Performers entertain the early crowd in the Merchant area
Photo by Master Philip the Pilgrim
Major Changes to War
By Master Liam St. Liam
This will be a war unlike any other war.
A mutual decision by the royals of the four major kingdoms around Pennsic has led to the opportunity for Æthelmearc to defend its own lands this year, in an alliance with another former Eastern kingdom — Atlantia — against the combined power of the East and the Middle Kingdom in a war that has a new points structure and will very likely not be decided until the final day.
Traditionally, Pennsic has been between the East and its allies and the Midrealm and its allies. Until the early 1990s, the Barony Marche of the Debatable Lands, where Pennsic is located, was a barony of the East. Since then, it has been part of the kingdom of Æthelmearc, and the Sylvan Kingdom has fought on both sides.
This year, King Andreas Morgan and Queen Kallista Morganova have aligned their forces with King Bryan of Sacred Stone and Queen Brianna O’Duinn of Atlantia to battle the forces of King Kenric of Warwick and Queen Avelina Keyes of the East and King Savaric de Pardieu and Queen Julianna de Pardieu of the Midrealm.
There will be alliances on both sides, but those appear to be being played close to the vest and will be announced at opening ceremonies Sunday. There will definitely be an attempt to keep the numbers equal on each side.
As a side note, of the four sets of royals who represent the four principal kingdoms, three are sitting the throne for the first time. Only Bryan and Brianna have reigned before. Their reign was a winter reign, so this is their first Pennsic.
On to the points
There are 47 war points available this year, which means the side that reaches 24 first wins the war. There are only 23 points available through Wednesday’s fighting, and since the nine archery war-shoot points are not expected to be awarded until Friday, it’s likely the war’s outcome will remain in doubt until then. Combining the nine archery points, the two for the rapier woods battle and the five available at the field battle, Friday’s competitions are worth 16 points.
The first war point, and it is a special one, will be awarded for the siege competition at the fort, which is scheduled for 12:30 to 3:30 PM Saturday. This point will also determine the start of the armored town battle Monday.
Only two points will actually be awarded on Sunday, but those points will come from a fascinating scenario.
Over the years, one of the most intense competitions at war has been the annual Fencing Champions Battle, which pits 20 Eastern fencers and 10 allies against 20 Midrealm fencers and 10 allies. Some of the rivalries have been epic, and each side always approached the tournament — one-on-one, first to 16 victories wins — with utmost seriousness and desire to win.
This year, those Midrealmers and Easterners will be cheering for each other. That should be interesting.
The Atlantians and Æthelmarcians have fought as allies and as opponents in the past. They tended to be two of the three most sought-after allies, with Ansteorra being the third.
As mentioned before, there has been no official announcement of alliances yet.
This event will have 15 fighters from each of the principal kingdoms and 10 allies for each side.
The populace archery shoot, one of the ways almost any Pennsic attendee can help the war effort, begins at 11 AM Sunday and runs until 2 PM. Friday.
Armored battles start
This year’s schedule has fencing in the morning and the armored battles in the afternoon. Monday is the rapier town battle from 10 to noon, followed by the armored town battle at 1 PM. The fencing battle is worth two points and the armored battle is worth five.
Tuesday has a similar setup with the two-point rapier flag battle at 10 AM and the five-point armored bridge battle scenarios beginning at 1 PM.
A couple of things to look for on the bridges include the Calontiri shield wall and the Ealdormerean units. If they are on the same side, that could help make a difference. If they are on opposite sides, let’s hope they are on the lower bridge so we can watch the fun. Also, expect some headlong rushes from the Tuchux. Ansteorra’s alliance decision will also be critical.
There are no mass battles on Wednesday, but this would be a great chance to see the best thrown-weapons competitors in the champions battle at 9:30 AM. The archery champions start at 9 AM.
Armored battles start at 10 AM with the heroic champions, followed by the unbelted champions. Here’s another case where the rivalry in the past has been incredibly intense and now Easterners and Midrealmers will fight together and have new war stories.
All of those battles are worth a single war point. The belted champions will fight, but not for a war point.
Thursday will see the rapier field battle, worth two points, beginning at 10 AM, and the armored woods battle, worth six points, starting at 1 PM. It’s possible the war could be decided by the end of the day, but it’s more likely that this unusual war will hinge on the archery results and the final fencing and armored battles.