Crown Tournament in The Kingdom of Acre

The King is dead, long live the King! But wait, the King has no heir. The succession to the crown is unclear. Warrior and wise men gather to ponder the fate of the kingdom. There is no distinct bloodline from which a heir can be chosen. Those who believe that their claim to the throne is best, gather and plot how best to grasp the prize of the crown. Candidates from various contingents begin to gain popular support. These warriors gather to them other warriors who support their claim to the crown. Battles are fought which eliminate rivals. Finally, the two strongest candidates meet in a battle to the death. The swords have clashed upon steel and the blood of the warriors has been shed upon the field. The victorious candidate has won the prize of the crown and shall rule his kingdom as King.

Albeit a rather fanciful tale, the preceding description of a quest for the right to be King in the Middle Ages is not without its real world analogies. Primogeniture, the system of inheritance by the eldest son, was the predominate system of succession in the High Middle Ages. Although there were exceptions to the rule, this system was generally accepted as the proper way to determine the heir to the "crown." However, when a ruler dies bereft of a male heir, the succession to the crown became muddled and often led to bloody conflict. The history of the Middle Ages is full of tales of rough transitions from one King to the next. Perhaps, one of the better known disputes over succession occurred in medieval England. This little spat was know as the Wars of the Roses. The houses of Lancaster and York fought many a battle over who should be the rightful heir to the throne of England.

Since in MSR's Kingdom of Acre, primogeniture doesn't exist, we choose a new King and Queen each year in a truly medieval fashion: by military strength and the ability to hold the loyalty of the Kingdom's strong sword arms. This is accomplished by means of a "Crown Tournament." The crown tournament consists of three distinct and separate rounds of martial combat. Each of the three rounds are distinct and different in focus, so that in the final outcome, fighting skill, dedication and popularity will play their parts. Eligible members who would like to be sovereign or consort enter the first round of crown tournament. A distinction is made as to sovereign or consort. A male shall always be crowned as King and a female as Queen. However, either may be designated as sovereign or consort. The sovereign is that member, King or Queen, who shall be the primary ruler of our medieval kingdom. The sovereign has various powers and rights as defined under Kingdom and Corporate law. In the past, our Kingdom has been capably served, at different times, by both male and female sovereigns.

Eligibility for the Crown Tournament is defined by Kingdom and Corporate laws. Candidates for crown may choose fight themselves or to have a champion fight for them in the first round of the crown tournament. This affords the opportunity for non-fighters or those of lesser martial prowess to assume the throne. If the candidates for whom the champion fights wins, the champion will be given the title of Duke for the duration of their reign. The first round of "Crown" consists of a single combat, double elimination tournament. The four fighters with the best records advance to the second round.

In the second round, these four fighters choose two to four other warriors and form three to five person melee teams. These four teams fight each of the other teams. The two teams with the best records advance to the third round.

If you are somewhat confused, the third round is very simple. The leaders of the two teams in third round attract as many eligible warriors to their side as they can. The sides do not have to be even. These two teams then fight a single grand melee battle. The candidates for the victorious side will be crowned Prince and Princess of Acre. In January of the following year, they will be crowned King and Queen.

Our three rounds of Crown Tournament aptly recreate the romantic view of knightly combat. The first round is the emergence of the warrior candidate or his/her champion. As the warrior proves him/herself an able warrior, other warriors are drawn to his/her cause (2nd round). Finally, a popular upwelling rises behind two of the best candidates and all of the warriors in the kingdom rally to the banner of the person they wish to see wear the crown (3rd round). From this final conflict the victor emerges.

The kingdom is once again safely in the hands of a sovereign who shall protect it and rule it wisely.