This is the text of the West Kingdom Marshal's Handbook, last updated in 2007. This is not the official version, but is put up to aid in the translation project. For the official version see the Kingdom of the West home page.
Society for Creative Anachronism
- Marshal’s Handbook -
Revision date, 21 August, 2006 The online version of this document is the officially released version from the Society Marshal. Any photocopies or print-outs, either full or partial, are not controlled. 1 Revision date, 21 August, 2006 The online version of this document is the officially released version from the Society Marshal. Any photocopies or print-outs, either full or partial, are not controlled.
Copyright © 1985, 1989, 1992, 1994, 2000, 2002, 2006 by The Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
This handbook is an official corporate publication of the Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc., a nonprofit
organization dedicated to researching and recreating the customs, combat and courtesy of the Middle Ages and the
Renaissance. Copies of this document can be ordered from SCA Marketplace, PO Box 360789, Milpitas, CA 95036-0789
Members of the Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc., may photocopy this work in whole or in part for SCA use provided that copyright credit is given and no changes are made to the text. The contents of this document will be posted at http://www.sca.org and further reproduction on other Internet sites is expressly forbidden. Revision date, 21 August, 2006 The online version of this document is the officially released version from the Society Marshal. Any photocopies or print-outs, either full or partial, are not controlled.
This Handbook is the latest revision of a set of rules and guidelines that have been adapting and evolving over the last forty years. What you find within these pages reflects a vast body of experience and knowledge gathered from across the Knowne World and compiled through the efforts of many. While the traditions and laws of each Kingdom vary, these rules represent the minimum requirements for equipment and conduct allowable for participation in SCA armored combat.
As we gather at our events to recreate the ideals of Honor and Chivalry of the Middle Ages, remember that these rules and standards are but the foundation of the fighting community, set to ensure that we may continue to enjoy SCA combat. No book of rules can replace common sense, which must also be exercised to keep all combatants and spectators safe. In all combat activities, safety must always be paramount. We all participate in the SCA because we enjoy it. So, as you go about your tasks, duties, and activities, remember to have fun and to help others do the same. The rules must be followed, work must be done, and safety considered first above all, but always remember why we’re all here. Have fun, and be safe!
I. COMBAT AUTHORIZATION REQUIREMENTS
1. All persons who wish to participate in SCA combat activities must authorize under the Society and Kingdom-of-residence authorization procedures. SCA combat activities are defined as armored combat, period fencing, combat archery siege, and marshaling. Other activities clearly falling within the scope above are also considered combat-related activities. Youth combat programs are not supervised at the Society level, but participation in such programs requires authorization following Kingdom-of-residence procedures.
2. Each Kingdom shall establish a procedure for authorizing combatants for participation in SCA combat-related activities. These procedures shall verify that the candidate is familiar with the following:
a. Rules of the Lists of the SCA.
b. The Armor and Weapons standards of the SCA.
c. The Conventions of Combat for the SCA.
d. Kingdom-of-residence–specific Conventions of Combat.
e. Kingdom-of-residence–specific Armor and Weapons Standards.
3. In addition to the above requirements, candidates must demonstrate the ability to function on the field in a manner that is safe both to themselves and their opponents.
4. Only a warranted or rostered Authorized Marshal may perform an authorization. This Marshal must witness the authorization and must execute the appropriate paperwork to ensure that the authorization is registered with the appropriate Kingdom official. In the West Kingdom, only Senior Marshals may authorize new fighters and new marshals.
5. Authorization shall be registered with and kept on file by the Minister of the Lists or other designated official of each kingdom. This office shall be responsible for keeping properly completed waivers and maintaining the registration of authorizations. This office shall provide the Earl Marshal with a list of all current Authorization Cards upon request. In the West Kingdom, there is a Special Database Deputy who fulfils this duty.
6. No authorization card may be issued until a properly completed Waiver is filed with the Kingdom.
7. Signed waivers for SCA combat-related activities shall be kept on file for a period of seven (7) years.
8. Combat authorizations may be issued for a period of up to, but not exceeding, four (4) years.
9. Authorization cards shall not be issued to persons residing in other kingdoms unless such persons are defined as subjects of the issuing kingdom by specific royal treaty.
10. Kingdoms may define additional types of authorization, such as weapon forms, field marshals, and missile combat marshals, and requirements for them, as they deem necessary. In the West Kingdom we do not authorize for separate weapons forms for Armored Combat, however, you must authorize separately for Rapier, Cut and Thrust, Siege, and Missile Combat. Authorization in one form does not imply authorization in any of the others.
11. Valid authorization cards shall be accepted outside the issuing kingdom as proof of authorization. Kingdoms may define additional requirements before renewing an authorization card for a person who has moved into that kingdom from another kingdom.
12. A marshal from any kingdom may revoke the authorization card of a fighter from any other kingdom for just and stated cause.
13. In the Kingdom of the West, a Fighter-in-training may participate in practices after executing a waiver but prior to completing authorization, as long as the practice is being supervised by a rostered Marshal-in-Charge or Branch Marshal.
B. Minor Authorization: Minors (ages 14–17) may authorize with these additional requirements:
1. In order to be authorized as a combatant or marshal in adult armored combat, an individual must have attained his or her sixteenth (16th) birthday. In order to be authorized as a participant, combatant, or marshal in any other form of Society combat-related activity, except Youth Combat, an individual must have attained his or her fourteenth (14th) birthday.
2. No person below the age of eighteen (18) may be warranted as a group Marshal, or the Marshal in Charge of an event.
3. The parents or guardians of the minor must witness SCA combat, discuss with a witnessing marshal how it relates to the participation of their child, and execute a “Minor’s Waiver and Informed Consent to Participate in SCA Combat-Related Activities.” The witnessing Marshal must countersign the waiver.
4. The Earl Marshal, the Principality Marshal, or a designated deputy must be the one to authorize the minor for SCA Combat-Related Activities.
5. At any event in which the minor is involved in SCA combat-related activities, the minor must either have a parent or guardian present, or must be in possession of a properly executed “Medical Authorization Form for Minors.” Said Medical Authorization Form must designate an adult present at the event as able to authorize medical treatment in the case of an emergency.
II. RULES OF THE LISTS
A. The basic rules for SCA combat are contained in the Rules of the Lists. These rules were not originally designed to cover non-tourney field activities such as wars, combat archery, and period fencing, but have been extended to cover these activities. The observance of honor and chivalry and the safety of the combatants are considered overriding elements. The following is intended to bring together the appropriate rules for conducting both tourney field combat and other SCA combat activities.
B. The Rules of the Lists are reprinted from section IX.B. of the Corpora of the SCA.
1. Each fighter, recognizing the possibilities of physical injury to themselves in such combat, shall assume unto themselves all risk and liability for harm suffered by means of such combat. No fighter shall engage in combat unless and until they have inspected the field of combat and satisfied themselves that it is suitable for combat. Other participants shall likewise recognize the risks involved in their presence on or near the field of combat and shall assume unto themselves the liabilities thereof.
2. No person shall participate in Official Combat-Related Activities (including armored combat, period fencing, and combat archery) outside of formal training sessions unless they have been properly authorized under Society and Kingdom procedures.
3. All combatants must be presented to, and be acceptable to, the Sovereign or his or her representative.
4. All combatants shall adhere to the appropriate armor and weapons standards of the Society, and to any additional standards of the Kingdom in which the event takes place. The Sovereign may waive the additional Kingdom standards.
5. The Sovereign or the Marshallate may bar any weapon or armor from use upon the field of combat. Should a warranted Marshal bar any weapon or armor, an appeal may be made to the Sovereign to allow the weapon or armor.
6. Combatants shall behave in a knightly and chivalrous manner and shall fight according to the appropriate Society and Kingdom Conventions of Combat.
7. No one may be required to participate in Combat-Related Activities. Any combatant may, without dishonor or penalty, reject any challenge without specifying a reason. A fight in a tournament lists is not to be considered a challenge and therefore may not be declined without forfeiting the bout.
8. Fighting with real weapons, whether fast or slow, is strictly forbidden at any Society event. This rule does not consider approved weaponry which meets the Society and Kingdom standards for traditional Society combat and/or Society period rapier combat, used in the context of mutual sport, to be real weaponry.
9. No projectile weapons shall be allowed within the Lists of a tournament, nor shall any weapons be thrown. The use of approved projectile weapons for melee, war, or combat archery shall conform to the appropriate Society and Kingdom Conventions of Combat.
C. Applications of the Rules of the Lists
Application of Rule 1: “Other participants” include Marshals and also support personnel whose activities bring them close to fighting in a situation where boundaries are not clearly defined. Heralds, List Pages, and similar officers who leave the field entirely before combat begins are exempt from this requirement, as are water-bearers and chirurgeons who remain in fixed support points outside the tournament field or battle area. Water-bearers and chirurgeons who take part in mobile support groups within the overall boundaries of a battle area must receive a basic orientation in field safety, and sign a proper waiver.
Application of Rule 2: The Crown and/or Marshallate of each Kingdom shall establish standards and procedures for the authorization of fighters to participate in combat. These procedures shall adhere to the Combat Authorization Procedures in this handbook. At Kingdom option, these procedures may involve either a general authorization to participate in armored combat or a set of separate authorization procedures for the use of (or for combat AGAINST) specific weapons or classes of weapons.
Application of Rule 3: The Crown and/or Marshallate of each Kingdom shall establish standards and procedures for the authorization of combat archers and missile users to participate in combat. Kingdoms may establish such additional limitations on the participation of minors as may be deemed necessary. It is usual for authorizations from other Kingdoms to be accepted, although exceptions may prove necessary in the case of specific individuals. The Crown may not simply grant an authorization, unless the recipient has successfully completed the authorization process as delineated in Society and Kingdom law.
Application of Rule 4: Kingdoms may apply armor and weapons standards that are stricter than the Society standards, should they be deemed necessary, but may not reduce or waive any Society standard.
Application of Rule 5: If a fighter regards an opponent’s weapon or armor as unduly dangerous to self or opponent, he or she can request that the Marshal on the field reinspect the item. Either fighter has the option of appealing the decision of the reinspection Marshal to the Marshal in Charge and ultimately to the Sovereign.
Application of Rule 6: Engaging in any Society combat activity with the deliberate intent to inflict bodily harm to an opponent is strictly forbidden.
Application of Rule 7: No one is required to engage in SCA combat should he or she prefer not to do so.
Application of Rule 8: Since fighting with real weapons is forbidden at any Society event, threatening the use of such weapons is likewise expressly forbidden. At the discretion of the Sovereign and the Marshal in Charge, recognized experts may be permitted to present choreographed demonstrations with real weapons under strictly controlled conditions. No one may wear any real weapon onto the field while participating in combat or present during combat. At the discretion of the Sovereign and the Marshal in Charge, an exception may be made for marshals or other noncombatants to wear knives bonded with peace straps. Posing for still photographs with real weapons is permitted.
Application of Rule 9: The prohibition on thrown weapons refers to weapons thrown in combat or thrown in a hostile manner. It does not apply to “tossing,” defined as a gentle, short-range method of transferring or removing a tournament weapon or item from the list field or area of combat. The use of bows and arrows, firearms, slings, javelins, throwing axes, throwing knives, or any other projectile weapon is forbidden within Tournament Lists, or in any other situation where spectators cannot be separated from the potential line of fire by more than the effective range of the weapon.
III. CONVENTIONS OF COMBAT
A. General Information
1. All traditional SCA armored combat at SCA tourneys, wars, and other events shall be conducted in accordance with the Rules of the Lists of the SCA, Inc., these Conventions of Combat, and such weapon and equipment standards and event rules as are established by the Marshallate of the SCA, Inc., and individual Kingdom Marshallates.
2. All Kingdoms shall have as their minimum armor and weapons standards those criteria established by the Society Minimum Armor and Weapons Standards. Each Kingdom may require additional, more extensive, and/or stricter standards.
a. All fighters, prior to combat at each and every SCA-sponsored event or fighting practice, shall ensure that their armor and weapons are inspected by a warranted member of the Kingdom Marshallate.
b. Even though a warranted member of the Kingdom Marshallate has inspected the armor and weapons used by a fighter, each fighter shall accept full responsibility for the condition of his or her own equipment. Each fighter has the obligation to his- or herself, the marshals, and all opponents, to see that his or her equipment meets all Society and Kingdom requirements.
3. When not otherwise directed by the Sovereign, the Sovereign’s representative upon the field and in all matters dealing with Society Combat is the Earl Marshal, and, by delegation, warranted members of the Kingdom Marshallate.
B. Behavior on the Field
1. Striking an opponent with excessive force is forbidden and considered an unchivalrous act.
2. All fighters shall obey the commands of the marshals on the field or shall be removed from the field and subject to disciplinary action. Disagreements with the marshals on the field shall be resolved through the established mechanisms outlined in the Procedures for Grievances and Sanctions of the Marshallate Procedures of the SCA, Inc.
3. Each fighter shall maintain control over his or her temper at all times.
4. Upon hearing the call of “HOLD” all fighting shall IMMEDIATELY stop.
5. A fighter shall not enter the lists or participate in any form of SCA combat activity while impaired by alcohol or drugs (including, but not limited to: drugs prescribed by a licensed health care provider, over the counter medications, and illegal controlled substances.)
6. Any behavior that takes deliberate advantage of an opponent’s chivalry or safety consciousness, or that takes deliberate unfair advantage of an opponent, is prohibited.
7. A fighter shall not deliberately strike a helpless opponent.
8. Any fighter who obtains an unfair advantage by repeatedly becoming “helpless” (for example, by falling down or losing their weapon) may, after being duly warned by the marshals on the field, be forced to yield the fight at the next occurrence of such behavior. The onus of this is on the marshals, not on the opponent. However, the opponent may ask the marshals to let the fight continue.
9. Prolonged overt contact of a fighter's person (hands/feet/limbs/body/head) to an opponent's person is prohibited. Brief incidental contact is expected and acceptable during engagement.
10. Deliberately striking an opponent’s head, limbs, or body with a shield, weapon haft, or any part of the body is forbidden.
11. Intentionally tripping an opponent is prohibited.
12. Grasping an opponent's person, shield, or weapon's striking surface is prohibited.
13. Intentionally striking an opponent outside the legal target areas is forbidden.
14. Extend the utmost courtesy to your opponent. You do each other honor by meeting on the field. If there is question regarding a point of honor (such as blow strength), give your opponent the benefit of the doubt as far as is reasonable.
15. It is considered courteous to turn a kneeling fighter so that he or she is not facing into the sun.
16. It is considered discourteous and dangerous to intentionally target the groin area. If such blows are thrown repeatedly, it shall be presumed to be a violation of the Rules of the Lists - number six.
17. Unimpeded blows swung at or below the knee are both discourteous and dangerous. Fighters who repeatedly throw such a blow shall be duly warned by the Marshals. If such blows continue to be thrown, the fighter can be prohibited from throwing leg blows or be caused to forfeit the fight.
C. Target Area
1. Torso: All of the body above the points of the hips, excluding the head and arms and including the groin, shoulder blades, and the area between the neck and shoulders.
2. Face: the area between the chin and the middle of the forehead and between the ear openings.
3. Head: The whole head and neck except the face as defined above.
4. Thighs: The leg from one inch above the top of the knee to a line even with the bottom of the hip socket.
5. Hips: Area between the bottom of the hip socket to the point of the hip (iliac crest).
6. Shoulder: From the point of the shoulder down to a line even with the top of the underarm.
7. Arms: From the shoulder to one inch above the wrist.
8. Blows that land outside the legal target areas shall not be counted, unless an illegal target area has been intentionally placed in the path of an impending blow.
IV. THE USE OF WEAPONS AND SHIELDS
A. Weapons shall be used in accordance with their design. For example, spears may only be used for thrusting, axes for striking along the edge of the blade, etc.).
1. Only weapons approved for thrusting may be used for that purpose. Feinting as if to thrust with a weapon not approved for that purpose is prohibited. Before any bout where a thrusting weapon is used, the opponent and marshals shall be informed that such a weapon is on the field, and the thrusting tip shall be shown to the opponent.
2. The blade of an opponent’s weapon may not be grasped at any time, nor may it be trapped in contact with the fighter’s body as a means of preventing the opponent’s use of the weapon. Armored hands may grasp the haft of an opponent’s weapon.
B. The striking surface of a weapon in motion may not be grasped or blocked by the hands or limbs as a means of impeding a blow.
1. If a combatant intentionally places an illegal target area (e.g., an empty hand and or lower leg, including the knee and foot) in the path of a blow, the combatant forfeits that attached limb as if it had been struck in a legal target area.
2. Inadvertently bringing the hands in contact with the striking surface of a weapon in motion, as when attempting to block a blow with another weapon, shall not be considered to be in violation of this convention.
C. Blows repeatedly blocked by a weapon in contact with a fighter’s helm, body, or shield at the moment of impact may, at the Sovereign’s or Marshal’s discretion, be considered to have broken the blocking weapon. This type of blocking is known as “anvilling”. This will force a fighter to forfeit the fight, unless a secondary weapon is carried onto the field or the opponent chooses to allow the fighter to rearm with another weapon. In the West, the defending fighter will be forced to continue the fight with a different type of weapon.
D. A shield or weapon may be used to displace, deflect, or immobilize an opponent’s shield or weapon, so long as such use does not endanger the safety of the combatants. A shield or haft may be safely placed against the opponent's body to restrict his ability to strike or defend. However, in the West Kingdom, a fighter may not place their shield on any part of their opponent’s body, nor may they use any part of their body to manipulate their opponent’s shield.
E. Shields must be controlled by the hand; use of passive shields (not controlled by the hand) will be treated as decorative armor and subject to effective blow acknowledgment.
V. ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF BLOWS
A. Judging the effects of blows is left to the honor of the combatant being struck by the weapon, unless he or she relinquishes this responsibility, with the exception of clear violations of the Rules of the Lists or the Conventions of Combat. Effectiveness of a blow may not be judged by the opposing combatant, the Marshal, or other observers. Information unavailable to the combatant being struck may be supplied by the opposing combatant or the Marshal, including blade orientation upon impact, apparent force transmitted, or apparent location and angle of the blow’s impact based upon the observer’s angle of observation.
B. When judging the effect of blows, all fighters are presumed to be fully armored. Special tournaments or combat rules may redefine what areas of the body are armored, and to what extent, so long as all the participants are made aware of the special conditions prior to the start of combat.
1. All “fully armored” fighters are presumed to be wearing a chain hauberk over a padded gambeson, with boiled leather arm and leg defenses and an open-faced iron helm with a nasal. The helm may be presumed by Kingdom convention to include a very light chain mail drape, permitting vision and resisting cuts by the mere touch of a bladed weapon. In the West Kingdom, we assume all fighters have a chain mail drape across their face.
2. Under this standard, an acceptable cutting blow to the face would be lighter than to other portions of the head or body. Areas deemed illegal to strike (the wrists from 1 inch [25.4mm] above the hands, from 1 inch [25.4mm] above the knees and below) shall be considered safe from all attack.
3. The minimum effective thrusting blow to the face shall be a directed touch and the maximum shall be substantially lighter than to other parts of the body.
C. An effective blow will be defined as a blow which was delivered with effective technique for the particular type of weapon used, properly oriented, and struck with sufficient force.
1. An effective blow to the head, neck, or torso shall be judged fatal or completely disabling, rendering the fighter incapable of further combat.
2. An effective blow from an axe, mace, polearm, greatsword, or other mass weapon, which lands on the hip above the hip socket or strikes the shoulder inside the shoulder socket, shall be judged fatal or completely disabling. A thrust to the hip or shoulder from a mass weapon, great sword, pike, or polearm is not considered fatal or totally disabling, only wounding.
a. An effective blow landing on the top of the shoulder anywhere between the shoulder point and the neck is considered fatal or totally disabling.
3. An effective blow to the arm above the wrist will disable the arm. The arm shall then be considered useless to the fighter and may not be used for either offense or defense.
4. An effective blow to the leg above the knee will disable the leg. The fighter must then fight kneeling, sitting, or standing on the foot of the uninjured leg. Kingdoms may place limitations upon the mobility of such injured fighters. In the West Kingdom, a fighter who has lost their legs may rise up as well as move around on their knees. An effective blow from a single-handed sword that lands on the hip, above the hip socket, renders both legs useless. The fighter must continue the fight sitting without rising up to a kneeling position. The fighter may move, but only without rising up onto the knees (i.e. "waddling").
5. If a wounded limb blocks an otherwise acceptable blow, the blow shall be counted as though the limb were not there.
D. Changes to blow acknowledgment standards may be made on a per-combat, per-scenario, or per-tournament basis, but will revert to the standards above thereafter. Alternate acknowledgment standards do not alter the allowed target areas, nor do they increase the basic force level for a telling blow. All combatants must be informed of any changes to standard blow acknowledgment before they participate in the combat.
E. All fighters are expected to take into account the nature of the weapon being used by their opponent and the location of the point of impact of that weapon when judging the outcome of a blow delivered. A blow that strikes with sufficient force and proper orientation shall be considered effective, regardless of what it hits prior to striking the combatant.
F. Sometimes a blow that would normally be accepted occurs at almost the same moment as an event that would cause the fight to be stopped (a “HOLD” being called, the fighter throwing the blow being killed, etc.). If the blow was begun before the occurrence of the event that would cause the bout to be halted, it shall be deemed a legal blow and acceptable, if of sufficient force. If the blow was begun after the occurrence of the event that would cause the bout to be halted, it shall be deemed not legal and need not be accepted.
G. A blow that includes the dropping of a weapon at the moment of impact need not be counted. (Note: If the force of the blow causes the weapon to be dropped, the rule shall be suspended.)
H. When one combatant is kneeling and the other is standing, it is forbidden for the standing fighter to circle or "corkscrew" the kneeling fighter.
I. It is forbidden for a standing fighter to run over or press a kneeling fighter to the point that the kneeling fighter cannot straighten his upper body perpendicular to the ground. This rule is meant to allow the kneeling fighter to straighten if they desire and is not intended to keep the standing fighter from leaning forward to stay in range if the kneeling fighter leans back.
J. A fighter is not required to stop a combination when an opponent is wounded. Thus, if a blow to a limb of a fighter is followed immediately by a killing blow to the same fighter, the killing blow will be counted as good.
K. Any fighter whose helmet or chinstrap breaks, or visor opens, or becomes seriously dislodged in combat will be considered dead. If both contestants wish to appeal to the Sovereign, as a Kingdom law, this may be rescinded by the Sovereign’s decision.
L. Any fighter that wishes to change weapons form or type during the course of one round of combat must obtain their opponent's consent. Failure to object when asked, or at the time the change is occurring shall be presumed to be consent.
M. In the West Kingdom, a fighter may not place their shield on any part of their opponent’s body, nor may they use any part of their body to manipulate their opponent’s shield.
VI. ARMOR REQUIREMENTS
A. All participants on the field during adult armored combat shall meet the Society minimum armor standards for a fully armored combatant. This includes, but is not limited to, combat archers, siege engineers and other combatants. It does not include marshals, waterbearers, or chirurgeons. Special attention to appearance should be paid and the atmosphere of a medieval event should be maintained.
a. Each fighter is responsible for obtaining and wearing in melee combat (tournaments, melees, and wars) armor sufficient to reduce the probability of injury to the areas listed below to an acceptable level.
(1) The head and neck, including the face, throat, and cervical vertebrae.
(2) The kidneys, short ribs, and groin.
(3) The knee joints.
(4) The elbow joints.
(5) The hands and wrists.
b. Each fighter is responsible for determining which other portions of his or her body are exposed to an unacceptable level of risk by melee combat, and for obtaining and wearing in combat armor sufficient to reduce this risk to an acceptable level.
c. The Marshallate is responsible for establishing guidelines for construction and materials of melee combat armor under which fighters may make reasoned and informed choices in selecting armor for the portions of the body that are exposed to the risk of injury by melee combat.
1. Helms shall be constructed from steel which has a thickness of no less than .0625 inch (1/16 inch or 1.6mm), or of equivalent material. Alternative materials, such as stainless steel, brass, bronze, or like materials, are permissible as long as the material is structurally equivalent to 0.0625-inch-thick steel. The mass of the helm is an important part of the protection. As such, no titanium, fiberglass, aluminum, or other ultra-light materials may be used. If a spun-metal top is to be used in the construction of the helm, it shall be a minimum of 0.0747 inch (14-gauge) steel. The process of spinning the top thins the metal, thereby requiring a heavier gauge.
2. All joints or seams shall be constructed in one or a combination of the following ways, with all welds sound and rivets secure:
a. Welded on the inside and outside.
b. Welded with a single bead that extends through both surfaces.
c. Lap joints welded or brazed at the edges of both pieces.
d. Helms will be riveted with iron or steel rivets no more than 2½ inches (63.5 mm) apart, or with equivalent riveting techniques. Screw- and pop-type rivets, along with other lightweight rivets, are not to be used.
3. Face guards shall prevent a 1-inch (25.4mm) diameter dowel from entering into any of the face guard openings.
4. The face guard shall extend at least 1 inch (25.4mm) below the bottom of the chin and jaw line when the head is held erect.
5. Bars used in the face guard shall be steel of not less than 3/16 inch (4.8mm) in diameter, or equivalent. If the span between crossbars is less than 2 inches (50.8mm), 1/ 8-inch (3.18mm) diameter bars may be used.
6. All movable visors shall be attached and secured in such a way that there is minimal chance that they will become detached or come open in normal combat use.
7. There shall be NO major internal projections; minor projections of necessary structural components shall be padded. All metal shall be free of sharp edges. Face guard bars or mesh should not attach to the interior of the helm, unless of structurally superior design and workmanship.
8. All parts of the helm that might come into contact with the wearer’s head shall be padded with a minimum of ½ inch (12.7mm) of closed-cell foam or equivalent padding, or shall be suspended in such a way as to prevent contact with the wearer during combat. Similarly, parts of the inside of the helm that might come in contact with the wearer’s neck or body should be padded Open-cell foam may only be used in addition to the minimum layer of closed-cell foam required above. Open-cell foam alone is forbidden.
9. All helms shall be equipped with a chinstrap or equivalent means to prevent the helm from being dislodged or metal contacting the wearer’s face during combat. An equivalent might be, for example, a bevor or a chin-cup suspension system. A “snug fit” is NOT an equivalent. The chinstrap shall be at a minimum a ½ inch (12.7mm) in width and shall not be placed in the helm in a manner that could strangle the wearer.
(1) Each face guard/visor opening should be less than 3 inches (7.6 cm) long, in order to minimize the probability that the bars will be deformed by impacts.
(2) Helms should be fitted to the wearer's head in such a way that they are comfortable, difficult to dislodge, and do not move around on the head when struck. In fitting a helm, an extra roll of foam should be placed below the base of the skull, and pads should be placed below the ear, and between the chin and cheekbones and the helm.
(3) A style of chin strap which tends to keep the helm on and to resist the helm being driven into the face, is one which forms a cup around the point of the chin, and is attached fairly low and far back on the sides of the helm.
(4) The helmet should be constructed in such a manner as to prohibit thrusting tips from contacting the chin or jaw. The addition of a chainmail drape or bever may achieve this.
(5) Ideally, each fighter should own their own helm: borrowed helms rarely fit right, and are therefore a considerably greater risk to the borrower.
C. Eye Wear: The lenses of all eyewear shall be constructed of shatterproof industrial safety glass or plastic. Ordinary glass lenses are prohibited. The wearing of contact lenses or “sports glasses” is strongly recommended.
1. Eyeglasses, if worn inside the helm, must not press against the helm or protrude through the bars during normal use.
a. The wearing of standard metal or plastic eyeglass frames inside helms is discouraged.
D. Neck Armor: The neck, including the larynx, cervical vertebrae, and first thoracic vertebra must be covered by one or a combination of the following and must stay covered during typical combat situations, including turning the head, lifting the chin, etc.:
1. The helm.
2. A gorget of rigid material.
3. A mail or heavy leather camail or aventail that hangs or drapes to absorb the force of a blow. If the camail or aventail lays in contact with the larynx, cervical vertebrae, or first thoracic vertebra, that section must be padded with a minimum of .25in (6mm) of close cell foam or equivalent.
4. A collar of heavy leather lined with a minimum of .25in (6mm) of close cell foam or equivalent.
(1) It is strongly recommended that every fighter wear rigid armor over the larynx and the cervical vertebrae, even if mail or other flexible armor is being worn.
D. Body, Shoulder, and Groin Armor
1. The kidney area and the short ribs shall be covered with a minimum of heavy leather worn over 1⁄4 inch (6mm) of closed-cell foam or equivalent padding. Chain mail over a gambeson is not considered adequate protection.
2. For men, the groin must be covered by a minimum of a rigid athletic cup (e.g., a hockey, soccer, karate, or baseball cup), worn in a supporter or fighting garment designed to hold the cup in place, or equivalent armor.
3. For women, groin protection of closed-cell foam or heavy leather or the equivalent is required to cover the pubic bone area. The wearing of a male athletic cup by female fighters is prohibited.
4. Separate breast cups are prohibited unless connected by or mounted on an interconnecting rigid piece, for example, a heavy leather or metal breastplate.
(1) Armor made of rigid material for the kidneys is strongly recommended.
(2) Additional padding is recommended for the shoulders and collarbone, the upper spine, the scapulae (Shoulder blades), the sternum (breastbone), solar plexus, stomach, and pelvis (hipbones).
(3) Armor of plate or rigid material for the entire torso, with segments large enough to distribute impact over a good-sized area, worn over ¼ inch closed-cell foam covering the spine, kidneys, and groin are strongly recommended.
(4) Women are strongly recommended to wear a one-piece breastplate, made from at least heavy leather, which covers all soft tissue to minimize the risk of transmitting impact directly to the breast and underlying tissue.
E. Hand and Wrist Armor: The outer surfaces of the hand, to one inch above the wrist of both arms and including the thumb, must be covered by one or a combination of the following:
1. A rigid basket or cup hilt with enough bars or plates to prevent a blow from striking the fingers or the back of the hand. If a basket or cup hilt, shield basket, or center-grip shield is used, a vambrace and or partial gauntlet shall cover the remaining exposed portions of the hand and wrist.
2. A gauntlet made of rigid material, either lined with ¼ inch (6mm) of closed-cell foam or equivalent, or designed to transfer potentially injurious impact to the surfaces being grasped.
3. A gauntlet of heavy leather lined with ½ inch (12mm) of closed-cell foam or heavy padding. (Note: A hockey glove is considered to be the equivalent, but looks blatantly modern; their use is discouraged.) Street hockey gloves are NOT equivalent, as the padding is lighter than a regular hockey glove. Street hockey gloves will be treated only as padding.
a. Note: Commercial hockey, lacrosse, or kendo gloves are acceptable without reinforcement provided that the fingers cannot be easily felt through the padding. However, note these options offer less protection.
4. A shield with a shield basket or equivalent. A shield alone is NOT sufficient, since it covers the back of the hand, but not the fingers, thumb, or wrist.
5. Combat archers and siege engineers may use as a minimum hand protection "archer's gauntlets or partial gauntlets made of rigid material, lined with ¼ inch (6mm) of closed-cell foam or equivalent, while operating archery or siege equipment. "Archer's gauntlets" shall consist of an ice hockey gloves with the fingers cut off or equivalent, protecting the back of the hand and the wrist.
F. Arm Armor: The elbow point and bones at either side of the elbow joint must be covered by a rigid material underlain by at least ¼ inch (6mm) of closed-cell foam or equivalent padding. This armor shall be attached in such a way that the elbow remains covered during combat. A shield alone is NOT sufficient, since it covers only the outermost point of the elbow.
a. Plate elbow cups (coutres) are strongly recommended.
b. Padding covering the tendons above the point of the elbow is recommended.
c. Rigid material or heavy leather vambraces (forearm armor) and rearbraces (upper arm armor) are strongly recommended.
G. Leg Armor
1. The kneecap, an inch above and below, and both sides of the knee joints must be covered by rigid material, lined by at least ¼ inch (6mm) of closed-cell foam or an equivalent padding. This armor shall be attached in such a way that the knee remains covered during combat.
2. Combatants should wear footwear that provides adequate protection and support for the terrain and activity of combat.
a. Sturdy boots that cover the ankle are recommended.
1. Shields shall be edged with leather, padding, or other covering or constructed in such a way as to minimize damage to rattan weapons or other fighters.
2. No bolts, wires, or other objects may project more than 3/8 inch (9mm) from any part of a shield without being padded. Rounded shield bosses are not considered to be projections, handles, or other forms of hand protection are not included in this category.
3. Shields are not to be used or constructed as offensive weapons. Shields may be used for hooking and pressing, but may ONLY make contact with your opponent's weapon or shield.
(1) A layer of padding between the arm and the back of the shield will increase comfort and help avoid bruises.
(2) Metal reinforcement for the edge of wood shields will improve the shield's life span.
(3) A basket hilt-like guard which cups around the handgrip, mounted on the back of the shield, will fulfill the hand protection requirement and avoid bruised or broken fingers.
(4) No shield should be designed in such a way as to confer an inauthentic or unfair advantage upon its user (e.g., a shield that can be seen through, or one with a mirror-polished face.)
VII. WEAPONS STANDARDS
1. NO METAL OR UNAPPROVED RIGID PLASTIC MAY BE USED IN THE STRIKING SURFACE OR SURFACES OF ANY WEAPON-
2. Primary weapons used single-handed shall have a wrist strap (or equivalent restraint) which will keep the weapon from leaving the immediate area of the user. Restraints are not required on hafted weapons used single-handed, or on singlehanded back-up weapons. However, if spectators are in extremely close proximity to the combat, as decided by the Marshal in Charge, all back-up weapons must have lanyards. Melee weapons used by full-contact missile combatants shall be considered back-up weapons for the purpose of this section.
3. Flails are expressly prohibited.
4. Mechanical devices known as "sliders," which are used to guide or propel spears, are prohibited.
5. All weapons shall have all cutting edges and thrusting tips marked with contrasting tape. The flange of the mace are considered “smashing” edges and do not need to be individually marked.
6. The striking surfaces of all weapons, including the tip, shall be wrapped in a manner that allows no rattan splinters to protrude.
7. All thrusting tips and striking heads and pommels must be securely attached to the weapon. If lag bolts are used to attach a pommel, they shall be of no less than 5/16-inch (8 mm) diameter and thread at least 3 inches (7.6 cm) into the base of the haft.
a. NOTE: Nails are NOT an acceptable means of affixing either a hand guard or pommel. If hose clamps are used to affix the hand guard or pommel, they shall be covered by tape.
8. The edges and tips of all striking surfaces shall be rounded.
9. No part of a weapon shall have sharp edges or protrusions with cross-section of less than 1¼ inch (31.8mm) in diameter. Guards, pommels, hooks, etc., shall be firmly and securely affixed to the weapon haft.
10. It shall not be possible to force any part of the weapon which may reasonably be expected to contact an opponent during combat more than ½ inch (12.7mm) into a legal face guard. Rattan weapons may have a handle section which is less than 1¼ inch (31.8mm), so long as it meets this criteria.
11. Rattan shall not be treated in any way that will substantially reduce its flexibility (e.g., treated with wax, resin, fiberglass, etc.).
12. No weapon shall exceed 6 lbs (2.73kg).
B. Single-Handed Weapons: Weapons that shall be used in one hand shall have the following requirements: (combination of single handed swords and mass weapons made May 2007)
1. Single handed weapons shall be constructed of rattan or rattan-cored Siloflex or Siloflex equivalent and shall be not less than 1 1⁄4 inch (31.8 mm) in total diameter (including tape) along its entire length excepting the handle. Siloflex is only allowed for thrust and throw weapon use in the West Kingdom.
2. Rattan-cored Siloflex or Siloflex equivalent weapons shall be constructed using tubular materials meeting ASTM standard D-2239 or the international equivalent, having at least a 1 1⁄4 inch (31.8 mm) diameter on the outside and at least 1/8 inch (3.2 mm) walls, and having an inner core of rattan that fills the interior of the tubular material entirely. Periodic inspection shall be made to determine the condition of the inner core.
3. If the weapon has a head, it shall not be constructed of solely rigid materials. The head shall be firmly and securely attached to the haft. The head shall allow at least a 1⁄2 inch (12.7 mm) of progressive give between the striking surface and the weapon haft.
4. No weapon may have a cutting and/or smashing surface at both ends.
5.When thrusting tips are used, they shall be at least the same diameter as the sword they are mounted on and have at least 1¼ inch (31.8mm) of resilient material in front of the rigid tip of the weapon providing at least ½ inch (12.7mm) of progressively resistant give across the face of the thrusting tip. (Note: Pressing with the thumb into the center of the thrusting tip is not an adequate test. The give must be across the entire face of the tip.). All 1¼” thrusting tip must be red. As of 3/1/07 the West is officially running an experimental low profile thrusting tip test in which LPTT s on single handed weapons may be between ¾” and 1 ¼” with ½ of resistance across the face. The sword must be marked under the thrusting tip with red and green banding to indicate an experimental weapon. (added 3/1/07)
6. Swords shall have a hand guard, such as a basket hilt, quillions, or equivalent.
7. Total weapon length shall not exceed 48 inches (1.22 m).
8. Total weapon mass shall not exceed 5 lb (2.27 kg).
9. Striking surfaces may be padded with flat material such as leather, split hose, or webbing. No material (such as rope) which reduces the striking surface to less than 1 inch (25.4 mm) shall be used.
10. Crossgrips or shovel handled punch daggers are specifically prohibited.
C. Two-Handed Cutting or Smashing Weapons:
Pole Arm - A shafted cutting, smashing, and/or thrusting weapon having or combining the characteristics of mace, axe, hammer, or spear, designed to be used with two hands.
1. Weapons shall be constructed of rattan of not less than 1¼ inch (31.8mm) in diameter (including tape). Polearms may contain blades constructed of split rattan, so long as the piece(s) are securely fastened to the haft.
2. The weapon shall not be excessively flexible.
3. If the weapon has a head, it shall not be constructed of solely rigid materials. The head shall be firmly and securely attached to the haft. The head shall allow at least ½ inch (12.7mm) of progressive give between the striking surface and the weapon haft, And should not bottom out or fold over allowing contact with the haft in normal use. Laminated or split rattan construction techniques do not require ½ (12.7mm) inch of progressive give, so long as their construction imparts striking characteristics similar to an unpadded weapon constructed of a single piece of rattan.
a. Rounded rattan splints, no less than 11/4 inches (32 mm) across, and taped as to prevent splinters from protruding, may be attached outside of the padding to provide striking surfaces.
b. Thrusting tips and butt spikes are permitted
4. No weapon may have a cutting and/or smashing surface at both ends.
5. When thrusting tips are used, they shall be no less than 2 inches (50.8mm) in diameter/cross-section and have 2 inches (50.8mm) of resilient material in front of the rigid tip of the weapon, thereby providing progressively resistant give.
6. Weapons exceeding 7 1⁄2 feet (2.286 m) shall not be used for cutting or smashing and shall be used for thrusting only. (May 2007)
7. Total weapon length shall not exceed 12 feet (3.658 m).
8. No pike/spear shall be designed so that the grip is perpendicular to the haft (i.e., shovel-handle style).
D. Fiberglass Spears/Pikes
1. Fiberglass spears/pikes shall not have a cutting or smashing head.
2. Fiberglass spears/pikes shall be constructed with pultruded fiberglass shafts with an outside diameter of no less than 1 ¼ inch (31.75mm) and no greater than 1 5/16 inch (33.38mm). Minimum manufacturer specified wall thickness shall be 1/8 inch (3.2mm) and the minimum measurable wall thickness shall be 3/32 inch (2.38mm).
3. The end of the shaft which will have the thrusting tip attached must be covered with a schedule-40 PVC cap with an interior diameter the same as the outside diameter of the shaft (1¼ inch [31.8mm]). The thrusting tip will then be attached over this cap.
4. All fiberglass spears/Pikes must have a thrusting tip a minimum of 3 inches (76.2mm) in diameter or cross-section. Additionally, these thrusting tips must be constructed so that there is a minimum of 3 inches (76.2mm) of resilient material in front of the PVC end cap and shall provide progressively resistant give under pressure without allowing contact with the PVC end cap.
5. Shafts may be spliced using a fiberglass rod or tube with a sidewall of 1/8 inch (3.2mm) of the same or equivalent material, having an outside diameter of 1 inch (25.4mm) and a length of 8–12 inches (203–304mm). Only two splices will be allowed per spear shaft. Each end to be spliced shall be cut square and clean of cracks or frayed fibers. The rod shall extend at least 4 inches (101.6mm) into each spliced end. One or both of these two methods shall secure the splice:
a. Epoxying both ends of the fiberglass rod before insertion.
b. Epoxying one end of the fiberglass rod before insertion and thoroughly taping the splice over with fiber tape.
6. The butt end of the shaft shall be smooth and free of cracks or frayed fibers. The butt shall be taped over or otherwise sealed. If a weapon is completely taped, a marshal may require that one section be untaped enough to determine that pultruded fiberglass has been used in the construction of the shaft.
7. Total spear/Pikes length shall not exceed 12 feet (3.658m).
E. Throwing Weapons - These weapons may be used for striking and may also be thrown in melee scenarios where thrown weapons are allowed. May include thrust-and-throw javelins, axes, knives, etc.
1. Shafts shall be constructed of rattan not less than 1¼ (31.8mm) inch in diameter along its entire length or of two layers of Siloflex or equivalent. The outer layer shall be 1 inch (25.4mm) inner diameter Siloflex (1¼ inch [31.8mm] OD) and the inner layer shall be 0.75 inch (19.1mm) inner diameter Siloflex.
2. If Siloflex is used, both ends of the shaft shall be covered with either a schedule-40 PVC cap with an interior diameter the same as the outside diameter of the shaft (1¼ inch [31.8mm]), or with a rubber stopper or equivalent means to prevent the tubing from penetrating the thrusting tip(s), fastened securely in place by tape and/or glue.
3. Thrusting tips shall be used on any tip that can be reasonably assumed to contact a fighter when the weapon is used or thrown. Tips shall be no less than 2 inches (50.8mm) in diameter/cross-section and have 2 inches (50.8mm) of resilient material in front of the rigid tip of the weapon, thereby providing progressively resistant give.
4. If the weapon has a head, it shall not be constructed of solely rigid materials. The head shall be firmly and securely attached to the haft or handle. The head shall allow at least ½ inch (12.7mm) of progressive give between the striking surface and the weapon haft or handle.
5. The weapon must have the owner’s name, kingdom, and group clearly and legibly printed on it in English characters for identification.
6. Total mass of the weapon shall not exceed 2 pounds.
West Kingdom War Rules and Conventions
A. Additions/Changes to Combat Equipment Standards
a. The requirement for lanyards on all single-handed swords and mass weapons shall be waived for back-up weapons ONLY. However, if spectators are in extremely close proximity to the combat, as decided by the Marshal in Charge, all back-up weapons must have lanyards. Melee weapons used by full-contact missile combatants shall be considered back-up weapons for the purpose of this section.
b. Full-contact missile combatants may carry and use both melee and missile combat weapons. Bows and PVC javelins must be safely discarded before a melee weapon can be drawn. At any given time, the combatant may NOT have both types of weapons in his or her hands FOR USE, (i.e., continue to hold a bow while drawing a melee weapon to defend oneself).
2. Effects of Missile Weapons
a. A shield or pavise provides protection against all missile weapons except heavy siege missiles such as rocks or cannon shot. A heavy siege missile that strikes a fighter, their shield, or their pavise is considered to have killed that fighter. If a heavy siege missile strikes a freestanding pavise, the pavise shall be considered destroyed
b. Plate (as defined in the Armor Material Definitions, Section 8) provides protection against shafted arrows/bolts only. It does not protect against javelins etc. To be used when “Plate is proof” is declared to be in effect.
B. Helpless Opponents:
Although it is forbidden to strike a helpless opponent (specifically in this case, a fighter who has fallen down), it is not required to allow the opponent to regain his or her footing. The proper method for killing a helpless opponent is to PLACE your weapon upon the opponent and say, "You are dead, my lord" or an equivalent phrase. It is acceptable for an opponent to try to escape from a helpless situation, but they will be considered dead if at any time during their attempt to regain their footing they are killed in the above manner. It is forbidden for a person on the ground to strike at standing opponents. A fallen fighter may only try to escape, and cannot fight from the ground.
C. The Use of Weapons and Shields
1. Grasping or trapping the blade or striking surface of an opponent's weapon against your body is prohibited. However, it is acceptable to grasp or trap the haft of an opponent's weapon, or to entangle or take away the opponent's weapon with your properly armored hand, weapon, or shield. It is not permissible to grasp or trap any type of bow or crossbow. Please refer to “Missile Combatants” below.
D. Acknowledgment of Blows
1. Unlike in tournaments, fighters shall acknowledge blows to the helm based on the type of helm worn. For example, those wearing open-faced helms will count thrusts to the face more lightly than those with close-faced helms. Also, arrows to the face will kill those wearing an open-faced helm, while only arrows landing directly on the eye slots of a closed-faced helm will count.
2. The convention that blows must strike squarely, properly oriented, and with sufficient force applies to missile weapons as well. However, it is not to be interpreted that missile weapons must strike with the same force as melee weapons to constitute a "good" blow.
3. Target areas for missile weapons are the same as for melee weapons. Shots hitting below the knee or on the hands will not be counted. Since missile weapons are harder to control in their exact location of impact, missile combatants will not normally be penalized or reprimanded for hitting these "off-limits" areas.
E. War Conventions
1. Rules of Engagement
a. When two lines of melee combatants are engaged, all combatants of one line are considered to be engaged with all combatants of the other line. Any combatant can strike at any other combatant without being considered being "behind" or on their "blind side". If two lines of melee combatants break up into a general "free-for-all", combatants will not strike their opponents from behind. In any circumstance, striking an opponent from behind is cause for ejection from the field.
b. Charges are allowed. However, jumping onto opponents is prohibited. Thrusting with polearms or spears while running is prohibited.
c. Bracing pole arms or spears against the ground or other immovable objects is prohibited.
d. It is the West Kingdom convention that, normally, killing from behind will be allowed. If killing from behind is not to be allowed in a given scenario, it will be announced prior to the battle. Combatants will kill opponents from behind according to the killing conventions below.
2. Killing Conventions
a. Melee Combatants killing Melee Combatants
(1) Melee combatants will kill other melee combatants from the front or in a line battle by delivering a "good" blow with their weapon.
(2) Melee combatants will kill other melee combatants from behind or by surprise by placing a single-handed weapon across the faceplate of the opponent, or placing a polearm or spear on the shoulder of the opponent, and saying "you are dead from behind, my lord" or an equivalent phrase. Killing from behind will not be done at a run, and the attacker must exhibit CONTROL over their opponent. However, as with killing from the front, it is up to the opponent whether a kill from behind was good or not. This action must be repeated for every opponent to be killed from behind or by surprise.
b. Missile Combatants killing Missile or Melee Combatants (changes May 2007)
(1) Missile Combatants will kill missile or melee combatants in any scenario or battle by delivering a "good" blow with a missile, from any angle, and regardless of the opponent's awareness of the missile combatant. Any missile that hits a legal target area that is noticed by the fighter hit by it, and the missle hits with proper orientation and was not impeded nor skipped off any other person or object shall be considered good.
1. Just like in hand-to-hand combat, the fighter who is struck makes the determination. It is on the fighters honor to accept these shots.
2. "Notice." This can mean a lot of things, and is meant to. It can mean that you felt the blow, saw the blow, heard the blow or you inquired about the blow and using that information determined that the hit was good.
3. Due to the restrictions that have been placed on combat archery missiles (i.e. limited maximum draw weight, arrow construction and other safety considerations), missiles shall not be required to hit with a minimum sufficient force in order for the blow to be considered effective.
4. Reminder, since arrow shots are designed for someone in minimum Society Armor, those fighters in plate need to calibrate themselves for missile weapons.
(2) Archers must have room for their arrow or bolt to clear the weapon completely when firing at an opponent. Thrown weapons may be thrown at point blank range.
3. Missile Combat
1. Combat Archers shall meet the minimal Society standards for a fully armored, heavy weapons combatant. The only exception to this rule shall be those archers equipped with the “Archer’s Gauntlet.
a. Combat Archers may wear an “Archer’s Gauntlet on the hand which is used to pick up and draw arrows. The hand in which the bow is held shall meet the minimum Society standards for hand protection for a fully armored, heavy weapons combatant.
b. The “Archer’s Gauntlet shall be a minimum of a hockey glove with the fingers cut off, so that the back of the hand and the wrist are protected. Demigauntlets may be used in place of the “Archer’s Gauntlet described above, so long as they provide equivalent or greater protection and 6mm or ¼ inch of closed cell foam padding.
c. Crossbowman may wear two “Archer’s Gauntlets” or two demi-gauntlets.
Combat Archery Conventions
1. A Combat Archer may be struck/killed in the same manner as any melee combatant on the field. A cry of “yield” shall be accepted; intentionally striking an archer/opponent who has yielded is clearly unchivalrous act and may lead to removal from the field.
2. Once killed, Full-Contact Combat Archers are removed from the combat field as soon as is practical (thus decreasing the chance that a bow or crossbow will be stepped on).
3. Combat Archers must have room for their arrow or bolt to clear the weapon completely when firing at an opponent.
4. Archers may carry a rattan weapon as a backup weapon as long as it is secured while they are wielding the bow.
5. A combat Archer may become a regular heavy combatant provided that he/she is authorized as a heavy/melee combatant and does the following:
a. Discards his/her bow in a safe manner, so as not to cause a hazard, and replaces it with an approved weapon/weapons and/or shield.
b. Either changes his/her “Archer’s Gauntlet” for a combat-legal gauntlet or places that hand in a basket hilt that meets heavy weapons standards and has been inspected by the Marshallete.
c. Missile combatants must hold current authorizations in both Melee (full-contact) combat and Light Weapon (missile) combat
6. Arrows may only be used as missiles launched from a bow or crossbow. No arrows shall be used as hand-held thrusting weapons and arrows may not be thrown by hand.
7. There is no field gleaning and re-shooting of any fiberglass shafted arrows or bolts. Once shot, fiberglass shafted arrows or bolts must be brought to an inspection point between scenarios and inspected before being reused in combat.
8. Missile combatants shall not have both inspected and yet-to-be inspected missiles in the same quiver or hand. If this should happen, all effected missiles must be re-inspected prior to use.
9. All archers are responsible for the flight of their projectiles unless they are blocked, deflected or otherwise diverted after they have left the bow.
10. A combatant should in no instance deliberately direct a missile towards a spectator area.
11. Fighters may not intentionally strike, swing at, or grasp a bow or crossbow. Archers may not strike or block with a bow or crossbow.
12. Any fighter that strikes a marshal or other non-combatant with a projectile, that has not been deflected, shall be considered dead in that scenario. An archer striking a marshal or other non-combatant twice at the same event may be removed from the battlefield at the marshals’ discretion.
13. When “HOLD” is called, all archers are expected to secure their weapons from accidental discharge.
14. An archer is considered engaged with all targets within range once combat commences.
15. Only authorized missile combatants shall discharge missile weapons.
Hand Thrown Missiles (Javelins, Darts and Throwing Axes)
1. Hand Thrown Missile combatants shall meet the minimum Society standards for a fully armored, heavy weapons combatant. The only exception to this rule shall be the Archer’s Gauntlet (see Combat Archery section).
2. A Hand Thrown Missile combatant may be struck/killed in the same manner as any combatant on the field. A cry of “yield” shall be accepted. Once killed, they are treated as any other dead combatant, being removed from combat as soon as practical.
3. Hand Thrown Missile combatants may become a regular heavy combatant as long as he/she is authorized as a heavy combatant and does two things:
a. Discards, in such a way as to not cause a hazard, any PVC javelins held in the hands or arms and takes up an approved weapon and/or shield.
b. Either changes his/her Archer’s Gauntlet for a combat-legal gauntlet or other hand projection that meets heavy combatant hand protection standards. If a combatant is already armored with combat legal hand protection and is using a thrust and throw weapon (javelin, axe, knife etc) then no change is required.
4. PVC javelins shall not be used to block heavy weapon blows. Thrust and throw weapons may be used for blocking.
5. Hand thrown weapons may be field inspected and reused without being taken off the battlefield for inspection.
Non-Contact Combat Archer Situations
There are no non-contact archers on the active combat field. However, at the discretion of the Crown and Marshallete, combat archers may be designated as “non-contact” for specific battle scenarios which include designated locations on the battlefield and, or fixed obstacles that allow the archer(s) to be clear of the active combat area. In these situations, heavy combatants will kill combat archers by closing within five (5) yards of the archer and presents his/her weapon and calling out, “archer you are dead”. The heavy combatant must have an unimpeded path to the combat archer, without intervening walls, melee opponents, or other obstructions. Other battle specific scenarios may be implemented to cause the archers to be dead as well (ie take a banner or overtaking a specific boundary).
c. Acknowledgment of Being Killed
(1) It is up to the opponent whether any kill (a blow, kill from behind, a missile weapon blow, or melee combatant "kill" of missile combatant) was good or not.
(2) Melee combatants will fall to the ground immediately upon being killed, as long as it is safe to do so. If it is not safe to do so, the combatant should loudly call out "good" or "dead" to make opponents aware and immediately leave the field.
(3) Missile combatants should loudly call out "good" or "dead" and then immediately leave the field.
(4) All "dead" combatants will behave as such and shall not impart tactical information to "live" combatants (the dead tell no tales).
(5) All "dead" combatants must hold their weapons over their heads or in a non-threatening posture when leaving the field WITHOUT removing their helm.
3. Discontinuations of Combat
(1) A call of "HOLD!" means to stop ALL activity instantly: stop maneuvering, cease attacking, stop talking (specifically, no tactics or strategy shall be discussed). All combatants should drop to one knee, all arrows should be un-nocked, and all polearms should be lowered. Everyone should remain in place, unless a Marshal gives explicit directions to the contrary. Helms must remain on and visors must remain closed. To make it easier for the Marshals or Chirurgeons locate the site of injury or problem, only polearms near the site of injury or problem should remain pointing up.
(2) Holds may be called by anyone for one of the following reasons:
(a) Broken Weapons
(b) Broken Armor
(d) Loss of Temper
(e) Terrain Hazards
(3) A hold, once called, can only be lifted by a Marshal. The Marshal will warn the combatants to prepare to continue by commanding "ALL RISE", at which time all who are able to do so will stand back up. Combat will resume with the cry of "LAY ON".
(4) Truces - A commander may call a truce at any time, by agreement with the opposing commander. This may be to allow the commanders to discuss matters, or simply to stall for time. A truce is NOT a hold. Combatants are not required to go to their knees or to remain silent. A truce may be broken, and combatants entering the truce area from outside may continue to fight. Truces are lifted by those who called them.
(5) Battle Over/Time - This is the call that signals the end of the battle. At the call of "BATTLE OVER!" or "TIME!," all combatants will stop fighting. All combatants should leave their helms on until the Marshals have instructed that it is safe to remove them.
a. Battlefield boundaries and terrain should be described before each battle or set of battles. Ideally, they will be marked by physical boundaries made of natural terrain (roads, ravines, trees) or of some clearly identifiable substance (surveyor's tape, eric ropes). All boundaries shall be as clearly marked as possible.
b. Any combatants leaving the battlefield by going outside of the boundary markings, either purposely or inadvertently, will be declared "routed", and may not re-enter the field.
5. Natural Terrain
a. Unless otherwise specified, the terrain within the boundary of the battlefield is assumed to be "as-is." Trees are trees, walls are walls, etc. However, picnic tables are a common form of natural terrain encountered on battlefields. These are normally treated as walls or fences, and combatants should not be allowed to climb onto tables and fight from on top of them. b. Bridges over streams or gullies are not normally used in the terrain of a battle unless the Marshal in Charge has determined, after consultation with the other Marshals present, that the bridge is safe to use. Factors determining the safety of a bridge include the strength of the structure, the height of the sides, the distance from the bridge floor to the ground, and the nature of the ground (i.e., rocks versus sand, etc.).
6. Constructed Terrain
a. Constructed terrain includes, but is not limited to:
(1) Rivers - Usually formed of lines of flagged rope, outlining the riverbanks. If a combatant steps into the river, either inadvertently or by the pressure/impact of another combatant, the combatant is considered to have fallen into the river and drowned.
(2) Bridges - Often formed by hay bales or sometimes 2 x 4 boards on edge. If a combatant steps over the edge of the bridge into the river, either inadvertently or by the pressure/impact of another combatant, the combatant is considered to have fallen into the river and drowned.
(3) Marshes and fords - Formed by 2x4 boards lying flat, or by ropes lying on the ground, outlining the edges of the marsh or ford. Combatants may cross by dropping to their knees, simulating hip-deep water. Combatants who have been legged cannot enter the marsh/ford. Blows to the leg that occur during the crossing need not be counted. If a combatant steps beyond the edge of the marsh into the river, either inadvertently or by the pressure/impact of another combatant, the combatant is considered to have fallen into the river and drowned.
(4) Castles/Forts - Formed by stacks of hay bales, tires, or by plywood walls. Castles are occasionally formed by natural terrain features (picnic gazebos, picnic tables, etc.). Details as to height of walls, where it is legal to fight through, etc., shall be explained prior to the beginning of the battle.
DI. SIEGE COMBAT
A. Siege engines or structures may be used in combat during melees and wars in accordance with the rules set forth in the Siege Engines Handbook.
1. Siege-class munitions are denoted by yellow tape and include ballista bolts and rocks (1-pound foam or 4-tennis-ball clusters).
2. Small-arms munitions include single tennis balls and tube shafted combat archery arrows and bolts.
C. Blow Acknowledgment
1. A blow from siege class ammunition to any legal target area shall be judged fatal or completely disabling.
2. Blows from siege class ammunition to shields shall be judged fatal or completely disabling to the bearer of the shield unless otherwise specified by scenario rules.
3. Hand-held weapons struck by siege class munitions shall be considered destroyed.
4. Small-arms munitions fired from siege engines shall be treated as combat archery projectiles.
5. Siege munitions are considered spent upon striking a target, the ground, or a battlefield structure.
D. Destroying Siege Engines.
1. Fighters shall stay clear of moving parts and, when possible, approach siege engines from the side.
2. Striking siege engines/structures with hand-held weapons is strictly prohibited.
3. Siege engines may be destroyed by placing a weapon on the engine/structure and declaring "this weapon is destroyed," or by being struck by siege-class munitions from another siege engine.
4. Siege engine crews are fully armored combatants and should be treated as anyother fighter on the field.
5. If fighting occurs within 5 feet of an engine that is cocked or loaded, a hold shall be called and the engine shall be declared destroyed and removed from the combat area and made safe.
Marshal Definitions for the West Kingdom
A. Marshal in Training:
1. Everyone is considered to be a Marshal in Training. It would be good if you are at least familiar with the rules and the marshal handbook, but the point of being in training is to learn the ropes. The MIT needs to be under the direct supervision of a Marshal authorized to do that task. We are no longer marking MIT on your gold card. It is the responsibility of the MIT to follow up with a senior marshal that they have worked with and get authorized as a combat or Mixed Marshal. You do not need to be a member of the SCA to be a MIT.
B. Combat Marshal:
1. A Combat Marshal (CM) can marshal single combat and melees (but not wars). They inspect armor and tourney weapons. They need to know all the rules of the lists. They are under the direct supervision of the MIC (Marshal in Charge) and should direct any questions to the MIC. You must be a member of the SCA to hold this status as you are considered a rostered Marshal and an officer of the SCA per Corpora.
C. Mixed Marshal:
1. A Mixed Marshal (MM) can marshal all of the above as well as marshal war with heavy, missile and siege combat. They should know all the rules of war and be able to inspect armor, and war weapons. You must be specifically authorized to inspect archery, siege or rapier weapons. You must be a member of the SCA to hold this status as you are considered a rostered Marshal and an officer of the SCA per Corpora.
D. Advanced Marshal:
1. An Advanced Marshal (AM) may do all of the above- They may serve as Branch Marshal or Marshal in Charge of an event. To authorize as an AM, an individual must have experience on the tourney and war field and be able to apply accurate judgement regarding situations that may arise. As a Marshal in Charge, they shall be expected to understand the application of all appropriate rules and enforce them fairly.You must be a member of the SCA to hold this status as you are considered a rostered Marshal and an officer of the SCA per Corpora. If you are a Branch Marshal, you must sign a warrant. Further duties are outlined in this document for Branch Marshal (Knight Marshal) and for Marshal in Charge.
E. Senior Marshal:
1. A Senior Marshal may do any of the above- In Addition they may authorize combat participants that are over 18yrs of age and authorize combat, mixed, and advanced marshals. Must report all authorizations to firstname.lastname@example.org. You must be a member of the SCA to hold this status as you are considered a rostered Marshal and an officer of the SCA per Corpora.
F. Earl Marshal
1. The Earl Marshal is a Great Officer of the Kingdom and the representative of the Crown on all matters concerning combat within the Kingdom. The Earl Marshal and those specific Marshals they select as their deputies are the only individuals who may authorize a fighter under the age of 18 for Heavy Armored Combat. The Earl Marshal is the only one who may elevate a marshal to the position of Senior Marshal. The Earl Marshal reports directly to the Crown and the Society Earl Marshal. You must be a member of the SCA to hold this status as you are considered a warranted Marshal.
DII. PROCEDURES FOR THE AUTHORIZATION OF MARSHALS
A. General Requirements: There are three near-equal priorities in marshaling; safety, fair witness, and showmanship. Overemphasizing any one at the expense of the others will tend to make the fighting less enjoyable for everyone (although, if you must go overboard on one, pick safety).
1. A Marshal may be authorized after demonstrating the ability to oversee combat, judge a fighter’s authorization, and inspect weapons and armor.
2. Unless warranted or rostered by the Earl Marshal as an officer of the kingdom, a marshal may not be the Marshal in Charge of an event or sign the paperwork to authorize fighters
3. Kingdoms may have other types of Marshals other than Authorized Marshals (local Knight Marshals, Constables, etc.) as they see fit. These individuals may be warranted or rostered by the Earl Marshal of the Kingdom. However, unless the marshal has undergone a Marshal’s Authorization, they shall not give final approval of the suitability of weapons or armor, or be involved in the authorization of participants.
4. Only the Earl Marshal or designated Deputy Earl Marshal(s) may perform a Marshal’s Authorization. In the West Kingdom, Senior Marshals may authorize Combat marshals, Mixed marshals and Advanced Marshals. They must witness the authorization and execute the appropriate paperwork to ensure that the authorization is registered. At a minimum, a Marshal’s Authorization shall include the following:
a. The candidate must have a good working knowledge of the Rules of the Lists, the Society Conventions of Combat, and any additional Kingdom rules or conventions.
b. The candidate must be willing to enforce the Rules of the Lists, the Society Conventions of Combat, and any additional Kingdom rules or conventions.
c. The candidate must have a good working knowledge of the Society minimum armor and weapons standards and any additional Kingdom Armor and Weapons standards.
d. The candidate must demonstrate the ability to conduct an inspection of armor and weapons for use in combat.
e. The candidate must demonstrate the ability to conduct an inspection of combatants.
f. The candidate must demonstrate the ability to safely control SCA combat, whether this is single combat, team combat, general melee, or part of a war environment.
5. The term “Knights Marshal” applies to the marshal of a branch, regardless of whether they are a belted fighter, or even if they are an authorized fighter at all.
6. All warranted or rostered marshals must be members of the Society for Creative Anachronism Inc.
DIII. PROCEDURES FOR MARSHALING WARS
A. Before the War
1. The general rules under which the war will be conducted, compromises between conflicting Kingdoms’ standards, and the scenario limits for each planned battle shall be negotiated and agreed to in writing in advance by the authorized representatives of all belligerent groups involved. The rules and scenario limits shall be published in the appropriate newsletters. For inter-Kingdom wars, notices shall be published according to SCA publication policy by the groups involved. This publication should take place at least thirty (30) days prior to the event. In addition, copies of all of the rules and agreements shall be available on-site, as a handout for people who do not receive (or did not read) the newsletters. Armor and weapons standards shall default to the established Society minimum standards unless otherwise specified in the event rules and scenario limits.
2. Each side in a battle shall provide a reasonable number of trained and experienced marshals. If not enough marshals are available, the sides should arrange for a draft from their armies.
3. All marshals should be separately briefed prior to the meetings of all participants. (They should also attend the group briefing.) Emphasis at this briefing should be on enforcing the rules and scenario limits for each battle and on preventing accidents that could arise from hazards related to the scenario limits and to the actual terrain.
4. All participants shall be gathered to hear the rules and the scenario limits explained to them. The autocrats and/or the marshals should answer their questions. If the scenario limits vary radically from battle to battle, this procedure should be repeated before each battle.
5. Equipment inspection must take place before combat starts, with particular emphasis on any modifications that have been made in making compromises between conflicting Kingdom standards.
B. Marshal of a War
1. A supervising marshal (Marshal in Charge) shall be chosen for each war (and possibly for each battle, if the Marshal in Charge for the war is fighting in the battles or otherwise prevented from being present).
a. The Marshal in Charge shall be responsible for the activities of the marshals in his charge.
b. If possible, the Marshal in Charge should not be a member of one of the groups on the field.
c. The Marshal in Charge for a particular battle may not participate in the battle as a combatant.
2. When “Hold!” is called, all fighting shall cease.
a. The fighters shall drop to one knee (if possible) where they stand.
b. Conversations relating to the conduct of the battle are not permitted between combatants.
c. Changes of position/location are not permitted, unless ordered by a marshal.
d. If movement away from a boundary of a hazard is necessary, the fighters shall maintain their relative positions and distances.
e. To end a hold, the Marshal in Charge will call “All rise!” (or “Rise if you’re able” or some other equivalent statement). When the combatants have resumed their guard, the Marshal in Charge will call “Lay on!” to signal the resumption of the fight.
3. “Hold!” will normally be called only for broken armor, lost tempers, injuries, safety concerns, outsiders wandering onto the field, fighters about to wander off it, or to enforce the rules and scenario limits.
4. “Hold!” should not be called for dropped weapons, fighters who have slipped and fallen (unless they are in danger of injury), or the near approach of a fighter to a boundary where there are neither spectators nor any natural hazards, such as cliffs.
5. Marshals have the preemptory authority to remove from combat and from the field any combatant who violates the rules or scenario limits or who performs any unsafe or dishonorable act. Such removal may be discussed during the battle only if the marshal permits it. The marshals’ ruling may be appealed to the Marshal in Charge.
6. Marshals have the authority to regulate the movement of non-combatants on the field and to control the location of spectators.
7. Those marshals who are responsible for marshaling wars or large melees may use alternative means to signal “Hold” or “Lay on,” as long as all fighters know and understand the alternative signaling system. Marshals may use whistles, air horns, or other such devices.
DIV. COMBAT INJURY PROCEDURES
A. It should always be remembered that, when an injury occurs on the field, the primary concern is getting to and assisting the injured party. Secondary to this objective, but no less important, is the safety of persons entering the field to help and the well-being of anyone already on the field. (For example, fighters standing around in armor in the sun could be subject to heat problems.)
B. In the event of an emergency, the marshals shall cooperate with any authorized persons responding to the emergency and keep the area clear of would-be spectators.
C. In the event of any suspected injury on the field, the marshal shall halt all fighting in the area and determine the proper course of action. The hold may be a local hold as long as the safety of the injured person can be maintained. The overall situation should be assessed, and, as the injured party is tended to, every effort shall be made to release as much of the field as possible so that combat may proceed.
D. If the injured person is conscious, they may be asked if they would like assistance. No conscious person will be forced to accept treatment without his or her consent. No noncombatant shall enter the combat area until summoned by a marshal.
E. A marshal shall call for assistance if they suspect that a participant is experiencing more than momentary distress. It is an extremely serious matter to delay the application of first aid when it is needed, and marshals who ignore injuries may be subject to revocation of their authorization to supervise combat-related activities.
F. No one may remove a fighter from the field without the consent of the event Marshal in Charge or an appointed deputy.
G. Any immediate and significant problems associated with an injury on the field shall be reported to the Kingdom Earl Marshal.
DV. GUIDELINES FOR MARSHALING ON THE FIELD
The guidelines outlined in this section are not rigid requirements, but are placed here in an attempt to help clarify and to provide examples of acceptable methods and procedures.
A. As Marshal in Charge, you are responsible for organizing the marshaling. This does not mean that you have to do it all yourself.
Things that need to be done prior to all combat activities:
1. Check that the field can be safely fought upon, preferably before the site is reserved for the event. Can someone in armor, with restricted vision, cross it safely (i.e., without injury; simple tripping is an inherent hazard of combat in rough terrain)? At minimum, check at the beginning of the day to see if there are holes, soft spots, rocks, etc. If they are serious and cannot be worked around, move the fighting somewhere else.
2. Arrange for equipment inspection. (See Equipment Inspection Guidelines below.)
3. Arrange for marshals for all of the combat. That means an absolute minimum of one marshal per single combat (preferably two or three). Enough marshals for group combat (melees and war battles) to both surround the fighting (to keep an eye on the boundaries) and keep most of the fights under general surveillance (for detached armor, broken weapons, etc.). If volunteers are in short supply, point out to the fighters that they do not get to start until sufficient marshals are available.
4. When it is all over, write up a report on the event (see the Paperwork section under VII. Chain of Command).
B. Marshaling Single Combat
1. At minimum, there should be one marshal for single combat. Two or three will be able to see more of the fight. Four or more will get in each other’s way and block the view from the sidelines without providing noticeably better marshaling.
2. As noted earlier, marshaling has three parts of nearly equal importance: safety, fair witness, and showmanship. Excessive concern for any of these, to the neglect of the other two, will make fighting less enjoyable for all concerned. While these concerns apply to all marshaling, they are most detailed and balanced in single combat.
a. The field itself can cause safety problems. Before you begin, look over the area where the fighting will take place. Look particularly for large holes, soft spots, and rocks. (The fighters will generally accept small holes, rocks, etc. as part of the terrain.) Once the fight starts, try to keep it away from these areas. If the hazards are serious, move the fight.
b. As the fighters come out onto the field, take a quick look to see that they have remembered their full armor, especially elbow, neck, and hand armor. These are the likeliest to be removed and then forgotten. This should not take any time at all; it is neither a full inspection nor an attempt to catch someone trying to play silly games with the rules—just a quick double-check to help someone who may have been distracted by the excitement of the day. Ask the fighters if they have all the Equipment they were inspected with. If they have changed weapons or armor, inspect the new items before beginning combat.
c. Once the fight has started, watch particularly for broken armor, lost tempers, injuries, and unauthorized people/pets/objects on the field. (Outsiders, especially small children and pets, do not always realize that they are supposed to stay off of the field during combat.) If there is a problem, shout “Hold!”, several times if necessary. (Fortunately, most fighters will hear and respond to a cry of “Hold!” even when they won’t notice their own names.)
d. If the first cry of “Hold!” does not cause the fighters to stop, get in between the fighters (or between the fighters and whoever has wandered onto the field) and block the weapons with your staff until the fighting does stop. (Keep yelling “Hold!” while you do—eventually they may notice.) That is one reason why marshals routinely carry staffs on the field.
e. Bear in mind that the various Kingdoms have somewhat differing traditions as to how much marshals should intrude into a fight. On one extreme, some Kingdoms expect marshals to keep their opinions to themselves, except in the case of clear and immediate safety hazards. At the other extreme, some Kingdoms expect marshals to volunteer advice any time they think the fighters might possibly have a question about a blow. If you are new to marshaling, or merely new to the Kingdom you are in, try to find out where in this spectrum your Kingdom lies. It will make a difference in how you act and, perhaps more importantly, it will make a major difference in what the fighters expect of you. Judging the effects of blows is left to the honor of the combatant being struck by the weapon, unless he or she relinquishes this responsibility, with the exception of clear violations of the Rules of the Lists or the Conventions of Combat. Effectiveness of a blow may not be judged by the opposing combatant, the Marshal, or other observers. Information unavailable to the combatant being struck may be supplied by the opposing combatant or the Marshal, including blade orientation upon impact, apparent force transmitted, or apparent location and angle of the blow’s impact based upon the observer's angle of observation.
In the West Kingdom, the marshal of a tournament bout may offer information regarding blow orientation without being asked since it is not required that a fighter take a blow that is not hit on the striking edge of a weapon. In all other matters, Western Marshals general wait to be asked by the fighters before giving their opinion.
a. You are expected to be an impartial witness to exactly what happens during a fight. Ideally, you should be able to describe the last 3–4 blows on your side of the fight: where they started, their angle of approach, how they were blocked or where they landed. (Do not be afraid to say, “I don't know” if you were looking at one part of the fight when something [allegedly] happened in another part.)
b. Do not try to impose your view unless you see what appears to be major and repeated problems. Leave the blow counting to the participants unless you see clear reason to intervene; usually, they have a much clearer perspective than the marshals do.
c. If the fighters do ask you what happened (or you feel compelled to volunteer), try to do so tactfully. Prefacing your statements with “It looked to me like...” or “It appeared...” is preferable to a dogmatic assertion of what happened. Similarly, it is preferable to ask “Was that dent in your helm before?” rather than saying, “That blow put a 6-inch dent in the side of your helm.” The latter may be 100% accurate, but it is unnecessarily antagonistic to someone who may honestly have thought the blow too light.
5. How to observe combat:
a. In order to be able to answer as accurately as possible, you need as clear a view as possible. This means being close to the fight. You need to strike a balance between getting closer to see better and staying back out of range of the blows. Just what the appropriate distance is for you will depend on your level of experience with fighting (e.g., how well you can judge what the range of the weapons is and whether you are in or near it). In general, for single combat, 20 yards is too far and 2 yards is too close. In the absence of a better idea, consider 5 yards for weapons less than 3½ feet in length and 8 yards if either combatant has a longer weapon. Try to keep moving so that the combatants are roughly centered between you and the other marshals for the fight.
a. Keep an eye on the audience. SCA combat is a spectator sport, just as medieval tournaments were. (A spectator sport for members of the Society and our guests, but a spectator sport nonetheless.) Your part of the show is to keep things moving and avoid blocking the view from the sidelines except where unavoidable. This means fast pre-fight checks and announcements, a minimum of holds and discussions during the fight, and a strenuous effort to stay out of the way and keep moving. (If it’s cold, wear several layers of tunics and move even more; one person in a cloak can interfere with the view of many).
C. Marshaling Melees
1. When marshaling a melee, the witness function is necessarily relegated to a very low priority. (It is not unimportant, but it is impossible for a handful of marshals to be accurate witnesses to the details of a couple of dozen separate combats.)
2. You should have a minimum of 3 marshals for the first 20 fighters, plus one additional marshal for each 15 fighters up to a total of 500 fighters and 35 marshals. If you have more than 500 fighters (realistically, even if you have more than 50 fighters), you should have an experienced Marshal in Charge and a sizable number of experienced marshals. It is preferable to have more marshals for free-for-all melees.
3. Marshals should station themselves around the edges of the fight. This allow them to control the borders while keeping as much of the fighting as possible in view. It also keeps prevents fights from running into them from behind. As always, keep moving and stay close enough to spot safety problems.
4. In very large melees, it may be desirable to have some marshals in the middle of the field, in addition to those around the edge. If you are mid-field, be careful that you do not get so interested in the fight in front of you that you back into or forget to watch another bout moving around behind.
DVI. COMBAT AUTHORIZATION PROCEDURES
A. This example of an authorization is for an armored combat fighter. This procedure may be used as-is by a kingdom, or it may be modified as required to reflect differences in culture and convention. This authorization procedure requires that a member of the Chivalry (to act as a witness and provide a second opinion), a warranted authorized marshal, and an experienced authorized fighter be present. This outline is general and does not deal with the specifics of armor and weapons rules, since these rules may vary. The warranted authorized marshal will be trained in the specifics as they change.
In the West Kingdom, we require a Senior Marshal and one to two experience fighters/marshals to administer the authorization. An experience fighter in full armor will act as the opponent.
1. If the fighter does not have proof of a signed waiver (for example, a signed blue membership card) prior to the authorization, the candidate and the authorizing marshal will properly complete a waiver (SCA, Inc. form titled CONSENT TO PARTICIPATE AND RELASE LIABILITY).
2. The persons conducting the authorization must verify that the candidate is familiar with the Rules of the List and the current rules that specifically govern within the kingdom of residence.
3. The candidate must present themselves on the field in armor for inspection. The armor must be inspected on the body and must pass the current armor requirements for combat. This inspection must be complete and exacting, and any deficiencies must be permanently corrected before the person may authorize.
4. Both the experienced authorized fighter and the candidate shall be armed with sword and shield or the weapon in which the candidate seeks authorization, if the kingdom requires separate weapon authorization. (The Earl Marshal may permit a substitute weapons system.) The West Kingdom authorizes an armored combatant in all weapons forms without separate tests. We require only the demonstration of one weapon form during the authorization bout.
5. For the first few minutes of the bout for authorization, the prospective fighter and the authorized fighter shall fight at ½ to ¾ speed and verbally acknowledge all blows landed. During this phase of the authorization, the marshal and the member of the Chivalry (or other marshals/fighters) should get an impression of the new fighter’s style, technique, ability to call blows, and ability to defend themselves. If this portion of the authorization is not satisfactorily completed, the authorization procedure shall be stopped. The candidate shall be told of the problems observed and instructed as to how to correct the problems.
6. If the first portion of the bout has progressed satisfactorily, then the combatants will be told to fight in list-type combat, counting blows until one is defeated. During this phase, the marshal and member of the Chivalry (or other marshals/fighters) should observe the new fighter’s control, reaction to blows, and ability to cope with pressure.
7. The marshal, the member of the Chivalry (or other marshals/fighters), and the authorized fighter shall confer to decide if the new fighter exhibits adequate performance in the minimum criteria for authorization listed below:
a. Does the candidate know and apply the Rules of the Lists and the
Conventions of Combat?
b. Does the candidate exhibit safe behavior on the field, for both self and others?
c. How does the candidate react to pressure? Does he or she fight back or become disoriented and confused?
d. Can the candidate defend themselves?
e. Is the authorizing fighter able to feel and judge blows, both those received and those thrown?
f. Can the authorizing fighter throw a blow hard enough to be considered sufficient to kill their opponent?
8. If the marshal, member of the Chivalry (or other marshals/fighters), and authorized fighter agree that the candidate meets these requirements, the marshal will notify the fighter that they are now authorized. The fighter and marshal will properly complete any paperwork required by the kingdom in addition to the previously completed Waiver for SCA Combat-Related Activities.
9. The fighter will send these properly completed forms to the kingdom official responsible for issuing authorization cards. Upon receipt of these properly completed forms, an authorization card will be issued. The fighter shall be issued a temporary card or keep a copy of the authorization form and waiver if he or she intends to fight prior to receiving the authorization card. The card should be received within one month. If the card is not received, the fighter should contact the authorization official and forward any information or paperwork required.
a. Information shall be sent to email@example.com by the authorizing marshal. This information shall include the fighter’s SCA name, mundane name, address, phone number, e-mail address, and membership number. If they are not a member, a copy of their waiver will need to be sent as well before their card will be sent to them.
DVII. EQUIPMENT INSPECTION GUIDELINES
A. General Information
At each event, the Marshal in Charge must arrange for the inspection of all equipment to be used in combat (e.g., armor and weapons). This in no way relieves the individual combatants of their responsibility for following the equipment standards. Ultimately, the fighter is responsible for the condition and safety of their armor and weapons. However, the marshal’s inspection is intended to provide a second pair of experienced eyes and an outside point of view. A reminder: Equipment that was perfectly serviceable at the beginning of the previous event could have broken since, and even the most experienced fighter can occasionally forget some piece of armor. The inspection outlined below is merely an example. For purposes of illustration, the inspection described is for regular SCA combat without missile weapons. It does not necessarily include checks for additional requirements that your Kingdom may have added. A checklist might be helpful as you do the inspection, until you have done so many that it becomes second nature. (As noted in the section on marshaling combat, a quick visual check of the combatants just before the start of a bout or battle is also a good idea.) All of this is based on the equipment standards given in the Appendix. You should be familiar with them, as well as with any other requirements that your Kingdom may have instituted. The fact that one of the requirements is not mentioned on this checklist does not mean that you should not notice if it has not been met. Armor inspection must be done with all of the armor on the body of the fighter who is going to wear it. It is not otherwise possible to get an accurate idea of what is covered and what is not, nor of where gaps may occur as the combatant moves. In weapon inspections, the primary test is safety. If you, as a marshal, do not believe that the weapon is safe (i.e., if you would not be willing to face it), do not let it be used on the field. When in doubt, ask the prospective user if he or she would be willing to fight against the weapon. If not, it should not be used regardless of whether it meets all other requirements. Before you start, remind yourself that armor is hot, not to mention heavy. If the weather is hot, try to find some shade in which to hold the inspection or, at least, for the fighters to stand in while waiting to be inspected. (Similar reasoning applies in case of rain, freezing cold, or other inclement weather. Just because it is possible to fight does not mean that it is pleasant or desirable to stand around in armor.)
B. Sample Armor Inspection - See VI. Armor Requirements above for Society minimum standards
1. Leg Armor: Check that the front and sides of the knee as well as 1” above and below the kneecap are covered by rigid material lined by at least ¼ inch (6mm) of closed-cell foam or an equivalent padding. Have the fighter flex their knees (either a deep knee bend or one knee at a time) and see that the knee remains covered and that the articulation (if any) does not gap. Check for sharp edges, broken or missing rivets, or other signs that the equipment is falling apart. It should not pull away from the knee when the fighter is standing upright either.
2. Groin: ASK the fighter if they remembered their cup or groin protection. Do NOT attempt to check for it physically.
3. Kidneys: Check for kidney armor. (Kidneys are located in the back, at the bottom of the ribs, but the armor should also extend around to the sides.) The kidney area, the short ribs, and the lower lumbar spine shall be covered with a minimum of heavy leather worn over ¼ inch (6mm) of closed-cell foam or equivalent padding. Chain mail over a gambeson is not considered adequate protection.
4. Elbows: Check that the point and sides of each elbow are covered. Have the fighter flex their elbows and see that the elbow remains covered and that the articulation (if any) does not gap. Check for sharp edges, broken or missing rivets, or other signs that the equipment is faulty. The elbow point and bones at either side of the elbow joint must be covered by a rigid material underlain by at least ¼ inch (6mm) of closed-cell foam or equivalent padding. This armor shall be attached in such a way that the elbow remains covered during combat. A shield alone is NOT sufficient, since it covers only the outermost point of the elbow
5. Hands and Wrists: Check the gauntlet and/or basket hilt. Look to see whether the gauntlet will pinch the hand if it is hit. Check for sharp edges, broken or missing rivets, or other signs that the equipment is faulty. The outer surfaces of the hand, to one inch above the wrist of both arms and including the thumb, must be covered by one or a combination of the following: a. A rigid basket or cup hilt with enough bars or plates to prevent a blow from striking the fingers or the back of the hand. If a basket or cup hilt, shield basket, or center-grip shield is used, a vambrace and or partial gauntlet shall cover the remaining exposed portions of the hand and wrist.
b. A gauntlet or partial gauntlet made of rigid material, either lined with ¼ inch (6mm) of closed-cell foam or equivalent or designed to transfer potentially injurious impact to the surfaces being grasped.
c. A gauntlet of heavy leather lined with ½ inch (12mm) of closed-cell foam or heavy padding. (Note: A hockey glove is considered to be the equivalent, but looks blatantly modern; their use is discouraged.) Street hockey gloves are NOT equivalent, as the padding is lighter than a regular hockey glove. Street hockey gloves will be treated only as padding.
Note: Commercial hockey, lacrosse, or kendo gloves are acceptable without reinforcement provided that the fingers cannot be easily felt through the padding.
d. A shield with a shield basket or equivalent. A shield alone is NOT sufficient, since it covers the back of the hand, but not the fingers, thumb, or wrist.
e. Combat archers and siege engineers may use as a minimum hand protection "archer's gauntlets or partial gauntlets made of rigid material, lined with ¼ inch (6mm) of closed-cell foam or equivalent, while operating archery or siege equipment. "Archer's gauntlets" shall consist of an ice hockey gloves with the fingers cut off or equivalent, protecting the back of the hand and the wrist.
6. Neck and Head:
a. Check that the neck, larynx, and cervical and first thoracic vertebrae are covered. The neck, including the larynx, cervical vertebrae, and first thoracic vertebra must be covered by one or a combination of the following and must stay covered during typical combat situations, including turning the head, lifting the chin, etc.:
(1) The helm,
(2) A gorget of rigid material or heavy leather, lined with ¼ inch (6mm) of closed-cell foam or equivalent padding.
(3) A camail or aventail of mail or heavy leather, lined with ¼ inch (6mm) of closed-cell foam or equivalent padding.
b. Check the face plate and eye slots, both for the size of openings (a 1-inch dowel is a quick way to check and hard to argue with) and to be sure that it is firmly secured.
c. Put your hand on the front of the helm, and have the fighter push against it. See that their face does not hit the faceplate. (A gentle touch of the tip of the nose at maximum pressure may not be desirable, but is not necessarily grounds for rejecting the helm.) Repeat with the sides and back of the helm.
d. Have the fighter turn their head toward their shield side. See that the neck is still not exposed.
e. Have the fighter tilt their chin up as far as possible and check the neck again (this is intended to simulate the position they might be in if they had just taken a blow high up on the front of the helm). If you can reach in (with your fist, or the dowel that you used to check the face openings) and touch bare throat, the problem should be repaired before the fighting starts. (It is recommended to have armor that prevents the dowel from touching your chin and jaw, but this is not required)
f. Have the fighter move their chin down as far as possible and repeat for the back of the neck.
g. Lift gently on the front of the faceplate to make sure that the helm does not rotate easily to expose the face or throat.
h. After making sure that the fighter does not have their tongue between his teeth, test the chinstrap (or equivalent) by lifting up sharply on both sides of the helm. It should not rise up so far as to expose the head or neck.
i. Check for sharp edges, broken or missing rivets, or other signs that the equipment is faulty.
7. Shield: Check the rim for exposed sharp edges. (For this purpose, a 90-degree angle is a sharp edge.) Check the rest of the shield for sharp edges, broken or missing rivets, or other signs that it is faulty.
C. Sample Weapon Inspection - See VII. Weapons Standards above for Society minimum standards.
a. Check that they meet the minimum diameter (1¼ inch [31.8mm]). A 1¼ inch (31.8mm) marshaling gauge will speed this up enormously.
b. Check that the ends are taped and that there are no exposed cuts in the rattan.
c. Check the quillions or basket hilts for sharp edges, broken or missing rivets, or other signs that they are coming apart.
d. Check the wrist strap or other means of keeping the sword from flying away.
2. Thrusting Tips: Check that they have the minimum cross section. Push on the end to verify the required amount of resilient give.
3. Mass Weapons: Check the padding for give. Check the wrist strap (single-handed mass weapons only). Consider the total mass of the weapon.
4. Pole Weapons: Check the thrusting tip, if any. Check the padding for give. Consider the total mass of the weapon. Check that the weapon meets the relevant length restrictions.
DVIII. EXPERIMENTAL WEAPONS AND MATERIALS PROCEDURES
A. Experimental Weapons and Materials
1. Before any unapproved weapon or material can be used at Society activities, a test plan and a sample of the proposed weapon or material must be submitted to and approved by the Society Marshal or a designated deputy. This plan shall include specifics on construction (e.g., materials used, how it is assembled, etc.), an outline of the test, and all restrictions that will be imposed on the test. It shall also tell how long the test period would be. Any samples submitted shall be returned to the submitting party no later than the conclusion of the test period, unless otherwise specified.
2. It is the prerogative of the Kingdom Earl Marshal to allow limited testing of alternate or unapproved materials and weapons within a kingdom. Limited testing means the weapon or material may be used at fighter practice tourneys and in small melees, but only after all combatants and marshals have been informed the weapon or material is being tested and that it is not approved for general SCA use.
3. All combatants and marshals must consent to the use of the weapon or material before combat begins. If any of the marshals or combatants object to the use of the material or weapon, the material or weapon may not be used. All unapproved materials and weapons shall be marked with alternating bands of red and green tape totaling 6 inches in length. Bands shall be visible during weapon usage.
4. Once per quarter throughout the test period, the Earl Marshal will update the Society Marshal on the progress and results of the testing. At the end of the test period, the Earl Marshal will provide the Society Marshal with a test summary. This summary shall include a list of injuries that resulted from the use of the weapon or material and any concerns from fighters and marshals recorded during the testing. The Society Marshal, after consultation with the Earls Marshal, shall determine if the weapon or material is suitable for SCA combat-related activities.
DIX. CHAIN OF COMMAND AND PROCEDURES FOR REPORTING
1. If you are a Marshal-at-Large:
a. Whatever processes your Kingdom requires to become warranted.
b. Reports on what you personally observed of any incident during or related to combat, which the Marshal in Charge was required to report on.
2. If you are the Marshal in Charge of an event:
a. Whatever processes your Kingdom requires become warranted.
b. A brief report on the event, including any incidents in which:
(1) Someone was injured.
(2) A fighter or marshal had to be disciplined.
c. Event reports shall go to the Principality Knight Marshal or the Kingdom Earl Marshal. (It should not go to the Marshal of the Society!)
d. Any other reports that the Earl Marshal of your Kingdom requires. (If you do not know, write and ask what he or she will want before the event. It is a lot easier that way.)
e. It is relatively common for a Marshal in Charge to draft anyone he or she feels is competent to serve as field marshals during and event. Whether these individuals are warranted marshals is a matter of Kingdom choice. The advantage of being a warranted marshal is that you are an official of the Corporation, which gives you certain legal protection from suits (if any)arising from your actions as a marshal. Since the Society and its officers have never faced a suit over fighting on the field, this may not seem critical, but it is worth thinking about. Corpora now requires all Marshal that are in a decision making capacity to be members of the society.
3. If you are the Knights Marshal of a Branch:
a. Whatever processes your Kingdom requires to become warranted.
b. Regular reports on the state of fighting in your branch. If there are subsidiary branches (e.g., cantons or ridings), this includes summarizing the reports that you get from them. Ask your immediate superior how often youneed to do this.
c. Any other reports that the Earl Marshal of your Kingdom requires.
4. If you are the Principality or Deputy Kingdom Earl Marshal or Knights Marshal:
a. Whatever processes your Kingdom requires to become warranted.
b. Regular reports on the state of fighting in your principality or region.
c. Any other reports that the Earl Marshal of your Kingdom requires.
5. If you are the Earl Marshal of a Kingdom:
a. An agreement to serve as Earl Marshal.
b. Quarterly reporting to the Society Marshal regarding the state of fighting in your Kingdom. (If you are required to make a similar report to the Crown, a copy to the Marshal is sufficient.)
c. If disciplinary action that extends beyond the bounds of a single event is being taken against a fighter in your Kingdom (e.g., authorizations suspended or revoked, Courts of Chivalry), a brief account of what was done, to whom, and why. (If more information is needed, for example because of an appeal of the action, the Marshal will let you know.)
d. Either individual warrants must be provided for each member of the Marshallate in your Kingdom or a roster must be maintained. (Information on the roster system may be obtained from your Kingdom Seneschal.) This task may be partially delegated to the regional or principality marshal of your kingdom, if any.
e. Answer correspondence from the Knights Marshals of your Kingdom.
6. If you are Marshal of the Society:
a. On a quarterly basis, report to the President (and thence to the Board) on the state of the Marshallate.
b. Provide warrants for the Earls Marshal as they are appointed.
c. Answer correspondence from the Earls Marshal
DX. PROCEDURES FOR GRIEVANCES AND SANCTIONS
A. Grievances and Disputes:
Usually the combatants are more than willing to correct any problems or breaches of the rules pointed out by a marshal. This is the desired solution: get the problem fixed. However, occasionally a marshal must take action. In the unhappy event that you find it necessary, here is how you shall proceed. In order of preference:
1. Point out the violation (missing armor, grappling during combat, etc.) and ask the fighter to correct it.
2. In the case of missing or inadequate armor, do not allow the combatant onto the field until it has been fixed.
3. In the case of violation of the rules during combat, ask the combatant to leave the field, and do not allow combat to resume until they have cooled off. This particularly includes removing from the field anyone who has lost his or her temper.
4. If you need support, call on (in order):
a. Any other marshals who are present (especially the Marshal in Charge).
b. A Regional, Deputy, or Principality Earl or Knight Marshal.
c. The Kingdom Earl Marshal
d. The local Seneschal
e. The Principality or Kingdom Seneschal
f. The Crown
5. If the violation cannot be stopped, convince the Marshal in Charge and the local Seneschal to end the event.
6. In any case where voluntary correction is not made after the problem has been pointed out, a written report shall be made to the Earl Marshal as soon as possible after the event.
1. In addition to removing an unsafe combatant from the field at the time, long-term sanctions are available. These will normally be applied by the Marshallate of the Kingdom rather than by a local marshal. Procedures outlined in Kingdom law or Kingdom marshal policies shall be adhered to when sanctioning any person.
2. Possible sanctions include:
a. Revoking the authorization of the individual to fight with a particular weapon. (This sanction may be applied whether or not your Kingdom does authorizations by weapon forms.)
b. Revoking the authorization of the individual to fight at all.
c. Recommendation to the Crown to banish the individual from participation in events.
d. Recommendation to the Board to banish the individual from the Society and its activities.
3. If any of these long-term sanctions are in progress, the Society Marshal shall be informed.
4. If authorization has been revoked, it is acceptable to inform the Earls Marshal of any neighboring Kingdoms to which the (ex-)fighter might travel. Once long-term sanctions have been applied, a report shall be made to the Marshal of the Society
5. An authorization from any Kingdom may be suspended/revoked in another Kingdom, should it prove necessary and appropriate. Such suspension/revocation means that the fighter may not fight anywhere in the Society until and unless the issue is resolved. Accordingly, the Earl Marshal shall inform the Earls Marshal of the neighboring Kingdoms.
6. Furthermore, if the fighter is subsequently re-authorized, the neighboring Earls Marshal shall again be notified
The definitions that follow apply throughout the Handbook, unless specifically stated otherwise. They are intended to clarify usage and establish a frame of reference for the various materials used in SCA combat.
A. Armor Materials
Archer’s Gauntlets: Hand protection worn by combat archers and siege engineers consisting of ice hockey gloves with the fingers cut off, so that the back of the hand and the wrist are protected. A partial gauntlets made of rigid material, lined with ¼ inch (6mm) of closed-cell foam is equivalent.
Aventail: flexible curtain of chainmail on a helmet, extending to cover the neck and shoulders
Bars: Used in the visor or faceplate of helms, bars shall be mild steel a minimum of 3/16 inch (4.5mm) in diameter, or the equivalent. If the distance between crossbars is 2 inches (50.8mm) or less, 1/8 inch (3.2mm) bars may be used.
Camail: flexible curtain of mail or leather on a helm, extending to cover the neck (also aventail)
Closed-cell foam: stiff foam with closed cells, less dense than resilient foam (e.g., Ensolite)
Equivalent: virtually identical to the specified material in effect or function, including impact resistance, impact distribution, and impact absorption characteristics, but not necessarily in physical dimensions.
Foam: any open- or closed-cell foam, including foam rubber, foam neoprene, polyurethane, etc.
Gauge: U.S. sheet metal standard. Note that 16-gauge is officially 1/16 inch (.0625 inch or about 1.6mm), but commercially available sheet is frequently rolled to .058 or even .055 inch—much too thin for helms.
Gauntlet: An armored glove covering the back of the hand, fingers, and thumb and the points and back of the wrist.
Gorget: a piece of armor designed to cover the throat and neck
Heavy Leather: Heavy Leather: stiff, oak-tanned leather nominally 11/64 inch (4.4mm) thick. Often referred to as 11oz. leather.
Mail: any fabric of small metal components either linked together (e.g., chain) or attached to a flexible backing (e.g., ring or scale)
Padding: quilted or multi-layered cloth material, such as mattress pads, moving pads, carpet, felt, or equivalent
Partial Gauntlet (also called a half-gauntlet or demi-gauntlet): An armored glove covering the back of the hand and at least the first knuckle of the thumb, as well as the points and back of the wrist.
Plate: large components of rigid material
Resilient foam: dense, plastic, closed-cell foam such as ethyl polymer
a. Steel of no less than 18 gauge, or aluminum of no less than 0.075 inch (1.9 mm)
b. Other metals of sufficient thickness to give similar rigidity to those listed above to include treated steel or aluminum
c. High-impact-resistant plastics such as ABS or polyethylene of sufficient thickness to give similar rigidity to those listed above
d. Heavy leather (as defined above) that has been hardened in hot wax, soaked in polyester resin (properly catalyzed), or treated in such a manner as to permanently harden the leather
e. Two layers of untreated heavy leather
f. Other materials equivalent to those items listed above (Any armor of unusual construction or material must meet the approval of the Kingdom or Principality Earl Marshal or their designated deputy.) Steel: cold- or hot-rolled mild steel or equivalent ferrous material
B. Weapons Approved rigid plastics: Siloflex and Siloflex equivalents are currently the only rigid plastic approved for the striking surface of a weapon.
Flail: a weapon with a striking surface attached to the handle via a flexible arm or pivot
Laminated rattan: Two pieces of rattan, each being at least 1¼ inch (31.8mm) in diameter, attached to one another with a short overlap by tape or other method of binding. Maximum length of the overlap shall be 18” (457.2mm) or half of the length of the added rattan, whichever is shorter. Note that use of glues, epoxies, or adhesives, which substantially reduce the flexibility of the rattan, is prohibited.
Missile weapon: any weapon which is intended to deliver a blow without being held in the hand (e.g., arrows, javelins, quarrels, or various soft projectiles from catapults)
Pike: See Spears
Polearms: hafted weapons, generally long, designed to be wielded with two hands (e.g., glaives, halberds, etc.)
Progressively resistant give (as used in discussions of thrusting tips): As pressure is applied directly to the thrusting surface, it will compress gradually, without bottoming-out or bending to the side enough to expose the end of the blade or haft of the weapon it is attached to.
Quillions: cross-guards of a sword
Siloflex: A brand-name polyethylene tubing made from PE3408 resin and conforming to ASTM D2239 standards. One-inch diameter Siloflex has an internal diameter of 1 inch (25.4mm) and an outer diameter of 1¼ inch (31.8mm) and may be used as an outer skin for a single-handed sword or for the outer layer of a throwing weapon. Smaller ¾-inch diameter Siloflex has an internal diameter of ¾ inches (19.05mm) and an outer diameter of 1 inch (25.4mm) and may be used inside a 1¼ inch (31.8mm) diameter tube for throwing weapons. Siloflex tubing rated at 160 PSI will provide the appropriate diameters.
Siloflex equivalent: other tubing or pipe, typically made for drinking water applications, made from polyethylene resins with the ASTM classification of PE 3408 and produced to the ASTM D2239 standard. The material should have a minimum of ¼ inch (6.35mm) wall thickness and an outer diameter of at least 1¼ inch (31.8mm) for use as a skin over rattan for a single-handed sword or the outer surface of a throwing weapon, or an outer diameter of 1 inch (25.4mm) for use as the inner layer of a throwing weapon.
Spears: hafted weapons designed for thrusting only; also called pikes
Single-handed mass weapons: maces, axes, war hammers, or other weapons designed primarily to crush or punch holes (on account of the weight of the real weapons), rather than primarily to cut (on account of sharp edges on the real weapon). Maximum length for single-handed mass weapons is 48 inches (122cm).
Slider: a tube or similar device that wraps around the shaft of a spear and is held in one hand, allowing the spear to slide through it. Use of sliders is prohibited.
Split rattan: Rattan of at least 1¼ inch diameter which has been split in two and applied to a weapon such that the striking surface of the split piece retains a cross section of 1¼ inch. Split rattan construction does not place the split rattan directly against the non-split haft of the weapon, but rather spaces the split off of the haft to allow give in the head by flexion of the split of rattan.
Swords: single- or double-edged, bladed cutting weapons (including swords with thrusting tips) Two-handed cutting or smashing weapons: includes two-handed swords, greatswords, bastard swords, polearms, and similar weapons.
C. Other Definitions
Armored Combat: A full contact, non-choreographed re-creation of medieval foot combat utilizing clothing, protective armor, and simulated weapons constructed in accordance with SCA standards, with the overall goal of recreating the appearance and methods of combat from the historical period covered by the SCA. For purposes of this definition, all combatants are held to be equipped in the same manner, defined as that of approximately 1100 AD: a knee-length mail hauberk, one-piece helm with nasal, and boiled leather defenses for the lower arms and legs. Weapons and armor are constructed from approved materials as defined by the Society Marshal. Adult Armored Combat as defined above does not include light contact martial forms, such as Rapier and Youth Combat. Adult Armored Combat includes all Combat Archery and Siege weaponry used in melees or for war.
Armored fighter: a combatant equipped in armor meeting at least the minimum requirements for combat using rattan weapons, and who uses said rattan weapons in combat.
Authorization: a procedure which determines that the individual fighter has, at minimum, read and become familiar with the rules of combat, been observed while fighting, and met any further requirements for authorization to ensure that he or she does not constitute an exceptional safety hazard (either to self or to others). Details of the procedure used vary from Kingdom to Kingdom and may include further requirements. (Note: The former term “qualification” is still heard, but should be avoided.) Revision date, 21 August, 2006 The online version of this document is the officially released version from the Society Marshal. Any photocopies or print-outs, either full or partial, are not controlled. 28
Battle: a single combat event in a war or war game wherein a specific scenario is enacted
Combat archer: a combatant equipped in armor meeting at least the minimum requirements for combat using rattan weapons and who will be using archery equipment in combat. Rules for combat archery weapons and conventions are found in the Combat Archery Handbook.
Directed touch: a thrust that contacts the face-guard of the helm and, while maintaining contact with the face-guard, continues to travel in the direction of the face
Earl Marshal: the warranted chief marshal of a Kingdom
Effective blow: a blow delivered with effective technique for the particular type of weapon used and struck properly oriented and with sufficient force Eric, List Field, Tourney Field: the defined area for fighting, or the fighting field, usually with a roped-off boundary
Fully armored: For the purposes of acknowledging blows, a fully armored fighter is presumed to be wearing a lightweight, short-sleeved, knee-length, riveted-mail hauberk over a padded gambeson, with boiled leather arm and leg defenses and an open-faced iron helm with a nasal. (The helm may be presumed to include a very light chain mail drape permitting vision and resisting cuts by a mere touch of a bladed weapon.) Also, the hands, wrists, knees and lower legs, and feet, including the areas up to 1 inch (2.5cm) above the kneecap and 1 inch (2.5cm) above the bend of the wrist, are not legal targets.
Helpless opponent: an opponent who is unable to defend him- or herself from attack for reasons beyond their control. An unarmed opponent is not necessarily helpless.
Knights Marshal: The warranted chief marshal of a Principality, Barony, Province, Shire, Canton, etc.
Missile weapons: projectile weapons including, but not limited to, bows and arrows, crossbows and bolts, slings and stones or bullets, javelins, darts, and throwing axes
Marshal: someone who is monitoring the conduct of combat on the field (The Marshal in Charge of an event shall be a warranted marshal; other individual marshals may or may not be, so long as the Marshal in Charge finds them competent to do the job.)
Rattan weapons: rattan or equivalent weapons including, but not limited to, swords of all lengths, great weapons, mass weapons, pole arms and spears Rostered - An appointed marshal who is listed on a roster. The roster must include the legal and Society names, address, phone number, and the appointment and expiration dates for each officer. It must be signed by the appropriate Royalty and the responsible superior officer, and be updated regularly. The roster must contain a statement that it is the current roster of (office) for the (kingdom, principality) of the Society as of (date). Local Knight Marshals, as and marshals who are able to perform authorizations must be either warranted or rostered.
Scenario limits: The body of rules and definitions which apply to a specific battle, such as the description of real or imaginary terrain features, obstacles, weapons limitations, allowable conduct, and scoring
Siege Engineer: a fully armored participant in armored combat who operates a siege engine.
Society Marshal, Marshal of the Society, Society Earl Marshal (SEM): the warranted chief marshal of the Society for Creative Anachronism
War: a declared state of feigned hostility between two or more kingdoms, branches, or other recognized SCA groups, for the express intent of holding group combat
War maneuvers: group combat events not involving a state of declared hostility, usually with both sides drawn from all of the kingdoms, branches, or other recognized SCA groups participating
Warranted – An appointed marshal who has been appointed by a Warrant of Appointment to Office of the SCA Inc., signed by the appropriate Royalty and the responsible superior officer. Local Knight Marshals, as and marshals who are able to perform authorizations must be either warranted or rostered.
Youth Combat is a program designed for minors ages 6-17. These programs require armor, require certain weapon construction techniques and materials, train young fighters in proper etiquette, the concepts of Chivalry, Honor and Courtesy, teach teamwork and good sportsmanship, as well as effective fighting arts, in a definitely competitive environment that parallels Adult Armored Combat. It employs Marshals, authorizations and strict controls. The Marshallate is responsible for Youth Combat, and each Kingdom is allowed to develop and run its own program.