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Duunagie Orc Sled Races

The orcs of Duunagie (DUE NOt GUY) are quite comfortable at their cold heights on the mountainsides. They celebrate the season of snow with winter competitions. Orcs are innately competitive and mouthy. The snow of winter presents a new medium for their competitive games of elimination. A festival is launched after the first sustained snow on the ground. All normal business stops for the celebration. And one of the looked-forward-to events is the sled races.   One of the first games designed to quickly eliminate competition is the Pine Sleds. This reckless race down the steep inclines of two of the nearby forested hills, pits sled-riding orcs against one another. They race down the hill gathering pine cones. Of course, most will need to stop to gather cones so it isn't a simple speed run to the bottom. And the hillside is riddled with pine trees, making getting to the bottom without crashing into a tree impossible--and part of the fun. Sleds get broken, forcing the theft of a competitor's. The first fifty finalists have their pine cone collection weighed to win one of the thirty spots for the next competition. A bell rings to call all competitors down the hills to award prizes that everyone competes for. The heaviest haul of any competitor wins 3 silver and the largest single pine cone wins 3 silver (0.3 mcG).   The competition can get violent. But, no weapons are allowed and striking one another gets you disqualified (assuming you get caught). Once a cone is in a competitor's sack, it cannot be stolen. But dumping your competitor's sack into the snow is perfectly legal. Tripping and tackling a passing sled is considered just clever and fun. Of course, magic has no place here.   The Pine Sled event is usually held on the first day of the snow festivities. The pine cones are collected, at the end with any short green ones sliced for making teas. The larger ones are boiled overnight, stewing with warm spices of cinnamon, mace, and cardamom. In the morning they are chopped while the broth is boiled with sugars and honey until it thickens. The pines are added back in making large batches of pine jam. The still warm pine jams are served on freshly baked slices of bread to the town for the breakfast of the second day.   The Sled Horse Race is a competition that uses the prized Percheron horses. These gigantic 12-14 feet tall creatures are massively powerful engines of muscle, built to pull tremendous weight. They are not easily frightened, fierce, and often used as warhorses to plow through a field of warriors.   This competition is one of several team-based challenges, each member of a winning team getting points towards their personal totals. Teams of six orcs, women and men, are strapped to the harness of a large freight sled, which the Percheron rides on. The orc 'horses' make a 300-yard dash in good snow. The teams are limited by the total weight of the team. The town has a giant weight balance platform in the center of town where the competitors are weighed and teams are weighed against each other to ensure they are relatively equal. Every year there are always town favorites that are always expected to do well.   Duunagie's remoteness is a shame. These events show an orc culture that is deeply communal. Despite the roughness of the competition, it is not animosity or hatred that drives any of it.

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2 Jan, 2021 16:48

This is an excellent competition! I love that all the pine cones are used at the end for celebration.

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