Shield-breaking hit

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Shields can be broken by two solid strikes from a red weapon (swung with both hands). Such a strike is referred to as a Shield-breaking hit. The exact nature of what qualifies as a shield-breaking hit is a matter of interpretation.

Contents

Rules

3.5.1. Shields can be destroyed by two solid strikes from a Class 2 Weapon. Subsequent strikes to a destroyed Shield continue into the Target Area on which the Shield is worn.

It is up to the shield-wielder's discretion whether any given class 2 strike should count towards destroying their shield

Interpretation

The standards for what qualifies as a shield-breaking hit vary somewhat from fighter to fighter and realm to realm in much the same way as the strike with sufficient force standard varies. With some exceptions, most fighters require that a shield-breaking hit be harder than they would consider sufficient force for a strike on their body. There is no single national consensus standard, however.

A recent discussion on the national boards revealed a variety of standards and criteria across a range of force:

  • The same as any other strike (sufficient force)
  • Hard enough to move your shield arm
  • "Decent, hard shot"
  • Make a loud noise
  • The weapon travelling through a 90* arc.
  • Move your body/forces you to step back
  • A hard, baseball bat swing (an old standard which is much less popular now.

Anvilling

See main article: Anvilling.

Anvilling is a common problem facing red-weapon wielders attempting to deliver a shield-breaking hit. While a shield-breaking hit can be parried, this is usually quite difficult with a blue weapon due to the strength and momentum of a good shield-breaking hit. A weapon which is simply laid in front of a shield expressly does not parry a shield breaking hit, as stated in the Book of War:

3.7.3. Blocking a Weapon strike by laying a Weapon against a Target Area and/or Shield is illegal.

Additionally, many fighters consider that if a parrying weapon is struck hard into the wielder's shield, it should still be taken as a shield-breaking hit, even though the red weapon may not have actually made contact with the shield.

Safety

Shield-breaking strikes are among the more dangerous aspects of Belegarth fighting, as they are usually done with more force than a standard swing and with the longest and heaviest weapons on the field. They are also one reason why red weapons must be carefully scrutinized during weapon check.

Control must always be exercised when performing a shield-breaking red strike, as they can often slide along the face or edge of a shield up into the shield-wielder's head, where they can cause serious injury. Similarly, many people feel that shield breaking hits in a downward, overhead motion aimed at the shoulders or top side of the shield should only be done by experienced wielders with no alternative or simply never at all, as such a strike which lands on the top of the opponent's head can be extremely dangerous.

Shield Face vs. Edge

A shield-breaking hit counts as such, regardless of whether it strikes the edge or the face of a shield. Edge hits are often much easier to make in tight lines or when using a longer weapon.

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