The Long Road Home
The Game of Jalah
JONTUN THE WISE, THE FATHER OF JA‘LA DH JIN
It was then, that Jontun the Wise, an elder from the Stone Giant clan of Brokdul is the “Father of Ja’La dh Jin”. He was renowned for his prowess as a consummate strategist. To keep himself sharp on the battlefield he challenged all of his generals to games of strategy during times of peace. His massive stone chess set sat atop a large mountain overlooking the sea. Jontun began to talk to his fellow elders and they formed the first council to rule the giant people. So they needed a way to break the tie, a way for some decisions to be made.
He sat down and put his mind to the task of creating a way for resolving conflicts that didn’t result in so much death. And realized that after watching so many battles that there were some common giant techniques, and that he went home and ground smooth a black onyx stone that comes from the heart of the Brokdul mountains. When he showed it to people and they asked him what it was he said it was a brock and that it would change the way in which giants fought. He referenced his two boys who played amongst his giant chess set, and whoever won got the rock candy. He referenced how giant kind was just killing itself off and that if they could come up with a fair test of skills. This marks the birth of the game of Ja’La dh Jin. Amongst all the giant tribes an annual ja’la tournament is held, where the winner is given an extra seat on the council that governs all giant kind.
JA‘LA DH JIN (A.K.A JA‘LA OR THE GAME OF LIFE)
It is even used to solve legal disputes. If for example, someone had a problem they could take it in front of the high council, and if it was accepted as a valid complaint a game of jal la de jhin could be played to decide the outcome of the dispute. The accuser may pick the type of Ja’La dh Jin ball, but the challenged is allowed to choose the field. It is common for these games to get bloody, and death is a regular part of Ja’La dh Jin (since an actual feud or battle was looked down upon because of the total number of lives that were lost). Ja’La dh Jin although seemingly gladiatorial in nature is a contest amongst giants where giants bleed and die all the time, but less frequently than in open war.
Ja’La dh Jin is not only the national pastime, but it is held in the highest honor by all members of giant society for what it has done for their kind. Its translation in the common tongue, “The Game of Life” reflects the fact that giants chose this contest over their own extinction. In fact the once mighty giant nation has now dwindled to an all time low, and some of the noblest of bloodlines has been snuffed out by war and strife.
JA‘LA DH JIN (A.K.A THE GAME OF LIFE)
THE BASIC RULES
Ja’La dh Jin is a sport played on a field with 2 sides and 4 goalposts by 2 teams. It is split into 12, 5 minute turns, making the game a total of an hour long. Each team has 12 players on the field (4 in reserves), consisting of a point man, 3 wingmen, and the other 8 consisting of blockers and tacklers.
The field is split in half, with goals in each corner, and a line going across the field horizontally and vertically, on each side (the scoring zones), dividing each half into four quadrants. A goal scored within the same quadrant as the location of the goal is worth a single point, and a goal scored within an outside quadrant is worth two points.
On a team’s turn, they take the Broc (ball) from the mid-line. The pointman’s goal is to either stand in the scoring zone and throw the Broc into a goal(for 2 point, or stand in a farther scoring quadrant and throw it into a goal for 3 points. If the Wingmen score a goal they recieve one less point than the wingman. For the most part, the wingmen try to keep the point man from being tackled. The tacklers and blockers during the offensive phase just try to keep the pointman up/line from the broc to the goal clear, and other tactics are allowed (such as throwing). The only time a team can score is on their offensive turn, otherwise if they get the ball on their opponents offensive turn, they will attempt to play keep away and deny the other team to score for the period.
When its not the team’s turn, the other team trys to do the same to them. The pointman and blocker’s job is to block the line of sight from the enemy pointman to the goal, and if the broc is thrown, deflect it so it won’t go in (or catch it). The wingmen and tackler’s job is to stop the pointman (and, to a lesser extent, the wingmen) from getting in the scoring zone/being able to throw the broc.
At the end of the standard 12 turns, if there is no clear victor (a tie), then there are 2 more turns. In this sudden death-overtime when one team scores a point the other team is given one more turn in which they may attempt to score a point. If they are unable the other team is awarded the win. Play continues in such a manor until there is a victor.
In Ja’la there are only three ways to incur a penalty, and for as bloody as a sport as it can be, it is often times that these penalties are called for in order to curb overly-aggressive behavior that detracts from the nature of game-play. However, players are frequently taken out and some even killed without the opposing player incurring any penalty.
1. Intentially grounding the ball/stopping play (offense)
2. Late hits (defense)
3. Questing overseer calls (even if reversed) result in at least a one point penalty (offense/defense)
In order to assign a penalty worthy of the offense the the overseer (referee) reviews the field of play and places a penalty value on each infraction. These values range in number from 1-5 each and represent the number of koru (aka. lead trout) the offender must bear throughout the rest of play.
JA‘LA DH JIN EQUIPMENT
THE DUM LÄUG
The Dum Läug is ceremonial hammer/axe / anchor usually adorned with a crazy/stupid looking dwarf or beast. They are made from many materials including wood, iron, stone, and bone.
*Note: Dum Läug (pronounced Dume Lowg)in the giant’s tongue means: The Short Toss (It is an insult against dwarves/beastmen)
The one who throws it farthest gets to choose who goes first – it takes the place of a standard coin toss.
*Note: The farthest point of the Dum Läug is used to measure, whether it be hilt or handle.
The broc is the game ball in Ja’la Dh Jin, made from wood, iron, stone, or bone and varies in design from clan to clan and between the different subraces. They are a uniform 1’ in diameter and typically weigh 20 lbs apiece. The broc is the projectile by which all points in ja’la dh jin are scored.
The game of Ja’la Dh Jin is played with a small amount of highly sacred equipment. But as important as the cesta-punta, the primary piece of equipment used to play Ja’la Dh Jin. It consists of a scooped basket glove used to catch and throw the broc. It is as much a deadly bladed gauntlet and armor as well as a flexible mit used to propel the broc at high speeds. Each giant race crafts them in a different fashion using a variety of materials. In fact the quality of a giant’s cesta-punta will also tell you their ranking not only within their family, but clan as well. They are proudly displayed in most homes above the hearth, and the craft of creating cesta-punta is a well guarded secret by a small number of giant crafters, and relies on both a knowledge of weapons, and armor smithing as well.
KORU (PENALTY MARKERS)
These koru are made from adamantium slag and other heavily dense materials, and are formed into rings. They come in a variety of materials that usually consist of a hook or spiral weight attached to a post by a piece of sinew or cord. This allows the koru to be easily attached to clothing or armor to weigh that player down. Each one weighs 150 lbs., and it is the responsibility of the player to attach the penalty where it can be plainly seen by the overseer throughout the match.