Tournaments

Knights at Play

Tournaments are a long and proud tradition in the Civilized West, providing opportunities for Knights and other men-at-arms to show their martial prowess even during times of relative peace. Tournaments tend to be large and expensive affairs for those hosting them, but aside from giving their finest warriors a means to blow off steam and show off their prowess, they give ample opportunity for diplomacy with the many visitors, and often bring a great deal of revenue in the form of "tourists" coming to watch the festivities (often enough to cancel out the costs of the tournament itself).

Tournaments often last at least five days, and though the first few days are generally preliminaries, they are interspersed with a multitude of celebrations, balls, and other social events in the evenings, allowing the Knights to mingle and the other Nobles to commingle. A vast number of marriage alliances tend to get their starts at tournaments, and tales of romance that get their start at a Tournament Ball have more than a small reflection of truth to them.

The Host:

The Host is the noble who is responsible for organizing and paying for the Tournament. Generally this is the highest-ranking noble within a given city, but sometimes the task is delegated in their name (though never for Kingdom Championships, which are always hosted by the King/Queen). The Host also serves as the final arbiter of any disputes that might crop up during the tournament. Tournaments are tremendously expensive, and often if the duty of Host has been delegated by a higher authority, that higher authority usually pitches in funds to help the designated host put on a right proper show. Obviously, putting on a memorable tournament can be a significant source of prestige. Putting on a tournament that's memorable for all the wrong reasons? Considerably less so….

Competitors:

Whilst knights are the primary contestants in tourneys, others (especially squires) are permitted to compete provided they are of noble birth, above 17 years of age and sponsored by a Knight (or a noble of baron or higher rank). Such a sponsorship cannot be a secret. Knights do not require a sponsor. For players this requirement will generally be assumed to have occured unless the character has a particularly dubious background. If this applies to your character you should clear your participation with the host in advance. The hosts of circuit tourneys often require that competitors have won at least one "second tier" tournament and the host retains the right to apply other entrance conditions on any non-circuit tourney.

For Artistic challenges, sponsorship is generally not required, and commoners may or may not be allowed to participate according to local tradition.

Of particular note is the "Mystery Knight." Hosts may permit one Mystery Knight per tournament. The identities of Mystery Knights are unknown to all (even the host!) until the conclusion of the tournament. If a Mystery Knight was easily eliminated, they will remain anonymous (and likely aren't at the banquet anyway). Mystery Knights who perform well often unmasked at the Ball (though not always). If they win either Melee or Joust or much less the Tourney itself, and they have not yet attained Knighthood, then tradition dictates the Host should knight them immediately. Yes, this means a commoner could become a Knight, but such an event would be closely scrutinized, as having proper arms, armor, and a trained horse is a very expensive proposition, which would lead many to suggest the commoner stole such things. More commonly, it is a squire that takes up the mantle of a Mystery Knight, both for the romance of it all and for other reasons that might suggest anonymity is best. There are a few tourney-going Knights that make a career out of playing Mystery Knights though such behavior is generally restricted to Hedge Knights and unless their skills prove quite solid indeed is usually viewed as a rather sad ploy to garner attention.

Events:

Usually held on the first day of the tournament. This is a relatively simple affair in which all the Knights who will be competing put on their best parade armor, march in front of the Host, and announce things like their name, lineage, and notable battlefield or tournament-field accomplishments, as well as paying respects to the host. Some Tourney Hosts are absolute sticklers for competing Knights to arrive on time so they can take part in the Parade and Review, disqualifying those that do not. Others are more lax on such matters, though a formal letter sent ahead to warn of tardiness usually provides adequate excuse to forgive the slight, providing it is not a repeating pattern. Archers and performers for those respective contests do not take part in the parade and review…only Knights. Obviously, this is also where the public gets to see just who all is being entered into the tournament.

It is perfectly acceptable to use a memoir to represent this event.


Favors:

It is common for Knights to request or occasionally be given a favor that they display during the tournament. Favors are generally granted by members of the opposite gender, though it is not particularly unusual for female knights to carry the favors of liege ladies or female family members, and while even less commonplace, men giving other men their favor is not unheard of if they have a romantic interest in each other. Most often these take the forms of gloves, handkerchiefs, or in some cases ladies' gowns have detachable sleeves particularly for this purpose. It is not considered poor form or dishonorable to ask the favor of a married noble IF that noble is your liege (or married to your liege). There is no dishonor on the part of a noble refusing their favor to someone who asks, though it can be embarrassing if the Knight in question did so in a public venue. Generally, there are three types of people that Knights curry favors from: Family members, Lieges, and Paramours (or would-be-paramours).

Carrying the favor of a Family member is seen as a strong sign of solidarity symbolizing that the Knight is competing for the honor of their bloodline.

Carrying the favor of a liege lord or a member of the liege's family is seen as a sign of loyalty declaring that you fight for the glory of your Kingdom and the honor of those lawfully appointed over you.

Carrying the favor of any other unmarried noble is seen as a sign of romantic interest, and that you are fighting to win (or keep) the love (courtly or otherwise) of the individual in question.

Note that the second and third types of favor CAN overlap. For instance, if you beg the favor of your liege's unmarried child, or even an unmarried liege themselves, they might interpret it as a sign of interest, depending on your comparative social standing and the nature of your relationship to them.

It is also considered extremely forward for a noble to offer their favor to someone they are not related to, or who has not sworn allegiance to them or their family. It's basically tantamount to all-but-throwing yourself at them or a declaration of intent to court that person for marriage. To be "free with your favors" is generally frowned upon, and the literal interpretation can easily lead to rumors of the figurative interpretation also being true, if ya know what I'm sayin' (winkwinknudgenudge). Also, it is considered extremely disrespectful to carry the favor of more than one person, to the point that at some tourneys the Host might dock points from a competitor for doing so. Likewise, begging a favor of someone and then refusing to display it when competing is considered insulting to the person whose favor was asked, UNLESS the person who granted the favor specifically requested that the favor be hidden (like say, a lover who's not quite ready to go public with the relationship).

Scoring:

Points are tallied throughout the tournament, and whoever has the most points at the end is named the Tourney Champion. The methods of gaining points are as follows:

Melee: Strike a felling blow (KOs opponent) - 2 points. Win the Melee - 6 points.
Single Weapon: Each bout won - 2 points. Overall victor - 4 points.
Joust: Strike an Opponents' Shield - 1 points, Break a lance on opponents' shield - 2 points. Tremendous Strike - 3 points, Unhorse Opponent - 4 points. Win the Joust Event- 6 points
Note - Scoring is identical for Tilting but Tilts are not considered when toting up scores for the circuit.

The following are typically counted when considering overall tourney champion but are not considered for the circuit.
Archery: Overall Victor - 4 points.
Unique Events: Overall Victor - 4 points.
Points gained at the tilt instead of the joust.
Bonus points as declared by the host.

In addition to the above, competitors gain 6 points on the Circuit if they are named a Tourney Champion. There are no additional points awarded for being named a Kingdom Champion, however.

It is not unusual for a particularly successful run at the joust or melee to outmatch the score of someone who won every other event at a tourney.

It is quite possible for competitors to LOSE points during a Tourney, though this is relatively rare. They can also be disqualified altogether. Penalties are variable (though usually not more than one or two points) and are most commonly levied against "Unknightly behavior." This can occur both on and off the Tourney Field itself. So excessive drunkenness or lewdness in public, brawling or dueling outside of tournament events, or any other such misbehavior can cost a competitor. Cheating, generally defined as either tampering with another Knight's arms, armor, squire, or horses or attempting undue harm to opponents via poisons upon ones' weapons or sharpened tips on ones' lances is grounds for immediate disqualification. Unsurprisingly, some unscrupulous Knights do try to "game" this system and get rivals laden with penalties, though if they are caught in trying to arrange such situations, they usually end up disqualified themselves. Another common (relatively speaking) source of disqualification is "entering under false pretense." In other words…if you're faking being a Knight and get caught, you're not permitted in the Tourney anymore (and may face more serious legal trouble beyond that, to boot).

Prizes:

There are also other intangible benefits to participating in Tourneys, and not just for the victors. Tourneys are an excellent way for Hedge Knights to come to the attention of prospective lieges, and for young Knights to make a name for themselves as combatants as well as honorable and courteous folk. Many Knights meet prospective spouses and help forge diplomatic alliances while traveling to tourneys beyond their homes, and such events can give even the humblest knight the possibility of rubbing elbows with some of the most powerful nobles of the West, up to and including Kings and Queens…something that would be highly unlikely for most under any other circumstances. And of course, performing well at a Tournament or especially winning one or more insures that you not only have the reputation as a highly skilled warrior, but you likely have the adulation of a great many common folk as well.

Some of the more famous Tourneys:

Biannual, held in late Aout/Early Septebre…in-between the Four Corners Championship and the Kentaire tournament. Rikton's tournament is just as large and grand as any in the Circuit (and the competition just as fierce), but entrance is strictly regulated, and generally allowed only to members of the Holy Orders. The High Priest can grant exceptions to allow knights who are not members of the Holy Orders to compete on a case-by-case basis, but this is usually granted with the implicit understanding that the Knight in question will be sworn to one of the Holy Orders before they depart from the tournament. Winners of this tournament are afforded the honor of being named "Champion of the Faith" and are permitted by holy decree to bear a special insignia marking their victory, either in the form of a medallion, cloak-clasp, or ring. The rare few that bear these devices are marked as warriors of both great skill and great devotion.

Tournament Mechanics:

Players may spend ONE and only one FATE point for the entire Tournament. This includes resisting a Compel. These are not free points given but are spent from the character's sheet. At the conclusion of a tournament that a player participated in one complete event, they earn Two FATE points.

If a player competes in an event that is run via quick meet up matches, then they must compete in TWO events to gain the FATE points.

It is all or nothing. If you can't be in a full scene, then don't spend the FATE point. If you can't do two meet up matches, then don't spend the FATE point.

Tournament Time

When an event such as a tournament or similar competition event takes place then a set of ooc rules we describe as 'tournament time' come into effect. This basically says that all characters can participate no matter what is going on at the time elsewhere. There will never be any ic consequences for leaving a battle event chain and you may also come even if your character could not feasibly get there at that specific time.

There are of course a couple of exceptions to this general rule. If your character is going to be off-grid for a significant amount of time then it may be that you should sit this one out. Also if your character would not be ic'ly welcome at the event then there may be ic consequences for attending. For example if Ludovic, who has been declared a traitor by aequor, should attend an aequorian tourney there may well be consequences. However he can go to any non-aequorian tourney without fear.

In the case of tournaments and most other sport scenes you may take an npc character with a skill of 1 instead of your own.

You may have a character compete in an event which you are hosting but you may not have two characters compete in the same event.

You may have different alts compete in different events but any points scored in this way will remain on the participating character. This could potentially result in an alt losing a tournament.

You may always choose to play an npc instead of your own character in any tournament and most sporting events. NPC's usually have the relevant skill(s) at 1 but the host may modify this skill if the average attending skill is very high. There is nothing to prevent an npc played in this way from winning a tournament.

Player Run Events and Tournaments.

If you want to run a sporting event like a tournament you simply need to send a +request detailing the events that you wish to run and the noble (if you dont have a suitable character it is usually possible to npc someone) that will be hosting it. The request should be in the plots group.

One off sporting events such as archery contests and boat races have no special requirements.

For an event to count as a tourney the event must have a minimum of three events which must include a joust and either the melee or single weapon. Tourneys are limited to a maximum of five events. The parade and banquet are both optional and do not count towards these limits. Tournament prizes must be pre-approved by staff for unusual items such as lightsilver and sidhe steel.
Should the circuit be active staff must then be updated with each contestants circuit points.

Tournaments may include an xp award for the hosting player. Ask about this during your request.

That's it. Go out there and Tournament!

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