By Donal Bane of Blakmers, Pennsic Independent Battlefield Correspondent
Greetings, fellow warrior watchers!
With Pennsic XXXIII upon us, I'm certain a great multitude of gentles will be descending on the battlefield to fight or cheer on their favorite gentles. However, changes are afoot in the Pennsic War Point schedule and I hope to explain those changes with the help of Pennsic Battlefield Coordinator Sir Alaric Lefevre.
First, the number of actual war points has jumped from 13 to 27 this year,
"That was Their Majesties' decision," Lefevre said. "It helps make each battle mean something and each one more important. Hopefully, it will keep more fighters involved at the war."
Indeed, instead of having best-of-three battles, such as the field battle, each win will earn one War point. The same will go for battles with banners as the goal; each banner will be worth one war point.
Perhaps the biggest news this year comes from the "It's About Darn Time" file: for the first time in Pennsic history, mass rapier battles will be included as war points. There will be a rapier broken field battle at 1 p.m. Wednesday (one point) and woods (one point) battle at 2 p.m. Thursday. Along with the rapier champions' battle (3 p.m. Monday), the fencers will have their biggest influence on the outcome of Pennsic in history.
"Their Majesties made the decision to include [rapiers] and I think it's a good decision," Lefevre said. "This will do a lot to support the rapier communities in the Society."
Archery is back as well, with the archery champions' shoot (one point) and populace shoots (three points) running throughout war week. As always, my faithful colleague Liam St. Liam will keep his eyes trained on the fencers and archers.
For my fellow rattan-lovers, the war gets started with a bang on Monday as the field battle (11 a.m., three fights, one point each), belted champions (one point), unbelted champions (one point) and the heroes' resurrection battle. Unlike previous years, the heroes' battle will be a one-hour resurrection battle on a single bridge. A banner in the center of the bridge will be contested between 150 champions from each great army. At each five-minute interval, a point will be awarded to the side that holds the banner and the side with the most points after an hour wins.
"Their majesties came to an agreement on this," Lefevre said. "They wanted to test their champions and they will do so."
The woods battle (noon, one point for each banner collected) takes center stage Tuesday, while the bridge battle (11 a.m., three fights, one point each) and the allied champions battle will run on Wednesday.
Thursday could be a crucial day for the war, as the mountain pass battle returns at 11 a.m. There will be two fights in this year's mountain pass battle with three banners, each worth one war point, up for grabs. With six points available, it will be the last big chance to earn points at war.
The grand finale on Friday is the fort battle (11 a.m., one point), with the battle following the same format as last year. Each side will be given a chance to attack and defend the castle and the side that holds out longer wins the war point. However, there is one big change this year in that there will be only one way to approach the castle: a 30-foot-wide causeway.
In the middle of that causeway, a banner will be posted. If the defending side can hold that banner for 10 minutes, they will receive a 10-minute bonus to their castle holdout time. As usual, attackers will get unlimited resurrections, while defenders get none.
"That was done to give the battle a bit more authenticity," Lefevre said.
Lefevre said there is one big change in that the main battlefield has been expanded to 600 feet by 600 feet. As a result, there will be no car traffic allowed on the battlefield.
"There have been some logistical problems that forced us to do that," Lefevre said. Lefevre is hoping for a very competitive war and so am I. I have it on good authority — namely HRM Felix of the Midrealm — that the sides will be very even fighter-wise this year. That will be a welcome change from last year's Pennsic, which basically was over after Opening Ceremonies. Sunday's featured melee: The Lost Boys Fort Battle — 3 p.m.
What to look for: With the war point battles not starting until Monday, this is fighter's last change to get their melee fix before it counts. Usually, many warriors do just that and result is a rollicking good time.