Combat Guidelines

Combat Guidelines - Ravensborg Germania - 2021 Revision(s)


Participation and Risks


Every participant understands the risks inherent and takes them on him/herself.  A signed waiver will be required to participate in the event.   All documentation must be on file with the event staff before participating in activities, including combat.


Ravensborg  does not assume any responsibility for injuries received during or as the result of mock combat.  This is a fully voluntary system.  Participants should understand the rigors of mock combat and be in good health.    Please see waiver for complete disclosure and statements of liability.  Waiver is available on the Ravensborg website at:


Combat System Overview


This event draws both Iron Age and Dark Age reenactors with varying approaches to recreating combat.  This includes levels of combat experience and guidelines.  In order to provide a safe event, the following rules are proposed to create an environment that does not break the immersion goals of the event while allowing for all facets of reenactment.


Combat will be conducted with a “pulled blow” (decisive but not forceful) strike system. This is based upon the ability to "place" a hit on your opponent instead of striking them.


The system is designed around honor and courtesy.  Be aware of your environment and opponents and react to all blows honestly and cleanly delivered.   Indirect or “iffy” blows against armor can be ignored ONCE.  A second shot is a kill (regardless of blow location).   Very clean or solid shots are considered killing blows under any circumstance.


Once you are defeated in combat, please die.  We mean that nicely.  Lay down and help add to others' ambience.  Walking off the battlefield puts you in the way of the others still fighting and just looks bad.  Feel free to scream and act wounded, but flailing death throes will likely result in additional attempts to put you out of your misery.


Each combatant is asked to call the blows received.  Be courteous. Don't call someone else's blow for them, but also accept blows courteously.


 We are having FUN. It's a game. We're all friends.  If you aren’t having fun, take a break and let others play for a while.

Safety Rules and Etiquette


Everyone who will fight MUST attend a rules/safety meeting, and weapons inspection.  These will be held Friday at a time and location agreed upon by both sides. Late arrivals may be briefed and inspected during the event on a case-by-case basis.  This briefing will include combat rules, scenario guidelines, combat times and off limit locations.


Both sides will provide sufficient assistance/marshals  to allow inspections/combat to happen safely.   Marshals should have familiarity with combat, customs and martial endeavors.   All combat should have at least one member of each side acting as an observer to maintain a safe environment.  However, safety is everyone’s job.  If you see something, say something!


All weapons to be taken to the field must be inspected. Any weapon that shows excessive wear, potential failure or unsafe construction will not be allowed. Questions about weapons safety by one marshal will be referred to the other marshals, then to the combined group leadership for final rulings on acceptability.  The event organizer is the final arbiter of any combat decisions. 


Use of a non-inspected or failed weapon will result in the combatant being asked to cease fighting for the event and will face review by the event staff, which may result in expulsion from site. 


It is the responsibility of the warrior for all blows delivered.  If someone is injured or acts unsafely - there are no excuses.  The warrior should take immediate action, cease combat, rectify the situation, and provide any assistance required.    Any time that combat is ceased for any safety reason or concern, a combat observer or marshal should be made aware and be present. 


Group leadership and event staff reserve the right to approve or modify these standards and to remove weapons/shields or combatants from the field. 


This system requires some degree of proficiency.  If you do not feel that you can deliver a particular shot safely, then don’t.  

  • “Head shots” of any sort are strictly forbidden.  This includes all blows aimed at the neck or higher.

  • Body and upper arm/leg blows are to be delivered decisively but not forcefully.  This is often stated as “intentional” - blows that are accidental or sloppy are not considered valid

  • Lower arm/lower leg - intentional but softer than body shots

  • Hands/Feet/Groin are forbidden.



Every participant should use appropriate visible armor for their impression and should replicate period examples as closely as possible.   This can range from woad to squamata!  Armor should be able to sustain incidental blows and protect against injury.  Overly thin armor is more of a danger to the user than no armor.


  • Helmets are preferred but not required.   Hidden “helmets” under hats for germanic and auxilae are allowed. 

  • Hidden armor (pads, braces, etc) are allowed under period armor or clothing as long as it is not visible.

  • Hand protection is required in the form of a glove or shield.   Heavier (sole) leather is preferred but foam inside welding weight gloves should be considered a minimum.

  • Additional armor for the neck in the form of thick focale or other sort of padding is encouraged. 

  • Groin protection is also suggested.


NOTE:  If missile weapons are in play = eye protection is MANDATORY!  This will require some form of protection designed and produced as safety equipment.  If wearing a helmet, please make sure that your choice fits before the event.  Eye protection for other scenarios is optional, but always allowed. 




No sharp weapons should be allowed on the field while combat is taking place.  This includes swords/daggers/etc.  You don’t want to be the person that draws the wrong weapon in combat.


Melee Weapons

  • Weapons should replicate period examples in form and function - dark age weapons are highly discouraged.

  • Rebated steel and hardwood wasters will both be accepted for this event.

    • Rebated steel should have 2mm or greater rounded edge 

    • Thrusting points should be rounded to at least the diameter of a quarter

  • Spears can be either rebated steel or commercial HEMA tips 

    • HEMA tips are preferred (or equivalent encapsulated foam/soft material)

    • Tips should not be able to be bent over and allow contact with shaft beneath

    • NO SCA style thrusting tips. 

  • Spears should not exceed 8 foot and should be made of ash or rattan

  • No “pool-cueing” of spears is allowed


Missile Weapons

  • Before use, any scenario involving missile weapons should be approved by the commanders of both sides

  • All missile weapons are currently approved on a case by case basis and should not use steel heads

  • Examples include slings/javelins/combat archery.

  • Missile weapons are approved only for striking shields

  • See provision for eye protection noted above. 


  • Shields should be made from wood and covered with a layer of canvas or leather on the face at minimum.  Both sides covered is preferred

  • Shield edging of rawhide or heavier brass is allowed but not required

  • Shield bosses should be made from steel or period materials sufficient to withstand forceful blows (Wood, heavy brass/bronze, steel, etc)

Other Combat


Within the construct of the scenario and with approval from the respective leadership, combat which involves additional armor, weapons or rules may be permitted.   Situations might include combat training with masks, gladiatorial combat, etc.  Each of these situations will be dealt with individually and as needed.