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Sky jousting

"Toran is listing - looks like that last blow to the wing might have been too much for her! But Sket is still hanging on! It'll take more than three sudden flips through the air to make this goblin lose her grip! Looks like she's fishing in her pack for something - and BAM! A new spellbomb from the alchemist, and suddenly the other ten competitors found out why Toran and Sket are wearing tinted goggles. And I guess everyone in the audience found out too! Sorry folks, didn't want to ruin the surprise. And with that, Toran is making a dive at Roarke! She strikes, and Yossha is still blinded from the flash! Yossha grabs onto her saddle, but it's too late - she falls! Toran and Sket are the last ones standing, and your new champions!"   Sky jousting is by far the most popular sport across Khasrana. It brought two reclusive species, aven and goblins, into the fold of greater society, and connected people across the continent as they never had been before. Every major festival features a sky jousting tournament, and the entertainment district in Meadowrun has a permanent stadium set up. Even though only smaller humans and elves can compete in the sport (and even then they pale in comparison to the natural aptitude the goblins have for it), it is still popular with every species of Khasrana.

History

Sky jousting can be traced back to the earliest aven communities in Midisa. There, the sport is more of a ritualistic form of combat, with set fighting forms, intricate greetings, and social consequences for defeated fighters. But among Midisan settlers in Khasrana, the sport broke free of its cultural baggage and became more about entertainment. In Khasranan communities with heavy Midisan origins, sky jousting hews closer to its original form, but as it spread throughout the continent it evolved into the Khasranan spectacle known today.   As with nearly everything else, sky jousting was touched by the arrival of the Twelve. Khasranan sky jousting had already moved beyond the one-on-one format of its predecessor, but the onset of the Age of the Twelve codified the popular six-team variant known today. The symbolism of having twelve players paired up across the field is obvious, but this format was surprisingly not very common before the Paragons appeared. A unified format of competition allowed for the further spread of the sport across the continent, and the first true celebrities of the game came out of this period of growth.

Components and tools

Sky jousting in Khasrana is more about providing a fun spectacle rather than resolving conflicts, and the tools of the sport reflect this. Aven sky jousters wear lightweight and minimally-protective armor - usually no more than a leather breastplate and shoulder pads. A simple saddle is worn on the back, giving their partner something to hold onto during a match. Finally, aven are equipped with long wooden staves with hooked ends. These crooks are used in place of standard weapons to interfere with their opponents and unseat their riders.   The tools used by goblin sky jousters are as varied as the riders themselves. Many prefer straightforward jousting lances, but more creative or magically-inclined goblins tend to devise their own unique tools to distract or disorient their opponents. Spellbombs, conjury, and transmogrification are all popular and well-known strategies among sky jousters.   Every sanctioned sky jousting arena is enchanted with a minor levitation field. This helps the aven stay aloft even with the added weight of a goblin on their back, and it ensures that a fallen goblin will survive. Veteran jousters can manage the weight even without the levitation fields, but even the strongest flier would not be able to muster the stamina for an entire jousting match. Amateur and unsanctioned matches do exist, but they are dangerous to both the aven and the rider and are usually shut down before they begin.

Participants

There are two major forms of sky jousting: Midisan and Khasranan. The original Midisan form of sky jousting is more of a formalized duel between two aven, fighting on their own to settle a dispute. When the sport was brought to Khasrana it was adapted by the aven there into more of a spectacle, with the ritualistic parts of the sport discarded in favor of entertainment.   Khasranan sky jousting sees up to six teams competing all at once against each other. Each team consists of an aven and their partner, usually a goblin, seated on their back. The teams fight to unseat their opponents using any number of flashy but nonlethal methods. Where Midisan sky jousters are allowed any type of weaponry, Khasranan aven sky jousters prefer long wooden crooks which they use to try to throw their opponents' riders off-balance.


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