PI Web Edition -- Sunday, August 15, 2004

This is the Pennsic Independent Web Edition for Sunday, August 15, 2004.
Please see the table of contents (below) for today's top stories.

Photo by Nicolaa de Bracton: The Middle Kingdom Laurels did not go away hungry from Saturday's pig roast at the royal encampment. From left, Lord James Ironmark, part of the cooking team, Master Brusten de Bearsul and Master Jean-Paul Pierpont, both Laurels.

The Short, Victorious War

By THL Heirusalem Crystoma

Viscount Edward Zifran of Gendy, in his musings to the Pennsic populace stated, "I would like to dedicate the 33rd Pennsic War to 'inspiration.' I encourage us all to look inward to find that which inspires us to be part of Our Society and having done thus, share with others the motivation that draws us to Pennsic each year." This eloquent yet simple statement, when viewed in the darkness of a (mostly) sleeping late evening of Pennsic War becomes a quest. It is easily, longingly, happily fulfilled.

Our current world is filled with fear and strain. For many of us, the thought of spending a week or two playing at a congenial medieval war seems almost laughable in light of the harsh reality of war gripping the world. Our sons, daughters, husbands, wives and dear friends are gripped in that reality and are never far from our thoughts. What they are doing is so large compared to what we are doing and where we are that it is beyond our comprehension.

Therein lies a modest and grand part of inspiration.

Wars are declared, fought and lost over ideals, politics and commerce. Here we fight a different kind of war, not over a broken arrow or boundaries or over the long-planned and well-rehearsed designs of kings and queens. This war is not insignificant or silly. It is a war we each bring with us and each leaves the battlefield victorious.

For the individual, it is the same war our sons, daughters, husbands, wives and dear ones fight. Each of us, in our private war, starts each day with hope. Each day we do battle. If we do it right, each evening we lay down with less of ourselves and we somehow better the world around us.

Our war is against ignorance, greed, selfishness and loss of the heritage that has been stretched and shaped into the conditions we currently live in. It is a defiance of the idea that a community cannot be built on honor and integrity. It is a triumph of beauty, imagination and reason.

Here, the dignity of the Royalty, the heart of the artisan, the honor of the fighter, the banter of the merchant, the touch of the lover, the song of the bard, the innocent smile of the child, the nod of the person who just walked past you, and in all who create this unique and peaceable war, there is victory.

Because whatever else you may go home with, you will go home with inspiration in this short victorious war. Wherever our loved ones are today, may they be so inspired by their companions. May we be so inspired by their selfless dedication with which they fight their lengthy one.

Push for 1500

By Magistra Nicolaa de Bracton, Pennsic Independent Editor-in-Chief

Have you come to Pennsic to get all the fighting in you possibly can? Viscount Geoffrey Scott has. He hopes to fight 1500 bouts at Pennsic — and you might be able to help.

Viscount Geoffrey, a 37-year old resident of the West Kingdom and squire to Sir Geoffrey Mathias, has been in the SCA over twelve years and was inspired by another fighter's quest to fight 1000 fights. "Believing that goals should be something that one should strive for, I therefore set a goal that I was unsure that I could reach," he says. "I needed a number that would really push me. I chose 1500."

While Viscount Geoffrey has never fought anywhere near that many bouts over a period of a couple of weeks, he has fought over 100 bouts on a single day at one particular event for the past five years. "This year, we met our goal to fight 120 battles in a single day. Each year we benefit a different charity. This year it was the Crohns and Colitis Foundation."

Viscount Geoffrey's personal challenge has, however, now become Royal Decree. King Uther of the West Kingdom has ordered him to complete it before appearing before him at Purgatorio the weekend after Pennsic to accept the accolade of knighthood. Viscount Geoffrey says, "There is no longer any doubt as to whether I can achieve my goal. I shall honor my word and my King. I shall fight 1500 fights." Viscount Geoffrey also intends to fight the battles at Pennsic as well. Viscount Geoffrey reached 1000 fights by Friday evening, added 150 more on Saturday, and hopes to finish his quest by today.

Those who wish to help Viscount Geoffrey fulfill his quest will find a man who loves to fight in many styles-from a pas d'armes, with matched weapons at the barrier, to "mad dog" tourneys in which the fighters fight as many challenges as they can during the time allotted for the tourney, with one point for each fight and another for each victory. His armor is currently late 14th century transitional plate, and he says the weapons forms he has been using most often are sword and heater and sword and buckler.

Viscount Geoffrey plans to spend as much time as he possibly can on the battlefield. Look for his arms: Azure, a chevron and in base a compass star, Or.

Photo by Liam St. Liam: Viscount Geoffrey Scott, left, prepares to fight King Draco of Lochac as part of his quest to fight 1500 bouts in preparation for his elevation to the Order of Chivlary.

Saturday Tournament Wrap-Up

By Donal Bane of Blakmers, Pennsic Independent Battlefield Correspondent

Outlands Unbelted Tournament

About 30 gentles came to the field to participate in the first major tournament of Pennsic: the Outlands Unbelted Tournament. Under the watchful eyes of TRM Giovanni and Cainnleach of Outlands, the gentles fought in two round-robin line tournaments until the top eight fighters were determined based on the number of wins.

Once the final eight were determined, the tournament went to a single elimination bracket. The finals saw Sichelgaita von Halstern of the East face off Prince Hrodir Vigagein of Northshield. Striking a blow for all women fighters, Sichelgaita first legged Hrodir and then bested him with blow to the head. She was awarded a table by Their Majesties for her effort.
HRM Cainnleach also presented another table to Hedinn Inn Raudi of the East, who showed great courage in his very first tournament.

Judicial Combat — Historic Combat Series

The Historic Combat Series opened war week with Judicial Combats, a tournament modeled after German judicial combats of the 15th century. Eight gentles took part in the tournament where each gentle game armed with dagger, short spear and bastard sword. Killing blows could be registered by face thrusts, trusts to the elbow and armpit, three head blows with the sword or being knocked to the ground or driven from the list.

The round-robin tournament ended with Sir Vladimir Aleksandrov winning six fights to take the tournament.

One schedule note: due to the Known World Squires' Tournament occurring on Thursday, the Plate and Mail Tournament for the Historic Combat Series has moved to Friday at 2 p.m.

Photo by Heirusalem Crystoma: The Pennsic battle and archery range stand ready for a week of fighting and archery.

Scoping the Swords and Shields: War Points Explained

By Donal Bane of Blakmers, Pennsic Independent Battlefield Correspondent

Greetings, fellow warrior watchers!

With Pennsic XXXIII upon us, I'm certain a great multitude of gentles will be descending on the battlefield to fight or cheer on their favorite gentles. However, changes are afoot in the Pennsic War Point schedule and I hope to explain those changes with the help of Pennsic Battlefield Coordinator Sir Alaric Lefevre.

First, the number of actual war points has jumped from 13 to 27 this year,
"That was Their Majesties' decision," Lefevre said. "It helps make each battle mean something and each one more important. Hopefully, it will keep more fighters involved at the war."

Indeed, instead of having best-of-three battles, such as the field battle, each win will earn one War point. The same will go for battles with banners as the goal; each banner will be worth one war point.

Perhaps the biggest news this year comes from the "It's About Darn Time" file: for the first time in Pennsic history, mass rapier battles will be included as war points. There will be a rapier broken field battle at 1 p.m. Wednesday (one point) and woods (one point) battle at 2 p.m. Thursday. Along with the rapier champions' battle (3 p.m. Monday), the fencers will have their biggest influence on the outcome of Pennsic in history.

"Their Majesties made the decision to include [rapiers] and I think it's a good decision," Lefevre said. "This will do a lot to support the rapier communities in the Society."

Archery is back as well, with the archery champions' shoot (one point) and populace shoots (three points) running throughout war week. As always, my faithful colleague Liam St. Liam will keep his eyes trained on the fencers and archers.

For my fellow rattan-lovers, the war gets started with a bang on Monday as the field battle (11 a.m., three fights, one point each), belted champions (one point), unbelted champions (one point) and the heroes' resurrection battle. Unlike previous years, the heroes' battle will be a one-hour resurrection battle on a single bridge. A banner in the center of the bridge will be contested between 150 champions from each great army. At each five-minute interval, a point will be awarded to the side that holds the banner and the side with the most points after an hour wins.

"Their majesties came to an agreement on this," Lefevre said. "They wanted to test their champions and they will do so."

The woods battle (noon, one point for each banner collected) takes center stage Tuesday, while the bridge battle (11 a.m., three fights, one point each) and the allied champions battle will run on Wednesday.

Thursday could be a crucial day for the war, as the mountain pass battle returns at 11 a.m. There will be two fights in this year's mountain pass battle with three banners, each worth one war point, up for grabs. With six points available, it will be the last big chance to earn points at war.
The grand finale on Friday is the fort battle (11 a.m., one point), with the battle following the same format as last year. Each side will be given a chance to attack and defend the castle and the side that holds out longer wins the war point. However, there is one big change this year in that there will be only one way to approach the castle: a 30-foot-wide causeway.

In the middle of that causeway, a banner will be posted. If the defending side can hold that banner for 10 minutes, they will receive a 10-minute bonus to their castle holdout time. As usual, attackers will get unlimited resurrections, while defenders get none.

"That was done to give the battle a bit more authenticity," Lefevre said.

Lefevre said there is one big change in that the main battlefield has been expanded to 600 feet by 600 feet. As a result, there will be no car traffic allowed on the battlefield.

"There have been some logistical problems that forced us to do that," Lefevre said. Lefevre is hoping for a very competitive war and so am I. I have it on good authority — namely HRM Felix of the Midrealm — that the sides will be very even fighter-wise this year. That will be a welcome change from last year's Pennsic, which basically was over after Opening Ceremonies. Sunday's featured melee: The Lost Boys Fort Battle — 3 p.m.

What to look for: With the war point battles not starting until Monday, this is fighter's last change to get their melee fix before it counts. Usually, many warriors do just that and result is a rollicking good time.

Youse have a good time!

By Magistra Nicolaa de Bracton

The comparison that this year's Pennsic Mayor, Viscount Sir Edward Zifran of Gendy, has made that running Pennsic is like running Tammany Hall in the early days of New York is apt. When you run a staff of 152, including seven divisions whose heads share about 120 years of Pennsic experience and 54 departments, with a budget of $214,000-not to mention 352 porta-potties (cleaned twice daily) — you have to have the political skills of a machine boss — if perhaps not the thuggery to back it up.

The thugs have been replaced by the Dead Rabbits, the "hiring hall" for Pennsic, which will be used as a volunteer clearinghouse, as well as a way to provide those who seriously breach Pennsic rules — but not enough to get sent home — a way to provide "community service." Other new features this year: a bigger battlefield (600x600 feet, or approximately 200 metres square), new modular, easy-to-store daises, a new pager system, and more A&S tents. Approximately 10,500 pre-registered for Pennsic this year.

The A&S tents are also the focus of a significant policy change. Private parties are no longer allowed to book the tents, because of increasing liability concerns over alcohol and cleanup issues. Meetings, vigils, performances, and other "official" business will still take place in the tents, however.

Another new rule (#25 in your Pennsic book) forbids posting notices or announcements in the porta-potties. These have become a cleaning issue for the companies we rent them from because of sticky residue, etc., and we were being charged to clean them after Pennsic. Rule #26, also new this year, prohibits tampering with, moving, destroying, or vandalizing any Cooper's Lake property, such as signs, the Barn, golf carts, Zoning and Planning markers, etc.

Many have asked whether the haywagons will be running again this year, after last year's mudbath. According to Viscount Edward, buses have replaced the haywagons for the route around the lake, and a haywagon will run up to the archery field.