Captain of the Trial is Master Lansdren Hafoc.
Trial Fighting covers all feats of arms for the purpose of entertainment outside Free Fighting bouts, Rattan bouts and Archery.
This is a discipline within the School of Fighters, the purpose of which shall be to provide the Far Isles with a cadre of warriors to uphold matters of honour in public feats of arms. Such bouts are serious matters that cannot be settled by means other than the shedding of blood. The sign of a ratified Trial Fighter shall be a belt of black and green. A more experienced Trial Fighter capable of using many different weapons in the Trial Fighting style shall be known as a Duellist and will carry a belt of black and red to show them as such. To oversee such matters of honour, there shall be made also the rank of Trial Master who shall be experienced in such grave matters. A Trial Master shall be recognized by a belt of black and gold. In all matters, the discipline of Trial Fighting is under the auspices of the Captain of the Motley Wolf and the High Marshal.
The Trial Fighters are display fighters taught a combat form with specific attacks and defenses. The purpose of Trial Fighting is to provide entertaining bouts for the society. Trial Fighting is an additional discipline within the school of fighters and is neither compatible with, nor a replacement for Steel Fighting. Trial Fighting is not simply choreographed routines; there is contest-fighting potential inherent in the system and bouts need not have a preordained result.
Due to the nature of trial fighting, there will be occasions when combats take place within a Court setting. In such instances, the use of protective armour may not be practical within the Court context and may be dispensed with. SUCH COMBATS WILL BE STRICTLY REGULATED AND ARE ONLY PERMISSIBLE WITH THE CONSIDERATION OF THE CAPTAIN, HIGH MARSHAL AND THE AUTOCRAT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE EVENT, EACH OF WHICH HAS THE RIGHT TO VETO SUCH ACTIONS. ONLY EXPERIENCED TRIAL FIGHTERS MAY PARTICIPATE IN SUCH BOUTS. The purpose of ‘Court bouts’ will usually be to lead into a formal challenge and a proper trial of honour at a later time. Full combats within a court setting should be rare or indeed, disallowed.
TRIALS OF HONOUR CAN ONLY BE FOUGHT IN TRIAL FIGHTING FORM – FREE FIGHTING IS NOT ALLOWED.
A written record of each Fighter shall be kept by the Captain of the Motley Wolf, recording all achievements, persona details and weapon clearances, this log may be updated by the Captain or another Trial Master who must inform the Captain of the Fighter’s achievement.
Each fighter needs to maintain their skill level for the sake of their own safety and that of others. As such, each fighter must show they have kept their skills to the required level for their grade every 6 months. Should they go over this time or fail to show the required skill they will be subject to a peer review of their Grade which could result in the suspension of same.
It is the duty of all Trial Fighters within the School of the Motley Wolf – regardless of rank, position or title – to have a full and thorough understanding of the safety requirements, regulations and of the penalties for flouting such regulations as listed.
Entry grade – Guardsman
“A Guardsman performs the duties of doorkeeper and escort to persons and events. Obedient to the Officers with in the Fighters, the High Marshal and the Crown, they provide ceremony and security to those around them.”
Belt: White and Black
Baldric: Shield, quartered White and Black
• Be able to follow simple drills and perform guard duty
• Be trustworthy and reliable to the satisfaction of the Captain
• Be available to perform their duties as required
• Be at least 8 years of age, and require parental consent under the age of 14
• Be aware of the safety requirements for fighting.
• Understands the difference between the fighting styles within the Far Isles
• Simple drills include marching, halting, turning, saluting, escorting and crossing weapons. In addition, if called upon to assist in the event of a plotline ‘capture’ or ‘rescue’, they must be able to do so safely and correctly.
• Availability is subject to prior organization to help with loading unloading of fighting equipment at any event they attend.
Grade 1 – Trial Fighter (Ratification)
“The ratified Trial fighter has a competent understanding of the basics of trial fighting and is capable of performing un-choreographed display combat to an audience”
Belt: Green and Black
Baldric: Shield, quartered Green and Black
• Be fully aware of and compliant with the procedures and safety regulations of trial fighting
• Be ratified to recognize, deliver and block the six basic attacks, both stationary and when moving
• Be able to perform scripted and unscripted combat bouts before an audience, including ‘wounds’ and ‘kills’
• Have a developed persona that they can enact both in and out of combat
• Be at least 14 years of age
• Safety regulations cover the minimum armour requirements (helmet and padding, protective gloves), safely pulled blows. Procedures cover Marshaling protocol, scoring and safety, and the three types of trial fighting contest (First Touch, First Wound, Until Death)
• The basic weapon is the straight bladed single-hand sword. At the captain’s discretion, other weapon types can be used.
• The six basic attacks are: horizontal swings to the low and high laterals and the two vertical headshots.
• Ratification requires that the candidate is classed as both confident and safe to deliver and receive the six basic attacks and blocks in combat, and to be able to deliver and receive simulated wounds and kills
• Scripted combats are those that incorporate a large amount of choreographed moves. Unscripted combat uses little or no choreography.
• Fighters should be able to make their combats convincing to an audience, and should be able to act out the effects of fatigue and wounds. It should also be possible to recognize a Trial fighter’s persona from their acting off the field.
• Persona should include basic information like name, place and period of origin, previous occupation and arrival in the Far Isles. There should be sufficient back-story so that the Trial fighter can answer questions about their character in persona.
• A Ratified Fighter will be allowed to teach basic skills to Guardsmen ONLY if granted permission by the Captain, High Marshall OR Area Marshall AND supervised by a senior fighter.
Grade 2 - Duellist
“The Duellist has a thorough understanding of the skills, principles and aims of trial fighting, both in and out of persona. They are capable of creating and performing varied and innovative display combats, and can supervise (marshal) and aid in the tuition of ratified Trial fighters with the consent of the captain.”
Belt: Red and Black
Baldric: Shield, quartered Red and Black
• Be familiar with the goals, skills, rules and principles of trial fighting in and out of persona.
• Be conversant with the effects of amour and differing weapon types upon scoring
• Be able to create, perform and write scripts for display combats
• Be able to add interesting and safe variations on the basic form of display combat, e.g. different weapons, shield work, evasion, parries and ripostes, acting skills.
• Pass basic ratification in all main weapon types
• Be able to evade, parry and riposte the six basic attacks
• Be able to supervise (marshal) display combat bouts, and teach the ratification skills and requirements to lower grades, subject to the consent of the captain.
• The goals of trial fighting are (a) in persona, to undertake the settling of matters of honour between members of the SIG and on behalf of others, where nothing less than the shedding of blood will suffice, and (b), in the mundane, to perform entertaining combats for an audience and to allow the creation, furtherance and conclusions of plots, and to provide the fighter with a safe and workable combat style.
• While there is a standardized form for written trial fighter combat scripts, a Duellist may use other forms as long as they are easily decipherable at a later date by both the Duellist and others.
• The Duellist may incorporate new weapons, performance skills (i.e. minor acrobatics, declaiming, etc.) or other relevant additions to enhance their combats. They may use ripostes, parries, evasion, alternate weapons and shields, but may NOT employ other attacks than the basic six. All additions to a Duellist’s repertoire should be passed by the captain for authorization.
• The Duellist must be competent in the use of all the main weapon groups, currently:
Dagger, Sword (single and double-handed), Axe (single and double-handed), Pole arm, Shield (center grip and strapped), Dual Wield (Use of two weapons) and Unarmed
• Evasion – the Duellist must be able to dodge blows in a believable, controlled and safe fashion.
• Parrying – the parry is a moving defense, where the attack is neutralized without stopping the movement of the attacking weapon.
• Riposte – a riposte is a parry that develops into an attack, typically in a single movement.
• The ability to marshal a display combat is the ability to regulate safety, score points and ensure correct combat protocol (salutes, appropriate behavior in person, correct procedures in the beginning and cessation of a bout).
• The Duellist must be able to assist with training duties, as and when required by the captain. This does not constitute actual position or authority, nor necessarily denote a regular or permanent duty. Such duties are only to be performed as and when required – Duellists should not take it upon themselves to train anyone unless specifically authorized to do so. Trial Masters have a duty to oversee such appointments to ensure that correct procedures and skills are being adhered to.
• The ability to train does not constitute and authority to train, nor a position of rank or authority within the SIG
• A Duellist tasked with training duties should teach only such skills as they have been instructed to impart
• Duellists may be called upon to teach basic ratification skills, in which case they should have the discipline to teach ONLY ratification skills, to lower grades.
• Duellists may be tasked with training specific skills in which they show particular aptitude, e.g. ripostes, parries, particular weapon choices
• Fighters should be able to make their combats convincing to an audience, and should be able to act out the effects of fatigue and wounds. The duelist should be able to act upon differing strengths of attack and defense reacting accordingly.
Grade 3 – Trial Master
“The Trial Master is a trusted authority on trial fighting. They are able to oversee all matters pertaining to Trial Combat alongside their fellows. Their qualities on the field of trial combat are unsurpassed”
Belt: Gold and Black
Baldric: Shield, quartered Gold and Black
• Be able to run a fight practice including warm-up exercises, training, practice, ratification and other items, such as display bouts, and be able to incorporate time allowances for other combat forms such as free fighting, to be run under the appropriate supervision. They are responsible for setting up, clearing away, tidiness and safety. They must be able to delegate where required.
• Have a thorough understanding of all aspects of the SIG, and be able to make sound judgements where necessary to ensure safety and the continuance of the spirit, discipline and aims of the SIG.
• Be able to take the field in any capacity of display combat.
• Organize and run the business of the SIG at a revel or event, during which at least two full trial combats must take place, along with the relevant background acting and plot devices.
• Be able to drill and organize Guardsmen.
• In addition, the Trial Master may incorporate new attacks and defenses for combats with other Trial Masters, subject to the overall ruling of the Captain.
• The Trial Master must run a complete fight practice to the Captain’s satisfaction, covering all duties and responsibilities.
• The Trial Master must be in accord with the aims and rules of the SIG
• The rank of Trial Master is not a right within the School of the Motley Wolf, it is a privilege, conferred upon those fighters deemed worthy by the Captain and Council of Masters.
• This rank may be revoked if the Captain feels it is no longer deserved AND the Trial Masters have voted in favour.
• There shall be no more than eight Trial Masters at any time, including the Captain.
The Captain of the Motley Wolf
“The Captain is the nominal head of the Trial Fighters, elected by the Trial Fighters from amongst the Trial Masters. He is answerable to the High Marshal, High Council and the Crown. On his shoulders rests the mantle of responsibility and the successful future of the Motley Wolf.”
Baldric: Shield bearing the Motley Wolf arms
Other: Chain or Gorget of office
• the final judge of all matters within the SIG, subject to the High Marshal, High Council and the Crown
• the head of the SIG
• The Captain of the Motley Wolf is elected by the Master Trial Fighters and the High Marshal from among the Trial Masters or the duellists working towards Master.
• The Captain can recommend changes to the rules and procedures of the SIG but must run all changes through the masters of the SIG and requires the High Marshal’s authority prior to instigating such changes.
• If the Guild is currently without active Masters then the choices for and those responsible for eliciting the Captain falls to the next highest active rank or in extreme cases the discretion of the High Marshal.
• If the Captain feels it is appropriate, he may appoint a Display Seneschal to assist him with matters relating to external displays.
- All fighters must hold safety as their first priority – it must be accounted for prior to all other considerations. No Trial Fight may take place in unsafe circumstances. It shall be the duty of every Fighter present at an event to perform a dynamic risk assessment at all times throughout the event and to make any concerns known to the Area Marshal.
- All Trial Fighters, when in a Trial Fight, must wear the basic armour. Under no circumstances is it permissible to be in a Trial Fight with weapons and be wearing less than basic armour.
- Basic armour consists of a pair of gloves which cover the whole hand and provide adequate protection against glancing crush injuries, a padded arming cap which covers the whole crown and a helmet which covers the whole crown, made of a minimum 16 gauge steel. Both the arming cap and the helmet must at all times be securely fastened. All other armour is optional, but recommended.
- The ONLY time where it will be permissible to enter into a Trial Fight without wearing basic armour will be if it has been agreed by both fighters prior to the Fight AND permission has been given by either the Captain, the High Marshall OR a Trial Master.
- If in doubt about the suitability of armour, please refer to the Captain, High Marshal or other Trial Master.
- All Trial Fights within the Far Isles environment must take place within an agreed Field-of-Combat. All Trial Fights outside a Far Isles environment – i.e a public display – must take place within a strictly defined Field-of-Combat
- This Field-of-Combat must:
- Provide adequate room for all Fighters who are performing to do so without risking damage to any other person or property
- Be clearly marked out and signposted so as to be obvious to all at a glance.
- Provide an adequate barrier between the performing fighters and members of the audience-
- For the Far Isles populace no physical barrier is required, although it is recommended.
- For members of the general public, two concentric circuits of rope 1 metre apart, or one circuit of any more substantial barrier (e.g hay bales) will be considered an adequate barrier.
- Be across even and flat ground, which provides grip and does not inhibit movement.
- Be in a location where it is visible to as many audience members as possible.
- Take into account external conditions i.e weather
- All Trial Fighters must wear their belts and/or badges of rank in a visible position at all times during an event
- When in a Trial Fight it is every Fighter’s duty to be aware of terrain, obstructions and distances behind their opponents back and to prevent them moving back so far that were they to perform a blow, the backswing would strike an obstruction or leave the FoC.
- All Trial Fighting blows are to be clearly telegraphed and must not vary from the “Basic Set” as taught pre-ratification unless this has been previously agreed.
- All Trial Fighting blows are to be pulled. A pulled blow is one which, if connection is made, strikes with less force than is required to leave a bruise.
- Upon the call of “Hold” every Fighter must immediately cease fighting and take up the salute, regardless from whom the call comes.
- The Fighters must remain in the salute unless it is unsafe to do so, they are needed to provide aid to another or the call of “Continue” is given by the same Fighter who called “Hold”, at which point the Fight may resume.
- When walking onto an empty Field of Combat in order to begin a Trial Fight, prior to the salute, one fighter from each fight must give a call of “Taking the Field” to allow all others present time to leave to a safe location.
- If walking onto an already occupied Field of Combat, one Fighter from the newest Fight must give a cry of “Half Hall” to inform the other’s Fighters on the Field of their intentions. This call must be returned by the original Fight on the Field.
- After a cry of “Taking the Hall” or “Half Hall”, each Fighter in a Fight must give a salute to their opponent to inform them of their intentions to Fight. This must involve raising the sword in front of their face so that the cross guard is immediately below eye line. This position must then be held for at least two seconds.
- The salute will vary slightly with different weapons but on the whole it remains the same; a weapon must be raised in front of the face to a prominent position and held there for at least two seconds.
- It is the duty of all Trial Fighters to ensure that their weapons and armour are maintained to the highest possible standard. This should include but is not limited to the cleaning and filing of all weapons and shields – both steel and wood, and the removal of rust from all weapons and armour.
- All breaches of these rules, by a Fighter of any rank, must be reported as soon as practicable to the Captain, who, if present, may take the following action, as appropriate:
- For minor and accidental transgressions, a warning is to be issued. The Captain must then make a note of this warning and keep it on file for a minimum of three months. After this time, the note must be removed from the file.
- If, during the time that the warning is on the Fighter’s file, they commit another minor and accidental transgression of the rules, they are to be tested as soon as possible on all skills required for their rank (in certain cases, this may be impractical. In those situations it is the down to the Captain’s discretion which skills are tested.) The Captain should then make a note of this test and keep it on file for a minimum of six months. After this time, the note may be removed from the file as and when the Captain sees fit.
- For all major or deliberate transgressions, if the Fighter should commit any transgression while the note of testing is on their file, or if the Fighter should fail the test mentioned above, the Captain has the right to temporarily suspend any number of their ranks, and all duties, right and responsibilities which accompany them. If the Captain should take this decision, he must call a meeting of all active Trial Masters as soon as practicable to discuss the actions he has taken. The council of Masters then has the right to decide by majority vote, if the ranks and belts shall be handed back to the Fighter, or removed until the Fighter can prove they are competent enough to hold those ranks again.
- All of the above is to be meted out subject to the Captain’s discretion. It is the Captain’s duty to report all actions taken, as well as all transgressions of the rules, to the High Marshal and all appropriate Area Marshals as soon as practicable.
- If the Captain is responsible for committing a transgression of the rules, any of the above penalties can be meted out as appropriate by any Trial Master or the High Marshall and must be reported as soon as possible to the High Marshal.
- If the Captain is not immediately available, all transgressions must be reported in the first instance to the High Marshal, who then has the right to take any of the actions outlined above. It will be the High Marshal’s duty to inform the Captain of any transgressions and actions taken as soon as practicable.
- If neither the Captain nor the High Marshal is available, all transgressions must be reported in the first instance to the Area Marshal. The Area Marshal may then:
- In the case of a minor and accidental transgression, the Area Marshal may issue a warning which is to be kept on file for a minimum of three months, subject to a review of the Captain or High Marshal.
- Should the Fighter commit a transgression which would normally require a sterner penalty than the warning, the Area Marshal may require the Fighter to undergo a test of safety, as outlined above.
- Should the Fighter commit a transgression which would normally require a sterner penalty then either the test or the verbal warning, or should the Fighter fail the test, or should the test be impractical to perform immediately, the Area Marshal can require the Fighter to immediately cease fighting, pending a review by the Captain or High Marshal of their suitability to hold rank.
- In all of the above, it is the Area Marshal’s duty to inform the High Marshal and Captain of their actions as soon as practicable.
- In certain extreme cases, it may be necessary for a Fighter who has a committed a very severe transgression of the rules to be required by the Captain or High Marshal to leave the Trial Fighters SIG on a permanent basis. This decision may only be taken after a meeting of all the active Trial Masters, and with the agreement of the Captain, the High Marshall and at least 50% of the Trial Masters present.