Thousandsticks was a game invented in the Third Age of Flight.
The aim was to reach the ladder in the middle of the stadium in the Silver Pastures and climb it, reaching the platform above, without ever touching the ground below the walkways and hills. As the game progressed, more and more people would be removed from the game, and it would eventually boil down to a few contenders. It could be played with multiple teams. In Great Glade the annual thousandsticks match was traditionally participated in by twelve teams, one for each of the city's districts.
There were twelve opening tracks for the teams to march out to the field on, an outer track that connected six hills to the starting tracks (controlling a hill was key as it gave a terrain advantage in fights and allowed access to the snake tracks). There were two snake tracks that snaked around either 3 or 4 hills, depending on the track. Only one hill had access to both tracks, making that hill very valuable strategically). Eventually, the snake tracks ended at one of two points on the inner track right next to the hill. On top of the hill was the ladder which, if scaled, would win the game.
Players wore thick armour, a padded helmet and a shoving glove. They each wielded a "thousandstick", an ironwood rod with a "claw" for sweeping and scooping and a "club" for pushing and shoving. They could use the sticks to attempt to knock opponents off of the raised tracks, which would remove the opponents from the game.
The traditional strategy was for the teams to fight to gain control of the hills, forming strategic alliances with other teams to pick off competitors, and then attempt to either send runners to run to the hill and scale the ladders, or defeat other runners in a duel preventing them from scaling the hill, or sending blockers down the snake track to eliminate the other runners and sending a runner behind them. Blockers were usually tough and strong, and the runners usually fast and agile.
In practice drills, different formations like the "Overhead Claw", the "Downward Club", the "Brace" and the "Lift" were rehearsed.
Role in The Immortals
Nate in Great Glade
Nate Quarter was playing for the thousandsticks team of Copperwood and went to training regularly. He loved the sport although it caused him some sores, but when had bought some Riverrise water for his back-ache he rather gave it to Weelum than use it for his own good.
In the match against New Lake, Nate faced off against Branxford Drew. During the thousandsticks match, Branxford framed Nate for Friston's murder. Nate reached the platform first, but Branxford revealed to Nate that he had murdered his own father and Nate's friend and mentor and shoved him down from the platform. Nate survived the fall with a sprained shoulder and a few cracked ribs, but the Copperwood Gang had to flee Great Glade.
Nate in Hive
When Nate, Eudoxia and the Professor tried to free Galston Prade from the Gyle Palace in Hive, Nate was able to put his thousandsticks practice to good use. Using a phraxmusket instead of a thousandstick he performed a so-called "Barley Cutter", a very difficult move that sent the gyle goblins sprawling and made two grossmothers loose their balance.
Galston Prade loved the game of thousandsticks and, believing his mines to be in good hands, left much of the work to his chief clerk, Felftis Brack and instead organized thousandsticks teams for New Lake. Brack lured Prade to Hive to recruit thousandsticks players; but the players had already been recruited by Brack himself and Galston Prade was caught and held captive in the Gyle Palace.
Felftis brack was later arrested and convicted on his misdeeds, among them the non-payment of the New Lake thousandsticks team.
Tensticks was a sports game played by the youth of Great Glade. It resembled Thousandsticks, but the number of players was reduced to ten.