Today the theme is Push.
Push is a popular sport in Akorros. The name is unimaginative, the rules are simple, and in theory it can be extremely genteel and well-mannered, although it seldom is and there are various extreme versions practiced (and bet upon) in back rooms.
The basic premise is this:
- it is a sport for two combatants
- both combatants have their hands tied behind their backs
- the combatants start at opposite sides of the combat space
- the first to push the other out of the combat space is the winner of the bout
The space can be as simple as a cleared area between tables in a bar or a circle scraped in the dust, but there are also formal push courts, typically circular and 10 feet across. The floor underfoot can range from rough stone to floorboards to (in the higher quality venues) sawdust. It is played by everyone from children to dockers to the nobility.
It would seem to be a sport of basic brute force, but experienced pushers have a whole repertoire of dodges and subtle movements which can put their opponent off balance and make them easier to push out of the space. This is helped by the fact the opponents start apart and need to close on each other in order to be able to push.
Normally, combatants are expected to push chest-to-chest, with just their leg strength providing the impetus, and with no other contact, but in some of the rougher venues, these restrictions get relaxed, and head-butting and shoulder-charging and gouging are not unknown (a shoulder in the solar plexus is a great way of putting your opponent off their rhythm…). Even hooking the opponents legs and trying to trip them, then taking advantage of them while down to trample and weaken them so they are off balance and easier to manoeuvre while getting back to their feet (with, of course, no hands to help). Being unable to rise also forfeits the match. Such venues are often filled with spectators cheering every hit and gouge.
Of course in the rougher venues, combatants often perform bare-chested – women at least as often as men – and bets can be high, including not just who wins, but the manner of their win, the speed, first blood, major injury. Pushing is not just limited to humans, either, and certain pushrings have major purses on offer to anyone who can beat their champion (minotaur or orc or ogre) best of three…with entry fees for challengers wishing to try their luck.
In bars where there isn’t space for a full Push you will often see people going for the Hand Push – or Arm Wrestle as we more commonly know it. This can be just for fun, to see who pays for the round, or for a wager, and again onlookers often bet on the result as well.
A normal push bout is based on a series of contested strength checks – both combatants roll d20 and add their strength modifier. The loser is pushed 1 foot backwards for every 5 points difference in the scores (rounded up). So if Radesh (Str + 1) rolls 6 for a total of 7 and Gnadish (Str +5) rolls 13 for a total of 18, the difference in 18-7 = 11, meaning Radesh gets pushed back 3 feet.
Tactics and modifiers:
- Running slap: if you run at least 5 feet before engaging you can add 10 to your roll (effectively a 2 foot difference).
- Dodge: make a Dexterity (Acrobatics) check with a DC of 10 + the opponent’s strength modifier. On success, you manage to disengage and can Move. On failure, you get pushed a distance purely according to the opponent’s roll – so if Radesh had tried to dodge above and failed, he would have been pushed based on an 18, i.e. 4 feet.
- Twist: you need to be engaged to Twist. Make a Dexterity (Acrobatics) check with a DC of 15 + the opponent’s strength modifier. On success you manage to turn both of you through 180 degrees so you effectively swap your distance to the edge. On failure, you get pushed a distance purely according to the opponent’s roll.
- Move: you need to be disengaged to Move. Roll a d6 to find out how far you can move in feet.
- Head-butt: make an unarmed attack roll. On success, you do 1+STR damage (minimum 1) and your opponent has to make a Constitution saving throw with a DC of 10+damage or have a -10 penalty on their next Push roll. On failure, you get pushed a distance purely according to the opponent’s roll. If not engaged, you have disadvantage on the attack roll.
- Shoulder-charge: make an unarmed attack roll. On success, you do 1+STR damage (minimum 1) and your opponent has to make a Constitution saving throw with a DC of 10+damage or have a -10 penalty on their next Push roll. On failure, you get pushed a distance purely according to the opponent’s roll. If engaged, you have disadvantage on the attack roll.
- Trip: make a Strength (Athletics) check with a DC of 12 + the opponent’s Dexterity modifier. On success, your opponent must succeed on a Dexterity (Acrobatics) check with a DC of 10 + the number rolled above the DC on the trip or be knocked prone. On failure, you get pushed a distance purely according to the opponent’s roll.
Come back tomorrow for Day 22, and we’ll look at crafting with all those Rare monster parts.