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PENNSIC WAR 43 Martial Activities

Pennsic 43 Marshalling Conventions


Baron Sir Osgkar of the Wood, East Kingdom Earl Marshal

Deputy Marshal-in-Charge

Baron Sir Gregoire de Lyon, Middle Kingdom Earl Marshal

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Regarding Marshals

The marshal in charge of Pennsic 43 is the Earl Marshal of the East Kingdom. The Earl Marshal of the Middle Kingdom shall assist him. Any on-site changes to these rules will be at the sole discretion of the Earls Marshal of the East and the Middle, though ultimate responsibility for the conduct of all combat related activities at Pennsic lies with the Earl Marshal of the East Kingdom. Either Earl Marshal may designate a representative for any battle. The Earl Marshal of the East Kingdom may select an appropriate marshal to be in charge of each battle. The marshal selected to be in charge of a particular battle shall remain in charge of that battle for its entirety.

Disagreements with the decision made by any marshal will be dealt with at a Marshals' Court. Decisions made by the Earls Marshal, or their designees, may not be overturned except by a full Marshals' Court in the presence of both Middle and East Sovereigns.

No fighter or marshal, including the Royalty of the Society, except the Earls Marshal of the Middle and the East, having fought in a battle, will return to the field to act as a marshal for that battle. Only the Crowns of the Society for Creative Anachronism who have fought in the battle may return to the field as spectators if they have the proper authorization and current waivers.

Marshals in a battle shall be equipped with a marshal's staff of yellow and black, a marshal's tabard, and a whistle. The use of armor, gauntlets, and a safety helmet is recommended. Eye protection is required in any battle that includes combat archery or other projectiles. Acceptable forms of protection are industrial or sports safety glasses/goggles designed to withstand impact. An SCA legal helm for armored combat is considered sufficient protection.

Marshals must be present during all combat activities, including tournaments. The Kingdom Earl Marshals require a minimum of one marshal per 40 combatants to ensure the safety of the fighters, marshals, and populace. All kingdoms represented should provide marshals in proportion to the number of combatants that they field. No battle will begin until the minimum number of marshals is present.

The marshal-in-charge reserves the right to stop all combat activities for any reason. If combat activity is stopped, the Sovereigns of the Middle and the East, in consultation with the Earls Marshal of the Middle and East, will determine if and when a battle(s) will be cancelled or rescheduled. Marshals have the authority and the responsibility to remove from battle any person who is violating the rules of the list. This includes, but is not limited to, non-acceptance of blows, ignoring the rules of engagement, discourteous behavior, and behavior that is dangerous to combatants. Furthermore, in resurrection battles, marshals will remove fighters who do not immediately return to their resurrection point before continuing to fight. Marshals should keep in mind that all fighters are honorable people and treat them with courtesy and patience. Remember that honest mistakes do happen. Fighters should remember that the marshals are attempting to ensure the safety of all fighters present and treat them with courtesy. Marshals shall always be obeyed during the battle. .

Marshals' Court

The Marshals' Court will be held immediately following each battle in the Marshals tent. The Marshals’ Court will be prepared to address any serious problems that are brought before it. Marshals or fighters can bring these problems. The Marshals' Court will review infractions of the rules and combat conventions. The Court will consist of the Earls Marshal of the East and Middle Kingdoms along with a third representative designated by the Marshal-in-Charge.


Holds will be called whenever a question of safety or other major problem arises during a battle. Holds will be kept to a minimum to allow continuity of battles to be maintained. Marshals will signal holds with whistles and/or vocally. Fighters may call holds vocally, but only for major safety issues. Any fighter who is found to have called a hold for strategic or tactical advantage, rather than for major safety issues, shall be removed from the field and suspended from participating in any combat of combat-related activities for the rest of Pennsic War.

When a hold is called, all fighters should echo it. All fighting will cease and the fighters, whatsoever their rank, will go to their knees. Those that have demonstrable physical problems going to their knees may stand quietly and not move. Those that remain standing must assist the marshals in determining the cause of the hold. All weapons will be lowered to make it easier for the marshals to find injuries. Those having been warned and still refuse to abide by this rule, whatsoever their rank, may be removed from that battle.

It is the responsibility of all participants, marshals and fighters alike, to maintain safety on the field. Talking about tactics during holds is strictly forbidden and may be cause for removal. Fighters may not change relative position except at the express orders of the marshals. Friendly conversations and introductions with your noble opponents are highly encouraged.

Marshals' Tents

Four marshals' tents will be set up on the southeast corner of the main battlefield for Lost and Found, Inspections, Marshals' Meetings, and Combat Archery.
  1. The Lost and Found tent will contain armor lost and found during and immediately after each battle. If armor is not claimed by the end of Pennsic War, it will be turned over to the main Lost and Found, and may be claimed during the following Pennsic War. Items not claimed by the end of the following War will be auctioned off for the benefit of the Pennsic War Marshallate.
  2. The Inspections Point tent will be the site of all on-the-field armor, weapons, and missile inspections.
  3. The Marshals' Meeting tent will be the site of the Marshal's Court after each battle and the marshal's meetings before each battle. It will also contain the marshals' sign up list and will be used for any marshal meetings or Marshallate gatherings. It will contain the box for errant arrows and bolts.
  4. The Combat Archery tent is the site of all missile inspections and contains the box for errant arrows and bolts.

Armor and Weapons Standards

Each fighter must meet the armor standards of their respective Kingdom. Society armor and weapon standards shall be the minimum acceptable. All fighters will ensure that their armor meets those standards while they are fighting. All persons participating in combat or combat-related activities (e.g. Combat Archery, Siege Engineering) must wear the minimum Society armor or those of their respective Kingdoms and understand that they may be struck while on the field of battle. The Earls Marshal of the East and Middle reserve the right to ban any weapon, even if it would be legal in another kingdom. Any unusual or non-standard armor or weapons will be brought to the attention of the Earls Marshal of the Middle and the East before it will be allowed for use. Decisions of the Earl Marshal-in-Charge are final.

Armor and Weapon Inspection

All armor and weapons must pass inspection before they may be used in any combat at Pennsic 43, including battles, tournaments, or pick-up fighting. Inspections will be performed at the Inspections Point tent in addition to in-camp inspections by warranted marshals appointed by the Kingdom Earls Marshal of the East or Middle. No inspections will be conducted at the site of the Woods Battle.

Fighters wishing to be inspected must bring their site medallions, authorization card, and photo identification. Without these items, a fighter will not be inspected.

Inspections Point

The Inspections Point tent is located at the southeast corner of the battlefield.

Hours of operation will be: 9:00 am - 4:00 am, starting Wed, July 30, and ending 15 minutes prior to the start of last battle on Friday, August 8.

The Inspections Point tent will close 15 minutes before each mass battle, 30 minutes before the woods battle, to allow time for everyone to get to the battlefield on time. It will remain open during the Champions' Battles at the discretions of the Earls Marshal of the East and the Middle, provided there are sufficient volunteers. Kingdom Earls Marshals wishing to preform in-camp inspections of their kingdom's troops should contact the Earl Marshal-in-Charge.

Rejected weapons and armor may be reworked and presented again for inspection. No marshal will tell an individual to fix a piece of equipment and, at the same time, pass it assuming that the necessary changes will be made. If it is a piece of required armor, the person must be completely re-inspected, including the presentation of the above information. A roster of failed inspection will be kept. Fighters being re-inspected should make sure their name is removed from it.

Armor that has passed inspection will be marked with a sticker placed on the right side of the helm. This sticker will have the entry tag number of the inspecting marshal and the inspected fighter. This sticker remains the property of-Pennsic War, and may be marked through or removed during a battle as an indicator that the fighter may no longer participate in that battle. Once so marked, the fighter must present him/herself at Marshals' Court after the battle. The court will decide a proper course of action, which may include issuing a replacement sticker. Fighters who refuse or do not attend the Marshal’s court may be excluded from future Pennsic War combat, and will be referred to their Kingdom Earl Marshal for further action.

Weapons will be marked in bright paint.


All fighters who wish to participate in the battles at Pennsic 43 must have a primary authorization prior to Friday, July 15th, 2014. Secondary authorizations must occur prior to that weapon form being used on the field at Pennsic in any tourney, battle or practice.

Kingdoms wishing to authorize fighters in secondary authorizations must have a marshal present at Marshal's Point, with the required paperwork for their Kingdom. Qualification bouts will be fought on the list just in front of the Marshals tent and during posted inspection hours only.

All Fighters, Combat Archers, and Siege Engineers must have their authorization cards with them at Pennsic.

No card, no participation, no exceptions!

General Combat Conventions

Combatants at Pennsic 43 will follow the Society rules for combat at all times. These general conventions are designed specifically for the war battles only. Rules for all other tournaments will be the responsibility of the sponsoring party of the tournament but must also adhere to Society rules. The following rules and conventions will also be used:
  1. Face thrusting shall be allowed in all battles. An acceptable thrusting blow to the face shall be a directed touch and shall be substantially lighter than a thrust to other parts of the body.
  2. Combat Archery and Thrown Weapons shall be allowed in designated battles. All combat participants may be targeted and hit by missile fire from combat archers and siege engines. In other words, archers and siege engineers do not need "eye contact" with their opponents to shoot them. Legal target areas are the same as a thrust with a hand weapon.
  3. Siege Weapons will be allowed in designated battles.
  4. No declared death from behind.
  5. No thrust to side, back or top of the head
  6. Striking from behind is forbidden.
  7. Charges: Full running charges greater than five steps are NOT permitted. Five step running charges that begin with the initiation of forward running motion and end on contact with any Enemy unit or fighter will be allowed
  8. All helms will be obviously marked on the front and back with tape denoting the side for which they fight. No fighter may change the color of his helm for the purpose of deception. Failure to mark a helmet is unchivalrous and cause for removal.
  9. Except in the case of unit-on-unit engagement, no more than four fighters shall attack a single opponent. When a fighter is part of a formed unit (i.e. a shield wall) that is fighting a similar unit, he may strike and be struck by any opponent within range. If a breakthrough occurs, one shot delivered in passing is allowed to the fighters passing and being passed.


Attacking an opponent from the rear who is not aware of your presence is unsafe and is strictly prohibited. The opponent must be made aware of your presence and intent by gaining engagement before you may strike him. You gain engagement by the following circumstances:
  1. Eye contact has occurred with your opponent and the opponent has acknowledged you as a threat by reacting to you in some way (examples of which include, but are not limited to: nodding at you, making a defensive reaction to you, going on guard against you, or blocking a light blow).
  2. If an opponent seems to be ignoring your attempts to attract his attention you may NOT proceed to attack him. He may simply have felt he was bumped by his own team, did not hear you, or may already be engaged. In such an instance, you may continue your attempts to gain engagement, as well as fouling his weapons or shield with your weapon or shield. This way, you gain the advantage of being to the rear without jeopardizing safety.
  3. Deliberate refusal to engage an opponent is grounds to be removed from the battle.
  4. Deliberately striking from behind without gaining engagement is likewise grounds for removal.
  5. The marshals are encouraged to actively enforce these rules. Treat your opponents with safety and courtesy.
  6. Fighters attempting to disengage from an opponent are considered engaged until they have passed beyond the length of their opponent's weapon(s).

Pennsic 43 Specific Weapons Standards

  1. Maximum spear length is nine feet. Only pultruded fiberglass and rattan are allowed. All spears must have at least a two-inch diameter (minimum) thrusting tip. The end of the shaft must be capped with a schedule-40 PVC pipe cap to prevent the shaft from penetrating the tip.
  2. No laminated weapons.
  3. No experimental weapons.
  4. No punch daggers, T-grips, shovel handles, or offensive shield bosses.
  5. No passive shields are allowed; an arm must control the shield.
  6. No hinged shields or flexible shields are allowed.
  7. No more than one hand may be used to hold/control a shield.
  8. Shield may be grounded. Only one shield per person is permitted.
  9. All shields must have all the edges covered with hose or equivalent to prevent damage to combatants and weapons.
  10. Shield edges may not have flexible extensions or flaps that extend beyond the rim or edge of the shield.
  11. No thrusting shields are allowed.
  12. Javelins must be a minimum of three feet in length and constructed in accordance to Society standards, and may be used in any designated battles.
  13. Polypropylene swords are not allowed for use at Pennsic War 43.

NOTE: Any updates or changes required due to rulings made at Society Marshal level, after the date of publication of this document, will be posted and enforced on site during the actual event.

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