Date: Sun, 6 Aug 1995 05:03:53 -0700 (xxx)
From: 'Sir Gregory' GregRobin Smith
To: An Tir
Unto all Bards, Poets and Bardic competition
organizers especially, pray pay heed.
Follows is an edited letter I
sent Her Royal Majesty of An Tir, Luise. It concerns a new kind of Bardic
Competition, a "Bardic Tournament". If this is done elsewhere, I know not
of it, and offer it here for discussion and "trying out". If you have
I will try and answer to the best of my ability. Please
keep in mind (oh, you scoffers-at-such-things :-) that this is not JUST an
idea, but one that actually did work (at least once, anyway ;-). If you
try this out, please post me with how it worked. anon, and in service, Sir
Gregory, digital poet.
(from my letter to HRM)
My most Gracious Queen, Greetings from Sir
As Guardian of the Inspirational and Gentle Arts of our
Land, I feel You should be informed about a new style of Bardic
competition some of your subjects "invented".
A Bardic "Tournament"
rather than "Competition". It is based upon the simple premise
(forgive the vulgar sound of this comment) of:
"If metal heads and stick jocks can pick a Champion by beating each
other up and saying "Hey, You did a better job than I. You Win!"
Why can't Bards?" :-)
At Aquaterra's UnDead Tourney, we ran a
Round Robin Bardic Tourney with eight entrants. Each entrant was paired
with another for each round. Round one was "Humorous" bardic. One person
would perform their Humorous piece (a song, story or poem) and their
opponent would then perform, and then they would decide who was better.
The other participants would give opinions (and the audience, too, at
times). After this immediate feedback, there was always a decision between
the two. We would cheer the victor and the "looser" and go on. We did four
rounds ("Humor", "Love", "Battle" and "Friends". We had "Chivalry" and
"Nature" as back up categories). It took 4 hours to do 4 rounds (which is
VERY good considering there were 8 performances a round, usually).
The interesting thing we discovered was that it worked. Each bard
got immediate feedback, and all could discuss, defend or accept and give
honest praise to each other in acknowledging "the better performance". I
won a round that I was going to concede defeat in, because my opponent,
and the other performers, pointed out "why" I had won. Other times, both
thought they had won, and on discussion it became clear why one was
better. One lady was so inspired by this "tournament" she entered with
poems and stories she had written (she brought out a notebook 2" thick).
She had NEVER performed before. Almost no one had ever even *heard* her
poems before, and they were good!
The winner was Shaughnessy (the
Merchant) with a win in each round.
Devlin won three, Leith,
Alisaundra, X'aja (the 1st time reader) each had 2, James O'Guinn and I
had one each. Only one person never "won" a round, and he acknowledged
that it was because he knows nothing period, or few pieces period-like
(but we enjoyed his entries none the less).
All learned. I,
personally, got some great feedback. It has been used twice since, once in
the West Kingdom, and one in our Barony of Dragon's Laire. It may catch
on. Some rules that helped it along
1) Entries should be about 3 minutes long or less
2) Double "Kills" (where both entries are equal in quality) will
cause the combatants to do another piece at the end the round.
3) The other contestants and audience MAY join in on the performances.
in an impromptu "back-up band".
4) Period or period feeling pieces got more "points" (we did not run on
a strict "point" system, however. It was more of a consensus.
5) Some sort of documentation (verbal is ok) helps.
6) Memorized vs. read helps.
7) Polish helps (loud enough, no or few mistakes/glitches, etc.)
Things we may try in the future:
A) Run more than one "eric" at a time (different rooms?)
B) Have different topic rounds AND match the classifications
(Round 1, *songs* about war, Round 2, *instrumentals* about Nature,
Round 3, *humorous* stories, etc.)
I heard from the entrants and populace that it was a lot of fun,
and educational as well.
It is my hope that this report may help
Your ability to foster the Arts in our Great Kingdom. I remain available
to answer any questions You may have. Peace to You and Your Land. "Una
In service and duty, I am Your true subject, Sir