Defending the Gate 2011   4 comments

It is a rare treat that one has an event run entirely for their benefit.  Rare, but not unknown.  Defending the Gate was that unicorn of events.  To quote Dante (the RMiC) in his announcement:
“I’m running melees, and my goal for the day in that regard is to make Wistric say he’s had too much fencing and can he please go home now.”

How can that not warm the sub-cockler region of ones innards?  And, on top of that, the melees were not the only pro-Wistric part of the event.  Dante also ran the Arte of Defense tourney, which I’ve been begging him to do for the past two years, including two rules that I had urged him to include.

The Prize of Ella de Lille

First, though, Ella de Lille fought her Free Scholar prize.  Ella’s been working with Dante and co-teaches his Capo Ferro classes, which means that, yes, she has a better grasp of the Italian rapier I babble about here than I do.  In respect of her knowledge, I skipped my usual “goofy weapons form” policy (everybody brings sword-and-dagger, so I tend to bring 30″ and buckler, or something else interesting) and brought single long rapier.  Overall in her prize, she fought damn well (and, Dante, feel free to disclose the Shame Scale).

Arte of Defense

Apparently, I’m the only one who pinged Dante about fighting in a period style, which I guess is why he only runs this every two years (that’s how long he can deal with me whining at him before he gives in).  He wouldn’t give me credit for fighting two period styles (with heavier C&T weapons, I fight I.33) but I still was the only one to get a free challenge in.  Between that, my C&T authorization (good for healing one wound), and some amount of skill, I made final 4 or 5 before Caitilin knocked me out of the tourney.

My C&T skill needs to drastically improve for me to be at a competitive level with it, which the now regularish practice should help with.

And then there was melee

Because it IS Defending the Gate.

Dante had a Good Idea:  A contest between teams of 5 fighters, but instead of the “5 Man Tourney” format, he assembled the 6 teams in to two sides of 15 each.  One team was marked as the “Command Team” with each member of that team given a number, 1-5.  The goal of each side was to kill the command team of the other side in sequence.  Everybody except the targeted commander could resurrect, and when all 5 were dead nobody on the team could rez.  The losing side would then vote for the most effective team on the other side.

Alric, Letia, and I grabbed Wymarc and Aldemere, and we had our 5.

The first round, our team, the Marxbruders, were the command team on our side.  This meant we could not engage as energetically as we otherwise could have, and we did a less-than-optimal job of commanding (figuring out where to stay the line, how to communicate targets, etc).  We took a drubbing, but our side still ended up killing their last commander before we all died horribly.

The end of the woods that we started on was pretty open.  Defending any amount of it required a formed line.  The other end was not open at all, but pretty well tangled up, so that only two real points of access to the backfield existed, one of which could be covered by two fighters, the other could be covered by 3, freeing up the better part of 10 fighters to go hunt.  For the second round, we switched ends, and this time Alric figured out better targeting communication, and the ‘Bruders took a more active role both in hunting the enemy commanders and in commanding our teammates.   With the improvement in our command tactics, force disposition, and terrain, we annihilated the enemy without a single one of our commanders dying.  In the post-mortem, we figured out that the ‘Bruders were responsible for at least three of the commander kills, and were very happy about that.

For the third and final round we swapped ends again, back to the hard-to-defend side.  This fight seemed like it took forever.  The enemy command team was their A team, mostly Dragoons, which drained some of their offensive power, but also meant the target was harder to kill and a bit smarter about protecting themself.  So on the one hand, they lacked offensive punch, which, combined with an improved defensive strategy (limited fighting beyond mid-field, more guards on our commanders), kept our commanders alive (only lost two); on the other hand, their lines were hard to break through, and I was within sword’s reach of the commander a good half dozen times without being able to successfully end them.  I still did get, I think, two, and the post-mortem was that the ‘Bruders probably got 4.  Our side took the win on this one, too.

Towards the end, I found myself legged just behind our lines as we surrounded the enemy.  Realizing we weren’t taking advantage of our situation, I tested a theory from Gulf Wars, and started yelling “Forward” (then “Kill ’em all!”).  Our team stepped forward and obliterated the enemy except a few who squirted out and ran for it.  I’ll take that as a confirmatory test of the “Forward” command.

Blacksword Tourney

After, we ran a Blacksword Tourney.  I sat this one out, choosing to serve as a bye fight, and got my revenge on Matheu, destroying him in the quarter/semis.  Alric took the finals, and then we ran some melee drills.

Melee Drills

First, we ran 2 vs 2 vs 2 vs 4 (yeah… it just happened that way), then 2 vs 2 vs 2 vs 2 vs 2 in a grand melee.  It was interesting, but not horribly enlightening to me.

After, we ran the Sharks and Minnows drill (see above), with the provosts and free scholars facing off against the scholars.  The provosts and free scholars rounded up all their compatriots so the numbers were almost equal, and that led to a lot of defeats for the scholars.  But we still fought all the way till court started, and few people dropped out.


We’d planned to stay in Stierbach and practice with the locals on Sunday, but snow and cold ended the prospect of practice and sent us hustling home Saturday night.  But that meant we could have drills on Sunday!

Sunneva, the most wonderful woman in the world, made us coffee, hot cocoa, and tea to drink while we were out in the cold.

We ran through Don Ceallach’s drills, the priest drill, and the Drill of 6 things, and then closed it with the Fight Club finish: I held the field and fought ten passes against each of the other 5 fighters.  Then Letia held the field and fought the 4 she hadn’t fought, and so on until everybody had fought everybody else for 10 passes.  Because endurance is the difference between out in the third and victory.

Posted March 30, 2011 by wistric in Events

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