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Ser Severin and the Sinister Gambling Emporium presents:

The Handicapper's Guide to Crown
Tournament at Martinmas

I. Earl Gregory Ahearne — 2 to 1

The Man called Horse is back, and he's calm as ever. That fact is the scariest thing about this guy. He's going to put this sword on that side of your head and there isn't a DAMN thing you can do about it. If this son of Billy Jack keeps it real, he's my #1.

II. Sir Seosaidh, Earl Claidgh Dhu — 5 to 2

All that experience, and in shape for a marathon. To put this simply, he's the only man who has beaten Duke Baldar in Crown, and he's done it more than once. Seosaidh is my pick for King's Champion, although word is he may be a late scratch from the field.

III. Sir Tearlach — 3 to 1

I believe the term "wild card" was coined for our Celtic friend. To paraphrase an old expression "you can beat some of the people all of the time, or you can beat all of the people some of the time" applies here. When motivated, he is fiercely indefatigable. However, this bog lord can be distracted. I see Tearlach slated for the semifinals.

IV. Sir Odo FitzHugh — 4 to 1

One of the "baby" knights wants to get jiggy with it. We all know the story, new belt, something to prove, gets stressed, out in 3. Don't count on it. This full-grown Sasquatch can knock down a 100 year- old oak and then eat it. Count him in for the semifinals.

V. Syr Mittion Von Weald — 7 to 1

Not unlike Sir Odo, Mittion has his own Crusade as a new knight. He has strong lineage — he was squired to Wulfhere who was squired to Spyder who was squired to Verron, each of whom sat the throne of Trimaris twice. Unfortunately (or fortunately) he's a much nicer guy than they, and you know what they say about how they finish. I see a possible exit in the quarterfinals, but with style, and there's worse things that having Countess Honoree to console you.

VI. Syr Merowald de Sylveastan
either even money or 5000 to 1;

...depending on if the Duke or the Jester shows up. This wacky enigma won the first tournament he ever fought in, which happened to be Midrealm Crown. Of course, that was in 1953. Then again, he probably won the same year Peter Pan came out, because neither of them wants to grow up. The Duke de Beaux Eau (or Bozo) will either win easily or prance to two straight losses; or something in between as I'm not even taking a stab.

VII. Sir John Detereby de Netherlands — 12 to 1

The quiet Dutchman makes his claim for the throne. It's hard to tell if John has the fire in him to see the end, but remember, he's a lawyer, so there's no question of his cunning. And he gets bonus points for having a really cool pavilion.

VIII. Ld. Wylfred of Morgenvayle — 15 to 1

A member of the Dun Tir Death Squad, this guy's got a lot of energy, but seems to want to throw it in a hundred directions. If he could crash on Dagobah and study with Yoda for a while (the other one, Erin), he could focus some of that wild intensity into more productivity.

IX. Ld Gunnar Oxnamegan — 15 to 1

The "player to be named later" in the Trimaris/Outlands Duke Verron trade. Gunnar brings an unorthodox style in from the Rocky Mountain division, throwing around an axe and sword when not using his Captain America shield to defeat injustice. My pick is for the quarterfinals, if he keeps his eyes open.

X. HL Martin Lochner — 20 to 1

Martin, on loan from the Atlantian franchise, is struggling a little to handle the finesse game used in the Southern division, as he is more accustomed to the power game of the Central division. When Martin puts a no-trade clause in his contract, and learns to relax Trimarian style he will be a very strong force both on and off the field.

XI. Ld Hav Longswimmer — 25 to 1

This big ol' Nordic boy has been known to leave a bruise or two. His strong but mostly unpolished style has made him walk away from more than one winnable fight. If Longswimmer studied some of the thinking man's fighters, like Sir Ropesle or Duke Llewelyn, he could be the total package.

XII. HL Andrew Montgomery — 25 to 1

This "biggun" has been a steady producer in Crown over the years. He has scared the hell out of some of the kingdom's best fighters, leaving them shaking their heads. If Andrew gains some confidence and finishing techniques, someday they may be shaking more than their heads. As for now, steadfast but unspectacular.

XIII. Ld Killian the Bruce — 50 to 1

Now Killian, are you really THE Bruce, or simply A Bruce? You don't look like the guy in Braveheart. Not unlike Iain and Ichimitsu, Killian has the heart, but this field is pretty rough, not a place to try out a shiny new helmet or anything, if you catch my drift.

XIV. Ld Iain Callean MacKee — 50 to 1

Syr Gradhiel's squire may have one of the big knight's old swords, but not many have the sheer mass to wield those boys. Let's see how Iain does against some of the big dogs of the Kingdom.

XV. Ichimitsu — 75 to 1

Another in the long storied history of gents from the very "southern" tip of Japan, I believe this fellow should be able to into the third round, possibly even four, if he's Taka's guy like I think he is. You know, they all look the same to me. JUST KIDDING! (Editorial note: Japan is not now nor was it ever part of Western European society. I know it has nothing to do with betting, but it's my paper.)

XVI. William MacAlpiene — no line

I have only a few rules (as you can tell) when it comes to my betting lines - I gotta know something about you. Well, William, here's your chance to show your thang; give me something to write home about next Crown.

XVII. Andreas the Mad Druid — 1000 to 1

I don't like to give odds this long normally, but this contestant authorized to fight last week. No, that's not a typo. I gave you full points for bravery, Andreas, but I had to take them back for the goofy name.


The Quarter - We're the people your Laurel warned you about!