WWW goes to Pennsic – Rapier Woods Battle

When we last left our intrepid hero, he was praying for the graceful embrace of oblivion on the grass outside of the woods rez point, after sucking down a freezy pop delivered by The Most Awesome Princess of the War.  Alric came by and asked if I was up for another run at another flag, and I allowed as how he must be smoking crack.

The Run… Again

For the Rapier Woods, the flags were static.  Atlantia was shifted from the left side to the right side, so instead of the run down the game path we were sweeping the flat, mostly open ground (labeled “Open Woods” on the map) of the righthand flag.  Just beyond the flag was a downslope, which the Axis would be advancing up.  Our goal was to hit them with sufficient force at the top of the slope to stop them there, but as was mentioned, all I wanted was to pass out and wake up at “Lay on”, having been masked-and-gloved by some generous Samaritan.

But as I lay there, gazing at the inside of my eyelids, I realized that I just wasn’t in the mood to wuss out that much.  Some little voice in my head kept saying “Suck it up, cupcake,” and it was the voice of the Baroness.  “Miguel,” says I, “go tell Alric that I’m his huckleberry.”  “What?” says Miguel, who isn’t feeling his Wheaties any more than I am.  “Grr… is Alric around?”  “Yeah, he’s right here.”  “Alric, I am your huckleberry,” says I.  So, not too much later, I found myself on the second line of an 8 man unit that was going to make first contact with the enemy.  At lay on we beat feet, Benjamin, Kenji, and Mateo breaking left-ish.  I took a path to the right, which was a bit of a short cut, and was third behind Benjamin and Kenji to make it to the scene.  I played a bit, then took a shot to the neck and had to go back to rez, and by the time I returned Atlantia was formed up in a line and advancing past the flag.

The Atlantian Left

The left flank of Atlantia, which butted up against the Upper Spruce Line, was apparently formed of lots of allies, not so much Atlantians.  There were Atenveldters in there, and a scattering of others.  A large chunk of it was a unit of fighters in their white fencing jackets, which by the “good garb = experienced fighter” rule of thumb was not a promising sign.

Dom grabbed me and put me behind the left flank to command it, and I proceeded to channel a bad R. Lee Ermey impersonator for most of the rest of the fight.  A couple of times early on, the Mid would push out from the Cathedral, or send a big unit back from rez at our left flank, roll it, and overrun the flag.  The left was the closest point of the line to the enemy rez point, and had a straight, open path leading to it.  We also lacked the skirmisher protection that was guarding the Atlantian center and right.  We needed a solid anchor unit.

On trip number three back to rez, I was trotting along behind Viscount Sean and recruited him to bring his household up to the left to reinforce it.  They shifted over, bounced the next attack or two, and after that the Mid started looking elsewhere for glory, focusing on the central flag (unknown to us, they had the left-most flag under their control).  Atlantia shifted a few more resources to the left flank, especially to holding the gap in the spruce trees that was permitting Mid units in the center to attack against us.  By grabbing that gap, Atlantia could also pressure the Mid’s attack on the center flag, and ended the battle holding three flags to the Axis’s two.

The R. Lee Ermey Thing

So what do you do when you have a flank that’s not practiced together and of uncertain experience?  My best guess was handed down from Dame Rosalind: Yell loudly.  Cuss if needed.  This led to certain exclamations: “Make the bastards come to us to die” and “Kill me a purple devil!”  Man I love that job.

The fighters learned quickly, calling on each other to dress the line and attacking with vigor when told to.  I did my best to remember to compliment good work.  There were a couple who I wish I knew which kingdom they came from (anybody know where The Bruces were from?).

I leaned on Miguel and Lucia to set the example, and they did great.  Lucia got a kick out of me yelling, at one point, “You stand next to Lucia and keep her alive!”  But it was definitely a help having them there to watch the left and right halves of the flank while I walked back and forth and checked out the rest of the line.

The other part I enjoy about being shouty is grabbing Miguel and Letia and saying “Go to the Cathedral and have fun.”  Nepotism on the battle field?  You bet yer ass.

Getting to Play Also

One of Ros’s regrets is that she went to Pennsic three years in a row and didn’t kill anybody, because she was busy commanding.  So even though I spent most of the Woods yelling, I did have a couple of goals.  To wit: I was going to DFB at least one person for each time I had to go rez (4).  Any “face to face” kills were going to be total bonuses.  A couple of times gaps opened in the line opposing us, and I trotted through to wreak some thorough, but rather useless, revenge.  At one point it seemed the entire Atlantian army was shouting “WISTRIC, BEHIND YOU!”  I turned, saw one of the enemy’s new-ish fighters trotting my way, DFB’d the person in front of me, and slipped back through the lines.  At another point, a Middie was sneaking up behind one of our skirmishers to DFB them, and was, I think, somewhat surprised by my blade on his shoulder.

Things Aren’t Always Sunny in the Woods

There was one fighter who complained, loudly, when he got DFB’d by Atlantian skirmishers.  I tend to run into this when it’s heavy fighters getting DFB’d, but there was no sign that this was anything other than a fencer.  Still, he repeatedly “jokingly” called us cowards.  To which, of course, I say “Watch your fucking backfield.”   I know there are some kingdoms that have Armored DFB out there, and the main thrust of the argument I’ve seen in Atlantia is “It’s not honorable”.  And for the Atlantian armored community, that’s a viable reason.  But it’s not on the rapier field.  As a ruffian, if you let me in your backfield it’s your own fault for getting stabbed in the back, and you have nobody to blame but you and your teammates.  (For Armored DFB, though, I haven’t figured out the actual mechanics of how to do it.  The “blade on the shoulder” method wouldn’t work so well.  Maybe a light triple tap on the top of the helm?  I dunno).  This particular fighter, though, also basically did a wrap to the back of the neck of Benjamin, which smacked loudly on his gorget.  At the end of the fight, it turned out that a lot of Atlantia (especially the Dragoons) had seen that and was not at all happy, and that Benjamin hadn’t actually felt it, so we kind of shrugged at that point and said “well… okay then.”

Other than that, I had the first instance where somebody nominally under my command ended up in a Marshal’s Court.  Technically, Giovan was running Windmasters in the woods.  When we got out, though, and found out that Calli had been called in to a Marshal’s Court, my first instinct was to go back in and stand with him at the court.  Turns out it was entirely unnecessary: Yet another Atlantian fighting like an Atlantian, unimpeachably within the rules, and getting yelled at for it (Ran up behind a guy, stopped, laid a sword on his shoulder and placed his hand on the guy’s arm to keep him from backing up, and the marshal got angry).  Llwyd, and Antonio, did an excellent job this war of making the rapier marshallate run smoothly and consistently for fighters.

And So Endeth the War

Her Highness greeted us, again, with freezy pops at the end of the battle.  Awesome.  And then Benjamin picked up his heavy gear and rapier gear and walked back to camp while the rest of us rode in the truck.  There’s a Kurt Vonnegut story, or setting for a couple of short stories, where great athletes are forced to wear additional weight (kind of like a 10 lb. penalty in horse racing) to even the world out.  I’m not really a fan of that idea, but, still, could we make Benjamin wear twenty pounds on his ankles?

5 comments to WWW goes to Pennsic – Rapier Woods Battle

  • Staffan

    From what I understand, the Bruce’s were a Mercenary unit made up of fencers from Northshield and the East.

    For DFB, Armored Combatants place their single handed weapon across the faceplate of the person who is being “killed,” or place their two handed weapon over the shoulder like in rapier. In both cases you must state “dead from behind, mi’lord (or equivalent).

    Thanks for the post!

    Staffan
    West Kingdom

  • Greetings Lord Staffan!

    Any idea how I might contact the Bruces? I’d just like to give them a few more “attaboys”.

    As for armored DFB, that’s very spiff. As a rapier fighter, even on the armored field I find myself worrying too much about the backfield (both my own, and the enemy’s). But Atlantia is too much of the mindset of “honorable combat between honorable opponents” to adopt that any time soon.

    And welcome to the blog! I admit, every time somebody from out of kingdom posts, it’s both exciting, and a little scary. But I do welcome any comments/advice/contrary thoughts you have on anything (as mentioned somewhere on here, I really don’t think I’m the most knowledgeable fencer, just the most verbose)

    Yours,
    Wistric

  • Matheu

    Benjamin and I actually discussed training with weight on after the heavy woods ;p. Probably not for the reason you want to add it though.

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