Friday, September 19, 2014

Shield Work

It just occurred to me, after demonstrating how to kill a legged opponent to a new fighter, that I had completely missed the topic of shield work on here. Most early training focuses on defense and a few basic strikes, but often misses the utility of using a shield on the offense.

I realize some of this needs to be elaborated on, or at least needs pictures. I'll see if I can't get around to updating it soon*.

Knocking people over can sometimes be the simplest way to finish a fight or break a stalemate. Unless your opponents are pretty decent with the wrap shot while falling, a good shield bash can leave you with a variety of openings to exploit. If you manage to knock then down, their legs will become the obvious targets. If they keep their footing (or stay up on that knee), you might get a chance to hit an opening as they use their arms to balance, thereby opening their guard slightly.

One thing to keep in mind while bashing is that your shield will have a tendency to rise while extending your arms. This gives you a good chance of bashing someone in the face, or pushing their shield into it. It is advisable to bend at the knees and then lean into the bash, thus giving it extra power and reducing the chances of face bashing due to the lowered stance. Placing your sword hand behind the shield and pushing will add a little extra stability.

The risk with bashing, is that you bring the plane of defense inside your opponents threat range. This makes it much easier for swings to get around your shield. Placing your bash slightly off-center, towards the opponent's sword, mitigates some of the risk. Regardless of precaution, wrap shots are still deadly at this range.

Shield contact is useful for moving the opponent's guard. Doing so without closing in to bash is often safer and can prove more effective. The key to a good shield punch or check is to move their guard while cutting off their angle of attack. A punch to the sword-side edge, for example, opens their shield side to attack while pushing their sword side back. Because of the position of the shields, their only clear targets are your shield leg and a high cross to the chest.

Checking their sword side is much safer, as their offense is pushed away and the angle of attack is more in your favor. Checking to the shield side is more dangerous (except in the case of lefty vs righty). When checking the shield side, your defenses move over, cutting off much of your own angles while offering your opponent a clear shot at your shield shoulder

The angle of the shield during a punch is usually vertical, hitting along the slot between their sword and shield. This causes the opposite edge to open up. Changing the angle changes the opening. Punching at a 45 degree angle along the top (read: dangerously close to face) opens the bottom edge to a hip wrap. Punching with the edge across the face of the shield acts much like a longer ranged bash, but opens up even more of your lower body. Punching downward (trying to catch some of the sword side curve on a round) sometimes lowers their defense against high crosses.

The Rip
A rip is using the back of the shield edge to pull open the opponent's defenses. By itself, it is fairly risky, greatly exposing your chest to high crosses or stabs from down swords. The range is much closer than more shield work, excluding the bash. I find that leading into the rip with a short cross to their sword while closing the distance to be quite effective. If you are lucky, the cross will force their sword into the path of the rip. In that case, the rip will turn all of their defense to their shield side, allowing you to easily dispatch them with a high cross.

If you miss the sword, they have two options. They can attack your shield side (which will become exposed as you follow through), or they can defend their exposed chest. Attacking means they will still be open to the high cross. Defending will negate the risk, but only serves to reset the fight into a very close range.

A note here, they can counter the rip with a short cross or high cross, potentially killing you or tying up your sword. Mitigate your risk by executing the whole combination (cross, rip, cross, for example) quickly. The less time your opponent has between steps, the less likely they are to counter.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Lands, Units, and Gear

I've had several people ask me a few good questions lately, so I thought it was probably a good idea to do another post.

I saw a thing on, can I get it delivered to practice?

The short answer is probably. Sirs Galin and Piper run the shop and frequent our practices. If they aren't too busy, they will usually accommodate such requests. Just send an email to and ask before, instead of doing any orders. Makes sure to let them know you are a new fighter in Numenor.

Can I make my own gear?

Yes. A few recommendations here though. Get a vet to help you with your first attempts. Forged Foam does sell materials, and the foam they have is far better than using what you will find at Walmart. When in doubt, talk to some of us vets and we'll steer you in the right direction.

What is this lands thing I keep hearing about?

In the feudal system, a lord might give his knights lands to live on. Each knight would then have civilians living on their lands. Something like that anyway.

We are trying to emulate that within the local group by having knights take a few new people under their wing (living on their lands). Squires and retainers help the knights tend to their lands, mostly by helping train new fighters.

As they can, Knights and their subordinates will help get new fighters trained and into basic garb, with a goal of ensuring them some success at Oktoberfest. We might do a few lands battles or divvy up teams by lands on occasion, so knights get a chance to fight along side those living on their lands.

Fair warning, this is an old system that is being used for the first time in many years.

How do lands and units interact?

They don't. You can be part of any unit, regardless of whose land you are on. 

What exactly is a unit, anyway?

From a few friends that all want to wear the same style of garb, to extensive groups spread across the country, units are usually groups that work together on the field and enjoy hanging out off the field. At events like Oktoberfest, they'll almost always camp together.

Different units usually have different goals when fighting. Dark Guard likes to flank, Uruk-hai is usually armored up line fighters, and Dunedain teaches everyone archery. Talk to different people and ask about their unit, if you are interested. If you go to Oktoberfesr, ask a vet to show you around so you can meet units that don't have a local following.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Rules of the Game Part Three

Last week, I covered most of the basic rules and a few that are harder to follow in the rulebook. Today I want to recap some of what Treethump discussed Saturday before the event and a few odds and ends that have come up. If you think of other questions, let me know.

I'm sure many of you got introduced to missile weapons pretty well during bridge battles. Just remember, they do damage just like stabs and ignore armor (except helmets). Head and body are kill shots. All missile weapons must deflect 30 degrees to count, instead of the sufficient force rule.

You can only block arrows with shields. Intentionally blocking with your weapon or attempting to catch an arrow causes death. This is to discourage creating an unsafe situation by causing an arrow to flip over. Arrows travel through weapons (and hand on weapon), hitting whatever is behind it. Unlike normal, archers can call what their arrow hits. Even if you think they are wrong, just take it.

Javelins can be blocked by any means. They are padded for safety all around, so swing at them, catch them, or block them with your shield. It is up to you whether it hit you, but the person throwing it will usually call it off (saying haft or shaft) when they know it wasn't a good hit. If they know it flew strait, they'll let you know it was flying "point" first. That means if you felt the hit, it was probably good.


I also had some people ask about hitting each other at about the same time and who wins, etc. By the rules, once you are dead, you stop moving, drop your gear, and look dead. You will find, however, that it isn't always possible or safe to drop immediately during a swing. It can also be hard to distinguish who hit first.

This is why a significant amount of people play "shot in motion". The idea is that any swing that started before you were hit can finish its motion and counts. Anything after that is considered "late". It is up to whoever is swinging to decide if their shot was on time, so take the hit unless they call it off. If you aren't sure your swing was on time, call it off.

Anytime a shot is called off, either as "late" or a herald says it doesn't count, be courteous to those around you and announce you are back in the fight. Try to give your opponents fair warning like "still alive" rather than just getting up and swinging.


"I got hit, but I don't know if it was body or arm". Anytime you aren't sure, take the worst, in this case, body. The same logic applies anytime you aren't sure you are dead. If you can't decide, just take death, you'll be back up fighting in a minute anyway.


"I took the damage, but never actually got hit". Sometimes, especially for new fighters, our bodies just do the wrong thing and take a knee when we got hit in the hand, or other oddities. Any time you call yourself dead, take a knee, or put your arm behind your back, keep the damage, even if you didn't aim to. This is much more important in larger fights than in duels. We want to avoid someone calling dead, then getting back up after people have ignored them.