Thunk - Skipping Stones

Bam! Right between the eyes!  
— Imari, Dhanû Clan-Warrior
  Thunk is a game where parties take turn flicking small pebbles at an assortment of targets, ranging from people to figurines. It is especially popular in Dhanû, where the game is played during almost every great Feast. With simple rules and cheap pieces, Thunk is a game common across the caverns and especially so when mixed with alcohol.    

Skipping Stones

  Thunk is played either on a table or on the ground, but typically spans no more than an average dining table. The game is played in rounds, either alone or in teams. Each player can place the pebble along any designated edge of the table and must then use her fingers to flick the pebble and hit a target. In casual games, these targets are either sturdy figurines or other, differently colored stones. As alcohol becomes involved, the target can be anything from the knuckles of the opponent or exposed buttocks.  

In serious games of Thunk, the field is often set up with obstacles and with targets played at elevation. Good players use some of these features to bounce their pebbles to get around obstacles or show off. Most targets are worth one point, but especially difficult target like one swinging from a rope or a live cockroach are sometimes worth two or three.

  Thunk ends when one player or team has scored six points.    

Thunk Around the World

  Every culture in Araea has their own favored way of playing Thunk and their own set of rules. In the surface, where space is virtually unlimited, the fields are sometimes scaled up and pebbles are replaced by larger stones that are thrown. Whatever geography is nearby can be used to create a field, without needing to build anything.   Below are some common regional variants:    


  In Dhanû, Thunk is almost always played in teams of between four to six on each side. It is almost always played together with alcohol, where scoring parties have to take a big drink with every success. It is both a reward and tends to even out the level of skill between the two teams.   The Dhanû use simple fields that makes the game easy to set up and difficult to drunkenly blunder into and ruin. The mix of strong alcohol and pebbles being flung around at speed often results in a good-natured brawl at some point of the game.


  The Drowning City sometimes replace the pebbles with fish-bone, carved and rounded into a uniform shape. Played in the raft-slums of Dūbavum, those who are not playing often make sport of catching pebbles launched off the table before they disappear into the water. In Dūbavum, Thunk is usually played one on one, with spectators.   One variant of Thunk in the Drowning City places the targets on the waters of the Abyss near the boat, raft or home where it is played. In such games, cheap fish-bone or common pebbles are used.


  Thunk in Mharaji is always a team sport and is played casually by children, seriously by adults. Differently colored pebbles are smoothed and engraved, targets are carefully crafted and placed on elaborate fields. Such games are typically played in a room made to host them, either in the home of nobles or local taverns or other entertainment establishments.   Games in Mharaji have a higher score required to win but tend to feature more high-scoring targets on their fields. Gambling is common.

Terms and Definitions

  Bullet - The pebble that is flicked.   Round - Measurement of time, each player flicks once during a round.   Pebbler - Someone who spends too much time playing Thunk.   Field - The surface where the game is played.        
Some players spend much time and effort to construct elaborate set-pieces for their Fields.   From tiny little keeps to hangman's gallows for targets, these are the kinds of fields used for tournament and serious games.

Lucky Thunk

  A particularly good game of Thunk is seen as an omen of good fortune. Unlikely or incredibly shots, bouncing pebbles around walls to hit targets or other twists of good fortunes are an indication of things to come.   Even in loss, such luck in Thunk is believed to carry on through the rest of the day and many bets have been in the wake of such games.        
Some serious players use the knuckle-bones of past players as their pebbles. The greater the skill of the dead, the better fortune the living will have with them.

Cover image: by BalticSeasideDesign


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