Sword fight anyone?

I will be attending my first event in April and have never done any sort of sword fighting before. I really don’t want my character getting killed on his first venture into battle. So I was wondering if there is anyone from the South Wales or Bristol area that would be willing to meet up and give me some pointers on sword fighting?

Hello! Welcome along

I don’t think you need to panic there are new player combat sessions specifically for this purpose they go over the rules and how to fight safely and finish with a battle vs monsters also played by new players so everyone can get a good idea of how the combat works!

Also I’d say most people you can find with a weapon in the field will gladly spar with you especially if you head down on the Thursday/Friday before time in.

There are definitely groups that meet around the country for froth and weapons practice although I don’t know of any in that area I’m sure there may be some

Lastly I’d say probably don’t worry as much about being the best swordsperson that ever swung a sword, the vast majority of players aren’t technicians in combat it’s more about having fun, friends assure me that their deaths were some of the best fun they have had (laughs/cries in still alive)


The general wisdom on the 2 best things to help you survive a battle is decent cardio fitness, and some mates!

The best swordsman is just target practice for archers on their own, and if you’re being attacked by polearms from within a shield wall the technique is different to a duel in the Glory square, very few are good at everything.

I would suggest concentrating on your cardio for now. As Baz Ravish says if you can arrive early there will be plenty of people wiling to give you pointers (some of which will contradict each other so feel free to use what seems best to you), and the new player skirmish will give you an idea of battle line fighting.

Do make sure you’ve read the safety stuff, and take care of both yourself and your weapon, before worrying about being effective!


Perhaps slightly off topic, but things to remember if you’re worried about staying alive during a battle or skirmish:

  • Stay with your friends
    Number one, most important thing you can do. Other Imperials can defend you from attack, pick you up when you fall, and heal you with skills. If you find yourself alone, retreat to friendly troops, even if they’re not your nation.
  • Get healed
    Your nation will have healers, either with your group, or behind the lines. Know where they are, and ideally who they are. If you find yourself low on hits, tell the people around you that you need to drop back for healing. Better to do this than to fall over on the front line.
  • Listen to your leaders
    Ideally they’ll have a better overview of the battle than you do, due to runners, orders from higher up the chain, etc. But even if they don’t, cohesion wins battles. If you have to hold the line, hold the line like heroes. If called to retreat, retreat in good order with the rest of your group. If ordered to charge, charge fearlessly and en-masse.
  • Don’t go on an under-numbered skirmish
    Unlikely due to most skirmishes being over-subscribed now, but if the skirmish you’re going on calls for 15 people and you only have 10? Find another 5 people, or don’t go. Encounters are balanced for a certain amount of participants.
  • Learn people’s names
    If you’re downed out of their reach, call for aid by people’s names. Then it becomes personal. People are more likely to notice someone calling their name than just a generic “Healer!” call.

If you are really worried about dying and what everyone has said before me, hasn’t reassured you, maybe try monstering before taking your character into combat. Monstering gives you a good taste of what the battles are like while giving you X amount of lives Where X is the length of the battle minus the time it takes for you to die and run back each time.

As long as you are ready to run when you have to and people don’t make a major tactical blunder, you should be fine going into combat as your character. The barbarians are usually briefed not to go for the kill. Only a few of them are allowed to execute a downed player and if you just avoid them, and stick with people, you should be fine.

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The barbarians are usually briefed not to go for the kill

Uh, the barbarians are absolutely trying to kill you 99% of the time, and that 1% is when they’re non-com water carriers or monsters that are only dangerous if actively attacked.

The execution thing is right on the money though. Watch out for Druj in hoods, and schools of shark Heralds.

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I look at downing you and moving on as not trying to kill me. I think it is just a personal opinion.

There was one guy who got stuck behind enemy lines (technically friendly lines) who wasn’t dead yet but died afterwards as he wasn’t retrieved but other than that, I think you have a fairly good chance of being picked up again and I remember that some orcs got told off for chasing down the stragglers as they went through the gate.

I think, as their number one objective is to make things fun, it means they have to put that first before killing you, unless of course killing you makes things more fun. I don’t know, I might not have worded it correctly.


I think, as their number one objective is to make things fun, it means they have to put that first before killing you, unless of course killing you makes things more fun. I don’t know, I might not have worded it correctly.

So you’re technically correct (the best kind of correct!). The core goal of monster crew is to make the game fun for players. But part of that fun is providing a proper threat, within the briefs of the different barbarian + monster types. A large part of the game for many people is combat, and the danger that comes with it. It would be less fun going into a combat situation knowing that your opponents have been told to go easy on you.

What this ISN’T is a “win at all costs” mentality. On every skirmish, in every battle, Monster crew are playing characters, with their own codes of conduct, goals, and behaviours - even if this is only “moan and shamble towards the living” - and they want the players to feel like big damn heroes for defeating them, and/or for the survivors to have tales of terrifying encounters and close brushes with death.

If you pay close attention, you’ll even see this in the squads briefed for execution. Watch the Druj executioners at work - they’ll put on a big show, call out to the Imperials to come rescue their friends, offer to feed the dying various potions, give them, in essence, a chance to be rescued by their friends before they’re executed. Sure, it would be more tactically sensible to just perform a quick 5-second execute (like most players), but where’s the fun in that? Where’s the drama? Even the Siakha shark heralds do a lot of gross “feeding frenzy” RP before the execute call, which can always be interrupted.

The reasons for not chasing down the Imperials when they’re headng for the gate is that if the barbarians have won, then it’s a waste of time - they’ve defeated the evil Imperials and they get the pleasure of taunting the PCs as they flee in cowardice. If they’ve lost, it OOC sucks for the players to feel like they’re fleeing the field instead of marching off in triumph. They earned the right to feel like Big Damn Heroes, heads high as they march through the gate (the final reason is that it’s extremely easy to get into an OOC unsafe crush situation around the gate).

I guess what I’m trying to say is - combat can absolutely be dangerous, monsters are never briefed to “go easy”, but win or lose, die or survive, they really want you to have fun doing it.


Actually I think the majority of casulties on the battlefield are from “dropped behind enemy lines and not retrieved”.

Executions and lethal curses are the rarity…

As for CaptainSafar, you can probably find someone local for a knock-about, or even just turn up a little earlier and ask, we’re a fairly understanding bunch and will happily take people from the basics (hold it at the blunt end) to the complex (parry, sweep,step in and cut, and watch them collapse screaming WTF!).

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@random_corsair and @Geoffrey_Willoughby, thank you both for clarifying. When I monstered, I didn’t see too many people go down, but that might have been because of where I was.

If you can find a combat player event looking for crew, monstering can be a great way to practice your fighting skills without risking your character. My first Empire combat experience was crewing a player event called One Day More in February, a full day of Grendel-ing taught me a lot. Thursday/Friday sparring matches plus the Friday new player combat training and new player skirmish at the main events should see you right though.

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Top tips:
1: A sword is not a primary weapon. It usually needs a shield to be effective in a straight up battle. Either borrow or buy a buckler (which anyone can use without a skill), or stay out of the front lines as people will target you because they know you don’t have a polearm or shield and can’t reach them.

2: Hold back 2XP at least. Have a play with shields, great weapons and polearms in uptime. In the Glory Square, or at a Marcher drill session, or at whatever other nations do. Buy the skill you think you’ll have fun with, or stick to a buckler.

3: Battles are big. There is a lot do you can do by running orders, moving the wounded, watching a healer’s back in case of flank attacks, etc. It’s a good way to see how things work if you’re not learnign how to fight in a big unit.

4: Wear armour. Light armour is cheap (I made my first set as patchwork, out of a £20 bag of leather offcuts) and doubles your hits. Depending on the nation, there can often be people who’ll lend armour out. Usually Light or Heavy because lots of people have old chainmail or padding and it packs down small.

5: Consider borrowing a polearm. Since they’re smaller than shields, a lot of people pack a spare, especially in the Marches, where it’s an iconic weapon. They’re a really nice thing to learn to larp fight for battles with, since you’re effective just as soon as you are safe with one. Nobody likes charging a wall of pointy things.

6: Don’t take Ambidexterity. If you’re new to larp swording, it’s possibly the number one way to learn bad habits like hitting far too fast.


Id probably say the single biggest killer on the Empire battlefield is due to flanking, and the imperial line being caught out of position. If you look at the big “routs” or large loss of lives, it is normally due to either part of an army being sandwiched/charged in the back by the enemy forces, or charging into something and then realizing “oh they have a lot more troops than we thought in the woods”.

So the biggest thing I would suggest to keep any character alive is spatial awareness, sticking together, and communicating clearly. That doesn’t mean screaming/shouting… but a clear direction of “there is a lot of orcs over there… lets linkup with another nation on the field to take that on before charging”.


Just on more tip for surviving; never stop screaming for help. There is nothing short of death which can prevent you from shouting for help, so keep calling to your friends and healers until you hear an execute call or your bleed count (usually 3 minutes) ends…

As a healer, I go for the screamers first and rarely even check the quiet, still bodies unless I specifically saw them go down.

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That makes sense. Learning more about military strategy might not be a bad idea for me.