Viceregal Candidacy

To the good populace of Østgarðr, greetings from Alienor and Mathghamhain.

As we enter the final year in office of Suuder Il-Khan and Lada Il-Khatun, their Excellencies have called for members of the populace to step forward as candidates for the Provincial Succession. In hopes of being of continuing service to Østgarðr and its people, we have decided to accept this challenge.

We have both spent much of the last decade in service — to our Canton, to the Crown Province, to the East Kingdom, and to the Society at large — and while we understand that the role of Viceregent is a unique commitment, it feels as though our past efforts have helped prepare us for this moment. Continue reading Viceregal Candidacy

A Youth Combat Pell

Pells are poles used as a target for sword practice. They’ve been used for at least two thousand years, as documented in this article on the ARMA site.

Common pell forms used in SCA adult armored combat practice are generally based on a 4×4 post wrapped in rope, with the base sunk in a 5 gallon bucket of concrete encircled by an old tire, or set into a post bracket attached to a wooden base.

Unfortunately, these pells are hard to transport in a crowded car, and the rough edges of the wood tend to shred the padded weapons used in youth combat.

I constructed a cheap, portable break-down pell appropriate for youth combat using an H-frame base made of PVC pipe. There are a few H-frame pell designs online; this one at ARMA is pretty similar to the one I describe below.

Continue reading A Youth Combat Pell

Youth Marshal’s Staff

Marshals in the SCA use black-and-yellow staffs when supervising combat activities. The staff allows people to recognize the marshal, and may be used to   signal the beginning of the fight, to call attention to the edge of the field, or to keep fighters from crashing into spectators.

You can make your own youth-marshal staff with a length of PVC/PEX and some black and yellow duct tape.

My preferred technique is to pull off a piece of each color of tape that is almost two times the length of the staff, stick them together with an overlap of half their width, then set them at a 60° angle to the pipe and wrap in a spiral.

(Depending on the size of your core, you might need to fiddle with the angle by a couple of degrees one way or the other, but that should give you even-sized stripes of both colors.)

When you reach the other end, cut the excess tape and fold the edges over.

It’s not beautiful, but it’s simple and cheap and it uses the same materials you already have on hand for weapon construction.

Youth Throwing Hammer

Thrown weapons are not a core element of SCA youth combat, but they do have some novelty/amusement value.

Here in the East, there are basically two styles: javelins made from 3/4″ PEX with a thrusting-tip point and either fins or a pommel on the other end, or else hammers/axes made of all foam.

The rules say that weapons with a core (javelins) may not be gleaned and re-thrown, while those that are all foam may be scooped up and tossed back, which means that javelins are mostly of use in the initial few moments as the lines close, rather than being a factor throughout the engagement.

The target areas are the same as for regular weapon strikes, and at least here in the East the rule is that any direct contact in those areas constitutes a hit — no calling “light” — although I don’t think that applies if it hits a shield first, or bounces off a hand during an attempted mid-air catch.

You can make a nice throwing hammer with a single pool noodle, cut into four lengths for the head and one for the handle. Cut a triangular notch half-way through the side of each of the head pieces and arrange them around the handle, then fasten the handle securely to the head pieces and wrap everything with tape. Can be made smaller or larger as desired. Result looks imposing and is sturdy enough to survive repeated use, but light enough that kids won’t get hurt.

Here’s one I made last year. A bit beat up, but still serviceable. I put “striking edge” markings on the ends because it is sometimes used in hand-to-hand combat, but it’s really not sturdy enough to stand up to intensive use as a primary weapon — too floppy without a core.

Fighters can use a core-less foam weapon like this hammer as a regular single-handed weapon, just like a short sword etc.

(In that form it’s also allowed in single combat, although it can only be thrown in melees.)

Regular, non-thrown, weapons are supposed to have a contrasting stripe along their “edge” or “point” to indicate the areas where they do damage, as opposed to the “flat” of a sword, so that’s why I put the extra tape on those spots.

But if a fighter really used this as their primary weapon it might break or tear (or just get soft and floppy) faster than a regular weapon because it doesn’t have a solid core inside the handle.

So, it can be used as a regular weapon for a little bit before it is thrown, but that’s not its primary use.

List Poles

List poles provide a support for ropes used to enclose an area for medieval combat or other activities.


I expected I’d find existing plans I could copy for this purpose, but ended up designing my own because I couldn’t find any that fit our needs.

  • Self-supporting. In some places you can simply pound stakes into the ground, but here in New York City, a design with legs will allows us to hold events on asphalt, or in public parks where we’re not allowed to make holes in the lawn.
  • Compact and portable. When we’re not at events, these are going to sit in a crate in our small apartment, and then be ferried around in a van packed full of passengers, so they need to collapse down to a reasonable size.
  • Simple. I built six of these one a weekend in my home office with a couple of hand-held power tools.
  • Affordable. I spent around $40 on materials for the six poles ($30 lumber, $10 paint), plus $30 for 100′ of rope.

Continue reading List Poles

Youth Weapons Stand

This stand is designed to hold SCA youth combat  “boffer” swords and similar foam-padded weapons.


I looked at a number of racks for steel and rattan weapons and then came up with a custom design that combined several elements with the following criteria.

  • Support an assortment of SCA-approved youth swords and pole arms, which are typically between 2″ and 3” in diameter, and anywhere from 15″ to 72″ in length.
  • Pack down compactly to an easy-to-carry unit that can be loaded into the van along with other youth combat gear, carried to the site, and then set up quickly.
  • Simple to build using stock dimensional lumber and basic hand-held power tools.

Continue reading Youth Weapons Stand