Seek the Runner is a very popular game that was developed in the early 6000s. It was first developed by the felinic people to teach children hunting skills and team building, as well as help adults practice hunting in harder conditions such as heavy rain or darkness; and is made to utilise felinic peoples’ advanced hearing and night senses.
The aim of the game is simple: the “Seeker” must catch the “Runner” within the set time limit. If the Runner is not caught within the agreed time the Seeker’s team loses, and if they are caught the Seeker’s team wins.
Setting up the game
The Seeker and the Runner are picked however the group chooses. Traditionally children would make the Seeker someone they enjoyed teasing, and guards would choose the Seeker to be the one most in need of night-training.
The Seeker and the Runner will choose their team members one person at a time, with the Seeker being first to pick.
The Seeker will usually pick people who are:
• Clever / often play tricks;
• Annoying / can get in the way easy;
• Good at impressions.
The Runner will try and get people who are:
• Fast runners / thinkers;
• Good at clearing paths / avoiding obstacles;
• Loud, clear, and easy to recognise vocally.
After the teams have been chosen the Seeker is blindfolded and the Runner spines them seven times while the two teams count loudly. The Runner then retreats and the game begins.
The Seeker’s team must help the Seeker to catch the Runner, while the Runner’s team must sabotage and confuse the Seeker. This is done by shouting and throwing things around so the Seeker cannot listen for the Runners movement or their team’s instructions.
Often the Runner’s team will pretend to be on the same team as the Seeker, which is why the Seeker must be able to recognise their own team’s voices. The Seeker’s team is often stuck between helping the Seeker find the Runner or keeping the Seeker from tripping on the obstacles the opposing team places for them.
Because the Seeker’s team relies heavily on being able to recognise their teammates’ voices many children do not like playing with avio, who they complain have an unfair advantage due to their natural ability to mimic sounds.
The only one allowed the touch the Runner is the Seeker, and visa-versa. Anyone who touches the Seeker or the Runner, regardless of team, is expelled from the game. Meaning teams cannot lead the Seeker with anything but vocal commands and the Runner’s team cannot block the Seeker from getting to the Runner.
The Runner is allowed to confuse the Seeker by touching them on the shoulders, back, or tail only. They are not allowed to touch the Seeker anywhere else or disable the Seeker by hitting/kicking/tripping. This is often seen as a bold move because if the Seeker turns and touches the Runner, the game ends and the Seeker wins.
The Runner’s team is allowed to lead the Seeker into trees and water and other obstacles, provided they were placed a minimum of one metre away before the Seeker was lead toward them; the Runner’s team may not throw things directly at the feet of the Seeker to trip them but they may move things to confuse the blindfolded Seeker.
If the Runner or the Seeker leave the area agreed on, their team loses. The other team members may leave the area, however, and attempt to confuse the Seeker or force the Runner out of bounds to win the game. The area is usually marked with paint or chalk, or often large bodies of water such as rivers are used as boundaries.
The Runner may not climb trees, cross rivers, or stand in ponds/holes. They can, however, hide behind trees and have their team lead the Seeker into water that is less than a metre deep. If they Seeker receives any minor injuries or has trouble getting out of a body of water the timer is stopped and the game is postponed until they have recovered.
A common house-rule adapted from the human game “Marco Polo” is often used by younger players. The Seeker will yell “Runner” and the Runner must respond by yelling “Seeker”. The Runner’s team will yell over the top of the Runner’s reply, but it is a useful addition when the Seeker has good hearing or the Runner has an easily recognised voice.