Fiat Lux campaign urges SCA to reinstate non-contact combat roles

In Lochac, a web-based public action campaign has been launched to preserve non-contact combatant in the SCA, after a new edition of the SCA Marshal's Handbook began requiring standard heavy-combat armour for siege crews and combat archers society-wide.

Bartholomew Baskin, one of the organizers of the campaign, says the handbook was revised "with seemingly little prior consultation." According to the Fiat Lux web site's FAQ, the previous Lochac Earl Marshal had heard about the proposed rules but did not believe they applied to non-contact combat as practiced in that kingdom. Sir Gregory, the current Lochac Earl Marshal, found out about the situation and initiated discussions with the Society Earl Marshal, Duke Hrothgar. After a face-to-face discussion at Pennsic 35, a compromise was agreed to that delays implementation of the new rule in Lochac until August 2008.

Minimum armour requirements for full-contact combat include head and face, neck, kidney, groin, knee, elbow, and hand and wrist protection. Non-contact combatants have previously been allowed to wear less armour, and rather than being struck they are simply declared dead by an approaching enemy fighter. The new rules eliminate this distinction, so that all combatants must be fully authorized and armoured.

In Lochac, just under 400 supporters of existing light archers, siege crews, and banner bearers have signed up to the "Fiat Lux -- Let there be Lights" campaign. Some have provided detailed personal comments or have indicated on the web site that they have written to the Society Earl Marshal or other corporate-level officers. Although the campaign originated in Lochac, the web site now lists supporters in the West, Drachenwald, Outlands and Caid.

The Society Marshal and the Society Media Relations Officer did not respond to email inquiries from in time for this story.

Related Link
Marshal's Handbook for armoured combat (PDF)

Latest status

On October 16, the Lochac Earl Marshal, Sir Gregory of Lochswan, announced that agreement had been reached with the SEM to allow Lochac (only) to retain non-contact "plumed combatants" on their warfields. Ref: Armour upgrades will still be required, and widespread concerns about process persist, along the lines expressed in Duchess Yolande's comment.

Follow-up article on

We have a follow-up article posted today as well.


A little more detail

The action was actually begun in response to the removal of the non-contact ('light') designation by the current Society Earl Marshall. Lochac has a 20-plus year history of light archery with wooden-shafted arrows and small blunts (quite different to those currently used in the US) that has seen light combat become a very popular activity over here with a quarter of our fighting forces being light-only. We have a successful tradition of mixed war combat, with a fair percentage of heavy-only scenarios for those who really hate mesh.

In terms of consultation, the reason that the previous Kingdom Earl Marshall did not feel that the ruling applied to Lochac was twofold. On the one hand the previous Society Earl Marshall had agreed that the current Lochac style of archery could continue its exemption from the blunt and phaeon rules in the US, and on the other the operating agreement between the SCA Inc and the SCA Australia specifically says that Society Officers will directly seek explicit comment from their Lochac counterparts for internationally binding rules. This did not happen. Nor, as a matter of interest, did it happen for SCA Finland, which has the same clause in their agreement.

The twin issues of causing a traumatic shift in the way SCA war-fighting happens in Lochac and the real sense of a broken process have led to this level of grassroots action, while our magnificent Kingdom Earl Marshall has been attempting to make things work within the marshallate structure.

Remember, when Lochacians speak of hopping mad, think seven-foot-tall red kangaroo rather than little fluffy bunny.

Yolande, Lochac