|Alternate names||Pit-fights |
|Type||Blood sport |
|User||Various, including Pater Pontiflex Maupin and Narsesës as owners, and Rookwood Saakrahenemus Fyfe as bettors|
Hob-rousing, also known as pit-fights or sheboggery, is the practice of pitting a monster against a gudgeon or a monster against a tykehound and betting on the winner. Although illegal, it was created by the affluent bored and is highly profitable. Because of its requirements, hob-rousing is a major customer of the dark trades.
Fights take place in a pit, usually more than 10 feet deep and more than 12 feet wide. Overseen by a rouse-master, pit-bobs wrangle the combatants creatures into the pit, where they are initially separated by a barrier. When the barrier is removed, they fight it out until one is left standing. Gudgeons tend to be less robust, but more aggressive, and can earn a measure of fame among the audience. Although fights are sometimes rigged in their favor to give the audience some satisfaction against the reviled monsters, monsters who are successful can also gain some grudging admiration.
Because of the effort and expense involved in maintaining such an operation, rousing-pits are usually maintained by some of substance and influence, such as a magnate, peer, or cartel of mercators. Pits can be located deep within the foundations of a manor house, with the entrances and tunnels leading to them leading well away from the host. If in the country, they may be in a cave or abandoned hall. While gudgeons kept in the pits tend to attract other monsters from the area, the organizers usually see this as a bonus, as they will attempt to trap these monsters and use them in upcoming fights.
The gudgeons and monsters required for hob-rousing come from various sources. The Handsome Grackle, a nadderer, was snared and used a combatant in the hob-rousing pit beneath the Broken Doll chancery in Brandenbrass.
Hob-rousing has adherents at all levels of society. Those who wager on fights are known as gamers or cubes, while those only come to watch are known as pigeons or nullards.
After Rossamünd Bookchild fought a rever-man in Winstermill, it was speculated that it had escaped from a hob-rousing pit, although Sebastipole disagreed with this. Pater Pontiflex Maupin, who came from a dog-breeding family, combined dogging with hob-rousing in a pit beneath the Broken Doll, which the Archduke of Brandenbrass himself had an interest in.
On 9 Unxis, Rookwood Saakrahenemus Fyfe took Rossamünd to the Broken Doll along with his friends after they had seen a performance at the Hobby Horse. After they played flout in the chancery portion of the Broken Doll, Rookwood and Eusebus left the women behind and took Rossamünd to the hob-rousing pit below. Unable to stand the harm that he knew the monsters fighting would face, he succeeded in disrupting one bout by using botch powder against the opposing stafirhund in one, remaining undetected. However he was noticed on his next attempt when he tried to save the Handsome Grackle, and just barely escaped the Broken Doll.