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This Article is based on the Official Translations of the Light Novel series!
The Light Novel series is the source material for the adaptation of the Anime and Manga series. The information and terminology on the article will be based on the source material rather than the adaptions.
Ditter.jpeg

Ditter (ディッター, dittaa) is a competitive sport played by apprentice knights at the Royal Academy.

Header.pngGeneral Information

Ditter is a sport played by nobles and requires mana and a highbeast to take part.

Archduke candidates in particular are expected to stay off the field, though it is not unusual for them to help with preparations and setting of general strategies prior to a match, before joining the spectators.
Usually the teams are made up entirely of apprentice knights, though there are no rules against anyone else participating. So in theory apprentice scholars or attendants and even archduke candidates can play, but something like that is very much out of the ordinary.

According to a comment by Justus ditter is "now" a sport for apprentice knights, hinting that in the past students of other courses were more common to participate[1], though it is unclear whether he meant actual participation in the match itself, or was hinting at attendants and scholars helping with the match preparations.

There is no limitation on the use of potions or magic tools. Injuring opponents is also not punished.

There exist two types of the sport: Speed Ditter and Treasure-stealing ditter.
For both types the number of players is decided by the smallest participating team, leaving the duchies with larger rosters of knight's course students with an overall advantage, since they can choose their best players, while the smallest duchies have to literally put their entire roster on the field.

For weaker members of such large duchies however this arrangement can be a disadvantage, since it can result in them never getting the chance to participate in any matches. Performance in ditter is an important part of an apprentice knight's resume and will decide which jobs they will be offered back in their home-duchies or the chance to become a Sovereignty noble.

The most prestigous and anticipated ditter match is the annual Interduchy Tournament, in which all duchies participate. In the past they played treasure-stealing ditter, but due to the diminished numbers of nobles this has been switched to speed ditter after the civil war, since there are some duchies with too few knight's course students to put up a viable team for the traditional kind of ditter.

Depending on the occasion and the played variant of ditter, matches can either be fought out in a stadium attached to the knight's building, training grounds or outside over the entirety of the academy's area. In the former case the home-bases are designated parts of the arena, while in the latter case the dormitory buildings of a team's home-duchy serve this purpose.

Speed Ditter

This form of ditter is the simplest and most straight-forwards kind and thus also the most viable to play with very small teams.

Each match consists of a single team being pitted against a single feybeast. The professors will then measure how much time it takes each team to slay their respective target and the fastest team wins the competition[2].

The participating teams need to kill a feybeasts as quickly as possible with the participants being ranked by the time they took to kill their target. With no objective to defend or opposing teams on the field at the same time, there is less strategy and defense involved than in other kinds of ditter, weighing it more toward speed and raw strength.

Speed ditter was originally invented to train apprentice knights to hunt and slay feybeasts. Since feybeasts are instinct-driven, their behaviour is in large parts predictable[3].

The field on which speed ditter is played is quite simple, only containing two circles connected with a line. One circle is the starting area for the knights and the other a magic circle which doubles as both the summoning spot for the feybeast and the indicator for when the feybeast is defeated. At the moment of the summoning the latter lights up and keeps shining until the feybeast - or in case of splitting beasts like Talfrosch or Hundertteilung all it's spawned fragments - have been eliminated.

For speed ditter matches in the royal academy, the professors have a selected list of feybeasts from which they may choose the target creature freely. This list only contains species that do not pose too great of a challenge for mere apprentices to overcome[2].

While the switch to speed ditter benefits the lesser duchies to a degree since it addresses their manpower shortage, it had a noticeable negative effect on the abilities of apprentice knights to coordinate and defend charges. It also negatively impacted the cooperation between knight and other students, since it was common for scholars to make magic tools for the knights to use in the interduchy tournament, while the apprentice attendants would gather information on their opposition, both of which completely died down after the switch[4].

Treasure-Stealing Ditter

Treasure-Stealing ditter was invented to train students to learn to react to unexpected situations by effectively throwing them into a small-scale mock war. While speed ditter trains apprentices well for fighting the instinct-driven and thus predictable feybeasts, it leaves them insufficiently prepared for fighting intelligent foes, where even weaker factions can defeat stonger ones by outsmarting and outmanouvering them.

Normally this kind of ditter is not played in the stadium, but rather over the entire campus, with the gathering spots of the duchy dormitories serving as the home-territory of the respective teams, though smaller matches in a stadium or training ground can also be arranged. One such example is a match that was arranged to decide a dispute over ownership of the magic tools Schwartz and Weiss between the duchies of Dunkelfelger and Ehrenfest[5].

The goal of this varient is to capture a feybeast to become the duchy's "treasure" and defend it, while also killing or stealing all other participants' treasure. Should a treasure beast be eliminated - regardless of the source - or brought to an opposing team's home-base, the duchy counts as defeated.

While it is within the rules to capture an opponents treasure by stealing it and bringing it back to a team's home territory, there is no incentive to do so within the rules of the game. Most participants prefer the pracitcality of just killing their opponents' treasure over the prestige and bragging rights of the much more difficult capture, since dragging a beast back home while hounded by its owners is far more difficult and risky than just destroying it and moving on quickly.

The home-territories of the teams are fitted with a magic cicle that will generally prevent feybeasts from escaping under their own power. In the stadium those circles are set into the floor, while for the big academy-wide match the gathering spots barriers are equipped with similar functions.

At the start of the match, the feybeasts are summoned by the professors and left to wander completely free. This means they can and probably will attack the students. Thus it is necessary for the students to attack and weaken them, in order to capture one and protect themselves. This requires a careful balancing act, since leaving the beast too strong is dangerous to the defender, but weakening it too much will make it easier for opponents to kill or steal it[5].

The result of this kind of ditter is that knights apprentices were well trained to handle unexpected situations and fight sentient opponents. It also fostered coordination between the knights and cooperation between all students of a duchy, since the battle was not solely fought on the field, but also included thorough preparations. Scholars would create magic tools and potions for the knights, while the attendants would gather intelligence on their opponents to know about alliances and past tactics ahead of the actual match. Treasure-stealing ditter also inspired the creation of many innovative magic tools[3].

All this sadly declined greatly or outright stopped entirely when the royal academy was forced to switch the interduchy tournament to speed ditter, since the immature students would naturally focus on the requirements of speed ditter, leading to a considerable drop in the quality of graduants and requiring the knight's orders of the respective country to invest more time and effort into bringing freshly baked knights up to acceptable standards after their graduation.


Treasure-Stealing Ditter Strategies

  • One of the most vulnerable moments for a team is when they have just captured their treasure and are in the process of bringing it back to their home-territory. At that moment they are potentially weakened from subduing the beast and at least one member of the team is busy with keeping it under control. Thus one strategy is to ambush the opponent at this very moment, though it is important to stay far enough away from the competitor's home terretory to not get into a crossfire between their capture-team and their base defenders[5].
    • As Rozemyne learns upon returning to Ehrenfest such attacks were one of the most basic stategies, but with the switch to speed ditter after the purge, much of the old knowledge has become sparse, turning this once completely normal way of doing things into a surprise attack, even if only temporary[6].
    • Picking a weak feybeast will allow the team to subdue and drag it back to their more defensibe home-territory very quickly thus minimizing the chance of being ambushed, but will result in a treasure that is easier killed when an enemy attacks the home-territory.
    • Picking a strong feybeast will mean it will be that much harder for the enemy to kill it, but takes more time and effort to capture, leaving the capturing knights more susceptible to being ambushed on account of being outside of their home-territory for longer and more depleted of mana during the way back there.
  • A particularly devious strategy that Rozemyne of Ehrenfest came up with was to intentionally feed an opponent's feybeast a feystone infused with strong mana and sprinkled with a foul-tasting potion. This made the feybeast recover it's full strength and grow considerably in size, while also making it rampage around from the terrible taste in it's mouth, throwing the enemy team in disarray and allowing Ehrenfest's students to sneak in a killing blow, while their opponents were busy fending off the rampaging beast[5].
  • In the past it was common for lesser and middle duchies to attach themselves to greater duchies, turning ditter matches into fights between alliances, rather than individual duchies. During his time at the academy however Ferdinand of Ehrenfest upset this established tradition. He would specifically target the teams sent out by greater duchies to capture treasures and smash them. Then he would inform their allies middle and lesser duchies of this outcome, seducing them to turn on their allies. In the ensuing chaos he would smash greater and lesser duchies alike. However this usually led to other duchies focusing on Ehrenfest, which meant that while under Ferdinand's guidance Ehrenfest was able to improve their ranking, they never managed to win any of the tournaments[3].

Header.pngReferences

  1. Ascendance of a Bookworm. Part 4 Volume 3. Chapter 8: A Week of Socializing
  2. 2.0 2.1 Ascendance of a Bookworm. Part 4 Volume 7. Chapter 14: Ditter at the Interduchy Tournament
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Ascendance of a Bookworm. Royal Academy Stories - First Year. Chapter 4: Rauffen - Wondrous Ditter
  4. Ascendance of a Bookworm. Part 4 Volume 4. Chapter 15: Report on the Archduke Conference
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Ascendance of a Bookworm. Part 4 Volume 2. Chapter 9: Treasure-Stealing Ditter
  6. Ascendance of a Bookworm. Part 4 Volume 2. Chapter 16: Interrogation

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A AchimAdolphineAlexisAnastasiusAngelicaAnnikaArnoAub Klassenberg
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