Unwritten Rules

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Unwritten "rules" of Belegarth combat.

Standard of combat

These unwritten "rules" can now be called "unofficial rules" since they have been written down somewhere accessible. These are in no way enforceable in multi-realm events, but have become the standard in many established realms and events regardless.

If you have the question "Is this an unwritten rule" your best bet is to use common sense.


  • Marshals are often referred to as Heralds.
    • Marshals wear yellow tabards, sometimes edged.
    • Photographers will sometimes wear yellow tabards as well. Though they might not have the authority of Marshals, they should still be treated as such. Please do not hit them, they give us good pictures after the event is over.
    • Marshals are not shields and should in no way be hid behind or used to gain advantage over an opponent.
  • Use your judgment to determine how much force to use against an opponent; i.e. go easier on smaller fighters when using red weapons and heavy offensive shield work. This does NOT mean "tap fighting."
  • Drop to your knees immediately when a hold is called; don't move or re-equip during a hold unless told to do so by a Herald.
    • Don't call a hold to gain an advantage over fellow fighters. Likewise, Marshals should avoid calling hold unnecessarily if it would change the course of battle or cause a team to gain or lose the advantage.
    • Hits after a hold are not counted. (Situational)
  • Avoid fighting near weapons piles, onlookers, or unsafe locations. (Examples: parked cars, fences, narrow bridges, all things made of concrete)
  • Half draw on a throw means the hand should not go behind the head.
  • You can grab your own weapon anyway you want including the blade/striking surface.

Field Combat

  • Shield bashing archers can be dangerous (use common sense).
  • No catching arrows while in flight.
  • Some people prefer to swing lightly (approx. weapons checking "Light" swing strength) while calling the weapon color/class if coming up behind unaware fighters to kill them. Also can be used with red weapons/Class 2 weapons and if the fighter is legged without a shield. This is typically referred to as a "Courtesy shot/hit"; saying "Courtesy" before or with the hit can clarify this for the target.
    • If attacking an unaware opponent from behind with a class 1/ "Blue" weapon, it is not necessary to call its class or color. You must call class or color for all other types, or the recipient of the shot may assume it to be a Class 1 weapon for the purpose of armor.
    • If you, as many do, feel that being hit too lightly sucks monkey balls, even from behind, feel free to call Light on "courtesy" shots. Anyone delivering "courtesy" shots should realize that this is a likely response in a full-contact game with a force minimum and be prepared for that case. It is completely unacceptable to strike someone with intent to injure them just because they called Light on an overly-light courtesy shot. I.e., if they call Light on your courtesy tap, you shouldn't try to make them piss blood.
  • Weapon/arm touching your head and walking means you are dead and trying to get off the field. (Only clear the field if a marshal/herald tells you to unless it's an emergency.) Reference rule
  • Do not attempt to look like you are dead to gain a combat advantage over the "living" players. Also called Ghosting. (Examples: Leaving the field with your weapon/arm above your head when you didn't "die", sitting on your butt and waiting for someone to draw near). If you take a wound or death and realize you made a mistake, you cannot come back to life or otherwise undo the bad call.
  • If killed you can call "down", "dead", or "got it" to inform your opponent you are dead (Still lay down immediately). Reference rule
    • If killed you can raise your weapon/arm above your head to inform your opponent you are dead (Still lay down immediately). Reference rule
    • Dropping your weapon is not a valid show of death.
    • If you are dead, look dead. (Examples: An elbow to the ground while laying on your side, laying spread eagle on your belly/back) If you are alive, look alive. (Examples: Walk around, kneel, roll)
  • No kicking people. Just because it is not a grapple doesn't mean you can kick someone. Shield kicking is allowed. Reference rule 3.5.4
  • Purposefully hitting someone with a non-striking surface of a weapon is discouraged.
    • Don't hit or bash people with the core (inside/unpadded side) of a shield.
  • Hands and feet are always legal targets, you just take no damage if holding a weapon or shield or having foot on ground. An empty hand is considered part of the arm; a foot off the ground is considered part of the leg.
  • Grappling on the field is best equated to high school wrestling. Reference rule 3.6


  • Weapons that slash are not meant to double as missile weapons. (Example: a javelin/staff combo) Never throw a weapon offensively if it is not explicitly mentioned in the rules as one to be thrown (i.e. Javelins and Rocks).
  • Core in the heads of flails are discouraged, but not illegal. Be very, very careful.
  • No modern modifications of a bow (Examples: mechanical releases, sights, stabilizers).
  • Wooden cores do not have to be 100% taped, only the exposed handle. Though for safety, it may be appropriate to do so. Reference rule 1.3.8.
  • Shields should not taco (edges bend towards each other excessively when shield is bent in half). Refer to Rule 2.2.1
  • Axes (or any other weapon) should not taco (i.e. the striking surfaces bend toward each other excessively or touch).
  • Armor protrusions (leather spikes, metal studs, etc.) must not pass through a 2.5 inch hole. Reference rule: 3.4; Appendix A.
  • Weapons protrusions should not be able to enter an eye socket.

Not recognized in all places

  • A shot in motion continues if you loose an arm or are killed. Some places use if you're killed, no shot continues.
  • A weapon's "Magic Switch" from the dead arm/hand to the other is discouraged. Drop the weapon and then pick it back up if you loose an arm.
    • "Magic Switch" can also refer to taking a combat hit to your right leg when it was the left which was hit and vice versa. While this is allowed in many places it is discouraged.
  • Accidental Head Shots can sometimes result in penalty push ups or death taken by the offending person. Check with a realm Marshal if you are new.
  • Some places pause to make sure a fighter can continue after a head shot. Other places keep fighting. IE: Never use a head shot to make way for a kill shot.
  • Hand on a shield is the same as hand on a weapon. (Codified in the BoW now?)
  • Arm on a shield is not the same as hand on a weapon.


  • Don't be the first one to go to sleep at an event.
  • Always be nice to Troll and the event coordinators. They work hard to let you have fun and ask for little in return.
  • When entering a camp site other than your own at an event, it is polite to say "Hail Camp" to alert those already there to your presence instead of simply wandering in uninvited.
  • The word discouraged in the BOW is not the same as illegal for a reason, but should still be emphasized and adhered to.

Resources: Compiled from information from the Belegarth boards
"Unwritten Rules list" [1]
"Two missing archery rules" [2]
Belegarth Book of War [3]

Initial creation and formatting done. --Thorondor 21:40, 21 February 2008 (EST)

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