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Rulings and Pronouncements by the Earl Marshals

Society Earl Marshal - Marshallate Updates

Pinned: Please visit the Society Earl Marshal's Announcement page for the latest changes and tweaks to the rules of combat, armor, and weaponry. Changes to the Marshal's Handbook - May 2013

Youth and Pennsylvania Law

Pennsylvania Child Protective Act, Final Act

Youth Combat and combat involving minors is not suspended in the State of Pennsylvania, and shall continue according to established Society and Kingdom guidelines. This includes archery, siege, equestrian and thrown weapons..
Ruling officially posted 11 July 2015

Pennsylvania Child Protective Act, Scene Three

Please read this Response to the East Kingdom Earl Marshal.
Ruling officially posted 1 July 2015

Pennsylvania Child Protective Act, Scene Two

After a productive conference call with the Society Seneschal and the Society Earl Marshal, I am confident that we will have written guidance in the next few days, for dissemination, that will allow for full participation by the East Kingdom in Pennsylvania in all activities under the Office of the Earl Marshal. I do not want to paraphrase or misquote anyone, but I will say that everyone can rest assured that this should not cause a disruption for more than a few more days and once we have the written guidance we can return to business as usual with direction of who must and how to comply with Pennsylvania law.
Ruling officially posted 1 July 2015

Pennsic and the Pennsylvania Child Protective Act

One of the first things I heard about upon taking this position in January 2015 was the change in Pennsylvania law. I was informed we would get guidance from the BoD. That has not happened to date.

In the event that legal guidance is not provided that indicates what, if any, provisions of SCA and East Kingdom laws needs to be changed to bring us in full compliance with Pennsylvania law is not given before July 1, 2015, I am left with no alternative but to suspend all activities under the office of the Earl Marshal of the East Kingdom that allows participation by anyone under the age of 18 in the state of Pennsylvania and to bar any East Kingdom marshal from participating, as a marshal, in the state of Pennsylvania where anyone under the age of 18 is allowed to participate in any marshal activities.

The sanctions faced for failure to comply with Pennsylvania law include civil and criminal prosecution. Anyone who supervises or comes into regular contact with persons under the age of 18 are subject to these sanctions. This affects all marshals as well as all chivalry. It is imperative that this issue be resolved immediately, considering that provisions of the law are already in effect.

Pennsic Issues

Furthermore, the current Pennsic Accord that seeks to subvert authority for field saftey from the Society Earl Marshal and place the Pennsic marshallate under control of the Deputy Mayor for Battlefield Activities is improper. The current accord violates the clear and long standing chain of command from SEM, to KEM, to DEM, etc. The Earl Marshals must continue to have free authority, subject to the rules of the Society and answerable to the Society Earl Marshal in all combat related activities and not to the Deputy Mayor for Battlefield Activities unless the BoD directs otherwise.

Youth Play and Combat

If the youths are old enough to be in any of the youth divisions and are conducting sword fighting at an SCA event - a cornerstone of which is sword fighting - then it needs to comply with the requirements of youth combat regardless of whether the weapons are constructed at home or commercially constructed. This includes proper armor, technique, safety and a youth marshal. The youth marshal shall then determine if the "nerf" sword complies with standards for the appropriate division before any contact between youths.
Ruling officially posted 30 June 2015

Policy Change

Added Language

Rule 8. "All Companions of the Order of Chivalry who are currently paid members of the SCA, Inc. are considered warranted Marshals upon elevation and are expected to fulfill the duties and obligations of the Marshalate." is amended to include, "The Earl Marshal shall have the right to suspend or revoke the marshal's warrant of any Companion of the Order of Chivalry."
Ruling officially posted 28 May 2015.


Waiver Policy for all Marshal Activities:

Greetings all,
It has come to my attention that we do not sign waivers at practices across the Kingdom. This is not acceptable. It must be done at EVERY practice. Below is the waiver policy and the waiver form.

I expected this to be adhered to strictly. Should any practice not follow the waiver policy, henceforth, the unbelted marshals shall be subject to having their warrants removed and chivalry sanctioned via suspension of fighting privileges (because I do not have the authority to suspend the marshal power of the chivalry).

I apologize if this appears heavy handed. It is a serious insurance issue and cannot be ignored.

The procedure is as follows for ALL practices falling under the Earl Marshal and must be done at each practice: Blue cards should be checked by the Marshal in Charge and the number logged with the SCA name and mundane name. Anyone who does not have a blue card must sign a waiver at each practice. You may use individual forms or a roster waiver at your leisure. The waivers should be held for the Waiver Deputy and not sent in to the office of the Earl Marshal.

The Kingdom waiver policy can be found at: Waiver Policy
Waiver forms can be found at: Waiver Forms
Ruling officially posted 12 May 2015.

Earl Marshal Emeritus

A new deputy shall be immediately created as follows:

Earl Marshal Emeritus: the outgoing Earl Marshal shall serve as advisor to the current Earl Marshal as needed to facilitate continuity and transition. This position shall not prevent the holder from holding any other Kingdom position including Royalty. Sir Oskgar of the Woods shall serve as the first Earl Marshal Emeritus.
Ruling officially posted 1/2015.

Mandrake Tips on Fiberglass Spears

Be it known that two-inch Mandrake tips on fiberglass spears shall be immediately banned.

Mandrake tips may be used on rattan spears. I understand this is an inconvenience for many and it is no less for me as I have spears of my own that I must rebuild. However, in keeping in line with the need for safety and the fact that the two-inch Mandrake tips were not designed for this purpose I find this ban necessary. Icefalcon or homemade two-inch tips are allowed on all spears.
Ruling officially posted 1/2015

EK Marshal's Handbook updates


The words "Effectiveness of a blow may not be judged by the opposing combatant, the marshal on the field, or other observers. Information unavailable to the combatant being struck may be supplied by the opposing combatant sor the marshal, including blade orientation upon impact, apparent force transmitted, or apparent location and angle of the blow's impact based upon the observer's angle of observation." have been added.
Ruling officially posted 1/2015
Part IV:

Specified "Earl Marshal's Rules and policies" and added the words "censure or suspension".
Ruling officially posted 1/2015
Part IV: Deferment

Added the definition for deferment:

"Deferment- A fighter's removal from all participation in any SCA fighting practice or activity, in the Kingdom, or falling under the office of the Earl Marshal, for one day."

Added the Action for deferment:

Deferment- This may be done by any marshal at any time for any violation of the Earl Marshal's rules and policies. This may be done orally and is expressly not subject to the requirement that violations be done in writing. This shall take effect immediately and last for the duration of the fighting practice or activity in the Kingdom or falling under the office of the Earl Marshal. The marshal exercising a deferment shall notify the DEM of the Region in writing of the deferment. The writing shall include the name of the fighter, name of the marshal, date of the deferment and reason for the deferment. The DEM of the Region shall forward the written report to the EM for review and recording.
Ruling officially posted 1/2015

Butts and Tips

Interim Ruling

Weapons under 48" or Greater than 7'6" in length may have either a thrusting tip OR a butt spike, but not both. For example, in the East, you may not have buttspikes on your 9' spear.
Ruling officially posted 11/15/2013.

The Airsoft Mod

After much long drawn-out discussion, the Society Earl Marshal has made a decision about the Airsoft Modification (experiment at Pennsic 2012)

He has decided to disallow their use at Pennsic. If you have mandrake tips that have been modified you must remove the pellets and put in foam to pass inspection at the point. I know this is hard to take but it is the call the man in charge made.

Here is the exact wording from society

D. Fiberglass Spears
4. All fiberglass spears must have a thrusting tip that is a minimum of 2 inches (50.8 mm) in diameter/cross-section and have 2 inches (50.8 mm) of resilient material in front of the PVC end cap, thereby providing progressively resistant give without allowing contact with the PVC end cap.

Now for the good news. Ice Falcon's spear tips are good to go and ... 2" homemade tips are legal as well. so we have a bunch of options for good tips that will pass muster. Sadly not the clever functional Airsoft mod so many of us like.

We will continue to be able to use the mod in kingdom but they need to be marked with green and red denoting an experimental weapon.

Ruling officially posted 14 May 2013.

as of 05/30/2012

Polypropylene - 05/30/2012

As of (05/30/2012) polypropylene will not be allowed as an alternative material to be used in the construction of single handed weapons in the East Kingdom. All hafts and blades of these weapons will be constructed solely of rattan or rattan-cored Silo Flex. All other construction details will continue to be as directed by Society Standards for the construction of single-handed weapons. An Experimental period of approximately six months will begin to determine possible future changes to this ruling.

If you are interested in experimenting with the 1.25" polypropylene material described in the Society Earl Marshals recent ruling, you may contact, me, Sir Stephen Grandchamp, KEM East, with your proposals.

16 and 17 year old Minors may participate in Heavy list Combat as of Sept 8th, 2011, in the East.

Greetings unto the Marshals and Chivalry and Populace of the East ...

As of this date (Sept 8th, 2011) 16 and 17 year olds will be able to participate in practices and authorize for Heavy List Combat in the East Kingdom by using the following procedures. They may participate in fighting practices, attended by a parent or legal guardian, who will sign a minor authorization to participate. If the parent is not a currently authorized fighter in the East, they will be provided a copy of the Fighters handbook and the Combat Conventions of the East, observe a practice, with armor inspections, and only then be allowed to participate at the following practice. The parent will be strongly encouraged to continue participation in the process throughout the entire period of instruction and practice. (Note: If a minor will ever be in attendance at a practice without the parent present, the minor will have a notarized form to allow medical treatment and another duly authorized adult guardian will be present.

These standards are no different than those required for ANY minor to participate in ANY SCA event or activity and have no bearing on the Martial aspects of the process. If, as a Marshal, you are not up to speed on current SCA practices re: minor participation at events, please contact your local Seneschal or consult the official East Kingdom web site. After an appropriate period of instruction, an authorization bout may be held. This bout will be attended and observed by the parent/guardian. The two Marshals involved in the process must include a member of the Chivalry. (The chivalry component is not a requirement for participation in practices.) The parent must sign the auth. paperwork as being in agreement with the armor inspection and authorization process. (The current auth form can be used for now, but the form will be modified in the near term to include specific places for the parent’s counter-signatures.) The Auth paper work will be marked "MINOR", the subsequently provided Auth. Card will be also be prominently marked "MINOR". They may then participate in any heavy list activity in the East that their guardians allow. The current Youth Fighter program, Div 1-4, remains unchanged and is still available for all minors, with the exception that the above Earl Marshals ruling offers an alternative path for advancement to the adult heavy list, both for practices and authorization. The "Youth to Adult" rubric still remains, but may be subject to alterations or change in the future, if our experience with this model is positive.

A minor participating in primarily adult activities (such as Heavy List practices and events), properly waivered by the parent IS NOT held to the standards that requires "2-deep" supervision by persons holding background checks. The requirement that an activity, held EXCLUSIVELY for minors, must follow these procedures is unchanged. In the very unlikely event that a small fighting practice only included minors on a particular occasion, it would, by definition, become a youth activity and be subject to the Minor rules. The choice of the Marshal in charge would be to cancel that practice or proceed with the properly qualified personnel, if available.

Armor Standards: Armor standards for 16-17 year old fighters participating in Heavy List Combat activities of the East Kingdom shall be as per the Society for Creative Anachronism's minimum armor standards for heavy list combat found in the most current version of the SCA Marshal's Handbook. The following additional requirements will also apply: The points of the shoulders shall be protected with the minimum of a piece of armor made from both rigid and padded materials.* The forearms shall be protected with the minimum of padded and rigid* vambraces, wrapping around the arm to the inner portion of the lower arm. Solid or splinted style vambraces are both acceptable. This protection will not be required on an arm that is protected by a shield.

(* rigid and padded materials shall be as defined in the guidelines found in the SCA Marshal’s Handbook)

Minor activities will now become a mandatory topic in all Marshal Reports sent to your Regionals and to my Office. This will form the basis for evaluating future changes and continuation of the program. The above procedures will be in effect for 6 mo., at which time they will be reviewed by the Earl Marshal. This plan also covers activity in the areas of Combat Archery and Siege. A policy will be forthcoming to address Rapier Combat in the near future. I know that some of you will have concerns about various components of this significant change to our current practice here in the East. Your thoughts and comment are welcome. It is a “work in progress”. You will note that this article contains added information to assist in the implementation of these changes and differs slightly in wording from what will be published on the East Kingdom web site

Thank you for your patience while I worked through the issues involved here! Sir Stephen Grandchamp, OP KEM

(This article, in its entirety, may be cross posted to all East Kingdom marshal, group or household web sites)

Ice Falcon's 2" spear tip kit - 5/24/2011

...As of this date(May 24th, 2011) my experimental test of Ice Falcon's commercial 2" spear tip kit (for use on 9ft fiberglass) has been approved by the Society Marshal. Fighters with spear experience, who are willing to comply with the following established experimental weapons test procedures may begin to use them at once. The testers will first contact me to inform me that they wish to be involved in the experiment. The weapons will be conspicuously marked with at least 8" of alternating red and green tape below the point. They will currently restrict the use of the spears to small melees and practices. All opposing fighters must be made aware of and agree to the use of the weapon, or it will not be deployed. After approximately one month of use experience, I will expect reports to begin from the experimenters,along with comments from others who have faced them. It is my goal to expand the available sources for 2" tips and to ultimately also approve home –grown kits, in the spirit of traditional SCA weapons construction. If you have a home-made kit that you wish to experiment with, please get me the details and a functional copy and I will consider them. The Wheels of Progress turn slowly in the Society. The Society Marshal has made it clear that, at this time, the only 2" tip approved for use at Pennsic 40 is the Mandrake kit.

2" thrusting tips for 9' fiberglass spears - 2/01/2011

The SEM has decided to allow the use of the Mandrake pre-made 2" two-handed rubber thrusting tips on Fiberglass spears up to 9' long as long as all the included foam disks are used and it is mounted exactly as per the instructions.

Windrose Armoury: Two Handed Thrusting Tip

This will take effect on March 1st 2011. These are to be considered an equivalent to the 3" x 3" tips on fiberglass spears currently in use. These tips will no longer be considered experimental on fiberglass spears up to 9' long. Also, please begin experimentation on homemade 2" x 2" tips on fiberglass spears up to 9' long. Homemade 2" x 2" tips are still considered experimental and must follow the guidelines and restrictions as outlined in the Marshal's Handbook.

Appearance - 4/27/2010

As per the SEM's decision to clean up the field of battle the following policy is put into place in the East Kingdom

All authorized fighters will as of June 1st, 2010 cover any modern or plastic equipment (this does not mean any type of metal including aluminum) with a minimum of a plain tabard. There is no exception to this rule.

As of January 1st, 2011 all of the following should be covered painted or hidden to the best of the fighters ability and expense. and all new fighters after that date will have 1 year from the date of their qualification card to come into compliance.

  • No Exposed Blue, Orange or any Blatantly Modern Plastic.
  • No Exposed Blatantly Modern Equipment
While we challenge you to look as authentic as possible the following exceptions to the above are allowed:
  • Any Youth Combat Systems
  • Modern Hand Protection
  • Modern Eye wear
  • Duct Tape (day of repairs are a necessary evil)
  • Modern Foot wear
  • Modern Fencing Masks
  • Adaptive and/or Medically Necessary Equipment
Also, anyone who is not authorized is exempt from this standard.

Remember that you can wear any of the above things if:

  • They are covered by a tabard
  • They are hidden by clothing.
  • They are made to look period by, for example, covered with cloth, leather, or even paint (as long as the result "an attempt at pre-17th century appearance" )

Flails - 4/26/2010

As of Sept 2010 the experiment is to be ended and the society marshal will not approve or let us extend the testing.

Polearm/Axe Heads - 4/25/2010

The warhammer/poleaxe rubber heads are good as sold. As are the formed lightweight foam axe heads, glaive heads etc without extra padding. But the rear of the rubber axe heads, IF you are going to strike with it, must have 1/4 inch of closed cell foam on it.


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