Summary: Competitive mountain climbing through a terrain of constantly shifting gravity fields, a test of mind, body, and extraordinary perception. From the books “Galaxy Game” and “Best of All Possible Worlds” by Karen Lord
Teams/Players: Varying team size, teams may not be needed. The wall team is supported by a Strategist, who coordinates from the ground,
Uniforms/Equipment: Standard fall prevention gear encouraged for new players. Each wall player has a Grav-Band that gives them some insight into the shifting terrain and allows communication with the Strategist. The play field, a vertical surface with shifting gravity/repulsion fields (as well as the usual hand-holds and ledges), is outside the budget of most amateur organizations.
Rules/Play: Editor’s note, I have not yet read the books that feature this sport, so this is speculation and inference more than actual knowledge. Two teams attempt to quickly scale/race across a vertical wall covered with shifting and variable gravity fields. Much of the wall’s gravity pulls runners toward its surface, so they can walk or run normally. However, patches of standard gravity, low gravity, fluctuations, and so on ripple across the surface. Frequently the entire wall’s orientation shifts, which adds drama for the audience.
Players have some ability to shift the gravity of the surface, and moving in a dense group is a useful strategy for “tilting” the wall, and for supporting teammates in distress.
The strategists are key players, aiding communication and coordination, and orchestrating the team with scripted maneuvers.
Grace and elegance are valued as much as speed, as the game is a spectator sport. The grav belts are illuminated, and as the players respond to gravity by tumbling or even diving and flying, the audience can see them as moving lights.
History/Culture: The world of Galaxy Game has the not uncommon trope of ships navigated with psychic powers, and on one world humanity has become psychically strong, mastering telepathy. A part of the background struggle of the books is the need to break a monopoly on interplanetary travel, and Wallrunning is a game that helps identify and train psychics. Wallrunning is controlled by a galactic league, likely in an effort to control this source of young psychics.
Use in HSD: While “psychics” aren’t really a thing in Sol, with minor tweaks Wallrunning might become a tool for identifying and encouraging awareness of the resonances behind transcendent technology, particularly if instead of simple “gravity” the wall draws on higher-cuil variations of itself for its fluctuations. That seems like it would take a lot of power and invite attention from outsiders, but what is life without some risk?
This TOR book review has some insight into the sport of Wallrunning.