Rapier Conventions & Marshalling

Rapier Conventions & Marshalling

Conventions and Marshalling Concerns
Rapier Combat
Estrella War 36, 2020
Estrella Rapier Marshals and Rapier Marshaling Team

Estrella Rapier Marshals and Rapier Marshaling Team

  • The Estrella War Rapier Marshal in Charge (RMIC) and their designated Deputy will serve as the primary marshals for armor/weapon inspections and marshaling of rapier scenarios.
  • The RMIC shall form a Rapier Marshaling Team (RMT) that works together to administer and manage all rapier activities.
  • The RMT holds primary responsibility for:


    Coordinating setup for all rapier scenarios defined in this Treaty and marshaling of the combat fields for those scenarios.

    Ensuring the safety of spectators, unarmored participants, marshals and rapier combatants. In this capacity they are responsible for defining boundaries and guidelines to minimize the risk to spectators, participants, and bystanders within the constraints of the site.

    Holding a Marshals’ Court at the end of each day of fighting to address any issues of the combat field.


  1. At least one member of the RMT must marshal the field during all melee scenarios.
  2. There shall be at least 1 marshal for each 25 fighters on any melee field.
  3. There shall be at least 1 marshal for each 2 active arenas during tournament combat.
  4. A marshals-and-commanders meeting will be held at Estrella, location to be determined, prior to the first day of combat.
  5. All field marshals will have notepads available to record incidents that arise during the Rapier Scenarios. The RMT may choose to address incidents immediately and/or at the Marshals’ Court.
  6. Marshals shall use the phrase “edge of the world” or other similar phrasing to warn combatants when melees approach the edge of the field. “Edge of the world” in no way implies a hold. Any fighter(s) that continue to retreat and touch the edge of the field are “killed” and will be informed of such by the marshal. Fighters shall not deliberately continue to push their opponent past the “edge of the world”. Fighters may use notional terrain to their advantage.
  7. Intentionally trying to injure or damage another fighter or their equipment goes against every ideal of the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA). Any individual who is found engaging in such behavior will be immediately removed from the field and restricted from fighting in any further melees and tournaments for the duration of Estrella War XXXVI 2020
  8. Unless otherwise published, the “Kingdom of Atenveldt Rapier Marshal’s Handbook, February 2019,” Kingdom of Atenveldt Combat Archery Rules for Rapier, December 2019,” and the “SCA Rapier Marshal’s Handbook,” March 2018, along with subsequent addendum and rulings, will be the default for all tournaments and melees.
  9. If the condition of the melee field is found to be a safety concern for either melee or tournaments, an alternative combat venue will be used. This decision must be made by the RMIC in consultation with Estrella War Staff and/or the Crown.

Armor & Weapons Guidelines/Inspections

  1. Atenveldt and Outlands allowable blade conventions will be observed; Light Rapier and Flexidagger blades will not be permitted.
  2. Parrying devices and rubber band guns need to be inspected only once during the War. RBG ammo must be inspected each day of use.
  3. Armor and Weapons must be inspected daily. Fighters will observe the armor and authorization requirements of their respective Kingdoms.
  4. Inspections must be from a member of the RMT or a marshal designated by them, with the exception of the tournaments which will provide their own Marshals.
  5. Inspections for war fighting will be available at Rapier Marshals’ Point. Inspections for tournaments will be available at the tournament site.
  6. All fighters must be able to provide proof of authorization at the time of Inspection and upon request by the RMT
  7. Any minor authorized by their Kingdom in Adult Rapier:
    1. May only be inspected at Marshals’ Point by a Youth Marshal, one of the Principal Kingdom KRMs, or the RMIC.
    2. Must have a parent or legal guardian on site and with them at daily inspection to sign paperwork and provide proof of authorization (fighter card).
    3. Must display a yellow diamond “Youth Fighter” mark on the glove of their dominate hand; another yellow diamond MAY be displayed on their mask.
  8. Rubber Band Guns (RBGs):
    1. RBGs will be used in some scenarios throughout Estrella War.
    2. RBGs and ammunition will be deployed in accordance with the written scenario.
    3. Spent ammo may never be gleaned and may not be re-used in the same scenario.
    4. Dead fighters may not pass off guns or ammunition.
    5. RBG ammunition may not be filled with material or otherwise artificially weighted.
    6. RBGs and simulacra may not be modified to falsely appear loaded.
    7. Non-standard RBGs will be considered on a case by case basis with final say belonging to the RMIC. Non-standard includes but is not limited to RBGs ,odified to serve as a dagger, sword, or spear in addition to its RBG function.
    8. RBG rounds DO NOT ricochet; for our purposes, hitting a single target removes all deadly force from a fired round.
    9. Menacing with unloaded RBGs is permitted; see Conventions and Rules of Engagement.
  9. Thrown Weapons.
    1. Thrown weapons will be used in some scenarios throughout Estrella War
    2. Thrown weapons will be deployed in accordance with the written scenario.
    3. Fighters wishing to bring thrown weapons of their own construction must have them inspected and approved by the RMIC. It is recommended anyone with questions contact the RMIC early to determine acceptable thrown weapons.
    4. Thrown weapons
      1. May be commercially purchased foam weapons specifically for throwing, and modified for SCA rapier combat.
      2. Siloflex javelins and other thrown weapons will be inspected and approved on a case-by-case basis by the RMIC.
    5. Thrown weapons may be used as rigid parrying devices
    6. Thrown weapons may only be used to attack at range; they may not be used to strike an opponent while held in the hands of the wielder. Thrown weapons may be employed within engagement distance by throwing them.
    7. Any MOSTLY unimpeded hit by a thrown weapon is considered a valid blow and the fighter should react appropriately for the area struck. Fighters should not try to determine if the hit was with a blade or haft; ALL such hits are considered injurious.
    8. Glancing hits as a result of impeding a thrown weapon or a thrown weapon rebounding are considered non-injurious.
    9. Thrown weapons may be blocked, parried, caught on weapons and defensive devices, and gleaned by either side.
    10. Thrown weapons MAY be handed off by dead fighters by dropping to the ground where they die.
    11. Thrown weapons may NOT be caught in a fighter’s hands. Such practice will result in the loss of the fighter’s hand catching the weapon.
    12. Thrown weapons will NOT be intentionally thrown at fighters from outside the 180 degree engagement of a fighter. Because combat is fluid and fighters are mobile, fighters should accept unimpeded Thrown Weapons even if they hit outside the 180 degree engagement.
  10. Combat Archery. SCA Rapier rules allow for use combat archery in rapier melee combat. Estrella War Rapier will employ previously tested and demonstrably safe combat archery bows and arrows as part of some scenarios. Combat Archery will use the guidelines in “Kingdom of Atenveldt Rapier Combat Archery Rules, December 2019.” This is a summary of those rules:
    1. Combat Archery will be used in some scenarios throughout Estrella War
    2. Combat Archery will be deployed in accordance with the written scenarios.
    3. Hand-bows will have a draw weight between 20-30lb as measured at a 28in draw length.
    4. Crossbows will have a max draw weight of 30lbs as measured at the nock point.
    5. Arrows will be fiberglass or carbon shafts with broad, padded foam arrowheads with ¾” flat surfaces interior to the foam to prevent penetration by the shafts. Combat archers must purchase commercially available arrowheads; they will not construct their own arrowheads. Screw in arrowheads from Junze® or GPP®, or the Woarchery® glue on arrowheads for LARP/Combat Tag will be accepted. All other brands will be approved on a case-by-case basis. They will NOT contain sharp points.
    6. Bows will be inspected at the beginning of each day of combat by the RMIC or designated representative.
    7. Combat Archery arrows will be inspected at the beginning of each day of combat by the RMIC or designated representative. Between each scenario archers will inspected their own arrows to insure their continued safe use.
    8. There will be two categories of Combat Archers; Armed and Unarmed. Armed Archers are an individual with a secondary offensive weapon on the field such as a rapier, dagger, etc. Unarmed Archers are an individual with no secondary weapon. o Combat Archers may not fire at anyone within a minimum range of 10 feet. Unarmed Archers must call themselves as dead when an armed opponent approaches them at engagement distance. Armed Combat Archers may choose to join the fray at any time if they are made ineffective due to range or depletion of their arrows.
    9. Arrows on the ground during a sceanario (placed or dropped) are considered spent. o Arrows may not be gleaned during the scenario. All arrows will be inspected at the end of the scenario in which they are used to determine their suitability for continued use.
    10. Arrows maybe taken from cashes stored on or off the field and from other combatants (dead or alive) with the permission of the owner. An ammunition cashe will be visible and keep the ammunition off the ground so as not to be a hazard on the field, i.e. an arrow quiver/stand.
    11. Any MOSTLY unimpeded hit by an arrow should be considered a valid blow and the fighter should react appropriately.
    12. Glancing hits on secondary targets as a result of impeding an arrow or an arrow rebounding are considered non-injurious.
    13. Arrows may be blocked, parried, and caught by the shaft.
    14. Arrows may be caught in a fighter’s hands by the shaft only, without losing the hand.
    15. Arrows may be used to execute a “Death from Behind” by touching the arrow shaft on the opponent’s shoulder so that the point of the arrow is visible to the opponent, and following all other rules for the “Death from Behind” (see Conventions and Rules of Engagement, paragraph 4).
      1. Arrows will NOT be thrown at fighters.
      2. Arrows will NOT be used to stab/thrust at an opponent manually.
  11. Spears / Pikes / Polearms.
    1. Spears / Pikes / Polearms will be used in some scenarios throughout Estrella War.
    2. Spears / Pikes / Polearms will be deployed in accordance with the written scenario.
    3. Only fighters that have completed their Kingdom’s spear authorization may wield these weapons.
    4. The maximum length for all spears will be 8 feet, and meet the Society and principle kingdoms standards for construction.
    5. All weapons will be employed as described in Society and principle kingdoms rules.
  12. Two-Handed Swords. The 2018 Society Rapier Handbook provides guidelines to define dagger, single handed swords, and 2-handed swords with greater clarity at inter-Kingdom events. Two-handed swords will use the following guidelines:
    1. All weapons meeting the Society and Principle Kingdom standard for 2-handed weapons will be noted and approved for use by the RMIC and/or the KRMs of Atenveldt and Outlands prior to use on the field
    2. Questionable weapons will be approved for use on a case-by-case basis by the RMIC and/or the KRMs of Atenveldt and Outlands prior to use on the field.

Conventions and Rules of Engagement


  1. Rules cannot replace common sense, good judgment, and concern for the safety of all participants. “Rules Lawyering” is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Anyone trying to bend or break rules to gain unfair advantage will politely be asked to stop. If the questionable action persists or constitutes a safety violation, any Marshal from the RMT may remove the offender from the field and they may be subject to further sanction by the RMIC and/or their respective KRM.
  2. Target Areas and Valid Blows:
    1. As with any event with multi-Kingdom participants, there will be differences in blow calling, what is considered a “valid” blow, and other conventions. Communication—both between fighters, and fighters and Marshals—is key to reducing misunderstandings and frustration.
    2. The entire body is a legal target.
    3. There is no “armor as worn” during melee combat and all combatants are assumed to be unarmored when judging the validity of blows. Combatants need only make their blows felt through their opponent’s clothing.
    4. Valid blows are thrusts, draw cuts (See below), and tip cuts. A slap, flat, or skipping blow does not constitute a valid blow. As is the accepted norm, fighters will chivalrously determine the validity of and accept blows dealt to them.
      1. A valid draw cut is any cut delivered by placing the edge of the offensive weapon against the opponent and drawing (pulling AND/OR pushing) the blade. No contact should be made with either the quillions or any other part of the guard during the execution of a push cut.
      2. A valid tip cut is delivered by placing or laying on an edge in the last 2 inches of the blade against the opponent and drawing it across their body.
      3. In all cuts, continuous pressure and a draw length of at least 4 inches on the body are required for the completion of the cut; merely laying the tip or edge of the blade against an opponent is not sufficient to be considered a valid cut.
      4. If the blade is drawn all the way across a limb or the throat and this distance is less than 4”, this shall also be considered a valid draw cut.)
    5. Society rules will be utilized for determining the validity and result of blows.
    6. Unless a scenario specifically forbids it, a combatant that loses the use of both arms/hands may step off the line of combat and remain active. If any armed opponent then enters engagement distance, the “disarmed” fighter must immediately yield and quit the field.
  3. “Blind Shots” are NOT allowed in melee.
    1. A “Blind Shot” is defined as any attack around the edge of any obstacle that obscures the attacker’s vision of the whole target.
    2. This includes attacks made around notional terrain and obstacles, i.e. doorways.
  4. “Death from Behind” and “180º Engagement” shall be used in all melee scenarios.
    1. “180º Engagement” is a safety convention that defines the “front” and “rear” of anopponent for determination of delivering Death from Behind attacks. An attacker will be considered in a “front” attack zone if he/she is at least even with and parallel to the opponent’s shoulders and torso. The attacker may deliver a standard blow to their opponent if they are within this zone. If an attacker is outside the “180º Engagement” zone, attacks will are considered and performed as “Death from Behind” attacks.
    2. Additionally, attackers should consider the area of their opponent’s attention. If they are within the “180º Engagement” but the fighter’s attention is elsewhere, they are encouraged to either wait until their opponent notices their presence or use caution to gently place their blade on their opponent. Fighters should consider that as a courteous and valid attack by the attacking fighter.
    3. “Death from Behind” is safely performed by approaching an opponent from behind and laying a sword blade upon their shoulder. A minimum of 1/3 of the blade should be visible to the opponent. The attacker must then give a verbal cue of “You are dead from behind m’lord/m’lady.” or other equivalent before continuing on. Daggers may NOT be used to execute “Death from Behind.”
    4. The attacked fighter is considered dead upon seeing a blade over their shoulder, feeling the touch of the blade, or hearing their opponent call them dead, which ever happens first. Fighters may not spin, dodge or otherwise evade a properly executed “Death from Behind”.
    5. Fighters are encouraged to use good judgment in accepting blows if they turn towards an opponent either in the midst of executing “Death from Behind” or when close enough to have actually struck them from behind.
    6. A fighter may only perform “Death from Behind” on one opponent at a time.
  5. ”Killing” Touches and Exiting the Melee Field:
    1. Upon receiving a “killing” touch, fighters must clearly identify themselves as “dead”. Preferably, this is done by carrying their weapons crossed over their head or held in front of them by the blade, point down. Any fighter seen carrying their sword reversed by the blade will be considered dead by the RMT and will be expected to exit the field or Res, as the case may be.
    2. A fighter may utter a single word or short phrase when they are killed. Any subsequent communication with “living” fighters is prohibited, except for marshaling and safety concerns.
    3. A dead fighter must attempt to exit the melee field in a timely manner. When exiting the field, they should do so in a direction that is away from active combat. During a press,dead fighters should signal their status, make themselves as small a target as possible, and exit in the most expeditious direction that limits the disruption of either side’s movement (this maybe through the opposing side’s line or your own). If there are no feasible exits from the current combat, the fighter should signal their status and remain stationary until a hold is called or opportunity presents. Stalling to block or obstruct opponents, or using a “Dead” fighter as a barrier, is expressly forbidden and may result in marshal sanction.
    4. Legged fighters may “post”, kneel, or sit, and will remain stationary except to change direction on the field. Legged fighters may be moved by being “carried” by 2 other fighters. Carrying fighters must have a free hand to hold the arms of the legged fighter.
      1. Legged fighters MAY be engaged from behind/outside the 180º arc of engagement. Fighters will execute Death from Behind on legged fighters using the same procedures cited above, paying special attention to a legged fighter potentially flinging themselves back.
      2. Legged fighters MAY execute a Death from Behind on another fighter using the same procedures cited above. A legged fighter may stand from a kneeling or sitting position so long as they do not change their relative position on the field.
    5. Any fighter who removes their mask or other safety equipment before fully exiting a live field can be required to marshal the next scenario.
  6. RBGs on the Melee Field
    1. Safety with gun simulators is of utmost importance. Loaded RBGs will not be pointed at anyone except during active melees; nor will they be pointed at any individual not on the melee field and engaged in the melee. This includes the RMT, field support, and spectators.
    2. Gunners may menace other fighters with both loaded RBGs without firing; and with unloaded RBGs.
    3. Fighters hit by RBG rounds will treat them as they would any other blow. Fighters may take hands, arms, legs, suffer a stapling attack, and be “killed” as a result of RBG attacks.
    4. Once discharged, RBG rounds may NOT be dodged, ducked, parried, or blocked.Bullets are considered to pass through bucklers/shields and weapons to strike the body behind. Fighters will treat such hits as though they would have continued and struck the body part in its path. Fighters MAY throw themselves in front of incoming RBG rounds,sacrificing themselves to spare the intended target.
    5. RBG rounds DO NOT ricochet. Only the first fighter struck by the RBG round is required to accept the attack. Fighters struck MAY decide a particular incident is amusing and fun and allow for ricochets if they so choose—but it should NEVER be expected.
  7. Resolving Conflicts: Fighters who have a conflict should accompany each other to a marshal. The name of each combatant and the nature of the dispute will be heard and recorded. The issue can be resolved either immediately or at the Marshals’ Court. Any fighters leaving the field without pursuing this process forfeit their right to make a legitimate complaint at a later time.
  8. Sealing the field: The fighting field will be closed at the beginning of each scenario. In a normal scenario, fighters not on the field will not be allowed enter the field until the beginning of the next scenario. In the case of a resurrection battle, latecomers may enter the field at their resurrection point.
  9. Holds:
    1. A hold will be called whenever there is a clear safety hazard due to conduct or equipment.
    2. When a hold is called, all combatants should assume a non-threatening posture, point their weapons vertically, and await direction by the marshals. If possible, fighters are encouraged to kneel or sit during a hold.
    3. Combat shall not resume until the cause of the hold is resolved and reported to a member of the RMT.
    4. There is no convention for “local Holds”; fighters are encouraged to pause in a localized area in a chivalrous and honorable manner if a situation warrants it but a “Hold” for the entire field is unnecessary. Fighters should not be chastised for calling “Hold” in any situation.
  10. Lay on:
    1. Fighters may engage in melee combat only after the primary marshal has received acknowledgement of readiness from both Allied Realms and has instructed them to begin.
    2. At “lay on” of a melee, or anytime thereafter, any fighter on the field who is not fully armored may be called dead by a marshal and must immediately exit the field of combat.