GW XXVI (2017) Rapier conventions

From the Rapier Marshal in Charge of the War.

Greetings all!

Welcome to Gulf Wars XXVI! It is my hope to make this another fun and successful war, one that will live in your memories and stories as an awesome experience with friends and epic deeds. Listed here are the general war conventions, as well as specifics on the scenarios and war points. But first, just a few pointers and reminders to help this be the epic year remembered for fun, and not one remembered for injury or ruined from bad behavior.

  • Keep hydrated! The water bearers do a fantastic job of keeping us stocked with water, gatorade and snacks! Appreciate their hard work by drinking plenty of fluids and actually saying thanks!

  • Call your blows! Lets keep it clean, have fun, and let the marshals deal with other marshal type things.

  • The Marshals are there to facilitate your fun; they’re not there just to ruin your day. This is everyone’s vacation and fun, the marshals are volunteering their own time to make sure the game goes on and safely. Listen to the marshals. Thank a marshal, better yet, volunteer to marshal!

  • Never hesitate to call “HOLD” if you see something unsafe or dangerous about to happen!

  • Inspect your equipment early and often. Don’t be surprised if that new blunt doesn’t last all week. Try to check your tips during every hold, and keep an eye out for your fellow fencers’ gear that they may not be able to see.

  • Different kingdoms have different rules. This convention guide should help, but it doesn’t hurt to talk to your opponents before you fight to make sure you’re all on the same page.

  • Finally: Don’t be a jerk. If your issue can’t be resolved with POLITE dialogue, involve a marshal.  Either way, keeping a level head and reasonable composure will make the war better for everyone, including you.

Marshals Provided


All tourneys and scenarios will be run according to the rules of the hosting Kingdom.  All activities are heavy rapier only except for Cut & Thrust activities.  The rules will be explained beforehand.  For purposes of Inter-kingdom activities, you will have to meet your own kingdom’s armor requirements, but the weapon standards of the hosting kingdom.  Stickers will be provided to the Kingdom’s marshals for inspections.


Gulf Wars draws fighters from Kingdoms all over the Known World.  A reasonable attempt will be made to meet visiting Kingdoms’ concerns and issues.  This cannot happen unless our visitors let us know their concerns and help us to resolve them.  Final determination will be made by the RMiC and host Kingdoms.

SCA Society rapier rules are the default regarding marshal issues.

SCA rules will be the default for general rapier activities unless more specific rules are provided here.  Tournaments will default to the rules of the hosting kingdom.

  1. Any combatant using the body of the rules vs. the spirit of the rules will be grounds for marshalate action.

  2. See Chain of Command and Appeal section for further information.

General conventions for Rapier

  1. Blow calling – Fighters are required to call thrusts, and those draw cuts of 6” or more.  Fighters are not required to (but can, if agreed to beforehand) call any other cuts, i.e., push and tip cuts.

  2. Body contact – Deliberate body-to-body contact is not allowed.  In melee scenarios, deliberate “corps et corps” attacks or suicide charges are grounds for being removed from the field.

  3. Dead talk/Talking during holds – Dead fighters may only say they are dead.  They may not give orders or information.  During a “HOLD” fighters will not discuss anything but safety concerns with their teammates.  Fighters can tell someone to check their armor, sword tip, etc.

  4. Dead walk during holds – Dead may continue to walk back to resurrection point or off the field during “HOLD”s but should exercise caution where they step and MUST NOT give out tactical information while walking.

  5. Edge of the world – Varies.  See the description of the battles below.

  6. Engagement – To be announced before each battle.  For more information, see the engagement section below.

  7. HOLDs – in melees, fencers will take a knee, if possible, so that the marshals can more easily find where the issues are.

  8. Knee walking – Varies.  See the description of the battles below.

  9. Point Stalking – Fighters will not start to throw a shot until they have gained engagement and can legally hit their opponent.

  10. Scoring – Varies.  See the description of the battles

  11. Shields, canes, and other rigid secondaries – See the section on secondaries, below.

  12. Shoving – A fighter may press his shield or other weapons against an opponent’s weapons to deflect or control them but he may not use them to purposely knock his/her opponent off balance.

  13. Suicide – Fighters in any battle may call themselves dead at anytime.  In a resurrection battle a fighter can always walk back to resurrection point.

  14. Valid Target – Fighters will not strike at the back of their opponents’ heads.

  15. Non-standard Weapons – All non-standard weapons are subject to approval by the GW Rapier MIC.

  16. If it can be done safely, no hold should be called to remove fighters from the field.

  17. When marshals intervene for any reason, they will collect the names, membership numbers, and Kingdoms of the accused, the offended party, and witnesses.  In cases of hard hits, the weapon style used must be noted.

  18. The marshal will inform the alleged offender and offended party that they are required to attend Marshals Court after the battle.  Witnesses should attend as well.

  19. In deciding whether to summarily remove a fencer from the combat, the marshal should consider these guidelines:

    1. Hard hit, but the recipient waves it off:  Information collected, fighter cautioned, play continues.

    2. Hard hit causing recipient to withdraw from fencing, even briefly: Information collected, fighter withdraws to sideline for remainder of fight.

    3. “Excessively” hard hit, or pattern of hard hits, regardless of recipient’s reaction:   Information collected, fighter withdraws to sideline for remainder of fight.

    4. In all cases, the parties involved must attend Marshals Court at the completion of the fight

  20. On completion of the melee, a Marshal’s Court will be held by the MiC of the melee.  The Marshal, the accused and the offended party, and any witnesses, will attend.  Additional penalties may be assessed by the Court.

  21. As a general guideline: injuries, even accidents, that remove a fencer for play will remove the offending party from play an equal amount of time.  a Marshal’s court may supersede, impose additional penalties, or overrule this general guideline as it sees fit.


Pointed Melees, Battles or Tournaments

  1. Pointed melees and tournaments will be heavy style blades.

  2. All kingdoms will provide 1 marshal for every 9 fighters they field.  Ansteorra and Trimaris will provide any additional marshals needed.  Those kingdoms with fewer than 9 fighters on the field are asked to have someone available for the marshals to consult if needed  to resolve issues involving a fighter from that kingdom.

  3. Death From Behind (DFB), spears, and rubber-band Guns (RBGs) will not be used in war pointed melees. Two handed weapons must be used with two hands- no secondaries or shields. Should a fighter wielding a two-handed weapon lose use of one hand, they will no longer be permitted to use that weapon but may trade it for a single-handed weapon.


The rapier points will be fought for in FOUR (4) sections:

Open Field Melee:

  • Sides for the field battle will be decided by the toss of a coin.  Sides will switch after each melee.

  • Any fencer who steps out of bounds with one foot will be considered dead; to cause an enemy to retreat out of bounds is considered a valid tactic. NFL rules- touching the line will remove that fencer from play.

  • Knee walking will be allowed only for those wounded below the knee in the field battle.

  • The open field melee will be fought best 2 out of 3, last combatant standing.

  • No DFB, RBGs, or spears will be allowed.

Rapier Champions List:

  • Ansteorra and Trimaris will each provide 15 fighters each as a mix of MoD, White Scarves or equivalent; non-Scarves; and allies in a 5/5/5 ratio.

  • There will be 15 fights (Weapons to be agreed upon between the fighters).

  • Whichever Kingdom wins majority of these fights will secure the war point.

Ravine Battle:

  • 60 minute Resurrection Battle with the object being to maintain control over flag emplacements throughout the battle.

  • The field will be divided long ways, with one resurrection point in each corner of the field- two per side, four total. three flagpoles will be placed on the center line of the field.

  • Three flagpoles will have actual flags on a rope representing the armies of Ansteorra and her allies, and Trimaris and her allies.  While controlling a flag emplacement, an army must detail one fighter to keep their flag raised.  Flags may not be tied, counterweighted or otherwise secured in place and must be held by hand.

  • Any fencer who steps out of bounds with one foot will be considered dead; to cause an enemy to retreat out of bounds is considered a valid tactic. NFL rules- touching the line will remove that fencer from play.

  • At regular intervals throughout the battle (every 5 minutes), the raised flags will be documented by a tally sheet.  A bell will be rung as each score is taken.  As the score is recorded it will be written on a large chart visible from the field.  Sides may send a runner to check that chart anytime they wish. the winner of the battle will be the side who held the most tallies.

  • No DFB, RBGs, spears, or two-handed rapiers will be allowed.

Town Battle

  • The scenario will be a rescue/capture scenario. Each Team will start at a designated starting point deep into the fort on the South End. One of the three buildings along the center will have a chest inside of it.  Before each scenario, the marshals will designate one of the three chests as the target for capture (By placing a piece of red paper, etc.). The marking should be placed in such a manner as to prevent identification by participants until they are able to manipulate the chest. Neither Fighters nor chest may cross walls at any time during the battle. One side wins the point (best of 5) by using 2 persons to transport the correct chest out the Front(North) Gate. If there is only 1 person alive, that person may use both hands to secure the Chest.

  • When transporting the chest, the 2 people must use at least one free hand to do so.  Further, they must walk the chest to the back.  (Walking is defined that at all points during travel, at least one foot must be touching the ground).  If a transporting person is killed, the chest is placed on the ground until such time as the dead person is replaced.

  • Hay bales will be laid out making various buildings, the armies will start on opposite sides of the field.

  • Buildings are considered to have walls that you cannot attack through. Fencers are only allowed to engage through doors.

  • the Town Battle will be fought best 2 out of 3. When a team carries the correct chest out the Front Gate they earn a point. The side with the most points wins the war point.

  • No DFB, RBGs, or spears will be allowed.

Engagement Conventions

  • The rules of engagement will be discussed before each battle.

  • No more than 3 fighters can be actively throwing shots at any 1 fighter at any time.

  • Units and individual fighters can move into an engagement at a double time step as long as they do not make physical contact with their opponents or strike them with excessive force.

  • Any engagement issue is subject to marshal review.

  • Point Stalking is not allowed – Fighters will not start to throw a shot until they have gained engagement and can legally hit their opponent.

  • Fighters who strike with excessive force will be removed from the field.

  • Fighters will not strike the back of an opponent’s head.

  • Attackers approaching from behind may choose to foul blades from behind rather than forcing an opponent to turn and face them.  Care should be taken to bind the opponent’s blades, not his/her hands and arms.

  • Death From Behind will not be used in Gulf Wars point battles, though a surrounded fighter may choose to yield rather than be struck.

180 Degree Front

  • The melee rules from the SCA Rapier Marshal’s Handbook will apply in all Gulf Wars melees.  The following is more specific guidance.


Secondary items

  • All secondary items are subject to marshal review from Ansteorra, Gleann Abhann, Meridies and Trimaris Inspections.  All non-standard secondary items are subject to approval by the GW Rapier MIC

  • All armor and weapons must be inspected before participation in any of the battles, tournaments or any other fighting activities at Gulf Wars.

  • Inspection stickers must be worn prominently on their mask and/or helmet. Once armor and weapons are inspected, you are good for the remainder of the war. If significant changes are made to existing armor, or new armor is used, that fencer must be re-inspected.

  • Weapons should be inspected daily by each fencer and an available marshal.

  • Shields, canes and other rigid secondaries may be up to 453 sq. inches in area (the same area as a 24” round) but not more than 48” in any dimension.  Some standard templates will be available at the inspection points for comparison.

Chain of Command and Appeal

The Chain of Command and Appeal is laid out below, in descending order from highest to lowest authority:

  1. Gleann Abhann King.

  2. Marshal’s Court comprising the Kings of Ansteorra, Gleann Abhann, and Trimaris (needed to overturn the Rapier M-I-C).

  3. Marshal-in-Charge of the War.

  4. Rapier Marshal-in-Charge of the War.

  5. Marshal’s Court comprising the Earl Marshals of Ansteorra, Gleann Abhann, Meridies, and Trimaris.

  6. Marshal’s Court comprising the Kingdom Rapier Marshals of Ansteorra, Gleann Abhann, Meridies, and Trimaris.

  7. Presiding Marshal of the Particular Battle or Tournament.

  8. Marshal on the Field.

Marshal’s Courts

Marshals Courts may be used to review both the decisions of marshals and the actions of combat activity participants to determine if infractions of the rules of the lists and the ‘conventions of combat’ have occurred, and to impose actions as needed.  The presiding Marshal of a particular fighting activity, any Marshal working the activity, or an affected individual may request that a Marshal’s court be convened to examine the issues and determine what actions (if any) should be taken.  The Rapier Marshal-in-Charge will preside over the Marshal’s Court and they may require written statements from anyone deemed to have information pertinent to the incident.  If the Rapier Marshal-in-Charge of the War is not available for the Court, the Gleann Abhann Kingdom Rapier Marshal will preside over the Marshal’s Court. The decision of the Marshal’s Court supersedes the decision of the lower marshallate authority (if different). Appeals of the Marshal’s Court may be made according to the following:

Marshal’s Court “Chain of Command and Appeal” (in descending order from highest to lowest authority):

  1. Gleann Abhann King.

  2. Marshal’s Court comprising the Kings of Ansteorra, Gleann Abhann, and Trimaris (needed to overturn the Rapier M-I-C).

  3. Marshal-in-Charge of the War.


Marshal’s Courts may be convened:

  1. For un-chivalrous conduct.

  2. For use of excessive force.

  3. For violation of the Rules of the List/Conventions of Combat/ or any of the supporting rules and regulations for an activity.

  4. For use of illegal or un-inspected equipment.

  5. As a fact-finding body (examining the events leading to an injury) to determine if specific fault needs to be addressed.

Marshal’s Court actions include:

  1. Removing a person from participation in the activity for a period of time up to and including the duration of the event.  Any situation, which results in injury sufficient to prevent a fighter from participating in rapier activities, will result in the offending fighter being banned from all rapier activities for a corresponding period of time.  This sanction will be in addition to any other sanction imposed by the Marshal’s Court.

  2. Banning a piece of equipment or a particular fighting style for the field for a period of time up to and including the duration of the event.

  3. Confiscation of the person’s authorization card.

  4. Recommendation that an individual or individuals  not be allowed to return to Gulf Wars.

  5. Warning an individual that these actions may be taken.

  6. Taking no action at all, if the complaints were unfounded.

Composition of the Court:

The GW Rapier Marshal-in-Charge will preside over the Marshal’s Court and may request participation of other members of the Marshallate as they deem appropriate; but the final decision will remain with the Rapier Marshal-in-Charge.  In addition, the Presiding Marshal of the activity(ies) in which the infractions took place must attend.

Marshals Court Operations

  1. If convened, the Marshal’s Court will be held in the Marshal’s Pavilion off of Hastings Field or, if the activity is not held at Hastings Field, at a location close to the activity.

  2. Decisions are reached by simple majority of vote of the voting court members.

  3. The presiding Marshal must see that a court report is forwarded to the marshal-in-charge.

  4. Appeals of any decision by the Marshal’s Court by either the defendant or the complainant are forward up the “Chain of Command and Appeal