This is more of a safety concern than a rules question, but I was wondering if I could get away with doing a ‘boar’s snout’ formation to break through enemy lines. Essentially, this is a wedge of people with their shoulders locked into each other walking forward so that the pointman gets pushed straight through a shieldwall. The rules say you can push with a shield going at a slow walk, which is exactly what this is, except it uses the weight of quite a lot more people. As long as people keep their weapons back the risk of stabbing each other in the face (the main issue when we do it in reenactment) should be fairly low, and obviously before doing this I’d make sure to drill everyone involved thoroughly in why they need to not point their weapons forward. The main risk is that, by design, it can’t stop very easily, so if anyone does fall over there is a risk of getting trampled. Theoretically, this shouldn’t be too much of an issue, as you end up packed tight enough that you can’t really fall over; in fact, I’d expect the pointman to get killed at some point and still remain upright. If, however, someone did go down, I’d make sure to thoroughly drill everyone into stopping and separating into standard battle lines with the command ‘break’, and give them instructions to shout it if anyone’s at risk.
If I were to do this, I’d make sure to thoroughly train everyone involved beforehand (probably on the Friday night or Saturday afternoon, depending on light levels and when we’re meant to be fighting), and if I couldn’t get them safe I wouldn’t ask them to do it in the battle. However, if it’s still too much of a risk I won’t do it ('cause I don’t want to get banned)
we’ve done Boar Snout’s before in Wintermark, however they have not been very strong ones, where shoulders etc. have been fully locked, and we’ve not often pushed through the enemy ranks for what felt like fears of safety. That said I’ve tended to find that the battle lines in lrp (unless they are boxed in or in complete panic) tend to be rather loose, so when we’ve done them the enemy groups tended to get the hell out of the way.
Orc battle lines are particularly loose, as whatever limited cohesion players have in their nations and units vanishes when you monster.
The main challenge with this kind of tactic is drilling - getting everyone in the same place at the same time when so much else is going on…
Excellent, in that case I can probably go ahead and engage in the cat-herding festival that is convincing players from other nations to do what I want. Maybe posting a notice about linebreaking training on Saturday afternoon and hoping? Or acting as a town crier and ‘gently encouraging’ people into joining us…
Or, of course, I could acquire a large amount of booze and offer free drinks to anyone who turns up and stays till the end. Depressingly, that might be the easiest way…
I’ll warn you getting enough support is very very hard and I’d be impressed if you manage it as no one has yet due to the notorious flaky-ness of lrpers
Just advancing in good order is fine - people do that all the time, and it’s a very effective way to break open a line that’s less coherent. Generally people will retreat before you, and then you can easily exploit that gap.
Where it gets questionable is when your formation is using physical force to drive apart an opposing formation. The rule of thumb should be (broadly) that if your opponents hold their line, you need to stop advancing and kill them instead of just pushing your way through with a big wedge of people.
If you do try and do a formation like this, do not be surprised when battle refs come and break it up - it is very borderline for this LRP. If you want to discuss it more, I’d suggest going and talking with one of the senior battle-refs at the event, before you try doing it.