Armored Combat

Thank you so much for coming to the war!  Every time you put that armor on, know that not only are you about to have a good time, but you are also helping the rest of us have someone to fight, and we are happy to see you out there with us.

There are no formal sides for this war.  All fighters are encouraged to join together in a mesnie.  What’s a mesnie, you may ask?  It’s a household or warrior company, traveling together to seek their fortune through tournament and melee.

A mesnie may be a Peer and their household.  It may be the Crown and their Royal Guard.  It might be a band of Fyrdmen seeking to test their mettle against others.  Or it may simply be a group of friends who enjoy fighting together.  A mesnie may be of any size.

Most days, the mesnies will be asked to join together into two somewhat-balanced sides.  One mesnie leader will lead each side.  In case you don’t have a mesnie, there are some households that have offered to pick up unassociated fighters.  However, you’re encouraged to make new friends and find your own!

There will be a nice prize for best mesnie, but otherwise we’re not really keeping score.  Best mesnie, in this case, is not dependent solely upon martial prowess[i], but also on applying chivalric ideals, heraldic display, having a good time and helping others to do so, or otherwise embodying the spirit of William the Marshal.  The prizewinner will be decided by a panel of marshals, observant bystanders, and assorted OAFs. 

A few general guidelines and some rules

  • All Calontir armor, weapon standards[ii], and fighting conventions[iii] will be used. If you have any questions on what these rules are, please ask any Kingdom marshal on site and they can fill you in.
  • If it is too hot to fight, or there is lightning, or it’s raining enough to be miserable, or there are killer bees, we will just cancel the fighting. There will be plenty of other days. 
  • You’re also responsible to know your own capacity – if you feel like the conditions are too extreme for you on a given day, please just take a day off and enjoy the hospitality of the lake.
  • By the same token, drink water. Encourage your friends to drink water. 
  • Combat archery will be allowed in some scenarios on Thursday and Saturday. As we are trying for balanced sides, please also try to divide archery evenly between sides.  If enough combat archers wish to participate on other days, please talk with the MiC ahead of time and we’ll do our best to work it in.
  • Seriously, don’t get too excited about points[iv]. Your mesnie may not be allied with the same group of other mesnies each day.  The prize is for distinguishing your mesnie


First Saturday, June 8:  Town Battle

Newbury Castle:  William the Marshal survives being taken hostage and becomes a squire.

When William the Marshal was six, his father John’s castle was attacked.  Young William was given as a hostage.  When the besieging force, led by King Stephen, threatened to execute William unless his father surrendered Newbury castle. John Marshal responded, “I have both hammer and anvil with which to make both more and better sons.”

Stephen decided instead to make William a royal ward.  Since William was a younger son and had no chance of inheriting his father’s estates, this was fortuitous in that not only did he get to live, but he also was able to start his training as a young nobleman. 

  • The fort and three buildings will cover the field.  Each straw bale or timber simulates a wall, so you may only fight through doorways.  Possession is considered having two people inside the building when the points are recorded every 15-ish[v]
  • Unlimited resurrection, 45 minutes
  • Victory condition: Most points win the battle.

First Sunday, June 9:  Chivalry Social

Training with the Chivalry:  Become as great as William the Marshal

William the Marshal spent his early years as a Knight-Errant, touring and participating in tournaments and melees.  He remained undefeated in competition for 16 years, capturing 103 knights and amassing a fortune.  On his deathbed, he claimed to have personally captured 500 knights in tournament[vi]

  • Members of the Order of Chivalry and Masters of Defense will hold the field for the day, offering to train all fighters in armored combat, steel, or youth combat in all weapons forms. 
  • Non-chivalry will form a line and be directed to the appropriate peer. The fighter requests the manner of the fight, opting for anything from Crown-level fighting to analysis of a particular shot.
  • Youth combat fighters are asked to bring an extra sword if possible.

Monday, June 10:  Capture the Flag and Fort Battle

William was employed by Eleanor of Aquitaine to be tutor-in-arms to her son Henry the Young King.  William remain in service to Henry for 15 years.  Henry unfortunately died in 1183, shortly after promising to go on crusade.  He made William promise to go in his stead[vii].

On Crusade:  Engage in a battle to capture something that is almost certainly going to be re-captured.

  • Three banners will be placed in the field.  The two sides will start at their res points and fight for possession[viii] of the flags, which will be counted for points every 15-ish minutes.
  • Unlimited resurrection, 45 minutes - 2 times
  • Victory condition: Having more points at the end of the two rounds.

Crusader Fortress:  Both Crusaders and Defenders of the Homelands are guaranteed eternal life[ix].

  • Defenders may use any legal weapon 6 foot or less. Attackers will be limited to a single sword only.
  • Defenders fight to the last person standing, attackers have unlimited resurrections. When a defender dies, they switch sides and resurrect as an attacker. 
  • Defenders will fight to the last person standing, and after the last Defender has fallen, sides will switch and Defenders will rise as the Zombies for the next round.
  • Victory condition: None[x].

Tuesday, June 11:  Field Battles

After returning from the Crusades, William the Marshal continued to serve King Henry II in the campaigns against Philip II of France, who was allied with the King’s two rebellious sons, John and Richard.  It was in one of these battles that William famously came against Richard, sparing his life but killing his horse.  When Richard ascended the throne, he remembered William’s generosity and gave him prestige, wealth, and castles through marriage to a wealthy heiress. 


Campaigns against Philip II:  Open field melees

  • Last person standing – 5 rounds
  • Teams will line up on either side of the field. Teams switch sides each round.
  • Victory condition: Winning at least three out of five battles.

Campaigns against Philip II:  Be careful about your horse

  • A stream will be marked through the battlefield. The stream will be crossed by a bridge.
  • Unlimited resurrection, 30-ish minutes.
  • Chivalry may cross the stream on foot. All others may cross on their knees.
  • If a member of the Chivalry’s legs are taken twice during the battle, their horse is dead. They must cross the stream on their knees.
  • Victory condition: Possession of 51% of the bridge at the 30-ish minute mark.

Wednesday, June 12:  Bridge Battles

William retained his position when John became King. Although loyal to the King, William was supportive of the Barons who rebelled against John’s tyrannical rule and incessant taxation.  The Barons demanded reform, and William because a key author and supporter of the Magna Carta.  Although having signed it, King John did not abide by the Magna Carta and the Barons rebelled, inviting French Prince Louis to take the English throne.  Louis entered London, besieged Dover, and advanced across England.

King John died during these fights at Newark.  While crossing the River Ouse, his baggage train was caught in quicksand when the tide turned.  John made it to Newark Castle, but soon died of dysentery[xi]


Baron Wars:  Bridge battles, and don’t fall in the swamp.

  • Three bridges will cross a swamp of quicksand, water, and whirlpools.
  • If you step off the bridge, you are sucked into the swamp[xii].
  • Fight to the last person standing, 3 rounds
  • Victory condition: Possess more bridge than the other side at the end of 15 minutes


More Baron Wars:  Valhalla’s Gate bridge battle

  • Two sides oppose each other on a bridge
  • When you are killed, resurrect and join the team on the other side.
  • Unlimited resurrection until everyone is tired.
  • Victory condition: None[xiii].


Thursday, June 13:  Fort/Field Battle

John’s nine-year-old son Henry succeeded him.  Henry renewed the Magna Carta.  William served as Henry III’s regent and commander of his forces.  The forces of French Prince Louis and the outraged Barons seized Lincoln, a fortified city with a castle at the center.  The castle itself, however, withstood a three-month siege.  The French called for reinforcements.  This gave William a risk-filled opportunity to break the siege and defeat Louis. 


Battle of Lincoln:  Relive the battle that saved England

  • The English start with half of their forces inside the fort and half on the other side of the battlefield. The French start in the middle. At lay on, the English inside the fort must stay alive for two(ish) minutes on their own. After two minutes, the other half of the English are able to join the fight.
  • Last person standing, best 3 out of 5
  • Archery permitted in Rounds 2 and 4
  • Each side starts in the castle twice. For the last round, whichever side is least victorious may choose to start inside or outside.
  • Victory conditions: The French gain control of the castle OR the English general is killed.


Friday, June 14:  William the Marshal Ransom Melees

William the Marshal, the greatest Knight that ever lived, made his initial fortune fighting ransom melees, or a l´outrance combat.  Bring your mesnie and join the fray!

The goal is to unhorse and capture your opponent, and then escort them safely off the field in order to arrange a ransom.

  • Any fighter struck with a killing blow, or a blow to the legs is assumed to have been unhorsed. He must drop to his knees but he may continue to fight from there. If this fighter finds himself with no opponent within range, he may “remount” by rising to his feet. If an unhorsed fighter is struck with another “killing” blow he is considered disarmed. 
  • A disarmed fighter is open for capture by any unengaged armed fighter. If they touch him and tell him he is captured, he must then stand and follow his captor to that team's resurrection point/herald to arrange a ransom.
  • Of course, the way to the heralds may be fraught with peril for the captor. He may face additional enemies or even the companions of his captive coming to rescue him. If at any point the captor is driven away from his captive, his prisoner now mounted but still “disarmed” is free to run off and attempt to reach his own resurrection point/herald to re-arm.
  • Ransoms will be arranged between the captor and the captive. A ransom may be as simple as a small donation to a Kingdom fund of the captor’s choice. If fighters wish to take this option, we´d recommend a base level of one silver coin (quarter) per fighting rank.  Of course, fighters might choose to bring items to offer as ransoms to their captors, or a promise of a tasty beverage might go over well. Or, it may be that something more interesting might be agreed upon – such as a poem for the captor´s noble Lord, or a flower for his Lady, or some other promise of a future act. 
  • Ransoms are left to the discretion of the two combatants, but since neither may re-enter the field until a ransom is agreed upon, the heralds may be asked to act as arbitrators. It is up to you and your honor on what you will or will not accept. If a fighter is killed and wishes to buy single entry back into that exact same fight by paying you a ransom, you are encouraged to take it and let him fight again. 
  • Each engagement between teams is fought to the last man, then you get your lives back for the next team.
  • Please bring a herald to keep track of your mesnie’s


Saturday, June 15:  Field/Bridge battle and Single Sword Melees

After William the Marshal had broken the siege at Lincoln Castle, the French and rebels were pushed down the hill, made a last stand on the flat ground at the bottom of the hill, then fled across a narrow bridge across the Witham.  The pursuit continued far to the southeast. 


Lincoln Faire:  A fighting retreat[xiv]

  • A narrow bridge crosses a river. French start at the base of the hill, English at the top. 
  • Last person standing – 4 rounds
  • Archery permitted, rounds 1 and 3.
  • At the lay on, the French attempt to escape across the bridge to a “safe zone.” The number of French reaching the safe zone are counted at the end of the round. 
  • Fighters and archers are cautioned to pay attention to engagement – do not turn your back when engaged, and do not strike an opponent in the back.
  • Victory condition: The side with more total fighters reaching safety wins.


Lincoln Faire:  Loot the town.  Loot the French.

The townspeople supported the French, so the English pillaged the village.  As the French retreated, some of the nearby townspeople attacked them.

Round 1:

  • Two resurrections, last person standing
  • You may use any tourney legal single sword less than 45 inches.
  • Victory condition: Last person standing

Round 2:

  • You may use any sword you can swing single-handed.
  • Unlimited resurrection until everyone is tired.
  • Victory condition:

Fortress battle:  Medieval nightlife by torchlight[xv].

Fight by torchlight.  Bring your friends.  Bonus for dressing like a medieval dead person[xvi].

  • Defenders may use any legal weapon 6 foot or less. Attackers will be limited to a single sword only.
  • Defenders fight to the last person standing, attackers have unlimited resurrections. When a defender dies, they switch sides and resurrect as an attacker. 
  • Defenders will fight to the last person standing, and after the last Defender has fallen, sides will switch and Defenders will rise as the Zombies for the next round.
  • Victory condition:
  • Please note that this is all Duncan Fearmach’s idea[xvii].


[i] Although it’s not going to hurt.  We’ll have a good idea about who is kicking ass and taking names.  After all,  WWWMD?

[ii] For instance, you can’t use your unpadded polearm.  We’ll lend you a greatsword.  Just ask.

[iii] Like, no killing from behind.  And Rule One always applies.

[iv] Lilies has never been about points, anyway.  Fight hard, show your skill, have fun, help others to have fun, do it again tomorrow.

[v] “ish,” in this context, means +/- 1D6. 

[vi] It is unknown whether William the Marshal was prone to exaggeration. 

[vii] Little is known about William’s exploits in the Crusades, so we’re basically going to assert here that William the Marshal made these battles cool in some way, because there are no way crusades could have made William the Marshal any cooler, as that it is impossible to make William the Marshal any cooler.

[viii] ”Possession” counts as the banner being held upright with a gauntleted hand on the banner, that gauntleted hand belonging to a person that is not dead. The not-dead person is the person that is winning, after all. Some people are really big on the definition of possession in scenarios like this, which is why we’re going into so much detail here.

[ix] Okay, we admit it.  This is a zombie battle.

[x] Are are you kidding, there is no winning a zombie battle! Everyone is going to die and become zombies.  Just relax and embrace that as a fact right now and it will just be that much easier when you turn.

[xi] Rumor has it that he might have been killed by poisoned ale, poisoned plums, or a “surfeit of peaches”.  There is no evidence to suggest he had been playing Oregon Trail.

[xii] And you die of dysentery.

[xiii] Although some might argue that going to Valhalla is a victory.  Although others might argue that we’re already in Valhalla, since we get to keep fighting and singing and enjoying tasty beverages together over and over again.  And so yet others might argue that it’s not possible to go to Valhalla from Valhalla, so it’s not really clear whether or not you can actually resurrect in this style of battle.  Basically, just go to the other side of the fighting and try not to think about it too much.

[xiv] Or pursuing them like wolves after cattle.  You decide.

[xv] Yes, you are reading this correctly.  We are going to have a torchlight zombie apocalypse fight.

[xvi] Double-bonus for looking like an effigy.

[xvii] Making him our hero, of course.