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Information sourced from studies by the Citadel of Scholars dedicated to Our Lord Hamaskus, derived from historical studies of the Second through Fourth Eras, as well as multiple books published on the popular subject

Written by David_Ulph

Of course, there is much debate around who has the rights to call the sport of curling their own. A great and serious rivalry exists between Vallatorlan and Rivercrown, who have used this frankly irrelevant piece of unknown trivia as a means to exert their historic rivalry, especially in the Libraic Games. This is despite curling, if coming from the Grand Duchy's region, would be invented by the Ten Kingdoms of Redfall to which of course means no parties in this rivalry have rights to call curling "their game". Of course many recall the "Curling War" which lasted for four days between the two nations as a result of the Games.   The context lay outside of the game, instead as a result of rising tensions between the two as Vallator immigrants were passing over the border at River Stromlos and amounted to nearly 20% of the Rivercrowner population at the border. Many were accusing the Confederation of flooding regions that were historically within the borders of the High King with Vallator to fabricate a claim to retake these lands. Businesses set up by immigrants were even accused of treating their establishments as already being a part of the Confederacy. Just before the Libraic Games of 4E 296, Rivercrown passed a law which prevented any persons born in Vallatorlan from owning property or land leading to mass destitutism in the Stromlos Marches. When Rivercrown beat Vallatorlan in the final of the curling tourney by a single point, the countries exploded leading to a sudden war of emotion and passion at the border. Lucky are we the Arcane Council were on hand with a detachment of enforcers led by Captain Redfox to prevent the war getting out of control.   However, the research I have led has come to the conclusion that the game of curling may not lie with either Vallatorlan or Rivercrown or even Redfall for that matter. Upon research findings into artefacts gleamed from the Copper Graveyard, there is a suggestion that a form of curling was played by the ancient Sea Giants before the Great Hunt. I believe under scholastic sanctuary that the sport was one of the many skills the northern Sea Giants taught the earlies civilisations of the Mortal Realm, though I cannot publish such evidence towards this conclusion outside of the Citadel of Scholars due to the Holy See's refusal to accept such possibilities due to the Giants loyalty to the Great Hag Throff against the Celestial Gods of Magus Realm.
Studies of Candlebishop Waalx of the Citadel of Scholars on the intricacies of pre-imperial cultures, specifically a thesis on the leisure activities of pre-Great Hunt Sea Giants


Sport on the Mortal Realm is often contact based, where club-and-ball games are seemingly the most popular with various versions appearing in almost all mortal cultures from shinty to hailes. An exception to this contact rule is golf, which developed in the shirelands between the Heldenmarch and Buerach, preferred by mortals who wish to play a more peaceful game.
Though there are some other games, popular especially in the Holy See Territories. Most of these appear in the famed Libraic Games, where the old imperial lands came together in the relative harmony after the Warlord Period to compete in bouts of strength and athleticism. When the Holy See rose to power, the Libraic Games were adopted as an official holiday of Libra occurring every three years that all places in the Holy See Territories were obliged to attend in the Principality of Ardena. One of the sports featured in the Games is curling.

The Game

Curling is a sport played on ice, where players slide curling stones on the ice towards a marked circular target called the house. There are two teams with four players on each team; two curlers who change between each slide, and two sweepers who assist the stone. Each team slides eight stones during one turn which is called an end.
The player sliding the stone can make it curl slowly, while two other players on the team sweep the ice in front of the stone with brooms in order to make the stone stop in the desired place. After an end the team with the stone closest to the centre of the house scores points. The game is over after nine ends so that there is no chance of a draw. The team with the most points is the winner.
The ice is marked on a rectangular playing field, with several markings denoting the house which is coloured rings. The rings help players to aim for the centre of the house and are also useful to decide which stone is closest to the centre when scoring. At the other end of the sheet is a straight line which denotes where the curler must release the curling stone by or else it would be classed as a foul.

Origin & Spread

Curling as a sport originated on the coasts of the Copper Sea at the northernmost region of the Mortal Realm. Officially, the game is believed have originated somewhere in the region of Redfall and adopted by the Grand Duchy of Rivercrown which replaced the Ten Kingdoms. However, there are many recordings of Vallator peasants from the Karthauld region near the Copper Graveyard playing a very similar game before the first recording of Redfallian curling.
The popularity grew across the Copper Sea's coast, becoming a seasonal sport celebrated during the coldest parts of winter especially during the Solstice Festival of Nollaig. Even on frozen parts of Loch Skipport at the foot of Ben Wyvern inhabited by the Red Dragon Igneel would Dwarves then Dragonborn compete against Humans and Goliaths in between the docked ships of Yuregrim.
With both the Confederation of Vallatorlan and the Grand Duchy of Rivercrown joining the Holy See over the Fourth Era, the sport of curling became integrated into the Libraic Games. Both Vallatorlan and Rivercrown sent a national team of who their High King and Grand Duke respectively believe to be the greatest team of curlers within their borders, and the game was magically adapted to suit the more equatorial climate of the Ardennese Summer. At the first Libraic Games with curling included, the sport became extremely popular to spectators and revellers who watched the tournament between Vallatorlan and Rivercrown in curious glee.
By the modern day in 4E 297, the sport of curling has spread throughout the entire Holy See Territories taking advantage of the magics to allow the game be played in any climate. During Libraic Games, curling is one of the highest attended events, with national teams of every nation in the Territory competing against each other as well as teams representing Arcane Universities, Bardic Colleges and even various guilds. Despite not being a part of the Holy See, Ben Wyvern is even permitted to send a team down to Ardena for the Libraic Games, though written deep within the legal rules of the Games is a clause which prohibits this team from winning any tournament due to their heathen nature.
Prompts Advent Calendar #27

WorldEmber Article #29
Alternative Names
Ice Chess

Cultural Significance

Curling is an extremely significant sport at the heart of northern communities' cultures in both Vallatorlan and Rivercrown, due to its long history in both regions. This has certainly developed into a rivalry which reached its peak in the "Curling War" of 4E 296, only a year prior to the modern day.
However, the sport is not only important as a cultural outlet for the rivalry between the two, but also for remembrance and enforcing a sense of community in a settlement or small region. Where games are held, there will be a curling house where the equipment and stones are stored to be sheltered from the elements. While in the rest of the Holy See Territories these are small custom-built storage boxes, in both Vallatorlan and Rivercrown they are built from cairns.
Due to curling being so ancient, it is closely associated to the ancestor worship which was key to northern cultures before conversion to the religion of the Holy See, and has therefore stuck in the cultural identity that when a community goes to play curling they make a day of it in order to remember those honoured by the cairns.

Magic in Curling

Due to the Libraic Games, the sport of curling has become increasingly popular throughout all the Territories with more demand to watch and play games of the sport outside of the Games in Ardena once every three years. This has been possible by copying the magical additions to the sport used in its first appearance in the Libraic Games.
To play curling in any climate, the first southern curling playing fields were made firstly by using the spell Create Water, with someone casting Control Water to keep and ensure the playing field would be flat and level while another person casted the cantrip Ray of Frost until frozen. However, there was an issue for keeping the curling sheet frozen for long without constant usage of spells.
The modern method is to simply contact the University of Conjuration which is already situated in the Principality of Ardena, to conjure and find the help of Ice Elementals from the Elementia Realm of Gelida. These elementals live in a desired body of water and turn it into magically resistant ice which never melts no matter how much heat is placed on it.
For the high profile nature of the Libraic Games, referees wear Eyeglasses magically enchanted to constantly cast the spells of Detect Magic and True Seeing to ensure no competitors bring illegal enchanted equipment on to the ice. If the cantrip Mage Hand is ever seen to be used, no matter if used to cheat or not, the team which cast the spell will be disqualified from the tourney immediately.
To prevent any influence from the audiences of the Games, the playing ice is placed in a custom-made Pocket Dimension of the Holy See after an incident at the 4E 281 Games where the Ruddlestone could not compete due to constantly nodding off to sleep between each end. The audience can still keep up the game, as a result of commentators found inside the Pocket Dimension and describe the game through an audio receptor which links to a unique contraption commissioned by the Holy See from the Engineering School of Armouring and Artificery in Alca. The contraption appears to be a mix of artificery with a modified Magic Mouth spell.
In the most recent Libraic Games of 4E 296, someone used the cantrip Minor Illusion to visually depict what the commentators were saying to the crowd. This was positively received and the Holy See have said will be appearing in subsequent Games.

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Cover image: by Grzegorz Przybyś


Author's Notes

So, the game of curling itself is unchanged in the Mortal Realm compared to our real world as non-contact sports are not my specialty of knowledge (shinty is extremely violent hockey for example), but I had a lot of fun thinking about what magic would help the sport as well as reimagining the origins and development of this game in my made-up cultures and societies!   Big thanks to MGatta for the name of the Candlebishop, and PanAndPaper for their inspiration on different magical issues that could've arisen!

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29 Dec, 2020 19:44

The use of magic as technological innovation is great and strangely rare.

30 Dec, 2020 16:20

I love the section on magic in curling - really interesting solutions there. I love the eyeglasses! :D   Curling is one of those sports I always end up watching during the Olympics. It's so weird. :D

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet