Great Rugby Prank War, Part One

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Deer College Odyssey

The Buck Stops Here




By Indigo Norton (⁂anarcolumnist) and Leah Weil (⁂princex_leah)

Deer collects traditions like a practical thesis on hyperbolic geometry collects Hounds of Tindalos1. While many of our traditions are stupid, and others are irresponsible, none are stupider or more irresponsible than the Beltane Rugby Game, a yearly contest of athletic achievement between Deer and our bitter rivals at Portlands' other institute of higher learning, ICSUT2. Since the fourth such game, in 1957, every year students, alumni, and even faculty from one or both schools have unleashed their considerable magical prowess upon the field of play, not as rugbists3,4,5 but as pranksters, attempting to ensure their school's victory, the other school's victory, or simply the disruption of the game by the wackiest means possible.

"But Indigo and Leah," you must be thinking, "where can I find a list of these pranks, so I can be inspired to plan one of my own? How will I know what's already been done so often it's passé6? Who will tell me of the exploits of Deeries in the olden-times, when everything was black-and-white, when the weed was weak and the beer weaker still, when nobody cared about underage drinking and you could drop acid with your professors outside the lab section of Parapsychology 342: Methods of Psychonautics?" Well, oh noble seeker, look no further: for below is the comprehensive narrative of every major prank and counterprank in that most excellent of Deer traditions. Buckle up your robes, hold on to your pointy hats, and get ready for the Great Rugby Prank War7.


The first Deer-ICSUT rugby game took place on May 1, 1953, proceeded uneventfully, and ended with an ICSUT victory, 23-178. The '54 (ICSUT, 19-14), '55 (ICSUT, 21-17), and '56 (Deer, 20-18) games were similarly prankless, although not without incident; the '56 game ended with Deer fans, overjoyed by their first victory, storming the field and lifting the players above their heads, all the while singing the Deer fight song9. ICSUT fans responded with their own college's fight song10 and grew increasingly rowdy; an all-out brawl was only prevented by ICSUT security golems, who formed a wall between the two sides until the Deeries could be escorted off campus.

Possibly inspired by the near-riot the previous year, the first real prank was unleashed in '57. A group of five unknown Deeries—who have never revealed their identities, more than 50 years later—came onto the pitch at halftime and summoned a demon11 to sabotage the ICSUT team. Before the demon could do more than ogle the ICSUTters unsettlingly, it was dispatched by the ICSUT cheer squad, who used the Pyramid of Solomon multi-user acrobatic banishment to great effect. The pranksters fled off the field and into the history books, and ICSUT went on to win 30-25.

In '58, retaliating for the previous year's prank, three ICSUT students—Ephraim Bazan12, Joseph Kent, and Michael Roberts—broke into the Deer Sports Center locker rooms the night before the game and dyed the Deer rugby team's uniforms pink. While the ISCUTters were caught by the CSOs, the Deer rugby team couldn't undo the dye's permanency charm before the game, and had to play with pink uniforms. Despite—or perhaps because of—the change in outfit, Deer won 30-27.

1959 marks the first year in which the prank had no clear source or motive13—a pattern that will be repeated numerous times in years to come. Just before the game started, American football gear manifested on all players, and all rugby balls in Portlands were transformed into footballs. Both teams agreed to play American football rather than rugby, although neither team had a strong grasp on the actual rules. At the end of the game, all rugby balls returned to their original form and the football gear disappeared. ICSUT won 28-21.

We don't know who pulled off the 1960 prank, but it was a doozy. On the night of April 27th, a herd of reindeer entered the ICSUT rugby field. The reindeer were intangible and couldn't be permanently banished by magical means, but the shit they shat was definitely tangible, and quickly filled up the field; the game had to be played on the Deer field, where the home team won 22-13. On May 2nd, an ICSUT student noticed that feces patterns had formed themselves into the shape of the Seal of Deer College; further analysis of the spell matrix revealed that it could only be permanently dispelled by the entire ICSUT rugby team singing the Deer College fight song. It took four more days for the entire ICSUT rugby team to agree to this measure.

On game-day of '61, with ICSUT leading at halftime, their cheer squad performed a modified Zuni rainmaking dance; the resulting thunderstorm manifested immediately in Three Portlands and all three Portlands. The Deer rugby team refused to end the match because of the weather, even though the ICSUT rugby field was covered with as much as three feet of water. Deer's team captain that year was half-selkie, and used her fae power over the elements to lead the team to victory, 17-12.

During the weeks before the 1962 game, Deeries George Hopkins, Yngvar Tormundsson, and Suh Wu Rib broke into the ICSUT dorms and hid alarm clocks in walls, ceilings, furniture, plumbing and lighting fixtures, the astral and ethereal planes, and other alarm clocks. The alarm clocks were activated en masse via predetermined spell-triggers at various points between 12:07 AM and 8:43 AM on the morning of the game, preventing any of the ICSUT rugby players from getting any sleep. Deer won 26-11.


The first decade of rugby established the pranking tradition; the next would bring an escalation of the prank war, sparked by the significant collateral damage of the '61 and '62 pranks. This escalation took a few years and the '63 prank was still pretty tame. The night before the game, ICSUTters Jessica Gutierrez and Lothar Gottesman snuck onto Deer campus and used a preprogrammed translocation charm14 to move ICSUT almunus Ephraim Bazan15 past the campus exclusion wards. They performed a ritual that turned the entire Deer rugby field pink16, and while they got caught by CSOs, the ritual couldn't be undone before the start of the game. ICSUT won 22-17.

During the '64 game, 17 queen-sized mattresses landed on the ICSUT field, apparently launched from somewhere on the other side of town. The Portlands Police tracked the origin of the mattresses to a rooftop in the Jurassic District, where a magically-augmented trebuchet had been disabled and abandoned. The pranksters were never found. ICSUT won 27-22.

Xenophilus Withers, one of the few students in ICSUT's short-lived MBA17 in Applied Eschatology program, discovered that May 1, 1965 coincideed perfectly with a planetary alignment that would allow him to complete his thesis project, the summoning of the Dark God K'Vuth from the 18th Hell-Dimension to wreak havoc upon the mortal plane. He performed his ritual at halftime after conjuring an astral ice-devil to freeze both teams and all spectators in place; fortunately, K'Vuth was summoned elsewhere on earth by the Cult of the Golden Prince Awakened before Withers could finish his ritual, and it fizzled. Withers, embarrassed, unfreezed the teams and spectators, and play resumed. Deer won 25-19.

During their jaunt across time, the 1985 Deer and ICSUT rugby teams18 came into phase with the main timeline a few hours before the 1966 game. Rather than a standard Deer-ICSUT game, all four teams agreed to select the best players from each year and pit the two eras against each other. The past team was unable to keep up with the future's advances in countermagic and spellbreaking, and 1985 won 27-23.

On the eve of the '67 game, the ICSUT rugby field was TP'd heavily by a large mob of Deeries. Either by accident or by design, the pattern of the toilet paper across the center of the field formed a sigil of power that opened a previously-undiscovered Way leading to a third-level branch universe filled entirely with tritiated water19. The field was quickly flooded and the toilet paper dissolved, closing the Way. The game was relocated to the Deer field, as the ICSUT field was both waterlogged and radioactive. Deer won 26-19.

Retaliating for the TP'ing of their field, the ICSUT rugby team came onto Deer campus the night before the 1968 game, heavily armed with rolls of toilet paper and cartons of eggs. Unfortunately, they began their assault in the Canyon. Deer won by forfeit, as none of the ICSUT players could be located until several days later, when they began falling out of the trees that had kidnapped them20.

In 196921, Deeries Charnel Popplestaff and Amber Lockmore did… Something. Some wicca shit, probably, given the names. We couldn't actually find any records about the exact prank anywhere, so it was either so boring that nobody cared to mention anything about it but the primary pranksters or it erased itself from the collective memory afterwards. Either way, we got nothin'. Deer won 19-14.

The 1970 game was, reportedly, a much more interesting experience for the players than for the audience, as both teams' water coolers were spiked before the game by unknown saboteurs with a drug cocktail known locally as AUM22. The entheogenic effects of the cocktail resulted in every player having a simultaneous religious experience at some point during the third quarter; the teams continued to play, and ICSUT won 25-23. After the game, most players from both teams dropped out of college to found the First Church of the Prolate Spheroid, a sect that still has over a dozen adherents in the Portlands area, and almost four in the rest of the world.

One week before the 1971 game, ICSUT students replaced the Three Portlands flag on the Deer College front lawn with a pair of heart-pattern boxers. The boxers remained for seventeen months, due in large part to Deer students preferring the change. The Deer team, all dressed only in matching boxers and plain white tshirts, won 22-16.

For the entirety of the 1972 season leading up to the Beltane game, locker rooms at both colleges were hit with a spree of shower-shitting. Each team blamed the other, of course, and decried the other team's bath-BMs as a hoax; when the drain-dookies continued well after the game, which ICSUT won 14-11, the hunt for the real culprit began. It took the intervention of a medium to discover that the true tub-turd technicians were a pair of scheissegeiste23, which had escaped from the fertilizer production tank at Octagreen Thumb Nursey and haunted the collegiate locker rooms because they thought it would be funny.

SHIT GETS WEIRD: 1973-1982

To all appearances, the 1973 game was totally prank-free. ICSUT won 27-22, although both teams seemed incredibly confused and disappointed during the entire game. Afterwards, it was revealed that each and every player had cast their own minor hex on both teams; the hexes entirely cancelled each other out, as each hex had an equal and opposite hex. Some examples: a hex that removed everyone's fingers and one that doubled everyone's fingers; a hex that switched the right and left halves of everyone's bodies and one that switched everyone's perception of right and left; diarrhea and constipation curses; friction-increasing and -decreasing sorceries; and five individual synesthesia spells that completely rotated everyone's senses around until they were back to normal.

On April 27, 1974, the Deer team completely forgot how to play rugby. Two days later, the same plague struck the ICSUT team, likely cast by the Deer team in retaliation. The teams decided to go for it anyway, and Deer won 6-2.

On the night of April 31sth, 1975, ICSUT students Susie Kurtz and Drew Roth used the original ritual text of Fomcyoonath's Seventh Sacred Transmutation of the Lustrous Dodecagram to transform the earth beneath the Deer rugby field into Jello-brand chocolate pudding24. They left a two-inch-thick crust of earth above the pudding-lake, stabilized with a calcifying charm which ran out midway through the first quarter, plunging both teams into the subterranean pudding reservoir, which was eight feet deep in some places. Thankfully, there were no fatalities, although Deer star player Zeb "Son of Wolfman" Bucker had to be rushed to the hospital after accidentally ingesting some while in his lycanthropic hybrid form. Play was resumed on the ICSUT field, and ICSUT won 20-19.

Pretty much every Beltane rugby game has happened in the rain—that's just how it is in Three Portlands. In 1976, however, it rained iced coffee. Nobody claimed credit for this prank, and it may have been a freak natural occurrence. Or, well, paranatural. Nobody dared ask the Mayor25. Deer won 27-20.

At halftime of the 1977 game, the Deer field exploded, due to detonation cord planted by ICSUT student Fiyori Ermias; when the dust died down, the blast pattern spelled out "ICSUT". One handful of Shaped Fireballs later—cast by Deer almunus Meng Bao—and the letters spelled out "dICkSUCk". Deer won 25-19.

1978 saw the return of a familiar face: Ephraim Bazan, now an adjunct professor at ICSUT. Since his role as a professor gave him diplomatic immunity from the Deer campus exclusion hex, Bazan was able to enter Deer campus just after midnight on the 1st. He broke into the Deer steam tunnels and released a biomagic retrovirus, which colored the skin, hair, and eyes of all Deer students bright pink. While Bazan evaded the CSOs, his name was encoded in the DNA of the retrovirus and he was arrested by city cops immediately after the game. The virus's effects were reversed after six days days. Deer won 22-19.

The '79-'80 game was the longest one yet, and also set a probably-unbeatable score record for both sides. Using a combination of Greco-Egyptian theurgy, temporal thaumatology, and paratechnology, Deeries Ptolemaios Kleiopatros, Leopold Rákóczi and Stëve33 sealed the Deer rugby field inside a time-bubble lasting a year and a day. The bubble stopped people inside from being injured or needing food, water, or sleep; both rugby teams agreed to play constantly for the duration of the prank. Deer won 742-731.

Midway through the third quarter of the 1981 game, the ball hatched, revealing an infant with green scaled skin, four arms, and a serpentine tail. Play proceeded with a replacement ball, and ICSUT won 19-14. After the game, the infant was left with the Three Portlands Paranatural Orphanage, and was later adopted by ICSUT professors Zohrah bint Iblis al-Shaytan (Demonology, 1979-2002) and Padmavati Nagin (Alchemical Engineering, 1976-2002)26.

In 1982, neither of the teams were made of mortal flesh and blood. Clevis Fastener, an ICSUT Mechanoturgy major, created a squad of clockwork automata to replace the ICSUT team; Max Lowenstein, a Deer Kabbalah major27 created a squad of golems to replace the Deer team. The two artificial teams were evenly matched, and the game ended in a 0-0 draw after everyone got bored during the fourth overtime period.


ICSUT won the 1983 game 17-13. Afterwards, ICSUT players celebrated by pouring a cooler of Powerade (Red Cherry) over their coach's head, only to discover that it had been transformed into human urine; the next time each member of the ICSUT team urinated, Gatorade (Blue Raspberry) was produced28.

In the weeks before the game in '84, ICSUTters Virgil Runnels, Mary Ellison, and Johnnie Young stole the components for an IPLEC29 from the ICSUT Physics department and set them up around the ICSUT rugby field. As the game started, the pranksters activated the device, setting friction and air resistance on the field to zero. The device could not be deactivated without a passcode that they refused to divulge until the game was complete. Both teams agreed to play, but had lots of trouble keeping hold of the ball. Deer won 2-0.

On April 14th, 1985, that year's entire game was broadcast on Three Portlands Public Access TV, significantly before the actual game took place. Deer won 19-14. As the results of the game were known, the teams decided not to play, causing a severe temporal paradox that sent both teams on a wild adventure through the history of sports30.

The 1985 teams came back to the main timeline just before the 1986 game, having aged almost a decade in their seemingly-short absence. In the intervening year, both schools had to scramble to replenish their rugby teams from scratch, and most of the players were poorly-coached and inexperienced; in the model of their game against the combined forces of the year 1966, the 1985 teams proposed that the '86 teams should choose their best players and compete with the combined might of '85. The '85 teams had been hardened by their temporal voyage, and handily defeated their younger counterparts 33-12.

In 1987, Deerie Björk Guðmundsdóttir31 devoured the Sun32 at halftime, setting off Ragnarök. Play was paused to allow the Æsir and the Jötnar to do battle on the field, and was resumed after the death of Jörmungandr, the world-serpent, at the hands of Thor. Deer won 27-18. Intervention by a number of other pantheons prevented the consumption of the entire world by fire, and replacements for the Sun and the fallen deities were found, restoring the status quo.

One more year, one more prank from Ephraim Bazan, now Dean of Faculty at ICSUT. The 1988 version of this dude's bullshit was an unnecessarily complicated caper that involved sixteen plants in the incoming freshman class, the blackmail of two Community Safety Officers and one Deer Metaphys Plant worker, twenty-four tanker trucks full of pink paint (eight per Portland) piped directly through a number of Ways, the theft of four ancient Egyptian mummies and the sacrifice of a black lamb; the result of all this nonsense was the empinkening of every part of Deer campus not protected by heavy mystical wards (i.e. everything but the labs and the library). The game proceeded as normal, as the empinkening did not actively hinder play; Deer won 27-19. Bazan's prank was reversed over the course of the next few weeks, except for the lights on one of the bridges across the canyon, which retained their color by popular demand.

There were no pranks during the 1989 game, and ICSUT won 16-13. However, at the afterparty, the jello shots were transubstantiated into shotgun shells by Deer Applied Theology major Joshua Colt. There were no physical injuries, but the immortal souls of all present were pretty badly wounded.

During the 1990 game, the field was transformed into the playing field of an entirely different sport every five minutes and twenty-three seconds; ICSUTter Omar Thornley claimed credit for the prank, but refused to reveal his methods, claiming that they were revealed to him in a theologically-significant wet dream. Spectators agreed that the hockey rink and laser tag arena made for the most entertaining gameplay, while the boxing ring and squash court were disappointing. ICSUT won 78-30, the unusually high score due to ICSUTter Genya Tarski's cybernetic tentacles, which let her simply place the ball over Deer's try line in the billiards and ping-pong tables.

The 1991 game apparently went off without a hitch, and ICSUT won 20-15. Several weeks after the game, a number of players from both teams revealed that they had been bribed and/or coerced to fix the game by unknown parties, who had appeared in their dreams wearing the faces of their families. ICSUT oneiromancers traced the source of these visions to an abandoned warehouse in the Jurassic District; investigation of the warehouse uncovered an illegal gambling operation run by the Lighthouse Mafia, who had used a stolen prototype Oneiroi Industries dream-projection device to make a significant profit on the game33.

Several minutes into the 1992 game, ICSUT Math major Horst Zermelo used the Modified Axiom of Choice to split the ball into two discrete balls, each of which could only be seen from certain angles. This resulted in some serious confusion for players, spectators, and referees, and the final score was ruled as 20-20 tie (± 10).

And that's what we've got for the first part of the prank war. See you again next Friday, or whenever we can drag ourselves out of Thesis Hell—metaphorically in Indigo's case, literally in Leah's—for long enough to crank out the rest of this bad boy.

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