Who should fight (was)Re: Ducal perogative

Jeanne Stapleton jstaplet at adm.law.du.edu
Fri Feb 21 12:04:01 PST 1997

> At 05:59 PM 2/20/97 +0000, Madame Ghislaine Fontaneau wrote:
> >I know absolutely nothing about heavy fighting whatsoever.  Except
> >how to help my friends into their armor.  But, it is my gut feeling
> >that anyone who is able to fight, should fight in Crown tourney. 
> >If you know you can't--for whatever reason--fulfill the duties of
> >the king, then by all means, bow out after a few rounds.
> <<<snip>>>
> I was wondering if this viewpoint would arise- I'd like to rebut:
> When you say that _anyone_-most especially someone who possesses the
> competitive nature neccessary to win Crown Tournament >TWICE OR
> MORE<- should simply "bow out after a few rounds", you are denying a
> basic element of a fighters psyche; namely, the desire to win. 

Greetings to Ansteorra from Countess Berengaria:

About Crown lists:  my feeling is that the Crown tourney should be 
*open* to all authorized fighters.  Crown tourney, like it or not, is 
also about fighters being seen and noticed, both for excellence and 
for correcting of possible problems.  (YMMV--different kingdom.)

As far as "bowing out after a few rounds":  this is a hot button with 
me.  Unless there is injury, I consider this to be an unacceptable 
option.  For one thing, what's your Crown Tourney oath like?  all of 
those I've ever been privileged to witness require the combatants to 
swear basically that they're ready, willing and able to assume the 
responsibilities of the thrones should they be granted victory.  
Swearing that oath, then bowing out, is becoming deliberately 

Secondly, had you not entered the tourney that day, opponents that 
you have defeated might not be out of the tourney at that point and 
might be further to victory or to a later round than they had ever 
reached before (a feeling of personal progress and more opportunities 
to learn in honorable combat).  You have basically given them a 
meaningless defeat.

I believe that combatants owe each and every opponent the best 
possible fight they can give them in each round--the cleanest, the 
most honorable, but also the most skillful.

The only possible option that I would consider, which was pointed out
to me by a dear friend who is a knight, would be to handicap oneself 
by going out with an unfamiliar weapon style:  if you normally fight 
florentine, go out axe and round shield or something like that.  In 
that way, you are testing your own skills and at the same time 
offering a handicap that your opponent can meet with honor.  Who 
knows, he might get unlucky, throw a shot that you duck and wrap and 
kill himself!  (Happened to Duke Radnor in the West once.)
> the very nature of the way our tournaments are set up, the level of
> desire by the populace to see Sir X win rises and it often rubs off
> on the fighters as well. (these are not _rules_ but are *certainly*
> not exceptions)  The emotional differences of a man who has yet to
> enter Crown and one who has made it to, say, the third round are
> vast... and who can fault that man for deciding to make a run at it:
> "Let's see... if we cut down on the grocery bill and take showers
> together it might just save us enough money to do it..."  This, I
> feel, is conducive to having ill-prepared royalty and messy reigns. 
> Keep in mind, it's as much a job as it is a title (more so, from
> what I'm told).  That said, I'll say that I only want the folks who
> are *absolutely* sure they can perform to the high standards
> necessary fighting.
It is totally and completely a second full-time job.

> Not to be glib, but the words, 'quantity vs. quality', do leap to
> mind.  A handy squire can beat newbies all day long and never break
> a sweat.  Make that same squire fight two knights *who want to win*
> and I'll show you one tuckered boy.
And even the most seasoned fighters can get overconfident.  In a 
Western crown tournament, Duke Christian du Glaive, who had been king 
for the just the reign before (first reign, I believer), went out in 
the first of second round against Sgt. Brion of Bellatrix.  Brion 
one-shotted him, because Christian, by his own admission, was just 
being lazy.

> <<<snip>>>
> >Conversely, it gives the fighters a chance to give the 
> >knights a run for it, and it gives them the assurance that the
> >person who wins won because of skill, and not because Sir So-and-So
> >got a new job and can't spare the time to be king and thus couldn't
> >challenge.  The king, I like to think, is not the best of the
> >fighters who have the free time, but the best.  Period. Just my
> >opinion. Thank you, Madame Ghislaine Fontaneau
> >
> >
> <<<thus ends the snippage>>>
> I think you may be overlooking two items here.  
> At the fore, just as fighting is only a portion of what makes a
> knight, it follows that what makes a man royal is not all in his
> sword arm either. Good kings and queens are organized, have tact and
> forsight, and the maturity to place the Kingdoms fun before their
> own.  So said, the importance of 'absolute fighting prowess' is
> reduced; not much, but some.
Amen to that.  One of the kings at Estrella was commenting just this 
weekend that you get *very little free time to fight* once you become 
king.  This reduces the importance of "absolute fighting prowess" 
*once one has become king* considerably.  

I believe you are also overlooking the "luck" factor.  Maybe "fate" 
would be a better word.  It is possible for the finest fighter in the 
tourney that day to sustain an injury midway through the process.

> Also, what you say here implies that the king is without doubt the
> finest fighter in the land.  No exceptions. For six months.  Sorry,
> but this is impossible.  For one, that would mean that for 3 months
> there would be *two* finest fighters in the land- cant happen.  What
> Crown establishes is who is the best fighter on that day who was
> prepared to enter the tourney and eligable.  Almost every king and
> former king I've ever spoken with has told me so... and that's no
> small number, either.  What lasting statement it *does make* is that
> the winner is an *excellent* fighter- one that no one else could
> beat that day.
Amen to this.  Consider, also, that there is such a consideration as 
"finest fighter in a given weapons form".  If you were to restrict 
your Crown lists on a given occasion to florentine only, you'd come
out with a different result than if your restriction were great 
weapon.  I've never had the good fortune to attend an Ansteorran 
Crown Tournament, but I know that in An Tir it's all over the map:
once, within my memory, we had a Crown list that the monarchs 
decreed would be fought sword and center grip round shield.
Many combatants will start off the lists sword and shield, then go
to a favored weapon style later in the tournament; others will let 
their opponent choose the weapon styles from among an offered

> In other kingdoms they encourage as many people to fight as possible
> (with the exceptions of Drachenwald, the Middle and the East, that
> is) and we are seeing some disturbing scenes.  The Knowne World is
> having some problems of late... with both Crown and Coronet Lists.

With respect, I don't think that either the West or An Tir 
*encourage* as many people to fight as possible (the West, in 
particular, has some whopping large Crown lists and the support
staff have had to adjust accordingly); but they *allow* anyone who is 
authorized (and in An Tir meets the 6-month residence requirement) to 
fight.  What happens in An Tir is that many people drive great 
distances to fight because they get the opportunity to walk across
that space of eric and challenge a duke they've always wanted to 
fight; in the process of going to the lists and the fight itself and 
chat afterwards, they form bonds that normally would not happen.  

There have been intermittent problems with Crown and Coronet lists
over the years.  I'm not sure that the cause and effect are such that
you have postulated here.

> In the last six months, four of these have had to be re-fought and
> IMO, there may be a direct cause-and-effect process at work.  Cause:
> little or no descrimination in who enters crown tournament.  Effect:
>  good fighters with no sense of responsibility win, or complete
> knee-biting rhinos win. (*whew*... can't wait for the flames on
> _that_ one).
> Possible (and feasible) solutions to these problems anyone-
> preferably something that doesn't begin with, "decide crown by
> another means?"  I'll save my ideas for another post... besides, my
> hands are cramping from all my spouting.
> Merci beaucoup, MME Fontaneau, for your point of view... betwixt
> your good self and Timo, je suis tres mal a la tete!
> Dieterich Kempernich von Eltz

There are kingdoms that require Letters of Intent.  That's one 
possible option.  The MIdrealm has an invitational lsit, but I've 
*always* had a problem with that (my Western rite roots showing).
Countess Berengaria de Montfort de Carcassonne, OP
Barony of Caerthe
Kingdom of the Outlands

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