Spider-Eater Tournament

Your best warriors against my mercenaries. Let us see how they measure up.  
  Outsiders are not thought of much in Dhanû. When the Saen-Kaw challenge was uttered between the foreign mercenaries in the employ of Ramaður-shi and the warriors of Dhanû, it was seen as a formality. The foreigners should be grateful to even be allowed on the same field as their clear superior, or so the sentiment went.   The games were a gamble and more than pride was at stake. Ramaður-shi sought to prove that outsiders could be equal to the Dhanû and the rest of the city-state sought to prove her wrong.      

The Stage Is Set

 
Spider-Eaters? What kind of name is that?  
— Heard among the spectators
  The rules were set for a standard Saen-Kaw game on a large Pit between the Spider-Eater mercenaries and the Dhanû warriors. Suspicious Dhanû insisted on inspecting the Spider-Eater equipment several times, as some believed there was no reason for Ramaður-shi to have such confidence. Two teams of five were set to square off against each other. The stage was set for what would become known as the Spider-Eater Tournament.    

The Dhanû

  The Dhanû team was a amalgamation of warriors from different clans, in a rare show of solidarity. They were veteran warriors, hunters and athletes, sharing if nothing else an unshakeable confidence in their ability over the outsiders. They used a mix of chains, staves and tonfa.

The Spider-Eaters

  Mercenaries from far-away Mharaji, the Spider-Eaters have been mercenaries for a very long time. Before that, they were warriors and Kaia. Above all else, they were professionals.   They all used staves, with one lone chain.
  The Dhanû had put on an impressive showing in preparation for the match. Ta'i drummers had been drafted in large numbers to perform for the opening of the match and the Saen-Khru of the Dhanû was impressive. The Spider-Eaters chose to perform none, only feeding the Dhanû's belief that theirs would be an easy victory.      

The Games Begin

  At the start of the game, both teams assumed their formation - the Dhanû in an uneven skirmish formation and the Spider-Eaters in a tightly-formed Atha with their Kaw behind. Once it had begun, the game would not last longer than three rounds out of the six reserved for a championship match.    

Round 1

  Overconfident, the Dhanû team sought to swarm what they believed to be an intimidated and outmatched enemy but quickly learned the error of their ways. Underestimated, the Spider-Eaters proved themselves adept at quickly shifting their formation to all focus on a single Dhanû warrior as they sought glory. When the frustrated Dhanû sought to charge into what he thought was an opening, he found himself boxed in by a cage of staves and struck by the Spider-Eater Kaw.  
Wait, what the hell just happened?
  The round ended in a stunned silence and both teams separated to reset.    

Round 2

  As the second round began, it was the Spider-Eaters who attacked and this time showed their talent for Skipping. Once the Dhanû started to focus too much on the quickly changing target, the Spider-Eaters once again took advantage and scored. A foul in the middle of the match by the Dhanû had lead to one of the Eaters being struck in the face but was not acknowledges by the judges.    

Round 3

  In response to the foul, what had been a game gained a sharper edge. No longer seeking just to win, the Spider-Eaters begun to dominate their foes with coordinated and merciless strikes - not enough to foul, but enough to leave the entire Dhanû limping and battered. Spectators were left hoping for a turn-around that never came when the Spider-Eaters decisively struck and shattered the Dhanû's coup.  
Not bad for a band of outsiders.  
   

Aftermath

  Since then, attitudes have been mixed. Centuries of tradition are slow to change and at first the dominant victory was written off as a fluke, a lucky shot. In response, the Spider-Eaters challenged another team.. And another. After the third victory, the excuse became less convincing. Many lower class Dhanû found a certain glee in watching their superiors get demolished and many warriors could not deny that they had been bested. Meetings between the Spider-Eaters and other Dhanû clan-warriors since than have been mixed, with some friends being made and at least one duel fought.  
Ramaður-shi allegedly made a great deal of profits from betting on the game, but such rumors are hard to prove. What is more certain is that many braggards lost a great deal of face that day.
Saen-Kaw   One of the most popular sports in Araea, Saen-Kaw is a team sport about counting coup. Two teams carry a single skull-capped stick with which they can score, while the others block, parry and beat the opponent. It is no game of violence, but one of team-work, coordination and... Also violence.   Read More About Saen-Kaw

A Coup stick, crowned with the head of famed Saen-Kaw athlete Chonan

by Sander Propworx

Belligerents

Spider-Eaters
Dhanû Warriors

Strength

Elite mercenaries.
Unshakeable confidence!

Casualties

Sprained ankle, cracked rib. Couple of broken teeth.
Wounded pride, bruised ego, name-calling. Physical injuries seem small in comparison.

Objectives

To dominate and win.
To prove their superiority.

Saen-Kaw Terms

  Kaw - The player holding the Coup; both the target for the enemy team and the only one who can score. It is not a static role, but whoever holds the Coup is at that point the Kaw.   Shi - Any player not currently holding the Coup and the role of Kaw.   Coup - Alternatively the act of scoring or the skull-tipped club with which to score.   Skipping - Quickly exchanging the Coup through several teammates to reposition the Kaw in the field.   Crippler - A team that relies more heavily on injuring their opponents than scoring through skill. A derisive term and Crippler teams are almost always the 'villains' in the leagues.   The Pit - The playing field.   Duelist - A player who specializes in duels. See rules for a draw.   Ta'i - The drumming music that accompany games of Saen-Kaw.   Saen-Khru - The war dance and chant performed by the teams at the beginning of each game.  
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by Far Cry Primal
   
  An example Saen-Khru



Cover image: by Miguel Eins

Comments

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14 Jul, 2019 20:36

"Well that escalated quickly." - Probably overheard in the stands following Round 3.

23 Jul, 2019 13:03

Spider-eaters don't play. :D