500 miles, 100 minutes, and 1 amazing event

19 Jan 2016 by gebhard, No Comments »

11255199_10207749163027826_2525375210606109917_nA year before, Duke Edmund, Count Cellach,Wigthegn and several others from our kingdom went to a event in the East called “100 minutes war” and came back with great tales of conquest and adventure. In spite of my not being completely sure I wanted to go to a day event so far away, my knight explained it to me like this,

“Last year, Wigthegn went to 100 Minutes War. Wigthegn got knighted.” 

The tales of grandeur got to me, and I put in for the time off. I took Friday off work and a large number of us piled into the van, picking up Thorin on the way out.

previousThorin and I have had some pretty good adventures in the past, this trip would not disappoint. 

Before I joined the SCA, I used to think 40 minutes was a really long time to be in a car, and I would call off going places that took an hour to get to. I can pretty much do that standing on my head in a car now. Not only that, the trip has become a part of what I look forward to, as it’s normally filled with conversation and 40’s hot jazz (if His Grace is in the car). The best part of this one was that over the 10 hour van trip out, we talked about fighty fight stuff for the entire trip.  We didn’t need to turn to our fall back topic, comic books, until we were a hour from Thorin’s house on the return trip.

We got to the site in New Jersey somewhat late Friday evening and had a very nice cabin to stay in.  

After a brief visit around the site meeting some of the other early arrivers, most of us settled in for some sleep. Thorin and I stayed out in the 20 degree temperature doing slow work and debating various tactics until our hands were literally turning blue. Somewhere in this we decided that would do nothing but longsword in the melee the next day since we were just there for fun. Why not make the most of it? Normally I fight polearm in melee, so I can crosscheck, but half swording is in now, so why not?

takethatIn the morning after breakfast, we made for the list, but before things got underway, an impromptu Court was called. My household cousin from the East, Simon, was given a writ. This is the East Kingdom way of begging a boon to make someone a knight.  It was a pleasure to get to see this place.  It was done by King Brennan of the East, whom many Midrealmers may remember from the Coffee Wars two Pennsics ago. 

The event itself is a 100 minute melee. Every time a fighter resurrects, a point is checked off for their side. The side with the fewest points at the end, wins.

Angus, Thorin and myself went out longsword intending to look for weak spots in the line and wreck them. Sadly, the list was too small for the number of people, that wasn’t going to happen.

frontlinesWe started in a classic fashion charging the line. The plan was to jump from our line to theirs.  I’d try to bind as many as I could and let my comrades strike into any holes I could open. This plan worked….well, for a number of times greater than once.

Meanwhile, His Grace Edmund, his squires Aine and Brice and our evil twins in Sir Thomas’s household wrecked havoc in the traditional style.

After a time, my trio started eyeing the covered “wagons” on the list field. They were each basically a 12×10 wooden platform with half a canvas tube over it, so that the top was curved and roughly 6 feet high in the middle, while much lower on the sides. It had canvas flaps for doors on each end so no one could see what was inside.

We decided we really needed to take the wagon in the middle. We worked our way over to it and stepped in slowly. We found a couple of the enemy fighters inside and quickly figured out that, by half swording, a longsword was the perfect tool for this job.  There wasn’t enough room to swing, but the sword becomes a short spear with a point on each end. Using it as a lever, I could push out people we couldn’t kill quickly.

The three of us held the wagon for sometime.  Once in awhile, they would push us out, but after rezzing, we’d charge back and take it again. It was grueling, hard fighting ultimately more pushing and wrestling than anything and likely the most fun I’ve ever had in melee. A marshal pulled Angus aside at one point to say how much he was enjoying watching guys fly backward out of the wagon. 


My favorite highlight of holding the wagon was during a long stretch of no action.  They must have decided to just let us have the little building, since it offered no strategic advantage. I poked my head out to see the enemy spear line creeping forward near the canvas flap door. Thorin charged out the door and jumped into the middle of the spears. There was a large spearman who saw him jump out of the wagon and who had the very same look Wile E Coyote gets just before getting smashed by a anvil. In this case, that anvil was Thorin.

groupshotAfter the melee, we got in some good pickups and went to dinner to celebrate with Simon, Sir Thomas and our Eastern household members.

There was an after party. I won’t say much about it other than Québécois singing and table dancing aren’t to be missed.

It’s a good thing to venture outside of one’s kingdom to make new friends and to take on new challenges in new environments. This was a great event and one I hadn’t experienced anything like at home, and I hope next year, you’ll considering joining us as we travel to visit our cousins in the East.


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Congratulations to Simon on being elevated to the order of the Chivalry.

Learn more about the Coffee Wars at this link.

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