Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Quick & Deadly Combat

 Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”

Albert Einstein

Back in April my son and I attended a “buhurt” medieval combat sport event, “Mead and Mayhem,” at a nearby winery. Several teams from the east cost battled in the lists in a regulated melee. Participants wore period-authentic armor and bashed at each other with blunted weapons certified to the league rules, with no thrusts, no hitting certain spots, until an opponent goes down (at least one hand on the ground). The first day teams of five armored opponents bashed at each other in the heavy wood-rail arena (the “list”) while an audience of about 150 cheered them on (fueled, of course, by wine, beer, and mead...). As a medieval enthusiast I enjoyed it; my son quickly let himself get caught up in the action, despite my droning historical commentary. Despite the rules each melee demonstrated the power and brutality of medieval combat...and showed how such fights often took less than two minutes to bring one team of five to victory. Of course in my head I started comparing it to combat in roleplaying games, particularly my favorite Basic/Expert Dungeons & Dragons. Although that’s a fantasy roleplaying game grounded in some aspects of the real world, in actuality trained, armored opponents clashing in battle goes pretty quickly.