The Jousting Plain: game design and remediation of Spenser’s The Faerie Queene
The Faerie Queene: Book 3, Canto 1, Sections 4-12
In the beginning of the Faerie Queene Book 3, Sir Guyon and Prince Arthur are journeying together and come across an open plain, upon which they encounter Britomart. “At last as through an open plaine they yode,/They spide a knight, that towards pricked faire,” (Book 3, Canto 1, Stanza 4). Sir Guyon immediately squares off against her, prompting a joust where Sir Guyon is defeated. His companions make excuses for his loss by blaming (in the poem) the horse and Sir Guyon’s equipment. Sir Guyon’s pride is satisfied, and the group is reconciled to Britomart, joining her to continue into the forest.
Overview / Location
To the North of the Classroom is the first area of the game: the Jousting Plain. A open, grassy area, the Jousting Plain is limited by hills and trees in order to keep the player moving forward in his/her quest. The area serves to introduce the player to basic fighting and interaction with other characters as they move along the path in order to continue the narrative. In this section, the player acts as the character Sir Guyon, entering along with several companions as they journey. The area is designed as a mostly open, bright area, set along a path where the player interacts with the Palmer, a knight, Prince Arthur, and Britomart.
- The Palmer-plain man who introduces the player to the area.
- A Knight-unspecified initial character to introduce combat
- Prince Arthur-In knight’s garb; Sir Guyon’s companion, acts as a narrator in the scenes.
- Britomart-A woman who has taken on the guise of a knight.
- An initial joust (battle) to set up game mechanics
- Joust with Britomart
Upon entering the Jousting Plain, the player finds the first NPC next to them, the Palmer. The Palmer, in the poem, is a companion of Sir Guyon. In medieval tradition, a palmer was a person who had completed a journey to Jerusalem as a religious quest. In this scenario, the Palmer serves to introduce the player to the jousting area and challenges him/her to take on an initial joust, telling the player,
“Greetings, Sir Guyon, I’m here to tell you that you have been challenged to a joust!”
“A joust you say?”
“A joust indeed! This may be a chance to hone your skills. You never know when you will need to joust unexpectedly.”
The player has an option to pick either, “Yes, bring him forth,” or “No, I need no practice.” If the player chooses the former, another NPC, a knight, appears and attacks the player, giving them a chance to determine the rules of fighting and using commands.
After defeating the NPC, the player continues forward in the Jousting Plain. Prince Arthur, the companion of Sir Guyon, is in armor and is designed to introduce the player to the next fight against Britomart, saying “Sir, I spotted a knight with a strange spear some time ago. I would move with caution.”
Once the player moves on, Britomart approaches and interacts (had the programming work, this would have resulted in a fight that the player cannot win.)
“Have at thee!”
“Let us fight!”
Sir Guyon’s response to his inability to defeat Britomart is, “I am dishonoured, I would rather die than be defeated.”
Prince Arthur tells the player, “Do not be ashamed, Sir. The knight’s spear is enchanted, and your equipment is at fault. Do not tempt fortune by fighting this knight.”
The player chooses to surrender with, “Very well, I am pacified.” The player interacts with Britomart and learns who she is, “I am Britomart of Britain, on a quest to find my lover. I will join you in your journey.” The player can then move on to the next section in the game.
Logan Wilke, Matt Eller, Jesse Huang