By DonalBane of Blakmers
Battlefield Reporter, Pennsic Independent
The Woods Battle is a true Pennsic original. It is a battle that can trace its origin back to the very first Pennsic some 39 years ago.
For the past 15 years or so, the Woods Battle’s home has been located north of Dagan’s Dell, but beginning this year the Woods Battle has found a new home.
According to Master Padraig Dubh MacEanruig, East Kingdom Earl Marshal and marshal-in-charge at Pennsic XXXIX, the reasons for switching to the new location were many.
“We’re not going to have to block off Currie Road this year,” Master Padraig said. “I think we had outgrown the old woods. Every year, we would tromp around in there and nothing would grow back.”
HRM Edward the Grey of the East also indicated the move was “fundamentally a Cooper thing” and that the new battle will be staged on land that is owned by Cooper’s Lake.
“I certainly embrace trying something new,” HRM Edward said.
The new woods site is situated north of the “B” camping blocks and is four times the size of the old woods. The terrain varies greatly inside and includes several crossing roads. Thick brush and heavy terrain are characteristic of most of the woods.
All of this has forced the marshals to adjust. According to Master Padraig, the woods will be split into four separate zones to help speed response to any issues or injuries.
Master Padraig also notes the sheer size of the new woods is going to present a major challenge to army commanders.
“No one can take their entire army and set up a static, diagonal line,” Master Padraig said. “It simply can’t be done. “
As for entry points into the new woods, His Majesty of the East said he and HRM Radagaisus of the Midrealm have yet to finalize the exact entry points.
However, the muster area for the southern entrance will be atop Mount Eislinn, while the muster point for the northern entrance will be just north of the Zion Baptist Church on Currie Road, according to Master Padraig.
The Woods Battle is scheduled for Tuesday at 10 a.m. It will be a two-hour long, unlimited resurrection affair.
The winning side from Monday’s Break the Siege battle will be allowed to choose the side from which it will enter the woods. The losing side will have the chance to move the mobile banner inside the woods.
The battle’s rules remain similar to years past. The two Great Armies will fight over three banners within the woods. Possession of each banner will be checked at 45 minutes, 90 minutes and at the end of the battle at two hours. Any side which earns at least three “possession points” during the course of the battle will earn one War Point. The side with a majority of possession points will earn an additional war point.
Those who prefer rapier combat to armored combat also will have a chance to play, as the Rapier Woods Battle is scheduled for 2 p.m. Tuesday.
“I think it’s going to be a good addition,” Master Padraig said. “A lot of old timers say they think this going to be like the old woods battles (when Pennsic first moved to Cooper’s Lake).”
“The East certainly loves the woods,” HRM Edward the Grey said. “We have fighters who come to Pennsic specifically for the Woods Battle. At the same time, I know better than to underestimate our opponent.”