Saturday, March 5, 2016

Jousting in Second Life

Most have been forgotten. Most deserve to be forgotten. The heroes will always be remembered. The best. The best and the worst. And a few who were a bit of both.  
George R.R. Martin, A Feast for Crows

           My newfound friends at the A Game of Thrones themed role playing sim located at Casterly Rock in Second Life (SL) have slowly but surely bringing me up to speed on all aspects of life in their community.  Of late, I’ve been introduced to one of their more “energetic” pursuits.  (Significant Other cringes and leaves the room.)

          This new pursuit is the long lost art of jousting!  (Yes, I know Renaissance Faires in Real Life (RL) do it all the time but it’s really not the same anymore, trust me.) At Casterly Rock, they draw heavily from both the medieval and A Game of Thrones themes for their role play.  (Significant Other will not return until this silliness has past, I’m informed.)  My

good friend and mentor in Casterly Rock, Hina Tarly, invites me to a tournament and I readily accept.  (Hina is another one of my SL friends whom Significant Other believes looks after me only because they don’t want whatever happens to me to be on their conscience.)  

          My sole exposure to jousting prior to this, other than some B movies, was Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe.  So, I was ready!  

          The jousting tournament is regularly scheduled event in Casterly Rock, occurring the second Wednesday of every month at 4:00PM SLT.  The tournament field can be located here.  

          The lists where the jousts take place are located on a large, flat field surrounded by a high wall.  Immediately in front of the entrance to the enclosure are the spectator stands
and the Royal box which overlook the tilt barrier running across the center of the field to separate the oncoming knights when they charge.  On the far wall, shields with heraldic markings hang.  

          Mina explains the mechanics of the joust to me.  Adding that the joust system is scripted and the closest to RL in SL.  

          The winner of a joust is the first to score ten points over an opponent in combat.  A series of elimination rounds will determine who the ultimate winner of the tournament is.  The number rounds depends on the number of knights participating in any given tournament.  The joust system randomly selects the combatants for each round and announces the hits and points for each as well as giving the winner’s name.  Participation is open to all.  Joust training is available and recommended. Hina has earned Master Jouster status and is permitted to train others. (I’ve always thought that she’s an overachiever.)  An official is onsite to act as judge and referee.  The Queen normally presides over each joust but, this one that I’m attending She is absent and Her daughter, the Princess represents the Royal family.  (The Queen had other pressing duties and did not absent Herself merely to avoid meeting me again as Significant Other suggests.)  Four knights are recognized as winners in each tournament. Hina came in fourth place for this one.  (Significant Other hints that I was distracting her with my questions.  Hina has the good grace to say simply that her opponent just rode better today.)  

          Combat occurs when the knights take their positions at opposite ends of the tilt barrier and charge at one another.  Depending on the skills of the opposing combatants, several charges may be necessary.  The goal is to unseat the opponent and score the necessary points.  

          The knights ride in full armor of their own choosing wearing their respective colorful
heraldry.  Hina elects to ride without a helmet.  (I’m willing to bet she rides a motorcycle in RL without one too!)  

          The men o’war ridden by the knights are large horses comparable to either large chargers or destriers in RL.  They wear colorful caparisons and protective chanfrons.  

          The jousts at Casterly Rock are enjoyable and realistic. Although, there is no blood and none are carried off the field on stretchers which is close to the late Middle Ages tradition in RL.  (Significant Other notes that I sound disappointed and had expected better of me now that I had a sister inworld who’s a cleric.)  

          Authenticity and attention to detail are evident in the proceedings.  While the joust system manages much of the process and there is a certain randomness involved, skill is a
requirement to participate and succeed here.  (Which is why, according to Significant Other, I’ll never participate.)

           I recommend attending these jousts at Casterly Rock to all whom are interested in A Game of Thrones and the medieval practice of jousting.  Also, while you’re there check out the role playing community itself, you’ll find it very interesting and open to new members.

          Tell ‘em, web sent you!  

As always, I’m grateful to all inworld for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives!  

          I’d like to thank Hina for taking the time away from her jousting to show me around and to answer my questions.  I also apologize for distracting her and costing her first place!  

Additional pictures from my visits can be found on this flickr page.  

My Twitter handle is @webspelunker.  Please feel free to follow me and I’d be happy to follow you.

I can be found on Google+ as webspelunker Ghostraven.

My flickr Photostream is located here.

On Skype I’m webspelunker Ghostraven.

I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at . 

          If you would like to read about my other adventures in Second Life
please click here

          Open roads and kind fires!                

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