Hymn To Fysicales
Tan as an almond
Stronger than snakes
Set now the tables
With spirit and cakes
We practice on this day
A games of fysicales
To praise Krim ere we leave
This brief life, mortales
Let mallets strike on fields
We sing to sky our hymnal
Let the games commence
And touch realms mystical
On the subject
Our valley has suffered much, but also enjoyed times of mirth. In the golden age of Medieval Mures, in those Ani de Vace Grase, many a game of fysicales were practiced. May we ever again set out to the fields and rise our mallets Krimward? To prepare for another era of glory, study the original description of this most noble game as described by the Mures Institute of Fysicales.
The Field of Play
Place a pole of some significance deep into the soil of a wide and grass-clad field. Play not on the banks of the River, for it is most holy. Play only on those days when the sky above is as naked and pure as the grassed fields below! Low and swift grass may be preferable to those enslaved by predictability, while the more adventurous and wild practicioner of fysicales may find uneven or even rocky ground a suitable challenge.
Construct now the field as old Kyrim once constructed the world. The sun is not our centre, as it was Kyrims, but the firmly planted stick acts as origin. Is is not like a young almond tree, un-blossomed? As a field of play is now laid out, measure all distance by the single length of a mallet laid long on the ground – and measure from this proud and holy origin.
The Immediate Gates
At two lengths from the Origin (along a straight line), place the first of the Immediate Gates. It should face the Origin with an open smile. At another length along this line, place another gate. These two gates form the Immediate Gates.
The Outer Gates
Measure another length along the line through the Immediate Gates. Mark this point, but place no gate. Now, perpendicular to the line you have so far followed, measure another line four mallets wide in each direction. At these extremes, place the two Outer Gates, facing the same way as the Immediate Gates.
The Unholy Cross
Return now to the point which you marked in the previous step (one length from the last Immediate Gate). Follow again the line from the Origin through the Immediate gate: measure four lengths. This point marks the center of the Unholy Cross, being also the center of the field itself (in old folk religion, also the center of the world. Majahi!).
The cross, that damned cross, is formed by two gates. They should not face the same way as the other gates on the field, but be placed atop each other in an angle. If you were a bird soaring above the Mures Valley, the cross would appear to you (as you see the field with the Origin at the lowest end, the Immediate Gates straight above it) as the letter +.
The Mirror at the Cross
Imagine now the world symmetrikal. So will you set the field: the Unholy Cross is the mirror, and a new set of gates will be set on the opposite side of it matching exactly those already placed. These gates are often referred to as Opposites: The Opposite Outer Edges, The Opposite Immediate Edges, The Opposite Origin.
In mythologikal readings, once the unholy cross is traversed (in its perverse rituals), the player has entered Hell. His task is to reach the very depths of this depraved land, yet return as a holy man.
The Origin Opposite
At the far end of the Earth, at the outermost extreme of the field, the mirrored Origin is placed. This it the origin opposite, or un-origin. When it is placed according to the same rules that the Immediate Gates were placed after the Origin, the field is ready for play. Bless the pole, and it may grant mercy.
The Tools of Fysicales
Mallet and ball
Wooden mallets are the primary tool of the game. There are various preferences here, but all players should use mallets of roughly the same size and character. The balls, be they of leather, stone or metals, must be of the exact similar make for all players.
Gates and Poles
The size and character of gates is subject to much discussion. Ours is a simple description: they should be roughly as tall as they are wide, and allow at least five balls to pass through simultaneously. All gates on a single field must be of the same size.
The poles, used as Origin and Un-Origin, should be wrought from blessed almond branches. They must be solid and true, and lay in the hand like the mallet does (not too thick, not too slim). It should be easy to spot as it portrudes from the ground, but not reach above the knee.
The Flow of Play
Order of Play
An order amongst the players is ordained by God. Keep this order throughout the game: the first player strikes first, and plays then until his attempt is exhausted. The next player is then to strike, and we proceed as such until a victor is determined.
Technique of the Game
After prayer, the first player strikes: he places his ball within one mallet-length from the origin (most likely in closest vicinity to the Immediate Gates). He then strikes the ball, attempting to traverse the gates in order, as described in the Field of Play section.
A valid traversal sees the ball move through the gate, along the current direction of play. How does a ball move through a gate? To any true believer, the rule should be obvious. A logician may demand a closer instruction: The ball moves from less-than-halfways through a gate, to the other side (again portruding more than halfways). These fine details of movement are best argued over in a tavern or dim street-corner: at the field of play, a majority may decide whether a ball has validly traversed a gate. Fuj to him who stalls play with base argument.
Should the strike be true, sending the ball through the gate at which is the next in the order of traversal, he is immediately granted another strike. He may as such, with great skill, proceed far through the field in a single turn. The gate grants this extra strike only when it is traversed in the order at which it is ordained on the field. Note also the rules of the Boost of Brandon, as described in the Rules of Traversal.
On to the next Player
As a player takes its turn, a single strike is granted to him. As we have seen, he may multiply his attempts through skillful play. A more malicious technique for extending a series of strikes is also described below, in the section on the clínq. When a player has exhausted his strikes (be that one or many), the next player takes his turn. If it is his very first round, he starts from the origin as described above, else he strikes at his ball where it now may lay.
Into the Un-Origin
The un-origin, that stick at the end of the world, is the target after all gates are passed in valid order. Your pilgrimage is now half-complete. Rotate now the world entire – play again the wild game of fysicales until you hit the stick of origin. The gates are now as if reversed, and all must be traversed again. Except for the direction of play, the rules of traversal are exactly the same. When the Origin is again reached, the child returned to its mother, move to the End of Play.
Detailed Rules of Traversal
The Boost of Brandon
Two gates in immediate vicinity are at the opening of the game. Should your aim be true, you may traverse both gates from a single strike. Receive the Boost of Brandon! As you have passed two gates, each granting an additional strike, you now possess two extra strikes. Strike, and strike again! Should another gate be traversed, you will again aquire new strikes.
The Boost of Brandon (a double harvest of extra strikes) is most likely to occur at the Immediate Gates, but a skilled player may well receive this blessing at any point in the game. Note, however, that a triple or quadruple collection of extra strikes is a perversion. Only the hubris of Nerich could produce such an attempt, and may be punished as described in the section Death to Bears.
Destiny at the Outer Edges
You may freely choose from the first outer gates of the field, those placed on far left and far right – you need not traverse both. Note, however, that in selecting the first outer gate, you set the path of travel through the Unholy Cross and the Opposite Outer Edges.
Navigating the Unholy Cross
At the cross, souls and victory may both be lost. Traverse twice this cruel invention, according to the destiny ordained by the previous gate passed: Approach from left, and the ball must first pass under the cross through the apparent gate aligned left-to-right. Next (as the player first collects an additional strike as a gate was passed), the ball must navigate the cross from the same direction, but under the other gate (right-to-left). Should the player originally approach the gate from the right, reverse these directions. Pray that you may understand the cross as well as it understand you.
The End of Play
As the stick of origin is struck by a ball that has traversed the graph of the world, the game ends. The player who performed this feat is champion. On this night he may choose company freely from the maidens of the valley, for they will willingly throw their soft skin against his bronze flesh of mastery and mysterie.
Defeated players bow with their mallets raised towards the champion, and sing hymns so that this end of play may not be the end of days.
Rules Additional, yet Kritical
Play may end for a participant if his strike and heart is false: At any time, should a ball strike the Origin before it has traversed every gate on the field, the player to whom the ball belongs is removed from the game. In times old, the player was banished from the valley, his house set aflame. In our days of mercy, it will suffice that the player drink only sour milk for seven days. An early death is still likely – God cares little for fools.
In simple terms
The holy technique of clínq is central in the game, as in life itself. Some say it was the Red Rebel who first performed the clínq, thereby winning the first and only Royal Game at the Court of Nerich, humiliating the local lords. A clínq is born from the following circumstance:
Did you traverse the Cross,
or another gate?
Oh, your ball has struck upon another?
Then it matters not:
You are now at the liberty
to perform the clínq.
Striking another player’s ball with your own initiates the rite of clínq. Pick up your own ball from the field (tenderly, as if picking some Ploppel Rose) and place it in contact with the opponent ball which was struck. The opponent ball must under no circumstance be moved, lest the clínq be deemed false (see below). The player may then place his foot on his own ball, fixing it in place, and strike at it. If the strike is strong and true, the opponent ball will be struck through reverberation and stray far from its intended journey. The successfully performed clínq is rewarded by another strike for the player performing the clínq, accompanied by ample applause. Any additional strikes already granted by the traversal of gates are carried over (the be taken after the clínq and its extra strike are perfored).
A Clínq Lost
If the player who is positioned to clínq would rather continue his play from the position his ball attained, he may forfeit the clínq. No extra strike is granted, nor any glory. Should a player attempt the clínq, yet perform it in a manner unsuited, play moves immediately to the next participant. A clínq is false under many circumstances: the ball of the clínq-ing player moves visibly at the impact; the player carries himself in a foul and Bessarabian fashion; the mallet strikes the ground as if to scare rats from the soil, not hitting any ball.
As clínq grants an additional strike, a player may be tempted to enter clínq again by striking the very same ball he gained the clínq by. This player is a heretic: clínq may not appear again if the same opponent is struck in series. Another clínq is granted only if the player should strike another opponent ball. Only when the player has performed clínq on all other opponents (or passed the next gate in the correct manner) may he again attempt clínq against the opponent which first granted this privilege. Such a feat, a serial clínq, is rare indeed, and only seen in the most blessed of games.
A true believer will find the clínq both a powerful ally and a dangerous foe. Be wary of the effect persistent or malicious use of the clínq may have on friendships and familial relations. Combined with the Early Death – that is, to clínq an adversary into oblivion, removing him completely from game and gaiety, is sometimes referred to as the Clínq Grande.
Death to Bears
At any time during play, if Nerichian descent is suspected in any participant, the other players may strike their mallets at the foul fiend until death is certain. Strike as if the player was the Nerichian Bear himself, for he who embodies Nerichian spirit is an enemy to the Valley and to Krim.
The ball and mallet of the departed is removed from the field. The body, now cold as a Nerichian un-soul, is left for the crows. Play resumes.
The Living Game
These are the rules of a fine game of fysicales. Yet no writing can contain this living game! It is perfectly legal to change the rules of the game, but always under some immutable laws:
- A rule change must be agreed on by a majority of the active players of the session (that is, three or more players in a game of four).
- The rule change will apply only in the next session. The previously agreed on rules must be respected in the ongoing game.
- The rules apply only to the current series of games and players: for changes on a broader or global scale, the Mures Institute of Fysicales must be consulted.
- No un-logik may ever enter the sacred game.
- Assume always at a session with unknown or mischevious players the rules as described in this document. If the first ball is struck with no discussion on rule-set, this document will be the whole of law.
Style and Physique
The firm and true player will use both hands, holding the mallet on its upper extreme. Place thus the mallet between your legs, and swing it like a pendulum of the great clocks. Let the mallet hit the ball on the immediate up-swing. The ball will thus shoot forward, straight and true. Passing gates and crushing enemies! All with light and tender topspin.
From the far forests of eastern environs stems this controversial strike. Yet, successfully performed a powerful clínq indeed. Yes, perhaps the strongest of all, sending foes into the abyss of uneven fields.
The player places his heel on his own ball, and with a precise backhand strike he hits! And his foe is gone from the field of play, yes, the foe will need many a strike to again be a pretender.
It is said that Krimaläinen is the father of this style, yet some claim it was first used on that desolate mark of heathens. (Hamare, Majahi Hamare).
He must be proud as the horse, he who attempts this technique. Often a poseur, it may seem such a player is motive’d more by wooing lady-folk, than partaking in noble sports. Yet, do not be fooled by his flirting appearance, a perfected Stosian may be the most precise, elegant and efficient of all techniques.
But beware! He is a fool he who attempts the Stosian One-Hand without proper schooling and practice, for he will appear an imbecile and drunkard. And lady-folk will laugh at him!
Somewhat reminiscent of the Stosian style, a skilled and especially cheerful player may choose to play much or all of the game with a bottle of Mures Concentrat-Spirit in hand. He willfully reduces both his physical and mental faculties in a great display of bravery. Or is it perhaps the act of a fool? To lose spirit-in-hand is a great shame reserved otherwise only for dogs and Arabs.
Buffoonery (Spanish style)
Most deplorable of all styles is that of the buffoon. He envies the bodies and minds of the skilled performer of fysicales, and as such sets his heart to destroy the game. He will attack the gates, move the balls, fondle the ladies. Execution may be too great a mercy for his kind.