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The Spark Project: What Brings Us Back to SCA Rapier?

Informal Researches and Contemplations by Donna Mora Ottavia Spadera

Recently, I reached out to the Caidan Rapier community to ask everyone a question which is often in my mind. I have so far spoken to about 20 different people, with a good distribution of genders, experience levels, and involvement levels. I asked:

What is it about fighting or swords or partaking in the rapier community that makes you most passionate?

What intrigues and excites you, what puts a sword in your hand, a hat on your head, a smile on your face, on the field or next to it or at practice or on this Facebook group?

What is that ineffable spark for you, or alternatively that warm satisfying glow?

If you’ve never quite found it, what had you hoped it would be?

If you’ve lost it, what was it, once upon a time? Is it elusive? Is it reliable? Is it the fight itself, or something peripheral? Is it a bit weird?

Bonus question, or alternative, if Sparks of Passion ain’t your thing: What is the thing that frustrates you most about your personal fighting experience? What’s the problem you need to fix?

 

Why, Mora??

I had a three-fold intention in asking everyone these questions:

First, I’m a combat teacher for whom a principal focus is to help fighters overcome the mental and emotional blocks which hold them back. I aid combattants in developing  their understanding of who they are on the fighting field, and I teach both physical and nonphysical tools which help fighters bring their full capability to each and every combat encounter. The more I know about others’ Sparks and Passions, the more I’m able to leverage those powerful, passionate energies to open up the learning process and bring out the strongest fights in others. I wanted to know if most fighters experience the same positive feedbacks, or if there were significantly different categories of motivation and positive feeling which affect different people.

Second, I hoped that by asking such questions, fighters who might not otherwise contemplate the matter might do some thinking about what they loved within the experience of fighting. I suspected that simply pondering such things would bring positives to the forefront of our minds, and spur us to seek more of what we like, whatever those things may be for each of us.

Third, I suspected that if I could identify the commonalities in what brings us back to this game, it could guide our community’s focus in building up activities which support the experiences we’re looking for. If there are common frustrations, we should also address those as a community.

You gave me very generous and well-thought-out responses. You all left me intrigued and inspired, and have given me insight into some issues that are affecting our community in deeply personal ways. I don’t have room in this article to cover everything at once, so I will start with my favorite, your Passions! Here is what I have found, in vague hierarchical order:

Top Ten Awesome Things Rapier Fighting Provides:

  1. Competition against others, OR, a consistent Internal Challenge to better oneself.
  2. Chaos, Camaraderie, and Excitement in Melee.
  3. A Unique Zen/Meditative/In-The-Moment Headspace, a specific sense of freedom.
  4. The experience of the Artful or Joyous Fight, whether you win or lose.
  5. An excellent Adrenaline Rush.
  6. A chance to be a hero or Emulate a Heroic Archetype, like the Swashbuckler, Robin Hood, Peter Pan, Zorro, etc.
  7. The simple, Satisfying Feeling of a sword in your hand.
  8. Constant Opportunities to Learn new things, and the Pleasure of Success at a physical, mental, or competitive activity.
  9. A Martial Art which is Accessible to those less physically able to do armored fighting, or who don’t wish to risk the injuries heavies entails.
  10. A Martial Art which more Closely Resembles our understanding of Historic Combat than armored SCA fighting does.

Our people keep coming back to the Caidan Rapier Community because they find:

  1. A Welcoming, Fun, and Safe Social Community, and a chance to hang out with friends.
  2. Participants who are Intelligent and supportive of one other’s personal transformations.
  3. Connective Opportunities for both extroverts and introverts, on and off the field.
  4. Greater Acceptance Within the SCA because they are a ‘fighter’
  5. Consistent Opportunities to Teach new things to new people, and take pleasure in the success of those they teach.
  6. That Late Period Fashion is Appealing, as are Late Period Swords.
  7. Pleasure in the Pomp and Circumstance.
  8. Joy and Inspiration in a Consort who emotionally supports them coming out to Fight.

If some of these points resonate with you too….know that you’re not alone.

Each of these could probably be an individual article in itself, and I encourage anyone inspired by this list to consider writing one of those. (Her Ladyship Roisin will be very grateful, and I would be happy to help you, just drop me a line!)

However, I’m going to focus the remainder of this article on the two points which surprised me the most, due to the frequency with which they popped up, and the fact that they weren’t things I expected to hear. Then I’ll conclude with thoughts about where I’m going next.

 

Unexpected Point One: We Like to be Heroes

A statistically significant number of fighters spoke up about how rapier fighting makes them feel like a heroic character. These are folks who rock very different persona types, and yet, many of them love the idea of the swashbuckler, the musketeer or Robin Hood. They relish the feeling that they can ‘save the day’ with a sword in their hand. Some find that their consort is impressed and honored by their fighting, and this makes them feel powerful and more likely to come out and play. Rapier fighting makes a significant chunk of us feel larger than life, part of an exciting story. I enjoy that part of the game too, and I’m glad to know that so many of us are out there for similar reasons. I’d love to discuss ideas for capitalizing on this particular communal passion. So many different heroes, so many possibilities! So much Awesome Epicness possible!

To bring this back to a headspace teaching opportunity, fighters can capitalize on this desire as a way to improve their fight. If you can step into your hero’s mindset, you will fight more like one. Then all that drilling and practice you do will really begin to display itself. (Just remember, with great power comes great responsibility. 😉 )

And if you’re -not- one of those limelight-loving heroes, or maybe even if you are…we have quieter subtler types, too! What about them?

 

Unexpected Point Two: Introverts Feel Safe Here

A notable number of the people I spoke to identified as introverts. Some were folks you might expect, and some weren’t. These people found that the rapier bout, or interaction within the community, gives them a safe space to connect with others in ways that make them feel comfortable and less overwhelmed.  This observation may be true of many sports and organized activities. It’s definitely at play for Caidan Rapier in specific ways:

On the Field: A one on one fight can be a fairly intimate space. Some fighters find that the kind of connection one can have with an opponent on the field is unique and moving, especially when the fight is particularly artful. This mental rapport can be deep and intense, and allow individuals who would not otherwise share something that powerful with others to come together in a mental and physical connection. This feeling uniquely walks the line between the creative (like a partnered dance) and the destructive (there is going to be an end, and a winner). It seems to make for a special kind of alchemy which is compelling to a number of fighters.

If this is where the Joy of the fight is for you, seeking that rapport whenever possible can make your fight stronger and more artful, and often more fun than it might otherwise be.

Off the Field: The prescriptive nature of our tournament routines, and our pomp and circumstance, are helpful for those who have difficulty feeling socially savvy. The court environment has clear expectations for behavior, and the standard format for tournament interaction provides an easy template for  fighters to interact and be a part of something bigger in a way that feels socially safe. Some in this category found that the spotlight of court appearances and group attention was more comfortable because the SCA has known scripts, for receiving awards, for being a tournament winner or champion. Others, however, found that, as more attention was placed on them as their skill and involvement rose, they had a harder time enjoying themselves. Mostly they wanted a safe place to just unassumingly enjoy their friends and their swords.

In either case, whether you enjoy the theatre of court or just want to relax with your friends, consistent rituals built on our common activities can provide another tool to help you hone your fighting ‘zone’ as well as ease and relax you into a familiar and friendly space.

Chat me up if you want to try and leverage any of these suggestions for yourself, or if you know of situations which get in your way when you try to do this.

 

What’s Next, Mora?

This study was fascinating for me. I was already cognizant of the range of ages, genders, shapes, sizes and body types which our art/sport supports. The interpersonal aspects prove to be yet another facet where our appeal crosses boundaries very well. As someone who has grown increasingly aware of the introverts in my life, I’m incredibly grateful and inspired that a sport like SCA Rapier proves itself to be a good environment for so many. Whether people prefer to be quietly active, or explore being larger than life, we have a versatile platform for exercise, competition, growth, connection, and community. When we can support the unique synergies of rapier, it allows a wide and varied range of gentles participate in our activity. We in Caid are the richer for it. (Mmm, synergy…)

There were also several things that people found frustrating about fighting Rapier in Caid and I feel that an exploration of these issues will help enrich our community and personal games as well. I also want to expand on my discussion of what we can do as a community to build up the positives and what we can do to promote activities and forms that will most feed our Passions. Since I cannot ever make anything I write sufficiently short (there’s so much interesting to observe!!) I shall provide a follow-on article with discussion of these matters anon.

I’m very much looking for more conversations on these subjects. Especially if my list misses something that’s a major motivator for you, I’d love to hear about it! And if you want to talk about tournament or event ideas that cater to these drivers, that would be great, since I’m writing an article about that very soon!

Here Endeth Part I. I thank thee for thy attention. ~Donna Mora the Inquisitive

Mo_avatar_testDonna Mora Ottavia Spadera has been living the the Shire of Isles and fighting rapier since 1999. She is particularly passionate about ambiance and headspace in the SCA, working to understand the whys, hows, and history of many courtly arts, including swordplay, performance arts, and the arts of hospitality, as well as the role of the SCA as a welcoming social community. When not on the rapier field, one is likely to find Mora running her Salon at the sign of the Sable Hart, enjoying conversation and company, baubling and philosophical discourse…or you may possibly locate her tailing a passel of village children and reminding them to play honorably with one another.

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Meet the MODs #5- Master Laertes McBride

Aaaaand we’re back after a much-needed summer vacation! This week we’re starting off with the man, the myth, the sardonic legend himself– Master Laertes McBride. Not only is he one of the premiere members of the Order of Defense in Caid, he is also the current Society Rapier Marshal. So you’re betting he made it past the second round in his very first tournament, right? Read on to find out.

If you want a chance to talk to Master Laertes in the flesh (other than at Altavia practice on Monday nights), he will be holding a Society Rapier Marshal Moot Meeting (say that 5 times fast) after the conclusion of rapier scenarios on Friday at Great Western War. Bring your questions and listen to updates on rapier in the Knowne World.

 

Master Laertes

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What is your registered SCA name? Laertes McBride

Do people usually call you something different? If so, what? Yes – but I don’t think it’s appropriate for an all ages website.

How many years have you been playing? 27 years. My first event was in March 1990. 

Did you start by playing rapier? If not, in what area of SCA combat/study did you first start? Yes, I was drawn into the SCA by rapier combat. Growing up I always wanted to be a musketeer, so it seemed a logical extension of that desire.

 

Did you start playing in Caid? If not, where are you from? I started participating in the Kingdom of Ansteorra. I moved to Caid in June 1996.

Outside of rapier, what is your favorite SCA activity? I enjoy dancing – but I don’t seem to get to do it enough.

Why did you decide to pick up rapier fighting? So I could stab my friends and I thought it looked fun.

What is your preferred weapon form? Rapier and dagger – although I enjoy fighting rapier and cloak. 

Who is your favorite historical sword master and why? Well, I’d say Saviollo since it’s the only style my fighting even slightly resembles. A little. Not much. Okay, maybe one stance. 

How would you describe your fighting style? I’m definitely a “SCA Rapier Combat” fighter. If someone is looking for teaching and training based on period texts and techniques – I’m definitely not the person to approach. While I understand and fully appreciate the forms dictated by period masters, it is not my strength. I became active in the rapier community before the emphasis and accessibility of period texts, and it’s tough to teach an old dog old tricks. 

What was your favorite fight EVER and why (either tournament, melee, or pick-up)? Hard to narrow it down to one. Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to fight many honorable and skilled fighters, face off against determined and larger number of forces on the melee field and simply enjoy testing myself against my friends.

What is the single best piece of advice that you would like to give to new fighters? Have fun. If you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong. (And, if I had time to them a second single best piece of advice, it’s not to make your goal to win each fight. The goal should be to fight one’s best each time. If you win, that’s great, but if you lose then you use the experience to improve yourself. If all 20 people in a tournament set their goal to win it, there’s going to be 19 very disappointed and frustrated persons at the end of the day.)

What does being a Master of Defense mean to you? To me it means that I am a member of the first peerage level order created in 40+ years. Along with the rest of the Order, we have the obligation and responsibility to live up the expectations, not only of the community, kingdom and society, but of ourselves. It’s to strive to be the role model for others and to be aware that decisions and actions taken now will shape how the order is perceived for years to come.

What does being a peer of Caid mean to you? Well, as mentioned by Kelan, technically, I am a peer of the Society that lives in the Kingdom of Caid. In a broader sense, it means that when I travel out of kingdom I am extremely aware that I represent a portion of what Caid sees as a peer of the realm.

Are there any questions or feedback you’d like from the rapier populace? I honestly enjoy hearing people’s opinions on the community, especially recommendations for people that deserve recognition!

What is one SCA-related thing most rapier fighters in Caid probably don’t know about you? (can be fighting related or not– i.e. ‘I really hate fighting cloak’ or ‘my persona as originally constructed is actually Byzantine) During my first four years of being authorized as a rapier fighter, I never made it past the second round. Talk about frustrating. However, I kept practicing and remained focused on making it over the hump and eventually things started to click.

P.S. If you want a larger dose of Master Laertes, he mundanely performs improv comedy every weekend at the LA Connection Improv Theater in Burbank. ;p

Master Laertes

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Great Western War XIX- Schedule, Scenarios, and Tournaments

Great Western War Rapier

 

**PLEASE NOTE FIELD AND SCHEDULE CHANGES FROM LAST YEAR** Please check Headquarters for Rapier Field position.

 

General Schedule:

 

Thursday: 

 

2:00pm- Hay Bale and Field Set Up

4:00pm- Cut and Thrust Exhibition List

8pm- Sable Heart Torchlight Tournament

 

 

Friday: 

 

10:00am- Bridesmaid’s Tournament

11:30am- Check In/Armor Inspections

12:00pm- Scenarios Start

End of Scenarios (about 4:00pm)- Society Rapier Marshal Moot (This is an opportunity to meet with the Society Rapier Marshal, hear updates on Rapier at the Society Level, and field any questions you have.)

 

 

Saturday: 

 

9:30am- Check In/Armor Inspections

10:00am- Scenarios Start

End of Scenarios or about 2:00pm- Order of Defense List Opens

 

 

Sunday: 

 

10:00am- Valkyrie Rose Tourney

End of Valkyrie Rose Tournament- 2 on 2 Bear Pit Tournament

End of Tournament- Hay Bale Tear Down

 

 

 

IS THIS YOUR FIRST TIME AT WAR? BEEN TO WAR BEFORE, BUT WANT TO GET MORE INVOLVED? KEEN ON RAPIER BUT HAVEN’T AUTHORIZED YET? COME MARSHAL!

 

The rapier field is always looking for more marshals in training and you, yes you, can become one by simply…coming out to the rapier field. Marshaling is a great way to meet people, learn how rapier works, and experience the fighting in a fun and exciting way. Please bring a shade-giving hat and sunscreen. We will provide safety glasses (if the scenario calls for them), water, MiT paperwork, and volunteer cards.

 

Tournaments

 

All tournaments will be held in erics near the rapier battlefield with the exception of the Sable Heart Torchlight Tournament.

 

Thursday-

 

2:00pm Hay Bale Set-up. Be there, move squares (or, er, bales of hay) to create the backdrop for our exciting scenarios over the weekend. VOLUNTEER HOURS AVAILABLE. Seriously, this is the quickest way to rack up hours for your group! Bring your friends! The more hands, the fewer the bales you’ll have to move.

 

4:00pm Cut and Thrust Exhibition- Maître Malise McKendry and THLady Meala Caimbuel

 

Field opens at 3:00pm for warm up, Tournament will start at 4pm.

 

Who can enter- All Fighters Authorized in Cut and Thrust

 

Description- Great Western War Early Bird Cut & Thrust Tournament
Thursday at 4pm on the Rapier Battlefield
A seeded, double elimination list with prizes for the winner and the Marshals’ Choice. (Note your marshals are most often impressed by historic combat, attire, and courteous demeanor on the field.)

 

The tournament will run by Caid Rules and progress as follows:

Non Elimination Rounds:

  • Round One – Broadsword – Sword in one hand may use a buckler. Fighters may mix one and two hand if both agree.
  • Round Two – Single Rapier – transitional weapons are acceptable, but no broadswords, two-handed swords,etc.
  • Round Three – Fighters’ Choice

Double Elimination List
The three rounds above will seed this list, fighters will be listed by performance, then rank. The top fighter will face the bottom and so on.

Weapons form shall be fighters choice of any legal and standard C&T weapon and/or secondary, but the default will be Broadsword as defined in the Caid rules.

 

Please address any questions to the Hosting Marshals.

 

 

 

8pm-  Sable Heart Torchlight Tourney- THL Valeria Cabrielli

 

HELD AT THE SABLE HEART ENCAMPMENT. CHECK AT HQ MAP FOR LOCATION.

 

Who can enter- All Fighters looking for good fun.

 

Description- Seventh Annual Torchlight Bauble Battle 8PM at Sable Hart Start your war off right and join us for lots of fighting. Fighters and gallery members will receive tournament baubles and the house will be taking bets. Awards for the list champion, the attendee who wins the most baubles and the fighter who wins people the most per the house book. This is a baubles only tournament—no bets of cash, goods, lands, or livestock will be accepted.

 

 

 

Friday-

 

10:00am Bridesmaid Tourney- THL Cassandre Loustanau

 

Who can enter- Fighters who have not won first place in a Baronial Championship or higher. (Or have not won a previous Bridesmaid Tourney)

 

Description- Never won a tournament? Then this tournament is for you! Come out, cross swords, and warm up your war. The winner will receive a prize and are banned from entering future Bridesmaid tournaments.

 

 

 

Saturday-

 

End of Scenarios (approx. 2:00pm, depending on time of court) Order of Defense Tourney

 

Who can enter- Anyone who is not a member of the Order of Defense

Tournament Details- Double elimination tournaments not your style? Tired of having to fight those dastardly members of the Order of Defense? Well, this is the tournament for you! The Order of Defense will be running a pool-style tournament with the top fighters of each pool advancing to the best two-out-of-three single elimination stage to determine the overall winner. 

 

 

 

 

Sunday-

 

10:00am Valyrkie Rose Tourney

 

Who can enter- Fighters in this tournament are sponsored by a Lady of the Rose, who may sponsor one scarved and one un-scarved rapier fighter. If you don’t have a sponsor and would like to fight please check in with the tournament steward who will be happy to introduce you to a lovely Lady of the Rose!

 

Tournament Details- This tournament displays the heraldry, pageantry and chivalry of our society at its finest! Sponsored fighters will participate in a procession and speed tourney, fighting for the honor of the Lady of the Rose they are sponsored by. Prizes are given for the winner of the tournament and the most chivalrous fighter.

 

End of Valyrkie Rose Tournament (or as fighters congregate on the field) Two on Two Bear Pit

 

Who can enter- All authorized fighters

 

Tournament Details- Pick a partner and jump into an informal bear pit tournament to end your war. Teams will accrue 1 point each fight they HOLD the field (taking the field does not accrue points). You may switch partners, but the newly formed team must move to the farthest back partner’s place in line (you can’t switch teams to move up in line). Lots of fun is encouraged. There will be a small token of appreciation for the victors and for the team that the marshals deem ‘most entertaining’.

 

Hay Bale Tear Down- Come help reset the field so that the war’s AWESOME hay bale crew can pick up the stacks at the end of war. VOLUNTEER HOURS AVAILABLE.

 

 

 

 

Scenarios

 

 

Note: The Marshals reserve the right to change scenarios at will.

 

Friday-

 

Kingdom commanders and KRMs, if possible, please report to the rapier field at 11:30am on Friday so the stewards can provide you with armor inspection stickers for your army and any pertinent information regarding the war. We hope that this brief meeting will speed check-in and help the war go smoothly. Thank you!!

 

Armor inspections and Check-in- 11:30am

 

Check in will begin promptly at 11:30am, regardless of the progression of the morning tournament. Please check in with the steward under the pop-up who will check your non-expired fighter card. Sign up under your war band and kingdom. Unaffiliated fighters will be grouped according to kingdom.

 

After checking in find a warranted marshal with stickers who can inspect your armor and your weapon. Your weapon will be stickered after inspection. This sticker must remain on your weapon throughout the war. Any weapon seen on the field without a sticker may be pulled from the fighting and the fighter may miss a few scenarios while it is inspected. Please make sure your armor and weapons are inspected before fighting each day since battle damage is likely to occur. PLEASE NOTE: As per recent society inspection clarification, we will be inspecting masks off the head for padding requirements. Caid is requiring that all inspecting marshals complete this check, regardless of kingdom.

 

If you have questions regarding rapier conventions including DEATH FROM BEHIND please ask the stewards or the Marshals prior to the start of scenarios.

 

We expect all fighters on the field to be aware of society and Caidan kingdom fighting rules prior to taking the field. Please read up on Caidan fighting conventions prior to visiting war. MiC will have a copy of the rulebook on site if you need clarification. Some Caidan specific rules include but are not limited to:

 

– Tip cuts are valid (5 inches or the width of the limb, whatever is less)

– No rising up on knees when legged

– No knee walking

 

We want everyone to have a fun war. If you are feeling tired, upset, or find yourself accidentally hitting hard at any time during scenarios please take a break, get some water and rest! There will be more scenarios. If you encounter a specific problem on the field please find a Rapier Steward, who will make sure the proper individuals are contacted and the situation is mediated.

 

Spears and guns will be used in various scenarios. All fighters planning to fight spear should present their spear authorization at time of check in. There will be a quick refresher on Caidan spear rules prior to the start of the first spear scenario.

 

 

Scenarios- Will start PROMPTLY at 12:00pm

 

Scenario Format:

 

Mists roll over the hills of Italy as two armies emerge, ready for war. It is time to pick a place for battle, set the terms of engagement, and sally forth to victory. They already know this will be an arduous campaign.

 

The Warm-Up will be brief, a quick resurrection battle with a ‘no more resurrections’ called after 5 minutes.

 

There will be a duel- Each army will pick a team of three to face each other in the opening champions duel. The winning team will be granted first choice of the next scenario’s location.

 

There will be a map- The winning army will select a city-state from the map as the location of the first scenario. The scenarios do not have to be selected in any particular order. The map will detail the location of the scenario (village, open field, boat, docks), whether the scenario allows spears or guns (or both), and whether there are resurrections. The winning army has 3 minutes on the clock to pick the location. If the time limit runs out, choice defaults to the marshal.

 

Once the location is selected, the marshal will read the terms and win conditions of the scenario to both armies.

 

If an army is victorious in a location, their marker is placed on that location and that location may not be chosen again for a battle (with the exception of the use of the Courtesan card).

 

There will be cards- Each army will have 5 cards that they may play ONCE during the day’s scenarios. After the reading of the scenario conditions each team will have 5 minutes (while the marshals set up the field) to select a card, if any, to play. The team that selected the scenario must play the first card, if they choose. You may only play up to one card per scenario. Cards may only be played prior to the beginning of the scenario. If a scenario is run more than once, the previous card conditions will not be in effect and each team may play a new card. The cards are as follows:

 

Card 1: Fire. This card decreases the time limit on any scenario by 5 minutes. If no time limit is in effect, a time of 7 minutes will be set.

 

Card 2: Flood. Opposing team must pick 5 members of their team to have no resurrections. This card may not be played in a scenario with no resurrections to begin with.

 

Card 3: Famine. All Masters and Mistresses of Defense on the opposing team are required to fight single sword, off hand.

 

Card 4: Feast. Pick 5 members of your team to receive 1 additional resurrection (does not need to be a resurrection scenario, a resurrection point will be established for those team members). This card may not be played during a resurrection scenario.

 

Card 5: Courtesan. The team who plays this card will receive the right to pick the next scenario, no matter the outcome of the scenario about to be fought. Additionally, that choice may be a location that has already been fought over and claimed. If the outcome of the new battle is different from the previous battle, the token may be switched.

 

There will be victory- Teams will earn 1 point for every territory taken and an additional 3 points will be given to the team who has the most adjoining territories. Points will not roll over between days of combat.

 

If there is fighting left to be had, or if there is a tie, there will be a checkpoint resurrection battle to end the day with time limit determined by how long the day’s fighting has run.

 

There will be a Society Rapier Marshal moot directly after the day’s fighting. This is an opportunity to meet with the Society Rapier Marshal, hear updates on Rapier at the Society Level, and field any questions you have.

 

 

 

Saturday-

 

Armor Inspections and check in- 9:30am

 

Please make sure your weapons and armor are inspected each day of scenarios since battle damage may occur.

 

Please also quickly check in with the marshal checkpoint so that we can accurately divide sides.

 

Scenarios will start PROMPTLY at 10am

 

Please see Friday for description of scenario concept.

 

Warm-up will be a brief resurrection battle

 

The map on Saturday will hold different scenarios. Cards will be the same and will be refreshed to each army at the beginning of the day.

 

Different for Saturday: There is a twist! You haven’t been paying your armies well enough. There are mercenaries who have gone rogue:

 

Each army will be asked to contribute a small number of fighters (numbers will be determined by numbers fielded) to an independent rogue squad. This squad will act as a third army and will have no allegiance to either army.

 

The mercenary squad will have their own cards to play and may win a scenario (and territory) if they are the only group left standing at the end of the scenario. Mercenary squad point opportunities will be delineated at the beginning of each scenario and their points will be tallied at the end of the day to compare with the two armies.

 

 

And remember: HAVE FUN!!


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Meet the MODs #4- Master Eogan Uá Confraich

This week– it’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s Master Eogan Uá Confraich! Master Eogan has always been one of my absolute favorite fights. Energetic with inexhaustible enthusiasm, he is almost always game to play to a dozen, fifty, or one hundred touches. The creator of the Uber-Elf tournament among many, many other ridiculously fun fighting scenarios, Master Eogan is not a MOD to miss.

Master Eogan

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What is your registered SCA name? Eogan Uá Confraich

Do people usually call you something different? If so, what? My name is pronounced ‘Owen’ – but I can always tell when a new field herald gets my card for the first time.

How many years have you been playing? 23 actively

Did you start by playing rapier? If not, in what area of SCA combat/study did you first start? I joined the SCA because I heard they did historical fencing, though I later took up armored combat as well.

 

Did you start playing in Caid? If not, where are you from? I found the SCA here in Caid.

Outside of rapier, what is your favorite SCA activity? I enjoy leather working and storytelling.

Why did you decide to pick up rapier fighting? I used to go to Ren faires and spend the whole day at the fencing booth, later I saw a rapier demo and I was hooked. There was something about the combination of speed and style that drew me.

What is your preferred weapon form? I love them all, but sword and cloak is the most stylish.

Who is your favorite historical sword master and why? I enjoy Agrippa’s approach to guards and Capo Ferro for style.

How would you describe your fighting style? An energetic mashup of styles that feel right to me.

What was your favorite fight EVER and why (either tournament, melee, or pick-up)? Some years ago, I attended a pas in the West (shortly after they had restarted rapier) and I was fighting a West fencer in one of the giant open fields that the West likes to use for erics.  The new prince of the West was in attendance and it was clear that the fighting wasn’t holding his interest.  When ‘lay on’ was called, my opponent charged in with a flurry of attacks – I was told later that I gave a gleeful ‘whoop’ of joy and responded in kind.  We took that fight all over that huge field – fighting the entire time.  We weren’t carefully moving into and out of measure, this was a nonstop string of attacks and counters that never slowed.  We ended up back in front of the prince, with my opponent throwing a beautiful high lunge from orbit…and I dropped underneath it.  My lunge came all the way from a desperate squat with my off hand on the ground.  At that precise moment, the prince jumped up off his throne and shouted “Now THAT was cool!”

What is the single best piece of advice that you would like to give to new fighters? Give yourself time, don’t focus on winning, focus on your fencing.  Don’t analyze your fighting while you are fighting.

What does being a Master of Defense mean to you? It means that I am seen as a representative of the rapier community as a whole – and I have to strive to be a role model and an active participant in our community.

What does being a peer of Caid mean to you? The biggest difference is in the society wide level of the peerage, it’s not just a kingdom level thing anymore – it makes for a whole different flavor of responsibility.

Are there any questions or feedback you’d like from the rapier populace? Can’t think of any off the top of my head – always feel free to talk to me at any event.

What is one SCA-related thing most rapier fighters in Caid probably don’t know about you? (can be fighting related or not– i.e. ‘I really hate fighting cloak’ or ‘my persona as originally constructed is actually Byzantine) My SCA name translates into Heather’s Hound.

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Meet the MODs #3- Master Lot Ramirez

Master Lot is probably one of the first faces many new Caidan rapier fighters remember. Always teaching, always a wealth of historical knowledge. You may also have seen him at the fireside with his drum, songs, and poetry. But what else is there? Turns out, there’s a lot to Master Lot!

Master Lot

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What is your registered SCA name? I have 2 registered names, Lot Ramirez and Juceff ben Miguel. Lot was registered first as that is the name that I commonly go by, but my persona was conceived as a secret Jew hiding from the Spanish Inquisition. So, when I was elevated to Peerage as a Companion of the Laurel, I registered the name that is my persona’s ‘real name’ and was elevated and dubbed with it.

Do people usually call you something different? If so, what? Most people call me Lot. Some call me “Captain” in reference to my position as Captain of the ship, The White Star, though I am on sabbatical and have passed the Captain’s duties to Commander Marcos de la Cruz.

How many years have you been playing? My first event was Oct 1996, so over 20 years.

Did you start by playing rapier? If not, in what area of SCA combat/study did you first start? The first thing I actually ever did in the SCA was shoot archery, as they had archery at the fighter practice I first attended before the fighting. But, I really wanted to be a Heavy Weapons fighter. At the practice I attended they’d fight and then do lessons, especially for beginners who didn’t have armor, at the end. So, while I was working to get my armor together, I jumped into the ‘one size fits all’ rapier loaner gear. By the time I actually got on the Heavies field, I was already hooked on rapier.

 

Did you start playing in Caid? If not, where are you from? I originally started in the Barony of Jararvellir (Madison, WI), which at the time was a part of the Principality of Northshield, in the Kingdom of the Middle. Northshield is now its own kingdom. I moved to Caid 2 years later in Aug 1998.

Outside of rapier, what is your favorite SCA activity? I fight all combat forms (Rapier, Armored, Unarmored). I also do a good amount of Bardic (singing/storytelling) and enjoy Court Heraldry. You can often find me around a good baubling table, or just drinking and enjoying time with friends and loved ones.

Why did you decide to pick up rapier fighting? See above – It was easier to get into. I had done a little foil fencing in high school, so I was much more prepared to jump in and get going. (Especially as we were using epees at the time, as heavy rapier wasn’t a big thing yet)

What is your preferred weapon form? Oh boy… that’s a toughie. I don’t really distinguish my form by the weapons I use. Though, I often default to Rapier and walking stick as I enjoy it both strategically and aesthetically. But, my favorite secondary was the “parrying rose” my wife once made for me.

Who is your favorite historical sword master and why? Well, my favorite right now is Bondi di Mazo, but he’s a little post SCA period (1696). His text is really simple, but covers some very intricate uses of time, distance, and footwork.

As far as SCA specific masters, I have read a good number and love all of them. I generally fight in the style of Nicoletto Giganti when doing Italian Rapier (di Mazo and Giganti are both Venetian and their styles are not mutually exclusive), and Joachim Meyer when doing German Rapier and Longsword.

How would you describe your fighting style? I try to learn and present fighting styles advocated by specific masters from the time period. I hope that someone will look at my fights and see the application of style and system that they could understand from the historical texts. If I were to go back in time and fight in front of the masters of the age, I would hope that they would see their teaching in my fight.

What was your favorite fight EVER and why (either tournament, melee, or pick-up)?Before either of us were White Scarves, I had a fight with Andre Rodriguez de la Rosa in a tourney where the conversation of blades and the intensity of the fight were so real that when I was struck I thought for an instant that I had actually been hit by a real rapier. My mind flashed and I froze and fell, and in the passing moment when I realized that I wasn’t actually stabbed, my relief and joy were overwhelming. That fight was AMAZING!

What is the single best piece of advice that you would like to give to new fighters? Be patient and understanding, both with yourself and the others around you. It’s a long journey, and no one is perfect.

What does being a Master of Defense mean to you? Being a Master of Defense is an honor, but also a duty. Having been recognized, I need to make sure that I present myself according to the standard set. But also, that I take it upon myself to give back to the community that I am a part of. Helping others grow, taking on projects when I am available, being a reasonable voice within the community and helping other people be heard and seen.

The Master of Defense is also a little unique in that it is such a new thing. The identity of the Order has really yet to be set, and it’s up to us, the members of the Order and the populace as a whole, to start to establish what that will be.

What does being a peer of Caid mean to you? I’ll answer a little differently. Being a Peer in general is much like I described above.   But, being a double Peer, both a MoD and a Laurel especially, often puts me in the position of representing one group amongst the others. It is important to me, when on the rapier field to also represent myself as a researched and knowledgeable artist. And often amongst the Order of the Laurel, I represent the voice of the rapier community, whether I want to or not.

Are there any questions or feedback you’d like from the rapier populace? I LOVE and welcome feedback from the community! Please, don’t be afraid to ask if you would like to strike up a feedback session or ask questions. I can’t always guarantee I will be available right at that moment, but I will try to find time to accommodate.
My main question for the populace is “What do YOU want to see or do?” This community is a place where we all pool our dreams together. Don’t be afraid to put your own stamp on the community.

What is one SCA-related thing most rapier fighters in Caid probably don’t know about you? (can be fighting related or not– i.e. ‘I really hate fighting cloak’ or ‘my persona as originally constructed is actually Byzantine) I have close to a literal TON of Students (Imperial not Metric, if you don’t include armor, though Zhivana blows the curve). Though I have only made 4 Provosts, at this point in time, I have 5 other Students in addition to that. We call ourselves the Vineyard School of Fence, but more often than not you can find us goofing on each other with Kung Fu Panda references. Apparently, there is something about a little red panda, voiced by Dustin Hoffman, and searching for inner peace that reminds them of their teacher. Coincidentally enough, most of the students have found their own analog in the world (or it’s been found for them) and it makes an interesting window into our own lives, strengths, and weaknesses.

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Meet the MODs #2- Master Kelan McBride

Our interviewee this week has been many things– a premiere member of the Order of the White Scarf, a Pelican, the Baron of Dun Or. Given all that you might think you already know the whole story, or do you? Master Kelan McBride answers our questions.

Master Kelan

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What is your registered SCA name? Kelan McBride of Arainn

Do people usually call you something different? If so, what? Hey, you? Just Kelan.

How many years have you been playing? 27 in the SCA, about 20 in rapier. (My how the time flies.)

Did you start by playing rapier? If not, in what area of SCA combat/study did you first start? I started as an archer – we didn’t have rapier when I started.

 

Did you start playing in Caid? If not, where are you from? I started in Caid. I went to the first Collegium classes offered for rapier. I learned to make rapier armor and how to use my finger as a sword (there weren’t enough epees and foils to go around).

Outside of rapier, what is your favorite SCA activity? Golf – but if you mean in the SCA, I guess I’d have to say chatelaining. I like talking to people.

Why did you decide to pick up rapier fighting? As I said, I was an archer. There just aren’t that many tournaments for archers. When I saw rapier I realized I could do that (I am physically unable to do heavies) and be able to play at every Caidan event. It also gave me the ability to experience some of what happened on the heavies field – the one-on-one combat and the chivalry.

What is your preferred weapon form? Probably single sword. I was told a long time ago; get good at single and the rest will come along.

Who is your favorite historical sword master and why? I don’t have a favorite. I mix Capo Ferro, Giganti, and Morrozo as the fight proceeds.

How would you describe your fighting style? When I started out I was a mirror fighter; whatever my opponent did I mirrored. Now? I don’t fight much anymore. If I did I would be a defensive fighter staying at distance and looking for openings.

What was your favorite fight EVER and why (either tournament, melee, or pick-up)?There are so many “no kidding, there I was…” stories over 20 years, I’m not sure I could pick one. My favorite fights are those where I enjoyed the fight, win or lose, and we both walk off the field sharing a laugh.

What is the single best piece of advice that you would like to give to new fighters? Have fun. It is a game! Talk to your opponents and learn something from every fight. Be chivalrous and honest – it’s your honor on the line. I know that was more than one thing, but I believe they are all tied together.

What does being a Master of Defense mean to you? I’ve never really thought about this. When the White Scarf was introduced to Caid we treated it as kind of a pseudo-peerage. We looked for top fighters, but we also looked for those who would meet the peerage requirements of the Knights, Laurels, and Pelicans. If I had to pick a meaning for me it would an acknowledgment we did things more right than wrong. As with the Caidan White Scarf, it is not just an award, it is a job description. We don’t stop doing what we were doing once we are elevated. That’s just the beginning. Of course sometimes age and health get in the way, but I can still give advice.

What does being a peer of Caid mean to you? As I was a Caidan Pelican first, nothing changed. I am extremely honored to be recognized by Caid and can never really repay the confidence and support.

Are there any questions or feedback you’d like from the rapier populace? Don’t be afraid to come to the MoDs with questions. We watch what’s going on in the eric, but we don’t see everything. We need to know if things are going well or if changes need to be made. We need to know who the fighters see as the next MoD and who are the leaders. All questions and feedback are wanted and honored.

What is one SCA-related thing most rapier fighters in Caid probably don’t know about you? (can be fighting related or not– i.e. ‘I really hate fighting cloak’ or ‘my persona as originally constructed is actually Byzantine) I don’t like cloak/cape, my original persona was early Celtic (being an archer), and I’m not really left handed…

Anything else you’d like to add? I have really enjoyed my time in the SCA. But, like any other activity, you get out of it what you put into it. If your goal is to be a better fighter, you have to practice. If your goal is to make friends and have fun, just enjoy the game. Accolades come or they don’t, but our worth is not determined by the accolades. Your worth is in your friends and loved ones.

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Meet the MODs #1- Master Alexander Kallidokos

Greetings! I thought it might be nice to kick things off after a long absence with a fun interview series (or two). At least one new interview will be posted each week– enjoy!

Introducing…

Meet the MODs- Profiles of Caid’s Masters of Defense

We fight them (and are stabbed by them) regularly. But how well do we really know the MODs of Caid???? Here at Caidrapier.org we have the EXCLUSIVE on these fun, interesting, and somewhat surprising Masters of Defense. We sent identical interview questions to each of the current MODs and we will be profiling one each week.

To kick off the series we have Master Alexander Kallidokos– quiet, chivalrous to a fault, and pretty much impossible to kill when legged with a buckler. But did you know he actually joined the SCA on a completely different note?

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What is your registered SCA name? Alexander Kallidokos

Do people usually call you something different? If so, what? Nope!

How many years have you been playing? 34 or so…

Did you start by playing rapier? If not, in what area of SCA combat/study did you first start? Nope, started by singing. I thought fighters were insane people who liked baseball bats swung at them. Then I started Armored in ~1990 and then rapier in 1991-2.

Did you start playing in Caid? If not, where are you from? I attended my first event in Atenveldt in 1981 or so, but didn’t start with the SCA till I was in Caid in 1983.

Outside of rapier, what is your favorite SCA activity? Humm, singing and cooking are fun, as is period astronomy, but really, mostly I do rapier, now.

Why did you decide to pick up rapier fighting? For exercise and to be with friends when I did.

What is your preferred weapon form? Sword and whatever – NOT fish, maybe a Moose.

Who is your favorite historical sword master and why? Agrippa, but Saviolo and Silver have their place! Recently going more to Fabris with left-handed work.

How would you describe your fighting style? Nasty mishmash of timing and range.

What was your favorite fight EVER and why (either tournament, melee, or pick-up)?Queens champion – I’ll always remember the weakness of a V buckler.

What is the single best piece of advice that you would like to give to new fighters? It takes time – all the other things, practice, timing, coordination, being relaxed when fighting – if you put in the time, it’ll come.

What does being a Master of Defense mean to you? Being a representative for the community and trying to do it well.

What does being a peer of Caid mean to you? Being a peer is really a Society recognition – you’re not a peer of Caid, but of the society. If you’re made a peer, you hopefully can go anywhere and represent your Kingdom well.

Are there any questions or feedback you’d like from the rapier populace? Just recommendations!

What is one SCA-related thing most rapier fighters in Caid probably don’t know about you? (can be fighting related or not– i.e. ‘I really hate fighting cloak’ or ‘my persona as originally constructed is actually Byzantine) Humm – my persona as originally constructed is actually Byzantine! My original name was Alexander Kallikanzaros, because (long breath) I was born on Dec 25 which people then thought was too full of hubris, so as a newborn I was dropped on a mountain top to die. A friendly monk saved me, and my device came from that (A snow leopard[ermine lion, or me] on a hill in a snowstorm at night).

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Have You Met…Edward the Pink?– Caid’s Newest Argent Blade

For our newest interview series in the pipeline, ‘Have You Met…’ we will be featuring interviews from a variety of the Caidan rapier populace– new rapier awardees, war bands, new fighters, and more!

Our first featured victim… I mean interviewee… in this series is THL Edward the Pink– deadly lefty and newest recipient of Caid’s Argent Blade grant level award.

Here’s the scoop!

Have You Met… Edward the Pink?

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THL Edward the Pink and Lady Adelais de la Jupe Cramoisie, Photo credit: Lee Varis, 2015

What is your registered SCA name? Edward the Pink

Why does everyone call you Edward the Pink? So… there was an unfortunate washing machine incident. Red doublet, white shirt. It was the morning of a tournament, and I was already running late, so there wasn’t time to do anything about it. I got tagged with the name at that point, and it just sorta stuck.

How long have you been playing? I first started playing around about 2003.

How would you describe your fighting style? I would describe my fighting style as Lefty Gunslinger. Being a left handed fencer, keeping my rapier low & outside changes all the angles of engagement, in a way that I am experienced with, and my opponent typically is not.

What’s one concept in fighting you still struggle with/want to work with? What still needs work for me is single sword. When I first started training in rapier combat, I picked up an offhand weapon almost immediately. What I should have done is to become proficient with single sword first, and only then start integrating offhand items.

What would you like to achieve as an Argent Blade? What does being an Argent Blade mean to you? To me, being inducted into the Order of the Argent Blade generates a feeling of great pride at being deemed worthy by my peers. Of course, in my mind I can’t quite bring myself to believe that I actually am worthy. That means that what I hope to achieve as a member of the Order is to ensure that someone can point me out to a brand new SCA member, and say that he is an example of what a member of the rapier community *should* be.

Why do you enjoy playing in the SCA? What I enjoy most about playing in the SCA is the camaraderie. Sure, I could spend as much time training against a practice pell at home. But I’d much rather be spending that time with like minded members of our community.

Outside of rapier what is your favorite SCA activity/pastime? Once the rapier combat for the day has concluded, I go back to camp and become the resident Isles grill master. It is always entertaining to draw visitors from neighboring camps who come to ask if Edward has made his tri tip yet.

 


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Great Western War Scenarios

Greetings!

Since the scenarios on the Great Western War site get dumped every year as the page refreshes, I wanted to make sure the scenarios were listed somewhere for posterity. I will do my best to annotate these after the war to help future scenario-seekers.

As submitted to the Gatebook, here are the scenarios for Great Western War XIX (2016). Please remember, as always, scenarios are subject to change without notice. Enjoy!

Friday- 

Scenarios- Will start PROMPTLY at 11:30 am!

 

Scenario 0: Warm up / Mixer

Type: Kill them All

Special Rules: No DFB

 

This is the opportunity to meet and fight with folks you don’t usually get to! Form groups of 4 fighters consisting of no more than 2 fighters from any one Kingdom. Fight until only 1 group remains.

 

Scenario 1: Assault the Town

Type: Limited Resurrection

Special Rules: Limited Spears

 

An attacking army is marching on the town! It is up to the defenders to hold of the attackers for a given period of time (20 minutes or as specified by the MiC). Scenario will be run in each direction. A “town” consisting of at least 3 entries will be built. Both sides may have 1 rapier spear for every 15 fighters (minimum of 1, maximum of 3 spears per side). Each fighter in the attacking army can resurrect twice. The attacking army is considered to have been successful when either 3 attackers are alive approximately 5 feet inside the town entries or all defenders have been incapacitated (in the event less than 3 attackers are alive at the end).

 

Victory is either the defending army that keeps the attackers at bay the longest or (if neither attacking army is victorious) with the largest percentage of defenders alive at the end of the scenario.

 

Scenario 2: Control the Town

Type: Control Points / 30 minute resurrection

Special Rules: N/A

 

Multiple control points will be scattered through the town. Control the most points over the course of the scenario to claim victory. Control points will be counted at multiple intervals throughout the resurrection battle.

 

Scenario 3: March on the Castle

Type: Kill them all, open/broken field battle

Special Rules: RBGs

 

This scenario is optional, depending on the availability of the castle and time.

 

Standard open field battle but with RBGs (to get people used to them) if desired by the commanders of the opposing armies. 2 RBG rounds per 15 fighters of the opposing army (to limit total casualties). If desired, can rerun with unlimited RBGs just for fun. Last army standing (during initial run) will be declared the victor!

 

Scenario 4: Cross the Moat

Type: Bridge battle, kill them all

Special Rules: RBGs or spears

 

It is time to get to the castle. But in the way is a moat with only 2 (or 3, depending on total numbers) points at which you can cross. Scenario includes a single wide bridge with 1 or 2 small bridges for additional crossing locations (slight reconfiguration of the town assault scenario). Victory is to the side that is still standing at the end.

 

This scenario can be run with RBGs, spears, or both, at the discretion of the marshals and commanders. Numbers of either (or both) will be set at the Commanders’ meeting and updated as needed prior to the beginning of the scenario.

 

Scenario 5: Assault the Castle!

Type: (Limited) Resurrection

Special Rules: RBGs and/or spears

 

Finally, you’ve made it! But now, you have to get through the gates of the castle! We will move to the castle for this scenario and the layout will be whatever the armored community has built for us. Each side will have resurrections, Unlimited for the attackers and 1 for the defenders. We will run it each direction. Victory will be to the attacking team that kills all of the defenders in the shortest amount of time.

 

Use of spears and RBGs will be negotiated at the commanders meeting and stated at the beginning of the scenario.

 

Saturday-

 

Armor Inspections and check in- 9:30 am

 

Please make sure your weapons and armor are inspected each day of scenarios since battle damage may occur.

 

Please also quickly check in with the marshal checkpoint so that we can accurately divide sides.

 

Scenarios will start PROMPTLY at 10am

 

Scenario 0.1: Masters of Defense against the Known World

Type: Kill them all (warm up)

Special Rules: No DFB

 

Time for the MoDs to show off their mad melee skills! At the MoDs discretion (if they are feeling a bit overwhelmed) they may invite the other Peers of the Realm on the field to join them.

 

Scenario 6: Collect the Loot!

Type: Resurrection

Special Rules: N/A

 

Ok, so you now control the castle and town. It’s time to loot the place! Collect the items and return them to your collection point. Scenario will be timed and the victor is the team with the most points at the end.

 

Scenario 7: Escape the Town

Type: Kill them all

Special Rules: RBGs

 

You’ve got the loot … now it’s time to get out of here and back home. But wait! The local militia has returned, this time with reinforcements! You’ll be lucky to get out alive!

 

The looters need to fight their way through the militia and get out of town with their lives. They will succeed if they get at least 3 fighters to the other side of the field and out of town. They get bonus points for any loot they can carry with them, but if the loot is dropped, it cannot be recovered. The looters will be armed with up to 10 RBG rounds (unlimited guns).

 

The scenario will be run with each side playing the looters. Victory will be determined first by the amount of loot that can be escaped with, and then by time if the loot is tied.

 

Scenario 8: Show Your Prowess

Type: Limited Resurrection

Special Rules: N/A

 

Now that the fighting has been concluded, it is time to find a new master for your Squad. Your army is out to show how well each of you can do individually as well as how well the army can do. This is an exhibition to see which unit (as well as Army) can find the best patron! So it’s up to each of the fighters to show how well they function as part of their unit.

 

Each fighter is given 3 tokens. Unit commanders (and overall commander) have special tokens. If you are killed (or rendered incapacitated) you must give (on request) one of your tokens to the person that killed you. If they get killed before they can make the request, oh well… After you have been killed you will kneel (freeze if you can’t kneel) in place for 10 seconds (or until you hand over a token), then return to the resurrection point if you still have tokens. If you run out of tokens, you must leave the field.

 

This scenario will be run for 30 minutes. At the end, the army with the most tokens will be declared victor. The unit (defined as no more than 8 people) with the most tokens will get bragging rights. Tokens from the unit commanders will be worth 3 regular tokens (but only count as a single token for a life).

 

Sunday-

 

Armor Inspections and check in- 11:00am

 

Scenarios- WILL start PROMPTLY at 11:30am

 

Scenario 0.2: Snowball melee!

Type: Resurrection (sort of)

Special Rules: No DFB

 

Initially, it’s every fighter for her or himself! But whoever you kill then joins your team! If a team leader is killed, EVERYONE on his or her team will join the new team (without being killed first). Just go to the res point and then join your new team. Scenario ends when everyone is on one team.

 

Scenario 9: Loot, Part 2

Type: Resurrection

Special Rules: N/A

 

Everyone heard a rumor that a Solingen Prize Sword is hidden in the town. I guess we’ll have to go find it! Resurrection points to be designated and scenario ends when the sword is found and turned in to the marshal.

 

10-15 foam swords each with different makers marks are scattered throughout the field. All fighters are shown a card showing the makers mark that is correct before each start. Each team is assigned a base first to bring the sword to the base wins. This scenario can be run with as many teams as desired (units, kingdoms, or sides) and as many times as desired.

 

Additional scenarios will be determined by any that were not run due to time on the previous days or that the commanders wish to run again.

 


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Gyldenholt Anniversary Highlights

June 11, 2016

The day was refreshingly gloomy for mid June in Caid. Set in a lovely park on a hillside in Gyldenholt, the populace gathered to wish the retiring Barons well, invest a new Baron and Baroness, honor members of the populace and, of course, make merry and stab each other in a friendly fashion upon the field.

After journeying from a great distance for this event, this humble chronicler could help but smile at the sight of the pavilions along the fighting erics, the multitude of brightly-colored banners, and the populace members greeting each other as they prepared for the day’s festivities. In a world that is in so many ways harsh and uncertain, it is greatly soothing to steal a few hours to enjoy the company of friends, applaud chivalry and grace, and enjoy the thrill of sportsmanlike combat.

At court there were many honors given, not the least of which was the induction of Donna Grace Lasrach into the Vanguard of Honor for her personification of chivalry and honor on the field. To me, the Vanguard of Honor is a symbol of the mindset that sets the SCA apart from competitive western martial arts—that the game is not purely about winning but is instead about winning well—with dignity, chivalry, and honor.

Although everyone attempted to make court as short as possible, it still went on for some time due to all the swearing ins, awards, announcements, presentations, and an outrageously silly Kiss concert featuring Don Todde, a number of painted fencing masks, and a kazoo. Despite the diversions however, the tournament got underway just after lunch.

The field was filled with challenging and fun fighters, each one of which would have been a pleasure to die to. The format was fought best two out of three with double elimination. This format, rarely seen in Caid, was a refreshing spin on a traditional form, allowing fighters a great number of fights and maintaining suspense for spectators as victories were tallied.

There were many great fights upon the field that day and, although your humble chronicler couldn’t stay until the end of the event, I was happy to see some magnificent fighting by all participants. I particularly enjoyed watching the fight between Donna Grace and Albert, a family feud, in which the loser had to feed the puppies that evening. My own favorite match was with Cassandre Loustaunau. We had not met on the tournament field since Queen’s Champion almost four years ago where I had won the match in semi-finals. She has a long memory, however, and she successfully sought her revenge at Gyldenholt!

Although I was not able to stay until the end of the day, it was reported that Kelly le Freug of Calafia bested Don Diego de Palma in a thrilling final match. Huzzah for Kelly, the new Champion of Gyldenholt! May the sun shine (and the rain fall, because Caid needs rain) on Gyldenholt for another year.

Long Live Caid!

Your humble chronicler,

Roisin ni Brian