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Rapier Combat

Estrella XXXIII Treaty

Estrella XXXIII Treaty

Conventions and Marshalling Concerns Rapier Combat
Estrella War 2017

Estrella Rapier Marshals and Rapier Marshaling Team

  1. 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.
  2. The RMIC shall form a Rapier Marshaling Team (RMT) that works together to administer and manage all rapier activities.
  3. 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 in the Estrella War Knowne World Rapier Camp at 5:30 pm on Wednesday, February 22, 2017; 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.
  7. Unless otherwise published, the “Kingdom of Atenveldt Rapier Marshal’s Handbook, October 2015” and the “SCA Rapier Marshal’s Handbook,” November 2015, along with subsequent addendum and rulings, will be the default for all tournaments and melees.
  8. 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 blades will not be permitted.
  2. Parrying devices and rubber band guns need to be inspected only once during the War.
  3. Armor and Weapons must be inspected daily. Fighters will observe the armor requirements of their respective Kingdoms.
  4. Inspections must be from a member of the RMT or a marshal designated by them.
  5. Inspections will be available at Rapier Marshals’ Point, Principal Kingdom Musters, and any official tournament.
  6. Any Rapier Fighter from any Kingdom under the age of 18 years:
    • May only be inspected at Marshals’ Point by a Youth Marshal, one of the Principal Kingdom KRMs, or the RMIC.
    • Must have a parent or legal guardian on site and with them at daily inspection to sign paperwork.
    • Must display a yellow diamond “Youth Fighter” mark on the glove of their dominate hand; another yellow diamond MAY be displayed on their mask.
  7. Rubber Band Guns (RBGs):
    • RBGs will be used in scenarios throughout Estrella War.
    • Generally, each side will have ammo equal to 10-20% of the opposing force, rounded down.
    • Ammo may never be gleaned
    • Dead fighters may not pass off guns or ammunition.
    • Spent ammo may not be re-used in the same scenario.
    • RBG ammunition may not be filled with material or otherwise artificially weighted.
    • RBGs and simulacra may not be modified to falsely appear loaded.
    • 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 modified to serve as a dagger, sword, or spear in addition to its RBG function.
    • RBG rounds DO NOT ricochet; for our purposes, hitting a single target removes all deadly force from a fired round. Fighters MAY CHOOSE to accept a ricochet at their own determination, but it is NEVER required.
    • Menacing with unloaded RBGs; see Conventions and Rules of Engagement.
  8. Thrown Weapons. SCA Rapier rules allow for use of various projectile weapons in rapier melee combat. Estrella War Rapier will employ previously tested and demonstrably safe thrown weapons as part of some scenarios.  Thrown weapons will use the following guidelines:
    • Generally, each side will have a roughly equal number of thrown weapons at the start of a scenario.
    • Thrown weapons will be commercially purchased foam axes modified for SCA rapier combat.
    • The RMIC and RMT will provide all thrown weapons during these scenarios. 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.
    • Thrown weapons may be used as rigid parrying devices
    • 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 employed within engagement distance by throwing them.
    • Any MOSTLY unimpeded hit by a thrown weapon should be considered a valid blow and the fighter should react appropriately. Fighters should not try to determine if the hit was with a blade or haft; ALL such hits are considered injurious.
    • Glancing hits as a result of impeding a thrown weapon or a thrown weapon rebounding are considered non-injurious.
    • Thrown weapons may be blocked, parried, caught on weapons and defensive devices, and gleaned by either side.
    • Thrown weapons MAY be handed off by dead fighters by dropping to the ground where they die.
    • 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.
    • 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.
  9. Spears / Pikes / Polearms. These weapons are specifically allowed in scenarios already designated for their use. KRMs from each participating Kingdom must have trained and authorized all spearman from their Kingdom. Spears will use the following guidelines:
    • Generally, each side will have spears equal to 10-20% of the opposing force, rounded up.
    • Spears will be employed only by fighters approved by the RMIC and participating Kingdom KRMs.
    • All weapons will meet Society standards and will be employed as described in Society rules.
    • Rapier fighters are encouraged to provide feedback on spears in melees to the RMIC and KRMs following these scenarios.
  10. Two-Handed Swords. The 2015 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:
    • All weapons meeting the Society 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.
    • Questionable weapons (e.g., those with handles longer than 1/3 the length of their blade) 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 or their respective KRM.
  2. Target Areas and Valid Blows:
    • 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.
    • The entire body is a legal target.
    • 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.
    • 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.
      • Cuts
      • 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.
      • 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.
      • In all cuts, continuous pressure and a draw length of at least 4 inches 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.
      • 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.)
    • Society rules will be utilized for determining the validity and result of blows.
    • 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. “Capture for Ransom” will not be used in scenarios.
  4.  “Death from Behind” and “180º Engagement” shall be used in all melee scenarios.
    • “180º Engagement” is a safety convention that defines the “front” and “rear” of an opponent 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 be considered and performed as “Death from Behind” attacks.
    • “Death from Behind” is safely performed by approaching an opponent from behind and laying a sword blade (not a dagger 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.”
    • 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. Fighters may not spin, dodge or otherwise evade a properly executed “Death from Behind”.
    • 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.
    • A fighter may only perform “Death from Behind” on one opponent at a time.
  5. ”Killing” Touches and Exiting the Melee Field:
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Legged fighters 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.
      • 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.
    • 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
    • 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.
    • “Menacing” with unloaded RBGs. Gunners may menace other fighters with both loaded RBGs without firing; and with unloaded RBGs. There is no way of determining if a “real” black powder weapon was loaded until such time as it was fired. As such, RBG simulators should be treated as very real threats. It is up to the fighter to remain aware of and observe their surroundings, and react appropriately.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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:
    • A hold will be called whenever there is a clear safety hazard due to conduct or equipment.
    • 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.
    • Combat shall not resume until the cause of the hold is resolved and reported to a member of the RMT.
    • 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:
    • 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.
    • 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.

Exposition and alternative scenarios

  1. Combat Archery.  SCA Rapier rules allow for use of Archery in rapier melee combat.  To that end, the RMIC will be testing bows and padded arrows during Estrella War.  The scenarios in which archery is employed will not affect other scenarios or the overall victor on the battlefield.  Combat Archery will use the following guidelines:
    • Bows will be 20-30 lb draw hand-bow, acceptable for archery tag and for SCA rapier combat.
    • 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.  They will NOT contain sharp points.
    • The RMIC and RMT will provide all Archery Equipment during these scenarios.
    • Archers will be designated and approved by the RMIC prior to scenarios.  They will be authorized in Target Archery and Heavy Rapier.
    • Fighters will not bring their own bows and/or arrows without approval by the RMIC well before Estrella War.  It is recommended anyone with interest in archery or other questions contact the RMIC early.
    • Combat Archery will have a minimum range of 10’.  Combat Archers will be stationary and the minimum range will be marked.  Those wishing to distract or disrupt Combat Archers will have a 5’ safety range.  Closing inside that range is prohibited.  Combat Archers may choose to join the fray if they are made ineffective due to range or depletion of their arrows.
    • 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.
    • Any unimpeded hit by an arrow should be considered a valid blow and the fighter should react appropriately.
    • Glancing hits as a result of impeding an arrow or an arrow rebounding are considered non-injurious.
    • Arrows may be blocked, parried, and caught.
    • Arrows may be caught in a fighter’s hands.
    • Arrows will NOT be thrown at fighters.


Total Time for Saturday:  2 – 3 hours