Melees and Jousting

Medieval Europe also featured tournaments to allow knights to practice their combat skills and demonstrate their valor off the field of battle. Melees pitted a mass of knights against each other on a field. Combat was nearly as violent as actual warfare, and injuries and fatalities could result.

In jousts, knights practiced their skill with horse and lance. Competitors often used heavier armor than they would wear in battle, fought with blunt-tipped lances designed to shatter on impact, and were separated by a rail to prevent horses from colliding. Even with these protections, deaths occurred. The best target to hit to knock an opponent down was the visor, which didn't always prevent lethal lance shards from penetrating. Falls from horseback could also prove deadly, especially if the knight was trampled. Geoffrey of Brittany died in this way in 1186, which let John Lackland take the English throne in 1199 - a pivotal event in Western history.

Use combat skills (and possibly actual combat) to resolve early competitions. Later in history, Combat Sport skills -notably Lance Sport - are more appropriate.

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