Monday, January 07, 2008
Using Scoring Cheques in a Recreation of a Deed of Arms
Scoring Cheques were used in Tudor and Elizabethan jousts, tourneys and combats at the barriers. Although some faults would explicitly put you out of the running, for tourneys and combats at the barriers the scoring seems to have been a guide to the judges rather than a rigid method of producing a winner.
Here is one way to use scoring cheques in a modern recreation of combat on foot. It is an adaption to the rules and combat conventions used by the Company of St. Michael.
Draw two columns of rectangles on a sheet of paper, one for the comers and the other for the defenders. Each combatant should be listed beside a rectangle. If you like, you can trick their arms there as well.
The upper line of the rectangle is for acts that increase the combatant’s repute, the lower is for things that decrease it. For each good blow they strike against an opponent make a vertical mark on the upper line. For each disabling blow they strike, mark a cross on the upper line. For blows struck against them, do the same on or below the lower line.
If they are disarmed, are born to the ground or fall, or rest a hand on the barrier put a cross on or below the lower line, with a d, b, or h respectively beside it. If they actively disarm an opponent, etc, mark the upper line accordingly.
Tudor deeds of arms often had prizes for each of the different weapons or types of combat. If you do this create a new sheet for each weapon. For combats with a given weapon, all of the blows a combatant strikes and receives are marked on the same rectangle: you don’t need another one for additional opponents.
Combatants who fell, put their hand on the barrier or were disarmed can’t win the prize. For the remainder, the surplus of good blows struck over blows received (with disabling blows counting as three good blows) will be a useful indication of prowess. The ladies or judges are free to consider other indications of skill or hardiness at their discretion.
There are some differences between this and the Tudor system. That scoring system did not distinguish between “good” blows and light. It did distinguish between head and body blows, and noted blows hard enough to break swords. It apparently did not directly note how successful a combatant was at not being hit.