The Great Rugby Prank War, Part Two
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Deer College Odyssey

The Buck Stops Here

THREE PORTLANDS FRIDAY, MAY 20, 2022 FREE - BUT AT WHAT COST?

THE GREAT RUGBY PRANK WAR

PART TWO: PRANK HARD WITH A VENGEANCE

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

Welcome to the second and final part of our deep dive into the history of the greatest intercollegiate sports rivalry of the last 2,000 years1. We were planning on updating last week, but it was Friday the 13th and, as you may have noticed, a number of horrifible2 events3 combined to ensure that the Odyssey wasn't even printed. But we're back, better than ever, and ready to wrap up what will no doubt be required reading in Parasports Journalism 101 in the near future4.


NIGHTMARE OF THE 90'S: 1993-2002

We begin, unfortunately, with one of the more disappointing decades in prank war history. It starts off ok and ends pretty well, but the middle bits are just not great. The 1993 game was entirely two-dimensional, the result of a dimensional-deletion ritual performed on the eve of the game by ICSUTter Edwin Edwin Seeley. Although rugby is relatively two-dimensional, the loss of the third dimension did make play fairly difficult, if only because of the reduced visibility in the scrum; nevertheless, the players struggled through, and ICSUT won 15-11.

The 1994 game was also entirely two-dimensional, but this time the horizontal was deleted, rather than the vertical. Nobody claimed credit for the prank this year, probably because of how pissed off both teams were at the repetition of the prank and the sheer impracticality of playing rugby as a side-scrolling platformer. One Deerie, Mahito Konda, successfully mounted his friends and enemies to take the ball to the try line, and Deer won 5-0.

You'll never guess the prank that totally disrupted the 1995 game, or maybe you will, because it was the same one. Yes, the field was once more entirely two-dimensional, but this time in the third and final dimension. This game was either a 0-0 tie or an ∞-∞ tie, depending on whether you think the ball never crossed the try line or was always across the try line; either way, it was disappointing, and whoever did this should feel bad.

Just before the 1996 game, all sports drinks and water belonging to ICSUT players became slightly alcoholic. The prank wasn't noticed until halftime; the ICSUT team performed a mass sobriety ritual and got new, non-alcoholic drinks. Deer won 27-24.

Game day '97: the Three Portlands Community College rugby team used High Urbanomancy to manifest an alternative geometry around the ICSUT rugby field, creating a pitch with three sides that are exactly opposite each other. An athleto-nomurgic incantation created a loophole in the rugby rules which they used to forcibly insert themselves into the game. 3PPC won 22-5-0, in a relatively-dull almost-shutout where they walked all over the other teams; however, because of their unlicensed use of urbanomancy and nomurgy within city limits, the 3PPC team was summarily disbanded by the Mayor, and the 3PCC thaumatology department was shut down indefinitely5.

The '98 game was rendered inconclusive when both teams decided, midway through the third quarter, to retire to the locker rooms and have an orgy. Spectators and referees suspected that some sort of illegal (and, quite frankly, immoral) lust magic had been cast on the players, but spokespeople from the teams said that "[they] were just kind of tired of rugby" and "had planned [the orgy] after the game anyway so, like, [they] figured [they] should just go ahead with it". A good time was had by all.

Ephraim Bazan's retirement mellowed him a little, and his 1999 prank was actually subtle6. Rather than turn everything to pink all at once, he placed a hex on the ball that caused it to dye anything it touched during the game pink. The clothes and exposed skin of most of the players were thoroughly dyed, as was the field. ICSUT won 16-11. It was not until the players tried to depinken themselves that the true genius of Bazan's hex was revealed: the pink was magically contagious, and would spread down any open thaumaturgical channels to infect the auras of anyone who tried to dispel it. While the physical pink was quickly removed, the metaphysical pink still lingers on over a dozen Deer faculty (current and former), staff, and alumni.

Because of the Y2K bug, the game that should've been played in 2000 was instead scheduled for May 1, 1900. On game day, both teams arrived at the field with their chosen time travel paraphernalia—strange spark-spitting mechanical devices for the ICSUTters, mystic portals and ancient runes for the Deeries—ready to play on the correct day, and damn the consequences. Unfortunately, the FBI had other ideas, and showed up just in time to stop the temporal jaunt and impound the time machines. Despite the disappointment, the game went on anyway, and ICSUT won 25-19.

On May 1, 2001, a group of ICSUT student decided that instead of pranking the game itself—as is traditional—they would instead use the game as a distraction to prank the rest of Deer. This would've been a good idea, if they had come up with an interesting prank, but instead they just egged a bunch of buildings and ran away. The groundskeeping staff cleaned all the eggs off before the game was over, and nobody would've noticed if the pranksters hadn't bragged about it to everyone who would listen. Deer won 20-15.

Finally, after a whole decade of dullness, we get to some seriously exciting shit. In 2002, Jothi Jocasta Shaytan-Nagin, Beltane-Born Heir of the Light-Bringer, Princess of the Kingdom of the Nāga, Child of the Serpent and the Morning Star, Deer College Student Body President-For-Life7, stole every rugby ball in Three Portlands on the eve of the game, bringing them to her great lair in the steam tunnels beneath the Old Dorm Block, where she coiled around a great pile of them like a mother serpent around a clutch of eggs. The referees were able to source a replacement ball from the Isle of Portland, and the game began as normal. Play was interrupted midway through the third quarter as Jothi's unholy brood of serpentfolk emerged from the soil, hungry for the blood of the unscaled ones; the dread army was defeated by the combined might of the two schools' faculty, and their queen fled through an ephemeral Way into an unknown dark dimension with a select few of her children. Play resumed, and ICSUT won 24-18. Jothi's mothers turned in their resignations to ICSUT shortly after the game and disappeared, presumably to join their daughter in her secret lair.


THE NEW MILLENIUM: 2003-2012

The tides of time have brought us into the era of history that your humble authors were actually alive to witness8. In 2003, ICSUT students once again decided to prank the campus rather than the game, but actually did it well this time: they hid buckets of water over every single door on campus. Some doors had physical buckets of water balanced on top; some had water-creation spells that triggered the first time someone opened the door; some triggered only after a certain number of times the door was opened; and one door, the main entrance to Szábo Lecture Hall, the most-used room on campus, dropped a bucket of water on every single person who walked through over the next two weeks. Rumor has it that there are some doors in the depths of the library that have not been opened since that fateful day, the bucket-spell still lurking, waiting for some poor fool to enter an unused storage closet or deep archive to fulfill its purpose and strike. Deer won the game 15-13, but ICSUT definitely won the real battle.

Just before the 2004 game, all the spatial dimensions that were deleted between '93 and '95 snapped back, and the game had to be played on the now six-dimensional field. The spectators had some trouble following the action, but the players all reported that after they adjusted to the new paradigm, it was actually pretty fun. Deer won 22-15.

The 2005 game featured a classic prank. Spectators in the Deer stands were given placards to hold, which they were told would spell out "Deer" when raised. Instead, the placards—handed out by ICSUT students, of course—formed the sigil "O-De-Gra", which in the ancient runic language of the Dread Bards of Erikesh means "Hail the Great Beast, the Devourer of Worlds". The psychic backlash from the audience disrupted the Deer team's concentration significantly, and ICSUT won 25-19.

A similarly classic prank was hatched by a cabal of Deer students, beginning on April 26th, 2006. The Deeries stole the Everhart Resonator that maintained ICSUT's campus wards during the Battle of Portlands ("Ol' Evvy") from the ICSUT 7th Occult War Museum, and hid it somewhere in the Deer Canyon, occasionally distributing photographs of it around Portlands to taunt the ICSUTters. Unfortunately for Deer, ICSUT's righteous rage made them significantly more ferocious on the field, and they won 29-20. Ol' Evvy was anonymously returned a few days later, probably by a Deer Community Safety Black Ops squad.

In 2007, to commemorate 50 years of pranks, a group of 5 Deeries came onto the field at halftime and summoned former Deer professor Andrealphus Pavo (Mathematics, 1973-1980) to sabotage the ICSUT team. ICSUT's cheer squad dispatched Professor Pavo with the Pyramid of Solomon multi-user acrobatic banishment, and the pranksters fled the field. ICSUT won 30-25.

There's no rule that says a dog can't play rugby. That was very convenient in '08, because right before the game, both sides were balefully polymorphed into various breeds of dog by an unknown spellcaster. While most of them just wanted to play around in the grass and have a good time, the ball did get carried over the line enough times for ICSUT to win 10-5.

The 2009 game was played in a dense fog, conjured by ICSUT meteorology professor Camillo Nimba. When we say "dense", by the way, we mean dense—players reportedly couldn't see more than a foot in front of them, and ended up basically stumbling around blind for the majority of the game. The one exception was ICSUTter Ron Dillon, who had grafted an experimental echolocation rig to himself earlier in the year; Dillon was able to find the ball and sneak it down the field without most of the Deer team even noticing his presence, and ICSUT shut out Deer 50-0.

Using a portable sound system mounted on a bicycle, Deeries Esther Kogan and Olga Tokareva played a memetic audio brainhack9 immediately before the 2010 game. The brainhack caused all players and spectators to switch their school allegiance; the teams switched uniforms, and played the game. The Deer team, wearing ICSUT uniforms, won 30-21.

Just as the 2011 game began, ICSUTters Robin Thorne and Ben Manning created a series of temporary Ways to over two dozen other Portlands in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States, causing the city's Shadows to repeatedly rearrange themselves as the Way-network fluctuated wildly. As Deer is anchored to the Shadow of Reed College, this meant that Deer campus—including the rugby field on which the game was played—jumped back and forth across town for the entire duration of the game, finally stabilizing about twenty minutes after Deer won 25-20.

In 2012, with the Mayan apocalypse on the horizon, both teams were determined to make what they thought would be the last rugby game ever10 count. The ICSUT team devoted their energies to improving their rugby game, training their bodies and souls, using semi-legal performance-enhancing drugs, and cybernetically enhancing themselves to create the perfect team of cyborg-wizard rugby gods; the Deer team, meanwhile, went for the easier option, and hired a team of ringers from the local roller derby league. While the ICSUTters were mighty, they were no match for a real-ass professional football team, and the 1964 Cleveland Browns won 27-18.


PRANKPOCALYPSE NOW: 2013-PRESENT

We've now hit 60 years of rugby, and with that a number of other important milestones—the 100th anniversary of ICSUT's existence, the numerologically-significant 72nd anniversary of the founding of ICSUT Portlands in 1941, and the 50th anniversary of the creation of ICSUT Portlands' mascot suit, Lucy the Lighthouse, on March 12, 1963. On that day in 2013, Lucy became a tsukumogami11; it hid this property until the day of the game, when it came onto the field without a wearer and attacked Fianna, Deer's skeletal Irish Elk mascot. Several Deer Necromancy professors and majors subdued the mascots, and play proceeded as normal. ICSUT won 30-25.

On April 31st, 2014, several star players on the Deer team were arrested by the Three Portlands Police Department on suspicion of "lemoning"12. They made bail the next day, and when they got to the field at halftime Deer was trailing 17-5; they made a dramatic comeback in the second half, and won 22-19. In the ensuing investigation, one of the Deer players, Salvador Garcia, was actually found guilty of "lemoning"13, and was never seen again.

At halftime during the 2015 game, the field cracked open and Ephraim Bazan, now an undead abomination powered by the darkest sorcery, flew out from a flaming pit riding a dragon made of the bones of wicked children and wielding strange amalgamations of enchantment and technology in all six of his shadow-arms. It turns out they were paintball guns. Filled, you guessed it, with pink pellets. And they never ran out of shots. The ensuing storm of paintballs left everyone in the stands and on the field covered in pink paint and welts; after about 20 minutes of this nonsense, Bazan disappeared once more beneath the earth, and has not been heard from since. Deer won 15-13.

In 2016, ICSUT Portlands finished constructing Anderson Field, a multipurpose sports stadium financed by a generous grant from local businessman, James Bond villain, and religious icon Vincent Anderson, just in time for the big game. Unfortunately, on gameday the stands were almost entirely empty: a number of Deer students had sealed the blast doors14 on the entrances just after the teams got there to practice, so nobody could actually get in without magical assistance. While the spectators never arrived, the teams had gotten there early, and went through with the game anyway. ICSUT won 17-15.

The 2017 prank was actually part of a larger magical working. As part of their thesis project15, GORED TO DEATH BY A TWELVE-POINT BUCK, Deerie Demian Strange participated heavily in every major Deer tradition during the '16-'17 academic year. During halftime, they crucified themself16 on the horns of Deer's mascot, Fianna at the center of the field; while this had no immediate effect, the public display of harm caused directly to them by a symbol of the college reinforced the symbolic purpose of the earlier works in the series and honestly neither of us do Anart, we really can't speak much to this other than that it was apparently "sick as hell" and "really reminded [the spectators] of the imminence of [their] own deaths". Play began while the performance piece was still ongoing, with both teams simply avoiding the mascot and artist. Deer won 29-24.

ICSUTter Richard Land attempted to disrupt the 2018 game by casting a hex upon the Deer team that was intended to transform every player into an unholy combination of beast and man, a half-human creature that would reveal to the world their inner self—quirks, vices, and all. Unfortunately for him, and fortunately for us, every member of the Deer rugby team that year was a furry, and all he managed to do was physically manifest their fursonas. Morale was high, and Deer won 23-19.

In 2019, Deeries "Fellatio" Chapman17 and Lewis Rodriguez, members of Deer's arcane improv comedy group, were selected as that year's halftime entertainment; in the true spirit of improv, they seized this opportunity, performing a sketch about the ICSUT guardian sphinx that utilized ambient narrato-thaumic potential to riddle-lock the field, preventing the continuation of the game until ICSUTter Jen Kennings18,19 solved the multi-step riddle-gauntlet. Deer won 23-17.

The 2020 game was placed under an experimental semantic dissociation hex by Deer Linguistics professor Polly Gulot. The Sexual Tension star players Try Line and Sweat were both injured in the first David Montgomery, and by the third David, Inappropriate Jorts led 25-12. They continued to run roughshod over their opponents, and one of their players, the ICSUT Rugby Team, was nearly unstoppable, scoring 20 Gatorades all by herself. Sexual Tension was humiliated, and Inappropriate Jorts won 37-16. The semantic reassociation took quite a while, and nobody's quite sure which team was which during the game itself.

Gravity was turned off on the field for the entirety of the 2021 game. The source of this disruption is unknown, but fingers have been pointed at the Mayor’s office; nobody in the city government would comment on the incident, and a number of pieces of rare Tom Jones memorabilia were purchased on eBay in the weeks leading up to the game from IP addresses that could be traced to Deer campus. The lack of gravity made the game significantly more exciting; walls of force were erected around the field to give the players something to bounce off of, and ICSUT won 17-10.

And finally, we come to the present. Having stockpiled large quantities of LaCroix-brand seltzer during an incident several months before the 2022 game, Deerie Indigo Norton20,21 used an army of minor servitor spirits to bury approximately 6,000 individual cans of the stuff in large caches beneath the field after shaking them heavily. During the game, whenever one of these caches was stepped on, a proximity triggered magical detonation would cause all the cans to explode, sending the players flying in a burst of mediocre sparkling water. Despite the soda-mines, which were clustered more heavily on Deer's side of the field to support the defense, ICSUT won 15-9.

There have now been 69 years22 of Deer-ICSUT rugby games; many of them have been mired in controversy, many have been only partially successful, many of them have involved teams that are neither Deer nor ICSUT, and all but a few have been pranked to hell and back. Of course, we realize that was a lot of information to take in, so we've provided a short summary below, that tries to encompass the scope of the prank war without getting into the nitty, gritty details; so without further ado, let us invoke the sacred pentagrammaton of one of the Grand Gods of the Webernet:


TL;DR: TABLES AND CHARTS

First, the boring stuff: the actual rugby numbers. We could've plugged all the scores into a spreadsheet, found out the average score, the point differential, player stats, all that shit, but we don't actually care about sports, so we just looked at who won.

Final Results
Team Deer ICSUT Tie Other
Wins 30 29 4 623

Deer's leading by one game (fuck yeah), and a solid 5/6 games actually ended with a victory by one side. Honestly, when you see the prank numbers, you'll be amazed at that ratio. The year 1985 is in a respectable third place—I wouldn't be surprised if they pop up again some day, and maybe we'll actually beat them this time—and the Browns are tied with 3PCC, Inappropriate Jorts24, and Deer In ICSUT Uniforms25 for 4th.

Now, what you've really been waiting for: the pranks.

Who Pranked Who More?
Pranksters Deer Students Deer Staff & Faculty ICSUT Students ICSUT Staff & Faculty Both, Neither, or Unknown
Pranks 18 1 18 626 21

Well shit. Barely half of the pranks were actually committed by a confirmed member of one of the student bodies27. Almost a third of the games were pranked either by both sides or by a third party. And, of course, that category has all of the random happenstances, divine interventions, and things that weren't even really pranks, which were probably at least one out of every seven games. What's the takeaway from these numbers? Well, we're just fake journalists, so we can't give you a real answer, but this might not be a prank war we're dealing with.

This might be a curse.

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