As would be expected with the presence of so many Potter-inspired fen with ready access to handwavium, Quidditch was rapidly developed as a playable sport in Fenspace. It is claimed that the first pressurized, sealed chamber built on 10 Hygiea was the site of the first pickup game of Quidditch ever played. And this while Hogsmeade and Hogwarts hadn't even gotten ground broken yet.
Modern Quidditch plays very similarly to the game described in the source material, though with a few small changes made due to the lack of gravity in most Quidditch pitches.
A pitch is a pressurized, enclosed space, usually hollowed out of a rather small asteroid or purpose built. Pitches tend to be cylindrical, with a set of three rings serving as goals at either end. Some pitches have artificial gravity, but most do not.
Spectators -- and the requisite cheeky, heavily biased announcer -- are separated from the players by strong, transparent barriers that make up portions of the walls of the pitch. There is no set standard barrier material, it must only be strong enough to resist bludger and player impacts. Typically this means that Warsie glassteel, Trekkie transparent aluminum, and Venusian diamond are used.
The walls of the pitch are cushioned either with force fields or actual padding to keep injuries to an acceptable minimum. Most pitches also have a well stocked and staffed infirmary, for obvious reasons.
Quidditch equipment is varied and far from standardized. The 'brooms' are small broom-shaped fencraft, mounting a variety of drive types. The only restrictions on broom design that are generally agreed on are that the broom has to be broom-like in shape and form, and that the drive's exhaust can't be harmful to other players. The strain of wavium used to make most brooms tends to produce a quirk that makes the brooms fly aerodynamically, despite the micro gravity environment of most pitches.
The quaffle is just a normal ball with three concave dents in it for ease of gripping. It is typically sewn out of stiff leather, and filled with something to give it mass and structure.
The bludgers and snitch usually use small gravity drives of some sort, to ensure that they have no exhaust ports to be fouled or cause injury. Bludgers, like the quaffle are made from heavy leather and a cushioning material to protect the gravity drive and cheap micro controller inside. The software that controls most bludgers is not an AI, or at least not a sapient AI. The pursuit routines used by their controlling software are almost antique as far as game AIs go, but they don't need a great deal of intelligence to do their job.
The snitch, as mentioned, uses a gravity drive to move around. Snitch casings are usually made of metal or hard plastic and intricately carved and molded. They usually possess beating wings, but the wings are mostly for show and not propulsion or steering. As with bludgers, most snitches are controlled by a very simple micro-controller and are not generally AIs. The most interesting part of the snitch is its ability to hide. This is achieved in a number of ways. Typically the snitch will be outfitted with a cloaking device or a form of chameleon shroud allowing it to zoom around the pitch relatively unnoticed until its random event generator decides it is time to reveal itself.
Brooms, snitches and bludgers have hard limits built into their drive systems to keep them well beneath their theoretical maximums. No one really wants to try and dodge bludgers moving at a measurable fraction of c.
Teams and Leagues
There are six professional teams in the circuit as of 2016, each with their own stadium asteroid. Three are pure wizarding teams; the rest are made up of players from several of the larger factions. The leading four teams play for the Oliver Wood Cup at the end of each season.
Known professional teams include:
- The Harpies
- Riot Force 6, sponsored by the TSAB.
- Greenwood City Wolves, sponsored by Greenwood
- Rockhounds sponsored, funnily enough, by Rockhounds
Hogwarts has her four house teams, which are one of the prime recruiting grounds for the professionals. The house teams play for the annually awarded Quidditch House Cup. The rules used by the Hogwarts inter-house league are considered to be the rules by quidditch snobs.
There are also a number of recreational leagues and teams scattered throughout Fenspace, though usually only in places with a significant population, and the space to spare.
And finally there is Quidditch's exhibition team, the Chudley Cannons. They are among the most skilled players in the system, but their shtick is to lose consistently, and in as entertaining a manner possible -- they pull "impossible" stunts and comedy routines on the pitch. It's obvious that if they played seriously and in the league proper they could be champions, but they're in it for the fun and the skill, not the points.
There are several variants of the typical Quidditch as played at Hogwarts:
- Microgravity Quidditch Played with brooms that do not fly aerodynamically, with Newton's laws in full effect.
- Outdoor Quidditch: Played on Mars and occasionally by some dare-devils on Earth. This game probably most resembles the game described in Rowling's books.
J.K. Rowling is known to be a great Quidditch fan, although since most matches are not broadcast to the Danelaw she has been forced to watch recordings. She was also the guest of honor at the first Oliver Wood Cup finals held after the end of the Boskone War.
- There are, of course, macho players and stadiums without this padding. The results are predictable.
- Yes, most players have heard the jokes about being locked in a padded room.
- Buckwheat is popular, as is heavy rubber and materials similar to those used in baseballs.
- If there's anything in Fenspace potentially faster than Safety and with worse sensors, it's a snitch... although some snitches have better sensors than Safety does.
- There are plans to expand this into an actual tourney when there are enough teams
- With apologies to McConville and Boyd
- Some would say stupider.
- There are exceptions to this (including TSAB's Benjamin Franklin Station), and some Fen expect matters to change as populations grow larger.