Broomball is a game played on a large field by players riding magical flying broomsticks. It is a popular spectator sport in America, and is played from the Secondary level on through University and in to the professional leagues.
A Broomball field is an ellipse with a primary axis of 500 yards and a secondary axis of 300 yards. The various boundaries are marked by colored magical fields:
The Bounds Line is marked in red, and describes the outer edge of the oval from the ground to about five hundred yards up. Players are not allowed outside the bounds line; any player crossing it is called Interference (see Penalties below).
The Try Line is marked in blue, and is placed 250 yards from each end of the field, extending 200 yards up. Defenders must stay behind the try line.
The Dog Line is marked in yellow, and is placed 200 yards off the surface of the field. For uneven fields, the dog line is marked from the highest point on the field. Only Forwards and Doggers are allowed above the dog line; Doggers are not allowed below it except in cases of intentional grounding (normally due to injury).
Each team's Home is a fifty-foot sphere centered twenty yards off the end of the field and twenty-five yards up. The flag is magically positioned in the center of this sphere, and a team returning the opponents' flag to their own home scores a down (see Playing the Game).
Each Broomball field has a unique set of Obstacles. Regulation fields must include one Tower of wood or stone, at least one hundred feet tall, two Levels, flat, rotating, magically levitated rectangles of wood, and one to five Kites tethered to the ground by cables. These obstacles provide for a more challenging experience; many legendary fields incorporate other creative inhibitors; the field at South Texas Magical University has magical jetstreams about ten feet wide running through it at random.
Each team is allowed ten players and five alternates, numbered 0-14. Playing "Number 15" on a team is slang for being cut before the game.
00 Flagkeeper: Responsible for guarding the team's flag and home area. May not leave a 'reasonable distance' from the home area. The flagkeeper is not allowed to touch or carry any flag.
01-03 Defender: Responsible for rear guard against the opposing Forwards, and often times receiving the passed flag or interfering with passers. A good Defender is agile, attentive, and has a strong check.
04 Center: Centers are the monsters of Broombowl teams, normally exceeding three hundred pounds. Centers exist mainly to deal with the opposing center and to smash any other members of the opposing team that present themselves open. Losing a Center to injury is viewed as a major strategic loss. Centers are prohibited from handling the opponents' flag.
05-06 Guard: Serving as forward defense, Guards also act as relays for forwards who can't quite get the reach back to their defenders to score. Guards often team with the Center to attempt to trap and ground the opposing Center.
07-09 Forward: Fast, agile, and possessing a good grip and throwing arm, Forwards are the stars of Broombowl. They are responsible for directly evading the opposing Defenders and Flagkeeper to gain possession of the flag. #07 is called the "Free Forward" and is nominally the best flyer on the team.
10-15 Alternates: Different teams stock different sorts of alternates; the only player who may not be replaced in a game is the Center. A typical alternate roster is a Flagkeeper/Defender, a Defender, a Guard, and two Guard/Forwards.
Playing the Game
Broomball is played with two flags, oblong leather bladders fourteen inches long and seven inches wide. These flags are magically suspended in the center of each team's Home; in the case of a Down or Grounding, the flag is returned to its Home by the referees.
Each game consists of six ten-minute periods, known as odds. At the end of each odd, the teams switch sides after a two-minute break. A the end of the third odd, a half of thirty minutes is taken. In the case of a tie, overtime odds of two minutes each are played. Overtime is sudden death; the first team to return the opposing flag to its home wins.
There are two ways in which a team can score. If a player gains possession of the opposing team's flag while inside the opposing home, that player scores a try and his team is awarded 1 point. If that player then returns the ball to his home, either by flying it himself or passing to another player (the most common method), his team scores a down for 9 points (a total of 10).
There are only three broad penalties in Broombowl: Interference, Roughness, and Illegals.
Interference is when any player crosses outside the Bounds Line, or outside of their allowed zone. Additionally, any player touching the ground for any reason other than injury or intentional grounding is called as Interference. Interference does not stop the game; a referee simply removes the offending player until a down is scored by either side.
Roughness consists of a player using his hands, feet, or head to injure another player. Normal rules allow only for 'clean' checks using the whole body. Roughness is punished first by a warning and removal until the next down is scored; a second offense causes removal from the game. Roughness does not stop the game.
Illegals are a broad category defined as "Unsportsmanlike Conduct." It includes disobeying a referee, intentionally assaulting a spectator, using magic on players (including oneself), and fighting. When an Illegal is called, the calling referee sends a purple ball of sparks into the air, and all players except the offender(s) are required to immediately assume a circle along the bounds line at the intersection with the dog line. Illegals are rare, and result in removing the offending player from the game. An Illegal (with a green ball instead of a purple) is also called when a player is seriously injured.