classical counterpart;
lit: "Grasp the sun"
lit: "Grasp the sun"
Blood and violence.
The rules of the game are quite simple on paper. The field of play consists of several raised platforms scattered across a round arena. Participants use these to traverse the area and reach the opponent's goal; a hoop situated near the middle of the space on either side. The object of the game is to place the "Kin" -- a heavy orb typically made from steel or hardened animal hide filled with lead shot -- into the opposing team's goal.
This, however, is where the simplicity ends. A point can only be scored as long as the player is touching the ball when it enters the goal, and additional points are awarded for the elevation from which the shot was made; the farther you fall, the more points you're awarded. While the risk involved was considerable during the sports early years; with Enlil using raised wooden or stone platforms to construct their arenas, modern iterations of Kinchaa have increased that factor tenfold.
These days, the sport is not played using simple scaffolding. Technology and magic combine to create a multi-layered, multi-dimensional playing field composed of a number of floating metal platforms held aloft by arcane energy. Scattered at varying heights and orientations, the plateaus are typically imbued with magical enchantments to assist players in traversing the bizarre landscape; allowing them to jump higher, faster, or seemingly defy gravity. Larger arenas found in Terminus often take the game to dizzying heights, and it is rare to see a game where players are not injured as a result of their acrobatics.
More common than these injuries however, are ones inflicted by opposing players. Teams consist of seven men a side, each with a particular role in the lineup. The sport is full contact, and while there are rules regarding the terms of engagement, players are often heavily injured in attempts to steal or protect the Kin from an opponent.
One thing however, is certain; Kinchaa makes for one hell of a spectator sport.
At its most basic, Kinchaa pits two teams of seven players against each other on a circular field 250 feet in diameter. Surrounding these circles and separating the legions of fans in the stadium from the playing field is a transparent magic cylinder that protects the crowds from any passing mishaps or flying debris (read: players). At opposite ends of the court are two levitating steel hoops, parallel to the ground and draped with golden, weaved chains, that serve as the goal for opposing teams. Games have a duration of one hour, not accounting for clock stoppages.
That goal is simply to get the ball through the hoop. The ball is a heavy orb typically made from steel or hardened animal hide filled with lead shot. It can be passed between teammates and stolen by the opposition--and the play is often supremely physical.
Teams must be comprised of seven players, but beyond that the makeup of the squad is completely left up to the style that the team wishes to play. At the most basic level the game is made up of Sunwisers, Waning Guards, Waxing Sentinels, and Celestials.
Sunwisers: Primary ball handlers who are the most agile members of their teams. They generally play on the ground due to their ability to climb to the environment with ease. Will have trouble getting past the more physical players, but can speed by celestials if careful.
Waning Guards: Despite their name, these players are the most versatile members of their teams. Quick and adept at both offensive and defensive play to a certain degree, Waning Guards are perfect support types, but can dunk with the best of them when the time comes. A Jack of All Trades. These players often start on the ground or on the first tier of the stage.
Waxing Sentinels: Not exactly fleet of foot, but adequate enough when it comes to reaction time, their primary focus is to wrest control of the ball from the opponents. Most often the worst ball handlers on the team, they generally look to pass as soon as they steal the ball. Because of their lack of speed, these defenders are often situated on the middle tiers of the stage, utilized in offensive plays to disrupt the enemy team and gain control of the ball.
Celestials: The big dogs. Tough, but slow as molasses, these guys rely on their immense size and strength to stop the opponent in their tracks. Because of their size, they are also a key component of offense if utilized correctly, and thus are often situated on the highest tiers of the stage as well as the lowest.
A very basic team would have 1 Sunwiser, 2 Guards, 2 Sentinels, and 2 Celestials
Modern iterations of Kinchaa at a 'professional' level utilize immense arenas to practice their sport. Often times, the floating platforms utilized during play are enchanted with different spells to assist players or add difficulty to the game;
Jump Platform: Imbued with magic that allows players to jump to immense heights, well beyond their already considerable physical ability. This effect is applied on a player's next leap following contact with the platform.
Push Platform: These platforms are enhanced with spells that thrust players or objects that touch them in a particular direction with great force. The directionality of a platform is denoted by a large arrow on its surface.
Null Platform: Enchanted with spells that negate physical force, softening impacts from great heights. Best used in conjunction with Jump Platforms. These are rarely used in play -- only occasionally placed on the lower levels near each goal.
Penalty Platform: Introduced into the game when a player of either team receives a penalty, this enchantment shifts randomly between all platforms in play, relocating once every thirty seconds. Denoted by its bright red coloration, coming into contact with this platform causes the spell to detonate, delivering a mild shock to anyone standing on top of it. Activating a penalty platform takes it out of play. Platforms affected by this enchantment return to their 'natural' affinity once the spell has been activated or moved on.
Shuffle Platform: An unassuming but surprisingly useful enchantment, these occasionally appear every at random intervals in the game. Contacting one causes the all the enchantments in play to shuffle around, often completely changing the dynamic of a game.
There are no ties in a game of Kinchaa. A victor must always be decided. In the event that the time limit is reached with both teams at a dead heat, the game is halted, and both teams select a single representative from their lineups (typically the Sunwiser) to enter into Mehen Kimil (lit; "all men must die")
During this 'overtime', the representatives of each team must face off against one another and attempt to score on the opposing team for the victory. However, for every five minutes of overtime that pass, one platform in the arena is replaced with a Penalty Platform, and touching this platform results in a loss. As such, Mehen Kimil often goes one of two ways; either it is a scramble for the players to gain control of the ball and score before they are overwhelmed, or it is a waiting game, with defensively oriented players simply stalling until their opponents slip up and fall victim to the ever-increasing number of Penalty Platforms. Either way, these contests are often the most physically demanding and most injury-laden parts of any game.