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Old 09-22-2020, 06:16 AM   #671
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Sail Hockey

Nobody is sure of the origin of this sort. Nor are the rules universalized. But it has a rough similarity whereever it is played.

It is a water sport played in an estuary or a lake fed by a river of at least moderate size. There are two teams each with up to three Goalsmiter Boats, up to five blocker boats and up to three transit boats. The size of the crew is unimportant by itself: it is measured by the boats size and the manager's estimate of the crew's skill, etc.

Blocker boats and goalsmitters are given a different type of paddle. The first is for paddling the ball or thrusting at opposing crewmembers or parrying same (which is why safety gear is always worn). The second type of paddle is more sophisticated. It carries a net at the end similar to a lacrosse stick for grasping and throwing balls. It will hold a ball for several seconds before an embedded electronic device opens the net. Only Goalsmiters can actually score goals: blockers can run interference or join in defense. This sometimes includes deliberate ramming which is another reason for safety equipment.

Each boat can take on any of the three roles, as long as the minimum is not exceeded. A change in role is signaled by a change in the flag on the mast.

Each boat is powered by sail alone: grav moters or chemical engines are removed at the start. However modern communications both between boats and with shore are allowed as is the limited use of drones.

Balls are released into the stream at intervals and are declared "in play" when the enter the playing area. Each ball has a tracker installed inside it. In some rules being tangled up in brush renders a ball out of play but in others it is the responsibility of the players to seek out the ball.

The game is concluded by counting the number of goals at the end of one day though some go on two days.

Transit boats are one of the most unique elements. They are used to replace boats of other types. They can also bring supplies such as snacks or water, or replacement crew, equipment, and of course, new paddles. They are not allowed to otherwise interfere with the game and to do so loses a point for their team.

Estuarian matches are often favored over lake matches by students of the sport. The need to add tides to calculation is felt to add an element to an already sophisticated sport.
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Old 09-22-2020, 06:47 AM   #672
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Zira Sirka Dikh Terra Uskamsii (hope I got that right):

Terran Golf is a sport that caught on early among Vilani. Though many old-fashioned (yes there are Vilani whom Vilani would call old-fashioned) and even some more up to date prefer uskamsii golf has gained a strong following not least because it had fewer including sumptuary restrictions of access to courses: on conquered worlds Terrans often left Vilani laws place in an autonomous zone but refused to enforce them outside which meant many Vilani had access to golf courses that they had not to an uskamii course.

At the founding of the Second Imperium this practice carried over to Vland itself. While the name was politically sensitive, it was simply translated "Grand Imperial Golf Course of Vland." With due displays of politic respect (such as conspicuous hangings of portraits of the Emperors of the Second Imperium), the course was able to gain popularity. With the coming of the Long Night it was neglected not least because of the reawakening of Vilani Nationalism. However it was declared an Imperial Treasure Site by Cleon Zhunastu who was an avid golf player, and reconstructed.

The local rules are the same as in Terran golf, but the vegetation is native Vilani. It is immaculately kept by local groundskeepers. Playing here can require a reservation of several years for someone who is not of unusually high status.
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Old 10-19-2020, 09:09 AM   #673
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Mt. Fafnirskin the Hateful:

Anglic name for a periodically active volcano of great height on Gungir known for it's spectacular eruptions. It is said to be inhabited by a descendant of Fafnir (there is disagreement on his personal name) who wages an eternal blood feud with men and that he will be slain only when a warrior mightier than Sigurd is born upon the Earth. Other versions say that Sigurd himself regularly comes down from Odin's Hall to do battle with him until he is quiet for a time. Irreverent jokes are made about him being a Sheriff putting an unruly drunk in a lockup over and over again.

It is said that he enjoys all kinds of humans preferring the taste of maidens as for some reason all monsters seem to do except of course for those monsters who prefer, um, extreme postmaidens. Fafnirskin is also depicted as sadistic and inflicts dreadful tortures upon mortals. Some have depicted Fafnirskin as a master of dark magic, or even a shapechanger. And it is generally agreed that he takes tribute from Dwarves and Alvar in shapely and beautiful things of great expense: not that he might enjoy them but that others might be deprived. These include tomes of wizardry inscribed in beautiful calligraphy on silver or gold sheets, skillfully made artifacts and jewelry, and glorious treasures some once possessed by rulers and warriors of old. Fafnirskin is known also for taking slaves and forcing them to work for him. These can be live Dwarves and Alvar or the shades of men but Fafnirskin treats men the worse as befitting his feud.

Despite the malevolent legend and the very real lava flow, and more to the point the mudslides, floods and poisonous fumes, Gungnirians have a perverse affection for Mount Fafnirskin. Tourists come for long distances to watch eruptions which is generally safe with proper precautions. This is ususually accompanied by the chanting and singing of sagas, the eating of feasts, and the lighting of pyrotechnics. During dormant phases the extensive ice fields can reform and some of those take fantastic shapes, as do the bizarre twists of igneous rock deposits. These barren but weirdly beautiful reaches are often said to be haunted by spirits, trolls and/or by the evil spells designed to keep the dragon's slaves from fleeing and keep watch on would-be thieves.

Fortunately modern Vulcanology can fairly well predict an active phase. The dormant phase can be long, sometimes long enough for such recreations as mountain climbing. Life does return and it is a well known nesting spot for the famed Gungnir Eagle which finds it a handing place to ambush migratory fowl and has an adept enough temperature sense to evacuate during an eruption's approach. The Eagles are highly valued for falconry. Adolescent ones, at the beginning of their skill and appearance are favored. But eggs and chicks are easier to harvest and will sell well to owners who already have a mated pair in their aviary (the species is noted for being able to adopt strays). Nonfertile eggs can be preserved and made into jewelry by various technological techniques. Harvesting is only done by special permission because of the threat of endangerment. Safaris set out into the area at dormant times, despite the attributed preternatural threats and more to the point the very real mundane dangers.

Other areas of possible economic exploitation are available, carefully regulated to keep them from playing out. Diamond deposits have been discovered. And of course there are always those few who take the legend literally and go seeking (or claiming to seek) to steal the Dragon's treasure. Another addendum to the legend is the mystery of Knut the Mad, a famous explorer of the area. Despite the legend, the historical Knut was in fact a disciplined scientist, but had a not unjustified reputation for mysticism like others of his ilk and left behind wild poetry and riddles causing him to have attributed to be in league with or even to be Odin himself. As seems to be always the case, Knut went into The Dragon's shadow and never came back, nor was his body or those of any member of his expedition found. As people of his sort never die in such comparatively uninteresting ways as having a dreadful accident, several causes have been attributed, a favorite of which is that he is searching for a hero to Slay The Dragon (or tame him, by other accounts as slaying him will take away the fun). Ever an anon people go on expeditions to seek traces, and no certain causes of the disappearance have been found. Cynics have said that the real purpose of these expeditions is to make and sell entertaining docudramas.

The Dragon's mountain is naturally enough a heritage site for the nearby and aptly named Jarldom of Volsung specifically and for the planet Gungnir in general.
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Old 12-30-2020, 06:57 PM   #674
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Microcorps:

The converse of mega corps. These are used to handle small investments. An example might be a Free Trader or Subsidized Trader which has a single corporation in an entire ship. Sometimes the user has a buyback option from the sponsor or a contract whereby shares shift to him at a steady pace. Another possibility is that the voyage is the corporation but the ship and crew is "loaned" to it for a percentage of shares (this is known for subsidized vessels where the government share is taken as tax).

Other uses are known. Sometimes a family or extended family will incorporate to make it easier to divide the patrimony on the death of the family head. At least one nation has the peculiar custom of making every citizen a Corporation Sole.
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Old 01-14-2021, 06:44 PM   #675
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The Grand Mosaic of Deneb:

This is a partially completed floor in a room in the latest expansion of Archduke Norris' Palace. Constructed by Dame Anastasia Truehaven a noted international artist, it uses as a base her Home People's tradition in decorative datacrystals and highly crafted artificial gemstones.

Each stone is luminescent and capable of a full spectrum of colors. The "home" scene will be a display of wilderness scenery from Mora though more than that has not been revealed. It will be displayed on the month when the floor is declared complete. In every month it will show a scene typical of one of the planets in the Domain.

As a bonus each stone is to be a dataholder and contain at least one item of information reflecting the culture of a given world in the Domain of Deneb. As obviously there are more stones than worlds and every one is planed to contain several thousand gigabytes to a terabyte or moreworth of information according to the palace seneschal there is considerably more than that minimum.

The ceiling and walls are intended to be a fairly normal virtual picture that reflects a geometric display, not unlike ancient Persian styles of architecture. At celebratory times, however it will be changed to reflect an appropriate image. The whole system is powered by an outside generator.

The rim of the system will be a solid color designed to be reasonably attractive. This part will be regularly open to the public as long as order is kept and a series of computers will be available to access the information hidden in the floor making it also a working library and museum. The only parts hidden will be such items as are considered sacred to their respective cultures and traditionally limited in access. Attempts to hack those will receive a severe fine if caught.

The mosaic itself is off limits as it is intended to be a working dance floor during Imperial festivities. As such it is to be properly maintained and cleaned by trained servants. Attendance at such galas will be by invitation only.
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Old 02-05-2021, 06:03 AM   #676
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Tenderleaf:

Despite the name it is not particularly tender. It is a treelike plant discovered by the IISS operative Jacob Tender. On the end of his term he got a hold of several seedlings and purchased a plantation to grow it becoming rich in the process. Tenderleaf can be grown in a number of binomes as well as in artificial environments making it a very useful food source. Normally the leaves are used in leaf wraps or salads while the bark is often made into snack chips or ground into a powder to be used for condiments.
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Old 04-12-2021, 06:56 AM   #677
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Fiyftahea:

A rendering from a Ganglic/Aslan Pidgin. Translated as "Man year" it is the currency of choice of many Ihaiti settled human worlds.

It is disputed when the practice started. In the basic system, when a world becomes open by negotiation to Ihaiti settlement a band of settlers is given a lump sum of land for a lump amount of Man Years plus a given amount in periodical tribute.

As time goes on, excess "Man-years" have tended to become available. When for instance a warrior does career service to the planetary government as an individual as opposed to as a member of his clan. This process creates circulating of cash and is often deliberately encouraged by the government. This conversion is also encouraged by the need to gain livestock, tools, seed for fodder, personal arms, or whatever is needed to turn a landhold into a viable economic system.

The denominations of "man-year" are based on a melding of the human and Aslan calendar. For instance on at least one planet a "Man-Year" is an abstraction of an exchange between nine months service (the campaign season in the Terran European continent) and enough of a landhold to support one Aslan family. Smaller denominations are based on factors of time shorter than a year with a year as the base.

This currency is widely respected by Ihaiti, backed as it is theoretically by land and military service, an exchange widely understood. However in worlds that have gained a large population it often exists chiefly as an abstract currency though traces of the original feudal service usually still exist.

In the Imperium it is mutually exchangeable with Imperial credits through agents maintained by the Imperial Treasury. The "Man Years" of various planets have not been standardized as they reflect differing planetary histories and cultures.
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Old 05-06-2021, 05:54 AM   #678
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Private Trading:

Several starships especially tramps allow spacers the right to private trading and free transport of goods thus acquired as part of their perks. Several Chandlary firms (including famously THE Chandler's of Overnale, and it's franchises) maintain general stores with a spacer-theme in decor and product for catering to such things. Lesser quality examples have to be filtered but are often purchased anyway to encourage traders while goods fit for the store are resold.

Goods sold for this can not only be goods acquired at a previous port but works of craftsmanship made by private spacers. Products include often such things as carvings, personal smithcraft, ropework, and sometimes even electronic software. Like many spacer customs carryovers from pre-starflight Terran nautical traditions figure strongly as do those of other cultures with a nautical tradition..
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Old 05-06-2021, 06:39 AM   #679
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Spacers carry a whole variety of arms for the purpose of self-defense on leave or holding their own in a brawl; these usually lean toward the less lethal to make it easier to negotiate with constabulary.

Aslan often find Fierehs useful for this as do others who trade with them. They have an old tradition and can have soft weights tied to them to "pack" a blow (actual hard weights like metal are not put in except when a deadly fight is anticipated).

One noticeable one is often associated with Reconciliationist spacers (adherents to the merger of the Latin and Greek Churches of Terra in the Great Compromise of the Second Empire Period). This is the "Maurice". It is essentially a Kara but marked to distinguish the religion of it's bearer. It bears the image of Maurice, the soldier-saint which is considered more appropriate for bellicose purposes than a Crucifix or Ichthys sign. Some models are made in animal hide or plastic for the purpose as again the original metal might cause more damage than is diplomatic. Other religions have similar traditions for this including Jews, Parsis, Maar Zon, etc; and the Sikh's who made it popular wear it plain or with the symbol of their religion. The popularity of the Maurice stems from the fact that it can be used both as a bracelet and a weapon.

A popular and simple one is a knotted rope. Some combine it with a cloak or similar tool for parrying.

Another one well known is a scrimshaw sap or nightstick. These can be carved out of raw faux-scrimshaw plastic or out of genuine animal bone or similar material as per the tradition. Some spacers actually use Kudy Horn for this and the lower grade of such is within reach of a common spacer if he has enough money.

A spacer's personal arms are a necessary part of his kit if he expects to go into port. Many are lovingly cared for with fine decoration and personal names. In some cultures handed down through families like many other spacer tools.

Hint: This was inspired by a photo I saw of a scrimshaw club at a museum inventory.
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