ANST-Announce - New Rules and Standards....Section 7

Kief av Kiersted sirkief at
Mon Oct 18 18:17:23 PDT 1999

Heilsa all Combatants in the Dread Kingdom of Ansteorra!

There have been substantial changes to the Rules and Standards!! Please read
everything carefully. Report any problems and/or concerns to me directly at:
   Sirkief at        Please do not post problems or concerns
back to the list that you receive these letters on, post them only to me!

This post is an "unofficial" document. Only the printed version (to be
mailed ASAP) and the Ansteorran Home Page Link will be "officially

Kief - EM Ansteorra







Siege weapons and devices constitute a relatively new addition to SCA 
combat. Rules concerning siege engines vary widely, and the following is 
intended as a basic common framework:


A. Marshalling

1. Marshals inspecting siege weapons and supervising their use should be 
trained and designated for such at the kingdom level, or should consult the 
Earl Marshal(s) and/or Marshal(s) in Charge.

2. It is suggested that kingdoms enjoying a sustained level of siege 
weaponry implement a lesser office or deputyship to their marshalate, 
dedicated to the maintenance of standards for their use. Duties would 

a. Approval of siege engines and projectiles for SCA combat;

b. Field inspection and regulation of siege engines used in combat.

c. Marshalling of siege engines and crews during battles;

d. Training combat marshals and combatants in the use of siege weaponry;

e. Such communication as is necessary to the kingdom marshalate;

f. Licensing of engines and designation of accepted operators, utilizing 
test-fire observation for range, repeatability, and use against a volunteer.

3. Before use in SCA combat, experimental machines/projectiles must be 
thoroughly field tested, including test-fire observation for range, 
repeatability and use against a subject. New machines should be authorized 
in the following manner:

4. The engine should be thoroughly inspected for structural stability, both 
of parts and of overall construction.

5. Projectile-throwing engines should be able to fire repeatedly and 
consistently, with no noticeable loosening or fatigue.

6. Engines should be able to fire an approved projectile safely at the 
engine's minimum range if indirect fire, at a distance of seven yards (or 
10% of its maximum range, which ever is greater) if direct fire. The 
evaluation procedure for experimental engines and projectiles should include 
all the following steps:

a. Observing the impact upon the field or an inanimate object;

b. Judging the impact by catching it on a (held) shield;

c. Against the builder or a volunteer (a derivative of the "owner of the 
weapon must be willing to be struck with it"); and lastly,

d. By a marshal or unbiased third party. (When judging impact, the 
possibility of accidental hits to marshals, faceplates, etc. should be 

7. Load-bearing devices such as ramps and towers should be able to withstand 
the active weight of as many fighters as can they might reasonably 
accommodate in battle (i.e., a 10ft.-long ramp should be able to bear the 
weight of five fighters simultaneously; a 5x5ft. platform should be able to 
bear two or three).

a. amps, towers, etc. which might place combatants above a height of <6> 
feet must have railings, walls, or guy lines around their edges at a height 
of 40" or higher to help prevent falls.

8. It is strongly suggested that kingdoms with sustained siege weapon use 
adopt a licensing system, and that cards or other documentation be issued to 
approved devices. Such documentation should be kept with the device or 
operator upon the field.

9. The overall philosophy of approval and inspection is to answer two 

a. Is it safe for use against combatants?

b. Is it safe for the crew and those who might come in contact with the 
engine itself?

NOTE: Certain replica siege weapons (such as 1,200 lb. draw arbalests and 
black powder cannon) can be intrinsically unsafe for SCA combat. 
Furthermore, a siege engine's range can easily exceed the perimeter of the 
fighting field, or even the site itself. Use of such engines for recreation 
and demonstration at SCA events is not within the purview of this document. 
Autocrats are advised to carefully assess an engine and its range before 
use, and to designate an officer (live weapons or archery marshal, etc.) to 
oversee such activities.


1. All machines and types of projectiles should be thoroughly inspected 
before use by a marshal, and examined between battles by the operator. 
Special attention should be given to stress and wear points such as 
fulcrums, torsion spring hardware, prods and their cables, release 
mechanisms, throwing arms and their stops.

2. It is suggested that the formation of a standard field inspection 
checklist be devised for each design, taking into account particular stress 
and wear points, and the vulnerabilities thereof. The inspecting marshal(s) 
shall be made with familiar such, especially by the owners of unusual 
designs. Keeping such a checklist and a record of any previous authorization 
with the engine is recommended.

3. All engines are expected to fire consistently "down range". At the very 
least, engines which cannot be relied upon to fire away from onlookers 
should not be allowed to operate within "misfire range" of non-combatants.

4. Acceptable operators of engines must be thoroughly briefed as to both 
their use, construction, and field inspection. Any alternate operators of an 
engine must be trained and designated to the satisfaction of the marshals 
before engagement.


1. Siege combatants may be classified as non-contact, missile combat, heavy 
weapons combatants, and/or rapier, per Ansteorran regulations. Authorization 
requirements adhere to these categories save where explicitly excepted by 
the kingdom marshalate.

2. Siege operators and crew must demonstrate their familiarity with both 
their equipment and all pertinent regulations.

3. Siege operators and crew must adhere to all minimum armor standards that 
pertain to the style of Combat Activity they are engaged in. I.e. Chivalric 
or Rapier


Note: the following definitions are specific to siege engines; more general 
definitions are detailed in the Missile Combat section.

Bolts - Javelin-like projectiles, usually represented by golf-tube or PVC 
javelins 28 - 60" long. Shorter bolts are often referred to as darts.

Cannon - are limited to heavy siege use only, against fortifications, 
structures and other siege engines. Combatants may not be targeted, but are 
killed if hit by shot. They must be able to fire a one pound siege rock to 
the minimum qualifying range for a heavy siege engine. Hand or shoulder held 
guns are not allowed. These limitations apply only to heavy combat.

Crew - any member of a siege engine's operating team, including operators, 
ramp haulers, ammunition handlers, spotters, etc.

Direct Fire - Fires in a low arc, more or less directly at the target. 
Examples include ballista and cannon.

Evaluation, Inspection, and Examination - For the purposes of this document, 
the marshalate evaluates engines and projectiles to determine their 
suitability for SCA combat (and licensure where applicable). Inspection 
refers to marshalate perusal on the order of armor inspection, whereas 
examination may be conducted by the operator as required.

Fortifications - Protective barriers, real or represented, per the scenario. 
Examples include actual structures (walls, gates), collapsible 
representations of same, and structures represented by hay bales or markers.

Heavy Siege Weapons - In scenario conventions, heavy weapons fire large 
projectiles which are usually considered to destroy fortifications and other 
siege engines. They must be able to fire a one pound siege rock to the 
minimum qualifying range. In some conventions, all siege weapons my be 
considered to be either "heavy" or "light" siege engines.

Indirect Fire - Fires in a high ballistic arc, much like a modern mortar. 
Examples include trebuchets and most onagers.

Light Siege Engines - In scenario conventions, light siege engines are 
usually accorded lesser damages per hit than heavy siege engines, but 
greater effect than small arms such as bows. Common conventions may include: 
kill through shields, multiple hits required to equal the effect of a heavy 
siege engine hit, etc. Note that what is considered a heavy or light engine 
(or whether there is indeed a difference) is a matter for the individual 

Operator - A combatant responsible for the actual operation of the engine, 
being it cocking and/or discharging a firing engine, steering or directing 
the use of a structural engine, etc.

Shot - Monolithic projectiles such as stones, cannonballs, or boulders, 
commonly represented by three-or-four tennis ball "rocks", sport balls, 
taped-foam boulders, etc.

Siege Engine - For the purposes of these regulations, any mechanical device 
or structure used in the waging of war. Examples include: catapults, ramps, 
battering rams, and archer's towers.

Structural or Non-firing Engines - non-firing devices which rely upon their 
structure for their usefulness, such as ramps, towers, and rams.


1. The missile determines the damage delivered regardless of the source of 

2. It is strongly suggested that a printed version of the conventions of any 
war or scenario (including, but not limited to, those concerning the use of 
siege weaponry) be made available to all participants. Conventions regarding 
siege weaponry should include damage accorded to different projectiles, 
capture/disabling procedures, allowed uses in each scenario, etc.

3. Engines and their projectiles must be inspected by a qualified marshal 
before use in combat.

a. All new engines must be evaluated (see Construction/Field Inspection) 
before use. Engines previously passed or licensed by an attending marshal 
may simply be inspected as an approved device.

4. Engine operators (as opposed to spotters, etc.) must be thoroughly 
familiar with the engine's use, construction, and method of field 
instruction. Any alternate operators must be designated to the satisfaction 
of the marshal(s) before engagement.

5. Engine operators and crew must be armored to at least the minimum 
standards for non-contact combatants, with the exception that gloves may be 
worn on both hands.

6. Engine operators and other crew members must be authorized as at least 
non-contact combatants.

a. Light engines must have a minimum crew of two.

b. Heavy engines must have a minimum crew of three.

7. Engines of any sort may not be struck with heavy weapons.

a. Engines should be structurally able to withstand accidental heavy weapons 

b. Any engine so struck should be examined (as opposed to a full marshal's 
inspection) immediately.

8. Conventions which recognize the possibility of capture, attack, and 
destruction should be instituted. For example, " Engines within striking 
range of an opponent are considered to be out of commission."

a. Captured engines may not be used, unless manned by previously trained and 
designated operators.

9. Projectiles should be examined between battles. It is suggested that the 
marshalate or operators themselves examine engines between battles as well.

10. Engines will have a minimum firing range of seven yards, or 10% 
(whichever is greater) of their maximum range for use against personnel.

11. Heavy siege engine projectiles may not be fired from light engines, 
small arms or thrown by hand. (Siege rocks may be dropped, not thrown, from 
battlements, towers, etc.)

12. If heavy engines are allowed to fire gleaned projectiles from smaller 
arms, marshals/fighters should not be expected to accord them any greater 
damage than they would have if fired from their usual arms.

13. Light Engine projectiles structurally identical to small arms 
projectiles should be readily identifiable to participants in order to 
qualify as more destructive than small arms fire (painted red, spiraled with 
contrasting tape, etc.).

a. Designated Light Engine projectiles (painted, etc.) may not be fired from 
small arms, unless conventions accord them no difference in damage done.

b. If Light Engines are allowed to fire gleaned projectiles from small arms. 
Marshals/fighters should not be expected to accord them the damage done by 
projectiles identified as their normal ammunition.

c. Where confusion is possible between siege projectiles and others accorded 
lesser damage (PVC siege bolts vs. PVC javelins, etc.), it is recommended 
that the siege projectiles be differentiated (by spirally wrapped red tape, 
fletches, etc.).

14. While they may be pivoted for aiming, mobile firing engines may not be 
relocated while cocked.


A. General: The science of siege weaponry is such that each machine or 
structure must be judged on a case-by-case basis. No set of requirements 
will prevent a bad execution from being unsafe, and a machine's 
acceptability must be determined with common sense and experience. 
Prospective siege engineers are urged to consult with their kingdom 
marshalate before embarking on projects. Some engines generate surprising 
forces, and can fail catastrophically.

1. Engines and their projectiles to be used in combat must be constructed 
and calibrated so that they may be fired safely at a subject in minimum 
armor (the owner comes to mind), at a distance of 21 feet, or at the minimum 
range of indirect-fire (high arcing) engines. In kingdoms where light 
combatants are included, light combat armor should constitute this minimum.

2. All engines are expected to be able to withstand repeated hits from 
missile combat and other siege engines, whether or not they are allowable 
targets in the rules of engagement. While it should never occur, all engines 
should be designed to withstand accidental but full-force blows from heavy 

3. Frames and structures should be fast and secure, and able to be used 
throughout a battle with no noticeable loosening or increase in "give". 
Special consideration should be given to joints and structures under stress 
such as: onager cross-bars, torsion spring mounts and arms, fulcrums, and 
firing mechanisms.

4. Siege weapons may not use compressed or ignited gases to propel 
projectiles. Cannon, bombards, etc. must be replicated using mechanical 
forms of propulsion (concealed springs, etc.).

5. It is strongly suggested that projectile-throwing engines be designed to 
be lockable or easily disabled if they are ever to be left unattended. Kids 
will be kids, and in the Society tend to stay that way well into their old 

6. Engines should attempt to visually recreate period devices, i.e.: 
ballistas should look like ballistas, rather than spearguns.

7. Heavy siege weapons shall be of sufficient size to identify them as such. 
At a minimum, a heavy siege weapon should take more than one person to 
comfortably carry, and a minimum footprint of fifteen square feet (3x5', 
4x4', etc.) is required.

8. All engines and ammunition shall be marked to indicate ownership.

9. With the sole exception of perriers (man-powered trebuchets), all 
projectile-firing siege weapons must have a mechanical trigger release in 
combat, and use it at every firing.

a. Heavy siege engines shall be mechanically cocked by a mechanical cocking 
device of, at least, one-to-one mechanical advantage. They may not be cocked 
by hand.

B. Projectiles

1. Ammunition must be inspected and approved for use in SCA combat.

2. Unusual projectiles should follow the parameters required of previously 
accepted projectiles.

3. Examples of accepted projectiles are:

a. Archers'/Slingers' Projectiles - Standard SCA combat arrows and single 
tennis balls - see Missile Combat)

b. PVC ballista bolts

i.  1 inch ID schedule 40 PVC or better, 24-60 inches length

ii. End of tube must have 1.25 inch, or greater, diameter cap (PVC cap, 
dowel, etc.)

iii. 2-inch minimum diameter rattan-legal thrusting tips

iv. Non-rigid fletches or streamers required

v. May not exceed 1.5 lbs.

c. Golf tube ballista bolts

i. 2-inch rattan-legal thrusting tip or tennis ball, et cetera

d. Multiple tennis/racquetball shot

i. Balls shall be securely taped together with duct or electrical tape

e. Sport balls (volleyballs, etc.)

i. Must be under-inflated to minimize bounce

f. Taped or fabric-covered foam "boulders", sheep, et al

i. May not exceed 2 lbs

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