Jugger – The Sport Of Kings
Whilst the sport of Jugger has no official rules or governing body, the extremely reasonable Mr Esmund Walker of the Vipers Faction is a leading proponet of unifying the sport and also a tireless campaigner for fair play. Appalled by many people’s apparent ignorance of (or wilful disregard for) the rules of Jugger, Mr Walker has very kindly provided the library with an overview, penned by his own hand.
There are two teams, each of seven players.
There are three thirds, each of ten minutes play. These are separated by intervals of five minutes. Junior leagues and some girls’ boarding schools frequently play five minute thirds.
There is a referee. He is responsible for adjudicating, applying the rules, Calling Points and Restarting play and ensuring the smooth running of the game.
The referee should punish infractions, like deliberate contact with the Skull by a player who is not a Quick, by removing the offending player from play for the duration of the Point. More severe infractions may result in the player being removed from play for the remainder of the Third, Game or Season.
The use of magic to affect the outcome of the game is considered a serious infraction of the rules, as is deliberately wounding a player who has already dropped to the floor.
The Pitch is an area between two Goals, usually buckets although they may be baskets, pits or poles. Traditionally, the pitch did not have a marked outline, although as spectator numbers for modern games increase,
it is becoming common to outline a rectangular pitch and this might perhaps be better if one wishes to make the game more accessible to the public at large. It is not permitted to move the goals.
The Skull, and Points:
A skull is provided. The teams attempt to win Points by placing the skull, through legal means, into the opposing team’s goal. The period of time between a Restart and the scoring of a goal, or the arrival at a condition where a goal can no longer be scored, is also referred to as a Point.
At the end of the final third, the team who has Won the most Points is the winner of the game. If both teams have Won an equal number of points, the game is a Draw.
Initially the game is begun by the referee calling both teams to their
baselines, and throwing the skull up into the air between the two. As soon as the skull leaves the referee’s hand the first Point has begun, and the teams may leave their baselines. The Point is played until either team scores (who are said to have Won The Point) or neither team is able to score a goal (when the Point is said to have Been Drawn).
When either of these conditions occur, the referee Calls The Point.
Fallen teammates rejoin their comrades (and in Teutonia, healers attend the pitch) and the teams return to their baselines to await the Restart and the beginning of play for the next Point.
Additional Rules Required For Play On A Delineated Pitch
If a player leaves the bounds of the pitch, he must fall and take no further part in the current Point. If the Skull leaves the pitch, the referee should call a halt to play, asking the players to remain where they stand. He should then return the skull to play as near to the point where it left the pitch as possible. As soon as the skull leaves the referee’s hand, play resumes. Unlike a Restart, fallen players do not rejoin their teams.
Jugga is often played with steel weapons. It is expected that a player wears armour or uses enchantments to protect their bodies from the blow. In either case, a player must fall to the floor after being struck once with a weapon, after which he must take no further part in the point. (Note: Blocks are a partial exception to this rule and may ignore the first two blows upon them in any given Point.)
Each Jugger team must contain: one Quick, two Sticks, two Blocks and two Blades.
The Quick is the only member of either team allowed to move the Skull, whether by kicking, throwing, picking up or carrying. He is unarmed. If a teams Quick falls, they can no longer Win the Point. If both teams’ Quicks fall, neither can Win the Point, and the Referee should Call the
The Sticks are each armed with a long weapon – traditionally a six foot stave, although some more barbaric cultures prefer spears or greatswords.
The Blocks each carry a shield. They have no weapons and may not strike opponents with the shield. A Block may ignore the first two hits upon him in any given Point; that is, he must only fall after being struck for the third time.
The Blades each carry a light weapon, no longer than three and a half feet in length. In Albion this might be a switch, elsewhere a rapier or mace.
Any members of the team may be removed and replaced from any position during an Interval between Thirds. No players may change positions during a Third, except at the Referee’s discretion. It is usually considered sporting to allow a team to replace an injured, discomfited or exhausted player without complaint.
Notes On The Use of Sharpened Weapons
Note that without a Ritual of Peace, the players are in significant danger of serious injury or death if playing with live weapons. It is advised that healers in number attend the game. All players are encouraged to wear armour and maintain it between points. It is especially worth noting that Blocks are encouraged to wear heavy armour.
While this may slow them down, it will allow them to more likely endure the volley of blows they must endure before falling.
It is considered a professional foul to use skills or magicks to avoid the opposing player’s armour and take them to the ground.
For more great information about Jugger, the Sport of Kings, read my fascinating new pamphlet – Esmund’s Guide To Jugger.
Esmund Walker of the Vipers Faction