Eagle Debates are a regular feature of CTS termcards. These debates function essentially along the lines of a "balloon debate" with one entrant being voted to be "thrown off the eagle" each round until only one remains. The debates are usually quite silly and are a strong CTS tradition!
The most common rules set of Eagle Debating. In this system each participant (that is to say, each sentient being present at the debate) is attached to a single entrant (each of which is a possible answer to the question posed in the debate); they then take that entrant through a number of rounds, arguing their case. It is the prerogative of the debate's chairperson (often the incumbent Steward) to declare the format of each round. At the end of the round, when all the players have done whatever was required of them, the remaining "living" players vote off another of their number. This continues until the final round, when all those present may once again vote, often on the result of a dance-off to decide the final winner.
Note that it is customary for the chairperson to grant any member unwilling or unable to complete a certain round the opportunity to nominate a champion to complete the round for them.
- Argue in favour (the "basic" round, often played first and often used more than once in the debate)
- Dance-off (played almost exclusively as the final round)
- Attack round
- Defend another entrant
- One Word Round (The four/five word round also sees some use)
- The Eagle/Fellowship: perhaps the most common motion, taking the premise literally with the fellowship members (plus or minus a few) on an Eagle arguing who is most crucial to the quest.
- The Outer Darkness: essentially a "greatest villain" debate.
- The Cutting Room Floor: minor characters argue which should be favoured to get into a film adaptation of their books.
- Best/Worst X: where X is fighter, leader, hero, settlement, etc.
- Dol Amroth variant: For the last round, positive voting between the last three candidates may replace a final two candidates round.
The rules of eagle debates held in the bitter and war-torn north, under the malign influence of powerful Caradhras, are somewhat different. In this system the basic rules involve there being a large number of entrants submitted, which may be far larger than the number of participants. The rounds rarely have specific formats, with the aim being to build and form coalitions behind or against certain entrants such that they are then eliminated in each round of voting.