Old Style Tournament
These are the first, earliest attempts to create a sport. The standard events are Melee, Bohort, and Animal Fighting. The first Tournament was held in London during the winter of 509-510 and was brought to Britain by Brastias as an attempt to refocus the British nobility who was in disarray after years of anarchy and war.
There are some basic rules in most of the Tournaments parts, all centered around honor and glory. If a knight ignores these rules he is disqualified and looses honor. These rules mostly apply to Knights with honor, and non-knights are not expected to follow them as such. However, squires that do follow these rules are granted a check to honor.
- Knights that are captured loose their armor and their horse
- Knights may not fight more than one on one
- Knights cannot strike a man from behind
- Knights cannot strike a man laying down
- Knights may not willingly attack a horse
- Knights may not use dishonorable tricks such as dogs, fire, poison or magic
- Knights cannot strike an unarmed man, but he may capture him if he yields
- A knight that yields may not be killed, he may be killed in battle if he does not yield
- A knight loosing his shield may have his squire grant him a new one if he still has one, he may not be struck during this time. If the squire has to run of to get a new shield, combat continues without it.
The melee is the primary knightly event, especially in the Old Tournaments. It is fought between two teams of knights. An area, often of several square miles, is marked off as the combat area. It overruns fields, towns, and vineyards. A safe area, wherein the knights may not be attacked, is marked for each team. A time limit is set, usually half a day, and the event begins and ends only when the marshal’s bugles are blown. Only sword and lance may be used in the melee.
At first, the sponsor may choose to allow either blunted or normal weapons, though after a short while only rebated weapons are used to preserve the lives and limbs of the combatants. Only fair fighting is allowed — no attacks from the rear, no multiple opponents on one, no tricks such as tripping horses or using dogs to panic steeds. However, there are not yet any judges to oversee this, so honor is required from all participants to follow the rules.
Any knight may participate, and he may be assisted by his squires, servants, or even masses of footmen. The object is to capture enemy knights and bring them to the refuge, whereupon they are captured and forfeit their horse and armor. This is very expensive for the losers and very lucrative for the winners. Prisoners who have been captured but not yet returned to the safe area may attempt to escape without besmirching their honor.
Named after the combat maneuver where the aim is to smash into the enemy in massed formation, with the aim of throwing them back or breaking their ranks. Following a successful maneuver of this kind, the rank would attempt to turn around without breaking formation (widerkere or tornei); this action was so central that it would become eponymous of the entire tradition of the tourney or tournament.
The Grand Tornei differs from the regular Grand Melee as it is more or less a free for all between all present teams. As with the Grand Melee there is a safe area where no fighting is allowed, it's in the center of the combat area, and all combatants can drag their captures there.
The bohort is a rough-and-tumble fight of non-knights seeking to prove their prowess to overlords, perhaps so that an individual might be chosen as a squire. Sometimes the squires of knights are allowed to take part to prove their worth, but since they are well trained and often nobles, some consider it “cheating”.
The most common version of the Bohort in the Old Tournaments is the Grand Bohort of the Castle, or the "King's Pennant". A simple "castle" is built from logs and wood, usually on a hill somewhere in the combat area. It represent the "Grand Castle", the kings castle where all power derives. The objective is to get your lords Pennant to the outer bailey of the castle, where the "Kings Pennant" is hidden. When the Kings Pennant is found, you switch your Lords Pennant with the Kings Pennant and rush towards the center tower, or "the keep". You win if you manage to get the Kings Pennant to the top, and place it in the socket. This leaves other combatants time to grab your original Pennant, if they do manage to grab it and bring it to their camp before you reach the top of the tower, the Bohort is paused, and the Kings Pennant is hidden again.
This means that the squires and combatants need to work together, both to keep their own Pennant defended as well as manage to reach the top.
Animal fights are meant for peasant entertainment; either animals fight each other (bulls versus bears is popular), or, occasionally, men fight against beasts. The tradidition comes from old roman games, and has stayed pretty much the same through out the years.
Before the fights, animals and combatants are presented in cages and Lords and Ladies can "sponsor" beasts they believe will win. If their chosen beast manages to fight through the entire event, they are crowned "Master of Beasts" and get recognized among their peers. Most beasts are brought to the fight either by the events main sponsor or traders from far and wide, but rich Lords sometimes bring their own beasts to the fights, granting them the luxury of being the only sponsors of a certain beast.