Getting Authorised & Being Field Ready for Armoured Combat

Ben Norman aka
Otto Sex Burger
Politarchopolis Marshal
13th September 2016


The following advice is provided on behalf of the Baronial Marshal, the senior marshals and senior combatants in the barony:

Periodically people will have a desire to be ‘authorised’ for a particular event with the intention of participating in it’s combat activities, and will approach senior combatants and marshals in the hopes of achieving this. Often we have to be the bearers of bad news, as it can be impractical or impossible to achieve this within a set time frame. Furthermore it is often overlooked that merely getting ‘authorised’ will not guarantee the ability to participate in an event, as all combatants and their equipment must be inspected and deemed safe by a marshal. Hence I will refer to the latter situation as being ‘field ready’, as in able to pass a marshal’s inspection and participate in a tournament or war scenario.


There are three main circumstances when it comes to authorisations.
1) Renewing an authorisation
2) Re-authorisation or upgrading
3) New authorisations.

Category 1:
This will be a form filling exercise 99% of the time. 5 minutes. The time it takes us to find a pen and sign the form.

Category 2:
If your authorisation has lapsed for while, we might ask you a trick question about the rules – but so long as you’ve fought safely in armour recently it should be a form filling exercise. Anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour.

For upgrades, we’ll query you on topics relating to the upgrade and check you’re still safe in armour. About an hour at most if you’ve done your homework.

Category 3:
To be newly authorised you need to be able to demonstrate sufficient knowledge of the rules and the ability to participate in a manner that is safe for you and your opponents. The time for achieving this will vary from person to person and whilst there is no minimum time required or waiting period before an authorisation can be issued, it usually occurs over a period of months rather than weeks. The expectation of your abilities and knowledge to be authorised may vary from senior marshal to senior marshal. Generally an ‘authorisation bout’ will be conducted along with a verbal examination to test the required knowledge.

NOTE: Please remember that the authorising marshal is accountable for your conduct and behaviour after being authorised, and is under no obligation to authorise you.  If they feel you may be a safety risk to yourself or others, they are required to withhold authorisation. If you feel that a marshal is being unfair or unreasonable, you may approach another marshal and/or follow the grievance procedures.

Things that will aid in getting your authorisation quickly:

  • Having the forms required at hand and filled in accordingly.
  • Having trained and sparred with, and in the presence or under the supervision of, the authorising marshal.
  • Familiarity with important topics of the handbook, its location and the ability to find information in it. (Namely minimum armour standards and legal targets, along with behaviour & conduct on the field.)
  • Having unrestricted access to a complete kit (armour & weapons) – be it borrowed or owned.
  • Sufficient and recent instruction on combat from a senior combatant (note this not just practicing on a pell).
  • Previous experience with another combat sport (in or out of the SCA).
  • Taking every opportunity to turn up to a fighter practice and using the time to train.

Things that will indicate there could be a delay or difficulty in getting your authorisation:

  • Asking us questions that could be easily answered by reading the Player’s handbook.
  • Not knowing where or how to access the player’s handbook, or its existence.
  • Not having organised your armour and weapons (ie having no concrete plan as to how you’re going to acquire them) for your authorisation bout.
  • Not having practiced fighting in armour.
  • Not participating in or at a local fighter practice.
  • Not behaving in a safe manner at fighter practice (ie your targeting and calibration of blows).


To be ‘field ready’, you need to pass the marshal’s inspection on the day of the event. That will require you to be authorised at minimum, but also that your armour and equipment will also pass the marshal’s inspection.

Being field ready for an event is your responsibility and no one else’s. Whilst many senior combatants and marshals will provide assistance, they do so by choice and are under no obligation to do so. Ultimately you will need to put the effort into achieving this goal, and allow a reasonable amount of time for preparation. Please remember that marshals and senior combatants have their own commitments in and outside the SCA, and that we can not nor should we be expected to drop everything to accommodate your needs or wants.

Armour is generally able to be borrowed and lent, but may not necessarily fit or provide sufficient coverage to be legal and thus require adjustment or modification. Helms should always be repadded for the wearer, and mesh is required for war scenarios involving combat archers. These things take time, and spare time is rarity before major events.

Where possible get your planned armour to be inspected beforehand at a fighter practice, so that any issues can be identified early. Create checklists to insure you have not overlooked important items, and have them validated by a senior combatant.

Weapons & shields are rarely lent for more than the duration of the training session. These are consumable items, and as such you should arrange to acquire these for yourself as a matter of priority.

On the day you will be required to present yourself, evidence of your authorisation, in the armour you will be using to the marshals conducting inspections. The marshal confirm your authorisation, before the physically inspecting you in your armour & with your weapons to see that they comply with the rules. You will also need to present yourself to lists once inspected, to confirm you have been inspected. Only after this will you be able to engage in the tournament or war scenarios


Please note that there are additional requirements for Minor’s being authorised. In any case, if you are wanting to get authorised in order to participate in a future event, the best time to start the conversation with a local senior combatant is NOW.