Come one, come all! The Puntcup of '23 is about to begin! Will the famed Dakra Uruzal retake her championship? Will someone finally out-foul the legendary Kauri Tahana?! WILL WE FINALLY SEE A GNOME IN SPACE?! In a few short hours, we'll find out!Gnome-punting, at its most basic level, is taking any gnome and drop-kicking them. Whilst it was once simply a method of tormenting gnomes, the strange Mixivicus Skybottom realised that he actually quite enjoyed flying through the air at high speeds - so long as he could use his sorcery to protect himself. After refining his protective technologies into wearable and activate-able forms, he wrote a set of rules, and hosted the first Puntcup. Due to its overwhelming success, news of Gnome Punting spread across Xin Jiyu through the many trade routes, eventually reaching the other continents. Whilst some gnomes were hurt in the process, as not all participating athletes knew to use protection when punting, it was not long before small leagues of punting were set up around the world. Soniuch Zan, as one of the largest gnomish settlements and Skybottom's original home, became famous for its annual Puntcups, where professional gnomeballs and punt-thletes (or, as many called them for simplicity, gnomekickers) would gather to battle for the title of Puntchampion.
Tahana! Please put him down! Lassos have been forbidden for a century, you can't-- TAHANA, PUT ME DOWN, I'M NOT A GNOMEBAAAAAAAAALLLThe rules of Gnome Punting both define a way of 'winning' the game, and outline protections for the participating gnomeballs. They are not too extensive, and do receive occasional modification as techniques are developed for bypassing their restrictions.
Official Puntcup Gnome Punting Ruleset
- No punting unwilling gnomes! Gnomeballs must agree to being gnomeballs pre-match.
- Do not punt gnomeballs until their protective gear is on.
- Do not punt gnomeballs until the match has begun. Only the designated referee can start the match.
- Punting is the act of dropkicking the gnome. Weapons may not be used to aid punting.
- Prosthetic legs must not contain adamantine or any other material that may bypass gnomeball protections. Rest in peace, Anita Drinkk.
- Actual legs must also abide by the above rule. Rest in peace, Wisma Boomstick.
- Enchantments must be vetted by the referee and at least 2 qualified mages to ensure they won't damage the gnomeballs or grant unfair advantages.
- Unfair advantages are defined as 'things that damage other competitors mentally or physically'. Attempting to blind, stun, poison, kill, dominate, or otherwise enchant/harm the competition is not permitted. Dazzling and distracting, however, is fine.
- No altering the field with illusions. Distracting illusions are permitted so long as they are not mentally traumatising to an extreme degree and do not affect the referee. We do not want a repeat of the Tarrasque incident.
- No magically changing the course of a gnomeball. Hands must be used to catch the ball if preventing an opponent from gaining points, and feet must be used to re-launch it.
- Do not attempt to take the assigned gnomeball home after the match.
- Gnomes are not pets, slaves, food, or insects. Attempts to claim them as one of the above, or to harm them due to events inside a match, is not permitted.
- No mecha gnomeballs. Again, Tarrasque incident.
- Points will be granted for the horizontal and vertical distance of the gnomeball after being dropkicked. Attempting to gain negative vertical distance is forbidden due to risk of pissing off the Underdark again. Learn from Isiya Fireball.
- Do not attempt to use dwarves, halflings, goblins, ratfolk or any other race in place of a gnome unless they have agreed and have been approved by your local officials. This should ONLY be done in times of gnome shortage due to the difference in weights and effectiveness of protection. Using dwarves is particularly inadvisable.
- The referee is the God of the match. If they make a call, listen to it.
- No drugs or spells should be involved in tournament matches to ensure an even playing field.
- Do not attempt to register multiple participants as the same person. Gnomestacking is not welcome here, and will not help in the ring.
- Only one limb, designated as your leg, is to be used for punting. If it is unclear which limb is a leg, ask the referee to decide.
- No entering the central deadzone! If a ball ends there, you screwed up!
Gnome punting matches typically last for two hours, but can last longer upon substitution of gnomeballs. Gnomeballs will glow red upon hitting 2 hours in-play, indicating that they must be removed from the match. Fouls, entering the deadzone, or use of their escape mechanisms will also remove gnomeballs from play. The current record holder for highest score is Dakra Uruzal, an orcish bloodrager who supposedly 'kicks her gnomeballs so hard, their daddies feel it'.
In typical gnome fashion, the rules jump around in topic and make mention of many strange events that have occurred. The game is fairly simple to play - opponents will line up on opposite sides of a field, and must punt their gnomeballs towards the other side. Points will be awarded based on how far the gnomeball travels horizontally and vertically, and opponents are permitted to halt the ball by jumping up and catching it. If caught, a gnomeball will be considered to have switched side. Upon returning to their starting line, the opponent may launch their new gnomeball towards their enemy to score further points of their own. The centre of the rectangular field is marked as a 'deadzone'. Launching a gnomeball into the deadzone results in 0 points to the scoring team, and removes the gnomeball from play.
I remember my gnomeball days. Decided to screw up a couple'a orcs by eatin' an entire horse the day before. Brickheads were so confused when I landed straight in the deadzone! Ref weren't too pleased with me, though. Hey, the rules don't say nothin' about not getting fat!
A pair of gnomeballs before they get into their protective gear, sharing reactions to their upcoming game. Note the lack of flowing clothing!Every game of Gnome Punting requires at least one participating 'gnomeball', aka a gnome willing to function as the puntee. They are the key element of the game, and require special protective equipment in modern gnome punting to prevent them from being damaged. This is particularly important in high-level punting matches due to the levels of strength involved - it is not unknown for powerful beings such as dragons to participate, if the fancy strikes them (though finding gnomeballs for such matches is usually more challenging). They also involve punt-thletes (also known as gnomekickers, gnome punters, athletes or competitors), usually competing alone. Team challenges have become more popular recently as the Puntcup grows in size, and are especially common in home matches.
by Anzka Nguyen
A perfect candidate for a gnomeball!