Belacor and War Parties
The main sport, both participant and spectator is a ritualized combat sport called The War Party. The sport involves two teams of 5 combatants, known as belacor (from Corpax Belli – War Body). The combat can be either armed or unarmed, and is held before spectators on a grassy, rectangular field known as The Rack.
The War Party, however, is not just a passtime. It is one of the main methods for resolving disputes between rival Corpa. When two or more Corpa come into conflict, they have the choice of resolving the dispute via arbitration imposed by the Plenary Courts. Alternatively, if both parties opt for Trial by Combat, they can pit their belacors against one another in a sanctioned match. The Corpax with the winning team is considered to have won the dispute. For this reason, powerful Corpa are strongly motivated to recruit, train, and maintain a top-notch belacor. Smaller, less powerful Corpa will opt to hire a mercenary belacor, rather than maintain a full-time squad.
The consequence of the reliance on War Parties to resolve disputes is that the outcome of a tournament can have very real consequences off the field. For this reason, passions in the stands of a War Party often run very high.
A belacor is a 5-man team organized according to The Corpax . The roles are:
- Capital – The Head: the 1 goal and the goalie
- Cordis – The Heart: the 1 team spell caster
- Bracchi – The Arms: the 2 offensive players
- Crucis – The Legs: the 2 defensive players
Large, powerful Corpa will fund their own dedicated belacor to fight on their behalf in resolving disputes. Such a Corpax’s belacor are is usually organized as Fractal Corpa, maintained as part of the Cordis.
The game takes place on The Rack, a flat, rectangular field approximately 50 feet by 70 feet (about the size of a basketball court). Any player that goes out of bounds (Off the Rack), is eliminated from play.
The objective of a War Party is to Cut off the Head. This is accomplished by eliminating the Capital of the opposing belacorfrom play. A Capital is eliminated if he or she is knocked to the ground, pushed out of bounds, or surrenders by taking a knee.
The structure of the contest are very open, but thee few rules in organized, sanctioned play are as follows:
1. Segregation: All players must be the same race. Most sanctioned belacor are all human, but there are War Party leagues for most races. Pantroglid, Tardigrade, and Chirans each have strong War Party leagues
2. Uniform: All players must wear the uniform of long cotton pants and a sleeveless cotton tunic (thus, no armor, gloves, shoes, or helmets)
3. Spells in Play: During the game, spells can not be cast by anyone but the Cordis
4. Spells before Play: Spells affecting team member when the game starts must have been cast only by members of the belacor
5. Potions: Players can carry potions into play, but they must be contained in glass vessels (so other players can target them)
6. Off The Rack: Any player pushed out of bounds (Off The Rack), is eliminated from the match.
Rules for Armed Play
The above rules apply for both Armed and Unarmed War Parties. Armed war parties have the following additional rules
1. No edged weapons
2. No metal weapons
3. No weapons longer than their wielder is tall
4. Distinction: Each role (Bracchi, Cordis, Crucis) must be equipped differently
5. Symmetry: Those within a paired role must have the same equipment (both Bracchi have the same equipment, as do both Cruces)
The openness of the format has lead to a highly dynamic sport with countless fads, trends, and variations in weapons, tactics, and styles across time and geography. The current style of professional play in Xantos favors:
- Bracchi: highly acrobatic, staff wielding Bracchi on the attack
- Cruces: stout Cruces carrying a medium shield on each arm to defend themselves and the Capital
- Capital: a nimble Capital wielding a bow with blunted arrows, primarily for targeting potions
- Cordis: a Cordis with a pair of short staffs, capable of casting buffing spells on its own players
Because belacor must fight week after week, there is an unspoken agreement between professionals to not go for lethal or maiming damage. Modern War Parties are a game of tactics, in which each team tries to outmaneuver the other team, and force members out of bounds. Nonetheless, concussions and broken limbs are common, and most belacor have a staff of healers on hand for post-game care.