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GW XXIV (2015) Rapier conventions

From the Rapier Marshal in Charge of the War.

Every year we have a few injuries.  Some are preventable and due to fighter error.  So I remind everyone of Safety Rule Number One:  DON’T BE STUPID!  What do I mean?  Here are a few examples of how not to violate Rule #1.

Warm up and stretch before fighting.  …

Drink more than you think you need to…

Don’t be “That Guy.”  You know, the guy that has a fit if someone does not call a blow he thought was good.  Or the guy that tries to leap a log in the ravine and ends up spraining his ankle.  Or the guy tha runs full out into a group of fighters to try to boost his “kill count.”  You know him when you see him.  Don’t be him.

Be reasonable about calling and delivering blows.  … It is more important to be respected for being reasonable than for a “kill count.”  However, if a fighter seems to be repeatedly ignoring blows or hitting excessively, don’t be “That Guy” and go ballistic.  Don’t respond by ramping up your blows.  That only results in escalation and injury.  Mark the fighter by garb or even better by name, and bring it to a marshal’s attention.  The marshal will deal with them.

Inspect your own equipment often …

That brings us to Safety Rule Number Two:   USE COMMON SENSE and REMEMBER SAFETY RULE NUMBER ONE.  …

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.  The final decision rests with the Gulf Wars kingdoms.

SCA 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. 1.Any combatant using the body of the rules vs. the spirit of the rules will be grounds for marshallate action.
  2. 2.See Chain of Command and Appeal section for further information.

General conventions for Rapier

  1. 1.Blow calling – Fighters are required to call thrusts, and those draw cuts of 6” orFighters are not required to call any other cuts (i.e., push and tip cuts).
  2. 2.Body contact – Deliberate body-to-body contact is notIn melee scenarios, deliberate “corps de corps” attacks or suicide charges are grounds for being removed from the field.
  3. 3.Dead talk/Talking during holds – Dead fighters may only say they areThey 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. 4.Dead walk during holds – Dead may continue to walk back to resurrection point of off the field during “HOLD”s but should exercise caution where they step.
  5. 5.Edge of the world –See the description of the battles below.
  6. 6.Engagement – To be announced before eachFor more information, see the engagement section below.
  7. 7.HOLD’s – General holds“HOLD”s will be called for safety concerns.
  8. 8.Knee walking –See the description of the battles below.
  9. 9.Point Stalking – Fighters will not start to throw a shot until they have gained engagement and can legally hit their opponent.
  10. 10.Scoring –See the description of the battles
  11. 11.Shields, canes, and other rigid secondaries – See the section on secondaries, below.
  12. 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 shove his opponent.
  13. 13.Suicide – Fighters in any battle may call themselves dead atIn a resurrection battle a fighter can always walk back to resurrection point.
  14. 14.Valid Target – Fighters will not strike at the back of their opponents’ heads.
  15. 15.Non-standard Weapons – All non-standard weapons are subject to approval by the GW Rapier MIC.
    1. a.SCA Society rules will be used in determination of non-standard weapons such as two-handers and spears.
  16. 16.Marshals will intervene in any case where they observe, or have reported to them, an excessively hard hit or any other infraction. "Excessively" means the marshal or the recipient believes the force was harder than a typical accidental hard hit, or that the offender has a pattern of multiple hard shots.
  17. 17.If the following can be done safely, no Hold should beIf Hold is called, the marshal should consider whether to continue it, or move the individuals involved off the field and allow the melee to proceed.
  18. 18.When marshals intervene for any reason, they will collect the names, membership numbers, and Kingdoms of the accused, the offended party, andIn cases of hard hits, the weapon style used must be noted.
  19. 19.The marshal will inform the alleged offender and offended party that they are required to attend Marshals Court after theWitnesses should attend, as well.
  20. 20.In deciding whether to summarily remove a fencer from the combat, the marshal should consider these guidelines:
    1. a.Hard hit, but the recipient waves it off:  Information collected, fighter cautioned, play continues.
    2. b.Hard hit causing recipient to withdraw from fencing, even briefly: Information collected, fighter withdraws to sideline for remainder of fight.
    3. c."Excessively" hard hit, or pattern of hard hits, regardless of recipient's reaction:   Information collected, fighter withdraws to sideline for remainder of fight.
    4. d.In all cases, the parties involved must attend Marshals Court at the completion of the fight
  21. 21.On completion of the melee, a Marshals Court will be held by the MiC of theThe Marshal, the accused and the offended party, and any witnesses, will attend.  Additional penalties may be assessed by the Court.
  22. 22.Rapier and C&T re-authorizations may be conducted on-site at Gulf Wars and take effectNew authorizations for rapier and C&T, as well as authorizations for new weapons/styles, may be conducted on-site during open list time, however fencers may only use the styles and weapons they held authorizations in prior to the Sunday opening of Gulf Wars for War Points.
  23. 23.As a general guideline: injuries, even accidents, that remove a fencer for play will remove the offending party from play an equal amount ofa Marshal’s court may supersede, impose additional penalties, or overrule this general guideline as it sees fit.

Pointed Melees, Battles or Tournaments

  1. 1.Pointed melees and tournaments will be heavy style blades.
  2. 2.All kingdoms will provide 1 marshal for every 9 fighters theyAnsteorra 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. 3.Death From Behind and Guns (RBGs) will not be used in war pointed melees.


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.
  • •The open field melee will be fought best 2 out of 3.
  • •This is a last man standing battle with no DFB and no RBGs.
  • •In this battle those who step out of bounds with one foot will be considered dead and it is a valid tactic to cause an enemy to retreat out of bounds.
  • •Knee walking only for those wounded below the knee will be allowed in the field battle.
  • •Spears will be allowed in the first pass of the Field Battle, but the second and third passes will be fought without spears.

Rapier Champions List:

  • •Ansteorra and Trimaris will each provide 15 fighters each as a mix of White Scarves, non-Scarves and allies.
  • •There will be 15 fights (Weapons to be agreed between the fighters).
  • •Whichever Kingdom wins majority of these fights will secure the war point.

Ravine Battle:

  • •45 minute Resurrection Battle (including all allies) with object being to maintain control over flag emplacements throughout the battle.
  • •Trimaris will have the high side of the ravine and Ansteorra will have the low side.  This puts each side near their own camp.
  • •Three flagpoles will have actual flags on a rope representing the Ansteorran and Trimarian armies.  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.
  • •At regular intervals throughout the battle (every 5 minutes), the raised flags will be documented by digital camera.  A bell will be rung as each score is taen.  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.
  • •In the ravine, the edges of the field are much more dangerous and spectators will be present, so stepping out will kill a fighter.  Trying to make an opponent step out of bounds will be an illegal action.  Marshals will be assigned to the edges of the field to enforce this.
  • •Fighters in any battle may call themselves dead at anytime.
  • •In a resurrection battle, a fighter can always walk back to resurrection point.
  • •A legged fighter can be moved (carried) by two non-legged fighters.  Knee walking is not allowed in this battle.
  • •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.
  • ●Victory Conditions: 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 Spears allowed. no RBGs 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 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 Marshall’s Handbook will apply in all Gulf Wars melees.  The following is more specific guidance.
  • •All fighters are engaged as soon as the action starts so there is no need to gain engagement or get acknowledgement from your opponents before striking them.  However, you can only strike from in front of your opponent.  Fighters should expect to be struck by surprise from time to time and should keep their tempers in check.  It is easy to hit too hard in these situations so all fighters must take care not to throw excessive shots.
  • •“Front” is 180 degrees of arc centered in the direction a fighter is generally facing, walking or attacking.  It is not specifically centered on the head, shoulders or hips since those may be in various positions according to the fighter’s stance.  The front does not move when a fighter looks around or throws a quick shot to the side.
  • •An enemy who approaches a fighter from behind that 180 degree arc may let that fighter know he is there.  Once the fighter knows an enemy is behind him I weapons range he must turn to put that enemy in front.  If he is already facing an enemy in weapons range when another enemy approaches, he must attempt to turn and maneuver so both are in his front 180 degree arc.  Tactically this will be a very bad thing for the fighter in the middle of two enemies as he will be facing attacks from two sides which is why it is a bad thing to allow an enemy to get behind you.
  • •If a fighter is already facing 3 enemies who are actively throwing shots at him, he is not obligated to accommodate any more attackers since 3 on 1 is the limit for Gulf Wars rapier melees.  It is unlikely that anyone who has 3 opponents actively attacking him will notice anyone else anyway as he would be rather busy.  If one of those three enemies stops attacking for more than a few seconds, the fighter is then required to deal with anyone he is aware of behind him.


Boundaries will be defined at the discretion of War Rapier Marshal in consultation with the Ansteorran and Trimarian KRMs.

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.
  • •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. 1.Gleann Abhann King.
  2. 2.Marshal’s Court comprised of the Kings of Ansteorra, Gleann Abhann, and Trimaris (needed to overturn the Rapier M-I-C).
  3. 3.Marshal-in-Charge of the War.
  4. 4.Rapier Marshal-in-charge of the War.
  5. 5.Marshal’s Court comprised of the Earl Marshals of Ansteorra, Gleann Abhann, Meridies, and Trimaris.
  6. 6.Marshal’s Court comprised of the Kingdom Rapier Marhsals of Ansteorra, Gleann Abhann, Meridies, and Trimaris.
  7. 7.Presiding Marshal of the Particular Battle or Tournament.
  8. 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 he/she 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. 1.Gleann Abhann King.
  2. 2.Marshal’s Court comprised of the Kings of Ansteorra, Gleann Abhann, and Trimaris (needed to overturn the Rapier M-I-C).
  3. 3.Marshal-in-Charge of the War.


Marshal’s Courts may be convened:

  1. 1.For un-chivalrous conduct.
  2. 2.For use of excessive force.
  3. 3.For violation of the Rules of the List/Conventions of Combat/ or any of the supporting rules and regulations for an activity.
  4. 4.For use of illegal or un-inspected equipment.
  5. 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. 1.Removing a person from participation in the activity for a period of time up to and including the duration of theAny 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. 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. 3.Confiscation of the person’s authorization card.
  4. 4.Recommendation that an individual ornot be allowed to return to Gulf Wars.
  5. 5.Warning an individual that these actions may be taken.
  6. 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 he/she deems 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. 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. 2.Decisions are reached by simple majority of vote of the voting court members.
  3. 3.The presiding Marshal must see that a court report is forwarded to the marshal-in-charge.
  4. 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