[XXIX.10-drome] Excerpts from Lucky Phil’s Guide to the Nochet Hippodrome: Tips and Tricks for the Prospective Punter.
[XXIX.11-drome.I/1.b] By ancient edict, women in Nochet are forbidden to gamble; ironically, also by ancient edict, the Asrelia cult controls almost all financial matters in the city, and gambling is in the crones’ remit.
[XXIX.11-drome.I/1.c] As a consequence of this, those few male (eunuch) members of this cult have become immensely rich running the huge betting ring at the Hippodrome.
[XXIX.11-drome.I/1.d] Of course, just because they are forbidden doesn’t mean women don’t make wagers: they simply get a male companion or servant to lay the bet for them, as I have done many times.
[XXIX.12-drome.I.13/3] Popular snacks at the Hippodrome include roasted pumpkin seeds and ‘forcemeat-on-a-stik’ (avoid sitting directly in front of eaters of either, lest you get rained on by spat out seed husks or bone splinters).
[XXIX.12-drome.I.13/4] On the terraces watch for the strolling vendors carrying conical tubes. These tubes are powerful Farsee matrixes which they rent at negotiable prices. Use them to see the finer points of the racing action!
[XXIX.12-drome.II.1/1] Clayton Stormont, the Hendreki wind lord and prominent member of the Greens, is notable for his flamboyant behaviour on race days, including an ostentatious use of the Orlanthi *wind words* magic to discuss race tactics with his drivers without leaving his private box.
[XXIX.12-drome.II.1/2.a] Many racegoers will remember the day several seasons back, when Stormont fought an unusual duel with old Vespar Anacles, a stalwart of the Gold faction. Vespar took exception to a epic poem Clayton gave in praise of horses, which claimed his team of grays ran better “when turgid Yelm is banish’d from sight, hid by proud air’s cloud and slurry” (yes, I’m afraid he does write like that…)
[XXIX.12-drome.II.1/2.b] When the next raceday came, the elderly priest used his Dayzatar magic to destroy the prevailing cloud cover and bathe the ‘drome in natural light. Rising to the bait, the wind lord used *his* magic to call back the clouds, and so the duel commenced, the furious rivals casting bigger and better spells until dusk (and a full moon) ended the contest in a draw.
[XXIX.12-drome.II.1/3.a] Back in the days before the Lunars assumed control, the Reds’ most famous driver, Blaargo Bullman, suffered a spectacular crash, yet went on to win a string of victories, mainly by inflicting crippling damage on his opposition, yet absorbing immense amounts of damage himself.
[XXIX.12-drome.II.1/3.b] Blaargo’s minders always ensured their hero entered the arena cloaked and masked; “To create an aura of mystique” they said. Who can forget his last race, when the mysterious charioteer’s helmet fell off revealing to the crowd that he was in fact now a zombie! In the ensuing riot the furious mob blew undead Blaargo apart by magic and his remains were scattered throughout the city.
[XXIX.12-drom.II.1/3.c] Even today you might be offered keepsake relics of old Blaargo by unscrupulous souvenir sellers. Be warned that most of this will simply be off-cuts from the forcemeat factories, tanned or dyed to give an appearance of age.
[XXIX.12-drome.II.1/3.d] Following the Blaargo Bullman scandal, the Red faction were banned from competing for a season. Some time after this the Reds audaciously tried to run a team of undead horses; this time they were banned for a whole year.
[XXIX.12-drome.III/1] A few years back several racing syndicates imported Yelmalio drivers from the Sun Dome country in distant Prax, and these have become very fashionable. Their god gifts the pious with abilities which can help them become superb charioteers; for example, the ability to actually speak with horses! Drivers with this gift need not tie their reins around their waists (some without the gift are said to do this anyway, in the hope of luring potential sponsors).
[XXIX.12-drome.III/2] It is said that the Count of the Sun Dome lands, concerned that his best and brightest are being lured away by the promise of a charioteering career in the fleshpots of Nochet, has interceded with his god to stop it. For every gift a Yelmalio is given, his cult also bestows a geas, and some a driver may acquire will ruin a promising career: “Use no whip”, “Use no non-cult weapons” and even “Never permit a horse to suffer needlessly” have potentially disastrous effects.
[XXIX.12-drome.III/3] The irony of the Yelmalios, their veneration of horses, and their horse-related divine gifts and geases, is that horses have been extinct in the Sun Dome lands for centuries, and it is said that though the Count there has a fine ceremonial chariot, it is in fact pulled along by human slaves!
[XXIX.12-drome.IV/1.a] Humakti charioteers are now extremely uncommon, although they once gravitated to the now-defunct White faction.
[XXIX.12-drome.IV/1.b] The last Humakti driver of note – aside from young Suirasileb that is – was the flamboyant Sir Felix Mortifer who raced in the late 80’s and early 90’s. It is claimed that he successfully prayed to his god to improve the armour on his chariot!
[XXIX.12-drome.IV/1.c] This same gifted vehicle now rests in the forecourt of the Demarch of the Greens’ mansion; although “Flash Felix” raced with the Whites, he was compelled to sell his treasured vehicle to the rival faction when he fell into debt.
[XXIX.12-drome.IV/1.d] Mortifer’s career spanned a decade, and he had many notable victories before finally succumbing to drink. Most fondly remembered is the time he used a Turn Undead ritual in the arena to expose the zombie racing team the Red faction sneaked in.
[XXIX.12-drome.V/1] A group of Pentish barbarians specially imported by the Reds recently staged a game of “Chadash”, their national sport, between the races. The spectacle received a mixed response from the crowd. Rather than a stuffed skin, the game was played out using a sack of silver Imperials!
[XXIX.12-drome.V/2] The Master of the Reds has offered such a sack as prize to the other factions, if they can form Chadash teams of their own and beat his treasured Reds.
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