Marshalling Combat

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General notes

  1. When the term "war" is used in the Society Marshal's Handbook it refers to wars between kingdoms. Some material about negotiations between kingdoms has been left out of these rules because it is unlikely that we will have an inter-kingdom war in Lochac in the foreseeable future.
  2. Aside from enforcing the rules and conventions of combat, there are three near-equal priorities in marshalling; safety, fair witness, and showmanship. Over-emphasising any one at the expense of the others will tend to make the fighting less enjoyable for everyone. In other words, do not forget that, as marshal, you are part of the spectacle of the tournament and must act accordingly, but equally you are there to watch for hazards.

Before combat

  1. Inspect the field: The responsible marshal for the field should inspect the field for hazards such as slippery ground, holes, snakes, etc. Reduce hazards as far as possible before combat (move the field if you need to).
  2. Brief the field marshals: The field marshals for a scenario or battle should be briefed separately from the combatants and before the meetings of all participants. Emphasis at this briefing should be on communicating the rules and scenario limits for each battle, and on preventing accidents that could arise from hazards during the scenario such as terrain, weather and surrounding non-combatants.
  3. Brief everyone: Gather all the participants, including marshals and combatants, and explain the format and limits for the tournament or scenario. Answer any questions. One briefing is enough for a series of similar scenarios; if they vary a lot, repeat this before each battle or tournament.
  4. Alternative signals: Alternative means to signal "Hold" or "Lay On", such as whistles, air horns or other such devices, may be used in large battles. The alternative system must be explained to all participants before the combat, and everyone must be able to hear it.

Number of marshals required

Guideline for number of marshals required
Number of combatants 2-5 6-9 10-25 26-40 41-55 etc
Recommended number of marshals 1 2 3 4 5
  1. All combat at official events and practices must be overseen by at least one rostered marshal as responsible marshal for the field. This includes one-on-one pick up fighting. As per 2.4.3, the responsible marshal may participate in combat may participate as a combatant for one-on-one pick-up fighting or tournament lists, as long as there are field marshals.
  2. There is no upper limit on the number of marshals for a combat, but care should be taken that when many marshals are present, they do not get in each other's way, or unnecessarily block the view for spectators.
  3. It is the responsibility of the responsible marshal for the field to ensure that there are enough field marshals for the scenario.
  4. For melee and war scenarios, the Society Marshal's Handbook recommends a minimum of 3 marshals for the first 20 fighters, and one additional marshal for every 15 fighters.
  5. Assistant marshals can be used to make up the number of field marshals (as long as there is a responsible marshal for the field, and they are content that with the number of rostered marshals present).
  6. Marshals should station themselves around the edges of the fight to allow control of boundaries while keeping as much of the fighting as possible in view.
  7. In very large melees, it may be desirable to have some marshals in the middle of the field, in addition to those around the edge. If you are mid-field, be careful that you do not get so interested in the fight in front of you that you back into or forget to watch another bout moving around behind.
  8. When missile weapons are being used, there should be marshals around the edges specifically watching the paths of missiles, and making sure they are not coming close to the combat boundaries or spectators.
  9. For a given bout or scenario, you can either marshal or fight (or participate in another way), not both.


  1. A call of "Hold!" is a call for an immediate stop of all activity on the field.
  2. Holds may be called by anyone, including spectators, for any of the following reasons:
    • Broken weapons(It may not be necessary to call a hold if this can be dealt with safely without a hold, for example during a war scenario.)
    • Broken armour (As with broken weapons, it may not be necessary to call a hold if this can be dealt with safely without a hold, for example during a war scenario.
    • Broken people (i.e., injuries)
    • Broken tempers
    • Broken ground (i.e., hazardous terrain)
    • Broken boundaries (i.e., someone/thing coming onto the field that should not be there or combatants leaving the bounds of combat)
  3. For more details about holds, please see the Conventions of Combat

Marshalling siege combat

  1. When siege engines are being used, there must be a siege marshal on the field to oversee them.
  2. During combat, each end of the field that has a siege engine must have at least one siege marshal. There should be at least one siege marshal for every 3 engines.
  3. Non-combatant participants (which includes marshals) on the field during siege combat must be armoured to the standards for marshals overseeing war combat with arrows, set out in Non-combatant armour requirements.