Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Whacking people with big sticks

As I mentioned in the previous post, we had attended my first SCA event, the "Mis-Spent Lent Event". My next two events were the War Practice and the very first S&M War.. er, Great Northeastern War.

The War Practice event was held in northern Maine. It was a pretty informal event, being held at someone's farm house. I brought my armour and greatsword down to the event in the hope of becoming "authorized" to fight.

The SCA prides itself on its combat safety. There are extensive rules on what kinds of armour you have to wear and what weapons you may use, all in the interest of keeping people safe. The important thing to keep in mind for SCA combat is that combatants don't pull their punches - all blows are struck with full force. So if you can imagine two (or more) armoured people whaling away at each other with big wooden clubs, you can see that good protection is required to keep from being hurt.

In order to fight in the SCA, one must be "authorized" to fight. You first have to train in the privacy of your home territory, then participate in a supervised combat in order to be authorized to fight. There are "marshals" who are well versed in the rules of SCA combat who decide whether you are ready to be allowed to fight. Standards vary a bit, but what they want to see is that you can fight safely and have half a clue of what to do. You don't have to be particularly good at fighting, just good enough not to hurt yourself or someone else.

I fought my authorization bout at this event, and I failed. They felt I hadn't had enough practice, and although I was disappointed I agreed there was room for improvement. At this time I was working in Saint John and I could only practice on weekends, and I really hadn't done enough training to be ready for authorization.

There was a little dinner in the house after the day's practices were done, and I remember sitting quietly in the back and watching. Oh yes.. I also remember developing a crush for a particular woman there, "Hilary of Malagentia". She was wicked cute. I even wrote bad poetry about her when I got home. Ah, youth.

We came back in force for the Seashire & Malagentia War, aka the S&M War. The premise of this event was that Seashire (Halifax, NS) had offended some royalty in the past and Malagentia was avenging this slight of honour. It was all a big excuse to have a war. We ended up allying ourselves with Malagentia, even though Seashire was sponsoring our group's entry into the SCA. That was a bit awkward.

I fought another authorization bout there, in a borrowed helmet, and this time I was successful. Off to war!!!

The first battle that was fought was a Champions Battle, where the best five fighters from each side squared off in a group combat.
Malagentia prevailed in this fight.

I can't recall the second battle (I did participate), and the third battle was a Woods Battle. SCA Woods Battles are fought.. guess where.. in a field.. just kidding.. and feature resurrections. That is, when you are killed you walk back to a particular location called "Resurrection Point", wait a prescribed period of time, then you're alive and ready to fight again. Resurrection battles like this run for a fixed period of time and are typically "capture the flag" style combats where the side with the most flags at the end wins. In this particular battle I believe there was only one flag, and I ended up being the guy holding the flag for our side, since I wasn't very good at fighting. I can't remember if we won the Woods Battle, but we (Malagentia) won the war.

Sometime I will have to describe how SCA combats work and how you get "killed".

The site itself was a few clearings in a forest, with numerous tents and canopies around. I remember the weather was pretty nice. My only injury during the war was getting bug spray in my eye, and having to go to the chirurgeon's (medic's) tent to get it washed out. As embarrassing as this was, it was a bonus to have Hilary do the washing out.


After the War, I spent some time honing my fighting skills to an appropriate level of mediocrity. I was never anything but adequate, as my interests soon shifted to archery.

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