Shield Push


Shield Pushis common throughout the archipelago although the rules vary a bit from place to place. The game involves two sides. The standard rules state that each side may have up to fourteen team members, however any number over four is playable. The players are all warriors wearing armor and carrying only shields which they brace against the shields of their opponents (blockers with two shields are permissible). The two sides line up with shields and push: five meters behind each side is a spear stuck into the earth with a helmet on top. The first team to push through and grab a helmet wins, or in longer matches scores a point.

Strength, Agility, Brawling, and Shield Combat skills may all be useful in a Shield Push, and desperately Leaping to grab the helmet or tackle a fleeing opponent is common practice. Deliberate violence is illegal; the game is rough enough with shield attacks and kicking. Magic is also forbidden, so teams often strive to recruit players with advantageous Forest Man magical gifts. From one to three neutral marshals serve as referees. A halt is called if the rules are broken, signified by the ringing of a small gong (or banginga sword on a helmet, in impromptu games). The offending player is sent off the field.

The game is not as simple as it first appears, for subtle tactics are often used. A simple trick is for the middle to give way while the wings make a dash for the helmet. "Waltzing" involves moving the other team across the field to gain a better angle on the helmet. Some teams even have a very small player who climbs over the top of the struggling mass.

Shield Push has caught on amongst the Samadrians with the following adaptation. The helmet is 10 meters back and a scoring line is drawn 20 meters back from that. This allows the team whose helmet is seized to try and save the situation by either taking the other team's helmet and scoring first, or by blocking the person with the helmet from crossing the line. To score, the helmet must be in the player's grasp as it crosses the line. In Terregor,a variant of this game is played without shields, where the two teams simply take hold of an oar and try to push the opposing team past their own helmet.