The Warrior System
A list of the current Warlords can be found on the Regia.org website.
The following pdf documents are available on the Regia.org website.
The Warrior System
Version 2.0 - Issued 2020 by Tom Robinson (Master-at-Arms), Dave Anderson (Authenticity Officer) & edited from 2005 version by Kelvin Mawer
Welcome to the New Battlefield Format for Regia Anglorum. This document has been constructed over a number of years using the ideas and influence
of dozens of Regia Members, being finally completed in early 2020. The new system continues to draw together the diverse areas that affect the Regia Battlefield, looking at an individual combatant’s training, quality of kit, conduct, attendance, and the activities they undertake in the combat arena and outside of it, and for the most part, rewarding their efforts with a competitive edge.
The system continues to value every combatant on the field, and recognises different types of contribution. It promises more competitive fighting as armies; as well as including a variety of areas to interest the individual combatant. These could include show-fighting, choreographed combat, and competitive single combat, all contained within the standard combat display. The Warrior System requires increased levels of sportsmanship, and increased input into the combat display as a combatant ascends through the rank structure. The new format recognises that there is a place for a variety of combat styles in Regia. It seeks to provide a structure within which every combatant can maximise their enjoyment, while doing more to authentically recreate our period, and by doing so entertaining and educating our audience.
The Hits System
Hits are assigned to combatants based on their rank within the Regia Warrior system. The total hits being either 2 or 3. Two hits are assigned to Rank 1 (Freeman) and Rank 2 (Militia). While a combatant that has been signed off for Rank 3 (Warrior) and is wearing maille and a helmet will be entitled to 3 hits.
Scoring a Hit
There is also a change to the way in which we fight. Previously, combat was conducted under the ‘metal kills’ rule – whereby any touch of the metal part of a weapon caused instant death. In extremis, this meant that even the lightest, accidental tap with a weapon would have to be regarded as a hit. This has now been changed so that the onus is on the attacker to score a ‘convincing’ hit.
It is the responsibility of the person making the strike to communicate that they have done so, either by the nature of the strike or by other means. It is not acceptable to simply tell your opponent that you have hit them – if you have to do so, the hit was most probably not worth taking. A well-delivered strike is very rarely ignored and almost never requires discussion or explanation. When a hit is struck, the person receiving the hit should make every effort to acknowledge the hit by a grunt or shout of feigned pain, or otherwise.
A ‘Hit’ is defined as:
A clear strike of measured weight, delivered to any legal target area. The weight of the hit should be heavy enough to be felt, taking into account the recipient’s clothing and any armour, though it should never be so hard as to cause a person of reasonable firmness undue pain or injury.
So far as is reasonably possible, a strike must be delivered in such a way as to suggest that, if delivered in reality, an injury or wound would have resulted. Warning – this does not mean that a hit must ever be ‘hard’. Once a combatant has taken all of their hits – they are ‘dead’ – this means that they can take no further part in the competitive combat, although different ranks may react to losing all of their hits in a variety of ways (see the Ranking System). No document can seek to explain the above fully, that is the task of the training officers. If you are unsure about any aspect of the above – consult the MTO, or one of his deputies, who will be happy to explain and demonstrate.
We are aware that a system such as the above is difficult to police. This system expects that combatants behave as mature individuals, and give one another the benefit of the doubt. However, if you genuinely feel that a combatant is consistently abusing the system, then you, or your group leader, should inform a training officer as soon as possible. That combatant’s behaviour can then be observed and scrutinised. Having stated the above.
Fight with honour and sportsmanship.
Where there is any doubt, be generous.
When do I take a hit?
(Examples of good, and bad strikes)
The above implies that if a hit is dubious or invalid the recipient may simply ignore it, without explanation, and continue fighting. This is entirely true. When you score a strike, you should not pause and wait for the hit to take effect - rather you should continue to fight, even if this means that your enemy receives more hits than they can actual ‘take’. This is a far more authentic attitude to combat.
Where a hit is delivered so as to have the appearance of significant lethal intent you are strongly encouraged to take this as all of your hits. Examples include a sword slash right across the torso, or a spear thrust inside the opponents guard pushed home with simulated lethal character. However this remains at the discretion of the recipient of these hits.
However where the strike is to the torso from a daneaxe, and simulates lethal character, this will count as all of your hits and is mandatory. This reflects the particularly devastating effect of the daneaxe as a weapon.
Here are some examples to help.
- A Bad Hit
- A spearman hits you a couple of times in the knee (an illegal and unsafe shot) and then proceeds to slide the weapon upwards until he eventually finds your upper leg. Do not take this hit.
- A Good Hit
- A strike lands on your upper arm. It is well within the target area. You feel it - it even stings for a second but is unlikely to result in a bruise. Your response to it is natural and immediate, of course you are going to take it.
- A Marginal Hit (1)
- A spear grazes past you, possibly the blade came into contact with you—or was it the shaft? You are wearing mail and you barely notice it. If you hadn’t seen it, you would not have been aware of it at all. In reality, it would not have caused an injury - it would have been a miss. You should not take this shot—more importantly, your attacker should not expect you to.
- A Marginal Hit (2)
- A sword strikes you on the arm. It is very near the elbow. Difficult to tell in the heat of battle whether it was upper arm or not, you’re having to think a bit too hard about it.
This last one is tricky isn’t it? It’s your call. If you have more than one hit, then maybe the sporting thing to do would be to take it. If you are a Levy with only one hit, do yourself a favour and ignore it—he can probably do better.
It should be obvious from the above that what we are requiring is a greater level of sportsmanship and some give and take. This should increase as the combatant moves through the ranking system. The combatant with three hits can afford to behave with more largesse and honour than the new combatant with only one hit.
The Ranking System
All combatants, existing or new, will be allocated field ranks. Once they have been given these ranks by the appropriate officers, or their deputies, then and only then may they allocate to themselves a number of hits. There are four battlefield ranks, the names of which are mostly intended for administrative purposes.
These ranks have no bearing on any ranking system that may be employed at a local group level. However, it is hoped that in awarding local ranks, group leaders will take into account the progress and field rank of combatant members.
There are four battlefield ranks:
These general terms apply throughout Regia, regardless of ethnic background portrayed. As time goes on, more work will be done on supplying members of different backgrounds with more appropriate ‘ethnically specific’ titles and ranks, as well as information to assist the combatant in portraying that rank.
Central to this concept is the idea that combatants should be portraying more specific characters and their clothing and behaviour should be appropriate to that persona. For example, those dressed for the Freeman, or to an extent, the Militia, should not be barking orders, while those dressed as Warlords should be taking a greater role in the command of the armies.
All new members will begin at the first rank, that of ‘Freeman’. They will be able to take two hits.
Promotion through the ranks is based upon a variety of criteria, with each successive promotion becoming more and more difficult to obtain.
The Requirements of Rank
Level 1 – Freeman – 2 Hits
You are a new member, with little or no kit of your own, who is training in spear and shield. You are a Freeman – welcome to the army!
The right to bear arms during the Viking age was limited to the higher ranks of society. So while you might be the lowest rank on the Regia battlefield, you are still a man of means. You are a free man, drawn from framers and independent land holders. You will have had some level of training, and are equipped for war.
Progression to the next level will be after the Freeman has been signed off as having achieved the basic requirements for the ﬁeld by an MaA Deputy; an Authenticity Deputy, and a Training Deputy. National Ofﬁcers will be equally willing to sign off members of the Freeman.
Your Role on the Battlefield
Much of the battlefield will be made up of Freemen. Not for you the weight of command and decision, you take your place in the shieldwall and do you best to keep yourself and your friends alive. And of course to kill the enemy!
- Training (MTO)
- In order to take part in the battle display new members must have taken a battleﬁeld safe test at a training session, and will have read and understood the Battlefield Combat Regulations.
- Wargear (MaA)
- They will have borrowed or otherwise acquired a spear and shield that meet the minimum MaA requirements.
- Kit and Authenticity (AO)
- They will have be wearing a tunic, belted and rucked to knee level. These may be owned or borrowed.
Level 2 – Militia – 2 Hits
The Militia represent higher ranking freemen and the lower ranks of nobility. This rank encompasses the varied social roles found within that broad strata of society. You are a man of means, well equipped, and have had training in combat. While you might own land you are primarily a warrior. You would be a warrior who farmed when not serving in war, rather than a farmer who fought.
Your Role on the Battlefield
You are an experienced and trained combatant. Your role on the field becomes more vocal, and you may take a hand in commanding sections of the line. You will bear weapons other than the spear and shield.
Before you can begin your career in the Militia, you will need:
- Training (MTO)
- A full weapon’s pass in spear and shield, with or without a seax pass.
- Wargear (MaA)
- Your own spear and shield, manufactured to at least the minimum acceptable standard.
- Kit and Authenticity (AO)
- A tunic, belted and rucked to the knee. Trousers or hose that are tight to the leg or with leg wraps. Shoes. At least one authentic name/character. You must own your own kit.
Level 3 – Warrior – 3 Hits
A warrior represents the highest social class on the battlefield. You would have held at least the rank of Thegn (Anglo-Saxons and Vikings) or Miles (Norman) and, as such, you would have been a noble whose position in society was linked to your responsibility to serve your lord or King in war. You would have been well equipped, trained, and motivated for warfare, forming the true backbone of any army and acting as a leader of men.
Your Role on the Battlefield
You will step up to the leadership roles of the battlefield. You will find yourself as a commander, a member of a hearth troop, or the champion fighter of your army.
To achieve promotion to the rank of ‘Warrior’, you will need:
- Training (MTO)
- A full weapon’s pass with a short arm i.e. (sword, axe or langseax) with a helmet. A Battleﬁeld Safe Test in one other Short Arm.
- Wargear (MaA)
- You must own your own helmet, maille, spear, shield and short arm.
- Kit and Authenticity (AO):
Soft kit as per the Militia, but with some ethnic, character or period speciﬁc items of kit for certain shows. Generic kit can be retained for shows where that is not appropriate. All kit to be made of good quality materials and exhibit good quality workmanship. No item of kit classed as unacceptable during its phasing out period
You have 3 hits while wearing maille and a helmet. If you are not then you have 2 hits and act as Militia.
Authenticity Ofﬁcer’s Note
Members seeking to advance to Warrior level should ﬁrst ask an Authenticity Deputy for advice and have their kit examined. That Deputy will then, if appropriate, recommend the promotion to the National Authenticity Ofﬁcer who will normally approve the promotion.
- “Then Byrhtnoth began to array men there … when he had fairly arrayed his troops, he dismounted among them where it most pleased him, where he knew his hearth-band most loyal.” Battle of Maldon 20-25
The Hearth Troop represents the personal retinue of their Lord, and is the closest thing to the modern perception of professional warriors. They will be some of the best equipped warriors on the field, and the most cohesive fighting unit. They are believed to have eaten with their lord, slept in his hall, and shared in his fortune. The ties that bind lord and hearth troop should not be underestimated.
Where appropriate battles may include a Hearth Troop for the Commander. Members assigned to a Hearth Troop should do their best to behave in a the way such a troop would have behaved, rather than seeking greatest competitive advantage.
Rules of the Hearth Troop: The commander may appoint a hearth troop of those properly attired who have attained the rank of warrior. The Hearth Troop will fight as a unit with their commander and shall not leave his side. If the commander falls, the Hearth Troop shall remember their vows. They will advance or die over the body of their fallen lord.
Role on the Battlefield
- He held a firm resolve while with his hands he could yet hold his shield and broad sword he fulfilled his vow when he had to fight beside his lord.
Not mere bodyguards, in a warrior culture the commander was expected to share in the dangers of battle. And the Hearth Troop were sworn to fight alongside him. They do not separate but remain alongside, fighting as a unit, where the fighting is naturally at its thickest and most furious.
Level 4 – Warlord
(to be assessed by National Ofﬁcers only)
The rank of Warlord may be assigned by the Military Training Officer to any combatant whose military prowess, equipment, and conduct stand as an example to the Society.
The rank of Warlord is an honorary rank awarded to those who exemplify what we do on the battlefield. It is given to those who routinely go above and beyond the already high standards of Regia.
A Warlord receives no combat advantage for his rank, neither is he automatically assured of command. They may be recognised by a white silk scarf. Once awarded the rank remains as long as the member is of good standing within the society, unless rescinded.
How a Warlord is Chosen
Any member may nominate a combatant for the rank of Warlord by speaking to the Military Training Officer, Authenticity Officer, or Master at Arms. A discussion will then take place among the groups listed below. The rank of Warlord may be assigned to any combatant member of the society with the agreement of: The current Military Training Officer, Authenticity Officer, Master at Arms, and any existing holders of the rank of Warlord.
- All kit will be of exemplary standard, with zero tolerance for badly maintained equipment. It will be almost exclusively from the "recommended" section of the authenticity guidelines. This does not mean that all kit must be high status, just that it must be to a high level of authenticity.
- The conduct of the Warlord must be above reproach. They play to the spirit rather than the letter of the rules. They are graceful in victory and defeat. They are welcoming to new members, and willing to help on the battlefield. They are humble and modest.
- A Warlord will excel at some aspect of the battlefield. This is usually combative, show fighting or commanding, but may be something completely different.
A Standard Battle
The battlefield displays are varied according to the requirements of each show and clarified at the muster prior to each display. However, there is a standard battle format which is commonly utilised. There is a mix of display and competitive combat and each combatant is encouraged to use every effort to make the display as exciting, educational, and informative as possible for the public
First Clash – Display only.
- The two armies take the field. After a parlay and an exchange of missiles the two side will close for the display clash.
Second Clash – Display Only
- There may be a second display clash. This will be similar to the first clash,
and often may include show tactics such as a boar snout.
Third Clash – Probing Clash
- In this clash the armies will advance in a tight shieldwall, with only the commanders remaining behind the line. This is a chance to probe the opponents line and discover their strength and determination to fight. This is down without flanking or breakthroughs. The commanders will pull their lines apart after an agreed length of time, or if one side gains a distinct advantage. If you take all of your hits at this point, you will die. Lost hits will carry over the the final clash.
Fourth Clash – Competitive Fight
- This is the final battle. It will be fully competitive, with commanders able to deploy all of their combatants and any tactics they see fit. The hearth troop will fight with their commander.
There may be a Champions Fight included in the script. Each commander will have nominated a Champion to engage in single combat before the watching armies. Champions should have attained Warrior rank and will agree the format for the Champions Fight prior to the battle. This can either be a scripted and choreographed show fight, or a competitive free fight. However, it must prioritise an impressive display over the competitive result.
The Code of Conduct
The battleﬁeld of Regia Anglorum has always been based on an honour system. Combatants have been tacitly expected to behave in a fair and sportsmanlike fashion. With a more formalised structure and rules for the game, it is expected that combatants will demonstrate their greater understanding of the battleﬁeld through their sportsmanlike behaviour.
The Code of Conduct can be found on the back page of this document.
This concludes the initial guidance to the new Warrior System. Like all such documents, the Warrior System will be a living document, and will probably see changes and additions made to it every few years. The intent behind this document is not to impose a draconian set of rules, but to provide a framework within which we can all reenact our period better, and enjoy doing so more. It must be pointed out that the new system does not require any combatant to advance through the system; that remains entirely a matter for their own choice. The battleﬁeld belongs to every one of us, for our mutual enjoyment. None of us want to ruin our day by having pointless and petty arguments over this or that hit. Do not abuse the new hits system. Be generous and sportsmanlike both in giving and receiving your hits, and help to make our combat displays better for everybody, combatants and public alike.
We commend this new system to you, and look forward to many exciting battles ahead.
Code of Conduct
This is the Code of Conduct of the Regia Anglorum Battlefield.
It is expected that all combatants will abide by it.
Fight safely at all times. Protect yourself at all times.
Fight at all times with honour and sportsmanship – where there is any doubt, be generous and act within the spirit of the Code, if not the letter.
Never argue in front of the public. Never stop a combat to verbally dispute a hit – if you have to discuss the shot, it was probably not worth taking.
Never abuse the hits system and take more hits than you are entitled to.
Never ignore a valid hit.
If you cannot land a blow safely – don’t take the shot.
Never hit an opponent too hard. Always take time later to apologise if you do. Never apologise audibly in front of the public during a display combat.
Never forget – it’s only a game.