SCA Rapier Melee
Rapier Melee is defined as any time you have more than two fencers fighting in opposition to one another. SCA rapier melee is limited, for the most part to no pole arms and no ranged weapons.
EXCEPTIONS: Some kingdoms have rubber band guns but they are rarely used. Some Kingdoms are experimenting with the use of archery. I have heard of rapier pole arms experiments but do not know of any that are currently ongoing.
So what can you bring to a rapier melee?
- Case of Rapier - Two rapiers, one in each hand. Fighting Case of Rapier in a melee is about putting more sword points on the opposing force than they can handle. Case of rapier fighters job in a melee is to be aggression machines.
- Rapier and rigid parry - rigid parry being shield, buckler or some kind of stick. I recommend bringing shields or bucklers as possible if you want to fight this form. People with shields and bucklers basically create mobile terrain and should be used that way.
- Rapier and Dagger - Best used by scouts and harrying units if at all
- Single Rapier - If that is all you have, bring it. Your sword on the line will be of use.
- Sword and non-rigid - Not really useful in my personal opinion as it is more likely to screw up your side than your opponents's side.
Common positions in a melee
- Line fighter - This is the person in the line where combat is happening. Often this person is wrongfully looked down upon. These are the your standard "grunts," and like it or not, without them no organized melee can be won.
- Flankers - This person's job is to attack and weaken the line by attacking the flanks (sides) of a line. If there isn't a flank, then these are the people who create a flank by making a hole in the line.
- Harriers - These folks look a lot like fire and forgets. They have the specific job of harrying the opposing force with strike and retreat tactics. This is designed to create weaknesses in the lines at key spots that can then be taken advantage of by the line fighters.
- Scouts - They supply information to the commander so the commander can make the best informed decisions possible. These individuals have the job to stay alive, make forays behind opposing lines, hang at the edges of combat and maybe make the occasional strike. They are to return to the commander and relay what is happening and to the best of their ability why it is happening. These people do a lot of running and need to be in excellent shape.
- Fire and Forgets - These are individuals who have been given a specific task. Once they are told to "Fire," the commander(s) forgets about them. These individuals have a job to do, know how to get that job done and get that job done well. When they are done with that job they determine what needs to be done on the field to accomplish the goals of the mission so their side can achieve victory. They often switch roles in the same melee for any of the above positions. Occasionally they have been known to command a line until the actual line commander takes over.
- Commanders - There are many kinds of commanders from line commanders to section (regional) commanders on up to the generals who create the overall battle plans and command the field. Without commanders melees are disorganized chaos. With commanders melee is organized chaos and all other things being equal, the side with the best commanders will win.
Melee is a Team Sport
The most successful side in a melee are those who work together as a team to focus on the overall goal(s) of the melee and work together to accomplish their mission(s) to achieve the victory conditions. They are not merely a bunch of individuals who happen to have the same goal, you must work together better than the other side does. If someone is not working as a team member (even when "alone," such as fire and forgets) they are a detriment to your side, not an asset.
Each melee has its own predetermined conditions for victory. Very often the goal is not and can not be, "kill them all." Keep the victory conditions in mind. If you kill more people than the opposing side you can still lose the melee because you focused on the wrong thing.
- Force Decimation - You "kill," every fencer on the opposing team.
- Control and Deny - This is about controlling territory and/or an object and not letting the opposing force do it. One of the most common forms of this game is, "Capture the Flag."
- Messengers and Delivery - Move something from point A to point B successfully.
- Opposed Messenger and Delivery - Both sides are trying to move something from point A to point B.
Lives in Melee
There are three ways to deal with life in melee.
- Dead and Done - You get one life, if you die,you're done.
- Limited Resurrection - You get a specific number of lives. When you die, you go back to a pre-determined place, often called a "Rez Point," and you get a life back. When you have used up all your lives you are done.
- Unlimited Resurrection - You get infinite lives. When you die, you go back to a pre-determined place, often called a "Rez Point," and you get a life back. Battles with unlimited resurrection can not be won by "killing them all." Unlimited resurrection battles almost always have a time limit.