Some of the more common forms of entertainment in the Empire are theater, music and dancing. In Ravnivori lands, the people favor rather grim plays with a great deal of blood. Even their comedies are farces that generally end with a great deal of the cast dead due to accident or misunderstanding. Much more common are their operas that deal with revenge, fate and doomed love. These operas, of course, feature music as well and the music in operas is fairly emblematic of the kind of music the Ravnivori generally enjoy. This music is deep, dark and loud and the lyrics generally recite some ancient legend or inspirational message. Needless to say, the dancing associated with it is somber with very precisely defined steps.
The Almatians are much more lighthearted and outgoing with their entertainment. They, too commonly have plays that are tragedies but the audience is expected to participate. They commonly cheer for the heroes and jeer the villains, though a well crafted story can bring a crowd to silence beyond the emotional crying. Almatian comedies are commonly slapstick affairs and often feature mistaken identities and convoluted plots hinged on faulty leaps in logic. Most Almatian music is quite lighthearted as well featuring rapid beats. The dancing that goes along with this music is just as lighthearted and rapid and generally involves a great deal of twirling and jumping.
The Shan are generally very interested in tradition and form when it comes to their art. Their plays are generally plays that were written centuries ago and that have hardly been changed at all over the years. A person seeing it on the first night it was ever presented and a person seeing its most recent incarnation would be hard pressed to tell the difference between the two. Actors are not praised on how deeply they can portray the emotion behind the roles they play, but for how precisely they deliver their lines and make the expected gestures. The music that goes with these plays is just as traditional and precise. Shan do not go to the theater to see something new, they go to enjoy and explore an experience they’ve already had. Their dancing and music is just the same. There are very few composers but many musicians and conductors. The dancing that goes with this music is just as traditional and precise, but whereas the Ravnivori generally dance with partners, the Shan do not. All Shan dances either involve a single gender (i.e. a group of women performing the same dance or a group of men performing the same dance) or involve two parallel groups, one made up of women and the other made up of men dancing complimentary but not intersecting dances. No physical contact is ever made in Shan dancing.
Racing is also a quite common pass time in the Ravnivori Empire. It is considered one of the most respected sports and many nobles and merchants spend fortunes on promising animals or stud fees and spend hours discussing the benefits of various sorts of training regimens, diets and the relative advantages and disadvantages of various animals and breeds of animals.
Of course, the simplest sort of race is a foot race between one or more men or women. But even this is seldom simple. While ordinary sprints are not uncommon contests, marathons are also quite common and generally wind through villages and cities drawing out huge crowds. In fact, in Almatia, an ancient race involves running completely across the continent from the mountains in the east to the ocean in the west. The best runners complete this trek in a few weeks while others require months to make the trip and many don’t complete it at all. It is considered an honor to house and feed a member of this marathon and anyone bearing the seal of participation is all but guaranteed a bed and a meal at any village along their path.
Animal racing is also quite popular in the Ravnivori Empire. Horses are the most common racing animals, but they are raced under a variety of conditions. The same cross continent marathon that men and women run on foot is annually attempted by hundreds of people on horseback as well and under the same circumstances, though it takes much less time. Steeplechases and flat track races of varying lengths are also quite common, as are races involving all sorts of vehicles attached to horses. Chariot races are the most common of these races and have rules varying from simple contests of speed to matches that include the use of weapons and cruder tactics.
Dogs are also commonly raced, especially in Almatia where there is an entire breed of hound that has been bred for generations for speed.
The most recent addition to animal racing are the zergans. It did not take long after the discovery of these massive birds by the Empire for their speed and agility to be put to competitions of speed. Most Zergan races take place in forests where their ability to fly is negated for the most part by the overhanging branches. However, a number of tracks have been built specifically for zergans. These consist of a course of arches and elevated hoops that the animals and their riders must pass through. This allows (indeed, requires) the zergans to use their wings at certain times and to depend on their powerful legs at other times.
Vehicles that are not animal driven are also raced. Sailing ships are favorite for races supported by rich patrons. Vessels of all sizes are raced in coves and harbors around the world. Additionally, now that the world has been unified, there is an annual race to circle the globe. Any captain may enter his ship. A number of ports are chosen along the way and each ship must stop at each port and pick up a special token created just for this purpose. The first person to return to the starting port with every token is considered the victor.
Though there are very few of them, a few Void Runner races have also been established in recent years. Since all Void Runners move at the same speed at full speed, these races take place in asteroid belts to keep the ships at tactical speed and to test the ships’ maneuverability as well as their sheer speed.
For those with bloodier tastes there are also games involving Gladiators