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The Noble Tourneys of Perunalia

The Noble Tourneys of Perunalia

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The white plumed amazon knights and archers in the demigoddess-ruled Duchy of Perunalia constantly compete in jousting and archery tournaments to claim royal purses, and even more valuable bragging rights.

The most famous of these is the Duchess’s Faire in the capitol city of Sephaya, where the champion is proclaimed “Grand Maiden” by the demigoddess herself. The Grand Maiden for the last ten years running has been Countess Zorin, a distant cousin, and a favorite of the demigoddess.

A number of smaller tournaments lead up to the Duchess’s Faire, however, and the amazon warriors of Perunalia are passionate about showing martial skills in tourneys large and small.

Coming of Age

When a young lady of Perunalia turns fourteen years of age, her birthday is celebrated by a joyous ceremony called the Aniposis. She has reached her majority in the eyes of her amazon sisters and is ready to begin her training as a warrior.

Many gifts are traditionally showered on the young woman from aunties. A young woman’s mother traditionally gives her a bow and a horse, and her grandmother often gives her a first manservant.  If the woman is a highly-placed noble or a close relative of the demigoddess herself, she may receive a beautiful bow or magnificent horse directly from the duchess or the Grand Maiden herself.

At fifteen or sixteen years of age, after they have had time to train, young amazons compete in local archery and jousting tournaments hosted by archery schools, municipalities, and counties.  Prizes are usually ribbons and perhaps a small coin purse, but the winners proceed to larger regional tournaments, and eventually all the way to the Duchess’s Faire. Regional tournaments and fairs are held each season, usually in the seat of each county, but some are larger and better known.


The Spring Tourney of the city of Clarsaya is very prestigious, because the White Citadel jousting tournament is also used as an entrance exam for young amazons who wish to join the renowned Order of the White Lions.

The White Lions are an elite knightly order of paladins, the most famous and feared warriors in the Duchy, sworn to protect its borders and nobility. The champions of these jousts are inducted into the Order in a solemn ceremony often right on tourney field, immediately after victory.

The other famous competition during the Tourney is the Pentathlon, a grueling multi-day competition that tests young warriors in jousting, archery, melee combat, riding, and knowledge of medicine. The champion of the Pentathlon automatically advances to the Duchess’s Faire and becomes eligible to join the White Lions.

The Thunder War

Perhaps the bloodiest and most dangerous regional tourney is the Storm Tourney of Orkasa, more commonly known as the Thunder War, held every fall when the Storm Court of Perun (his enormous cloud-castle) arrives overhead. The tourney is infamous for its bloody mass melees.

Most melee tournaments are fought with blunted or wooden training weapons to avoid permanent injury and death. The Thunder War, however, is fought with edged steel weapons. Combat is only to first blood, but serious injuries and death are not uncommon. Stories say that a warrior killed the in the Thunder War is immediately reincarnated as a valkyrie in the Storm Court.

It is also said that the Storm God, Perun (father of the demigoddess, Duchess Soulay), originally presided over the tourney and handed out prizes in person, though that hasn’t been true for at least a century. Now the presiding judge is Oshara Glaszren, a storm giant matron, reputedly Perun’s favored concubine, and a rival of the Duchess for Perun’s affections.

Glaszren normally awards the grand victor of the Thunder War with a powerful magic weapon such as a flawless compound bow with magical thunder or lightning power, and astonishing range and rates of fire. If she finds the grand victor haughty and rude, however, she offers a weaker prize, or none at all.


In boisterous contrast to the tournaments, the fall Baccholonia harvest fests of Ulebain and Portocale are ribald week-long celebrations of love, procreation, wine, song, dance, and poetry. Celebrations commemorate and praise the local gods who are more life-affirming than Perun: Ceres, Holda, Lada, Yarila, and Porevit, and most especially, Baccholon, the god of wine and song.

Bards from leagues around come to earn easy coin and make their fame during the contests. In between are wild parties, horse races through the streets, informal drinking contests, and all manner boisterous revelry. It is rumored that members of the Storm Court, senior White Lion officers, and local fey appear in disguise.

During the festival, all doors are to be flung wide, and no polite guest can be reasonably refused. This is because any guest may be an archfey, the Duchess, or even Perun himself, disguised in a glamour. These entities are said to richly reward a courteous host, even ones of meager means, while punishing and humbling wealthy, but tight-fisted hosts. For this reason, children conceived during the week-long festival are considered to be both lucky and good fortune for the family.

There is a local saying that “no oaths are broken during the Baccholonia.” There are no limits or laws against public degeneracy, drunkenness, or lewd behavior, but brawls and assault are quickly put down by reveling “peace officers.” These are usually off-duty soldiers, knights and city guards who produce “peace batons” (staves tied with white ribbons), and beat down violent offenders, ravishers, or molesters. Sometimes they even cart them away for incarceration.

These festivals are also the only time male family members and manservants are allowed to roam unveiled. However unveiled men, especially in groups, unaccompanied by female family members, are looked upon with deep suspicion. They may be incarcerated with little cause by peace officers until claimed by a distaff family member or their bonded mistress.

Get into Midgard with the Midgard Worldbook! This acclaimed campaign setting is rich and deep, with a decade of support from Kobold Press. Find out about the Northlands or any other part of the wide world of Midgard!

about Adam W. Roy

Adam has been playing TTRPGs for almost forty years, and has been a freelance game writer and editor for decades. He has written for Kobold Press, Paizo, White Wolf, and others. He is also a full-time father, husband, and e-commerce guru…. He manages all of this by avoiding sleep altogether.

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