Terraceball Tradition / Ritual in Manifold Sky | World Anvil


Terraceball is a native Vale Verdial sport which, in its classic form, takes advantages of the unique physics of the Manifold Sky. Despite this history, terraceball has also achieved widespread play in specially-constructed arenas throughout the Manifold, with professional teams achieving RadNet fame and lucrative sponsorship profits. The International Professional Terraceball League is the regulatory body of the sport.


Petalcap Vale has always maintained full control over its native cube, giving innovators in that nation a long time to explore potential uses for the unique properties of the edge and vertex mountain ranges. Because gravity always pulls towards the nearest cube face, objects always roll away from the center of a flat surface balanced exactly over a vertex, as though the flat surface were actually a shallow cone or hemisphere. Similarly, along the edges, a ball will always roll away as though it were placed atop a peaked roof.
Petalcap Vale Flag by BCGR_Wurth
  This observation led to the creation of many ball-based games featuring arenas placed in the mountains, though many of these sports would eventually fall into obscurity. Terraceball persisted, in part, because its aesthetics better matched the orderly sensibilities of the Vale Verdial culture; where earlier sports were primarily about raw strength and dogged persistence, terraceball is regarded as a more intellectual sport because of its increased emphasis on precision (particularly late in a turn) and agility over raw endurance.   While terraceball was first formalized as a sport in 9701 AR, it wouldn't find an international audience until the first contact between verdials and Rostrans in the year 9858. Those first Rostran explorers in the Caudal Tesseract, led by the famed explorer Eqai Voiranoi, witnessed a terraceball game from their airship while being led into the Vale for landing by Verdial Sporeship escorts. As Rostrans are a highly perceptive sort, they inferred that the sport was an important window into the culture of the Vale Verdials. Once matters of language were established, the Verdials and Rostrans shared an amateurish game with a feast of local mushroom-based cuisine. The rostrans conveyed their exploratory findings - including the rudiments of terraceball - to their human counterparts in the Navigator's Guild. As a result, though no humans had yet played the sport, when the first Voxelian explorers made landfall in Petalcap Vale in 9860, they had at least a passing familiarity with it.  
Felix Tanis by Artbreeder
Felix Tanis, a former terraceball player with the Register Cam Dogs and recovering DCStim addict. Tanis was involved in the IPTL doping controversy of 9997 due to the unethical practices of his team's trainers.
The establishment of the IPTL in Petalcap Vale in 9890 - followed with glowing Guild Gazette articles surrounding the first 'perfect' professional game in 9912 - made the sport more accessible to outsiders than ever before. As of the year 10,000 AR, terraceball is the most popular sport beneath the Manifold Sky. The League allows teams from any major organization, public or private, so long as they qualify and without exception on the basis of national allegiance or species. The formal IPTL rules of the sport have been translated into every known major language. Despite its widespread appeal, the sport retains many of the trappings of Vale Verdial tradition, with a high emphasis on sportsmanship and professionalism for players. Even so, the sport is not without controversies, as issues such as the Register Cam Dogs doping incident have forced rules reforms over the years.


by BCGR_Wurth
A terraceball court with only one team's portions of each rank highlighted in blue. The lighter-colored regions are the throw zones and the darker-hued regions are the catch zones.
by BCGR_Wurth
A terraceball court with three teams' portions of each rank highlighted in different color hues. The lighter-colored regions are the throw zones and the darker-hued regions are the catch zones.
  A game of terraceball consists of eight rounds of play. The teams take turns in clockwise rotation until each team has two turns in which they start with the ball. Each team's turn lasts until a team scores a point, whether or not it is the team that started with the ball that scores (due to interception). After each team has gone twice, the round ends and the players in each rank move out to the next one, with those in the fourth rank moving in to the first rank. After the fourth round, the runners and interceptors in each rank trade positions. The goalkeepers do not change position during the game, but might play a different position in subsequent games. If no team has a points lead at the end of round eight, up to four additional rounds can be played until one team has a points lead at the end of a round. At the end of round twelve, the game ends regardless of point totals, with draws being uncommon but fully possible.   The objective of the game is to throw and rush the ball through one's own ranks from the first rank all the way out to the fourth rank, then throwing the ball from the fourth rank to the goal arc to score a point. Because there are limitations placed on where the runner can recieve and throw the ball, this inevitably involves throwing the ball a long distance over both the center circle and one or more arcs patrolled by interceptors on other teams.   In short, runners can only catch in the catch zones and throw in the throw zones, never leaving the catch zone until they have the ball, while interceptors cannot throw at all unless it is to deliver the ball to the runner for this purpose. Neither runners nor catchers can leave the portions of their rank their team controls, though they can catch any ball which is at least partially within their territory. Balls which fly over, bounce in, roll through, or come to a rest in an arc can be caught or scooped up for the purpose of interception. Attempting to wrest the ball from the person who caught it first is not allowed. The ball must always move through the all ranks of a team from the lowest to highest ranks in turn; if intercepted 'too early,' the runner can throw the ball against the center circle or mound to 'lob' it to the first ranks.

Components and tools

A terraceball is a semi-hard sphere around the size of a man's fist and made of tightly-woven fiber over a rubber core. This allows the ball to bounce and roll with relative ease. A streamer of lightweight linen is attached to the ball and serves several purposes: to display the arc of the ball for all to see, to allow for more dynamic interceptions (the streamer counts as part of the ball and can cross several ranks), and to allow for sling-like throwing techniques for use late in a turn (when the distances are becoming longer and longer). Traditional terraceballs were wrapped in a three foot wide square of cloth instead, but this tended to reduce rolling too much for spectators' liking.  
A terraceball court has different forms based on where it is located. In the mountains, terraceball courts are flat wooden or packed earthen decks, while on the faces, the center circle is a five-foot hemispherical mound capped with a short, striped pole. The pole prevent balls from getting stuck on the relatively flat peak. The center is bordered by four concentric rings of tracks, called 'ranks', which are subdivided into twelve arcs; the center is subdivided into sectors to help delineate where each team's first rank lies even when someone on the other side can't see it. The ranks are ordered numerically from first (innermost) to fourth (outermost). Three 'goal' arc protrude from the court at 120 degree intervals, with a forth placed directly opposite one of these. This configuration allows for matches between two or three teams in the same court, though the three team ticket is the most popular with fans.
Tractball Court.png
Terraceball Court by BCGR_Wurth
An aerial view of a typical professional terraceball court. Central pole and colored rank/zone markings not shown. For scale, the central mound is 80' across and 5' high.


Each terraceball team consists of nine members:
  • Four runners (one per rank)
  • A runner must wait in their assigned catch zone for either a throw from another runner on their own team or for a ball thrown or delivered by the Interceptor in their own rank. Once they have the ball, the runner sprints through their team's portion of their rank to get to the throw zone, whereupon they throw the ball to a Runner on their team in the next higher rank. The only exception is when the ball has been intercepted in too high a rank; because the ball must pass through all of a team's ranks - from lowest to highest - to score, a runner can always throw against the center circle/mound to 'lob' it to the allied runner in the lowest rank.
  • Four interceptors (one per rank)
  • An interceptor can move anywhere within their rank, though they are constrained to their own team's portion of that rank. An interceptor tries to catch throws from opposing teams and throw or deliver the ball to the runner in their own rank.
  • One goalkeeper
  • The goalkeeper remains within their team's goal arc and seeks to catch the ball thrown from their team's fourth rank runner. If they catch the ball within the goal arc, their team scores a point. At the beginning of a team's turn, that team's goalkeeper tosses the ball against the center circle or mound to get the ball to their team's first rank runner or interceptor.
  With the exception of the Goalkeeper, no player keeps a fixed position during the course of a game. This factor makes starting positions for players in a given game an important strategic consideration, as factors such as player height and mobility have shifting significance as a game progresses. Indeed, to be considered a professional, a player must have competence in all positions, all ranks, and all variants of the sport. Teams may have up to nine backup players to fill gaps in the roster due to injury or other extenuating circumstances.   Team coaches conduct training and establish the starting positions of all the players on their team before a game begins; thereafter, the positions of each player cannot be changed except in the (rare) circumstance of an injury in play. Three refferees oversee each game and can force pauses or restarts, adjudicate points or interceptions, or even disqualify teams for poor sportsmanship. All participants are expected to show the utmost degree of mutual respect during play, as the orderliness of terraceball is meant to reflect the resilience and civility of the Vale Verdial way of life in spite of the dangers they face in their homeland.


Vale Verdials typically take Taka-I, Abnemi, and Begu-I as days off during their work week, making these common game days. Terraceball is traditionally played on Abnemi as a way break interpersonal tensions in the middle of the work week, with different families or groups of workers within a community forming amateur teams to play against one another in public venues. Outside the Vale, however, as Begu-I is an almost universal day of rest, that's the day on which most professional games are played.   Terraceball season runs from early Ikirsten to late Abaudun, with events being spaced out during the summer in defference to the biological limits of verdial players. As the winter months in the Petalcap Vale environs (though not within Caudal D itself due to fungal homeostasis) can become dangerously cold, players are not expected to play in the snow or strong, chilling winds. At the same time, terraceball games continue through rain and fog, as these merely add 'spice' to the proceedings.
IPTL Insignia by BCGR_Wurth
The insignia (in native fall colors) of the International Professional Terraceball League (IPTL).
Related Ethnicities

IPTL Standings

As of the 9,999 AR season:
  1. Register Cam Dogs
  2. East Vale Shroomherds
  3. Navigator's Guild Pathfinders
  4. West Vale Meantwigs
  5. Exivaun Brothers in Armos
  6. Vivaldi Nationals
  7. Silkenvault Showmen
  8. Burning Hearts Bravos
  9. Intercostia Hill Boys
  10. Eudoxia Smelters
  11. Triple Mesa Miners
  12. Craterhold Canines
  13. North Vale Lodestars
  14. Medial Vale Sleet
  15. Red Velvet Ravens
  16. Ghostleaf Foundation Lab Rats
  17. Chateau Blueberry Bushmasters
  18. Hive City Buzz
IN MEMORIAM: Tartagloam Aurorae  

Articles under Terraceball

Cover image: by Mick Haupt
  • 9701

    Terraceball is Invented
    Sporting Event / Competition

    Terraceball is invented in Petalcap Vale. The sport eventually gains international appeal, becoming a common subject of RadNet broadcasts throughout the Manifold.

  • 9858

    First Contact: Rostrans/Ovinex and Verdials
    Diplomatic action
  • 9860

    First Contact: Humans and Verdials
    Diplomatic action

    Caudal Tesseract
    More reading
  • 9890

    International Professional Terraceball League Founded
  • 9912

    First 'Perfect' Game in Professional Terraceball History
    Sporting Event / Competition

    Early in 9912, the Eudoxia Smelters set the tone for the rest of the season by decisively routing the Red Velvet Ravens and the Hive City Buzz at Uldren Field in Petalcap Vale. It was the first 'perfect' game in professional terraceball history: the Smelters were the only team to score any points during the game. The hype surrounding this game (particularly after gushing reports in The Guild Gazette) helped propel the sport to greater international interest.

  • 9970

    Tartagloam Aurorae Disbanded after Player Losses in the Siege of Tartagloam

    The Tartagloam Aurorae, a mid-tier team from the Commonwealth of C city of Tartagloam, are disbanded after the grand majority of the team and all logistical support for them are destroyed during the Siege of Tartagloam. In all subsequent rank listings, the team is listed in an honorary position, establishing the precedent for other 'lost' teams to be memorialized as such.

  • 9995

    Felix Tanis Leaves the Register Cam Dogs over Player Training Conditions
    Life, Career

    More reading
    Felix Tanis
  • 9996

    Felix Tanis, Former Terraceball Player, Joins the 125 Hands
    Life, Organisation Association

    More reading
    Felix Tanis
    Additional timelines
  • 9997

    IPTL Doping Scandal Forces Rules Reform
    Gathering / Conference

    The Register Cam Dogs are discovered to be using illegal performance-enhancing drugs, including DCStim, to beat the competion. The team is punished by being forced to reorganize under new management. The event forced the International Professional Terraceball League to reassess their rules regarding training regiments, player health (both physical and mental), and the use of performance-enhancing drugs.

    More reading
  • 9999

    "Miracle of '99" Returns Cam Dogs to Top of Ranking
    Sporting Event / Competition

    After being reformed under more honest management and suffering a year of crushing defeats, the Register Cam Dogs come back with a vengeance with a 9999 AR season marked by 'perfect-scoring' games - and zero evidence of further doping.


Author's Notes

There is no rule stating that an Ovinex cannot play terraceball.

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