WWW goes to Pennsic – in Armor!

I didn’t get in armor nearly enough this past year, and it showed on the armored field.  I didn’t feel particularly effective, and my endurance was low.  I have a plan to fix that, but it was interesting to be in the “Useless Newb” mindset, and have to remember all the things I tell new melee fencers.  “Even if all you do is stand in the line and go ‘Ooga Booga’, you’re at least keeping one enemy fighter busy.”  There were times where all I did was stand in line and go ‘Ooga Booga’.  My field awareness, when engaged, didn’t extend much beyond a two person radius, either.  But I did have a couple of highlights.

Armored Field Battles

As was mentioned, the command of the war was “Prepare to take it like a sailor.”  In the first three of the five field battles, the job description for Atlantia was “Stand on the highground, die slow when they send half their army to overwhelm you”.  And we did that.  We did that damn well.  They sent the Tuchux to crash into us, and we hammered them down.  A couple of times a ‘Chux would charge the guy to my left or right and I’d wham on his kidneys with my polearm, eliciting a “Good”.  It was, apparently, a year for the ‘Chux to be thick-skinned, so getting a “Good” out of them was an achievement.  In all three of these, I never lasted long enough to see our brave allies come to our rescue, but eventually they did.

In the second one, I played with the ‘Chux a bit then noticed that we were being attacked in the rear.  I jumped the shieldman on the far end of the enemy at our backs, kidney-shot him, then ran down a spearman.  In the process I took the only bruising shot of the war from an axe to my armpit.  A couple of Atlantians followed behind and avenged my loss, but we were pretty thoroughly surrounded and got crushed.

In the third one, the war had switched from East vs. Mid to East&Mid vs. Allies (or Axis vs. Allies, as His Excellency wanted to call it, and I’m totally down with that).  For number 3, the spears were ordered forward (we’d been forming a shield wall at the front for the first two).  Miguel said “Are we expected to actually do anything?” as we advanced up.  I said “Die.”  The verb “Atrit” was used frequently.  We received a shield charge, and I ended up tangling my polearm, Lobo, up with a charging shieldman, and then going down with Lobo wrapped around him.  Somewhere in there he called dead as somebody hit him, but I noticed it wasn’t before he’d driven us both out the back of the Atlantian lines.  I went back in, and charged into a shield wall, pushing in a few steps before being  beaten down.  I ended up lying dead next to a Middie, who, when the spear duel had passed beyond us, got up and went back to the fight.  He said he’d just been knocked down, not killed.  On the one hand, if you get knocked down you shouldn’t necessarily have to call dead.  You weren’t, afterall, killed.  On the other, to my thinking, you shouldn’t be imitating a dead person when you’re within weapons range of the enemy.  Because you know what this leads me to want to do?  Double check all the dead people on the ground with Lobo.

By this time, Atlantia had had enough of this shit.  So for number 4, we ran diagonally across the entire field, hit the East in the flank, and munched our way in.  I got some pretty good shots in there, but died to the third line of defenders we hit.

For number five, we ran diagonally across half of the field, then turned ninety degrees and ran diagonally to hit the Mid in the flank.  Here, the Mid finally got a clue and attacked our flank, which was Windmasters, and I went down after watching Girard’s glorious charge into death.

Throughout the field battles, I always felt like I had the wrong weapon.  When I had Lobo, we were fighting spears and I wished I’d had Schadenfreude.  When I had Schadenfreude, we were fighting shield walls and I wished I had Lobo.  Gah.  Either way, it’s time to get my pell hung and spend the fall and winter practicing with both, and maybe even with sword and board.

Armored Woods Battle

Windmasters mustered for the armored woods at an appropriate hour, and arrived on set before most of the rest of Atlantia.  Cuan called the commanders meeting shortly after Girard, who was the Southern Regional Commander, had gone off into the woods to find a suitable tree to mark for Windmasters and Atlantia.  So Cuan said “Wistric, come listen and tell Girard everything when he gets back.”  So I did.  Five words into Cuan’s briefing, Girard comes back.  Cuan says “Wistric, are you on the run team?” (being the team of people running for the far banner to grab it and bring it back).  I allowed as I was, and he said, “Great, you’re in charge of it.”  I thought that, with Sir Corby being on the run team, too, he might be in charge, but apparently not.  We then walked the left side of the woods, the path that the run team would take and Atlantia would fight over for the next two hours, while I wished I had my glasses so I could tell more than “That looks like the spruce trees there, and what the hell color is the tape on that tree?”

I walked the path back, then grabbed Benjamin, Alric, Miguel, and Mateo, and walked it again.  Benjamin, being the fastest man on the field in any army, was going to run point and actually grab the flag, Alric, Miguel and Mateo were there in case I ran too slow, and so that people with better eyesight than me were also taking note of things.

In total, I lined up a 12 person unit, and when they called 5 minutes, yelled “Run team to me” and headed up the path to our start point.  When I turned around, there were 30 people behind me.  Sir Corby had been recruiting.  We were there, possibly a little too far up the path, crouching low to avoid being too obvious to the marshals, when the marshals still noticed us.  They came over and said “You can’t start from this path, you have to start from that path twenty yards that way”.  Sir Corby was not happy, but we ended up acquiescing.  At Lay On, Benjamin was off like a shot, Lambchop was behind him, and I was behind Lambchop.  The path was a left turn followed by a right turn, and at the left turn Lambchop hit the ground.  I jumped over him, made the right turn, stumbled a little as Schadenfreude clipped trees, and was about twenty feet behind Benjamin when he made a big U-turn and came running back towards me.  He’d been 5 feet from the banner when the East Kingdom had snatched it and they were coming on.  Fuck a duck.  If we’d started from our original point, we’d have been there and the East would have just seen Benjamin’s shiny pants running away with it and a line of Queen’s Spears forming up.  Oh well.

I may have cussed at that point, then leaned against a tree and realized I didn’t have my inhaler on me, and I needed it.  It wasn’t in my armor bag, either, so I spent the rest of the two hours sucking wind a lot of the time.

About an hour in, I swapped Schadenfreude for Lobo, Miguel picked up Schadenfreude, and we went back to the line.  There, a guy in a purple and white tabard, with a gold crown on it and a mark of cadence, was playing with a spear against some Atlantians.  I set up where I could knock his spear around with Lobo and have a tree protecting me from the Blood Guard guys around him, and Miguel set up at an oblique angle to him.  He had a really good, clear line on the guy (okay, let’s give him a name, like “King Icefalcon of the East”).  So I said “Miguel, you kill that guy, I give you a beer.”  Miguel totally failed to kill that guy.  I totally drank an extra ice cold Newcastle on Friday.

After that, Miguel switched back to his spear, I switched back to Schadenfreude and, really exhausted, headed back to the line with Chow.  I’d figured out at this point that I wasn’t going to be able to throw with much speed or accuracy, so I set up with Chow to pull shields and have him do the hard work, because that was about all I had in me.  But the chance didn’t much present itself.

Pressure formed on our right, so I headed up that way into the spruce trees, and got the shittiest hit I had all war: A spearman with no engagement on me (no “line vs. line”, no recognition, no nothing) blindsided me with a hell of a shot to the side of my helm.  He had the balls to be annoyed when I said “side” and didn’t take it.  Well fuck that.

At the end of two hours I was seriously empty.  So I sat down and rested, because the rapier woods battle was an hour later.  And then Ella called me over to her, where Her Highness Kalisa was waiting, with freezy pops!  I like her and I say we let her be queen, sooner or later.

The Right Armor Makes all the Difference

All of this was made so much easier by the padded cuisses and floating knees I borrowed from Gaston, which let me jump up and down and run around (previous leg rigs had made it hard to even walk).  Dame Ros made me a set of my own padded cuisses, and I bought a set of floating knees to attach, which makes the future of my leg armor pretty well settled.

Next, time to rig new body armor.  I’m thinking of doing a bastardized Wisby coat, with upper torso armor separate from short rib protection, so I can leave off the upper torso in favor of just my lacrosse pads when I need to cut down weight.  I’ve got a “One Way” sign in the garage waiting to be cut up, and Chow’s given me a line on Cordura/CoolMax blend to make the coat out of (it’s going to be under a tabard or surcoat, no need to have leather).

I think Schadenfreude is going to get a new spear shaft, and a new low-profile thrusting tip.  I’m considering buying a new axhead for Fuerchtenunabwend, also.

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