CWIN Vol. 1, No. 2
Medieval Times Jousting Arena
Shaumburg, Illinois

Written by Michael Drennon

Web Posted April 01, 1998
Updated August 02, 2000

Grab the nearest wench, your favorite sword, a trusty steed, and lots of DramamineTM because you are going back in time when you enter the Medieval Times Jousting Arena. This venue features up-close and personal combat styles, audience participation, as well as a wide variety of specialty events. Plenty of food is brought to you by our serving wenches (male and female depending on your tastes). Kiddies eat for free! Door prizes include a chance to man one of the arena's four blast cannons to ensure fair dueling by the Knights on the field (each BC is loaded with practice-paint rounds . . . we're not stupid) as well as ensuring yourself and your family a blimp's eye view of the battles, free passes to future events, three laps with the current AADA World Dueling Champion (guaranteed to raise the hair on your neck) and a special end of season "Amateur Knight" Week where all events are run with fans like you selected from all entries throughout the season.

Throughout the season "Knights" from the five "Courts" (Red, White, Blue, Green, Black) battle each other in many different events for points to win the favor of the King and Queen of the Land. These Knights may enter combat relying on their trusty steed (rocket-loaded heavy cycle), a fast chariot (tricked-out, tuned-up, ready-to-fly luxury), or simply their wits and a strong right arm (you blew your control roll, and have to knock one of the other knights off his cycle to finish the event). The Knights compete in all events, except for Auto Football. These Knights will fight, race and duel side by side with any "Commoners" who are brave enough to join the field with them. Commoners who show promise or actually defeat Knights of the Courts, may be offered a squirehood and a chance to apprentice with the troop. On rare occasions for spectacular feats of bravery, survival against odds, or even great showmanship, a Knighthood may be offered. During the off-season, the Knights separate into their individual courts and take to a quest (to hone their skills in the real world so as not to lose their edge). Woe to any cycle gang who mistakes a Court for a bunch of posers on a joyride . . . these are professional duelists.

Arena Notes

Pit Ramps. The four Pit Ramps in the middle of the arena have one-way spikes imbedded into their surface. This is to encourage vehicles to follow the directional arrows on the ramps, avoiding mid-air collisions and rams. These spikes do 1d6 damage to all tires, including solids and plasticore. Spike damage is assessed on take-off and on landing, with appropriate  hazards added to total hazards for jump. Spikes are retractable for special events. Pit ramps have 20 DP, are 15' long, have a 30-degree angle and are only effectively damaged from the sides or back. Intentional targeting of the ramps results in disqualification by the Arena Defenses. Read that last sentence carefully.

Pit of Despair. This pit in the center of the arena may be navigated in one of three ways:

        1. over the center bridge
        2. over the directional pit ramps
        3. around the sides on the ledges.

The Pit is 20 feet deep, 60 feet long, and 60 feet wide. Any vehicle falling in is effectively out of the competition.  Should occupants survive crash, there are multiple bolt holes for them on the Pit floor.

Arena Defenses. Covering the vehicles in the arena are a total of four blast cannons. One is mounted in each outermost pillar. The gun emplacements rotate around just like the news coverage box seats within the pillar. Two more are mounted in the rafters above the center of the unit, and traverse along the steel beam which also supports the main recovery winch for removing vehicles from the pit after the night is through. All BCs have SWCs and are considered to have enough ammo to melt their barrels off trying to hit an offending vehicle. If more realistic stats are needed for a different scenario, consider the emplacements to have 25 DP of metal armor and five extra magazines each. A vehicle committing an offense worth a disqualification (DQ) may eventually finish and possibly win the event, as long as the offending vehicle can successfully dodge the shells from Arena Defenses and remaining duelists. These type duelists usually wind up in the Black Knight's court and tend to earn negative prestige (notoriety). The BCs can cover the crowd sections, as well to deal with fans who cannot control themselves.  Once an entire section of fans ( I believe they were for the Blue Knight's Court) opened fire with hand weapons at the King and Queen's box after a controversial call. One shell later and there were all kinds of new openings for season tickets and no more problems from overzealous fans. The shot came from the door prize winner that particular evening, who was fond of the Green Knight's court . . . and is why the winner's BC is now loaded with practice-paint rounds. This arena has no crowd control problems, as the many regulars have learned what is to be expected at trackside. Unmarked, unremarkable, heavily-armed and heavily-armored security vehicles patrol the grounds. Woe to the car thief caught burglaring in the parking lot.

Arena Structures. Arena walls are 30' tall, and have 40 DP. The occasional breech does happen, especially during Chariot Races, and once a vehicle leaves the arena confines, it may not return to the current event (most are unable to anyway). The outer edges of each end of the arena are actually very steep banked curves giving vehicles a +D2 to inward maneuvers. The only catch is the center of the curve is actually 15' off the ground. Driving up this banked ramp/curve decelerates a vehicle 5 mph/turn, while driving down accelerates a vehicle 5 mph. This ramp/curve is also only 15' wide, and vehicles are allowed to travel in either direction along them. There are only two gates in the arena, one at each end with 25 DP each. These gates remain closed throughout each event. Vehicles out of contention are left where they stopped, adding to the arena's cramped floor space. The floor is cleared of vehicles between events. The support pillars are basically indestructible, with the end pillars 15' x 15', and all others are 7.5' x 15'. The center bridge is 15' wide and can retract to a 15' square in the middle of the pit, taking two turns to do so. The outer ledges are 15' wide, and do not retract.

Arena Dimensions

End Circles. 8" diameter

Banked Curves. 1" wide, follows outside wall of end circle

TV Bunkers. 1" x  1", centered in the end circle

Straightaways. 4" wide, 7 3/4" long

Support Pillars. 1/2" x 1", first one centered on straightaway, aligned with openings to banked curves

Second Support Pillar. Same dimensions as above, centered and 2 1/4" from first pillar

Third Support Pillar. Same dimensions as above, centered and 2 1/2" from second pillar, 2" from leading edge of  ramps

Center Section. 8 1/4" long. Pit is 4" x 4" and the section is 6" wide to create 1" ledges on each side of the pit. When the outer walls pass the boundary of the pits, they angle down to meet the straightaway's outer walls.

Center Bridge. 1" wide spanning the pit

Ramps. 1" x 1", the inner edge aligned with  the edge of the pit bridge.

Arena Events

The Joust. This event is run at several different AADA Divisional levels (see the Arena Schedule for dates and Divisions) and can be run with varying numbers of opponents. Duelists line up at the opposing S/F lines and then charge each other when the flag is dropped. The one-way ramp spikes are still in place on the pit ramps to prevent a mid-air collision over the Pit of Despair (a spectacular but very short end to the Joust). Vehicles must pass by each other and continue to S/F lines to complete a "pass." Vehicles may exchange fire any time after the flag drops, and up until their target crosses the S/F line (this allows participants to try for consecutive fire bonuses). Ramming is allowed, although not always practical unless ramming vehicle is in much better shape than target. Keep in mind that most vehicles meet on the center bridge where the random bounces from a head-on collision may throw both vehicles into the Pit. Jousting is not a sport for the weak-kneed, as there is no surrender.

The Joust is declared over by majority vote of the crowd (the Thumbs-Up / Thumbs-Down buttons on every seat in the house). Thumbs-Up declares the losing duelist has fought well, and shall live to fight again; Thumbs-Down . . . well, let us just say the passes resume and the unlucky duelist needs to keep rolling. Occasionally, the doomed duelist manages to turn the tables on his previously superior opponent (but not often). This is not a Blood Sport, and if a vehicle cannot move or fire, the Joust is over . . . this includes any vehicle driven into or pushed into the Pit. The Joust is considered a draw if both vehicles are so damaged they cannot make it across arena to opponent's S/F line after a pass has been made. Tire shots are frowned upon, but not forbidden. Often as a last ditch effort against an obviously superior foe, a desperate duelist may try to spin his opponent into a wall or the Pit. Again, the audience gets to choose if the duelist is allowed to get away with this tactic. A disqualification by the arena BCs through the roof of the offending vehicle is the general penalty for a "Thumbs Down" from the crowd. Better make sure you are truly desperate and have the crowd cheering for the underdog (that would be you in this case) before attempting tire shots in a Joust. The Final Joust of the season is a tremendous affair, with each Court challenging each other for supremacy on the field of honor. This Joust is always held on cycles, and depending on the whim of the King, Queen, and the crowd, can be fought with conventional ranged weapons, or hand-to-hand weapons (swords, spears, etc.). Those of you fortunate to remember the movie Knightriders from a while back can appreciate the atmosphere I am trying to recreate here.

Chariot Racing. This event can be run as a strictly Racing or as a DuelTrack event. With the close confines, many racers prefer to use dueling cars and sacrifice the top speed and maneuverability of the racing bodies for the heft and armament of some of the quicker dueling vehicles, however driver preference and choice of tactics usually keep the field close to even. Metal armor is almost universally used, along with roll cages in the racing bodies, as sideswiping and/or ramming other racers into Walls, Pillars, or the Pit is considered part of the fun. Standard Racing/Dueltrack restrictions by the AADA/R apply (no more than two spaces direct-fire weapons, no tire shots, no dropped weapons, etc.).  Unlike racetracks, there is no defined circuit in the Jousting Arena. A racer is considered to have completed a lap when his vehicle has passed between both of the outside pillars (the ones closest to each S/F line) and the arena wall. This allows for a wild time, and some hairy criss-crossing over the entire arena and a wide variety of tactics and styles. The Pit Ramps are the only "directional" areas on the track, with the one-way spikes keeping vehicles from doing the nasty over the Pit and making the race really short and boring. No firing from any vehicle allowed until that vehicle has completed one lap, however rams and sideswipes are encouraged and expected throughout the race. Once the lead vehicle completes lap five, the Center Bridge retracts from each edge, and racers must jump or use outside ledges. Vehicles unlucky enough to be caught on the Bridge usually wind-up colliding with the Pit Wall at great speed (Ouch!) and then falling into the Pit (Gravity works!). Typical events are 10-lap sprints, however special events and occasions may change the length and or limitations of event. The arena floor is specially cleared and swept for this event to allow for the use of racing slicks if so desired.

Dragonslayer. Ahh . . . the event that separates the Knights from the Squires. Knights from all Courts participate in this battle, along with any stout-hearted Commoners that wish to participate.  Instead of fighting each other though, the goal is to destroy "The Dragon", a metal-skinned, fire-breathing , luxury car. The only weapons the Knights may use are hand weapons, rocket weapons, or anything with an unmodified to hit equal to or greater than eight. TCs may be used, but not Hi-Res versions . . . No one said that slaying dragons was easy.

This event almost requires the cyclists' cooperation if they are to best the beast. Typically, the Knights are given identical "steeds" (heavy cycles) to ride. If allowed to design a "steed," and you can figure out how to do it within the monetary restrictions placed by the referee, yes, ATGs are allowed. These kind of steeds are actively sought out by the Dragons however, as they crunch nicely without too much effort (cannot mount a lot of armor with that 700-lb. ATG).

Scoring (C'mon you knew there was a catch):

Any hit doing 1-3 points of  damage to Dragon: 1 point
Any hit doing 4-9 points of damage to Dragon:  2 points
Any hit doing 10-15 points of damage to Dragon:  3 points
Any hit doing 16 or more points: 4 points
Firing "Killing Shot": 5 additional points.

A Killing Shot is a shot which effectively renders the Dragon immobile or powerless (no weapons left). In order to render a ram-equipped Dragon powerless, the power plant or driver must be incapacitated or forced to yield. Tire shots are not even thought of in this event (What kind of coward is going to try to slay a Dragon by hitting it's feet?) and are subject to the usual DQ Hail of Shells from Above (very frightening when you are riding a cycle!).

In low Divisions, the Dragon may even be a modified Hotshot, but in higher Divisions the Dragon may sport bumper spikes, car blades, and even a ramplate. Projectile weapons should not be forgotten when the Divisional class of the cycles go up and FP armor becomes available.  The imagination and discretion of the referee are the only limits to designing a "Dragon" (but it should "breathe" fire . . . what self respecting dragon would not?)

The Knights are given a set of impact armor, a fireproof suit, and are allowed $1,000 worth of other equipment (hand weapons, ammo, grenades, etc.).  Foam grenades are popular, since FEs are too heavy, and FP armor is too expensive. Why hand weapons against metal vehicular armor?  Not for the Dragon silly, when your foes seem to have the edge on you in points, hand weapons allow for certain . . . distractions . . . which may assist in your climb up the point scale, without wasting your precious rockets on non-Dragon targets. Just because you started on a Blue cycle does not mean you cannot finish on a Red one. The Black Knight's team usually begins this type of sinister play, and the other Knights took to carrying a sidearm for protection (this does not mean that they wait for the Black Knight to instigate things, but it makes for a good story for the announcer to tell as the arena is set up for this event). Typical events are run with one Dragon and five Knights (Red, White, Blue, Green, Black).  Season finales are run with two Dragons and pairs or teams of Knights from each court.

Auto Football. Okay, so it was not a medieval sport, but the fans love it! Yes, just as the plaque over the entrance reads, the Medieval Times Jousting Arena is the birthplace of Auto Football (see HVD Journal 7). Ramps retract the one-way spikes. Goals are scored when appropriate vehicle crosses opposing S/F line. End-of-Season and Playoff games require that the scoring vehicle return to his original S/F line for a goal to be scored.  Bonus points may be awarded to scoring vehicles who successfully complete criss-cross jumps during play. Since dropped weapons eventually become a pain to both sides regardless of which side placed the load, dropped weapons are allowed anywhere on the arena as it is foolish for either side to totally block routes across the Pit. The Center bridge is always extended and in place for this event.

"Free-For-All" AADA Divisional Dueling. Just what the name implies. No targets, no checkpoints, this is a Survivor Duel. Ramps retract the one-way spikes, and extra points are given for successful criss-cross jumps (for example, launching from left side jump and landing on opposing right side ramp . . . instead of straight across the Pit, vehicle flies over Center Bridge and Pit on a diagonal course). Regular jumps are nothing special. Center Bridge may or may not be retracted, depending on the whim of the audience. Dropped weapons usually wind up dividing the arena in half, and so are restricted within the arena area between the two innermost Pillars. Violators wind up driving convertibles rather quickly (if you catch my drift).

Arena Tactics

Within the narrow confines of this arena, rockets and other "up close and personal" weapons fare well. Of course those high-accuracy long-range weapons ensure consistency in this arena. Metal armor or composite armor is a good idea since chances are good you will bounce off a Wall or a Pillar or two before the night is over. Safety devices like roll cages and safety seats are ideal as well. High acceleration and good handling are a must for the many maneuvers and hairpin turns. Top speed is usually not a priority so use those gas-burners whenever the event rules allow. If an event allows tire shots, sacrifice some weight for better tires and possibly some wheel protection (real or fake), as the need for handling and many hazards make tire shots attractive when allowed.

Unless an event calls for a specific body type (the Dragonslayer for example), it may be run using any body type from cycles to campers, Can-Ams, Sprints and IndyCars and at any Divisional level. Vehicle restrictions are at the referee's discretion. Sample vehicles below are only suggestions. Feel free to design your own versions. One note: The steeds listed here are only for arena entertainment . . . When Questing, the Knights use private cycles and trikes designed with the road in mind, rather than the arena.

Sample Dragon: Manticore

The Manticore loves to seek out those who do not believe in armored cycle windshells or component armor and pepper them with plastic shards from its dischargers. Of course, those that have them are like eggs that must be cracked before enjoying the insides . . .

Manticore -- Luxury, x-hvy chassis, 250 ci ICE (with tubular headers and 6-gallon racing fuel tank), , 4 PR tires, driver, FT in universal 2-space turret,  2 extra FT magazines below turret, FOJ back, 8 FDs (2F, 2R, 2L, 1B, 1T),  FE, 3 links (FT and FOJ, right FD and left FD, right FD and left FD), FE. Cargo capacity: 3 spaces, 84 lbs. Metal/plastic armor: F5/20 (ramplate), R5/14, L5/14, B5/12, T7/10, U0/10 (27 points/80 points), 10-pts. 5-space plastic CA around ICE, 10-pts. 1-space plastic CA around fuel tank, 10-pts. 2-space plastic CA around driver. Accel 10, Top speed 80, Cruise speed 47.5, 25 MPG, DM 1, HC 3; 6,516 lbs., $22,700.

Sample Steeds: Warhorse Triad

Heavy Warhorse -- Heavy cycle with plastic cycle windshell, large cycle PP, hvy suspension, 2 PR tires, cyclist, MFRP front, MML front, SWC (cyclist and MML). Cargo capacity: 0 spaces, 2 lbs. Plastic armor: F20, B13 (33 points), 10-pts. plastic cycle windshell armor. Accel 10, Top speed 147.5, Cruise speed 87.5, DM 1/3, HC 2 (3 at 60 mph +); 1,298 lbs., $5,996.

Medium Warhorse -- Medium cycle with plastic cycle windshell, medium cycle PP, hvy suspension, 2 PR tires, cyclist, RL front, SWC (cyclist and RL). Cargo capacity: 0 spaces, 0 lbs. Plastic armor:  F15, B10 (25 points),  5-pts. plastic cycle windshell armor. Accel 10, Top speed 137.5, Cruise speed 82.5, DM 1/3, HC 2 (3 at 60 mph +); 1,100 lbs., $4,975.

Light Warhorse -- Light cycle with plastic cycle windshell, small cycle PP, hvy. suspension, 2 HD tires, cyclist, MML front, SWC (cyclist and MML). Cargo capacity: 0 spaces, 252 lbs. Plastic armor: F10, B7 (17 points), 3-pts. plastic cycle windshell armor. Accel 10, Top speed 165, Cruise speed 97.5, DM 1/3, HC 2 (3 at 60 mph +); 548 lbs., $3,250.