Wistrics Weekly Warfare 31: Crossing Over Part II – Every Man wants a Three Way

(Still no John Edward)

So far, given the rapier-centric nature of this blog, I’ve focused on the means and motives for rapier fighters to pick up spear or polearm or sword-and-board and violate the beer rule all over our armored enemies (armored fighters, for some reason, tend to appreciate receiving a good beating more than rapier fighters.  Pervs).  However, Pennsic does include rapier warpoints each year (until the king of the East gets his way), and archery warpoints (sometimes more archery warpoints than rapier).  Which means that crossing-over should go both ways, or three ways.  At least.  And not no devil’s three way!  Maybe even a four-way?  Stop?  Okay.  (And, again I say, Hi Mom!)

O for a wall of armored fighters

Armored carries the majority of war points each year.  At the last Pennsic where the war points mattered, three were for rapier, four for archery, and twenty-six for armored (something about having 37 war points for Pennsic 37).  The year before that, the split was three, four, and fourteen.  Before that, 3/2/10.

However, the One Army spirit, if it is sincere, should never flow in just one direction.  No rapier fighter should expect armored fighters or archers to mask up without himself putting on a helm or picking up a bow.  And I’m unimpressed by armored fighters who don’t mask up but complain that rapier fighters never armor up.

There are, though, greater benefits from an armored fighter putting on a mask.  Another armored fighter on the armored field is about one person in five hundred.  Their likeliness of swaying a battle is pretty minimal.  Another fighter on the rapier field is one in two hundred.  Still not a huge difference, but twice the effect.

A mass cross-over in any direction, though, could never have a negligible effect.  Atlantia fields ~60-70 fencers at Pennsic, and a good 40-50 of them don’t fight heavy already.  Atlantia would dominate any spear duel, just based on numbers, and would never want for spear support in attacking a shieldwall.

On the other hand, if every Atlantian shieldman who goes to war showed up on the rapier field with a sword and their heater, Atlantia could walk over the combined rapier armies of the known world.  Spike love me, but a hundred fighters who know how to walk forward in a line, stand their ground, and die slowly while the flash glory-hounds like me run merry hell in the backfield would revolutionize rapier melee.  It would be almost exactly like taking the Roman legions and their cavalry support against the barbarian hordes.  And it would be glorious.  Atlantia alone could crush all the armies of the known world in this way.

Target Archery

Each Pennsic has an archery populace warpoint.  This goes to the side with the highest total score.  Which means anybody who shows up and shoots a horribly low score (like, say, a single one-pointer), still increases their side’s overall score and gets them nearer to victory.  And you and a bunch of friends can all go up with just one bow and a set of arrows and shoot, trading around the gear as each turn comes up.

Unfortunately, this is one I have neglected (it lacks a certain amount of punking Easties, and that hill is tall).  However, Athos has got himself 5 beautiful acres, a whole bunch of archery gear, and a thirst to shoot some wood at some bulls-eyes with friends.  So by next Pennsic I’ll be shooting in the archery war point, too.  One Army ain’t just armored and rapier.

Of course, practiced target archers, with their excellent aim, should always be assisted in taking the field, bow in hand, against whichever enemy needs beating that day.  In general, this means they’ll need a junker fiberglass bow and armor just like any other fighter, though they can stick to minimums for the most part.  If you really want to win their hearts, help them put together the arrows for combat archery because those are a pain in the ass.

How to Create this Utopia

The first barrier to crossing-over is the huge startup cost that must be overcome.

There’s a debate going on the kingdom e-mail list as I write this about how much it costs to get a new fighter fully armored.  The low estimates are $200, but most participants feel it’s higher, up around $400.  That’s a pretty substantial investment.

A starter rapier kit costs anywhere from $150-200, depending on what’s on sale at http://www.absolutefencinggear.com and http://www.americanfencingsupply.com.  Armored fighters can probably shave fifty bucks off this by repurposing their gorget and soft armor.

I have no idea the startup cost for archery, though from what discussions I’ve seen the cost of a bow is about the same as the cost of a helmet of equal quality (though somebody mentioned they have an $1100 bow.  At that price, it should come with a stripper serving coke off her ta-tas, or his six-pack abs, whichever your preference is).

The solution is, of course, to lend your friends gear to help them crossover.  Full helms are spreading through the rapier community.  This means more and more rapier masks sitting in closets calling out “Somebody, please, wear me!”  The constantly-evolving nature of heavy armor kits means lots of old armor sitting all over, waiting to be loaned out indefinitely.

A lot of gear can be dual-use (as mentioned above for rapier gear).  Most armored fighters with padded gambesons already have all the soft armor they need, and most armored gorgets work on the rapier field.  A couple of armored fighters I know have skipped buying a mask and instead bought perf plate face guards to swap out with their bar grills.  Then all they would need is a sword.

I have six swords, I think, not including the two canton loaners that live in the Wistric War Wagon.  No, really, I NEED SIX SWORDS!  I swear!  At the very least for the interesting work conversations: “I have eight swords in my car, two more if you count epees.  How’re your kids?”  “*urk*”

But I can only take two into a battle.  Admittedly, #6 is the Pretty Stick and will never be used by anybody but me (probably), but that still leaves three swords to arm three armored fighter cross-overs.  And most fencers I know also have swords that sit idle in their bags come melee time.

The second barrier, and possibly the harder one to bring down, is a lack of opportunity.  Pennsic is the only event I make it to all year that is conducive to crossing over.  It’s logistically difficult to have rapier and armored fighting staggered at a day-long event.  And if I have to choose between fencing and armored, I’ll go fence.  Practices are, in general, also overlapped in this manner.  What’s the solution?  I actually don’t have an easy one.  For my part, though, I’m stepping down as baronial rapier marshal so I can fight heavy at baronial practices, getting at least one day in armor each month.  And, because of the sacrifice made by any cross-over, and after receiving some advice from Alejandro, I make a point of paying special attention to any armored fighter who picks up a rapier.

The third barrier is motivation.  I can sit here and preach all day, I could even try to do so on the kingdom e-mail list (*shudder*), but I doubt it would get one more fencer in armor, or one more armored fighter in a mask.  Given the monarchist tendencies of Atlantia, it’s going to take a tradition of kings showing up on the fencing field for armored fighters to cross-over en masse.

What’s it going to take to get fencers to cross-over?  That’s got to be more of a grassroots movement (again, we’re just not really monarchists), a combination of peer pressure and leadership within the fencing community leading the way.  This movement is starting, though, or gaining speed, depending on your historical context.  The commander of the Queen’s Spears is lighting some pretty noteworthy fires.  That Mad Alric, he’s figured something out somewhere along the lines.

So then what

Well, then everything is perfect, we all get a pony and a peach cobbler, and at Pennsic the Eastern army is nothing but a herd of slump-shouldered fighters trudging back to rez point.  *sigh*  And while I’m at it, how about world peace?

1 comment to Wistrics Weekly Warfare 31: Crossing Over Part II – Every Man wants a Three Way

  • Staffan

    Greetings,

    When I lived in the Barony of Caerthe, and it’s Canton Hawks Hallow, I remember they had a Grand Championship set up. This consisted of fighting rapier and armored combat, shooting on the archery field, submitting something for A&S, and performing in the Bardic. The one with the overall best score became the Grand Champion.

    I am hoping to better myself to be able to do such a thing and do it well.

    In Service to the West,
    Staffan Arffuidsson

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