The offer of single combat must be issued and accepted, usually with the flourish of a lance.
Both parties then approach each other until their lance tips touch. Once this is done, the joust begins and for a Snail Knight retreat or move beyond the range of a weapon, means that they have lost.
The Snail Knights then circle and spiral closer and closer while striking at each other with whatever weapons they each think best.
It is customary to begin with the lance and then, once the range of the lance is no longer of use, to move to the sword, though axes, maces and flails are also sometimes employed.
Snail Knight lances are more like pole arms, often fitted with blades, hammers or claws at the head of the shaft as well as a piercing tip and used with a jabbing (foigning) blow, as well as over and underarm crossing (traverse) blows.
Each particular weapon and fighting style has its own subtle techniques and methods and these are much discussed and argued over by Snail Knights.
Snail Knights are almost always armed with a shield on their off arm, though, rarely, more exotic combinations are employed.
Key points in a joust can be:
- When a knight changes over from lance to hand weapon, this shortens their range and puts them at risk but allows them to try a cutting blow to strike off the head of an opponents lance. Some jousts are fought only to this point, which is called, literally 'jousting to the point'.
If a knight loses their shield. They may ask for a pause or 'succor'. It is considered honourable to allow your opponent to re-arm with a new shield so long as they are still on their snail. Even more honourable is to abandon your own shield in these circumstances so that you may exchange buffets on even terms. However there is no loss of honour for simply continuing to fight and may older and more careful knights will do just this.
- If a knight voids their Snail, meaning they are knocked off its shell or dismount, it is knightly for the opposing knight to also dismount and continue the battle on foot. Though, again, it is reasonable for an older or more careful knight to simply declare victory at this point.
If the battle is continued on foot then the same rules apply. To retreat beyond the range of the two weapons touching each other is to lose. Because of this most on-foot duels proceed in the same way as mounted duels, both parties circling and spiralling around each other, exchanging buffets.
A knight may submit at any time and it is considered knightly to accept a surrender. A promise or service may be demanded by the victor.
It if one knight tries to surrender and the other knight will not accept, they must inform them so directly, and pause before the joust can continue. Killing a knight while they try to surrender is wrong. Refusing a surrender is not knightly, but is legal.
Due to snails adhesive properties, duels can be offered and fought on vertical or even inverse surfaces, for instance, on the walls of fortresses or the ceilings of caves. In these conditions, to void your snail is almost certainly to die.
Striking directly at a Snails shell is legal but not knightly. It is also usually pointless as few weapons wielded by man can penetrate the shell of a Snail Knights Snail.
Striking at a Snail direct, or trying to wound a snail, is contemptible in every respect, it is a loathly thing that no true Snail Knight would ever do.
However, Snails can sometimes go wild and issue into combat with each other. A morphologically complex process in which they entwine about each other and each attempts to subdue the other. During this process, due to the tilting and twisting of the shells and the interweaving of the snails, it is customary for jousting Knights to void their snails and fight on foot. (However this does not _always_ take place, some duels between very angry knights are continued from a mounted position even as their snails adhere to each other.)
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