War of the Wings 2012, the One the Mayans Said Would be the Last – Part 2   5 comments


Friday I looked at the schedule and thought “Huh, I don’t have to be anywhere until noon.  Cool.”  So Saturday morning did not start particularly early or particularly quickly.  Sweetums arrived on site, and we got Livia bundled off to the “Combat Archery Tournament” which, it turned out, was more of a combat archery battle, as far as I can tell.  Not that there were any details ever provided.  But there were apparently 8 archers shooting at each other.  I would have been up there if I’d known I could kill archers.  I really want to have archer skirmishes (totes period, just ask the English).  Maybe at Night Under the Town (*cough*Alric*cough*).

As it was, though, I trotted up to the rapier field a bit before 11 to watch the Novice tourney, then had it handed to me with a “Raph’s not here, can you run this?”  I got an estimate on how many fighters there were (12 or 13), and figured I’d give them as much fighting as they could stand, so set up three bearpits, figuring that’s 6 on the field and 6 waiting.  Well, there were more than 13.  Probably more than 20, actually.  We ended up with, 6 bearpits running at the same time and still had a healthy line at the peak.  Michael Jones-what-is-now-called-Caitlin (no, seriously, the dude took a girl’s name) won it handily.  I’ll totally take credit for that since he practices with us in the summer.  I think the rest of the time he’s just out in Hawkwood having rum drinking contests with Greylond.  Or at least that’s what I assume Greylond’s practices are.

After the tourney, Kieran took Fey as his squire, we handed out seven or eight blue scarves (shit tons of new people), and it was time for…

The Woods Battle

Apparently nobody wants to use the part of the woods that I laid out when I was RMiC for WoW.  So, we were back in the usual part of the woods, which is flat and open from one rez point to where the flags traditionally go, and uphill through foliage from the other rez point to the flags.  Seriously, why do we use this?

Cheapside (the temp-to-perm name of the Dame Roz/Master Gaston Household) lined up with Windmasters, which lined up with Nottinghill Coill and Black Diamond.  From my estimate, NC/BD had a 3 to 2 advantage over Marinus at the start.  The official tally was 39 vs. 31, but that was before Roz, Gaston, and I trotted up, and probably a couple of others.  There was a similar difference in the ratio of white scarves and, I think, of gold scarves.

Given this difference in advantages, naturally, Marinus had to start on the downhill, crappy rez.

There was an additional, novel twist in the battle: The Turnip Farmers, numbering about a dozen, played as a third unit, whose job was to disrupt and distract both sides.  It looked like it could be really fun, except then there was a stupid rule in place (more on that later).

I played hot potato with command of Windmasters, and got Letia and Tassin to cover it.  Windmasters fielded 11 or 12 fighters, so were split into three groups, two small skirmishing units and a guards unit for Her Excellency.

At Lay on we trotted out across the flat and relatively open woodland and quickly seized three of the four flags.  The WMH skirmish units pushed forward until they encountered the Turnip Farmers lounging at one of their two rez points and formed an observational cordon.  Now for the stupid rule: It turned out that the Turnips were only allowed to come out of rez between two marked trees.  Our observational cordon, then, was more of a barricade.  I’d expected they’d be running out the back side of their rezzes.  Oops.

That we had the numbers to even block them in was odd, though.  We had guard units on three flags, forward lines and reserves, and a hot contest on the fourth flag, plus those blocking units.  With the terrain advantage limiting their effectiveness coming back from rez and setting them into a rez chain, meaning we had more like a 2-1 numerical advantage.  As the fight wore on, they started to attrit out from discouragement and the numbers got more lopsided.  We secured the fourth flag, and contained their access to our lines to two or three points.

At which point the fighting got boring.  So I made games happen.  Game one was playing “delivery man”.  I’d take up station on the central path back from enemy rez, with a line of teammates, and occupy a few of their fighters.  Once I’d maneuvered their fighters where I wanted them, I’d order my teammates to cut through the woods to my right which would put them in the enemy backfield.  We did this a couple of times.

Game two was the DFB game: I made sure I got my “It’s just like going to sleep” DFB on Armand early, and DFB’d him through a tree a little while later, which meant I was used up on DFB ideas.  So when I found myself in the backfield of Armand and Mattheu again I considered leaning against a tree and waiting for them to notice I was back there, just to see the freakout.  But I knew somebody would DFB me while I did that, so I instead joined up in the line between them and sparred with my team for a few seconds.  When Mattheu gave in to his curiosity and turned to find out who this mad-deadly swordsman next to him was, I stuck him with my dagger.  When Armand turned to find out what that odd movement was, I stuck him, too.  Then walked over to my line and let them go munch on the remainders.

The last kill of the first hour (after which we switched sides) was me killing Rochelle.  She’d lost her arms and decided to stand right in front of me so I couldn’t see to fight.  At first I thought she was angry or wanted to talk, then she said, “Nope, I’m just armed, but I’m not dead.”  I’d lost my right arm and had my rapier in my left hand, so I put that arm around her neck, laid my sword on her shoulder, and said, “Dead from behind?”  “Works for me,” she said, and then the marshals called the end of fighting.

We switched ends and got ready to fight for another half hour.  Before we started I, in my capacity as absolutely nobody in anything like a command position, pointed out to the fighters that the rez run was uphill now, through bad foliage, and they should walk to and from rez, so they’d be rested when they got to the fight and not die so quickly.  Also, they should avoid dying quickly if at all possible, because of the horrible rez path.  It turned out there was actually a rez point that was not so terrible to get to and from, but still, I maintain in a long rez battle, you don’t run to rez.

Then we fought for another half hour.  At lay on this time, Windmasters, Black Diamond, and Hawkwood sprint teams all charged out at a run.   And kept charging.  We passed all of the flags.  And kept going.  We didn’t encounter the enemy until we were almost to the point where our traffic cops had been standing in the previous round.  They just sort of sauntered out at us.  The Turnips had joined with the enemy to try to even the numbers, but they had lost more due to attrition, and it was frustrating as hell for them.

This time one of Gaston’s students was running with me, so I laid out a simple plan for us: I’d get people’s attention, he’d lunge and kill them.  If we died, we came back to find each other (though usually if one of us died the other one died shortly thereafter).

I started experimenting with the running narrative for him.  “So, coming back from rez I’m looking at the line, seeing where we’re thin, where their heavy hitters are, and where they’re thin.  Their heavy hitters are over there to our right, but it looks like they’re contained.  The line’s not too thin overall.  What do you see over there?” “A big hole in their line.” “Right.  What should we do with it?” “Go through it and flank them?” “Yep.”

At the 25 minute mark, when I’d been legged for five minutes (got two or three kills, legged a couple people, pissed off Raph enough that he finally murdered me horribly) and watched Letia running around in my backfield, I decided our new game was to find and kill Letia.  We only got to track her down twice before it was over, though.  *sigh*

Out of ~70 fencers in the woods, 20 of them had fought in the novice tourney.  Another 20 or so are of the class that I consider, charitably or no, “grunts”, the fighters who will form the line and the mass on the field, and be satisfied to have some good DFB runs and kill a couple of Free Scholars or White Scarves during the day.  The problem is when these fighters either a) get their DFB runs and FS/WS kills and are then satisfied or b) are denied their DFB runs and FS/WS kills and get discouraged, they tend to trickle away.

The other problem is that, right now, Atlantia’s newbies and grunts are under-trained.  When I’d open a hole and order five of my team to go destroy an exposed flank while I pinned down anybody who could stop them, I’d turn around ten seconds later and four of the five would still be standing where I left them, not engaged with anybody, not getting their glorious DFB runs.  And that was 40 out of 70 fighters, more than 50% of the total and, when you take out the Turnips, close to 2/3rds of each side.  Also 2/3rds of the Atlantian Army.  So we need to get our grunts trained up on taking the initiative to slam into the enemy’s juicy bits, and also get them doing their cardio.

After the woods battle was…

The Black Sword Tourney

I pulled Miguel in the first round and decided to go single, since it’s something I’m experimenting with these days.  He brought single, too, and we had a series of good but indecisive passes.  I’m not quite used to the 45″ as a single sword with no short-range offense, so clearly I need to spend more time with it.  We doubled out.  Oh well.

The finals were Lily (who hasn’t been to practice in a year and a half, but was dropping gold and white scarves like soggy roaches.  What the hell is that?) vs. Aedan.  They had a series of excellent exchanges before they came to close grappling (for the second time), and as she backed out to measure Aedan got a thrust in for the win.

Story Time with Retired White Scarves

The day done, we set up a fire, and I sat around with most of Gardiner’s listening to stories of “The Good, Bad, and Ugly Old Days” and we told Gerlach and Robert all about what they’d missed on the melee field in recent years.  I continued the tradition of drinking a growler of Carolina Brewery ale, in honor of friends who couldn’t be there.  And that was the end of the best War of the Wings yet.

Posted October 15, 2012 by Wistric in Events

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