24 Jun 2014 by gebhard, 3 Comments »

10365978_303322299835840_8368601304973197106_n When I think back to the most fun scenarios I’ve ever fought on a melee field, I find myself sifting through scenarios like the following:

So there is this big war event thingy coming up in a few months, and we should be like ready and stuff. There are going to be a number of dudes over there, so we are  just going to sorta run at them. We’ll do that 4 or 5 times, then we’ll do a same thing only as a “bridge” battle, then we’ll do a bunch of broken field battles. In the breaks, we can talk about the issues with getting your router’s NAT set up correctly and how to prioritize network traffic to favor streaming content over surfing packets.

I’m pretty sure we have all experienced this, and it likely stands out in no one’s mind.

Sir Gunnar explains this phenomenon, “I am often struck by how people use the SCA to escape the mundane but then become completely mundane in the SCA.

I’ve recently returned home from an event where Vikings were invading small Celtic villages. We made long boats out of straw bales and fought outside a Great Hall when the mighty Celts rushed out in reaction to the Viking war cries echoing from from the shore.  Boasts and challenges, insults and songs were heard far and wide, heroes made challenges to each other, and many tales of great deeds could be told from that day.

Afterward, Sir Gunnar posted the following, “I apologize to the fine warriors who attended Push for Pennsic this year and partook in the Battles of Clontarf. I apologize that the Barony of the Flaming Gryphon has ruined the rest of your fighting year as every event you attend for the rest of this melee season is going to be boring and pale in comparison, but take heart. You can come again next year and have fun with us again and fight with context and meaning, when we fight with a grand and noble story, when we give you a canvas to paint yourself a hero.

Context and meaning, make all the difference in the world. This is a very simple question, “Why would a bunch of dudes be in a field to wage war?” The answer to that question is the difference between average and the best event ever. I recall when I was new to the SCA, there was a lot to do about camels.

Later, the Duchy of Lozengia made a land grab on many nearby Baronies. At many events over that year, Duke Edmund asserted his claims, and I still laugh when I think about all the amazing boasts, challenges, claims and protests from those events. These were some great events.

The execution is just as important as the idea. A little schtick turns a good fighting event into a magnificent one.

While any day in armor is a good day, a day in armor with meaning is an even better day. If you are a warrior in the great Dragon army, why have a ‘meh’ battle? Be bold, fight with honor, and at the end of the day spread word of the great deeds you have witnessed while in glorious battle. When this is our goal, as it should be, the context of an event helps facilitate this end to make a great day even better.

Picture was taken by: Mary Dahlberg

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  1. Steve Kubien says:

    Same thing applies to archery shoots. My daughters still talk about shooting an evil dragon at last year’s War of the Trillium and the kraken at the last Althing. Duke Sir Nigel McFarland has been busy devising galleons to fight from and on for this year’s Trillies in Ealdormere this coming weekend. Methinks it will be one of those events that stories get made up about…errrr…get told about.

  2. Making an event’s martial activities even more fun is something I always look to do when I create an event. What kind of theme will help make the martial aspects even better? How will the theme play out on the martial fields, no matter what activities are planned.

    One of my favorite themes has always been Agincourt. I ran an event in my local area several years back where the secondary theme was “Are you French or are you English?” Each person at the event chose an event token based on whether they supported the French or the English. The archers at the event participated in a shoot designed around the theme of Agincourt as set out by Wm. Shakespeare. They shot at the Walls of Harfleur, at heraldry from the people involved in the Agincourt battle and got points based on whether they were representing the French or the English. The apex of the shoot was having the archers shoot at a representation of a knight in armor. Hits were recorded and then those hits were distributed among the heavy fighters and rapier fighters so that they could fight their own Agincourt battles. Hits taken from the archery shoot meant that fighters and fencers had to simulate these wounds before they advanced. Best simulation got extra points.

    Winners of each type of activity were called up in court and given a small prize, and the overall winner of the Agincourt battle was announced as well. The feast also ran along the theme, with each course being either English based or French based. When all was said and done, everyone had enjoyed the event and wanted more. That to me is the mark of a good event where the martial activities make a difference in the event’s outcome.

  3. Richard vanUtrecht says:

    I look back at our most recent event and think “it was just a constant barage of carnage”. While folks did have an adequate time, I think the next time I’m MIC, I shall endeavor to put a little spice in the gumbo as it were. Thanks for posting this.

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