Night Under the Town 2012

Who went? How was it?

32 comments to Night Under the Town 2012

  • If nobody else will comment, I will, ’cause I have Big Thoughts on the last scenario of the day (well, let’s face it, this is Wistric talk, I’ve got opinions and ideas on everything, but the last scenario was especially interesting).
    There was a “tontine” in place: Almost every fighter chipped some sort of token or donation into a “treasure chest.” The last person standing would get it all.
    There were also four constables (I was one of them) who could arrest people they saw fighting (if you were in jail, you didn’t win) or, if they resisted, kill them. Constables were invincible.
    Wistric’s brain went “Well, crap, if I were a smart player, I’d just bribe the guards to kill everybody else and split the prize with them. Nobody did that. *sigh*
    What did happen, though, was Roland won. He figured out there was a third class of people entirely unmentioned. Aside from guards and tontine participants, there were non-participating fighters. So he hired a bunch of these (they looked suspiciously similar to King Cuan, Count Vlad, and a couple others). He also bribed another of the constables (Giacomo) to distract the rest of the constabulary force so that the hired thugs could operate unimpeded. I cottoned on to what they were up to, and figuring I’d rather watch the fighting than not, and seeing as how nobody had thought it worth bribing me, leaned up against a wall and “slept”. And it was brutal. Roland never got his sword dirty.
    The funniest part was the King telling Iain, when he was facing off against the thugs with a couple other guys, “Hey, rather than try to kill us, why not kill that guy next to you?” Iain did, and lined up with the thugs, but about thirty seconds later he was the last non-thug on the field and got run down like a two-legged sheep in a pack of wolves.

  • Tibbie Croser

    Wistric, I was hoping you could explain what was going on in the three woods melees (one before and two after lunch). I was on the Blue Team (the losers). I was with Belphoebe’s unit first and then Alejandro’s (after Belphoebe and the Ponte Altos were pulled away to the other team to balance numbers). I’d never been under Belphoebe’s command before, and as for Alejandro, I’d met him in person once but never fought against him, let alone under him. The commanders I normally fight under were either marshaling or absent.

    Could you please explain your semi-rant on Atlantian RapierNet about “fighting as units” vs “teaching blue scarves”? I take it that you felt that the assignment of leaders to the various ad hoc units could have been handled better.

    • Hi Tibbie,

      I’ll explain eventually, but I held back here for a reason: I want to hear what everybody else (like, you) saw, noticed, experienced, came away thinking.

  • Tibbie Croser

    Field melees: I was on the Blue Team. We were not well coordinated. Only toward the end were commanders directing us toward the corner where our cows were corraled. Being short, I couldn’t see much of what was going on; I just kept running back to the line after I rezzed.

    The terrain in the woods was really difficult for me. The deep carpet of dead leaves hid numerous fallen branches and roots. The mask mesh screws with my depth perception, especially since I don’t like to wear my glasses under my mask.

    First woods melee (before lunch): Again, we felt uncoordinated. I think my little ad hoc unit under Belphoebe was directed one way and then another. We formed a line between trees. At one point, we were hard pressed and had to retreat; I fell over a pointy tree stump. At another point, we were not directly engaged; I heard one of our team commanders yelling for “More aggression!” I wasn’t sure whether our unit was also supposed to press forward, and Belphoebe seemed a bit hesitant in issuing orders. I remember that after the fight, I asked whether we grunts were supposed to follow orders from the team commander or wait for our unit commander to give us orders.

    More later.

  • Tibbie Croser

    Let me change tack here. My memories of the woods battles are somewhat jumbled, so I don’t know that recounting them is useful.

    General thoughts about the event: We had lots of new people, which is good, but I wonder how many of them had any melee training or melee experience before the event. Melee, especially in the woods, is confusing and overwhelming for a new fighter, and even for more experienced Scholars. Celric is marshal for the Storvik practice, which I attend, and we often do melee training (often at my request). Unfortunately, I suspect that not all local practices train fighters for melee; there’s a high-level practice near me which does not seem to offer melee training, despite having a number of eminent melee commanders.

    Baron Alejandro was commanding several of us “irregulars” in the post-lunch woods fights, after Belphoebe and the Ponte Altans were pulled over to the Red Team to balance numbers. He seemed to expect us to know more than we did (one guy had authorized only the previous week).

    Calibration was often higher than it should have been; not surprising, but high calibration can give Murphy’s Law many more opportunities, e.g., my newly authorized teammate who took a nasty jab at a weird angle right up under the ribs that resulted in a hold and stopped his fighting for the day. Given the number of fighters who were new to melee or new to rapier, we needed more reminders from the marshals about safety and calibration.

  • Dante di Pietro

    Two big things:

    1) Very uneven team distribution.

    2) Very uneven terrain advantage. The hill wasn’t even that big a deal, but the leaves made it so running was impossible.

    It was a fun event, but it wasn’t conducive to learning any lessons other than “terrain wins battles”, “superior teams win battles”, and “superior teams on better terrain are unstoppable.”

    • Alric

      so, from the bottom you had more routes?
      How was the terrain more advantageous to none side or the other?

      • Dante di Pietro

        Did you not see the ENORMOUSLY STEEP incline that the top team had to deal with that was also covered in leaves to the point where you had to shuffle down it or risk falling? The path to the other flag was accessible down a flight of stairs, which meant that you could only res in single file. The top side had a massive disadvantage.

        • Alric

          I knew the slope was steep. That was why the top res point was closer. Consider that in previous years the res point was at the top of the hill (beyond where it was this year). I did not check that far trail, Atlantian’s tend to move through terrain/shrubbery/etc rather than around it as evidenced by that crappy triangular piece we wanted to keep folks out of.
          We may work it cross hill next year now that there is some new clearing of ground up there.

  • Tibbie Croser

    What made the team distribution uneven? I know the Blue Team (the losing side) had a number of White Scarves. Did it have a disproportionate number of Blue Scarves? Did it have too many ad hoc units made up of strangers?

    • Dante di Pietro

      Plainly put, you can’t look at team fairness by scarf alone. My side had me, Dominyk, Aedan, and Connor on it (and more): to put it succinctly, the four of us probably have around 400 tournament wins between us. I’m around 80-100 just by myself and I probably have the fewest wins of the four of us.

      If you look at how I divided the sides up for DtG, the four of us would likely have been in the front (probably with some of the participating knights in there too), and we would never have all ended up on the same team like we did. The split would have made it so the people who have the most relevant skills end up on opposite teams, and neither side gets too many novices.

      • Alric

        Agreed, Blue team had folks used to working together and veteran commanders who ran the show. Red team had a lot of white scarves who like to or choose to do their own thing and let a ‘younger’ commander try leading.

  • Tibbie Croser

    I was on the side commanded by Aedan, so I was on your side (the blue tape). However, I was told that our side lost all the fights, despite having so many top-end fighters.

    Are you saying that team success is a matter of having the correct mix of fighters? That would make sense.

    • Dante di Pietro

      Yeah, the blue side won the heck out of the battles until the team composition changed, coupled with being moved to the worse terrain in the battle where people were most tired. With good terrain and a stronger team we steamrolled pretty hard.

  • Gawin

    Tibbie, I think you are a bit confused about who won the melees. The blue team in fact won 3 of the 4 melees that I was present for (I got to site late) including the last two morning melees and the first one in the afternoon.

    As Dante has mentioned, scarf color tallies alone aren’t a good measure of team fairness. There are clearly provosts and free scholars who are far more skilled on the tourney field than on the melee field and the scholars are quite heterogeneous. As a group, the “blue scarves” include fencers who just authorized, people who only put on their armor 1-2 times/year, crossovers who are familiar with melees but not rapier, fencers who are newish but highly active, and those who are *almost* free scholars.

    I tend to think about melee skills as more a measure of involvement. Melees require unique skills (field awareness, teamwork, achieving objectives, measure, fitness) that aren’t quite the same as tourney fighting and these skills require active practice in order to acquire and maintain. Frankly, the only way to become good at melees is to come out to a lot of events and fight in a lot of melees. It doesn’t hurt to read things like this blog, practice melee fighting at home, etc but there’s really no substitute for coming out and participating in the Atlantian Rapier Army. That being said, what I’ve noticed is that you see the same core group of fencers at most events. Many in this core group are gold or white scarves (since that’s how you get one), but there are also certain scholars who you’ll see pretty regularly at events (Michael Wymark, Diarmait, Tassin, Iain, Eva just to name a few off the top of my head). The big problem at NUtT was really that a lot of the highly active people were on one team while the other team had many of the less active/new fighters.

    I think the method that Dante came up with for Defending the Gate really does help with this, but I think that it could perhaps use a little tweaking to give better precision on the blue scarf end of things. For instance, “Have you ever been in a rapier melee?”, “Have you attended >5 rapier melees in the last year?”, “Have you attended >10 rapier melees in the past year?” (count Pennsic battles separately)

  • Gawin

    Actually, “Take one step forward for every rapier melee you’ve attended in the last year” would simplify this.

  • Tibbie Croser

    Wistric, are you ready to give *your* analysis of Night Under the Town? I’ve been reading through many of your older blog posts and have found your melee advice and analysis illuminating. (I’m afraid my posts have not been useful.)

    • The event was announced as Pennsic Prep, which made it the first event to be including Pennsic training. For what Pennsic will be this year, we are about two months behind where we should be if that’s the first time we’re training for Pennsic.

      And, given that there’s been discussion at high levels over the past few months as to the state of the army (we are blessed with an influx of new fencers, which means a lower ratio of veterans), there should have been more high-level preparation for this and some planning for training our newer fencers. Exactly zero happened. The discussion was instead turned into “We should have our units train together” which totally ignored that the vast majority of our units are full of these newer fencers who don’t yet have the basic skills, so training as a unit does them little good and they end up overwhelmed. But, as Giacomo said, the infantry is the bedrock of our army. I win no glory if Atlantia’s newest fighters can’t stand up to our enemies.
      In execution, the event missed just about every opportunity that it had, and there were so many.

      The marshals aren’t responsible for training (they are responsible for safety). But nobody from the army leadership stepped up to insure proper training happened (again, the leadership had opted for “let’s train as units”). In this vacuum, the marshals could have stepped in to fill this role.

      First scenarios: Capture the livestock/White Scarves.

      We started off with those field scenarios with multiple objectives, but never stopped to talk about how those objectives could or should be achieved, never talked about what happened when units engaged. We made some noise about “communicating more” but didn’t provide specifics. Really, we still don’t ever go past “You need to communicate more!” We need to talk about what fighters should be listening for while in mask, and what they need to yell about (“Right flank being rolled!”). Also, we need to practice yelling (I swear to Spike’s pregnant husband, we need to put on our masks, stand at opposite ends of a field, and yell at each other until we are sure of how loud we have to be to be heard. Go do this thing).

      What should have been pointed out: The victory conditions included killing the White Scarves and getting the livestock. Fighters should have been rezzing and focusing on those goals. The fighting away from the goals was way too dense.

      Woods Battles pre-Lunch

      These were the last man standing woods melees. I had an interesting perspective because I got moved from one team to the other, so I was starting from the uphill side all four times, got to see how both teams used it, and knew what the commanders of both sides (Aedan and… er… let’s say Master Robert, more on that later) were thinking by the third and fourth battles.

      And, interestingly enough, though the white scarves were supposed to fight with the team that had killed them in the first field melee, somehow certain units still managed to end up on the same side. Go fig.

      The first two, I was on Aedan’s side (‘cause the Blue Team killed me), and we were uphill. At lay on we seized the brow of the ridge that’s at the mid-point in the field, and sent a blocking force on the loop road off of our right flank. The enemy obligingly engaged our line at the crest of the hill, and at such a disadvantage, died pretty thoroughly. I was tasked out to the covering force on the right flank. The force sent to attack this flank was pretty high-end, mostly White Scarves and Free Scholars, but it did not move with speed and surrendered the initiative to what was (in my mind) a much weaker flank guard (even though it did include my glorious shining skillz). They remained relatively immobile until our forces on the ridge, having killed everything in front of them, swept down in their rear. Wash, rinse, repeat.

      Aedan’s team was moved to the bottom end for the third and fourth. He recognized that the loop road (now on the left) was so long that no large force could move up that path without being spotted and reacted to quickly. His plan was to punch straight up the center with a column in force, skirmishing on the left and right to protect his flanks. “Cool,” said I, and then they moved me up to the top, so I got to watch that group operate (but didn’t bother telling them Aedan’s plan).

      The “Master Robert” team: Master Robert said, “Jean-Maurice, you’re in charge” and within the first sentence of JM giving his commands, Robert and Kynny both stepped in and basically tried to take over. So we had two commanders, neither of which was the one who was supposed to be in charge. Immediately their discussion bogged down into minutiae: Where on the loop road to form a choke point, that sort of crap, which should be left to the sub-unit commanders, rather than high-level stuff. When you’re in charge of an army, you say “Sub-unit A Commander, take X many fighters and guard our left. If you gain an advantage, hit them. Sub-unit B Commander, take X many fighters and guard the loop road, control a choke point and hold it.” That sort of crap. No overall strategy was discussed because of the horrific command structure.
      At lay on they advanced, and then stayed at about ten feet back from the brow of the ridge, surrendering ALL ADVANTAGE OF THE HIGH GROUND. Aedan’s column punched right through them and shattered the line, then began to sweep onto the loop road. Over here, we’d defeated the force sent against us, so we rallied. Some of the survivors from the ridge line made it down and formed up with us and we about-faced to meet Aedan’s column. I was playing rear guard until the immediate threats behind us were taken care of. And then I realized that somehow the line had pushed forward from a nice little choke point we’d been in, with trees on each side and almost no way to get around them, to a wider spot in the road with exposed flanks. I called fall back and we lost a few but most got back to the line, where we fought them pretty well though we ultimately lost (Aedan came in and DFB’s a couple of us, including me), and it ended with just a few fighters (Dom was one of them) still alive on the enemy side.

      Master Robert’s team met up at the top before the fourth run-through and… immediately broke down into where to form the line on the loop road. Eventually I said, “Did anybody figure out what their plan was last time?” Blank stares, I think there was an “It doesn’t matter.” If you can’t figure out your enemy’s plan, or at least likeliest plan(s), you really are just pissing in the wind because you have no information on how to dispose of your force. And, Aedan’s plan had been brutally obvious to anybody on the receiving end of it.

      What should have been pointed out: Somebody (far above my rank) needed to take Kynny and Robert aside and woodshed their asses for that cluster. There also needed to be a general discussion of terrain advantages and how to identify choke points (where either you’ll have an advantage defending or disadvantage attacking). In many of these discussions, white scarves need to be told to shut up and let the scholars figure it out for themselves.

      Post-Prandial Woods Battles, Round 1

      These were set up with two flags, one at the far end of the ridge, the other just outside the loop road (so, on a line perpendicular to the line connecting the two rez points).

      Here the teams somehow turned out even more lopsided. The first team to start on the upper rez was made up of the Windmasters and Marinus baronial units (at least those that were present), Fallen From Grace, and Gardiner’s. The team starting from the lower rez had the Dragoons, His Majesty and His Guards, what I think was an ad hoc unit of northerners, and another unit that I can’t recall.

      The effect of this was that of the Top 10% White Scarves, as Giacomo calls them, two were uphill (Mel and me), and six were downhill (Aedan, Connor, Giacomo, Alan, Dante, Dominyk), though there were equal numbers of white scarves on both sides. Of the non-white scarves, the downhill team also had Mattheu, Caitlin, Armand, Benjamin, and Kenji, as well as His Majesty and Count Vlad.

      The Marshals realized this, I think, and asked Aedan to change sides, but were over-ruled by Vlad (which I have problems with), so the cluster fuck ball was kicked down the slope.

      The uphill team sent Windmasters and Marinus to take the loop road flag, and Gardiner’s and FFG to take the ridge flag. The downhill team sent the Northern Irregulars against the loop road flag, and His Majesty’s guards and the other unit that I can’t think of against the ridge flag. Initially, the Windmasters/Marinus crowd was able to beat back the Irregulars and take control of the loop road flag. I don’t know who took the ridge flag. But that didn’t matter, because Aedan had a great plan: He sent the Dragoons to overwhelm the Windmasters/Marinus crowd and attrit them down until the Irregulars could take the flag, then wheeled them about to go take out Gardiners and FFG at the other flag so that His Majesty’s Guards could hold it. About the time the Windmasters/Marinus units were coming back from rez, the Dragoons came back to that side and hammered them. The Dragoons had a clean, level path between the flags, and so ping-ponged back and forth, sending the uphill team at one to rez and taking that downtime to gang up on the other flag.
      During the last man standing fights, the uphill team had the advantage of terrain. Now, with the steep uphill walk to rez, that terrain was a disadvantage. Pretty quickly most of the Marinus unit was gassed and sitting at rez point, and it wore down all of the fighters on the uphill team. Meanwhile, the downhill team had a pretty gentle slope to rez point and (as I discovered) could actually run back from rez (there was no way to run to or from the upper rez point, it was just that horrible a slope). Meanwhile the Dragoons kept ping-ponging.

      And, really, at that point a hold should have been called and the whole thing should have been stopped. The uphill team’s scholars weren’t learning a damn thing because all they knew is they’d engage the team holding the flag and pretty shortly would be DFB’d, and then they’d have to walk back to rez. Meanwhile, the downhill team’s scholars learned to stand in front of a flag and try not to die long enough for the Dragoons to come save them. No mobility or situational awareness required. The Dragoons proved whatever it was they thought they needed to prove, and it was time for somebody to actually teach melee. But it kept going.

      I talked to the commander (Mel) about acting to stop the ping-pong by putting Gardiner’s in their way to attrit the Dragoons rather than having them trying to take a flag and just end up chum. He may have suggested it to them, but five minutes later nothing had changed. So I told Robert and Kynny this. Kynny said “Who do the Dragoons have?” I told him, and he said, “That’s a hell of a team,” and changed absolutely nothing. Seriously, woodshed time.

      So I took to standing around the mid-point of the ping-pong path and engaging the Dragoons as they were moving from one flag to another. They usually honored me with a couple of guards (at one point, Connor, Dom, Kenji, and Ben) which bled off at least some of their impact on their victim units. But that was about all that could be done.

      Around the thirty minute mark Letia asked, “Why don’t we just focus all our forces on one flag?” That would deny the Dragoons their ping-pong, and so long as we held one flag nobody would get a point. Yep, playing for a zero sum, but it’s what we had left. So we did. We abandoned the loop road flag and took the ridge flag, and had it pretty solid until some of our fighters rezzed and went back to the loop road flag, depleting the forces around our flag enough that we were pushed off of it.

      At the end of 45 minutes, the rez points closed and there was a last-man-standing fight, which the downhill team won. I think overall they had two or three points from that battle.

      What should have been pointed out: The fighters were rezzing back singly the vast majority of the time, and running down to reinforce one or two fighters who were facing five or six. Which, guess what, meant that everybody walked back to rez again. That rezzing fighter should have been waiting for his fellows. Those two or three outnumbered fighters should have fallen back to rez point. There’s no point dying on a flag if it’s not actually accomplishing anything. And, too often, people would come running back to rez and yell “GET IN THERE, GO, GO!” meaning a long string of people rezzing singly and getting munched.

      I’m going with a new maxim of “The instant you lose a flag fall back and rally with the resurrecting forces.”
      And of course there were all the old standbys: Fighters, even unit commanders, getting so tied up in the line engagement that they lost track of what was happening on their flanks and backfield so their entire unit got destroyed. People not shouting “DEAD” very goddamn loud when they died. Fighters not listening to orders to fall back or to advance against opposition. Just so much wasted time and energy in masks.

      Also, having a 45 minute rez battle to “train endurance in melee” is useless if your fighters haven’t been trained in melee in the first place. Yeah, we pointed out to a lot of fighters they’re out of shape, and they still didn’t know jack about melee combat.

      Post-Prandial Woods Battles, Round 2

      We switched sides, and this time His Majesty’s Guards came down and joined our side. And here’s where I found out how huge the terrain difference was. We ran to and from rez point with ease, fewer people on our side gassed out, and we were able to hold the one flag in play (the other was closed shortly after lay on due to a hard hit needing some extended medical attention) for most of the 45 minutes, while the attackers (including the Dragoons) were pretty clearly wearing out. One of the big non-terrain advantages here was that His Majesty took over command, so we finally had a single, active, loud commander with a clue.

      The Tontine

      Only one fighter really thought through the win condition on this one, and no surprise he won.
      Rolan hired thugs to do his killing and to take the fall for him so he could keep his hands clean, and bought Giacomo to keep the guards distracted. I hadn’t even thought of the hired thugs, but had been expecting more bribery of guards. Hell, the guards, properly paid, could have been used as hired thugs to go kill everybody else (they were immune to wounds, after all).

      But everybody except Roland just wanted to try to fight it out, and in that chose to lose. Sometimes killing the other guy isn’t the path to victory (Rule 1).

      And, Tibbie et al., think back to exactly how much of any of the issues encountered were talked about, how many training opportunities were taken.

      The worst part, from my point of view, is that it didn’t have to be this way. Coronation was this past weekend, and the marshal (Giovan) set out to make it a training event with scenarios specific to Pennsic (field battles, limited front, houses). Giacomo and Master Alan then began guiding all of the fencers through the basic actions and concepts of melee, and we drilled these actions (door breaking, line fighting) over and over, and talked about the fundamentals and the nuances of each of the engagements. If we’d done just a little bit of that at Night Under the Town the forty fencers would have come away from it actually more effective on the melee field. But, hey, a couple of units got to fight together, so I guess we gained something.

      • Dante di Pietro

        I think the main reason more training didn’t happen is that the event was not advertised as a training experience. The original event description (Feb 29) makes no mention of training or teaching, and I don’t see any notices to later change it.

        I wasn’t aware that the sides had been altered prior to the later battles. The blue team had very high end non-WS who, as one of their victims, were very effective at gang-tackling WSes to make sure they had them for later. A lot of the fighting “away from the flock” that you lament was Caitilin, Armand, Kenji, and Benjamin chasing me, Dominyk, Connor, Aedan, et al down. At least that’s what I saw; after I was 3-v-1ed I had to take care of a couple things before the rest of the day started.

        • Alric

          For my part I tried to deliver what was requested, lots and lots of fighting. The Dragoons requested to work together as a team so division of the available forces sort of worked around that. I’m not sure who we wound up with HRM and crew on the same side though. I did expect it would be a problem. Maybe if red had started up hill.

          • Alric

            I may have confused Red team with Blue team.

          • Dante di Pietro

            The event was a lot of fighting, and I had a really good time. Swapping sides kept it fair enough; as long as each side gets a drubbing it leaves everyone with at least one “yay” battle.

            I don’t think everything has to be a moment for direct instruction. We didn’t do anything like that at DtG, but the event wasn’t meant to have that. I made scenarios that were fun (I hope) and forced certain kinds of skills to be employed. We had some breaks, and people talked if they wanted and didn’t if they didn’t want to.

          • I’m not asking for 100% direct instruction every time, but at NutT and, it sounds like, DtG, we were at 0%. Maybe 50%? 25% if you just can’t stand teaching Atlantians to fight melee? As I understand it, we’re fighting a war with the East and the Mid and may, possibly, be outnumbered. I for one would not like to have my balls handed to me by those chumps because we didn’t take ANY opportunities for direct instruction when we noticed some glaring problems.

          • Dante di Pietro

            Blue team didn’t debrief because we didn’t need to. Why didn’t red team? You were on that side; I wasn’t.

            DtG was the event I wanted it to be, and the scenarios worked the skills I wanted people to work on.

          • Dominyk

            2 Questions. You said that ‘direct instruction’ wasn’t going on, do you believe there was any learning going on?

            How do you think that Atlantia(ans) became so good at melee?

        • Gawin

          “A lot of the fighting “away from the flock” that you lament was Caitilin, Armand, Kenji, and Benjamin chasing me, Dominyk, Connor, Aedan, et al down.”

          As I recall, all of those people, yourself included, were on the blue team. I’m not sure I understand what you’re saying.

          • Gawin

            Nevermind, after re-reading like 3 more times I figured out that you were referring to the first battle that decided the teams.

  • Tibbie Croser

    Thanks for the analysis, Wistric. As for the rezzing as a group, Alejandro did tell our little unit to try to resurrect as clumps of at least two or three. However, I *think* (I’m probably wrong) one of the senior commanders on our side after or before one of the scenarios told the team he wanted people to head back to the line from rez point as soon as possible, as individuals if necessary.

    As far as marshals, I believe this was Rochelle’s first or second time as RMiC for an event. Certainly her first time being RMiC for a melee event. This was an extremely complex event for an inexperienced RMiC to run, and I think she did about as well as she could. I think the day’s schedule was probably too crowded this year for us to have time for proper training or discussion between scenarios.

    Regarding whether new rapier fighters are getting adequate melee training: I suspect that not all local practices offer the same amount and quality of melee training. Also, it seems to be the Academie d’Espee’s expectation that authorized fighters themselves are responsible for ensuring their own competence in melee by seeking out melee training and asking for help. That’s not wrong, but it may take some new fighters a while to realize that they need more melee training.

  • Tibbie Croser

    Dante and Alric, did we Scholars meet *your* expectations at Night Under the Town?

    Speaking for myself, I prefer to get feedback from commanders. I like to know what we did well or did poorly.

    NUtT was a lot of fun, and it certainly delivered as much fighting as advertised.

    To Wistric: As for possibly losing at Pennsic 41 because our rapier army is outnumbered and perhaps unevenly trained? If we lose, I want us to lose as gloriously as the Spartans at Thermopylae. If we Scholars lack melee knowledge and skill, I still want us to impress the Midrealm and East with our honor, valor, heart, and stamina.

    • Gawin

      I’d prefer we scholars not be lacking in melee knowledge or skill.

      I’ve only been to Pennsic twice, but it seemed to me that our advantage on the melee field wasn’t simply having uber-fencers like Dominyk, Aedan, Connor, and Dante or having highly skilled specialist units such as the Dragoons, but instead was having a whole army of people who at least had a clue what they were doing out there. I say this as a scholar who does a lot better at melees than I do in tournaments. You don’t really need to be good at individually fencing to be good at Melee, because its about field awareness, teamwork, and communication much more than it is about being able to win at sword fighting.

      Unfortunately there aren’t a great many big fencing events remaining in the calendar this spring to do much training. Perhaps it would be prudent to make sure we do some at Sapphire?

      • Dante di Pietro

        1) Ruby Joust’s Sunday is usually all melee.

        2) I think the scholars were fine. Good awareness, good heart, generally good fighting for that level. Our baseline guys tend to be more proficient than those of other places, and so we gain an edge with the bulk of the army, and our top guys can do the extra damage they need to do to be effective. IMO, the only time we run into major problems with melee stuff is when we have super lopsided teams, and then it’s not that Scholars X, Y, and Z are bad, so much as they are not going to compare favorably with a team of me, Dominyk, and Benjamin. Put them against EK guys of the same experience, and we’ll do the damage. ALL of the damage.

  • Tibbie Croser

    Gawin, I agree. I’m another Scholar who prefers melee, especially fighting in a line, because I can still be useful despite not being a rapier goddess of death. (Although I’ve become happier and more effective in line fighting as my individual skill has improved.)

    Those of you who want formal melee training to happen at events perhaps need to lead such training yourselves or talk to the RMiC for the event in order to make the training happen. It’s usually possible to organize at least pickup melees; Alric or Connor often does that.

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